Moon Juice Amanda Chantal Bacon

Amanda Chantal Bacon

The founder of Moon Juice, a wellness juice and food company, discusses why it’s ok to not always be perfect.

Don’t Let A Single Story Define You: Rewriting Your Past

When I was in training to become a psychiatrist, an old-school mastermind in the field asked the class what I thought was an obvious question: “What do you think the point of therapy is?” Eager beaver that I was, my arm shot up: “The point of going to therapy,” I said confidently, “is to give yourself a brighter future.” “Wrong, Dr. Boardman. Anyone else?” he responded. Another brave resident gave it a try: “The point of therapy is to change your present,” she said. “Wrong again,” he bellowed. “The point of therapy is to change your past.” What he meant was that people get too attached to the stories they tell about their past—that their mother was cold to them, that their father abandoned them, that high school was the best/worst years of their life and so on. These are just stories. They are single stories that tell part of a longer narrative, therefore not the whole story. By definition, they leave out a lot of information and leapfrog over nuance and detail. What the good doctor was trying to explain was how recognizing and letting go of the narrow anecdotes we tell others —and ourselves — is liberating. Economics professor Tyler Cowen addresses this issue in a powerful TED Talk entitled “Be Suspicious of Stories.” He warns against relying too heavily on stories because they oversimplify things:
“So when you strip away detail, you tend to tell stories in terms of good vs. evil, whether it’s a story about your own life or a story about politics. Now some things are actually good vs. evil…but as a general rule, we’re too inclined to tell the good vs. evil story. As a simple rule of thumb, just imagine every time you’re telling the good vs. evil story, you are basically lowering your IQ by 10 points or more…”
We are drawn to stories. They are in our nature. We are biologically programmed to respond to them. That said, just because stories help us make sense of senseless things doesn’t mean we should get too attached to them or allow them to govern our lives. In fact, the more powerful the story we tell ourselves, the more suspicious we should be. Cowen explains why:
“You’re always left with the same few stories. There’s the old saying, just about every story can be summed up as, ‘A stranger came to town.’ There’s a book by Christopher Booker, he claims there are really just seven types of stories. There’s monster, rags to riches, quest, voyage and return, comedy, tragedy, rebirth. You don’t have to agree with that list exactly, but the point is this: if you think in terms of stories, you’re telling yourself the same things over and over again.”
Just because we can neatly tie a bow around something doesn’t make it 100% true. It’s not that stories are all bad. All I am saying is that the stories we are overly attached to can limit us from seeing the bigger picture. They shape us in powerful ways and can hold us hostage without us even realizing it. Writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie addresses the danger of single stories as well as the value of seeing beyond them:
“When we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place (or person), we regain a kind of paradise.”
Question the stories you tell about yourself and others. Let go of the narrative and embrace the nuance, uncertainty and the glorious mess that life can be. Gilda Radner said it best
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”
Here's to delicious ambiguity.

Asking Questions Makes You Look Smarter

I learned a lot in medical school. How to prescribe the right antibiotic to combat a bacterial infection, how to approach a combative patient, how to diagnose appendicitis, how to tell the difference between dementia and delirium, among many other essential skills of a physician. But the most important was learning to say, “I don’t know.” People are afraid they will look dumb or incompetent if they say they don’t know the answer to a question or how to do something. In fact, the opposite is true — research shows asking for advice makes us look smarter. As a Harvard study describes, that fear of looking clueless “is misplaced. We demonstrate that individuals perceive those who seek advice as more competent than those who do not seek advice. The study highlights the fact that all too often, people fail to seek advice from those around them and how it has consequences for individuals and organizations. Learning information from others is essential. Not only does it enable us to gain wisdom and insight from their knowledge and expertise, it is also is an opportunity to interact and connect. The research shows how asking for advice is a “win-win” situation. The person seeking advice gains information and the person being asked for their advice feels a boost in their self-confidence and, in turn, views the advice seeker in a more positive light. In other words, they are flattered. The effects of advice seeking are especially robust when the advice being sought is for a particularly challenging task and the advisor’s expertise is warranted. As Arthur Helps, a British Victorian-era scholar and writer, said:
“We all admire the wisdom of those who come to us for advice.”
The implications of the research are broad. Instead of muddling through something where you need help, override your fears of looking incompetent and ask for help. I would argue that this goes for specific tasks as well as philosophical and moral questions. The wisdom of others is invaluable. When in doubt, ask a mentor, a grandparent, a teacher or a friend. Odds are they have some useful insight, experience and perspective. Have the courage to ask for it and the grace to accept it.

Handmade: Worth Its Weight in Gold

People are willing to pay as much as 17% more for a handmade item over its machine-made counterpart, studies show, be it a ceramic mug, a bar of scented soap or a carved rocking chair. Turns out, people find handmade products to be more attractive, an effect especially noticeable when it comes to buying a gift for a loved one. The reason? "Handmade" really suggests "made with love."

Why You Need to Stop Talking About Yourself

A few week’s ago, we asked Do You Talk Too Much? and suggested the Traffic Light Rule for recognizing when you’re about to lose your audience because you’ve been gabbing too long. Which got us thinking not just about length of conversations, but content. Interestingly, the types of conversations we choose are astonishingly consistent. There is a recurring theme in most of what we say. Studies show that hands down, our favorite topic of communication is, you guessed it, ourselves. As Scientific American asked and answered: Why, in a world full of ideas to discover, develop and discuss, do people spend the majority of their time talking about themselves? Research suggests a simple explanation: because it feels good. Talking about oneself activates the same areas of the brain that light up when eating good food, taking drugs and having sex. Simply put, self-disclosure is gratifying. It is a natural high. Who talks more and why is less clear. Stereotypes suggest women enjoy chatting more than men.  According to science, it’s more nuanced than that. A test conducted to explore social interaction patterns found that women speak only slightly more than men in professional and social settings, and only when the number of people involved in the conversation is less than six. In large groups, men tend to dominate conversation. Just because you are wired to enjoy talking about yourself does not mean you don’t have a choice.  One way to avoid tumbling down a rabbit hole of self-involved chitchat is to steer clear of your favorite topics.  At the very least, you minimize your risk of becoming the one note character in the classic American Pie movie who could never resist a moment to talk about her favorite topic. Every other sentence began with “last summer at Band Camp…” Bottom Line: People love to talk about themselves. You can also use it to your advantage.  Next time you find yourself deep in conversation, be sure to listen too. Odds are, if you let the other person talk about themselves, they will think YOU are a genius.

That Personal Touch: A Scientific Reason to Monogram Your Shirt

I teased a friend for buying NikeiD custom sneakers. “What’s the point?” I asked. Why pay extra to personalize a pair of running shoes? “Customized shoes won’t make you run any faster.” Actually, they could. According to this study, when you put your personal stamp on something—be it a pen or a putter—you can significantly improve performance. Students did better on tests, and athletes performed better when they used items they had personalized to portray aspects of themselves.
“Even though participants did not expect any benefit, they threw customized darts more accurately, they came up with more anagrams using a customized pen, and they played a beer-coaster flipping game better with customized coasters. Across the studies, customization boosted performance by 25 percent.”
It is not about superstition or a belief that the product is lucky. When you make something your own, it becomes an extension of your identity and strengthens motivation. Make your mark on your equipment. Make it feel uniquely “you.” I finally have an excuse to customize the bed linens I have always dreamed of from D. Porthault. No doubt I will sleep better.

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Moon Juice Amanda Chantal Bacon

Amanda Chantal Bacon


The founder of Moon Juice, a wellness juice and food company, discusses why it’s ok to not always be perfect.

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