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  • David Bloomfield

#30 Sharing some things that I’ve Read, Heard & Seen

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

What I’ve Read

A book on how to unwire and rewire your brain for the better - present a practical guide and different approach to our digital world so that we can be conscious users of technology and no used by it, activating the brain pathways that bring clear thinking, deep relationships and mental well being.

Some things I learned and found useful

When we actively engage in social media - posting and commenting in positive communication with others rather than passively scrolling and just looking at posts we may benefit and avoid the pitfalls of the passive mindless use of social media.

Does it pass the test of T.I.M.E?

Time restricted - Create and abide by a minimum window of time for accomplishing your goals.

Intentional - Becoming more intentional about your use of digital products helps put the power back in your hands. Ask yourself what are you hoping to get out of it and whether it is truly something that benefits you.

Mindful - Bringing awareness to the way you're using these technologies while you're using them as well as awareness of the way that they are affecting you. Try incorporating pauses into your digital consumption during which you question the way you're using technology and the way it's making you feel. For example, is this website making you angry? Does scrolling through photo feed make you feel self-conscious envious inadequate or inferior? Mindfulness grants your window into your brain and gives you an opportunity to pull back if you don't like what you see

Enriching - Is what you're taking in enriching to your life? Does it add to your knowledge? Better you as a person? You feel more confident and optimistic? Or is it just a distraction?

Nature is our ultimate connector, our place of origin and first home. Distancing ourselves from nature deepens disconnection syndrome, taking us away from our evolutionary roots. Nature distresses us, lowers inflammation and increases empathetic behaviours. Spending time in nature is one of the easiest things that you can do to stay happy and healthy. Chronic stress takes the prefrontal cortex offline (associated to with thinking, planning and decision making and much of its work involves the inhibition of impulses arriving in the lower brain centre), by lowering our stress hormones, nature is giving us a great tool in maintaining higher-level thinking.

When we see awe inspiring nature, we experience a significant and positive effect on the way we interact with others. The awe that comes from nature reminds us of our relatively insignificant place in the universe, allowing us to focus on others without over valuing our self worth.

In 2011 researchers at the Yale University enlisted in meditators who had logged on average more than 10,000 hours of practice over the course of their lives. They compared brain scans to the experienced meditators with those of healthy non meditating volunteers. The results showed that meditators had significantly less activation on what's called the default mode network - the region of the brain that is thought to be responsible for mind wandering

What I've Heard

My most favourite podcast Revisionist History is back for its 5th season. As you may know by now Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell which looks back at the things which are overlooked and misunderstood! This season explores our emotional attachments to objects, rituals and traditions and most interestingly how those attachments betray us.

One particular favourite:

Episode 3 - The power ball revolution. A fascinating approach to determining how we choose others to lead us, following political activist Adam Cronkright's reform of voting processes through democratic lotteries. Of course it seems absurd to think that we would be better off selecting our worlkd leaders by a democratic lottery, but would we...? It gets really interesting when you start to explore Cronkrights 3 laws: 1) Lotteries encourage participation: 75% of the candidates standing for office in a democratic lottery wouldn't have run for office if they had to run a campaign - those who make a good campaign, don't necessarily make good leaders; 2) The lottery gives you a truly representative group of leaders - a group brought together by lottery have divergent interests rather than drawing the candidates from the same narrow band of society each year; 3) The mechanism for how we predict good leaders are flawed.

Versions of these laws in action are everywhere, this episode takes a sobering look at grant applications for research monies at the National Institute of Health, who hand out $30bn per year in research grants to around 20% of the 80,000 applications received each year. And when they look to see if they can find a strong correlation between the peer review scores (predictions of the how good the proposal is) and the most influential or innovative research once its finished.. they can't. Therefore... why bother voting on grants at all.

What I've Seen

The Netflix Documentary Magnetic

Following several extreme athletes and how they dedicate their lives to tackle some of the most intense landscapes in the world. From surfers taking on the worlds largest waves in Nazaré, Portugal to skiers in Chamonix, where one of the skiers waits over 40 days for the perfect moment to go on a run. Magnetic is a combination of incredible footage of these extreme athletes surfing, skiing, windsurfing, mountain biking and speed flying and the sheer determination of these amazing humans to conquer and show what's possible.

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