On Christmas Eve this year, a Friday, I joined in a festive dinner at my mom and dad’s house, where my brother and his wife and kids also visited for the occasion.
I get along with my brother. We usually have a Sunday phone call a few minutes in duration. However, the others, I don’t know all that well. That’s why joining everybody for dinner on Christmas Eve took me out of my comfort zone.
I did all right. I was reasonably chill–I wasn’t nervous. I listened more than I talked. I didn’t get angry or anything like that. I didn’t put myself at the center of attention.
I had a plate of food, and I got some decent Christmas presents.
On other Christmases, I have acted far more quirky. I made the decision this year not to deal with the people observing me on Christmas Eve by trying to be entertaining. I felt that acting more maturely would create a better impression than being silly.
I didn’t take a camera and so didn’t bother my brother and his family with the requirement of me pointing a camera at them and shooting photos.
As I didn’t make verbal references pointing to, say, the movies, my brother and his family weren’t put into a conversation that maybe not everybody desired.
For a change, I acted all the more dependably, and I rest easy thinking about the result that occurred. I think this ability is coming with age. I don’t need to prove, as much, that I’m still kind of bright and young.
To tell the truth, we never know if we will all be able to return for the same occasion one year into the future. Nothing is for sure, especially not something to that effect.
I was pleased with myself that my comfort zone grew.
Starting, for April, I participated in many of the new Discover challenges that WordPress organized, to help bloggers write posts during the crisis. Each morning, 6 AM in most cases in my time zone, a new word with additional suggestions became available for WordPress bloggers.
Each word theme was accompanied by suggestions about what to post. I found the exercises helped me feel better about blogging because some things I enjoy discussing became the subject of new posts at the same time other bloggers addressed the same themes. With each post, I had several visitors, and if you are among those and returning, please accept my thanks.
Now, today is May the 4th, Star Wars Day. Star Wars The Clone Wars concludes its season 7 run today, a season devoted to the Seige of Mandalore. I think the entire animated series lives on Disney+.
Today is also the day that all nine films of the Skywalker Saga are available with a Disney+ subscription. “This will be a day long-remembered,” to quote Peter Cushing in Star Wars Episode IV.
I have a new strategy, I am starting by trying a serious-in-tone critical thinking post. I was already writing the odd observation about techniques that might contribute to someone’s existing take on the science of being a blogger, tempered with humour, I suppose. I reckoned that I was enjoying myself, that’s mostly what counted.
A definition of a hobby is this:
n. pl. hob·bies
An activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.
The pleasure of blogging comes from the interaction on the world wide web with people who also blog. I believe that social interaction is important at any age. Why is social interaction important for psychological health, I asked Yahoo!.
“Social engagement is associated with a stronger immune system, especially for older adults,” Yahoo! answered. “This means that you are better able to fight off colds, the flu, and even some types of cancer. You will enjoy better mental health.
“Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression.”
There are so many avenues that if you have access to the web, there are so many ways to reach people, and fulfill that desire, I know you know this. It is always about more than the dollar, as it should be. I’m not out to make a buck at all, I’m just experimenting with being an optimist.
Recently I found a website page that takes a gander at the satisfaction that goes with the joy of a decent diversion. Human resources psychologist Jessica Beltran addresses it in The Value of Hobbies https://blogs.psychcentral.com/thrive/2014/05/the-value-of-hobbies/ “We are at our best when we are relaxed and in tune with ourselves.”
While we are capitalists, the playing field becomes more narrow if you consider that you can address people with the confidence of having many of the skills that they have. There is any number of stations in the lives we lead, but lots of motivation speakers give the advice to get started with your creations, however possible. “Do hobbies help with their careers?” I asked Yahoo!.
“While it may seem counterintuitive to make time for something outside of work to get ahead at work, career coaches have confirmed that having a hobby can help make you better at your job. Having a hobby helps you learn how to handle work-life stress and think creatively,” answered the search engine.
“What skills are needed to be a critical thinker?” I went on to ask.
In response Yahoo! informed me of several qualities, ten in fact, that you need to be a capable critical thinker:
5 Critical thinking.
10 Logical thinking.
I have additional input.
Accuracy, for starters, I learned about in high school science. Accuracy in that environment is measurably collecting data. To determine accuracy, you might perform the same process several times, with only minor variants, to learn if your method is accurate.
It’s important. Troubleshooting a computer station, for example, requires accuracy.
You need to determine what changes have gone on before and after a problem has happened at your terminal. There is a joke about hapless computer users calling the Windows system crash the Blue Screen of Death, dire-sounding, but which means that you are losing your unsaved work, a bummer. By the way, I enjoyed computer science in high school a lot more than I enjoyed chemistry and physics.
If what you were doing meant nine out of ten times you got a system crash, and then one out of ten times it worked out, hypothetically speaking, you could, if the measurements were accurate, you’re determining that those nine times of system crashes mean that you can’t proceed in that manner. If five out of ten times, your computer works, and five times it doesn’t, you don’t have an accurate idea of what of your commands are leading to the system crash. The results aren’t too useful in that case.
You need to check variables that contribute to your procedure’s success or failure and come up with a more accurate idea of what’s going to work. Once you establish the variables that work out okay, by trial and error, you can figure out which instruction is awakening the Blue Screen of Death.
The second term in Yahoo!’s list is the word adept. Adept means are adroit. Critically, you have to be adept at forming interpretations.
Those I think of as the external–the external is the object or scenario you’re critically thinking about. You need to know what you’re examining, to form a critical judgement. I have two ways for you to do this, and you can read about them a little further in.
Like for me, to decide whether, say, a popular film is “good,” in the sense that the motion picture proves that everybody involved did a good job, you have to understand enough about what makes a good film to be adept at reviewing it. It would help if you’d contributed to the completion of a motion picture, to be properly critical, but it probably suffices to understand the structure of a film, the symbolism in the film visually, and previous attempts to make similar films.
The next term, the word analytical, this is a word like adept, but analytical is more about looking at a critiqued thing that calculates whether you should take it seriously or not. You know what the thing is and what it’s for, but being analytical towards it means judging it in a way that you can comprehend additional specifics about it, forming your external. What does it mean? is an analytical question that you might have about your object or scenario.
You would be analytical concluding that your problem works at all levels.
Next is creativity, a lovely word, for I feel I am creative, as would many bloggers regard themselves. Creativity is reworking an established idea and making it yours. It goes on constantly.
Like, back to film, when a successful film franchise follows up with a sequel, or a reboot, that’s an instance of creativity that is often quite impressive. As with, say, the 1978 horror film Halloween, directed by John Carpenter, when two years later in 1980 the sequel Halloween II came out, again starring famed actress Jamie Lee Curtis, the film continued the story of the first movie by showing a lot more of what happened later that Halloween night, when the mad masked murderer had returned, (ghastly!). However, John Carpenter was no longer directing the film.
Do you like horror films?
Halloween II has the same characters and the same locale and a continuation of the plot of the first film, all interesting for fans of the first movie, just with the point that somebody else is now directing. That’s the creative part, in this example.
Next, Yahoo! repeats the phrase critical thinking. I mean that Yahoo! includes critical thinking among the terms for critical thinking, which begs the question, Yahoo!. I interpreted that as meaning that critical thinking refers here to the overall level of ability the interpreter brings to the noun being thought through critically. It is having the skill to return to thinking critically, in a manner that applies other additional criteria.
In this case, we’re using the handy number ten. The words, I derive, make an agenda for surveying an item or a situation. It is redundant to include the phrase “critical thinking” in a list that explains critical thinking, pointing to a rabbit hole, a burrow that goes on and on when it opens.
You have to be firm with yourself what decisions you will make in the process of critical thinking or you will never conclude. I have a little more to say about that in the conclusion.
Detail-oriented refers to the organizer’s ability to put together a mental assessment of the details that have gone into the subject being thought about critically. A job interview often includes a question along these lines, as in, “If you were taking this job, would you consider yourself a detail-oriented person?” It means getting everything right.
Efficiency is the ability to get things done promptly. You don’t lose time by making redundant decisions; everything works. If you value efficiency, you want your scenario or your object to function smoothly, a swift external.
It means saving time. A lot of people who need to complete many tasks highly value efficiency.
Industriousness refers to having the initiative to take bold steps. Being industrious is good in that a person shows, say, leadership. If what you are critical of is a tool for industriousness, it lends itself to a nature that assists people who have a success rate at reaching goals.
Innovative means thinking outside of the box. Someone innovative has solutions that circumvent traditional stop signs that cause headaches. Being innovative is positive. You should recognize when innovation is happening and that it can have positive results.
Logical thinking is great for being “right.” I first read a little about logical thinking in a high school English class. I was daunted at the time because I’d never known that logical thinking existed like that, and I doubted I could learn enough about it to become competent, bizarrely, I suppose.
I was a diffident youth. I wish I’d got that information earlier in life. My teacher, Ms. M., outlined twelve specific styles of logical thinking and in fact, I wonder if I as yet have that same document.
I should have read it again and again. At times I’ve been proud that I’m not completely obligated to be logical, but I don’t disregard logic. I value things like the structure of an external, and that, for example, requires logic.
Logical thinking when it comes to being critical of a specific external is very useful, for if you can make a logical argument about the nature of your object or situation, you’re external, you are on your way to answering a riddle about it. It is a regret I have that I didn’t take the introduction to logical thinking I got in high school more gravely and go to work at understanding it.
The ten criteria words stop at the letter L. This is all about setting your sights on critically interpreting an external and taking it apart in a way that you can better understand what it means. The terms are building blocks for evaluating your external.
There are some points where the process isn’t going to be scientific. Starting with accurate, you need to look at more than one external and compare them to see how accurate your method is. This word accurate is exciting because you can find parallels that aren’t necessarily immediately self-evident.
You are being analytical because you are trying to make a process occur that is accurate. Those two a-letter words work together to open a method of diagramming your external to better understand what it is.
The next word, adept, is applicable because you need to run your process with adept skill. What I’m doing here is being creative with Yahoo!’s list of critical thinking terms. I’m making the argument that they are useful.
The search engine believes it. So, too, should you. Together the terms have an impact that you can draw upon for inspiration.
It does bother my sensibilities that critical thinking could itself be a term for critical thinking, but as there is a connection between all three a-letter words, so too I noticed a connection between the two c-letter words. Critical thinking and creativity are two different sides of the same coin.
I’ve had to stir my reserve of critical thinking to identify what that means, but it is so. Creativity is letting reason fly in the wind, whereas critical thinking is unearthing the truth about your external that wouldn’t be evident if you didn’t possess some definitions that assist in critical thinking.
For d, we have detail-oriented, taking your analysis and better developing it.
For e, we have efficiency, reducing creativity in favour of a strategy that is more pure critical thinking and not as open-minded as the word creative would imply.
Next, we have i-letter words, industrious and innovative, words that strengthen the process of analyzing the external by accelerating the process. Those words apply to the analyst as much as they apply to the object or scenario being looked at. Being industrious is keeping at it and being innovative is keeping open-minded.
Both these reflect the analyst as much or more than the external being explored. Logical thinking is a phrase that means much the same as analysis. If you took these ten terms, you could assemble them this way: You have the creativity and you have critical thinking (the c-words).
If you want creativity to rule the process of investigating the external, what you have is industriousness and innovation for the matter at hand.
To proceed down the avenue of critical thinking that is more logical and detail-oriented, you can reduce your creative input and begin letting a process unfold without the benefit of a creative assignment. In either case, you need to be adept at thinking, and further, to return to the a-letter words, you are being more purely analytical and accurate if you pursue critical thinking without the requirement of innovation ruling your process. So, your basic process either follows one c-path or the other c-path, critical thinking or creativity and then to round out outreaching your external you have the accuracy, the analytics, the detail-oriented questions, the efficiency and the logical thinking; and down the other c-path, you have industriousness and innovation.
These are subcategories from the ten we started with.
The terms favour an analysis-heavy approach to critical thinking, meaning there are more components of more purely critical thinking than terms that include creativity. Where that leaves us is what I started with, the word hobby. A creative design is better for a hobby; analysis is better suited for more profound comprehension.
All the same, creativity can be as hard to comprehend as analysis. If you reach an external by analysis, it is beginning to fall outside the field of the hobbyist and more closely approach the realm of the expert.
A more complicated external lends itself to critical thinking; a simpler external is suitable for creativity. This isn’t always true, but that’s a guideline that you could start with if you are deciding whether you want to approach an external with a lens of more complicated and comprehensive critical thinking or with a simpler but also effective creative paintbrush, so to speak.
That’s the rabbit hole, that if you don’t have a handle on your creativity, flights of fancy can take you far afield of a suitable stopping place. That’s why creativity isn’t a super useful strategy for analyzing an external that’s become complex. That’s when your critical thinking approach needs to take over.
I’ve enjoyed writing about this, my first post since the April Discover challenges ended. Do you like the idea that a simpler object might benefit from creative analysis and a more complicated object require a more detailed critical analysis? You’re welcome to follow and/or to comment.
“Tea parties” have been at the forefront of The Little Mermaid blog the last five months. These are blogging challenges that span the entirety of each month. These are free and encourage participants to blog on a specific theme along with the rest of those joining in.
This month The Little Mermaid has asked her participants for their thoughts on travel. Where have you traveled? the Little Mermaid asks. What’s the best part?
What’s the worst part? What tips might you offer up to someone grappling with wanderlust?
The furthest-reaching of my travel experience was done in my life in the nineteen nineties. I have traveled to the United States, to the United Kingdom, to France, and to Belgium. These are the countries where I have gone, done in my adolescence and later in my early twenties.
The best part was the excitement of going to locations completely new. For example, when I was going to the United States, passing through Detroit, seeing Walt Disney World in Orlando (and cheating a touch by going through Universal Studios, too). Spending a little time in Chicago, staying with family in Nashville, visiting a friend in Portland, Maine, lodging in a traveler’s stop in Memphis, visiting New Orleans, visiting New York, all this was great. I was seeing a little more of the world.
One of the happiest times in my life was my twenty-first birthday, an important birthday if you are an American, in Memphis, Tennessee.
I would say I was taking a “walkabout” on that birthday, and it made for several nice weeks. My father’s brother-in-law thought of the label for what I’d done. He mentioned it to me at the wedding of one of my cousins, at the reception. The gentleman, my godfather, mentioned to me what he said was spoke about by aboriginals in Australia, a country I’ve never seen.
Years earlier, spending days at Walt Disney World in 1991 was a fine time. The members of my particularly as my immediate family went aboard “Star Tours,” an interactive cinematic ride like being in a Star Wars spaceship.
It was very exciting as come 1987 I’d got to VCR-record a tenth-anniversary television presentation of Star Wars on Fox. At that age, ten, Star Wars was my favorite film.
The worst part of travel, I’d offer to say, is the end of the “moment” when the time for travel ends, as it generally does, and it becomes time to return to more ordinary things wherever you are spending your life. For me, I live life in the gritty small town of St. Catharines, in the Canadian province of Ontario.
What I know at my age, which is something like an unfulfilled forty, is that if you are in the midst of wanderlust, you should listen to the word itself and observe what is the best part of life in most circumstances–the people you meet and how they take to you. I know I have not had the luckiest of experiences in my travels. I felt unprepared for Nashville, my handsome friend in Portland eventually killed himself, I believe, despite his promise and ambition as a musician, the lodge in Memphis finally burned to the ground, where I’d left friends behind, my idea to hustle in New York led to me being escorted out of a nightclub where I had thought to pose as an NYC resident.
These weren’t great times, especially when I returned to St. Catharines from New York and my girlfriend was angry with me when I told her how it had gone.
When I saw London, England, though, in 1999, when Y2K was only months away, it was exciting, but even with my experiences in America under my belt, I felt quite the novice with only a little money in my pocket and quite clearly to locals a foreigner. My embarrassment deepened in Paris, the City of Lights, when I realized I was in my youth and seeing the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile. I knew it would never come again, and I’d been learning French since the third grade and could barely communicate in it–it was as if my aspirations were quickly coming to naught, and I was overwhelmed by the absurdity.
I didn’t spend much time in Belgium, but I liked it a little better than France, enjoying chocolate and also seeing grim war trenches from World War I when Belgium soldiers defended their nation from Germany.
Eventually, my younger sister married a Belgium gentleman. That was a nice occasion. Here is a photo I took at the wedding ceremony.
The photo of myself I am showing is of a time in 2003 in a hotel in St. Catharines. I was meeting up with the friend who had introduced me to MySpace (before it blew up to become entropy) and speaking, as intended, of American writer Charles Bukowski, the beauty of whose work she wanted to impress upon me.
She and her boyfriend were gracious visitors. It was, again, a “moment.”
I am grateful to The Little Mermaid for thinking of these tea party posts that are interesting for me and for other bloggers on WordPress to organize new blog posts. If you are a touch keen on this, feel free to “like,” to follow, and/or to comment. I wish you well if you travel yourself, and, what’s more, I wish you luck if you have a blog.