Source: Cosmopolitan, Mar 2015
Source: Business Insider, Sep 2015
Khemchandani founded ReachAStudent to let students at her school in Orlando, Florida, connect with other student mentors and get anonymous help with all sorts of things. (She built it by hiring a programmer, directing the design, and paying for his time out of her own $2,200 savings, she told Business Insider.)
Lately, she’s been interviewing successful people for ReachAStudent.
As a long-shot, she sent Woz an email asking if she could talk to him. (She’s an Apple fan who read his book “iWoz.”) He didn’t reply but when she saw on Twitter that he was in Orlando, she got her dad to reach out again.
Related Resource: Orange Observer, Sep 2015
Source: The Creativity Post, Jul 2017
1. Be Present (Really)
Whether we’re walking into a meeting, drafting an important proposal, or sitting down face-to-face with a romantic partner, our attention can easily be hijacked, especially when our mind wanders 50% of the time, as research suggests. Add in the dozens of emails, texts, calls, and instant messages we receive every hour, and staying focused just gets that much harder. Once we’re interrupted, it takes effort and time to refocus. Multitasking, especially with digital media, can have an adverse effect on our mental capacity and affect our productivity, as one Stanford study indicates.
Yet research suggests that the key to charisma and connection is presence—that special ability to make people feel like they are the only person in the room (for more details and charisma how-to’s, check out The Happiness Track.)
If you have a moment or two before the meeting, rather than trying to send a few additional emails, meditate or do some calming breathing exercises. Empty your mind so you can be fully present, attentive, and skillful. Even if you have only a second before answering a ringing phone or walking into a conference room, pause and take one deep breath. A simple yet powerful suggestion Thich Nhat Hanh makes in his book A Year to Clear, take the first couple of rings as an opportunity to smile before picking up. Research shows that the very act of smiling relaxes you and makes you feel better—and the person on the other line will probably respond accordingly.
This wisdom has been around for a long time: “We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.” The quote is attributed to Stoic philosopher Zeno of Citium. Be genuinely curious and interested in what is being said, even if initially you’re not. Pay attention to cues: Does the person spend a lot of time on a particular point? Does she get more animated at specific junctures and less at others? Listening more and with curiosity not only helps you to better connect and understand what is being said, but also provides valuable input on how you may frame your response and navigate the conversation. It can help you tune into the topics your colleague is passionate about. Getting to know them will help you see their perspective and come to an agreement that meets everyone’s needs. From this place of actively listening, your conversation will move forward more constructively.
Communication involves the exchange of viewpoints, sometimes opposing positions. Unless you open your mind to another’s perspective, common ground can be tough to find. And finding common ground requires us to listen in order to really consider someone’s position.
Being open-minded at times may require you to be open to being proven wrong. Elkus created a company culture in which debate is openly valued and encouraged; in this culture, feedback doesn’t just trickle from top to bottom, but also from the bottom up. Though this type of culture is challenging for him as the leader, it has proven tremendously beneficial: “A culture where even the interns can feel free to opine against you means opening yourself up to being proven wrong, often publicly. Indeed, this exact situation has happened to me, more than once! But an intern challenging me so directly—and being right—has immense value. As a CEO, I was warned that this model would threaten my own power inside the organization. In fact, I was uncomfortable, and I was heavily challenged. But the discomfort was worth it. The collective feedback approach was crucial to improving our strategy. And because every employee could feel some ownership in creating our plan, they were far more motivated to execute it.”
As someone is speaking, notice: Are you already thinking about your rebuttal? Are you responding with a “yes,” followed by an immediate “but”? Or have you already interrupted? Be open to another person’s perspective. If you’re worried about not having the perfect reply, you can always say, “I haven’t thought about it that way before. Can you give me a day or so to think it over?” To our knowledge, no one has ever complained about someone listening to what they’ve said and taking a little extra time to thoughtfully analyze and respond to it.
Over time, listening openly and attentively to others helps to cultivate trust. As Adam Grant has powerfully argued in his New York Times bestselling book Give & Take, we prefer to interact and work with people we trust and who are kind. Reflect on your experiences: The more connected you feel to someone, the more you tend to trust that person, and the easier it becomes to talk. This contributes to a sense of psychological safety, which according to a Google study is the key to successful teams. The ability to take risks and speak up can be the difference between thwarting a mistake or learning from one. In the end, everyone benefits.
Source: Nautilus, Jul 2017
By 2015, over 6 billion emojis1 were being sent every day by over 90 percent of the world’s online population.2 Emoji, today, dwarfs even the reach of English.
On one estimate, only 30-35 percent of the social dimensions of meaning, in our daily interactions with others, come from language, with up to a staggering 70 percent deriving from nonverbal cues.
in research on emoji usage in the United Kingdom that I conducted on behalf of TalkTalk Mobile, that 72 percent of British 18- to 25-year-olds believe that emoji makes them better at expressing their feelings.
In the fifth annual Singles in America report, researchers investigated the relationship between emoji usage and sexual conquests—the first survey of its kind to do so. The survey polled over 5,600 singles—all non-Match.com subscribers—whose socio-economic and ethnic profiles were representative of the national population. And results were striking:
The more emojis a singleton uses in their digital communication, the more dates they get to go on; further, the more sex they have. A striking 54 percent of those who used emoji had sex, compared with 31 percent that didn’t. Even more striking: For women, emoji usage correlates with sexual satisfaction. The finding was that female singletons that use kiss-themed emojis have more orgasms than other women.
Using emoji enables your potential date to better gauge your message: Emoji facilitates a better calibration and expression of our emotions in digital communication.
Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University and Chief Scientific Advisor to Match’s annual Singles in America survey, commented as follows on these findings: “Here we have a new technology that absolutely jeopardizes your ability to express your emotion … there is no more subtle inflection of the voice … and so we have created another way to express emotions and that is the emoji.”
emoji users are more effective communicators. Their messages have more personality, and better convey the emotional intent of the text message. In turn, this leads to greater emotional resonance in the recipient.
Source: Fast Company, Jul 2017
Studies of napping have shown improvement in cognitive function, creative thinking, and memory performance. As I mentioned in my post about the body clock and your body’s best time for everything, we’re naturally designed to have two sleeps per day:
The idea that we should sleep in eight-hour chunks is relatively recent. The world’s population sleeps in various and surprising ways. Millions of Chinese workers continue to put their heads on their desks for a nap of an hour or so after lunch, for example, and daytime napping is common from India to Spain.
Naps can even have a physical benefit. In one study of 23,681 Greek men over six years, the participants who napped three times a week had a 37% lower risk of dying from heart disease. Not to mention a host of other positive outcomes that might occur from regular napping:
Sleep experts have found that daytime naps can improve many things: increase alertness, boost creativity, reduce stress, improve perception, stamina, motor skills, and accuracy, enhance your sex life, aid in weight loss, reduce the risk of heart attack, brighten your mood and boost memory.
Naps have been shown to benefit the learning process, helping us take in and retain information better. In one study, participants memorized illustrated cards to test their memory strength. After memorizing a set of cards, they had a 40-minute break wherein one group napped, and the other stayed awake. After the break, both groups were tested on their memory of the cards, and the group who had napped performed better
Taking a nap also helps to clear information out of your brain’s temporary storage areas, getting it ready for new information to be absorbed. A study from the University of California asked participants to complete a challenging task around midday, which required them to take in a lot of new information. At around 2 p.m., half of the volunteers took a nap while the rest stayed awake.
The really interesting part of this study is not only that at 6 p.m. that night the napping group performed better than those who didn’t take a nap. In fact, the napping group actually performed better than they had earlier in the morning.
A study from Massachusetts showed how napping can help your brain recover from ‘burnout’ or overload of information:
To see whether napping could improve visual discrimination, a team led by Robert Stickgold, a neuroscientist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, had college students who were not sleep deprived stare at a video screen filled with horizontal bars. Periodically, three diagonal bars flashed in the lower left corner of the screen, and the students had to say whether these bars were stacked horizontally or vertically. The researchers graded students’ performance by measuring how long the diagonal bars had to be shown in order for them to answer correctly 80% of the time.
Students sat through 1,250 frustrating trials during each session, so those who did not nap did worse and worse over the course of the day. But students who took a 1-hour nap returned to their original performance levels in the next test.
Some recent research has found that the right side of the brain is far more active during a nap than the left side, which stays fairly quiet while we’re asleep. Despite the fact that 95% of the population is right-handed, with the left side of their brains being the most dominant, the right side is consistently the more active hemisphere during sleep.
Learn how long you take to fall asleep
Don’t sleep too long.
Choose the right time of day.
Source: AEI, Feb 2017
the alienation and disaffection of less educated white voters in rural and exurban areas. Trump may have proved to be a uniquely popular tribune for this constituency. But the anger he tapped into has been building for half a century.
In 1966, when the War on Poverty programs were finally up and running, the national poverty rate stood at 14.7 percent. By 2014, it stood at 14.8 percent. In other words, the United States had spent trillions of dollars but seen no reduction in the poverty rate.
I NEED YOU TO NEED ME
At its core, to be treated with dignity means being considered worthy of respect. Certain situations bring out a clear, conscious sense of our own dignity: when we receive praise or promotions at work, when we see our children succeed, when we see a volunteer effort pay off and change our neighborhood for the better. We feel a sense of dignity when our own lives produce value for ourselves and others. Put simply, to feel dignified, one must be needed by others.
The War on Poverty did not fail because it did not raise the daily caloric consumption of Tom Fletcher (it did). It failed because it did nothing significant to make him and Americans like him needed and thus help them gain a sense of dignity. It also got the U.S. government into the business of treating people left behind by economic change as liabilities to manage rather than as human assets to develop.
In his recent book Men Without Work, the political economist (and American Enterprise Institute scholar) Nicholas Eberstadt shows that the percentage of working-age men outside the labor force—that is, neither working nor seeking work—has more than tripled since 1965, rising from 3.3 percent to 11.6 percent. And men without a high school degree are more than twice as likely to be part of this “un-working” class.
These men are withdrawing not only from the labor force but from other social institutions as well. Two-thirds of them are unmarried. And Eberstadt found that despite their lack of work obligations, these men are no more likely to spend time volunteering, participating in religious activities, or caring for family members than men with full-time employment.
In 2015, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published an extraordinary paper by the economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton. They found that, in contrast to the favorable long-term trends in life expectancy across the rest of the developed world, the mortality rate among middle-aged white Americans without any college education has actually risen since 1999. The main reasons? Since that year, among that population, fatalities due to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis have increased by 46 percent, fatalities from suicide have risen by 78 percent, and fatalities due to drug and alcohol poisoning are up by a shocking 323 percent.
Many analysts and policy experts saw Trump’s campaign as a series of sideshows and unserious proposals that, even if implemented, would not actually improve things for his working-class supporters. For example, academic research clearly shows that trade protectionism—a major theme of Trump’s campaign—is more likely to destroy jobs than create them. Yet Trump won regardless, because he was the first major-party nominee in decades who even appeared to care about the dignity of these working-class voters whose lives are falling apart.
WELFARE TO WORK
If its goal is to instill dignity, the U.S. government does not need to find more innovative ways to “help” people; rather, it must find better ways to make them more necessary. The question for leaders, no matter where they sit on the political spectrum, must be, Does this policy make people more or less needed—in their families, their communities, and the broader economy?
Some may ask whether making people necessary is an appropriate role for government. The answer is yes: indeed, it represents a catastrophic failure of government that millions of Americans depend on the state instead of creating value for themselves and others. However, it’s not enough to merely make people feel that they are needed; they must become more authentically, objectively necessary.
Involuntary unemployment saps one’s sense of dignity. According to the American Enterprise Institute economist Kevin Hassett, recent data suggest that a ten percent increase in the jobless rate may raise the suicide rate among men by almost 1.5 percent. And a study published by the sociologist Cristobal Young in 2012 found that receiving unemployment insurance barely puts a dent in the unhappiness that follows the loss of a job. Feeling superfluous triggers a deep malaise that welfare benefits do not even come close to mitigating.
The most compelling reason for tax reform and further welfare reform is to create more opportunities for people at the periphery of society.
More than 90 percent of high school seniors aspire to postsecondary education, and about 80 percent try it out within two years of graduating from high school, but only about 40 percent successfully earn a degree. That leaves too many young Americans with unfulfilled dreams, college debt, and no credentials or marketable skills—an outcome that could be avoided if they pursued a more practical direction.
Many elites and officials have reacted to Trump’s victory with a combination of shock, alarm, and depression. But they should see it as an opportunity for learning and reform, and they should respond with a positive policy agenda that is radically pro-work and serious about developing human capital. And they should learn to treat people at the periphery of society—from Inez to Detroit to the Rio Grande Valley—with enough respect to share with them the cultural and moral norms that can bring happiness and success in life. Doing so would be politically prudent. But much more important, it would help fulfill the moral obligation that leadership brings: to maximize the inherent dignity that all Americans are born with, remembering that we all possess a deep need to be needed.
Source: Alfinnextlevel website, Jun 2017
It turns out that older men chasing younger women contributes to human longevity and the survival of the species, according to new findings by researchers at Stanford and the University of California-Santa Barbara.
Women in their twenties have a good chance of becoming pregnant as a result of a relatively greater number of eggs in their ovaries. Additionally, a larger percentage of those eggs are normal genetically. Since a woman is born with all of the eggs that they will have in their lifetime, the older she gets the fewer eggs are left.
In addition, as women age the percentage of genetically normal eggs remaining decreases. This is why women have a decreasing fertility rate, increased miscarriage rate and increased chance of birth defects like Down syndrome as they age