According to scientists, visiting the beach can change your brain in an incredible way

Source: Pexels

By: Alexandrea Becker

That incredible feeling of peace and calmness that you experience at the beach is now being referred to as “blue space.” That’s what scientists have dubbed the effect that the combination of soothing smells and sounds of water have on your brain. The blue space is enough to make you feel at ease in a hypnotic sort of way.

When you notice how relaxed you feel at the beach, it’s not just all in your head. Science says that it’s a change in the way your brain reacts to its environment leaving you feeling happy, relaxed and reenergized.

Overall, this blue space effects you in four different ways.

1. Going to the beach reduces stress.


Water is nature’s cure to life’s stressors. It’s full of naturally occurring positive ions that are known for having the ability to make you feel at ease. So whether you jump in for a swim or simply dip your toes in the water, you’re sure to experience a feeling of relaxation. That’s one instant mood booster we could all use from time to time!

2. The beach boosts your creativity.


Feeling like you’re in a creative rut? Well, scientists now believe that the solution to this is the beach. Being in blue space allows you to clear your head and approach problems or projects in a more creative way. Much like meditation, the beach triggers a feeling of calmness that allows you to tune everything else out and reflect on what it is you’ve been needing to focus on.

3. Going to the beach can help reduce feelings of depression.


Much like the effects that the beach has on feelings of stress and creative ruts, the beach also provides some relief to feelings of depression. The hypnotic sound of the waves in combination with the sight and smells of the beach can put you into a meditative space. In turn, you can clear your mind and reflect on life in a safe space away from the chaos of your daily life.

4. Overall, spending time at the beach will change your perspective on life.


And that perspective is going to change for the better! Nature in general has always been a factor in healthy happy lives, but the beach in particular is so good for the soul

3 Proven Ways to Change a Bad Habit


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By Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D.The Science of Success

Each year, we see January 1st as a time for fresh starts – for tackling our bad habits head on and replacing them with new, healthier ones.  Maybe you want to start exercising regularly, quit smoking, lose a few pounds, or remember to call your mother more often.   Now Spring is here, and many of us are no closer to changing our bad habits than we were three months ago.  But don’t give up yet!  No matter what it is you would like to do differently, these simple, scientifically-tested strategies will help you to finally make the real, lasting changes you’re looking for.

1.    Get Specific.  Very Specific.

One of the most common mistakes we make when trying to reach a goal is not being specific enough about what we want, and what we we’re going to do to make it happen.  We say things like “I want to lose some weight” – but how much exactly do you want to lose?  Studies show that it is much easier to stay motivated when we have a very specific end point in mind, and can know at any moment exactly how far we still have to go.Image result for be specific

Next, make sure you think about the specific actions you’ll need to take to succeed.  Don’t just say “I’ll eat less.”  Less of what?  And how much less?   Don’t just say “I’ll save more money each month.”  Decide exactly what will you spend less on to make that happen.  The more detailed you make your plan, the more likely you are to actually stick to it.


2.    Embrace this Fact: It’s Going to Be Hard.

People will tell you that it is important to stay positive and be confident in order to reach any goal, and that’s perfectly true.  But there’s an important difference between believing you will succeed, and believing you will succeed easily.  When you are tackling a difficult challenge, like losing weight or stopping smoking, you will be much better off if you accept the fact that it’s not going to be smooth sailing.   

Studies show that people who are realistic about what it will take to succeed naturally plan more, put in more effort, and persist longer in pursuit of their goals.  They expect to have to work hard, so that’s exactly what they do.

For example, in one study, women in a weight loss program who believed that it would be hard to resist the temptation of snack foods lost 24 pounds more than women who believed they could easily ignore the allure of doughnuts and potato chips.  Because they accepted that it would be hard, they avoided being anywhere near tempting foods, and were much more successful because of it.


3.    Willpower is Like a Muscle.  Plan What You’ll Do When It Gets Tired.


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Research shows that your capacity for self-control is very much like the muscles in your body – it can grow stronger with regular exercise.  But just as well-developed biceps sometimes get tired and jelly-like after too much use, coping with the daily stresses of career and family can exhaust your supply of willpower.  When you tax it too much at once, or for too long, the well of self-control strength runs dry.   It is in these moments that the doughnut wins.

If you’ve spent all your self-control handling other challenges, you will not have much left at the end of the day for resisting bad habits.  So it’s important to think about when you are most likely to feel drained and vulnerable, and make a plan to keep yourself out of harm’s way.  Be prepared in advance with an alternate activity or a low-calorie snack, whichever applies.


Keys to Success: 6 Traits the Most Successful People Have in Common

May 14, 2014

Stanford MBA school professor Jeffrey Pfeffer looked at the research on success and power along with studying the lives of such high achievers as LBJandRobert Moses.

He identified six traits that were keys to success.

Pfeffer was thorough in that he did not just note the qualities all successful people had, but specifically sought out the elements that were present in the powerful and lacking in those who had accomplished less.

Pfeffer pulls no punches. These are not all kind words fit for Hallmark cards and inspirational posters.

These are what studies have shown works and what has been demonstrated through history when analyzing the lives of those who have reached the highest levels.

Keys To Success #1: Energy And Physical Stamina

Few mention this but it’s really vital.

As I’ve posted multiple times before, high achievers work relentlessly. And to do that, you must have the energy.

Via Managing With Power: Politics and Influence in Organizations:

In a study of general managers in industry, John Kotter reported that many of them worked 60 to 65 hours per week–which translates into at least six 10-hour days. The ability and willingness to work grueling hours has characterized many powerful figures… Energy and strength provide many advantages to those seeking to build power. First, it enables you to outlast your opposition, or to use sheer hard work to overcome others who surpass you in intelligence or skill. Second, your energy and endurance provide a role model for others, something that will inspire those around you to work harder.

Keys To Success #2: Focus

Sounds generic but Pfeffer cites the example of a young LBJ turning down a lucrative oil investment because he knew, down the road, being allied with oil companies could hurt his chance at sitting in the oval office.

He was thinking way ahead and making decisions aligned with his goals.

Successful CEO’s tend to stay in one industry and at one company because energy is not diverted and a strong base is established.

Via Managing With Power: Politics and Influence in Organizations:

In Kotter’s study of 15 successful general managers, he found that they tended to have concentrated their efforts in one industry and in one company. He concluded that general management was not general, and that the particular expertise acquired by concentrating on a narrow range of business issues is helpful in building a power base and in becoming successful. Concentrating your career in a single industry and in one or a very few organizations is also helpful because it means that your energy is not diverted, and your attention is focused on a narrower set of concerns and problems.

Keys To Success #3: Sensitivity To Others

Knowing what others want and how to best communicate with them is powerful.

But Pfeffer is quick to distinguish between recognition of others’ needs and actually fulfilling them.

The first is essential, the second, well — that’s a matter of negotiation.

Via Managing With Power: Politics and Influence in Organizations:

In this effort to influence others, it is clearly useful to be able to understand them, their interests and attitudes, and how to reach them… It should be clear that being sensitive to others does not mean that one is necessarily going to act in their interests, in a friendly fashion, or on their behalf. Sensitivity simply means understanding who they are, their position on the issues, and how best to communicate with and influence them.

Keys To Success #4: Flexibility

Here’s where it gets more Machiavellian.

(And lest you interpret that the wrong way, remember that Machiavelli was not an evil man – he was a historian who said looking at the past, here’s what works and what doesn’t.)

Pfeffer notes that flexibility — changing your position — can confer a great deal of power because it allows you to tailor your presentation, pivot when things aren’t working, and acquire necessary allies.

Via Managing With Power: Politics and Influence in Organizations:

Sensitivity to others is not worth much unless you are able to use that information to modify your behavior… Although flexibility sometimes carries a negative connotation, it is a very important characteristic for those who hope to develop power. It provides the capacity to change course and to adopt new approaches, rather than clinging to actions that are not working. Flexibility also helps one to acquire allies, as it is easier to shift approaches to accommodate different interests.

Keys To Success #5: Ability To Tolerate Conflict

If you back down every time it looks like a fight is coming, well, you’re not going to win many fights.

Sometimes fighting is necessary. And just having others know you’re willing to fight can pay major dividends.

Via Managing With Power: Politics and Influence in Organizations:

Because the need for power arises only under circumstances of disagreement, one of the personal attributes of powerful people is the willingness to engage in conflict with others… being pliable may win you more genuine liking among your co-workers. But it is not the case that those who are the most liked by others for their pleasant personalities are inevitably the most powerful or able to get things accomplished.

Keys To Success #6: Submerging One’s Ego And Getting Along

Just as being toothless is bad business, so is fighting all the time. Alliances and allies are far more likely to be beneficial on an everyday basis.

Ego can be a huge enemy even when you know what the smart move is.

It is a great advantage to be able to swallow your pride and lose the battle in order to win the war.

Via Managing With Power: Politics and Influence in Organizations:

Sometimes it’s important to fight, to be difficult, to make rivals pay for getting their way instead of doing what you want done. At other times, it is important to build alliances and networks of friendship by getting along. People who are able to develop great power often seem to have the knack for changing their behavior according to the needs of the occasion… The problem in getting along, building alliances, and developing a coterie of supporters is that our ego sometimes gets in the way. Thus, the final characteristic I have identified as a source of power is the ability to submerge one’s ego in the effort to get something accomplished.

People Love To Identify As “Introverts” — But What Does That Term Actually Mean?


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Why does it seem trendy to be — or at least call yourself — an introvert?

The label “introvert” hasn’t always been fashionable. It used to carry mostly negative connotations in the West, where traits associated with introversion — quiet, reserved, reflective — aren’t exactly as championed. Some have even considered introversion a behavioral defect.

But in recent years, articles about introversion have become ubiquitous, especially in the BuzzFeed listicles: 37 Jokes That’ll Make Introverts Think “Yep, That’s Me” or 21 Pictures You’ll Only Understand If You’re Introverted. There have been best-selling books on the subject, like Susan Cain’s 2012 Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.And, of course, numerous TED Talks.

Extraversion doesn’t get the same praise. I can’t recall reading an article or having a conversation in which someone felt the need to champion or defend extraversion, or drop the fact that they’re a bit of an extravert in that humble-brag way that self-identifying introverts do.

So, why the hype? Could it be the result of people trying to excuse unhealthy behavior, possibly aided by a misunderstanding of introversion?

“What troubles me, however, is the blurring of lines between introversion and other personality traits,” writes Sugandha for the Huffington Post. “… we have also been OKing, perhaps indeliberately (or perhaps not), the dark side of introversion—often and almost always made up of one or all of quirks such as a compulsive and unjustified hate of other people, an intolerance for difference of opinion, elitism, thanklessness rooted in narcissism, unfriendliness, or worse, an “ugh I hate the world” attitude that isn’t exactly healthy.”

It’s hard to say exactly why introversion is having a “cultural moment.” But what’s clear is that many people have an incomplete understanding of the term.

“When you survey a person on the street, asking them to define introversion, what comes up as the prototypical characteristics … are things like thoughtful or introspective,” said Jonathan Cheek, a psychology professor at Wellesley College.

Neither of these terms, however, are found in the scientific literature, where conceptualizations of introversion have differed over the past century.

So what exactly is introversion?

Carl Jung popularized the terms “introversion” and “extraversion” (spelled with an “a” by Jung) in his 1921 paper ‘Psychological Types’The main idea behind his definition was that introverts focus their “energy” inward, while extraverts focus it outward:1

“Extraversion is characterized by interest in the external object, responsiveness, and a ready acceptance of external happenings, a desire to influence and be influenced by events, a need to join in… the capacity to endure bustle and noise of every kind, and actually find them enjoyable, constant attention to the surrounding world, the cultivation of friends and acquaintances… The psychic life of this type of person is enacted, as it were, outside himself, in the environment.”

Another way of thinking about the two terms is how a subject relates to an object in the world, as Jung wrote:

“Whereas the extraverted type refers preeminently to that which reaches him from the object, the introvert principally relies upon that which the outer impression constellates in the subject.”

In other words: extraverts focus on information from objects, and introverts focus on the effects within themselves caused by the information from objects. (In this definition, objects can be people, places, events, things or ideas.)

Psychologists have expanded Jung’s concept of introversion and extraversion over the past century, but it eventually became the foundation of many of tests used to measure personality — notably the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Big Five personality traits.

Now, finding out if you’re an introvert or not depends on which book you read, as Scott Barry Kaufman of Scientific American points out in this list of popular definitions of the term:

What’s consistent across these definitions of introversion is Carl Jung’s basic idea: that introverts tend to focus their energy inward.

Still, some psychologists argue that introversion is too broad a term, and that scales like the Big Five personality traits impose a possibly incomplete or skewed definition of introversion upon people. That’s why Jennifer Odessa Grimes and Cheek developed a more comprehensive model of introversion in their paper Four Meanings of Introversion: Social, Thinking, Anxious and Restrained.

Dubbed STAR, the model contains four dimensions of introversion. People can display traits in one dimension, or a combination of all four. Here’s a brief description of each:

  • Social: These introverts aren’t socially anxious, they rather just “prefer to stay home with a book or a computer, or to stick to small gatherings with close friends, as opposed to attending large parties with many strangers,” Cheek says.
  • Thinking: More daydreamy than neurotic, this type is “capable of getting lost in an internal fantasy world,” Cheek says.
  • Anxious: Social interaction makes this type self-conscious and anxious, and they’ll seek out solitude to avoid it.
  • Restrained: These introverts might appear slow to move, but that’s just because they prefer to think before they act — they’re reserved.

The STAR model is more about expanding the definition of introversion than it is correcting popular misconceptions.

“Many people do not feel identified or understood just by the label introversion as it’s used in the culture or by psychologists. It doesn’t do the job — it helps a little bit, but it just doesn’t get you very far,” Cheek says. “It turns out to be more of a beginning.”

The Future of Humans? One Forecaster Calls for Obsolescence

Yuval Noah Harari.

A Brief History of Tomorrow
By Yuval Noah Harari
Illustrated. 449 pp. Harper/HarperCollins Publishers. $35.

“Organisms are algorithms,” Yuval Noah Harari asserts in his provocative new book, “Homo Deus.” “Every animal — including Homo sapiens — is an assemblage of organic algorithms shaped by natural selection over millions of years of evolution. . . . There is no reason to think that organic algorithms can do things that nonorganic algorithms will never be able to replicate or surpass.” In Harari’s telling, the human “algorithm” will soon be overrun and outpaced by other algorithms. It is not the specter of mass extinction that is hanging over us. It is the specter of mass obsolescence.

To understand how Harari arrives at this conclusion, we might turn to his earlier book. “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” was an attempt to write a genetic, anthropological, cultural, social and epistemological history of humans over the last 100,000-odd years. Historians, scientists and academic pedants carped about its audacity of scope — but the book, modeled after Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs, and Steel” (a book that also received its share of carping and academic envy), presented a sweeping macrohistory, often marvelously. From the birth of a slight, sly, naked ape somewhere in the depths of Africa to the growth, spread and eventual dominance of that species over the world, “Sapiens” split the story of humankind into three broad “revolutions.” The first, the “cognitive revolution,” resulted in humans acquiring the capacity to think, learn and communicate information with a facility unprecedented in the animal kingdom. The second — the “agricultural revolution” — allowed humans to domesticate crops and animals, enabling us to form stable societies and intensifying the flow of information within them. The “scientific revolution” came last. Humans acquired the capacity to interrogate and manipulate the physical, chemical and biological worlds, resulting in even more potent technological advances that surround us today.

“Homo Deus” takes off where “Sapiens” left off; it is a “brief history of tomorrow.” What is the natural culmination of the scientific revolution, Harari asks. What will the future look like? “At the dawn of the third millennium,” he writes, “humanity wakes up, stretching its limbs and rubbing its eyes. Remnants of some awful nightmare are still drifting across its mind. ‘There was something with barbed wire, and huge mushroom clouds. Oh well, it was just a bad dream.’ Going to the bathroom, humanity washes its face, examines its wrinkles in the mirror, makes a cup of coffee and opens the diary, ‘Let’s see what’s on the agenda today.’ ”

This is the kind of breezy prose that has catapulted Harari into an international star — and it is equally evident in this book. I’ll return to that brushed-off nightmare — the barbed wire and mushroom clouds — but Harari continues apace: “Having raised humanity above the beastly level of survival struggles, we will now aim to upgrade humans into gods, and turn Homo sapiens into Homo deus.”

To describe this ascendancy, Harari examines the factors that made the human species so special. “Homo sapiens does its best to forget the fact, but it is an animal,” he writes. So how did this animal come to claim dominion over all other beasts? The answer, he argues, lies not in the uniqueness of our emotions, sensations, morals or moods. Pigs and monkeys share many of these with us — including the capacity to feel anger, envy, pain — and even a desire for justice. Humans exceed these capacities by encoding complex algorithms — “a methodological set of steps that can be used to make calculations, resolve problems and reach decisions.” Pigs, dogs and monkeys — indeed, all living beings — also encode algorithms, Harari tells us; the human ones happen to be particularly complicated and powerful.

In the second section of the book, we witness the relentless march of Homo pre-deus toward Homo deus — from humans who worship gods into humans who become gods. Technology overtakes religion; the fear of nature transmutes into an unprecedented capacity to control nature. Harari has, for my taste, a tendency to overstate the reach of such technological “fixes.” Editing every disease-linked gene in the human genome is not as easy, or as technically feasible, as Harari might wish it — in part, because many diseases, we now know, are the consequences of dozens of gene variants, and of gene-environment and gene-chance interactions. But the writing in this section is lively and enables Harari to raise the most provocative question of this book: If humans succeeded by virtue of their “algorithm,” then why couldn’t another such algorithm topple us in turn?

What kind of “algorithms” does Harari have in mind? They happen to be written by humans themselves. The first kind — encoded within computational machines — will create new technological beings with artificial intelligence. The second — encoded in DNA — will create new biological beings with higher “natural” intelligence. Our capacity to manipulate two fundamental forms of information — the biological and the computational, the byte and the gene — will thus result in the birth of superior beings who will ultimately overrun our world. They will take over our jobs, infiltrate lives, and control our emotions and fates as easily as they control our traffic and taxis today. They will write poetry, make love, create art and look, feel and behave like us — only better.

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Harari is not the first to describe this progression of the human species, but his account may well be one of the most chilling to date. Yet even Harari, a master of the catchy story and historical vignette, fails to convince me entirely. First, there is that pesky matter of the barbed wire and the mushroom cloud. Although Harari is correct in noting the overall decline of violence, hideous conflagrations continue to flare around us (Harari lists a profusion of technological innovations created in the last century — antibiotics, computers, the list goes on — and then challenges the reader to come up with similarly powerful innovations in religion. I couldn’t resist: contemporary versions of radical fundamentalism, the use of social media for dispersal, not a particularly pleasant list — but it, too, goes on). The “algorithms” of violence, to contort Harari’s own formulation, have doubtless grown more subtle, but they persist — and Harari’s vision of humans doomed by superhuman biological or computational machines might well be marred by humans doomed by subhuman biological or computational machines: a terrifying contagion, a nuclear war or, most likely, a cataclysm in climate that we will be utterly powerless to stop. Nor can I share Harari’s optimism about certain medical technologies. The examples he provides — of gene sequencing to map and predict human fates, say — have crashed into inherent limits: Chance plays such a crucial role in the development of certain illnesses that genes, although important, may still be relegated to the background. Perhaps we’ll learn to “hack” chance in the future too. But until then, the interventions that preoccupy Harari’s fantasies will be dominated by few, highly penetrant genes that influence fates and futures in an autonomous manner. Several such genes do exist — but it would be premature to extrapolate this idea to the whole genome.

Such concerns aside, Harari’s book still remains essential reading for those who think about the future. The algorithms that Harari describes are not trying to imitate humans; they are trying to become human, and possibly exceed our abilities. One story in his book that captivated me was that of the musician and programmer David Cope, who wrote a program to imitate Bach’s compositions. Listeners described the compositions as having touched their “innermost being” — and were furious when told the music had, in fact, been created by a device whose “innermost being” happened to be a mesh of silicon and copper. Cope later wrote another program — this time to generate haikus. He then published a book in which some poems were written by the computer while others were written by “organic poets,” as Harari describes them, leaving the readers to agonize over which poem was generated by which being. This organic writer, for one, could hardly tell one from the other.

3 Tips For Mastering Anything


Red Bull Stratos Content Pool

Many people have an intense feeling about what they’re best at. Too often, they’re driven away from it by other people. The first step is to trust yourself and aim your career path at what’s unique about you.

Leonardo Da Vinci didn’t come into his own as an artist alone, but when he followed his childhood curiosity about everything, he became an advisor and expert in subjects from architecture to anatomy for his patrons.

Rather than compete in a crowded field, find a niche where you can dominate.

Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

Legendary neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran was at once a restless and dissatisfied professor of Psychology. What was supposed to be a calling felt like a job. When he began the study of phantom limbs and anomalous brain disorders, he found questions about the brain and consciousness that fascinate him to this day.

Find your perfect niche, and stand out. 

Rebel against the wrong path, and use that anger as motivation.

Mozart was a child prodigy on the piano. At a very young age, his domineering father toured Europe with him. When he discovered a talent for unique composition, his father suppressed it. It wasn’t until he rejected his father entirely that he became a master.

We are often attracted to the wrong things, whether it be money, fame, or approval. 

Source: Robert Greene’s “Mastery”

The Two Adams

I turned 60 at the end of October. Like a lot of people who reach that milestone, I got to thinking about the “résumé virtues” (the traits that drive external success) and the “eulogy virtues” (the qualities that lead to deeper meaning)—and finding the right balance between the two.

My birthday was not the only reason I started thinking about these questions. I was also prompted by reading The Road to Character, the latest book by New York Times columnist David Brooks. Brooks sums up his aspiration for the book this way: “I’m hoping you and I will both emerge from the next nine chapters slightly different and slightly better.” It certainly was a stimulating read, and it got me thinking about my own motivations and limitations in new ways.

The central metaphor of the book comes from the Book of Genesis. Borrowing from a rabbi named Joseph Soleveitchik, Brooks points out that Genesis contains two opposing depictions of Adam, which represent two different sides of human nature. “Adam I is the career-oriented, ambitious side of our nature,” Brooks writes. “He wants to have high status and win victories.” Adam II, in contrast, is more internally focused. “Adam II wants to have a serene inner character, a quiet but solid sense of right and wrong—not only to do good, but to be good.”

Brooks fleshes out the Adam I/Adam II metaphor by offering profiles of a broad set of historical figures. Not all of them are paragons of virtue. But they are paragons of character.

Many of the profiles gave me good food for thought. For example, I liked the profile of General George Marshall, who is probably better known today for his visionary plan to rebuild Europe after World War II than for leading the U.S. Army through that war. Brooks shows that Marshall was a man whose résumé accomplishments were built on a eulogy virtue: self-mastery, more commonly known as self-restraint or self-discipline.

The ultimate example of Marshall’s self-mastery came in the middle of the war, when President Franklin Roosevelt had to pick a commander of the Allied invasion of France. Brooks writes that “Marshall secretly craved the assignment.” And yet he refused to be a self-promoter. He didn’t even request the job when FDR asked him point blank if he wanted it. FDR wound up giving the assignment to Dwight Eisenhower, who rode his D-Day glory all the way to the White House. It’s hard to imagine a lot of people taking Marshall’s approach today, whether they’re in the military, politics, or business.

My least-favorite profile was of Augustine, a theologian born in the 4th century AD. One of my friends found this profile to be a compelling one, but I didn’t buy it. Although more than a hundred of Augustine’s books and essays have survived to this day, I question how much we can really know about someone who lived that long ago.

After finishing his chronicles of character, Brooks uses his final chapter to warn that American society has drifted out of balance. He’s not trying to scold us into renouncing our worldly ways and becoming modern-day Augustines. And he certainly doesn’t believe that our Adam I side is evil. Far from it. He’s a free-market Republican who knows our Adam I traits are essential for driving the creativity, innovation, risk taking, and job creation that have made America great. But he argues that many forces in our economic and cultural life—including our intensely competitive meritocracy and social media platforms that nudge us all to be self-promoters—have made it harder to hear the voice of Adam II.

Brooks believes that this balance shift takes a psychic toll. “The central fallacy of modern life is the belief that accomplishments of the Adam I realm can produce deep satisfaction,” he writes. “Adam I’s desires are infinite and always leap out ahead of whatever has just been achieved. Only Adam II can experience deep satisfaction.”

I like the way Brooks fleshes out the Adam I and Adam II sides of human nature, but it’s not always clear where one starts and the other stops. For example, you could argue that my work with Microsoft was a classic case of Adam I résumé-building. But I found deep satisfaction in that work—not because I achieved material success beyond my wildest expectations, but because I got to help build a great team and be part of a new industry that unleashed the potential of people all around the world.

On the other hand, some might see my foundation work as based on eulogy virtues. But I would be lying if I said that I don’t also get a small boost of Adam I-type satisfaction when that work goes well.

Even if the distinction between résumé and eulogy—Adam I and Adam II—isn’t always crystal-clear, I agree with Brooks that it’s useful to think about how to get the balance right. In a chapter entitled “The Summoned Self,” he suggests that the voice of Adam II gets louder when we ask “What are my circumstances calling me to do?” He quotes an even more powerful version of this question from the novelist Frederick Buechner: “At what points do my talents and deep gladness meet the world’s deep need?”

I like that question a lot. It’s the kind of question we can ask any day, not just on those milestone birthdays. It can remind us to pay attention to our neighbors around the world. It can also help us hear the voice of Adam II.

The One Shortcut That Exists in Life



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All of us are looking for shortcuts in life.  We want to be able to take a pill that will make us smarter or find some formula that will make it so we don’t have to go through 10,000 hours.  Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. 

But mentorship is the one and only shortcut that exists in life  And the reason is if you find the right mentor for whatever field you’re in, they’ve made mistakes in life and they learned from them.  They can steer you away from the kinds of mistakes that are going to make you  waste a year or two of your life.

They’re gonna be able to see how you operate in the present and give you the kind of feedback that is gonna help you practice better.  They call it deliberate practice in the field where you practice developing what you’re weak at.  Only your mentor really is gonna be able to see what you’re truly weak at and give you that real time feedback.

There’s another element of mentorship that’s really powerful but it’s almost not – you can almost not put it into words.  We humans – our brains are developed from learning by watching other people doing something.  I talk in the book about mirror neurons which Vilayanur Ramachandran discusses a lot.  The idea that we’re capable of putting our minds into another person and act and thinking as if we’re inside their body.  We’re able to do that in a learning way.  We can watch somebody do something and we can learn from it.  It’s a very powerful form of learning that predates the invention of language.

When you’re around somebody who’s your mentor who’s very successful in the field you’re not only picking up the things that they talk about but you’re picking up all kinds of cues from how they carry themselves, from their habits, from their whole way of being that’s a very powerful thing to absorb.  There’s a famous book about tennis, the inner game of tennis, in which he talks about tennis instructors who can’t verbalize the perfect serve but they can show it to you.  And in showing it to you suddenly it makes sense.

Well, that’s what it’s like with a mentor that can show you how things are done.  If you find the right mentor you’re gonna cut out – you can cut out two or three or four years of wasted useless mistakes of not developing what you’re weakest at, et cetera.  So the whole key is how do you find this right mentor.  And in the book I give you plenty of examples and advice on that front.  The main thing is the mentor is almost like a second parent – a father or mother figure.  There’s somebody that you could imagine in 20 years you would like to be like them.  Maybe not doing the exact same thing but you share their spirit.

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Your Brain and Money




Do you think money affects how you think?

If you don’t, think again.

Today, a new field of science called neuro-economics (research on how the brain is affected by money) has emerged. It’s rise to the limelight can be attributed to its potential ability to predict stock markets based on peoples behavior. Martin Zwieg’s book, “Your Money and Your Brain” examines this phenomenon by comparing the neurological effects, money and drugs have on ones brain.

Before we get into the economics of it all, we must first understand how the reward centers in our brain function, and even more importantly why they function the way they do. DOPAMINE! , yes happiness and pleasure can all be summed up into one eight letter word, dopamine.  All types of addiction stem from this chemical. Its the substance that keeps gambling addicts cranking the slots lever, and drug addicts coming back for that last fix. So you might be asking, why would evolution ever want such a reckless substance governing a great part of our brains? The answer is simple, survival. If it weren’t for dopamine, chances are cavemen would have stayed inside the protection of their caves and died out, rather than gone out to hunt their food. You see, through a multitude of experiments, scientists were able to prove the substantial impact of something as simple as a thought . To a gambling addict the simple thought of winning the lottery, floods the brain with dopamine, as it does for the heroin addict at the sight of a needle. This flood or “rush” is what keeps them coming back for more. Similarly for our ancestors, the thought of hunting and eating their prize trumped the fear that came from the dangers of living in the stone age. Now that we understand dopamine’s biological function, lets move on to the role money play’s on our brains.


Neuro-economists today are studying the effects money has on your brain and the results are staggering. These studies and experiments are conducted using brain scans while subjects are immersed in scenarios were money can be won or lost, and the study shows that the neurological response to making money is the same as being high on cocaine. Ironically, the same substance that kept us alive in the stone-age, is the same substance that is preventing us from being able to make sound financial decisions. Another study from Stanford Graduate School of Business, looked into why investors make irrational financial decisions. The researchers found they could predict whether a participant would choose to buy a riskier security, like a stock, or a less risky one, like a bond, just by scanning their brains. The subjects who had naturally elevated stimulation of their nucleus accumbens would most likely buy the stock.

What you need to know about The Open

Spieth’s fanatic finish

It appeared it was happening again. He even admitted as much after the round. But, after a forgettable front nine and one of the worst drives you’ll ever see from a professional, Jordan Spieth not only righted the ship: he charged his vessel forward with a fervor only seen in fairy tales. The 23-year-old, down one to Matt Kuchar after 13 holes, proceeded to trek the next four in five under — which included a near ace and instant-classic eagle — to retake the lead and grab the claret jug at the 2017 Open Championship.

While the dazzling ending left observers awestruck, Spieth himself was remarkably candid regarding his struggles to start the round.

“I was questioning why I couldn’t just perform the shots that I was before. And sometimes you just can’t really figure it out or put your finger on it,” Spieth said. “And that was really tough to swallow. And that kind of stuff goes into your head. I mean, we walked for two minutes, three minutes in between shots. And you can’t just go blank. You wish you could, but thoughts creep in.”

That sound you hear is millions of cursed golfers nodding their heads in “Amen.” Of course, unlike his hacking brethren, Spieth’s ability to bounce back from such troubles is why he’s the second-youngest to win three legs of the Grand Slam, and you’re watching from home.

Adventures on the 13th hole

If you missed Sunday’s Open coverage, you might think the aforementioned awful drive is exaggerated. We assure you, the shot — and the ensuing spectacle — lived up to the hyperbole.

On Royal Birkdale’s 13th hole, Spieth pushed one so far right it landed in Amsterdam.

Chaos ensued. After a search party located the ball and deciding to take an unplayable, Spieth and caddie Michael Greller spent 20 minutes deciding where to drop from a “line of sight” ruling, traversing Birkdale’s dunes, driving range and equipment trucks. It was a sight to behold.

But perhaps the most amazing part of the adventure was Spieth putting his approach just short of a greenside bunker, proceeding to get up-and-down for a ho-hum bogey. It dropped him one shot behind Kuchar, yet the five was arguably bigger than any birdie or eagle of the day. And it sure as hell was something no one will ever forget.

Kuchar’s tough swallow

While the sports world applauded the winning efforts of Spieth, the sad reality to that result is someone had to come up short. In this case, it was Kuchar, one of the most well-liked and respected personalities in the game.

Though Kuchar had his own opening struggles, the 39-year-old — who started the day three strokes behind Spieth — managed to take the lead heading into the 14th. And it’s not that Kuch was merely the recipient of Spieth’s subpar play: Kuchar had four birdies on the day. Alas, he came out on the business end of Spieth’s historic finish, and afterwards, he seemed resigned that it may be his last chance at glory.

“It’s hard to explain,” Kuchar said, nearly despondent and on the verge of tears. “It’s crushing. It hurts.

“You work so hard to get to this position and to have a chance to make history and win a championship. You don’t get that many opportunities. And to be this close, to taste it with five holes to go, it’s a hard one to sit back and take.”

We can’t imagine the ache Kuchar’s fighting. But his play was commendable, and he should leave Southport with his head held high.

Li’s unlikely star turn

Until this week, Li Haotong was best known for his mom jumping into a lake to retrieve a putter he threw in anger. That’s no longer the case after his final-round 63 at Royal Birkdale. He finished his day before the final pairing teed off, yet, with just six holes to play, Li found himself warming up on the driving range, as his stellar performance — coupled with the trials of Spieth and Kuchar — created the astonishing scenario of a playoff. While Spieth’s finish soon turned the lights out on that theoretical, that it was even in play is a testament to Li’s performance.

“For some reason since hole No. 8, I started holing everything,” said Li, ranked No. 107 in the world. “I can’t explain it.”

Better yet, his third-place finish earns the 21-year-old a trip to next year’s Masters.

“Wow,” Li replied when told of the Augusta trip. “That’s a nice gift.”

That may be the clubhouse leader for understatement of the year.

Murray makes headlines for right reasons

If you know the name “Grayson Murray,” it’s unlikely for anything he’s achieved inside the ropes. The rookie has found controversy at multiple turns this season: calling out Bryson DeChambeau, ridiculing the OWGR system, voicing his displeasure with other players’ social media accounts, parting ways mid-round with his caddie. But Murray reminded the golf world that he’s got game, too, winning the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship in Opelika, Ala.

Because of its alternate status, Murray does not earn an invite to the Masters, yet did secure his tour card for two more years, along with grabbing invitations to the PGA Championship and Tournament of Champions. More importantly, following a year of less-than-flattering storylines, Murray was able to spin his own positive narrative. With this newfound residency, here’s hoping the aforementioned bumps in Murray’s road stay in the past.