Behavior or Behaviour?

Dessert Judgements

There was a long time in my life where after a meal when the dessert menu came round I would never have dessert, however, I would often have 2 mains.
This changed at around 30 years old or less when I started to always have dessert, a response to the stimulus presentation of a dessert menu that lasted to this day when off diet.

A couple of days ago I was out for a lunch with my family and another family, 7 people in total. We all had the mains as normal and I had chicken caesar salad without croutons which was an easy choice and meant I was not off diet, something I had thought a possible option as I had not seen the menu and was considering a day off.

Roll on dessert and my son, who had said the oreo cheesecake was good, and I both ordered only to find out all the other people who had not yet ordered were not going to order anything, even the youngest person there was deciding to be healthy....

And so I have had the good main course only to find I was one of 2 people having dessert. At this point, my son took a bite or 2 and announced he was too full. Therefore in a similar fashion to my earlier life, I was the only person eating dessert and on top of that, I had 2 portions...

The point of this post is that in days gone by most "friends" would have commented on my weight and decisions to eat dessert at all, certainly making blunter comments when seeing me eat 2 desserts. Now however the times may have changed as there were no comments bar the fact that when my son said he had eaten too much I was not the only person to suggest me as the answer to his problems.

In days gone past it would have been the comments or history of comments that would have resulted in my ordering dessert which fits with counter-contol. Once someone tells you to do something you cannot capitulate with, you end up wanting to counter this attempt at control. This is a normal phenomenon and should be considered in any human interaction.

However, this is me realising that now that I am much lighter than I was people are much less likely to comment on me having something sweet. Looking back at the last year, this has been evident on many other occasions. Indeed I have been in several situations where I have refused something sweet and explained I that "inside I am a fat person waiting to get out" and now I am slimmer people actively say "go on,one won't hurt".

About a week after this event we were out to dinner with a friend and his family. He has known me 30 years and generally spends a lot of time making comments about my weight and my eating unhealthily. When I had a day off while he was in the area (truth be told a few days off diet) he as usual commented in a derogatory fashion about my weight. However when he saw me late in the evening munching on a cream bun he launched as normal into some comment, then I pointed at my body and he finally had to say - "well it is working for you, I don't know how but it is working for you!"

The point is now I am lighter I am more able to control my need to counter control against these comments and yet now I am lighter he is starting to get his making of the comments under control.

People feel able to stick in their opinion and judge, I do not comment on what he eats but in terms of BMI - well I thought mine was less but a quick calculation has told me we are the same.

Yet those comments never made me eat less - in fact they made me eat more in front of him. While I do not have an eating disorder - people may have a good intent when highlighting an issue about eating but eating disorders need less comments made by others - please seek professional advice if this is relevant to you.


What do we experience when we feel lonely?

I have been on the road for weeks now. This has led me to experience something people may call lonely if I understand what the concept of Lonely really means.

I think I am spoilt and cannot really understand true loneliness. I have been happily married for over 20 years and I do have friends. Therein may be part of the issue. I spent tonight feeling disconnected and on FB chat contacted people I had not chatted to much or in a long time. I felt the need to talk about anything disconnected from my life.

One issue here is most of those I end up chatting to are people who see me as their resource. They talk to me about their issues. The relationships are skewed in those terms. I am not feeling that I need to talk to someone about any issues, I do not really feel I have any issue worth talking about. I could do with those "getting to know you" type chats you get when you make new friends. Could this be in essence be something lacking in my character? Is this an emotion that passes or is this approaching loneliness?

One of the outcomes of the social media age is us not connecting on that depth and all of us seeming to be competing with how good our photos are of our experiences so others can be jealous. As you can probably tell I do not use Social media much however last night I did look at my FB feed - first time in months, this almost led me to connect to someone who would be yet another drain on my energy.

This leads me to reflectively look at how I process these experiences and who it is good for me to spend time with.
Who's a resource and who is a drain??

Do I get something out of assisting those in need? Does this fulfill a need I have?

I was chatting online with a friend earlier who asked to call as she has an issue she is working through on chat with me. This led to a conversation but again it was all about her point. Now I did help and I am always happy to help - indeed this is a good friendship which I get a lot from.

What is it I need? Is this me being a whinny child? Many many people went through much much more discomfort through lockdown and their normal pre COVID lives.

Is this lonliness? Will retail therapy assist me?

positive psychology and thought

One of the positive psychology elements that we are aware of is that just like changing a habit takes 21 days so there is also a mechanism for altering brain chemistry when we follow the what went well scenario for 21 days. This brain chemistry alters a person's perspective from the normal and common pessimist to more optimistic brain chemistry. People can literally alter their brain chemistry in 21 days following a simple what went well process provided they follow this process every day.

This is also the most common amount of time behind altering a habit. The issue is consistency. However when it comes to positivity and negativity the brain starts to notice (that word again) the surroundings more and those events and experiences that can be used in the "what went well" experience exercise.

The process being summed up by the fact that we start to notice the butterfly when we are out and about taking into account the rich fullness of an experience in a positive manner after spending time doing the exercise for a number of days.

I have had a similar experience however with blogging. Several times a day I note that this thought I am having is a perfect blog post to debate. The number of times a day I have thought - "oh that is worth writing about" has increased exponentially while I have been doing this project of 100 posts before I have my next birthday.

The main problem here is not having the thought. The main problem is "focus". As a side note - this word counts in work "bullshit bingo" - we use it when we want to say F*ck off cos U'r Stupid". which has a certain affinity for those people in the room who realise what is being said to the person speaking.

Anyway, the point here is that I have many ideas - at least a couple a day however this could be a couple an hour which surface as great ideas to blog and I do the thing people have done for centuries. I say to myself - I must remember that for when I am on the computer later.

The question is do I remember, well I was going to make this post, as all the others so far, over 400 words, however, the point here is I have to say the answer is NO.


Missed a post...

Oh my!
I am soo busy in this project that is running alongside the daily training work I am doing. I missed the post yesterday. Now it is not about saying I did not have the time. I do worry about people's use of the phrase "I did not have the time!" Although to be fair my Advisor is screaming - "you do not have the time to be doing this 100 day thing on listed!". And now I have missed 2 posts.

We all have 168 hours per week. How we use them is the issue with having enough time. The amount we have is the same - the end result is the choices you make determine if you are spending that time on something that is constructive or not. There is an old adage - "if you want something done, give it to someone busy!" This is not because they have more time - it is because they are making more constructive choices with their time. Possibly just better time management.

You can choose to watch an episode of a box set the last thing in your day as a resource to assist you to relax - yes this is me. However, for the last 10 days or more, I have not done this due to a lack of time. The question is should I be doing the episode as it assists me with stress or should I work so late I am too tired and worry about getting enough sleep for tomorrow. Indeed worrying about sleeping leads people to not sleep. An interesting conundrum in itself, which fits with the ACT skillset around acceptance, defusion etc.

Q - Is the episode of the box set more important or the work?

Well, this has led me back to the consideration that I give up, what I call, drivel TV. My wife watches drivel in the "background" when she is working and achieving and I cannot concentrate when I do this. If we sit together from Dinner, I effectively do not get anything done constructively that evening whereas if I go off and work for 2 or 3 hours I can come back and watch something with her we both actually want to watch.

I am making a choice to have this as a shorter post as I am prioritising this project and some sleep over the 100 days challenge. Luckily I set myself the goal of 100 by my next birthday so there may be the odd couple in a day and the odd days I miss. I can still achieve it.

I wonder how many I have done so far?

honesty and teens

How we bring up teens is a constant conversation. The important points of parenthood become apparent when you first realise, everyone is that the first rule of parenting is you are doing it wrong and the second rule is everyone else is doing it right. This was a quote from a TV show called the A word. However it is a common perception and feeds right into the points about the advisor dictating how we are feeling all the time.

Perhaps the point is not about how to parent but about how to live within the integrity of opur values. In a manner we feel comfortable with.

The answer is actually simple. If parents are honest in dealing with others, especially in dealing with their own children, they are teaching honesty. If, on the other hand, they lie, especially with their own children, they are training them in dishonesty.

We create our own reality. Humans spend a lot of time being negative and moaning about how others should behave. In old style personal development - "Be the change you want to see!" which from my perception means behave the way you want others to behave.

This all fits with the point about parenting teens, do you want the teen to grow up dishonest when any opportunity for truth exists. One person I work with we are implementing 2 plans around predictable lies. Oh and it is pathalogical.

  1. if we think the conversation is going to be too much and a lie is the obvious, path of least resistence, we preface the question with - "we have an opportunity to tell the truth here". Then we take a breath and gently ask the question.
  2. when there has been an obvious lie we stop, take a breath, and ask in a strange voice "LIE?" slowly and drawn out.

The first works more often than the second which works well only if the timing and relationships are in place. I think the first is more robust, in terms of this person as I have managed to get other supporters to achieve it.

Back to our teenagers. What do you want to happen? When the pressure is on my boys both saw me under pressure. I am an advocate of noticing an emotion and labeling it. More on that sometime.

One day the youngest was in the kitchen with me (about 15 or 16 years old) and I calmly explained that I was under the most pressure I had been under in a long number of years. He responded by saying that if I had not mentioned it he would not have known. I liked that.

100 day challenge

1 of the concerns about doing the 100 day challenge revolves around how busy life can be and how we prioritise things. I am storming through a very challenging and concerning project which is dragging my mind constantly.

In the midst of the storm I get to a point where I am tired, I utterly need to do another task before I go to bed however the pressure that knocks in my head is around this 100 days of posting something.

This in this itself I find a concern. Looking back at the posts I have done I would wonder on the quality of what I have produced and a concern of - have I strayed too far from the point of writing. Well the on the second point let me just say - yes.

In terms of the quality or content of the things I am writing I know I can do better and would, given the time, spend more time developing arguments and finding research to quote to back up a point. However I am not doing that as I end up thinking - I have committed to posting 100 times by my next birthday, which gives me a few days off admittedly, seen here from my 2nd post. In that post I started and meant to continue to do a small "what went well" section (www) however I forgot that nugget quick enough. It is hard enough considering something that you need to fit in. This drags us from the present moment even more and the spiral drags down further.

The key in the last paragraph is probably "given time". None of us have time, the world is set up to cause us major discomfort when something happens and we are the last to know. Granted this fades in importance as you get older however it is linked to evolutionary science and being in with the crowd or group kept you alive. You were more likely to survive as part of a group. If I had the time to make a perfect post it would not get done - other things would prioritise my time.

If I took a moment to experience the present moment I would notice the things that could formulate - what went well today!


The dogs are asleep and one of them is lying in such a way that my feet are stroking her as I type. There are 2 tiny molly lambs (really cute) in one of our sheds tonight with a heat lamp. That the present I got my wife arrived (minor point they sent the wrong one) and it arrived a week early.


The experience for us parents of children becoming adults is well documented and leads to all of us having many humerous and terribly upsetting stories about interactions with this species know as teenager.

Notwithstanding the experiences of the adults in this young persons life what about the experiences of the person themselves?

A newly minted young person


  • been used to the safety net of mum and dad keeping them safe and bailing them out when they get in trouble with other adults
  • experienced a massive change in body shape and hormones
  • a seemingly sudden desire for autonomy without the responsibility that comes with it

In the morning the child is lovely, taking dishes out to the sink when finished breakfast and kissing you goodbye on the way out to school. In the afternoon a teenager comes home dumping their bag and coat all over the place and moans you are always picking on them when you mention the coat! This all seems to happen in a day. Should I blame school? :-)

The young person experiences

  • a strong ingrained new sense of self reliance
  • strong urge for independence, which has the flip side of
  • increased vulnerability
    • I push those who tell me what to do away
    • secretly I am terrified they will leave me to sort this mess out
  • a massive urge to find a group and fit in with the tribe
  • confidence in risk taking that would match Alex Honnold and his MRI shows he has a reduction in the activity in his Amygdala - he does not experience fear the way the rest of us do

And there is much, much more to take into account in the changes that a person experiences becoming an adult.

We have a tendency to see interactions from our own point of view, perspective, when we are interacting with a teen this perception is likely to be incorrect a fair amount of the time. The fact you will have an opinion is inextricably linked to the fact that from the teens perspective - you are wrong.


what - this one was not too long!

The teen is experiencing this and the older experienced person should have the maturity and experience in perspective taking, at least more experience than a teen.

While it may feel like that you cannot say anything right when dealing with a teen the key is to notice that you are feeling rigid in your approach.

After the interaction, notice your emotions, consider perspective taking and defusion from those awful thoughts about your offspring you love.

people do not shut doors

I have been doing training in the work environment for well over 25 years. I have taught over 20,000 people on short courses. I hope we can agree there is some experience there.

This is a post about the fact that no one shuts doors! - I am sure the statement needs some more explanation. When teaching in a room I will always wear shorts. This only changes if it is a room I know will not heat up, and the weather is very cold.

Participants generally will sit in the group and complain about the temperature, they do this even when I am sat still in T-shirt and shorts. So there is a huge range in the way people experience temp. However, those who are warm tend not to complain. Occasionally in extreme cases, warm people get to the point of dizzy and nearly passing out prior to mentioning being too hot.

So those who are colder are much more vocal, also sometimes not putting on their jumper or coat - just complaining? It is these people I want to highlight about doors.

There are many rooms where I would like the door left open as having a room full of people for a few hours the oxygen level decreases so much I get headaches, oh yes - another post.

People are very vocal about being cold, YET when it comes to the breaks, the vocal one's are heavily likely to walk out of the room and leave the door wide open! This staggers me as they have been so vocal about being cold.

When people are sat at the end of a break waiting for the last person to return and the door is still open the audience tend to mention about the cold and be negative when the last person wanders through the door but doesn't shut it. However, those same vocal people leave the door open when they are the last person back from a different break.

It staggers me how people can walk from a warm room to a cold room and notice the temperature change. The same person can walk from a cold room to a warm room and notice that. Yet for some reason, this understanding that a temperature difference will mean the warm room will get colder to balance the cold room seems beyond comprehension to most people. I refer back to my teaching small groups of adults experience when I say most people - in my experience.

I can relate it to a lack of understanding the simple laws of thermodynamics which govern the balancing of temperature through heat transfer. This is heat energy exchange from the first law and Entropy in action from the 2nd law - trying to get to thermal equilibrium, no net flow of energy between rooms. Without doors and insulation, this is achieved through the warmer room getting colder. And if the colder room is the outdoors, as in the door to the room is straight outside, then the heat will disipate quicky as it cannot warm up the planet enough to stop the temperature in the room dropping. At least in the UK :-)


Turning the heat up and leaving the doors and windows open is stupid.

nice to have an anonymous blog...

tough for some in the 'age of the lockdown'

In this age of the lockdown - which, btw, is what I do think it should be called, does your pre lockdown circumstance assist your mental health or not? We all hear about people in lockdown on all sides of the coin and I want to draw your attention to one area here, being a couple.

If you were single at the start of a lockdown that could be a relief or a horror. Indeed some people are simply not interested in relationships or even some are not interested in sex at all. This is not me simply having a jibe - asexuality exists.

In terms of human sexuality, however, it simply means a person feels no sexual attraction wikihow

Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to others, or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity wikipedia

I thought I had better show 2 sources.

The point here is this can cause a person, on one hand, to be relieved they are not having to fight off attention. Whereas another person, who experiences the need, may crave the attention and the chances to get looked at and admired in public. This lack of public opportunity can also cause a change in a person's mental health.

Either way, both parties will also experience some levels of introvert and extrovert that may also be relieving or not in the short term. The welsh lockdown in October - November 2020 was 17days. This may be a perfect amount of time for all the mentioned people. However, any of them may need simple connections that come from human contact. I think I could have done the 17 days lockdown alone if I had my dogs (resource) and my zoom account. But the need to have human contact could be overwhelming after a long enough time.

I have been married for nearly 20 years, so you can add over 3 years to that for the amount of time we have been together. This is quite a different relationship from our friends' perception of relationships. I will blog about that given my wife reading of the content first. Last night I only saw her for 10 mins as she is doing long days working at the moment - this is common. I realised how important the 10 mins was as a resource for my, and hopefully her, daily stress.

I may only see her for 10mins when we are in this routine however I know as a future resource all day I will get to sit and chat with her when she gets in. As a consequence, I get all bits ready with food etc so our time is ours.

Those people who are alone in lockdown may be better off in the short term yet I feel so thankful I have this person sharing my life. A few weeks ago she asked if lockdown had affected me much, this is kind of like saying what would you have done in normal life before COVID? We both agreed we are still living the life we had and even under full restriction we are not living much differently to the way we were.

One thing that came up was the ability to browse shops and some of the sporting things I do. Apart from that?


How hard it would be to not have that human resource contact coming to the door and into the house every day exactly when I need it?

the dusty annex of the PBS plan

One of the cornerstones of behaviour is having the resources to assist you with the stress of everyday events. Indeed behaviour that can be considered by some aberrant can be the person responding to a lack of resources to cope with the emotional experiences they are having. Which are in turn a response to the physical reality experiences they are having.
Having a great resource system is discussed in another post.

Positive Behaviour Support or anything that is person-centred no matter how you name it or spin it should be fundamentally in place to assist the person. It is not the case that the care plan has the routine for assisting the person to be calm when getting up and the behaviour plan is separate from this. Our lives are not separated like this.

That beating the egg to make yourself omelette is in the care plan and prompting you to wash up is too. When you pull the whisk out and hit me on the head do we suddely jump to a PBS plan and then back to the care plan when all is well and I can then prompt him to wash up?

that is ludicrous

The fact we can assist the person to behave in a manner that is found to be acceptable. That we have moved the sofa and moved shower time till the evening and let him whisk till he stops without us interrupting is all part of the care plan.

Why do we think this is not behavioural?

They get people like me to achieve outcomes that have altered staff behaviour and attitudes. Yet these things, the sofa move, moving the time a shower so as not to upset the person, are antecedent interventions. Effectively creating environmental changes that reduce setting events or antecetends which the PBS world would call slow and fast triggers. I suppose it depends on if you want to use big science type words or more simple words that muddy the meaning of the concepts - another post on perception and semantics anyone?

And so these changes that fill a care plan are behavioural interventions. Too long have we seen people have a care plan and a PBS plan. Why are they not fully and irrevocably integrated?

I am working on one at the moment and while the goalposts move on a regular basis I am aiming to have the idea of having a fully encompassing master document where all of the different action plans could be. However, they are all part of the bigger scheme of things. Given a good index and colour coding why not have everything in one place and have it as individual pieces could be detached and used for specific tasks.

  • giving the person a bath
  • absconding? get the information page to give the police

Why would these be separate from the PBS plan, the information changing in one section should change in another?


This leads me to the point I would rather have all this as a digital doc so when for example the person's weight gets updated it is a variable which updates the weight in any area the master document that needs that information.


There should be no dust on a PBS plan - we need to know this is an all encompassing living document that is updated regularly.

being a participant

I was a participant on a course today experienceing training from the other side. I am not sure I want to end up in that kind of role. Sure it is true that I am just a trainer however if you were to take a few moments to read some of the feedback I get working for my company you might perceive there is a difference.

Most normal training is basically covering a syllabus and keeping everyone happy. Today the trainer was perfectly amenable, likeable. However when you are in this sort of area of work the content has been done by people in the room before and the need is to tred lightly so everyone enjoys it all.

When about to attend or arriving at the training I deliver, people say I have done a course like this. If I was doing first aid, mental capacity, food hygiene or some such, I could understand the comment. When people actually go through the course I teach they say it is completely different to what they have seen before. I do not want to end up a dull trainer delivering the same old same old.

People use comments such as "an experience" when I train. Sure there are those for whom my personality does not mesh well with, some I rub up the wrong way and some whose perception of life is so far removed from mine I cannot get on with them. However these are few and far between. I did an online training recently and significantly over 50% of them are going to a short url days later to give glowing feedback. I change lives in work and families, I alter perception and reality. I cannot end up mundane. I think I may need a carrer change when I get to the point where I cannot create awe in a group of people on at least a more than average time basis.

So this is the point about me introducing myself to other people, a point I have laboured over.

  • Trainer - this really does not do me justice
  • Behaviour Analyst - this is a reductionist way of looking at what I deliver
  • Carer - yes and I cannot argue with this as I do it on a daily basis with someone in my home
  • Director - I suppose so, I mean I do run a limited company
  • Prosocial and Organisational Behavioural Management Facilitator - certainly, but not all encompassing
  • ACT facilitator - possibly, again it seems to devalue those who do this kind of thing evey day
  • Psychologial Flexibility Consultant - this may encompass the closest but still not content with that

What am I

Well with this 100 days of writing I am hoping to explore just that.

another post about life online

I am doing this maddening process of writing something for 100 days. I am not sure how I decided to take on yet another thing in the midst of some pressure on various fronts of things to complete.

Nonetheless, today I put aside the time to have a conversation with both sons on zoom. Something we do precious little and yet it is so important to remain connected. They can both be quite strong in their beliefs. Those who see the the great hack and the social dilemma and do not understand the implications of them are changing the fabric of being human. The whole way we interact has altered as has recently been seen by the power of the online with GameStop in the last few days.

The online machine is not a thing driven by the minds of the rich. It is a mass levelling field. However, that field can be manipulated by the voices of those who can. The Gamestop affair may be having a major effect, negatively, on those who play with large sums of money as we think of playing with dominos. Can a large number of users chatting online, behaving as groups do when the group dynamics come into play then be thought of as moral or ethical or are these terms for individuals.

If another global recession is the outcome of a large enough group of people swaying the system, is that a good thing. Yet another recession? because people who self regulate in groups tend to behave in predictable ways? Surely a large enough group of people voting with their actions is just democracy? This goes full circle back to the toppling of governments by people using social media to suggest things such as to not vote was the right thing to do as a protest and then make a cool meme to get people on board.

If the stock market can be affected so much by a reddit community, what else can they do? Or indeed what else can the rest of us do? The first series of Mr Robot springs to mind! F-Society.


I have suddenly realised I have to blog today and I only have 30 mins left. The day has been long for many reasons however the main pressure I have been under today is to make headway into this Positive Behaviour Support System that I have been lumbered with, in a manner that causes me some concern. I do not mind plans etc. I will however be in a room of 15 people delivering the content of a plan I have created before, all but one of them, has met the person.

This you say is not a problem, however, under normal circumstances, you would be correct. In this particular circumstance, I need to tread very carefully. The timing of this has caused us all concern and due to the emergency, COVID and some timetabling issues I will not have had the full assessment time I normally would have had. And so the plan is going to change very rapidly when we spend more time with this person.

My saving here is that, I will get to do some assessment and mum will be in the training that I am delivering along with one member of staff that I am aware of knows the person well. There will be lots of back covering comments throughout however I have had many pieces of information from many different sources of plans and assessments. It is just very uncomfortable to not have done these assessments myself. There have also been some assessments by an OT and a SaLT however I am yet to be given these. While the information is dense in its content it is specifically not been put together from an overall perspective.

If I was in an advisory troubleshooting role working with a staff team who all knew the person I would not be concerned by this. They do have the information. They are the true source so to speak. I can assist those who have knowledge to create fantastic outcomes hwoever this is not the case here leading me to say the title of this post.

I have titled this in this manner as I am reading The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson and this is one of the most commonly used swear words in the books. GREAT books BTW.

what is in a lie

We all lie. In some form or other. There are many many interactions that could be considered lies every day.

One of the issues we have with this concept is the whole issue that comes from perception. A neuroscientist today would likely debate the concept of there being one single reality.

Reality does not exist

We know from witness statements that if people all report seeing the same thing then the witnesses have either contrived / discussed the event or been coached by a third party. That is why they separate witnesses as early as they can. We all perceive the events we experience differently to the next person. Indeed as people listen to me in training they all have their own advisor talking to them and their own filtering of the input feed they are taking from me through their own life experience system. People perceive the same sentence or slide in a presentation differently to the person they are sitting beside.

If a child is still of the age where they believes in monsters under the bed then when any conflict over the perception of events arises their actual reality can change to suit their preference for the memory.

"I did not hit my brother in the face with that wooden halberd!"

Can be a complete truth for that child depending on their age. They can literally create their own memories of the experience. Altering reality.

When my son did actually get hit in the face by the wooden halberd, there was no debate, he did not say the above. I saw it happen and the youngest was crying and bleeding! Much harder to debate. Although to be fair it was an accident as they were playing and he swung slowly to imply hitting - it was just around a corner when the youngest was running into it. Neither of them could see the other till impact. These things can just happen in play - [another post I think]

Adults may also have brain chemistry that is similar to a child of that age. Some people do actually seem to be pathalogical liars. I have come across a few in my time however the question here is what actually happens for the person. Do they lie because they are actually believing you want them to lie. In which case, are they perceiving it as a lie or the right thing to say?


It is normal for the teenager to lie and this is particularly stongly connected to their interactions with parents.

Lying as a teenager is not an especially reliable indicator of whether or not that teenager is, or will become, an honest person. A good part of teenage lying is a function of the strange amorality of the at-home self.

Franks, Suzanne; Wolf, Tony. Get Out of My Life. Kindle Edition.

Effectively teens lie in the presence of their parents as they do not want parents to be in their lives, it is expected. Yet as the quote says this is not a good indicator of adult life or for that matter honesty outside the home.


Therefore, can a lie be a lie if the person saying has the perception they are not lying?

Framing Relations

Relational Frame Theory

RFT is the underpinning basis of the third wave of therapies in human cognition today. However it is an area a lot of people struggle getting to grips with. RFT gives a framework around how linguistics and cognition lead to the human mind finding elements of life concerning. There is a separation of cognition from other animals in our world that has been demonstrated by research into RFT. ref

Just a Theory

While the title Relational Frame Theory has the word theory in it there is a large body of evidence to this framework across a myriad of areas.

Theory is a word used with both evolution and gravity and while we still hear of people who believe that one of these is "just a theory", even with the huge body of evidence, it would be interesting to see people live without gravity and provide evidence that gravity is "just a theory".

Although RFT is a theory so are evolution and gravity, so personally I have no issues with the word Theory - do not let the name put you off. Science is about asking questions.

One bit of RFT

RFT highlights that the human animal has developed an ability to derive numerous bits of information from a small number of pieces of information.

A baby can learn 2 pieces of information, then, from the age of 14-16 months the toddler will have added to the same pieces of information by deriving the mirroring of that original information.

At 22-24 months the child will fill in enough of the missing information to access six pieces of information from the original two. This is hard to get your head around so I have taken this example from another source, the fantastic Get Out of Your Mind and into Your Life

Showing the baby a drawing of an imaginary creature the adult says,

  • "This is called a bo ba" - one piece of information
  • "A bo-ba goes Woooowa" - piece 2 of the puzzle
  • "Where is the bo-ba?" - the ability to point to the picture when asked the name is piece 3 of the informational triangle.

This is derived and does not need to actually be directly taught.

  • saying "bo-ba" in response to being asked "what goes Woooowa?" piece 4
  • point at the picture in response to being asked "what goes Woooowa?" piece 5
  • make a "Woooowa" response when asked what noise the animal in the picture makes is piece 6

These last 2 are the next level of derivation - the child has not been taught those connections directly at all.

We can think of the noise, picture and name as 3 points on a triangle with the links between them being the connections in both directions. This makes 6 pieces of information.

This interconnected network can lead to errors. This can lead to emotions being experienced when they are not relevant or necessary.

An example erR0rS

Have you ever got up in the morning and thought you felt out of sorts, like you have "got out of the wrong side of the bed".

This example may be due to a lowering emotion as you heard a distant siren when you were waking or getting ready for work. In your past you attended a car accident where someone you did not previously know had died. You had a low that day as more sirens arrived. Even though you do not consciously relate the siren to that event or even acknowledge in your mind that there even was a distant siren today you still can experience an "unexplained" low feeling.

This is a more elaborate idea of a network however it is an extension of the triangle of information the child was working with in the early example.

Sorry to just scratch the surface - more on RFT to come...

our brain and use of time

We as a species spend an awful lot of time in the past and the future which a lot of people do discuss in various areas of life, such as most third wave therapies and personal development courses you would go on today. Or since the advent of COVID you would attend online rather than actucally be there in person.

Humans therefore also spend a large amount of time thinking about things they spend less time actually actively doing. This may be your specific hobbie where you are so enthralled by your hobbie that work is just something you do to give you the opportunity to work? However for a large portion of the working population the amount of time spent thinking about the interactions that have happened at work or the interactions that they can predict may be on the horizon at work is a huge drain on the time we actually spend alive.

If you work out that we have 168 hours in a week and that an average job might officially drain 40 of those hours you have 128 hours left over. Sleep 8 hours a night and that removes another 56 hours putting you down to 72 hours. If it was all as simple as that we would have 3 full days spare??

Well of course it is not that simple and every day there is time for eating, bathing, shopping, commuting, housework, exercise and chores - this is not an exhasutive list I am sure you can agree.

The point here is in those other 72 hours how much time is spent thinking about the 40 that pays for our life in the other 72? I would suspect if you are like me that this is annoyingly higher than you would like to first admit or accept.

When I was in my teens it was windsurfing I was constantly thinking about when I was not doing it. I did not spend much time being worried by studying as it all seemed to work out.

Then when I was in the working world I craved for the ability to be part of a project and drive it forward. I spent every waking moment when not training thinking about how I could streamline the admin system. I had a boss once who admitted when he asked a techy team, within a customer's company, how long it would take to deliver the online system he was discussing they said 18 months. I had developed ours that far in 3 months. TBH I had not slept much. But I had a completed a working system.

This is true for hobbies as well. I have recently, as a consequence of lockdown, taken up cycling and when I was going out as many days as I could in a week I was also thinking about routes, maintenance and a lot of time online shopping as the winter grew near, getting appropriate lights, clothing and equipment.


The point here is we spend a lot more time thinking about the area of our lives we spend less time actually doing. Being in the here and now rather than worrying or ruminating can have significant postive impacts on your mental health and wellbeing. Try it, notice when your mind has taken you back to work when you are actually walking in the countryside or doing the dishes.

Noticing is the key...