Archive

Archive for October, 2012

Can True Solitude Be Found In A Wired World?

October 30th, 2012
Comments Off

This article, by AP writer Martha Irvine, highlights an issue worth deeper exploration: the simultaneous upside and downside of being always wired. Especially its impact on both well-being and a sense of interconnection, of community. The latter is visible during Hurricane Sandy’s impact on our lives.

She writes:

When was the last time you were alone, and unwired? Really, truly by yourself. Just you and your thoughts — no cellphone, no tablet, no laptop. Many of us crave that kind of solitude, though in an increasingly wired world, it’s a rare commodity. We check texts and emails, and update our online status, at any hour — when we’re lying in bed or sitting at stop lights or on trains. Sometimes, we even do so when we’re on the toilet.

We feel obligated, yes. But we’re also fascinated with this connectedness, constantly tinkering and checking in — an obsession that’s starting to get pushback from a small but growing legion of tech users who are feeling the need to unplug and get away.

“What might have felt like an obligation at first has become an addiction. It’s almost as if we don’t know how to be alone, or we are afraid of what we’ll find when we are alone with ourselves,” says Camille Preston, a tech and communication consultant based in Cambridge, Mass.

“It’s easier to keep doing, than it is to be in stillness.”

One could argue that, in this economy, Read more…

Share

Midlife Conflict and Renewal, Modern Love, Sex & Relationships, Psychological health in a post-globalized world, Work & Career "4.0" , , , , ,

Why Your Work Will Continue To Drive You Crazy

October 25th, 2012
Comments Off

Still Crazy After All These Years

The title of that old Paul Simon song could easily describe what many people feel about life in their careers and organizations today. Studies and surveys regularly show that the workplace is damaging to many people, physically and mentally. But these reports focus on the effect rather than the cause; the surface symptoms rather than the roots of the problems men and women grapple with in their careers. The latter are found in a negative, undermining management culture and narrow, careerist values.

To explain, a few decades ago I wrote in Modern Madness about the findings of my project on how careers impact people, emotionally — especially successful careers among younger men and women rising in their companies (the yuppies of the time — remember them?). I described a troika of experiences: compromises between their personal values and the behavior required for upward movement and greater success; debilitating trade-offs between their beliefs or attitudes and the behavior necessary for continued career advancement; and — not surprisingly — anger, often severe and usually suppressed, but sometimes exploding in rage.

Back then, in the late 1980s, I found that the major source of such personal conflicts was a negative, stifling management culture. It included the personality — and sometimes the outright pathology — of bosses who created conditions that generated anxiety, depression, suspicion and other dysfunctional behavior; as well as physical illness. And this was among otherwise not-very-troubled people. I called them the “Working Wounded.”

Their conflicts were also intensified by a view of success and achievement Read more…

Share

Midlife Conflict and Renewal, Psychological health in a post-globalized world, Work & Career "4.0" , , , ,

Why People Are Likely To Believe Political Lies

October 22nd, 2012
Comments Off

Have you ever wondered why people are persuaded by outright lies during political campaigns? And why lies tend to “stick” even after they’re debunked by facts? Some new research sheds light on why this happens, at least in terms of people’s thought processes, if not their underlying emotional drives.

It’s a major phenomena: Prior to the 2012 election campaign, the most glaring lies in the political arena were that Obama is a Muslim and that global warming is a big hoax. For example, a Pew Research poll found that 30 percent of all Republicans described the president as Muslim. And others, such as Sen. James Inhofe have regularly called climate change “the greatest hoax” of all. And recently, Rep. Paul Broun — who sits on the House Science Committee, ironically – argued that evolution and the big bang are “lies from hell.”

Currently, as the presidential campaign went into high gear after Labor Day, both sides regularly accuse each other of engaging in outright lies and extreme exaggeration about their positions and “facts,” while insisting on the truthfulness of their own. Media outlets such as the Washington Post, the New York Times and NPR have been providing fact-checking analyses about statements from President Obama and Gov. Romney as a means to restore some degree of truth.

Lies tend to stick in people’s minds, and can sway the outcome of elections, as well as public opinion in many arenas. So, what happens within our minds and emotions that make us receptive to lies, and then resistant to information that exposes the truth? Read more…

Share

Politics, Psychological health in a post-globalized world ,

Have Doubts About Marrying? You Should Heed Them!

October 18th, 2012
Comments Off
Here I expand on a previous post that described some interesting research findings:
 

Would it surprise you to learn that according to new research, men and women who harbored doubts about marrying their partners have a higher rate of divorce after four years of marriage? It sounds like one of those no-brainer discoveries. But it reminded me of what one of my graduate school professors said some decades ago, that it can be useful to “demonstrate the obvious.”

Here’s why, in this case: The research underscores how often people know an inner truth, but don’t act on it. They might hold back because of various fears, such as fear of affirming themselves. Or, from pressure to acquiesce to what their families or conventional thinking tells them their “right” decision should be.

I’ve seen several examples, such as a corporate executive I’ve been helping to better integrate his leadership role and his personal life goals. While reflecting on the latter, he said, “I remember, as I was walking down the isle – literally – to marry her, I said to myself, ‘I shouldn’t be doing this. I’m making a huge mistake.’”

Let’s look at what the new research found, and what it tells people that’s important to heed – for those at the entry point of marriage, and for those much further down that road. Read more…

Share

Midlife Conflict and Renewal, Modern Love, Sex & Relationships, Psychological health in a post-globalized world , , , ,

Richard Branson Calls For A “B Team” Of Business Leaders

October 10th, 2012
Comments Off

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sir Richard Branson’s ideas are always worth attention. Here, he calls for a “B Team:” A small group of business leaders who will campaign for reforms to make capitalism more oriented to the long term and socially more responsible. He’s always been on the forefront of ideas and actions that promote joining successful business enterprises with contributing to the social good. In this article from The Economist, he describes a new venture that he calls the “B Team:”

SLOWING down seems to be the last thing on Sir Richard Branson’s mind. Since turning 62 in July, the bearded British entrepreneur has as usual been making headlines around the world. On October 3rd he celebrated victory in a campaign to overturn the British government’s decision to strip Virgin Trains, of which his Virgin Group owns 51%, of the West Coast main-line rail franchise. The government now admits it got its sums wrong, as Sir Richard had claimed, and the bidding process will be rerun (see article). Recently Sir Richard has also been in the news for (among other things) urging Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to end America’s war on drugs; declaring his intention to visit Mars; and parking a mock-up of the new Upper Class bar from his transatlantic aircraft outside the New York Stock Exchange. From there he promoted his latest book (“Like A Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School”) and led a discussion with his Twitter followers. The subject under discussion was: “How can business change the world for the better?”

This last topic has become increasingly central to Brand Branson in the past few years—although social activism has been part of Sir Richard’s repertoire since he opened advice centres for students in the 1960s. Under Virgin Unite, its charitable arm, his corporate empire has become a leader in the booming business of “cause marketing” (aligning brands with charities). Read more…

Share

Climate Change & Green Business, Politics, Psychological health in a post-globalized world, Work & Career "4.0" , , , ,

Doubts About Marrying? You Should Heed Them!

October 5th, 2012
Comments Off

One of my grad school professors decades ago said that there can be value in research that demonstrates the obvious. Here’s a good example: A UCLA study of 464 couples found that those who harbored doubts about marrying their spouses had a much higher divorce rate after 4 years, than those who didn’t. The study, reported in the Journal of Family Psychology, found that 47 percent of husbands and 38 percent of wives said they had doubts about marrying their partners. But after marriage, women divorced more: That is, 19 percent of women who had pre-wedding doubts were divorced four years later, compared with 8 percent of those who did not report having doubt; while 14 percent of husbands who reported premarital doubts were divorced four years later, compared with 9 percent who did not report having doubts. Old but true idea: Listen to your inner voice!

Here’s a summary of the study and its findings, from Science Daily:

In the first scientific study to test whether doubts about getting married are more likely to lead to an unhappy marriage and divorce, UCLA psychologists report that when women have doubts before their wedding, their misgivings are often a warning sign of trouble if they go ahead with the marriage. The UCLA study demonstrates that pre-wedding uncertainty, especially among women, predicts higher divorce rates and less marital satisfaction years later. Read more…

Share

Midlife Conflict and Renewal, Modern Love, Sex & Relationships, Psychological health in a post-globalized world , , , ,

Why People Are Likely To Believe Falsehoods And Misinformation

October 1st, 2012
Comments Off

Do you wonder why misinformation and outright lies about known facts often take root in people’s minds? What may come to mind immediately are recent examples: the claim that President Obama wasn’t born in the U.S., and that climate change is a hoax. Some recent research sheds light on what happens cognitively, that may underlie believing falsehoods.

Researchers led by Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Western Australia, reported in the journal Psychological Science, found that “Weighing the plausibility and the source of a message is cognitively more difficult than simply accepting that the message is true — it requires additional motivational and cognitive resources,” according to a summary of the research reported in Science Today. Moreover, If the topic isn’t very important to you or you have other things on your mind, misinformation is more likely to take hold.

For the research findings, as summarized in Science, Read more…

Share

Politics, Psychological health in a post-globalized world , ,