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Showing posts from August 30, 2020

Being Selfish Won’t Help Your Career

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A new study finds that being manipulative and disagreeable isn't the path to success.

The evidence is in: Nice guys and gals don’t finish last, and being a selfish jerk doesn’t get you ahead.

By Laura Counts


That’s the clear conclusion from research that tracked disagreeable people—those with selfish, combative, manipulative personalities—from college or graduate school to where they landed in their careers about 14 years later.

“I was surprised by the consistency of the findings. No matter the individual or the context, disagreeableness did not give people an advantage in the competition for power — even in more cutthroat, ‘dog-eat-dog’ organizational cultures,” said Berkeley Haas professor Cameron Anderson, who co-authored the study with UC Berkeley psychology professor Oliver P. John, Berkeley Haas doctoral student Daron L. Sharps and associate professor Christopher J. Soto of Colby College.

The paper was published Aug. 31 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Scienc…

Could Your Water Bottle Become a Monk’s Robes?

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Hundreds of tons of plastic waste have never looked so good! By transforming plastic refuse collected from around the country into a fiber, this monastery in Thailand is helping us rethink the life cycle of our plastic! Could recycling actually just be the beginning of a new exciting journey? Check this out.

Every month in Thailand, citizens gather over 10 tons of plastic from all over the country and bring it to a monastery. Here, the plastic goes through a remarkable transformation that serves as an inspiration for how recycling can look at its best! This innovative look at a plastic problem will have you wanting to get a little cozier with your own plastic waste.

By Sam Burns


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At a Tipping Point -- Towards Healing the Climate

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"Climate change is the undercurrent that drives and shapes our lives in countless ways. Journalist Judith D. Schwartz sees the term as shorthand. It's almost as if people think climate is this phenomenon, determined solely by CO2, as if we could turn a dial up or down," she tells me over the phone. We are missing so much." In her quest for climate solutions, Schwartz leans into the complexity of natural systems. As she and I talk, I come to imagine our climate as a beautiful series of overlapping Rube Goldberg-style cycles of carbon, water, nutrients, and energy. Those systems have been knocked out of alignment, sure, but as Schwartz sees it, repair is not impossible."


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Eight Ways Your Perception of Reality Is Skewed

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A new book explains the sometimes-unconscious forces that shape what we see, feel, and think.

Seeing is believing. To some extent, that’s true, of course: Our eyes allow us to see what’s around us, helping us navigate our world.

By Jill Suttie


But it turns out sight is much more complicated than that, according to the new book Perception: How Our Bodies Shape Our Minds, by University of Virginia psychologist Dennis Proffitt and Drake Baer. What we perceive in any given moment is not only determined by sensory input, but by our personal physical abilities, energy levels, feelings, social identities, and more.

“It’s common sense to believe we experience the world as it objectively is,” the authors write. “Even though our naive intuitions are that we see the world as it is, we do not.”

It’s not just our eyesight that’s influenced by unconscious processes, either. Proffitt and Baer’s book is chock full of fascinating research findings that challenge not only the things we perceive, but the ju…

Do You Know Where Baby Eels Come From? Neither Does Science!

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There are a lot of mysteries about the world around us, but one you probably never thought you’d ponder is the mating lives of eels! EELS? Yes, these slippery friends have stumped scientists and philosophers for centuries, and this mystery reminds us all of the wonderful quirks of our world!

We’ve gone to the moon, harnessed the power of the sun, decoded human DNA, and even learned about the lives of creatures that walked the earth long before us. But there’s one peculiar mystery scientists just can’t seem to figure out: freshwater eels. More specifically, how do they create new ones?

By Sam Burns


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Ayni: Living Life in the Round

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"Today For You, Tomorrow For Me." This is the meaning behind ayni, a living Andean philosophy and practice that awakens a balanced and harmonious relationship between nature and man. In Andean cosmology, this is expressed through complementary opposites such as male/female; sun/moon; gold/silver. Their interaction is a form of reciprocity called ayni. One of the guiding principles of the way of life of the Quechua and Aymara people, this equilibrium of exchange and mutuality, which has been practiced since ancient times (since before the Incas), creates a cycle of connectivity and support essential to social and spiritual wellbeing." More in this thoughtful piece from Parabola.


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Brian Conroy: The Art of Storytelling

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Brian Conroy is a gifted storyteller who comes alive when he sees people of diverse faiths, races, and backgrounds working together. Founder of the Buddhist Storytelling Circle, a group of storytellers from the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery who perform at interfaith gatherings, he first encountered Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in 1976 and took refuge with the Master in 1994. Bringing together his passion for storytelling with the wisdom of Buddhism, he writes traditional and contemporary Buddhist tales. As a storyteller, Conroy has performed at festivals and conferences including the National Storytelling Festival, The Parliament for the Worlds Religions. In this piece he shares some of the wisdom stories he has collected over the years.


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Do This in the Afternoon for a Better Workday

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This small habit can help you feel like you're making progress at work.

Do you feel content with what you’ve accomplished at the end of your workday—or do you always focus on what there is yet to do?

By Jessica Lindsey


What we focus on shapes our mental narrative, which affects how we feel about work. Ruminating on our lack of progress can keep us in a rut, feeling like we’re lagging behind. But according to research, we can shift this narrative by reflecting on what we have accomplished each day—and feel good about these small “wins.”

In one study, researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer asked 238 employees from different types of companies—management, inventing, technology, and more—to write daily journal entries about their workday and answer questions about their mood and motivation. Over the course of about four months, the researchers collected almost 12,000 entries.

They found that when people journaled about making progress that workday, they were more likely to feel happi…

Photographing the Hidden Story

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Photographer Ryan Lobo tells how conscience led him to search beneath sensational aspects of journalism for the soul of a story. From this shift he discovers, "Focus on what's dignified, courageous, and beautiful, and it grows."


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Does Walking Have the Power to Save Lives and Uplift Communities?

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Have you noticed that the first steps to solving our biggest problems are often right there in front of us, so clear that they’re invisible? GirlTrek is turning the simple act of walking around the block into a revolutionary way to save lives and improve the safety of communities! Here’s how.

Could something as simple as taking a walk around the block save millions of lives? That’s the premise behind the health non-profit, GirlTrek, who is harnessing the power of mothers to create safer, healthier communities all across the world! It’s a global solution to an endless number of problems—and it all begins with this first step.

By Sam Burns


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Dial Up the Magic of This Moment

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"Few people have stood at the gates of hope through world wars and environmental crises and personal loss with more dignity, wisdom, and optimism than Joanna Macy during her six decades as a Buddhist scholar, environmental activist, and pioneering philosopher of ecology. Macy is also the world's greatest translator-enchantress of Rainer Maria Rilke, in whose poetry she found refuge upon the sudden and devastating death of the love of her life after fifty-six years of marriage." More in this beautiful piece from Brain Pickings.


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Working Parents Are Angry. But What Can We Do?

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Psychologist Yael Schonbrun examines the maddening stress of balancing work and parenting during a pandemic.

On the first day COVID-19 shut down school for my three children, my husband and I went into problem-solving mode. I canceled afternoon private practice patients, and he notified colleagues he would be unavailable for the morning. It was frustrating—but that was just one day, right?

By Yael Schonbrun, Elizabeth Corey


Now, it’s six months later. With no school or child care throughout the spring and summer, we figured out a host of hacks: tag in and out to accommodate each other’s work schedules, use an enforced rest time to grab a work hour midday, get work done before kids awake and after they go to bed, and strategically arrange screen time for the children when we both have meetings.

Throughout the summer, I awaited word from our school district about plans for the fall so we could make our own plans. I’ve now heard plenty of words, none of them good. Thus far, the start of the …

Revisiting Fred Rogers 2002 Commencement Address

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"I'm very much interested in choices, and what it is, and who it is, that enable us human beings to make the choices we make all through our lives. What choices lead to ethnic cleansing? What choices lead to healing? What choices lead to the destruction of the environment, the erosion of the Sabbath, suicide bombings, or teenagers shooting teachers. What choices encourage heroism in the midst of chaos?" In 2002 Fred Rogers gave the commencement address at Dartmouth University. His words and questions are more relevant than ever in today's world.


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Travel through Time While Reconnecting with Your Roots

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What stories do you surround yourself with? Here’s how to start to travel through time by just appreciating the life you’ve built around you!

The handcrafted objects in our lives have the remarkable ability to help us time travel, connecting us to the people that carry on these age-old traditions, and the places, histories, and stories of the materials they are made of. What was your wooden spoon before it was a spoon? What sheep grew the wool for your favorite hand-knitted hat? Join us as we learn to time travel together with the help of a master craftsman!

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber


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A Pandemic Letter to My 17-Year-Old Son

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"Starting when you were just a toddler, you'd crawl into my lap to play a game. I'd lay hands on each part of your body, naming it aloud. Wed begin with the grass of hair on your head and slowly work our way down to your piggy toes. You soon learned even the regions of your brain, the organs in your torso, and your seven chakras." So begins a touching letter written by a mother to her 17-year-old son in the midst of these uncertain times.


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