Nicholas Christakis: The Hidden Influence of Social Networks Reply

We’re all embedded in vast social networks of friends, family, co-workers and more. Nicholas Christakis tracks how a wide variety of traits — from happiness to obesity — can spread from person to person, showing how your location in the network might impact your life in ways you don’t even know.

Dan Ariely: What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work? 1

What motivates us to work? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it isn’t just money. But it’s not exactly joy either. It seems that most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely presents two eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes toward meaning in our work. (Filmed at TEDxRiodelaPlata.)

8 Facts About Self-Control Reply

It takes self-control to stop bad habits like smoking.

It takes self-control to stop bad habits like smoking.

From Reflectd:  Psychological Insights & Perspectives

“… Overcoming the self’s natural, impulsive nature requires self-control … Without this capacity, we would be slaves of our emotional impulses, temptations, and desires and thus unable to behave socially adequately.” (pp. 128-132).

Self-control is delaying short-term gratification in favour of long-term outcomes. It is the investment of cognitive, emotional and behavioural resources to achieve a desired outcome

Self-control often involves resisting temptations and impulses, and habits often undermine self-control. Humans are relatively successful at exerting self-control to achieve long-term outcomes (Hagger et al., 2009).

However, people are better at exerting self-control when it comes to making decisions that are distant in time compared to near (Fujita, 2008). Eight facts about self-control are presented in this article.

1. Self-control is a limited resource

According to the self-control strength model, exerting self-control at one time or over one set of behaviours may deplete the ability to exhibit subsequent self-control over another set of behaviours. A study by Shmueli & Prochaska (2009) supports this idea.

In this study, smokers who resisted sweets were more likely to smoke a cigarette during a break compared to smokers who resisted raw vegetables. Participants, whose self-control strength was depleted (due to temptation resistance), were more likely to smoke compared to those who had not depleted their self-control strength.

A study by Vohs & Heatherton (2000) also supports the idea of a self-control strength model. The study draws three conclusions:

  • Perceived availability and proximity of tempting snacks undermined subsequent self-control among dieters
  • Exerting self-control in one domain leads to subsequent reductions in self-control in another domain
  • Asking dieters to suppress their emotional reactions to a movie depleted their self-control resources

Another study found that people’s ability to exert self-control and resist temptation decreases gradually throughout the day (Kouchaki & Smith, 2014). This finding also suggests that self-control is a limited resource.

Hagger and colleagues (2009) found that breaks in exerting control (since it is a limited resource) and training in self-control makes people better at exerting self-control.

Feature continues here:  Self-Control 

Tali Sharot: The Optimism Bias Reply

Are we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic? Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side — and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial.

Optimism bias is the belief that the future will be better, much better, than the past or present. And most of us display this bias. Neuroscientist Tali Sharot wants to know why: What is it about our brain that makes us overestimate the positive? She explores the question in her book The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain. 

In the book (and a 2011 TIME magazine cover story), she reviewed findings from both social science and neuroscience that point to an interesting conclusion: “our brains aren’t just stamped by the past. They are constantly being shaped by the future.” In her own work, she’s interested in how our natural optimism actually shapes what we remember, and her interesting range of papers encompasses behavioral research (how likely we are to misremember major events) as well as medical findings — like searching for the places in the brain where optimism lives. Sharot is a faculty member of the Department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences at University College London.

The Immediate Trust-Building Power of Reciprocity Reply

By Chris Simmons

Earlier this month, I shared The Manipulative Power of Reciprocity. Now, I’d like to revisit this topic and discuss how reciprocity is legitimately used to create and build rapport and trust. As noted in the original post, reciprocity is a highly effective persuasive tool. As such, it can be used to quickly gain influence by following this time-tested technique.

Begin by sharing something personal with the other party. That said, discretion is the key to success. Share too much and the other individual runs off screaming “TMI!!!!” Worse yet, you’ve lost all credibility because now he/she doubts your mental state for having shared so much with a complete stranger. The personal story you confide must be pertinent to the experience both parties are sharing at that precise moment. In doing so, you’ve demonstrated your trust in them and triggered a psychological need for reciprocity.

Your new friend is now drawn emotionally and psychologically closer to you and will generally respond by sharing something personal about themselves. This can unleash the real power behind psychological reciprocity because the more you share, the deeper you trust. As a result, complete strangers can rapidly find themselves in a legitimate bonding experience.

Reciprocity even works with reserved individuals, although the approach must be much more indirect. In this scenario, begin with questions about abstract issues like his/her thoughts on the ghost tours given in a nearby town or a new restaurant that opened nearby. The conversation-adverse party will generally answer the queries because they are perceived as nonthreatening and seemingly impersonal. In reality, one’s opinion is actually a deeply personal issue. As such, their sharing prompts the reciprocity effect, but on a slower path than in a “normal” setting.

Exercise caution in using reciprocity in this fashion. These approaches are not appropriate, or even possible, in all situations. Instead, view them simply as some of the many available options for building trust and enhancing rapport.

Body language: The Power is in The Palm of Your Hands Reply

Allan Pease is an Honorary Professor of Psychology at ULIM International University, who researches and studies selling relationships and human communication. He teaches simple, field-tested skills and techniques that get results. And he delivers his message in a humorous way, which motivates people to want to use. Allan’s own experience and record in the field of selling, motivating and training is equaled by few others. He is a born achiever, starting his career at the age of 10. Globally known as “Mr Body Language,” his programs are used by businesses and governments to teach powerful relationship skills. His messages are relevant to any area of life that involves winning people over and getting them to like you, co-operate, follow you or say ‘yes.’

Are You Carrying Emotional Baggage from One Relationship to Another? Reply

The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Only your grievance about the past can do that. What is grievance? The baggage of old thought and emotion.  ~Lao Tzu

Are you carrying emotional baggage from one relationship to another? Just like schlepping an overstuffed Samsonite, it will cost you, make your journey more difficult, and could prevent you from making a successful connection!

Relationships are a bit of a dance, and in order to remain light on our feet, we need to shed the dead weight of the issues that continue to plague us. The tango is a dance in which two people either move together in the same direction or in opposition to each other. Perhaps this is why the phrase ‘it takes two to tango’ is so often used when referring to relationships.

While it does take two to make or break a relationship, we need to hold ourselves accountable for our responsibility as it relates to its success, or its collapse. As we all know, to keep a long-term relationship moving forward takes much effort. If it ends, and we don’t look deeply into our actions or inactions that played a role in the demise, then we are simply setting ourselves up for another relationship with an expiration date.

Be honest with yourself.

Do you have trouble communicating?

If so, then ask yourself: Is it easier to get divorced than it is to make the effort to listen to her, to show her attention so she feels you ‘get’ her and that she is a priority?

Are you emotionally unavailable?

If so, then ask yourself: Would you rather be alone than experience an emotionally strong connection because it’s built on vulnerability?

Are you a workaholic?

If so, then ask yourself: Would you rather end the relationship than work a little less so you have enough energy to provide him with the intimacy he requires to feel connected?

Do you make excuses (you call them reasons) for not being where you want to be in your life?

If so, then ask yourself: Would you rather stay single than step up and do what it takes to improve your lifestyle?

I’ve heard people say, “I’d have to change who I am, and I’m not willing to do that.”

I ask, is changing your behavior the same as changing who you are? Is making an effort to show you care, changing your personality? Granted, if you enjoy working on cars, you won’t be happy in a three-piece suit… but that’s not the same as being willing to learn the tools that will help you change and grow. These tools could very well prevent you from going to the pit for a tire change every few laps around the track!

We will keep getting the same results if we keep doing the same things! (Yes, also known as insanity). Hard as we try to ignore them, the lessons we are supposed to learn in this life will continue to boomerang right back in our face until we come face to face with them. This applies to many areas of our lives including our work, weight, familial or intimate relationships.

Our issues will follow us from relationship to relationship and will not go away until you tackle them head on!

Some possible demons to consider:

How to “Weed Out” The Roots of Jealousy Reply

By Chris Simmons

Academics continued to debate whether jealousy is triggered by low self-esteem or low self-worth. I believe it’s a distinction without a difference.

Jealousy is – at its core – an identity issue. Let’s assume your spouse or significant other is friendly, attractive, charismatic, self-confident, and a gifted athlete. However, he is very sensitive to money issues, as he plays professional lacrosse — a sport where the salaries and financial rewards are poor. Now imagine the two of you are at a friend’s party. Since he is a rich entrepreneur, the affluence of the host or fellow party-goers  could trigger a jealous bout.

In your beloved’s mind, his identity is tied, in part, to his ability to earn a good income. Despite his other blessings, he is insecure about this facet of his identity. This feeling may be further complicated by the human tendency to “mirror image” – that is, he may take his focus on the need for a good income and superimpose that belief on you. In doing so, this further fuels jealous feelings.

All identity issues are rooted in our emotions. As such, his negative feelings are best counteracted by de-emphasizing the importance of his current income. Don’t go “off message” by complimenting him on his athleticism, appearance, etc. – those aren’t the jealousy triggers. Instead, you could simply reassure him that it’s more important to you that you both pursue your passions rather than sell out for a well-paying but soul-killing job. Remind him that together you share a nice income and incredible jobs. Life could not be any better.

Regardless of whether the root cause of the jealousy is low self-esteem, little self-worth, or envy, tread lightly on their emotions. Be empathetic rather than sympathetic and most importantly; be absolutely sincere in diminishing the perceived importance of the “jealousy trigger.”  If they doubt your message, you could inadvertently leave them worse off than when you started.

Spy Catcher Chris Simmons on Hartford’s Fox CT 1

Chris Simmons is an internationally known authority on espionage issues, especially Cuba’s intelligence services.

Simmons was the lead military official involved in the May 2003 expulsion of 14 Cuban spies serving under diplomatic cover, the third largest expulsion of diplomats in U.S. history. As a result of Simmons and other agents actions, Alberto Coll, a professor and former deputy assistant secretary of defense was arrested.

Simmons served in Grenada, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan and interrogated more than 732 terrorists and other “high-value individuals” throughout his career. He was part of the special operations unit “Task Force 6-26″ and spent a total of 28 years in government service.

For more information visit www.humanchess.co.

(Courtesy:  Fox CT)