Saturday, July 4, 2015

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

So your first choice isn’t the best

For some reason, we often expect our first choice to be the optimal choice. However, it’s actually quite normal for your first attempt to be incorrect or wrong. This is especially true of the major decisions that we make in life.

Think of the first person you dated. Would this person have been the best choice for your life partner? Go even further back and imagine the first person you had a crush on. Finding a great partner is complicated and expecting yourself to get it right on the first try is unreasonable. It’s rare that the first one would be the one.

What is the likelihood that your 22-year-old self could optimally choose the career that is best for you at 40 years old? Or 30 years old? Or even 25 years old? Consider how much you have learned about yourself since that time. There is a lot of change and growth that happens during life. There is no reason to believe that your life’s work should be easily determined when you graduate.

When it comes to complex issues like determining the values you want in a partner or selecting the path of your career, your first attempt will rarely lead to the optimal solution.

James Clear

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Using Peer Pressure to our advantage

In a 1994 Harvard study that examined people who had radically changed their lives, for instance, researchers found that some people had remade their habits after a personal tragedy, such as a divorce or a life-threatening illness. Others changed after they saw a friend go through something awful... Just as frequently, however, there was no tragedy that preceded people's transformations. Rather, they changed because they were embedded in social groups that made change easier… When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur becomes more real.

Charles Duhigg
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

It takes a Villiage

Of all the new experiences parenthood has brought into my life, I was least prepared for the public rebukes. I was standing at a bus stop recently after a long workday with my 2-year-old, worried that we would be caught in an imminent downpour. As I searched my phone for the status of the next bus, a car sped by. “Watch your kid!” the driver yelled unkindly. An immediate panic seized me, but my toddler, who had been holding my hand until a few moments earlier, was perfectly safe, intently examining the wall of a coffee shop not two feet away. The driver assumed he’d seen a neglectful mom absorbed in her phone, too busy scrolling through her Facebook feed to watch a wandering child. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t true; the reproach still stung.

Passing public judgment on a stranger’s parenting has become a national sport. Whole corners of the internet are dedicated to shaming mothers who decline to breast-feed, let their kids cry it out, or dare to sit the little one in front of the TV. Practices that were commonplace 30 years ago, such as allowing a child to walk alone to the playground or sit solo in the car for a few minutes during an errand run, now can lead to calls to the police and moms in handcuffs (see Last Word). This parenting paranoia makes little sense: Statistics prove it’s never been safer to raise a child in the U.S., though we act as if the opposite were true. Raising a child used to take a village of neighbors helping you. Now it takes a village telling you why you’re doing it all wrong.

Carolyn O’Hara
The Week Magazine

Monday, June 1, 2015

The path to wisdom

The story is told of a wise man who was asked by a student the best way to gain knowledge. He lead the student to a river, where he plunged the young man’s head beneath the surface. He struggled to free himself, but the wise man kept his head submerged. Finally, after much effort, the youth was able to break free and emerge from the water. The wise man asked, “When you thought you were drowning, what one thing did you want most of all?” Still gasping for breath, the man explained, “I wanted air!” The philosopher commented, “When you want knowledge as much as you wanted air, then you will get it!”

Stephen Goforth

Friday, May 29, 2015

Addicted to Love

Breaking up is hard to do. Literally. A brain study out of Rutgers shows getting over romantic rejection is similar to kicking an addiction. One of the study authors says, "When you've been rejected in love, you have lost life's greatest prize, which is a mating partner." Researchers examined the brains of more than dozen volunteers who had each recently been dumped but still loved the person who had rejected them. It turned out reminders of the beloved activated brain regions in the lover associated with addiction to cocaine and cigarettes. These same areas affect emotional control, rewards, addiction cravings, a sense of attachment, pain and distress. This brain system becomes activated in an attempt to win the person's affections again, according to the researchers. Details are in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology.

Perhaps the lesson here is that it's important to become addicted to someone who is good for you.

Stephen Goforth

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Death bed request

Old Joe was dying. Realizing that time was running out, he wanted to make everything right. But something bothered him. He was at odds with Bill, formally one of his best friends. Joe had often argued with him over the most trivial matters, and in recent years they hadn’t spoken at all. Wanting to resolve the problem, he sent for Bill, who graciously consented to visit him. When Bill arrived, Joe told him that he was afraid to go into eternity with bad feelings between them, and he wanted to make things right. When he reached out for Bill’s hand and said, “I forgive you; will you forgive me?” Everything seemed fine. Just as Bill was leaving, however, Joe shouted after him, “But remember, if I get better, this doesn’t count!”

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Every person

Every person has a story-and if you look hard enough you'll find a dark place.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Night at the Theater

We keep on assuming that we know the play. We do not even know whether we are in Act I or Act V. We do not know who are the major and who the minor characters. The Author knows.

CS Lewis

Monday, May 25, 2015

You owe it to your future self

Especially when you are early in your career, one of the worst things you can do is sacrifice learning opportunities, growth, and valuable connections for ego. You owe it to your future self to make decisions today for the right reasons and the long term. -Clara Shih

Friday, May 22, 2015


Enemies are people whose story you haven't heard, or who's face you haven't seen. -Irene Butter

Dealing with Hard-Headed Men

Men are generally pretty thick-headed. But a man’s hard-headedness can work in your favor. Most of the time, their desires and motivations are pretty upfront.

 “He’s frowning." Does it mean he is mulling over that argument you had? Nope. He’s just hungry.

If you think much below the surface, you are likely to miss what many men are feeling and waste time attributing to them a level of emotional depth they seldom reach. You can (if you like) get miffed and back the guy in a corner. If you do, many men will simply cling to their position. If this happens, you will be able to point to their aggressive behavior and bursts of rage to say (again), “All men are as stupid as the day is long.” That may reinforce your worst fears about the gender, but it doesn’t really help you a lot.

Try making him believe it is his idea. Expound (gently) on the benefits--the benefits to him. Allow him to then convince himself. You simply have to be satisfied with the knowledge that you are the one who started the idea. You just can’t let him become aware of it.

Yes, this is a shallow way of relating. But if you are dealing with someone who knows no other way of relating (because they choose not to know another way or because they are in lifelong the habit of relating to others this way) then this sad state of affairs is their own doing. You are simply allowing them to be who they are.

Of course, this assumes you will attempt to develop a more significant way of relating to them, giving them the opportunity, from time to time, to engage in a more real relationship. When you do this, you eagerly look for signs of change and willingness from your hard-headed man. Hopeful, but realistic about the outcome.

This strategy of leading someone toward your desired goal until they arrive at your intended conclusion won’t do when it comes to you most trusted and intimate relationships. You want to be honest and real with those who are closest to you. Or else they really aren't that close to you, are they?

Stephen Goforth

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Procrastination Equation

A business professor has come up with a formula for procrastinators. It’s designed to help them figure out if they can overcome the failing. Piers Steel from Canada’s Calgary University decries theories that blame them for laziness or being too careful. Steel says up to one in five of us is a “chronic procrastinator” living with the mistaken notion that we can’t complete a task that we don’t care about. That separates the serious procrastinators from those who are simply lazy. The later don’t care if a task is finished or not.

Here’s Steel’s formula: U=EV/ID

Use a rating of one out of ten, you multiply your expectation of success (E) by the value of completing the task (V). Then multiply the consequence of failing to complete the current task (I) by your previous tendency to delay tasks (D). The first total (E x V) is then divided by the second figure (D x I) giving the likelihood of completing the task in hand or the utility (U). If you come up with a score less than 3 then you are, according to Steel, an official chronic procrastinator.

He says, "When we procrastinate, it's almost always about long-term objectives. 'Instead of attending to those, we go with what is more pleasurable or less painful right now."

Steel offers more details in his book The Procrastination Equation: Today’s Trouble with Tomorrow.

Stephen Goforth

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hold me

Don’t hold me accountable… hold me close. Bob Goff

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What do you really want?

Why do certain people put themselves through the years of intensive daily work that eventually makes them world-class great? The answers depend on your response to two basic questions: What do you really want? And what do you really believe?

What you want - really, deeply want - is fundamental because deliberate practice is an investment: The costs come now, the benefits later. The more you want something, the easier it will be for you to sustain the needed effort until the payoff starts to arrive. But if you're pursuing something that you don't truly want and are competing against others whose desire is deep, you can guess the outcome.

The evidence offers no easy assurances. It shows that the price of top-level achievement is extraordinarily high. Maybe it's inevitable that not many people will choose to pay it. But the evidence shows also that by understanding how a few become great, all can become better.

Geoff Colvin
Why Talent is Overrated