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Finding Your Purpose

Now I’m going to present something that might seem scary to you, it might depress others, but might also inspire some. This all depends on your personal motivation and dreams, which I find are important in anyone’s life. A dream gives a purpose, and with a purpose, you can reach anything because it gives you the strength to look past the bad things happening to you. What might seem like an endless tunnel of darkness, is no longer a problem for you because with that dream in your mind you created an exit in that tunnel that lets in the light, letting you see the finish line. For people who have no dream, life can seem like your worst enemy, something that only brings death, disease and misfortune. This is why we have dreams and goals, to take us past those obstacles, to create meaning and reach the pinnacle of our own lives. Many people complain about the things in their life and that they aren’t able to do something because of this, or that, but in reality, it all comes down to yourself, everything comes down to your own actions. Some roads are longer and more difficult than others’ but that only makes your reward so much greater!

“I can’t go to college because the government takes all my money” no that’s not true! There is always something you can do to save income and get ready for college, it might not be next week, it might not even be in a few years, but eventually you will make it and save enough money. But it’s your mind that is saying “no, it’s impossible” you are creating restrictions for yourself, saying that you can’t do something. If it was easy, everyone would do it! Why do you think there are successful and less successful people? One can throw in so many excuses, race, finances, age, gender, but it’s not true, there are always options to reach your goals and dreams. Just take 30 minutes of your day, relax on your sofa or bed and close your eyes. Imagine the life that you want to have, do you want a family and a nice house, do you want a good job with responsibility? It is possible, really it is, the problem is, you look too far in the future and you dwell in it. Yes you created a goal, or a dream, but now you see this pile of work in front of you, don’t do that! Don’t dwell in the future! Do you think a building is built by throwing a heap of bricks from one place to another? No, it goes brick by brick, and that is what you must do as well, you take a task out of the many you will need to do and you get started. Look at your progress day by day, look at the things you already completed, not at the things that you still have to do! And every time things are going bad for you, because that will happen trust me, look at your dream again, imagine that life you always wanted and look past your obstacles, even failing is a step forward.

So to come back on my first topic of discussion is that I made a personal countdown timer for myself, which is extremely scary to look at, but it motivates you so well. Right now I’m in my 20’s so I’ll give myself at least 60 more years until my body is worn out from life. But in these 60 years, I will make sure to realize all my dreams and live the life I always wanted. There are 24 hours in a day, so if I have 60 more years that will make up 525.600 hours I have left. It seems like a lot right? But here is the scary part, I get an average sleep cycle of 8 hours a day, meaning 16 hours a day so; 16x365x60 = 350.400 hours left, that is a lot less! Now take off the time that you eat during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, another 3 hours a day average. 13x365x60 = 284.700/24=11.862 days left; so that is just a little more than half my lifetime left that I’m able to work on my dreams! And I’m going to be fair here, there was a time in my life, especially during high school that I had no dream, no goal, I thought life would take me where I was destined to be, but it doesn’t work that way. Without a purpose, one cannot bring up the energy to do anything. I learned from one of my teachers when I asked him “I seriously can’t do this, why not?” and he answered me “You just answered your own question” and with that he meant that I said I cannot do it, so you already set your mind on failing. You have to change your way of thinking, create that dream, create that purpose and receive the motivation to work towards it, no matter the cost, never count the cost, just start working on it!

Check this URL to see the countdown for my life goals, this is mine, what is yours?:

http://www.tickcounter.com/countdown/20461027000000/w4410/1/My_Life_Countdown

Work on your dreams, so at the end, you can say; yes I lived life on my terms.

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Episode 7, four things that bothered me

Okay so I only recently saw this movie (Yeah I skipped the premiere, sue me) because I already felt a bit hesitant to go see it in the cinema. Something felt off, especially because Disney bought it, and well, you know they will change the entire core of the story. Now I’m not some old dude clinging to the old movies as if they were made from gold, no, I genuinely think it was not that great of a movie. If this movie didn’t carry the Star Wars title it would’ve never gotten an 8 or higher on IMDB. What bothered me most was the repetition of scenes and plot that annoyed me, they have so much story to go on, such a great universe, but they decided to recycle so many things. [SPOILER ALERT] Let me point some points of bother out to you:

Droid hides message and gets found in desert

In the force awakens there was yet again a battle going on, hero of the story gives a message to droid which in turn is sent out to a remote location (desert again?) and gets picked up by random person who just so happens to be key to the story.

AGAIN another death star with the same way of destroying it, in the same battle?

If Disney had any imagination left for this movie, couldn’t they have created some other form of super structure, or ingenious plan for the Sith to take over the galaxy? I mean come on, after building 2 death stars you would think there wouldn’t be a 3rd one.

why-star-wars-vii-is-not-the-same-as-star-wars-iv-762168

Poor person from desert planet finds mentor to train them in the Force.

Oh hey look at that, another human with almost little to no money, living the scavenger’s life suddenly is Force sensitive and travels the universe to find a mentor to train them in using the Force. Sounds familiar? Yes, exactly as Luke went to Yoda for training as well as him getting trained by Obi-Wan. You know what would’ve been more interesting, instead of making Luke seem so down and tired at the end, he was a master Jedi and was actually looking for Rey instead.

Screen_Shot_2016-03-02_at_10.21_.57_AM_

 

Killing off Han Solo

This was my biggest annoyance of the whole movie. To me it felt like a big F you from Disney to the Star Wars fans. “Now we’ve taken everything from you so we can replace it with our own cast”. There was no need for unicorn lover Kylo to kill Han, if any, Han would’ve easily killed him. He was a master in avoiding death and had Chewie behind him to back him up. I’m afraid the new episodes will get even worse, or should I say cringe worthy from here on. It’s all hype and media making everyone excited about a concept so destroyed by Disney, it’s not even worth getting excited over anymore.

And with this I end my story, I just had to get this out of my system. Of course I will watch the other movies as they are released, but I have a feeling it will only dig a deeper hole for itself. Star Wars as we know it is over, it is now packed with politically right decisions and current Disney trends, rather than staying true to the core.

 

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Faraday Motion; Moving Towards a World Full of Innovators

Ever heard of Faraday Motion? Are you familiar with ‘Personal Electronic Vehicles’? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t, but either way I have something to tell you about them. It’s a story about a dream, goal setting, and teamwork. And of course, goals are not without obstacles which we we will also shed some light on!

Seeing as my latest scope is focused on entrepreneurship and personal development; what better way than to talk to actual entrepreneurs? I decided to look for people who are still in the startup phase but have a very unique idea and a tremendous amount of passion for what they’re doing. I realized such a person was already in my network, and he goes by the name of Constantin Colac. He and his team have worked together on a shared goal; the creation of personal electronic vehicles. But this is not all, they also want to give anyone who is willing to practice access to their open source software. This allows every person on the planet to start tinkering themselves and become inventors. You have to admit, that’s a very admirable vision and mission right there.

In the past week I have interviewed Constantin and he gave me some insights into the work he has been doing, and what they have been working on to accomplish. Let me start at the beginning as we take part in their journey.

The name Faraday Motion sounds very interesting, how did you come up with it? Where does it originate from?

Well it wasn’t me who came up with the name, it was the founder of the company, his name is Sune and I think why he chose it was that Faraday was the guy who invented the motors, the electric motors. The motion part is because we are all about movement. So with a combination of those two we created it. Actually, we kind of gotten used to it and we like it!

Who and how many people are you working with currently?

Right now it’s four of us, but we have people helping us out. Sune is the founder, he came up with the technology about three years ago and he built his first prototype; the Hyperboard. Also, he was very intrigued by 3D Printers and printed these skateboards. I still think he is the only one who has done that so far. So he did that, and at one point he decided to get a team. I got into the team through one of my friends who met Sune on the street while he was driving his board. Then I got a talk with him and went to his apartment, where the workshop is, and we had a few talks, he told me about what the company could be and what his vision is and I decided to join him. I definitely liked the great variety of things to experiment with and create new things and make a change in the world of transportation.  

As you can see here, the road to success and making a change in the world depends on these little opportunities in life presenting themselves to you. It is up to you whether you take them or not. However, if you pass them up, don’t expect them to come back ever again. Be ready for when these chances might make themselves visible for you, because in some way it will require some starting funds. As Mr. Napoleon Hill said in his book on the Laws of Success; start saving as soon as possible, put down 20% of your income into your savings account and use it for these opportunities. He even mentions a man who worked as a lowly printer boy but managed to saved $900 on his account (In 1920 the $900 would be about $11.000 today) and heard about his company and the coming bankruptcy. He went to his boss and was told that they needed about $924 dollars to make it through the month. The man offered his savings to keep the company afloat and after a couple of years, this man was a shareholder and had more than $25.000 on his account. Can you see the importance of preparing for chance encounters and opportunities? Most involve some form of monetary participation, so be ready for it!

What is the vision of Faraday Motion, what are you trying to achieve?

We want to ‘make more makers’ meaning to grant people the ability to tinker around with pieces of technology that they purchase. We specialize within this mobility industry where personal transportation is very much limited to either your bike or your car. We believe that electric motors and batteries, as well as the advancement in battery technology, for example what Tesla Motors is doing, that people can have these personal electric vehicles like the Hyperboard but at the same time be able to tinker with your own devices and improve upon them, or add customization.  We are an open-source company, all our three models are free to distribute and use and alter, the same goes for our hardware and software. Currently we are at a stage where we have published our 3-d models and our code and some of our hardware, but we do this to everything we’re using. So the vision is to motivate people to get a personal transportation vehicle and rebuild it. You can even use it for kids as a project to initiating him or her in the field of technology where they have to configure their own motor. Or maybe they can 3-D model or print a mount for a GoPro or your phone. So it’s really about empowering people within the world of transportation.

“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blue-prints of your ultimate achievements.”

Can you tell me a little bit more about the product; can you do tricks with it since it carries the skateboard name?  

Hmm no, so basically, sometimes we call it a skateboard or a longboard or the Spine or the Hyperboard. What it really is, is a longboard that has four wheels, the Spine has one motor while the Hyperboard has two. There is distinct difference between them which I will get to a bit later, but right now we’re using a deck that we get from the US sometimes we find materials in Europe but it depends. So we buy those and then Sune does the design, the initial stage, and I do a little bit as well as I’m getting into 3-D printing, trying to design the front of the board. You can actually do tricks with the board, it’s not impossible, I did get some slides which you can see me do on our Youtube channel and Twitter account, I have a video posted there where I slide the board. I actually fell one time while trying it out and ripped my pants because I overestimated my balance and underestimated how slippery it was on the ground. 

Trying out your own product is vital if you want to prove to your audience that it works. And yes, trial does not go without error so be prepared for that. The famous people you see on TV like Steve Jobs made many, many mistakes before they became as good as they are now. You only see them in the media when they already reached a pinnacle level, that’s when the media notices them, they didn’t start out as masters of their craft. Hard work in the shadows, that’s what you have to get through first. Wasn’t it Harvey Specter who once said “The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary”? To receive, you first have to give, and that will be blood, sweat, and tears no matter how corny it may sound. There simply is no way around it.

“Is it not strange that we fear most that which never happens? That we destroy our initiative by the fear of defeat, when, in reality, defeat is a most useful tonic and should be accepted as such.” 

So my obvious next question will be; how do you make money if everything is open-source, practically giving away your product?

This is something we are exploring in a lot of ways, for example we look at Tesla Motors as they are also open-source but still sell their own products. It just means that people who want to tinker more on their bought Hyperboard or Spine can do that without limitation, they still need to buy the basic product though. If there would be someone who built upon our design and then sold his/her version, based on our technology, to someone else we would have received royalties or licence fees. But we would love to see all of our customers upgrading, tinkering and supporting us. 

What is your specific role in the team? 

All of our roles are overlapping a lot. What we have is, Sune is the hardcore coding guy, he’s doing stuff like C++ for the microcontrollers, so he programs those little pieces of electronics. We have Frederik who’s mainly focusing on marketing and communication, he’s our marketing musketeer and we’re very proud of him. I’m more a jack-of-all-trades. I try to do everything, I do coding, right now I’m getting into coding of the microcontrollers so I’m learning C++. I’m also doing maintenance of the website, Adobe Premier for the editing of our published videos, but my favorite part is that I know everything about the Spine, every single part. I know the weight, the measurements, everything. Also, I do all the shipments of the orders, I make sure that all the orders are packed and this is my passion, nobody gets into that, the Spine is my baby. All Spines that have been sent out have been approved and packed by me. Actually, I also did all the documentation for the Spine and some 3-D designing but I’m still getting into that. And in general, I’m a tester. Sometimes I make parts that we need, for example a USB input so I solder one. So I tinker quite a bit myself on the Spine. 

With Faraday Motion, what kind of obstacles did you encounter so far? 

We have had a few which are common in the technology market for example, we create a new piece of tech, okay that works, did we test it? Yes that seemed okay, should we send it? OK. Shall we ship it? Done. Okay but now we have really big bugs. So actually we published videos of what happened and what went wrong. Unfortunately, these things happened quite a few times, but yeah, technology has always been like that, but our customers understand it, they are usually techies like us. This stuff sets you back a little, but they are meaningful obstacles. So we look at it again, redesign it a little bit and test it again etc. 

“Failure shouldn’t be called failure, but temporary defeat”.

The road to success isn’t an easy one, but as the people at Faraday Motion have proven, all you need is imagination, self-confidence and a lot of patience and determination. Nothing is impossible (within bounds of reality of course). And keep reminding yourself that when you tell someone about your dreams. Most people who snicker at your ideas or tell you it’s not possible, is because their mind is already closed off to such opportunities, broken down by society they are afraid of your big thinking. They become intimidated by your ideas, seeing themselves as a lesser person because they do not have the will to do it themselves. If you feel like you can’t live your life as a consumer but only as a creator then go out and create! Do it with a solid plan, step by step, and I promise you, you will get there.

People study what they want to be good at, so if you want to be successful I suggest you start studying success. Some books I recommend are;

The Law of Success – Napoleon Hill

8 Best Success Lessons – Jim Rohn

Henry Ford the Biography – Vincent Curcio

The Mind in Making – James Harvey Robinson

Interested in staying up to date with what Faraday Motion is doing? Check out their channels:

Facebook; Faraday Motion

Twitter; Faraday Motion Twitter

Website; FaradayMotion.com

Youtube; Faraday Motion Youtube

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Don’t Get Stuck In a Destructive Routine

Usually, when you take a look at people who are currently in a bad position, they feel like they cannot get out of, they complain. But what is complaining going to do about it? Sure, it feels good to share your misery with someone else who nods in a supportive way at your arguments. However, this is not going to change your situation. I must admit, it is a great feeling to just talk bad stuff about the things in your environment, blaming it all for your misfortune, I have done it myself as well. This was until I picked up a book by Jim Rohn, an entrepreneur and motivational speaker. He turned his life around at age 25 when he met a man who mentored him towards success.

Just as most people, and possibly you, are not satisfied with your current income and wish to have more financial freedom, or complete other more personal goals like losing 30 pounds. Sure, it might be easy to blame your empty bank account to outside factors such as high taxes and inflation, but is it really the fault of those factors? Let me share some lessons of success that Mr. Rohn has shared in his book as he set foot on the road towards personal development.

Lesson One

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day. Failure is not a single cataclysmic event. You don’t fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgment repeated every day.” 

This brings me back to what I mentioned earlier, yes you can blame outside forces for your failures, but if you look back at your actions, really think back. Do you start to see that your procrastination and destructive behavior started a long time ago and accumulated over time? I had that same issue a few years ago before I started my university degree. Somehow, I thought, I couldn’t manage to get high grades at all, and it was the fault of too short deadlines or too strict teachers just having it out on me. I truly believed that nothing of it was my fault, I believed I was just a victim of an evil society. This was until I was confronted with another failure and I took a step back and started to reflect on my actual behavior. Where was it getting me? Where was I heading? It was that moment of self reflection where I realized that, all along, it was me, only me that was pushing myself into a direction where I would have a life of barely being able to pay taxes, in a small apartment, being a number behind a desk writing off the same documents day after day with zero responsibilities. I knew that if I wanted to be respected and successful, I needed to make some changes, and the first thing I needed to change were my bad routines. To create success, you need to start doing small endeavors on a daily basis. It’s these small successes that contribute to a big one. You might not think about it that way, but all the people you see on TV being successful, they practiced their skill 24/7 in private, and you only see their end product in public. Something they trained everyday, calling off parties, avoiding distractions, and solely focusing on their goal. This brings me to another life lesson Mr. Rohn gave us.

Lesson Two

“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” 

If you read the quote correctly, Jim doesn’t give us a chance of things that might happen, no, it will happen. You have to make a choice, if you want to be successful, to get into a routine that will put you on the right track towards your goals. Sure, you don’t have to do this if you want to stay in your comfort zone, making a mediocre monthly salary, work 8 to 5, go home, drink some wine, watch your favorite show and the next day you repeat it all. But is this truly why you were born? To just consume, pay taxes, and die? I believe we all have dreams coming into our heads, ideas, inventions, but many people don’t act on them. Out of a fear for something, fear of failure, fear of responsibility, but realize that all the successful people out there, they have been through this process. Their success hasn’t been a golden staircase to heaven, if any, it was a rollercoaster making side trips through hell before it came back up. The only way for you to achieve success, is by creating your goal, setting daily tasks, and don’t look at the pile of work ahead of you, but take little pieces of it and do it day by day. Sure that Biology book might have 1275 pages, but you don’t have to do it overnight! Just read 10 pages and in 6 months you have read the whole book at a steady pace. Success doesn’t come overnight, it’s a long process.

Lesson Three

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight” 

You see it happen everyday, people running to the ticket office to buy a lottery ticket, clutching it in their hands hoping to win that 15 million. If you just so happen to be that person with a 0.00001% chance to win it, I’m happy for you, but I still wouldn’t call you successful. You see, having a million dollars in your hands is a great feeling, but it will disappear within a few years and then what? Someone who has worked his way towards that million dollars, through learning, reading, and failure, should he or she lose that million, that person can make another million again because they have the skill to create value. Sure, the road is long and hard, but you simply can’t become rich in one day, if your destination is wanting to become rich then it simply won’t happen overnight, but you can change your direction in a single minute or even second. Like I did with my studies, I made a conscious change to get higher grades, and I still had to wait 3 months before that could actually happen, exam period was that far away. So I changed my direction, I removed my distractions and set up a to-do list with daily tasks to read chapters, make notes and mind-maps, and have a higher class attendance rate. I know it’s difficult, because you don’t see results right away, but you’re on the road to success, and that is already much more motivation then just looking at it from a distance.

Lesson Four

“Either you run the day or the day runs you. Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” 

This brings me to one of his final lessons I want to share with you in this post. As I said before, success is based on a few simple things, habit/routine and motivation. When I changed my course, I suddenly had an immense pool of motivation, but the habit still needed to be built. Habit takes a while, neuro-scientists say that it takes about 3 to 4 weeks before your brain is able to adapt to a new way of working. So those first weeks are the tough ones, your old ways will try to take the upper hand. You’ll have an inner discussion with yourself, fighting your old destructive self. A friend calls you for a party, a new videogame comes out in your favorite series, you feel tired after 10 p.m., all these old habits will try to destroy the new you. The best way to combat these, just like quitting smoking, is to remove them from your vicinity. Get away from them so you won’t have to think about it and it’s out of your reach. Plan your day and stick to the tasks you need to complete every day. Just a warning, I know you are so motivated you want to try and combine things, but don’t. Make time to relax, and time to work, don’t study Math and watch your favorite TV show at the same time. If you still have Math to study during your relaxing time, it means you failed for that day. Take it as a lesson and make sure to do it in a better way tomorrow. Always reflect on why things go wrong, that is a trait of successful people, they analyze why this happened and always look inward. They do not blame outside forces for their failures but of the actions they undertook to get them there. And that is the final advice what I wanted to talk about that Jim gave us. There are many more lessons out there, but I thought these were the most confronting for you. Because change is not easy, talking about it is easy though, but actually doing it, that takes balls. Work, work work. Stop talking about it to your friends and family how great you are going to become, isolate yourself and start working. As Nikola Tesla once said “The best ideas come to man when he is alone.”

 

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You have work? I got you.

Getting work done in a short term is difficult for anyone, so why not hire someone that can do it for you? If you’re thinking “Yes! I need someone like that!” right now then you have come to the right place. Next to writing articles for Zazzox, I also offer my services as social media manager, graphic design, content writing, and academic writing.

I recently set up a profile on freelancer as well as upwork.com and am available for anything you need with the highest quality you can imagine. Visit me on my profile at ‘Daniel Goené’ and we can set up a deal. You provide the details and other specs, I give you an offer on the rate per hour or one time charge and your work will be on your desk within days or even hours, whatever is needed.

If you prefer to work via freelancer.com you can find my profile at https://www.freelancer.com/u/Trazker.html

If you perfer to work via upwork.com you can find my profile right here at https://www.upwork.com/freelancers/~0128951c0e0bb1d708

Additionally, I can also write about your specific product, person, or brand on my own blog right here so you can achieve exposure for a minimal price. Whatever the specs are, I’m here to make sure your needs are in good hands.

Bombings in France
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Why the Rest of the World is not Important

Looking at social media the past days made me realize there are are two teams on the rise; 1. People who sympathize with France and show full support by doing whatever they can and 2. The others who claim there is much more going on in the world and Paris is just one of many horrors so the amount of support we show for France is not justified. To the people of team #2, because that’s the only group I want to address right now, there is a clear reason for why people are ignoring the other happenings in the world, and it is because of the following phenomenon; The disruption of peace.

Countries such as Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan have been at war since I was born and the media has been reporting extensively on it. Our minds become desensitized by the news from those areas because there is always death and destruction going on. People don’t do this on purpose, it’s a biological side effect. There has never been peace or safety in those aforementioned countries, but when something happens in “The West” where everything is supposed to be safe and peaceful, people become shocked because the peace is disrupted.

Capital of the WestNews is created to make us feel anxiety because that’s stuff we read, shocking, horrific news. Try to think of a situation you dread, maybe you have claustrophobia or a fear of heights, whenever you are in that situation you feel fear and anxiety and you already dread the situation beforehand, even when thinking about it. We started out being shocked by the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, operations such as Desert Storm was prayed about across the globe. But the war never seemed to end, and just like treatment of a fear, desensitization occurs. As psychology explains: With sufficient repetition through practice, the imagined event loses its anxiety-provoking power. “At the end of training, when you actually face the real event, you will find that it too, just like the imagined event, has lost its power to make you anxious”.

This is exactly what happens when we keep reading about the Middle East, we don’t feel any surprise or anxiety anymore, because it happens every few days. It’s sad of course, but it doesn’t change the facts that our brains turn off the emotion we should be feeling with it. However, when suddenly a whole new location is in danger, and especially close to home, people assign a lot of emotion to this new situation. They recall the danger they felt when the Americans and Brits and French invaded Afghanistan and now suddenly have that feeling for something at their back door.

Everything happening right now can be traced back to a paper I wrote a few months ago on Emotional Response Intensity (ERI). This theory was based on personal relationships and the emotions that result from that occurrence, but let’s now apply it to what is happening in Beirut and France at the same time. I first noticed that “the more time is spent with an individual, the more knowledge is gained on a more personal level. This in turn, generates feelings of habit, getting accustomed to the behavior of that individual, it becomes taken for granted. Those people that communicate daily with each other, or are remembered in a specific way, get stuck in a specific pattern. This pattern is created within our own minds, and prepare us for the behavior by that individual.” Which we can clearly combine with France and Afghanistan in this example, we know from locations such as Afghanistan that it is a hazardous location where often bombings and death occur due to various militia groups such as IS or Taliban, and even Al Qaida. We start to become accustomed to the behavior of Afghanistan, so when a bombing happens we give it two seconds of attention and become desensitized. However, from a country such as France where normally we expect it to be safe and suddenly read about or see a bombing happen, it breaks the pattern of permanent peace and our anxiety levels skyrocket. This also links back to the expectancy violation (Burgoon, 1976), as we do not ‘expect’ France to ever be in such a situation as Afghanistan or Beirut, it comes as a completely new experience in our minds.

The whole situation is not that people ignore what is happening in other countries, but right now, the emotional value they attach to this new situation is new to the brain, to emotion and memory, and therefore higher on the priority list. I think it’s fine people post what else is happening in the world, but respect how the human body works and don’t condemn the French supporters by claiming they are are emotionless and biased sheep because they are not.

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Now You Run the Beat, Not the Other Way Around

It has a been almost exactly year since I expressed my love for Spotify, and this is a time where I have to do it again. Just this morning when I woke up and launched Spotify on my phone for some waking up music, I was introduced to their new feature “Running”. What it does is, it allows you to go out jogging and the steps you take a minute, say like 160, determine the speed of the music. This is all automatically adaptive, so when you pick up your pace, so does the music. I believe it is an extremely cool thing to have, and it works with other intensive movement as well such as cycling for example.

Actually, I’m going to try it out this morning and see how smooth it works. I just love these new innovative functions that existing apps keep adding, but it is also necessary to keep the attention of the public. It definitely makes things, that are almost becoming a daily chore, interesting and fun again. So let’s dive a bit deeper into this new function, what is it exactly? As with all new products, take a look at the promotional trailer first:

As you can see, before you leave the house or office for some jogging, you start off by engaging in a tempo you like (This only works for Iphone, for Android you set a pace beforehand). Spotify picks up on it and selects music from your playlists or recommended music to match your speed. However, there is also a possibility of using Spotify’s special playlists especially made for this new running function. These special beats adapt themselves to your speed, literally increasing in beats per minute as your increase your steps per minute. For example, you can choose to pick electronic music or a bit more hard stuff from Tiësto, or even cinematic music as if you’re being chased by something!

It is a shame that Android sometimes receives stuff later, but I don’t really mind, I’m an Android/Google fan in heart and soul! Take a look at the Spotify app and their new running function, and let me know what you think. chart

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Paypal Just Became Even More Lovable !

Paypal has been my best friend, and bully, every since I began to manage my own money in highschool. It is simply one of the most easy-to-use tools there is to transfer money quickly wherever, whenever. Recently it was brought to my attention that Paypal released a big update in which they expanded into a new area of simplistic money transfer. I know, it sounds really vague, but instead let me show you what I mean.

Right now if you visit www.paypal.me you can create your own mini website and point of transfer that goes directly into your account. It’s so simple I could sign up with two hands tied behind my back… (Well not really, although I tried, trust me). Once you have an account made you simple send your personal link http://www.paypal.me/zazzox for example to your clients or friends, and they are instantly taken to the money transfer. No long load times, no adverts, no nothing! It just shows you a simple layout with a logo/pic, the owner’s name, and the amount you want to transfer to him or her.

In such a busy world as this, it becomes very important to save time on every aspect in your life. Sending out this link saves so much valuable time (if seconds are extremely valuable to you) and allow you to take at least a minute or two away from the whole process. For an executive on the go, or a during a busy seminar, this can mean life or death… well, financially I mean. I’m really liking the fact that big companies like PayPal keep innovating and making the consumer process even more comfortable and user friendly.

Paypal has supported me many times, also when I’m working abroad it continues to serve me. With just a few clicks I can manage all my purchase without having the hassle of taking out my credit card, or go through redundant bank websites. Even with disputes, Paypal manages to solve it for me in such a way that I feel very happy with the outcome, leaving the horrible experience of not receiving goods for you money far behind me. This happened once when I tried to buy a gift for my mother’s birthday, and this seemingly professional website just did not respond and only took my money. I took my sorrow to Paypal and sent them a request to check it out, and after a few days I had my money safely back into my account. They have never failed me, and given me proper support when needed. This is what makes their customer retention so professional, the connection they make with their users. Sure, a business always wants to make profit, but with Paypal I have experienced that the customer comes first, not the green stacks of paper.

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Nature Gave Us The Cure For Cancer

I’ve always had my hopes up for this and today it seemed to become a reality. Scientists have had success with their experiments after using the toxin of the Brazilian wasp to destroy cancer cells. The Polybia paulista as it is called officially, uses a toxin to deter and kill it’s prey. This toxin, called MP1, interacts with the lipids (the fats), on the surface of cancer cells. This results in the cells literally ‘breaking open’ allowing them to be destroyed as the molecules needed for sustaining the cancer cells leak out.

The solution to this seems kind logical as well, as cancer cells keep multiplying themselves infinitely until they eventually stop bodily functions in a person. You can kind of interpret this as water balloons piling up in your body. Now this toxin is poking holes in these balloons, causing their contents, water, to leak out and slowly make the balloon disappear. Therefore, scientists now try to use the wasp toxin to weaken the cancer cells, opening them up, and allowing medicinal drugs to go in and take care of them. As if the castle walls finally have a breach, this gives us a chance to enter the cancer cells and destroy them forever. It is a very promising discovery that will hopefully become a reality in a few years after the final tests are done.

While this doesn’t help people currently fighting against cancer, it certainly provides hope for future generations. Which is why I am always amazed at what nature has to offer us, and most of the problems we fight against, mostly offer us a solution by looking at nature. Now we are busy using wasp toxin to battle cancer, back in the day, war tactics were based on defensive mechanisms animals and insects used to employ (Think disguising, decoys, camouflage). As often proven with homeopathy, using very little of something poisonous, sometimes creates a healing effect in the body instead.

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Futuristic Skins for League of Legends

League of Legends has been rising up the ranks ever since gamers started to pick up on it. As a DoTa styled game they have successfully gained the attention of almost any gamer out there. Due to its aesthetically appealing graphics and community engagement, there is a lot of activity both on their website as well as in-game. However, the basic premise of the game is already known to many. The part that I want to talk about is their amazing skill in providing art with the selectable champion skins. These art pieces show up during the loading screen of the game and give the player a unique feeling, due to the fact that not everyone has these skins (they require additional payment).

When League of Legends was very new in the arena, they needed a proper USP, something that set them apart from the already popular DOTA game. What really started to gain traction was their use of skin art, or ‘splash art’, which really highlighted some immersion for the champion that you selected. However, at the beginning the art was fairly mediocre, not bad in any way, but not as impressive as one would expect. Bowmaster_Splash_03

The picture on the right belonged to a champion called “Ashe” and was added for her “Woad Ashe” skin that could be bought in their store back in the early days. As you can see, their skill in art has improved at an incredible rate over the years (see feature photo). Everything from sharpness, to colors, turn the skin art in a true work of art that can be sold as posters, mouse mats, t-shirts, and so on. This is also visible in the gaming community, as people really begin to get excited for the skin art as well. During the loading screen it feels amazing to be able to feature such a high quality piece of art, which you kind of feel that you own.

Some more art from recent champions that have been released, highlight the impressive creativity of their employees:

Akali_Splash_7 B_UNFK4XIAAdnhn Blitzcrank_Splash_11-1024x604 Swain_3

This high quality rendering really set League of Legends apart, and their constant updating of champions, giving them new outfits and skin art, has made the game so enjoyable. It is because people pick a champion they feel connected with, and see them as an extension of themselves. And what is a better feeling than getting new clothes, sound effects, and visuals, while showing of your skill to others in a community of like minded gamers?

Have you ever bought skins for LoL, or do you think it is a waste of money?

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Interstellar, the movie that pushed the Shawshank Redemption off the #1 on my movie list

“Wow” was all I could say last night at 3 a.m. when the credits rolled on the screen. I usually watch emotional movies late at night as not to be disturbed by anyone and with surround sound headphones on for complete immersion. This movie made me feel so many emotions I haven’t felt in a long time when watching a movie. I literally had to wipe away tears during some scenes, and actually sat on the edge of my seat during several tense scenes (I always thought that edge of the seat thing was just a metaphor). I decided to watch it as I noticed Christopher Nolan directed it, and since I already loved his Dark I9XJUeTKnight trilogy as well as Inception, as well as Hans Zimmer providing the soundtrack, I knew this was going to be an intense movie. And I wasn’t wrong about that.

For some of you that haven’t seen the movie yet, I recommend you go watch it right now without seeing the trailer, as they usually send out a wrong vibe anyway. If you do continue to read however, I must warn you that there are going to be some spoilers, not major ones, but still. I don’t want to get angry e-mails afterwards if you catch my drift.

So to start, the beginning of the movie begins with an interesting premises right away, the earth is dying and dust is taking over the globe. Big storms of dust destroying every plant on earth leaving only corn for farmers to tend to and use as food. And with food becoming more and more scarce, people are forced to become farmers to sustain the supply of food. So forget about going to medical school, or become a pilot, a farmer’s life is the one you will be directed to. Matthew tumblr_n5ofv5g6Fm1s3y9slo1_500Mcconaughey (Who plays an excellent role by the way) is an ex-pilot and a current corn farmer, living with his two kids and his father, trying to get by. The scenes really sketch a great image of what the earth will eventually turn into, even if we try to slow global warming. And I’m specifically typing ‘slow’ because it cannot be stopped, it is a process that started right after the big bang and the creation of this planet. Cooper (Mcconaughey) is teaching his daughter Murph (Named after Murphy’s law) everything he can about the universe and science to fuel her interests, trying to live a different life than a farmer someday. Some day, in her room, they find a strange anomaly of some sorts, it pulls books to the ground, lays sand particles in straight rows etc. Cooper eventually figures out they are coordinates of some sorts due to use binary code to decipher it, and after a long ride with Murph riding shotgun, they arrive at a facility.

Now this is where the movie actually begins after a good chunk of character creation and connecting you emotionally with Cooper’s life. This facility, led by Dr. Brand, a character played by Michael Cain, is the last remnant of NASA, hiding underground and funded by the government out of sight. And as Cain’s character tells Cooper, the people wouldn’t be happy knowing that the world is investing in space exploration when their own world is barely scraping by. However, Brand adds some wisdom to this decision “We are not meant to save this world, we’re meant to leave it.”. I believe this statement couldn’t be any more true, yes we came here as cells and evolved to what we are now, but this planet is not our home. Yes it housed us for many years, but it is not ours to claim. The earth is telling us that it is time to go, time to live on another world better suited for our current needs. As Dr. Brand explains his intentions to Cooper, he tells him that he needs him to pilot the last spacecraft on earth through a wormhole that appeared near Saturn about 40 years ago. During that time, Dr. Brand has sent several shuttles through this wormhole to find new habitable planets through a project named “Lazarus”. Now, Brand wants Cooper to travel through that same wormhole and go to the planets where the shuttles have sent the thumbs up signal, meaning it is a habitable planet.

What I like about the movie is that creates a nice mix between spaceflight and scenes that are actually planet-side. Unlike the movie “Gravity” which I very much disliked, here in Interstellar they land on these foreign planets, exploring them, finding giphythe shuttles that went before them. Interstellar also poses several topics to think about, such as the fact that time works differently in space. This means that on some planets, 1 hour is 7 years on earth for examples. Also 4th and 5th dimensions are brought to the viewers attention and requires some thinking. This is something I really like about Nolan’s movies, they always make you think about things, not just enjoying an action flick like Taken, but action mixed with intelligence is something that I really enjoy.

During the movie you really start to care even more for Cooper, as his relation with his kids becomes more fragile over time, la_ca_1023_interstellarseeing them only on screen becoming older and older. This enforces Cooper’s survival instinct in eventually returning home and saving the people on earth from a dusty death. With a support cast of Ann Hathaway and even Matt Damon making an appearance the movie becomes very intense and emotional. Oh and did I forget to mention Hans Zimmer made the soundtrack? Yes he did, and it is Oscar worthy. The amazing soundtrack symbolizes mystery, tension and space travel all in one, and once his specific music begins during the visit on the first foreign planet I can guarantee you will sit on the edge of your seat. So I’m not going to write more about the rest of the movie as that will take the mystery away, but please go see this movie and let me know what you think. I for one, will be watching it again tonight. Even having the music on while writing this gives me goosebumps again, it is so amazing.

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The train is a vehicle for transport, not a warzone

It seems like there is a war going on these days within the Dutch trains. Almost every week the news reports on a new case of a physically abused ticket inspector. The reason for travelers acting this way is for reasons so unwarranted that it just angers me, because mostly it occurs due to people not having paid for their ticket and they receive a fine. You’re probably thinking the same as I am, as in ‘You didn’t pay for a ticket, so suffer the consequences’. It’s not like the Royal Dutch Train system offers its services for free, no, they provide a service that you can make use of after paying a specific contribution in money. They have to use this money to repair the trains, pay the staff and maintain the railroads, not to mention company expansion. The people that miraculously think they are above this system, and don’t have to pay for this, have no right at all to physically assault someone. On top of that, I don’t even believe physically assaulting someone is a good reason for anything other than defending yourself against another person.

Yes I get it you’re angry that you have to pay a fine, or you’re angry that the prices are too high, but abusing someone as a result of that to solve your problem? Not a good idea. The ticket inspector has a life of its own as well, a family to come home to. They perform their work so they can feed their family and pay the bills, enjoying keeping the trains organized and equal for everyone. When they come home with a broken jaw, black eyes, and lacerations, will they ever enjoy their job again, let alone feel safe on a train?

The main problem is that the Dutch government is not responding to this occurrence, even when it happens repeatedly every week. The news already lost its interest in reporting on the cases since it’s not sensational anymore, it becomes a habit. Can you even believe this? I truly believe this problem can be solved easily with a few classes in self defense, and providing some sort of self defense weapon for ticket inspectors. This could be a nightstick or even a tazer in the more dangerous cities. Also I think there should be more railway police inspecting tickets during rush our and the later hours at night, as they carry handcuffs and a firearm. Right now, their hours are pretty random, I’ve sometimes encountered railway police inspecting my ticket during some random afternoon hour around 3 p.m but not often.

We cannot let people that believe they are above the law to rule and dominate the innocent. The train needs to be a safe means of transport for anyone. That is why the Dutch rail system needs to protect itself and its employees more effectively. The farther they let themselves be pushed into a corner like this, the more people will start to prefer other means of safer transportation, resulting in lower income and less trains being active. Is this what they want? Criminals that are able to slowly reduce a great company to rubble? I hope not, so I really hope the Dutch government will intervene quickly and put a stop to this absurd rise of criminal activity.

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The Different Values In Emotional Responses

Introduction

Relationships take place all over the world, whether it is during work or when meeting a stranger on the road. But the more time is spent with an individual, the more knowledge is gained on a more personal level. This in turn, generates feelings of habit, getting accustomed to the behavior of that individual, it becomes taken for granted. Those people that communicate daily with each other, or are remembered in a specific way, get stuck in a specific pattern. This pattern is created within our own minds, and prepare us for the behavior by that individual. That is why person A, who always picks up things with his right hand, is being perceived by person B to always pick up things with his right hand. It becomes a temporal stereotype. Now if A suddenly breaks this pattern and decides to do everything with his left hand, it will be noticed by B, his friend. This paper will focus on the emotional response that comes with that sudden break of pattern between two people, hence the title of this paper “Emotional Response Intensity”. It will attempt to explain why some behaviors are suddenly valued less positive when they are done repeatedly over a period of time, compared to an individual breaking his or her habitual negative behavioral pattern to incite an equal positive action. Journals written on expectancy violations (Burgoon, 1976) and the asymmetrical effects of positive and negative events (Taylor, 1991). As well as, theories on in and out group effects (Bettencourt, 1996), and covering the black sheep effect (Eidelman & Biernat, 2002) will help to support the effects shown by Emotional Response Intensity (ERI). After going in-depth on the ERI theory, the connections with Burgoon’s expectancy violations theory will be shown. This will be done through the use of hypothetical situations and showing graphs. Furthermore, after these have been explained in detail, the relation with Taylor’s theory on the asymmetrical effects of events will be shown. Of course, ERI is based on the notion of the relationship between three identical people, regardless of culture and personality. Therefore, ERI will also be shown in relation to the effects by culture, and stereotyping. Finally, the role of ERI within the area of communication will be explained, as well as the plea for more in-depth research on this subject. The paper has been divided into sub-chapters to categorize the different links to ERI.

The core of Emotional Response Intensity (ERI)

When people meet each other for the first time, regardless of culture or stereotyping, they create a first impression. Over time this impression will be confirmed, or changed depending on future actions done by this person. Eventually, this impression will turn into a pattern which will be taken for granted after a while, and people will be categorized as being friendly or unfriendly, business or un-businesslike etc. What emotional response intensity is trying to explain is that when people express a certain behavior over an extended period of time, it becomes taken for granted, meaning that people will always expect that person to behave that way. However, when this behavior suddenly gets broken and the person inverses his behavior from, for example, being completely unfriendly to being very friendly it seems as if this positive action’s value will be multiplied. To shed some light on this, and to make the phenomenon easier to grasp, a hypothetical situation will be sketched. For example, a group of three people joins a project group to do research on a specific subject. For the sake of explaining ERI, all three people are completely blank, no culture, no initial stereotyping or personal issues. They are three people, working together. Person A and person B are the team workers, and person C is the team leader. Over the course of the project, A develops himself as a good team worker and makes himself available to help out other members of the team and continues to be excellent. However, B is not so enthusiastic and manifests himself as being stubborn and lazy, as well as always being late. C notices both their behaviors as being team leader and starts to create ‘temporal’ stereotypes based on their current behavior. He creates expectations and takes their behavior for granted. He compartmentalizes A as being a positive, friendly person and B as a negative, unfriendly person. Over time, A as well as B, accumulate their positive and negative behaviors. Over a period of four weeks, C observes their behavior and because of the repetitive behaviors they are taken for granted. C knows that A will always be friendly while doing project work, and B will continue to be stubborn and lazy. C his evaluation of both reaches a point where it can no longer decrease or increase anymore. A cannot be seen as more friendly than C can think of, and B is as negative as can be. At this point, Emotional Response Intensity can be observed. C decides to give A and B one final task for the completion of the project. He wants to show that their behaviors cannot be changed, and wants to prove that A is a very positive person, while B is a very negative one. C gives them both the exact same task to compare their results objectively. He lets A and B write the same final chapter of the project without them knowing this about each other. After a week, C receives both assignments from A and B. It comes as a shock to C that suddenly, B his work arrived on time and is full of quality content just as A did. Emotional Response Intensity states, that because of this sudden intense change of behavior in a complete opposite way of the “temporal stereotype” that C has created for both A and B, he rewards B with a greater amount of violation valence (Burgoon, 2012) that C at that exact moment, values B as a more positive person than A regardless of previous behavior. As shown in the graph, C places B’s behavior on a higher positive scale than A because of taken for granted negative behavior expressed by B. This is because A’s behavior has reached a repetition level where C perceives it as being ‘regular’ friendly behavior, as it is seen as usual behavior by A. He cannot become friendlier than he already is. However, B has never expressed any form of positive behavior, and thus, it comes as a shock to C as he assesses B’s work. It is the shock that suddenly values B higher in friendliness than A for the moment. It is not clear yet on how long this moment is able to last, as the taken for granted behavior can result in this positive action being seen as normal as well after a specific amount of time. However, if person B returns to his or her old habits right after the sudden change in behavior, the previous situation will be completely ignored and C will, through cognitive dissonance, conclude that this behavior was a rare occasion and is not to be valued differently. Yet, if person B decides to adopt this new positive stance, C might permanently change his perception and attitude towards person B. In that case, a reverse ERI effect might take place some day if B only slightly returns to his or her negative behavior.

Expectancy Violations Theory

Judee Burgoon, scholar at the University of Arizona, has created the Expectancy Violations Theory (EVT) by looking at proximity. Her theory on expectancy violation takes a look at how certain expectations we have of people which can come as a surprise when they are broken (Griffin, 2012). They can be seen as the unwritten rules of interpersonal communication. Her notion on what “expectancy” means can show exactly how complicated a relationship between two people can become. As Burgoon explains, expectancy is what people predict will happen, rather than what they desire (Griffin, 2012). This relates closely to the Emotional Response Intensity as well in that people who know each other for a long amount of time, develop predictions about each other’s behavior. 6378334This is where Burgoon’s concept of Violation Valence comes into play (Griffin, 2012). As soon as a person breaks his or her natural pattern, the receiver will see this as a break in expectation and assign negative or positive value to this action. This is where the brain starts to quickly analyze the situation, and what just happened, the brain enters a state of evaluation. It would be as strange as your best friend that you’ve known for years meets you and suddenly can only speak French instead of English. This is such a strong break of patterns and expectations that the brain has to evaluate this. Furthermore, the person whose expectations are violated starts to evaluate his friend and begins to sum up all the negative and positive points. This is the violation valence, and it will end in a conclusion made about the expectancy violation, whether it is seen as positive or negative and results in the communicator reward valence (Griffin, 2012). With its roots in social exchange theory, it is shown that relationships come down to the fact that it’s an exchange of ‘goods’. (Homans, 1958) Moreover, this sheds some light on the entire phenomenon of relationships and the changes they bring between two people. The Emotional Response Intensity theory will therefore attempt to support this notion and Burgoon’s theory on EVT, by stating that some expectations will bring stronger positive values than others, depending on previous behavior by that person. This means that the communicator reward valence can differ entirely as the potential to reward or punish in the future cannot be established accurately, due to this severe break of expectations.

The Minimisation-Mobilisation Theory

The development of the ERI model gives rise to the question as to why it is possible that the positive action of the previously as negative perceived person B) is received so positively by C despite negative preliminary events. Taylor (1991), distinguished research professor of health psychology, is the first to specifically address patterns of asymmetrical effects of positive and negative events and tries to identify some of the theoretical mechanisms. She developed the minimisation-mobilisation hypothesis, which presents a possible explanation as to why previous negative actions do not affect the ERI in a new positive setting. The theory is based on the assumption that a person will function most effectively if the strong responses to negative events are followed by a prompt reduction of the effects of said event. However, this does not stand contrast to the effects of positive events which Taylor suggests are caused by a different group of integrated process models, thus generating the asymmetries in the responses. Hence, the previously positive actions of person A cause different psychological processes to take place in person C, than do the negative actions of person B. Several mechanisms and models assist in elucidating this hypothesis. According to Taylor (1991), negative feedback and rejection are among the strongest negative events experienced by people and there is a self-preservation and protection process that is triggered in such cases. According to Taylor, these negative stimuli challenge the generally positive conception of people which in return unconsciously try to minimise the potentially negative effects on their self-esteem. Effectively applied this implies that if the actions of person B) had a negative effect on person C), C ) would unconsciously diminish the ERI in a relatively short period time in order to prevents self – esteem issues. Range frequency explanation ( Kanouse & Hanson, 1972) suggests that most things that occur in life are either neutral or slightly positive resulting in the psychological neutral point of distribution of objects being slightly positive. Hence, according to this theory person B’s negative action will naturally cause a certain degree of expectancy violation which will lead to a disproportionate more positive IRE, simply because it is not in line with the predominant stimuli. Taylor (1991) provides another explanation as to why negative behaviour has a lesser impact on the long run than does positive behaviour. A negative mood has a negative effect on the wellbeing of a person. Evolutionary, people have been able to work more effectively and efficiently under positive emotional circumstances, which is why psychological processes support the repression of negative ERI. 5484848323The graph above illuminates the mobilisation-minimisation hypothesis (Taylor, 1991) hypothesis. The mobilisation process refers to the initial magnitude of the response to an either positive or negative event, while the minimisation process refers to the time allocated to damping down the effects. As can be seen according to this concept the patterns are parallel but heterogeneous. Taylor furthermore claims that depending on whether a negative or positive event is experienced the effect will vary according to the long and short term minimisation process.

Diminishing Gratitude

The diminishing upwards slope of the ERI curve regarding person A’s behaviour compared to person B’s is a phenomenon, which can be explained by the concept of gratitude. According to Emmons and Crumpler (2000) Gratitude is by definition “an emotional response to a gift” (p.56). This definition can be transferred to the ERI model by means of regarding the positive action or behaviour towards person C) as ‘gift’. Watkins, Scheer, Ovnicek, and Kolts (2006) suggest that the increasing expectations of return communicated with a gift by a benefactor cause gratitude to decrease. With respect to the ERI model, this implies that the magnitude of the emotional response of person C) towards person A) should over time diminish assuming that C) communicated some sort of expectations of return. However, one can argue that gratification itself can be a form of return on the investment of positive behaviour. This would explain why the ERI curve of Person C) towards A) always stagnates, the further into the progress.

Discussion.

There have been a range of different theoretical analyses and practical studies over the history of mankind that agreed upon the fact that gratitude has a positive effect on the interaction of people and their individual well-being (Fredrickson, 2004, Bartlett & DeSteno, 2006). Hence, the notion that gratitude is a pro social behaviour appears to be widely accepted in the academic world. However, in recent years few research and concept development has focused on the phenomenon of diminishing gratitude over a period of time. Theoretical research regarding the loss of gratitude has only taken place over the last decade, for instance in context with topics such as reflecting on the loss of gratitude education in college (Rong, 2010). However, it appears that there is reason to believe that that the phenomenon is very real. This becomes more and more apparent as more papers emerge that promote the implementation of gratitude intervention programs (Rong, 2010, Froh, & Bono, 2011). The lack of relevant accepted models in this area can be attributed to the fact that gratitude is hard to measure I terms of numbers.

In and out group effects on expectancy violation (Bettencourt, 1996)

In order to better understand the ERI phenomenon it is necessary to deeper investigate the issue of expectancy violation. According to Bettencourt (1996), expectancy violation theory needs to extended according to whether the person executing the behaviour or action and the person evaluating it and who’ s expectations are being violated are part of the same group or not.

Empirical research on the subject of in-groups concluded that people were being evaluated more drastically when their behaviour violated stereotyped expectations. Assuming that all three persons A) B) and C) are members of the same group, this would explain why the magnitude of person A’s emotional response towards Person B’s positive behaviour is so much greater towards that of person A. Even though both people executed the same action or showed the same behaviour the ERI was greater towards Person B’s action than that of Person A) based on the fact that he broke his stereotypical pattern.

However, in this particular situation it is not quite clear if Person B is really an in group member or actually an out group member. Linville & Jones (1980) suggest that the evaluation will vary based on the fact that the cognitive schema between in and out group members lack complexity. Bettencourt (1996) supports the complexity extremity hypothesis (Jussim et al., 1987) This theory also supports the assumption that there is a difference between in and out group member evaluation regarding expectancy valuation. The theory suggests that the emotional response will have a greater effect based on the fact that the action will generally be perceived more polarising if it is performed by an out group member. This mean that a negative action will be perceived more negatively if performed by an out group member as will will a positive action will be seen more positively. Now, it could be argued that the on-going friendly interaction between person C) and A) might have led to the development of a group feeling between the two while person B)’ s negative behaviour has left him in the position of an out group member. Given this assumption and according to complexity extremity hypothesis, it appears logical that C)’s ERI to the exact same positive behaviour of Person A) would be relatively lower. His reaction to the behaviour of Person B) should cause an expectancy violation that should comparatively increase C)’s ERI based on the polarising effect of the expectancy violation.

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Future developments

In conclusion, the ERI theory requires more elaboration to earn its place among other well known theories in the communications field. However, ERI has established a strong link with the Expectancy Violations Theory by Burgoon (1994). It has shown that the same kind of effects can be achieved by seeing the sudden change as behavior as a negative or positive change. The person arrives at the same crossroads where he or she has to add value to that specific behavior using a violation valence. Furthermore, supporting theories such as the in and out group effects (1996), and Taylor’s minimisation – mobilisation theory (1991) have a link with ERI as they show that in and out group members are judged differently and this will have an effect on an ERI situation as well. Also, the minimisation theory shows that certain effects negative effects diminish over time. Moreover, the effects of gratitude have also been considered in relation to ERI and show there is an overlap. Since the ERI model shows the result of a sudden change into positive behavior, the effects of gratitude have been taken into account as well. Regarding the ERI theory itself; further experimentation will rule out if this new perspective assigned to person B will stay that way or if it will diminish and return to C’s previous perception. This will depend if B decides to remain positive, or return to his old behavior. It will be interesting to find out through more elaborate research, that if B decides to continue his positive behavior, he will continue to be valued as more friendly than A or that they will reach a similar ‘taken for granted’ level over time. The question remains how to be able to conduct experiments using the ERI theory and using a real life situation to stimulate genuine effects. Also I would like to thank miss Grant, S. for assisting me in, not only, this research, but writing the paper as well.

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Bartlett, M. Y., & DeSteno, D. (2006). Gratitude and Prosocial Behavior Helping When It Costs You. Psychological science, 17(4), 319-325.Gratitude and Prosocial Behavior Helping When It Costs You. Psychological science, 17(4), 319-325.

Bettencourt, B. A., Dill, K. E., Greathouse, S. A., Charlton, K., & Mulholland, A. (1996). Evaluations of ingroup and outgroup members: The role of category-based expectancy violation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, (33), 244-275.

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Fredrickson, B. L. (2004). Gratitude, like other positive emotions, broadens and builds. The psychology of gratitude, 145-166.

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Watkins, P., Scheer, J., Ovnicek, M., & Kolts, R. (2006). The debt of gratitude: Dissociating gratitude and indebtedness. Cognition & Emotion, 20(2), 217-241.

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Why the news is bombarding you with information you don’t need

In the world of today, news is a common medium to gain more information. It is simply not possible to travel the world and become informed about every happening on the globe yourself. Compared to the middle ages and the stone age where hearing about certain events in your direct environment was necessary for survival. The reliance now lies with individuals who have dedicated their lives providing the inhabitants of a country with information on what is happening nationally and internationally. However, there is a dangerous development growing in intensity, author of the article “Avoid News”, Rolf Dobelli (2010), describes this as the toxicity of news. With this article, he literally tries to provide the reader with an antidote to this news phenomenon. To be able to explain his article in a more elaborate way, the essay is divided in several parts. First, the author his main claim will be elaborated on. Second, the points that Dobelli describes will be shortly elaborated on, as well as pinpointing the ones I, myself, identify most with. And finally, zooming in on the possible solutions Dobelli gives to avoid the further toxicity of the news.

In his article, Rolf Dobelli tries to sketch the reader an image about the dangers of consuming too much news. His main claim is therefore that news comes with several side effects that can seriously downgrade your psychological and even physical state. Dobelli has already been a year without any contact with the news and reported that he found himself having “less disruption, more time, less anxiety, deeper thinking and more insights”. In short, Dobelli talks about the negative side effects the news can have on the several aforementioned areas. One of his first points is about the misleading capacity of the news, and that this happens systematically. The notion of misleading someone leads to one of his most important claims of the article itself, namely, the fact that news reports do not provide you with an accurate representation of the real world. It is mainly focused on sensational and shocking news, but leaves out the underlying information, the deeper knowledge that goes to the root of the issue. By masking this deeper knowledge, a very important subject of news becomes misleading because it begins to focus on irrelevant issues. This causes people to have a distorted view of the world itself, for example, that around every corner a terrorist could be lurking to murder your friends and family, or the fact that astronauts are being hailed as heroes, while nurses who help save lives everyday get overlooked. Dobelli shows his readers that this is because the news does not explain the “why”, instead it skips this step, and goes straight to only the very visible facts. As a result, it creates short lists of facts quickly summed up in a short article which in turn reduces our ability to concentrate, because we get used to reading short pieces of text with light information that doesn’t cost much energy to process. Because of the small amount of effects, Dobelli realizes that this causes us to lose our ability to memorize longer pieces of text because we become satisfied with the basic facts. He uses a metaphor of eating candy because it tastes nice but doesn’t provide any nutrients for your body to live on. Furthermore, Dobelli mentions that the news is made up of less than 10% original stories, the rest of papers copy paste stories of others with only mild editing. Also, editing might be done through a basis of bias from the current paper editing it. For example, a liberal paper might edit some words out to make it seem more liberal instead of conservative and so on. Dobelli also mentions that the news does not only cause psychological harm but also physical through stress. This is due to the fact that we find ourselves helpless as we can only read about a situation but not being able to change anything about it causes us a lot of stress.

This leads to the second paragraph, in which I can confirm that I identify the most with this point in Dobelli’s article. Especially when reading about murder or natural disasters, I feel extremely helpless as I feel like a witness on the sidelines watching people suffer. It causes stress and strong feelings of depression. Also, the point Dobelli makes about the limits of understanding that news causes, is very identifiable with me. As I started reading the article, it became clear to me, when reading the news, that there is indeed never a deep underlying back-story. It leaves the reader with only the most obvious of facts and the most sensational information, this was especially clear with the recent tornado in the south of the United States. The death count was clearly shown, crying people giving interviews, yet no sign of any underlying information about why these tornados always hit the same side of the US, or why the structural integrity of the houses still aren’t upgraded from plain wood to brick. Dobelli makes a firm conclusion about this stating that “Reading news to understand the world is worse than not reading anything”.

Dobelli poses a few solutions to the toxicity of news. First of all, he clearly states several times that to avoid becoming a victim of the news and its negative side effects, you have to avoid the news at all costs and focus your attention and concentration on more in-depth knowledge provided in things such as journals and books. He recommends that to regain the capacity for concentration, as this has already been tainted by grotesque consuming of news before reading this article, you have taken “a radical news-free diet”. Secondly, Dobelli takes away the fear of feeling without knowledge, as by now you will be focusing on information and knowledge from more reliable sources instead of the news and therefore have more intelligent facts to share. The author draws a comparison between being able to talk about Lindsay Lohan being in jail again to mentioning interesting facts about the cultural meaning of certain foods. In conclusion, Avoid News is a strong opinionated article about the negative side effects of what news can do with you. However, it fails to mention that there are positive sides to the news as well, especially related to more professional positions such as PR for example. This job requires to maintain a close eye on what the public thinks or heard about your brand or organization. Yet, this article makes the reader realize that not all news is healthy for both your psychological and physical status.

——READ MORE——

Dobelli, R. (2010). Avoid News; Towards a healthy news diet. Retrieved May 28, 2015, from http://www.dobelli.com

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We digitize our own minds by using the Internet

“Most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally evil, but by people being fundamentally people” – Terry Pratchett

Ever stopped to wonder what happens if you could see a list of all your searches on the Internet, all your posts on social media, and your Internet preferences? Combining a list of a single person of the past decade shows the inside of your mind more clearly than an intense lie detector test. How this is possible? Because when you’re sitting home alone, privacy filter on in Mozilla, you are Googling, browsing anything you like. The stuff that you won’t dare to discuss with your closest personal friend, the desires that lie deep within your heart. All because you believe you are completely anonymous, this is the moment that your true self emerges from behind the set of masks one has created in their social life.

If we actually showed our true selves all the time, our craziest fantasies, our deepest interests, telling the actual non censored truth to our friends and acquaintances, our relationships could break down easily. So by now you can see the picture I’m trying to paint; what if someone had access to a compiled list of all your searches, preferences and posts of the last decade? It would sketch an extremely detailed psychological profile of yourself, that person would know everything about you. For example, what kind of people you like, political choices, romantic interest preferences, your dislikes, your fears, even what food you prefer, as well as what locations you frequently visit. I bet that the same person who has that list, can draw a map based on this algorithm that can predict your movements within your city per day, per week.

Now I’m not trying to scare you, I’m just trying to make you realize in what kind of world we currently live. It is inevitable to go completely off the grid unless we move deep into Alaska, throw away our phones and laptops and go fully non-electronic. You probably noticed “Cookies” already, ever stopped to wonder that “Cookies” are basically the phenomenon I’m currently talking about? These “Cookies” are even able to customize advertisements to you on websites. It’s why when you’re surfing one woman would see make-up advertisements, but another male visitor sees video game advertisements in the side banner advertisements.

Currently, companies are monetizing these “Cookies” or should I say “Mind Chunks”. But what would happen if organizations started collecting this data for psychological purposes other than marketing? To create a doppelganger based on your digital behavior? In Japan they are pretty advanced with robotic creations, they can pick up items, move heavy objects and interact with people using simple dialogs. However, artificial intelligence has yet to reach a higher level. Yet, for the purpose of this article, let’s assume they have this A.I. ready and active. What if they use digital pictures of your face, let a 3D printer print out this as a mask and stick it on a robot body with fully functioning A.I. Now they download that immense list about your specific Internet behavior and compile a sense of self, an “I” as data into this artificial brain. Your preferences, searches, dislikes and likes will be copied completely. This would create a new person, with an almost identical psychological profile of you, a clone if you put it like that. Now that’s something worth thinking about isn’t it?

After seeing this movie “Ex Machina” it made me realize what kind of implications our use of Internet has. Being monetized is one thing, but being copied into a double of yourself is kind of intimidating to think about. Even if they aren’t after you specifically, but to create a human-like person, what better way then to check the search engine behavior of the entire planet? What we look for online, what we talk about, what we share, it’s what lives inside our minds all day. We literally digitize our own minds by using the Internet.

Cover photo: Ex Machina (2015)