Wednesday 18th September 2019
  • The Unspoken Emotional Cost of Being an Entrepreneur


    "Are entrepreneurs touched with fire?" asked Michael A. Freeman, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco, in a study he co-authored in 2015, which analyzed the relationship between entrepreneurship and mental health. The paper opens with an image of Aaron Swartz, the young co-founder of Reddit and the creator of RSS, who hanged himself in 2013 after years of grappling with depression.

    Successful entrepreneurs achieve hero status in American culture. We regularly celebrate the illusion of overnight success, with headlines applauding how much money a startup raised and how quickly it grew. But with so many entrepreneurs feeling compelled to fake it till you make it, not everyone makes it out unscathed, especially when it comes to mental health. I know this from firsthand experience - founding my own startup left me exhausted and unhappy. Though I've since been able to adapt to the stress of running a company without persistent mental anguish, I know there are many others who suffer quietly.

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  • Why So Many Companies Fail at Strategy- and How to Fix It


    Strategy should be crucial to most companies, but at some point, when none of us were paying attention, "strategy" became just another buzzword. In other words, "strategy" rarely carries any tangible, practical meaning.

    I guess this shouldn't entirely surprise us. Other terms that should mean something - like "innovation," "engagement," and, my personal favorite, "work-life balance" - have also morphed into buzzwords over time. Which is sad, because the literal meaning of these terms can relate to real and important goals for most companies. But instead, the words on this list have ended up like all other buzzwords: intended to make things appear shiny and exciting, despite no concrete actions behind them.

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  • How reading and writing can help us live longer, healthier lives


    When Toni Morrison died on Aug. 5, the world lost one of its most influential literary voices.

    But Morrison wasn't a literary wunderkind. "The Bluest Eye," Morrison's first novel, wasn't published until she was 39. And her last, "God Help the Child," appeared when she was 84. Morrison published four novels, four children's books, many essays and other works of nonfiction after the age of 70.

    Morrison isn't unique in this regard. Numerous writers produce significant work well into their 70s, 80s and even their 90s. Herman Wouk, for example, was 97 when he published his final novel, "The Lawgiver."

    Such literary feats underscore an important point: Age doesn't seem to diminish our capacity to speak, write and learn new vocabulary. Our eyesight may dim and our recall may falter, but, by comparison, our ability to produce and to comprehend language is well preserved into older adulthood.

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  • Too busy? 10 tips for slowing down and becoming unbusy


    If you're here to find practical tips to bring balance back to your life and eliminate "busy" from your vocabulary, you've come to the right place - a full life is not a busy life!

    There are a lot of regurgitated, surface-level tips out there for slowing down and becoming unbusy. My goal is to provide you with tips for slowing down that go deeper. Keep in mind, many of these tips are currently countercultural. So, while they are "simple" in theory, they aren't necessarily easy in practice. But, they are 100% worth it.

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  • What Doesn't Seem Like Work


    If something that seems like work to other people doesn't seem like work to you, that's something you're well suited for. For example, a lot of programmers I know, including me, actually like debugging. It's not something people tend to volunteer; one likes it the way one likes popping zits. But you may have to like debugging to like programming, considering the degree to which programming consists of it. The stranger your tastes seem to other people, the stronger evidence they probably are of what you should do.

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  • If You've Established Boundaries in These 7 Areas, You're Well On Your Way to Finding Meaningful Work


    Finding meaningful work (work that uses your talents and strengths, is rewarding, and ignites you emotionally) is not the norm. The sad truth is, most spend their entire careers going through the motions with little connection to what they do. But, it's not for lack of trying.

    I think most of us fail to find fulfilling careers because we don't know where to look. Rather than consulting our own conscious taking inventorying of our skills and passions, we mimic others. We don't know how to define meaningful work for ourselves, so we borrow it.

    I would know. I spent the first half of my career chasing this "outer" definition of success. You know, the sexy titles, accolades, and spoils of success. I based all of my early career choices on things like perception, life-style, and notoriety. It didn't work out. Five years in and I was disengaged with zero ideas on what I wanted to do.

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  • What if aging weren't inevitable, but a curable disease?


    Since ancient times, aging has been viewed as simply inevitable, unstoppable, nature's way. "Natural causes" have long been blamed for deaths among the old, even if they died of a recognized pathological condition. The medical writer Galen argued back in the second century AD that aging is a natural process.

    His view, the acceptance that one can die simply of old age, has dominated ever since. We think of aging as the accumulation of all the other conditions that get more common as we get older - cancer, dementia, physical frailty. All that tells us, though, is that we're going to sicken and die; it doesn't give us a way to change it.

    But a growing number of scientists are questioning our basic conception of aging. What if you could challenge your death - or even prevent it altogether? What if the panoply of diseases that strike us in old age are symptoms, not causes? What would change if we classified aging itself as the disease?

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  • Are You at Risk of a Mid-Career Rut?


    It might sound odd, but people need the most help not at the beginning of their careers, but in mid-career - especially when it comes to making decisions. That's a key finding from a research study coordinated by one of us (Julia). The study asked 500 college-educated adults in professional careers (representative of 16% of U.S. adults) to indicate the degree of their agreement with statements about their behaviors when making important work decisions throughout their careers. The questionnaire also asked them to assess each decision's degree of success.

    The results were startling: Less than 50% of decisions made in mid-career were rated as successful. People are most susceptible to making decisions that lead to less-than-successful outcomes between the ages of 40 and 48, according to respondent assessments.

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  • How to Motivate Yourself When You Don't Have a Deadline


    Deadlines are powerful forces in our work, signaling what's most important, forcing focus, and driving tasks to completion. That's why projects that don't have a deadline can languish on your task list for weeks, months, or even years.

    Sometimes this happens because a project is ambiguous, boring, or messy. You naturally deprioritize it whenever possible, because working on it feels uncomfortable. But other times you don't mean to avoid the project. You just never get to it, because items with clear deadlines feel more pressing.

    You probably don't get a lot of external flak for delays on non-deadline tasks, but internally it can feel frustrating when projects sit untouched. And with important-but-not-urgent items, there's the anxiety that at any moment someone might ask you about their status, and you will have nothing to show.

    So how do you motivate yourself when you want - or need - to get something done, but you don't have a deadline? As a time management coach, I've found that three simple strategies can help you finally move forward.

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  • What It's Really Like to Be an Entrepreneur


    I've been running my own business for the past six years, and I often hear people talking negatively about their employers. And it occurs to me:

    If you've never run a business, it's easy to criticize the owner.

    What's a lot more difficult is actually being the owner.

    So I thought I'd share some stories that just might help you appreciate your job a little more and possibly make you rethink this decision to be an entrepreneur entirely.

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