Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Altruistic Walking

Altruistic Walking

The MoneyWalker is intrinsically motivated to sustain his walking habit because he has internalized and accepts the scientifically demonstrated values of walking e.g. weight management, emotional energy, avoidance of premature memory loss, cut the risk of heart disease, and reduce the chance of type 2 diabetes. There are more. However, walking is not necessarily a strong ally of intrinsic motivation. The steady routine can lead to boredom and walkers’ burn-out. One cure for walkers’ burn-out is altruistic walking, a fence straddler it turns out on the motivation internal/external continuum.

How so external motivation as a tenant of altruistic behavior? The research of Alberto Oliverio, a genetic and molecular biologist, leads him to believe that one of the important motives of altruism and moral judgments is grounded on the principle of reciprocity. In other words, we expect to be treated as we take care of other people. Neuroscientists including “evolutionary psychologists” are now able to probe deep into the brain lobes and learn much about behavior, much of it traced to evolutionary sources. Interestingly, the area of the brain that fires neurons during selfless behavior is the same area that fires during selfish behavior and with the same intensity and duration. For the ancients, success in the survival game might have been just as dependent on being a helper as being helped.

As a near daily walker, opportunities for altruism abound. For example, during a Christmas morning walk, the MoneyWalker found a Louisiana drivers license. It belonged to a Mario with an Hispanic surname and included his address. My first thought ran to selfishness; not my culture, dump the card. Then selfless behavior kicked in and I sought to find his telephone number from the address. No success. I then remembered that an Hispanic work crew had been renovating a building behind the curb where the license was found. Later, finding the crew at work, I stepped into the building and was greeted with coolness by one of the workers (not his culture group). Not deterred, “Do you know someone named Mario?” as I showed him the license. He exclaimed in a loud voice to one of his co-workers, the one that seemed to be the boss, “Mario, come here, look at this (In English obviously for my benefit.)” One look told me the license belonged to Mario. “Thank you, Thank you”, he repeated over and over; “You have made my Christmas!” And his joy helped make mine.

Now will someone help me find my cell phone, it must be out there somewhere!

Happy New Year everyone.

Remember the big four resolutions for weight lost: Weigh every day and journal the results; eat a healthy breakfast; walk 10,000 to 15,000 steps a day; and practice portion control.

The MoneyWalker

Recent money success: Found a $20 dollar bill during last Sunday’s walk. It, like all found money goes into the charity bag.

Recent weight gain/loss: Up two pounds from the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s holidays. In the words of Governor Perry—Opps!

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