From a Pinterest-approved miracle salad to using artificial intelligence to fight the effects of cyber bullying, here are five of the best reads from this week!
Stout explains that most resolutions centered around giving something up are destined for failure because the psyche is not bound by deadlines and doesn’t work on shortcuts. The process of quitting needs to be a long game, he says, one best approached with self-love as opposed to self-loathing.
We’re already aware that what we put in our bodies affects our skin as much as the products we put on it. This knowledge often puts us on the defensive—we know to avoid certain aggravators like alcohol and sugar, for example, since they can contribute to acne and dullness.
3. The Empathy Layer via The Verge
Systems designed to foster clicks, likes, retweets, and shares have become global communities of unprecedented scale. But Zuckerberg was left to ask, ‘Are we building the world we all want?’
For one, she posits that while we tend to fixate as a culture on flight-or-flight, there are actually three other beneficial and physiologically positive types of stress; and that harnessing stress to work for you is as simple as changing your mindset, i.e. choosing to believe that your body is simply revving up in support.
(☝🏻 this one is super exciting because it features one of my favorite Stanford professors, Kelly McGonigal! I actually used to take yoga classes from her while on campus.)
Not how much is in your 401(k). Not how many conferences you spoke at–or keynoted. Not how many blog posts you wrote or how many followers you had or how many tech companies you worked for or how much power you wielded there or how much you vested at each.
No, the biggest predictor of your happiness and fulfillment overall in life is, basically, love.
Whoa, it’s been eight months since I last posted?! I swear, time seems to go by more quickly the older I get. Is that a normal thing? I don’t know, but I’m going to chalk it up to being busy instead of getting old. From traveling both domestically and internationally (Arizona, California, New York, Korea, Dubai…) to helping friends and family (and myself) usher in some new and exciting changes for 2017, I’ve felt like the chaos of 2016 required down time that was truly down time. Like, literally lots of laying down. On the couch watching movies, in savasana at yoga class, in bed for naps. Yes, NAPS! I took a few naps! As a classic A-type overachiever, it’s not always easy to give myself permission to just BE, but that’s what I’ve been challenging myself to do these past couple of months. I feel like I’ve finally reached a great work-life balance, yet I still need to fight against filling in that “life” section with even more over-achiever-y type things. I’ve had the tendency to fill my quiet free time with activity ever since I was a little kid (sorry, parents!), but as I got older the constant need to be active in one way or another became less energizing and more draining. Plus, life is an ever-changing flow of needs, wants, desires, aspirations. So what used to be fulfilling and motivating one day isn’t necessarily the same thing that will make you happy the next. And it’s different for every person, which is why the temptation to compare and compete isn’t always productive. (Thanks social media for making it even harder to resist comparison.)
I really started thinking about this again during a yoga class I had last week. The instructor started off by having us set an intention for the practice, framing it as possibly an intention that we may have set for 2017 as a whole. Which made me start thinking: what WAS my intention for 2017? And to get a little contradictory to the whole “ever-changing flow” bit, for 2017, I’d really just like to feel settled. Just for once, for a little while, I’d like to feel like I’m in a routine, that I know what I’m doing, where there are challenges but they’re somewhat predictable challenges. The 30 minute sitcom type challenges vs. the ongoing horribly stressful Breaking Bad type challenges. Over the past 5 years I’ve been pushing and pushing and stretching and trying new things and reaching and thinking so much about setting myself up for the future that I’ve never really felt like I’ve gotten to sit back and enjoy everything I’ve achieved so far. And part of that is because, like I said, ever since I was a little kid I’ve always liked being busy. I’ve more than a few times asked myself why I continually find myself diving head first into uncomfortable challenges. But this year I want to feel what it feels like to be settled. Comfortable. In a routine. Maybe this desire for chaos and challenge is what really makes me happy, but that’s something I’d like to find out through, frankly, maybe being kind of bored for a while. Right now I’m pretty sure I still have enough challenges and projects in my daily life to feel engaged and mentally stimulated, but not so many where I feel overwhelmed and like I need to work 16 hours per day. I like that. It feels nice. And just for once, I’d like to settle into something that feels nice. I want to know what it’s like to be truly present in how things are now, instead of always looking towards what they could be in the future.
So for now, for this year, I’m going to be settling. In a good way. Settling into my current workstreams. Getting comfortable in my regular workout schedule. Finding peace in the routine of cooking dinner every night. Knowing that chaos and busyness do not make me a better, more successful person (note that I even started this post by saying how busy I’ve been; an interesting read on that here from the Wash Post). Maybe I’ll get bored and feel unfulfilled, who knows. But for now I’m going to listen to that intuition that is telling me to settle. To sit still. To just be.
One thing I’ve realized about myself over the years is that, despite my best efforts, I am indeed very influenced by other people. Whether that’s someone else’s bad mood killing my good mood, a negative comment on social media setting off a flood of anger, or a criticism from a coworker cutting into my confidence, there are far too many times where I make choices and feel feelings based on someone else’s energy.
It’s been something I’ve been working on especially hard since entering the working world, but it wasn’t until recently that I felt like I made any great headway (even though there’s still progress to be made). I’m currently entering a time of great transition in my life. A career transition that has set off something inside of me that’s made me realize what’s truly important in life, and has forced me to reevaluate my hopes, dreams, goals… My purpose. To get there, I’ve been spending a lot of time brushing off the pressures and expectations of the outside world, and that effort has started to pay off.
Having a case of the Mondays? Or maybe you’ve just been doing some thinking on how you can be happier. Feeling unfulfilled, lonely, stressed out? You need to watch this TED Talk.
What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.
We’re now at the end of February (!) which means that those New Year’s Resolutions have probably fallen by the wayside. About 66% of people break their resolutions in a month or less, while 80% of people don’t make it longer than 3 months. But never fear! The good thing about resolutions is that you can always start them back up again! While the first of the year is a great jumpstart, any day is the perfect day to start marching towards your dreams.
But what if you need a little kick in the pants? Luckily, there are some very smart people out there in the world who have written amazing books to get you out of your funk.
Here are a few recommendations, ranging from practical to spiritual approaches, for every type of person and goal.
Today’s millennial workforce is looking for more than just a steady paycheck, they want careers that matter. Which is why I was so excited to host Levo’s “7 Practices to Jumpstart a Gratifying Career” webinar last week!
Adam Smiley Poswolsky, author of The Quarter Life Breakthrough, found that young professionals are “asking what their purpose is now, and they’re determined to find the opportunities, organizations, and companies that share their purpose.” But is it worth it to rock the boat of your comfy corporate job? It just might be. FastCompany found that cultivating meaning in your career can be even more important to personal satisfaction than happiness alone. Plus, it is one of the best ways to increase your productivity, engagement, and performance at work!
Maxie McCoy and Latham Thomas both yearned for gratifying careers – and they made it happen. Maxie coupled her talent for inspiring with her experience in professional development to launch her very own brand aimed at unlocking spiritual and emotional intelligence. Latham used her nutrition and lifestyle expertise to transform the maternal wellness movement by founding Mama Glow, which has since helped women like Alicia Keys find true joy in their pregnancies.
So how did they do it? In this webinar, Maxie and Latham talk about their 7 essential practices to bring more satisfaction, purpose, and gratefulness into your career.
This morning, after almost two glorious weeks of rest and relaxation, I woke up, made my morning tea (which is much more luxurious after my Christmas gift of Emperor’s Clouds and Mist green tea from Teavana), and stared at my computer, trying to convince myself to start working. I absolutely love what I do, but I think something would be a little wrong with me if I didn’t have an urge to just sit on the couch and start another Sherlock marathon. I knew I needed to clear the cobwebs out of my head somehow – so I went to Omvana to see my good friend Vishen Lakhiani.
Whenever I need a little extra happiness/motivation/soul-searching, I head straight for the 20min 6 Phase Meditation (as I’ve mentioned before). If you need an extra kick in the pants, are feeling stressed about all those holiday emails, or just want to boost your 2016 resolutions with some positive energy, I highly suggest you take just 20min to sit with yourself as Vishen guides you through relaxation and visualization of your perfect future. Download the Omvana app on your smartphone or listen to the YouTube version below!
Today, as I sit here on the first day of 2016, I’ve been thinking a lot about the past. I started this blog a little over two years ago as a way to bring some joy back into my life after the most challenging year of my life thus far (thanks, 2013). I was stuck in what I perceived as personal and professional failures – which reflected with the gift of perspective turned out to be incredible learning lessons – and I needed a way to get myself out of that funk.
In my 2014 resolutions post, aside from talking about my obvious love for goal setting, I said that, “The new year is the spark I needed to relight the fire within, the passion for life that 2013 stomped out just a bit.” I was clearly at a low, searching for a way to pull myself up and get back on track. My resolutions: Be Happier. Be Healthier. Be More Chic. I made it okay to invest in myself and to admit that I wasn’t happy. That the Facebook-ified version of me wasn’t quite my reality. I went back to my core values and found that with a little effort, I could overcome the sorrow of my circumstances and create my own happiness.
In last year’s resolutions post, I was clearly back on the right track, but still didn’t feel like I fully hit my stride. I was itching to keep pushing forward. My resolutions: Live in the Moment. Get Fit. Get Hobby-ing. Like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I’d finally met my baseline requirements for feeling like a productive, loved human being and was ready to take my self-actualization to the next level. In my quest for happiness I moved from escaping depression to appreciating my blessings. For my health, I moved from healing sickness to improving aesthetics. And as for general self-improvement, I went from the make-over show like basics of wardrobe enhancements to Renaissance (wo)man like skills enhancements. I think maybe that means I’m growing up!
So where does that leave me for this year?
A lot of the work I’ve done over the years has been in strategy, and good strategy starts with values. From my own small business to large global organizations, from blossoming startups to academic institutions, I’ve seen how having (and not having) well defined values affects decisions and outcomes. If explicitly stating values is so important to the running of a well-oiled corporate machine, why aren’t they more important to the running of our own daily lives?
WE ALL KNOW THAT A GOOD COMPANY CULTURE MAKES FOR HAPPIER EMPLOYEES. BUT WHEN THE CULTURE GOES BEYOND THAT—TO CORE VALUES EVERYONE WORKS BY—THE RESULTS ARE REVOLUTIONARY. – JESSICA AMORTEGUI, FAST COMPANY