Trustworthiness … and more

I got some words in a list

  • trustworthiness
  • competence
  • aggressiveness
  • attractiveness
  • likeability

Good words uh?

Apparently when we first meet someone, these are qualities … we seek…? You would hope so, but no, they are qualities we make snap judgments on in 30 milliseconds. Because most of the time we are coasting in default mode, and pre-history people did have to make pretty instant judgments or they would not survive.

I got this via “Inside the Brain” a very good blog that does a round-up of neuro-scientific discovery. This week the blog pointed to a TED talk “Happy Brain: How to Overcome Our Neural Predispositions to Suffering”. As part of a 2-second exercise, the speaker Amit Sood suggests intentional focus towards the new person silently saying something like “I wish you well”. Watch the whole talk


Or consider what he called intentional exercises – that become a different kind of habit of mind. They almost sounded too simple to be true, too do-goody in their nature, but part of me, the scientific part, not the sentimental part, says he has something profound here.

Five people – when you wake in the morning, instead of wandering or wondering what you are supposed to be doing today, think in turn, of five people. And, be grateful for each.

Three minutes – next time you meet your family or the very familiar people in your life, spend the first three minutes with them, as he put it, start with “Honey you know you were right about … name own fact here… whatever it is, whoever you are talking to…”

Two seconds – well this one is the counter to the 30 millisecond judgment – instead of judging, wish them well silently in your intention. [with some folk – I think I will find this easy to say but maybe hard to do. Its lucky I am not likely to meet debonair Dave [Cameron] or his delightful mate George [Osborne] any time soon]higherorder

Sood suggests this practice is, like meditation, being found by neuroscience, to be good practice. He used the phrase “meditating on wisdom and love in relationships”. This way the brain finds the higher order principles, through intentionality. That makes sense to me.

The he said something I have never heard before:

Science is nothing but the systematic study of spirituality

Wow. I will have to think about that one.

Tell me what you think if you try the exercises or watch the video.


5 thoughts on “Trustworthiness … and more

  1. Hi Elspeth,

    Well, I watched this video at 4.30 a.m. as I couldn’t sleep – already dawn here – and I just got a jumbled brain!!

    I’ll watch it again when my brain calms down and I get used to the accent.

    Initial thoughts are that I have seldom heard the words “science” and “spirituality” in the same sentence, except when they are in conflict although I was intrigued some years ago to learn about “mitochondrial Eve” as the scientists call her. A little ray of hope that maybe the two worlds are not so far apart after all.

    How are you and those gorgeous grandchildren of yours? Every little thing fine and dandy I hope.

    Enjoy your lovely summer on that superb beach you call home.


    Best love,




    1. It is do good to hear from you. I am sorry you are not sleeping, but glad I might be useful for something. Lots of XXXX to you too. All stress levels ratcheting up here for the summer season, I already had to stop and wait at the cross walk! [Winter traffic on Block Island is two guys stopped in their trucks to have a chat across the road]


    1. I meant to reply to this before, it deserves a post. The trouble is fundamentalism of any kind (WE KNOW) rather than accepting the unknown – which is what real wondering and wonderful scientists/people do.

      Liked by 1 person

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