I write about the human experience where I analyse the similarities and diversity in human behaviour.
I study myself and others, appreciating our way of being and doing, from across a range of backgrounds, to make sense of this journey called life.
Then, I share what I learn in my email newsletter.
Ten years ago Richard Carlson’s little book, Don’t sweat the small stuff … and it’s all small stuff, had already sold more than 8 million copies worldwide. The book provides guidelines for dealing with life’s problems and outlines strategies to respond to life more gracefully. The 100 brief chapters that make up the book include a chapter entitled Become an anthropologist. Why did Carlson include anthropology in a self-help book? This is what he says:
Anthropology is a science dealing with man (we would say ‘humans’) and his (their) origins. (However), I’ll conveniently redefine anthropology as ‘being interested, without judgement, in the way other people choose to live and behave.’ This strategy is geared toward developing your compassion, as well as a way of becoming more patient. Beyond that, however, being interested in the way other people act is a way of replacing judgements with loving-kindness. When you are genuinely curious about the way someone reacts or the way they feel about something, it’s unlikely that you will also be annoyed. In this way, becoming an anthropologist is a way of becoming less frustrated by the actions of others. When someone acts in a way that seems strange to you, rather than reacting in your usual way, such as, ‘I can’t believe they would do that,’ instead say something to yourself like ‘I see, that must be the way she sees things in her world. Very interesting!’ In order for this strategy to help you, you have to be genuine. There’s a fine line between being ‘interested’ and being arrogant as if secretly you believe that your way is better. (Carlson 1997:111–112)
[Credit: Extracted from a UNISA Anthropology Text Book]