Posts Tagged ‘John Haltiwanger’

by John Haltiwanger

As a musical genre, hip-hop is often denigrated for seemingly condoning misogyny, materialism, violence and crime. But this is an unfair characterization and an overgeneralization.

Yes, there are some rap artists who write songs containing nothing of substance. More often than not, however, hip-hop offers many of us an insightful view into a dark world we’re unfamiliar with: the impoverished inner city.

In this sense, hip-hop has the potential to educate and foster empathy.

To borrow from Jay Z:

I think that hip-hop has done more for racial relations than most cultural icons. Save Martin Luther King, because his dream speech we realized when President Obama got elected.

[Hip-hop] music didn’t only influence kids from urban areas. People listen to this music all around the world, and [they] took to this music.

Once you have people partying, dancing and singing along to the same music, then conversations naturally happen after that.

We all realize that we’re more alike than we’re separate.

Indeed, hip-hop breaches ostensibly impenetrable cultural divides, breeding solidarity among people with disparate backgrounds.

This is precisely why recent albums like Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly have been widely celebrated and even used by high school teachers to teach lessons about race and oppression.

Beyond enlightening people on race, poverty, the War on Drugs and the inner city, it also appears hip-hop has a hidden benefit as a powerful tool against mental illness.

A study from Cambridge University found that hip-hop is extremely effective in combatting depression, bipolar disorder and addiction.

When you think about the themes hip-hop encompasses, this makes a lot of sense. Many artists rap about overcoming numerous obstacles in the ghetto, from gang violence and poverty to drugs and police brutality.

The overall narrative of hip-hop is one of progress. Artists tell dynamic stories of advancing from deeply oppressive environments to living out their wildest dreams.

Fundamentally, the message of hip-hop is one of hope.

Thus, hip-hop has the effect of “positive visual imagery,” helping people see the light when the whole world feels dark.

In other words, during bipolar episodes or periods of depression, listening to hip-hop can help people visualize or imagine a more positive place and where they’d like to be in the future. In turn, they arrive at a more secure mental state.

The study was conducted by neuroscientist Dr. Becky Inkster and psychiatrist Dr. Akeem Sule.

As Dr. Sule puts it:

Much of hip-hop comes from areas of great socioeconomic deprivation, so it’s inevitable that its lyrics will reflect the issues faced by people brought up in these areas, including poverty, marginalization, crime and drugs.

We can see in the lyrics many of the key risk factors for mental illness, from which it can be difficult to escape.

Hip-hop artists use their skills and talents not only to describe the world they see, but also as a means of breaking free.

We believe that hip-hop, with its rich, visual narrative style, can be used to make therapies that are more effective for specific populations and can help patients with depression to create more positive images of themselves, their situations and their future.

One of the prime examples utilized in the study is that of the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” a hip-hop classic.

In the song, Biggie details his rise from deprivation on the harsh streets of Brooklyn to the covers of magazines and a life of affluence. It’s a song about making it against impossible odds.

There are so many other examples like this within the world of hip-hop. From Jay Z’s “On To The Next One” to the more recent Kendrick Lamar track, “i.”

Interestingly enough, not long ago, Lamar stated he penned the song as a form of encouragement and inspiration for prison inmates and suicidal teenagers:

I wrote a record for the homies that’s in the penitentiary right now, and I also wrote a record for these kids that come up to my shows with these slashes on they wrists, saying they don’t want to live no more.

Accordingly, it’s apparent some hip-hop artists are already deliberately attempting to help people with mental illness.

Regardless of the criticism it receives, hip-hop is a form of artistic expression with limitless educative and therapeutic potential.

The rapper Killer Mike has noted there is a commonly held view that hip-hop poses a threat or danger to society, but as he explains:

The kids spending hours per day writing rap songs aren’t a threat to society; they are often trying to escape the threats from society.

Advertisements

by John Haltiwanger

I woke up at 6 am this morning, three hours before I’m supposed to be in the office, and was still 10 minutes late to work.

This is pretty standard for me. I’m almost always a few minutes late. I don’t mean anything by it, and I certainly don’t think I deserve a different set of rules than everyone else — it’s just the way I am.

I wake up early and try to fill the time before I leave for the office with as many activities as possible: a short workout, breakfast, catching up on the news, daydreaming while struggling to put my socks on, etc.

I’ll look at the clock and think, “Oh, I still have plenty of time.” One or two tasks later, I’ve only got 40 minutes to get to work and a 45 minute commute.

This has been the case with every single job I’ve ever had and is typically true when it comes to social meetings as well. I’m habitually unpunctual, and apparently I’m not alone.

As management consultant Diana DeLonzor states:

Most late people have been late all their life, and they are late for every type of activity — good or bad.

Surprisingly little scientific research has been done on tardiness, but some experts subscribe to the theory that certain people are hardwired to be late and that part of the problem may be embedded deep in the lobes of the brain.

So if you’re chronically late, I feel for you and sympathize with the onslaught of criticism you likely receive on a consistent basis.

I know you’re not a lazy, unproductive, inconsiderate or entitled person. I know you’re not attempting to insult anyone by your tardiness.

Your lateness is simply a consequence of your psychology and personality — nothing more, nothing less.

With that said, while those of us who are continuously tardy should work to overcome this trait, there are also hidden benefits.

Chronically late people aren’t hopeless, they’re hopeful.

People who are continuously late are actually just more optimistic. They believe they can fit more tasks into a limited amount of time more than other people and thrive when they’re multitasking. Simply put, they’re fundamentally hopeful.

While this makes them unrealistic and bad at estimating time, it also pays off in the long-run in other ways.

Researchers have found optimism has a myriad of physical health benefits, from reducing stress and diminishing the risk of cardiovascular disease to strengthening your immune system.

Indeed, happiness and positivity have been linked to a longer life in general.

Maintaining a positive outlook is also vital to achieving personal success. Research shows happiness increases overall productivity, creativity and teamwork in the workplace.

All of this makes a great deal of sense, as a study conducted at San Diego State University has also connected lateness with Type B personalities, or people who tend to be more laid-back and easygoing.

In other words, people who are habitually late don’t sweat over the small stuff, they concentrate on the big picture and see the future as full of infinite possibilities.

Time is relative, learn to live in the moment.

We should also note punctuality is a relative concept. Time and lateness mean different things in different cultures and contexts.

In the United States, we often interpret lateness as an insult or a sign of a poor work ethic.

When people are late, it’s assumed they feel their time is more important or valuable. Americans believe time is money and money is time.

But if you head over to Europe, it’s almost as if the notion of time magically mutates each time you enter a new country.

In Germany, the land of perpetual efficiency, punctuality is of the utmost importance.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin was late to a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example, she left because that’s how Germans roll.

If you venture over to Spain, however, you’ll find time has taken a completely different character. The Spanish run by their own clock and are famous for eating dinner at 10 pm.

Sail on down to Latin America, and you’ll discover punctuality bears little to no importance.

The point here being, we all do things our own way.

It’s fair to contend unpunctuality is bad for economic growth and that schedules are vital to maintaining efficiency.

But when we look at the fact Americans work extensive hours yet exhibit low levels of productivity, this argument feels somewhat empty and void.

As both societies and individuals, we all need to find the healthy balance between punctuality and lateness. Schedules are important, but breaking them isn’t the end of the world.

People with a tendency for tardiness like to stop and smell the roses, and those with a propensity for punctuality could learn a thing or two from them (and vice versa).

Life was never meant to be planned down to the last detail. Remaining excessively attached to timetables signifies an inability to enjoy the moment.

Living in the present is vital to our sanity. Sometimes it’s much more beneficial to go with the flow.

We can’t spend all of our time dwelling on the past or dreaming of the future, or we end up missing out on the wonderful things occurring around us.

http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/optimistic-people-have-one-thing-common-always-late/1097735/