Weekly Passport: Dealing with Envy, Creative Genius, and GO TO SLEEP, CHILD!

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What About Me?
How to Deal With Your Friends Finding Success Before You

When you’re approached by these ‘lucky winners’, whether it be through your Facebook news feed or in person, they inundate you with conversation about the endless perks they get from their top-tier jobs. Whether he or she is a fashion blogger, marketing associate, or investment banker-in-training, hearing about this person’s success makes you wish you were in the same spot. A few Weekly Passports ago, I featured an article about “insufferable” status updates; you knowthe kind that really only benefit the writer and not the reader? The “I-just-got-promoted-!-Yay-me-!-My-life-is-so-great-!-Congratulate-me-now-!” type announcement? In this day and age, in such a self-righteous, self-entitled, self-absorbed culture, you’re better off for the time being simply assuming those kinds of status updates are inevitable. You’re gonna see them; they’re gonna make you feel inadequate; you’re gonna hate that persondeal with it. “Even if you’re overwhelmed with jealousy,” writes Nikki Lakin for Elite Daily, “force a smile onto your face, be an adult and congratulate them.” When you’re done, be constructive; use it as motivation.  (Elite Daily)

Transgender People Are NOT Responsible for Educating You

I understand that less than 10 percent of the public actually know a trans person, and therefore many people may not be up to speed on issues of gender identity, gender expression, or non-binary pronouns like ‘they/them’ or ‘zie/zir’, or even be familiar with even the basic definition of transgender. But unfortunately, a request to be ‘educated’ is all too often deployed as a disguise for ‘I’m unwilling to do the basic self-education necessary to become an ally to trans people.’ (This is the second time I’m citing the following and it truly can’t be stressed enough.) One of the greatest points EA’s founder, Kate Otto, ever made—and the first person I know who’s made it in a post-Obama world, Parker Marie Molloy being number two—was in her piece last Monday on the Israeli occupation: It’s your personal responsibility to consider other sides to a story. Sure the desire to learn doesn’t just pop out of nowhere, but once you’re conscious of the hole in your reasoning or understanding, it’s completely on you when you remain an ignoramus; it’s your job to fill that hole. As in the case of idiots who choose to hide their flat-out bigotry towards the LGBTQ community under the warm blanket of “Oh, well it’s your job to come out of the closet and teach me and your fault if you don’t,” if you truly care to learn about a certain people, you’ll meet them halfway(Slate)

Teens Are Making Me Time Out of What Really Ought to Be Sleep Time |
| (…and if you think sleep isn’t conducive to Genius, you’re wrong.)

Owen Lanahan’s parents demand that his cellphone be stored in the kitchen by 10 p.m., but sometimes he sneaks it into his bedroom. That’s because he considers late-night hours his ‘me’ time. So begins Laura M. Holson’s profile of SnapChatting, and WhatsApping night owl teens and tweens for the Times‘ Fashion & Style section (which I don’t really get). Owen is one of way too many “#vamping” fifteen-year-olds; Holson reports that, “according to a recent poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, more than half of 15- to 17-year-olds sleep about seven hours a night, 90 minutes less than the minimum recommendation.” (That’s eight-and-a-half hours—a glorious amount of sleep, ya?)

There are plenty of reasons why kids refuse to sleep. Since the dawn of AIM and “free calls after 7”, socializing after dark has only gotten sexier and more limitless—clearly more fun than sleeping, and that’s all I’ll say about that =D. But in Owen’s case, in addition to socializing, he uses his night hours to make music on his computer because he can’t find time for it during the day between school and more school. It’s easy to believe that history’s greatest “movers and shakers” worked tirelessly through the night, and while I’m sure there was many a nocturnal genius, plenty of their peers actually slept at night like normal Homo sapiens sapiens(New York Times | New York Magazine)

Sleep Graphic

How Social Media Helped This Attacker Find His Victim

At about 2 a.m., I awoke to the sound of the boat rocking against the dock. At first I thought it was a gust of wind, but when I looked out the window, I saw a man climbing aboard. I ran to the handles to close the door, but he was already forcing it open. All I could do was back up to the farthest wall at the end of the cabin… In June of 2012, Jenn Gibbons embarked on a 1,500-mile row around Lake Michigan to raise $150,000 for breast cancer survivors. She completed the feat in fifty-nine days, though it was not without one terrible hitch: halfway through, at the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse on the “desolate and beautiful” shoreline of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a man boarded her boat in the middle of the night and sexually assaulted her. She successfully escaped, although the assailant was never caught; she later surmised that he’d tracked her via her regularly updated Facebook. Firstly, it behooves everyone,man, woman, boy, and girl,—to exercise caution and discretion in a world where online privacy is so difficult to manage. But the most important issue here is that it’s an especially dangerous world for females—half the population; the other half needs to seriously “man up” and stop blaming women for their own despicable behavior. #DontRapeHer (Marie Claire)

The Secrets of the Creative Brain

Some people see things others cannot, and they are right, and we call them creative geniuses. Some people see things others cannot, and they are wrong, and we call them mentally ill. And some people are both. So concludes Dr. Nancy Andreasen’s fascinating essay reflecting on her studies of creative genius. There’s so much to take away from it in regards to the wonders of the brain and by extension our lives, both social and personal:

  • Divergent Thinking & Convergent Thinking: Whereas the latter is “the ability to come up with the correct answer to problems that have only one answer,”  the former is “the ability to come up with many responses to carefully selected questions or probes.” Both varieties are crucial to the creative process.
  • The Importance of Memory: Memory is everything. If you lose your memory, you lose yourself—why else is Alzheimer’s so devastating, especially to the afflicted’s loved ones? When it comes to reading, for instance, without the help of “association cortices”,—regions of the brain that enable the interpretation and use of specialized sensory information, like sounds, sights, and tastes,—the words we read wouldn’t have any meaning; it’s in the “language-association” regions of the brain where “words are connected not only to one another but also to their associated memories,” which “constitute a ‘verbal lexicon’.” It’s important to remember that “each person’s lexicon is a bit different, even if the words themselves are the same”—because people generally live unique lives with unique experiences
  • The Importance of “REST”: That is, random episodic silent thought. Subjects who were asked “to lie quietly with their eyes closed, to relax, and to think about whatever came to mind”—essentially an exercise in “free association”—exhibited “wildly active” association cortices. Quiet contemplation and reflection provides a “window into understanding unconscious processes,” which Dr. Andreasen considers an “important component of creativity”. This is why overwhelming kids with activities isn’t conducive to maximum mental and psychological development.

But the most important takeaway is the unique relationship between creative genius and mental illness—i.e., the undeniably high (or at least above-average) incidence of bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety or panic disorder, and schizophrenia among creative geniuses if not their families. This shouldn’t be a surprise, due in part to the simple reality of knowing things others don’t, or thinking in ways others can’t; in frank Millennial parlance, it blows. It sucks. Apart from being another invisible victim among sparsely reported atrocities, there’s little else more isolating than seeing something everyone else around you is too ignorant to see. It’s hard to be the wiser, particularly when people think you’re full of it. For whatever reason, we’re all guilty at one point or another of labeling the oddballs in our lives losers and retards. The sooner you can understand that (which involves being humble enough to admit when someone’s on a higher level than you, creatively and intellectually—again, HUMILITY), the sooner you’ll save yourself from being dismissive of those who are in a position to enrich your life in a way you may never be able to on your own. (The Atlantic)


“Your Weekly Passport” is a series curated by Everyday Ambassador writer and editor Michael Nebab. Every Tuesday, we will post a round-up of meaningful media tidbits and Everyday Ambassador must-reads. To stay current with our latest edition, follow #weeklypassport on our other platforms, and check back for updates.

Author: Michael Nebab
Writer. Learner. Thinker. Realist. American.

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