Maya Angelou, failure

Angelou was a marvelous failure. The rolling stone never stuck to one thing for long. She moved from coast to coast, continent to continent, sometimes making poor childcare decisions, one of which resulted in her son’s brief abduction. She didn’t have a stable home or steady job until she was in her 50s, an age at which many are preparing for retirement. She divorced several times but would would never confirm the exact number, “for fear of sounding frivolous.” Aware of all her failings, Angelou was brave enough to look at herself. “We have to confront ourselves. Do we like what we see in the mirror? And, according to our light, according to our understanding, according to our courage, we will have to say yea or nay — and rise! [link]

After a shooting, the constant irrelevant cry that “the real issue is mental illness”

“The real issue is mental illness” is a goddamn cop-out. I almost never hear it from actual mental health professionals, or advocates working in the mental health sphere, or anyone who actually has any kind of informed opinion on mental health or serious policy proposals for how to improve our treatment of the mentally ill in this country.

What I hear from people who bleat on about “The real issue is mental illness,” when pressed for specific suggestions on how to deal with said “real issue,” is terrifying nonsense designed to throw the mentally ill under the bus. Elliot Rodger’s parents should’ve been able to force risperidone down his throat. Seung-Hui Cho should’ve been forcibly institutionalized. Anyone with a mental illness diagnosis should surrender all of their constitutional rights, right now, rather than at all compromise the right to bear arms of self-declared sane people. [link]

Naked chins and uncoolness

Really? Who says that about shaved chins? His bare chin did not make him look cool

“It’s pretty much classic ‘diffusion of innovations,’ ” he said. “First you have the guys out in Williamsburg doing it, then you have a few guys in sports wearing big long beards, and then you go from this innovated style trend to mainstream acceptance.”

“With guys like Andrew Luck,” he added, “the beard does not make him cool.” [link]

If you want to be successful, don’t think positive

While inspiring words might provide a moment of motivation, it turns out they can have an adverse effect on achieving those goals. According to the latest research, the positive attitudes meant to provide inspiration may be the ones that get in the way of accomplishing those dreams.

For 20 years, psychology professor Gabriele Oettingen of New York University and the University of Hamburg has been examining positive thinking and her conclusion is clear. All that positive thinking can trick the dreamer into believing she’s already done the work to get to the desired goal, squelching the motivation to actually go after it. “Positive thinking alone is not enough,” Oettingen says. Indeed, fantasizing about success without an anchor in reality can actually diminish the likelihood of a better outcome. “[Positive thinking] has to be done in the right way and in the right form.” [link]