Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s guide to life for boys, well, all of us, really

Thursday, 31 October, 2013

A guide to becoming a man, or adult, by retired US basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. All good stuff, so good that I’ve itemised each of his points… if only wisdom could be acquired by merely reading an article though.

  • Learn who you are as an individual
  • Stand up for yourself and your beliefs
  • Avoid a physical fight – if you can
  • Play a team sport
  • Choose your friends for the right reasons
  • Fight your fear of the unknown
  • Listen to advice
  • Be politically aware
  • Mind your manners
  • Be patient in love
  • Stay fit
  • Never, never do something on a dare
  • Get organized
  • Find heroes to copy
  • Be independent
  • Question authority
  • Get smart
  • Express yourself
  • Pay attention to the short run…
  • …but keep your eye on the long run

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Bad decisions come about from a bad thinking process

Tuesday, 29 October, 2013

Why are so many bad decisions made? Often it comes down to a refusal to look objectively at the situation at hand, and fully weigh up all available options in finding a resolution.

We need to acknowledge our tendency to incorrectly process challenging news and actively push ourselves to hear the bad as well as the good. It felt great when I stumbled across information that implied I didn’t need any serious treatment at all. When we find data that supports our hopes we appear to get a dopamine rush similar to the one we get if we eat chocolate, have sex or fall in love. But it’s often information that challenges our existing opinions or wishful desires that yields the greatest insights. I was lucky that my boyfriend alerted me to my most dopamine-drugged moments. The dangerous allure of the information we want to hear is something we need to be more vigilant about, in the medical consulting room and beyond.

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Calling time on the mid life crisis… any time can be crisis time

Tuesday, 15 October, 2013

Is that a mid-life crisis you’re having, or could it all be a misconception, built up by the media, and film producers with big budgets? While mid-life angst may be a figment of our imaginations, the news is not all good, a life crisis can still come along at any age, during any decade.

At any decade in your life, our results suggest that there is a 40 to 50 percent chance of having a life crisis. There’s a slight increase with age and in general women tend to experience more than men – but that could be because they may be more open to admitting that they have had a hard time.

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Tried and true tonics for a Monday morning

Monday, 14 October, 2013

Ten, scientifically proven, pick-me-ups that will have feeling much better in no, or not too much, time at all. Sufficient sleep and exercise, plus reducing your commute, where that is possible, top out the list.

Planning a trip, or holiday, that you don’t actually intend taking, also helps lift spirits, on account of the anticipation, planning, etc, involved, though I’d have thought there’d be a downside when it was realised said getaway was not going to eventuate.

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The best thing about asking yourself questions is not having to lie

Monday, 16 September, 2013

Time for a little introspection, what better for a Monday morning? The only way to bring about the change you want to see is to truly question yourself… if you can answer all thirty-five of these questions though, you’ll be making some serious progress.

What are you pretending not to know? This was perhaps the most powerful question I was ever asked. All possibilities open up when we stop deceiving ourselves.

Now that one is probably the best of the lot.

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A struggling artist is, it seems, a happy artist

Wednesday, 11 September, 2013

Despite not earning a great deal of money, European artists tend to be happier, and more satisfied with their work, than those with roles in higher paying professions.

So why are artists (aside from those in the U.K.) happier in their work? The researchers note that they were significantly more likely to describe their job as interesting; to say it allowed them to learn new skills and use their own initiative; and to report they were largely free to make their own decisions. In addition, “Being self-employed raises job satisfaction,” the researchers write, “and artists are self-employed more often than other individuals.” Self-employment also tends to mean flexible working hours – another factor linked to high job satisfaction.

There’s a lot to be said, it seems, for being self-employed.

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The pale person’s guide to surviving the sun

Monday, 15 July, 2013

I’m bookmarking this for later in the year, like September… the pale person’s guide to surviving the sun.

Excessive sun exposure – specifically, exposure to UV radiation – can lead to skin cancer. And those of us with pale skin who don’t tan, who have relatives who’ve had skin cancers, who get moles, or who get severe sunburns are most at risk. To make matters worse, UV radiation is three times stronger in the summer than in winter.

The article includes a link to the UV index smartphone app, something that looks like it could be very useful for those concerned about exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

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All beer and skittles, the life of the self disciplined that is, kind of…

Thursday, 4 July, 2013

Those who practice a little self discipline, and often forgo the indulgences that perhaps more easygoing persons permit themselves, are no less fulfilled or unhappy than anyone else. In fact their temperament may even be more positive:

Those who showed the greatest self-control reported more good moods and fewer bad ones. But this didn’t appear to linked to being more able to resist temptations – it was because they exposed themselves to fewer situations that might evoke craving in the first place. They were, in essence, setting themselves up to happy. “People who have good self-control do a number of things that bring them happiness – namely, they avoid problematic desires and conflict,” says the study’s co-author Kathleen Vohs, professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota.

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The sociopath inside me, you, and everyone else it seems

Wednesday, 3 July, 2013

Here’s a thought to mull over… might it be time to reevaluate what it means to be deemed a sociopath, given we all have, how do I say this, a dark streak, to some degree, running through us?

Sociopathy is a personality disorder that manifests itself in such traits as dishonesty, charm, manipulation, narcissism, and a lack of both remorse and impulse control. In 1980, criminal psychologist Robert Hare developed the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), the universally heralded method for diagnosing psychopathy – used most often to determine whether a criminal is suitable for parole or poses such a danger to society that he deserves the death penalty. But Hare doesn’t believe psychopathy is confined to the prison system. In fact, quite the opposite: two years ago, Ronson quoted Hare’s assessment that “you’re four times more likely to find a psychopath at the top of the corporate ladder than you are walking around the janitor’s office.”

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If you were paid only to be healthy, would you accept the job?

Wednesday, 12 June, 2013

Should we receive some sort of financial incentive to lead a healthier lifestyle? On the surface it seems like a sensible, if perhaps expensive, idea, but how might those who are already fit react? In other words, should people be paid for maintaining their health, something they ought to be doing anyway?

In one study, Volpp and colleagues teamed up with General Electric to develop financial incentives to get employees to quit smoking. All smokers received information about smoking-cessation programs, but half were chosen at random to also receive financial incentives. In the financial incentive group, smokers were given $100 for completing a smoking-cessation informational program, $250 for quitting smoking within six months of joining the study, and $400 if they were still not smoking six months after they quit. The smokers in the incentive group were three times more likely to join a smoking-cessation program, and three times more likely to quit smoking than those who were not offered financial rewards. But when GE rolled these financial incentives to quit smoking to the rest of their workforce, employees complained about rewarding smokers to do something they should be doing anyway. From their perspective, GE turned the program into a penalty rather than reward program.

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