Monthly Archives: February 2013

Primed

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The words we use to describe things are very important.  I’m not just talking about using kind and compassionate words, having a non-judgemental attitude, or justifying a statement with that most abused of caveats, “but”.  Words are (somewhat) a product of the conscious mind that affect us on an unconscious level.  I first learned about this concept in the TED talk Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.  After watching, I deemed her research to be somewhat simplistic.  Could the participants who adopted the “powerful body pose” for two minutes before a mock interview really have been hired at a rate of 100%, while the ones who adopted an un-powerful pose were not at the same rate?  I knew that body language conveyed a message, but I didn’t know it conveyed a message to the mind of the poser!

Then I learned about one rather hilarious study.  The participants were brought into a room and asked to read one of two short prose.  One had words like “fast”, “quick”, “hurry”, “go” and other uppity language; the other read more relaxed “slow”, “calm”, “easy”, “old’.  Then the participants had to walk a distance to another room to complete the experiment.  Little did they know, the walk itself was the experiment.  The crafty researchers timed the speed at which the participants would arrive at the second location.  The result?  You guessed it:  the readers of the “go” prose arrived faster than the their more “slow” counterparts 100% of the time.  (Read over the beginning of this paragraph aloud and see how you respond to the lists of words.)

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The First Post

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Throughout my life I have seen much conflict between humans and non-humans.  My father believes that objects are sentient and actively out to get him, leaping off the table to inflict injury and inspire terror; but that’s a skeleton best left in the back of the family closet under old tennis rackets.  Most of my experience has come from the horse world, or rather, my lack of fitting in with the horse world.

For more than 15 years I rode, groomed and trained horses, all the while loving them and hating the work.  Dare I say it, I hated myself.  The only thing gaining ground was my frustration.  Then one day I discovered a room full of people who said the very same things that I had always thought; said them out loud, no less!  I had met only with ridicule about my [incessant] questions, my [naive] “pandering to the horse”, my [laughable] desire to do it a different way, my [misguided] unwavering belief that there had to be a better way.

These people, in this room, had gathered to listen to a man speak about his Natural Horsemanship work.  Needless to say, my life was about to flip right upside-down.

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