Saturday 25th January 2020
  • The Biology of Mindfulness and Mindlessness - A Neuroscientist's Perspective

    If you're persistently anxious, angry, or self-loathing, your brain will eventually take that shape. At the same time, however, you can shape your brain in a much more positive direction. By harnessing the power of neuroplasticity via regular mindfulness practice, you can become more resilient, develop sharper focus, and manage your emotions more effectively.

    The images here are scans of my own brain. The one on the left was conducted as part of a study in 2013 - when I was only two days clean, after 15 years of addiction. The one on the right was taken in May 2018 as part of a TV documentary about stress.

    My brain was so different that the person analysing the scans could not identify a visual marker to make a comparison by eye.

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  • Why You Should Start A Productized Service Business

    Instead of doing freelancing and consulting

    In the freelance and consulting models, doing more may help bring more profits and more of your own individual flavour to your client's work. If you want to earn more, you can raise prices and take less client work. Freelancing and consulting can be profitable if you want them to be. Sad truth is, no one can multiply oneself, nor can anyone add more time to one's day.

    The good news is, there is a way you can remove the limitations on your earning potential with what you know. One way is to identify a set of common items that a large percentage of the market would want to buy. Then package it up, grow a team to produce the same thing and sell one thing to as many clients as you want.

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  • Why We're Drawn to Leaders Who Emphasize the Negative

    We humans create social hierarchies to preserve order and form rich expectations of how the powerful will behave. We have evolved to be sensitive to the behavioral cues that signal these power dynamics. For instance, we often associate a person's physical height with power, which leads us to attribute more power and status to tall people. These kinds of associations may be particularly influential when we're just getting to know the person and initially sussing out our relative places on the social hierarchy.

    My own research focuses on whether people interpret naysaying - the act of negating, refuting, or criticizing (without explicit intention to hurt a particular target) - as a similar kind of power-signaling cue.

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  • The Average Human Body Temperature Is No Longer 98.6 F

    One of the most widely accepted standard measurements of the human body, a normal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, has declined gradually for more than 150 years in the United States by about 1.6% since the pre-industrial era, a new study published in the journal eLife finds. The cooling off owes largely to improvements in health and medicine and in part to increasingly cushy lifestyles, the study's researchers think.

    It's not known for sure why we're all chilling out, but the researchers have some ideas. "Mostly, I think this is due to our triumph over infectious diseases that affected humans since we descended from apes," Parsonnet says. "We continue to see drops in inflammation even in the last few decades." Less inflammation of body tissues means a lower metabolic rate since the immune system can relax.

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  • Google Spent 2 Years Researching What Makes a Great Remote Team. It Came Up With These 3 Things

    As someone who's worked remotely for several years, I know the challenges of a virtual workplace. Building relationships with colleagues I've never actually met (in person), working across various time zones, technology that doesn't work the way it's supposed to-- handled wrong, any of these can sabotage your team's chances at success.

    Google knows this, too. The company has nearly 100,000 workers spread over 150 cities. In more than 50 countries. On five continents.

    In a quest to discover what makes some remote teams successful, Google's People Innovation Lab (PiLab) spent the past two years studying more than 5,000 employees. They measured well-being, performance, and connectedness (among other things) and came up with recommendations on how to keep things consistent, even if your team is spread out across the globe.

    So, what did they find?

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  • Startup Books you should read in 2020

    How to grow a start-up? Read daily!
    Reading books is one of the activities often quoted among those which characterizes successful CEOs. Our economy became a place where innovations are happening at small to medium-sized companies, run by a group of enthusiasts and experts. If you're one of them or if you want to become one of them, reading is the best way to prepare for the adventure, that is building your own company.

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  • Emotional Intelligence Has 12 Elements. Which Do You Need to Work On?

    Esther is a well-liked manager of a small team. Kind and respectful, she is sensitive to the needs of others. She is a problem solver; she tends to see setbacks as opportunities. She's always engaged and is a source of calm to her colleagues. Her manager feels lucky to have such an easy direct report to work with and often compliments Esther on her high levels of emotional intelligence, or EI. And Esther indeed counts EI as one of her strengths; she's grateful for at least one thing she doesn't have to work on as part of her leadership development. It's strange, though - even with her positive outlook, Esther is starting to feel stuck in her career. She just hasn't been able to demonstrate the kind of performance her company is looking for. So much for emotional intelligence, she's starting to think.

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  • Anand Giridharadas on elite do-gooding: 'Many of my friends are drunk on dangerous BS'

    A former McKinsey consultant-turned New York Times columnist, Anand Giridharadas is now a bestselling author. His recent book, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, torches the privileged circles he has moved in much of his adult life, and is rooted in insider knowledge.

    He thinks ideas conferences like Aspen would do well to spend its time listening to more of society's losers, and fewer winners. "The powerful are very good at disseminating their own bullshit," he says. "They don't need the intellectual reputation laundering of ideas festivals to make their heavily marketed bullshit smell even sweeter."

    "I sincerely believe," he says, "that had more of the institutions of this country - and particularly those involved in thinking and ideas, not just conferences but all kinds of things - been more skeptical of elite fantasies and more mindful of what was actually going on in other people's lives in this country, I think it's very possible we wouldn't have orange Mussolini in the White House."

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  • Our pathetically slow shift to clean energy, in five charts

    By most measures that matter, clean energy had a stellar decade.

    The cost of large wind and solar farms dropped by 70% and nearly 90%, respectively. Meanwhile, renewable-power plants around the world are producing four times more electricity than they did 10 years ago.

    Similarly, electric vehicles were barely a blip at the outset of the 2010s. But automakers were on track to sell 1.8 million EVs this year, as range increased, prices fell, and companies introduced a variety of models.

    But the swift growth in these small sectors still hasn't added up to major changes in the massive global energy system, or reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. So far, cleaner technologies have mostly met rising energy demands, not cut deeply into existing fossil-fuel infrastructure, as the charts that follow make clear.

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  • How to Know If You Talk Too Much

    There are three stages of speaking to other people. In the first stage, you're on task, relevant and concise. But then you unconsciously discover that the more you talk, the more you feel relief. Ahh, so wonderful and tension-relieving for you... but not so much fun for the receiver. This is the second stage - when it feels so good to talk, you don’t even notice the other person is not listening.

    The third stage occurs after you have lost track of what you were saying and begin to realize you might need to reel the other person back in. If during the third stage of this monologue poorly disguised as a conversation you unconsciously sense that the other person is getting a bit fidgety, guess what happens then?

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