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We all want/wish to avoid heavily crowded places. There are a few such places we daily encounter - office closing hours traffic, heavy rush at the food counter at lunch time, bank closing hours, evenings in markets.
No one likes to stand in a queue or move at a snail's pace in a heavily crowded street. But why do we still find these rushes occurring every day ?
This either means that -
- Not everyone hates queues. There are people who will prefer going amidst heavy traffic.
- Not everyone knows how to avoid these - which is quite hard to believe. Its common knowledge that if you leave by 6pm (or whenever your office ends) you will find huge rush on the main road.
- Some people try to act smart(or try to bluff) - they think many people won't turn up at the peak hours fearing the rush, so let me go at the usual time. This is what "majority" of the people end up thinking and thus the rush happens again.
[I can't think of any sensible reasons]
Is there any reasonable scientific/rationale explanation for the above phenomenon ?
Home working: Why can't everyone telework?
Once upon a time teleworking was the future that would free us from the yoke of office life. Armed with phone, computer and internet connection, human potential would blossom in the comfort of our own homes.
It makes sense. Why travel for hours a day to a central location when you can roll out of bed and start working from your kitchen table with none of the hassle and environmental damage that commuting entails?
Home working is certainly on the rise. A survey of firms by the Confederation of British Industry showed that the number offering at least some teleworking rose from 14% in 2006 to 46% in 2008. Figures later this month are expected to show the trend continuing.
British Telecom was one of the pioneers. It began a telework scheme in 1986, and now has 15,000 homeworkers out of 92,000 employees. The company argues that homeworkers save it an average of £6,000 a year each, are 20% more productive and take fewer sick days.
At HSBC 15,000 out of the bank's 35,000 staff in the UK have the ability to work from home. But that is still less than half the workforce and figures deal only with the means to work from home, they do not indicate full-time home working.
But why isn't there even more working from home?
Home working doesn't suit all jobs or sectors. There are some sectors of the UK economy where teleworking is impossible - retailers, manufacturers and City traders are among those where most people have to be at the workplace. In theory, call centres could allow staff to work from home. In practice, the cost of linking secure databases to thousands of houses stands as a considerable obstacle.
It's a balance, says HSBC spokesman Mark Hemingway. "Cashiers have to be in the branch and we need staff in call centres. But for all the admin work we do actively organise it so that people can work from home." It may involve giving them a laptop, remote working technology or a phone with e-mail but the rewards for the firm are higher productivity, low absenteeism and better staff retention, he says.
Successive governments have pressed employers to bring in more flexible working, which can involve home working. Workers who are carers or parents already have the right to ask their employer for flexible working, although employers are not required to agree to it. The government plans to extend this right to ask to all workers during this parliament, to the annoyance of some employers.
And this week UK Transport Secretary Philip Hammond called for employees in London to work from home during the Olympics next year. The move - intended to ease transport congestion - was criticised by one business group.
"One would have hoped that business is the best judge of where their staff should be," says Alexander Ehmann, head of employment at the Institute of Directors. "It's slightly surprising to read his comments saying that staff should stay away from London. Weɽ hope that the transport infrastructure is there to allow people to get to work."
But there are some who welcome teleworking. "We should be having more flexible working," says Cary Cooper, Professor of organisational psychology at Lancaster University Management School. "It's not for everyone - you can't build a car at home. But quite a lot of the UK works in the knowledge economy, and for these workers there's no problem."
He notes there is research showing that people are more productive at home, while technology many have - a computer, phone and broadband - allows us to stay in touch with colleagues. There are clear benefits. You do away with long commutes that waste time, cause pollution and raise stress levels. Homeworkers often have more leeway to plan their lives better - picking up the children from school or caring for elderly relatives.
However there are potential drawbacks to working from your kitchen or study. For one thing you're on your own. "It can get a bit lonesome at home and you should eyeball your manager from time to time," he says. "Otherwise without feedback you can drift and lose focus."
Prof Cooper warns that you may slip down the pecking order if you're never in the office. Keeping a clear distinction between home and work is also tricky. And what happens if your computer or internet fails? "If the technology goes down then you're left exposed. Whereas in the office someone will come and fix it."
For Prof Cooper the answer is to find a happy medium of flexible working, with staff alternating between shifts in the office and at home.
Despite research pointing to higher output from home working, there's still a perception from some that it amounts to skiving. When many people were forced to work from home across the UK one snowbound day in November, the Jeremy Kyle show was watched by an extra 200,000 viewers. Indeed some people assert they waste as much time with none of the benefits that chatting to colleagues offers.
"What happens when I work at home is that the first hour is productive and then I start going to pieces," wrote Financial Times work commentator Lucy Kellaway in a column in December. "It is as if I am governed by an internal time-wasting law that says the amount of time wasted in any day is constant."
Indeed for many staff, home is moving to the workplace. Employees now shower and breakfast in the office, hang clothing by their desks and have personal post delivered there, Kellaway argues.
Britain is not alone in pushing for more home working. The US congress recently passed the Telework Enhancement Act, which requires the head of every government agency to establish telework policy for staff.
An employee who works three days a week from home can save $5,878 (£3,775) a year on commuting costs and spare the environment 4000 kilograms of pollutants, according to Telework Exchange, an organisation promoting the practice.
In Britain, managerial prejudice still needs to be overcome. "Teleworking has been seen as an employee benefit, rather than as a good move for business," says Shirley Borrott, director of the Telework Association. "In some cases they think, 'how am I going to know they're working if I can't see them?'"
But Guy Bailey, a policy advisor at the CBI, says that while the trend for home working will continue, it's unlikely to make the office obsolete. "For a large proportion of workers, the demand will always be to work with colleagues. They want somewhere they can bounce ideas off each other and keep things separate from their private life."
There's another problem with working from home. You can't moan about it to the person sitting at the next desk.
Are There Any Sports That Don't Use Sports Psychologists?
It's difficult to think of a sport that does not use sports psychologists. These are just a few that use mental training as part of their regular practice regimens: National and international teams in rugby, soccer/football, yachting, Formula One racing, martial arts, hockey, gymnastics, cheerleading, rowing, swimming and diving, track and field, distance running, triathlon, weight and power lifting, badminton, racquetball, ice skating, dance, lacrosse and field hockey.
Even the so-called "minor sports" such as darts, bowling, rifle and handgun shooting, archery and billiards have an extensive sports psychology literature. We at mentalgamecoach.com can help athletes, parents and coaches in any sport maximize their performances with our extensive collection of articles on peak performance.
The Bottom Line
Day trading requires discipline and focus, both of which are like muscles. Overwork them, and the muscles give out. Trading only two to three hours a day may keep you on your game, and it likely won't lead to the mental fatigue that can negatively affect your work. Trying to trade six or seven hours a day can drain you and make you more susceptible to mistakes.
Of course, everyone has different focus and discipline levels. Some traders might be able to buy and sell all day and do it well, but most do better by trading only during the few hours that are best for day trading.
Day trading is not for everyone, and there are many rules and risks involved. Be sure to understand how to day trade before starting and whether it's really right for you.
The Balance does not provide tax, investment, or financial services or advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.
What Ingredients Are Used In Numbing Lubes And Are They Safe?
Several common ingredients give numbing lubes their desensitizing effect but many of them have stirred up some debate within the medical community regarding their safety.
Regardless, you’re always better off knowing what’s in any lube before you use it.
You’ll often find the following ingredients in numbing lubes:
Lidocaine and benzocaine are two numbing agents that you’ll commonly find in desensitizing lubes.
You might have heard of lidocaine before if you’ve gone to the dentist to get a cavity filled, but when the ingredient is used in a personal lubricant, it can cause irritation, swelling, and dryness — everything you don’t want during sex.
While it can be helpful to use a lube with lidocaine externally to help ease any pelvic pain, using one internally may leave you feeling like you stood in the frozen food aisle for way too long with your pants off.
If you think that sounds bad, brace yourself because I’m about to share the potential horrors of using benzocaine in a lube.
A recent study examined the case of a man who used a condom that contained benzocaine lube.
The study suggests that the benzocaine contributed to “penile gangrene” — meaning tissue death on and around the man’s penis due to lack of blood flow.
If your jaw fell to the floor or you’re reflexively touching your own crotch in horror, I don’t blame you.
Fortunately, there are safer numbing lube ingredients that are naturally derived.
Mint and menthol (an ingredient made from natural or synthetic mints) are common ingredients in numbing lubes, though they’re also often found in sensitizing lubes, too.
The concentration of mint and menthol is what determines whether the ingredients will create a sensation — or take it away.
Both mint and menthol have the potential to irritate skin but many people can tolerate them well in small doses while using numbing lubes.
Capsaicin is another ingredient you’ll often see in numbing lubes, though you can also find it in some warming lubricants, too.
While capsaicin makes some people feel itchy and irritated, others feel just fine when using a numbing lube that contains this ingredient.
Glycerin and parabens are often found in a multitude of personal lubricants, including those that have a numbing effect.
Neither ingredient is something you want near your genitals, however.
Glycerin is known for increasing the risk of yeast infections and parabens are endocrine disruptors, meaning they can harm your reproductive system — and no lube is worth that!
With any new product, you should always do a patch test first to make sure you don’t have a poor reaction.
This may also give you an idea of exactly what the lube will feel like and how much time it takes for the numbing effect to develop, as this can vary between different products.
The Sunk Cost Fallacy
The Misconception: You make rational decisions based on the future value of objects, investments and experiences.
The Truth: Your decisions are tainted by the emotional investments you accumulate, and the more you invest in something the harder it becomes to abandon it.
You can learn a lot about dealing with loss from a video game called Farmville.
You have probably heard of this game. In 2010, one in five Facebook users had a Farmville account. The barrage of updates generated by the game annoyed other users so much it forced the social network to change how users sent messages. At its peak, 84 million people played it, a number greater than the population of Italy.
Farmville has shrunk since then. About 50 million people were still playing in early 2011 – still impressive considering the fantasy megagame World of Warcraft boasts about a quarter as many players.
So, it must be really, really fun. A game with this many players must promise potent, unadulterated joy, right? Actually, the lasting appeal of Farmville has little to do with fun. To understand why people commit to this game and what it can teach you about the addictive nature of investment, you must first understand how your fear of loss leads to the sunk cost fallacy.
In psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking Fast and Slow, he writes about how he and his colleague Amos Tversky through their work in the 1970s and ‘80s uncovered the imbalance between losses and gains in your mind. Kahneman explains that since all decisions involve uncertainty about the future the human brain you use to make decisions has evolved an automatic and unconscious system for judging how to proceed when a potential for loss arises. Kahneman says organisms that placed more urgency on avoiding threats than they did on maximizing opportunities were more likely to pass on their genes. So, over time, the prospect of losses has become a more powerful motivator on your behavior than the promise of gains. Whenever possible, you try to avoid losses of any kind, and when comparing losses to gains you don’t treat them equally. The results of his experiments and the results of many others who’ve replicated and expanded on them have teased out a inborn loss aversion ratio. When offered a chance to accept or reject a gamble, most people refuse to make take a bet unless the possible payoff is around double the potential loss.
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely adds a fascinating twist to loss aversion in his book, Predictably Irrational. He writes that when factoring the costs of any exchange, you tend to focus more on what you may lose in the bargain than on what you stand to gain. The “pain of paying,” as he puts it, arises whenever you must give up anything you own. The precise amount doesn’t matter at first. You’ll feel the pain no matter what price you must pay, and it will influence your decisions and behaviors.
In one of his experiments, Ariely set up a booth in a well-trafficked area. Passersby could purchase chocolates – Hershey’s Kisses for one penny a piece or Lindt Truffles for fifteen cents each. The majority of people who faced this offer chose the truffles. It was a fine deal considering the quality differences and the normal prices of both items. Ariely then set up another booth with the same two choices but lowered the price by one cent each, thus making the kisses cost nothing and the truffles cost 14 cents each. This time, the vast majority of people selected the kisses instead of the truffles.
If people acted on pure mathematical logic, explained Ariely, there should have been no change in the behavior of the subjects. The price difference was the same. But you don’t think in that way. Your loss aversion system is always vigilant, waiting on standby to keep you from giving up more than you can afford to spare, so you calculate the balance between cost and reward whenever possible. He speculates that this is why you accumulate free tchotchkes you don’t really want or need and why you find it so tempting to accept shady deals if they include free gifts or choose decent services that offer free shipping over better services that do not. When anything is offered free of charge, Ariely believes your loss aversion system remains inactive. Without it, you don’t weigh the pros and cons with as much attention to detail as you would if you had to factor in potential losses.
This is why marketing and good salesmanship is often all about convincing you what you want to buy is worth more than what you must pay for it. You see something as a good value when you predict the pain of loss will be offset by your joy of gain. If they did their job well, somewhere in your Byzantine perception you feel as though you won’t lose at all. Emotionally, you will come out ahead. Unless you are buying something just to show others how much money you can burn, you avoid cringing when you fork over your earnings.
When you lose something permanently, it hurts. The drive to mitigate this negative emotion leads to strange behaviors. Have you ever gone to see a movie only to realize within 15 minutes or so you are watching one of the worst films ever made, but you sat through it anyway? You didn’t want to waste the money, so you slid back in your chair and suffered. Maybe you once bought non-refundable tickets to a concert, and when the night arrived you felt sick, or tired, or hung over. Perhaps something more appealing was happening at the same time. You still went, even though you didn’t want to, in order to justify spending money you knew you could never get back. What about that time you made it back home with a bag of tacos, and after the first bite you suspected they might have been filled with salsa-infused dog food, but you ate them anyway not wanting to waste both money and food? If you’ve experienced a version of any of these, congratulations, you fell victim to the sunk cost fallacy.
Sunk costs are a favorite subject of economists. Simply put, they are payments or investments which can never be recovered. An android with fully functioning logic circuits would never make a decision which took sunk costs into account, but you would. As an emotional human, your aversion to loss often leads you right into the sunk cost fallacy.
You know a loss lingers and grows in your mind, becoming larger in your history than it was when you first felt it. Whenever this clinging to the past becomes a factor in making decisions about your future, you run the risk of being derailed by the sunk cost fallacy.
Hal Arkes and Catehrine Blumer created an experiment in 1985 which demonstrated your tendency to go fuzzy when sunk costs come along. They asked subjects to assume they had spent $100 on a ticket for a ski trip in Michigan, but soon after found a better ski trip in Wisconsin for $50 and bought a ticket for this trip too. They then asked the people in the study to imagine they learned the two trips overlapped and the tickets couldn’t be refunded or resold. Which one do you think they chose, the $100 good vacation, or the $50 great one?
Over half of the people in the study went with the more expensive trip. It may not have promised to be as fun, but the loss seemed greater. That’s the fallacy at work, because the money is gone no matter what. You can’t get it back. The fallacy prevents you from realizing the best choice is to do whatever promises the better experience in the future, not which negates the feeling of loss in the past.
Kahneman and Tversky also conducted an experiment to demonstrate the sunk cost fallacy. See how you do with this one.
Imagine you go see a movie which costs $10 for a ticket. When you open your wallet or purse you realize you’ve lost a $10 bill. Would you still buy a ticket? You probably would. Only 12 percent of subjects said they wouldn’t. Now, imagine you go to see the movie and pay $10 for a ticket, but right before you hand it over to get inside you realize you’ve lost it. Would you go back and buy another ticket? Maybe, but it would hurt a lot more. In the experiment, 54 percent of people said they would not. The situation is the exact same. You lose $10 and then must pay $10 to see the movie, but the second scenario feels different. It seems as if the money was assigned to a specific purpose and then lost, and loss sucks. This is why Farmville is so addictive people have lost their jobs over it.
Farmville is a valuable tool for understanding your weakness in the face of loss. The sunk cost fallacy is the engine which keeps Farmville running, and the developers behind Farmville know this.
Farmville is free, and the first time you log on you are transported to a netherworld patch of grass where you float above an abeyant young farmhand eager to get to work. His or her will is your will, and his or her world is empty save a patch of land ready to be plowed and a crop of vegetables ready to be picked.
Wading into the experience, you feel the game designers have made every attempt to turn your head toward the screen in a way which brings no attention to the grip on your scalp. It is all your choice, they seem to be saying, no one is forcing you to proceed. Here, harvest these beans. Hey, why not plant some seed? Oh, look, you could plow a patch of land, you know, if you want. A loading bar appears and then quickly fills as you watch your grinning Aryan-ish avatar with his messy-on-purpose haircut virtually dirty his digital overalls. The cheery music, which sounds like the cyborg interpretation of clumsily extracted memories from the brain of a reanimated Old West piano player, drones on and on. The moment the loop restarts is difficult to pinpoint.
Within a few minutes, you’ve done everything which can be done on your first garden, but there are hints all over the screen portending a fully functioning Texas-ranch-sized megafarm, should you plant your seeds well. Once you learn you must wait at least an hour or so to continue, you start clicking around and find you have coins and cash which can be spent on trees, plants, seeds, an impressive bestiary of jaunty fantastical creatures and a bevy of clothes, devices, buildings and props. You have just enough currency when the game starts to buy a caramel apple tree or some honeybees, but the nice stuff like pink tractors and magic waterfalls, will have to wait until you’ve played the game a while. If you stay vigilant, checking back throughout the day to see how close your strawberries are to being ripe or if a wandering animal has visited your feed trough, you can earn more virtual currency and advance in levels and unlock more stuff. You’ll need to plant and plow and harvest to advance, most of which is also an investment in something which must be harvested…later.
This is the powerful force behind Farmville. Playing Farmville is a commitment to a virtual life form. Your neglect has consequences. If you don’t return, your investments die and you will feel like you wasted your time, money and effort. You must return, sometimes days later, to reap the reward of the time and virtual money you are spending now. If you don’t, not only do you not get rewarded, you lose your investments.
To stave off these feelings you can pay Farmville real-world money or participate in offers from their advertisers to negate the need to tend to certain things, reverse the death of crops and expand your farm ahead of schedule. You can also ask your friends to help, since the game has tendrils reaching deep into Facebook.
Although all these strategies will keep the fallacies at bay for a few days, they also feed them. The urge to stay the course and keep your farm flourishing gets more powerful the more you invest in it, the more you ask others for help, the more time you spend thinking about it. People set alarms to wake up in the middle of the night to keep their farm alive. You continue to play Farmville not to have fun, but to avoid negative emotions. It isn’t the crop you are harvesting, but your fallacies. You return and click to patch cracks in a dam holding back something icky in your mind – the sense you wasted something you can never get back.
To say Farmville has been successful is a silly sort of understatement. It has led to the creation of a whole new genre of entertainment. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being generated by social gaming, and like so many profitable businesses, someone is hedging their bets against a predicable weakness in your behavior in order to turn a profit.
Farmville players are mired in a pit of sunk costs. They can never get back the time or the money they’ve spent, but they keep playing to avoid feeling the pain of loss and the ugly sensation waste creates.
You may not play Farmville, but there is probably something similar in your life. It could be a degree you want to change, or a career you want to escape, or a relationship you know is rotten. You don’t return to it over and over again to create good experiences and pleasant memories but to hold back the negative emotions you expect to feel if you accept the loss of time, effort, money or whatever else you have invested.
If you dropped your cell phone over the edge of a cruise ship, you would need James Cameron’s unmanned submarine fleet to find it again. Sure, you could spend a small fortune to retrieve it, but you wouldn’t throw good money after bad. Laid out like this, logical and rational and easy to pick apart, you can pat yourself on the back for being such a reasonable human. Unfortunately, the sunk costs in life aren’t always so easy to see. When something is gone forever it can be difficult to realize it. The past isn’t as tangible a concept as the sea floor, yet it is just as untouchable. What is left behind is just as irretrievable.
Sunk costs drive wars, push up prices in auctions and keep failed political policies alive. The fallacy makes you finish the meal when you are already full. It fills your home with things you no longer want or use. Every garage sale is a funeral for someone’s sunk costs.
The sunk cost fallacy is sometimes called the Concorde fallacy when describing it as an escalation of commitment. It is a reference to the construction of the first commercial supersonic airliner. The project was predicted to be a failure early on but everyone involved kept going. Their shared investment built a hefty psychological burden which outweighed their better judgments. After losing an incredible amount of money, effort and time, they didn’t want to just give up.
It is a noble and exclusively human proclivity, the desire to persevere, the will to stay the course – studies show lower animals and small children do not commit this fallacy. Wasps and worms, rats and raccoons, toddlers and tikes, they do not care how much they’ve invested or how much goes to waste. They can only see immediate losses and gains. As an adult human being, you have the gift of reflection and regret. You can predict a future place where you must admit your efforts were in vain, your losses permanent, and when you accept the truth it is going to hurt.
You Are Not So Smart – The Book
If you buy one book this year…well, I suppose you should get something you’ve had your eye on for a while. But, if you buy two or more books this year, might I recommend one of them be a celebration of self delusion? Give the gift of humility (to yourself or someone else you love). Watch the trailer.
23 Things Successful People Never Do
Sometimes the key to success is focusing on what successful people's don't lists.
When you're looking for inspiration as you try to move up in your career or improve yourself generally, the best source, of course, is those who've achieved what you're setting out to achieve. But that doesn't only mean doing what other successful people have done—it's just as important to pay attention to what they're not doing. Successful people know to avoid time-wasting activities, morale-draining company, and generally negative ways of thinking. And when you know what not to do, too, you can focus your attention on all the forward-moving changes that will propel you in the right direction. With that in mind, we spoke with career and lifestyle experts to share the find out all the things that successful people never do. Because the don'ts are just as important as the dos.
It may sound overly simplistic, but the most important difference between those who succeed in life and those who don't is how they talk about themselves. If you speak negatively about yourself, discounting your achievements and insinuating you can't do something, that only serves to hurt your ability to succeed down the line.
"You can transform your life using the power of the spoken word," says James Sweigert, a lifestyle expert and author of If You Say So. "There is greatness in all of us and the universe wants us all to flourish. Claim and manifest the things you want. Make your mind up to be happy! The universe will present any story you tell it, negative or positive. So be on your own side."
Your chance at success starts from the first moments of your day. Successful people don't just go where the wind takes them every morning—they decide what to direct their energy toward, and they follow through throughout the day.
"Outlining your day is essential to ongoing consistent success," says Erica Latrice, a career and business development coach. "Without a plan for the day, it's easy to get sucked into time drainers like checking your email nonstop, social media scrolling, and tackling other people's emergencies while putting your priorities on the back burner."
You know that you need to work out your body, but are you working out your mind? Just like your muscles, your professional skills need to be developed and improved on to stay in good shape. Successful people make sure to balance leg day with some serious stretching and refreshing of their knowledge.
"After studying the patterns of hundreds of people in business that I admire, one thing that they all have in common is a hunger for learning," says Latrice. "They are constantly reading books, watching training, and feeding their minds with tools to grow in their field."
Everyone's a critic. Sometimes it's helpful to know what your haters are saying about you, but you don't want to let them plant seeds of self-doubt in your mind, and you definitely don't want to internalize their critical voices. It's easy to become so focused on proving the haters wrong that you forget what you wanted to do in the first place. So the best solution is to tune them out.
"Successful people know they're doing amazing things with their life, and continue to focus on their dreams and goals," says Lindsey Dinneen, a success, wellness, and lifestyle coach at Life, But Better. "View your opposition as supporters in disguise, because they wouldn't hate or compete with you if you weren't 'worthy' of their notice."
When major opportunities arrive, they're going to feel overwhelming and daunting—that's what makes them major! But successful people power through the feeling that they don't have enough experience and can't meet the challenge. Don't let your self-doubt keep you from trying.
"You will never be fully ready to start that business, or ask for that promotion, so be as prepared as you can, but then dive in headfirst," says Dinneen. "If you wait until you're ready, you'll be waiting your entire life."
Let's be honest, we all procrastinate every now and then, whether it's about that pile of laundry you keep putting off or that résumé you keep saying you'll update, but never do. Successful people have learned how to overcome the habit of putting off what's most important. They get a rush not from the relief they feel by delaying something to another day, but by pushing forward, getting the task done that they said they'd do, and checking it off their list.
"If there's something that needs to get done, it's imperative to meet your deadline," urges Dinneen. "Putting off a difficult or unpleasant task only wastes precious time and can lead you to worrying about it for way longer than you need to."
As anyone who has ever done a group project can tell you, collaboration is not always easy. But successful people tend to know when it's a better idea to go it alone, or bring other individuals into the fold. Maybe a project is in its early stages, and you'd be better off tinkering with it before getting others involved—or maybe the people you'd loop in would only make you less productive. The key to success is knowing the difference.
"Sometimes, because of unaddressed, deeply held values and emotions, one or more people are not prepared to collaborate," says conflict and organizational psychology expert Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler, author of the upcoming book Optimal Outcomes: Free Yourself from Conflict at Work, at Home, and in Life. "Your seeking to collaborate in those circumstances can be highly counterproductive. You waste valuable time and energy devising potential solutions that will never satisfy the others involved. You either create 'Band-Aid' solutions that unravel later, or things escalate into more heated disputes, all while time ticks by."
Like collaboration, avoiding conflict generally falls into the "things you should do" category. But there are definitely limits. If you're avoiding conflict even in situations where you've been seriously wronged, you'll find that you've opened the door to more lines being crossed. If you don't address something that bothers you, it's only going to get worse.
"Avoiding conflict can be useful in situations where you're too upset to have a productive conversation," says Goldman-Wetzler. "But when you avoid conflict regardless of the particular circumstances, you become incommunicative, which allows situations to fester, making them worse, not better. Conflict is prolonged in 'simmer mode' and often eventually breaks out again, sometimes more intensely than before."
When something goes wrong, it's tempting to put the blame on literally anyone else. But over time, that kind of behavior can hurt you even more than it hurts the people you're blaming.
"When your good intention to 'win' a conflict warps into blaming and attacking others, your behavior can have a demoralizing effect: Other people with strong personalities are liable to react by counterattacking you, while people who are conflict avoidant shut down completely," says Goldman-Wetzler. "This produces a loss rather than the win you intended. Sometimes you lose face, while other times you lose money, relationships, time, energy, and focus."
"Top performers don't allow the people around them to dictate their emotions," says former U.S. Marine Eric Rittmeyer, the author of The Emotional Marine: 68 Mental Toughness and Emotional Intelligence Secrets to Make Anyone Instantly Like You.
He points out that those who succeed have a solid understanding of their surroundings—and the people they spend time with.
"High EQ individuals understand while they can't control the emotions of others, they do have 100 percent control of their own emotions," adds Rittmeyer. "They don't allow anyone to dictate how they think. Their thoughts are their own and they have complete control over how they feel at all times."
We've all been there. Something goes wrong—your boss yells at you, you get into a fender bender on your morning commute, or your dog tears up your only pair of work shoes—and you feel like it "ruined" the rest of your day. It's so tempting to throw up your hands when things go sideways. Why not just go home and crawl back into bed, right? But that's not how successful people handle minor issues.
"Successful people never let something small completely ruin their day," says Logan Allec, a CPA and owner of personal finance site Money Done Right. "Everyone faces small setbacks—being late to a meeting or not saying hi to their boss—but successful people don't let that bother them."
He emphasizes that those who succeed accept that they've hit a bump, but then quickly start pumping the gas to move on to the next thing.
"A day is long," Allec adds. "A few seconds can't ruin your day, but if you let it, you can end up becoming a very negative person."
You can't just ignore your email. But it seems like successful people do it all the time. OK, not completely, but they're not so responsive to the constant pings from their inbox that it derails their plans for the day.
"Successful people rarely spend time on email if they can avoid it," says Allec. "The reason why is every email in your inbox is something you need to do. The constant growth of your inbox is distracting and takes you away from the things you actually need to work on."
He suggests just checking email twice a day, and keeping those time frames focused on that specific task, so the rest of your day can be focused on the to-do list items you've decided matter most.
You're an overachiever: Of course you want to raise your hand at every opportunity that comes your way. But overextending yourself so much that you can't follow through is no one's definition of success.
"To be a success, you must be a man/woman of your word," says Damon Nailer, a career consultant, leadership trainer, educator, and author. "As a result, successful people only commit to things that they know they will be able to do. They don't constantly volunteer themselves for tasks and events of which they may not be able to participate in because they are fully aware of their limitations and availability."
You're selective with your time—you have to be selective when it comes to the people you spend it with, too.
"Avoiding negative people is a must," says Nailer. "The majority of successful people possess a positive and upbeat attitude, so they make it a point to not allow depressing, discouraging individuals to occupy their space, especially for long periods of time."
But keep in mind, there's a fine line between staying away from negative people and staying away from everyone. Isolating yourself completely will only hold you back.
"Do you ever worry that if you share your ideas with others that they will steal them? Do you ever feel like receiving feedback on your book or next business idea will derail you from your big vision? Do you simply want to do things your way?" asks Nicole Hernandez, conscious entrepreneur, and the host of The Daring Kind podcast. "If so, you may be isolating yourself from the necessary resources that will block your success."
She points out that the most successful leaders have always kept a close counsel to help them spot potential roadblocks and predict public opinion. "This structure has endured for a reason," says Hernandez. "We aren't able to see all facets of any opportunity or problem, as we are restricted to our own worldview and experiences. When we isolate, we miss the opportunity to address possible misconceptions and mistakes that could have been easily avoided. In short, don't isolate choose to invite."
Seeking success and personal improvement? Great. Beating up on yourself whenever you fall short? Not so great.
"It's really easy to get derailed by life traps and social norms that make us believe that we must be thin, exceedingly attractive, youthful, wealthy, and Ivy league-educated to have a voice, a contribution, or a thriving business," says Hernandez. "By trying to measure up to these elitist standards, we simply drain ourselves of enthusiasm and resourcefulness."
She adds that after interviewing more than 20 entrepreneurs, coaches, and authors for her podcast, she began to notice a pattern among those who broke through this habit of thinking. "At some point in each of their lives, they gave themselves permission to explore their calling," says Hernandez. "They allowed curiosity to be their guide. In understanding the negativity bias, they looked for new evidence to support how they were already resourceful, strong, effective, and confident."
Being focused doesn't mean you can't ever be chill. Almost everything in your life could be taken a little less seriously. By all means, handle things that need to be handled, and treat significant issues with the appropriate level of concern—but you can also find ways to sprinkle in a little humor and perspective, even in the most serious moments.
"Many professionals assume that in order to be taken seriously, we must act stoic and serious," says Hernandez. "There's a time and place for serious conversations, but the truth is that in business, we choose to work with people who are not only proficient—they connect with us on an emotional level."
She points to figures like Richard Branson and John Legere whose amusing antics and enthusiasm have drawn others to them and helped raise their profile.
"Masking the part of your personality that is lighthearted (and perhaps even quirky) is a disservice to yourself it keeps you trapped in an inauthentic energy that informs 8 to 10 hours of your day," says Hernandez. "It leads to disengagement at work and burnout. It also leads to a lack of engagement among colleagues, and it could potentially cost you business opportunities and promotions."
Successful people know that they're successful, but they're not jerks about it. You can't let your high opinion of yourself blind you to potential areas of improvement.
"When we are convinced that we are always right, we stop listening to information around us," says transition and prosperity expert Elisa Robyn, a PhD in Educational Psychology. "We miss important information that will help us make better decisions. In the long run, we build a reputation that chases away the best team members, support staff, and mentors."
"There is a difference between information and gossip, just as there is a difference between coaching or mentoring and criticism and rudeness," says Robyn. "Gossip and rudeness, in the end, isolates people and will make us the object of future gossip. Successful people spend time building up those around them rather than finding ways to tear them down."
It's also just not a good look! Successful people don't spend their time trying to knock others down a peg to make themselves feel better. Long-term, it's going to have the opposite effect.
Slouching might feel nice, but good posture is hugely important. It has such a massive effect on our lives—the impression we make on others, as well as our physical and mental health—that it's kind of surprising we don't practice it like our multiplication tables.
"We are judged as soon as we walk in a room, and our posture communicates our confidence," says Robyn. "Standing straight while holding our core muscles strong projects a sense of power to those around, and makes us feel younger and stronger. When we walk bent over, with our head pushed forward, we look older and tend to shuffle or scurry rather than walk with confidence."
No, that doesn't mean you can't do more than five things in a given day. The point is that focus is key when laying out your day's plan. Cluttering up your to-do list with more than you can handle—or with so many little things that you don't know where to begin—is just going to be counterproductive.
"Those who put too many to-do's on their list simply can't get everything they want done, done. So, they don't," says healthy living expert and coach Erica Ballard, MS, CHC. "They focus on things that will move the needle—be it in their health or business—to make sure they always get what they need done done."
You probably hold yourself to high standards, and that's a good thing. Trouble arises when you don't clearly define those standards for others, and then get upset when they don't meet your vague expectations.
"Just because you think there is a right way to behave or to succeed doesn't mean anyone else agreed to do it your way," says Matthew Ferry, author of Quiet Mind Epic Life and longtime success coach. "If you make assumptions about how everyone is supposed to behave, you will be consistently disappointed."
Successful people walk through life with confidence, but they also know the world still has plenty to teach them. Rather than being know-it-alls, successful people "are curious," according to Ferry. "Pretending to know everything limits creativity and options."
Why We Rush Through Life
It's easy to get caught up in the holiday rush, but what about the rush of everyday life? Life is speeding up, and with it, our inner angst. We want to cram in as much as we can and be productive, but at what cost?
I've often noticed that when I'm rushing, I'm not really present. I'm just focused on getting things done. I'm racing against the clock. It's a feeling of pushing against time, the present moment itself. It's exhausting and draining. While there's nothing wrong with rushing, we're not really home when we rush. We cannot be present and rush at the same time.
When we're rushing, we are living in a state of resistance. It produces a state of consciousness that often comes about when we're feeling anxious. It's a lack of willingness to be in the present moment. Have you ever noticed how rushing implies a feeling of lack? A lack of time, a lack of permission, a lack of space in the present moment. even a lack of space within ourselves.
1. It's habitual: Rushing is our MO. We get a "rush" from rushing. It's unconscious and can be addictive. To see why it's habitual, read on.
2. To avoid: We don't want to feel our real feelings, or deal with our stuff. Constant movement is a distraction to deeper, underlying feelings that cause us dis-ease and discomfort.
3. Self-importance: We fear other people's judgments and perceptions of us. When we constantly exude a sense of urgency, we feel valuable in the eyes of others.
4. We're busy: Some things we have to do, especially if we're juggling multiple responsibilities. However, we unnecessarily fill up our time because we want to feel needed and productive. We value doing over being.
5. We feel unworthy: We tie our inherent self-worth to achievement, doing and productivity. We feel guilty when we slow down. We feel unworthy if we're not doing something.
6. Competition & control: We feel that if we slow down, we'll get run down and everyone will move ahead of us. We want to be first. We feel like we have to do everything, or life will fall apart.
7. We're lazy: It's easier to rush through life and be on automatic, than to slow down and make a conscious effort to be present. Being present takes energy and intention. Rushing allows us to live on the surface rather than go deep.
8. We feel pressure: We feel a constant pressure to perform. This can come from the voice of our parents or society, where we feel we need "to do" in order to "be loved." We feel the need to hurry up and cram everything in, in order to feel worthy of love. This can come from people pleasing and the need to prove ourselves.
9. False perception: The idea that the grass is greener somewhere else. The future is better than now. We feel like we're missing opportunities by slowing down.
It helps to know why we're rushing. A good question to ask is "What's the rush?" or "Why do I need to rush right now?"
Knowing what is causing us to push alleviates the pressure that comes from rushing. If you don't know, you can simply stop. Stop and take a breath. Invite some space in. Acknowledge to yourself, "I know I'm rushing right now," and invite yourself back to the present moment. It's a good time to practice self-compassion, and compassion for others who are cutting you off on the freeway!
To be present is to fully inhabit the moment, to slow down and pay attention to everything around us. Letting go of the inner rush allows us to experience higher states, like joy, connection and love. It takes courage to live inside the moment. It happens when we slow down and find inner stillness.
How to Prevent Jet Lag
Jet lag: the main killer of productivity and enjoyment when travelling across time zones. Common folk remedies include pressure points, aromatherapy, and light exposure behind the knee. But is there evidence any of these actually work? Probably not. Fortunately, recent research on circadian rhythms has suggested a reliable method to reduce or even completely prevent jet lag.
Circadian rhythms are the roughly 24-hour biological rhythms that drive changes within humans and most other organisms. For example, humans have circadian rhythms of alertness and body temperature. Usually these rhythms align with the environment&rsquos natural light and dark cycle: peak drowsiness occurs around 5:00 AM, when it is often dark out. Jet lag occurs when our rhythms no longer align with the environment. Flying from Vancouver to Moscow &mdash 12 hours ahead &mdash means that peak drowsiness occurs at 5:00 PM, when one would usually want to be alert. Although scientists have known about circadian rhythms for centuries, evidence has recently accumulated that we can apply this knowledge to minimise the negative effects of shift work and jet lag.
Whether circadian rhythms align with the environment is determined by factors such as exercise, melatonin, and light. Bright light exposure is the most powerful way to cause a phase shift &mdash an advance or delay in circadian rhythms. Light in the early morning makes you wake up earlier (&ldquophase advance&rdquo) light around bed time makes you wake up later (&ldquophase delay&rdquo).
This simple insight can be used to minimise jet lag. For example, Helen Burgess and colleagues from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago studied whether jet lag could be prevented by phase shifting before departing. After three days of light exposure in the morning, the participants&rsquo circadian rhythms shifted by an average of 2.1 hours. This means they would feel less jet lagged, and would be fully adjusted to the new time zone around two days earlier. Several field studies have reached similar conclusions.
Thus, seeking and avoiding light at the right times can reduce jet lag. To seek light, expose yourself to bright and continuous light by going out in sunlight or using a commercially-available portable light box. To avoid light, stay indoors away from sunlight, or wear dark sunglasses.
Calculating when to seek and avoid light depends on the number of time zones crossed, direction of travel, and usual wake and sleep times. These calculations can be done automatically online, or manually by following some rough guidelines:
1. Estimate when your body temperature reaches a minimum. If sleeping 7 or fewer hours per night, assume this is 2 hours before your usual wake time. If sleeping more, assume this is 3 hours before your usual wake time.
2. Determine whether you need to advance or delay your circadian rhythms. If you are flying east (to a later time zone), such as from Los Angeles to New York, you will need to phase advance. Otherwise, if you are flying west, you will need to phase delay.
3. If you need to phase advance, avoid light for 4 hours before your body temperature minimum, and seek light for 4 hours after it. Otherwise, do the opposite.
4. Shift your estimated body temperature minimum by one hour earlier per day if phase advancing, or one and a half hours later per day if phase delaying.
Of course, most people try to adjust to the new time zone without controlling their exposure to light and dark. These people often end up jet lagged for longer than necessary. They can also experience antidromic re-entrainment, when the circadian rhythms shift in the opposite direction. For example, incidental light exposure can cause people to phase delay rather than phase advance, making jet lag worse. Besides gastrointestinal disturbances and reduced alertness, frequent jet lag is associated with cancer and digestive diseases in humans, and increases mortality in mice.
Given this knowledge of circadian rhythms, one can &mdash as one article title claimed &mdash &ldquotrick Mother Nature&rdquo into letting you fly around the world without jet lag. And you won&rsquot even need a flashlight behind your knee.
The psychological tricks TfL uses to make London's tube feel faster
Commuters are difficult animals to herd – a fact learned the hard way by Transport for London (TfL), which runs the Underground network as well as buses, trams and boats in the British capital.
In 2016, in an effort to battle station congestion, staff at Holborn station in central London ran an experiment. Rather than follow the long-entrenched rule that tells Underground passengers to stand on the right side of the escalator, leaving the left for those in a rush to walk up or down, they asked commuters to stand on both sides.
There was method to this madness: Holborn's escalator is 24 metres high, meaning 60 per cent of people don't actually bother to climb it, according to The Guardian. Staff figured that standing on both sides could boost passenger flow – and they were right, with 16,220 customers ferried up the standing-only escalators versus the usual 12,745 over the same length of time.
But there was a problem: nobody wanted to break tube etiquette. At the time, commuters were quoted as saying the new escalator rule was "really frustrating" and "blatantly not working". Despite the success moving passengers, the standing-both-sides method hasn't yet been trialled at other tube stations. And it's not only Londoners who are so single-minded: similar escalator etiquette has been challenged in Hong Kong and Japan, where an attempt to get people to stand on both sides also failed.
Such is the power of tube psychology. But what exactly is happening in commuters’ minds in such situations? Why is being asked to stand on an escalator in a certain way so infuriating?
Rory Sutherland, vice chairman of behavioural science consultancy Ogilvychange, says that basic psychology is at play. "By making people stand on both sides, you are actually removing choice from people and they like the feeling of autonomy, even when actually the choices they're making aren't all that different," he says.
Nick Tyler, professor at UCL's centre for transport studies, says we don't want to have to overthink what we're doing while navigating stations, "We only have so much capacity for cognitive processing," he explains. "So basically, in peak hours, people are functioning on a kind of ɺutopilot'."
Tyler adds that though the escalator change may have worked mathematically, it "failed psychologically". And this is exactly why TfL runs such trials, as what works on paper doesn't necessarily go as planned once people get involved.
But the maths of the Underground are increasingly problematic, with overcrowding despite passenger numbers dropping slightly, leading to budget shortfalls that can cancel network upgrades, further exacerbating crowding. No wonder TfL hasn't given up trying to improve passenger flow. A spokesperson told WIRED that there are so many little, local experiments happening across the gargantuan network that TfL doesn't even have a record of them all. (The spokesperson added that they also don't like publicising the trials in order to keep the results authentic.)
One trial last summer was noticed by the public, as it involved green lanes painted down one platform of Kings Cross, directing people where to stand to make it easier for those alighting during crowded times. "I think the concept is important: if people cannot leave the train, they block others trying to board," says Tyler. "Trains are running at higher frequencies than before, and it is often not possible to clear the platform of passengers from one train before the next one arrives. The stations are too small so the space for passengers is very restricted."
Results from that study haven't yet been published. A TfL spokesperson noted that, though crowding was alleviated, the trial happened as that particular line added a few extra trains an hour, making benchmarking difficult. (Green instructions on the ground might help lessen crowding, but extra trains certainly will.)
And that's the problem, says Oliver Green, the former curator of the London Transport Museum and the author of The Tube and Designed for London: 150 years of Transport Design. He argues that psychological tricks and smarter wayfinding are only fiddling around the edges of a massively overburdened transport network the real work isn't in passenger behaviour, but infrastructure.
"The tube is a very constricted environment and there are not many options for getting people through faster," he says. "Back in the 1920s, putting in escalators instead of lifts at new or rebuilt stations made a huge difference, but nowadays you need at least two sets of escalators at busy stations, plus new lifts for disabled access. You can only really relieve the pinch points through major reconstruction, which is expensive and difficult so it rarely happens."
Better design helps, of course. For example, he says, Jubilee Line stations have markedly more organised queues than other lines, because the platforms are enclosed. The train carriage doors meet up with the platform doors, so everyone knows where to stand. That's effectively what part of the "green lanes" trial at Kings Cross was hoping to achieve, but even if commuters know where to queue, there's not always space to do it, he says. "[London Underground's] battle to improve capacity will go on indefinitely and these ‘experiments’ at a few stations will make very little difference," he predicts.
Short of building new stations and drilling tunnels for larger trains, we're stuck, says Simeon Koole, lecturer at the University of Bristol. "I would be reluctant to argue there is anything specific about behaviour that makes it difficult to change, and focus more on particular material restrictions of the tube: the confined space limits the possibilities for redesigning tube cars and platforms and therefore for managing passenger flow and conduct."
That said, Tyler says there are plenty of gains to be had by helping passengers board and depart quickly. "We did a lot of experiments for London Underground and others in relation to passengers at the platform-train interface and it is quite clear that our understanding of what actually happens was pretty poor," he says. "We tend to think about the carrying capacity of trains, but not their capacity to cope with boarding and alighting at stations, which is arguably far more critical."
Shave a few seconds from a train time or improve signalling and you'll improve capacity by increasing the frequency with the same fleet – but that needs better understanding of train and platform design as well as human behaviour. Improvements can stem from doors on the platform as with the Jubilee Line, gap fillers between the platform and train to reduce fears of falling, announcements to move passengers down along the platform, better signalling so trains can get closer together safely, and plenty more.
"We have looked at evening out the spacing and design of doors on trains and opening up the train carriages, and this helps to even out the differences in numbers of passengers waiting at each door," Tyler says. "In the end, the time in the station is dependent on the time taken at the slowest door, so evening out those numbers makes a big difference."
Experiments in customer behaviour to alleviate overcrowding aren't new. Koole references in a paper that station managers in 1919 were struggling to get passengers to board trains quickly enough the difference between a 25-second load time and the average 55 seconds cost the network ten trains an hour, slicing capacity by a quarter. To speed up loading, Oxford Circus station tried barriers to hold back commuters until passengers had left the train, removing the barrier when it was time to board. It didn't work, as departing passengers started to be "more leisurely in their movements." At Knightsbridge, they tried "organised queuing", but it didn't work at busier stations. Koole says station staff have been telling passengers to move down the platform with megaphones since the 1920s.
Even tube carriages were meddled with. In 1915, an experiment introduced doors to the centre of carriages previously they were only at either end, making it difficult to load passengers. Automated versions were widely rolled out in the 1920s, and the addition of doors at the middle of carriages meant at some curved stations there was a gap between train and platform – hence the introduction of the "mind the gap" warning.
Such efforts to manage passenger flow are possibly why we stand on the right and walk on the left, Koole says. "On the early escalators a handrail cut diagonally across the top from left to right" as passengers stepped off, he explains. The first tube escalators, notably at Earls Court, were designed to push passengers to step off at a diagonal angle, as it helped avoid their shoes and coats being trapped between the escalator and the floor – a problem because of the way that the moving sections disappeared under the floor. There's a theory, Koole says, that the design encouraged the still-remaining stand-on-the-right rule, as those moving more quickly had a more direct route off the escalator.