Archive for the ‘Social’ Category


The Psychology of Success

January 8, 2010

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by Benjamin D. Summers

As most people know, it is important to define success and set specific, measurable goals to get there. A less commonly known component of goal setting is that of visualization. Visualize in vivid detail what it looks, sounds, feels and smells like to be where it is you aspire to be, doing what it is you aspire to do. Show yourself often, in as realistic detail as you can imagine, what it will be like when you achieve what you are striving to achieve. This goes a long way in convincing the belief system that the goal is attainable, and it’s the first step in creating the road map to get there.

A person’s belief in what they are capable of achieving has great influence in determining the outcome. Not only do our beliefs affect what we choose to do, they also affect all the many unconscious decisions that govern our daily lives… demeanor, idiosyncrasies, instinctive actions, etc. The effect that the sum of these unconscious behaviors has on the outcome of our lives is great. Contrary to what most might think, belief is not determined by reason but by the subconscious, and it is molded through repetition. What this means is that you can positively mold your belief system over time by repeatedly exposing yourself to that which you want to believe. This is where self-affirmation comes into play. Expose yourself to repeated positive input related to what you want to achieve (people who want you to succeed and self-affirmations) and avoid those (people and thoughts) who negatively counter this influence. Over time, a reluctant hope for success will have evolved into a genuinely confident belief that you will find the way to make it occur.

Confidence and self-esteem are critical to performance under pressure and eliminating self-sabotaging behavior. Confidence comes from knowing you have done what is needed to meet the challenges at hand. Self-esteem comes from understanding your values, then making the best effort of which you are capable to possess those values. Values are the traits you respect or believe to be important or valuable in a person. Different people value different things: athleticism, artistic ability, business savvy, etc. But whether we admit it to ourselves or not, some values are common amongst all people such as honesty and integrity. You respect people who possess your values, and tend not to respect those who don’t; this rule also applies inwardly to yourself. When you do things that fall short of, or are inconsistent with your values, your self-image is adversely affected. Never cease striving to be the best you can be at what you want to be; that is under your control. If you become focused on things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect the things over which you can. Do what’s right… others may not see it, but you will.

The number one reason why people do not pursue becoming the person they would like to be is fear of failure. When faced with this fear, remember the words of Paul J. Meyer, “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass.”

From Mechanics to Muscle Memory

Mechanics as applied to sports are generally thought of as a series of snap shot positions of an athletic movement. Teaching mechanics as a means to develop athleticism is similar to drawing a picture by connect the dots. For a movement to be performed explosively and athletically, it must be done unconsciously… the focus being on the feel of the movement as opposed to the series of snap shot mechanical positions that make it up. The ability to perform a movement by feel is called muscle memory.

But how does an athlete go from being “mechanical” to utilizing muscle memory? Like connect the dots, teaching a series of snap shot positions gives the brain a pathway to perform the proper movement. Depending upon the ability of the athlete, the number dots or mechanical positions required to effectively communicate the movement will vary. One athlete may only require only a couple points along the pathway of movement to develop a particular skill; another athlete may require many. Either way, the mind’s slow step-by-step micromanagement of a learned movement will evolve into feel over time. After anywhere from hundreds to thousands of repetitions of an athletic movement are performed (depending upon the level of focus on performing the repetitions well), muscle memory will be developed. Regardless of the stage of development, during competitive performance, focus should be on visualizing the desired outcome, not mechanics.


South Walton Liberal Arts College Abstract

February 3, 2009


The panhandle of Florida is graced by over a hundred miles of the most beautiful coastline to be found anywhere in the world. Despite this priceless natural resource, the area as a whole has lagged in terms of socio-economic and cultural development when compared to other places of similar geography. Recognizing the potential of this unique area, Robert Davis pioneered the effort to create a community development matching the splendor of its natural surroundings, Seaside. The success of Seaside has since incited a local boom of urban planned community development creating a residential environment along Highway 30-A that resonates the beauty of the natural landscape.

This growth in residential development, however, has not been met with corresponding commercial development to sever the area’s economic dependence upon its real estate market. As such, local businesses struggle to find labor as housing costs exceed the budgets of would-be employees, and residents must travel significant distances to meet their commercial needs. The first step to bridge this chasm is to create a seed that will stimulate cultural, social and economic growth; this catalyst is an academic institution. This academic institution must reflect the natural beauty and intelligent design of its surroundings utilizing the resources of the area to attract the best in faculty, students and staff. To address South Walton’s breadth of needs through one institution requires a commitment to the academic ideals of a true liberal arts college.

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A Gentleman’s Cold War

August 22, 2006

by Benjamin D. SummersA_LOGO

As the term implies, a gentleman behaves in a manner that is non-threatening, and rightly so.  In our modern society, there is typically no need for physical contest to achieve social rank, at least not on an individual level.  We reserve the physical fight for governments to handle on a much larger scale, war.

Nonetheless, despite what behavior one learns as appropriate, people are still human with instinctive motivations dictating social interaction.  With this in mind, I believe it to be critically important for a gentleman to maintain a strong physical presence even though there will likely never be a need to utilize it directly.  I liken a strong physique to a nuclear warhead; no one in his right mind will ever likely employ one, but having it commands the respect of others, if for no other reason than for his ability to attain it.


The True Role of Etiquette

August 21, 2006

A_LOGOby Benjamin D. Summers

I was conducting a bit of research to gain some insight into how various authorities on etiquette present their topic to compare with my own understanding. What I found was a bit surprising, although now that I reconsider, it shouldn’t have been.

Etiquette seems to have a fairly negative connotation for most people I come across. They tend to regard it as a stuffy set of rules designed to help the pretentious maintain their condescending air. As I conducted my online research, many of the etiquette instructors I found further support this notion. They seem to be laying out a list of rules for their students to memorize with little to no regard for the reason the rules were developed. They themselves give off a feeling of pretension derived from their “superior” knowledge. I tend to believe that in most cases they have no idea what they’re trying to accomplish beyond collecting a check. It was with this in mind that I felt compelled to address the topic at hand.

Let me start by saying etiquette is critically important to anyone who has any interest in a fulfilling social life. Granted, some, if not many of the rules people bring to bear are dated and irrelevant, and that is why it is fundamentally important to understand the spirit in which they were created. The rules and conventions of etiquette were established for one reason and one reason only, to clarify communication through order while maintaining a strong sense of honor and consideration for others. Like with anything that falls into the wrong hands, a bastardization of it will invariably result that ultimately leads to the benefit of its authentic purpose being squandered. Etiquette has suffered this fate, and in no place is it more apparent than in the U.S.

Once an individual decides it important to take others into consideration before he acts, and to effectively communicate when faced with otherwise convoluted circumstances, etiquette strides forward from an academic idea to a very practical necessity. It is with this decision that a gentleman is born. A set of memorized rules alone will fall sorely short of supporting him on this path of social awareness, but understanding and valuing the principles that led to their creation will most certainly see him through with flying colors. Not only will he be equipped to handle any circumstance, but he will do so with an absolute self assurance that will position him as a perceived leader. While the socially uneasy cower in mass, it is this commitment to principle that ennobles the debonair.

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