Give Meaning to Your Life!

Psychopathology is a field of psychology that concerns with understanding the nature, causes, and treatment of mental disorders. In the United States, psychopathologists accept the standard for defining various types of mental disorder; that is American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The most important thing to keep in mind when one diagnoses a patient is that no one element of abnormality is sufficient in and of itself to define abnormality. In other words, if a patient shows more symptoms shown in the DSM, the patient is more likely to be diagnosed as the disorder. Thus, it is necessary to update/edit the DSM since new psychological disorders have been discovering every year.

Anxiety_depression_problems

Then, we may possibly ask these questions: who determines who has mental disorders? Who makes the standard in the DSM?

For the last couple of decades, it has been an issue who would define the standard in the DSM and determine one’s mental status. As illustrated in this example, giving a meaning to a phenomena shown in one’s daily life can even define the person’s life. For example, homosexuality was defined as a psychological disorder in DSM-I (first edition). The homosexuality remained in the DSM until 1973. During 1970’s, specific protests by gay rights activists against the APA began and eventually shouted down and ridiculed psychologists who viewed homosexuality as a mental disorder. This protest resulted in removal of homosexuality in the DSM-III (third edition).

Logotherapy is a type of psychotherapy that is proposed by a psychologist Victor Frankl. Unlike all other psychodynamic theories at that period, logotherapy is founded upon the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one’s life that is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans. Some basic principles of logotherapy are as follow:

  1. Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.
  2. Our main motivating for living is our will to find meaning in life.
  3. We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stand we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering.

Frankl suggested that it may be psychologically damaging when a person’s search for meaning is blocked. Religion let us give a meaning to our life and to all disorders that we have. The power that we get from our prayer allows us to see our life in a different perspective. We, Christians, discover this meaning in life through the Bible. We mustn’t live our lives by the power of our knowledge, but by GOD’s words.

Luke 6:28 — Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

T.S.

References

Abnormal Psychology, 14th edition

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV).

Grit: A Secret to Success

For past few decades, many believed that our children’s future success and potentialities were depending on the measure of their IQs (Intellectual Quotient). However, recent researches have proved that success was not simply a matter of intelligence or talent. Success had more to do with ability to persist in the face of obstacles and to stick with the same one goal. The recent scientific terms described this kind of personality trait: grit. This characteristic can be described as endurance in terms of TAC ideology.

“Genius is 1 % inspiration and 99% perspiration,” is a well-known quote by Thomas Edison. He had told us, about seven decades ago, that genius is the one who endures obstacle and overcome barriers to accomplish their goals. However, we have focused too much on one’s talent and intelligence when it comes to “success.” It is because the talent and intelligence were an exposed phenomenon whereas their perspiration and grits were hidden characteristic behind that big phenomenon. For example, Newton’s discovery of gravity seems like a sudden epiphany. An apple fell on top of his head and that explained whole ideas of gravity and orbits of the moon and beyond. In fact, Newton had studied and thought about gravity for a long time. He went through tedious and painstaking work. It is well known that he filled his notebooks with scribbles of equations and spent months to find the exact moment of a pendulum. This shows that his discovery of gravity was not an instinct insight.

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Angela Duckworth, a psychologist at University of Pennsylvania is a pioneer of the study of Grit. She conducted a study based on the fifth graders in New York City Public School. She divided fifth graders into two groups A and B. She assigned an age-appropriated version of IQ test to both group. Then, she praised group A for their intelligence whereas group B was praised for their effort. She assigned them the second test, which was an upper grade level. There were different reactions in both groups. Group A were discouraged from doing the difficult problems, on the other hand, group B worked hard to finish the test. Then, they were given the third exam that was the same level as the first exam, and group A’s exam average decreased by 20% and whereas group B increased by 30%. This experiment clearly shows how efforts and endurance is the crucial maker of success.

Through this study, we realize the importance of stressing one’s qualitative value rather than quantitative value. When Group A was praised for their quantitative values like their grades and smartness, they became discouraged when they faced an obstacle. They refused to struggle through it. However, group B were able to struggle and endure because they were stressed on efforts they made. The researcher tried to convey that our mindset grow when we endure and go through a struggle. However, fixed minded people are those consider quantitative value as the most important trait and they give up when they meet an obstacle.

 

“And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;” (Roman 5:3-4)

Jesus Christ exemplified endurance for us. He suffered from the cross and endured all the pain to achieve one goal: to save us.  At the end of all the obstacles and tribulations, He was glorified and elevated to heaven. He showed us the secret to success—Girt, the power to endure.

References:

Duckworth, A. L., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2006). Self-discipline gives girls the edge: Gender in self-discipline, grades, and achievement test scores. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 198-208.

Lehrer, Jonah. “The truth about grit.” Boston Globe 02 Aug 2009.

S.Kim

The Gift of Sparkle

Have you ever met a person who has kindled a sparkle in you and changed the way you’ve thought and lived your life?  We often say we are inspired by successful people but to actually be moved by someone and let your life be changed is, I say, a miracle.

Well, lucky for me, TAC was that igniter which opened my eyes to see the true meaning  in life and success. It still drives me everyday to live as fully as possible as a Christian. I am ever so grateful and indebted to TAC for igniting passion and hope for my future in Christ.

With that being said, I want to introduce a person who has brought sparkles to many young children’s lives. He is a world famous educator and the founder of a prestigious pedagogic method, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. Many of you may have heard of his Talent Education School or the well-known Suzuki Method for music instruments but the fundamental basis of his pedagogy is emphasized on nurturing Characters.

Dr. Suzuki’s belief in the power of love has actualized many impossible dreams  including a blind child to see the violin, strings, and bow. That child, after one year of genuine and arduous practices,  performed Seitz Concerto at the age of six. Dr. Suzuki’s tales, including his own, narrate many success stories of world famous performers and educators.

What has touched me most was  his fundamental idea that a talent is not determined at birth but is nurtured and brought forth by ceaseless effort and love. He says shortcomings or weak points in children (and adults) shouldn’t be blamed on “character” or “nature” but should be corrected and brought to the points of excellence through arduous training.

Under this principle Dr. Suzuki believes that all kinds of talents and superior abilities can be developed, especially for the younger children. The key evidence for this theory is that all children  speak their mother tongue languages without a difficulty and likewise a talent can be developed if placed in an appropriate environment.

He says that the way to produce superior ability is to concentrate on something and devote oneself to doing it. Quoting his words, “The reason that we chatter freely in Japanese (he’s Japanese) is that we use it daily; it is the same with jumping over the hemp every day from the time it appears. It is a matter of ‘Ease comes with training.’ We simply have to train and educate our ability, that is to say, do the thing over and over again until it feels natural, simple, and easy. That is the secret.”

His focus isn’t placed in attaining superior outcomes, but he esteems the quality of life and character prior to the materialistic outcomes of such training. Children shouldn’t just practice to produce excellent performing skills, but they are to first love and respect music, people, and life. They are encouraged to set purposes and visions that are beyond physical successes.

A lot of what Dr. Suzuki says resonate with TAC thoughts and I am ever so grateful for these priceless lessons that have changed and have formulated the path I now walk. I’ll end today’s blog with another inspirational passage from Dr. Suzuki’s book “Nurtured by Love” and I hope this will inspire a positive change in your life too.

“…You will one day realize that it is the greatest and best blessing on earth to come in contact with men of high humanism, who also through their art have a pure, noble soul. And whatever you can absorb of his greatness and beauty of character will determine your worth as a person. However, to perceive and grasp these qualities requires the humility and judgment that come only through sincerity, love, and knowledge…However wonderful the other person may be, it depends on us alone, whether we have the capacity to absorb their greatness. One has to educate oneself from within the benefit from the greatness of others. Only if one can do this can one fully realize the joy of being near someone who is great. Never lose your humility, for pride obscures the power to perceive truth and greatness. Please, by all means, don’t forget this.” 

K.P.

To learn more about Dr. Suzuki or his method, please refer to the following resources:

Nurtured by Love: The Classic Approach to Talent Education http://www.amazon.com/Nurtured-Love-Classic-Approach-Education/dp/0874875846

Ability Development from Age Zero (Suzuki Method International) http://www.amazon.com/Ability-Development-Suzuki-Method-International/dp/0874875803/ref=pd_sim_b_1

Suzuki Association of the Americas http://suzukiassociation.org/teachers/twinkler/

The Heart of Many Thank-you’s

If you were lucky to have amazing parents, friends, and/or teachers, you probably grew up with a lot of advices about how to live life. But one that stands most common among family and friends is this very advice: Be thankful.

Now, if you grew up in a Christian surrounding, you probably heard the same thing but with a little bit of variation. “Thank God for everything in your life.”

You hear it so much, sometimes it goes to the back of your head and God knows when you even remember to properly thank God for everything. But then, there are moments you come to this enlightenment, this realization that truly everything in your life was given by God, all the good and the bad, and you cannot believe how amazing God is and how much He has worked within your life.

People, both big and small, talk about “ways to be happy”. Oh sure, there are plenty of ways. But underneath the joy of happiness, you find that gratitude lies as the strongest foundation of them all. When your heart begins to look at the world and your life with thankful eyes, you understand through thick and thin that everything will not only be “okay” but “great”. You find that the reason you can be joyous of your life is because God is in you, and He is working both night and day, whether we are there to know it or not, to lead your life to His will.

Now, if you are a grumpy old soul reading this post, all these words of gratitude may make your eyes more frown-y, your shoulders more slump-y, and you can’t find what there is to be thankful of! A grumpy soul finds the smiles of a joyous person so distasteful, and quite understandably so. But remember that gratitude does NOT come only when you have fortunate events in your life. No, gratitude is something truly deeper than that. It begins with knowing who you are. It begins with the humble journey of discovering how small and weak you are. When you can see clearly the being that you are, then you begin to see this hovering light of Holiness and Grace above you, so far up in the heavens. You learn through the Words and through the sermons at Church that this Holy Light hovers with grace above the clouds in your life. You learn that the Almighty Christ loves you, that God sent his Beloved Son into this sinful world, to save you and me from death and evil.

You see the shackles that constantly tries to chain you. You see the darkness of the soul seeping into every hole your heart creates. Any emptiness is quickly filled with evil thoughts. You cannot deny this soul we have is evil.

And yet there is but one hope in life. It is the hope of Christ. It is the hope of salvation. Though the toils of man without God is left in the dirt, the work of man in accordance to God’s will is of the heaven’s glory!

Let me share with you a few Bible verses:

Psalms 118:24 – This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Colossians 3:17 – And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Psalms 127:1 – (A Song of degrees for Solomon.) Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Ephesians 1:16 – Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Colossians 3:15 – And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Hebrews 12:28 – Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

Colossians 3:15-20 – And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.

Psalms 107:1 – O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

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These are but the very few. His words are of rejoice! Let us find gratitude in our hearts, find light in darkness, and seek with prayer and passion that once the Light has been given to us, that we do not let anything take it away.