by Melissa Karnaze

mindful – bearing in mind; attentive to; being aware of and taking into account

construct – an intangible schema; a concrete concept

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg O October 19, 2009 at 12:48 am

Just a quick note to say thank you for the amazing blog you have here. I found it a few days ago and am really impressed with the quality of the posts. They’re informative, very engaging, well researched and offer a some very interesting perspective on the way we perceive reality and how these perceptions shape our actions and ultimately our life. Love how you try to blend and explain ‘self-development’ and ‘spiritual’ concepts with congnitive psychology. I would actually love to see a book based on the posts in this blog (obviously extended with some extra information). Maybe something to think about at some point. Also, I would love to see some book reviews – you obviously know your subject and I’m sure you can recommend some good reading (books, maybe articles in other blogs).

Great blog – keep it up.

Melissa Karnaze October 19, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Hi Greg, thank you so much for your support.

I recently decided against doing an annual eBook, which is what I was toying with for a while. Figured that I’d rather save up for something bigger, like a print book — plus I’m partial to print books.

Your comment today sparked several ideas for how to do the book, so thank you. What I can say now is it will definitely be a backstory to this site’s conception and all the articles here. I have some other projects in the works right now, so I will probably start the book sometime next year. :)

Cool, I will do book reviews now that you requested it! I have these ideas of what might be good for Mindful Construct, but what I really want to know is if readers are interested. I’ve done one semi-product review, and should have another coming up soon. As for books, it’s most natural to tackle my favorite self-help books first. And then to tackle some self-help/ New Age books with potential, but that get pitfalled by belief systems gone awry.

What do you think? Are there other books you are interested in? Such as books in cognitive psychology or related fields? Feel free to drop mentions any time. My reading time is crunched these days, but I will take special note of your requests. The treasure trove for Mindful Construct is reader feedback. :)

Thanks so much again Greg.

Greg O October 20, 2009 at 1:10 am

Hi Melissa,

I agree that a print book is probably a better idea. There is just something about old-fashioned print books … Actually, I’m just thinking – probably the “just something” (translated into “printed book is better and more trustworthy”) is yet another uninvestigated bias we unconsciously hold since from early age we’ve associated traditional books with knowledge, wisdom etc. Well, this way or another I still prefer printed books anyway :)

The books I personally like are of the “intelligent pop-science” category. One book I’ve recently read that really blew my mind is “A Mind of Its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives”. Amazing. I’m a bit of a self-help junkie myself so would love to see some reviews there as well – especially of books that build on some solid foundations (e.g. there are some good books that use research in the positive psychology field to try and teach techniques for improving your level of happiness). Also, books that base their approach on showing you the fallacy of your own thinking and auto-pilot ways of reacting to situations in your life. For me probably the best and most ground breaking is “Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life” and other books by Byron Katie. While I don’t agree with everything the author is saying (e.g. I think people with serious traumas would be better off talking to a professional rather than relying on her methods) the 4 question method of investigating your thinking and ways you perceive your life is very simple yet really powerful, extremely educational and potentially transformational.

In general I think there is a huge market gap that’s yet to be filled. There are plenty of self-help books out there. Most of them, however, are either too esoteric and ‘spiritual’, have no base on research or lack some basic down-to-earth critical thinking (“The secret”?). Not that there is anything wrong about them (I do tend to read ‘spiritual’ books from time to time myself) but it’s just to point out that there is a big market segment that is not really catered for at the moment – people who are naturally more critical, maybe even biased against anything too “hippie” and fuzzy but who like reading about about recent discoveries of science (cognitive psychology, neuroscience) and how it relates to us. How these findings can be used in real life, to become more aware of our disfunctional beliefs, biased thinking, how to make better decisions in our life, how to become more (I love this phrase) response-able maybe even how to raise above the limited perceptions of who we are and how we see life and humanity to another more ‘spiritual’ perspective. I think there are plenty of people out there who’d be very interested to read this kind of ‘self-help’ materials if it’s presented in an intelligent way, backed by examples of research, properly investigated, subjected to some critical thinking etc. And I think if expanded further the material on this blog could potentially make such a book.

Oh, and maybe if you can come up with some research-based way for overcoming procrastination that would be just great – I could then avoid these situations where being at work I spend 30 minutes writing a reply to a blog post rather than working :)


Melissa Karnaze October 20, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Greg, wow your long comment just made my day! I cannot thank you enough for your feedback! :D

There’s a really good paper by Anne Mangen that goes into why we seem to be primed for print — we process print pages differently from web pages, is the short of it. (Actually quoted the paper in a recent post for Copyblogger.)

A Mind of Its Own sounds like a provocative read, thanks for the mention. Thank you as well for mentioning Byron Katie. I’ve been wanting to look into her work, as I like how she talks about personal narratives as something very delicate, that we need to be mindful of.

I was at Barnes & Noble yesterday, and stumbled upon the New Age section, which was on the other side of the room from the Self-Help section. Thought that was odd at first, because they’re usually blended. Maybe something is shifting already?

…there is a big market segment that is not really catered for at the moment – people who are naturally more critical, maybe even biased against anything too “hippie” and fuzzy but who like reading about about recent discoveries of science (cognitive psychology, neuroscience) and how it relates to us

You just described the target audience for Mindful Construct! You probably don’t know how awesome that is for me to hear from a reader! MC is meant to ground perspectives from science and spirituality into things that are workable. The information is out there in plenty, like you say, but people want the practical. Practical takes integrating, overcoming hesitations, making a logical case, and sticking to experience.

…maybe even how to raise above the limited perceptions of who we are and how we see life and humanity to another more ’spiritual’ perspective.

That is music to my ears, Greg. It’s always a challenge to know how much of a safe distance the spirituality needs to have in each article. It’s great to hear that you’re hopeful there is a way to develop this bridge further along in the future.

Hmm, a research-based way for overcoming procrastination? I’ll have to hold off on the research-based for a while (unless you or Twitter pass a good study my way), but I do have some drafts for a way to not let your emotions get in the way. :)

Mariam Faouaz-Lees February 24, 2010 at 3:07 pm

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to stumble upon your website.
All of the work and research I have been doing this past year, and I found myself stuck in the rut of the ego as a judgement state and inherently flawed.
And suddenly, I read your articles about the red pill and I know I’ve hit upon something very powerful.
Thank you for thinking and sharing.
I very much look forward to exploring my Self, here in your web site.
Gratefully yours,

Melissa Karnaze February 25, 2010 at 10:55 am

Mariam, so glad you found it here! And that it’s confirming for you what you’ve been learning this past year. This is definitely a place for you to explore your Self. :)

Steven October 28, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Hey Melissa, been reading a few of your articles over the past few weeks and I am absolutely loving the site.

I’m angry I didn’t think of your title first, it’s so fitting to your content, which is also off-the-chain. I agree with both you and Greg that there needs to be more content that takes the self-help sensibility and backs it with cognitive psychology and neuroscience.

I too used to be a big self-help junkie…for better or worse. There is a lot of garbage I have consumed over the past 3-4 years and a handful of real gems (life-changers).

I got a BA in Psych last year, and I sometimes wonder if I should’ve went into grad school or not. I’ve thought about maybe going into Industrial-Organizational but I have to admit I HATE the structure of college. I am an autodidact at heart.

Are you writing your thesis on some realm of emotional intelligence? If so you chose an AWESOME topic.

Congrats on the well put together and incredibly insightful blog. I see big things for you in the future if you keep up your efforts.

Melissa Karnaze October 29, 2010 at 9:45 am

Hi Steven, thanks for the kind words.

At this point, I’m interested in doing my thesis on a topic within the appraisal theory of emotion (hopefully with respect to cognitive reappraisal), from the framework of Personal Construct Theory. You could say it’s related to emotional intelligence. :)

I’m loving my graduate program so far. Grad school is different from undergrad in that you get to focus more on what interests you, which involves some self-direction and self-instruction (with the help of your adviser). It still is a very structured program, but it has to be to drive the production of a research project. :) Keep your options open and stick to what interests you, you can always go back to school at a later time too.

Jason February 15, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Melissa, I know I’m probably totally repeating what you’ve been preaching throughout this site but I just love the expression – “You can’t control the world around you, you can only control how you respond to it”. It’s great advice for any anxiety sufferer who feels totally helpless to their circumstances.

I also love the approach that you take in looking within to be more cognitive of your perception and how it shapes everything on the outside as well.

This site is pretty cool. I’ve been poking around a bit and I think you have a very fresh take on self help that I haven’t seen articulated in quite this way. Anyway, congrats on the site – it’s a winner :)

Hayley Elkins October 24, 2014 at 3:50 am

I have only just accessed this site what I have read is of interest to me. The reason being I am currently studying as a mature student the subject of Systemic Therapy. I am particularly interested in the deconstruction of a narrative whether it be speech or the written word.

Sam May 27, 2015 at 10:45 am

I’m so glad I found your blog. I’ve only read a few of your articles so far, but they have provided me a great amount of much needed encouragement and perspective in a greatly tumultuous time in my life. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and experience with the rest of us. :)

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