Monday, February 23, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I saw Roger Federer's tears as he lost the Australian Open to Nadal. It was quite heart warming to know that behind all that professionalism lay a little boy still trying to prove himself. And once the tears came so publicly, there was no stopping them. Even Federer could not help smiling at his own emotional catharsis. And he gave an insight into the years of struggle that led him to being a world champion.
I have always envied women for their ability to shed tears easily, and not be embarrassed by them. I am too conditioned now with all the training to be able to do that. Even though I as a film maker keep trying to go beyond the viewers intellect, or through their intellect, into something far deeper, into their subconscious, their own mythology, to get them to be emotionally react to what is happening on screen. And usually a provocation so deep is expressed /sublimated in tears. But in order to do that, I must explore that myth, that hidden deeper consciousness in myself. Somewhere assuming/hoping that we have common consciousness and common mythology that I have been able to tap into.
But then I am silently exploring my own hidden tears too, aren't I ? And what is the emotional cost of keeping them hidden and only expressing them through creative work ? I wonder. I often wonder if I should express myself more openly, not worrying about containing myslelf in order to use 'hidden tears' for artistic expression. Poets and musicians have it better - their expression is quicker, a film takes soooo long.
But I guess in one way that is exactly what I am doing right now. Finding public expression to bubbling emotions and trying to make some sense of them as I express. In a way discovering myself and expressing myself in the same moment without too much analysis. Some logical sense yes, but not so much that it gets too logical, too mundane, too analytical.
Anyway back to tears. I do cry incidentally. I go to the Cinema and quitely shed tears in the darknes where no one can see me. That is what makes me go to Hindi Cinema every wekend in London or NY. I actually get an emotional catharsis. So 'Jai Ho' to all those Bollywood Melodramas !!
i was reading the NY times today and it said that while the world believed that tears were a great way to relieve deep seated stress, a large part of that depends upon your childhood. Tears are a way for children to express helplessness, and more than anything it is a way for a child to ask/plead for attention, for comfort. If in childhood the response of the parents/others to crying was immediate attention and comforting, then through their lives crying is seen as a comforting and stress relieving activity. But if not - then crying - or the learning 'not to cry' leaves emotional wounds that are expressed in other ways throughout one's life.
So please pity us boys/men that were taught that to be a man meant not to cry. That to be tough meant not to cry. For we are trained to sublimate crying into achievement and competitiveness. No wonder Roger Federer finally broke down. Or footballers routinely sob when they are defeated or they win. We need extreme activity to give ourselves an emotional catharsis.
But do you also notice how different cultures react differently ? Western cultures, where emotional expression and catharsis is much looked down upon, express themselves far less. Is that why the West were the great colonizers ?
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I just came across an interview called “The Hidden Secrets of the Creative Mind” with psychologist R. Keith Sawyer, author of the book Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation. Sawyer’s research examines the secrets to the creative process, and the interview makes four great points that every small businessperson should take to heart:
- Give yourself permission to think up many ideas. Creative people have tons of ideas, but most of the ideas simply don’t pan out. That’s okay because even though most of your ideas will suck, they help you get to the great ones. The trick is to let your mind wander and come up with many ideas and then cull the good from the bad. Nobody has only good ideas. (Almost everybody has selective memory, though, so they might think they had only good ideas.)
- Keep chewing on the problem. Creativity is not about the rare giftedness of a “visionaries” and “geniuses” with their Eureka! moments. Research shows that most ideas are the result of thinking about a problem over a long period of time Creativity is about big numbers and hard work, so don’t feel frustrated if you haven’t had an epiphany yet. Certainly don’t believe that if you aren’t “gifted” (whatever that means), you’ll never come up with good ideas.
Build on ideas that came before. The iPod isn’t a miracle that came out of the blue—it was built on the Sony Walkman’s concept of a shirt-pocket device coupled with early MP3 players from other companies and the online store of a company like Amazon. The concept that creativity is built on what came before has important ramifications: consume information voraciously, go outside your market niche, and don’t be too proud to steal inspiration.
- Put yourself in environment that will use different parts of your brain. Often this means taking a break. Sawyer refers to the three Bs—bathroom, bus, and bed—as places that stereotypically produce groundbreaking ideas. If you’re stuck on a project, try something that will get you to find new creative paths. One way to do this, for instance, is to schedule time for unstructured conversation with your peers. Personally, I get my best ideas while driving; this has led me to believe that if I bought a better car I would be more creative because I would drive more, but I digress.
If you do these things, some day an author like Sawyer may feature you in a book about creativity, and then you can claim that you’re a gifted visionary whose ideas come in flashes of brilliance during your regular ole awesomeness. Only you and I will know the truth. And if you like to read about innovation and creativity, check out Innovation.alltop.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
YOU can easily acquire an American, Australian, British or Canadian accent with speech training or from living several years abroad and come across as someone fluent in English. But you give yourself away if you use words wrongly, especially in e-mails, faxes and reports.
In the online world of blogging or chatting, such errors are easily forgiven but they are unacceptable in the business or educational environments.
Homophones, words that sound alike but convey different meanings, form many of these confusing pairs. Used wrongly in writing, they reflect someone with a poor grasp of grammar or a confused writer.
Be mindful of these cunning couples and be confused no more!
Accept (v.) — to agree to take something.
Except (prep.) — not including.
“Boss, I accept all your free books except ‘1,000 Ways to Manage Houseflies’,” said Pee Nang to Kay El.
Advice (n.) — one’s opinion about what somebody else should do or how they should behave.
Advise (v.) — to give advice to somebody or to recommend something to somebody.
“Are you sure, Pee Nang? I’d strongly advise you to reconsider the manual. You may regret not taking my advice if you’re suddenly faced with flies,” Kay El said.
Affect (v., pronounced uh-fekt) — to have influence on something or somebody.
Effect (n., pronounced ee-fekt) — a change produced by an action or a cause.
“Yes, I’m positive, Kay El,” Pee Nang answered. “If my mother’s way of handling house flies has affected them greatly by reducing them to zero, I don’t think I need to know the effect that 999 other ways have on them.”
All ready — completely prepared.
Already (adv.) — previously or by this time.
“Ahh ... looks like your house is all ready for living,” Kay El praised. “To tell you the truth, although I’ve already read the manual twice, I’m still having problems at my home!”
Beside (prep.) — at the side of somebody or something.
Besides (prep.) — in addition.
Pee Nang laughed. “I’ll be happy to tell my mother about your housefly problem. Since she lives beside my house, she could drop by your place later. Besides, she will be excited to have you try the apple pie she baked today.”
Complement (v.) — to add new or contrasting features which show the best qualities of something or which improve it.
Compliment (v.) — express praise, admiration or approval.
“That will be wonderful!” Kay El said. “I always forget to compliment your mother on her apple pie. It will be the perfect complement to the vanilla ice cream I’m having for dessert tonight.”
Dessert (n., pronounced dee-zert) — any sweet food eaten at the end of a meal.
Desert1 (n., pronounced deh-zert) — a large area of land that has very little water and very few plants growing on it, e.g. the Sahara Desert.
Desert2 (v., pronounced dee-zert) — to go away from a place without intending ever to return.
“Ice cream for dessert?” Pee Nang exclaimed. “Your place doesn’t exactly sound like the depressing desert1 you always portray it to be. You make it seem as if the whole world has deserted2 you!”
Maybe (adv.) — perhaps.
May be — to express possibility.
“Maybe I could have exaggerated my situation a bit. But seriously, I may be having a rather serious house fly problem,” Kay El explained in a doleful tone.
Breath (n., pronounced breh-th) — the air you take into and let out of your lungs.
Breathe (v., pronounced bree-th) — the act of taking air into and letting out of your lungs.
“Okay, take a deep breath,” Pee Nang assured Kay El with a smile. “I may have been too hard on you. Once my mother works her magic at your place, I’m sure you’ll breathe easier after that.”
Coincident (adj.) — happening in the same place or at the same time.
Coincidence (n.) — similar event happening at the same time by chance.
“Talking about breathing, isn’t it a coincidence that the houseflies started appearing the day after you came over with those pungent prawn crackers?” Kay El remarked. “I remember reading that the presence of house flies is coincident with the presence of dried seafood.”
Loose (adj.) — not tight.
Lose (v.) — present tense for “lost”.
“Now, now, Kay El, let’s not lose track of the discussion here,” Pee Nang said hurriedly. “We were talking about fixing your house fly problem.”
In an undertone, he muttered, “And not about a loose pack of prawn crackers disappearing in your home ...”
Later (adv.) — afterwards.
Latter (adj.) — the second of two things or people already mentioned.
“You were going to confirm the time my mother could drop by later. Now you’re going back to a visit I made in the past,” Pee Nang reminded Kay El. “Let’s not confuse the former with the latter, shall we?”
Personal (adj., pronounced as per-suh-nuhl) — private.
Personnel (n., pronounced as per-suh-nell) — staff members
“Anyway, let’s not take things personally,” Pee Nang said cheerily. “By the way, the Personnel Department is questioning me about being away from the office for three hours yesterday.”
Principal (n.) — administrator.
Principle (n.) — guiding rule for personal behaviour.
“I’m sure you were on company business. I know you to be a man ofprinciple,” Kay El said. “The head of the Personnel Department is always acting like a school principal.”
Quiet (adj., pronounced kwai-yuht) — silent.
Quite (adv. Pronounced kwait) — very or actually.
“You are quite right I am!” Pee Nang replied emphatically. “Now that we are all settled, I’ll just slip away quietly.”
Than (conj.) — used after a comparative like “faster”, “cleaner”, “healthier”, etc.
Then (adv.) — referring to a time in the past or future.
Waving goodbye, Pee Nang called out, “I’ll see you later then!”
As Kay El waved in return, he wondered if managing his house fly problem would be easier than managing his young employee.
Christine Jalleh is a communications specialist with a Master’s degree in English Language studies. She blogs about communications and business English at http://christinejalleh.com