Category Archives: Growth

Foreplay (20-30 minutes) Matters

Source: Medium, Jul 2018

women prefer 20–30 minutes of foreplay, followed by a PIV (penis to vagina) chaser. “The actual PIV bit?” one woman said. “Between 2–10 minutes.”

Most women agreed that foreplay takes precedence over actual sex. Nobody wants to be “pounded indefinitely,” even if it is their birthday.

Related Resource: ChivMen, Apr 2018


Emerson: Self-Reliance, Cultivating Your Genius and The Curse Of Society

Source: MyStudentVoices, May 2018

“To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost…”

Emerson tells us to believe in ourselves and speak openly and candidly what we believe to be true.

Many of us are afraid to share our innermost thoughts in fear of criticism and backlash. We are careful to mask our words, to make sure they are ambiguous and safe so as to not hurt anyone’s feelings or create any misunderstandings.

Many of us believe we have nothing valuable to share. We have flashes of brilliance in our ideas, artwork or writing, but our fears stop us before we can even try. We doubt our skills in our creative endeavors, and allow our minds to be the biggest obstacle.

Emerson tells you to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men. Most of us are too afraid to speak up, and find ourselves gravitating toward those who dare to break the silence.

When you are brave enough to speak what you believe to be true, you will find that others agree with you but were simply keeping silent, hoping for someone like you to express your own opinion first to see if what they hold is acceptable or rational.

He tells us that imitation is suicide, because our path is different than the person next to us. To emulate someone else’s life as your own would not be living your own life. You are simply imitating someone else’s way of life and will never find happiness or fulfillment.

Emerson tells us to take action and get to work. He tells us that to envy great and successful people is to be ignorant. What’s the point of being jealous of what other people have and what paths other people are walking? We are simply unaware of what we truly want in our lives and decide that living the life that “looks” fun, comfortable and filled with luxury is what we want.

We should not be afraid to speak our mind. If we find that we are misinformed or ignorant, there is more for us to gain. If we find that our views were rigid, harmful or unacceptable, at least we will be able to know that we were wrong and could make efforts to improve ourselves as smarter and balanced individuals.

“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty”

In order to not feel alone, we have chosen to conform. We have given up our individuality, our abilities to be our true selves, to be included in a society… and then wonder why we have to wear masks and hide our true selves in our social interactions.

We crave solitude but love companionship. It is the cruel paradox of the human experience.

We have long ignored the inner voice within us. We are all capable of becoming geniuses, artists, writers and innovators.

If we all did not worry about what people think about us and envy the lives of others, what kind of world could we create for the next generation?

If we all took responsibility for our lives and set on improving ourselves, what would this world look like in the next 50 years?

If you took responsibility to change your life from this point forward, what would you look like in the next few years? You will become a strong individual, a person to look up to, a capable, respectable and impressive being.

If you learned to be self-reliant and were able to stand proud and strong even if society crumbled before you, what have you to fear?

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it.

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.


Improve Your Speaking Skills

Source: Medium, Jul 2018

Make every word count

All the TED Residency talks were capped at six minutes. While that might sound like a ludicrously short amount of time, it’s actually a great forcing function and gives you ample opportunity to explore an idea.

Assuming you speak around 150 words per minutes, that’s 900 words, or the length of a short blog post or opinion piece. You can say quite a bit at that word count, if you do it right. This recent NYTimes op-ed on criminal justice reform, for instance, is only 850 words.

Start strong

The best talks grab you from the first moment and never lets you go. Research done by Vanessa Van Edwards and her team at Science of People found that the top TED talks receive similar ratings on intelligence, charisma, and credibility when someone watches the whole talk, or just the first seven seconds.

Know your through-line

TED’s motto is “ideas worth sharing”. Their talks center around a core idea or message. If there was one word that I heard over and over again at TED, it was “through-line”. Here’s how TED’s Speaker’s Handbook elaborates on this:

Every talk should have a through-line, a connecting theme that ties together each narrative element.

Think of the through-line as a strong cord onto which you will attach all the elements that are part of the idea you’re building.

A good exercise is to try to encapsulate your through-line in no more than 15 words. What is the precise idea you want to build inside your listeners? What is their takeaway?

  • Amy Cuddy’s through-line might have been something like: Small changes in your posture can profoundly influence your mental and emotional state (13 words)
  • Daniel Pink’s through-line might have been something like: We have to stop using carrots-and-stick incentives if we want thoughtful, creative work (15 words)
  • My talk’s through-line was this: The future of work demands we hire people for their ability to perform, not their resume (14 words)

Rehearse like your life depends on it

This aspect of the TED talk experience was not a surprise to me, and if you’ve read my guide to deliberate practice, it won’t be a surprise to you either.

The number one reason TED speakers look and sound fantastic is because they invest an enormous amount of time preparing for their talk. Most of them reach what Wait But Why author Tim Urban of calls “Happy-Birthday-Level Memorized”.

Tell stories

We often miss opportunities to pursuade because we don’t tell enough stories.

I am all for making decisions using logic and data. But it’s hard to get people interested in pure data without a story behind it. A number doesn’t matter until you understand where the number is coming from and what it means.

What is your body saying?

The last thing I’ll touch on is your physical presence. When you speak, it’s not just about the sounds you’re producing from your throat. Impact also depends on your facial expressions, your gestures, and your body language.

A talk delivered with slumped shoulders, glazed over eyes, and a hunched-over posture sounds pathetic compared to those same words being said with an open upright chest, expansive gestures, and a smile.

Going back to the Science of People research, Van Edwards found that speakers who smiled more were rated as more intelligent.

It can feel strange to smile so much at a group of strangers, particularly when you are talking about something that might be pretty serious, but smiling puts people at ease and lets them know they can trust you, which may lead to their trusting what you have to say.

when they looked at the total number of hand motions, whether up-and-down or side-to-side, they found it correlated with number of views of that presentation. Her hypothesis:

If you’re watching a talk and someone’s moving their hands, it gives your mind something else to do in addition to listening. So you’re doubly engaged. For the talks where someone is not moving their hands a lot, it’s almost like there’s less brain engagement, and the brain is like, “this is not exciting” — even if the content’s really good.

How Not to be a Boring Person

Source: The Zman blog, Jul 2018

A good way to stop yourself from being that guy is to always invite others to tell their story or comment on the topic of conversation. 

The first thing you notice about boring people is they never seem to have a point to their stories and anecdotes. When telling a story in a social setting, you should always have a point. No one cares about what you had for lunch, unless it was something bizarre or unusual.

What’s important is you have some reason for telling the story. This is a courtesy to the listener. By having a point, you are showing respect to the listener, whether it it by sharing information with them or making them laugh with an amusing story.

Another way to avoid being the boring guy everyone avoids is to never tell a story that requires a back story. 

The boring also have a funny habit of talking over people. They ignore the little things others do to signal to the the boring that they need to stop talking. 

Stanford University Prof. Zimbardo’s Prison Guard Experiment

Source: Medium, Jun 2018

The most famous psychology study of all time was a sham. Why can’t we escape the Stanford Prison Experiment?

Zimbardo, a young Stanford psychology professor, built a mock jail in the basement of Jordan Hall and stocked it with nine “prisoners,” and nine “guards,” all male, college-age respondents to a newspaper ad who were assigned their roles at random and paid a generous daily wage to participate. The senior prison “staff” consisted of Zimbardo himself and a handful of his students.

The study was supposed to last for two weeks, but after Zimbardo’s girlfriend stopped by six days in and witnessed the conditions in the “Stanford County Jail,” she convinced him to shut it down. Since then, the tale of guards run amok and terrified prisoners breaking down one by one has become world-famous, a cultural touchstone that’s been the subject of books, documentaries, and feature films — even an episode of Veronica Mars.

The SPE is often used to teach the lesson that our behavior is profoundly affected by the social roles and situations in which we find ourselves. But its deeper, more disturbing implication is that we all have a wellspring of potential sadism lurking within us, waiting to be tapped by circumstance.

When I spoke to Zimbardo this past May about Korpi’s and Yacco’s claims, he initially denied that they were obligated to stay.

“It’s a lie,” he said. “That’s a lie.”

But it is no longer just a question of Zimbardo’s word against theirs. This past April, a French academic and filmmaker named Thibault Le Texier published Histoire d’un Mensonge [History of a Lie], plumbing newly-released documents from Zimbardo’s archives at Stanford University to tell a dramatically different story of the experiment. After Zimbardo told me that Korpi and Yacco’s accusations were baseless, I read him a transcript unearthed by Le Texier of a taped conversation between Zimbardo and his staff on day three of the simulation: “An interesting thing was that the guys who came in yesterday, the two guys who came in and said they wanted to leave, and I said no,” Zimbardo told his staff. “There are only two conditions under which you can leave, medical help or psychiatric… I think they really believed they can’t get out.”

“Now, okay,” Zimbardo corrected himself on the phone with me. He then acknowledged that the informed consent forms which subjects signed had included an explicit safe phrase: “I quit the experiment.” Only that precise phrase would trigger their release.

“None of them said that,” Zimbardo said. “They said, ‘I want out. I want a doctor. I want my mother,’ etc., etc. Essentially I was saying, ‘You have to say, “I quit the experiment.”’”

But the informed consent forms that Zimbardo’s subjects signed, which are available online from Zimbardo’s own website, contain no mention of the phrase “I quit the experiment.”

Zimbardo’s standard narrative of the Stanford prison experiment offers the prisoners’ emotional responses as proof of how powerfully affected they were by the guards’ mistreatment. The shock of real imprisonment provides a simpler and far less groundbreaking explanation.

Though Zimbardo has often stated that the guards devised their own rules, in fact most of them were copied directly from Jaffe’s class assignment during that Saturday orientation meeting. Jaffe also offered the guards ideas for hassling the prisoners, including forcing them to clean thorns out of dirty blankets that had been thrown in the weeds.

“The guards have to know that every guard is going to be what we call a tough guard,” Jaffe told one such guard [skip to 8:35]. “[H]opefully what will come out of this study is some very serious recommendations for reform… so that we can get on the media and into the press with it, and say ‘Now look at what this is really about.’ … [T]ry and react as you picture the pigs reacting.”

In another blow to the experiment’s scientific credibility, Haslam and Reicher’s attempted replication, in which guards received no coaching and prisoners were free to quit at any time, failed to reproduce Zimbardo’s findings. Far from breaking down under escalating abuse, prisoners banded together and won extra privileges from guards, who became increasingly passive and cowed. According to Reicher, Zimbardo did not take it well when they attempted to publish their findings in the British Journal of Social Psychology.

“We discovered that he was privately writing to editors to try to stop us getting published by claiming that we were fraudulent,” Reicher told me.

Despite Zimbardo’s intervention, the journal decided to publish Reicher and Haslam’s article, alongside a commentary by Zimbardo in which he wrote, “I believe this alleged ‘social psychology field study’ is fraudulent and does not merit acceptance by the social psychological community in Britain, the United States or anywhere except in media psychology.”

The appeal of the Stanford prison experiment seems to go deeper than its scientific validity, perhaps because it tells us a story about ourselves that we desperately want to believe: that we, as individuals, cannot really be held accountable for the sometimes reprehensible things we do. As troubling as it might seem to accept Zimbardo’s fallen vision of human nature, it is also profoundly liberating. It means we’re off the hook. Our actions are determined by circumstance. Our fallibility is situational. Just as the Gospel promised to absolve us of our sins if we would only believe, the SPE offered a form of redemption tailor-made for a scientific era, and we embraced it.

How Identity Politics Is Harming the Sciences

Source: City-Journal, Spring 2018

“Intersectionality” refers to the increased oppression allegedly experienced by individuals who can check off several categories of victimhood—being female, black, and trans, say. The NSF study’s theory is that such intersectionality lies behind the lack of diversity in STEM. Two sociologists are polling more than 10,000 scientists and engineers in nine professional organizations about the “social and cultural variables” that produce “disadvantage and marginalization” in STEM workplaces.

Entry requirements for graduate education are being revised. The American Astronomical Society has recommended that Ph.D. programs in astronomy eliminate the requirement that applicants take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) in physics, since it has a disparate impact on females and URMs and allegedly does not predict future research output. Harvard and other departments have complied, even though an objective test like the GRE can spotlight talent from less prestigious schools. The NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program has dropped all science GREs for applicants in all fields.

Expectations are changing at the undergraduate level, as well. Oxford University extended the time on its undergraduate math and computer science exams last year, hoping to increase the number of female high-scorers; results were modest. Expect test-time extensions nevertheless to spread to the U.S.

The diversity crusade rests on the claim that absent discrimination, every scientific field would show gender parity. That belief is ungrounded. Males outperform females at the highest reaches of mathematical reasoning (and are overrepresented at the lowest level of mathematical incompetence). Differences in math precocity between boys and girls show up as early as kindergarten. For decades, males in every ethnic group have scored higher than females in their same ethnic group on the math SAT. In 2016, the percentage of males scoring above 700 (on an 800-point scale) was nearly twice as large as the percentage of females in that range.

There are 2.5 males in the U.S. in the top 0.01 percent of math ability for every female, according to a paper published in February 2018 in the journal Intelligence. But female high-scorers are more likely than male high-scorers to possess strong verbal skills as well, according to authors Jonathan Wai, Jaret Hodges, and Matthew Makel, giving them a greater range of career options.

Traditionally, individuals who score well in both the math and verbal domains are less likely to pursue a STEM career. Moreover, females on average are more interested in people-centered rather than abstract work, which helps explain why females account for 75 percent of health-care-related workers but only 14 percent of engineering workers and 25 percent of computer workers. Nearly 82 percent of obstetrics and gynecology medical residents in 2016 were female. Is gynecology biased against males, or are females selecting where they want to work?

The extraordinary accomplishments of Western science were achieved without regard to the complexions of its creators. Now, however, funders, industry leaders, and academic administrators maintain that scientific progress will stall unless we pay close attention to identity and try to engineer proportional representation in schools and laboratories.

The truth is exactly the opposite: lowering standards and diverting scientists’ energy into combating phantom sexism and racism is reckless in a highly competitive, ruthless, and unforgiving global marketplace. Driven by unapologetic meritocracy, China is catching up fast to the U.S. in science and technology. Identity politics in American science is a political self-indulgence that we cannot afford.

Persuasion with Vision

Source: Fast Company, Apr 2018

  • System I is the part of the brain that handles the simple things: sensory input, automatic and unimportant decisions (i.e. I’m going to reach for my drink), casual social interactions, and other inbound signals that can be processed rapidly and rather easily.
  • System II is the higher-order, logical part of the brain. “It’s the part that thinks at the speed of the voice in your head,” he says. It brings processing power to bear on decisions and problems that require deeper thought.

System I is involuntary; System II is deliberate. System I thinks in black and white; System II sees many shades of gray.

To persuade someone, you need to speak as much as you can to System I–the child, the interns–who want to believe you (because it just makes so much darn sense, what’s not to love?). Trouble is, most tech operators express themselves with complexity, nuance, facts, and figures. That’s their default, and it doesn’t appeal to people’s unconscious processor.