Heavy metal music, the secret of many people’s success

Friday, 12 February, 2016

Despite concerns, and what would be ingrained perceptions to the contrary, an interest in, or even a devotion to, heavy metal music could well be beneficial, writes Ryan Holiday:

A few years ago a study found that kids with the highest IQs are disproportionately attracted to heavy metal. The reason is that the themes of alienation, frustration, and even pain, match the experience of a smart young person struggling to fit in and make sense of the world. So yes, most parents might think that metal songs are about drugs, violence, suicide, the devil and whatever other ridiculous stereotypes scared people project onto it. More directly, the assumption is that they somehow advocate these things to impressionable young people. Of course, the opposite is true.

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How seriously should you take the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator?

Friday, 12 February, 2016

My Myers–Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, is INFJ. If you’re curious as to your type, you could try this test. While what you learn may be interesting, it may not be entirely scientific or accurate, and this has the potential to be a problem, given the number of recruiters who swear by it.

For my part, I’ve always taken issue to the idea that there are only sixteen personality types. According to MBTI creators Isabel Briggs Myers, and Katharine Cook Briggs, there can be no fewer, there can be no more. Human nature is somewhat more complicated than that though.

As Carl Jung himself said, every individual is an exception to the rule. And it was his work that the MBTI was built upon. Still, I think MBTI probably does a reasonable job of identifying certain aspects of someone’s personality, such as introversion, extroversion, and whether people’s thinking is based on say intuition, sensing, or judging.

I said before that my MBTI was INFJ, yet I do end up with other results from time to time. How do you account for that? Maybe the MBTI is better viewed as entertainment, than anything else?

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What’s your favourite web browser, a trick job interview question?

Thursday, 11 February, 2016

A job applicant’s choice of web browser can say a lot about how they work, and even the potential tenure of their employment, and it might be worth sneaking a question on the subject into an interview, the next time you’re recruiting.

People who download an alternative to the browser that shipped with their personal computer, Internet Explorer in the case of a Windows device, or Safari for an Apple computer, tend to think a little more outside the box, as it were, as they don’t always accept what is offered as the default option:

What browser you use signals something about the way that you tend to live your life. If you use Firefox or Chrome, you have to download those browsers; whereas Safari and Internet Explorer – they come pre-installed on your computer, they’re the default. And if you’re the kind of person who just accepts the default, you tend not to take as many original steps as the rest of us. If you’re somebody who had that instinct to say, you know, “I wonder if there’s a better browser out there,” that’s just a tiny clue that you might be the kind of person who’s willing to reject other defaults in your life too.

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Learn twice as fast by mixing up the learning process

Wednesday, 10 February, 2016

Learning by repetition, by say repeatedly following a set of instructions to the letter, may not be the fastest way to pick up a new skill, or knowledge. Rather, adding some variation to the process might speed things up:

The key to learning a new motor skill – such as playing the piano or mastering a new sport – isn’t necessarily how many hours you spend practising, but the way you practise, according to new research. Scientists have found that by subtly varying your training, you can keep your brain more active throughout the learning process, and halve the time it takes to get up to scratch.

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Play the game of life like it’s Tetris, rather than chess

Tuesday, 2 February, 2016

Winging it, or dealing with things as and when they arise, might be better than adopting a strategy, when it comes to life, writes Tor Bair. That makes a certain amount of sense, when you think about it.

I grew up looking for opponents – people to fight, people to blame, people to prove wrong. I imagined enemies when there were none because fighting was easy. I treated everything like it was zero-sum when there was so much else to gain. That’s the chess mindset. And it holds you back. In Tetris, you’re only playing against time and the never-ending flow of pieces from top to bottom. The mindset is internally focused – you are challenging yourself to correctly manipulate a random stream of inputs into an orderly configuration. There’s no final boss. No blame to assign.

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Why are some people always late? Why’s punctuality so difficult?

Tuesday, 2 February, 2016

Why is that some people simply cannot grasp the concept of punctuality, and are consistently late for everything? Such tardiness may not be entirely deliberate though, as some people perceive time to pass more slowly than others do.

For example, eighty seconds can feel like sixty seconds to some. Add those eighty second “minutes” together, and that can total up to a fair amount of “lost” time.

For my part, if I’m focused, I’m rarely late, but if distracted, that’s another matter. In those situations I often think I have more time than I actually do, especially if there’s a few things to take care of – items on my to-do list for instance – before I have to be somewhere.

Distraction also plays a role; if you open up a newspaper, or start a video game, or pour a cup of coffee, it’s often hard to leave before that task is completed. “They get sidetracked by things that, in the moment, are more appealing and engaging.”

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Non-English language words that may better describe your positivity

Tuesday, 2 February, 2016

Tim Lomas is a London based lecturer in positive psychology – a field that possibly we all need to study more – who has compiled a list of non-English words, that cannot be directly translated into English, that pertain to mindsets and feelings that are somehow positive .

I’m happy to say that there’s a lot to like about this list. “Lagom” a Swedish word, caught my eye, and means to do something to just the right degree. English speakers might use the word “moderation”, but “lagom” hits the nail on the head far more effectively.

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How many conspiracy theorists can keep a secret? Not many…

Thursday, 28 January, 2016

If the NASA Apollo Moon landings were all an elaborate hoax, we’d have found out by now. To create a ruse of such proportions, would have required the efforts of a great many people. Over four hundred thousand, according to Oxford University physicist David Robert Grimes.

Ask yourself, what are the chances of that many people keeping their silence for the forty plus years since the last Apollo flight? Grimes believes that once a conspiracy involves one thousand people it won’t stay a secret for long. I think the number would be far less than that, before someone felt compelled to tell all, wouldn’t you?

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The manifesto of a doer, because we all need a little motivation

Friday, 22 January, 2016

A manifesto of a doer. I’m only posting this, because I think I don’t do enough in a day.

Days however just about always include a couple of hours of procrastination, an ideal way to while away bus or train trips, or the walk down to the running track, and I take the scenic route, so it’s not as if every minute is spent trying to be productive anyway.

Then again, maybe it’s the heat that’s making doing things difficult at the moment.

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Some help finding the best job for you, if that’s what you need

Thursday, 14 January, 2016

The desire to leave an unfulfilling job is one thing, but knowing what to do next can be another matter entirely. The key is identifying what you do best, and rest assured, there’ll be something. It’s not always easy, but who knows, that may prove to be the hardest part of making a change.

If you can find a way to make money doing what you are best at every day, you will be happy doing it. It is a simple verifiable truth. The tough part is identifying what you are best at. It can be really challenging to nail down what special, unique ability that you possess. We all have one, and sadly many of us can’t find it. It can be programmed out, or stagnant from years of neglect. But if you do find it, you will have the chance of reaching the magical intersection of skill, productivity, and happiness.

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