69 episodes

Join an internationally bestselling children's book author and her down-home husband and their dogs as they try to live a happy, better life by being happier, better people . You can use those skills in writing and vice versa. But we’re not perfect, just like our podcast. We’re cool with that.

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation Carrie Jones and Shaun Farrar

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 7 Ratings

Join an internationally bestselling children's book author and her down-home husband and their dogs as they try to live a happy, better life by being happier, better people . You can use those skills in writing and vice versa. But we’re not perfect, just like our podcast. We’re cool with that.

    Huck the Roof Dog and Defining Happiness Doggy Style

    Huck the Roof Dog and Defining Happiness Doggy Style

    Every once in awhile, a dog climbs on the roof of a house and chills out, but if you're Huck the dog, you do this all the time. How often? So often that your owner has to put a sign on the door.



    Join us as we talk about Huck and also about defining happiness, doggy style.





    Have you ever come home and been like, “Dang, why is my dog so happy?”



    In general dogs are really pretty cool happy animals. And they are amazing because unlike some of us (cough) they don’t hide how they feel. It’s all just out there.



    According to Global Dog Breeds, the reasons dogs are so happy are these:



    They forgiveThey live in the presentThey are happy with what they have right there, right now.They embrace life.They know how to get cozy and comfy.They trust their owners. 



    Carrie’s taking a pretty cool course for free on EdX (sadly, this is not an ad) all about happiness and it’s taught by Arthur Brooks, a professor at Harvard. And all these things about why dogs are happy made her think about that class and some of the teachings from it.



    Brooks says,



    “It turns out that the way we think about happiness is informed by where we live. For example, in some cultures, happiness is defined by social harmony. In others, it's defined by personal achievement. So the way we answer the question are you happy depends, to an extent, on where we're from.”







    Brooks interviewed the Dalai Lama and his Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso shared the following (the quote is taken directly),



    “I think very purpose of our daily life. For happy life, firstly, we need some sense of oneness of 7 billion human being on this planet. We have to live together. An individual's future depends on them, one individual, one of the 7 billion human beings in the group know that.”



    Brooks summarizes his points as follows,



    “The first is he taught us tonight that happiness comes from being useful and having a life's purpose, and that purpose, the purpose that we have, our highest purpose is caring for each other, lifting each other up, remembering that each of us is one of 7 billion human beings.The second way that he made this point is when he talked about unhappiness, which is our own creation.Unhappiness comes in our own mind because of self-centeredness.We become unhappy because we're unnatural, and we are unnatural whom we are thinking only of ourselves. We can only be truly happy when we get out of this creation that is unhappiness by focusing on other people.The third point that he made was about our intellectual lives, about research and investigation, about our brains, and the importance of sanctifying our intellectual work by putting it in service of our hearts, putting it in service of our love for other people, that in fact, our hearts can be most effective when our brains are fully engaged in the purpose, sanctifying that purpose and loving each other.And finally, the fourth way that His Holiness made this point that happiness comes from love for others is that we need education, that we need an education system that teaches each of us unity and oneness and sisterhood and brotherhood. And that is our leadership challenge.”



    In an opinion piece for the Washington Post, Brooks and the Dalai Lama wrote,



    “The objective is not to vanquish a person I considered my enemy; it is to destroy the illusion that he or she was my enemy in the first place. And the way to do this is by overcoming my own negative emotions.



    Perhaps taking that approach seems unrealistic to you, like a kind of discipline only a monk could achieve through years of concentrated meditation. But that isn’t true. You can do it, too, regardless of your belief system. The secret is to express warmheartedness, kindness and generosity, even in disagreement — and especially when others show you contempt or hatred.”



    How do you do that when it feels like other people are taking away yours or others essential human rights? Or putting

    • 18 min
    Topless Mom Saving Her Pet Goose and Smile Like You're Happy, Damn It

    Topless Mom Saving Her Pet Goose and Smile Like You're Happy, Damn It

    It actually works.







    Back in 1862 Duchenne De Boulogne noticed that certain muscles in our face engaged whenever we were joyous.



    It was an involuntary reaction of our cheek muscles, the zygomatic major, and the orbicularis oculi. That’s a muscle right in front of our temples and below our eye. And when those cheek muscles and that special little muscle engage? That’s when we smile.



    The weird thing is this is a human universal. It happens all over the world despite gender, sex, culture, race, etc.



    The weird thing is that if we make ourselves smile like this, with those muscles engaged, we actually usually start to feel happier.



    The process reverses.



    There’s a guy who teaches the Introduction the Art of Happiness at a Harvard X class, Arthur Brooks, who has an experiment where you take a pencil and hold it between your teeth and you keep it there for 45 seconds.



    Do it.



    Seriously.





    When you do this you flex those muscles in your cheeks and your heart rate starts to decrease and your stress in your body? It starts to release.



    What does that mean? It means that happiness is a shared condition of humans around the world.



    It means we can see happiness expressed in people’s bodies.



    And finally, most importantly, we can actually make ourselves feel happier just by doing that easy dorky experiment where we hold chopsticks or a pen between our teeth. How cool is that?



    Brooks believes that “happiness is something that grows in us when we give it away,” and also that “happiness doesn’t just happen to you, you can manage it.”  



    DOG TIP FOR LIFE



    Manage your happiness! Work for it! Wag your tail. Grab a stick. It's awesome.



    LINKS



    https://learning.edx.org/course/course-v1:HarvardX+happy+2T2021/block-v1:HarvardX+happy+2T2021+type@sequential+block@dd8f672ef4ca4f44879ffd7ea4a38956/block-v1:HarvardX+happy+2T2021+type@vertical+block@049cf8336845451eb71bed94ecf75623



    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2319446/



    https://nypost.com/2022/05/19/topless-mom-in-her-undies-rescues-pet-goose-from-bald-eagle/



    SHOUT OUT!



    The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 



    Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.



    AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!



    We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.



    Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That's a lot!



    Here’s the link.



    Write Better Now - Writing Tips podcast for authors and writers



    loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird



    Carrie Does Poems

    • 13 min
    You are so biased so how do you stop it

    You are so biased so how do you stop it

    There’s this guy named Sid who wrote about cognitive biases over on Medium. Sid got me thinking about all the ways we make decisions based on wrong assumptions or biases.



    He lays out ten, right?



    And I just wanted to talk about the first two this week and maybe make this a series.



    Why?



    Well, because as Sid says, “Being aware of our cognitive biases helps to recognize their power in shaping our thoughts, opinions, attitudes and the decisions we make. Let’s check out these effects by analyzing ten cognitive biases that shape our world today.”



    So, those first two are:



    The Availability Heuristic



    The Affect Heuristic.



    Let's start with the first one.



    The availability heuristic







     According to the Decision Lab, the availability heuristic is a bias that “describes our tendency to use information that comes to mind quickly and easily when making decisions about the future.”



    It’s basically memorable moments that are made influence our decisions in ways that they shouldn’t.



    The decision lab has a great example.



    “Imagine you are considering either John or Jane, two employees at your company, for a promotion. Both have a steady employment record, though Jane has been the highest performer in her department during her tenure. However, in Jane’s first year, she unwittingly deleted a company project when her computer crashed. The vivid memory of having lost that project likely weighs more heavily on the decision to promote Jane than it should. This is due to the availability heuristic, which suggests that singular memorable moments have an outsized influence on decisions.”



    And this sucks because bad memories are easier to remember than good ones. And that means we aren’t making our decisions logically.



    This happens because our brains need shortcuts. We like shortcuts because it’s less energy. So we recall the strongest facts, the most biggest memories.



    The first step to avoid this bias is to know it exists, right, and maybe have a baby pause before we make our decision and think about why we're making it.



    The Affect Heuristic



    According to the verywellmind,



    “The affect heuristic is a type of mental shortcut in which people make decisions that are heavily influenced by their current emotions.1 Essentially, your affect (a psychological term for emotional response) plays a critical role in the choices and decisions you make.”



    It's another shortcut. And it’s about how good or bad something or someone feels.



    They give this example:



    “Imagine a situation in which two children arrive at a local park to play. One child has spent a lot of time playing on swings at a neighbor's house, so he has nothing but positive feelings when he sees the swing set at the park. He immediately makes the decision that the swings will be fun (high benefit, low risk) and runs to play on the swings.



    “The other child, however, recently had a negative experience while playing on the swings at a friend's house. When he sees the swings at the park, he draws on this recent negative memory and decides that the swings are a bad choice (low benefit, high risk).”



    Basically, we aren’t relying on facts to make choices; we’re relying on emotions. Politicians and retailers know this and use fear to influence decisions because fear is a really strong emotion.



    Jerks, but clever jerks.



    DOG TIP FOR LIFE




    Don't just always make automatic decisions. Pause. Sniff. Figure out where those decisions are coming from.



    RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT PYTHAGORAS







    SHOUT OUT!



    The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 



    Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.



    AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!



    We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream li

    • 16 min
    Take a Nap Like Alexander the Great and Fight Burnout

    Take a Nap Like Alexander the Great and Fight Burnout

    So, sometimes we burnout.



    We work and work and strive and strive and juggle multiple obligations and opportunities and we just stop being fully there because we’re so tired.



    Before I go on, let’s define burnout. I’m going to go with this definition because it's not a Medium or blogger guru, but from the National Institute of Health.



    “The term “burnout” was coined in the 1970s by the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger. He used it to describe the consequences of severe stress and high ideals in “helping” professions. Doctors and nurses, for example, who sacrifice themselves for others, would often end up being “burned out” – exhausted, listless, and unable to cope. Nowadays, the term is not only used for these helping professions, or for the dark side of self-sacrifice. It can affect anyone, from stressed-out career-driven people and celebrities to overworked employees and homemakers.”



    That NIH article also has some nice rundown of symptoms:



    "Exhaustion: People affected feel drained and emotionally exhausted, unable to cope, tired and down, and don't have enough energy. Physical symptoms include things like pain and gastrointestinal (stomach or bowel) problems."Alienation from (work-related) activities: People who have burnout find their jobs increasingly stressful and frustrating. They may start being cynical about their working conditions and their colleagues. At the same time, they may increasingly distance themselves emotionally, and start feeling numb about their work."Reduced performance: Burnout mainly affects everyday tasks at work, at home or when caring for family members. People with burnout are very negative about their tasks, find it hard to concentrate, are listless and lack creativity."



    It’s a lot like depression, right? But it’s not the same. Typically, people with burnout don’t’ feel hopeless, suicidal or have low self-esteem.



    So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, how do you get some down time when you’re working so hard that you’re either burnt out or in great danger of getting there?



    GETTING A GRIP AND GRATIFY YOURSELF



    First you want to look at the patterns of us overachievers who tend to burn out. We often were the ‘good kids’ in school who learned that in order to get praise (and not get in trouble) you had to get all your assignments done and on time. We’re all about the goals and completing those goals.



    Chilling out? Resting? That doesn’t feel goal-oriented.



    We think that we can delay our gratification and keep delaying it and keep delaying it so that we can get all our goals done. Delayed gratification, we all learn in our beginner psychology classes, means we will have better success in our life. They test children about this. It’s a thing. But when we’re super focused on achieving, we burn out because that delayed gratification equates to us not realizing that we are breaking down physically and mentally.



    BE CHILL AND LET GO OF THAT DAMN GUILT



    And it’s not just that. We want to get a lot done and to do it well. If our work isn’t awesome, we feel like we aren’t awesome. Resting, we foolishly think, keeps us from getting all our awesome things done. It keeps us from writing, running three miles, finishing the project for work, making the perfect lunch for our kids.



    It’s worse than that though. We feel guilty. If we rest, we feel guilty.



    We should be working, doing, creating. We should be better than this. We don’t need naps.



    TAKE A NAP, DAMN IT



    Here’s a secret: Alexander the Great took naps. He still got to be called ‘great.’ Ben Franklin? Took naps.



    So, the first step is to realize that.



    People who have changed history actually rested. That means you can, too. If you don’t, your performance starts to get kind of crappy. You don’t want that, do you, super goal-oriented one? No, of course not.



    Then you have to remember that everything doesn’t have to be a

    • 14 min
    Flirts, Take Charge of Your Biological Clock.

    Flirts, Take Charge of Your Biological Clock.

    There’s this thing called a biological clock and it’s basically the timer of a bunch of things that your body does. It controls when you go to sleep, when you shoot out an egg, when your energy is high and when it crashes.



    People who work third shift or whose shifts change have biological clocks that get all scattered. This happens to people who travel big distances too, right? We call it jet lag.



    But even in a normal day we sometimes are more energetic and sometimes we are dragging and just want to find a couch and flop on it.



    That clock though? It controls a lot. It also controls how alert you are, when you’re hungry or more easily stressed. It can even impact your immunity and hormones and temperature.



    When you understand how it works? That’s when you can figure out how to optimize your life.



    According to JE Driskell and B Mullen who co-authored “The efficacy of naps as a fatigue countermeasure: a meta-analytic integration” for Hum Factors, our energy levels decrease a bit when early afternoon hits. So, if you want a nap? And you can take one? That’s the time to do it.



    Or, it’s an okay time to text your crush or sigfig if you know they aren’t super busy. Never text when you know someone is super busy.



    And if you can’t take a real nap, if you can change up your work for a bit or take a break? It can really help your energy levels and focus and mood for the rest of the day. Cool, right?



    That is the same time of day (noon to four) when concentration becomes a long lost friend. Thinking and focusing right after meals is also a bit hard. Most of us are able to think best during the late morning. But those times when focusing is hard are actually times when creativity is kick-butt. Wild, right?



    Again, a good time to flirt text.



    Not a good time? When you know someone is starting work, hanging out with their friends, running a marathon.



    Understanding your own clock is a lot like understanding the clock and schedule of people you want to text. You’ll notice that there are times when you have long flirty conversations and times when it takes an hour for a response. Our bodies are like that, too.



    Very Well Mind suggests that you can make your schedule more productive by not just knowing these facts, but also using them to establish a new daily pattern and also creating a steady sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at set times.



    Gasp!



    DOG TIP FOR LIFE



    Be smart. Text your fave in a way that doesn't make you annoying.



    LINKS WE MENTION



    Johnny Cash's Water Tower Peeing Incident



    SHOUT OUT!



    The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 



    Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.



    AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!



    We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.



    Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That's a lot!



    Here’s the link.



    Write Better Now - Writing Tips podcast for authors and writers



    loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird



    Carrie Does Poems

    • 14 min
    Pot Food at the Wedding and Positive Motivation Theory

    Pot Food at the Wedding and Positive Motivation Theory

    Last week on WRITE BETTER NOW, we talked about fear for our characters as we write, and not all of you are writers, but I bet a lot of you are characters. Sorry! We couldn’t help teasing you there.



    Anyway, FEAR is great when it comes to writing novels and short stories and getting our characters to do things proactively on the page.



    But in real life? Eh . . . It can be a problem.



    A lot of us use fear to motivate us to do things. Sometimes we do this consciously. Sometimes we do this subconsciously. But it’s basically the act of doing things because we don’t want an outcome that we’re afraid of.



    Like what?



    We go to work because we’re afraid of losing our house to bankruptcy.



    We go on a diet because we’re afraid of people’s scorn if we’re at our maximum density.



    We are kind to our spouse when they are being a putz because we’re afraid of being alone.



    And all those things? They are stressful.



    It stresses you out if you’re always doing things because you’re afraid. And it also stresses you out if you’re always not doing things because you’re afraid.



    Fear may keep you employed, fit, and in a relationship (albeit a potentially toxic one), but it’s not super helpful if you’re trying to not be anxious and stressed.



    So, how do you motivate yourself instead?



    One cool way is protection motivation theory.



    What’s that?



    According to CommunicationTheory.org,



    “The theory therefore says that in order for an individual to adopt a health behavior, they need to believe that there is a severe threat that is likely to occur and that by adopting a health behavior, they can effectively reduce the threat. The individual should also be convinced that he is capable of engaging in the behavior which should not cost him a lot.”



    Wait, doesn’t that sound like some fear-based motivation?



    A bit. But a big part of it is that there is both a threat appraisal and a coping appraisal.



    As the Warbleton Council writes




    1. Threat assessmentFear of illness or injury predisposes to act (for example, when you are smoking and coughing a lot).In turn, this element is made up of the perception of severity (the possible harm to be suffered) and susceptibility (the level of risk the person is at), in addition to the intrinsic benefits of risky behavior.2. Assessment of coping behaviorIt is the probability of success perceived by the person, that is, the perception they have that their response will be effective in reducing the threat, in addition to the perception of self-efficacy (the person will be able to adopt preventive measures).These variables will provide in the person a perspective on the costs and benefits of performing the behavior.



    When you appraise the threat and coping mechanisms, you start to figure out if you should make change and what amount of changes you should undergo.



    The Communication Theory article breaks all this down pretty brilliantly, so you should check it out, but it’s about intention and how you keep yourself safe and change your behavior when you perceive threats.



    There’s a fascinating article about this theory and food purchasing behavior during COVID-19 and our shopping habits.







    DOG TIP FOR LIFE



    Just go for it, damn it. No fear.



    LINK WE MENTION IN RANDOM THOUGHTS



    https://www.ladbible.com/community/bride-slammed-for-entering-wedding-walking-groom-on-a-leash-20220423



    SHOUT OUT!



    The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 



    Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.



    AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!



    We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbo

    • 18 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

Sara Crawford ,

Lots of fun

These two crack me up. Carrie offers a lot of great writing advice as well!

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