Saturday 18th September 2021
  • Do You Feel Guilty All The Time?

    Guilt, as subtle as it may be, is a pervasive emotion that many of us experience daily. Some argue that perfectionism is at the heart of it, but even those of us that are far from perfectionist aren't immune to guilt. Others argue that guilt is a complete waste of time, but we should not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    Guilt can be a sign of a functional moral compass. For example, if, in a fit of rage, you call your colleague a useless snollygoster and put salt in his extra large, nonfat, double decaf mochaccino, feeling guilty is probably quite an appropriate emotion, and hopefully, it will prevent you from similar shenanigans in the future.

    In the case above, the "crime" is obvious and undeniable, though generally, guilt is much more insidious. When we're at work, we feel guilty for not being with our children (or even our pets). When we're at home, we feel guilty for not having done the laundry for a week or for not being at work. On the weekends, we feel guilty about not calling our friends or hanging out with our friends instead of our mothers.

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  • The Problem With Certainty

    It seems our collective capacity to consider - simultaneously - the many sides to a decision is weak, if not nonexistent. We crave certainty in some (any!) aspect of our lives, and the pressures of the moment reinforce our natural tendency toward confirmation bias. Seeing an issue through another person's eyes has become too uncomfortable to bear, especially in light of the marathon ills, both literal and figurative, we are enduring from the COVID-19 pandemic. The continual demands of adjusting to changes in our home and work environments have left us with little emotional energy and cognitive space.

    The problem, however, is that being certain about the rightness or wrongness of others' decisions leaves little room for us to grow or expand our understanding, not just of other people but of their situations and their circumstances. Our inability to control a knee-jerk reaction that shuts down ambivalence borne from disagreement or uncertainty limits our ability to make progress, personally and professionally. In other words, we get stuck. We get stuck as individual citizens, and we get stuck as managers and leaders.

    How do we get unstuck? By doing what's uncomfortable, unfortunately.

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  • The 'Pirate Bay of Science' Adds 2 Million New Journal Articles

    Sci-Hub, a website dedicated to free access of scientific articles, has updated for the first time in a year.

    On September 5, 2011, the Sci-Hub was born. It's a place where people can find scientific studies that are typically hidden behind expensive paywalls for free. The site is constantly under legal threat and only periodically uploads. On its tenth birthday, it did what it does best. Uploaded paywalled articles to a database where anyone can read them. "In honor of such a round date, two million have been added to the server today, namely 2,337,229 new articles," neuroscientist turned scientific paper pirate Alexandra Elbakyan said in a blog post announcing the upload.

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  • Why Some People Get Burned Out and Others Don't

    Everyone faces stress at work, but some people are able to handle the onslaught of long hours, high pressure, and work crises in a way that wards off burnout. You can get better at handling stress by making several mental shifts:

    - Don't be the source of your stress. Resist your perfectionist tendencies and your drive for constant high achievement. Recognize when you're being too hard on yourself, and let go.

    - Recognize your limitations. Don't try to be a hero. If you don't have the ability or bandwidth to do something, be honest with yourself and ask for help.

    - Reevaluate your perspective. Do you view a particular situation as a threat to something you value? Or do you view it as a problem to be solved? Change how you see the situation to bring your stress levels down.

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  • Why Do We Undervalue Competent Management?

    Neither great leadership nor brilliant strategy matters without operational excellence.

    Business schools teach MBA students that you can't compete on the basis of management processes because they're easily copied. Operational effectiveness is table stakes in the competitive universe, according to the strategists. But data from a decade-long research project involving 12,000 firms challenges that thinking.

    The study examined how well companies performed 18 core management practices. It found vast differences in how they execute basic tasks like setting targets, running operations, and grooming talent, and that those differences matter: Firms with strong managerial processes do significantly better on high-level metrics such as profitability, growth, and productivity. What's more, the differences in process quality persist over time, suggesting that competent management is not easy to imitate.

    In this article the authors review the findings of the research and explore what prevents executives from investing in management capabilities, arguing that such investments are a powerful way to become more competitive.

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  • How to say the unsayable: 10 ways to approach a sensitive, daunting conversation

    It's easy to put off tender discussions, but successfully addressing the most emotional subjects always starts with listening.

    There's a conversation you're avoiding. It feels important, the stakes are high, there are strong feelings involved and you are putting it off: "The time isn't right"; "I can't find the words"; "I don't want to get emotional".

    But delaying doesn't solve anything and anticipation is often far more uncomfortable than the conversation itself. Getting started might involve some awkward moments, but, after that, the situation is open for discussion and exploration.

    Tried and tested approaches can help to smooth the way. Here are 10 useful tips from my experience as a psychotherapist and doctor, developed while working in some of the highest-stakes discussions - the tender conversations taking place as people face the end of life. These principles apply whether you are chatting in person, over the phone or during a video call. You can even use them in text message conversations.

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  • Ready for the roaring 20s? It's time to re-learn how to have fun, says happiness professor

    A conscious decision to bring more joy into our lives can boost both mind and body

    After a year-and-a-half of loss, sickness and stress caused by the pandemic, burnout is high and morale is low. But in some positive news, according to Laurie Santos, Yale's "happiness professor", the way to feel better need not depend on restrictive diets, gruelling fitness regimes or testing mental challenges, but in something far more attractive: fun.

    The American psychology professor and Happiness Lab podcaster, who rose to international fame when her course "psychology and the good life" became the Ivy League university's most popular course of all time, says that consciously injecting more fun into our lives - which she refers to as a "funtervention" - can not only improve mental health and help prevent burnout but also improve physical health.

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  • What It's Like to Inherit Billions in Your Twenties

    Tyler Huang is living what many would think of as a dream existence, but he feels like he's just sleepwalking through life.

    At an age when most teenagers are swapping trading cards, Tyler Huang was involved in his father’s bid to buy a British football club. If they wanted to, his family could make a Monopoly board of London, purchasing properties on the roll of a dice. Tyler himself has the means to dine on wagyu for every meal. He is, if it wasn't already obvious, unbelievably rich.

    This kind of existence might sound like a dream, but Huang feels as though he's merely sleepwalking through life. "It wasn't as nice it sounds," he tells me. "Wealth can fix many external problems, but it does nothing to tackle the internal ones."

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  • How Humble Leadership Really Works

    When you're a leader - no matter how long you've been in your role or how hard the journey was to get there - you are merely overhead unless you're bringing out the best in your employees. Unfortunately, many leaders lose sight of this.

    Power, as my colleague Ena Inesi has studied, can cause leaders to become overly obsessed with outcomes and control, and, therefore, treat their employees as means to an end. As I've discovered in my own research, this ramps up people's fear - fear of not hitting targets, fear of losing bonuses, fear of failing - and as a consequence people stop feeling positive emotions and their drive to experiment and learn is stifled.

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  • The Sources of Resilience

    Findings from the largest global study of resilience and engagement from the ADP Research Institute.

    We're all suffering through difficult times that we did not anticipate and challenges that we were not prepared for. In the face of all that's going on in the world, how do we survive? How do we push through the muck of current events and continue showing up for the people who need us most?

    The answer to many of these questions lies in our capacity for resilience: the ability to bend in the face of a challenge and then bounce back. It is a reactive human condition that enables you to keep moving through life. Many of us live under the assumption that a healthy life is one in which we're successfully balancing work, parenting, chores, hobbies, and relationships. But balance is a poor metaphor for health. Life is about motion. Life is movement. Everything healthy in nature is in motion. Thus, resilience describes our ability to continue moving, despite whatever life throws in our path. The question for us, of course, is what causes us to be able to bounce back and keep moving, what ingredients in our lives give us this strength, and how do we access them?

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