Chandana’s Discussion Leads on ResearchGate

Direct Link to Chandana’s ResearchGate Page

Can we learn in a world without disciplinary boundaries?

Our brain seems to receive information from many disciplinary areas in the very same way. We have separated these pieces of information into different disciplines artificially in our minds. Imagine for a while that we don’t have those disciplinary boundaries drawn in our heads, and we deal with all the information reaching our brain purely on its merit. That is, disciplines such as mathematics, biology, economics, sociology, computer science, etc. don’t exist and we receive all types of information with an open mind and equal level of enthusiasm followed by linking them to our existing more integrated knowledge networks. In this setup, our brains become purely generic information processors without letting our perceptions to filter some information out as they do not belong to our area of study or profession. Having a highly receptive brain programmed in this manner appears to be the best way to learn in an integrated, lifelong manner, enhancing our consciousness and wisdom. Thematic and integrated curricula are some relevant notions that are being tried. Interestingly, some parts of the world have gone one step further experimenting more elaborately.  

Can we achieve higher levels of emotional intelligence through metacognitive practices?

It appears that the path to higher levels of emotional intelligence is possible only via metacognitive practices (thinking about thinking, learning about learning, developing self-awareness through self-reflection). That is, well-developed cognitive functions or broader, integrated learning without disciplinary boundaries would help individuals to develop self-awareness and enhance emotional intelligence. In other words, through extensive learning, we develop the essential knowledge required to be empathic, tolerant and resilient. Consequently, emotional intelligence is a phenomenon that can be developed and enhanced over time if an appropriate environment prevails. Especially individuals who demonstrate emotional overexcitability or a higher level of sensitivity should benefit from metacognitive practices to monitor and control their emotions. The bottom line is that extensive learning enhancing cognitive functions of diverse domains appears to be the only route to higher levels of true emotional intelligence.

How does the integration of knowledge lead to the development of the mind or higher levels of consciousness and wisdom?

Our brains receive information/knowledge from diverse domain disciplinary areas. Imagine we make our brains open or receptive to all these pieces of information/knowledge and integrate them create a knowledge network of a unified whole. Having such an integrated knowledge network is the key to the development of mind or enhancing consciousness/wisdom. When diverse pieces of knowledge from diverse disciplinary areas are integrated, it helps us to refine our knowledge network, leaving out the incorrect and unnecessary pieces to form a more consistent and efficient neural network. That is, through the process of integration, we tend to self-validate the pieces of knowledge we store against other pieces we hold and retain only those pieces that are validated and accurate. The process of developing this integrated knowledge network or the mind should start as early as possible in an individual’s life. Consequently, any new learning undertaken should be integrated into the existing knowledge network resoundingly. It contrasts from having separated or isolated knowledge networks, possibly from different disciplinary areas without the process of integration. Leonardo Da Vinci has famously said that “everything is connected to everything else”. Imagine the level of consciousness/wisdom he had or the level of development of his mind!

How do we relate consciousness, wisdom and deep learning?

Enhancing consciousness or wisdom can be used synonymously with deep learning; there is a degree to which one can achieve them depending on elaborative rehearsal one engages in – the higher the time of elaborative rehearsal one engages in, the greater the degree of achievement. Ideally, elaborative rehearsal should be performed utilising information from multiple domains.  The outcome of all of these is to create highly connected neural networks that will enable the learner to recall retained memories readily and spontaneously (or in a creative manner) when the circumstances require and proper priming is available.

Why do we need to focus on generalised/ high-level concepts for creating lasting memories?

Findings from neuroscience reveal that in teaching-learning environments and assessments, we, educators, need essentially to focus on generalised/ high-level concepts to create lasting memories within learners. These generalised/ high-level concepts are stored as semantic memories that are retained longer as opposed to episodic memories (more specific details relating to time and space) that are forgotten easily. This phenomenon also adheres to the higher-order learning highlighted in Bloom’s taxonomy.

How can we evaluate learners appropriately when most of our learning is implicit?

Neuroscientists have revealed that the most of our learning is implicit. In light of this revelation, we as educators have to help learners to make their implicit learning explicit by appropriate instructional strategies. Further, by conducting an assessment with open-ended questions, mainly as recognition tests, learners’ implicit learning can be appropriately evaluated; that is, we are assessing learners’ higher-order thinking/learning.

How can we enhance consciousness (as defined by neuroscientists) in the classroom environment?   

The phenomenon of consciousness being well researched and explained by neuroscientists now, it is the time that we, educators, start applying the related concepts in the classroom, giving serious consideration to them. It will help us to guide our learners to become better problem solvers and decision makers by seeing the reality as is, through enhanced wisdom. Further, learners will be able to recall retained memories spontaneously and readily when day-to-day life circumstances require.

How can we make gifted and sensitive individuals more resilient in facing social vulnerabilities?

Individuals with emotional (and other) overexcitable characteristics or sensitivities appear to possess higher capacities for learning and forming lasting memories. Usually, individuals identified as gifted demonstrate such characteristics and capacities. However, due to these overexcitable and sensitivity characteristics, these individuals are very susceptible to everyday social situations. As means of facing these vulnerable situations more resiliently, gifted and sensitive individuals should be directed to a human development path through extensive learning across multiple disciplines, following metacognitive practices. Such a broad learning and educational experience appear to be the best way to make these individuals more emotionally intelligent, tolerant and resilient to social situations they otherwise do not have control. Even though learning across multiple disciplines is not the norm of contemporary social context, it is likely to provide gifted and sensitive individuals with a meaningful purpose in life so that they can see and understand the reality better and avoid any negative psychological conditions such as existential depression. A critical understanding they need to develop is extensive learning in the above manner may not give them financial wealth necessarily, but it is likely to make them content and empathic personalities with better psychological health and deeper perceivers of reality.   

Will discovery-directed learning lead to independent (lifelong) learning?

Ideal learning appears to take place through learner discovery. Whether it is a facilitator directed or independent learning, learners should be encouraged and directed to play an active role in identifying new relationships or connections among new information/knowledge presented and their existing knowledge bases. To determine or create these new relationships or connections, learners have to be bold and diligent at the same time. They have to be bold to make connections or relationships independently using their own knowledge bases. These relationships or connections are most likely to be hypotheses that can be proved right or wrong as learners get exposed to more evidence or knowledge. That is the reason that learners have to be diligent about the relationships or connections they make. These relationships will have to be reasonable, realistic and should be done with care. When learners are encouraged to identify personalised relationships or connections, they get the joy of creating or constructing knowledge (as in the constructivist theory of learning) and the available freedom to do so. In other words, learners will enjoy the control they have on their learning, resulting in the formation of lasting memories and an effective learning exercise. This discovery directed learning can be contrasted from rote learning exercises in which learners are required to memorise what the facilitator said in its exact form merely. Rote learning activities are likely to demoralise or demotivate learners without having the control on their learning. When discovery directed learning is practised for a prolonged period learners will develop independent learning skills that can be used throughout the lifespan.

What is the Impact of Big Data on scientific method and science education?

In the traditional scientific method, a hypothesis is followed by extensive and tedious experiments that were used for proving the theory. In science education, in fact, we pay more emphasis on the procedural experimental part rather than on the creative task of identifying a reasonable hypothesis. This non-creative focus has notably discouraged learners embarking on science education, especially when better options are available (Example 1, Example 2). In the presence of emerging Big Data concepts and technologies, it appears that the traditional scientific method is challenged (Example 1). Large volumes of diverse data flowing around us, especially in electronic formats, can be integrated and used for the purpose of proving hypotheses rather than relying heavily on experimental methods. In other words, in many cases, we do not have to collect data by conducting experiments as various forms of related data are available in accessible and searchable formats. Think about the validity of a hypothesis if one or two other individuals from some other corners of the world come up with similar hypotheses independent of each other. Consequently, the focus of science education should be shifted to the creative task of identifying useful hypotheses or ideas ahead of conducting experimental procedures, soon to be a thing of the past. It is likely to attract the interest of novelty-seeking human beings on once mundane science education. 

Do we need an ideal reference model for learning and education as the starting point of metacognitive practices?

Metacognition is about thinking about thinking or learning about learning, and it makes up a vital component of learning. Consequently, it is about a self-assessment on thinking or learning. For us to perform this self-assessment, we necessarily need a reference model of learning and education for the purpose of comparison. When we compare our thinking or learning with the ideal reference model, we get to know where we stand and what adjustments are needed for improvement. In effect, the starting point of engaging in metacognitive practices is to have a fundamental understanding of what learning and education are in a deeper and true sense. Ideally, the meaning of learning and education should have a lasting value such as achieving higher levels of human development with enhanced consciousness or wisdom.

Can we extend meditative mindfulness (metacognitive) practices to all types of learning?

In meditative activities, we make our body and mind relaxed and free from stress. That is we make ourselves free from emotionally disturbing thoughts. In mindfulness practices, we try to focus our attention on something we are interested. Consequently, in meditative mindfulness, we make our body and mind relaxed so that we can concentrate on something we are interested in thinking or learning. The stress-free body and mind enable better focus on the matter being learnt or processed. Usually, meditative mindfulness practices are used by some religious practitioners to self-reflect on their body, feelings and mind (or thoughts). Consequently, meditative mindfulness is often used as a metacognitive practice that helps us monitor and control our thinking. It appears that meditative mindfulness and related metacognitive practices can be utilised as essential tools for in-depth and enhanced learning of any content. We make use of highly relaxed body and mind to pay highly focused attention to what we learn. Also, as our body and mind are in a relaxed state, we are more likely to pay attention longer, resulting in enhanced learning in which we identify more relationships among our pieces of knowledge. Further, we can reflect on the learning process itself to develop self-awareness on our merits and demerits.

Can we Extend the integrated operations of the business process approach to human operations and development?

Managing businesses using the business process approach ahead of a functional approach has become a very successful business management method in the recent past. In that, the fundamental difference is that in the business process approach, work across different functional units or departments is integrated for unified operation whereas, in the functional approach, such integration is minimal. Lack of integrated work or synergy among associated functional units is a recipe failure or disaster. A value similar to the integrated operations in business organisations can be achieved in human activities as well. In human activities, we integrate knowledge from diverse domain or disciplinary areas stored as neural networks of knowledge. This phenomenon is referred to as enhancing consciousness by neuroscientists, and in fact, is considered to be the highest point of human development. Through enhanced consciousness, human beings develop the wisdom to become better decision-makers and problem-solvers. Consequently, it is the time that our education systems focus on helping learners to develop integrated knowledge networks across multiple disciplinary areas. We should keep away from pushing individuals on narrow specialisation paths that only create knowledge silos of much less usefulness.

Can we see science and technology as human creations?

Traditionally, science and technology are hard-science (as opposed to soft-science) disciplines where facts and routine procedures are the norms. We usually have a deep-seated notion that scientific discoveries are a result of extensive, laborious searches scientists perform in a monotonic and routine manner, similar to digging in a gold mine. Contrary to this view, true scientific discoveries are, in fact, human creations. They start with the most important step of creating a hypothesis, which is all about identifying relationships among existing knowledge bases, as that happens in elaborate rehearsal or learning. These hypotheses will then be proved with some laborious procedures so that everyone gets affirmed of the original notion. The problem with contemporary science and technology education, in general, appears to be that we emphasise on how to use an already proven concept routinely as using a recipe. We expect learners to rote-memorise the concept and use it in specific applications we present to them. We neither get to reflect on how the mind or thoughts of the scientist who introduced the concept worked nor how to use the concept in ways unique to individual learners. There is no surprise that the novelty-seeking and creative human brain tends to keep away from such monotonic, machine-like routine work if learners have a choice (Example 1, Example 2). To reinvigorate science and technology disciplines in education, we need a change of focus in the way we teach them. We need to take learners in a process that mimics the thought process of the scientist who presented the concept or notion enabling learners to engage in creative activities. In this way, we approach science and technology in a manner that they are creations of beings with a mind or in the first-person perspective instead of the third-person viewpoint. Further, we need to relate the fundamental concepts in science and technology to as many real life concepts or scenarios as possible to highlight the fact that these concepts are part of our daily life rather than isolated and buried in the particular discipline itself.  

Can we achieve higher levels of emotional intelligence through metacognitive practices? 

It appears that the path to higher levels of emotional intelligence is possible only via metacognitive practices (thinking about thinking, learning about learning, developing self-awareness through self-reflection). That is, well-developed cognitive functions or broader, integrated learning without disciplinary boundaries would help individuals to develop self-awareness and enhance emotional intelligence. In other words, through extensive learning, we develop the essential knowledge required to be empathic, tolerant and resilient. Consequently, emotional intelligence is a phenomenon that can be developed and enhanced over time if an appropriate environment prevails. Especially individuals who demonstrate emotional overexcitability or a higher level of sensitivity should benefit from metacognitive practices to monitor and control their emotions. The bottom line is that extensive learning enhancing cognitive functions of diverse domains appears to be the only route to higher levels of true emotional intelligence   

What would be the possible relationship between metacognition and consciousness?      

Through multidisciplinary integrated learning, we are in with a chance to enhance consciousness or wisdom. When we use metacognitive practices (thinking about thinking, learning about learning or developing self-awareness through self-reflection) along with enhanced learning, we will be en route to higher levels of human development. At higher levels of human development, our well-developed and integrated cognitive networks or functions appear monitor and control our emotions appropriately. As a consequence of our well-monitored and controlled emotions, we seem to use our cognitive resources for highly purposeful activities. The result is a well inter-controlled cognition-emotion interface that makes us better decision-makers and problem-solvers. Highly evolved individuals at higher levels of human development appear to demonstrate well-controlled emotions by means of empathy, tolerance and resilience.

How can we extend the value of Big Data in the business world to human development space?

In the recent past, businesses, in general, have recognised the value of large volumes of data (BIG DATA) flowing around us in electronic formats. The key to making them useful is to integrate them in all appropriate ways to create meaningful inferences, especially for getting business insights. However, the concept of integrating diverse pieces of information is not penetrated into human development space as yet. The human brain, in fact, has a much better capacity than some powerful parallel computing systems to integrate all sorts of information reaching it to enable us to take wiser decisions. To develop this ability of enhanced consciousness or wisdom through extensive learning, we need to be open to as many pieces of information as we receive, irrespective of artificial disciplinary boundaries that separate them, and be brave in processing or linking them in numerous ways to create meaningful ideas. We should avoid closing our senses to the information outside our discipline of work or study.  

What is the Relationship between “Research” and “Higher-Order Learning”?

The term “research” implicitly carries the meaning of creating new ideas or identifying novel relationships among pieces of information or knowledge. Such new ideas or connections one makes can be useful widely in some situations while not in some others. Essentially, the identification of a useful research hypothesis or hunch in a creative manner, based on one’s experience or perceptions, would be the most important component of a research activity. It is more important than carrying out routine procedures, albeit with proper planning and judgement, to validate (or invalidate) the hypothesis or hunch. In higher-order learning, when learners are presented or encountered with new information or knowledge, they essentially connect them to their existing knowledge bases appropriately (this phenomenon is referred to as making sense in education/learning terminology). This process of identifying right existing knowledge bases to connect the newly encountered knowledge is an individualised or idiosyncratic creative process. Different individuals would possess different knowledge bases, and thus, how one makes connections or identify relationships is essentially an individualised process. This is the reason why we say that learning is subjective, as opposed to being objective. Now we can see the relationship between a research activity and higher-order learning. They both require the engagement in creative activities per se. In a research activity, researchers must perceive a useful research hypothesis or hunch, while in higher-order learning, learners will have to identify appropriate connections or relationships among existing and new knowledge.

How Do We Define the Term or Phenomenon “Research?

We may have seen that the term “research” being used in many different contexts. Generally, it carries an implicit meaning of creating something new or some useful new idea. The online dictionary says “diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications, etc.” There is an important question we may ask here – on what do we really inquire or investigate? Is it any arbitrary question whether it is of any use or not, merely to carry out a standard research procedure? In science and technology disciplines, it necessarily carries that an initial research hypothesis (or a hunch) is presented, followed by verification through laborious experimental procedures to prove that the hypothesis is either correct or incorrect. In other words, the experimental procedures are usually carried out to collect required data to support the hypothesis negatively or positively. In some instances, the term research is used in a more casual way when an answer to a question is determined through a “research survey” where responses or preferences from individuals are merely collected. In an even more casual circumstance, some use the term “research” for searching on the Internet or Web using a search engine such as Google to find out an answer to a straightforward question. Under these situations, what would be an essential component of a truly research activity per se? It looks like having an initial hunch or an intuitive idea as a hypothesis, perceived through one’s experiences or feelings, is an essential component of a research phenomenon. Then, this hypothesis can be verified (positively or negatively) through the provision of appropriate data (possibly collected by conducting experiments or surveys), either by the individual forming the hypothesis or even someone else. In this era of electronic information/data deluge, some even argue that certain hypothesis can be supported by not necessarily carrying out experiments, but by integrating already existing and accessible electronic forms of data/information. The bottom line, as it appears, is that a creative researcher per se needs to identify or come up with a perceived intuitive hunch or hypothesis as the critical component.   

 How are the Phenomena “Research”, “Innovation” and “Entrepreneurship” Related? (Link)

The term research carries the implicit meaning that a new idea or relationship among knowledge bases is created. The essential component of a research activity appears to be creatively forming an initial hypothesis or hunch, relying on the researcher’s perceptions, intuition and experience. The hypothesis then would be validated (or invalidated) through experimental procedures or integration of available data to complete the research activity fully. In innovation, on the other hand, what appears to happen is that a validated research result or idea is used for a real-life application (to provide a new service or manufacture a new product). In other words, it can be the process of commercialisation of a research idea. Further, the person or the group that engage in the process of innovation should not always include the researcher who put forth the idea or research result. Finally, if the person or the group that involve(s) in the process of innovation sets up his/her/their own enterprise to proceed with the innovation, this phenomenon is referred to as entrepreneurship. When considering these actions, it appears that the tasks of research are more right cerebral hemispheric oriented, creative activities while the phenomena of innovation and entrepreneurship are left cerebral hemispheric engagements requiring sequencing and planning.

How are the Phenomena “Research”, “Management” and “Leadership” Related?

In research, especially when perceiving or identifying a hypothesis or hunch, researchers involved will engage in creating new ideas or forming new neural networks of knowledge. For such higher-order creative activities, the right cerebral hemisphere is likely to be involved mainly. The procedures of proving (or disproving) the hypothesis or hunch through experimental activities or otherwise appear to utilise the left cerebral hemispheric abilities such as sequencing/ordering. In the phenomenon of management, it appears that making judgements based on existing knowledge networks including sequencing or ordering information takes place. Further, in many cases, making use of authority, which lacks in emotional/sensitivity representations, seems to be the norm. Consequently, tasks of management rely heavily on the left cerebral hemispheric characteristics that lack in highly creative involvements. However, in a contemporary world, skills of different types or levels of management are highly sought after, mainly to succeed in a business world that focuses on economic developments (as opposed to human development). Finally, the phenomenon of leadership appears to be mainly a task of inspiring others by setting an example. In order to set an example, a leader will essentially have to have creative or novel ideas as in the case of identifying a research hypothesis. But, in addition to perceiving a hypothesis, a leader will have to persist with it courageously, despite opposition and challenges at times, collecting and absorbing more data, until the hunch is proved (or disproved), partially or entirely. The latter part of enduring with one’s hunch appears to better handled or managed when features of the left cerebral hemisphere are utilised, in addition to the right cerebral hemispheric once used in creative activities involved in leadership.     

  How are the Phenomena “Creativity” and “Critical Thinking” Related?

 The phenomenon of creativity appears to be associated with identifying novel, possibly very unusual (outside the box), relationships among different neural networks of knowledge held or get introduced while engaging in a relatively open-minded/divergent/inductive thinking process. The outcomes of this creative process can sometimes be highly significant and useful, while on other occasions, they may not be directly or immediately useful. Notably, the highly significant and useful creative outcomes appear to result in from right cerebral hemispheric involvements (the so-called “Big C” creativity – as opposed to “little c” creativity). On the other hand, in critical thinking, it appears a judgement or decision is made taking a number of inputs or dimensions into consideration. The higher the number of inputs or dimensions considered for making the decision or judgement, more critical the results become. For example, if a decision is made considering only economic and technical feasibilities, it is a less critical decision compared to a one taken after taking into account economic, technical and ethical perspectives. Like in a creative thinking process, one must approach with an open mind (in a creative manner) in order to identify all or a higher number of contributing dimensions or inputs towards a making a decision/judgement, following a critical thinking approach. One reason why one would not pursue a critical thinking engagement to a higher level, in a decision-making process, is the lack of awareness of the existence of other dimensions/inputs (possibly through bias or egocentrism) that contribute to the outcome. When a decision is made taking into consideration all or most of the possible inputs or dimensions, it becomes a highly critical, objective or optimal outcome (as opposed to a subjective one). However, the higher the number of dimensions or inputs taken into account, the higher the level of difficulty/time consumption of the decision-making process. Consequently, a critical thinking process appears to rely to some extent on left cerebral hemispheric characteristics of organising contents in order, as well. Further, creative outputs seem to result in more spontaneously while critical thinking activities seem to be more purposeful.

How Can We Define and Elaborate on the Phenomenon of “Wisdom” (an Enhanced Form of Creativity)?

Educationists define wisdom as an enhanced form of creativity that integrates knowledge from diverse or multiple domain areas. As such, for enhancing wisdom, one must be receptive or open to information/knowledge from diverse domains, as an essential requirement. Through enhanced wisdom, individuals can become better decision-makers in day-to-day and professional lives. In a contemporary world, our education and social systems appear to promote and reward learning within the silos of disciplinary boundaries. Expertise in a narrow specialisation or one-sided development is encouraged despite the available neuroscientific facts to reveal that it constrains learning and human development into higher levels. Since many are implicitly directed toward economic gains, they appear to pursue paths of narrow specialisations, ahead of overall wellbeing based on broader lifelong learning. Consequently, those who follow this narrow specialisation path seem to inadvertently close their sensing receptors to information/knowledge from outside the discipline of specialisation, thus limiting one’s opportunity for human development with enhanced wisdom. Being open-minded and receptive to information/knowledge, devoid of egocentrism and bias, appear to put one on a path to developing enhanced wisdom. Further, the phenomenon of wisdom relates very closely to the phenomenon of consciousness (integration of neural networks of knowledge that are differentiated in many brain regions) as defined by neuroscientists. 

What is the Relationship between “Educational Neuroscience” and “Human Development”?
Educational neuroscience is an emerging field that helps in understanding how our brain and related neural structures essentially play the key role in learning and education. Due to the brain associated phenomena of neuroplasticity and synaptogenesis, learning in a deeper sense results in physical changes to the brain structures. Consequently, information/knowledge emerging from educational neuroscience gives learners and teachers/facilitators alike, a direction or guide on how to engage in learning-teaching processes in evidence-based and more meaningful manner. It is as if having an understanding of educational neuroscience is seeing the world with an additional set of eyes to sense an additional perspective. It is about human nature and how humans learn based on the physiological characteristics of the brain. How can we not familiar with these characteristics if we are to learn/teach in a deeper sense? Human development, on the other hand, is about how humans can progress to become individuals with enhanced wisdom (a higher form of creativity) and consciousness. With enhanced wisdom and consciousness, they become better decision-makers in both their day-to-day and professional lives. Human development is an extension to what we usually study in the field of developmental psychology. In the latter, we focus more on basic healthy development in individuals such as during childhood, while in the former, we extend the idea to develop human beings into individuals with enhanced wisdom and consciousness in a lifelong manner (Humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote a book titled “Farther Reaches of Human Nature” to describe human development aspects). Consequently, we see the overlapping area of the two fields educational neuroscience and human development: the human nature or human aspects we take into consideration. How successful can we be in learning-teaching if we disregard this aspect? In essence, educational neuroscience guides us towards achieving human development to species-wide higher levels possible.    

What is the Neuroscience behind Mindfulness: How Can We Stay Healthy Leading Towards Enhanced Learning and Wisdom?

Neuroscience of mindfulness as a means of staying healthy devoid of psychological conditions such as stress, depression and unhappiness. Such better human/brain conditions essentially lead to enhanced learning and wisdom (i.e. to higher levels of human development as suggested by Abraham Maslow and Kazimierz Dabrowski). 

What is the neuroscience behind compassion? Will it lead to enhanced learning, creativity and wisdom?
Neuroscience of compassion reveals us that it is about our health and wellbeing. It is about being more resilient/tolerant to the unavoidable and adversities. It is about enhancing learning, creativity and wisdom. It is about attention, emotion and cognitive self-regulation through which we become more productive individuals. It is not about spinelessness or negativity; rather it is about strength and empowerment.of character.

How can our education system find solutions to some global problems such as these?

“WHO says violence against women is a ‘global health issue”

Are these the outcomes of our education systems’ inability to fulfil the essential need of “whole individual” development that addresses attention regulation (AR), emotion regulation (ER) and cognitive regulation (CR)? Education needs to be broadly defined beyond obtaining a limited set of skills in a specific disciplinary area. It essentially needs to incorporate generic attributes such as AR, ER, CR, critical thinking and creativity etc. Recent neuroscience research reveals that mindfulness and compassion training practices as part of the mainstream education system help us making appropriate positive changes (due to neuroplasticity feature) in our learners’ brains.

How do mindfulness practices keep us away from inflammation and diseases?

Neuroscience research reveals how mindfulness practices can help (in addition to helping in enhanced learning and wisdom) in managing inflammation and expression of diseases such as asthma, cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease (possibly by having an impact on the immunity system).

Why do children need loving care for their development? What does neuroscience say?

Neuroscience research reveals that early-life chronic stress ( due to like poverty, neglect and physical abuse) can have significant negative lasting impacts on learning, memory and stress and emotion processing. In turn, they will negatively impact on behaviour, health and employment etc.

How would you engage in educational reforms based on educational neuroscience and human development?

I just completed reading an excellent book on educational reforms (08/04/2017) – just could not believe that the topic area has evolved so much to a level that makes it possible for direct implementation. It uses neuroscience and human development perspectives as the basis for reforms and discusses attention regulation (AR), emotion regulation (ER), cognitive regulation (CR), creativity, critical thinking, mindfulness and compassionate training practices, self-authorship, the essential need for a change in educational systems and how to manage the dramatic change involved and most importantly how individual learner development leads to peace in the world. A must-read for those who are in educational decision-making/policy planning positions.

How can we face the social challenges of AI(Artificial Intelligence)-Based automation processes?

This is why we need a paradigm change in the way we provide education or program human brains. We need to encourage and enhance creativity/wisdom/consciousness/mindfulness in our learners instead of stifling them, relying on the phenomenon of neuroplasticity. The phenomena of neuroplasticity and synaptogenesis point towards infinite capacities of the human brain; these capacities need to be developed with purposeful and well-directed activities.

What is the earnest need to make students resilient and what can we do about it?

This is an area where we earnestly see the need for mindfulness/compassion training practices in which we develop resiliency (converting stressful situations to something positive) skills of individuals. In some Universities of the world, they have already started such practices, especially for students who follow highly demanding courses such as medicine. It would help us to proactively take measures to stop tragedies like this taking place,

Do you think it so important that we develop our immune systems through natural means such as mindfulness and compassion training practices and why?

Antibiotics overuse could result in common illness becoming life-threatening

Isn’t it time that we develop our immune systems through natural but purposeful means in order to keep away from diseases? As neuroscience research reveals mindfulness and compassion training practices allow us to overcome stressful conditions and develop resilience. Such practices have proven to improve our overall health and wellbeing.

How can we value/rate credentials, University degrees and prestige of the institute, especially when strict specialisation is the focus?

A very interesting discussion on the value of credentials, the prestige of the institute and University degrees on the whole, especially when the focus is on narrow specialisation! The question is: “how can we reform the education systems for future needs of the world?”
How can we value/rate credentials, University degrees and prestige of the institute, especially when strict specialisation is the focus?

Dementia and what can we do to reduce the risk?

It explains why lifelong learning is important to our wellbeing. In a world of information deluge, we should prepare ourselves to be receptive to diverse information/knowledge reaching us, irrespective of disciplinary boundaries. Such preparation and learning focus will lead us towards enhancing wisdom and human development.

Would you consider yourself an introvert? What are the positives associated with it?

Introversion is not something to be cured of as some understand it; take the positives associated with it. Everyone should develop an understanding into introversion/extroversion so that we can develop sustainable societies through a better, deeper understanding of human nature, oneself and fellow human beings.

Do you think “SEARCH INSIDE YOURSELF” is a so powerful phenomenon that can bring peace to this world?


How true, to bring peace to this world! On many occasions, solutions to some of the most difficult problems are within yourself (especially within leaders if they look inside themselves). Practices such as mindfulness are in the forefront. They pave the way for developing qualities such as emotional intelligence, empathy, self-awareness/metacognition, resilience and wisdom, the fundamental characteristics leading to peace, individually as well as on the whole. If one of the top organisations such as GOOGLE recognised the importance, why shouldn’t the others be keen to follow their way to success?

How are sleeping problems/deprivation related to mental illnesses/conditions?

The interesting relationship between sleep problems/deprivation and mental illnesses/conditions (such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia) is worth noticing. Once again, we are reminded of the significance of living a balanced life towards overall wellbeing. Especially, those highly sensitive/overexcitable individuals would become susceptible to sleep problems and their consequences. As neuroscience research reveals, mindfulness/metacognitive practices could go a long way in developing more relaxed minds devoid of anxieties/sensitivities leading to a good night’s sleep.

Would embracing the phenomenon of emotional intelligence lead to world peace?

GOOGLE engineer Meng Tan, the founder of Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI), presenting his roadmap to peace in the world through the development of emotional intelligence. How we achieve that is through mindfulness practices.

Would it be important to have a purpose of life (for the whole life span) identified at a young age?

Why is it so important for our overall wellbeing that we have a lifelong purpose (such as lifelong learning/human development) in our lives? Then the whole lifetime can be considered as a strategic project that we manage on our own (as opposed to managing short-term goals). Having a strategic purpose/plan such as lifelong learning would likely to take us away from mental illnesses and conditions such as dementia while maintaining a high level of productivity through the development of consciousness/wisdom and/or human development. Giving emphasis on a lifelong learning target at a very young age would appear to be highly beneficial.

Do we have any benefits in sadness? 

The famous polish psychologist and psychiatrist Kazimierz Dabrowski observed that even personal tragedies help towards human development to higher levels. We see that if one can overcome significantly sorrowful /challenging conditions/environments he/she becomes more resilient, compassionate and understanding. Further, such experiences appear to make them more creative (as research shows) and better/balanced/optimal decision makers. However, it appears that the real challenge is to survive the period during which the individual undergoes the experiences of sorrowful/negative conditions.

How and where can we get guided in meaningful educational reforms?

Book Review On “The Neuroscience of Learning and Development: Enhancing Creativity, Compassion, Critical Thinking, and Peace in Higher Education” by Marilee J. Bresciani Ludvik

“the commodity of higher education is not the course-by-course, credit-hour-accumulated degree; rather the commodity of higher education is the human process of learning and development that can be measured through direct evidence gathered in reflective learning portfolios.”

“The Neuroscience of Learning and Development” edited by Marilee J. Bresciani Ludvik highlights the critical perspective of holistic learner development through education, as concisely and impactfully portrayed by the above postulation. These viewpoints were duly affirmed and validated by presenting a wealth of recent neuroscience-based research findings. The phenomenon of “whole-person development” necessarily include enhancement of a number generic learner characteristics or skills such as critical thinking, creativity, attention regulation (AR), emotion regulation (ER), cognitive regulation (CR), self-awareness, metacognitive abilities, flexible-thinking, compassionate attitude, resilience and the like. As implied, developing such generic characteristics in a boundary-spanning manner is of more importance and useful than merely mastering a narrow domain-specific set of skills or knowledge. In short, it is about the overall well-being of the learner at the time as well as into the future that is the most important. In effect, appropriate and well-proven measures or practices are encouraged, both from educational professionals as well as learners, to reduce the anxiety and chronic stress levels of learners that impact negatively on learning, development and overall well-being. There is much overlap in meaning in the phenomena of learning, human development and well-being. Well-being relates to better cognitive functions, flexible thinking, enhanced memory, good sleep and weight balance, good physiological response to immune function, inflammatory processes, heart disease and the like. In other words, the significance of the integrative operation of essentially the cognitive and emotional domains is emphasised. The process of learning/human development is represented as a process of Integrative Inquiry (INIQ) in a deeper sense:

“combine (a) the knowledge gained from research, course learning, and book learning with (b) the wisdom gained from intuition, sensing, and the mindful experiencing of emotions with (c) the ability to embrace the unknown, be curious, and inquire into that we cannot yet see.”

As an insightful comparison, in a contemporary education system, parts (b) and (c) are likely to be the missing or less focused links while some selected parts of (a) are given prime attention. More specifically, evaluating implicit learning undergone while engaging in (a) and (b) would be difficult unless resorting to assessing learning portfolios, journal entries or answers to open-ended questions. After all, the brain is a structurally boundary spanning and highly interconnected organ. It has the dynamic feature of neuroplasticity that enables us to adapt to what we are interested, found useful and paying attention. Such an educational focus contrasts from widely practiced, contemporary systems in which learners are “trained” for a narrow skill set pertaining to a particular domain area, in a segmented manner, as opposed to an integrated manner, as if programming or configuring robots or machines to perform specific, routine tasks, stifling structurally inherent human creativity. If we pay attention only to the problems of our department or the organisation, then we will not be able to see beyond this constrained view in order to understand the real problems in the real world, let alone attempting to find solutions in a creative and compassionate manner. With enhanced AR, ER and CR abilities, we should be able to divert our focus to where it is needed the most.  In “The Neuroscience of Learning and Development”, the authors do justice to the needs of the current world by emphasising on the multidisciplinary perspectives of education. The essential role played by mindfulness and compassionate training practices in the important human development processes involving AR, ER and CR are quite correctly highlighted, irrespective of the area or discipline of study. Compassionate practices decrease the bias and inhuman treatments, resulting in happier and more productive citizens and workforce and better interpersonal relationships. Further, how such human developmental processes play a vital role in leadership training are presented to possibly direct our prospective leaders on the right path to guide our world. What the world needs is that leaders who are comfortable with uncertainty, complexity and unknown nature of problems we are facing as well as we are to face on an ongoing basis into the future. This is the reason why the authors have pinpointed the regulation of attention, emotions and cognition as of prime importance on an individual or grassroots level. Finally, the authors have provided guidance on how to effect a major transformation in the educational forefront as described by effectively and appropriately managing the process of this dramatic change. Yes, it is a complete paradigm change with a focus on the “whole person” development, with the emphasis on inherent human nature, human characteristics and human development. An invaluable feature of the transformed system is that, despite all the positive features, the new system is highly affordable to masses due to the fact that the new measures or practices used, for example, for developing AR, ER and CR, are not complicated to understand or carry out; an urge for a change from top-down is what is needed, and probably what is hard to assimilate.  

Hopefully, we would be able to see many in educational leadership/administration/policy-making positions around the world keen and courageous to embrace the described evidence-based, much-needed transformation to direct our individual societies to sustainability. We, along with the authors, need those responsible to suspend judgement of what we know to be true and prolong a state of inquiry with an open mind, even on matters we refused to pay attention before, to identify what is best for us, as a whole, and for our future generations.   

Why should you “Search Inside Yourself” to find solutions to many difficult problems?   

I completed reading the book “Search Inside Yourself” last week (11/06/2017). What an incredible experience! Few things are simply amazing. The book is about the emotional intelligence/ personal growth/ human development program conducted at one of the tech giants – GOOGLE for many years. Who would expect tech giants are to be serious about emotional intelligence/human development and the like? We would expect them to be a place for a set of nerds to work mostly with machines. Considering this general belief, it is wonderful to see that GOOGLE is giving much-needed leadership to overall or holistic human development aspect. This is lead by the GOOGLE engineer Chade-Meng Tan, who has identified that the path to world peace is developing each individual on a personal growth/human development route. Another wonder is that he has correctly put forth that mindfulness practices as the key to this goal, in an evidence-based manner. I like to see and recommend every adult (possibly teenagers) read this book in order to get guided on the personal growth/human development path.

Why are Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation Prime Phenomena behind Enhanced Learning Leading to “Whole Person” Development/Wisdom/Consciousness?

Book Review on “Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan”

It is wonderful to see an engineer working for a tech giant, Chade-Meng Tan, leading the way for world peace through an initiative of the development of emotional intelligence/personal growth/human development. He rightly emphasises on the simple truth of individual development at grassroots is the key to world peace. It is uncustomary for someone working in the technology space to raise awareness on the need to develop emotional intelligence/human development of fellow workers as the path to higher productivity of individuals as well any organisation. Meng succeeds on this endeavours in no uncertain terms, relying on a wealth of research in the areas of neuroscience, mindfulness practices, empathy and compassion. His aim, or more accurately life purpose, is to spread the message he has developed and proven at GOOGLE to rest of the world – what a compassionate attitude!

As an educator/education professional, I see great value in Meng’s approach to learners of all levels on their paths to lifelong learning. The presented self-regulation/self-awareness approaches (attention regulation (AR), emotion regulation (ER) and cognition regulation (CR)), revolving mainly on mindfulness practices, are the essential generic skills, irrespective of the domain or discipline of study, for any learner to be in possession for achieving enhanced learning/wisdom/consciousness. Also, with such practices, learners become resilient to adverse situations, which are unavoidable in many social environments, building empathic and compassionate attitudes. Investing time to develop resiliency through well-proven mind-training practices, despite our busy schedules, is analogously paying an insurance premium to cover for the unexpected or to safeguard us when the reality bites, destroying stereotyped expectations in an uncertain, ever-changing world. Further, developed skills in AR, ER and CR lead to enhanced creativity, critical thinking, interpersonal relationships, intrapersonal intelligence, and as a result, enhanced productivity at the workplace and community engagements.

Meng has successfully communicated an empowering message – “what we think, we become” based on the all-important concept of neuroplasticity; our abilities to learn or the capacities to regulate or cognitive and emotional activities are not fixed by genetics, but can be changed by the environmental factors. We no longer should argue about the “Nature vs. Nurture” debate as deterministically validating research has emerged. As Meng highlighted, the skill of mindfulness can be practised and enhanced to a level that one becomes conscious or aware of every time unit lived in a non-judgemental (relaxed and calm) way. It is the time when individuals learn implicitly/incidentally, the most common form of human learning (make no mistake or doubt – it is not the classroom learning), to create lasting memories that are widely used in a generic sense and situations. Further, mindfulness practices enable learners to develop in a “whole person” manner, integrating many operations of the brain including cognitive and emotional ones along with other neural networks of knowledge. Mindful integration of knowledge networks (in a non-judgemental (open-minded), relaxed and calm manner) is likely to make individuals receptive to all types of information/knowledge received without getting psychologically constrained by domain boundaries (or learn in an interdisciplinary manner), enabling them to see the reality as it is in an integrated and deeper manner. Having such a higher level of consciousness is referred to as possessing a healthy mind or, in Abraham Maslow’s words, a self-actualised mind; Kazimierz Dabrowski referred to it as reaching the highest human development levels – level five.

Meng has shown us the path to inner peace in individuals at grassroots in an evidence-based manner, which in turn should radiate as world peace in due course. The starting point of this journey is developing a self-awareness by “Search Inside Yourself”, to understand one’s strengths/weaknesses, likes/dislikes, the purpose of life and the like. This commendable work gives much-needed guidance to education policy-makers and other professionals in the same industry to take right decisions in educational reforms for the benefit and sustainability of our future generations. Highly recommended and a must-read for every adult!

How reliably would examinations depict the true human potential (including resiliency) instead of subjective achievement?

Some important lessons to be learned! How many of individuals in similar situations survive to be positively contributing social members? How many will be sieved out of the system? Can human potential be portrayed accurately in an examination or under time-limited examination conditions?

Why is it important that leaders take sustainable decisions devoid of vested interests?

Why is it so important that our leaders take decisions leading to sustainability! How can a decision that appears so convincing, albeit narrowly, becomes a disaster at another time? How can we improve our decision-making capacities? How can we be mindful in our decision-making using creativity and critical thinking to avoid pursuing vested interests?

How can you recognise exemplary (compassionate) attitude and behaviour?

How do we recognise exemplary (compassionate) human attitude and behaviour? Once becomes conscious of limitations/adversities within our environment, take action to overcome them and for common good within one’s capacities.

How can we define mind so that we can develop healthy minds?

How can we define mind? How can we develop healthy minds? What is the significance of the integrated operation of the brain towards developing healthy and high-performing minds?

An interesting development at GOOGLE. It has a program called GOOGLE Talks on Emotional Intelligence/Healthy Minds/Empathy/Compassion/Personal Growth/Optimal Performance/Productivity etc. (The tech giant invites leading researchers in related areas to talk to their employees to direct them to personal growth leading to productivity) 

Daniel Siegel on “Mindsight – The New Science of Personal Transformation”

Why do we need to manage emotions (both positive and negative ones) optimally?

Why we need to manage emotions (both positive and negative ones) optimally at the workplace and how we can do it. The role of prefrontal cortex (PFC) in the integrated operation of the brain

An interesting development at GOOGLE. It has a program called GOOGLE Talks on Emotional Intelligence/Healthy Minds/Empathy/Compassion/Personal Growth/Optimal Performance/Productivity etc. (The tech giant invites leading researchers in related areas to talk to their employees to direct them to personal growth leading to productivity) 

David Rock on “Your Brain at Work”

Why does EQ (Emotional Intelligence) value more than IQ (which is valued only at a threshold level)?

( Why does EQ value more than IQ (which is valued only at a threshold level)? Why do graduate study entry scores (such as GRE scores) only measure success in the first year of graduate school, but not career/life success (This appears to be true for almost all other academic examination barriers – getting through the barrier only means an entry to the next level, but not candidate’s potential in life or career)? Why high internal standards and motivation to continuously work towards them are more important in career/life success more than anything else?)

An interesting development at GOOGLE. It has a program called GOOGLE Talks on Emotional Intelligence/Healthy Minds/Empathy/Compassion/Personal Growth/Optimal Performance/Productivity etc. (The tech giant invites leading researchers in related areas to talk to their employees to direct them to personal growth leading to productivity)
Daniel Goleman on Emotional Intelligence:

How can we explain empathy from the viewpoint of neuroscience?

Why does empathy play a significant role in human species evolution and survival? Since empathic processes involve modelling and projecting other persons’ perspectives, they appear to be highly creative processes. Can we infer that creative individuals are more empathic and vice versa? Further, the neuroscientific definition of empathy explains why it is an essential trait of anyone in a leadership role. Otherwise, those leaders will be very ineffective in their roles. What is the neuroscientific difference between normal human beings and sociopaths/psychopaths?

An interesting development at GOOGLE. It has a program called GOOGLE Talks on Emotional Intelligence/Healthy Minds/Empathy/Compassion/Personal Growth/Optimal Performance/Productivity etc. (The tech giant invites leading researchers in related areas to talk to their employees to direct them to personal growth leading to productivity) 

Thomas Lewis on “The Neuroscience of Empathy”

What is the cognitive neuroscience basis of mindfulness meditation?

 How can we find the relationships between clinical psychological/psychotherapeutic practices and traditional mindfulness practices so that both fields can grow and extend in their perspectives? How would mindfulness practices help in achieving attention, emotion and cognitive regulation? How would self-concept (especially experiential fluid version as opposed to analytic fixed version) and language help in the cognitive control of emotions? 

An interesting development at GOOGLE. It has a program called GOOGLE Talks on Emotional Intelligence/Healthy Minds/Empathy/Compassion/Personal Growth/Optimal Performance/Productivity etc. (The tech giant invites leading researchers in related areas to talk to their employees to direct them to personal growth leading to productivity)  
Philippe Goldin on “Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation”

What is the neuroscience basis of emotions?

Neuroscientific explanations of emotions related concepts such as emotional awareness, self-awareness, self-regulation, psychological flexibility and well-being, motivation, mindfulness, empathy, compassion, cognitive reappraisal and the like. Further, why neuroscientists and researchers are very keen on studying empathy and compassion (empathy + desire to act on it) as significant phenomena for human species survival

An interesting development at GOOGLE. It has a program called GOOGLE Talks on Emotional Intelligence/Healthy Minds/Empathy/Compassion/Personal Growth/Optimal Performance/Productivity etc. (The tech giant invites leading researchers in related areas to talk to their employees to direct them to personal growth leading to productivity) 

Philippe Goldin on “Neuroscience of Emotions”

What is the essence of mindfulness practices?

(Mindfulness as raising awareness on the present moment non-judgmentally. It is about paying full attention(firing all cylinders) on an object in one’s working memory. Since you do it non-judgementally, without an urgency to rush through (that is very much time insensitive manner), your mind is calm and relaxed (all senses, thoughts, emotions/feelings, actions/behaviours etc. are in harmony/synchrony), possibly helping to form new neural networks of knowledge, forming as many connections as possible in a coherent, meaningful manner. That is, one is able to identify new relationships with a flexible/open mind (being creative and insightful without being hampered by stereotypes) among pieces of knowledge held in working memory. Consequently, it should help creating lasting (long-term) memories. Further, a characterising ability of mindfulness practices is the development of self-awareness or self-knowledge. With this self-knowledge, one not only understands oneself better but also, using it as a reference, he/she tends to understand others better (possible more empathically).)

An interesting development at GOOGLE. It has a program called GOOGLE Talks on Emotional Intelligence/Healthy Minds/Empathy/Compassion/Personal Growth/Optimal Performance/Productivity etc. (The tech giant invites leading researchers in related areas to talk to their employees to direct them to personal growth leading to productivity) 

Jon Kabat-Zinn (Professor of Medicine who introduced mindfulness practices to mainstream medicine) on “Mindfulness Meditation”

What is the general trend in alcohol and drug reliance?

Ice addiction treatment demand surging, but alcohol still Australia’s biggest problem

Isn’t this a concerning trend that shouldn’t be neglected? Are we heading away from social sustainability?

What factors should to be parents be concerned?

“Afraid to Have Children”: Climate scientists reveal their fears for the future (This could only be one concern for to be parents!)

What are the Relationships among “Mindfulness”, “Creativity” and “Wisdom”?

In mindfulness practices, one pays attention to the present moment (or on the object held in working memory) fully and non-judgementally. The practitioner’s mind is in a state of calmness and relaxation or senses, thoughts, emotions/feelings, actions/behaviours, etc. are in harmony/synchrony. There is no urgency to rush through the mindfulness state or process (that is the practitioner is mostly insensitive to time/time domain). Such a blissful moment of being with a fully open/flexible mind is the ideal environment to generate/create new ideas/insights connecting as many neural networks of knowledge as possible spontaneously in a meaningful and coherent manner. In other words, when truly new ideas or insights spring into one’s mind spontaneously, he/she is essentially in the state of mindfulness. Possibly the phenomenon of wisdom is the function of incorporating the notions of empathy, compassion, ethicality and the like essentially into one’s creative ideas or insights, giving them a wider social applicability and approval. That is, compared to creativity, wisdom has a multidisciplinary perspective crossing domain boundaries.

Is mindfulness in legal practice possible and necessary?

Mindfulness in legal practice – is it possible and is it necessary?. The need of mindful political leaders with empathy and wisdom to meet contemporary challenges. Are our societies suffering from empathy deficits (similar to budget deficits)? Is empathy a naive luxury?

An interesting development at GOOGLE. It has a program called GOOGLE Talks on Emotional Intelligence/Healthy Minds/Empathy/Compassion/Personal Growth/Optimal Performance/Productivity etc. (The tech giant invites leading researchers in related areas to talk to their employees to direct them to personal growth leading to productivity) 

Charlie Halpern on “Practicing Wisdom in the Obama Era”

How can we use the neuroplasticity feature to transform our minds?

The link between contemplative practices and science. How can empathy be trained and what are the benefits? Better capacities of immunity/healing for practitioners of empathy – realisation of true human features!)

An interesting development at GOOGLE. It has a program called GOOGLE Talks on Emotional Intelligence/Healthy Minds/Empathy/Compassion/Personal Growth/Optimal Performance/Productivity etc. (The tech giant invites leading researchers in related areas to talk to their employees to direct them to personal growth leading to productivity) 

Richie Davidson on “Transform Your Mind, Change Your Brain”

Why is the mental state of “flow” (as defined in positive psychology) important for achieving excellence?

How is the term “flow” defined (as in positive psychology) in contrast to boredom and stressful conditions? It is a state in which thinker/learners engrossed in the matter at hand even losing track of time and space. Why is this ability to get to this state important for excellence in terms of creativity, productivity, wisdom and the like? Further, it appears that it is an individually identified characteristic in which one needs to recognise one’s state of flow on his/her own, ideally.

An interesting development at GOOGLE. It has a program called GOOGLE Talks on Emotional Intelligence/Healthy Minds/Empathy/Compassion/Personal Growth/Optimal Performance/Productivity etc. (The tech giant invites leading researchers in related areas to talk to their employees to direct them to personal growth leading to productivity) 

Daniel Goleman on “Focus: the Hidden Driver of Excellence”

Is Universal Basic Income (UBI) the way to go?

UBI (Universal Basic Income) should provide for basic needs of individuals. It would help us to move away from the jungle theory of survival of the fittest. and give a more human face to our operations. Consequently, individuals should be able to engage in more creative activities (even though not very lucrative), balancing life and work more efficiently to enhance overall wellbeing.

Why is living with a purpose important to well-being?

Why is it important to have a purpose in life? How do mindfulness practices help in this regard?

What do dementia statistics reveal us?

It is essential that we emphasise on lifelong learning per se and mindfulness practices to avoid these consequences of dementia.

What are the relationships among happiness, neuroscience, mindfulness practices and well-being?

The relationships among happiness, inner conditions, outer conditions, mindfulness practices, neuroscience, wisdom, compassion (as the opposite of self-centeredness), loving kindness, well-being, Gamma waves in the brain and the like.

An interesting development at GOOGLE. It has a program called GOOGLE Talks on Emotional Intelligence/Healthy Minds/Empathy/Compassion/Personal Growth/Optimal Performance/Productivity etc. (The tech giant invites leading researchers in related areas to talk to their employees to direct them to personal growth leading to productivity) 

Matthieu Ricard (regarded as the happiest man in the world) on Change your Mind Change your Brain: The Inner Conditions for Authentic Happiness

What is the significance of Gamma brain waves and how can we generate them?

The relationship among Gamma brain waves (at higher frequencies between 25-100 MHz), peak concentration, high cognitive function, compassion, memory, learning, incredible information processing and retrieval capacity, self-control, happiness, calmness, meditation and the like.

Can we intentionally generate Gamma brain waves as high as at 250Hz (in frequency) leading to insights/wisdom/consciousness?

The relationships among Gamma brain waves (which can go even to levels of 250Hz compared to an average of 10-30Hz), meditation and inspirations/creativity/consciousness/wisdom.)

How are high synchronous Gamma brain waves related to compassion/consciousness and high (unsynchronous) beta waves to stress/anxiety?

Gamma brain waves and its relationship to empathy and compassion. At high Gamma levels above 40Hz, it appears that we are able to synchronise (or harmonise or in harmony) our brain operations leading to a high level of consciousness. In contrast, at high beta levels such as in the range of 20-35Hz (as typically found in daily lives), the brain operations are not synchronous (not in harmony) leading to high stress/anxiety levels.

What does the trend analysis in housing affordability tell us?

An interesting trend analysis in housing affordability in the country that holds the world record for the highest number of quarters without an economic recession! It good and appropriate to see mainstream media openly discussing permanent renting options in Australia similar to many other advanced economies.

How would having a flexible mindset/attitude help achieving personal development/growth?

The significance of paying constant attention (i.e being mindful) to what one wants or having a clear purpose in life (reminding us constantly where we are heading). This mindfulness can be contrasted with being robotic or switching the autopilot on to get our routine tasks completed. When we are mindful of what we do, our neural networks strengthen and grow, enabling us to learn and develop wisdom.

How can we use mind integrative pedagogical practices for “Whole Person” development?

Book Review on “Mindsight: Transform Your Brain with the New Science of Kindness by Daniel Siegel”

In “Mindsight: Transform Your Brain with the New Science of Kindness”, the author Daniel Siegel, a Harvard educated clinical Professor of Psychiatry, emphasises the need to integrate cognitive and emotional functions across various part of the brain along with memory types such as implicit and explicit in order to develop healthy minds with a MINDSIGHT or with higher levels of consciousness/wisdom/human development. Without such processes of integration that are well supported by the latest neuroscientific research, individuals tend to develop negative psychological conditions, become sick or would not develop to their full potential. The key neuroscientific concepts behind the above integrative processes are neuroplasticity and epigenetics that allow us to train our minds based on appropriate environmental stimuli. Professor Siegel has given some classic examples (using real counselling cases) of how mindfulness practices can be used to develop healthier minds through the processes of integration mentioned above. He has always used these therapeutic mindfulness practices as more lasting remedies ahead of alternative approaches such as prescribed drugs that usually suppress symptoms while on medication (along with any negative side-effects). The therapeutic practices he used were essentially based on developing critical characteristics of self-awareness and self-regulation. When these skills are practised and developed, individuals become more empathic and compassionate by extending integrative processes from individual to collective lives leading to harmonious and sustainable societies, following the concepts of interpersonal neurobiology.
As an educator, I am fascinated to realise the ways we can apply the integrative human development concepts highlighted by Professor Siegel to generic teaching-learning environments/classrooms to enable individuals to achieve enhanced learning, creativity and wisdom. By emphasising on these mind integration practices, we as educators can focus on the much needed “whole person” or “holistic” development of learners. Linking any new concepts or contents introduced to as many autobiographical memories of the learners and transforming their implicit memories to explicit ones using an appropriate pace following mindfulness concepts would be some critical pedagogical practices we have to engage. Similarly, we should use open-ended questions as well as reflective journaling practices for mindfully retrieving learners’ idiosyncratic and creative ideas for assessing them for their learning as well as in holistic human development. Such assessment would yield more accurate and lasting evaluations of the level “whole person development”, which can be used as a metric for further developments along the same lines, leading to individual productivity, resilience and happiness in general. Interestingly and encouragingly, Professor Siegel has put forth how narrowly focused education systems (focusing on a disintegrated narrower set of skills) existed at the time he was a student have started to improve with a realisation to value broader “whole person” development approaches. The book on “Mindsight”, by Professor Siegel gives some highly useful insights and guidance to educational professionals including policy-makers to direct our pedagogical practices and education systems towards more evidence-based and much-needed learner transformation practices and systems. Such changes will help us to develop more harmonious and sustainable societies.

Why should we pay right attention to children with intensities (and adults as well)?

The need to pay the right attention to children (and adults as well) with INTENSITIES such as emotional, intellectual and imaginational as described by the famous psychologist and psychiatrist.

What is the significance of parent-child attunement for health growth of the child?

The importance of parent-child attunement for the healthy development of the child. This appears to play a vital role in an individual’s social intelligence development demonstrated later in the life. The well-known psychiatrist Daniel Siegel refers to this healthy relationship between two individuals as resonance that helps to develop the relevant neural circuits in the frontal lobes.

What is the significance of getting enough sleep daily?

Why do we need sleep – a minimum of 7-9 hours a day? The well-known professor of Psychiatry, Daniel Siegel explains.

How alarming are alcohol abuse statistics? How are they related to drug abuse statistics?,-ama-says/8767664

Some interesting statistics on alcohol abuse and a comparison with drug abuse! Is alcohol reliance related to the novelty-seeking feature of the human brain? Can the novelty-seeking desires of the brain be satiated with an exposure and encouragement to lifelong/continuous new learning? Should we be able to address these issues with a focus on human development aspects in our education systems at all levels?

How could compassion training be used as a means of developing interpersonal relationships?

It is very encouraging to see Wall Street Journal (WSJ) promoting COMPASSION as a means of positive interpersonal relationships.

How could narrowly-focused organisational profits lead to a world of social chaos?,-the-cba/8776682

Interestingly the same old wisdom – everything is related everything else or simply the connectedness of this universe. Senior management decisions on mere profit increases devoid of holistic views/sustainable development to the use of high tech for automation to turning a blind eye to regulatory body advice/warning to creating money laundering opportunities to creating avenues for funding terrorism to inflicting employee redundancies/layouts to pursue ever-increasing profits despite economic downturns. Where are the solutions for these so entangled problems? Shouldn’t our education systems provide a starting point for possible solutions at the grassroots? Shouldn’t our education systems take initiatives to promote “whole person” development instead of a single-sided, narrow focus? With a “whole person” development approach, we would be in with a chance to produce leaders with broader visions leading to social sustainability.

Would walking at moderate intensity help in achieving health and well-being?

How walking 30 minutes a day (even in 3 blocks of 10 minutes) for 5 days over a week at a moderate intensity (as opposed to vigorous intensity) can bring significant health/well-being benefits?

Should empathy/ empathic communication be an essential trait for medical practitioners?

Why should empathy/ empathic communication be an essential trait for medical practitioners? Why should it an essential be part of medical education?

How can we overcome loneliness epidemic?

Loneliness Epidemic: shouldn’t practices of empathy, compassion training, emotional intelligence awareness and mindfulness practices that make social connections provide solutions to these problems?

Would cutting executive bonuses resolve money laundering problems of banks?

Interesting discussions and views on bank money laundering allegations! It is very interesting to wait and see where all these will end.

What is the cost or loss of productivity in sleep deprivation?

Less sleep and loss of productivity – can we quantify?. Is sleeping less caused by some unavoidable life matters or is it a choice? Is surviving on less sleep something to brag about? Is there a trend developing over the years about the level of sleep in general?

How Can Being Mindful and be in a State of Constant Learning Help towards Developing Wisdom?

Book Review on “Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life” by Jon Kabat-Zinn (One who introduced mindfulness practices to mainstream medicine in the USA).

In “Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life”, the author Jon Kabat-Zinn highlights the message that the practices of mindfulness are not restricted to particular times at some locations, but it can be followed in anything one does anywhere. Further, he emphasises the fact that the mindfulness practices are not rigidly associated with a particular group or religion, rather it is a way of being that any individual can benefit immensely. The essence of mindfulness practices is the notion of getting one’s attention voluntarily on what he/she does in the present moment, non-judgementally. In other words, simply it is about not performing a task with the autopilot on, following the notion of automaticity – instead, it is about getting all the brain resources focused on it in a non-judgemental way. When we pay non-judgemental attention to a task or matter, we tend to see it more openly, in an unbiased manner or we become more receptive to the information per se that reaches us.  Such an open reception of information will help us to see the reality as is, instead of through coloured glass, as is the usual case in many situations. Just imagine the strength of the idea of possessing a mind trained with appropriate mindfulness practices with the acquired skills to see or sense everything one does anywhere, anytime clearly and vividly as is, as highlighted by the author, Jon Kabat-Zinn. In fact, Jon was an emeritus Professor of Medicine who himself had been practising mindfulness meditation since the age of twenty-two before introducing mindfulness practices to the mainstream medicine in the USA through programs such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

As an educator, I see a great value for any learner in following mindfulness practices that enable achieving enhanced learning constantly. Neuroscience research has revealed that most of our learning is implicit and it does not necessarily take place in a formal learning environment or classroom. In regard to this revelation, imagine the extent to which a learner can benefit, or can engage in learning per se if he/she can maintain a state of mindfulness constantly by paying voluntary attention non-judgementally in everything encountered and anywhere. In a universe of information that we cannot avoid as the transmission is enabled by various technologies and media cost-effectively, the best way to respond is to be receptive non-judgementally by keeping all our sense open rather than getting overwhelmed by it and closing our receptive sensors. We should also not disregard our internal body signals that help us develop a self-awareness by identifying and reflecting on our feelings, emotions and thoughts and the like in making our all-important decisions and in enhancing our well-being. Researchers have identified that such an awareness that can be developed through mindfulness practices is of prime importance in developing individuals with healthy minds or in achieving higher levels of human development. When we progress to higher levels in human development, we necessarily involve in an integration process of both external information as well as internal body signals that enable a “whole person” development learning path leading to wisdom. Further, we as learners/individuals become better-skilled in essential human functions such as attention regulation (AC), emotional regulation (ER) and cognitive regulation (CR) so that we develop the capacities required to be more effective, empathic, compassionate, resilient and productive social members. These members are better equipped and more capable of identifying and proper addressing of so called wicked problems. 

Finally, the author Jon Kabat-Zinn, who himself has been a practitioner of mindfulness for over forty years, put the readers on a path to developing wisdom. The benefits of mindfulness practices have a radiant effect on many facets of life – in enhancing learning, healthcare, self-awareness, emotional and social intelligence, interpersonal relationships, parenting, decision-making and in short overall well-being and productive human operations.

What do the trends in labour dynamics tell us in relation to social sustainability?

Is wage stagnation caused by threats from automation, temporary work visas or student workers (who don’t have a say on their pay) either alone or in combination? Have employers become more powerful (in comparison to unions) and exploiting the prevailing labour market dynamics to earn higher profits? How will this trend impact on measures such as productivity, overall economic growth and social sustainability?

How Can We Get Insights from Brain Science for Optimal Human Operations?

In “Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distractions, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long – Know Your Brain, Transform Your Performance”, the author David Rock highlights the important fact that when we develop an understanding of how our brain works, we can significantly improve our daily functioning as human beings in general. Irrespective of the roles we play as employees, managers, leaders, learners or parents, by developing a self-awareness or mindfulness into how our brain functions, we can enhance our performance or productivity by being able to pay better attention, regulate emotions and control cognitive activities optimally. The phenomenon of mindfulness/self-awareness/metacognition is aptly emphasised by representing it as the “director” in the human life of stage drama. A skilful director (one who has developed mindfulness to a higher degree) is able to utilise the limited capacity stage (working memory) with greater efficiency by appropriately getting actors (information such as emotions/feelings, thoughts etc.) onto the stage optimally as and when required.

The significant findings of the human conditions required for insights/creativity/wisdom are illustrated comprehensively with the analogy of stage drama of life. Essentially, a relaxed and happy mind with an appropriate level of arousal is required to get the attention focussed. Under these conditions, we make many parts of our brain (including the right cerebral hemisphere that play a leading role in creativity) to operate in synchrony at higher frequency levels (gamma range), integrating many forms of information and signals such as thoughts, memories, emotions/feelings senses and the like. These pieces of information and signals are represented in the brain, in fact, as neuronal networks that self-organise based on the learning and experience the individual undergo, following the important notions of neuroplasticity and epigenetics. To minimise higher levels of arousal such as anger, fear and sadness so that an optimal brain operation is accommodated, the author, Rock, has demonstrated the use of mental techniques that include emotion labelling, situation reappraisal and managing expectations realistically (a principle that closely relates to the notion of equanimity).

Another key area that is emphasised in the book is the notion that the human brain is a social animal. In fact, researchers have understood that the social world or having healthy social connections is a primary human need like food and shelter. The presence of physical brain structures such as mirror neurones that help human beings to empathise or understand the minds of other human beings validate the premise of human beings essentially as social animals. Further, the author, Rock, has highlighted the SCARF (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness) model as a guide (ideally for leaders/managers/counsellors/parents etc.) for making human operations or performance optimal or positive in a social world. They are primary features that human brains are implicitly yearning towards for and any threats causing a movement away from them (within an organisation or group) would result in significantly reduced human performance.

“Your Brain at Work” has also provided some useful guidance for successfully implementing a social/individual change/transformation, however small it is, based on the fundamentals of brain science. The brain is an organ that naturally attempts to minimise threats (fear anxiety, anger etc.) while maximising rewards (relaxation, happiness etc.). It has the inherent capacity to change (physically as well), as highlighted in the notion of neuroplasticity, under conducive conditions and environments. Consequently, following the SCARF model, any social/individual change/transformation should not move members away from (or at least minimise such a move to the lowest level) the features of Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness. Any action that makes a move away from them would result in ineffectiveness in the change/transformation process. As highlighted by Rock very aptly, the status and relatedness features in the SCARF model can compete with each other in an organisation/team environment (as status is usually a measure that compares individuals and it does not help healthy relationships). Consequently, in an ideal or healthier situation, comparison of an individual should be made to a previous status of him/her instead of against another individual. Further, the motivation for a change should be more appropriately enhanced through intrinsic (or more lasting) rewards than that of a “carrot and stick” or extrinsic type.

Finally, as an educator, I believe that “Your Brain at Work” offers many insights that educators can make use of in teaching-learning environments. They can be used to enhance learning and motivation in individuals to progress towards higher levels of human developments with capacities of mindfulness and wisdom.

Why do governments and independent economists/reviewers always interpret the same data/results/pictures in contrasting ways?

Why do governments and independent economists/reviewers always interpret the same data/results/pictures in contrasting ways? Is this what we call “political” viewpoint/decision-making? Who does the general public trust more?

What are the solutions available for homelessness?

“Permanent housing cheaper for governments” – yes they would most likely save from many other long-term expenses such as mental health related issues, hospital bills, justice system related issues, prisons, lost productivity etc. etc. (the list will go on).

How can we make individuals identify and believe in their true capacities? 

“In my current experience and view, the biggest “social issue of the gifted” is the painful misfit between implicit beliefs about giftedness by the non-gifted and the gifted alike and the actual or perceived reality of very many gifted adults.”

How can we make individuals believe in their capacities so that they can rely on them towards reaching higher levels of human development?


Is there a notion of gifted ex-child? How is achievement related to giftedness? 

“The achievement orientation that has always existed for adults and is now taking over the field of gifted education, makes it difficult for the gifted to understand the qualities of mind that make them different. Such an understanding is essential to honoring the self.”

“The first act of honoring the self is the assertion of consciousness: the choice to think, to be aware, to send the searchlight of consciousness outward toward the world and inward toward our own being. To default on this effort is to default on the self at the most basic level. To honor the self is to be willing to think independently, to live by our own mind, and to have the courage of our own perceptions and judgments (Brandon, 1983).”

How we support individuals/learners in enhancing consciousness/mindfulness is the key to their healthy progress towards higher levels human development.

How Can We Find (Inner)Peace in a Frantic World?

A Book Review on ” Mindfulness: a practical guide to FINDING PEACE IN A FRANTIC WORLD by Mark Williams and Danny Penman”

In “Mindfulness: a practical guide to FINDING PEACE IN A FRANTIC WORLD” by Mark Williams(an Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University and a co-founder of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy – MBCT) and Danny Penman put forth the important message of the role played by inward-looking capacities developed through mindfulness practices towards finding peace within a world of unavoidable chaos. In other words, it is better that we actively look for developing appropriate conditions internally or attempt to develop a self-awareness, instead of waiting (sometimes forever) for solutions to appear magically and externally from a frantic world. Consequently, mindfulness is a practice that empowers individuals to take control of their lives and be content and happy with an enhanced perception of reality so long as the basic needs such as food and shelter are satisfied.

One interesting notion the authors highlight in the book is the “habit release” mindfulness practice. In the words (given in the foreword) of Jon Kabat-Zinn (a pioneer in the area of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction – MBSR), it is:

“I particularly like the simple yet radical habit-breaking suggestions, what they call ‘habit releasers,’ that they offer, which are meant to reveal and break open some of our most unaware life patterns of thought and behaviour, patterns that unbeknownst to us, tend to imprison us in a smallness that is definitely not the full story of who we are.”

By engaging in the mindful practice of “habit release”, we switch-off the “auto-pilot” whenever it is appropriate and shift from a “Doing” mode to “Being” mode. In a frantic world, we get entangled in a “Doing” mode, trying to squeeze in as many “robotic” procedures as possible into our daily routines. We simply work like machines performing routine tasks repetitively with no time spent on reflections to see, or more correctly, to perceive what we are doing in a more detailed and creative way with wisdom/insights while being in a “Being” mode. Most importantly, the key to our health and well-being, reducing symptoms such as stress, anxiety, depression and similar negative psychological conditions is the increase of time in a “Being” mode while minimising the time in a  “Doing” mode.

Another significant mindfulness practice that is highlighted in the book is the development of an approach/acceptance-oriented mental state as opposed to an avoidance-oriented one even in the presence of unavoidable realities of life yielding negative emotions. That is we befriend with such emotions like sadness and frustration with a loving kind/compassionate attitude towards us as well as towards the rest of the world. Clearly, this is not passive acceptance of or resignation to the adverse conditions in a spineless manner. Instead, it is the practice of equanimity through which we get to see and understand the realities of life better, possibly through the secretion of mood-control body chemicals such serotonin at appropriate levels. Through this clear vision and perceptions, we, in fact, get to the point that we can seek real solutions to the problems/conditions that caused the adverse situation. Further, we may get to see that these real solutions may not be present immediately; we may have to persevere for weeks, months or even years at times to find and apply them in a lasting manner.

 Authors also aptly highlight that mindfulness practices help us to avoid the rigid and inaccurate decision-making following a process of over-generalisation. When we are not appropriately mindful, possibly due to being entangled in a “Doing” mode, we tend to jump to inaccurate decisions or conclusions without having access to an adequate amount of information related to the matter. Consequently, it stops us from perceiving the realities better resulting in negative conditions such as stress, anxiety, sadness and frustration.  Worsening the situation further, we may continue to rigidly believe in what we understood as real without adequate information and without being reflective or open-minded.

As educators, we have many lessons to learn from the practices of mindfulness to enhance student learning. First and foremost, we must make sure to avoid the teaching-learning process get into a “Doing” mode. Instead, we should allow learners enough time to reflect and be mindful during the learning process. Further, during the process of learner assessment, we necessarily need to get them to a “Being” mode, disallowing them from getting into a “Doing” mode in which they produce premeditated, habitual answers devoid of reflection and open-mindedness. Such conceptual changes at fundamental levels would lead to enhanced learning and more valid and lasting learner evaluations.

What could be the impact of international student/temporary work visa holder exploitation on the broader economy?

An interesting study/investigation.

Why should we move away from the super busy culture?

Interesting discussion on how to manage our health and well-being! Prolong stress and its damage – due to hormones adrenaline and cortisol in our bloodstream for longer.

Why is sleep deprivation a serious problem?

Why is sleep deprivation a serious problem? What are the health conditions associated with it? Should employers/decision-makers pay more attention in this area?

How would planning for gifted education help improving education for all kids?

“What would we ask for if we had the support of our state and federal governments for gifted education? Well, the things the gifted support organizations like NAGC and SENG and others ask for — teachers who understand gifted children; flexibility in teaching so that kids with gifted traits can achieve and learn every day, no matter what their skill levels (as all kids deserve); schools that are able to work with families to support gifted kids with social and emotional needs; time for students to explore and invent and create; socialization opportunities for gifted children to find peers..”

Why “implicit learning” through life experiences is what that matters most in learning/personality development?

“In short, we need to have lived for a number of years to collect the experiences necessary for self-education and conscious personality development even to be possible. The process cannot be rushed. Understanding grown-up potential as Dabrowskian personality development rather than as mere self-improvement can give us an entirely new perspective on time and life, on what matters and what doesn’t. It also can prompt us to re-evaluate how best to nurture the life-long, personal potential of our children, rather than focus solely on academic timetables and curricular achievements.”

What can be done to avoid misdiagnosis of gifted children as having mental disorders?

Psychologist, Dr. James T. Webb (Founder of SENG – (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) speaks.
“Many of our brightest, most creative, most independent-thinking children are being incorrectly diagnosed as having behavioral or mental disorders, such as ADHD or Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Stigmatizing labels can harm their sense of self, and treatment may be unnecessary and even harmful. Some health conditions, such as allergies and asthma, are actually more common among gifted children, but are overlooked or the giftedness component neglected. Though teachers cannot diagnose, research indicates that teachers are important in suggesting referrals. Because few psychologists, physicians, or other health care professionals receive training about gifted children, educators and parents must become informed. Based on recent research and clinical experience, this workshop describes ways to differentiate whether a child suffers from disorders such as ADHD, or whether the child is simply showing gifted behaviors. Additional focus is given to dual diagnoses of gifted children, those who are twice-exceptional (2e).”

Could we achieve housing affordability through some pragmatic tax changes?

Very interesting and pragmatic change-proposals to some important taxes – the introduction of property tax instead of stamp duty and insurance payments! Mainly it can be a change of perspective – paying an ongoing tax vs one-off tax at the time of purchase. Many would like to keep away from an ongoing tax while more positive about one payment.

How accurately can (typical) exams/tests measure human potential/ability?

How accurately can (typical) exams/tests measure learner ability? Can we score high marks without rote rehearsal? Would rote rehearsed knowledge create lasting memories? Is such knowledge only applicable to getting through the exam? Do we measure implicit learning of learners that the most common form of learning? Are we encouraging “whole person” development of the learners with creativity/wisdom or are we making them robots or “only” routine problem solvers? Are the anxieties and stresses of the learners as well as parents worth in terms of achieving learning/creativity/wisdom etc..

How can we develop the minds of individuals from a very young age to become resilient/mindful and be accepting of the reality as is?

How can we develop the minds of individuals from a very young age to become resilient/mindful and be accepting of the reality as is? Why is it very important in the contemporary world by looking at the developing trends? What can the education systems do about these issues proactively?

How does the teenage brain work? How can we foster its healthy development?

Why we should teach adolescents to SURF IN THE WAVES OF EMOTION (instead of getting drowned). Let us teach them to enjoy the journey rather than narrowing their focus on the destinations such as the GREATEST GPA or SAT SCORES. Let us make them better use of their novelty-seeking and fighting the status quo thrives. Let us guide them to be candles that light the candles on either side instead of making them compete with each other. Let us guide them to make integrated brain operations ( i.e. enhanced consciousness) leading to health and well-being, kindness and compassion throughout the lifetime.

What can our education systems do to relieve our young generation from severe anxiety?

What can our education systems do to relieve our young generation from severe anxiety? Should we push them to compete with each other? Can they learn effectively/create lasting memories when they are anxious/competing with each other? Why should we promote health and well-being, relaxation, mindfulness and acceptance of reality as is at an early age?

What is the real value of developing interpersonal/emotional/social intelligence? 

Is this a trend that demonstrates that we are not giving emphasis on the areas of interpersonal intelligence/social intelligence/emotional intelligence/empathy etc. In learning and development, they appear to be more important than mastering a specific field of study. Researchers have emphasized that human brain is a social organ that facilitates (mirror neurons are an example) social interactions and empathising. What can our education/learning systems do about this – helping individuals to develop these much-needed abilities? It is not just in marriages but in all everyday life interactions.

How is sleep related to creativity?

How sleep is related to memory consolidation (creating lasting memories), refining memory traces by removing the unwanted ones from what is important, improving attention, creativity, productivity, reaction times etc. the next day, flushing out toxins among cells that are linked to neurodegenerative diseases and minimising hyperactive/impulsive behaviours (especially in children) etc. Further, why kids/children need more hours of sleep – because they get exposed to more new experiences/learning.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness – How Are They Related?

Book Review on “Change Your Thinking: Positive and Practical Ways to Overcome Stress, Negative Emotions and Self-Defeating Behaviour using CBT” by Sarah Edelman
In “Change Your Thinking: Positive and Practical Ways to Overcome Stress, Negative Emotions and Self-Defeating Behaviour using CBT”, the author Dr. Sarah Edelman highlights the message that the practices of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) can be used to enhance our psychological health and well-being. Further, interestingly, she identifies the link (both similarities and differences) between the practices of CBT and mindfulness, which is becoming increasingly popular among Western medical practitioners in the recent past. Both practices essentially use reflective or metacognitive approaches to understanding and perceiving our thoughts. One major difference is that in CBT, we mainly use a problem-solving approach to effect a change in our thinking while in mindfulness practices, we pay voluntary attention to objects/thoughts/emotions etc. in an open, non-judgemental and curious way. In everyday life, we face problems that need and have reasonable solutions within a limited timeframe as well as problems or issues that we do not have immediate resolutions. We may infer that CBT is more suited to the problems of the former type while mindfulness practices with its accepting feature or using equanimity in facing unavoidable realties are more appropriate in the problems/issues of the latter types. In effect, both practices can be very useful in different situations or applications of life.
Dr. Edelman highlights some of the faulty thinking we may hold and that we can challenge using CBT practices. Some examples are black and white thinking (rigid thinking), overgeneralising (making conclusions/decisions without adequate information), just world fallacy (related to perfectionism and strongly believe that everything in this world is just/fair), hindsight vision (repenting on past decisions/actions), tyranny of should (things are expected to happen in a certain way without necessarily having valid reasons), awfulising (expecting worst to happen), mindreading (making assumptions on what other would be thinking) and comparing (oneself to others in an unnecessary way). These faulty thinking patterns can contribute towards developing some common negative psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, anger, ineffective (non-assertive) communication and low frustration tolerance (lack of resilience) etc. Some common practices of CBT we use to challenge the above types of faulty thinking instances are Socratic questioning (logical disputing or constantly questioning attitude), behavioural disputing (introducing forceful behaviour to challenge our thinking) and goal-focussed thinking (set a goal and focus on that despite challenges). The important lesson we have to learn is that if we develop reflective/metacognitive skills (or a self-awareness) appropriately, we will be in a position to self-identify the above faulty-thinking patterns within us so that we can take appropriate measures keep away from them. It implies that we can and have to play an important role on our own in managing (or appraising/reappraising) our thoughts cognitively as well as behaviourally so as to enhance our happiness, psychological health and overall well-being instead of always awaiting for some external sources or conditions to provide them.
In contrast to CBT, in mindfulness practices, we pay voluntary attention to objects/emotions/thoughts or the reality as is in a non-judgemental, open and curious way. Our focus is not to solve any problem or change our thinking. However, by paying full attention, we get to see and understand the matter at hand more clearly and fully. As a result, we are able to understand any problems/issues with enhanced clarity as well as possible solutions to them, even though this is not our initial intention. Further, sometimes we may have to continue mindfulness practices for longer periods such as years before our perceptions of problems and solutions become clearer to an appropriate level. Consequently, we may not find solutions to problems in an urgent sense using whatever the information available as the main focus and benefit of mindfulness practices is to perceive the reality as is, possibly over time, enhancing clarity alongside.
As an educator, I find that CBT practices would help learners immensely to set up an appropriate psychological environment within (with a proper arousal level/emotional state) to engage in lifelong learning effectively. Use of CBT practices can be thought of as doing the groundwork to develop healthy minds that are capable of getting associated with learning and development more efficiently in everyday life situations (don’t forget that most of our learning is implicit, through life experiences).

How would famous mathematicians/physicists/scientists interpret happiness?
Einstein’s words of wisdom on “Happiness”! “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness,”  It appears that there are some common thinking patterns among natural scientists/mathematicians and social scientists, at least among leading individuals.$1.7-million/9083758

Why should we (our education systems) focus on developing interpersonal/social relationships, empathy, compassion more in our societies?
Why should we (our education systems) focus on developing interpersonal/social relationships, empathy, compassion more in our societies? We keep coming back to this topic again and again from different directions.,-ken-wyatt-says/9085782

How do mindfulness practices impact on cognitive abilities?

Impact of mindfulness practices on cognitive abilities (the link between the historical practice of mindfulness (thousands of years old)  to modern day neuroscience) – the fact that mindfulness practices improve working memory capacity ( similar to having a computer with higher capacity RAM/primary memory) is very interesting. It will allow us to keep more pieces of information in working memory so that we can get involved in a process of INTEGRATION of knowledge to make more diverse/creative connections/meanings using them. As a result, our reading comprehension improves as well. 

How would mindfulness practices be more specifically useful for individuals with gifted characteristics?

“Teach them MINDFULNESS, or other relaxation techniques. We recognize the intensities in gifted children, and we are often at a loss as to how to respond to them. Keep in mind that our children are in the same situation—feeling their intensities and not knowing how to channel them in constructive and creative ways. By our modeling and practicing mindfulness meditations and teaching them how to self-soothe and relax when they feel they will explode, we help them throughout their lives. These practices will most likely have positive health benefits. Thus, we can allow their creative intensities”

  What are the risks/troubles associated with giftedness and/or high IQ?

The trouble with giftedness (and associated overexitabilities/sensitivities related vulnerabilities) “In short, highly intelligent individuals are at a significantly greater risk of experiencing psychological and physiological disorders according to the study published in the journal Intelligence, online October 8, 2017.”

How is loving kindness related to health and well-being?

“A loving kindness practice is literally better for our health and increases well being. Studies show that a loving kindness practice develops prosocial behavior and by focusing on compassion and cultivating more compassionate behavior.”

How could high emotional capacity become a blessing and curse?

“High emotional capacity is a blessing and a curse. Without high emotional intelligence individuals like St. Teresa of Calcutta would have not impacted our world so profoundly. We need these individuals to open our eyes to be more empathetic, caring, and develop creative solutions to better society. Even with all of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s massive progress, she suffered silently with her faith and the vulnerability of the human condition. Gifted individuals with a high emotional intelligence are told they are too sensitive that they just need to get over it, and that they take too ….”

How could mindfulness practices reduce stress, promote health and well-being and increase compassionate behaviour toward others (neuroscience basis)?

“Mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, promote health, and well-being, as well as to increase compassionate behavior toward others. It reduces distress to one’s own painful experiences, going along with altered neural responses, by enhancing self-regulatory processes and decreasing emotional reactivity. In order to investigate if mindfulness similarly reduces distress and neural activations associated with empathy for others’ socially painful experiences, which might in the following more strongly motivate prosocial behavior, the present study compared trait, and state effects of long-term mindfulness meditation (LTM) practice. To do so we acquired behavioral data and neural activity measures using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during an empathy for social pain task while manipulating the meditation state between two groups of LTM practitioners that were matched with a control group.”

  What is real masculinity?

How do you compare Real men and Good men! What is real masculinity?

Have we really abolished slavery? More realistically can it ever be done in the prevailing status quo?

“The fact that slavery can be hidden deep inside multinational supply chains blinds us to its presence and can make us all unwitting enablers.”

What effects of automation/digitization are visible currently?

Much predicted effects of automation/digitisation are already here! The trend will extend to other industries as well in no time. We should not complain, instead see this as an opportunity or catalyst to evolve better in the right direction. Our education systems have been producing individuals to cater for the outcomes of the industrial revolution that took place over hundred years ago. We need to seriously think about changing the paradigm from producing individuals to undertake routine work to produce individuals with creativity/wisdom to take care of their lives more mindfully.

Is automation/digitization only impacting manufacturing/agricultural jobs?

Job loses to automation/digital disruption are spreading to services sector as well. In light of this, how should our education sector refocus their approaches in learning and development? We may be already lagging behind on this much needed refocus task.

Is it wrong to be fair and balanced in journalism?

Hats off for ABC for pushing in the right direction – being fair and balanced!

Is there a relationship between alcohol consumption and cancer?

The relationship between alcohol consumption and cancer seemed to be established from research.

What changes are required at all levels of education to face the challenges/impacts of automation?

We are getting to the same point again and again from different directions – what changes need to be done (in fact, a paradigm change) to contemporary education systems (at all levels – primary, secondary and tertiary) to face the challenges of evolving artificial intelligence applications. We need to make sure that we tap the creativity/imagination/wisdom/open-mindedness/emotional intelligence/self-awareness/empathy etc. etc. of our learners, instead of using their time and effort to get them ready for completing routine/procedural tasks required by industrialised world, as machines.

Do high profit yields from organisations always result from malpractices/fraudulent behaviours?

Another one of top 4 banks (in Australia) to join the club of money laundering and counter terrorism breaches! Where are we heading to?

More revelation of high profit yielding banking industry (Australia) issues/malpractices! This time liar loans! As per some investigations, these loans can add up to 1/3 of the home loans. Is this the tip of the iceberg?

How are wage stagnation/low wage growth, migrant workers, population growth and migrant worker exploitation related to each other?

Wage stagnation in Australia despite a reasonably high jobs growth – some very good/real analysis/reasons! High population growth, mainly through migration High number of temporary visa holders/workers including students Misconceived “trickle-down economics” theory On the first two reasons – The primary focus of migrant workers and temporary visa holders is to find some sort of employment, not about the size of the pay packet. Further, in comparison, their expectations are lower as well (in trying to adjust and survive). These facts are contributing to lower wage growth.

One culprit of wage growth stagnation/or low wage growth in Australia – chronically underpaid migrant workers. Possibly true for other similar economies.,-finds-study/9175626?section=business

A new and apparently widely used business model – Blackmailing. It may appear superficially that it affects only the exploited migrant workers. But if you dive deep, it affects the broader economy of the country. This is another proof of what Leonardo da Vinci famously said “Everything is Connected to Everything Else” “Bringing people into the country, paying them below minimum wage, is not a recipe for economic success.”

 What strategic directions can our education systems take in order to avoid scenarios such as long-term unemployment?

Long-Term-Unemployment! Higher than during the GFC in Australia. What are the causes and where are the solutions coming from? What strategic decisions our education systems can take to avoid these situation in future?

  Are selective schools the best choice for our children (if get into)?

Some useful perspectives when considering selective schools for your children. “Ideally, schools are microcosms of society, where children learn everyday multiculturalism in an organic way,” Are selective schools racially skewed? If yes, will it represent the broader Australian society? If not, what would be the developmental impacts on students (such as on creativity, wisdom, resilience, critical thinking etc. )? How do competition, affordability and fairness in relation to education relate to this situation?

How serious are the mental health issues in schools (including the primary)?

How can our education systems change/improve in order to avoid these trends – significantly increasing incidents of mental health issues for children as young as 10?

Are our societies sustainable when it comes to housing affordability?

Where are the solutions coming to these negative trends developing? Where is the sustainability of our societies?

Do we have a relationship between home-ownership among low income earners and the economic growth of a country?

Very interesting and useful trend analysis – home ownership over a period of over 35 years. It is not surprising that homeownership depends on the income/wealth level. However, this dramatic decrease in homeownership among low-income earners has been the result DESPITE having an ongoing period of over 26 years of recession-free economic growth in Australia. How can this be explained? Does this mean higher/better economic growth relates to increasing inequality/decreasing housing affordability/increasing negative social conditions and lower social sustainability?

How is a purpose of life/meaningful life related to health and well-being?

Why a purpose in life or meaningful life matters for our health and well-being (or to be more resilient)!

Is it better to learn from the future as it emerges instead of from the past?

A Very interesting and useful phenomenon in a contemporary world – Learning from the Future as it Emerges (instead of from the past): “Learning from the future as it emerges. If you work with leadership teams in organizations and government, more often than not, people face challenges where applying learning from the past is not good enough. In some cases, the knowledge of the past is preventing the very solution people are seeking.”

  Is a significant portion of a house/unit price is attached to the location instead of the condition of the house/unit?

Interestingly, it appears that the value of a house/unit/property is mainly decided by the location rather than the condition of the house/unit. A house built 30-40 years ago will have more or less the same value as that of a relatively new one (however, we cannot disregard that older blocks have larger land sizes, but new houses could have better conditions such as higher energy ratings). Further, house prices in different suburbs of the same state/province can vary vastly purely for reasons such as the availability of popular primary/secondary schools. As a result, it appears, somewhat strangely though, that if one is looking for a more affordable  place to live, he/she will have to go to the extreme extents of relocating.

How seriously should organisations/workplaces consider employees’ health and well-being?

An example that illustrates that health and well-being is very important (especially at the work place), if not THE most important requirement. Especially, chronic sleep deprivation can have fatal consequences.

How are executive salaries related to average salaries?

Interesting and insightful discussion on wage stagnation and executive salary! This comparison is between the AVERAGE salary (around 60k-80k in Australia) and executive salary but NOT between the MINIMUM salary and executive salary. This understanding could make a significant difference in the way this information is interpreted.   “Mr Liveris says Australian corporations’ approach to executive remuneration is outdated, as it’s based on a model created for corporations in the 1980s and 1990s. “It’s barely been reviewed for decades even though the business environment has changed. “In this time of change and innovation, decision makers need to better analyse the contributions being made to their corporation’s performance and examine how they can share the benefits more widely.””

Should kids be engaged in summer/holiday reading activities?

A useful summer/holiday advice for parents and kids on READING! “If you don’t use it, you lose it,”

How would housing markets/affordability vary from country to country?

An interesting comparison of the housing market in two similar economies/countries – Australia and Canada! Which one has a higher risk?

How would lifestyle changes help minimising cancer deaths?

Reducing cancer deaths 40% by making appropriate lifestyle changes. Tobacco smoking, including passive smoking Low intake of fruit and vegetables and high intake of red and processed meat Excessive alcohol consumption Being overweight Being physically inactive Excessive exposure to UV light Infections such as hepatitis C and Human papillomavirus Use of some menopausal hormonal therapy

How important is a kindness curriculum for preschoolers (similar to math, reading and writing curricula)?

The way to go – from the grassroots! Interesting developments towards sustainable/peaceful societies. Research/evidence-based kindness curriculum for preschool classrooms developed by the Center for Healthy Minds at The University of Wisconsin–Madison (USA) led by the founder Richard J. Davidson. Just like we traditionally pay emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic for kids who start schooling, it is equally, if not more, important to pay attention to developing “Healthy Minds” with a special focus on emotional intelligence (EQ ahead of IQ). How many of us and our educational organisations could visualise the value of such a curriculum?

Why have we started emphasising on adequate sleep in the recent past?

“Not long ago, sleep wasn’t considered particularly important. You either got it or you didn’t, and if you didn’t, too bad. That picture has changed dramatically as more and more health problems are associated with poor sleep. Some of the problems caused by lack of sleep are short-term. You become more moody. Your judgment can be off. You find it harder to learn. You may also be at greater risk of serious injury. All of this adds up to more mistakes at work and school, and opens the door to potential accidents while driving. There are also long-term problems that arise when you don’t get enough sleep. Over time, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and even an early death.”

How severe can money laundering/terrorism support charges of financial institutes be?

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA- the largest bank in Australia) saga continues with its admission of money laundering allegations along with some additional/amended allegation being introduced by the regulator.  With the possible penalty is summing up to over 900 billion dollars, where would this go/end?

Can a mother’s love be a barrier to work/employment?

Interesting discussion on giving care to children! Does GDP/economic growth mean everything to a country? When we blindly pursue this target what are the negative by-products we get? Until very recently, we were targeting cognitive skills development of our children. But now the focus has started to shift to whole-person/holistic/ whole-brain-child development. Similarly, it is not just the GDP figure that matters but developing sustainable societies. “However 39 per cent of the women who reported childcare as the main barrier to work also confessed that they actually preferred to look after their children. Shock, horror.” “The child is hardwired to its mother’s smell, and the sound of her voice. The mother becomes responsive to her infant’s face, its vocalisations and its touch. Because a child needs to be attached to someone to survive, evolution has led it to be programmed from before birth to attach to a caregiver as soon as it hits the deck. But this evolutionary necessity does…

What would be the reasons behind the development of the living-trend of minimalist living?

Interesting living trend – Minimalist Living! “It’s someone who decides not to buy into the ‘work, spend, go into debt, work some more’ lifestyle, which is encouraged by consumerist society,” Professor Kasser says. “[They] instead focus on personal growth, their family, or spirituality … living sustainably or contributing to the community”  “We focus primarily on how the economy is doing … these are all extrinsic, materialistic, money-orientated indicators,” he says. “Instead of using economic growth as a proxy for all things good, [we must focus] instead on indicators that really do have to do with intrinsic values, how happy are people.”

What would be the price we pay for materialism?

High price of materialism – what research finds is deteriorating health and well being (depression, anxiety, low self-esteem etc), reducing personal and social sustainability!

How could we engage in healthy aging?

Eat your greens
Regular exercise
Not smoking
Maintaining a healthy weight
Keeping your cardiovascular system in good condition (by controlling high blood pressure and diabetes, for instance)
Staying mentally engaged (by reading or learning new skills, for example)

How would we compare population growth/migration, wage growth, economic growth etc. among similar but different countries?

Interesting relationships/connections among population growth/migration, number of jobs created, wage growth, economic growth and comparisons among countries etc.

How would homelessness and human potential relate to each other?

Homelessness and Human Potential – Very Intriguing! Some Disappointing Statistics about Survival Rate after being Homeless!

Are we overusing anti-psychotic drugs?

Antipsychotics! Are we overusing them? What are the negative side-effects?

What natural practices can we engage in to manage stress, anxiety and depression?

Some useful, natural practices to overcome stress, anxiety and depression (and to maintain overall well-being)!

What could be the implications of using superannuation/pension funds in an increasing trend for medical costs?

Concerning trend! – in an increasing trend of superannuation funds are being used as medical costs (40+ million in 2001 and now it is close to 300 million). It appears that something is not right here. What are are the causes/solutions?

Can kindness be taught? Why should we do that?

Can kindness be taught? Why should we do it? What is the significance? This is what The New York Times Article had to say about it.
” The Kindness Curriculum is part of a growing global movement to teach emotional intelligence in schools. Advocates of this approach say it’s shortsighted for teachers to focus narrowly on intellectual learning and ignore the cooperative emotional skills that enable learning — and learners — to flourish.”

How could personal insults make conflict-management impossible?

A useful insight – that conflicts cannot be resolved through personal insults.

How would focus/attention become the key in emotional/social intelligence and human development?

Focus is a foundational skill because it creates the capacity for all of the Emotional and Social Intelligence competencies to emerge and develop. Many of us struggle with focus in these modern times of distraction, but we can flex and strengthen it like a muscle with practice.

Corporate Social Responsibility – how important it is and what attention do organisations pay?

Much needed “social responsibility” dimension of organisations getting a boost from Wall Street! (at least now, rather than later later). This could  be  a starting point towards achieving elusive social sustainability.
“Wall Street has long been accused of short-termism and focusing only on profits, so having a mammoth icon of the industry embrace corporate responsibility as an investing metric could have ramifications for leaders worldwide.”
“The concept of socially-responsible companies has been around for decades, but this week it got a $6 trillion Wall Street ally. Asset management giant BlackRock told the companies in which it invests that to prosper over time,
“every company must not only deliver financial performance but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”” “the move could have a trickle downeffect as well, enhancing the voice of other firms pushing for corporate social responsibility and influencing how leaders are chosen and boards are structured. There would be talent implications as well, with leaders ultimately needing a workforce that includes individuals who can deliver more than just profits. And firms would need to come up with metrics on their societal impact along with ways to measure how they are doing.”

How Powerful is Mindful Learning (in Comparison with Mindless Learning)?

Book Review on “The Power of Mindful Learning” by Ellen Langer (Professor of Psychology at Harvard University)
Professor Langer insightfully and highly reflectively describes how learning/assessment can become mindless:
“Schools generally pay little attention to how, when, and by whom the criteria for grading were chosen. If the criteria were questioned and varied, students’ position on the continuum might change. But they are rarely varied. To make matters worse, once we are placed on the tail end of the distribution, social forces work to keep on us there, setting us up for a lifetime of success or failure. Our fate as winners, losers or just average is sealed.”
Further, after forty years of research, she has become courageous and was persuaded to summarise:
“Our schools are the problem. They unintentionally teach us to be mindless. Schools do this in at least two ways. They teach us to evaluate each other and ourselves, and they teach us to see or accept information as if it were absolute and independent of human creation”

Book Review on “Culture Infusion: 9 Principles for Creating and Maintaining a Thriving Organizational Culture” by Kerry Alison Wekelo
“Another important notion Kerry highlights is the need for organisations to focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR). Though CSR is a notion that has been there for some time, its significance appears to remerge with a vengeance (availability of a number of social media platforms that reach out to masses effectively generating positive/negative images of organisations could be the main reason) in the recent past demanding organisations to focus beyond their profit margins as social organisations. In fact, as Kerry put forth, CSR could begin with organisations paying due attention to the well-being of their employees who themselves are members of the broader society.”

How would mindfulness help in day-to-day matters (as opposed to mindlessness)?

Book Review on “Mindfulness” by Ellen Langer (a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and also the author of “The Power of Mindful Learning”)
““Mindlessness is the application of yesterday’s business solutions to today’s problems”
“Mindfulness is attunement to today’s demands to avoid tomorrow’s difficulties””
“She starts the book by giving examples of how widespread mindless behaviours and operations present in our societies bring about distorted/narrow self-images, unintended cruelty, stunted potential, loss of control and negative health and wellbeing issues to name a few of the negativities. “
As Professor langer observed:
““Mindlessness is pervasive. In fact I believe virtually all of our problems – personal, interpersonal, professional, and societal – either directly or indirectly stem from mindlessness.””
“In fact, the strength of mindfulness lies in the ability to make optimal decisions by considering as many perspectives/dimensions as possible. It contrasts with producing less optimal/substandard decisions/results rapidly by neglecting some important perspectives/contexts. Consequently, we see that if the leaders of our societies possess the skills/abilities of mindfulness, our world will thrive towards sustainability.”
The full review is found in the link below.


How would we go about solving world’s wicked problems?

Solving World’s Wicked Problems Towards Social Sustainability – Something Positive As We Have Started Paying Attention At Least Now (Rather Than Later) “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.” “There is a much greater awareness among leaders than ever before that solving the complex and unique challenges of the future requires harnessing 100% of the world’s potential,” ” Davos agenda seems designed to help businsses move away from short-term profitability towards having positive, long-term impact for the communities in which they operate.” “Standing Up for Social Progress” and “what future role will employment play in terms of community identity, personal livelihood, and societal purpose,”


Giving Financial Advice Against Best Interest of Customers – How Can We Promote Corporate Social Responsibility?

Bank-owned financial advisors pushing customers against their best interests!! We are revisiting the phenomena of corporate social responsibility (CSR), which appears to be non-existent in a short-term profit-based corporate thinking.  It gives some explanations as to how Australian major banks were able to get bumper profits even during economic downturn times across the world and in many other industries.

Developing Self-Awareness – How Important Is It In Leaning and Development?

Self-awareness – why it is the most important phenomenon in learning and human development? Why it is an essential skill for leaders of all levels. “Leadership competencies require more than simply developing and mastering certain skills; rather, we must also be able to apply those skills in a manner that produces positive and consistent results, and this is a moment-to-moment endeavor that relies on engaging our own self-awareness.”

How Would a Gifted Mind (Introverted and Creative) Develop Over the Years?

Useful insights on how a gifted mind (introverted and creative) develops over the years!

Age 10: “One day, my teacher keeps me inside during recess to talk to me. “Why don’t you have that many friends?” she asks. “You’re such a talented, good-natured kid. Why do I always see you spending time alone?” I’m confused at her concern, because I honestly hadn’t thought about it.”

Age 12 ““What do you think, Mel?” my sister asks, in the middle of one of their conversations. I blink and try to recall what they were talking about. “MEL,” she shouts, trying to get my attention. “I wasn’t listening””

Age 18: “Nothing about me is okay. I’m in my first semester of college and everyone, everyone is out partying, every weekend. My whole floor is empty by 7 pm every Friday, and I don’t go anywhere. Sometimes, I skype my friends from home, who are usually also in their respective dorm rooms avoiding the drunken crowds. I try to remind myself that it’s okay that I don’t want to go. It’s okay to be introverted. I’ll eventually make college friends who are like me, who aren’t into being loud and getting drunk in front of tons of new people.”

When counselling gifted adults, why is it important to let them self-identify?

Why, when counselling gifted adults, it is important to help them self-identify, possibly through raising self-awareness along with related background information that is highly researched and validated.

“Over my 29 years of working with this population, I have found certain issues come up repeatedly in therapy. The main challenges include: painful schooling experiences, high levels of sensitivity and intensity, existential depression/ advanced empathy, perfectionism, multipotentiality, and difficulties with relationships. (Mendaglio & Perterson, 2007) When a therapist recognizes the characteristics that often accompany advanced development and explains these traits and their effects to the clients, this explanation, in itself, can have a profound impact on the outcome of therapy (Jacobsen, 1999).”

“In adults, as well as children, giftedness is a whole-person phenomenon. Being gifted affects not only the cognitive and academic aspects of individuals, those qualities that we usually associate with giftedness, but also their emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. It is more a set of traits than a list of achievements;

Why is it important to address affective domain needs in fostering gifted adults?

Fostering giftedness in adults – the importance of addressing affective domain needs! “Giftedness in adults can be viewed through a number of lenses. For this article, I want to focus on five key affective needs of gifted adults: acknowledging your own gifts; nurturing your identity development; giving yourself permission to be a growing, changing, imperfect person; taking advantage of and coping with overexcitabilities; and learning practical coping skills. In order to improve self-esteem and self-efficacy, it is vital for adults, as well as children, to have a firm affective foundation from which to act. By focusing on these five needs, adults can begin to foster their own giftedness and will become better role models for gifted children by showing them the importance and value of addressing personal strengths and needs.”

 What characteristics of gifted individuals make them more likely to develop higher-levels of self-awareness?

Psychological types/traits of giftedness – explaining using MBTI indicators/Jungian psychology/analytical psychology. It gives an explanation why these individuals usually develop higher levels of self-awareness through an internal focus (introversion) rather than an external orientation (extroversion)

“The most common personality types among gifted adolescents were “intuitive” and “perceiving.” They were higher on the Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, and Perceiving dimensions of the personality scales of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) when compared to general high school students. “

How would a sense of social responsibility drive individuals toward greatness?

Federer’s “Social Responsibility” (with high emotions/motivation) drives him to greatness! An example for all of us and our organisations on the topic of (corporate) social responsibility.

How would higher levels of emotional intelligence lead to higher levels of productivity?

Emotional Intelligence Competencies! Insights towards higher productivity.

How well the skills of emotional intelligence are valued in education systems as it stands?

Interesting point!

“Do you think that these skills and abilities are valued by the education system as it stands?

I actually find the educational sector to be a little retrograde, particularly schools of education, the graduate schools that train teachers. There too is the problem of getting the curriculum changed, which is often tangled in bureaucracy. But the data presented in the Handbook shows that students not only learn better, but they also score better on academic achievement tests when they have social and emotional learning.”

How can we learn well-being as a skill?

Well-being – awareness, connection, insight and purpose – as a skill that can be learned. Very interesting and insightful.

What so special about self-awareness?

What so special about self-awareness? In the words of a specialist/influencer, it is: “Self-Awareness is indispensable in leadership, allowing leaders to harness their own competencies for the greatest positive impact on others.”

Why do we need regulatory control on real estate industry?

The absence of regulatory control on real estate industry causing vast (unreasonable) markups on investment properties in Australia trapping unquestioning buyers.

When and how would IQ and/or EQ matter?

When and how would IQ and/or EQ matter?

“IQ, of course, plays a role in career success, but largely in helping people get and stay in the job. So, for engineering, law or becoming a top executive, you need an IQ roughly one standard deviation above average, around 115. But once you get into those professions, you are in a pool of people about as smart as you are. What sets you apart as a star, then, becomes how you manage yourself and handle your relationships—your emotional intelligence.”

Would professional decisions become at odds with one’s ethical principles?

When professional decisions are at odds with one’s ethical principles!

” It goes to the heart of what he and his colleagues refer to as “wise leadership”. In particular, they see the lack of an ethical dimension as a potential threat to sustainable business success. Given that talking about sustainability is second nature to just about every executive these days, this is not something to be taken lightly.”

How would this emerging humanitarian disaster of nature be confronted?

An emerging humanitarian disaster at the hands of nature! Where to from here?

How common is elder abuse in our societies?

How did we get here? Hoe can we get out of here? Something for our social/political leaders to ponder.

” the World Health Organisation estimates about one in six people aged older than 60 will be victims each year. An official definition is also hard to pin down, though experts agree it involves the abuse of an older person — whether physical, psychological, financial or by neglect — by a person they trust.”

How/Why would having a baby become unethical?

A reasonable question to ponder. There could be many ways/perspectives of looking at that.

“And when — if ever — is it right to inflict another resource guzzler onto an already-guzzled world? What’s more, our children will have to live in this resource-guzzled world and, if some of the climate trends are to be believed, it might not be the nicest place to live. For Rieder, this view is summarised by a comment made by a New York Times reader, who wrote: “I love my children so much I didn’t have them.””

How would traditional economic models become inadequate in the absence of “Caring Economics”?

What is lacking in narrow perspectives of traditional economic models devoid of long-term sustainability-

“Caring Economics!”. For instance, children’s education is very competitive and achievement-oriented which reflects our “survival of the fittest” view. If we use the Caring Economics model in schools instead, we could teach valuing relationships, trust, fairness, and so on as much as being the best and achieving higher and higher goals. New economic models and associated views on human nature could not only have huge implications for governance systems but also for how we design institutions like banks, our health system and schools. Rather than solely maximizing individual gains and optimizing monetary outcomes, we would replace that with an approach that achieves optimal gains for the common good that also includes trust, kinship and care. “

Are meetings in a corporate environment seen as rituals? Can we really get something out of these meetings? How?

Are meetings in a corporate environment seen as rituals? Can we really get something out of these meetings? How?

Job Interviews! How Useful and Realistic Are They?

“Friedman says we are creating a condition where people are being dishonest because, well, plain and simple, it’s the only way for them to get a job.

In other words, lets say I’m interviewing for one of your jobs. If you ask me about a skill I don’t have, it’s pretty clear that if admit that I don’t have that skill, I’m not going to get the job. The only option I have is to talk around it and give you, my potential boss or colleague, a false impression. The result: Employers are consistently getting spoon-fed dishonest answers, and they’re eating it up l”

How is mindfulness related to productivity?

How mindfulness is related to productivity!

“During my study of the relationship between mindfulness and leader effectiveness, 100% of the leaders I interviewed (all having months or years of prior mindfulness training and practice) linked mindfulness to improvement in their personal and professional lives. The majority described this as being significant, often using terms such as “profound,” or “life-changing.” “

Is kindness an applicable phenomenon in a professional/corporate setting?

Kindness in a professional setting- interesting!

“This idea that kindness is contagious isn’t new, yet this is the first study I’ve seen that rigorously looks at the spread of kindness in a professional setting. From my perspective as a neuroscientist and emotion researcher, these findings make sense: the quality of our connections and how close we feel to others is a strong contributor to whether we’re flourishing or flailing.”

MODERN DAY SLAVERY IN DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS! How can such blatant perpetrators be representatives of a nation in a diplomatic mission? Aren’t they an absolute disgrace to whom they represent? How do they get appointed and who is responsible? Isn’t there any monitoring/evaluation/reporting structure? How can these incomprehensible situations be explained? Can Australia allow its domestic laws be violated in the disguise of a diplomatic mission?
“It’s incredible to think that in the heart of Australia, that these sort of 19th-century practices are taking place,” “I don’t think it’s any surprise that in those circumstances, there are people who are working for virtually no money in a number of different embassies and consular buildings across Australia,” “She is aware of 20 workers who have escaped embassies.”

Is there a case for corporate tax cuts in Australia?

A beautifully presented argument with facts/evidence that tax cuts won’t necessarily impact on wages growth/ investments/GDP growth etc.Especially when there are many organisations (in Australia) do not pay any tax and many others pay a very low effective tax rate (for Australia 10.4%). We need to be aware that old economic/leadership models (trickle down economics/low tax-high investment(innovations)/short-term economy is the only perspective etc) are not going to work always for current problems in their exact forms – there are many perspectives to these problems than ever before in a highly integrated world/society.

How can we justify that many large companies (in Australia) pay zero tax for years?

How can we justify that many large companies (in Australia) pay zero tax for years? Is that related to fraudulent behaviour or loop-holes in the tax system? Whichever is the reason, where is the highly talked-about notion of CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY being practised? Is this the LEADERSHIP organisation getting commonly. In these circumstances, how can our societies get directed to sustainability? Can we rely on old leadership/economic models to achieve sustainability?

What is the key to any collaboration?

Why cognitive abilities alone are not going to yield success and emotional intelligence is more important for team/organisational success.

“Emotional intelligence remains a key ingredient in the development of corporate leaders. “

“I know of a global organization where people are hired for their technical expertise, not their interpersonal skills. When a key team started to have a lot of friction and constantly missed deadlines, they brought in a leadership coach for the leader of that team. The coach found that the leader was only focused on his own perspective of what was going wrong with the team. He had no sense of what people on the team thought or felt.”

How would you maintain/control healthy-fat intake towards well-being?

Deciding on healthy-fat intake towards well-being.

“Easy ways to eat healthy fats Include 2–3 serves of fish a week (100–150g per serve). Use nuts and seeds in your breakfast. Sprinkle ground linseed on cereal or try a handful of almonds sprinkled over yoghurt. A handful of unsalted nuts make a healthy snack any time of the day. Use oils and margarine spreads made from olive, sunflower, canola and safflower oils in cooking and on sandwiches and toast instead of butter. Choose wholegrain bread with linseeds.”

Why is it important to get attention on personal and social well-being at the governmental levels?

it is great to see that personal and social well-being is getting the due recognition at the governmental level.

“Richard J. Davidson

Richard J. DavidsonNeuroscientist at UW–Madison focused on methods to promote human flourishing and well-being

I had the honor of speaking at the World Government Summit – القمة العالمية للحكومات last week in Dubai and was deeply inspired by so many people I met there. I was especially inspired to learn that UAE has a Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing as well as a Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, both of whom are dedicated to promoting social wellbeing. “

Do Managers forget that they are human beings in general?

 It is great to see that true leadership notions are emerging and emphasised from the top – Harvard – leaving aside tried and tired old models that disintegrate us individually and socially to chaos!

“the power of leadership lies in our abilities to form personal and meaningful bonds with the people whom we lead. This is truer now than ever, as millennials are becoming the majority population in most companies. Millennials are not satisfied with only a paycheck, bonus, and benefits. They want meaning, happiness, and connectedness, too.”

“A survey published by Forbes found that 65% of employees would forego a pay raise if it meant seeing their leader fired, and a 2016 Gallup engagement survey found that 82% of employees see their leaders as fundamentally uninspiring.”

Leadership qualities: “Be personal Be self-aware  Be selfless Be compassionate”

How would (and should) the notion of leadership change in the era of AI (Artificial Intelligence)?

How would (and should) the notion of leadership change in the era of AI (Artificial Intelligence)? Interesting and insightful!

“Certain qualities, such as deep domain expertise, decisiveness, authority, and short-term task focus, are losing their cachet, while others, such as humility, adaptability, vision, and constant engagement, are likely to play a key role in more-agile types of leadership. ” 

How is the notion of humility (as mentioned above) is defined?

“Humility – In an age of rapid change, knowing what you don’t know is as valuable as knowing what you do. Unfortunately, leaders are often shielded from learning about new developments by the sheer volume and variety of new information that is captured daily. Leaders in the AI age need to be willing to learn and be open to seeking input from both inside and outside their organizations. They also need to trust others to know more than they do. This knowledge may well come from someone 20 years younger or three levels down the organizational hierarchy. In the AI age, an effective leader understands that someone having lower status or less experience doesn’t mean they cannot make a key contribution.”

Where should leaders focus on improving teamwork?

Where should leaders focus on improving teamwork?

“More effective teams result from a leader’s investment in their personal development of self-awareness, emotional self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.”

“The leaders I interviewed linked teamwork to a variety of benefits, including greater innovation, employee autonomy, and business growth. They also reported that their improved ability to develop effective teams resulted in stronger relationships between teammates, and greater loyalty to the organization. Finally, participants credited mindfulness with helping them understand their own role in being a good team member in the context of relationships with subordinates, peers and superiors. “

Why is mindful eating (slowing down) important?

Mindful eating (by slowing down the speed of taking food in) to avoid getting over-weight/obesity. It allows us to listen to body signals better to stop over-eating. Interesting! Another example of how mindfulness helps in personal well-being.