Monthly Archives: April 2012
Do you remember the nursery rhymes of your childhood? Do you have your favorites ? Many nursery rhymes have negative connotations . I did some research . Read on to find out more about our much loved nursery rhymes ..
Nursery Rhymes | Negative connotations
These are some nursery rhymes that we used to grow up with that has negative connotations . Here are some of them .
- Humpty , dumpty had a great fall
- London bridge is falling down , falling down , falling down
- Jack and Jill went up the hill ( eventually Jack broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after ..)
- Rock-a-bye baby (when the bow breaks , the cradle will fall)
- Three blind mice … (she cut off their tails with a butcher’s knife)
Well everything here seems to be pretty negative , with things falling down and getting hurt . Kind of scary isn’t it if we have to teach our young toddlers about such negative things and wonder how this will impact them when they grow up .
Personally , I don’t think I remember these nursery rhymes as being negative then , because no one told me , including my teacher . I just like the words , the sound and the rhythm that comes with it .
Nursery Rhymes | History and events
Many of the origin of nursery rhymes are associated with historical event , and some of them has lost its meaning over the passage of time . Some of these rhymes may appear innocent but they are used to spread subversive messages . In those days , commoners are not allowed to make direct criticism as this is punishable by death , but the rhymes allow the element of free speech . Some examples here
- Adam and Eve rhyme (When Adam delved and Eve span Who was then a gentleman) refers to the revolution in 1381 in England due to inequalities . At that time the bubonic plaque (also known as Black Death) killed many people caused by infested fleas carried by rodents (rats and mice) . Prices and wages rose . People no longer believe the church and the church influence declined substantially then . [see report] . The children’s song , “Ring around the rosy” is also about the plaque
- London bridge is falling down . This wooden bridge has it’s history traced to the Roman occupation of England in the first century. The first London Bridge was made of wood and clay . . Many disasters struck the bridge . Viking invaders destroyed the bridge in the 1000′s . It was then fortified and re-built with the various materials . The bridge was later relocated
- What about humpty , dumpty ? The mysterious Humpty dumpty is actually a large cannon used during the English civil war (1642~1649) . In the town of Colchester , they placed this huge cannon called Humpty Dumpty on the wall next to St Mary’s Church . Humpty Dumpty was blown to pieces and the Royalist opened the gates of Colchester and surrendered to the Parliamentarians .
Nursery Rhymes | Direct reference
Earlier we mention that certain nursery rhymes has hidden meaning with a direct reference to someone or something . Here are some very examples
- Jack and Jill (Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after) . Here jack is King Louis XVI who lost his crown (beheaded) and Jill refers to his wife , Queen Marie Antoinette who followed him shortly after . [see story here]
- Mary , Mary quite Contrary is a hidden reference to English Queen Mary Tudor (daughter of King Henry Viii , who tend to go against her father and brother ) who tortured and executed Protestants . The Queen is also known as Bloody Mary !!
- In the case of the “Mother Goose” nursery rhymes , who is actually mother goose ? The mysterious mother goose is actually a witch . [see report here]
Nursery Rhymes | Impact on our children
Now that we know the stories surrounding these nursery rhymes which seem to have negative connotations , do they have any impact on pour children ? As an adult we certainly can understand the negativity but does our children understand at such young age . It certainly did not cause any negative impact on me then , eventhough I was blasted with all these rhymes unknowingly . Simple reason for I didn’t know of such negativity for no one told me . Even if someone told me , as a young child , I probably could not comprehend either for I may not even fear , or be able to relate the severity of what happens when the bow breaks in rock-a-bye baby then . Perhaps I am too young to even understand these adult hidden agenda and its negative elements in the story . They are simply too complex for me as a young child . That’s my opinion of course . Others may differ .
I think the whole intention of nursery rhymes is to get the child into proper syllabic pronunciation and therefore easy pronunciation . Rhymes are interesting and fun , and they need not have to have any logical meaning. They are just merely words arranged in a rhythmic manner to ease remembering and perhaps , with a simple story. In a nutshell i think nursery rhymes help our children to remember (citations) and learn better , and adds a lot more fun .
Here are some studies done on this subject matter [read this] . I guess we can always pick other nursery rhymes that does not have negative connotations at all for our children , just to be sure . By the way , please switch off that TV for it has too much violence !!
What is common between positive thinking and the “garden of weeds” ? A lot actually .
Positive thinking | Our brain
The most important part about motivation and positive thinking is that it starts with our brain . Let us look at what happens when we leave things as is . For example
- what if you don’t shower ? you stink
- what if your husband don’t shave or cut his hair ? Every soon he becomes untidy
- what if you leave your garden as is and do nothing about it ? Weeds starts to grow
So in its natural state , without effort , things gets a little untidy and later starts to fall apart . The same goes to our bodies . If we don’t exercise we get fat . If we don’t use those muscles , very soon it will deteriorate and lose its functions . Guess what happens to our brain if we leave it idle ? Without positive thinking , we will start to accumulate negative thoughts .
Positive thinking | Our brain is like our Garden
Our brain is exactly the same as our garden . If we don’t take care of our garden , very soon weeds will grow . So how do we take care of our garden ? We ensure that our garden has enough sunlight , water and fertilizer . We need to put in effort to do all this and the same goes to our brain too . So what does our brain need ? It needs to be fed with positive thoughts every time so that we don’t let weeds to grow at all in our most important organic , biological asset . Once weeds starts to grow , it is very difficult to have them removed . Once negative thoughts start to sink in , it is also difficult o have them removed . You see , very soon , the weeds that stays in the brain is like “bad” habits which are hard to get rid off because over time , they become character … So feed it with positive thoughts , positive thinking so that we leave no room for negative thoughts to fill in
Positive thinking | Life is like a garden
Life is like a garden . You are responsible for it . You decide what you want to grow , how it will look like , what you want to feed it with and eventually see the results of your effort . There will be times where weeds will start to sneak in and you won’t know till they start showing up . You will have to decide how long these weeds stay and how long they get . You will definitely need to take action when you see these weeds , because if you leave there for too long , it may have taken over the entire garden !! So if you don’t like your garden , change it . It is your garden so don’t let them take root !!
Positive thinking | Reap what you sow
Our thoughts are causes
You sow a thought , you reap an action .
You sow an action , you reap a habit .
You sow a habit , you reap a character .
You sow a character , you reap a destiny .
It all starts with a thought , positive thought , positive thinking !!
Everyone knows that positive thinking is good . But do we know that our brains are wired in such a way that it tend to remember negative events better than good ones ?
Sometimes we wonder why we can remember events that happen 10 years ago but we can’t seem to recall what we ate just last week ? When was the last time when someone criticize you harshly ? I think a lot of us can remember that event and not only this , its details too. Get my point ?
Positive thinking | What do we remember ?
So why do we remember certain things but forget others ? If you have teenager children , ask them and see if they remember the good events or the bad events better ? How about trying to recall what you were doing on the dreadful day of 9/11 . Well I can remember very clearly what I was doing then and I am sure most of you do too . Research has shown that that we tend to remember bad times more than good . Its important to realize this before we discuss positive thinking
Positive thinking | Impact of negative events and emotions
In the work place , if you have a supervisor who tend to recall the bad times more , there is a logical reason for being so . So let’s try to understand more about this . Research shows that we tend to remember such negative events in greater detail than positive ones . Negative emotions actually enhances memory accuracies . Why ?
One researcher argues that by recognizing such negative emotions so vividly will actually help us at some point in time , to survive , if the very same life threatening situation arises again . It helps to guide us and plan in case of a recurrence . This seems to make sense from a survival and evolutionary stand point . [see full report here] . But this has serious implications . While we sometimes want to forget the “bad” stuff so that we don’t carry such emotional baggage , now we have our brains wired in such a way that prevent us from “forgetting” these bad incidents that we simply want to get by and past us . We just sometimes want to forget these painful recollections , but how ? That’s where positive thinking steps in
Positive thinking | How do we try to “forget” bad times ?
Another study was done and it indicates that what we do with our emotional memories and how it affect us has a lot to do with gender , personality traits and the methods we use to control our emotions . While majority of these affects women more as women tend to suffer more from emotional disorders and their increased focus on negative emotions . Being extroversion (assertiveness ) helps a lot as it tends to focus on positive than negative life events . 2 strategies were adopted in this study as to how we manage our recollected memories whether good or bad . First is reappraisal , which is trying to look at a different perspective on negative events , while the other is suppression , hiding the negative emotions .
The study indicated that suppression in men has no significant difference in bad or good memories but it has a pronounce impact on women . Suppression in women ended up with lower mood shortly after . [see full report here]. To conclude , the study suggest that being more outgoing and using reappraisal works best for both men and women when dealing with negative memories .
So having a positive mental image and being a free-er outgoing character and personality will help to counter the effect of bad times recollections
Positive thinking | In Summary
Now that we know why we tend to remember bad events better (and why) , and suppression of these negative events does no good but cause more harm . The only better option would be reappraisal , so that with positive thinking , it helps to put us in a better situation
Motivation | CEO 1st 100 days problem
In todays’ reward and punish system , a new CEO of a company has about 100 days to show results , else when the earnings are out , all eyes will be on him . The problem is everybody wants results , and as quickly as possible . Sometimes these quick fixes are really very poor band aids and good in the short term , and harm the company in the longer term .
This is like a normal car salesman . He gets his commission the moment sales is done . He does not care about after sales , car maintenance and customer complaints because he has already received his incentives . These are short term and may not do well in the long term . If the salesman’s commission and incentives are tied to longer term goals , such as after sales on customer feedback on maintenance and everything about the car , the salesman will do activities that is more balanced in both the short and longer term which truly benefits both customers and the organizations
Motivation | Money and the creative right brain
We know that money isn’t everything when it comes to motivation . Here are 2 very interesting articles from Daniel Pink , author of the book “A whole new mind” about motivation . In his book , Dan talks about the right side of the brain dominating today’s global economy . Our left brain hemisphere which controls logical thinking , sequential , linear and analytical are essential , but not enough . We need to develop our creative right brain capabilities (empathy , artistry , vision , big picture ) . In Dan’s book “Drive” , he believes that to motivate right brain creativity , it can be done with more human and less material incentives . In this video , he has CEO of System Source talking about scrapping sales commission in 1994 , because it disrupts customers’ effort . The reality seems to be that money de-focus the original intent or purpose of the act or task itself .
See the video below .
Motivation | Monetary incentives led to poorer performance
What is the normal typical motivation scheme in many organizations ? We rewards the top performers and non-performers don’t get anything. Basically , if you reward something , you get more of the behavior that you want . If you punish something , you get less of the behavior that you want. .
Conclusion : If the task involve routine task or purely mechanical type of skills , bonuses work as expected . The higher the payout the better the performance . This is the traditional carrot and stick approach that we used to know
However , according to Dan , some study has shown that , once the task involve some rudimentary cognitive skills , the results is reversed , which is larger rewards led to poorer performance . This is surely unexpected . How can this possibly be ?
Watch this video from RSA (Daniel Pink)
Let’s examine some of Daniel Pink’s findings
1. Monetary incentives led to poorer performance . Traditional “stick and carrot” motivation is only good for routine , mechanical task oriented activities and not for task that require even rudimentary cognitive skills . Breakthrough requiring creativity , visionary , conceptual thinking that requires the right brain , the type of motivation or incentives are not necessary monetary , but more on human incentives such as recognition , purpose and self direction .
2. People needs to be paid enough , so that they don’t have to worry about about them .
3. To motivate the right brain type of activities , we need human incentives or motivation , and according to Dan , they are autonomy , mastery and purpose
There is another report with similar results and findings . [For full report]
Motivation | Summary
In summary , there are 3 things we need to work on other than money . Allow some degree of autonomy in doing what they like to do and how they want to do it , doing things that they care very , very much and start treating everyone as humans who needs a sense of purpose and meaning in what they do . So who says motivation cost a lot money ?
In motivation , sometimes it does not cost you an arm and legs to reward and inspire employees . But it has to be done in a genuine manner , with true sincerity , right from the hearts .
Motivation | Small things matters
Some of us belief that small little things really matters to our fellow employees . If we cannot do these simple small act of good will then it is very difficult to do the big things in life . It is strange but true that these small little things adds up and not only that , if we constantly does them , it becomes part of us (part of our character over time) and it becomes very natural to us .
If you are a manager of a company , there are many things that you can do to reward and inspire fellow employees . Most of them does not cost a lot of money but does require some personal attention or systems to be defined to ensure that there is proper procedures and control in place by Human Resources (HR) . We will examine some of them .
Motivation | Money isn’t everything
In motivation , we all know that money isn’t the only motivating factor . Here are a list of things we can do in the work place that we can reward and inspire our employees
1. Get the employee to your office , so that you can thank the employee personally . Try to remember his/her face and his/her name and this has to be done genuinely and wholeheartedly . So next time when you meet the same employee , remember to greet him/her by his/her name
2. Put a “thank-you” note on the employee’s desk or office . It will be great if we can make personal “bravo” cards for any occasions Have them pre-prepared for use when the situation warrants it . A personally self made card is better than those that everyone can buy at the local store
3. Have a Vice-President or Senior Manager to call the employee or visit the employee’s work area to personally thank him/her for the job well done .
It is very important to praise employees and tell them what they have done right , and how his/her act helps the organization and fellow colleagues . Encourage others to do likewise . Such show of gratitude and genuine appreciation will go a long way in enforcing the type of culture for the organization as well . It does not harm or cost to praise more .
4. Buy lunch for a group of employees and eat together , say every quarterly . Share conversations with fellow employees
5. During festive occasions , buy food for all employees (Such as mooncakes , dumplings during chinese festive seasons , etc
6. Look to give out special awards (such as no sick leave in the last 6 months , special mention by customer , etc)
When management shows through actions rather than words that you are a valuable employee , it does no matter what level of employee he/she is , those actions are simply very motivating .
Motivation | A system for recognition and appreciation
Setup a system for recognition and appreciation of employees . Generate as many ideas and reasons for doing this . Following are some examples
7. Mentoring of new employees . Identify and use mentors as role models . Mentors who knows the particular process well and anyone can look up to them for anything
8. Best employee’s award for the month
9. Set up a board of fame with photographs of outstanding employees on the company’s notice board . Take photographs of the employee being congratulated by his/her manager
10. Make special small pin tagged onto the employees badges as a form of recognition and identification of such employees
Motivation | Recognition and appreciation
There you have it . We have 10 ways that does not cost much money . In motivation theory , we already knew all this but we need to put this practice in place in our work place . Individual recognition is sometimes more important than salaries , bonuses and promotions . Employees want to be identified with the success not only of their profession but that of the organization as well . And the best way is to receive acknowledgement that they did contribute to making something meaningful happen . That’s a motivation !!