Thresholds In Behavior – Rhoads Life Coaching, LLC

Independent of our beliefs and values we each have thresholds in our behavior. These thresholds are specific to each situation and are influenced by the behavior of those around us. Knowing how they function helps to understand how we work.

Mark Granovetter and other social scientists developed theories around predicting behavior based on the peer pressure of the group around an individual.

Some of us have high thresholds that resist changing behavior in a crowd. An example could be how emergency responders might run toward an emergency instead of away as crowds tend to do.

Some of us have low thresholds where we change our behavior quickly with the crowd. An example being when someone calls for quiet and a group stops talking all at once.

These thresholds come into play for all of us and are unique to nearly every situation we encounter based on the size of the group, the situation at hand, and a wide range of other variables. Granovetter observed how sometimes we even work against our own beliefs and values once that threshold is triggered. The group has influence on the individual based on the threshold.

Have you seen this play out recently? It is possible for one individual to have a low threshold for needing a stockpile of toilet paper and a high threshold of resisting wearing a mask.

How does the threshold model play out in your life? Do you know it is there? What are your thresholds? What are the tipping points for your family, friends and co-workers? Is your low resistance or high resistance to a threshold helping or hurting you? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

What’s Your Favorite Movie? – Rhoads Life Coaching

What’s your favorite movie? Better yet, WHY is it your favorite? The answer says a lot about who you are. It can be used as a mirror to learn more about yourself and to continue to develop who you are becoming.

I’ve written in the past about Owning Your Story and the idea of a Psychological Mirror. The question of your favorite movie combines these two ideas into an introspective look at how you see yourself. Have you taken the time to ask yourself WHY you enjoy your favorite movie so much?

Is it the hero/heroine you resonate with? Do the cast of characters relate to each other in a way that means something to you? Can you see your own story in the plot? Every movie has a conflict. Something happens and the characters must develop in order to overcome obstacles. We see ourselves in their struggles!

So how is this a useful tool for you? By paying attention to what we like and dislike in our favorite movies we understand more about ourselves. This understanding offers an opportunity to do something different in our own lives.

If I can see myself in the character on the screen, then a piece of the character also exists in me. What if you empowered that character inside you to lead you into your next adventure? How would you appear different in the world? –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Casuistry As A Decision Making Tool – Rhoads Life Coaching

I’m a little late to the game. I recently discovered Malcom Gladwell’s podcast, “Revisionist History“. In Season 4 he spends three episodes re-discovering the Jesuit decision making tool of casuistry.

As a methods of moral decision making, casuistry was misused in the 18th and 19th centuries by rationalizing and excusing any behavior. That is not my intent (nor was it Gladwell’s) in bringing it forward today. It was originally developed as a way of seeing the individual and their problems in a novel dilemma.

Casuistry asks for a pause and a drilling down into the details of a problem. It is intended for use in circumstances that haven’t been experienced before. First, stop and investigate the details before applying a broad principle to a decision. It asks for a “decent into the particulars”. Something we don’t do very often in our fast-paced lives.

Most importantly casuistry asks us to listen to the details “free of disordered detachments”; without preconceived biases. What would it take for you to listen in our current environment without bias? Maybe that is part of the problem!

Finally, casuistry looks for previous examples that compare to the current new scenario in order to assist with making a decision. The request is for the decision to take into account the combined information.

My request is to consider using casuistry as a tool. Where are you applying broad principles and skipping over the details? Where are you entering into a conversation with your biases front and center? Given some of the new challenges we face in our families, businesses, and communities right now, it might be worth a try. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Ten Pounds of Stuff in a Five Pound Bag – Rhoads Life Coaching

Ever find yourself believing you can get more done by packing more into each day? At some point the scale tips and the productivity and fulfillment drop off. It’s kind of like trying to put 10 pounds of stuff in an 5-pound bag.

This is a funny image for me. It conjures Lucille Ball stuffing chocolates in her mouth as they come down the conveyor belt, or the frantic, fruitless task of trying to stuff a sleeping bag in a nylon bag. There is some humor in it, until we look at the fact that for some of us we live our daily lives this way. Each day becomes a futile effort to do more than is humanly possible. Maybe the humor helps to take some of the edge off.

Don’t get me wrong. I whole-heartedly believe we should be productive. But where did we tip the scales from being productive to being so busy that we lose the meaning and fulfillment of what we are trying to accomplish? Hopefully one of the silver linings of our recent stay at home lockdowns will be to see that we were pushing the limits on what we tried to complete each day.

Where does this appear for you? Your to-do list? The number of events scheduled in a day? Trying to fit one more chore in before heading out the door or going to bed each night? We each have our own version of this. The clue it is there when the pace is not longer sustainable. What is your version of this game?

The antidote? Slow down! Take some time to determine what is valuable and an important to you so you are better able to prioritize what you choose to do with your time. Practice saying NO to a few things. Finally, take a step back and look at the humor created with trying to cram the ten pounds of scheduled things you want to do into a five pound bag for each day. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Definition of Optimism – Rhoads Life Coaching, LLC

What is optimism? It isn’t limited to just being positive. Optimism is being able to see a way through; seeing obstacles as temporary and having the ability to overcome them.

In reading Kara Jillian Brown’s recent article on the definition of optimism, I was struck by Deepika Chopra’s specific definition of optimism:

“The true definition of an optimist is someone that is very aware and mindful of all the setbacks and roadblocks and less-than-ideal things that happen in their life. The caveat is that they are just aware that those things are temporary, and they have the ability to overcome them.”

Does that fit your definition of being optimistic? I would argue that most of us see optimism as being positive and up-beat and happy in all situations. That’s not what Dr. Chopra uses in her definition.

Look again at the words she uses. Aware. Mindful. Temporary. Ability. Overcome. It helps me a great deal to be able to see myself as optimistic without pretending that I am happy all the time. Yes, it is important to be joyful and less negative, but it is also possible to be optimistic and still be worried or scared.

We are all facing a lot of different challenges right now. Are you able to see our troubles as temporary? Are you able to see a way through all of this? Can you see yourself overcoming these challenges?

At the end of the day optimism is a choice. What prevents you from choosing to find a way to overcome your troubles? My challenge to you is to choose to find solutions; to see a way through. Take a chance and change your definition of optimism. You have the ability to choose to be optimistic. –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life

Everything Needs A Context – Rhoads Life Coaching

It is difficult to overstate the idea that everything needs a context. It is impossible to accurately create decisions without taking the context of a situation into account.

Do you remember the chemistry or physics teacher in high school that taught the lesson that numbers are meaningless without units? The speed of an object in miles per hour versus kilometers per second makes a big difference! Context matters!

A few months ago walking into a bank with a mask on would have caused panic. Now we might be upset if someone didn’t wear a mask into the bank. The context has changed!

What happens if we take something out of context, or read the wrong story into a scenario? We come to the wrong conclusion! The menacingly misnamed “murder wasps” have arrived in the Pacific northwest for the first time. If we read the wrong frame of reference, we create a story where thousands of people are a risk of being killed by an aggressive insect. If we leave the context out, we miss the fact that our threatened honey bee populations are now MORE at risk, which has significant impacts to the way we create our food.

Where in your life do you forget to put things in correct setting? In a conflict with someone? When making decisions about budgeting income? When setting goals for yourself? Every aspect of our lives is impacted by all the other areas.

If we leave the context out of how we talk to each other or how we make decisions, we limit our ability to make better choices. Everything needs a context! –

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finding meaning and purpose in daily life