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Eliana Reyes

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What do you think are the TOP 3 personal issues that stop an individual from pursuing their life purpose and developing their talents?

For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with studying different issues people deal with and reasons why they may not be content with their life.

I am curious to know what everyone else thinks (based on observation or personal experience).

What stops us from "living life?"
What are the main issues in life? Is it fear? doubt? low self esteem? envy?
Why do you think some people let those issues stifle their purpose in life?

Lets Talk! :)

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    Dec 18 2013: well, I don't really know anyone who hasn't pursued their life purpose and developed their talents. Do you know people like this? Are you yourself like this? Can you tell me the story of people who haven't done these activities?
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      Dec 19 2013: Here's a story that still puzzles me, more than ten years after the event. Maybe you'll be able to make sense of it, Greg.

      While living in the UK, a couple of colleagues asked the usual question: "What made you move here?" I answered more seriously than usual, explaining that at 20 years old I found myself married, with a mortgage and a low-paying job and a hum-drum existence which I could see stretching out, unchanging, into my future until I had kids (which we couldn't have afforded), retired or died. The thought depressed me, so I wrote a bucket list and dragged my almost-willing husband off to England.

      The response amazed me. My colleague said, "You can't run away from your problems, Sara. Look at Karl and I. We're miserable but we still live here and stick it out." I wish I'd probed a bit and tried to figure out where that thinking came from - that it's somehow virtuous to live an unhappy life and cowardly to seek to change it - but I was so astounded I didn't know where to begin.
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        Dec 19 2013: Well, what were your motives for moving to England? Was it because you thought things would change, that in England you would do away with your mortgage, have a high-paying job, and an exciting existence? Why would that be? Or did you think that in England you still would have a low-paying job, but life would be exciting and interesting because you were in a new environment? Your friends might have thought you believed the former, that every aspect of life would change for the better because of the move; but maybe in truth your feelings were more modest, that you didn't expect everything to change but only that you would enjoy a new place?
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          Dec 19 2013: Maybe you're right! That hadn't crossed my mind at all. I went to England with neither the expectation nor the realisation of a high-paying job. I went because I wanted to feel I was living a life and getting the most I could out of it (through novel experiences and other things), rather than just enduring one. And it worked. But I probably didn't make that clear to them.

          Perhaps your response leads to another answer to Eliana's question. Maybe some just have a different concept of what a life should be and so they feel, if they've paid off the mortgage and raised a couple of kids, they've achieved their 'life purpose' (not that these are small feats), and fully developing their other talents would be redundant. Or perhaps they feel that if they've lived in such a way that's maximised their own and/or others' happiness, they've reached their potential (in essence, my own current philosophy). So, although they may not seem it, they're actually really successful.
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        Dec 19 2013: Before England, you were living in New Zealand? What was different about England from N.Z.? Besides the novel experiences, what were the "other things" you were hoping to get out of life?

        Well, Sara, I don't know if there are people who don't develop their talents, most of the people I know go for it. Don't forget how it is that people pay off the mortgage, it is through work, I would think that many people find fulfillment through their work, they may not rise to the highest position but in work they are utilizing and developing their talents. In paying off the mortgage and raising children they are expressing themselves still more. And many of those people have hobbies, avocations, where they develop themselves still more. It somewhat sounds like you didn't value the work much you did, or are still doing, it is only a means to pay bills and mortgages? What do you do?

        How have you maximized your own or others' happiness?

        I think it's possible that your colleagues in Britain who said they were miserable, if you delved into their lives were not so unhappy as all that, it may have been a bit of drama.

        I do notice that the parks and recreation department in my town, in conjunction with different schools and teachers, offers many kinds of enrichment courses to take where one can explore different interests and aims, and they keep offering it every half-year, year after year, so someone must be taking the courses.

        By the way, thanks for your sharing on the other question about interesting places in the world. I apologize for not answering but it was at the "third level" of response (the three "bullets" on the left side) where there is no way for the other to reply. Had you wanted to chat about that one, I would enjoy.
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          Dec 20 2013: Some fairly big questions for 2000 characters! I'm afraid this sounds a bit like an 'all about Sara' thread, but since you asked, and since most people's favourite topic is themselves.... :)

          Yes, I was living in NZ before England - I was born here. Two differences I loved: the accessibility of Europe - travel from NZ is costly; and the tangible heritage - Roman ruins, castles, old cities, neolithic stone circles etc. I enjoyed the stories inherent in my surroundings, and the stories my surroundings inspired.

          At 20, I wanted to learn, to appreciate the world, to help people, to have some adventure, maybe to store up memories for when I'm in the rest home, and, embarrassingly, I think I wanted to check off a few things that my culture says signifies a life lived to the full. I think the first three things continue to lead me to some of the decisions and mindsets that promote my happiness. Now, I've finally made it to university with the aim, eventually, of becoming a speech-language therapist. I do a bit of paid and voluntary work teaching English to migrants, and other paid and voluntary work when I'm able. I'm learning fascinating things, helping people, and building towards helping people for a career. These things give me huge satisfaction and help make me feel like I'm reaching my potential daily, and will continue to do so in the future.

          Before I left New Zealand I was an administrator. I wouldn't say I didn't value the work, exactly - I worked hard and cared about the organisation - but it had stopped challenging and teaching me so, you're right, I didn't enjoy it. The job in the UK with Karl and Tess was data entry - less challenging still.

          Back to topic, the paradoxical thing is this: after about a year, I felt like data entry was all I was capable of. Others in similar situations have told me they found the same thing. I know some find work fulfilling - I do now, too - but it can also diminish us. It's so tied to identity.

          So what do you do?
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          Dec 20 2013: Btw, Greg, your post has started me thinking about ways I can promote the happiness of those around me in day-to-day actions - something I haven't really considered much in the past. So, thanks - you might be doing some good on the other side of the Pacific!

          And, yes, I'd like to know your thoughts on the travel thing - whether you've travelled outside of LA and Ontario and, if so, how you'd answer the questions you asked. Would replying again to Nthabiseng's post work? Would that be a breach of etiquette.?
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        Dec 20 2013: Thanks for sharing about your life with me, Sara, it's really quite lovely to hear about it. So are we upholding or negating Eliana's original premise, that loads of people are unfulfilled? Because apparently at one time you did like being an administrator, and then, when you ceased to like it, you took steps to look again for something contenting? And apparently have found it, more than once?

        I think it's possible that people do things for a while that they hate, but find a way to move on. I don't hear that much about people who have been miserable their whole lives.

        I also think it's possible that things might look better in hindsight. I too had a data entry job I disliked where I was inputting forms about child abuse at a social services agency. But if I look back on it now, it was rather interesting to read the stories on these forms as I inputted them, it gave me a bit of look at the world.

        Apparently the strategy of moving to England worked? Excellent. I'm curious, is there any ancient heritage in New Zealand? We certainly hear about the aborigines of Australia, who no doubt have their lore and interest. But that ancient heritage would not have held sufficient interest for you?

        I think I know what a speech therapist is, but is a speech-language therapist different? What is it you find interesting in the job? My brother has worked for a long time in the disabled communications field, designing communications equipment for severely handicapped people. His most famous client has been Stephen Hawking.

        Well, I can see the value in travel. It is interesting to see other places. Sometimes I want to encourage people to look more into where they are living, peel away the layers of the onion, so to speak, and find new depths and interest. Do you think you are easily bored? How might you account for that?

        Currently I only work for my mother, who is.......
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        Dec 20 2013: a big businesswoman here in Glendale, California. My parents started with very little, worked very hard, and owned and managed many apartment buildings. Then my dad died young leaving my mom with quite a bit of responsibility.

        I have done many jobs in my life, the most interesting was maybe TV and motion picture extra (Glendale is about five miles from Hollywood, California.) As life went on, I decided that the most positive, interesting, healthy and wholesome life would probably be dairy farming. I'm more interested in a self-sufficient lifestyle where you only raise food for yourself, as opposed to scads of milk and beef that you then sell. But I would be willing to move somewhere and work in someone else's big dairy, except where I live I am near my family, mother, sister, brother, sister-in-law, and niece, and I like that. I think it would be interesting to see if I could dairy here, I live in a suburb of Los Angeles where in theory there is no agriculture but perhaps I could get a waiver from the city government?, but the other problem is I don't have a spouse. I really think it's very hard to dairy alone, you somewhat need a partner, if for no other reason than to guard the animals from rustlers when you have to go away for some reason.

        But one thing is I'm trying to interest lots of people in my unusual diet. About five years ago, I was having some eye discomfort, and the eye doctors weren't doing that well in solving it. So I shifted to living almost entirely on skim milk, for the last five years, 365 days a year, I have been drinking almost two gallons a day, or nine liters, of skim milk, and really hardly eating or drinking anything else. It helped my eye discomfort, and I believe that for the same reasons it helped my problems it would help others with other problems, such as cancer, AIDS, and so on. I have been corresponding with NIH, the National............
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        Dec 20 2013: Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland, for quite a while, asking them to put it to research tests, and they are considering it (NIH is the largest government health research center in the U.S.) I don't know that healthy people would be very motivated to turn to this diet as it is quite extreme, but if you were sick and living on skim milk made you feel better, you would be quite motivated to do it, wouldn't you? Wouldn't it be thrilling if it really did help people with serious diseases like cancer?
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          Dec 23 2013: And thank you!

          "So are we upholding or negating Eliana's original premise.... I don't hear that much about people who have been miserable their whole lives." I think you're right that most people - at least those with sufficient health, resources, personal safety etc - don't live their lives in misery, apart from the chronically depressed. I'm sure I've heard/read that we have a sort of natural baseline of happiness that we usually return to after extreme events - although there seems to be lots of research about ways to increase that baseline, and there are no doubt ways it's reduced. However, I don't think that not being miserable is quite the same thing as being fulfilled or developing one's talents; and I guess I don't think that fully developing one's talents and pursuing one's 'purpose' is a complete recipe for fulfilment, either (so, perhaps some of my posts haven't been quite to the point).

          I do know, and have known, a number of people with talents and passions they've only partially developed, including my husband. It frustrated me for a while that he had this passion which, to my mind, he wasn't making the most of. He could have done a degree, got a research job, made some real contributions in an under-researched area and reached his potential. It took me a while to realize he IS reaching his potential in the path he is taking as a hobbyist, forum contributor, member of clubs and, now, a volunteer. He's maximising his happiness. Formal study might confine his learning and take the wonder away from discovery. Turning his passion into a job might sap his joy. That's what led me to the 'maximising happiness is fulfilling potential' idea. So, yes, I still agree with Eliana's premise, but I think not fully developing talents isn't always a negative thing.

          Unfortunately, I don't think everyone maximises their happiness. Necessity forced me to leave the data entry job. If it weren't for that, perhaps I'd still be there, believing I could do no better.
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          Dec 23 2013: (mostly off topic)

          “I also think it's possible that things might look better in hindsight.” Absolutely, or so my studies tell me. Especially when we are happy in the present. We don't tend to have such a good memory for bad things. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. When we're unhappy, it's difficult to remember the happy times.

          “Apparently the strategy of moving to England worked?” Yes – for the specific problem of feeling I was wasting the gift of my life. Other things on that bucket list helped, too e.g. learning a language, working in an orphanage (I didn't actually do that – I downgraded to volunteering in a foreign aid charity shop – but it still made a difference to my life and hopefully others).

          “is there any ancient heritage in New Zealand? ….” Yes, but little, if anything, in the way of built heritage prior to the 1800s beyond some earthworks, which usually take some squinting and imagination to make out with the untrained eye. The indigenous people of NZ are the Māori, who are as distinct from Australian Aborigines as I am, with my European ancestry. They arrived relatively recently (about 1000 years ago give or take a century or two). They generally didn't build in very durable materials. “Sometimes I want to encourage people to look more into where they are living...” I completely agree, and we spent our honeymoon touring the South Island of NZ for that very reason – to see NZ before other places. One of the wonderful things that being abroad often teaches, however, is the foibles and things of value in one's own country that we might otherwise miss. It was through reflecting on Europe's tangible heritage I saw that NZ might not have much built heritage, but we have living heritage that has been preserved by Māori, and that's really special and beautiful. The most famous example is the haka – the pre-match dance performed by the NZ rugby team.
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          Dec 23 2013: Speech-language therapy – I think 'language' acknowledges it's not always about the mechanics of articulation, but sometimes neurological e.g. autism. I'm still pretty ignorant. Right now I'm doing a BA in psychology and linguistics. In 2015 I'll begin a Masters in SLT. At first it just seemed a logical career choice given my majors, but then I realised how important speech is to all sorts of success – not only financial, but also social success and psychological well-being. Huge respect for your brother.

          Easily bored? No, I don't think so. I want challenge and purpose and meaning, like most people, but I'm also fond of saying I was born to be idle. It's too easy for me to spend most the day just lost in thought.

          It sounds like you're rightfully proud of your mother. My aunt and her kids went through a similar thing to your family, so I can appreciate the sort of strength it must have taken for her to keep things going, especially early on. The world doesn't stop just because the world turns upside-down. I'm sorry you and your family went through that.

          I imagine it would be deeply satisfying working in the business your dad helped build.

          “I really think it's very hard to dairy alone” You can't say that in a conversation like this! :) My thoughts: if it's within your reach and local govt permits, get support from neighbours, make a plan, do the research, devise an exit strategy in case it doesn't work out, and go for it. I know that's presumptuous, especially given how little I know of your circumstances, but it seems like not trying could be a 'deathbed regret' for you (yes, a bit morbid).

          You're right – your milk diet is pretty extreme but of course would be worth it. It seems medical science is taking food more and more seriously. How do you deal with the way food is so much a part of how we socialise? Having a beer with mates, holiday feasts, summer bbqs, inviting new friends over for dinner .... I assume all this stuff is the same in the US as NZ?
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        Dec 25 2013: thanks, Sara. Well, I believe now I misread Eliana's conversation, I thought she was saying most people didn't develop their talents or pursue their purpose. I see now she only said some, that makes me feel better since I would be quite depressed to think that most don't.

        If developing one's talents and pursuing one's purpose isn't a complete recipe for fulfillment, what is?

        Now I'm somewhat thinking that when we find ourselves in a less than optimal position, there might be something going on in our subconscious that has put us there for a good reason. For example, you worked doing data entry that you disliked. Perhaps there was some person you were supposed to meet on that job, some experience you were supposed to have, that made it worth it.

        Yeah, when I say peel away the onion layers, I'm thinking it doesn't even have to start out as exotic, like there can be something around you that appears very mundane, but if you will delve into it you will find it has very interesting depths. For me, I learn a lot about my environment when I try to make it better. For example, I have had a lot of complaints about noise from the supermarket loading dock across the street from me at 5AM. As I've attempted to reduce this noise by talking to the supermarket staff and the staff of the trucking companies that come and deliver the food, I've learned quite a bit about merchandising and merchandise transportation that has made my immediate environment more interesting.

        Yeah, I wouldn't be thrilled about my brother's job or working with autistic people. I've occasionally said to my brother that I wished he'd get out of the line, it seems like a leper colony, someone has to do it but I wish it wasn't him, or you.

        Well, it's a case where I'm not totally driven to produce my own milk, I'm quite happy to buy but if I got a wife it would be much more doable to produce my own. It seems like you like the idea of living on milk can you say why since some don't?
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          Dec 27 2013: "If developing one's talents and pursuing one's purpose isn't a complete recipe for fulfillment, what is?" I think having good relationships is pretty crucial, like those you seem to have with your family. I'm sure I've read/heard through my psych classes good social networks are a predictor of happiness in old age. I also think much can be learned from Buddhism. The Dalai Lama's(/Howard Cutler's) book 'The Art of Happiness' talks a lot about the Buddhist principles of compassion and loving-kindness. I think it must be hard for hostile people to feel fulfilled - satisfied, perhaps, but that's different. And perhaps we also need the feeling that we're contributing to something bigger or beyond ourselves, or creating a legacy, which may or may not involve pursuing our purpose. What are your thoughts?

          "Perhaps there was some person you were supposed to meet..." Mmm, perhaps. I'm not convinced by 'supposed to', but I do think every stage of my life has taught me something important. In this case, worth the cost, but I'm not sure about all cases. It's a nice idea, though, and I like your optimism.

          Onion layers - ok, I get that now, I think. It's a valuable point, and food for thought.

          Is your brother happy in his work? It must be distressing at times, but I think of Eliana's comment that she's energised through helping those who confide in her, and Joan Halifax's talk, in which she says compassion enlivens rather than drains. However, I know not everyone has the same experience, and it is something that concerns me. I plan to work in schools rather than hospitals, because I think working with kids will require less emotional resilience. And not all cases will be difficult to handle. I'm touched by your concern, though.

          Yeah, wives are great! :) Sometimes it does seem life is geared towards microtribes.

          It's less that I like the idea of living on milk, and more that I don't like the idea of living with avoidable suffering and I try to be open to new ideas.
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        Dec 27 2013: well, I was thinking of purpose in a larger sense, like part of your purpose would be to have loving relationships. Also thinking that when someone truly discovers his or her purpose, the purpose would be benign. It's hard to believe that Adolf Hitler discovered his purpose, for example, one would tend to think he didn't find his purpose but went off on a side road?

        Well, if you agree that every stage of your life has taught you something important, isn't that pretty close to saying that you were "supposed to" experience all those stages?

        Yeah, another way to explore your environment deeper is to be willing to ask an unusual question, I think people are sometimes afraid to ask an unusual question. And to do things that you are scared to do, that challenge you. In my case, for example, here in the states we have something called talk radio where you have a host and often guests talking on the air, and the public can call in from home and talk on the air with the guests and host. I've often called in and gotten on the air although it's difficult for me because I know from experience that things move quickly on the air and one can get tongue-tied in front of many thousands of people. Do you have any things that challenge you, Sara, what are they, do you go ahead and do them anyway?

        How does that job work, Sara, are you only with autistic people? People with a mental flaw like that give me the heebie-jeebies. And people with a physical defect where they are really out of control and drooling and such do, too, if it's due to a sickness and not old age. You say I'm wrong?

        Well, if it's the milk that's helping you avoid the suffering, then you are saying you like the idea of living on milk, aren't you?
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          Dec 28 2013: "I was thinking of purpose in a larger sense" Good point - there could be many different interpretations of 'purpose'. I guess I have two main ones, both stemming from a leaving card message: "May you find the path that leads to the highest and truest of yourself". One interpretation is the goal at the end of the path; the other the path itself.

          "supposed to" - again, perhaps. Jury's out on things like prophetic subconsciouses and fate. I'm a fairly reflective, self-evaluative sort of person who looks for life lessons, so maybe learning from any situation is natural for me, or maybe it's just human - an adaptive evolutionary trait. But then maybe not. I sort of like the idea that some force draws people together and nudges us along in life, but I prefer the idea of free will.

          "unusual questions" - agree. Mine tend to be about social norms etc, although I'd probably get more from them if I looked harder for answers.

          What challenges me? Answering questions which call for openness and therefore vulnerability. Do I do it anyway? Judge for yourself :) Not as challenging these days, though.

          SLT involves all sorts of speech difficulties, including things like stuttering.

          I don't think it'd be reasonable to say you're wrong to get the 'heebie-jeebies'. What you feel is what you feel. It would be different if it manifested in cruelty, but I don't think that's you. Luckily I feel differently. I'm conscious the only things making me and my loved ones different to 'them' is chance, perhaps time, and perhaps distance along a spectrum. And I care (I don't mean to imply that you don't). I think I might even feel an affinity with people with Aspergers and mild autism. Perhaps, if you were inclined and haven't already done so, you could try to counter your 'heebie-jeebies' with research into the conditions that creep you out, and learn more about individuals living with them e.g. Temple Grandin's TED Talk is good, and I enjoyed reading John Elder Robison's memoir.
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        Dec 28 2013: what unusual questions do you have about social norms, Sara?

        I was just looking for information on the Masai attitude toward mentally retarded. I'm a big fan of the Masai tribe of Kenya, in fact consider myself Masai in spite of being a white American. It is where I got the idea of living on milk. The Masai live in dung huts on the wilder places of Kenya. Should a Masai woman give birth to a mentally retarded baby, my understanding is she will put it out on the plains at night for the wild local lions to kill and eat. I have also read ancient Romans killed mentally retarded babies. This totally works for me, I believe retards take a lot of resources and give little back. I don't know if autism and Asperger babies would get the same treatment, I would guess it's pretty likely but I will look around. I suppose we can feel empathetic towards babies who get this treatment, it's really nobody's fault that something just went wrong during the creation of these babies, but still, on a practical basis we don't want them. Do anything for you? I see Grandin is herself autistic, no, I don't want to watch her, heebie jeebies.
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          Dec 30 2013: Intriguing response.

          Social norms - one of the latest questions is, "What makes strawberry-flavoured cider a 'girly drink'?" and strings of emerging questions.

          It strikes me that disabled communications is probably not a field one just falls into, so I'm guessing your brother has very different views to you. What do you think is behind that? If it's not too painful a question, do you have personal experience of people with these sorts of conditions?

          "Should a Masai woman give birth to a mentally retarded baby..." Wiki says "A high infant mortality rate among the Maasai has led to babies not truly being recognized until they reach an age of 3 moons". If that's true, it makes it easier for me to understand how they could allow their babies to be killed. Is this a belief you share - that babies shouldn't really be recognised until they're 3 mths old?

          "I have also read ancient Romans killed mentally retarded babies". Yes, I've heard that, too. But, then, I've also heard that watching people being torn apart by animals was popular entertainment, so I'm not too sure about the ancient Roman model of society. Wouldn't you agree?

          "I don't know if autism and Asperger babies would get the same treatment" Maybe not, since it might be the toddler years before a disorder is even recognised. In fact, I've heard of autistic children developing normally, acquiring language and everything, then, seemingly overnight, losing their language and being diagnosed autistic. I don't mean to be cruel but, if something like that had happened to your neice, would you have let her be left on the plains?

          "This totally works for me...." Do you have the same views about other 'unproductive' members of society? If so, where do you draw the line?

          A point I would make - Temple Grandin has made greater contributions to society than I probably ever will. I'm a bit surprised, Greg, given your enquiring mind, that you wouldn't be interested in the inside story, despite your heebie-jeebies.
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        Dec 30 2013: it's a bit hard for me to answer questions about alcohol as I never drink any, I do live on milk. I would imagine that milder flavored drinks are "girlie," possibly also with less alcohol?

        I would say my brother did somewhat fall into it, he became friends at church with Walt Woltocz (not sure that's the right spelling) who had a company called Words Plus that created these devices, and eventually came to work for Walt, eventually rising to second-in-command. He says he likes it because (well, actually Words Plus has been sold and my brother has left so I should say he liked it in the past tense) he thought he could make a strong difference in some lives with this particular work, it's not like making one meal for a person, for example, where you only help the person that one time. I myself recall working for a fellow with cerebral palsy, doing his housekeeping and such for a month or two, but it might be hard for me to do that all the time. But he was sharp-minded and interesting to talk to.

        I don't know about the 3 moons, we don't have a high mortality rate here. Do you have children, Sara? Is a person on edge for a while seeing if the baby's going to make it even in a modern environment?

        Well, one can take one thing from the Romans one likes and discard what one doesn't believe.

        Well, if autism isn't recognized til later maybe Masai wouldn't put on plains. I would say I'm quite uncomfortable with a serious mental defect such as retardation, because such a person is so very unproductive, even people like my friend with CP could still contribute cogent thoughts. And then he didn't get it til later in life, I can't see killing unproductive adults, I was talking about mentally retarded babies. From everything I know about autism yes I would have put my niece on the plains, even if an autistic lives a somewhat normal life aren't you always tense waiting for them to do something weird?
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          Jan 1 2014: "it's a bit hard for me to answer...I do live on milk" Yeah, I get that :) Such drinks may or may not differ in flavour intensity or alcohol content. I like the question because it leads to so many other idle musings. Is it culturally or biologically based? Or even linguistically? Thinking of the usual sweetness of strawberry flavour, and the semantically different but psychologically linked meanings of 'sweet': a sweet apple; a sweet girl. Is it linked to colour (pink for girls)? Interesting that we should assign gender to things like flavour and scent. Do roses (rose-pink) smell more feminine than, say, bluish lavender? Why are floral scents feminine, anyway, and flowers generally? Especially when the stereotypical image of a professional gardener is a male. How long has it been this way? Many other streams of thought, too. As I said, probably more useful if I looked or thought harder for answers, but it's entertaining nonetheless.

          No children. I have a very demanding cat, but they tell me that's not the same. Similar to you, I have a nephew nearby. He's a big part of my life.

          My observations - I'm not sure about 'on edge', but new mums (AKA moms) sometimes seem (sensibly) hyper-alert for problems with their babies, although sometimes don't want to be seen as the panicky first-time mum, so suppress their concerns. Not always for the best. Emotional engagement of my mum friends has been high from the outset (this sounds colder than I mean). A friend told me after her son was born "I've never felt so much love". So, if 'on edge', not detached.

          I know a number of people with whom I'm always tense, waiting for them to do something weird. They haven't been diagnosed with anything, though. I'm pretty unphased by conventionally understood 'weirdness' e.g. I'll take 'autism weird' or 'tinfoil hat weird' over 'racism weird' any day. I'm often atypical myself.

          BTW (I mean this kindly) you do realise you're no poster child for 'normal', don't you, Greg? :)
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        Jan 1 2014: well, in general are women more physically delicate than men? I mean, I believe a woman can do anything she wants, she can be a weightlifter, a garbage collector, play football, but still, mostly men get these kinds of jobs, and it's probably true that a woman couldn't for example play in the National Football League, she'd probably get hammered by the guys? So they may prefer the more delicate scents and colors? I could see the scents being associated with what guys and girls do, for example guys might like the scent of the sea because they go to sea as sailors, whereas women like roses because they stay home and tend the rose garden.

        Well, there's something different for me when someone does something weird but it's not due to a brain defect, at least they probably have some sort of rationale for it, and with discussion they could change their thinking. But when it's due to a brain defect it seems like you can't be sure they would change because they are a victim of their defect, no matter how much you point out a better way of thinking they might not be able to get it. And even if they do change, you're never sure if they really grasped the reason for changing or just changed in a rote, mechanical way because you told them to.

        Well, are you saying I'm weird, I hope you're not, because usually when we describe someone as weird, we mean it pejoratively, like they're at least somewhat bad in what they do. I would think there's a pretty wide range of normal and I fall somewhere on that range, but since I like exotic ideas and practices, I'm probably on the more exotic side of normal?

        In what ways are you atypical, Sara? Is it possible that you could apply a more flattering word, like "exotic"?
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          Jan 3 2014: 'delicate', gender habits/nostaligia etc - perhaps. Some for the mix.

          '...some sort of rationale...could change their thinking.' It's really, really scary how irrational we all are. The more I study, the more I think that what makes us human is not our ability to be rational, but our propensity to be irrational and not see it. Thankfully, as humans we have some magnificent redeeming qualities as well. However, I'll take your comment as encouragement :) And, so.....

          Atypical neurological development may lead to highly visible, seemingly strange behaviours, but have you ever considered how bizarre laughter is? A sort of undignified vocal convulsion, sometimes involuntary. But it's great - it releases stress. It helps us find a balance between our outer and inner worlds. So what's the difference between laughing, and, say, spinning? In my view, it's just this: popularity.

          Despite the previous post, I don't really like the word 'weird' applied to people and, no, I'm not applying it to you. 'Weird' to me is a very divurgent sort of word. It emphasises difference, ignores commonality, and sort of erects a mental barrier to understanding. It's not exactly the road to peace, love and harmony. What I was trying to hint at is difference isn't inherently bad, no more so in those who are neurologically atypical than in you. And, perhaps it's only fair that the willingness to try to understand one sort of difference should be applied to all sorts of difference, especially if we hope for others to understand and accept our own difference.

          Exotic - not me. It implies all sorts of things I'm not. I like atypical - it's value-neutral in my mind. However, a rose by any other name....
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        Jan 3 2014: thanks, Sara. Well, have you said why you think some drinks, or scents, are considered "feminine," since you've been thinking about it a while perhaps you have some insight?

        Well, people can be irrational, but there's really a difference for me when it's a choice and there's a possibility of making a better choice, versus when it's due to a brain defect and there's no real possibility of substantial improvement.

        I don't think of laughter as bizarre, but spinning when it's due to a brain defect bothers me. However, spinning when not due to a brain defect is okay, for example I've always been fascinated in the back of my mind with the "whirling dervishes" of Arabia, I think these are people who would just spin and spin in their dance, it would change their perceptions?

        "Atypical" I think might not be as value-neutral as you think, some people might hear it as "weird," might think you're calling yourself weird. What do you do that is atypical, but there might be words that are more pro-active to describe it?
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          Jan 4 2014: "... perhaps you have some insight?" My thoughts have moved on a bit now to other entertainments. But I think it's mostly cultural, given how differently we interpret appearance as masculine or feminine across time and space. Maybe it's derived from things like literature and historical roles - not gender roles alone, perhaps, but interlinked with differences between e.g. wealthy, sedantry elite and hard-working peasantry. I have no firm opinions.

          "...there's no real possibility of substantial improvement" Oh, don't say that! You'll make me feel redundant before I even start working :)

          The whirling dervishes - the dancing is part of a religious practice, isn't it? Makes sense - spinning is pretty euphoric. We know it as little kids, but as teens and adults we're too"dignified". We might sneak it into life in the form of dancing or theme park rides. Wonder whether it would be a good form of therapy? Perhaps we should all inject some occasional spinning into our lives - mass sessions like people who do tai chi in parks. It makes me think that spinning is perhaps not a direct result of autism, but a reasonable tool - just an alternative to crying or laughing or writing emotions in a journal.

          Still like 'atypical'. I know that it may not be value-neutral for others. I don't really mind. Those who know me don't need labels for me. Those who want to know me will create their own labels. And the rest - why would they or I care? Getting back to Eliana's topic, I'm sure caring too much about social approval is an answer.

          I've enjoyed chatting, but would it be a good idea for us to delete most our off-topic (or very tenuously on-topic) comments?
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        Jan 5 2014: well, I don't get the comments about social class? I would think it's true for both lower-class and higher-class men and women that the women are more inclined, for example, to wear a flowery-smelling perfume than the men, or to sip a "girly" drink?

        Well, you might be able to improve their practical actions, and even improve their thinking, but there is a hump you can never get over, which is the physical defect, it will always rear its head somewhere and have them doing goofy thinking or actions somewhere. At least that's my impression from the outside, Sara, I have not worked with these people. Really, you know your own life best, if this is the area that you feel, then we support.

        If you're looking for meaningful work, can I sell you and your husband on getting into dairy farming in some capacity? That seems like it would be a challenging, gratifying job, outdoors, close to nature, lots of delicious, healthy raw milk and beef around. Actually I have a vision of a better world where there wouldn't be such a variety of jobs, where everyone would be dairy farming.

        Yeah, I have nothing against people spinning if it's a choice and not a brain defect. Personally I find getting dizzy unpleasant, thus I've never understood the whirling dervishes?

        So what "atypical" things do you do?

        I wouldn't think any of this is off-topic, but even if it were, it seems quite great when an initial conversation becomes a springboard to other good conversation?
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          Jan 7 2014: 'social class' - Mmm, I didn't really explain that, did I? I was thinking about wine and beer/cider, wine being probably more of a 'girlie' drink, and beer/cider masculine. Why? Perhaps it has something to do with the price of wine for my cultural predecessors. The UK isn't known for its prolific vinyards. Beer and cider would have been much more accessible by the masses. This is where it gets tenuous: perhaps beer would have been considered more masculine because the drinkers were engaged in more 'manly' activities, and wine the opposite, because drinkers swanned around in their pretty clothes doing little physical work. And I do think there are probably class differences in what is gender appropriate. Differences in beer/wine perception is probably one of them.

          "... then we support." Thanks :) Wasn't at all serious, though - I'm in no way deterred, and I do believe in the possibility - even likelihood - of substantial improvement. Have you seen Aditi Shankardass's talk, by the way? Shouldn't be any problem with heebie-jeebies. Would be interested to know if it impacts your views.

          'dairy farming' Not a snowball's. No offence to your dream. Even if the cost weren't prohibitive, 5a.m. milkings are enough to put me off. There are a number of other things that I can't say I'd love about the job, either.

          'atypical' Persistent :) Well, there's one thing you know about - I'm a mature student, or adult learner, or whatever they call us now. There's a few of us among the psych majors at uni, but only one other I know of among linguistics majors. That is, amongst the undergrads. But perhaps not the sort of thing you meant? So, then, confession of the day: I dance to supermarket music when I think nobody is looking. What do you think - should have been left on the plains? :)

          'off-topic' I'll defer to you, since I haven't been around long enough to really pick up forum etiquette. Others can flag for deletion if they wish.
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        Jan 7 2014: thanks, Sara. Well, I hadn't thought the question was about which class considers certain drinks "girly," I thought the question was when people do consider a certain drink girly, why do they? I would still think it has to do with women being more physically delicate and thus preferring a lighter taste. When it comes to prohibitive cost, I would think the way to approach dairy farming would be to first work as a milker on someone else's farm (and, who knows, maybe do that the rest of one's career.) That way the cost wouldn't be prohibitive? As I say, I think it's quite interesting, dealing with the interesting creatures that cows are, providing food for the community (and delicious food at that), being close to nature. Not sure what's wrong with 5 AM, it seems like most people are active 16 hours, and sleep eight, it doesn't matter what time they rise, they'll still get their 16 hours of activity.

        Yes, I dance everywhere, I dance in line at the supermarket, on the corner waiting for the light to turn green, in bed before I go to sleep. I really don't mind people seeing it, it's great exercise and adds variety to my day.

        I would say this conversation is completely on-topic, I mean the topic was why people develop their talents and that is what we've been talking about, our goals and how we would like to achieve them. But even if it were off-topic, I think it's fine as long as it's good ideas, if we were talking at the dinner table we wouldn't have to stick to one topic, the initial topic would become a springboard for the joy of communication?
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          Jan 8 2014: Of course, but if there are differences across classes, doesn't that offer a way of looking into the question? It would suggest, for a start, that the answer isn't purely biological, but probably cultural. I'm not convinced about the 'delicate' argument (some girly drinks/scents/colours are overpowering), or even that women actually do prefer the things labelled as feminine. Example: I might not like the idea of being a dairy farmer, but I do love the smells of a dairy farm, even the effluent. Not particularly feminine, but it smells like home. I prefer your suggestion that it has something to do with traditionally disparate activites of men and women, and perhaps this is handed down through culture. Maybe a different angle for the origin is something like the connection between the smell of the sea and the presence of men, and the smell of the garden and the presence of women. Psychological theory probably would support that, too (e.g smells priming us to bring to mind certain thoughts).

          Yes, I suppose this could be linked back to the topic, too. Thoughts about culturally defined gender (or other) expectations and how they affect our perceptions and decisions as individuals. Not just limited to women, either - in fact, I think in NZ men have to be braver than women to go against those expectations. I think of a guy friend who once told me about the flak he gets for being a stay-at-home dad while his wife works.
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        Jan 9 2014: thanks, Sara. Well, since I don't drink, and really don't know people who drink a lot, it's a little difficult for me to comment. I could sort of imagine that a woman of a lower class would drink beer, whereas one of a higher class would drink wine? But they might both avoid shots of whiskey because it's a stronger drink, it's not as delicate? And they might sip the beer and wine, they might not slam it back as hard as a man? I would say a floral scent suggests flowers, which are very delicate as plants go (and also pretty, and women value beauty.) Also, the work one does in a flower garden is probably a little lighter, or can be a little lighter, than the work one does in a ship going to sea. But one thing I love about your question is it's potentially freeing, it would be nice if a man could wear a floral scent if he wanted to.

        As I had mentioned dairy farming, it got me to wondering why you don't see women working often as milkers on dairy farms, at least not in the US. I wouldn't think milking cows is any harder than, say, waitressing in a restaurant, yet on the many farms I've visited I only saw males.

        I maintain that dairy work is the most satisfying work. Have you ever done any job where you were producing food in any capacity? How did it feel emotionally?
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          Jan 13 2014: If there's a class difference, I think it's more obvious in men than women. But, then again, maybe it's more to do with the situation than class - e.g. a beer after a long day's physical work; wine with a nice meal.

          I've had a few small food production jobs. They had good points and bad points, but I can't say I personally got a buzz out of producing food in itself. The fact that we are all motivated by different things in different ways is, of course, a good thing.

          Some questions occurred to me, trying to understand your unusual perspective on intellectually disabled people. Like, do you believe they feel the same things most of us do? Love, hate, sorrow, joy, fear, hurt, excitement etc? A need to belong, to feel loved, to dream, to achieve?
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        Jan 13 2014: well, there may be a class difference in men, but i thought the objective was to discover why certain drinks are considered girly, so you would have to be comparing how and what women drink to how and what men drink?

        What were the small food production jobs? Why would, for example, helping someone lose his or her stutter be more exciting or interesting than producing food, that's hard for me to understand? Isn't it somewhat stressful to be around someone who stutters, how do you deal with the stress, except why would you want to if it's more interesting to be producing food?

        I will say, Sara, that based on my exposure to the dairy world, wives don't work much with the animals. It seems to be somewhat traditional, where the husband is outside taking care of the animals and the wife is indoors taking care of the house, the finances of the business, and so on. If you got interested in dairy, perhaps your job would be to handle the family finances in such a way that you could afford to buy a farm, you were saying how the cost of a farm is initially prohibitive, well, I don't think you want to buy a farm right off the bat anyway, while your husband was working as a milker you perhaps would be investing and trying to grow his salary so that you could get into the business in a bigger way eventually? Or I suppose there might be smaller animals to take care of, too, such as chickens, perhaps that would fall to a wife, although keeping chickens I don't think is Masai.

        Oh, disabled people might feel love, but it's sort of rudimentary and it can't add much to the world? You have to figure they take a lot, they have to be fed, clothed, housed, looked after, it takes money, time, effort, and they're not giving much back, only rudimentary emotions, it's not nothing but it's not enough?

        If you like to respond, I see the conversation is close to closing. I'm sometimes slow to respond too as I don't have my own computer. Thanks for talking.
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          Jan 14 2014: "there may be a class difference in men" It's the culture vs biology thing again.

          I don’t find being around people who stutter stressful. It's never occurred to me that others might find it so. I've known adults (some dear to me) whose speech difficulties have had a huge negative impact on their lives. Language is so essential to social connections, and therefore so essential to well-being. That's what motivates me.

          "Why would you want to if it's more interesting to be producing food?" For me, producing food isn't more interesting. Neither is doing accounts. And my husband gets much more satisfaction out of his current career than he would dairying, too. I'm curious as to why you think others should be dairying. I'm sure I remember hearing the there's often a milk surplus in some countries, so I can’t imagine we’re not meeting demand in the West. Or have they fixed that now? In any case, it's not like the world needs more atmospheric methane.

          "rudimentary emotions" I thought that might be your belief. Do you have any foundation for this? Do you think this belief is a cause or effect of your phobia/’heebie-jeebies’? If you looked into it and found that, in fact, intellectually disabled people are often productive in wider society and do feel complex emotions, would you still feel the same way? I suspect you would. Given that your attitudes to other members of society who are ‘unproductive’ are different, I would guess it’s an effect. It strikes me as similar to the sorts of stories soldiers sometimes tell themselves about 'the enemy', misogynists tell themselves about women, homophobes tell themselves about gay people etc. I believe it's called dehumanization. I don’t know much about the phenomenon, but I’m guessing it’s some sort of ego-defensive behaviour - a way of rationalising responses which we might like to think are inconsistent with who we are. If this is true, I suppose you’d be unlikely to change your opinions, regardless of the evidence presented.
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          Jan 14 2014: I could be wrong. I would like to be wrong. In case I am, you might like to look into people with Williams Syndrome (they seem magical) as a starting point for both emotion and contributions to society. Although, if I am wrong and you are able to change your views, you’d still have other very human obstacles, like loss of face resulting from changing what I imagine is a long held opinion, and maybe even a threat to identity if the view is very much a part of you or engenders a sense of superiority. And it would still leave the underlying phobia. I think sometimes the first step with addressing phobias is to want to address them. A phobia can also be a cherished part of identity - something that sets us apart, makes us special.

          It would take courage and strength to get over all this.

          Apologies for the lecture and analysis, but my hope is it will help you. It could even help in the ‘getting a wife’ department and so be a step towards your Californian Maasai dream.

          Thanks also. You ask some great questions.
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        Jan 14 2014: well, my best guess is that men go for rougher, stronger drinks because somehow they say physical strength, and women for sweeter, milder drinks because they say delicacy. But I would think many other feelings get overlaid on all that. I would guess that occasionally men do like and drink girly drinks, and women like and drink strong ones. I have heard that there are men who sometimes buy women's deodorants, in fact I myself have done it.

        You know, I'm not entirely sure why I advocate for dairy farming. I've done all kinds of jobs in my life, and they seemed to all eventually become boring. For about 20 years, I've worked as an extra in TV and movies. For most of that time, I loved it, it was magical and challenging (isn't being on camera in a mainstream Hollywood production, even as an extra, one of the most exciting propositions in the world?) Then, in my last extra job, I got to do the most acting I've ever done as an extra. I played a pawnshop owner opposite one of the TV show principals, and had a long "bit" with him, although my side of the exchange was silent. And I realized that even acting was boring, the magic and challenge had gone out of it. But one thing I have never gotten bored of is milk, I've now drunk thousands of gallons and it still tastes as delicious to me as ever. I don't think I ever will get bored of the taste. And I keep discovering new intellectual dimensions of milk, for example, one could say that a downside of milk is that you have to urinate a lot, but then some say every time you urinate your system gets cleaned out inside, so even the urinate part of milk is positive. But if I stay interested in milk, doesn't it seem like milk production would be endlessly interesting as well? Because it's so fundamental and you're producing something so positive and crucial to your life, without food you would starve, it's much closer to the bone of life than acting or speech therapy.

        Yeah, the occasional retard....
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        Jan 14 2014: can be trained like a robot to work as a janitor. But even when it comes to janitors I would rather deal with a real janitor who has a mind and a consciousness and thinks cogent thoughts about their life than a retard. I'm sorry, it's nobody's fault, something just went askew in the development, it's actually amazing how little intellectual decapacitation there is.

        Not sure how softening towards retards is going to help me get a wife. Not going to marry one!

        Actually, Sara, I do have to admit that I have never worked as a dairy farmer, and, who knows, maybe it could become boring as well. But it's hard for me to think it would ever become as boring as actor or speech therapist, you're outside, you're constantly exposed to nature, new questions enter your mind about the natural world, you're dealing continually with these animals with all their interesting needs and personalities, you're continually drinking this delicious raw milk, raw milk is the best and most of us never get it, dairy farming seems like the best.

        Actually, when I think of the taste of milk, I'm not sure it tastes so different from other food, but the fluid form of it is so refreshing. And the fluid form means when you take a drink it hits thousands of your taste buds at once, it's a burst of flavor, versus solid food that you have to chew to get the flavor.
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          Jan 17 2014: robot, mind, consciousness, cogent thoughts - What extraordinary assumptions. Gotta say, Greg, you really can't have interacted with many intellectually disabled people. Either that, or there are much greater differences between Kiwis and Americans than it appears.

          "....going to help me get a wife." What I mean is that shared values are an important part of any successful relationship. I'd hazard a guess that most single women (most people, in fact) would find the 'babies as lion fodder' thing incompatible with their values, whether or not they'd consciously frame it that way. Not saying that you should pretend to think differently - just that it might be a good idea to really look into the facts, trying to eliminate confirmation bias, and be open to changing your opinions to reflect the evidence. It might not increase the pool size of women you think are potential spouse material, but it might increase the pool size of women who would see potential in you.

          Best of luck, Greg. Thanks for the challenges.

          By the way, if my husband is right and you are a troll, nicely done.
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        Jan 17 2014: well, I've interacted enough with retards, Sara. I think it takes about 60 seconds and you know the Masai are right?

        well, as far as women go, I can't believe that how I or a woman feel toward retards is going to be much influence on how we form a relationship, when you think of the million factors involved in a relationship.

        Strange ending note, your husband and you thinking I might be a troll? I must have done a bad job presenting my thoughts and their justifications if there's any suspicion that I'm trolling. If you like, go to my profile and read my 2,000+ comments, you'll see that I'm quite consistent. Here are the four videos on my YouTube channel, I think they're all interesting videos, one does take up my almost-all-skim-milk diet: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZvDZdiqgpIOyXgi-lZVBgg/videos I'd still encourage you to think of the life of a dairy farming couple, the cattle gently lowing, the beautiful countryside with myriad wildlife, birds, flora, fauna, the getting to know each cow, the elemental connection with nature, all that heavenly raw milk, and if you want, cheese, butter, and beef, knowing that you are producing the most healthy, wholesome, delicious product in the world.
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      Dec 19 2013: Greg thanks for your feedback. I am amazed that you don't know people like this or perhaps you understand and view those around you differently than I do. Unfortunately, I see it everyday. I see it in the line of work I do. I see it in my family. I see it in friends. I was once like this when I was younger but not currently. When I reflect and look at my life I realize that the times where I was not happy or "pursuing" my purpose, I was building someone elses dream and being a people pleaser. I was trying too hard to be everything for everyone forgetting about self and the things that would make Eliana happy. I know what it feels like to develop your talents, be happy and wake up everyday knowing that you are satisfying a greater purpose because I also know what it feels like to be miserable, to feel like you are not talented or are not doing anything about developing your skills. I can tell you lots of stories. The majority come from younger people who don't think critically about life and are not motivated to live. Or at least, they are honest enough to confess that unlike some adults that I know who are miserably chasing the image of who others think they should be, and not who they really are.
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        Dec 20 2013: Eliana, I relate to much of this, except the people-pleasing experience and the experience with youth.

        "I know what it feels like to develop your talents, be happy and wake up everyday knowing that you are satisfying a greater purpose because I also know what it feels like to be miserable, to feel like you are not talented or are not doing anything about developing your skills." I spoke with a friend today about your question, and this comment makes me think of something she said. She told me about some friends of hers who were not reaching their potential and she felt it was because they were sad or depressed. Like you imply, it seems to me that many of us need to feel we are reaching our potential or achieving our purpose, or just that we're on that path, in order to feel happy. However, I think we also need a certain level of happiness to find the confidence and energy we need to set out on that path.

        So, perhaps many of us find ourselves in a catch-22 situation. I needed a catalyst to get myself out of that situation and set me on my current, hope-filled path - and I'm guessing you're a catalyst for many you work with. What do you think? Does this ring true in your experience?
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          Dec 23 2013: Hi Sara! :)

          A good friend of mine once said that if you find yourself in a depressed state its because you are holding on too the past and if you are in an anxious state of mind, its because you are thinking too much about the future. Of course, he was implying that the key is too live here in the now. In regards to what your friend said, I think that you cant move forward joyfully if you have un-dealt with issues from the past. I would ask her if there is resentment, bitterness, or forgiveness she hasn't dealt with that is causing the depression. Thoughts of the past will come in and out of our lives, but we have a choice of what we flirt with and what we don't. Of what thought we choose to hold on to and what we let go of.

          I have had many catalyst in my life. they have come in the form of people, books, and experiences but they all did ONE THING: EXPOSE ME TO SOMETHING I WAS NOT AWARE OF- MAKING ME CONSCIOUSLY AWAKE TO ANOTHER PART OF ME. In my experience, this awareness almost always motivates me in such a way that I take action in the area I was idle in. In my line of work, I have found that for some I have been a catalyst. Not because I have accomplished great things in life and have a life that others are dying to have. No. But mainly because I have conversations with youth that expose them to a truth about themselves or life that they weren't aware of. And sometimes that is all we need: to wake up to a part of us, to get a deeper understanding about life, or to just get clarity.

          I also think that once we are in this "hope-filled path" that there will be discouragement, negativity, and bad energy coming our way, but the goal is to continually become aware, to purposely seek growth and to be open to the different catalyst on our paths that will catapult us to the next level whether its the next spiritual, emotional, financial, or intellectual level.
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        Dec 20 2013: Well, I can say I'm an active person. I have various things I want to do, and I'm quite happy to enlist the people who seem like they're oriented toward support. For example, I do some library research, and I'm not shy about asking for help from librarians. And it is hard for me to understand the mentality of a librarian, because it seems like they don't have projects of their own, they only help people with the other people's projects. But most of the librarians I deal with seem quite happy, but I've never asked if they are. Is it a case where you would actually ask a librarian who was helping you if the librarian were happy? I probably avoid that, because I don't want to hear about too much unhappiness in my day, we get enough in the media and in our various dealings with people and life, and why ask a question where I'm maybe going to hear about more unhappiness? Is that what you do, Eliana, you actually ask people if they are happy or not? Doesn't it get to be a drag after a while if you're hearing a lot of negative answers?

        If you were unhappy in the past, I'm glad you found a way to become happier. How did you do it?
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          Dec 24 2013: Hi Greg,

          No I don't go around asking people if they are happy or looking at their face and assuming that they are miserable and I'm the only one in the world that is HAPPY!!! :) NOT.

          Most of my days it feels like I have a sign on my forehead that says: "Hello, please tell me all of your issues. I would love to listen." :)

          That has been the story of my life. So even before I was a professional motivational speaker/consultant people just came to me and for some reason felt extremely comfortable being vulnerable with me. In those conversations there was always an expressed confusion, discomfort, or unhappiness. Hearing this over and over never drags me. On the contrary I get a weird energy from it because I automatically encourage and love to build another persons self/spiritual/mental/emotional esteem.

          With the work I do now, I don't assume people are unhappy. I just share my story and message and 90% of the time a crowd comes up to me afterwards with questions and insecurities that tell me where they really are in life.

          Regarding your last question... it was a long process but I learned that every time I chose to be myself, my true authentic self I was happy. So everyday I make a choice. I choose to be Eliana and if that means that today Eliana is going to embrace her intellectual side, or her goofy side, or her artistic side or her introverted side or her nerdy side, or her absolutely stubborn side...then I let it be. Happiness to me is a state of mind. I dont need anything added to my life to be happy. Things can definitely enhance my happiness. I just need to choose my attitude, my happiness.

          Thanks for asking Greg.
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        Dec 24 2013: Well, when you say people don't develop their talents, Eliana, can you clarify what you mean by that? Let's say I have an inkling that I might be a good painter. So I could do several things, I could start painting on my own to practice and develop my skills, or I could take a class. Or I might decide I don't care about painting enough to develop my skills there. All of these are positive scenarios, in the first two I develop my talent, in the third I don't but it's for a good reason. But you're meeting people who don't develop a talent for a bad reason, where they'd like to develop it but something frustrates them? What could that be?

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