Scarcity

This is a Chinese book that was recommended by my sister. Luckily I found the original English book “Scarcity: why having too little means so much” written by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir in our library.

I immediately enjoyed reading it as there are so many examples I can link to easily. I kind of see why I have made decisions in certain circumstance, and why I feel busy and can’t finish things I planned to do on the day. Although I have applied some good methods to make life smooth and simple, this book explains why sometimes I still go into the trap.

This is a talk from the authors.

On page 174-175, it mentioned a “financial education” class designed by economist Antoinette Schoar and her coauthors. This is a video that presents their work.

Two-day training course of “Leadership”

I always wonder what’s the difference between Leadership and Management? This course helped me to learn it.

What is leadership?

This video explains Leadership through an easy example. To lead is to have the ability to get people to follow. To influence people, we need to do:

  • Start from simple easy movement, which is easy for people to start
  • Be prepare you are alone, people won’t follow
  • Keep doing
  • Keep encouraging
  • Transform

Actually, I quite like Jack Ma’s talk which shows that he is an effective leader.

What is effective leadership and what is effective management?

Leadership and management are not either-or options. They work together as a blended approach. If management is about the procedure, then leadership is about people.

What are leadership styles?

The first approach is to use the Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum to see how we can balance between the level of freedom that a manager chooses to give to a team, and the level of authority used by the manager.

(image is from URL: https://culcj15020110.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/sa.png?w=1000)

The second approach is to use the Situational leadership model to understand different circumstances. Effective leadership is actually  working from high management towards low management. Trust and Believe people can do will make us spend less time on managing people. (e.g., displayed in the diagram below: S1 -> S2 -> S3 -> S4, sometimes it works another way around S4 -> S3 -> S2 -> S1)

(image is from URL: http://www.people.vcu.edu/~rsleeth/HBFigure.jpg)

Understand motivation

Motivation is a drive to satisfaction. It makes people make work forward positively, responsibly, and happily. We can motivate people in many ways, however it all depends on individuals. From Howthorne effect, we can see that more resources do not always make better outcomes and performance.

(image is from URL: http://cdn.b2binternational.com/images/stories/publications/white_papers/herzberg_theory_motivation.png)

So how do we know what motive the person and how can we motivate them? The approach is:

  • Talk to people and find out what’s important for them (their motivators)
  • Open your eyes/ears (try new ways; look opportunities for them)
  • Motivate them using their motivators daily

What are transformational leaders?

Transformational leadership is social skills that get the best of you and people. It creates real, fair, honest interpersonal connections. It creates valuable and positive change in the followers which develop followers into transformational leaders.

(image is from URL: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/d8/f2/4c/d8f24c8405a986c97f9ef77b095344a1.jpg)

So how can we develop transformational leadership skills? One crucial approach is to develop Emotional Intelligence, which fits in transformational skills well. According to Dr Goleman’s study, we know that it’s important, we can develop our EQ, we can learn it. It brings out the real self.

(image is from URL: https://managementpocketbooks.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/danielgolemaneimodels.jpg)

Then, we need to learn how we make the team work together. Here is an example of developing plans. It’s not a very good one. And it is not a single direction process. No7, actually linked back to Step 4, 5, 6.

(image from URL: http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/inspb3/html/images/circle.jpg)

Understand objectives

Objectives are difference from aims/goals. Objectives are short-term, highly specific and achievable new state of outcome. It’s never “ongoing”!  As a leader, you need to know your team objectives that you are able to governance.

Objectives can bring the team: motivation, focus on reality/priority, and measurable performace/sucess.

I quite like one of the skills the trainer used. When we state an objective, we should define the output like:

“By xxx (specific deadline), I will have + verb-ed (action) + noun (a new state).”

We can use the SMART checklist when we write objectives.

(image is from URL: http://cdn.zoeticamedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/SMART-Objectives.png)

Deal with tricky cases and conflict 

This is too complicate to discuss here. I have seen many examples, but they were manageable and not exceptional. I was joking with a colleague and said, “The more different-characteristic people you work with, the more you learn.”

A few reminders for myself:

  • It’s a conversation aims to resolve a problem. You don’t solve people’s problems, you offer support and input you can.
  • Always deal with what presents!
  • Don’t mention the individual’s name when bring up a complaint from the person.
  • Bring the issue by saying something like “I notice…”
  • If people ask you a complaint they had, say something like “I will deal with it.”; “I am working on it.”
  • If the person respond silently, you can go back to your expectations for them and say something like “I can suggest… If you notice anything that I can do to support you, tell me.” Then you two need to set a reasonable agreed timescale to resolve it.
  • Divisive conflict needs to be dealt with at the time it happens.
  • Using verbal warning means a formal process starts.

Focusing on the transformative complements

The other day I watched Dr Lissa Rankin’s talk on TEDx. She said the statement below and questioned us how do we think about it?

The caring for your body was the least important part of your health.”

Based on her research and experiences in practice, she brought in the term of “the Whole Health Medicine” (this is her website) and created a wellness model (see a diagram below). It indicates that our health symptoms are often shown on our feelings of our bodies, where we thought we have problems on, however these are the mirrors of our mind and our life surroundings. One of her suggestions is to switch from focusing on battling nuisance symptoms that decrease our quality of life to seeking and enhancing our own transformative complements such as love, pleasure, gratitude and service.

op-whole-health

(image from http://www.owningpink.com/images/op-whole-health.jpg)

In Chinese, we often say “境由心转,相由心生“, which means that our perceptions of the world will change with the changes of our mind; whereas our outward appearance mirrors our heart. When I was a kid, to stop me being cheated by strangers, my grandparents told me that if I feel a stranger is not kind and nice though they may smile and try to be friendly, very likely they are not truly kind because their face and behaviors tell. I wouldn’t say this 100% works, but it has its reasons.

Another example is that we all heard something like “the first three minutes of a job interview are the most critical”, or “first impressions are more heavily influenced by nonverbal cues than verbal cues”.  Spontaneously when we present who we are – the best being of ourselves, we are giving people an impressive first impression. However, this spontaneous look is not pretended. It has been molded on our bodies by our mind in every day life. (N.B. here I am not saying we don’t prepare interview and don’t learn the interaction skills)

So we are shaped by our thoughts. It’s all mirrored on our body including our faces, eyes, smile, voice, etc. To care our own health, read Dr Lissa Rankin’s advice and see if it works for you.

The research studies about mental disorder

Last October, I tweeted the news I heard in that morning, and questioned where the statement of “1/4 of us suffer mental disorder in our lifetime” was from?

By reading more on the Mind website (the mental health charity for England and Wales), I found lots of helpful information, however, I was still curious about who did the research and how did they conclude that statement.

I’m pleased to find the evidence in the book I’m reading – The How of Happiness by Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky.

On page 35,  it said “In the UK it is estimated that one in four women and one in ten men will suffer depression during their lifetime.

IMG_20150126_205412

The references on pages 327-328 show the original publications.

IMG_20150126_205828 (2)

Work on my 40% intentional activities

I am happy to find the book The How of Happiness from our library. A very powerful science book. Using the author Sonja Lyubomirsky’s words,

… the first ‘how-to-become-happier’ book authored by someone who has actually conducted research revealing how people can achieve a greater sense of happiness in their lives.

The following quote is from an article by the same author. It confirms that we can change our intentional activities towards become happier. See Layous, K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (in press). The how, who, what, when, and why of happiness: Mechanisms underlying the success of positive interventions. In J. Gruber & J. Moscowitz (Eds.), The light and dark side of positive emotions. New York: Oxford University Press.

The last decade of research has not only established that happiness can be increased through intentional activity, but has begun to parse the details of the how, who, what, when, and why of this important process.

Also, a lecture given by Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky is on YouTube.

Dr Tal Ben-Shahar – Harvard Open Courses 1504 – Positive Psychology 23

This is the last session of the Harvard Open Course 1504. It’s a summary of the whole course and a wonderful and touching collection of random students’ personal reflection from this course.

Write down two things that are particularly personally meaningful and/or interesting for you.
My immediate thought:

  • Allow ourselves to be human
  • Grateful, appreciation
  • ABCs – Affect, Behaviour, Cognition
  • 3Ms – Magnify, Minimising, Making up
  • 3 Rules in a relationship

Write down two commitments or behaviour changes you make.
My immediate thought:

  • Do more exercise – cycling every day
  • Write down gratefulness every day

Courage is not about without fear, it’s about having fear but still go ahead.

Happiness is the ultimate currency. It’s not about having a high versus low expectations, it’s about having right versus wrong expectations.

The core of change is to introduce behaviour change now.

People and their work:

  • Carl Rogers said “what is the most personal is the most general.”
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes – simplicity and complexity
  • Peter Drucker said “Don’t call me to tell me how wonderful it was. Call me and tell me what you are doing differently.”

What affect happiness?

This is a note from my reading – The Life Book, Nina Grunfeld. p.164.

Happiness is when you feel pleasure, contentment, satisfaction or joy. Researchers have found that 50 per cent of happiness is genetic, 10-15 per cent is due to measurable life circumstances, such as money, marital status, income, health etc. The remaining 35-40 per cent is to do with the actions individuals take to become happier.

Dr Tal Ben-Shahar – Harvard Open Courses 1504 – Positive Psychology 22

This session continues on the topic of self-esteem.

It is nature that we all have some components of the three self-esteem types. If we want to completely get ride of the dependent self-esteem, we actually are fighting with nature. It does take time to reach the third level self-esteem.

Why do we need to study independent self-esteem? Because it brings benefits as below:

  • better moral behaviours
  • better cognitive performance
  • higher level of happiness

Self-esteem is simply an attitude. It’s the attitude I have toward to the self. 

In relation to the ABC change model (Affect, Behaviour, Cognition), changing Behaviour is the most effective approach to change.

How do we enhance self-esteem?

  • behave like those people who are having high independent self-esteem. It’s important for us to have a role model, change behaviour and over time achieve the attitude.
  • pursue the things that you are interested in and have the experience of flowing.
  • take action
  • humble behaviour
  • have time to reflect on ourselves
  • integrity exercise – journalling, ask yourself “Am I just say thing to be impressed rather than to be authentic? Am I having the little lies?”

People and their work:

  • Warren Bennis – leadership, “I was not always this way.
  • Abranham Maslow – I couldn’t find people who were below the age of 45 were self-actualised. Even self-actualised people still have dependent self-esteem and independent self-esteem.
  • David Schnarch – studied how it’s in 50s and 60s that the individuals become differentiated and where the highest potential for passion is within a relationship.
  • Michael H. Kernis – 1995, stated the concept of self-esteem stability. People with low stable self-esteem were more likely to be hostile; people with more stable self-esteem were more likely to be generous and benevolent.
  • Tal’s research found that dependent self-esteem is highly correlated to instability of self-esteem and independent self-esteem is highly correlated to stability of self-esteem. He also found that narcissism is connected actually to high dependent self-esteem. High independent self-esteem people are more likely to be generous and benevolent.
  • Daniel Gilbert’s work on cognitive dizziness
  • Tim Kasser’s work on time affluence
  • Stanley Milgram’s experiment (Milgram experiment) – 63% of percentages of participants went above 350 volt, which is beyond the level where the person was not even heard any more.
  • George Loewenstein coined the concept hot-cold empathy gap
  • Nathaniel Branden – integrity and to be honest to yourself
  • Bella DePaulo’s research on lying and her research shows that basically everyone lies. People lie in average 3 times a day.
  • Melissa Christino wrote in her thesis “Your true potential lies way way down in the depths of your soul, in the pit of your stomach, past your knowledge, beyond your nervousness, and buried under your fears and anxieties.”As hidden as it may be, it is still there I know it’s there because I felt it before and I know it’s there in others too because I seen others perform miracles. There is a faint glow of unparalleled potential in all of us and when we find it – it shines.”

Dr Tal Ben-Shahar – Harvard Open Courses 1504 – Positive Psychology 21

This session goes back the topic of relationship and moves on to the topic of self-esteem.

How can we cope with conflict in relationship?

  • Asking positive question – What am I grateful for in my partner?
  • Asking positive question – What is wonderful about our relationship? What’s working?
  • Communicating about positive events (win-win)

When Tal talked about a feeling of “low self-esteem” and “punish by success”, I was surprised that I had the exact feeling before! However, I never really quested why because I thought I have a high level of requirements for myself. This session is so important for me to understand it.

Like happiness, we shouldn’t ask the question “Am I happy or unhappy?”, we should ask “How can I become happier?” Self-esteem is often misunderstood. The question we should ask is not “Do I have high or low self-esteem?” but rather “How can I enhance my self-esteem?”

Self-esteem is defined by Nathaniel Branden as “the disposition to experience oneself as competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and as worthy of happiness.” Both competency and worthiness are essential in self-esteem.

Self-esteem is not a product of empty reinforcement. Only praise no matter what to children won’t help their self-esteem in a long run. It actually reduces their motivation to work, makes them unrealistic, and makes them less happy than they potentially could have been.

Pseudo self-esteem is the pretence of self-efficacy and self-respect without the reality.
Self-esteem is founded in the reality, in actual performance, actual success, in actual practices. It’s a product of hard work.

Self-esteem is not associated with success, not associated with social status, and not associated with money. Tal has done in-depth research on the paradox of self-esteem based on Jane Loevinger’s work and presented an epigenetic model as following:

  • The first level of self-esteem – dependent self-esteem
  • The second level of self-esteem – independent self-esteem, not contingent on others
  • The third – sense of self
The worthiness The competency
Dependent self-esteem Constant evaluation of what other people think of me
Determined by others
Look for constant approval
Compare oneself to others
Independent self-esteem Evaluate oneself according to one’s own standards
Determined by own evaluation
Looking for beautiful enemies to improve self
Not compare one to others, but compare to oneself;
Pursuing self-concordant goals
Unconditional self-esteem Not contingent
Confident enough to not involve in evaluation
Interdependent
Is not “don’t care”

Everyone has some dependent self-esteem, some components of independent self-esteem, and some components of unconditional self-esteem. The question is of degree and the model is epigenetic.

Interesting research findings:

  • Sometimes people who associate too much self-esteem are arrogance, conceit, and narcissism.

People and their work:

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson’s article on friendship in 1841.
  • Robert M. Pirsig’s book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
  • Shelly Gable – positive psychology and relationship
  • Jane Elsner, Barbara Heilman and Amanda Horn –  2×2 matrices of communication and relationship: passive active; destructive  constructive
  • Albert Bandura, Germain Duclos, Stanley Coopersmith, Nathaniel Branden – definition of self-esteem
  • John Carlton – two important character of the most successful people: asking questions and believe themselves.
  • Daniel Goleman – emotional intelligence
  • Nathaniel Branden – self-esteem anxiety, six practices for the cultivation of self-esteem (integrity, conscious, self-acceptance, self-responsibility, self-assertiveness, purpose)
  • Richard L. Bednar and Scott R. Peterson – self-esteem as a core of underlying course, paradox of self-esteem
  • Roy Baumeister – self-esteem and narcissism
  • William James, Charles Cooley, George Mead – dependent self-esteem
  • Nathaniel Branden, Abranham Maslow, Carl Rogers – independent self-esteem
  • Maltimore Devano – dependent self-esteem
  • David Schnarch, Abranham Maslow – unconditional self-esteem

Dr Tal Ben-Shahar – Harvard Open Courses 1504 – Positive Psychology 20

This session is about humour presented by Shawn Achor. A full lecture video is here.

Shawn has a different teaching style from Tal’s. He speaks much faster but the content making people laugh.

I often think people who are humorous are genetically funny. Actually, we can use the Beta press to change the way that we actually view our environment so it’s actually adaptive for us and we learn to be humorous.

The sympathetic nervous system (which makes us energetic) and the parasympathetic nervous system (which makes us clam) work together to make us react to the world. The soprano effect, called by Shaw, is the chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Humour is like mindfulness and meditation, activates the sympathetic nervous system.

Laughing itself is both medicine and exercise.

Humour increases pain tolerance and reduces pressure. It is a luxury.

Humour is extremely contagious because we are actually hardwired for empathy for other people and the mirror neurons in our brain begin to active when we see other people laughing.

Humour is a signal of cognitive fitness.

Humour can make us transfer things that we thought were negative or bad or upsetting in the past.

Six ways of increasing your humorous level:

  • Writing Journals – write the things that make you laugh over the day, think the things funny and change the shape of it and reform the pattern in your brain.
  • Watching funny people – because of mirror neurons, you actually pick up the rhythm from them.
  • TQP (the Two Question Process) – repeating to ask the two questions to yourself “why am I so funny?”, “Why nobody recognise this?”
  • The permission to be subhuman.
  • The variety is absolutely the spice of life. The more you can change up the pattern you are doing, the more you see the potentials in your environment.
  • The Tetris Effect.
 Interesting research findings:
  • On eResources – 97:3 ratio of research on negative factors to humour research.
  • Medical School Syndrome – the way we study the world around of us actually change the lens through which we view the world
  • The Tetris Effect – It makes player see the Tetris shapes when they are not playing the game. Shaw called it as a cognitive afterimage.
  • 10 to 15 minutes of laughing is enough to burn the amount of calories of a medium size block of chocolate.
  • Our mammalian brains are actually hardwired for variety.

People and their work:

  • Three people in the area of humour research: Sigmund Freud, Henri Bergson and Shaw Achor.
  • Sigmund Freud’s book Jokes and Their Relation to The Unconscious. He argues that homour is way that allows for id impulses come out. Humour is a psychological release.
  • Henri Bergson argues that humour is the point in which we correct somebody when we slip or fall off the human developmental trajectory. Humour is a social “corractive”.
  • Shaw Achor believes that humour is a mindful lens through which we view the world. Humour is a cognitive lens.
  • Richard Wiseman’s book The Luck Factor
  • Barbara Fraley’s research on humorous and encounters
  • Eric R. Bressler studied the difference between men and women in terms of humour
  • John Gottman’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse