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Frank Morgan

@frankiem

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Panic induced by a surprise meeting

The first thought that goes through almost any professional when they hear the phrase, "Can we talk?", is that they did something wrong. An unexpected meeting can take the most self-assured person aback, especially if it comes from your boss.

This is a normal response that is naturally wired into the brain. It is a protective mechanism designed to keep you safe.

@frankiem

‘Let’s have a talk’: How to handle the stress of an unplanned chat with your boss

fastcompany.com

Your body may go into a fight-or-flight response when you receive a request to a surprise meeting. You may experience an increased heartbeat, tunnel vision, and sweating.

A simple way to calm yourself is with a mindfulness technique called grounding. It will slow your heart rate, improve your self-control and give you greater command over your thoughts and actions. There are many grounding exercises that you can try.

After you've calmed your body, focus on your automatic negative thoughts. You may fall into unhelpful or wrong thinking like catastrophizing - where you imagine the worst-case scenario - or jumping to conclusions where you convince yourself that you know what other people are thinking.

To counter cognitive distortions, simply look at your fingers and consider five alternative explanations for why your boss may be calling the meeting.

Instead of thinking up stories about your boss's intentions and withdraw in your mind, do the opposite.

Reach out to your boss to clarify the agenda for the meeting. Ask if there is something specific you can prepare. This can give you insight into the reason for calling the meeting while easing your concerns.

The best way to deal with the anxiety of the unexpected is through rehearsal.

  • Start by thanking them. "Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I appreciate your willingness to be candid with your concerns."
  • Validate their concerns. "I understand how important it is to have an understanding of .... If I were in your shoes, I would want to know, too."
  • Diplomatically defer if you don't have a response. "I'm happy to share my initial thinking for ... I'd like to reserve the right to investigate and come back to you with a more thorough response."
Goals vs. systems

Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress. Achieving a goal only changes your life for the moment. That’s the counterintuitive thing about improvement: We think we need to change our results, but the results are not the problem. What we really need to change are the systems that cause those results. 

Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

jamesclear.com

Goal setting and survivorship bias

We concentrate on the people who end up winning 🥇 —the survivors—and mistakenly assume that ambitious goals led to their success while overlooking all of the people who had the same objective but didn’t succeed.

Goals restrict your happiness

The implicit assumption behind any goal is this: “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy.” The problem with a goals-first mentality is that you’re continually putting happiness off until the next milestone.

 True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking

The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game. It’s not about any single accomplishment, but  about the cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement. Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress.

Being a specialized generalist

It means aiming to combine a few skills that are not usually combined.

If you associate two valuable skills that are even more valuable together (for example, computer science and a law degree, or math and public speaking), you will have a competitive advantage that allows you to reach the top of the earning power.

Should You Specialize or Be a Generalist? | Tim Ferriss

youtube.com

Specialization makes sense when you know you can reach the top of the domain you are trying to excel in.

If you want to specialize and become a basketball player, for example, you have to reach the top 0,001% to have phenomenal financial gains.

Warren Buffett's best investment
Warren Buffett, the famous investor, stated that his most important investment was in Dale Carnegie's speaking course because being a good communicator (both in speech and in writing) highlights, even more, the other skills you happen to have.
This means to take the time and consider the projects you choose to pursue based on the skills and the relationships you will be able to develop that have the potential to last even after those projects will finish.

Skills to consider: public speaking, writing, and negotiation. These are examples of marketable skills that can be transferred to other areas outside those particular projects.

William James
"Acceptance of what has happened is the first step in overcoming the consequences of any misfortune."
https://books.google.com/books/content?id=WSsXDQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&img=1&zoom=1&edge=curl&source=gbs_api

How to stop worrying & start living

by Dale Carnegie

Try to avoid getting nervous about the future. Just live each day until bedtime.

Only think about and focus on the current day. We cannot go back to the past or see the future. The future is today.

The Formula For Solving Worry Situations
  1. Analyze the situation and figure out what is the worst that could possibly happen as a result of this failure.
  2. Prepare yourself mentally to accept the worst-if necessary.
  3. Try to improve upon the worst scenario you have already mentally agreed to accept.
  • Get the facts in an impartial manner.
  • Analyze the facts. It is much easier to analyze the facts after writing them down.
  • Arrive at a decision and then act on that decision. Do something about it.
Charles Kettering
"A problem well stated is a problem half solved."

When you are faced with a worrisome business problem, write out and answer the following questions:

  • What is the problem?
  • What is the cause of the problem?
  • What are all possible solutions?
  • What is the best solution?
Breaking The Worry Habit
  • Keep busy. The worried person must lose himself in action, lest be wither in despair.
  • Don't allow yourself to get upset by small things.
  • Think about the actual probability of the event you worry about to happen.
  • Co-operate with the inevitable. You can either bend with the inevitable storms of life or you can resist them and break.
  • Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth and refuse to give it any more.
  • Let the past bury its dead.
Michel de Montaigne
"A man is not hurt so much by what happens, as by his opinion of what happens."
  • Choose thoughts of peace, courage, health, and hope.
  • Never try to get even with your enemies. Don't waste a minute thinking about people you don't like.
  • Dorry worry about ingratitude, expect it. Give only for the joy of giving.
  • Count your blessings, not your troubles.
  • Do not imitate others. Find your own voice.
  • Do the best you can with the resources you have at hand.
  • Try to create a little happiness for the others.
François de La Rochefoucauld
"The opinions of our enemies come nearer to the truth about us than do our own opinions."
  • Unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment. It often is the consequence of jealousy and envy.
  • Do the very best you can and don't let the irrelevant criticism affect you.
  • Ask for unbiased, helpful, constructive criticism.
How To Deal With Insomnia
  • If yon can't sleep, get out of bed and work or read until you do feel sleepy.
  • Worrying about insomnia usually causes far more damage than sleeplessness.
  • Relax your body.
  • Get yourself so physically tired you can't stay awake.
  • Get the facts down on paper.
  • Get a tailor-made budget for your needs.
  • Learn how to spend wisely.
  • Try to build credit, in the event you must borrow.
  • Protect yourself against illness, fire, and emergency expenses.
  • Teach your children a responsible attitude towards money.
  • Stay away from gambling.
Wonder Woman may have roots in Ancient Persia
  • The movie Wonder Woman (2017) is set in Europe during World War One. Its successor is situated in Washington DC, 70 years later. Both films are told in flashback, where we see glimpses of young Diana Prince on her birth island of Themyscira.
  • The Amazons of Greek mythology and the real-life worrier women that let to Wonder Woman might have root in ancient Persia - modern-day Iran.

The 2,000-year-old Wonder Women who inspired the comic

bbc.com

The story of a race of warrior women first appeared in Greek mythology, but excavations across the north and east of the Black Sea region revealed that worrier women like the Amazons really existed.

  • In December 2019, the graves of four female warriors from the 4th Century BC Sarmatian region were found in the village of Devitsa - now Western Russia.
  • Excavations within the modern borders of Iran have revealed the existence of female warriors.
  • Experts have identified depictions of women in battle with Greek men on vases and other ceramics.
  • By the 470s, the Greeks began to refer to representations of the Persians as the Amazons.

According to Herodotus, a 5th-Century Greek writer and geographer, the Amazons maintained an idyllic all-female existence in modern-day Turkey. The women pillaged the Persian Empire and procreated with neighbouring tribes, raising the baby girls.

They met their fate in a battle against the Greeks in Thermodon. The Amazons eventually entered Scythia near the Black Sea and joined forces. Their descendants are the Sarmatians.

Besides Greece, many ancient cultures told tales of warrior women such as Persia, Egypt, Rome, Caucasus, Central Asia, Mongolia, India, and China.

In the US, the comic book character of Wonder Woman, inspired by the Amazonian warrior woman mythos, was created in 1941 by psychologist William Moulton Marston. The story goes that the Amazon Princess Diana was moulded out of clay by her mother Hippolyta and brought to life by the gods.

William Moulton Marston describes his narrative objective as "psychological propaganda for a new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world."

The birth of this feminist character happened just as the attack on Pearl Harbour brought Americans into World War Two. The conflict gave women the option to enlist, enter factories and workplaces, and building expertise in fields secured for men. After the war, most women went back to their homes, but in their hearts, the Wonder Woman had emerged and could not be repressed.

The doorway effect

Walking through a doorway can make you forget. You'll walk from one room to another with a clear idea of whatever you need to do, but when you get there, you can't remember what you wanted to do. Studies show that a doorway seems to insert a mental divider into memory.

Our brains record memories in segments, rather than as a continuous event. Passing through a doorway triggers a pause between events and in that tiny pause, connective parts of memories can be lost.

Yes, Walking Through A Doorway Really Does Make You Forget

forbes.com

Researchers found that imagining walking through a doorway can also interfere with your memory. Worse still, phrases that insert a temporal boundary between events have the same sort of mental divider as a doorway. For example, reading a sentence that starts with "A few hours later..."

This tells us that our brains operate with certain mechanical dynamics. When you can't remember why you walked through a doorway, don't be alarmed. Your brain simply thought the doorway meant you needed a memory divider.

The Waiting Game

We all have heard the cliche that ‘Good Things Come To Those Who Wait’ but not many of us are really fond of waiting.

Waiting is an institution by itself, imbibed in our very society and culture. The Doctor’s office, for instance, has a ‘Waiting Room’, and we can’t do much in it, besides waiting.

The Wisdom of Waiting - Mindful

mindful.org

Awareness and mindfulness are something that can be brought in the act of waiting, making it less of an ugly feeling where we fiddle with our phones, and turning it into a beautiful opportunity to explore our surroundings.

  • We can check our capacity for patience, or appreciate certain moments, paying gratitude for the downtime our brain has got.
  • We could relax, finding new insights about ourselves and others with the brain going on a free-form mode.
  1. W is for Watching yourself, your impatience and the feelings that arise in you.
  2. A is for Allowing whatever is bubbling up to come to the surface.
  3. I is for Investigating how this act of waiting is felt by your body/mind, and to relax, loosening your muscles.
  4. T is for Taking a few deep breaths.
Reasons for enjoying or hating scary movies
  • Sensation seeking individuals may enjoy scary movies because it will elevate the heart rate and make the body feel as though it needs to expend energy.
  • Highly sensitive people can be easily overstimulated by their environment and also tend to be more empathetic. This results in a more intense physiological reaction to violent or scary movies.
  • Childhood experiences affect how someone feels about being scared. People who had positive experiences when they were young already have an internal concept that frames certain scary activities in an exciting way.
  • Horror movies are enjoyable for some people when they’re shared with loved ones. It can create a social bonding experience.

What Loving Horror Movies Says About Your Personality

huffpost.com

Imaginary friends are healthy

In the early 19th century, psychologists feared that imaginary friends could be a sign of emotional unstability or psychological problems in children.

But over the last two decades, scientists have learned that invisible friends are really a sign of positive developmental progress.

How imaginary friends could boost children's development

theconversation.com

Studies found that 65% of children play with invisible playmates. Children typically start inventing imaginary friends at age three to five.

Children make up imaginary friends to relieve loneliness, especially firstborn or only children. Another reason is to have someone to blame for bad behaviour or mischief.

Children who have fantasy friends are more socially aware. They can put themselves in other people's shoes better than peers who don't have imaginary friends.

Children with imaginary friends tend to talk more about personalities than visual clues when describing real friends, suggesting that they focus more on the minds of others than their looks. Children with invisible playmates are also more creative than others.

Parents often wonder how they should approach their children's imaginary friend.

Most children with imaginary friends understand the difference between their own fantasy and reality. The best thing then is to accept the imaginary playmate and join in with the child.

The Escalator

The Escalator, or ‘moving stairs’ is an infrastructural technological development which is actually a trademark, a brand that became so common that its name became a ‘trademark genericide’, just like Aspirin, or Cellophane.

Escalators came after elevators and of course, stairs, both of which were serving the purpose, but had many constraints like vertical expansion of space and a limit on how much a person can ascend or descend manually.

How the Escalator Forever Changed Our Sense of Space

smithsonianmag.com

The new technology of escalators transformed not just how the walking person is transported in a building, but the way architecture itself is designed, and created fluid transitions without the limits of the sky or ground.

The Moving Stairs

Nathan Ames, an inventor, applied for the patent in 1859 for the first kind of moving stairs, with a belt attached with three wheels, and powered by kinetic energy. This was never built.

As the 19th century came to an end, there were improvements in the way people lived and worked, facilitating the development of malls, skyscrapers, and electric subway trains. The print and photography industry paved the way for better advertising of products and services.

  • Jesse Reno, an engineer, worked in a Subway plan for New York City, and proposed a ‘linear belt’ to move passengers, which later morphed into an ‘Inclined Elevator’, which was a huge success, and was installed in the Brooklyn Bridge in 1897.
  • George Wheeler, another inventor, created the concept of the Escalator that we know today, and called it the Elevator, the patents were purchased for the same by Charles Seeberger, who partnered with OTIS to create the Escalator, a trademarked product.
  • Earlier, the upper floors of malls were hard to reach, and resulted in less footfall.
  • The Escalator democratized all the levels of a shopping mall, making the upper floors equally accessible to consumers.
  • This made it one of the most important inventions in retail marketing.