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How Your Prejudices Can Shorten or Lengthen Your Life

“There are only two ways to be quite unprejudiced and impartial. One is to be completely ignorant. The other is to be completely indifferent. Bias and prejudice are attitudes to be kept in hand, not attitudes to be avoided.” — Charles Curtis

The definition of prejudice in my dictionary is a “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.” Preconceptions are our underlying assumptions; they act as the lenses by which we see the world that henceforth color all we see. Just as we seldom notice the unique and familiar smell of our own home unless we’ve been away for quite a while, we often have no idea what our unexamined biases and prejudices are, since we take them so for granted.

“We all decry prejudice, yet are all prejudiced.” — Herbert Spencer

The word ‘prejudice’ carries a heavy implication that some of our inner biases result in harm or injury due to unfounded dislikes and hostilities. While our underlying biases can help us make daily discernments in life, most of us know that preconceptions and prejudgments can be needlessly injurious to others. What may come as a surprise is that we seldom recognize ways our own unconscious stereotypes can boomerang back and harm ourselves.

Recent research shows that one of the best things you can do to positively improve both the length of your life and the life in your years has everything to do with your prejudices and stereotypes.


Improve Your Life by Becoming What You Think

When you think of old people, what are the first five words or phrases that come to mind? It turns out that your answer to this question could make a tremendous difference in your health and longevity in later years.

Recent research shows that our subconsciously adopted “age stereotypes” regarding our expectations of what will happen as we age makes a tremendous difference in how we actually do age. An increasing body of scientific research studies show that when seniors expect that growing older means they will become incapacitated, confused, useless, weak or devalued they are less likely to take preventive steps against such deterioration and they actually will suffer from mental and physical deterioration.

Intriguingly, when seniors believe positive stereotypes about aging, such as that older adults are wise, involved with life and satisfied, such individuals actually experience higher levels of physical and mental wellbeing. A medical research team at Yale University led by Becca Levy reported recently in !e Journal of the American Medical Association that seniors with positive biases toward aging are 44% more likely to fully recover from a bout of disability—better able to bathe, dress and walk than those with negative aging stereotypes. The research team propose that positive age stereotypes are so effective because they operate through several pathways: limiting cardiovascular responses to stress, improving physical balance, enhancing self-efficacy, and increasing peoples’ engagement in healthy behaviors.

Dr. Becca Levy is a pioneer in the field of age stereotypes and aging, and has helped us better appreciate the importance of maintaining a positive mindset around our elders, because their exposure—even subliminally—to negative age stereotypes and expectations can prove debilitating. Levy conducted many laboratory experiments with older people to observe peoples’ reactions to subliminal messages prior to attempting to complete various tasks. Levy noted that seniors who’d subliminally received negative words, such as “decrepit” had worse handwriting and slower walking speeds afterward, whereas those who saw positive words such as “wisdom” did much better.

Dr. Levy studied a database of 600 people who’d been tracked over a period of 23 years, from 1975 to 1998, to see how people’s age stereotypes influence their lives. Levy noted that participants with positive age stereotypes lived an average of 7.5 years longer than those with negative stereotypes. “This longevity gap persisted even after variables of age, gender, socioeconomic status, loneliness and functional health were considered as covariates. Participants were asked at the beginning of the research to answer either “True” or “False” to questions such as, “Things keep getting worse as I get older,” or “as you get older, you get less useful.”

Dr. Levy asks us to be more mindful of the ‘little things’ that add to quite a lot when we interact with seniors. Everything from our tone of voice, attitude, and use of loaded phrases or expressions make a huge difference. Rather than parroting whatever negative stereotypes we might have accumulated, each of us has an opportunity to “think about how to reinforce the more positive aspects of aging,” as Dr. Levy suggests.

Ask yourself again, when you think of old people, what are the first five words or phrases that come to mind? Hopefully you’re now adopting some new, positive stereotypes about the elderly! Pay attention to seniors who demonstrate these positive qualities, and imagine how you and your loved ones can get better and better with each passing year.


Quantum Jumps

Excerpted from Quantum Jumps: An Extraordinary Science of Happiness and Prosperity. Quantum Jumps describes the science behind instant “manifestation,” by presenting a radical new paradigm–that we exist in an interconnected holographic multiverse in which we literally jump from one parallel universe to another.

This book encourages you to have fun trying out scientifically verified, laboratory-tested techniques to improve your life with dozens of tips you can use to bring Quantum Jumps into your daily life.

Here’s the video summary of this blog post, with a glimpse inside the book at some of the lovely illustrations:

Love always,
Cynthia Sue Larson
email Cynthia at

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Cynthia Sue Larson Interviews Frank Moffatt

Frank Moffatt

Frank Moffatt in Bangkok

Have you ever wondered why some people age gracefully, seeming like they look pretty much the same now as decades earlier, while staying actively engaged in fun activities, learning new things, and staying active… and other people slip into steady decline?

If you have noticed this and wondered, “What’s up with that?”  you’ll love hearing about Frank Moffatt and his new documentary film! You could say that Frank Moffatt is a man with a mission to change the world, but that would be missing the point that simply listening to his message has the power to completely transform our lives. When I heard from Frank that he’s raising funds through an Indiegogo campaign for a new documentary movie, I was intrigued. Your Second Fifty: Rising Above the Myths of Aging is a movie designed to implement change in all who see it. Consider these facts:

By 2015, those aged 50 and older will represent 45% of the U.S. population (source: AARP). Of that 45%, many will have been subjected to limiting beliefs and myths that will unfortunately restrict them from reaching their true potential — mentally, emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually. The good news is that with proper education and guidance, these limiting beliefs and myths can be eradicated — and a fresh new outlook and approach can be established within one’s daily life.

I’m thrilled to know this movie is in the works, and honored to share some special insights from Frank Moffatt in this interview. And I hope that if you find this topic as exciting as I do, you’ll support the Your Second Fifty: Rising Above the Myths of Aging Indiegogo campaignand share this post with friends and family!

Naomi-Judd-Sneak-PeekCYNTHIA: I’m thrilled to talk with you about your new documentary film, “Your Second Fifty,” since its message that many common beliefs about aging are untrue is a big idea that also came to my attention when I was researching and writing my most recent book, Quantum Jumps. I was stunned to learn that long-term scientific studies have shown that one of the best predictors of long, healthy lives are peoples’ biases and prejudices about the elderly. When I give talks about the science covered in Quantum Jumps, I often make the point that “If you take just one idea away from this entire presentation, improve your stereotypes about the elderly! You can improve both your longevity, and your quality of life.”  What inspired you to create a movie about these ideas at this time?

FRANK: First off I’m excited to read your book! We really have no idea of our potential and capability, especially in our second fifty. But to answer your question, I wanted to make the documentary because we are an impulsive society and people would rather sit and watch this film for an hour than sit and read a book for 6 or 7 hours. So the real question would be, what inspired me to write the book? After observing people over 50 for a year or so I was struck by the fact that some people were full of life, while others were full of death and the answer boiled down to their beliefs about aging – so I took on the task to debunk the myths and limiting beliefs of aging!

Dr AmenCYNTHIA: I agree with you that many people these days would rather see a movie or hear an audiobook than read a book, and I’ve been creating YouTube videos and audiobook editions of my books to meet this growing demand. I’ve also seen exactly what you’re describing regarding people around age 50 who either seem to be thriving or declining, with evident differences in ease of movement, involvement in learning and creative pursuits, and zest for life. I’ve also gotten the feeling we’re not doomed at age 50 to be “over the hill,” but actually can truly thrive. Have you personally experienced turning around a limiting belief about aging in your life, and if so, would you tell us about it?

FRANK: When I was a kid I suffered from asthma, and while I played sports, I was always missing parts of seasons because my lungs couldn’t handle the training. When I was 52, I decided I was going to run a marathon. I was over weight and hadn’t done any exercise in years. I began slowly, just walking one or two kilometers. Three months in, I was up to a ten K run, and 6 months later I finished the Bangkok Marathon – 42 K in just over 4 hours. I didn’t need to win the race, I just needed to change my belief from I couldn’t run – to I can run – I will run and I will finish what I started.

CYNTHIA: Wow, what an inspirational experience! I’d not heard of the Bangkok Marathon before, and I’m truly impressed that you reached a point at age 52 where you noticed you’d gained weight and weren’t exercising, and so you looked around to find what could motivate you to become more physically active. I’m sure your ability to set an athletic goal for yourself must have been made a bit easier thanks to your having played sports earlier in life. What advice would you give someone in their second fifty years who wants to get more exercise but hasn’t played sports?

FRANK: When we started to make the documentary, I seriously thought I needed to interview one of the worlds top fitness guru’s, but over time I’ve realized that it’s not about having the body of a Greek goddess. It’s about being fit from the inside out. Going for a 30 minute walk each day not only improves your fitness level, but it’s beneficial, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and when we are more fit in those four areas of our life, we’ll attract more opportunities financially. But there are three other areas of physical wellbeing we need to consider:

1) Flexibility – a little stretching daily will pay incredible dividend down the road in our 80’s, 90’s and more and more likely our 100’s,

2) Resistance training – we need to keep our muscle in shape to support our physical structure so our later years are positive and product and

3) What we eat – as we get older the metabolism slows down because we slow down, so eat more fresh, raw foods and most importantly eat less–and that’s hard to do if we’re sitting on a couch.

CYNTHIA: I love the way these are simple things most people can do by making small adjustments to daily life. I can also reassure people that your advice is quite sound, as it’s coincidentally what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years since I took up practicing martial arts when I approached the age of 40. I’m doing the flexibility and resistance training as part of my Kuk Sool Won practice, and being much more mindful of what I eat, and I look and feel so much healthier now than I was 15 years ago. These tips are pretty well-known, but I understand your movie, “Your Second Fifty” does some pretty serious myth-busting concerning typical ideas most people have about aging. Could you share with us one of those myths you address?

FRANK: Honestly that’s the great part about the documentary and the sad thing when you take a minute to consider just how many limiting beliefs impact us after 50. And even when we’re aware of these limiting beliefs, we have no idea how to address them and remove them. But you wanted one, so let’s consider memory loss. We had the opportunity to interview Dr. Daniel Amen, possibly North America’s leading expert pertaining to the Mental Dimension. Without giving away all the goods here, he alluded to the fact that memory loss can be caused from a number of things–none of which were age-related. Having received a head injury as a young child that had gone unattended, or an inactive life style, both mentally and physically are far more likely to be key determining factors for memory loss in people over 50.

CYNTHIA: So if I understand you correctly, there’s no need for people to assume we’re all headed for dementia as we pass the ages of 50, 60, 70, and 80… nor is there any reason to presume we’ll necessarily be less active or less physically fit in our second fifty years of life. And hopefully, good results are obtainable in terms of improved quality and quantity of life without needing to spend a fortune, right?

FRANK: Well, let’s adjust that a bit – there is no need to assume we’re all headed for dementia – IF – we make the changes. If we don’t, then we’re rolling the dice, because the majority of people have sustained some form of head injury, or currently maintain a sedentary lifestyle. You just have to know what to do to make the changes! As far as fitness goes, one of the gentlemen we interviewed was Werner Berger. Last year, Werner climbed the highest peaks on all 7 continents (which by the way included Mt. Everest). Werner is 76 years of age. It’s also important to state that at age 59, Werner decided to climb mountains, so he is no different than anyone reading this article. That’s what makes this documentary so important – it will change the way we have been programmed to age. It may be the best investment anyone can make with regard to their longevity and wellbeing. Life is best served when we challenge ourself to be the best we can be, and give up competing with others.

CYNTHIA: Based on what I’m hearing from you about your new documentary, “Your Second Fifty,” and what I’ve learned from the latest research, I’m thrilled that you’re making this movie, and so glad that there will be such an inspirational film people can sit down and watch that has the power to so thoroughly improve peoples’ lives. If people are interested in finding out more about the movie, what’s the best web page for them to learn more?

FRANK: Thanks Cynthia! Our website is If people wish to secure a streaming of the documentary they can go to our Indiegogo campaign and select Perk #2 and for that $5 give themselves every chance to live their remaining years healthy and happy – one less fancy coffee and they’ll change their life forever.–2 Our planned premier with be held in Los Angeles November 15th. Thank you and keep smiling!

CYNTHIA: Thank you, Frank! I so appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions and share so much valuable, life-changing information with us today!



A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Smart Grid

Cynthia Sue Larson

Cynthia Sue Larson

How the Precautionary Principle Can Save the Day

Like most Americans, I took only moderate notice of President Barack Obama’s announcement on October 27, 2009 of a $3.4 billion commitment to build something called the “smart grid.” My ears perked up when Obama spoke about how the new smart grid would be based on a clean energy economy, and I envisioned renewable energy sources powering every home. I love the idea of clean energy, and I imagined a future in which America’s clean energy leaders would be choosing energy sources and delivery systems that strive and succeed in doing good, or at least in doing no harm, as the word “clean” implies.

“The growth of clean energy can lead to the growth of our economy,” Obama announced, promising that 100 private companies, utilities, manufacturers, cities and others would soon be receiving grants of between $400,000 and $200 million each. This sense of fast forward action suited America’s recessionary times, and resistance was discouraged when Obama called for an “all hands on deck approach,” saying, “The closer we get to this new energy future, the harder the opposition is going to fight. It’s a debate between looking backwards and looking forward, between those who are ready to seize the future and those who are afraid of the future, and we know which side the United States of America has always come down on.”

Few details were explained at this initial presentation. Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change said, “The smart grid is something that has a transformational impact on how energy is delivered. This is about building more than just miles of wire, it’s about building… something that works.” Having something that works sounded promising, and at the time, I gave the smart grid no further thought.

Canary in the Coal Mine

I took no notice when smart meters were attached to my house in January 2010, without notification by my utility, nor my express permission. I didn’t notice that one by one, smart meters were being installed on homes to either side of mine, and all around my neighborhood. I didn’t notice that slowly but surely, my entire city was being outfitted with smart meters… until one day in October 2011 I wondered why I awoke each morning feeling dizzy, with nosebleeds, blurred vision, ringing in my ears, and migraine headaches. I wondered why when I was just sitting and watching TV or reading, my heart would often skip a beat, and bizarre muscle tremors would inexplicably spasm muscles on my face, arms, legs, and all over my body as if I’d just been given an invisible electric shock. When I spent ten days away from my home and away from smart meters in Maui, I was amazed at how much better I felt. Gone were all the symptoms which I’d been thinking might have been signs of sudden aging. When I returned home, all the aforementioned symptoms returned, and I wondered what could be causing them. In January 2012, a couple of months later, I caught strep throat and felt sicker than I’d ever been in my life. Unable to feel comfortable anywhere in the house, due to feelings of pain in my head, eyes, ears, heart, and all over my body I slept on the living room floor, and turned my full attention to the question of what, exactly, was making me feel so terribly sick.

When I looked up my symptoms, I was amazed to find that many of them matched what used to be known as “microwave sickness.” The first scientific report of microwave sickness appeared in 1974, with symptoms including: fatigue, headaches, palpitations, insomnia, skin symptoms, impotence and altered blood pressure. In cases of extreme exposure, symptoms also included: warming sensations, nausea, neuropathy (numbness, tingling, even paralysis in toes and fingers), stomach cramps, dyasthesia (a crushing sensation) and irritability. People in these studies had been accidentally exposed to microwave radiation, and no clear biological markers at that time were found, so these were not the kind of long-term studies that could establish safe exposure levels.

While I’ve never owned or used any kind of cell phone, WiFi has been installed in my home for the past decade, with the router running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the opposite end of the house from where I sleep. I’ve worked with a wireless laptop computer for many years, many hours a day on this WiFi network with no problems or symptoms of any kind. Despite assurances from my local utility company, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), that smart meters supposedly emitted much less radiation than cell phones and WiFi systems, I couldn’t ignore the fact that I felt much better when away from smart meters, and terribly sick when they were nearby.

I called and wrote to PG&E, asking them to immediately remove and replace the smart meters that were making me so sick on my home with the analog meters I’d had for years, with no problems. The PG&E spokesman I reached on the phone read rather woodenly from some kind of prewritten script, repeating over and over again how “smart meters are harmless.” I explained to him that I have a degree in physics from UC Berkeley, and am well aware that many kinds of radiation that we currently don’t have health standards or studies for are far from harmless, and that I was certain I am experiencing extremely negative effects from smart meters installed on my home. Eventually, this so-called “help” line staffer informed me that there was nothing I could do–there was no way (yet) to opt out.

A few weeks later, I attended and spoke at a public hearing of the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) in San Francisco. Dozens of people spoke about how they, too, have been adversely affected by smart meters, and I was shocked to hear reports of people who have become so electro hypersensitive that they are living in their cars. On the bright side, I was delighted to hear some good news–beginning in February 2012, California residents in Pacific Gas & Electric’s territories could opt out, for an initial price and an on-going monthly extra charge. This is not a neighborhood opt-out, but rather a house-by-house opt-out, and businesses are not allowed to request to keep the time-tested analog meters at this time.

At the beginning of February 2012, I requested a smart meter opt-out, and on February 8, 2012, the gas and electric smart meters on my home were replaced with analog meters. While I still hear ringing in my ears and have increased sensitivity to my computer that I never had before, I’m now sleeping well and no longer waking up with nosebleeds and migraine headaches… and the heart palpitations, muscle spasms and blurred vision are a thing of the past.

The Precautionary Principle

With the advent of exponential technological growth in recent years, environmentalists have advocated use of something known as the precautionary principle. The thinking goes that without some kinds of checks and balances, human creativity is bound to occasionally throw caution to the wind, with results we now recognize as being detrimental–regardless how wonderful we originally assumed the benefits of our ingenuity to be.

The idea behind the precautionary principle is that if an action or policy is suspected to risk causing harm to the public or the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action. This can be achieved through open communication with the community, who has a right to know complete information about possible known risks and issues. The burden to supply this information lies with the proponent of the new product or technology (not on the general public). Part of this open communication includes an alternatives assessment, with an obligation to examine a full range of alternatives (including doing nothing) before selecting the alternative with the least potential negative impact on human health and the environment. Full cost accounting is part of this assessment, with long-term benefits and costs (including health and environmental impact costs) included. The entire process is: transparent to the public, participatory, and informed with the best available information.

In some legal systems, such as within the European Union, application of the precautionary principle is a statutory requirement. The advantage of the precautionary principle for policy makers is that it reminds decision makers of their social responsibility to protect the public and the environment from harm whenever scientific investigation has found plausible risk. Only when scientific findings emerge providing solid evidence of no harm shall the wheels of progress roll forward.

It’s Not Too Late

While the city of San Francisco made the news in March 2003 by adopting the San Francisco Precautionary Principle Resolution, and again in June 2005 when San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed the Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance… not much of the precautionary principle has yet been seen in action in the United States.

Many people have stepped forward to acknowledge they have been adversely affected by electromagnetic fields, including some high-profile, well-educated professionals, such as Norway’s former prime minister, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland. Increasing numbers of scientists and doctors are speaking up about known and suspected dangers of the pulsed, non-ionizing microwave radiation emitted by smart meters. The World Health Organization (WHO) now lists such electromagnetic radiation as a Class B carcinogen, indicating that it is considered likely to be carcinogenic to humans, and there is increasingly clear evidence that this kind of radiation causes the brain-blood barrier to become leaky, in such a way that toxins are more easily carried into the brain.

With mounting questions from an increasingly concerned public wishing to know what is being installed in our homes, and interested in knowing what effects wireless smart meters have on ourselves, our children, our friends and our families, it’s time we hold policy makers accountable for ensuring that a democratic, truly transparent decision-making process is taking place with respect to smart meters. The current “Ready-Fire!-Aim” approach to rolling-out wireless smart meters for the smart grid is negatively affecting human health and the environment.

Just as we recognized the proverbial “writing on the wall” with regard to technological wonders of their times: Agent Orange, Asbestos, CFCs, Diethylstilbestrol (DES), Dioxin, DDT, lead paint, and Thalidomide… it’s time for us to stop, wait for results from current scientific studies, do a thorough job gathering all relevant wireless smart meter information, engage in open dialogue all involved communities, and take a careful look at what role we really want wireless smart meters to have in our world today. If smart meters are harming increasing numbers of people, we potentially have a huge ticking time bomb on our hands… one that is leaving few habitable places left on Earth for growing numbers of individuals who have less and less tolerance for modern day  electrosmog.

Now is the time for each of us to contact our local government leaders at every level, and ask the simple question, “How can we best ensure that we’re truly moving toward a clean energy future?” When the government and corporations don’t adequately answer this question, it’s up to we the people to make certain this matter is properly addressed.


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