Category Archives: Exercise

Become an Expert in Your Field

Source: Fast Company, Aug 2014

  1. Define each problem in detail before trying to solve it
    Take time to understand the problem, understand the criteria for a good decision, and generate some good options.

  2. Offer one or two firmly suggested solutions
    Offering too many suggestions will only confuse your client and allow him to become indecisive. Be very clear on the direction you offer with your solution and ask the person or team you are supporting to repeat it back so that it is clear.

  3. Prioritize your client’s action steps to help avoid overwhelm
    If your client agrees to take action, ask him to relax and focus on moving forward. Be sure that the action-steps requested are doable and achievable in a timely manner.

  4. Implement a step-by-step plan of action
    When you approach problems systematically, you cover the essentials each time–and your decisions are well thought out, well planned, and well executed. Provide a checklist and mark off each item as it is achieved so that others feel that they are achieving their goals and moving away from problems, obstacles, and challenges as they take action steps. This will keep them motivated and in motion.

  5. Look for more ways to improve upon the problem-solving idea to avoid future problems
    Continue to perfect your problem-solving skills and use them for continuous improvement initiatives to serve your clients’ needs. The more effectively you solve problems, the more value you create as the go-to authority.
    Develop a system to support more people in a timely manner by making note of your problem-solving process. Many of the problems you solve for others will be the same or similar problems you will support others with in the future.

Sex: Another Reason to Attend College (at least @ Columbia)

Source: The New Yorker, Apr 2014

Columbia’s own entrant, Jonathan Cole, the John Mitchell Mason Professor of the university: “People learn from each other when they eat together, read together, converse together, sleep together. If nothing else, sex will reinforce bricks over clicks on the campus,” he said.

Grit Matters for Creative Outputs

Source: Psychology Today, Feb 2012

Researcher Dean Keith Simonton has compiled strong evidence that consistent creative output results as much from a vigorous spirit as it does from creative ‘genius’.

If you want to foster creativity, you need to foster a curious, bold, and tenacious personality and mindset. In every occupation Simonton studied-from composers, artists, and poets to inventors and scientists, the story is the same: a high number of creative breakthroughs is directly linked to the quantity of work produced and a refusal to let failure dampen enthusiasm or persistence. Regular physical activity reinforces the personality traits needed to be a creative dynamo across the board.

Renowned creative greats like Pablo Picasso and Leonardo da Vinci didn’t create a constant stream of brilliant works. They had the stamina and boldness to keep going after failure and the confidence to admit that most of their ideas were probably going to be duds without losing enthusiasm.  Thomas Edison once said “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work….genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Creative greats have the resilience and drive to not get beaten down by ‘losing’ at a creative challenge. Just like athletes, they have the tenacity to get up, dust themselves off and refuse to quit. This mindset of determination is key to the creative process.

The Unprotected Child

Source: The Atlantic, Mar 2014

The idea was that kids should face what to them seem like “really dangerous risks” and then conquer them alone. That, she said, is what builds self-confidence and courage.

… encouraging children to take risks so they build their confidence

the work of Kyung-Hee Kim, an educational psychologist at the College of William and Mary and the author of the 2011 paper “The Creativity Crisis.” Kim has analyzed results from the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking and found that American children’s scores have declined steadily across the past decade or more. The data show that children have become:

less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle.

The largest drop, Kim noted, has been in the measure of “elaboration,” or the ability to take an idea and expand on it in a novel way.

Successful People have these 8 Traits

Source: Business Insider, Dec 2013

  1. Stay Busy
  2. Just Say No
  3. Know What You Are
  4. Build Networks
  5. Create Good Luck
  6. Have Grit
  7. Make Awesome Mistakes
  8. Find Mentors

How Music Affects our Brains

Source: Fast Company, Dec 2013

  1. HAPPY/SAD MUSIC AFFECTS HOW WE SEE NEUTRAL FACES:
  2. AMBIENT NOISE CAN IMPROVE CREATIVITY
  3. OUR MUSIC CHOICES CAN PREDICT OUR PERSONALITY
  4. MUSIC CAN SIGNIFICANTLY DISTRACT US WHILE DRIVING (CONTRARY TO COMMON BELIEF)
  5. MUSIC TRAINING CAN SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE OUR MOTOR AND REASONING SKILLS
    1. … children who had three years or more musical instrument training performed better than those who didn’t learn an instrument in auditory discrimination abilities and fine motor skills.
    1. They also tested better on vocabulary and nonverbal reasoning skills, which involve understanding and analyzing visual information, such as identifying relationships, similarities and differences between shapes and patterns.
  6. CLASSICAL MUSIC CAN IMPROVE VISUAL ATTENTION
  7. ONE-SIDED PHONE CALLS ARE MORE DISTRACTING THAN NORMAL CONVERSATIONS
  8. MUSIC HELPS US EXERCISE

Sleep Matters

Source: Mashable, Dec 2013

Sleep deprivation affects the brain in multiple ways that can impair judgment, slow reaction times and increase the likelihood of drifting off during monotonous tasks.

Studies have shown that exhausted people do worse on tests of memory and have more trouble learning. Tired basketball players sink fewer free throws. Even golfers who fail to get enough shut-eye take more strokes to finish a round.

When it comes to accidents, sleep matters because failure to get enough rest hampers functioning of the brain’s frontal lobes, which are responsible for executive judgment, or the ability to pay attention and make good decisions.

In overtired people, Howell said, imaging studies have shown that there is less blood flow to these areas in the front of the brain and brainwaves there move more slowly.

The result is a compromised ability to respond to things, along with a faulty tendency to do things you shouldn’t have done. When the frontal lobes aren’t working efficiently, people also have more difficulty paying attention during boring tasks, such as driving a car on a highway or operating a morning commuter train.

Recently, scientists have begun to piece together an even more nuanced understanding of why sleep is so restorative. In a study published in Sciencethis fall, Nedergaard and colleagues injected mice with a green dye that allowed them to track the movement of cerebrospinal fluid, the liquid that surrounds the brain.

As our brains do their work throughout the day, previous work had shown that cerebrospinal fluid collects the waste products of normal metabolism and functioning. Then, a network of tiny channels works like a dishwasher to regularly flush out the dirty fluid and send it to the liver for detoxification.

The new study found that sleeping facilitated the flushing of this toxic fluid, which was much slower to drain in sleep-deprived rodent brains. Nerve cells are very sensitive to the presence of waste, Nedergaard said. When surrounded by contaminated fluid, communication at the cellular level likely slows down.

“What we described is that this microscopic cleansing system turns on as soon as we fall asleep and washes the brain clean,” Nedergaard said.

“From our standpoint, when you’re sleep deprived, you get a dirty brain.”