• Kinetic art installation mimics synchronized flocking of 400 birds (Video)Kinetic art installation mimics synchronized flocking of 400 birds (Video)

    These origami-inspired 'birds' soar, open and close their wings, and even make some unexpected sounds.

    TreeHugger / 1 h. 35 min. ago
  • 
        Every Single Member Of This NFL Team Registered To Vote. Here’s Why That’s So Cool.
      Every Single Member Of This NFL Team Registered To Vote. Here’s Why That’s So Cool.

    Last Thursday, Dec. 7, the NFL’s Miami Dolphins announced that each and every player on the team was now registered to vote, fulfilling a June goal. Then on Monday night, Dec. 11, the Dolphins beat the heavily-favored first-place New England Patriots, 27-20. Does being registered to vote give a pro-football player the skill and stamina needed to take down the coaching/quarterback duo of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady? Nah, it’s probably just a coincidence. Even so, the team’s example of positive civic engagement off the field couldn’t be more valuable in the current political climate.  America’s track record when it comes to participating in the democratic process leaves a lot to be desired. Only 60.2% of eligible voters cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election. While some people decided to sit this one out, about half of all eligible nonvoters weren’t even registered. Earlier this year, Pew Charitable Trusts published a report on what keeps people from getting registered to vote. Though some just say they’re not interested in voting, Pew found that millions of people want to vote, but either haven’t gotten around to it (27% of those not registered), find the process too inconvenient (9%), or don’t know how to get registered (6%). By making a public show of how easy it is to register, the Dolphins are reminding the public to register themselves and to make sure their voter information is up-to-date. But most importantly, they’re showing that the value of participating in the democratic process begins with signing up. Getting registered to vote isn’t a partisan issue either. The Dolphins, like most workplaces, is made up of people with a variety of political viewpoints. Quarterback Jay Cutler has gone on the record as a Trump supporter, while a group of his teammates has expressed shock and concern over the president.

    Good.is / 2 h. 8 min. ago more
  • 
        Watch NBA All-Star Chris Bosh Surprise Middle-School Kids To Talk About Coding
      Watch NBA All-Star Chris Bosh Surprise Middle-School Kids To Talk About Coding

    Former NBA All-Star Chris Bosh partnered with Code.org to encourage kids to engage in computer science. Bosh paid a surprise visit to Bancroft Middle School in Los Angeles for Computer Science Education Week and talked about his love of computers.  “Coding wasn’t a term that anybody knew and it was something that I had to just do at home,” he says in the video produced by Uninterrupted. “When I was a kid, I got into this club; it was called Wiz Kids. I loved to draw, I loved computers, then I went to basketball right after. So those were my three things that got me going.” Watch his visit below.  

    Good.is / 2 h. 18 min. ago more
  • Is it a Passivehouse or is it a treehouse? Yes!Is it a Passivehouse or is it a treehouse? Yes!

    Millar and Howard Workshop wins Telegraph award for best Passive House, and it's built on stilts

    TreeHugger / 2 h. 27 min. ago
  • Where to find the incredible animals starring in BBC's Blue PlanetWhere to find the incredible animals starring in BBC's Blue Planet

    Live out your David Attenborough dreams with this world map of creatures featured in the fascinating documentary.

    TreeHugger / 3 h. 17 min. ago
  • Mirrored rammed earth dwelling blends itself into the backgroundMirrored rammed earth dwelling blends itself into the background

    The reflective glass walls hide the bulk of this home in Mexico.

    TreeHugger / 3 h. 30 min. ago
  • How Bensonwood builds a wall that worksHow Bensonwood builds a wall that works

    From natural materials to open building, this wall will work for generations.

    TreeHugger / 3 h. 55 min. ago
  • 5 Ways to Beat Seasonal Depression5 Ways to Beat Seasonal Depression

    It’s usually after the holidays that the winter depression starts to haunt us. This year, get a head start on beating winter depression with these tips from Rachelle Jones, a Rexburg healthcare provider. Wear Bright Colors Winter is drab enough as it is when the sleet and hail start falling, so dress it up! Wear bright colors – colors that you enjoy – to trick your brain into thinking it’s nicer out than it actually is. Bright colors are associated with happy feelings and spring, so use that to your advantage! Get that Vitamin D Since the sun doesn’t like to show its face to us much in the winter, we need to find alternative methods of obtaining our vitamin D. Many diseases are associated with low vitamin D, and getting sick definitely doesn’t help with depression. You can find vitamin D at your local grocery story in pill form. It is also found in many food items – salmon, tuna, sardines, eggs, yogurt, milk, and some cereals. Make a List Making lists and checking items off helps people feel more productive – or realize how productive they are. Since you aren’t going out as much in the winter as you do in the summer, use this time to make a list of things that you can do indoors – such as some deep cleaning that you’ve wanted to get done, new books or movies that you want to catch up on, or anything that you’ve been wanting to do but just haven’t gotten around to. Surround Yourself with Optimism Positivity is contagious. Keep yourself surrounded by positive people this winter to avoid falling into the depths of depression. Likewise, avoid negative people. You don’t need people who are constantly dragging you down. Stay in positive company, and you’ll find yourself happier and healthier. Start a Project With the downtime that winter often affords us, it is a great time to start a new project. Is there an indoor home improvement you’ve been wanting to make? Or maybe a craft project you’ve been wanting to start for more than a year? Now is the perfect time to start. And starting this new project that you’ve been waiting for will help you feel more productive and satisfied with the things that you achieve. When you catch yourself getting depressed this winter, take a little power nap, get up, and keep yourself busy. Find new things to do, things that you’ve been wanting to do, dress up, and be a go-getter. The post 5 Ways to Beat Seasonal Depression appeared first on Good Home & Health.

    Good Home & Health / 4 h. 6 min. ago more
  • How the humble potato rescued Europe from impending doomHow the humble potato rescued Europe from impending doom

    When explorers brought potatoes back from the Andes, Europe was able to reverse its population decline and establish greater food security.

    TreeHugger / 4 h. 38 min. ago
  • France will ban cell phones in elementary schoolsFrance will ban cell phones in elementary schools

    Starting September 2018, students under age 15 will not be allowed to use their phones at any point during the school day.

    TreeHugger / 6 h. 6 min. ago
  • It’s time to start thinking of driving like smokingIt’s time to start thinking of driving like smoking

    Cars are killing us, and it is time to limit the damage to drivers and to people around them, just like we did with smoking.

    TreeHugger / 6 h. 12 min. ago
  • 
        Injured Steelers Linebacker Ryan Shazier Congratulates Team On Clinching Title From His Hospital Bed
      Injured Steelers Linebacker Ryan Shazier Congratulates Team On Clinching Title From His Hospital Bed

    Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier was involved in a terrifying on-field collision during a game versus the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, Dec. 4. The devastating hit severely injured Shazier’s spine, which required stabilization surgery two days later. Although no one is certain whether Shazier will ever make it back on the playing field, the linebacker proved he’s in great spirits on Sunday, Dec. 10, when he filmed a Facetime video congratulating the Steelers for clinching the AFC North title. The Steelers did so after squeaking out a last-minute victory against Baltimore. A 46-yard field goal by Chris Boswell with 42 seconds remaining brought the final score to 39-38. “We got a ‘W’ today,” Shazier said in a video taken at the hospital. “It got scary, but hey, we know how to pull it out, baby. Here we go, Steelers.” Ryan Shazier and his family celebrate the Steelers win  (via shazier/Instagram) pic.twitter.com/yuq0lH5lV3 — Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) December 11, 2017 Shazier’s injury weighed heavily on the Steelers’ hearts when they took the field against Baltimore. Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward says that Shazier will get the game ball for inspiring the team to victory. “You give that guy the game ball because we know his heart is in it,” Heyward told ESPN. “And he deserves it.” Linebacker James Harrison paid tribute to Shazier by doing his pregame warmups without a shirt, as Shazier is known to do. pic.twitter.com/fULSWfvUVr — Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 11, 2017 Several players wore cleats with Shazier’s face and number on them. #SHALIEVE pic.twitter.com/EuScsNoD1i — Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 10, 2017 Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger carried Shazier’s jersey with him as he walked to the locker room after the victory. “We love our brother, and we wanted to get this win for him, and I’m glad we did,” Roethlisberger told ESPN after the game.   Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger leaves the field with Ryan Shazier’s jersey on his shoulder after a 39-38 victory over the Ravens tonight at Heinz Field. #nfl pic.twitter.com/y3Zp8vbxKC — Christopher Horner (@Hornerfoto1) December 11, 2017

    Good.is / 6 h. 18 min. ago more
  • Photo: Red-tailed black cockatoo is speckled with hearts and starsPhoto: Red-tailed black cockatoo is speckled with hearts and stars

    Our photo of the day is not strictly for the birds.

    TreeHugger / 7 h. 39 min. ago
  • Simple Decorating Ideas For An Amazing Outdoor Living SpaceSimple Decorating Ideas For An Amazing Outdoor Living Space

    As much fun as it is to decorate your home’s interiors, it is equally fun and exciting to beautify your outdoor living space. Taking on such an endeavor can be intimidating at first, but all it takes is visualizing the best layout, walkways, color theme, and the right accents and furniture, and you’ll be able to successfully decorate your yard or garden on your own.   Decorating one’s outdoor living space is more than just having a private and personal relaxation nook. For what it’s worth, this is considered home improvement and should help increase the value of your property, which is always a good thing. If that got you excited, check out these decorating tips and get to work.   Put Accents Here and There   There’s no need to be extravagant when decorating your garden. The key is choosing the right accents and placing them in the right areas too. Having a small water feature or a sculpture will be great for any outdoor living space. Plant pots are great accents too. Feel free to vary it up with different color, texture, and sizes. The best places to put them are at the corners and borders.   Vases are always a good decorating idea for any living space. For the outdoors, you can put them on the outdoor dining table, center or side tables. Further, if you have a large cemented wall, putting wall containers, potted plants, and trailing vines will always do wonders for any plain wall.   Clever Furniture   Picking outdoor furniture can get a bit tricky. You must consider the space, location, and the material used. Outdoor furniture should be weather-resistant. The material should be highly durable and sturdy, so make sure to look for these qualities when shopping for furniture. Some of the key pieces you should have is an outdoor sofa. Families like to hang out outdoors to relax, so it’s really a must to have a comfortable couch outside. If you have a spacious garden or yard, adding a dining set is also a good idea. It’s always fun to do barbeque sessions with the family and guests. And of course, don’t forget high-quality garden and outdoor benches – the perfect furniture for just chilling out while looking at the beautiful flowers and breathing in the fresh air. But, if you get the chance, pick furniture that is dual or multi-purpose. Go for benches with storage underneath or tables that double as containers. There are so many things you can do with your outdoor living space, and most of the time, it will boil down to personal preference. You may even opt to add a small DIY fireplace for those cold months. Just make sure to create a walkway that goes around the garden for easy exploration. You can add shrubs and dwarf trees along the walkway too. Either way, these tips can be your starting point in coming up with an outdoor living space design and layout that you and the family will really love. The post Simple Decorating Ideas For An Amazing Outdoor Living Space appeared first on Good Home & Health.

    Good Home & Health / 8 h. 25 min. ago more
  • Closing in on the chemicals that make us fat or infertileClosing in on the chemicals that make us fat or infertile

    A special type of chemicals that can do great harm to our health, hormone disruptors have long been under-regulated. As the US EPA eliminates programs, hope for progress turns to the European Union.

    TreeHugger / 8 h. 41 min. ago
  • With Lolistraw, you can have your straw and eat it tooWith Lolistraw, you can have your straw and eat it too

    But even more exciting than its edibility is the Lolistraw's hyper-compostability.

    TreeHugger / 9 h. 16 min. ago
  • Diastolic high blood pressure (hypertension): Causes, symptoms, and treatmentDiastolic high blood pressure (hypertension): Causes, symptoms, and treatment

    High blood pressure or hypertension is a long-term condition in which the blood pressure within the arteries is persistently elevated. Blood pressure is expressed by two measurements, the systolic and diastolic measurements represented by the top number and bottom number … The post Diastolic high blood pressure (hypertension): Causes, symptoms, and treatment appeared first on Bel Marra Health - Breaking Health News and Health Information.

    Bel Marra Health / 9 h. 28 min. ago more
  • Beyond Meat Joins the Burger Bar at TGI FridaysBeyond Meat Joins the Burger Bar at TGI Fridays

    Beyond Meat's vegan burgers are now in thousands of grocery stores across the nation, a testament to their success on the grocery isle. In January, they make their debut in a major restaurant chain. What does the brand's expansion say about the future of the iconic American hamburger? One major meat producer has already decided. This week it increased its investment in the growing success of plant-based technology.

    Triple Pundit / 9 h. 28 min. ago more
  • Life with a Sense home energy monitor, the first monthLife with a Sense home energy monitor, the first month

    Measuring individual appliance's energy consumption is one thing. But Sense aims to give you a bigger picture.

    TreeHugger / 9 h. 48 min. ago
  • Sacrifice for the Greater Good AND for Your Own GoodSacrifice for the Greater Good AND for Your Own Good

    Some people think they deserve all the good things in life simply because others have them. It never occurs to them that the folks they marvel at probably worked their butts off and made great sacrifices to earn those rewards. If you believe the American work ethic is “old school,” you’d better repeat the class. Are you willing to make the sacrifice? Don’t get me wrong…it’s understandable that everyone wants the comforts in life, but it’s unreasonable to expect rewards without earning them. The fact is, rewards aren’t there for the asking; they’re given to the deserving. You may be thinking this message is limited to material possessions, but that’s not the case. The fact is, lasting friendships, successful business partnerships, well-adjusted children, and long-term marriages don’t just happen. They’re the result of hard work and commitment. Plus, you must be willing to make sacrifices if you want success in these areas. All Great Achievements Require Sacrifice Every relationship, romantic or otherwise, requires a certain level of sacrifice to achieve success. When you care for someone, you’re willing to make these sacrifices because you have their best interest at heart, not because you have a gun to your head. This doesn’t mean you have to forgo all your needs or abandon your principles, but relationships thrive when you forge mutual dependence in which you build something better together than you would have apart. Friendship. There’s a difference between a friend and an acquaintance. As a friendship develops, each person becomes more invested in the relationship. That means trust, respect, selflessness, and commitment become hallmarks. That doesn’t just happen. It requires hard work, dedication, and sacrifice on everyone’s part. Business partnerships. A true partnership is a win-win rather than a winner-take-all proposition. That means not trying to gain the upper hand, but rather, compromising and sacrificing for the good of the whole. Marriage. Marriage is not a living arrangement or the pooling of finances; it represents the ultimate commitment. Marriage is a solemn promise to share your life with another person rather than going it alone. That means putting your heart into the relationship and embracing a mindset of “we” rather than “me” and of “what’s mine is now ours.” Parenting. Having kids is not the same as being a parent. Behind every good kid are parents, or caregivers, who understand the importance of raising them that way. That means offering them your unconditional love and making the sacrifice that enables them to flourish and reach their true potential. How Giving Enriches You Life is all about choices; you get to decide what you’re willing to give up in order to gain the things that you cherish most. If you’re not willing to sacrifice, you’ll get what you deserve. Some people think the world revolves around them… their comfort, their preferences, and their happiness. Although they want healthy relationships, they’re not willing to make the effort or the sacrifice that’s required. Instead, they’re more likely to exploit every opportunity to get what they want…but at what cost? If you want to build trust and earn the respect of others, you have to earn it. No one wants to be friends with or work alongside people who are egotistical or selfish. Good people make sacrifices for others. It’s that simple. Be willing to make the first kind gesture and watch something magical happen. Whether it’s for your neighbor, family, or country, people with strong moral character make sacrifices for the greater good. They give freely of themselves without any expectation of personal gain because they’re as excited about the success of others as they are about their own. The way I see it, give of yourself because it’s the right thing to do and more often than not, it comes back to you. Sacrifice for the greater good AND for your own good. Are You Willing to Make the Sacrifice? Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information. Additional Reading: The Secrets of a Successful Marriage Parenthood Isn’t Child’s Play Compromise: Redefining Winning There’s More to Friendship Than Friending If you like this article, subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss a single post. Get future posts by RSS feed, email or Facebook. It’s FREE. The post Sacrifice for the Greater Good AND for Your Own Good appeared first on Frank Sonnenberg Online.

    Frank Sonnenberg Online / 10 h. 26 min. ago more
  • Nano diamonds found to aid root canal recoveryNano diamonds found to aid root canal recovery

    Diamonds are considered the hardest material on the planet and have a number of different industrial applications. However, this commonly found gemstone is more often associated with proposals and getting married, more so than for its practical uses. Diamonds may … The post Nano diamonds found to aid root canal recovery appeared first on Bel Marra Health - Breaking Health News and Health Information.

    Bel Marra Health / 10 h. 27 min. ago more
  • Organic Food: Debunking 5 Common MythsOrganic Food: Debunking 5 Common Myths

    As of 2016, the organic produce industry alone raked in more than $65 billion, so it’s clear the farming method is here to stay and extremely popular among buyers. It’s only right to debunk any myths still associated with the way this type of produce is harvested. Here are five of the biggest misconceptions — and the truth about each one.

    Triple Pundit / 10 h. 58 min. ago
  • Is ExxonMobil Finally Standing Up For Climate Science, Or Just Showing Up Coal?Is ExxonMobil Finally Standing Up For Climate Science, Or Just Showing Up Coal?

    ExxonMobil has been the arch enemy of climate science and now suddenly the company is a warrior for climate action, thanks to a shove from the Heartland Institute.

    Triple Pundit / 11 h. 27 min. ago
  • Study finds that HPV has a high reinfection rate in menStudy finds that HPV has a high reinfection rate in men

    The most common sexually transmitted infection is not herpes or HIV, but rather another type of viral infection called HPV or human papillomavirus virus. This infection doesn’t typically present with any symptoms but has the potential to develop into cancer.… The post Study finds that HPV has a high reinfection rate in men appeared first on Bel Marra Health - Breaking Health News and Health Information.

    Bel Marra Health / 11 h. 28 min. ago more
  • The Healthy Truth: 2017 in reviewThe Healthy Truth: 2017 in review

    Dear Friends, The year is very quickly coming to a close, and before we can move into 2018, let’s reminisce about 2017 for a bit. When it comes to health and fitness, 2017 saw a variety of different trends including … The post The Healthy Truth: 2017 in review appeared first on Bel Marra Health - Breaking Health News and Health Information.

    Bel Marra Health / 11 h. 57 min. ago more
  • New Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus Long on Water Conservation, Short on Transport OptionsNew Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus Long on Water Conservation, Short on Transport Options

    In 2019, Microsoft will reopen its newly modernized Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View in a drive to keep technology workers excited about working within one of the most expensive and congested areas in the U.S. Transport options, however, are sorely lacking.

    Triple Pundit / 11 h. 57 min. ago
  • And more care requiredAnd more care required

    Yet another dog food alert. Reminds me of that wonderful quip about London buses. The one about waiting for ages for a bus and then two come more-or-less together! For it was just twelve days ago that I republished a dog food alert concerning bone treats; or as the FDA described it: The FDA reports it has received about 68 reports of pet illnesses related to “bone treats”. Bone treats differ from regular uncooked butcher-type bones because they’re processed and packaged for sale as “dog treats”. Then just early last Saturday there was an email that warned: Darwin’s Natural Pet Products of Tukwila, Washington, has notified its customers that it is recalling 2 lots of its Natural Selections raw dog food products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. To learn which products are affected, please visit the following link: Darwin’s Dog Food Recall of December 2017 Please be sure to share the news of this alert with other pet owners. Mike Sagman, Editor The Dog Food Advisor Here are the full details of that alert. ooOOoo Darwin’s Dog Food Recall of December 2017 December 8, 2017 — Darwin’s Natural Pet Products of Tukwila, Washington, has notified distributors that it is recalling select lots of its Darwin’s Natural Selections dog food due to possible contamination with Salmonella bacteria. What’s Recalled? The product was shipped to distributors between September and early October 2017. The affected product includes the following: Natural Selections Turkey Meals for Dogs Net wt 2 lbs Lot #39937 Manufacture date 08/24/17 Natural Selections Duck Meals for Dogs Net wt 2 lbs Lot #40487 Manufacture date 09/29/17 Why Is It Recalled? Through testing, the company determined that the products listed above, have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. About Salmonella Salmonella is a bacterial organism that can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections in people, particularly young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. There is risk to humans from handling contaminated products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the product or any surfaces exposed to these products. Some healthy individuals who are infected may experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infections can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe or chronic illness. According to the FDA, it is uncommon for healthy dogs to become sick from Salmonella. However, dogs with weakened immune systems (such as puppies or older dogs) have a higher risk of becoming sick. Pets with infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Further information about Salmonella can be found on the Food and Drug Administration website. Message from the Company In an email message to distributors, Darwin’s president, Gary Tashjian writes… We have not received any reports from customers regarding these meals, and are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution. However, if your pet has consumed the recalled product and has any of the above symptoms, please contact your veterinarian if they persist. We are recommending that you inspect your inventory of Darwin’s meals to determine if you have any left from the lot listed above. If any of the above product is still in your inventory, please take the following steps: Write down the lot number, date/time of manufacture and quantity of any product from the above lot remaining in your inventory. Dispose of the product by placing it in a plastic bag, then placing the bag in the trash in a secure manner. Contact us at productsafety@darwinspet.com to confirm that you have taken the above steps and to arrange for replacement of any unused product. Please note the following: Your name and address (or customer number) The date and time of manufacture and quantity of food from this lot that you have remaining in your inventory Confirmation that you have disposed of it. We anticipate that some of our customers will have questions or concerns regarding this matter. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about it. Toward that end, we have set up a special toll-free number for you to call: 866-832-8319 (Monday through Friday from 6 AM to 6 PM and Saturday 7 AM to 3 PM Pacific Time). Please note that we may not be able to talk with each of you at once, so we do ask that you be patient, particularly if your issue is not of an urgent nature. We regret any concern and/or inconvenience that this causes you. We are taking steps to reduce the opportunity for this to occur again. What to Do U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area. Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints. Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form. Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.FDA ooOOoo As always, please share this with other dog lovers.

    Learning from Dogs / 13 h. 28 min. ago more
  • How to Keep Going When Your Dream Seems Far OffHow to Keep Going When Your Dream Seems Far Off

    “Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.” ~Oprah Winfrey I needed a bit of extra cash last month, so I took on a temporary events role working at a local design exhibition. I’ve worked in events before, so I didn’t think much about it. I just knew that I needed some money, I liked doing events, and a short contract had presented itself. It seemed perfect! So off I went to my first shift, feeling pretty good about myself and about life. The first event was at a studio in a deserted industrial park. Even at 5:30pm, when it was still light, I felt uncomfortable walking the ten minutes from the bus stop. When I got there, I quickly realized that the role wasn’t going to be as fun as I thought it would be: standing shivering outside in the cold, wearing an exhibition t-shirt, registering attendees, most of whom weren’t on the guest list but were expecting to be on the list. So they got shirty. And the line up grew longer. So they got even more shirty. Two hours later, and I was starting to wonder why I’d taken on the role. (And don’t get me wrong—I know there are worse jobs, and that I’d signed up for it myself. I’m not looking for pity.) I started talking to the other girls who were working there. They were students, and it turns out they were a lot younger than me—nineteen and twenty-four. (I’m thirty-five.) Now, I know that age doesn’t make a difference, and I’m generally pretty comfortable with my age. (Getting older is better than the alternative!) But in that moment, I felt pretty crappy. So as I stood in the cold, with two girls ten to fifteen years younger than me, working for a near minimum wage job, I started to feel down. I started feeling sorry for myself. And at the end of the night, as I waited for the bus in the cold, dark bus depot, feeling pretty low, I texted a friend who I knew would understand. My text read: “What the hell am I doing?! I’m thirty-five years old, and I just worked a minimum wage job in a dodgy part of town, with a nineteen year old, and now I’m waiting for the hour-long bus journey to take me home.  My other friends are doctors or lawyers, own houses, and drive their (nice) cars to their places of work.  Ever feel like you’ve missed the boat somewhere?!” My friend was sympathetic (she’s temping and traveling around Europe while most of her peers are buying houses, having kids, and generally “doing very well.”) And then she said something that really stuck with me. Something that brought it all home: She simply said: “Think of your long-term vision.” This is how she explained it to me: “Yes, you’re doing a minimum wage role (temporarily). And yes, you’re working with people much younger than you. And taking the bus to work. But you’re doing all this for a reason. You’re doing this so you can set up your business. You’re doing this so you can create a new life for yourself—a life to really be proud of. You’re doing this for the end goal. So yes, it is sucky right now. But think of your long-term vision.” I couldn’t have asked for a better reminder. Because that was exactly it: I was working the job to earn extra money while I set up a business I’m passionate about. I was temporarily in a murky patch so I could get to a better place in the future. And I had forgotten my long-term vision.I had gotten caught up in the short-term And this is so easy to do. So I’d like to share my experience with you, to remind you of this powerful idea: Keep your long-term perspective in mind. Don’t get caught up in what is happening now, only. Think of the bigger picture: your big plans, your long-term goals. If you’re setting up your business and feel like you’re not getting anywhere, think of the long-term vision. You might not get anywhere in the first few months, but what about the next year or two? How far could you get if you kept going and putting in the effort? If you’re working two jobs in order to go traveling after grad school, keep that vision in mind. Think of setting off on that plane with your passport in hand, sipping an espresso in a village in Italy, or seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time. Keep your long-term vision in mind. If you’re writing a book and you’ve rewritten the first chapter ten times, think of your long-term vision: being an author. Picture having your first book published and seeing it on sale in your local bookstore. If you’re training for a half marathon and you busted your knee running, rest up, and think of your long-term goal: crossing that finish line. Don’t worry about the things happening now. The crappy jobs you take… the revisions you’re making… the demo tapes you’re sending off with no replies… the manuscript rejections. These are all temporary. But the long-term, if you keep taking action and putting one foot in front of the other, could be very different. If you let it. If you keep going. If you keep your goal in mind, and keep it clear. See, I had forgotten my reason for taking on this temporary events role. It wasn’t to work in the cold while annoyed guests took their impatience out on me. (Funnily enough!) It was to earn money so I can keep working on my business. To keep afloat while I follow my dream—my passion. Something that makes me feel excited and proud and hopeful and exhilarated. But, hang on, I know what you’re thinking: Sounds easy, but how do you do it in practice? How do you focus on the long-term, while you’re dealing with the difficulties of the short-term? So here’s how I did it. I hope these points are helpful for you too: 1. Get clear on your goal, and display it somewhere prominent. Post it on your wall. Set it as your phone backdrop. Make it your computer wallpaper. Anything. Just make it visible. So you have a reminder, day in, day out, of what you’re working toward. 2. Know how your short-term plans are feeding into your long-term goal. Get clear on how your actions are contributing to it. E.g.: I am putting up posters in the rain at eight o’clock at night so that people know about my business and I can eventually help people with my successful and inspiring series of retreats. I am taking the bus to this business event two hours from my hometown so I can meet people who might be able to help me get a job in my desired industry, or give me tips on how I can make it in this competitive market. 3. Team up with someone doing something similar. Texting my friend was the best thing I could have done because she understood. She sympathized. I didn’t feel judged, or stupid. So find someone in a similar situation to you. It doesn’t have to be in person—go online and seek out supportive websites, Facebook groups, whatever it is that helps you realize you’re not alone. 4. Know that everyone goes through this. The people you see at the top of their game didn’t start there. They sweated, and toiled, and kept going when the end seemed unrealistic, or even impossible at times. No one promised them they would get to the top. So they used their belief to keep them going. Think of anyone you admire, in any field… Did they work hard to get there, or did they have it handed to them magically on a plate? Did they take time to get to where they are now, or did it happen overnight? 5. Appreciate where you are now. See the positives as well as the negatives. Your blog only has four readers? Great—think of all the mistakes you can make without anyone knowing or making harsh comments! Working a boring job while you pay your way through school? Then sign up with a friend, and make it fun! Because—without sounding negative—you will still have issues and problems when you get to where you want to be. They’ll just be different problems and issues. So enjoy the problems you have now. I might have moaned about my long bus journey home at night, but if I’m traveling for business in the future, there could still be times where my flight is delayed and I’m hailing a cab in the pouring rain at one in the morning. Appreciate where you are on your journey—it is all important. So there we go. Five ways to keep going when your short-term reality doesn’t match your long-term vision. Because we all have to do things we don’t necessarily want to do to get to where we truly want to be. The trick is that most people don’t want to put themselves through this. They don’t want to go through the tough times, the yucky stuff, to emerge out the other side, stronger and clearer on where they’re headed. It’s easier to stay in the easy, safe zone. So use this to your advantage: Do the things you gotta do, to get to where you want to be. Because we only have this one life. So why not live it pursuing the things you love—your big goals and dreams? Why not go after those dreams and adventures rather than moaning that nothing good ever comes your way? (Hint: it’s because you have to go out and get it.) And now, over to you: What are you working on now to fulfill your long-term vision? What are you going through now, in order to create a brighter future for yourself? What have you learned along the way? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear! About Claire O'ConnorClaire O’Connor works with people who struggle to get things done. They desperately want to make progress on their side-hustle, project, or business, but keep getting stuck. Through her accountability program, she helps them turn their feelings of overwhelm into progress and moving forward. Check out her blog at The Five Percent.Web | More Posts Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.The post How to Keep Going When Your Dream Seems Far Off appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

    Tiny Buddha / 17 h. 5 min. ago more
  • 
        A High School Runner Helped A Struggling Marathoner Cross The Finish Line With This Kind Act
      A High School Runner Helped A Struggling Marathoner Cross The Finish Line With This Kind Act

    When Ariana Luterman signed up for the Dallas Marathon as part of a relay team, she had her own agenda. The goal of the high schoolers was to compete with the fastest runners in the race, hoping that, in shifts, the team could best the time of the top individuals running.  However, during Luterman’s leg of the relay, covering the final miles, she saw the leading woman, Chandler Self, struggling. Faced with the choice of surpassing the struggling leader or compromising her team’s finish time to help, Luterman chose to run beside Self for the duration of the race, even propping her new running partner up as Self’s legs gave out in the feet leading up to the finish line.  Speaking to The Dallas Morning News following the race, Luterman offered insight into her decision. “Right when I caught up with her at the [relay team’s] 21/2-mile mark, I told her: ‘Just so you know, the high school relay is out here to compete with you guys,’” she said. “I’m going to be your pacer. We’re going to get you that win.” Per the newspaper’s account of the marathon’s rules, runners aren’t allowed to receive assistance from those not participating, but the rulebook is silent on whether help is allowed from other runners. It seems the issue is moot, as the runner-up to the victorious Self, Caitlin Keen, has said she has no desire to challenge or contest the official race results.  While Luterman might not get a medal for her efforts, she’s receiving a lot of credit and appreciation from the sports world in the wake of her selfless gesture. 

    Good.is / 20 h. 33 min. ago more
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        Congress Is Preparing To Tackle The Higher Education Act. Here’s What It Could Mean For You
      Congress Is Preparing To Tackle The Higher Education Act. Here’s What It Could Mean For You

    For the first time in nearly a decade, the United States Congress is about to take up legislation to upgrade the Higher Education Act — the federal law that governs how the federal government supports and regulates higher education institutions. The process began earlier this month, when U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican from North Carolina, chairperson of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, introduced the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform, or PROSPER Act. The PROSPER Act is the first comprehensive attempt since 2008 to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, which was first passed in 1965. The Senate version of higher education reauthorization is expected in early 2018. Since the largest federal interaction with students is through the Federal Student Aid program, the vast majority of the recommendations within the PROSPER Act are related to changes in the student aid process. Scholars of higher education policy, like ourselves, have documented the role of federal policy in informing both campus operations and the ability for students to have access to, and ultimately succeed in, college. Here are five things that stood out as we reviewed the proposed legislation. 1. Pell Grant award won’t change but may come with a bonus If you receive the Pell Grant, your award will remain the same. If you want more money, you will need to take 15 credits per semester. Currently students receive a prorated amount of the maximum Pell Grant depending on their enrollment level. The PROSPER Act continues the Pell Grant program through 2024 at the current maximum award of US$5,920. The legislation adds a $300 “kicker,” or bonus, to students who enroll in at least 15 credits per semester during the academic year. This in theory should encourage students to take more credits and graduate earlier. However, more credits could mean potentially higher tuition — perhaps more than the additional $300 bonus will cover — and, as a result, potentially more loans for low-income students. Providing an incentive for full-time enrollment is a good thing, in our opinion, but if it increases student debt levels, the negative impacts may outweigh the benefits. 2. Larger loans for undergraduates, but limits for graduates and parents Dependent undergraduate borrowers will see an increase in annual federal loan limits — from $5,500 to $7,500. What is unknown, however, is whether this access to larger loans will encourage schools to increase undergraduate tuition and fees. Graduate students will see their loan limits set at $28,500, as opposed to the current limit, which is the total cost of attendance. For parents, the loan limit would be set at a flat rate of $12,500, as opposed to the current limit, which is the cost of attendance wherever their child attends college. For graduate students and parents, the proposed limits may increase the likelihood of taking out additional loans from a private lender — such as personal banks — to cover unmet need. Since private lenders typically have higher interest rates and less favorable terms, this shift may make it more difficult for student loan borrowers to repay their loans. Also, as more borrowers turn to private lenders, it would force borrowers to repay two separate entities — the federal government through direct loans and a private lending entity. The PROSPER Act will also change the way aid is delivered to students. 3. Student aid will feel more like a job PROSPER proposes additional investments in programs designed to increase connections between job-related skills and a college degree. For example, the legislation would increase available funds for undergraduates through the Federal Work Study program by phasing out graduate student eligibility. It also calls for the creation of an Apprenticeship Grants program focused on business-to-institution partnerships and provides access to Pell Grants for students who are pursuing short-term, certificate, or vocational programs. The PROSPER Act will also change the way aid is delivered to students. Instead of a single lump sum at the beginning of the semester, students will receive their aid — both grants and loans — in biweekly allotments, sort of like a paycheck. The idea is that biweekly distributions will ensure students have access to enough money to stay enrolled through the entire semester — which research has shown to be an effective strategy. Students, for instance, have reported that this approach “helped them to spend their money wisely, decrease work hours and focus on their studies.” 4. Fewer loan repayment options will be available Unlike the current six options to repay student loans, PROSPER would streamline repayment options to two. The first option would be a standard 10-year repayment. The second would be income-driven repayment, or IBR. Under the proposed reforms, the federal government will receive the same amount of money regardless of which plan is selected. It would be up to the students to select if they want to pay off their loans through the fixed 10-year period or pay 15% of their discretionary income for however long it takes to pay off the loan, plus interest. Gone are the days of loan forgiveness and forbearance. 5. Going into public service will have fewer benefits Public service careers will revert to being a more altruistic career choice. That’s because in prior years, students who went into public services jobs, or even specific K-12 teaching jobs, could receive loan forgiveness as part of their service to the public. However, the PROSPER Act proposes to eliminate all public service loan forgiveness programs and priority targeted grant programs. This includes the TEACH Grant programs, which give additional grant aid to undergraduates who get a bachelor’s degree in hard-to-staff teaching areas, such as special education, STEM and foreign language, and who pledge to work in schools that serve students from predominantly low-income families. While the evidence of effectiveness for public service loan forgiveness and targeted grant programs is inconclusive, these programs send powerful signals of national need and priority. It will be interesting to see if the end of public service loan forgiveness programs will change the supply of workers in public service jobs. While the proposed reforms within the PROSPER Act make large-scale changes to the federal student aid program, there are potential benefits for students. The simplification of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, along with access to a mobile FAFSA application, would reduce barriers to applying. Access to the additional work study aid and potentially larger Pell Grants may reduce the financial barriers for low-income student enrollment. Finally, allowing student loan borrowers to access income-based repayment may reduce financial stress. However, by removing key loan forgiveness programs and loan forbearance, this legislation is signaling to students that the cost of higher education will primarily be their responsibility long-term.

    Good.is / 20 h. 58 min. ago more
  • As Wildfires Burn, Residents Seek Breath of Fresh AirAs Wildfires Burn, Residents Seek Breath of Fresh Air

    Direct Relief Direct Relief - As wildfires continue to burn up and down Southern California, Direct Relief continued to deliver breathing masks, respiratory supplies and critical medicines to […] As Wildfires Burn, Residents Seek Breath of Fresh Air Lara Cooper

    Direct Relief / 21 h. 57 min. ago
  • Your risk of cancer lowers because of thisYour risk of cancer lowers because of this

    When it comes to men’s health, there is much talk regarding testosterone levels. As testosterone levels drop, many changes can occur in men, and some even call this “manopause” because these changes affect men similar to how drops … The post Your risk of cancer lowers because of this appeared first on Bel Marra Health - Breaking Health News and Health Information.

    Bel Marra Health / 22 h. 27 min. ago more
  • With Thomas Fire Unfolding, Direct Relief-Engineered Map Dynamically Updates RegionWith Thomas Fire Unfolding, Direct Relief-Engineered Map Dynamically Updates Region

    Direct Relief Direct Relief - The wildfires raging in Southern California remain a dynamic and potentially dangerous situation for nearby communities. Six wildfires are actively burning throughout […] With Thomas Fire Unfolding, Direct Relief-Engineered Map Dynamically Updates Region Lara Cooper

    Direct Relief / 23 h. 25 min. ago
  • 11 facts about Iceland's elusive elves11 facts about Iceland's elusive elves

    As if the landscape of fire and ice wasn’t wonderful enough, the stories of its magical creatures make it all the more wondrous.

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        Sony Looks To Improve Data Management At Universities Through Blockchain Technology
      Sony Looks To Improve Data Management At Universities Through Blockchain Technology

    Earning a college diploma doesn’t just mean a student has become an expert in a specific field. It also means they’ve learned good study habits, developed self-discipline, and figured out how to navigate a complicated bureaucratic landscape. Case in point: the simple task of getting transcripts delivered from one institution to another.  Now, Sony is looking to make managing education records easier by using blockchain technology, the same revolutionary concept behind Bitcoin. The tech giant has developed a new digital system for storing and managing education records that not only keeps them safe but also makes it easier for them to be accessed by third parties. For those unfamiliar with blockchain, it’s a database or a “digital ledger” located on a chain of computers. Before a change to the data or a transaction (in the case of Bitcoin) can be recorded, the entire chain of computers must give their approval. This helps reduce fraud because everything on the ledger is available to everyone — and every computer — on the blockchain to see.  Sony’s new platform will give students a digital transcript — including degrees, diplomas, tests, and athletic records — which will be accessible through the blockchain. This will prevent fraud while making it easier for potential employers and academic institutions to access these documents. Currently, this type of information is stored as physical copies at individual institutions, making it difficult for them to be accessed and easy to be forged.  The big win for students: less time wasted in line at the administration building waiting for their transcripts.  After this new information system is up and running, Sony hopes to use artificial intelligence to analyze the data to help schools improve their curriculum and management. Sony is also looking to bring the same blockchain technology to other arenas, including real estate, logistics, and proprietary digital content. 

    Good.is / 1 d. 2 h. 13 min. ago more
  • What causes esophageal varices? Symptoms, treatment, diet, prevention, and prognosisWhat causes esophageal varices? Symptoms, treatment, diet, prevention, and prognosis

    Esophageal varices are enlarged or swollen blood vessels in the throat and are a manifestation of abnormal blood flow to the liver. Esophageal varices are commonly found in patients with chronic liver disease (liver cirrhosis). Blood flow obstruction … The post What causes esophageal varices? Symptoms, treatment, diet, prevention, and prognosis appeared first on Bel Marra Health - Breaking Health News and Health Information.

    Bel Marra Health / 1 d. 2 h. 27 min. ago more
  • 
        Toronto Wins First MLS Championship And Builds Opportunity for Youth in Toronto
      Toronto Wins First MLS Championship And Builds Opportunity for Youth in Toronto

    Toronto Football Club scored two recent victories: The team defeated the Seattle Sounders on Dec. 9 to win their first MLS Championship and they managed to help local youth as part of Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative last week. Through the league’s MLS Works program, which strives to improve the lives of people through sport, Toronto FC players and MLS executives unveiled a new Toronto FC-branded multipurpose room at the WoodGreen community facility in Toronto. WoodGreen is a founding United Way of Toronto member agency and is one of the largest social service agencies in Toronto, offering more than 75 innovative programs to some 36,000 families and residents of Toronto’s most marginalized communities. The new multipurpose room, which includes a reading and lounge area, furniture, computers, and multimedia equipment, will benefit hundreds of teens and young adults associated with WoodGreen’s “Newcomer Youth Services” program, and the renovation will enhance the free programs WoodGreen provides to youth new to Canada; programs include sports, counseling, workshops, health and wellness, homework, and arts clubs. MLS Works and Toronto FC is also providing financial support for WoodGreen Community Services’ Youth Soccer League. Toronto FC’s Soccer Development team will conduct youth programming and clinics, while the financial support will provide new equipment and apparel for year-long programming, including access to indoor facilities during the winter. “To get guys out supporting the community two days before their championship game speaks to the character of our players,” said JoAnn Neale, chief administrative and social responsibility officer for MLS. “To bring sport, and soccer in particular, to youth allows them to engage with each other and build a sense of camaraderie.”  Toronto FC defender Ashtone Morgan says soccer has done exactly that for him since he was young, and now, he gets a chance to give back to his hometown — and help build lasting relationships with the next generation. “Sports was an outlet for me to express who I really was,” he said. “It helped me make friends and stay active. I think being a positive influence and really being a strong backbone for kids is the best thing parents, coaches, and fans can do. I feel I owe a lot of my personal successes to my direct support system. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”

    Good.is / 1 d. 3 h. 18 min. ago more
  • 
        All It Took Was A Fist Bump From Cam Newton To Send This Young Fan Over The Moon
      All It Took Was A Fist Bump From Cam Newton To Send This Young Fan Over The Moon

    As popular as Cam Newton is with NFL fans at large, his flamboyant style and outreach efforts have earned him the adoration of more young fans than perhaps any other player in the league. After all, many players may appear on kids shows, but Newton actually had his own show, “All in with Cam Newton,” on Nickelodeon.  So when the Carolina Panthers QB walks by, he is treated to a reception like few others in sports.  Fortunately, he’s not taking his fan base for granted, returning the love to those who look up to him. One youngster looking on through a fence while Newton practiced got more than just a look at the star — he got a fist bump. And to say he was excited would be a gross understatement.  When was the last time you were so excited you actually jumped up and down with glee? You might not be able to remember, but something tells me this kid is going to have his Cam Newton encounter committed to memory for quite some time.  It’s really amazing what such a simple act can do for a kid, isn’t it? 

    Good.is / 1 d. 6 h. 33 min. ago more
  • 
        70 Oregon Football Players Banded Together To Keep Their New Coach From Being Fired
      70 Oregon Football Players Banded Together To Keep Their New Coach From Being Fired

    In the world of college football, a player’s “career” has a short shelf life. However, in the few years that they spend in a program, they bond closely not just with each other, but with their coaches and other team members as well.  Just days ago, the Oregon football team was shaken to learn that their head coach, Willie Taggart, would be leaving his post to take a new job coaching Florida State. However, with a bowl game left on the docket — the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 16 — the team appointed co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Mario Cristobal as interim head coach. Typically, such a move serves as preparation for the remaining game with the understanding that the interim coach’s tenure will end when the team finds a permanent replacement.  The young men on the squad would like to see Cristobal stay on a little longer. A tweet from Oregon Ducks offensive tackle Tyrell Crosby reveals that the players have banded together in a remarkable act of solidarity and support to petition the school to keep Cristobal on as the team’s permanent head coach.  That’s 70 of 96 players on the roster. Not bad for a couple days’ work.  Crosby explained why the number of signatures isn’t even higher.  The social media-savvy lineman even put up a public Twitter poll to get the fans’ support as well.  The extraordinary effort put forth by Crosby and his teammates paid off, as USA Today is reporting that the Ducks have ended their head coach search and named Mario Cristobal the team’s permanent head coach.  In a game where coaching means earning the trust of your players, it sounds like Cristobal already has a big leg up going into his first game as head coach. 

    Good.is / 1 d. 6 h. 38 min. ago more
  • Staff members’ personal donations for giving season 2017Staff members’ personal donations for giving season 2017

    For this post, GiveWell staff members and contributors wrote up the thinking behind their personal donations for the year. We made similar posts in previous years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016). Staff and contributors are listed in order of their start dates at GiveWell. You can click the below links to jump to an entry: Elie Hassenfeld Natalie Crispin Josh Rosenberg Sophie Monahan Catherine Hollander Andrew Martin Chelsea Tabart Christian Smith Isabel Arjmand James Snowden Elie Hassenfeld This year, I’m planning to donate to GiveWell for granting to top charities at its discretion. GiveWell is currently producing the highest-quality research it ever has, which has led to more thoroughly researched, higher-quality recommendations that have been compared to more potential alternatives than ever before. Personally, I only spent about a third of my time on top-charities-related research in 2017, so I’m thrilled by the quality of the research the GiveWell research team produced this year. In making this decision I also talked to Lewis Bollard (about animal welfare) and Nick Beckstead (about effective altruism movement building and long-term future giving opportunities) but ultimately felt that the funding gaps that GiveWell’s top charities face were more pressing given the Open Philanthropy Project’s support of their respective portfolios. Natalie Crispin I continue to believe that GiveWell top charities are the best option for impact-focused giving for individuals and I plan to give my annual gift this year to GiveWell for granting at its discretion to top charities. I am grateful for all the work, thoughtfulness, and hours of debate that my colleagues put into the recommendations, and I believe that the recommendations are as strong as they’ve ever been. I am excited to support the most effective charities I know of. Josh Rosenberg This year I’m planning to give: 80% to GiveWell to grant to top charities at its discretion. I believe that GiveWell’s top charities are among the most effective ways to help people. I know how intensely our team has scrutinized these giving opportunities and am excited to give based on our research. 10% to the long-term future EA Fund. I would like to see future generations thrive. This podcast provides a good summary of some arguments for the moral importance of helping future generations. Based on my experience following the Open Philanthropy Project, I believe that donations to this fund will be put to good use. 10% to charities focused on farm animal welfare. I believe that the welfare of farm animals is a particularly important and neglected problem. I expect to choose a farm animal welfare charity to give to based on Animal Charity Evaluators’ recommendations. I look forward to using its research and would be excited to see similar charity evaluation organizations exist in other domains (e.g., policy-related giving). I chose to diversify a portion of my giving because I want to signal my interest in a variety of important cause areas that I believe people should be considering and I want to continue to engage with the strongest giving opportunities in other domains to help myself reflect on which donations seem to be most effective. I focused most of my giving on global health and development since GiveWell’s top charities have the most pressing funding gaps I am aware of. If I knew of a strong case for a particular giving opportunity in another cause area, I would be open to changing my allocation in the future. I also considered giving to the global health and development EA Fund. I think that this fund would be a good option for donors who (a) are open to higher-risk, higher-reward giving opportunities in global development, and (b) have a high degree of trust in GiveWell (Elie is the manager of the fund). The description of the fund notes that GiveWell’s Incubation Grants (GIG) program has not been hampered by insufficient funding to date. However, I think it may be useful to know if there is a large pool of donors who would like to see more GIG-type giving on the margin; giving to this fund would be a good way to show support for GIG. I ultimately chose not to donate to this fund because a substantial portion of my job is to work on GIG, and I would rather leave it to external observers to assess whether they think it deserves further support. (I see GiveWell’s top charities differently because we’ve thoroughly publicly justified the case for giving to these charities.) Sophie Monahan I believe that all of GiveWell’s recommended charities are excellent giving opportunities. I believe that donating to GiveWell for granting to recommended charities is an excellent option (allowing valuable flexibility) for donors whose values align well with GiveWell’s. (On values: more, more, more.) This year, I am giving to No Lean Season for the following reasons: I place greater value on reducing near-term poverty for adults and children of all ages relative to preventing deaths of very young children, compared to GiveWell as a whole. I also value certainty in the near-term impact of programs relatively more. According to my values, No Lean Season and GiveDirectly are undervalued by GiveWell. Therefore I believe that their funding gaps are a higher priority for people with values like mine. I am giving to No Lean Season despite the fact that this year, GiveWell recommended sufficient funding to No Lean Season to fill its highest priority funding gap (to implement its program in Bangladesh in the next three years), citing reasons other than pure considerations of cost-effectiveness,1“While No Lean Season’s cost-effectiveness is at the lower end of our top charities (~5x cash transfers), we see additional reasons to prioritize this gap. We believe No Lean Season is the top charity where there is the strongest case to be made for “upside”; our cost-effectiveness analysis may not capture the potential impact of scaling a new program that could lead to greater visibility and funding for a novel type of program.” GiveWell blog: Our top charities for giving season 2017 jQuery("#footnote_plugin_tooltip_1").tooltip({ tip: "#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_1", tipClass: "footnote_tooltip", effect: "fade", fadeOutSpeed: 100, predelay: 400, position: "top right", relative: true, offset: [10, 10] }); which may not repeat in future years. Therefore, I believe that marginal donations to No Lean Season are likely to increase No Lean Season’s multiyear funding. I am also moved by reasons of sentiment—I led GiveWell’s evaluation of No Lean Season and was very impressed—and to promote the visibility of this new top charity. Catherine Hollander I plan to give 90% of my donation to the Against Malaria Foundation (AMF) and 10% to No Lean Season. I trust GiveWell’s review process and its recommendation of AMF as having one of the highest-value funding gaps to fill. Like Sophie, I plan to support No Lean Season to increase the visibility of a new charity on the list, and because it is the charity review I have engaged with most deeply and personally in my time at GiveWell—I traveled with Sophie and Christian to Bangladesh to visit No Lean Season and review its work in September. I plan to limit my donation to No Lean Season to 10% of my total gift because I do not believe its need for funding is as pressing as that of AMF. Andrew Martin This year, I’m planning to donate to GiveWell for granting to top charities at its discretion. I think the case remains as strong as ever that donating to GiveWell’s top charities is an exceptional opportunity for donors who want to maximize their impact. Even after accounting for Good Ventures’ $75 million in grants based on GiveWell’s recommendations this year, we believe that our top charities still have a large amount of room for more funding and that additional donations will accomplish a lot of good. I’ve decided to donate to GiveWell for granting to top charities at its discretion—rather than donating directly to individual top charities—because I believe it’s valuable for GiveWell to have the flexibility to provide funding to whichever top charities have the most pressing funding needs. Chelsea Tabart I plan to donate to GiveWell for granting to top charities at its discretion this year. Another year of exposure to the thoughtful, rigorous work of my colleagues has increased my belief in GiveWell’s research process, and I’m excited that my giving can be a small part of the exceptional work our top charities do. Christian Smith I’m planning to direct all of my year-end donations to GiveWell for granting to top charities at its discretion. Several of our charities have large, high-priority funding gaps, and I’m excited to be supporting work that I expect to have a large positive impact. I think there are reasonable worldviews and ethical positions that would make thoughtful giving in other cause areas (e.g. basic research, animal welfare, or improving the far future) appear much more cost-effective than thoughtful giving to organizations involved in global health and development. I considered directing some of my donations towards these cause areas, but ultimately had a preference for supporting causes in global health and development. I feel fine about this decision, but I may have approached my giving differently if I were not working for GiveWell. Isabel Arjmand The allocation of my charitable giving this year will be quite similar to what I did last year, though with a slightly higher proportion going to GiveWell’s top charities. As a general note, I’m inclined to diversify my giving between (1) organizations that are promising from a utilitarian point of view (like GiveWell’s top charities) and (2) those that appeal to different moral considerations. I’m excited to give 75% of my donation to GiveWell for granting to recommended charities at its discretion. My understanding of GiveWell’s research is much deeper than it was at this point last year (when I was a fairly new staff member), and I remain very enthusiastic about the quality of GiveWell’s recommendations. Especially as someone whose moral values are very close to the median values in our cost-effectiveness analyses, I think giving for granting at GiveWell’s discretion is my best option for impact-focused giving. I considered giving directly to Malaria Consortium’s seasonal malaria chemoprevention program, as I think that it may have the highest-impact remaining funding gap of our top charities, but ultimately the flexibility of giving to GiveWell’s discretionary fund and my trust in GiveWell’s judgment lead me to prefer that option. Additionally, I plan to give 5% of my donation to GiveDirectly, a GiveWell-recommended organization that I also supported last year. I’m supporting GiveDirectly because I think it’s an exceptionally strong, innovative organization with high potential for ‘upside,’ including the potential to serve as a model for other organizations. I’m thinking of the rationale for this portion of my giving as somewhere in between what I describe in the previous paragraph and what I describe below. Like last year, I’m thinking of the remainder of my charitable contribution (in this case, 20%) as serving a different, less impact-focused purpose. My goals with this portion of my giving are to promote more justice-focused causes, further my own civic engagement, and signal support for work I’d like to see more of. I’d be surprised if any of the organizations below were as cost-effective as GiveWell’s top charities; I also haven’t vetted them with an intensity that comes anywhere close to the rigor of GiveWell evaluations. Of the four organizations among which I plan to divide this donation, the first two are organizations I supported last year, and the remaining two are new to my list. Causa Justa :: Just Cause: As I wrote last year, I see supporting Causa Justa :: Just Cause—a Bay Area-based grassroots organization supporting housing rights, immigrant rights, and racial justice—as a means of supporting the community in which I live. Planned Parenthood: Reproductive justice and access to healthcare continue to be important to me. Particularly given the absence of a GiveWell-recommended organization providing these services abroad (which I’d guess may be more cost-effective), I’m happy to donate to a U.S.-based organization that I’m personally familiar with and have confidence in. ProPublica: I’m donating to ProPublica in support of its high-quality independent journalism, which I think is critical to a well-functioning civic society. Earthjustice: I decided this year to support an organization working on climate change and environmental justice, and after researching the space briefly, I found Earthjustice—which focuses on environmental protection via legal advocacy—most compelling. James Snowden (Research Consultant) This year, I donated monthly through the Effective Altruism Global Health and Development Fund, so I’ve already made the majority of my personal annual donations this year. At the end of year, I set my priorities for the next year, and adjust my automatic monthly donations accordingly. In practice, donating to the Global Health and Development Fund is similar to donating to GiveWell for granting to top charities at its discretion, as Elie is the fund manager. My primary reason for donating to Effective Altruism Funds rather than directly to GiveWell is that I want to signal support for a project I think is valuable. I plan to continue giving 80% of my donations to the Global Health and Development Fund, but now donate 10% each to the Animal Welfare Fund and Long-Term Future Fund. I think animal welfare and improving the long-term future are extremely important (more so than I did last year). I don’t feel I have enough context to independently evaluate organizations in this area so want to outsource my decisions to Lewis Bollard (for animal welfare), and Nick Beckstead (for global catastrophic risks). I’m uncertain whether, given Good Ventures’ support for animal welfare and the relatively small number of funding opportunities, there’s substantial room for more funding in that area. But I think the ‘worst case scenario’ is that I funge with Good Ventures, which I’d still think was a reasonably good outcome. I also considered: Donating to the Centre for Pesticide Suicide Prevention, which received a GiveWell Incubation Grant in August 2017. I was the primary researcher working on this GiveWell Incubation Grant and believe it’s a potentially very cost-effective (though risky) giving opportunity. I decided not to donate because the Incubation Grant is intended to fully cover the organization’s costs for two years. Donating to Malaria Consortium’s Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) program. Having spent more time looking into SMC this year, I believe it’s a more cost-effective giving opportunity than Against Malaria Foundation (our recommendation to donors this year is 70% Against Malaria Foundation and 30% Schistosomiasis Control Initiative). I decided not to donate to the SMC program this year because (i) we recommended that Good Ventures grant $27.9 million to Malaria Consortium this year (as compared to $2.5 million for AMF), and I don’t have a strong view that SMC would be more cost-effective on the margin after this grant; (ii) I think allowing GiveWell to regrant at its discretion allows for more flexibility; and (iii) I place more weight in GiveWell’s aggregate view than the inside view of any individual researcher (including myself!)—although I think there’s value in thinking about this independently to identify if GiveWell is making decisions I disagree with. Continuing to donate only to the Global Health and Development Fund. I think there’s a strong argument for just donating to the opportunity you think is best in expectation, rather than diversifying. I decided to diversify a fairly small amount because (i) it more accurately signals that I care about those areas and (ii) it motivates me to learn more about those areas than I otherwise would have (although I don’t expect this to be a major priority for me). Donating a larger proportion to the Animal Welfare and Far Future funds. Given my relatively greater knowledge in global health and development, I don’t yet feel comfortable giving a greater proportion to areas I know less about. Aside from my personal giving, I advise a small foundation on its grantmaking. We haven’t yet decided where to give this year, and this will partly depend on the priorities of others involved in the decision. Notes   [ + ] 1. ↑ “While No Lean Season’s cost-effectiveness is at the lower end of our top charities (~5x cash transfers), we see additional reasons to prioritize this gap. We believe No Lean Season is the top charity where there is the strongest case to be made for “upside”; our cost-effectiveness analysis may not capture the potential impact of scaling a new program that could lead to greater visibility and funding for a novel type of program.” GiveWell blog: Our top charities for giving season 2017 function footnote_expand_reference_container() { jQuery("#footnote_references_container").show(); jQuery("#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button").text("-"); } function footnote_collapse_reference_container() { jQuery("#footnote_references_container").hide(); jQuery("#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button").text("+"); } function footnote_expand_collapse_reference_container() { if (jQuery("#footnote_references_container").is(":hidden")) { footnote_expand_reference_container(); } else { footnote_collapse_reference_container(); } } function footnote_moveToAnchor(p_str_TargetID) { footnote_expand_reference_container(); var l_obj_Target = jQuery("#" + p_str_TargetID); if(l_obj_Target.length) { jQuery('html, body').animate({ scrollTop: l_obj_Target.offset().top - window.innerHeight/2 }, 1000); } }The post Staff members’ personal donations for giving season 2017 appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

    The Give Well Blog / 1 d. 8 h. 3 min. ago more
  • Empathy and Decision Making: Making Compassionate DecisionsEmpathy and Decision Making: Making Compassionate Decisions

    “The biggest deficit that we have in our society and in the world right now is an empathy deficit. We are in great need of people being able to stand in somebody else's shoes and see the world through their eyes.”— Barack Obama You don’t have to look hard to find quotes expounding the need for more empathy in society. As with Barack Obama’s quote above, we are encouraged to actively build empathy with others — especially those who are different from us. The implicit message in these pleas is that empathy will make us treat each other with more respect and caring and will help reduce violence. But is this true? Does empathy make us appreciate others, help us behave in moral ways, or help us make better decisions? These are questions Paul Bloom tackles in his book Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion. As the title suggests, Bloom’s book makes a case against empathy as an inherent force for good and takes a closer look at what empathy is (and is not), how empathy works in our brains, how empathy can lead to immoral outcomes despite our best intentions, and how we can improve our ability to have a positive impact by strengthening our intelligence, compassion, self-control, and ability to reason. To explore these questions, we first need to define what we’re talking about. What Is Empathy? Empathy is an often-used word that can mean different things. Bloom quotes one team of empathy researchers who joke that “there are probably nearly as many definitions of empathy as people working on this topic.” For his part, Bloom defines empathy as “the act of coming to experience the world as you think someone else does.” This type of empathy was explored by philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment. Bloom writes: As Adam Smith put it, we have the capacity to think about another person and “place ourselves in his situation and become in some measure the same person with him, and thence form some idea of his sensations, and even feel something which, though weaker in degree, is not altogether unlike them.” This is the definition and view of empathy that Bloom devotes most of the book to exploring. This is the “standing in another man’s shoes” type of empathy from Barack Obama’s quote above, which Bloom calls emotional empathy. “I feel your pain” is more than a metaphor. It's literal. With emotional empathy, you actually experience a weaker degree of what somebody else feels. Researchers in recent years have been able to show that empathic responses of pain occur in the same area of the brain where real pain is experienced. So “I feel your pain” isn’t just a gooey metaphor; it can be made neurologically literal: Other people’s pain really does activate the same brain area as your own pain, and more generally, there is neural evidence for a correspondence between self and other. To make the shoe metaphor literal, imagine that you see somebody drop something heavy on their foot — you flinch because you know what this feels like and the parts of your brain that experience pain (the anterior insula and the cingulate cortex) react. You don’t feel the same degree of pain, of course — you didn’t drop anything on your foot after all — but it is likely that you have an involuntary physical reaction like a flinch, a facial grimace, or an audible outburst. This is an emotionally empathic response. But there is another form of empathy that Bloom wants us to be aware of and consider differently. It relates to our ability to understand what is going on in the minds of others. Bloom refers to this form as cognitive empathy: … if I understand that you are in pain without feeling it myself, this is what psychologists describe as social cognition, social intelligence, mind reading, theory of mind, or mentalizing. It's also sometimes described as a form of empathy—“cognitive empathy” as opposed to “emotional empathy.” In this sense, cognitive empathy speaks to our capacity to understand what is going on in the minds of others. In the case of pain, which is where a lot of empathy research is done, we’re not talking about feeling any degree of pain, as we might with emotional empathy, but instead, we simply understand that the other person is feeling pain without feeling it ourselves. Cognitive empathy goes beyond pain — our ability to understand what is going on in somebody else’s mind is an important part of being human and is necessary for us to relate to each other. Empathy and compassion are synonyms in many dictionaries and used interchangeably by many, but they have different characteristics. The brain is, of course, very complicated, so it is plausible that these two types of empathy could take place in the same part of the brain. So far, though, the research seems to indicate that they are largely separate: In a review article, Jamil Zaki and Kevin Ochsner note that hundreds of studies now support a certain perspective on the mind, which they call “a tale of two systems.” One system involves sharing the experience of others, what we’ve called empathy; the other involves inferences about the mental states of others—mentalizing or mind reading. While they can both be active at once, and often are, they occupy different parts of the brain. For instance, the medial prefrontal cortex, just behind the forehead, is involved in mentalizing, while the anterior cingulate cortex, sitting right behind that, is involved in empathy. The difference between cognitive and emotional empathy is important for understanding Bloom’s arguments. From Bloom’s perspective, cognitive empathy is “…a useful and necessary tool for anyone who wishes to be a good person—but it is morally neutral.” On the other hand, Bloom believes that emotional empathy is “morally corrosive,” and the bulk of his attack is directed at highlighting the pitfalls of relying on emotional empathy while making the case for cultivating and practicing “rational compassion” instead. I believe that the capacity for emotional empathy, described as “sympathy” by philosophers such as Adam Smith and David Hume, often simply known as “empathy” and defended by so many scholars, theologians, educators, and politicians, is actually morally corrosive. If you are struggling with a moral decision and find yourself trying to feel someone else’s pain or pleasure, you should stop. This empathic engagement might give you some satisfaction, but it’s not how to improve things and can lead to bad decisions and bad outcomes. Much better to use reason and cost-benefit analysis, drawing on a more distanced compassion and kindness. Here again, the definition of the terms is important for understanding the argument. Empathy and compassion are synonyms in many dictionaries and used interchangeably by many, but they have different characteristics. Bloom outlines the difference: … compassion and concern are more diffuse than empathy. It is weird to talk about having empathy for the millions of victims of malaria, say, but perfectly normal to say that you are concerned about them or feel compassion for them. Also, compassion and concern don’t require mirroring of others’ feelings. If someone works to help the victims of torture and does so with energy and good cheer, it doesn’t seem right to say that as they do this, they are empathizing with the individuals they are helping. Better to say that they feel compassion for them. Bloom references a review paper written by Tania Singer and Olga Klimecki to help make the distinction clear. Singer and Klimecki write: In contrast to empathy, compassion does not mean sharing the suffering of the other: rather, it is characterized by feelings of warmth, concern and care for the other, as well as a strong motivation to improve the other’s well-being. Compassion is feeling for and not feeling with the other. To summarize, emotional empathy could be simply described as “feeling what others feel,” cognitive empathy as “understanding what others feel,” and compassion as “caring about how others feel.” Emotional empathy could be simply described as “feeling what others feel,” cognitive empathy as “understanding what others feel,” and compassion as “caring about how others feel.” Empathy and Morality Many people believe that our ability to empathize is the basis for morality because it causes us to consider our actions from another’s perspective. “Treat others as you would like to be treated” is the basic morality lesson repeated thousands of times to children all over the world. In this way, empathy can lead us to rely on our self-centered nature. If this is true, Bloom suggests that the argument in its simplest form would go like this: Everyone is naturally interested in him- or herself; we care most about our own pleasure and pain. It requires nothing special to yank one’s hand away from a flame or to reach for a glass of water when thirsty. But empathy makes the experiences of others salient and important—your pain becomes my pain, your thirst becomes my thirst, and so I rescue you from the fire or give you something to drink. Empathy guides us to treat others as we treat ourselves and hence expands our selfish concerns to encompass others. In this way, the willful exercise of empathy can motivate kindness that would never have otherwise occurred. Empathy can make us care about a slave, or a homeless person, or someone in solitary confinement. It can put us into the mind of a gay teenager bullied by his peers, or a victim of rape. We can empathize with a member of a despised minority or someone suffering from religious persecution in a faraway land. All these experiences are alien to me, but through the exercise of empathy, I can, in some limited way, experience them myself, and this makes me a better person. When we consider the plight of others by imagining ourselves in their situation, we experience an empathic response that can cause us to evaluate the morality of our actions. When we consider the plight of others by imagining ourselves in their situation, we experience an empathic response that can cause us to evaluate the morality of our actions. In an interview, Steven Pinker hypothesizes that it was an increase in empathy, made possible by the technology of the printing press and the resulting increase in literacy, that led to the Humanitarian Revolution during the Enlightenment. The increase in empathy brought about by our ability to read accounts of violent punishments like disembowelment and mutilation caused us to reconsider the morality of treating other human beings in such ways. So in certain instances, empathy can play a role in motivating us to take moral action. But is an empathic response required to do so? To use a classic example from philosophy—first thought up by the Chinese philosopher Mencius—imagine that you are walking by a lake and see a young child struggling in shallow water. If you can easily wade into the water and save her, you should do it. It would be wrong to keep walking. What motivates this good act? It is possible, I suppose, that you might imagine what it feels like to be drowning, or anticipate what it would be like to be the child’s mother or father hearing that she drowned. Such empathic feelings could then motivate you to act. But that is hardly necessary. You don’t need empathy to realize that it’s wrong to let a child drown. Any normal person would just wade in and scoop up the child, without bothering with any of this empathic hoo-ha. And so there has to be more to morality than empathy. Our decisions about what’s right and what’s wrong, and our motivations to act, have many sources. One’s morality can be rooted in a religious worldview or a philosophical one. It can be motivated by a more diffuse concern for the fates of others—something often described as concern or compassion… I hope most people reading this would agree that failing to attempt to save a drowning child or supporting or perpetrating violent punishments like disembowelment would be at the very least morally reprehensible, if not outright evil. But what motivates people to be “evil”? For researchers like Simon Baron-Cohen, evil is defined as “empathy erosion” — truly evil people lack the capacity to empathize, and it is this lack of empathy that causes them to act in evil ways. Bloom looks at the question of what causes people to be evil from a slightly different angle: Indeed, some argue that the myth of pure evil gets things backward. That is, it’s not that certain cruel actions are committed because the perpetrators are self-consciously and deliberatively evil. Rather it is because they think they are doing good. They are fueled by a strong moral sense. When the perpetrators of violence or cruelty believe that their actions are morally justified, what motivates them? Bloom suggests that it can be empathy. Empathy often causes us to choose sides, to choose whom to empathize with. We see this tendency play out in politics all the time. Empathy often causes us to choose sides, to choose whom to empathize with. Politicians representing one side believe they are saving the world, while representatives on the other side believe that their adversaries are out to destroy civilization as we know it. If I believe that I am protecting a person or group of people whom I choose to empathize with, then I may be motivated to act in a way I believe is morally justified, even though others may believe that I have harmed them. Steven Pinker weighed in on this issue when he wrote the following in The Better Angels of our Nature: If you added up all the homicides committed in pursuit of self-help justice, the casualties of religious and revolutionary wars, the people executed for victimless crimes and misdemeanors, and the targets of ideological genocides, they would surely outnumber the fatalities from amoral predation and conquest. Bloom quotes Pinker and goes on to write: Henry Adams put this in stronger terms, with regard to Robert E. Lee: “It's always the good men who do the most harm in the world.” This might seem perverse. How can good lead to evil? One thing to keep in mind here is that we are interested in beliefs and motivations, not what’s good in some objective sense. So the idea isn’t that evil is good; rather, it’s that evil is done by those who think they are doing good. So from a moral perspective, empathy can lead us astray. We may believe we are doing good or that our actions are justified but this may not necessarily be true for all involved. This is especially troublesome when we consider how we are affected by a growing list of cognitive biases. Empathy and Biases While empathy may not be required to motivate us to save a drowning child, it can still help us consider the differing experiences or suffering of another person thus motivating us to consider things from their perspective or thus act to relieve their suffering: I see the bullied teenager and might be tempted initially to join in with his tormenters, out of sadism or boredom or a desire to dominate or be popular, but then I empathize—I feel his pain, I feel what it’s like to be bullied—so I don’t add to his suffering. Maybe I even rise to his defense. Empathy is like a spotlight directing attention and aid to where it’s needed. On the surface this seems like an excellent case for the positive power of empathy; it shines a “spotlight” on a person in need and motivates us to help them. But what happens when we dig a little deeper into this metaphor? Bloom writes … spotlights have a narrow focus, and this is one problem with empathy. It does poorly in a world where there are many people in need and where the effects of one’s actions are diffuse, often delayed, and difficult to compute, a world in which an act that helps one person in the here and now can lead to greater suffering in the future. He adds: Further, spotlights only illuminate what they are pointed at, so empathy reflects our biases. Although we might intellectually believe that the suffering of our neighbor is just as awful as the suffering of someone living in another country, it’s far easier to empathize with those who are close to us, those who are similar to us, and those we see as more attractive or vulnerable and less scary. Intellectually, a white American might believe that a black person matters just as much as a white person, but he or she will typically find it a lot easier to empathize with the plight of the latter than the former. In this regard, empathy distorts our moral judgments in pretty much the same way that prejudice does. We are all predisposed to care more deeply for those we are close to. From a purely biological perspective, we will care for and protect our children and families before the children or families of strangers. Our decision making often falls victim to narrow framing, and our actions are affected by biases like Liking/Loving and Disliking/Hating and our tendency to discount the pain of people we don’t like: We are constituted to favor our friends and family over strangers, to care more about members of our own group than people from different, perhaps opposing, groups. This fact about human nature is inevitable given our evolutionary history. Any creature that didn’t have special sentiments toward those that shared its genes and helped it in the past would get its ass kicked from a Darwinian perspective; it would falter relative to competitors with more parochial natures. This bias to favor those close to us is general—it influences who we readily empathize with, but it also influences who we like, who we tend to care for, who we will affiliate with, who we will punish, and so on. There are many causes for human biases — empathy is only one — but taking a step back, we can see how the intuitive gut responses motivated by emotional empathy can negatively affect our ability to make rational decisions. Empathy’s narrow focus, specificity, and innumeracy mean that it’s always going to be influenced by what captures our attention, by racial preferences, and so on. It’s only when we escape from empathy and rely instead on the application of rules and principles or a calculation of costs and benefits that we can, to at least some extent, become fair and impartial. While many of us are motivated to be good and to make good decisions, it isn’t always cut and dry. Our preferences for whom to help or which organizations to support are affected by our biases. If we’re not careful, empathy can affect our ability to see the potential impacts of our actions. However, considering these impacts takes much more than empathy and a desire to do good; it takes awareness of our biases and mental effort to combat their effects: … doing actual good, instead of doing what feels good, requires dealing with complex issues and being mindful of exploitation from competing, sometimes malicious and greedy, interests. To do so, you need to step back and not fall into empathy traps. The conclusion is not that one shouldn’t give, but rather that one should give intelligently, with an eye toward consequences. In addition to biases like Liking/Loving and Disliking/Hating, empathy can lead to biases related to the Representative Heuristic. Actions motivated by empathy often fail to take the broader picture into account; the spotlight doesn’t encourage us to consider base rates or sample size when we make our decisions. Instead, we are motivated by positive emotions for a specific individual or small group: Empathy is limited as well in that it focuses on specific individuals. Its spotlight nature renders it innumerate and myopic: It doesn’t resonate properly to the effects of our actions on groups of people, and it is insensitive to statistical data and estimated costs and benefits. Part of the challenge that exists with empathy is this innumeracy that Bloom describes. It is impossible for us to form genuine empathic connections with abstractions. Conversely, if we see the suffering of one, empathy can motivate us to help make it stop. As Mother Theresa said, “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” This is what psychologists call “the identifiable victim effect.” While many of us are motivated to be good and to make good decisions, it isn’t always cut and dry. Perhaps an example will help illustrate.  On October 17, 1987, 18-month-old Jessica McClure fell 22 feet down an eight-inch-diameter well in the backyard of her home in Midland, Texas. Over the next 2 ½ days, fire, police, and volunteer rescuers worked around the clock to save her. Media coverage of the emergency was broadcast all over the world resulting in Jessica McClure becoming internationally known as “Baby Jessica” and prompting then-President Ronald Reagan to proclaim that “…everybody in America became the godmothers and godfathers of Jessica while this was going on.” The intense coverage and global awareness led to an influx of donations, resulting in an $800,000 trust being established in Jessica’s name. What prompted this massive outpouring of concern and support? There are millions of children in need every day all over the world. How many of the people who sent donations to Baby Jessica had ever tried to help these faceless children? In the case of Baby Jessica, they had an identifiable victim, and empathy motivated many of them to help Jessica and her family. They could imagine what it might feel like for those poor parents and they felt genuine concern for the child’s future; all the other needy children around the world were statistical abstractions. This ability to identify and put a face on the suffering child and their family enables us to experience an empathic response with them, but the random children and their families remain empathically out of reach. None of this is to say that rescuers should not have worked to save Jessica McClure — she was a real-world example of Mencius’s proverbial drowning child — but there are situations every day where we choose to help individuals at the cost of the continued suffering of others. Our actions often have diffuse and unknowable impacts. If our concern is driven by thoughts of the suffering of specific individuals, then it sets up a perverse situation in which the suffering of one can matter more than the suffering of a thousand. Furthermore, not only are we more likely to empathize with the identifiable victim, our empathy has its limits in scale as well. If we hear that an individual in a faraway land is suffering, we may have an empathic response, but will that response be increased proportionally if we learned that thousands or millions of people suffered? Adam Smith got to the heart of this question in The Theory of Moral Sentiments when he wrote: Let us suppose that the great empire of China, with all its myriads of inhabitants, was suddenly swallowed up by an earthquake, and let us consider how a man of humanity in Europe, who had no sort of connection with that part of the world, would be affected upon receiving intelligence of this dreadful calamity. He would, I imagine, first of all, express very strongly his sorrow for the misfortune of that unhappy people, he would make many melancholy reflections upon the precariousness of human life, and the vanity of all the labors of man, which could thus be annihilated in a moment. He would too, perhaps, if he was a man of speculation, enter into many reasonings concerning the effects which this disaster might produce upon the commerce of Europe, and the trade and business of the world in general. And when all this fine philosophy was over, when all these humane sentiments had been once fairly expressed, he would pursue his business or his pleasure, take his repose or his diversion, with the same ease and tranquility, as if no such accident had happened. Empathy can inadvertently motivate us to act to save the one at the expense of the many. While the examples provided are by no means clear-cut issues, it is worth considering how the morality or goodness of our actions to help the few may have negative consequences for the many. Charlie Munger has written and spoken about the Kantian Fairness Tendency, in which he suggests that for certain systems to be moral to the many, they must be unfair to the few. For certain systems to be moral to the many, they must be unfair to the few. Empathy and Reason We are emotional creatures, then, but we are also rational beings, with the capacity for rational decision-making. We can override, deflect, and overrule our passions, and we often should do so. It’s not hard to see this for feelings like anger and hate—it’s clear that these can lead us astray, that we do better when they don’t rule us and when we are capable of circumventing them. While we need kindness and compassion and we should strive to be good people making good decisions, we are not necessarily well served by empathy in this regard; emotional empathy’s negatives often outweigh its positives. Instead, we should rely on our capacity to reason and control our emotions. Empathy is not something that can be removed or ignored; it is a normal function of our brains after all, but we can and do combine reason with our natural instincts and intuitions: The idea that human nature has two opposing facets—emotion versus reason, gut feelings versus careful, rational deliberation—is the oldest and most resilient psychological theory of all. It was there in Plato, and it is now the core of the textbook account of cognitive processes, which assumes a dichotomy between “hot” and “cold” mental processes, between an intuitive “System 1” and a deliberative “System 2.” We know from Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow that these two systems are not inherently separate in practice. They are both functioning in our brains at the same time. Some decisions are made faster due to heuristics and intuitions from experiences or our biology, while other decisions are made in a more deliberative and slow fashion using reason. Bloom writes: We go through a mental process that is typically called “choice,” where we think about the consequences of our actions. There is nothing magical about this. The neural basis of mental life is fully compatible with the existence of conscious deliberation and rational thought—with neural systems that analyze different options, construct logical chains of argument, reason through examples and analogies, and respond to the anticipated consequences of actions. We have an impulsive, emotional, and intuitive decision-making system in System 1 and a deliberative, reasoning, and (sometimes) rational decision-making system in System 2. We will always have emotional reactions, but on average our decision making will be better served by improving our ability to reason rather than leveraging our ability to empathize We will always have emotional reactions, but on average our decision making will be better served by improving our ability to reason rather than by leveraging our ability to empathize. One way to increase our ability to reason is to focus on improving our self-control: Self-control can be seen as the purest embodiment of rationality in that it reflects the working of a brain system (embedded in the frontal lobe, the part of the brain that lies behind the forehead) that restrains our impulsive, irrational, or emotive desires. While Bloom is unabashedly against empathy as an inherent force for good in the world, he is also a firm supporter of being and doing good. He believes that the “feeling with” nature of emotional empathy leads us to make biased and bad decisions despite our best intentions and that we should instead foster and encourage the “caring for” nature of compassion while combining it with our intelligence, self-control, and ability to reason: … none of this is to deny the importance of traits such as compassion and kindness. We want to nurture these traits in our children and work to establish a culture that prizes and rewards them. But they are not enough. To make the world a better place, we would also want to bless people with more smarts and more self-control. These are central to leading a successful and happy life—and a good and moral one.   [Editor's note: Where you see boldface in block quotes, emphasis has been added by Farnam Street.] --Sponsored by: Royce & Associates – Small Cap Specialists with Unparalleled Knowledge and Experience..

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    Over and over – from the proposed ban on transgender military services members to the proposal to end DACA protections for America’s DREAMers – CEO activism made 2017 a year when business leaders moved out of their comfort zones to take public stands for causes they believe in and issues they care about.

    Triple Pundit / 1 d. 11 h. 23 min. ago
  • Playing video games found to increase grey matter volume in seniorsPlaying video games found to increase grey matter volume in seniors

    Video games have been a part of popular culture for decades now and show no signs of slowing down. However, there is still a strong stigma attached to playing games, as they are viewed by some as being childish or … The post Playing video games found to increase grey matter volume in seniors appeared first on Bel Marra Health - Breaking Health News and Health Information.

    Bel Marra Health / 1 d. 11 h. 28 min. ago more
  • Easy tips to combat this common type of fatigueEasy tips to combat this common type of fatigue

    There are many causes of fatigue including poor sleep, bad diet, lack of exercise, and even medical conditions. But did you know that your computer, tablet, and smartphones are also causing you to be fatigued? It’s true, and it’s becoming … The post Easy tips to combat this common type of fatigue appeared first on Bel Marra Health - Breaking Health News and Health Information.

    Bel Marra Health / 1 d. 11 h. 57 min. ago more
  • 10 Powerful Quotes on Overcoming Adversity (and a Book Giveaway)10 Powerful Quotes on Overcoming Adversity (and a Book Giveaway)

    As the year is coming to a close, now seems like a perfect time to shine a spotlight on one of my favorite books of 2017. Tiny Buddha contributor Harriet Cabelly has crafted a masterpiece in her book Living Well Despite Adversity: Inspiration for Finding Renewed Meaning and Joy in Your Life. Harriet’s faced her share of personal challenges in life, from going through a life-threatening medical crisis with her daughter to rebuilding her life after divorce. But this book isn’t just about her own journey. It features interviews with dozens of people who’ve learned to thrive despite illness, loss, and other tragedies. Uplifting and empowering, Living Well Despite Adversity offers hope and inspiration for anyone who’s struggling in life. The stories are raw, the lessons powerful, and the messages universal. While some of the names are well known—including Cheryl Strayed and Meredith Viera—many were new to me; and I couldn’t have been more grateful for the chance to learn a little about their journeys and what’s helped them heal and grow. I’ve shared below some of my favorite excerpts from the book, but first… The Giveaway Harriet has generously offered to provide two copies of Living Well Despite Adversity to Tiny Buddha readers. To enter the giveaway: Leave a comment below. You don’t have to write anything specific. ”Count me in” is sufficient. But if you feel inclined, please share your favorite quote on overcoming adversity or something that’s helped you get through tough times. For an extra entry, share this giveaway on one of your social media pages and post the link in a second comment. You can enter until midnight, PST, on Monday, December 17th. The Quotes From Michael Hingson, who was born blind, later survived 9-11 with the help of his guide dog, and then wrote the bestselling memoir Thunder Dog: “If I were to suggest to other people what they ‘should’ do if they’re going through a tragedy or any kind of unexpected change I would say you must start with accepting the fact that the change happened, especially if you didn’t have control over it. And even if you did and it took an unexpected turn where you were left in a quandary, you must start with ‘All right, where am I?’ Get over the fact that it happened—‘Now where do I go from here?’ I don’t care what the challenge is, we all can start with that.” From Amy Morin, who lost her mother, husband, and father-in-law in quick succession and then wrote the book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: “It’s tempting to try to avoid the sadness and distress associated with grief—but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you have to face your emotions head-on. Other people will try to cheer you up because they’re uncomfortable with you being sad, but let yourself feel sad and angry and lonely. Time doesn’t heal anything. It’s what you do with that time that matters. So it’s important to use your time to heal—and part of healing means experiencing a wide variety of emotions. And don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, and professionals. Your connections with other people can make all the difference in the world.” From Natalie Taylor, who lost her husband, Josh, while pregnant with their first child: “One thing I try to say to myself when I hit a bad patch is this idea that ‘it will pass.’ I won’t feel this way the whole day or the whole week. So I sort of embrace it and go through it because it will pass. It’s not that I ignore it. When I do get sad I remind myself that I’ll be happy again, eventually, or I’ll do something else in the day that will make me happy. I just know that things change quickly, although with grief they don’t change so quickly. At this point, four years out, my day-to-day attitude is so much more positive than it was three or four years ago obviously. From Meredith Viera, journalist, TV personality, and caregiver to her husband Richard Cohen, who’s been living with MS for more than thirty years: “Build that group of friends, that support system around you. Go for it. Don’t be afraid. Don’t feel that you’re a burden to other people. And don’t be ashamed of illness. What you’ll discover is everybody else has their own thing. People don’t like to talk about stuff. They hide it, but if you’re open and you say you need help, people will be there for you. It’s important to know they’re there. It’s like it takes a village; when there’s illness it takes a village too. Most people have been phenomenal.” From Laverne Bissky, who started the No Ordinary Journey Foundation to help children, like her daughter, who struggle with Cerebral Palsy: “For me coping is about balance: not static balance but dynamic balance because life is always in a state of flux. It’s about knowing when to push hard and when to rest. When to fight and when to let go. When to use and when to conserve resources. When to work hard and when to have fun. Practicing mindfulness helps me to know when to shift between these. It’s about paying attention to what is going on inside of you.” From Natasha Alexenko, sexual assault survivor and founder of Natasha’s Justice Project, whose mission is to ensure rape kits are tested and investigated quickly: “You don’t always have to be productive. You’re biggest responsibility is to yourself and making sure you’re OK. If you are not feeling well emotionally or mentally, you should treat yourself almost like you’re ill. If you had a cold you wouldn’t necessarily mop your floors or do your laundry. You’re allowed to take a moment to smell the roses and not be hard on yourself.” From Julie Genovese, who wrote the memoir Nothing Short of Joy to share her story of living with a physically and emotionally challenging form of dwarfism: “I didn’t realize I had a choice of how to see my challenges. When I turned it around to see those challenges as adventures or as mountains to climb so that I could see a fantastic view, my attitude changed; that shift in perspective would change all of it. I realized I did have more of this inner divine power than I had realized in the past. It’s a universal quality that keeps us moving forward. It’s that desire to be our own truth, to be our whole self. We are all born into these different handicaps, visible or invisible, and they are the catalyst to wake us up and remind us that we came here for growth and awareness. Our hardship and struggles are that springboard to appreciate what we can have here if we look at it differently, or if we experience it with new senses—like jumping into a pool after a horribly hot day is ten times better than jumping into a pool every day when you’ve never really gotten hot. As humans we have these catalysts to keep prodding us forward and to keep remembering there’s a greater and more beautiful truth than maybe what we’re living.” From Dr. Daniel Gottlieb, psychologist, author, and radio show host, who’s been paraplegic since a car accident three decades ago: “When I’m in a dark hole, I want someone who loves me enough to sit there next to me and not tell me there’s light on the other side. Words are not going to do anything and 90% of the time they’re going to be patronizing. They’re also going to be a byproduct of your own anxiety and helplessness. Just sit with me. Just have the courage to try to fathom what I’m experiencing.” From Judy Shephard, who lost her son to an anti-gay hate crime and then founded the Matthew Shephard Foundation to help erase hate: “In my personal experience, as well as that of many very close friends and family members, you don’t ‘emerge.’ The darkness is always there; it just gets different. It becomes something you can look at with some objectivity. We still have joy and happiness in our lives; it’s just different. At least, that is what it has been for my family to date. My advice is not to let anyone tell you the accepted time limit for grief—it is limitless. That being said, it must also become something you embrace rather than fear. We’ve encouraged our friends and family to still share memories of Matt, not to shy away from remembering him. He will always be a part of our lives and that is a good thing.” From Julia Fox Garrison, stroke survivor and author of the memoir Don’t Leave Me This Way: “I think we are conditioned to say the word ‘can’t’ which closes all doors to possibilities. I have discovered that if you include the word ‘yet’ then the door to opportunity remains ajar. I used to say ‘can’t’ so often that it became second nature in conversation. Now I avoid saying ‘can’t’, but when I need to say it, I always include the qualifier, ‘yet’. So I can’t rollerblade yet, but I plan on it someday, maybe.” You can learn more about Living Well Despite Adversity: Inspiration for Finding Renewed Meaning and Joy in Your Life on Amazon here. FTC Disclosure: I receive complimentary books for reviews and interviews on tinybuddha.com, but I am not compensated for writing or obligated to write anything specific. I am an Amazon affiliate, meaning I earn a percentage of all books purchased through the links I provide on this site.  About Lori DescheneLori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..Web | Twitter | Facebook | More Posts Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.The post 10 Powerful Quotes on Overcoming Adversity (and a Book Giveaway) appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

    Tiny Buddha / 1 d. 18 h. 19 min. ago more
  • Picture Parade Two Hundred and Twenty-FourPicture Parade Two Hundred and Twenty-Four

    Playing games with the camera. I am a great supporter of the wonderful photography forum Ugly Hedgehog. I was grumbling the other day that despite me having had my Nikon D750 for some months now I was still struggling to know how to use it properly. One of the wise birds, JD750, on the Forum said (in part): “Sit down and read the manual, from page 1 to the end, with the camera in your lap.” That’s what I have been doing and, oh my goodness, has it helped. Here are just a few photographs taken in the last week as a result of me reading the manual. Firstly, some from outside around the house all with a bit of an autumnal feel to them. oooo oooo oooo oooo Then a pic of Ben out in the paddock early on a rather brisk last Friday morning. oooo Experimenting with aperture-priority shot when sitting more-or-less in front of the wood stove one afternoon last week. oooo Plus some photographs from August of this year. Still using the Nikon but relying much more of the ‘automatic’ settings. Still neat photos in my opinion. oooo oooo oooo What’s that saying about when all else fails read the manual!

    Learning from Dogs / 2 d. 13 h. 27 min. ago more
  • 
        Sports Unions Join The Labor Fight At Vox
      Sports Unions Join The Labor Fight At Vox

    On November 17, staffers at Vox Media announced plans to unionize. Should the effort prove successful, Vox’s entire roster of sites, including Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Racked, Recode, SB Nation, and The Verge, would join the Writer’s Guild of America East, which boasts digital media publications such as Gizmodo Media Group, HuffPost, and Vice among its ranks. “There is no better way to cultivate that innovation, and champion our values, than to unionize,” the nascent Vox Union said in a statement published on its website. “An empowered team is an ambitious team, and the greater transparency and collaboration offered by a union will allow us to thrive and take risks in an ever-changing industry.” But since the unionization drive was made public, Vox Media itself has given no indication that it will formally recognize the union and recent attempts to organize by other digital media properties have been fraught, to say the least. In October, DNAinfo and Gothamist successfully formed a union and joined WGA East. One week later, Joe Ricketts, a staunch anti-union billionaire who bought both sites nine months ago, shuttered the entire operation, in what was, by all accounts, a retaliatory strike. Initially, he erased both sites’ archives, depriving out-of-work reporters from using their clips to secure a job. (After an online outcry, the archives were restored.) After the Los Angeles Times announced a unionization drive, it faced its own pushback from management. Splinter got its hands on a series of anti-union flyers that Tronc, the media conglomerate that owns the Times, planned to distribute, all of which pushed the notion that staffers would be far better off without organized labor negotiating on their behalf. But the Vox Union, which has set up a dedicated Twitter account to help distribute its message, received an unexpected signal boost from all four major sports league unions. The four unions representing pro baseball, basketball, football, and hockey players all called on management to formally recognize the union: The NFLPA and the NHLPA refrained from tweeting but both sent letters of support. The NBPA did not respond to a request for comment, but they have frequently used their social media account to support union activities both in and outside the United States: Similarly, when NBA players were locked out in 2011, the NFLPA expressed solidarity: GOOD Sports spoke with a representative of MLB Players Association who said that the union will often back organizing efforts in other industries. As an example, he cited in incident in 2016 in which executive director, Tony Clark, visited a plant and lent support to VF Majestic’s union employees, just as it seemed as if the union company would lose out on the contract to supply all MLB teams with uniforms. "We are proud of the players association's backing,” one employee said. “They supported our contract fights in the past, including our most recent one in 2016… It was great to hear that the players really cared about our fight to save our jobs." In the end, MLB’s new suppliers, Under Armour and Fanatics, announced that they would not outsource the labor, saving the jobs of hundreds of employees. With regards to the Vox Union, the MLB Players Association’s position is clear. “We support the rights of all workers to unionize,” the spokesman said    

    Good.is / 3 d. 21 h. 13 min. ago more
  • 
        The Chicago Bulls Used Their Jumbotron To Honor Chance The Rapper In The Most Awesome Way
      The Chicago Bulls Used Their Jumbotron To Honor Chance The Rapper In The Most Awesome Way

    Chance the Rapper has quickly become a hometown hero in his native Chicago. The young rap star has made a name for himself not just through his music but also community outreach, recently pledging $1 million of his own money to help fund Chicago elementary schools. As an encore to the charitable act, Chance convinced the Chicago Bulls to follow suit and match his donation.  However, when the hip-hop star was caught by the cameras courtside at a Knicks game, he was given a rather awkward caption under his name.  Yup. Chance the Rapper is a rapper. Thanks, Knicks.  Not one to let the gaffe slide, the next day Chance tweeted out suggestions for better, less on-the-nose, titles.  The Chicago Bulls took note and, in a recent game, obliged Chance’s goofy request.  Don’t accuse the Bulls of keeping their social media team out of the loop. You may not necessarily see “zaddy” pop up in your day-to-day conversations, but the slang term is used to refer to a debonair, fashionable fellow. No one ever accused rappers of suffering from self-confidence issues, after all. The Bulls were more than happy to lay that lofty designation on one of Chicago’s biggest stars.  “Chance” … “Father” … “Zaddy” … whatever the preferred nomenclature is, Chicago’s willing to follow his wishes as long as the young star keeps looking out for the city’s best interests. 

    Good.is / 4 d. 0 h. 23 min. ago more
  • 
        Soccer Star Abby Wambach Uses Instagram To Turn The Tables On The Kids Who Stole Her Car
      Soccer Star Abby Wambach Uses Instagram To Turn The Tables On The Kids Who Stole Her Car

    A note to all the potential joyriders and car thieves out there: If you’re going to target a car, you may want to know exactly whose car you’re dealing with before stealing it.  When two-time gold medalist and soccer star Abby Wambach learned that her car had been stolen, used for a joyride, then returned with hate speech written on the inside, she was understandably furious. While her announcement of the crime via an Instagram post conveys her anger, it also serves as a call to her Florida community to help her track down the perps. Finding the parties responsible shouldn’t be too difficult, as Wambach also notes in the post that she has the license plate number of the black car the criminals were driving.  As the culprits remain at large, so too do several of her possessions, including a purse and wallet. It’s unclear if Wambach’s waiting 24 hours to turn to the police, but it’s unlikely that avenue hasn’t already been pursued. In any event, it sounds from the soccer star’s post that their time on the run is in short supply, so hopefully, they return her belongings and own up to their actions. From the tone of her message, it doesn’t sound like she is the sort of enemy you want on your trail.  If doing the right thing isn’t motivation enough, then perhaps the wrath of Abby Wambach will convince these “idiots” to come clean. 

    Good.is / 4 d. 0 h. 58 min. ago more
  • 
        Lindsey Vonn Was Asked About Trump And The Olympics. Her Answer Nailed It.
      Lindsey Vonn Was Asked About Trump And The Olympics. Her Answer Nailed It.

    When U.S. Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn is racing down snowy South Korean mountains in February, you can bet Donald Trump will be the last person on her mind. Ahead of the Winter Games this year in Pyeongchang, the 33-year-old gold medalist sat down with CNN’s Christina MacFarlane to chat about competing once again for Team USA and the possibility of winning her second gold medal. But the topic veered away from sports at one point and, as conversations often do these days, turned to Trump. “You previously competed at three Olympic games under two presidents,” MacFarlane said. “How will it feel competing at an Olympic games for a United States whose president is Donald Trump?” “Well, I hope to represent the people of the United States — not the president,” Vonn said, her tone clearly reflecting disapproval of Trump. “I take the Olympics very seriously and what they mean and what they represent, what walking under our flag means in the opening ceremonies,” she continued. “I want to represent our country well, and I don’t think there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that,” she concluded. Vonn’s patriotism and fervent opposition to Trumpism come at a remarkable moment in presidential history. Unlike his recent predecessors, Trump has intentionally waded into controversy, capitalizing on cultural wars by attacking black and brown professional athletes who’ve protested during the national anthem at their games. Contrary to the president’s claims, the players aren’t protesting the flag, military, or anthem itself but rather using the moment to peacefully draw attention to racial inequality in our criminal justice system — namely, police brutality. As a prolific American athlete, Vonn’s disapproval of Trump coinciding with her patriotism, which is focused on the people of the U.S. and not its leader, shouldn’t be overlooked. When asked by CNN if she’d accept an invitation to the White House by the Trump administration, Vonn quickly responded, “Absolutely not.”

    Good.is / 4 d. 3 h. 28 min. ago more
  • Direct Relief Delivers Critical Medicines, Respiratory Supplies, as Firefighters Battle Blazes Across Southern CaliforniaDirect Relief Delivers Critical Medicines, Respiratory Supplies, as Firefighters Battle Blazes Across Southern California

    Direct Relief Direct Relief - Direct Relief is responding to communities impacted by the spate of wildfires across Southern California this week, and continues to deliver respiratory […] Direct Relief Delivers Critical Medicines, Respiratory Supplies, as Firefighters Battle Blazes Across Southern California Lara Cooper

    Direct Relief / 4 d. 4 h. 17 min. ago
  • The Importance of HVAC MaintenanceThe Importance of HVAC Maintenance

    As we approach the winter months and find ourselves settling in for winter, the one device in our homes that we stop thinking about is the air conditioning. Even though we expect a warmer winter, it is likely that our air conditioning needs will drop sharply as the cooler days start to settle in. It is only natural to stop thinking about a thing when it is no longer necessary, at least until it is again. Given that, we would like to take a moment to remind you of the importance of air conditioning maintenance, and why you should view the winter as an opportunity to perform maintenance. Whether you do it yourself, or you go through as certified HVAC technician like Adams Air Conditioning, now is the time to look into those long neglected maintenance tasks – especially the tasks that require you to shut down the AC for a time. Regular HVAC Maintenance Maximizes Air Conditioner Lifespan Every machine needs maintenance – and air conditioners are no different. Maintenance tasks allow the machine to operate in peak condition for the duration of its life span. Good maintenance might even allow the equipment to go beyond its listed shelf life. Either way – the longer you are able to delay needing that inevitable replacement, the more bang you get for your proverbial buck. Prevents Unexpected Shutdowns As I’m sure you know – nothing ever breaks until it is the worst possible moment for it to break. An air conditioner will be perfectly functional throughout a mild winter but then choose to break on the hottest day of the summer. This leaves you in the sweltering heat while you wait for a technician to show up and fix the problem. Regular maintenance spots potential issues early on, and is able to fix them before they develop into something more serious. Doing these maintenance checks now will let you identify the issues when a brief shutdown of your air conditioner is bearable. This means that where your less diligent neighbors are left in the heat, you are enjoying the climate controlled paradise of your own home. Reduces Operating Costs One of the biggest reasons to do routine maintenance is to cut down on operating costs. When an air conditioner is first shipped from the factory, it is designed to operate with the maximum possible efficiency based on the projected price point and available technologies. As time goes on, these parts inevitably break down. As these parts break, they become less efficient, less effective at doing the job they are tasked with doing. This raises your energy bills as the unit has to do more work to produce the same effect. The best example of this is changing out your air filter. A clogged air filter reduces the amount of air the AC can suck in, meaning it takes longer and requires more energy to cool the same volume of air. This increases your power bill beyond the cost of a replacement filter. Ultimately Improves Quality of Life As a Florida resident, you understand the importance of your air conditioner for maximizing your quality of life. Without that AC, you probably could not survive here. Given its importance to dealing with the summer heat, routine air conditioning maintenance is a critical part regular household maintenance. As such, getting your air conditioner checked out and performing routine maintenance now is critical to your overall quality of life. Putting it off will just mean having to deal with the problem over summer – which, as we keep stressing, is when you need it the most. It is just like when preparing for a long trip with your car – best to get maintenance tasks done right before the trip than to put them off until afterwards. The post The Importance of HVAC Maintenance appeared first on Good Home & Health.

    Good Home & Health / 4 d. 6 h. 15 min. ago more
  • Green Leasing: The Commercial Landlord’s Way to Save Cash and EnergyGreen Leasing: The Commercial Landlord’s Way to Save Cash and Energy

    Sustainability has officially worked its way into the formula for commercial real estate appreciation. Sustainability in commercial real estate has transformed landlord-tenant relationships across the world. This organized effort has been dubbed green leasing.

    Triple Pundit / 4 d. 11 h. 12 min. ago
  • A Gift Guide for Social EntrepreneursA Gift Guide for Social Entrepreneurs

    This list includes top picks for impressing the socially conscious entrepreneurs in your life with gifts that serve a higher purpose: transforming business into a force for good.

    Triple Pundit / 4 d. 11 h. 13 min. ago
  • more news
  • Coca-Cola, Walmart Join Oxford in Boosting Women’s Equality WorldwideCoca-Cola, Walmart Join Oxford in Boosting Women’s Equality Worldwide

    Oxford University’s Global Business Coalition for Women's Economic Empowerment (GBC4WEE) initiative is striving to improve the economic inclusion of women worldwide; joining the program are companies including Coca-Cola and Walmart.

    Triple Pundit / 4 d. 11 h. 28 min. ago
  • Why Reusing Materials Can Help Save the PlanetWhy Reusing Materials Can Help Save the Planet

    When we harvest natural resources and turn them into our everyday products, we put pressure on our environment. When we use these products and materials only once before throwing them away, we waste our natural resources. We could reuse far more of what we extract from the Earth, but there needs to be a market, verification measures, and willingness from all actors.

    Triple Pundit / 4 d. 12 h. 3 min. ago more
  • Rick Perry Signs a Carbon Capture Agreement with Saudi ArabiaRick Perry Signs a Carbon Capture Agreement with Saudi Arabia

    The future of carbon capture and storage in the U.S. may be bleak due to the tax reform bill poised to pass Congress. But while coal company executives are fuming over a tax reform plan that would eliminate carbon capture incentives, the U.S. energy secretary is moving forward on the technology with Saudi Arabia.

    Triple Pundit / 4 d. 12 h. 28 min. ago
  • Friendship cat and dog styleFriendship cat and dog style

    It’s stories like this that put a smile on one’s face (and heart!). Most evenings, after we have finished supper we go into the den, as we call it, and watch a few hours of television. This room has doors to the other rooms in the house and, therefore, during the day may be closed off. Reason why that is useful is that the den is home to our three cats. Thus, after supper the dogs and the cats get to mingle together, as this photograph of Pedi and Mitts so well illustrates. All of which is a great introduction to a post that was recently seen over on Mother Nature Network and is republished here for all you good people. ooOOoo Dog and kitten are best friends in hiking and life The best place to see the world is from atop your BFF’s head. MARY JO DILONARDO   December 6, 2017. Baloo’s favorite spot to hang out is on Henry’s head. (Photo: henrythecoloradodog/Instagram) Henry wasn’t the first dog Cynthia Bennett and her boyfriend spotted when they went looking for a canine pal a few years ago, but he’s certainly the one that won them over. “I had my eyes set on a golden mix puppy, but when I saw the lanky Henry sitting there I had to see him,” Bennett tells MNN. “When we got into the pen with him, he immediately climbed into my lap and went belly up. It was then I knew that we were taking him home.”  The couple brought the pup back to their home in Colorado where they hoped he would fit into their active, outdoorsy lifestyle. Fortunately, bold Henry was all in. But not long after it became clear that Henry was also extremely stressed out. Cynthia thought maybe a kitten companion might help ease Henry’s anxiety, while also offering another adventure buddy for the family. She spent several months looking for just the right feline friend. Most, she says, just didn’t have the right personality she wanted for an adventurous cat. Then she met a Siamese kitten mix named Baloo. “Baloo however convinced me to bring him home in under a minute. He was super playful and curious and the biggest love bug.” Henry and Baloo hit it off immediately and are the best of friends, Bennett says. “They do everything together, eat, sleep, hike and have become inseparable. It took only one day of them getting used to each other and then they started immediately snuggling and playing. It happened so quickly.” Not only are the pair adventure buddies, they also have quite a following on Instagram. One of their most popular poses is Baloo comfortably perched (and sometimes sleeping) on Henry’s head. It’s a natural fit, Bennett says. “Baloo feels much safer with Henry around and is constantly looking up to him. So if he is on Henry, he feels even more comfortable,” she says. “They are the best of friends, especially on hikes. Baloo follows Henry and Henry just lights up when he realizes that Baloo is coming too.” ooOOoo That photograph of Henry and Baloo is so wonderful that I will close today’s post by sharing it with you again but cropped to really focus on them both. Have a wonderful weekend!

    Learning from Dogs / 4 d. 13 h. 27 min. ago more
  • How I Stopped Chasing Happiness and Started Enjoying My Imperfect LifeHow I Stopped Chasing Happiness and Started Enjoying My Imperfect Life

    “I want to live my life without stress and worries. I don’t need to be rich or famous. I just want to be happy.” ~Unknown Have you ever set a goal and then become obsessed with it, making it the center of your life and arranging everything else around it? Did you think that only after you achieved your goal would you be totally relaxed and happy? I’ve done this many times before. Throughout my life, I’ve measured my happiness by my achievements. I pushed to get good grades in school, then focused on going to a good college, then getting a high-paying job. However, even after getting all of those things, I was not happy. After attaining them, they felt ordinary, not as extraordinary as I thought they were. The feeling of achievement was not that awesome after all. I blamed my achievements for my dissatisfaction—that they were not tremendous enough for me to feel happy. So I thought I had to do more. I found a new goal, and I fell into the trap again. I always had something to pursue, and I could never feel happy until I achieved everything. I abandoned other things in my life to pursue them. My excuses always were “I can’t rest right now. I am busy doing [x]. I will do that after I achieve [x]. I will be relaxed and enjoy my life only after [x].” My [x] constantly changed from one thing to another. And I never let myself rest. I deferred my life to the future. Now was never a good time to enjoy life. Even when I went out with my husband for a date night, I could never really enjoy my time. The feeling of guilt was always there to haunt me, to blame me for ditching my work, for being relaxed and lazy. Only when I felt miserable and exhausted did that guilt fade away. That was when I realized something was not right. The Problem with Measuring Your Happiness by Your Achievements In the next couple days, I attempted to stop thinking of how to achieve my goals and paid full attention to how I was feeling. I took time out for myself, just to think about my life. And it was a painful realization that not only I did not enjoy my life, I missed out so many things in the process. I Forgot the Ultimate Goal of My Life Everyone wants to be happy, including me. My ultimate goal is to enjoy my life. But I constantly postponed my happiness while working toward other short-term goals. I thought I was in charge of my life and my happiness, but I wasn’t. I let those short-term goals control of my life. As a result… I separated myself from my loved ones. In my vision of a happy life, I was always there with my family and for my family. But the hard truth was, I was not. In fact, I turned them down when they showed concern about me. I felt like they didn’t understand my choices. The whole reason I needed to achieve more was to be with them when they would be happy and proud of me. But that was not what they wanted. They wanted me, not my titles. Whenever I achieved something, they were happy for seeing me happy, not for anything else. A part of my happy ending was already with me, but I did not see it. I hurt my own feelings. As I was busy chasing the idea of my perfect life, measuring my worth by my achievements, I wasn’t fond of myself When I did not meet my target, I felt unworthy and I beat myself up. When I earned something, it wasn’t extraordinary enough to be proud of. I even beat myself up for not trying harder to receive something bigger. I had a rough relationship with myself. I thought I was never good enough for my own love, or for anyone else’s. It’s painful believing that you are unloved. I damaged my health. Because I was fixated on achieving my goals above all else, I ignored my body when she screamed for rest. I thought I only deserved to rest when I could no longer work, when all of my energy was gone. If I rested before my energy ran out, I thought I was a loser. A loser would not achieve anything. I worked my way to exhaustion just to earn myself some rest. I physically drained my immune system until just a simple cold would easily break me. Learning to Be Happy with My Imperfect Life We all have the tendency to compare ourselves with others. I grew up believing life is a race, and I tried to be the fastest horse. Social media has made this worse. We see other successful people and we crave their achievements. We think if we were as successful as they are, as rich as they are, as talented as they are, we would be as happy as they are. Only this isn’t the case. The truth is that we are different people, we have different goals and desires, but those are not factors that determine our happiness. Happiness is not the result of our effort. It cannot be measured by our accomplishments. Happiness is the direction we choose and the way we live our lives. For some, happiness is to hear your mom’s voice on the phone every day. It may also be hearing all the funny things happened to your one-year-old niece. Or the look in your husband’s eyes when you spend quality time with him. Happiness probably can be measured by laughter. Deep down, happiness is love and self-love. It’s realizing how beautiful your life actually is. Here are few things I have done to discover my happiness. Meditation Meditation allows me to catch my breath, slow down, and look at my life with a totally different perspective. I used to think I could never meditate because I could not sit still and not think of anything. But I started small with eight minutes a day, and I’ve surprised myself. I finally learned that meditation is not about clearing your mind and thinking of nothing; it is about truly accepting who you are and not letting your wild thoughts control you. It helps me recognize and detach from my thoughts; to let go of all the chaos in my life. Stay in the moment After I started practicing meditation, I began to accept the moment more fully. It was not easy at first, as my mind was always wandering around, making up stories about my life. But as soon I surrendered to the present, I began to show up and truly live in the moment. I no longer try to read a book while having lunch. I no longer think of my work while cooking or taking a shower. Instead, I try to taste the food in every single bite, to listen to different noises I make in the kitchen, to feel the warm water running over my body and let it wash off all of the stress and anxiety. Needless to say, I have never felt more alive. I now recognize how beautiful and colorful my life is. Start writing a gratitude journal I end my day by writing a gratitude journal. It felt silly at first. But writing down all the beautiful things brightens my life and makes me appreciate them even more. No matter how hard we try, we can never feel positive all the time. Life is brutal sometimes. Still, a gratitude journal helps me to let go of the negativities and feel grateful for the things I have. Self-love affirmations I start my day by telling myself how beautiful life is, and how much I love myself. Before I get out of my bed, I smile and tell myself, “Thank you for another wonderful day. I love you.” When I put my feet on the floor, I thank myself and tell myself “I love you” again. I affirm this fifty times a day, and as a result, I’ve started to believe in myself. It is eye-opening and life-changing to see how wonderful it is to have another day to live, to feel love and to enjoy life to the fullest. “Today might not be perfect, but it’s a perfect day to feel happy.” ~Lori Deschene Happiness is not something to pursue in the future. Happiness is available right now, right where you are. When we stop chasing the shadow of happiness, we begin to recognize that all the things we need to to be happy have been with us all along. I still set goals to pursue, but I no longer arrange my life around them. I’ve stopped comparing myself with others. I’ve stopped trying to become a person whom I think will be happy someday. And I now realize what truly matters to me. I put myself in the center and I surrender to my heart, my soul. I let my heart tell me who I really am. I see, hear, smell, and taste like I never have before. I enjoy all the quality time I have with my husband, I enjoy calling my mom every night just to hear her voice. I enjoy sitting quietly and listen to what my soul has to say. Even though life is up and down, I now know all the emotions are different colors in my happy-ever-after picture. I appreciate that I can still feel them. And I know my life is not perfect, but today is a perfect time to feel happy. About Mai PhamMai Pham believes we can create our own happiness. She helps overwhelmed and frustrated people to ditch their stress and enjoy their lives again. Grab her free actionable cheatsheet: 5 Simple Tips to Release Stress and Bring You Calm in Under 5 Minutes and join her free 7 Joyful Days Challenge email course.Web | More Posts Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.The post How I Stopped Chasing Happiness and Started Enjoying My Imperfect Life appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

    Tiny Buddha / 4 d. 16 h. 32 min. ago more
  • Have Yourself An Eco-Friendly ChristmasHave Yourself An Eco-Friendly Christmas

    Along with the most wonderful time of the year also tends to come the most trash and energy expenses of year – and that doesn’t make the holidays any less stressful. If you are concerned about the effect your habits around Christmas time will have on the environment, then you’ve come to the right place. We have some friends at BiologiQ, a company that produces environmentally sustainable plastics in the form of plastic resin pellets, and they have put together this list of ways to be more eco-friendly this Christmas. Avoid Clutter When walking through the store around Christmas time, we tend to want to grab all of the cutesy decorations we can find. But that’s only going to add clutter to our home and trash to the landfills. Try to keep your decorations clean and simple. Sometimes just a touch of décor is all we need for it to feel like Christmas. Reuse Decorations Recycle and reuse last year’s decorations. This saves you time and money, and you don’t have to worry about throwing away all that plastic packaging. If you want your house to look different from last year, rearrange the decorations in a new way. Use Nature Use natural decorations this year. Instead of picking up plastic ornaments and mantle decorations, use wooden items and things that you can find outside your home – like pinecones, pine branches, flowers. Use these items to add natural accents to your decorations. When the season is over, you can burn them or place them back outside. Christmas Trees Do your research on sustainable options for Christmas trees. A real tree in the short term is a better option than an artificial tree because it supports local businesses and can be used for mulch and is a biodegradable option. However, you plan on reusing an artificial tree every year for the next 10 years, that might be the better option. Energy-Efficient Lighting Lights are definitely a favorite when it comes to Christmas decorations. Lights in the trees, hung all around the exterior of the house, and sometimes the interior, too! If you have old Christmas lights, it might be wise to purchase new LED lights that will save on energy costs and last a lot longer. Replace Light Bulbs Often when a light bulb burns out in Christmas tree lights the entire strand will be affected, and people end up throwing it away. It is much more efficient to take the time to find and replace the defected light bulb then to throw away the whole string of lights. Homemade Decorations Instead of purchasing a bunch of cutesy plastic or ceramic decorations from a major retailer, stay home and make decorations with your family. Use scrap paper, nature, and other items you can find around your home to make simple Christmas decorations. Handmade Cards Do you send out Christmas cards ever year? This is another item you can handcraft for a more sustainable Christmas. And it is sure to mean a lot more to someone when they receive a gift that you handmade especially for them. Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper Choose non-glossy wrapping papers that can be recycled. You can even use newspapers and butcher paper dressed up with a pretty ribbon or bow. Recycle When it’s time for the wrapping paper to come off the gifts, recycle it. Any non-glossy paper can be recycled or used for compost. You can also save and reuse bows, ribbons, boxes, and bags next year. The post Have Yourself An Eco-Friendly Christmas appeared first on Good Home & Health.

    Good Home & Health / 4 d. 23 h. 48 min. ago more
  • 
        Here’s Why These Libraries On Wheels Are Rolling Into Combat Zones
      Here’s Why These Libraries On Wheels Are Rolling Into Combat Zones

    For the past 14 years, we’ve watched images of war-torn Iraq on the evening news, heard about soldiers who’ve lost limbs and lives, and have been promised that the divisive and costly war would come to an end so America could finally move on. But what about the people who actually live there? As many in the western world decry the conflict for ideological reasons, the Iraq War and the ensuing fighting have had very real consequences for those who call the country home. While nearly 5,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq since combat began in 2003, no one knows exactly how many Iraqis have lost their lives due to the decade-long war — though many estimates place the number somewhere around 200,000. And since the so-called Islamic State (known as ISIS or Daesh) invaded the region, the assault on civilians has been even more brutal. Still, life goes on for those trapped in the combat zone, and War Child UK ensures the conflict’s most vulnerable victims — children — can experience some semblance of normalcy, even in the direst of circumstances. The group, which was launched in 1993 by filmmakers David Wilson and Bill Leeson after they witnessed the Bosnian genocide, provides educational and livelihood support and protection for children in war zones. It’s the only organization that is solely focused on advocating for young people in combat zones, and War Child serves youth from nine countries, including Iraq, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic. In Iraq, War Child UK has set up several child-friendly spaces for those who have been displaced by the conflicts. The group has also rolled out a number of mobile libraries, which offers children and adults access to books that not only help to take their mind off the violence, but also help them to continue their education. For many children, the learning spaces and libraries have been a godsend. Children have missed out on at least two years of schooling, and have experienced high levels of psychosocial distress, heavily impacting their learning. “When Daesh arrived, everything changed. All people hated them. After they came I stopped going to school as all they taught was how to use weapons,” said Rami, who benefits from War Child UK’s educational services, continuing: “Life was very tough, we just held on inside the house, we knew that outside there were explosions and bombs. I used to play with my friends in the street but the Hezb [religious police] would punish us if we played in the evening. In the TLS [temporary learning space] I am learning the alphabet and get to play with my friends.” Rami isn’t alone. According to War Child UK, in and around Mosul, “children have missed out on at least two years of schooling, and have experienced high levels of psychosocial distress, heavily impacting their learning.” Because of this, War Child UK seeks to provide the 26,000 children in Iraq’s displaced person camps who lack access to education a way to learn. Though the task is daunting and young people struggle with trauma from witnessing such devastating violence, the group is having a positive impact on their lives. 13-year-old Karim said: “In the beginning, it was very difficult as I didn’t have any friends or family but the TLS has been a great place to be. I have 9 brothers and 6 sisters. When Daesh entered, in the beginning, I didn’t have any idea about them. In the beginning, they said they were here to save and protect us. But after a while we saw that they have come to kill people.”  Like the nearly 150,000 people who’ve been forced to flee their homes because of the fighting in Iraq, Karim and his family sought solace in one of the country’s displaced peoples camp. “A Daesh fighter came into our house and said that ‘I will not leave.’ He said, ‘We will live together or die together!’ An aeroplane fired a rocket at our house; the house became black with smoke. We escaped to a room but Daesh came and made us leave. Then another rocket hit the house. Then the Iraqi army arrived. It was like a dream. We got to an army checkpoint. When I come to the TLS and play, I can forget for a while.” During a war, access to education isn’t always seen as imperative, but War Child UK argues that “it is a vital part of the humanitarian response” that “is not a luxury that can wait until other survival needs are met.”

    Good.is / 5 d. 2 h. 13 min. ago more
  • Questioning the evidence on hookworm eradication in the American SouthQuestioning the evidence on hookworm eradication in the American South

    Summary Four of GiveWell’s top charities support deworming—the mass distribution of medicines to children in poor countries to rid their bodies of schistosomiasis, hookworm, and parasites. GiveWell’s recommendation relies primarily on research from western Kenya finding that deworming in childhood boosted income in adulthood. GiveWell has also placed weight on a study by Hoyt Bleakley of the hookworm eradication effort in the American South 100 years ago. I reviewed the Bleakley study and reach a different conclusion than he did: the deworming campaign in the American South did not coincide with breaks in long-term trends that would invite eradication as the explanation. GiveWell research staff took the conclusions of this post into account when updating their recommendations for the 2017 giving season. GiveWell continues to recommend deworming charities. I also reviewed a separate Bleakley study of the impacts of malaria eradication in the United States, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. My reading there is more supportive. I’m finalizing the write-ups now and will share them soon. Introduction After the latest refresh, GiveWell’s list of top charities includes four that support deworming—the mass distribution of medicines to children to rid their guts of certain parasites. Several dozen randomized studies measure the short-term effects of deworming programs (within a year or so) on everything from body weight to being in school.1The 2016 Campbell review finds 52 short-term studies with follow-up duration under five years. Most last one to two years. jQuery("#footnote_plugin_tooltip_9268_1").tooltip({ tip: "#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_9268_1", tipClass: "footnote_tooltip", effect: "fade", fadeOutSpeed: 100, predelay: 400, position: "top right", relative: true, offset: [10, 10] }); If intestinal worms were often fatal, then short-term gains against them might be measured in lives saved, which could on its own make a decisive case for deworming. But the symptoms are normally subtler. On the other hand, some research finds that the aftereffects last into adulthood. This is why the long-term effects of deworming dominate GiveWell’s estimates of the cost-effectiveness of charities that support it. Unfortunately, only a handful of experimental studies assess deworming’s impacts over the long haul, and most of those are based on a single experiment in Kenya. For summaries, see this 2016 post, in the section entitled “The research on the long-term impacts of deworming.” This paucity of experimental evidence has led GiveWell to place weight on a non-experimental, historical study of deworming. Hoyt Bleakley‘s 2007 paper tracks the impacts of the campaign to eradicate hookworm from the American South a century ago. As part of an ongoing effort to scrutinize the evidence on the long-term impacts of deworming (this, this), GiveWell worked over the past year to revisit the Bleakley study. With huge assists from Christian Smith, Zachary Tausanovitch, and Claire Wang, I have formed a fresh and critical assessment of the evidence. The hookworm eradication effort in the American South did not coincide with breaks in long-term trends that would invite eradication as the explanation. For example, after the eradication campaign, outcomes such as school attendance indeed rose faster for children in historically worm-endemic areas, which could be taken as a sign of success. But that trend began decades before eradication. The full write-up is in this new working paper. As John D. Rockefeller, arguably the richest human in history, entered philanthropy just over a century ago, he was persuaded to back large-scale, scientifically informed public health campaigns—not unlike Bill Gates in our era. In 1910, he gave $1 million to create the Rockefeller Sanitary Commission for the Eradication of Hookworm Disease. Across eleven southern states from North Carolina to Texas, the RSC soon launched what today would be called the War on Worms. Drugs were dispensed to treat infected children. Doctors, teachers, and the public were educated about the importance of sanitation, especially the use of proper privies. From a researcher’s point of view, the suddenness and success of the campaign, and its broad geographic sweep, offer hope for credible impact assessment. If, for example, school attendance rates jumped just as infection rates plunged, that could be a compelling sign of the knock-on effects of mass deworming of children. The Bleakley (2007) study recognizes and exploits this opportunity for impact assessment. Paralleling the modern research out of Kenya, the study finds that after the RSC campaign, children in formerly worm-afflicted areas went to school more (a short-term development) and earned more as adults (a long-term effect). In this post, I’ll explain how the GiveWell reanalysis of the Bleakley (2007) hookworm research differs from Bleakley’s original. Then I will show you some graphs that tell most of the analytical story. I have also reviewed the related Bleakley (2010) study of the impacts of malaria eradication in the United States, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. There, my conclusion is more positive. I hope to release and blog that review in the next few weeks. What we did The reanalysis of the Bleakley (2007) hookworm study included the following steps: Returning to primary sources to reconstruct the data set. The data and computer code for the study are not publicly available. In correspondence starting a year ago, Hoyt Bleakley stated that they are effectively inaccessible now. Re-gathering the data was a major undertaking because Bleakley culled nearly 50 variables from obscure, century-old books and articles. Some, such as the student-teacher ratio in each county of the eleven southern states, were found in state government reports that varied in completeness and reporting conventions. Christian Smith, Claire Wang, and, especially, Zachary Tausanovitch, poured many hours into this effort. Expanding the census data sets. Bleakley (2007) tracks outcomes such as school attendance, literacy, and income using U.S. census data. These come to us not from old books, but from the IPUMS online database. Until recently, all the IPUMS data sets were samples from a given year’s census records, taking, for example, one household from every fifth page of the enumeration. (Here’s a sample page from 1920 with my great-grandparents and family in rows 3–6.) When carrying out this research in 2003–05, Bleakley appears to have used the biggest sets then available, such as the 1-in-250 sample from the 1910 census and the 1-in-100 sample from 1920. No data were then to be had from 1930. The GiveWell reanalysis takes advantage of the newer, bigger samples, including preliminary 100% samples for 1910–40. In aggregate, the new data set is about 100 times larger than that in Bleakley (2007). Copying choices from one Bleakley (2007) table or figure to another. For example, one table in the paper estimates impacts on school enrollment, school attendance, and literacy. A corresponding figure, discussed soon, only depicts impacts on attendance. In the new paper, I rerun the figure for all three outcomes. Imposing an arguably tougher standard for proof of impact. I concur with Bleakley that after the eradication campaign swept through the South in 1911–14, prospects improved disproportionately for children born in areas historically prone to hookworm. This catch-up, or convergence, surfaces in the data whether comparing counties within the South (low-lying counties tended to have more hookworm than mountainous ones), or comparing southern states to other states. But that observation alone leaves me unconvinced that ridding children’s bellies of hookworm was the cause. What if the trend began well before eradication or continued well after? I therefore focus on this question: Did convergence temporarily accelerate in tandem with eradication? The Bleakley (2007) tables and figures do not approach this question so aggressively. We shared drafts of the paper and this post with Hoyt Bleakley. This did not yield any additional insight into why our analysis differs from the original. The short-term impact on schooling The figure below, adapted from one edition of the Bleakley study, illustrates the finding that I just mentioned, that after eradication, school attendance surged among kids living where hookworm had been common.2Versions of Bleakley (2007) appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, a World Bank report, and the site of the National Center for Biotechnology Information. They are nearly the same. jQuery("#footnote_plugin_tooltip_9268_2").tooltip({ tip: "#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_9268_2", tipClass: "footnote_tooltip", effect: "fade", fadeOutSpeed: 100, predelay: 400, position: "top right", relative: true, offset: [10, 10] }); I will convey the gist of the figure first, then explain it more precisely. You can see that the central red line stays essentially flat from 1870 to 1910. Then it jumps to about zero between 1910 and 1920, census years bracketing the Rockefeller campaign. Thereafter, the red line mostly again holds steady. The one-time jump looks like a fingerprint of eradication. What does the red line mean exactly? For each census round with available data between 1870 and 1950, Bleakley (2007) computes the association within Southern counties between the school attendance rate of 8–16-year-olds and the hookworm infection rate as measured at the start of eradication, circa 1910.3The regressions for each census year control for the interactions of sex and race on the one hand and age on the other. They do not include the other Bleakley (2007) controls. Samples are restricted to eleven Southern states. The unit of observation is the State Economic Area, which is an aggregation of several counties. jQuery("#footnote_plugin_tooltip_9268_3").tooltip({ tip: "#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_9268_3", tipClass: "footnote_tooltip", effect: "fade", fadeOutSpeed: 100, predelay: 400, position: "top right", relative: true, offset: [10, 10] }); That the red line starts around –0.1 in 1870 means that on average, if a county’s child hookworm infection rate was 10 percentage points higher when measured around 1910, its school attendance rate in the 1870 census was 1 percentage point lower. More plainly, counties with more worms in kids had fewer kids in school. But between the 1910 and 1920 censuses, that bad-news association abruptly faded. As of 1920, a child in a historically high-hookworm county was no less likely to be in school. The black, dashed lines show confidence intervals for these census-by-census estimates—probably 95% confidence, but I cannot tell for sure. Here is the best replication of that graph using the reconstructed data and code. I have drawn it differently to emphasize that we only have data from certain decennial censuses, and to depict the gradations of confidence within the 95% confidence intervals.4The 1890 census records were destroyed in a fire. 1930 records had not been digitized at the time Bleakley did this work. jQuery("#footnote_plugin_tooltip_9268_4").tooltip({ tip: "#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_9268_4", tipClass: "footnote_tooltip", effect: "fade", fadeOutSpeed: 100, predelay: 400, position: "top right", relative: true, offset: [10, 10] }); I discern a resemblance between the original graph and the reconstruction. In both, school enrollment rises especially quickly between 1910 and 1920 and then declines slightly. But there is a difference too, and it is more than cosmetic. Now it appears that children in hookworm-infested areas gained substantially on school attendance not just between 1910 and 1920 but between 1880 and 1900 as well—and maybe throughout 1880–1910. For lack of access to Bleakley’s data and code, I cannot explain the discrepancy between this reconstruction and the original. There could be an error in the new or the old, or some subtle difference in data or method. The new graph’s ambiguous mix of confirmation and contradiction forces a question that is at once conceptual and practical. How do we systematically judge whether the signal of hookworm eradication is present amidst the noise of other influences? To what degree does the new graph confirm or contradict the old? I think there is no one best way to answer that question. One approach that I took is depicted with the red lines in the reconstructed graph above, and in the p values in the bottom-left corner. I drew the red lines to connect the dots that surround the eradication campaign. I wanted to quantify how much the red contour bends upward in 1910 and downward in 1920—as in Bleakley’s graph—and with what statistical significance. That is: Suppose the education gains took place at a constant pace between 1900 and 1940 with no acceleration around the campaign in the early 1910s. (I would have substituted 1930 for 1940 were 1930 data available in this graph.) What is the chance that we would see as much bending in the red line as we do? The computer says that for the upward kink at 1910, the answer is 0.37, which is not very low. On the other hand, the deceleration around 1920 is quite hard to ascribe to pure chance, at p = 0.03. Still, the new graph casts doubt on the proposition that the campaign brought a big break with the past. Having settled on an analytical approach, the next step was to add all the census data that has been digitized since Bleakley did his work. This brings an obvious change (see below; now that 1930 data are included, I extend the third red line only that far). Now it looks far more as though the high-hookworm parts of the South began closing the schooling gap with low-hookworm parts around 1880, some 30 years before the hookworm campaign: In a final test, I recomputed the graph while incorporating all the Bleakley (2007) control variables. Hookworm eradication was hardly a clean experiment, in the sense that the geographic reach of the disease was not random going in. The South had it more than the rest of the country; within the South, the coastal plains had it most. If the beneficiaries of eradication differed systematically from the rest before eradication, they could continue to differ after for reasons having little to do with hookworm prevention, creating a false appearance of impact. Striving to statistically remove such initial differences, Bleakley (2007) introduces into some of the regressions an aggressive set of controls. They relate to education, health, agriculture, and race. The paper includes these controls in some of the schooling regressions reported in a table, but does not bring them to the schooling graph shown above. It turns out that doing so (in our expanded-data graph) removes most signs of any long-term gains: The lack of upward trend here does not mean that the historically hookworm-burdened parts of the South did not after all close a schooling gap between 1880 and 1920. It does suggest that the closure was correlated with, and therefore potentially caused by, the non-hookworm factors that Bleakley sometimes controls for.5Consistent with this graph, while the Bleakley (2007) full-controls regressions continue to put a statistically significant coefficient on the treatment proxy, the reconstructions do not. This is one of the few cases where the original results are not recognizable in the reconstruction. See Table 6, panel B, of the new paper. jQuery("#footnote_plugin_tooltip_9268_5").tooltip({ tip: "#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_9268_5", tipClass: "footnote_tooltip", effect: "fade", fadeOutSpeed: 100, predelay: 400, position: "top right", relative: true, offset: [10, 10] }); In sum, I do not see robust evidence that schooling and literacy improved at an historically anomalous rate circa 1910, in a way naturally attributable to hookworm eradication. The long-term impact on earnings What the first half of the Bleakley (2007) study does for short-term impacts on schooling, the second does for long-term impacts on earnings. Here too, the conclusion is encouraging. “Long-term follow-up,” writes Bleakley, “indicates a substantial income gain as a result of the reduction in hookworm infection.” This finding resonates strongly with the GiveWell cost-effectiveness analysis, which makes a key assumption about how much deworming children boosts future income. The number we use for that impact comes from modern, experimental research in Kenya; yet Bleakley’s inference from American history had boosted our confidence in the Kenya number. (That said, GiveWell has discounted the Kenya number by 80–90% out of fear that it won’t replicate to other settings.6See the “Replicability adjustment for deworming” row of the “Parameters” tab of the cost-effectiveness analysis spreadsheet. jQuery("#footnote_plugin_tooltip_9268_6").tooltip({ tip: "#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_9268_6", tipClass: "footnote_tooltip", effect: "fade", fadeOutSpeed: 100, predelay: 400, position: "top right", relative: true, offset: [10, 10] });) The Bleakley (2007) graph I will focus on draws together data from censuses as ancient as 1870 and modern as 1990. One problem with measuring impacts on income over this span is that not until 1940 did Census takers begin asking people how much money they made. For this reason, the IPUMS census database provides proxies for income that reach back farther. One is the occupational income score (OIS), which is, approximately speaking, the average income in 1950 associated with a person’s census-reported profession. Thus, if lawyers averaged $10,000 in income in 1950, then any self-described lawyer between 1870 and 1990 is taken to earn that much. The OIS is expressed in hundreds of dollars of 1950, and is an example of an index of “occupational standing.” Before scrutinizing the evidence of long-term impacts on occupational standing, I need to describe a twist that Bleakley (2007) introduces in moving from short- to long-term. As one tries to follow people over longer periods of time, the analytical tack that Bleakley took for schooling starts to break down. For it looks at how the people in given places fared over time. The problem is that sometimes people move—across the state or across the country. And in this analytical set-up, the researcher does not follow them. If deworming gave children in coastal Georgia more agency in life—better health, more education—perhaps they exercised that agency by moving to Atlanta. If we only looked at the incomes of the people who stayed behind, we would miss the full story. To minimize this attrition from migration, in studying long-term impacts, Bleakley (2007) groups census records not by place of residence at the time of census, but by place of birth. Then, if a person was born in Georgia in 1915, showed up in the census in 1940 as a bricklayer in Atlanta, in 1950 as a general contractor in Lexington, and in 1960 as the manager of a construction company in Phoenix, all three census records would be associated with Georgia in 1915. After organizing the data this way, Bleakley (2007) could study whether children born in certain areas after eradication went on to earn more than those born in the same places before eradication. Reorganizing the data this way generates two ripple effects. First, while census takers record place of residence with extreme precision, they only record place of birth by state. We cannot differentiate people by whether they were born in hookworm-prone areas within, say, Mississippi. We can only differentiate by whether they were native to a historically high-hookworm state such as Mississippi or a low-hookworm one such as Michigan. Thus, while the short-term analysis compares counties within 11 southern states, the long-term analysis compares states across the continental U.S. The second ripple effect is that the data come to us at higher temporal resolution: by birth year, not census decade. In response, Bleakley (2007) hypothesizes that how much hookworm depressed adult earnings depended on the percentage of one’s childhood spent where it was endemic. If we take eradication to have occurred in 1910 and assume with Bleakley (2007) that childhood lasts 19 years, then babies born in or before 1891 would have reached adulthood before eradication, too soon to benefit. Babies born in endemic areas in 1892 would have been helped for one year (between their 18th and 19th birthdays); in 1893 for two; and so on. Those born in 1910 or later stood to reap the full 19 years of benefit. Bleakley (2007) therefore hypothesizes that the impact of eradication follows a sort of diagonal step shape with respect to birth year. The step starts rising in 1891 and stops in 1910. Bleakley depicted that contour with dashed lines in this figure: As you can see, Bleakley (2007) fit this contour to data, to see how well it could explain historical patterns. These dots are derived much as in the earlier Bleakley (2007) figure. For example, the leftmost dot is for the year 1825, and has a vertical coordinate of about –2. That means that among people born in 1825, being native to a state whose hookworm infection rate circa 1910 was 10 percentage points (0.1) higher corresponded to having an Occupational Income Score 0.20 lower. That means $20/year less income throughout adulthood, in the dollars of 1950. The graph shows that this association was generally negative in the mid-19th century and generally positive after 1910: formerly, coming from a hookworm zone depressed lifetime earnings. And the graph suggests that the transition followed the step pattern expected if the cause was hookworm eradication. Below is my best reproduction of that graph. As before, I have plotted both the dots and their 95% confidence intervals. I have avoided superimposing the step-like contour the way Bleakley (2007) does because I worry that it tricks the eye into believing that the contour fits the data better than it really does. But I have marked the years when the contour kinks, 1891 and 1910: Here is the same graph when using the 100-times-bigger census data sets now available7In addition to adding data, this version mimics the rest of the Bleakley (2007) analysis in adding blacks and in fitting directly to census microdata rather than aggregates, in order to include controls for race, sex, and their interaction. jQuery("#footnote_plugin_tooltip_9268_7").tooltip({ tip: "#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_9268_7", tipClass: "footnote_tooltip", effect: "fade", fadeOutSpeed: 100, predelay: 400, position: "top right", relative: true, offset: [10, 10] });: And here is the graph when I copy Bleakley (2010) in incorporating all the controls for cross-state differences in health and health policy, education policy, and other traits8As I noted, when looking at short-term impacts on education, Bleakley (2007) does not plot a graph while incorporating all controls. But now, when looking at long-term impacts on occupational standing, Bleakley (2007) does also include such a graph. See the bottom right of this figure. jQuery("#footnote_plugin_tooltip_9268_8").tooltip({ tip: "#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_9268_8", tipClass: "footnote_tooltip", effect: "fade", fadeOutSpeed: 100, predelay: 400, position: "top right", relative: true, offset: [10, 10] });: Does it look to you like the upward trends in these last two graphs accelerated around 1891 and decelerated around 1910, as predicted by the Bleakley (2007) theory? To me, I have to say, not much. The climbs look steady and longer-term. Since “not much” is muddy, I moved once again to formalize my interpretation. In analogy with my earlier graphs for schooling, I fit lines to the data points in the 19 years between 1891 and 1910, as well as to the 19 years on either side. Then I checked whether any bending in 1891 and 1910 is statistically significant. The final two graphs fit lines to the dots in the previous two. The dots in these next graphs are the same as in the previous two. It doesn’t look that way because I erased the grey confidence bars in order to expand the vertical scales. In the both graphs the trend looks quite straight over the three generations surrounding the eradication campaign. The p values, shown in the bottom-right of each plot, are high. Conclusion Reanalyzing the Bleakley (2007) study left me unconvinced that the children who benefited from hookworm eradication went to school more or earned more as adults. Conceivably, if I had access to the original data and code, the confrontation with the reconstructed versions would expose errors in the the new version that would alter my view. But this seems unlikely. The new census data sets are much bigger than the old, which improves precision. And most of the differences probably do not arise from clear-cut errors on either side, but from minor differences in implementation, such as taking education spending from a different edition of an annual government report. If the conclusions swing on such modest and debatable discrepancies, then they are not robust and reliable. Finally, even if the two versions of the data matched exactly, I might still disagree on interpretation, since I use tests, illustrated above, that focus more exclusively on whether the time trends contain the temporal fingerprint of hookworm eradication. For me, that fingerprint is characterized not merely by once-high-hookworm areas catching up with low-hookworm ones, but catch-up that accelerates and decelerates at times that fit the timing of the eradication campaign. The data and code for this study are here (1.6 GB). The full write-up is here.   Notes   [ + ] 1. ↑ The 2016 Campbell review finds 52 short-term studies with follow-up duration under five years. Most last one to two years. 2. ↑ Versions of Bleakley (2007) appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, a World Bank report, and the site of the National Center for Biotechnology Information. They are nearly the same. 3. ↑ The regressions for each census year control for the interactions of sex and race on the one hand and age on the other. They do not include the other Bleakley (2007) controls. Samples are restricted to eleven Southern states. The unit of observation is the State Economic Area, which is an aggregation of several counties. 4. ↑ The 1890 census records were destroyed in a fire. 1930 records had not been digitized at the time Bleakley did this work. 5. ↑ Consistent with this graph, while the Bleakley (2007) full-controls regressions continue to put a statistically significant coefficient on the treatment proxy, the reconstructions do not. This is one of the few cases where the original results are not recognizable in the reconstruction. See Table 6, panel B, of the new paper. 6. ↑ See the “Replicability adjustment for deworming” row of the “Parameters” tab of the cost-effectiveness analysis spreadsheet. 7. ↑ In addition to adding data, this version mimics the rest of the Bleakley (2007) analysis in adding blacks and in fitting directly to census microdata rather than aggregates, in order to include controls for race, sex, and their interaction. 8. ↑ As I noted, when looking at short-term impacts on education, Bleakley (2007) does not plot a graph while incorporating all controls. But now, when looking at long-term impacts on occupational standing, Bleakley (2007) does also include such a graph. See the bottom right of this figure. function footnote_expand_reference_container() { jQuery("#footnote_references_container").show(); jQuery("#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button").text("-"); } function footnote_collapse_reference_container() { jQuery("#footnote_references_container").hide(); jQuery("#footnote_reference_container_collapse_button").text("+"); } function footnote_expand_collapse_reference_container() { if (jQuery("#footnote_references_container").is(":hidden")) { footnote_expand_reference_container(); } else { footnote_collapse_reference_container(); } } function footnote_moveToAnchor(p_str_TargetID) { footnote_expand_reference_container(); var l_obj_Target = jQuery("#" + p_str_TargetID); if(l_obj_Target.length) { jQuery('html, body').animate({ scrollTop: l_obj_Target.offset().top - window.innerHeight/2 }, 1000); } }The post Questioning the evidence on hookworm eradication in the American South appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

    The Give Well Blog / 5 d. 6 h. 47 min. ago more
  • Houston Flood Prevention Plan: High-Priced Golf CoursesHouston Flood Prevention Plan: High-Priced Golf Courses

    A community in the Houston area has a new flood prevention plan in the works. It involves lovingly remaking the city's defunct golf course into a recreation area with 5 big pits to hold floodwaters during hurricanes and torrential downpours. It's the latest rethink as to how to keep Houston cities green and safe in the face of worsening climate change.

    Triple Pundit / 5 d. 10 h. 26 min. ago more
  • It’s holiday time againIt’s holiday time again

    For our beloved dogs! It’s a rare week when I don’t receive an email from a person representing an organisation that would like a mention here. That’s how it was a couple of weeks ago. In to my inbox came: Hi Paul, I hope this finds you well! My name is Sam and I’m a Community Marketing Manager at Rover.com–the nation’s largest online network of pet sitters. While checking out your website, I was really taken by the DIY content and all of your fun and creative ideas. At Rover, we like to get creative too with everything from making your own dog treats, to celebrating custom dog houses. It seems that your audience would like to learn more about DIY ideas for their dogs–affordable, adorable, and creative! Please let me know if you’re interested in getting some free DIY content from Rover. I look forward to hearing from you! All the best, Sam I responded along the lines of not really wanting to be seen supporting this or that company when I had no experience or knowledge of what they were selling. Sam was very sensitive to that position and we agreed on the following guest post format. In other words, I was happy to allow the link to Rover.com in return for what I thought was a guest post that would be helpful to many readers. Let me know, dear reader, if this is acceptable to you or whether you would prefer no ‘commercial’ contributions at all in this place. ooOOoo DIY Holiday Gifts for your Pup by Tracy Vicory-Rosenquest The holidays are just around the corner, and there’s no need to go broke this year. If you love to spoil everyone in the house including your pups this season, consider a few DIY projects so you can celebrate without breaking the bank! Whether you’ve got lots of time to create a gift or just a few hours, here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing… Fleece for Peace & Winter Gear It’s time to make peace with winter and snuggle in for the season. Check out these winter gear doggie gift ideas: What better way to get cozy than with fleece?! Grab a sewing pattern for a doggie jacket and roll out the fleece! Pick out your favorite holiday fleece pattern and get your dog fancy for holiday pictures. Buy a little extra fleece and measure out your dog’s bed. Make a holiday duvet cover or throw blanket for their naps this winter. More into knitting? Grab some wool or alpaca yarn for a doggie scarf or sweater. Alpaca is super warm and hypoallergenic if your dog gets itchy with wool. If you’ve got a small dog, check out the baby clothing section for winter attire. You should find a few flannels onsies that will fit! Personalize and Seasonalize your Doggie Decor There’s nothing sweeter than a little doggie decorating this time of year. Consider these seasonal gifts for your pup: Search your local craft store for a simple screen printing kit and go crazy. Screen print your holiday photo on the canvas bag you keep doggie toys in or create a seasonal design to screen print on patches of fabric for a quilted doggie blanket. Embroider it! Get out your needle and thread for an embroidery project. Pick out a new towel that you toss in the back of the car for dog park adventures and stitch your dog’s name on it. Create a seasonal leash cover (or collar cover) by sewing a few strands of holiday fabric inside out. Flip the fabric to the right side and iron on letters to spell out your dog’s favorite nickname! Then, thread your leash through the fabric for your next winter walk. If you love holiday baking, get out the flour, oats, and peanut butter to bake homemade dog treats! There are tons of great recipes online–or just buy a pack of dog treats and mix up a dog-friendly frosting. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of tapioca starch and ¾ cup of honey (or maple). Let it thicken in the fridge and then frost your dog treats! If your dog won’t go nuts, tie 12 treats to the tree like ornaments and celebrate the 12 days of Christmas with a doggie reward each day! We hope you’ll enjoy one of these fun DIY projects this year. There’s nothing better than a happy pup during your holiday festivities! More about Tracy. Tracy Vicory-Rosenquest is a Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers. ooOOoo So good people, was this useful for you or too close to being a sales proposition? I have to add that I have no personal knowledge or experience of Rover. But did think the content of the article was of interest to you all.

    Learning from Dogs / 5 d. 13 h. 27 min. ago more
  • How to Move Past the Fear of Judgment and Break the Silence of ShameHow to Move Past the Fear of Judgment and Break the Silence of Shame

    “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” ~Brené Brown Every time I think I’ve unloaded most of the pain from my past, something surfaces that tells me I have more work to do. A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were cuddling one morning. I’m not sure what the trigger was, but out of nowhere, my thoughts rolled down a hill and into a painful memory that I must have blocked out. Tears rolled down my cheeks as my whole body curled up into the fetal position. He asked me what was wrong and I slowly told him about a sexual trauma I had experienced. We are radically honest with one another. Sharing the not so beautiful has deepened our connection. I thought I had shared my darkest secrets that carry shame. I was wrong. I had minimized and buried this story. Maybe subconsciously, I was afraid he would see this situation as my fault. He absolutely didn’t, and sharing my experience with him made me feel like a heavy burden was lifted. This last part rang especially true the following week when the #metoo hashtag went viral. It was during that week of teasing through my feelings and thoughts that I realized just how much confusion shame can create. The word shame can evoke such discomfort that we often don’t see how it shows up in our lives. If there’s one emotion I see as most prevalent and most hidden in the work I do, it’s shame. Every time I lead a workshop or retreat, there’s a common theme that I witness in nearly everyone. As humans, we all tend to feel in some way that we’re unworthy. Yet, the last thing we want to do is acknowledge our shame and vulnerability. But if left buried, shame inevitably causes harm to ourselves and our relationships. In my experience, I’ve seen firsthand how understanding and shedding light on shame can hold the key to healing. Shame is the emotion that says, “I am bad. I am unworthy.” It’s not that we did something bad and feel remorseful. That’s guilt. Guilt says, “I did something bad.” But shame is the internalization of “I am bad.” Most of us, even if we had kind, loving parents, grew up feeling a bit like we had to censor our true feelings and experiences. We may have done this to avoid dismay, protect others, or keep the peace in our families. We’re conditioned from a young age to feel shame when we learn who we shouldn’t be in the world. But as we get older, we don’t need others to make us feel shame. Shame becomes easily internalized and lives in that voice that says, “It’s dangerous to let others hear my story,” or, “They won’t love me if I share this secret.” Who we are becomes fragmented so that we hide the parts of ourselves we want no one to see. We unconsciously employ defense mechanisms. While those defense mechanisms might help us to survive, they’re bound to stand in the way of having healthy relationships and growing a sense of self-love. When we’re afraid to share our vulnerable side because we believe it would render us flawed, dirty, weak, and so forth, we’re carrying shame. Shame is carried silently and secretly for fear of judgment; yet, it is the self-judgment that grows the longer we conceal our vulnerability. I refuse to keep painful secrets festering inside of me, as I know that will only keep me repressed and disempowered in the long run. All humans experience shame, and it presents in many ways. Here are a few examples I’ve noticed within myself that maybe you can relate to: Being too sensitive and emotional Not doing enough to “save” my mother from her death Being too selfish to fully want to be a mother myself Feeling I’m not ambitious or smart enough to live up to my potential Struggling to communicate clearly when I have too much in my head Feeling too “needy” with my partner at times Believing I was somehow at fault for the sexual abuses I have experienced My personal list could go on… But what I noticed when writing this list is that while many of the original sources of shame might be specific people or society as a whole, the critic is still me. When we keep shame locked away inside, we get stuck in feelings of inadequacy. Shame may cause us to feel mentally or physically ill. Feelings of inadequacy can be accompanied by emotions such as anxiety, anger, and loneliness. And when we feel inadequate, we sometimes develop destructive ways of relating to others: avoidance, lying, blaming others, attempts to control others, and so forth. So how can we deal with this lurking self-critic that wants to keep our stories in the dark? 1. Speak kindly to yourself. Most likely, at some point you’ve heard the phrase, “Shame on you,” or, “You should be ashamed.” It can easily become habit to talk similarly to ourselves and challenging to learn to speak kindly. A simple framework for healing I teach comes from an ancient Hawaiian tradition called H’oponopono. H’oponopono means “to make right,” and it’s rooted in the essence of reconciliation and compassion. H’oponopono consists of four phrases: I’m sorry. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you. You can use these phrases speaking to another person. And you can use them with yourself. Here’s a personal example of the latter: Melissa, I’m sorry for making you feel the trauma you experienced was your fault. Melissa, I forgive you for placing blame on yourself and carrying shame all these years. Melissa, thank you for your courage to shine light on your vulnerability and resilience. Melissa, I love you and I commit to treating you with lovingkindness. 2. Self-soothe with movement and massage. Think about what happens to your body when you recall a memory that carries shame. Often our bodies slump sinking our heart into the back body. Our gaze drops and our brows furrow. Emotions, including shame, reside in the body. Much of what I practice and teach relates to physical ways to release stuck emotion for this reason. If we want to reduce the unworthy and unlovable feelings we carry, it can help to self-soothe your body through dynamic movement practices like yoga and dance. Self-massage, tapping, and comforting touch while speaking kindly to yourself can help to release shame. 3. Share your story. The most uncomfortable, but perhaps most effective method I can offer you is to share. You don’t have to share your vulnerability with the whole world. Many of my friends shared courageous, deeply personal stories on Facebook in response to #metoo. For a moment, I thought I had to share this way as well, but then I did some reflection. There are times I share my vulnerability through my blog or when I hold space for a group. But I don’t always want to share everything with strangers. In those cases, my partner is my greatest witness because of his ability to hold space for me. Whether you share in a twelve-step program, with a loved one, or therapist, or in an article for the world to see, there’s immense healing power in this process. When our voices are heard and we’re seen just as we are, we open up the door to growing a new sense of self-love and self-worth. About Melissa RenziMelissa Renzi is a Licensed Social Worker and Certified Yoga Teacher. She helps sensitive souls transform anxiety and cultivate lasting self-love. She leads global retreats designed for women, introverts, and highly sensitive people that focus on renewing self-care and deepening our connection to nature. Access her 60-Second Techniques to Release Anxiety for some fast-acting, mind-body approaches to anxiety relief.Web | Twitter | Facebook | More Posts Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.The post How to Move Past the Fear of Judgment and Break the Silence of Shame appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

    Tiny Buddha / 5 d. 16 h. 38 min. ago more
  • 7 Stress Reducers For a Fussy Child7 Stress Reducers For a Fussy Child

    You’ve just finished a long day of holiday shopping with your kids. Feet are sore and you’re on your last nerve.Suddenly from the back seat you hear your toddler scream and cry. Apparently, your six year old punched the toddler in the shoulder because he stole a piece of candy. Chaos ensues and you are just about ready to come unglued. Before you do something you might regret, here are seven techniques you can choose instead of deciding one of them needs a spanking. Use the 4-7-8 breathing method This method takes just a few seconds to complete and it’s an effective way to distress quickly. You can even make it into a game for the kids to join in. First blow all the air out of your lungs, then slowly breathe in and counting for four seconds. Now hold your breath to the count of seven. Finally, slowly let the air out of your lungs while counting to eight. It’s easy to breathe in and slightly easy to hold your breath for seven seconds, but letting your breathe out slowly to make it last for eight seconds takes practice. If the first time doesn’t work to clear your mind, then do it again. Keep doing it until you’ve cleared your mind and de-stressed. Count to twenty Most experts say that counting to ten before you do anything. Truthfully, though, counting to twenty works much better and gives you more time to calm down. As you count up to twenty imagine a huge blank screen in your mind and each number is floating across it in different colors. Take few deep breathes as you continue to count. Once you’ve reached twenty, reevaluate yourself. Are you better? If not, then start counting back down from twenty using the same visualization. Pull over and stretch If you’re driving, like the example at the beginning, find a safe place to pull over and get out of your car and stretch your body. Simply stretching your arms as far as you can above your head, pretending you’re reaching to heaven, helps increase the blood flow to your brain and helps you clear your mind. Do this at least three or four times before getting back into the vehicle. If you’re adventurous, you can even invite the kids to join you in the stretching exercise. It will help them to calm down also. Practice mindfulness Mindfulness is a method you can use to be aware of what’s going on inside your body. When you’re mindful of your physical reactions, it’s easier to redirect them to more positive reactions. For example, if you notice your breathing is shallow, it’s a great indicator that your brain isn’t getting the oxygen you need to think clearly. So, once you recognize this, you can take deeper breaths. Another great example is noticing that you’re gripping the steering wheel tightly. You probably will notice that in addition to this, you’re tense all over your body. You can intentionally relax your muscles. This is a powerful tool to use when you’re in a stressful situation. Being aware of your body’s reaction to the situation and controlling your own body. Examine your own reasons Why did you react so much to this outside stimuli? This is an excellent opportunity for you to be able to take a moment to examine your own reasons for being stressed. Obviously, the initial response to screaming is to turn to flight or fight or freeze mentality. But, being able to examine your own reasons for staying stressed once you realized what was going on is a great way to continue to reduce your stress response. Were you already stressed because you were thinking about something else? Perhaps you were remembering the conversation you had with your parent that didn’t go well. And the irony of now having to have a conversation with your own kids that might not go well is a great way to break the cycle. If you’re able review your own reasons, then you can separate out what’s really going on with your response. Express gratefulness Being grateful in moments of stress can greatly reduce your reaction to it. If you’re in the vehicle, like the example above, you may want to consider being grateful that it happened in the confines of your vehicle and not in a very public situation. Or you can express how grateful you are that the children are expressing these emotions and you get the chance to make it into a learning opportunity for them both. Being grateful changes our mindset from one of fear and tenseness to openness to finding a solution. Being grateful can help you teach the children how to learn from their own experiences and get the lesson out of it. Call a friend or family member Once you’ve gotten home and realized you’re having difficulty calming down from the stress, pick up your phone and dial a close friend or family member. Chances are, they may have experienced something exactly like what’s just happened to you. This may be what you need to be able to feel as if you’ve been heard and validate what you’re going through. It’s important to be able to share your feelings with someone you trust. Then ask their opinion about your situation. If you value their opinion, that is. It’s never easy to be a parent and learning good parenting skills takes time and effort. These tips and techniques can help you reduce your stress and stay calm when your children are not behaving at their best. The post 7 Stress Reducers For a Fussy Child appeared first on Good Home & Health.

    Good Home & Health / 6 d. 6 h. 49 min. ago more
  • Life and DogsLife and Dogs

    Or more specifically living a long and healthy life assisted by our dogs! Recently the Care 2 site published a wonderful item about the real benefits of having a dog in our life when we are the ‘wrong’ side of (fill in your own number!). So here it is for all you good people. I know without a doubt that there will be many nodding heads out there as the article is being read. ooOOoo Owning a Dog May Help You Live Longer By: Jordyn Cormier   December 3, 2017 About Jordyn According to a 2016 Gallup poll, 44 percent of Americans own a dog. That is a pretty significant number. In fact, dogs are easily the most popular pet among US pet owners—sorry cat lovers. But what is it that makes dogs so great? Well, they’re fun loving, energetic, make excellent companions and… may actually help you live longer. A recent Swedish study suggested that owning a dog may be linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death. According to the study, owning a dog was associated with a 20 percent reduced risk of overall death and a 23 percent reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. The study tracked 3.4 million people over the course of 12 years, including both dog owners and non-dog owners. Interestingly, the effects of dog ownership were most pronounced when subjects lived alone and were the sole caretakers for the dog, as they experienced a 33 percent reduced risk of death. So what is it that makes dogs so beneficial to our health and our lives? Here are a few theories: EXERCISE Dogs need exercise as much as we do, but, oftentimes people prioritize their pup’s needs above their own. Many people would more readily take their dog on a walk than walk alone down the block to get some fresh air and take care of themselves. But lucky for us, exercising a dog means exercising yourself, too! It is well established that regular exercise reduces your likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. A dog may provide irrefutable motivation to get you off the couch and on a walk, which could be saving your life. OUTDOOR TIME Along the same lines, dogs encourage us to get outside more. Being outside reduces stress, can increase vitamin D levels and promotes happiness. It can be easy for us to get lazy and stay snuggled up inside when the weather is less than ideal, but dogs need regular outside access. Our pups encourage us to get outside on a regular basis, which can have a small but significantly healthful impact on overall mood and stress levels. BENEFICIAL BACTERIA Having a dog is essentially like consuming a powerful probiotic every single day. Dogs go out in nature, roll in mud and grass, chew on sticks, sniff all sorts of bacteria-ridden substances and then track little microscopic bits of this array of bacteria back into our homes. But that may actually be a good thing. According to the New York Times, “Epidemiological studies show that children who grow up in households with dogs have a lower risk for developing autoimmune illnesses like asthma and allergies — and it may be a result of the diversity of microbes that these animals bring inside our homes.” The wider the spectrum of bacteria we subject ourselves to, the more balanced our own microbiomes will become. Since the microbiome can affect all areas of our health, including the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, the long term health benefits of diverse bacterial populations should not be underestimated. Dogs, and other pets, do an incredible job of strengthening our microbiomes, which has a profound impact on our health. EMOTIONAL SUPPORT There is something to said for the emotional stability a dog provides. Chronic stress has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death, which makes it even more significant that dogs are great at reducing our stress and anxiety levels. They are like our little furry therapists—they are always there for us, through good times and bad, and they always love us indiscriminately. The companionship of a dog and a human is one of the purest, most mutually beneficial relationships one can have. It’s pretty powerful. Of course, just giving your parents a dog doesn’t mean they will necessarily live longer—especially if they aren’t ‘dog people.’ But for those who are, next time you come home to a wagging tail and a wild tongue, be grateful to your pup pal for all the amazing things they bring to your life. ooOOoo Again and again one realises just how incredible it is to have a dog, or several!, in one’s life! Beautiful animals!

    Learning from Dogs / 6 d. 13 h. 27 min. ago more
  • Four Words to Never Say When Making Thank You CallsFour Words to Never Say When Making Thank You Calls

    As we started to make thank you calls to donors one of the longest-serving board members said the four words to never say about thanking donors: “I can’t do this.” Aaron has been supporting this small arts organization for more than 30 years. He deeply loves their work and the intimate community the organization has created. Ask Aaron about ANY of the people who attend performances or give money and he can tell you their story, names of their children and grandchildren, and much more. Unfortunately, most of those stories have NOT yet been captured into a database. But that’s another blog post for another day. Back to this talented, passionate, organization. They JUST recovered from weathering tough financial storms. The exciting news is THIS year they will end the year in the black for the first time in 3 years. After struggling and going through an important strategic planning process Aaron and 6 others have helped them back to a solid financial footing from their shrinking pool of less than 500 donors. In the process Aaron, and the artistic director, and the other 5 board members updated the vision and mission. Their goal: to be more inclusive of diversity and to welcome younger donors. For the board meeting I attended the managing director brought names of people to thank for financial contributions and memberships. We had prepared a script to remove any barriers about what to say. And we talked about what the research says about making a thank you call from a board member. I made the first thank you call as an example of how easy and fun this would be. Rarely have I reached anyone live when I make thank you calls at board meetings. But this organization has an aging population and “Jack” answered my call. I put him on speaker phone so the group could hear what I had planned to be a warm, short, thank you call. Jack had other plans. As I spoke with Jack for about 45 seconds, I watched Aaron’s face as he heard his words. He was visibly hurt and angered by Jack’s comments. As it turned out Jack is hard of hearing and was having trouble hearing my intention of thanks, but he did understand which arts organization I represented. He gruffly said, “I don’t like what they are doing anymore! They’ve become too avant garde for me. You can call back when my wife is home. She might feel differently.” I thanked Jack and told him we appreciated his feedback. And made a note to call his wife as she was clearly the person who had made the recent gift. I no sooner had disconnected the call when Aaron said firmly, “I can’t do this!” He explained that he didn’t want to hear bad things about an organization he loves. We offered to make sure he was only calling to thank people who we, and he, knew truly supported this form of art and the new direction. We also talked as a group about how helpful it was to know exactly who the supporter was in Jack’s household – new information for us. Aaron was firm in his unwillingness to talk with anyone. In fact, he sat stoically watching the rest of us phone 10 more supporters. We all had lovely, warm, conversations or left voice mail messages. One donor said, “You just made my day!” Unfortunately, Aaron was putting the focus of the calls on the wrong person. Himself. Increasing donor retention requires having a relationship with supporters. It means understanding why they give or stop giving. Not everyone is going to give forever. Knowing when to stop hounding someone with calls and emails and letters is important. The only way to know when to stop is to talk with them occasionally and put the focus on them, not us. One of the Nine Steps to A Successful Fundraising Campaign is to engage board members as ambassadors. And that means to make donor thank you calls.   The post Four Words to Never Say When Making Thank You Calls appeared first on Ignited Fundraising.

    Ignited Fundraising / 6 d. 15 h. 27 min. ago more
  • Highs and Lows Are Part of Growth and It All Makes Us StrongerHighs and Lows Are Part of Growth and It All Makes Us Stronger

    “Just like a muscle needs to tear to grow stronger, sometimes we need to wade into our own darkness to find a brighter light.” ~Lori Deschene Sometimes we need to journey into the deepest, darkest, scariest, most painful places inside in order to reach the next level. This is what happened to me earlier this year. When I was younger, I was in an abusive relationship that created a lot of stories in my head. These stories became beliefs that I carried around for a long time. Beliefs like, “I’m not good enough,” “Relationships are painful,” “I don’t have a say,” “I need someone else to show me I’m worthy,” and “I need to be perfect to receive love” (just to name a few). As a conscious adult, I’ve done a lot of healing work and spiritual development around this, and am proud of the growth I’ve experienced between where I was then and where I am now. But even still, I have setbacks. We all do. None of us are immune to the fears and self-doubt that pop up when “life happens.” None of us are safe when the ground we’ve worked so hard to establish gets ripped out from us. After lots of self-development and work around relationships and love, I recently declared to the Universe that I was no longer afraid of being alone and that I was no longer afraid of being vulnerable and my “true self” in a future relationship. So, the Universe delivered. Big time. I met someone new. He wasn’t like the other men I’ve dated—men who are safe and stable, and who give me a sense of being in control of the situation. He was uncharted territory for me. Hard to read. Mysterious. Kept me guessing. He would surprise me with nice gestures like showing up with sunflowers, sending me unexpected notes about how beautiful I am, you know… the works. Not to mention the sex. THE SEX! For the first time, possibly in my whole life, I felt really seen, appreciated, valued and truly beautiful while having sex. There was nothing awkward or uncomfortable or weird or threatening about it. I had met Mr. Perfect… or so I thought. What I know now that I didn’t recognize then was that this guy was an assignment. The Universe heard me loud and clear when I announced that I was ready to be alone and/or in a vulnerable relationship (which is actually a very confusing declaration to make in the first place, so… no wonder stuff got weird!), and so I was sent this guy—let’s refer to him as Mr. Perfect from here on out—as a test. Mr. Perfect was an opportunity for me to put into practice all of the things I had learned about myself over the past twenty-five years. Let’s just say that I failed that test. Miserably. After an all-out eight-day binge on this guy, we were both like a couple of strung-out addicts, totally manipulative and controlling and hopeless about our futures, but pretending everything was just groovy. We were practically playing house together when we hadn’t even known about the other’s existence just a month earlier. Somewhere throughout the week with Mr. Perfect, my energy shifted. I went from this high-vibe, loving, independent, strong version of myself, to this weird, controlling, self-conscious, anxious, creepy version of me. I went from Jennifer Aniston status to that chick in Mean Girls who’s obsessed with Regina George way too quickly, and my old limiting beliefs started to take over. Suddenly, I was operating from that old, abusive relationship version of me. The version of me who thought that being vulnerable in a relationship meant getting hurt. The version of me who thought that the guy needs to control everything, and that I am not safe to speak up about what I really want, because you never know how he’s going to react. The version of me who felt uncomfortable in her own skin, so tried really hard to look pretty, say the right thing, and always do something more in an effort to be noticed. The version of me who thought that I needed a man to “save me,” or that he was the one answer to all of my problems in life. You can only race like that for so long until you crash. And so, eight days of passionate sex, cute notes, sleepless nights, hours of butterflies in my stomach, several dinners, one brunch, way too much tequila, and two bouquets of flowers later, we bottomed out. Both of us. Mr. Perfect and I took a crash course in “How to Not Date as Intentional, Conscious Human Beings 101.” Our worlds both went spinning—his, with a huge f*ck up at work, likely the result of us spending too much time together; mine, reversing to harmful coping behaviors that used to show up when I was younger. When I got the text from Mr. Perfect that started with “We need to talk,” I went into a downward spiral of emotion and drama. He wanted to end things. I wanted to die. I literally paced outside my apartment building for three hours trying my very best to not have a heart attack. I questioned everything. Was any of it real? Did I mean anything to him? How could I screw this up? How could I fix it? I needed to fix it. How could I mess up such a perfect thing? But suddenly, I had a beautiful recognition. I noticed that there was a shift. In my heart space, I could feel the presence of my Higher Self. The part of me that’s connected to something bigger. The part of me that knows these stories of not being good enough are complete BS. And just like that, I was no longer living in the stories that were sending me into a near panic attack. I was above that. I knew that I was better than that. That I deserve more. That it wasn’t my fault. That I didn’t do anything wrong. That I was still just as worthy as love and acceptance and beauty as anyone else on this planet. In that moment, I forgave myself. I forgave myself for the behavior that caused him to end things. I forgave myself for the fact that I let it get to the point where we even engaged in an eight-day binge on each other. And most importantly, I forgave myself for all the negative and self-doubting talk, limiting beliefs, and lame stories I told myself when it happened. I saw that the stories were keeping me stuck. I saw that they made me revert back to this old version of me that I no longer was. And I saw that I had the awareness and the power now to intentionally choose to believe a different story instead. I chose to believe that this story was no longer serving me, and that I could rise above it. That I actually didn’t need a man to “fix” me or to complete me, but that I had actually been doing that work on my own all along. I decided that I was done with this belief of not being good enough. I was soooo done. I decided then and there to stay committed to this path of personal growth and transcendence, because I see now how all of the pain and struggles that I’ve been through actually happened for me, not to me. All of it was for a reason. You can do the same. Everything that you’ve been through—every negative thought or limiting belief or fear that you’ve had that’s kept you from what you want the most in life—it’s all within your power to change. If you decide that you deserve it. Healing is not linear. There will be highs and lows, laughs and tears, moments of total bliss and moments of complete uncertainty and self-doubt. But your Higher Self is there through it all, and S/he wants to see you come out stronger through each and every assignment that the Universe throws your way. S/he is cheering you on from the sidelines and always there for support as your #1 fan, no matter what crazy stuff comes across your path. And that person, that part of you, needs you to show up to these assignments. To really face the fear head on, to feel the pain, and to move through it. Because on the other side of fear and pain and struggle and darkness lies your greatness. Looking back at it now, I don’t think I failed the test the Universe sent me. I think I passed it. Because I chose my Higher Self, I chose self-love, and I chose me. Maybe that was the lesson all along. About Lauren MaddenLauren is a life coach, blogger, and yoga teacher in Phoenix, AZ. She’s actively creating a life that lights her up from the inside out, and helping her clients to do the same! She also has a serious coffee addiction. Check out her blog at laurenmaddencoaching.com.Web | More Posts Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.The post Highs and Lows Are Part of Growth and It All Makes Us Stronger appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

    Tiny Buddha / 6 d. 17 h. 31 min. ago more
  • Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break YouMaker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You

    Consider the daily schedule of famed novelist Haruki Murakami. When he’s working on a novel, he starts his days at 4 am and writes for five or six continuous hours. Once the writing is done, he spends his afternoons running or swimming, and his evenings, reading or listening to music before a 9 pm bedtime. Murakami is known for his strict adherence to this schedule. In contrast, consider the schedule of entrepreneur, speaker, and writer Gary Vaynerchuk. He describes his day (which begins at 6 am) as being broken into tiny slots, mostly comprising meetings which can be as short as three minutes. He makes calls in between meetings. During the moments between meetings and calls, he posts on just about every social network in existence and records short segments of video or speech. In short, his day, for the most part, involves managing, organizing, and instructing other people, making decisions, planning, and advising. “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.”— Annie Dillard, The Writing Life The numerous articles we have all read about the schedules and routines of successful people like these often miss the point. Getting up at 4 am does not make someone an acclaimed novelist, any more than splitting the day into 15-minute segments makes someone an influential entrepreneur. What we can learn from reading about the schedules of people we admire is not what time to set our alarms or how many cups of coffee to drink, but that different types of work require different types of schedules. The two wildly different workdays of Murakami and Vaynerchuk illustrate the concept of maker and manager schedules. Paul Graham of Y Combinator first described this concept in a 2009 essay. From Graham’s distinction between makers and managers, we can learn that doing creative work or overseeing other people does not necessitate certain habits or routines. It requires consideration of the way we structure our time. What’s the Difference? A manager’s day is, as a rule, sliced up into tiny slots, each with a specific purpose decided in advance. Many of those slots are used for meetings, calls, or emails. The manager’s schedule may be planned for them by a secretary or assistant. Managers spend a lot of time “putting out fires” and doing reactive work. An important call or email comes in, so it gets answered. An employee makes a mistake or needs advice, so the manager races to sort it out. To focus on one task for a substantial block of time, managers need to make an effort to prevent other people from distracting them. Managers don’t necessarily need the capacity for deep focus — they primarily need the ability to make fast, smart decisions. In a three-minute meeting, they have the potential to generate (or destroy) enormous value through their decisions and expertise. A maker’s schedule is different. It is made up of long blocks of time reserved for focusing on particular tasks, or the entire day might be devoted to one activity. Breaking their day up into slots of a few minutes each would be the equivalent of doing nothing. A maker could be the stereotypical reclusive novelist, locked away in a cabin in the woods with a typewriter, no internet, and a bottle of whiskey to hand. Or they could be a Red Bull–drinking Silicon Valley software developer working in an open-plan office with their headphones on. Although interdisciplinary knowledge is valuable, makers do not always need a wide circle of competence. They need to do one thing well and can leave the rest to the managers. Meetings are pricey for makers, restricting the time available for their real work, so they avoid them, batch them together, or schedule them at times of day when their energy levels are low. As Paul Graham writes: When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That's no problem for someone on the manager's schedule. There's always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker's schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it. It makes sense. The two work styles could not be more different. A manager’s job is to, well, manage other people and systems. The point is that their job revolves around organizing other people and making decisions. As Andrew Grove writes in High Output Management: …a big part of a middle manager’s work is to supply information and know-how, and to impart a sense of the preferred method of handling things to the groups under his control and influence. A manager also makes and helps to make decisions. Both kinds of basic managerial tasks can only occur during face-to-face encounters, and therefore only during meetings. Thus, I will assert again that a meeting is nothing less than the medium through which managerial work is performed. That means we should not be fighting their very existence, but rather using the time spent in them as efficiently as possible. A maker’s job is to create some form of tangible value. Makers work alone or under a manager, although they might have people working with them. “Maker” is a very broad category. A maker could be a writer, artist, software developer, carpenter, chef, biohacker, web designer, or anyone else who designs, creates, serves, and thinks. Making anything significant requires time — lots of it — and having the right kind of schedule can help. Take a look at the quintessential maker schedule of the prolific (to say the least) writer Isaac Asimov, as described in his memoir: I wake at five in the morning. I get to work as early as I can. I work as long as I can. I do this every day of the week, including holidays. I don't take vacations voluntarily and I try to do my work even when I'm on vacation. (And even when I'm in the hospital.) In other words, I am still and forever in the candy store [where he worked as a child]. Of course, I'm not waiting on customers; I'm not taking money and making change; I'm not forced to be polite to everyone who comes in (in actual fact, I was never good at that). I am, instead, doing things I very much want to do — but the schedule is there; the schedule that was ground into me; the schedule you would think I would have rebelled against once I had the chance. The Intersection Between Makers and Managers It is far from unusual for a person’s job to involve both maker and manager duties. Elon Musk is one example. His oft-analyzed schedule involves a great deal of managing as the head of multiple major companies, but he also spends an estimated 80% of his time on designing and engineering. How does he achieve this? Judging from interviews, Musk is adept at switching between the two schedules, planning his day in five-minute slots during the managerial times and avoiding calls or emails during the maker times. The important point to note is that people who successfully combine both schedules do so by making a clear distinction, setting boundaries for those around them, and adjusting their environment in accordance. They don’t design for an hour, have meetings for an hour, then return to designing, and so on. In his role as an investor and adviser to startups, Paul Graham sets boundaries between his two types of work: How do we manage to advise so many startups on the maker's schedule? By using the classic device for simulating the manager's schedule within the maker's: office hours. Several times a week I set aside a chunk of time to meet founders we've funded. These chunks of time are at the end of my working day, and I wrote a signup program that ensures [that] all the appointments within a given set of office hours are clustered at the end. Because they come at the end of my day these meetings are never an interruption. (Unless their working day ends at the same time as mine, the meeting presumably interrupts theirs, but since they made the appointment it must be worth it to them.) During busy periods, office hours sometimes get long enough that they compress the day, but they never interrupt it. Likewise, during his time working on his own startup, Graham figured out how to partition his day and get both categories of work done without sacrificing his sanity: When we were working on our own startup, back in the ’90s, I evolved another trick for partitioning the day. I used to program from dinner till about 3am every day, because at night no one could interrupt me. Then, I'd sleep till about 11am, and come in and work until dinner on what I called “business stuff.” I never thought of it in these terms, but in effect I had two workdays each day, one on the manager's schedule and one on the maker's. Murakami also combined making and managing during his early days as a novelist. As with many other makers, his creative work began as a side project while he held another job. Murakami ran a jazz club. In a 2008 New Yorker profile, Murakami described having a schedule similar to Graham’s in his days running a startup. He spent his days overseeing the jazz club — doing paperwork, organizing staff, keeping track of the inventory, and so on. When the club closed after midnight, Murakami started writing and continued until he was exhausted. After reaching a tipping point with his success as a writer, Murakami made the switch from combining maker and manager schedules to focusing on the former. In Deep Work, Cal Newport describes the schedule of another person who combines both roles, Wharton professor (and our podcast guest) Adam Grant. To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction. Though Grant’s productivity depends on many factors, there’s one idea in particular that seems central to his method: the batching of hard but important intellectual work into long, uninterrupted stretches. Grant performs this batching at multiple levels. Within the year, he stacks his teaching into the fall semester, during which he can turn all of his attention to teaching well and being available to his students. (This method seems to work, as Grant is currently the highest-rated teacher at Wharton and the winner of multiple teaching awards.) During the fall semester, Grant is in manager mode and has meetings with students. For someone in a teaching role, a maker schedule would be impossible. Teachers need to be able to help and advise their students. In the spring and summer, Grant switches to a maker schedule to focus on his research. He avoids distractions by being — at least, in his mind — out of his office. Within a semester dedicated to research, he alternates between periods where his door is open …, and periods where he isolates himself to focus completely and without distraction on a single research task. (He typically divides the writing of a scholarly paper into three discrete tasks: analyzing the data, writing a full draft, and editing the draft into something publishable.) During these periods, which can last up to three or four days, he’ll often put an out-of-office auto-responder on his e-mail so correspondents will know not to expect a response. “It sometimes confuses my colleagues,” he told me. “They say, ‘You’re not out of office, I see you in your office right now!’” But to Grant, it’s important to enforce strict isolation until he completes the task at hand. “A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.”— Seth Godin, The Dip The Value of Defining Your Schedule We all know the benefits of a solid routine — it helps us to work smarter, look after our health, plan the trajectory of our days, achieve goals, and so on. That has all been discussed a million times and doubtless will be discussed a million more. But how often do we think about how our days are actually broken up, about how we choose (or are forced) to segment them? If you consider yourself a maker, do you succeed in structuring your day around long blocks of focused work, or does it get chopped up into little slices that other people can grab? If you regard yourself as a manager, are you available for the people who need your time? Are those meetings serving a purpose and getting high-leverage work done, or are you just trying to fill up an appointment book? If you do both types of work, how do you draw a line between them and communicate that boundary to others? Cal Newport writes: We spend much of our days on autopilot—not giving much thought to what we are doing with our time. This is a problem. It’s difficult to prevent the trivial from creeping into every corner of your schedule if you don’t face, without flinching, your current balance between deep and shallow work, and then adopt the habit of pausing before action and asking, “What makes the most sense right now?” There are two key reasons that the distinction between maker and manager schedules matters for each of us and the people we work with. First, defining the type of schedule we need is more important than worrying about task management systems or daily habits. If we try to do maker work on a manager schedule or managerial work on a maker schedule, we will run into problems. Second, we need to be aware of which schedule the people around us are on so we can be considerate and let them get their best work done. We shouldn’t think of either type of work as superior, as the two are interdependent. Managers would be useless without makers and vice versa. It’s the clash which can be problematic. Paul Graham notes that some managers damage their employees’ productivity when they fail to recognize the distinction between the types of schedules. Managers who do recognize the distinction will be ahead of the game. As Graham writes: Each type of schedule works fine by itself. Problems arise when they meet. Since most powerful people operate on the manager's schedule, they're in a position to make everyone resonate at their frequency if they want to. But the smarter ones restrain themselves, if they know that some of the people working for them need long chunks of time to work in. Makers generally avoid meetings and similar time-based commitments that don’t have a direct impact on their immediate work. A 30-minute meeting does not just take up half an hour of an afternoon. It bisects the day, creating serious problems. Let’s say that a computer programmer has a meeting planned at 2 pm. When they start working in the morning, they know they have to stop later and are prevented from achieving full immersion in the current project. As 2 pm rolls around, they have to pause whatever they are doing — even if they are at a crucial stage — and head to the meeting. Once it finishes and they escape back to their real work, they experience attention residue and the switching costs of moving between tasks. It takes them a while — say, 15 to 20 minutes — to reach their prior state of focus. Taking that into account, the meeting has just devoured at least an hour of their time. If it runs over or if people want to chat afterwards, the effect is even greater. And what if they have another meeting planned at 4 pm? That leaves them with perhaps an hour to work, during which they keep an eye on the clock to avoid being late. Software entrepreneur Ray Ozzie has a specific technique for handling potential interruptions — the four-hour rule. When he’s working on a product, he never starts unless he has at least four uninterrupted hours to focus on it. Fractured blocks of time, he discovered, result in more bugs, which later require fixing. In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain describes an experiment to figure out the characteristics of superior programmers: …more than six hundred developers from ninety-two different companies participated. Each designed, coded, and tested a program, working in his normal office space during business hours. Each participant was also assigned a partner from the same company. The partners worked separately, however, without any communication, a feature of the games that turned out to be critical. When the results came in, they revealed an enormous performance gap. The best outperformed the worst by a 10:1 ratio. The top programmers were also about 2.5 times better than the median. When DeMarco and Lister tried to figure out what accounted for this astonishing range, the factors that you’d think would matter—such as years of experience, salary, even the time spent completing the work—had little correlation to outcome. Programmers with ten years’ experience did no better than those with two years. The half who performed above the median earned less than 10 percent more than the half below—even though they were almost twice as good. The programmers who turned in “zero-defect” work took slightly less, not more, time to complete the exercise than those who made mistakes. It was a mystery with one intriguing clue: programmers from the same companies performed at more or less the same level, even though they hadn’t worked together. That’s because top performers overwhelmingly worked for companies that gave their workers the most privacy, personal space, control over their physical environments, and freedom from interruption. Sixty-two percent of the best performers said that their workspace was acceptably private, compared to only 19 percent of the worst performers; 76 percent of the worst performers but only 38 percent of the top performers said that people often interrupted them needlessly. A common argument makers hear from people on a different schedule is that they should “just take a break for this!” — “this” being a meeting, call, coffee break, and so on. But a distinction exists between time spent not doing their immediate work and time spent taking a break. Pausing to drink some water, stretch, or get fresh air is the type of break that recharges makers and helps them focus better when they get back to work. Pausing to hear about a coworker’s marital problems or the company’s predictions for the next quarter has the opposite effect. A break and time spent not working are very different. One fosters focus, the other snaps it. Remember Arnold Bennett's words: “You have to live on this 24 hours of time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect and the evolution of your immortal soul. Its right use … is a matter of the highest urgency.” --Sponsored by: Royce & Associates – Small Cap Specialists with Unparalleled Knowledge and Experience..

    Farnam Street / 7 d. 6 h. 11 min. ago more
  • Want to talk to someone at GiveWell about your giving decision?Want to talk to someone at GiveWell about your giving decision?

    If you’re thinking about where to give to charity this year and it would be helpful to speak with a member of GiveWell’s staff about your decision, please let us know. We’re happy to answer questions sent to info@givewell.org or to schedule a call via the form here. We know we publish a lot of information, and we’re glad to provide a brief overview of our headline recommendations. We can also answer questions about our process for finding top charities, the strengths and weaknesses of our top charities, or how your personal values might point you toward one organization we recommend over another. Conversations like these also help us understand how people use our research and what questions they have. Due to limited staff capacity, it’s possible we won’t be able to speak with everyone who requests a call, although based on past experience we hope to be able to connect with anyone who gets in touch. We look forward to hearing from you! The post Want to talk to someone at GiveWell about your giving decision? appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

    The Give Well Blog / 7 d. 6 h. 15 min. ago more
  • B Corps in Latin America Are Leading The WayB Corps in Latin America Are Leading The Way

    Over 30 years ago, Beatriz Fernandez would never have thought she’d become one of Colombia’s most influential changemakers when she first started baking waffles from the family’s apartment in Bogota, using her own invented recipes. Today, the popular restaurant chain Crepes & Waffles is a certified

    MovingWorlds Blog / 7 d. 7 h. 39 min. ago
  • Do You Lead by Example?Do You Lead by Example?

    You are being watched every minute of every day. Sounds creepy, right? But it’s true. Every word that you say and every move that you make is being carefully followed. What’s more…you can’t escape it. Do you lead by example? Here are the facts. It doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old, rich or poor, launching your career or known as the “big cheese” — your words and actions have a huge impact on your credibility and reputation. Plus, they’re influencing others in ways you’ve never imagined. Are you proud of the message that you send to others? If not, it might be time to reexamine your behavior. People who look up to you watch every move that you make — so don’t let them down. 30 Ways to Lead by Example Sometimes it’s clear as day that you’re sending people a message; other times, it may not be that obvious. Here are 30 ways that you can lead by example: Be the first to give rather than the first to take. Earn trust and respect rather than demanding it. Get in the game rather than watching from the sidelines. Think for yourself rather than acting like a parrot. Do your best rather than doing just enough to get by. Man up rather than ducking your responsibility. Think “we” rather than “me.” Lead by example rather than just talking a good game. Build people up rather than tearing them down. Confront poor behavior rather than turning a blind eye. Remain true to your values rather than blowing with the wind. Pull your own weight rather than asking others to do double duty. Run toward problems rather than away from them. Admit mistakes rather than casting blame. Offer solutions rather than just complaining. Follow your moral compass rather than asking to be shown the way. Go to the back of the line rather than cutting in front. Tell it like it is rather than beating around the bush. Build bridges rather than constructing walls. Raise your own hand rather than volunteering others. Keep an open mind rather than shutting the door. Do what you can rather than making excuses why you can’t. Leave your comfort zone rather than surrendering to your fears. Raise the bar rather than accepting mediocrity. Be strong-minded rather than quitting at the first sign of trouble. Better yourself rather than trying to change others. Honor your word rather than breaking your promise. Stand strong rather than bending to peer pressure. Listen to your conscience rather than selling your soul. Make a difference in others’ lives rather than enriching your own. Wanted: Role Models –– It’s Time to Lead by Example Your behavior defines who you are and what you stand for. It reveals your upbringing, reflects on the organization that you represent, and it paints a lasting impression — your reputation — that is as hard to shake as your shadow. Do you abide by your own rules and standards? Is your handshake as binding as a contract? Can friends count on you in good times and bad? Do you treat people who can’t do something for you as well as you treat those who can? Would you be proud if your kids followed in your footsteps? If you can’t say yes to these questions, ask yourself why. If you want to raise kids with strong moral character, strengthen your organization’s culture, or encourage citizens to be productive members of society, don’t look to change their behavior, examine your own. Ask yourself whether your actions are having a positive or negative impact on the people around you. Are you guiding them toward a righteous path or steering them down a dead end? You’re a role model. Act like one. Do You Lead by Example? Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information. Additional Reading: Reputation: You Can’t Run From Your Shadow Can Money Buy Respect? Live With Honor and Integrity Moral Character Matters A Promise Is a Promise If you like this article, subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss a single post. Get future posts by RSS feed, email or Facebook. It’s FREE. The post Do You Lead by Example? appeared first on Frank Sonnenberg Online.

    Frank Sonnenberg Online / 7 d. 10 h. 26 min. ago more
  • Let us always remember them.Let us always remember them.

    Another wonderful guest post from Susan Combs Some eighteen months ago I published a guest post from Susan entitled: How To Meet The Nutritional Needs Of Pregnant Dogs I am delighted to offer another guest post from Susan. ooOOoo 7 Wonderful Ways to Cherish and Honor the Memories of Your Beloved Dog by Susan Combs. Our relationship with our dogs is arguably the most genuine and pious one. The shear nature of dogs to shower unconditional love to their owners makes them no less a family member. Their honesty, faithfulness and a deep sense of belonging to their families is the reason as to why they are so adored across all the cultures, communities and societies. Since it is also the hard truth that dogs tend to live much shorter lives than their owners; which renders the relationship end abruptly in their passing away. This is certainly not a happy stage for any pet owner either. Therefore, losing a beloved pet, especially a dog is one of the most painful situations for owners. Their affection towards owners in the times of adversity is the most nostalgic part of their memories long after they have gone. By being together through thick and thin with relentless love their owners’ lives are impacted in many ways, and their absence is deeply felt. If you are also mourning the loss of your dog, it must be difficult for you to cope with this undesirable situation. However, we have some wonderful ways with which you can cherish and honor the memories of your beloved dog. Here are they: Plant a tree in his honor Planting a tree in the honor of your dog is an excellent way to let his legacy live on for a long time to come. Choose a nice spot in your garden or backyard and plant a young tree, preferably an eternity plant. As the day will pass, it will grow up signifying a new life form from the previous one. Eventually, you will witness a sapling grow into a beautiful and strong tree. Till the time you live, this tree will remind you about that special bond with your canine friend. Make jewelry with his ashes If you want to keep your furry pal all the time with you, creating jewelry with his remains would be a perfect idea. You can turn his ashes into diamond and wear it in the form of a ring. So there cannot be a better way to pacify his soul than this. Whether you make a ring or wear it as a locket, the shine of the diamond will keep on reflecting his memories. Your friends will also see in awe that the sparkle of the diamond was once your dog himself. Donate in the name of your dog You dog meant everything to you, he still does. So, what else would be more heart-felt gesture than to donate for a good cause in the name of your dog? It is also a great way to give back what your dog gave you unflinchingly. You can give money to animal shelters because donating to these organizations is the best possible way to support the lives of other pets. In the situation of cash crunch, you can still donate another valuable asset: time. You can be there, spend some time with them and take care of them. Helping an animal in need is the best chance to remember your beloved dog. Create a picture book Since you spent a lot of time with your dog, you must also have taken plenty of pictures of his. So collect all the past photos of your dog at one place; you can also ask your friends and family members if in case they had also taken his pictures. With these photographs you can either create a photo album or a picture book by forming a large collage. It would be better if you take printouts of these pictures and cut & paste them on the wall. Write an obituary Didn’t you ever think to pen down the journey of your dog since he was cute little puppy? Now is the time since he is not there with you anymore. So document an insightful journey from the moment when you took him in your hands for the first time to his final moments. Write down how you used to spend time with him, how you used to play with him, what activities did he do at home, and whose life did he touch besides yours. You can post this personal obituary online. Bury him with honor From giving him a memorable funeral to making his cemetery, your dog deserves honor in his last rites. Gather all your friends and family in order to say final goodbye to him. You can also often visit his burial site whenever you like. You can place a gravestone at this spot and write your message for him or whatever you used to feel about him. Adopt again If the pain of separation is not endurable for you or if you do not want to let go off your happy life with him, adopting again is the only option for you. This is also a good way to pay your tribute to him as he would also want to pass on a chance to another dog in need. ooOOoo As was mentioned in Susan’s previous guest post here again is her background: Susan works as a Pet Health and Safety Expert and holds expertise in the area of animal/pet care. She has over 6 years of experience in pet healthcare and is a pet parent to a dog named chilly. Finally, I would like to add a wonderful way of my own to remember our dear dogs. That is write up your own memories of your dog and post them to the special section on this blog: We Shall Not Forget Them.

    Learning from Dogs / 7 d. 13 h. 27 min. ago more
  • There Are Some People You Just Can’t HelpThere Are Some People You Just Can’t Help

    “Be there. Be open. Be honest. Be kind. Be willing to listen, understand, accept, support, and forgive. This is what it means to love.” ~Lori Deschene A few months ago, I was totally freaked out. I was having a cup of tea with a soul-sister friend, and we were in deep conversation. I was crying. I was explaining, between hiccupping sobs, about how there was someone in my life who was suffering deeply. Sitting at the café that day, I said to her, “There is this person in my life that I love so deeply, but he is suffering.” I told her about all the ways I was connected to this very special person, and told her about how I was committed to helping him. My friend was empathetically listening, and my story went on and on. “He’s so depressed. When I’m around him, I just suddenly feel so sad. I feel his pain. It’s so deep. I have tried to share my wisdom with him, to help him evolve out of his depressed rut, but he won’t listen. I know he can make a change, but he just won’t listen to me. It’s like his ears are closed to me. What do I do? How can I help him?” It was then that my dear friend replied in a way that I will never forget. She placed her hand on my shoulder, and looked deeply into my eyes. We sat in silence together for a moment. Finally, she spoke, with such a gentle tone in her voice. “Anya, your lesson is to learn in this situation is simple, yet difficult. Your lesson is that you cannot help this person. Sometimes, there are people that you just can’t help.” I gasped. Chills ran down my spine. Her words resonated through every cell of my body. It was all so simple. There are people in my life that I just can’t help. So simple, yet so profound. Why hadn’t I realized this before? And how had I somehow fallen into the trap of taking on someone else’s burden as my own? Why had I gotten trapped in suffering by trying to “fix” someone who was suffering? These traps are, unfortunately, all too common for those of us with big open hearts. They are quite common for those of us who are caregivers, lovers, amazing friends, healers, spiritual way showers, and all those who wish to use our lives in service to a higher good. Since that day at the café, I’ve been thinking a lot about my sweet friend’s advice. And I’ve come to a few insights of my own. First, in order to be helped, a person must first ask for help. A person must make themselves available, vulnerable, open, and humble. And this is not easy! It’s not easy to be open. It’s not easy to say, “I don’t know; please help me.” Second, in order for you to help someone with your words, that person must first resonate with the kind of wisdom you have to share. As a matter of fact, my depressed friend has a totally different worldview than I do, so it’s no wonder he wasn’t open to my words of advice. There are a thousand paths and a thousand ways to interpret the world. My way may not be your way, and your way may not your neighbor’s way. We are often so different in our concepts and language for interpreting this mysterious thing called life. In short, for a person to want your help, that person must be somewhat already aligned to your philosophical or spiritual worldview. Further, in order for a person to receive your help, they also must present themselves to you in the most perfect, synchronistic moment. Indeed, they must be standing before you in the most precise, delicate moment: the moment just before the blossoming, just before the great change occurs. It can be as small as a split second of opening. Timing is everything. In that moment of perfect timing, they will be not only ready but hungry for evolution, hungry for growth, hungry for truth, hungry for new ways of seeing the world beyond their limited old perspective! My dear friend who is suffering does not want to grow in the way I wish he would (consciously evolve out of suffering through spiritual practice)—at least, not at this time. He is suffering and he does not even want to admit that he is suffering. He believes he can achieve no higher or better state in this lifetime. Once I realized that there are some people I just can’t help, I felt a tremendous relief. A giant stone lifted from my heart, and I could suddenly breathe again. I realized that I had unwittingly taken on his suffering as my own, in a misguided attempt to figure out how to “fix” him. I had allowed my natural empathy to become a wound in my own energetic body. If a person you love is stuck in a place of denial to their own suffering or their own addictions or stuckness, then there is a strong possibility that what you say won’t make a bit of difference. Denial is an incredibly strong force. And if your worldview differs too much from theirs, then it may not be your place to plant any seeds of wisdom. It may be your place to step back from trying to speak at all. That’s a tough lesson of love, I know, but if you can remember it, it will save you a lot of heartache. Indeed, if someone is in denial to their own suffering, then that very denial may very well block them from truly hearing you speak. So, what do we do in these kinds of situations? Can we take any action at all? The answer is yes. When we deeply love someone and we are invested in them (such as a lover, a friend, a child, or a business partner), what we can do is simply radiate love. When we are in their presence, we can be as light, happy, and conscious as possible. This light, this presence, this subtle vibration, will subtly shift their energetic field. And though no words are spoken, they will feel a little bit more peace while they are near us (whether they consciously know it or not). And we can of course listen to them. When they need to talk, we can listen, and we can offer a hug or a gentle, reassuring smile. Indeed, sometimes, when we love someone, the best thing we can do is shut the heck up. The best thing we can do is simply be. Friends painting by Jerry Weiss About Anya LightAnya Light, PhD, is a life coach and author of Opening Love: Intentional Relationships & the Evolution of Consciousness. She writes about meditation, Reiki, and other spiritual topics on her blog Awakening With.Web | More Posts Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.The post There Are Some People You Just Can’t Help appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

    Tiny Buddha / 7 d. 17 h. 35 min. ago more
  • 4 Considerations Before You Rent Out Your Property4 Considerations Before You Rent Out Your Property

    We all know that mortgages can be a huge financial burden. With all of the other costs of living that need to be taken care of, it is challenging to also handle the costs of owning property. While you may have a good mortgage structure in place that is manageable each month, the idea to rent out the property—especially if it has additional space or if it is vacant for part of the year—is very appealing. Certain mortgage structures, like a home equity conversion mortgage, are offered to older homeowners who have accumulated equity and can ease the burden of the monthly bills. But for new homeowners in today’s housing market, it is viable and even wise to turn a property into a long-term investment by any means possible, and renting is a good starting place. Before you are prepared to find the right tenant for your property, here are 4 considerations to keep in mind:   Realize the Responsibilities First and foremost, you should determine whether you are able to take on the obligation of being a landlord. In order to have success in renting your home, you will need to manage the property and stay on top of repairs and general maintenance. The responsibilities that come with renting out your home or second property are not minor—you will need to collect rent, spend more on home insurance, and draw in renters by keeping the home up to par with your neighboring competition.   Prepare Your Home If you are capable of all of the responsibilities, the next consideration to make is how you will prepare the property for renters. In a down market situation, you will not be able to rent out the home as it stands. Tenants are increasingly attentive to being selective in a down market because there will be many rental properties to choose from. Beyond cleaning the home and making sure appliances are in working order, you will want to note the most desirable features and use them to your advantage.   Hire the Necessary Professionals A third consideration before renting out your property is whether you need to hire certain professionals to process certain legalities and taxes. Talking with an attorney or other professional will help to ensure that you are complying with tax and local property laws by consequence of the property’s new rental status. Attorneys can also make it easy for you to navigate the landlord-tenant laws in place, which vary by state.   Set a Competitive Price A final concern to keep in mind is the price you are going to charge to rent out the property. Doing the appropriate amount of market research on the costs of other rental properties in the area is a great way to ensure you aren’t setting your price too low or too high. Know that most potential renters are looking for a deal, so you will want your property to have a competitive price that speaks to the property’s amenities and valuable features. Before renting out your property and searching for tenants, you will want to be aware of the responsibilities, assume the proper preparations, determine your price, and learn about the potential legal issues. The post 4 Considerations Before You Rent Out Your Property appeared first on Good Home & Health.

    Good Home & Health / 7 d. 23 h. 58 min. ago more
  • In Mexico City and Beyond, Connecting Patients to CareIn Mexico City and Beyond, Connecting Patients to Care

    Direct Relief Direct Relief - The mining town of Zacozonapan lies at the western edge of Mexico State, the most populous in all of Mexico, a three-hour […] In Mexico City and Beyond, Connecting Patients to Care Michael Snyder

    Direct Relief / 8 d. 2 h. 36 min. ago
  • If Your Life Story Depresses You or Holds You Back, Change ItIf Your Life Story Depresses You or Holds You Back, Change It

    “The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.” ~Pema Chodron Too often we let stories from our past define us. We tell them over and over to ourselves and to others until it becomes our truth. What if, without deviating from actual facts, we choose to tell different stories? What if these new stories could bring us more freedom and strength? Below are some true facts about my own life. I’ll follow each one with the stories I could be telling myself about each one, followed by the story I choose to go with. Fact Number One My father abused my teenage mother when she was pregnant with me and left us when I was just a few days old. I’ve never seen him again. The stories I could be telling myself now: Men are bad. Men can’t be trusted. The reason I can’t hold on to a relationship is because my father left me. I’m unwanted. I’m unlovable. The true story I choose to go with: They were young. He felt trapped and scared. His fears drove him to behave very badly. He had his own issues from his own childhood. It sucks, but it doesn’t define me or shape my views of men or myself. If I’d held onto the negative self talk or views about men, it could have prevented me from being the happy, loving, loved person I am today. Fact Number Two In my tween / teen years my mother worked nights in a factory and I didn’t see her before or after school. There was never a parent attending my school music and sporting events or awards presentations and I found my own way home afterward, often walking back in the dark, freezing cold winters of Minnesota. I got myself up and to school on time, oversaw my own homework, dinner, and bedtimes, and often that of my younger brother too. The story I could be telling: My mother didn’t care about me. She was irresponsible. She put me in danger and neglected my needs. I have to fend for myself in this world or nobody else will. I need to look out for number one. This is why I’m lonely. This is why I never succeeded. I was handed a bum deal compared to my friends. I could have made more of my life if I’d felt supported and had good guidance at pivotal stages of my youth. The story I choose to go with: My mother was doing the best she could with what she had. Being very independent from a young age taught me responsibility. I’m truly motivated to be present in the lives of my own children, attending their events, encouraging and offering guidance. The past has made me a better mother. Fact Number Three The boyfriend I fell madly in love with in my twenties verbally and physically abused me until I was finally hospitalized with cracked ribs. I gave up my career and possessions in California to move to London to be with him. I knew nobody except his friends. The stories I could be telling myself now: History repeats itself. I was abused because my father abused my mother. I deserved it for being such an idiot. I’m not worthy of proper love and respect. Men are all assholes. The story I choose: I didn’t know my boyfriend well enough before I moved abroad to be with him. I felt unable to move back to the U.S. as I’d given up my job, home, car and life there. I continued to stay with him for too long out of fear and ignorance. I’m smarter now. I learned what I don’t want in a relationship and it enabled me to recognize what I do want and to find it. I’m stronger and I know myself now. I love myself. I am worthy. Do you know anybody who’s been dealt a crappy deck and now tells the first kinds of stories? Do they blame past circumstances for their present life? Do they begrudge the people who have mistreated them? Which stories from your past do you tell yourself and others over and over? Are these stories helping you or holding you back? Rewriting the script in your head isn’t easy, especially if you’ve been telling it for a very long time. Here are some ways to begin to dump the old stories and replace them with new ones. 1. Recognize when you’re telling them and press your mental pause button. Stop giving it fuel. 2. Write down the fact, as I’ve done above, then the story you’re presently telling. Now write a more positive interpretation of it. What good has come out of it? What have you learned? How would it feel if you dropped the old story and told a new one? Explore this on paper and see what it brings up. 3. Use EFT Tapping. Emotional Freedom Technique is effective for bringing your story to the surface, getting real about your feelings, then changing the narrative about it. For deep rooted stuff, work with a qualified EFT practitioner. 4. Practice “loving what is.” Have a notebook handy as you read the book Loving What Is by Bryron Katie. Write your answers to her four powerful questions. It only works when you do the work. This book single-handedly healed my relationship with my mother. Self-limiting beliefs often stem from stories you’re clinging onto that aren’t serving you. They hold you back from true happiness and success. Begin to bring a gentle awareness to these stories and see if you can give them new meaning. It isn’t about forgetting your past and making things up. It’s about choosing to tell the truth in a less victimizing and more empowering way. About Kelly PietrangeliKelly Pietrangeli is the creator of Project Me for Busy Mothers, helping women find a happier balance between the kids - and everything else. Mixing practicality with self-awareness, Kelly helps mothers get on top of their endless to-do’s and see life beyond the laundry pile. Grab her free Life Wheel Tool for discovering what needs your focus first.Web | More Posts Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.The post If Your Life Story Depresses You or Holds You Back, Change It appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

    Tiny Buddha / 8 d. 18 h. 19 min. ago more
  • 2017 Has Changed the Travel Industry Forever: Here’s Why (backed by research)2017 Has Changed the Travel Industry Forever: Here’s Why (backed by research)

    Sustainable tourism is no longer a niche market, but a growing, burgeoning industry. The United Nation’s recognized 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism, and a new report from Travel+Social Good argues that sustainability is the future of travel. Period. “2017 has been appointed The

    MovingWorlds Blog / 9 d. 9 h. 28 min. ago
  • Picture Parade Two Hundred and Twenty-ThreePicture Parade Two Hundred and Twenty-Three

    Back to fabulous Tanja Brandt! Again, good people, all taken from here. oooo oooo oooo oooo oooo oooo One of these days I am going to have to find some other photographs to share with you. But not quite yet!!

    Learning from Dogs / 9 d. 13 h. 28 min. ago
  • Be careful!Be careful!

    Take notice regarding buying bones for your beloved dog! The Dog Food Advisor service released this news yesterday: The United States Food and Drug Administration has issued an important  warning regarding store-bought bone treats for dogs. The associated treats have already caused numerous illnesses and even death in at least 15 dogs. To learn which products are affected, please visit the following link: FDA Warning: Store-Bought Bone Treats Could Kill Your Dog Please be sure to share the news of this important recall event with other pet owners. Mike Sagman, Editor The Dog Food Advisor If you go to that link you will read the following. ooOOoo FDA Warning: Store-Bought ‘Bone Treats’ Could Kill Your Dog November 28, 2017 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning regarding the purchase and use of store-bought “bone treats”. The FDA claims the danger goes beyond the risk of regular bones. What’s a ‘Bone Treat’? The FDA reports it has received about 68 reports of pet illnesses related to “bone treats”. Bone treats differ from regular uncooked butcher-type bones because they’re processed and packaged for sale as “dog treats”. Which Products? A variety of commercially-available bone treats for dogs were listed in the reports including items described as: “Ham Bones” “Pork Femur Bones” “Rib Bones” “Smokey Knuckle Bones” No specific brands are mentioned in the FDA bulletin. The processed products may be dried through a smoking process or by baking. They may also contain other ingredients such as: Preservatives Seasonings Smoke flavorings According to Dr. Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA… “Giving your dog a bone treat might lead to an unexpected trip to your veterinarian, a possible emergency surgery, or even death for your pet.” So, if you’re planning to give your dog a stocking full of bone treats this holiday season, you may want to reconsider. Illnesses Reported Illnesses reported to FDA by owners and veterinarians in dogs that have eaten bone treats have included: Gastrointestinal obstruction (blockage in the digestive tract) Choking Cuts and wounds in the mouth or on the tonsils Vomiting Diarrhea Bleeding from the rectum Death According to FDA, approximately 15 dogs have reportedly died after eating a bone treat. How Widespread Is the Problem? To date, reports submitted by pet owners and veterinarians have included about 90 dogs. Some reports included more than one dog. In addition, FDA has received 7 reports of product problemssuch as… Moldy-appearing bones Treats splintering when chewed by the pet How to Keep Your Dog Safe FDA has included the following tips to help keep your dog safe: Chicken bones and other bones from the kitchen table can cause injury when chewed by pets, too. So be careful to keep platters out of reach when you’re cooking or the family is eating. Be careful what you put in the trash can. Dogs are notorious for helping themselves to the turkey carcass or steak bones disposed of there. Talk with your veterinarian about other toys or treats that are most appropriate for your dog. There are many available products made with different materials for dogs to chew on. What to Do? Dr. Stamper adds the following advice… “We recommend supervising your dog with any chew toy or treat, especially one she hasn’t had before. And if she ‘just isn’t acting right,’ call your veterinarian right away!” U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area. Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints. Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form. Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system. ooOOoo Please share this with other dog owners and carers who might not have seen the original announcement. We must do everything we can to keep our dogs from harm!

    Learning from Dogs / 11 d. 13 h. 28 min. ago more
  • Introducing Buddha Groove: Meditation, Yoga, and Inspirational GiftsIntroducing Buddha Groove: Meditation, Yoga, and Inspirational Gifts

    Hi friends! I hope you’re all enjoying the holiday season so far. Since I know a lot of us spend the beginning of this month looking for the perfect holiday gifts for the people we love, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to Tiny Buddha partner Buddha Groove. A family-owned business, Buddha Groove was one of Tiny Buddha’s first sponsors many years back. Buddha Groove partners with artists all over the world to offer products that feed the spirit, inspire the mind, and revive the body. Many of their designs originate from artisan traditions in places such as South America, India, Indonesia, Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, and several other world regions. Buddha Groove also partners with many independent artists across the U.S. Their wide assortment of spiritual and wellness items and meditation gifts include… Buddha statues, like this: Meditation malas, like these: Singing bowls, like these: Spiritual jewelry, like these pieces: Books and coloring books, like these: Yoga gifts, like these: Although I consider myself a minimalist, I know that creating a tranquil environment can go a long way in fostering a sense of inner peace. And I also know that it’s much easier to be mindful and consistent with my meditation practice when I have lovingly chosen tools to support me. The same is true of the people we love. What better gift to give than a gift that aids in creating calm and comfort? Buddha Groove offer free shipping within the continental USA and ships internationally through a third party company. They also offer no-hassle returns within 30 days on all items except media, books, cards, and products containing plants. You can browse their full collection here and read a long list of reviews from happy customers here. I hope you’ll enjoy browsing through their site, and also hope you find something that speaks to you for the spiritually inclined individuals on your holiday gift list! **This is a sponsored post containing affiliate links. That means that a small percentage of each sale supports Tiny Buddha and helps keep the site going. About Lori DescheneLori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..Web | Twitter | Facebook | More Posts Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.The post Introducing Buddha Groove: Meditation, Yoga, and Inspirational Gifts appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

    Tiny Buddha / 11 d. 17 h. 23 min. ago more
  • Is Sugar Slowly Killing Us? My conversation with Gary TaubesIs Sugar Slowly Killing Us? My conversation with Gary Taubes

    It seems that nowadays, aside from religion and politics, one of the most hotly debated topics is that of nutrition. Should we eat high carb diets? Low carb? High fat? High protein? What about wheat or gluten? Should we eat meat or adopt a vegan diet? There are as many opinions as there are people — and books, magazines and websites are overflowing with information showing you the “right” way to eat and exercise to lose weight. But if “eating less and moving more” is all it takes to lose weight and enjoy a healthy lifestyle, why are so many of us fat and getting fatter? In today’s episode, I chat with Gary Taubes, bestselling author of three books, The Case Against Sugar (2016), Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It (2011) and Good Calories, Bad Calories (2007). We talk about the sharp rise of obesity and diabetes in America, the structural hurdles to effective nutrition research, and explore the common myth that a calorie is just a calorie. Here are a few other things you’ll learn in this interview: How diets shifted in the last century, and what impact it’s having on our bodies today. Why a carb isn’t just a carb — and why you should know the difference Is the sugar industry the new Big Tobacco? What role genetics play in our health, and how much is under our control Why humans are so attracted to sugar and how to break the habit Gary’s suggestions to improve your health, drop body fat and feel terrific The benefits of fasting and how you can try it out yourself And a bunch more. If you think at all about your health, give this podcast a listen. And please add to the conversation by sharing your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook. *** Listen Listen on iTunes. Listen on Stitcher Listen on Spotify Stream by clicking here. Download as MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as”. Transcript A transcript is available to members of our learning community or for purchase separately ($9). Show Notes What is Gary's daily diet? [00:02:18] Is nutritional science in a worse state when compared to other areas of medical science? [00:03:10] Gary historical take on nutritional science. [00:03:50] What role does genetics pay in obesity and diabetes? [00:07:52] Gary's thought on the Mediterranean diet. [00:09:57] Statistics showing the increase in diabetes. [00:10:50] Slow Motion Disasters [00:12:09] Why are we seeing an increase in diabetes and obesity? [00:13:21] Sugar's transition from luxury to staple. [00:15:49] What sugar does inside our bodies. [00:20:17] Why did diabetes specialists initially think that sugar didn't contribute to diabetes? [00:22:44] How scientists discovered insulin resistance [00:24:48] Why are people so attracted to sugar? [00:29:03] Charles Mann on sugar as an addictive substance [00:32:24] A history of “calories in, calories out” [00:33:43] “Bringing this all back to insulin resistance…” [00:44:45] There is very little discussion of the mechanisms that lead to obesity. [00:46:41] What is the role of fibre? [00:48:42] Denis Burkitt's role in bringing fiber into the conversation on obesity. [00:50:20] The development of technology and the recent interest in gut biomes [00:55:52] What has surprised Gary the most in his own research and exploration [00:57:03] The Nutrition Science Initiative [00:57:53] “If anything, at this point in time, we've done more harm than good.” [00:59:24] What will it take for the nutritional research community to get more rigorous? [01:03:47] How to use the research mindset from physics research to help support nutritional research [01:09:31] What would your harshest critics say about your intellectual honesty? [01:12:39] “I do have one advantage that [research scientists] don't have.” [01:16:16] Will the sugar industry eventually be vilified like the tobacco industry? [01:20:25] What practical tips can somebody take to improve and protect their own health? [01:24:15] How Gary sometimes sees himself as the Grinch Who Stole Christmas [01:25:39] What are the worst starchy vegetables? [01:29:27] What's your take on gluten? [01:29:58] One big problem with nutrition studies [01:32:23] Fasting [01:33:13] Gary's experiments with intermittent fasting [01:37:37] What's the next subject that you're writing about? [01:38:22] Websites: Gary's Website The Nutrition Science Initiative Gary's Books: Good Calories, Bad Calories Why We Get Fat The Case Against Sugar People, Books, & Articles Mentioned: Denis Parsons Burkitt 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created NYT Article: What If It's All a Big Fat Lie? Jerome Groopman's review of Gary's book Mechanisms, Pathophysiology, and Management of Obesity (New England Journal of Medicine) *** Discuss on Twitter | Comment on Facebook Listen to more episodes of The Knowledge Project. --Sponsored by: Royce & Associates – Small Cap Specialists with Unparalleled Knowledge and Experience..

    Farnam Street / 12 d. 9 h. 28 min. ago more
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  • Happy Birthday, my darling Jeannie.Happy Birthday, my darling Jeannie.

    Philosophising about this ageing lark! A few days ago Jean and I listened to an episode from the BBC Radio 4 series The Art of Living. Or as the home page of the programme’s website explains, The Art of Living is a … Documentary series revealing how engagement with art has transformed people’s lives. Anyway, the episode that we listened to was a delightful 30-minute discussion between Marie-Louise Muir and the Belfast-born poet Frank Ormsby. The reason we selected this episode to listen to in particular is revealed by republishing how the BBC introduced the programme. (For Jean was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in December, 2015.) Frank Ormsby’s Parkinson’s The Art of Living When the poet Frank Ormsby was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, his response was unexpected. He embarked on a newly fertile creative period, documenting his experiences and finding a voice in his poetry that he was beginning to lose in his daily communications. His first act was to search Google – for jokes. “Which would you rather have, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Obviously Parkinson’s! I’d rather spill half my pint than forget where I left it.” As he discusses with Marie-Louise Muir, the illness has changed him. It’s mellowed him. After a career as a school teacher, his daily life is now quieter and more solitary. There’s a poetry, almost, in his pauses and silences. Frank belongs to the generation of Northern Irish writers that has followed in the footsteps of Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley. His medication, he believes, has aided his creativity. But it has also induced hallucinations. He finds himself sitting on his own in his study but surrounded by people, by the ghosts of his mother-in-law and unidentified visitors. And he’s also haunted by a fear that the earth will open up and swallow him. But if you ask how he’s doing, he writes, “I’ll tell you the one about ‘parking zones disease’. I’ll assure you that the pills seem to be working”. Photo credit: Malachi O’Doherty, With readings by Frank himself and Ciaran McMenamin from The Darkness of Snow. Produced by Alan Hall. A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4. That wonderful joke offered by Frank, this one: “Which would you rather have, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Obviously Parkinson’s! I’d rather spill half my pint than forget where I left it.” comes a little after the 5-minute point in the interview. I strongly encourage you to listen to the full interview. Here’s the link to the radio programme.    Jean and I were sitting up in bed a couple of mornings ago reflecting on how recent it has been since we ‘got it’ in terms of what becoming old really means. For me and Jean, for different reasons, it is only in the last twelve months that ageing, the process of becoming older, the decline in one’s faculties, and more and more, has been truly understood. Yes, before then of course one understood that we were getting old. But it was an intellectual understanding not the living it on a daily basis understanding we now experience. Back to Frank Ormsby. Or rather to a feature in the Belfast Telegraph published in 2015. Frank Ormsby: Life at Inst was very different from my upbringing Leading Belfast poet and former Inst. Head of English Frank Ormsby on his tough Fermanagh upbringing, losing his father when he was 12 and how humour has helped him cope with a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Write stuff: Frank Ormsby at his home in north Belfast March 23, 2015 As Frank Ormsby sits in the study of his beautifully-appointed 1930s home in north Belfast there is no hint of his much more austere upbringing. As befits the workspace of a poet and long-time English teacher at one of Belfast’s leading schools, the bookcases that line the walls are crammed with a wide range of literature. It could not be a more different environment from the rural home where he grew up just after the Second World War. When Frank was born in 1947, his father Patrick was already in his 60s. “I remember him as an old, grey-haired man”. It was Patrick’s second marriage. His first had produced 10-12 children. “I was never totally sure of the exact number”, Frank recalls. “I never met them as they had dispersed to Scotland and other places by the time my father, by then a widower, had married my mother. As far as I know the last one of them died last year.” Frank’s home was about a mile and half outside Irvinestown. His mother Anne had worked on a relative’s farm – “she could build hay or cut turf as well as any man” – and his father as a farm labourer who occasionally sought work in the factories in Scotland. “The conditions in which we lived were lacking in luxury. We had no running water. We had to carry it in buckets from a well half a mile away. There was no electricity and it was a long time before we even had a radio, or wireless as it was called then,” Frank says. You may read the rest of that article here. Here’s one of Frank’s poems that was published by The New Yorker in March, 2013. BOG COTTON By Frank Ormsby They have the look of being born old. Thinning elders among the heather, trembling in every wind. My father turns eighty the spring before my thirteenth birthday. When I feed him porridge he takes his cap off. His hair, as it has been all my life, is white, pure white. Maybe that’s how it is. Having the look of being born old! But there’s one thing that I treasure beyond gold itself. Having the fortune to be living out my final days, however many there are, in the company of my beautiful Jeannie and all the loving dogs around me. Puppy Cleo coming home – April 6th, 2012   Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

    Learning from Dogs / 12 d. 13 h. 27 min. ago more
  • The Introvert’s Hate/Hate Relationship With SpontaneityThe Introvert’s Hate/Hate Relationship With Spontaneity

    “The man who is prepared has his battle half fought.” ~Miguel De Cervantes They say you should live in the present, and “they” form a chorus of voices that is growing in number by the second. Everywhere you turn these days, the message is loud and clear: life is better when you live in the moment. I get it; I really do. I know that when I hit that flow state, regardless of what I’m immersed in, time passes in a heartbeat and I tend to really enjoy myself. It’s just that I would prefer it if I could plan those moments of flow some time in advance. I want—no I need—to prepare myself for the event of letting go. I need to be mentally ready so that I may jump into the river and let the current take me. If I’m not prepared, that river turns out to be less of a serene, meandering brook, and more a surge of cascading torrents that pummel my senses until I’m half-drowned and ready to give up. This is why I, the introvert, despise spontaneity in all its forms. The first few weeks of university really tested me. I lived on campus in a dorm where I shared a communal kitchen with eleven other people. It didn’t matter what night of the week it was, there were people heading out to a bar, restaurant, or club. I’d often get a knock at my bedroom door and an invitation to one of these nightly excursions: “Oh, hey, me, Johnny, and Mike are heading to {insert one of many different venues} for some beers. You wanna join us?” At this point I’d be searching every corner of my mind for a reasonable excuse, a Get Out Of Jail Free card that would save me the pain of just saying no. I knew that if I did just decline without justification, I’d get the inevitable looks of astonishment as if I were turning down the opportunity of a lifetime. “It’s Wednesday.” No, that won’t do. “I’m tired.” Not going to cut it. “I’ve just sat down to catch up on Friends.” Watch it another time, I’d be told. I wanted to tell them the truth, but can you imagine what they’d have said? “Oh, thanks for the invite guys, but I’m an introvert and I can’t stand being spontaneous. Maybe another time, assuming you give me seven days notice in writing.” Instead, I’d often just mumble something incoherent about how I’ve got a paper due the next day, or how I’m just on the phone with my parents. They usually got the message. I didn’t avoid nights out entirely; I can be quite a social character when I want to be. I just made sure that I was mentally prepared beforehand. I’d agree (with myself in advance) that I was going out on a particular night, and I made sure I spent plenty of time alone in the afternoon or early evening to recharge my batteries for the oncoming festivities. Eventually, I had a nice little routine going. I’d go out on Monday most weeks, Friday some weeks, Saturday almost every week, and the occasional Thursday. No other nights really got a look-in. And it tended to be the same set of places each time because of certain student promotions or theme nights. What’s more, my friends knew when I was and was not going to accept their invitations, so they stopped knocking when they knew it was a waste of their time. Somehow, I had managed to appear fairly sociable and outgoing while avoiding anything unexpected. I had planned my way out of spontaneity. Structure: An Introvert’s Best Friend My experiences as a student might not exactly mirror your situation, but as a fellow introvert, I’m sure you can relate to the need for structure and routine in your life. There are few things less enjoyable for an introvert than being coerced into some random activity at some unplanned time with unfamiliar people. It’s literally our Kryptonite. We simply cannot handle the unknowns: Where are we going? What is the place like? What will we be doing there? Who else is going? How are we getting there? Perhaps the uncertainty that scares us most is not knowing when it will end. Social activity drains us, but spontaneous social activity burns through our energy reserves in double-quick time because of how much we have to think, react, and absorb when we’re not mentally ready for it. If there’s no clear time at which things will draw to a close, we panic, knowing we’ll be utterly spent in the not-too-distant future. Put some structure in place—primarily in the form of plenty of warning—and we will be able to extract far more enjoyment out of the very same event or activity. When we know it’s coming, we have time to open ourselves up to the possibility of enjoying ourselves. We remove our shackles and move more freely, both physically and mentally. Be Confident In Your Boundaries The reason I found those early weeks of university so difficult was because I felt bad saying no to people. I wanted to make friends as much as the next person, and I always had this nagging feeling that my refusal to take part would see me labelled as boring. Somehow or another it all worked out, but I could have avoided plenty of insecurity had I just understood that putting personal boundaries in place is not a sign of weakness. I did say no to people, and I did it a lot. These days, I’m much more comfortable doing it, and it reduces the anxiety I feel around spontaneity itself. I know I can turn down anything I don’t feel like doing, and I don’t worry so much about what other people think. I’ve learnt that, actually, most spontaneous people care a lot less about receiving a no from introverts like you or me. Or rather, they get over the rejection quickly because they’re too busy just getting on with whatever spontaneous act it is they are doing. In these situations, it’s the introverts who tend to overthink everything. You may dwell on the exchange for hours after it happened, considering all of the possible ways you could have handled it better or the consequences of your refusal. The big deal exists almost entirely in your head. So it’s in your head that the battle must be won. The challenge is to know your boundaries intimately and to build them strong and sturdy so that you are able to confidently say no to offers and invitations that you either have not planned for or do not think you’d enjoy. No is not a dirty word and you shouldn’t be afraid of using it. Take The Reins Yourself There is a relatively simple way to avoid spontaneous requests from others: get in there first. You want a plan in place, right? You crave structure in your life. Then create the plan and add the structure yourself. Don’t wait for your friends to suggest you meet up that night, or the next night for dinner. Suggest a date and a time that feels comfortable for you. A few days time, next week, in a fortnight; it doesn’t matter as long as it gives you enough time to prepare mentally. And if you know that these events tend to happen naturally every couple of months, keep this in mind and put a note on your calendar to start suggesting dates well in advance. This also has the added benefit of making you seem like the sociable one because you’re doing much of the organizing. Yes, you may be an introvert, but that doesn’t mean you don’t ever want to see anyone. We introverts can enjoy ourselves as much as anyone else, but having some forewarning will only serve to make the whole process more compatible with your needs and wishes. About Steve WallerSteve Waller is a big believer in the power of self-improvement and wants to see others open themselves up to the possibilities of life. He took this passion and founded A Conscious Rethink—a blog dedicated to helping others overcome the roadblocks they face on their paths. You can also follow him on Facebook and Pinterest.Web | More Posts Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.The post The Introvert’s Hate/Hate Relationship With Spontaneity appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

    Tiny Buddha / 12 d. 18 h. 9 min. ago more
  • Sharing Insights: Bringing a Customer-centric Focus to the Financial Inclusion CommunitySharing Insights: Bringing a Customer-centric Focus to the Financial Inclusion Community

    Customer centricity is a win-win strategy no matter who your clients are; but for institutions looking to serve financially vulnerable populations around the world, such wins can have a tremendous [...] The post Sharing Insights: Bringing a Customer-centric Focus to the Financial Inclusion Community appeared first on SocialEarth.

    Social Earth / 13 d. 5 h. 31 min. ago
  • Building Stronger, More Resilient CitiesBuilding Stronger, More Resilient Cities

    Resilient Cities As rapidly growing cities in developing countries become key frontiers of international development, urban areas require dynamic, local solutions to build resilience and sustain inclusive economic growth. Faced [...] The post Building Stronger, More Resilient Cities appeared first on SocialEarth.

    Social Earth / 13 d. 6 h. 4 min. ago
  • Five Simple Ways to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals Through Your Philanthropic Efforts – #SDGSandMEFive Simple Ways to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals Through Your Philanthropic Efforts – #SDGSandME

    In this 4th article of the #SDGSandME series, we’re going to explore the effectiveness of philanthropy, and how you can use your giving efforts to help the world reach the Sustainable Development Goals—no matter how small (or big) your wallet is. In previous articles, we

    MovingWorlds Blog / 13 d. 7 h. 28 min. ago
  • Sharing our emotionsSharing our emotions

    Good people, ran out of time yesterday but wanted to republish the following. It first appeared in October, 2015. The pictures are no longer available online. Exploring the range of emotions felt and displayed by our dogs. Like so many bloggers, I subscribe to the writings of many others. Indeed, it’s a rare day when I don’t read something that touches me, stirring up emotions across the whole range of feelings that we funny humans are capable of. Such was the case with a recent essay published on Mother Nature Network. It was about dogs and whether they are capable of complex emotions. Better than that, MNN allow their essays to be republished elsewhere so long as they are fully and properly credited. Thus, with great pleasure I republished the following essay written by Jaymi Heimbuch. ooOOoo Are dogs capable of complex emotions? Joy, fear, surprise, disgust, sadness. These are the basic emotions dogs feel that are also easy enough for humans to identify. But what about more complex emotions? Many dog owners are convinced their dogs feel guilty when they’re caught misbehaving. In the same way, many owners are sure their dogs feel pride at having a new toy or bone. But it gets tricky when you assign these sorts of emotions to a dog. These are definitely emotions felt by humans, but are they also felt by dogs? (see footnote) Why we question the presence of complex emotions is wrapped up in the way we get to those emotions. The American Psychological Association explains, “Embarrassment is what’s known as a self-conscious emotion. While basic emotions such as anger, surprise or fear tend to happen automatically, without much cognitive processing, the self-conscious emotions, including shame, guilt and pride, are more complex. They require self-reflection and self-evaluation.” Essentially we’re comparing our behavior or situation to a social expectation. For instance, guilt comes when we reflect on the fact that we’ve violated a social rule. We need to be aware of the rule and what it means to break it. So, can dogs feel guilt? Well, exactly how self-reflective and self-evaluative are dogs? Among humans, children begin to experience empathy and what are called secondary emotions when they are around 2 years old. Researchers estimate that the mental ability of a dog is roughly equal to that of an 18-month-old human. “This conclusion holds for most mental abilities as well as emotions,” says Stanley Coren in an article in Modern Dog Magazine. “Thus, we can look to the human research to see what we might expect of our dogs. Just like a two-year-old child, our dogs clearly have emotions, but many fewer kinds of emotions than found in adult humans.” In other words, if 18-month-old children can’t yet experience these emotions, and dogs are roughly equal to them in cognitive and emotional ability, then dogs can’t feel these self-reflective emotions either. At least, that’s what researchers have concluded so far. Is that guilt or fear? The evidence for primary emotions like love and happiness in dogs abounds, but empirical evidence for secondary emotions like jealousy and guilt is sparse. And this is partially because it’s difficult to create tests that provide clear-cut answers. When it comes to guilt, does a dog act guilty because she knows she did something wrong, or because she’s expecting a scolding? The same expression can come across as guilt or fear. How do we know which it is? Scientific American explains it further: “In wolves, it is thought that guilt-related behaviors serve to reinforce social bonds, as in primates, by reducing conflict and eliciting tolerance from other members of the social group. The same could be true of dogs, though their social groups would primarily include humans. The problem is that the display of the associated behaviors of guilt are not, themselves, evidence of the capacity to emotionally experience guilt… It may still be some time before we can know for certain whether dogs can experience guilt, or whether people can determine if a dog has violated a rule prior to finding concrete evidence of it.” Guilt, and other secondary emotions, are complicated. That’s exactly why cognitive awareness and emotional capacity in dogs is still a topic under study. In fact, it’s an area that has grown significantly in recent years. We may discover that dogs have a more complex range of emotions than we’re aware of today. Dogs are highly social animals, and social animals are required to navigate a range of emotions in themselves and those around them to maintain social bonds. It wasn’t so long ago that scientists thought that dogs (and other non-human animals) didn’t have any feelings at all. Perhaps our understanding of dog emotions is simply limited by the types of tests we’ve devised to understand their emotions. After all, we’re trying to detect a sophisticated emotional state in a species that doesn’t speak the same language. There’s a lot we don’t know Marc Bekoff makes the argument for leaving the possibility open. In an article in Psychology Today he writes, “[B]ecause it’s been claimed that other mammals with whom dogs share the same neural bases for emotions do experience guilt, pride, and shame and other complex emotions, there’s no reason why dogs cannot.” Keeping the possibility open is more than just an emotional animal rights issue. There is a scientific basis for continuing the research. A recent study showed that the brains of dogs and humans function in a more similar way than we previously thought. Scientific American reports that “dog brains have voice-sensitive regions and that these neurological areas resemble those of humans. Sharing similar locations in both species, they process voices and emotions of other individuals similarly. Both groups respond with greater neural activity when they listen to voices reflecting positive emotions such as laughing than to negative sounds that include crying or whining. Dogs and people, however, respond more strongly to the sounds made by their own species.” Until recently, we had no idea of the similar ways human and dog brains process social information. So do dogs feel shame, guilt and pride? Maybe. Possibly. It’s still controversial, but for now, there seems to be no harm in assuming they do unless proven otherwise. ooOOoo Footnote: At this point in the MNN article there was a link to a series of gorgeous photographs of dogs. If you dear readers can wait, then I will publish them this coming Sunday. If you can’t wait, then go here!

    Learning from Dogs / 13 d. 13 h. 27 min. ago more
  • Your Donors Keep Leaving. Do You Care?Your Donors Keep Leaving. Do You Care?

    According to the recent quarterly report from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project your donors keep leaving. Especially disturbing is this news: Major gift donations of over $1,000 have declined by -8%. Yikes. According to the report, overall donor retention HAS improved by 18% between the second and third quarter, increasing to 33%. However, this is still -1.9% behind 2016 during this same time period. Unfortunately, the overall nonprofit donor retention rate has been declining every year since 2013 and is poised to do the same in 2017. Have you noticed? Do you care? What are your plans to keep your supporters so inspired they stick around? Check out these donor retention best practice recommendations and get to work: • A Guide to Donor Retention from Bloomerang • Do One Thing That Scares You – Thank You Calls from Fire Starters Blog • Giving is Up. Donor Retention is Down. What to Do? From Fire Starters Blog • One Thing That Most Nonprofits Stink at (Donor Retention) and How You Can Change It in 2017 from npEngage For more information about The Fundraising Effectiveness Project, visit their site HERE Talk with Lori to increase your donor retention: Schedule your FREE 30 minute strategy session The post Your Donors Keep Leaving. Do You Care? appeared first on Ignited Fundraising.

    Ignited Fundraising / 13 d. 15 h. 27 min. ago more
  • What to Say (and Not to Say) to Someone Who’s GrievingWhat to Say (and Not to Say) to Someone Who’s Grieving

    “Remember that there is no magic wand that can take away the pain and grief. The best any of us can do is to be there and be supportive.” ~Marilyn Mendoza My mother, an articulate and highly accomplished writer, began to lose much of what she valued a few years ago. Her eyesight was compromised by macular degeneration, her hallmark youthful vigor was replaced with exhaustion, and many of her friends began to die. Finally, and cruelest of all, her memory began to go, slowly at first, and then with increasing speed. Her struggle and her suffering in the last two years of life were excruciating to watch, and I was helpless to stop what felt like an avalanche of cruel losses. Sometimes in that last year, she would call me several times a day with distress and confusion. When she finally died, after five ambulance trips to the hospital in six weeks, my first response was thankfulness that she was out of the struggle and, to my surprise, relief. I had been grieving the mother I had known for the last year of her life, and she had already been gone a long time. It would be another month before I found my grief, and I suspect that it will be there forever; but my immediate feeling was not sadness. People feel so many things at so many different times about the death of a loved one: loss, anger, devastation, confusion, guilt, and fear, to name a few. If we assume anything about how they are experiencing their loss, we can make them feel worse. Here are a few suggestions about how to reach out, starting with what not to do. Don’t assume you know what I am going through. I was surprised by how many people came up to me and said, “I know just what you’re going through.” Even worse, they would tell me, “This will be the saddest thing that will ever happen to you,” or “You won’t know who you are for years after this.” We all know that losing a mother is a major life event and it changes many things. What we don’t know is how. It is different for each person; we cannot overlay our own experience on someone else’s and assume it’s the same. For me, whose first feelings were that her death was that of a reprieve, it caused me to doubt the validity of my response. Don’t use religious clichés about this life or another.  Religious clichés such as “Jesus called her home,” “God needed another angel,” or “it’s in the hands of the Lord,” were infuriating. For one thing, my mother was not a Christian, nor am I. I love the Jesus story, but it doesn’t resonate for me as the only true story, and it sure doesn’t help me feel better about my mothers’ death. Don’t say “there is a reason for everything.”  Then the cards began to come filled with familiar clichés: the worst was “there is a reason for everything.” That feels to me like a way to do a “wrap up” on something that is fragile, personal, and unknown. How do you know there is “a reason for everything?” It insults grief by trying to dilute it into a rational cosmic plan. You cannot explain, rationalize, or sum up my loss in a tidy little cliché. My reaction to those messages was not to feel more comforted, but to feel more isolated. Don’t talk about her “passing.” Talking about people who have “passed” feels like minimizing what happened and avoiding the word “death.” It is a tough word, it is final and irreversible and filled with loss. But it is a true word. It is what we have to manage, and the hugeness of the word, death, in its finality and brutality is what allows us to find our necessary grief. There were people who said things that did comfort me. 1. I wish I had the right words, just know I care. 2. I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to help in any way I can. 3. Would you like me to bring you some enchiladas on Tuesday? 4. What was this like for you? I’d love to listen if you would like to talk about it. Here is the most important thing for you to know. Each of our relationships has a bubble around it. Within that bubble is the history of what we have shared. Grief is a part of the human experience, and we grieve not just for the person who has died, but also for the part of our history they take with them. Losing a mother is a major life change regardless of what the relationship was like. But we don’t know what that is like for anyone but ourselves. When we assume we do, we belittle their experience and lose a chance to know them better. Although we may intend to connect with the other person, sometimes the opposite happens and what we say makes them feel worse. When we invite them to share their own experience, we help to break down the isolating walls of loss and inspire a true connection. About Linda CarrollLinda Carroll—MS, is a writer, psychotherapist and a love/life coach specializing in relationship issues of all kinds for both singles and couples, assisting people in their life transitions. Sign up for a free 15 minute coaching session or her free newsletter at www.lindaacarroll.com.You can order her book Love Cycles; The Five Essential Stages of Wholehearted Love on amazon.More Posts Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.The post What to Say (and Not to Say) to Someone Who’s Grieving appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

    Tiny Buddha / 13 d. 17 h. 36 min. ago more
  • Evacuations Continue for Indonesia in Wake of Volcano EruptionEvacuations Continue for Indonesia in Wake of Volcano Eruption

    Direct Relief Direct Relief - More than 150,000 people are being evacuated as Mount Agung in Bali, Indonesia, continues to erupt and spew dangerous ash clouds up […] Evacuations Continue for Indonesia in Wake of Volcano Eruption Gordon Willcock

    Direct Relief / 14 d. 2 h. 59 min. ago
  • Global Ambition, Local Action: How 5 U.S. Communities are Raising the BarGlobal Ambition, Local Action: How 5 U.S. Communities are Raising the Bar

    By Shorouk Elkobrsi From creating a safe haven for people and pets, to growing locally to provide work opportunities, to stewarding natural resources for future generations, we work around the [...] The post Global Ambition, Local Action: How 5 U.S. Communities are Raising the Bar appeared first on SocialEarth.

    Social Earth / 14 d. 6 h. 14 min. ago
  • Be a #DreamMaker This #GivingTuesdayBe a #DreamMaker This #GivingTuesday

    Many of our greatest memories are made with the children in our lives, whether it be our children, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren, center around the holidays; there is something truly magical [...] The post Be a #DreamMaker This #GivingTuesday appeared first on SocialEarth.

    Social Earth / 14 d. 6 h. 34 min. ago
  • Honor Yourself: Live with IntegrityHonor Yourself: Live with Integrity

    Honor Yourself: Live with Integrity People with integrity share 12 characteristics. They should be treated as guideposts in your journey through life. Value integrity. Recognize who you are and the values that you aspire to. Provide others with the confidence of knowing that your intentions and actions are always genuine. Be prepared to compromise your viewpoint, but never your principles. Be true to yourself. In staying true to your beliefs, be sure to do right by others and to always take the high ground. Trust your instincts rather than seeking validation from others. You have to live with yourself for the rest of your life. Keep good company. Surround yourself with honorable people. Support each other. Allow them to serve as role models and sounding boards that inspire you to become a better you. And look for ways to help others grow in honor and integrity. Be confident. Don’t let your behavior be influenced by others who do not share your values; hold yourself to a much higher standard –– your conscience. Your character is on display every moment of every day. Make sure it reflects well on you and causes people to feel proud to call you a friend. Do what’s right. Make good choices. Follow the spirit as well as the letter of the law. At the center of the United States Military Academy is the Cadet Honor Code, which states “A Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” Care not only about where life is taking you, but about how you’re getting there as well. Be honest and transparent. When you stand for honesty, everything you say carries the voice of credibility. But when you’re dishonest, your soiled reputation will do the speaking for you. The fact is, honest people never fear the truth. Honor your word. Every time you make a promise, you put your honor and integrity on the line. Keeping that promise should be as important to you as it is to the recipient. Be loyal. Meaningful relationships don’t happen by chance. When you live with honor, people know your behavior is reliable, your heart is in the right place, and your word is as good as gold. Accept personal responsibility. Be prepared to accept the consequences of your actions. Knowing what’s right isn’t as important as doing what’s right. Be aware that yours will not always be the most popular road traveled. Be resilient. Hard work and sacrifice build character, contribute to success, and promote happiness. It was this very reality that moved former baseball player Sam Ewing to observe, “Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” Make a difference. Be a positive force in people’s lives. Make people feel special; bring out the best in them; help them without expecting something in return; be genuinely happy for their achievements. The more you do for others, the happier you’ll be. Live for a cause greater than yourself. Find your life’s purpose. It will inspire you, keep you grounded, and provide stability regardless of the turbulence in your life. Most of all, living life with purpose will motivate you to get up in the morning and make your life meaningful. Do You Live with Integrity? Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information. Additional Reading: Moral Character Matters A Promise Is a Promise Reputation: You Can’t Run from Your Shadow Honesty: The Plain and Simple Truth Living Life With a Purpose Hard Work Is Good for Your Soul If you like this article, subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss a single post. Get future posts by RSS feed, email or Facebook. It’s FREE. The post Honor Yourself: Live with Integrity appeared first on Frank Sonnenberg Online.

    Frank Sonnenberg Online / 14 d. 10 h. 25 min. ago more
  • Our top charities for giving season 2017Our top charities for giving season 2017

    This year, we added two new top charities, Evidence Action’s No Lean Season program and Helen Keller International’s vitamin A supplementation program, and retained our seven top charities from 2016. We also added Evidence Action’s Dispensers for Safe Water program to our list of standout charities. We recommend that donors give to GiveWell for granting to top charities at our discretion so that we can direct the funding to the top charity or charities with the most pressing funding need. For donors who prefer to give directly to our top charities, we recommend giving 70 percent of your donation to the Against Malaria Foundation (AMF) and 30 percent to the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) to maximize your impact. We expect Good Ventures, a foundation with which we work closely, to provide significant support to each top charity; our recommendation to give to AMF and SCI is based on how much good we believe additional donations can do. Our top charities and recommendations for donors, in brief Top charities We now have nine top charities. They are: Against Malaria Foundation Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Malaria Consortium’s seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) program Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative Helen Keller International (HKI)’s vitamin A supplementation (VAS) program Sightsavers’ deworming program END Fund’s deworming program Evidence Action’s No Lean Season program GiveDirectly Standout charities We also provide a list of standout charities. We believe they are implementing programs that are evidence-backed and may be extremely cost-effective. However, we do not feel as confident in the impact of these organizations as we do in our top charities. Development Media International Evidence Action’s Dispensers for Safe Water program Food Fortification Initiative Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition’s Universal Salt Iodization program Iodine Global Network Living Goods Project Healthy Children Conference call to discuss recommendations We are planning to hold a conference call at 1:30pm ET/10:30am PT on Thursday, November 30 to discuss our charity recommendations and answer your questions. If you’d like to join the call, please register using this online form. If you can’t make this date, but would be interested in joining another call at a later date, please indicate this on the registration form. Additional details and explanation Below, we provide: An explanation of changes to our recommended charity list and of major changes to our review process in the past year that are not specific to any one organization. More A discussion of our approach to determining how much funding charities can use effectively (“room for more funding”) and our ranking of charities’ funding gaps. More Reasoning behind how we have ranked charities’ funding gaps. More Details about each of our new top charities, including an overview of what we know about their work and our understanding of their funding needs. More Details about each of the top charities we are continuing to recommend, including an overview of their work, major changes over the past year, and our understanding of their funding needs. More A brief overview of each of our standout charities. More The process we followed that led to these recommendations. More An update on giving to support GiveWell’s operations versus giving to our top charities. More Major changes in the last 12 months Major changes to our recommended charities list and review process over the past year include: Overall, we believe our top charities are able to absorb more funding than they could in previous years. This is a result both of recent additions to the top charities list with large funding gaps (particularly Malaria Consortium) as well as expansion by top charities that have been on the list for a longer time (particularly Deworm the World and AMF). We expect overall “room for more funding” to continue to expand as we gain more confidence in recently-added top charities and continue to add new top charities, particularly through GiveWell Incubation Grants, our program to grow the pipeline of potential future top charities and improve our understanding of our current top charities. We added two new programs to our list of top charities: vitamin A supplementation (VAS) and seasonal migration subsidies. We have not previously recommended charities that work on these programs. We had considered VAS a priority program for a number of years but had not found an organization that was able to answer our key questions. While we have some remaining questions, we can now make a strong case for supporting HKI’s work on VAS. We initially supported No Lean Season through GiveWell’s Incubation Grants program. No Lean Season is the first organization we have added to our top charity list through our Incubation Grants program. Last year, the charities we recommended on the margin were estimated to be about three times as cost-effective as unconditional cash transfers, the program implemented by top charity GiveDirectly. This year, we believe that the charities we are recommending on the margin are about six times as cost-effective as cash transfers. For the most part, this change was due to (a) a series of small adjustments to our cost-effectiveness model and (b) changes in which individuals contribute to the model and the values entered into the model by these and other contributors. We now feel fairly confident that there will be large amounts of room for more funding in this range. As more time has passed without identifying opportunities that are considerably more cost-effective than this, we have become more pessimistic about finding such opportunities. Our current best guess is that, if they exist, they will be in the area of policy advocacy in developing countries, on issues like lead regulation and tobacco taxation. We intend to do further research in those areas. We made a significant change to our cost-effectiveness analysis to more formally incorporate adjustments for the way in which our top charities’ funding affects funding from other sources by (a) attracting more resources to the programs they work on (e.g., governments contributing staff time to support implementation of the programs) or (b) displacing resources that would have otherwise supported the programs. We will be writing more about this in a future post. We continued to analyze the complex evidence base for deworming (treating intestinal parasites), the program implemented by four out of our nine top charities. At the end of 2016, David Roodman, a Senior Advisor to GiveWell, conducted a detailed review of the core evidence underlying our deworming recommendation (blog posts here and here). This year, we saw new follow-up results on the main study that leads us to recommend deworming, which continued to show similar long-term impacts of deworming on adult earnings as were estimated previously. Further investigation and updates based on new data led us to believe that two deworming studies (Croke 2014 and Bleakley 2007) no longer provide substantial support for the theory that deworming has long-term impacts. We plan to write more about this in the future. All together, this work led us to the same conclusion about deworming: that it is a reasonable bet to take based on its strong cost-effectiveness (which incorporates our uncertainty about the impact). Room for more funding analysis Types of funding gaps In the last two years, we used a framework of “capacity funding” and “execution levels” to compare funding gaps (unfilled funding needs) across charities. This framework was intended to capture whether funding would enable a charity to expand or grow in important ways and how likely it was, in our estimation, that each top charity would be constrained by funding in the next year. We developed this approach in response to a situation where we expected to direct more funding to several of our top charities than they would be able to use (commit or spend) in that year. We used capacity funding to describe opportunities to increase the amount of funding a charity might be able to absorb in the future (by, say, investing in expanding to a new location) and execution levels to describe the likelihood, down to the 5 percent level, that a charity would be able to make use of additional funding before encountering non-funding bottlenecks to their work. This year, because we have added new top charities and most of our other top charities have more room for more funding than in previous years, we expect that the funding we will direct to each organization will not reach the level where they will encounter significant non-funding bottlenecks. As a result, we have moved away from describing capacity funding and execution levels. Ranking funding gaps The first million dollars to a charity can have a very different impact from the 20th million dollars. Accordingly, we have created a ranking of individual funding gaps that accounts for our best guess of the impact of additional funds at each level. The below table lays out our ranking of funding gaps, up to $75.7 million in total funding. We expect Good Ventures to give $75 million to GiveWell’s top charities this year, so this table is our recommendation to Good Ventures, plus the allocation of funding that GiveWell holds to allocate at its discretion (currently $0.7 million). We then discuss our recommendation for all other donors. The Open Philanthropy Project, which was incubated at GiveWell but is now a separate organization, plans to write more soon about the reasons for Good Ventures increasing its support of GiveWell top charities from $50 million last year to $75 million this year. In short, the amount was based on discussions about how to allocate funding across time and across cause areas. It was not set based on the total size of top charities’ funding gaps or the projection of what others would give. Charity Description Amount (millions) All top charities Incentive grants: $2.5 million per charity 22.5 All standout charities Standout grants: $100,000 per charity 0.7 Deworm the World Funding gaps in India and Kenya over the next three years (including central costs) 3.0 Helen Keller International Funding gaps over three years in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea—countries that have missed recent vitamin A campaigns due to lack of funding 4.7 No Lean Season Full funding gap over three years for implementing the program in Bangladesh 9.0 Deworm the World Three years of funding for a new program in Pakistan and reserves to protect against funding shortfalls in India 10.4 Malaria Consortium Part of the funding gap for SMC in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Chad over the next three years 25.4 In total, we are recommending that Good Ventures make the following grants: Malaria Consortium’s seasonal malaria chemoprevention program: $27.9 million Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative: $15.2 million. We are also recommending that GiveWell’s Board of Directors grant the $0.7 million in discretionary funds that we currently hold from the third quarter (from donors who selected to give to “Grants to recommended charities at GiveWell’s discretion” on our donation form) to Deworm the World, bringing the total to $15.9 million. Evidence Action’s No Lean Season program: $11.5 million Helen Keller International’s vitamin A supplementation program: $7.2 million Schistosomiasis Control Initiative: $2.5 million Against Malaria Foundation: $2.5 million Sightsavers’ deworming program: $2.5 million END Fund’s deworming program: $2.5 million GiveDirectly: $2.5 million Our recommendation to donors For donors who are interested in directing funding to whichever recommended charity or charities GiveWell believes has the most pressing funding need at the time the funds are granted, we recommend giving to “Grants to recommended charities at GiveWell’s discretion.” These grants will respond to the greatest funding need we see; they may not match the recommended allocation outlined below. For donors (other than Good Ventures) who are interested in donating directly to our top charities, we recommend splitting your donation as follows: 70 percent to the Against Malaria Foundation 30 percent to the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Why these recommendations? Our recommendations to donors, including Good Ventures, are based on: Overall cost-effectiveness of the charity. Our cost-effectiveness model is a key input into our decision-making process, and large differences in modeled cost-effectiveness impact our recommendations. We try not to put significant weight on relatively small differences in cost-effectiveness according to the model because many inputs are highly uncertain. Our model this year found relatively small differences between many top charities, with Deworm the World at ~12 times as cost-effective as cash transfers, four top charities in the ~6-10x cash transfers range, and three top charities in the ~3-5x cash transfers range. We consider differences between charities implementing the same intervention or interventions that have similar inputs and output in the model more meaningful (e.g., malaria nets and seasonal malaria chemoprevention) than differences between charities implementing quite different interventions. We have completed a sensitivity analysis of our cost-effectiveness analysis to get a better sense for which parameters are most sensitive. We are more hesitant to consider differences in the cost-effectiveness as meaningful when they rely on very sensitive inputs. Cost-effectiveness of particular funding opportunities. Charities’ work can vary significantly in cost-effectiveness across locations due to different costs, disease burdens, uptake in the targeted population, or probability that other funders would step in in GiveWell’s absence. While not a part of our formal cost-effectiveness model, we ran supplementary analyses of cost-effectiveness for some locations for which our top charities were seeking additional funding and considered the output as part of our prioritization of funding gaps. Qualitative factors not captured in our cost-effectiveness model. The main factors we focused on were: Proportion of the global funding need for the program that is filled. We expect that funders will generally (but imperfectly) select the areas where cost-effectiveness is higher first, leaving the areas with higher costs, lower disease burden, lower cultural acceptance of the program, etc. for last. We believe we have captured some of the consequences of this in our cost-effectiveness analysis. For example, we use national level disease burden estimates for the countries in which each charity has worked and/or plans to work; charities working in higher burden countries are therefore modelled as more cost-effective. But we do not use sub-national estimates to distinguish the highest priority regions within a country; if charities are filling the lowest priority funding gaps within a county, they will likely be less cost-effective than our model suggests. This was an important consideration in comparing AMF and Malaria Consortium. We estimate that ~80 percent of the global funding need for nets (the program AMF implements) has been filled, and ~35 percent of the global funding need for seasonal malaria chemoprevention (the program Malaria Consortium implements). Our level of knowledge about the organization. We have recommended AMF, Deworm the World, SCI, and GiveDirectly for many years. We know less about Malaria Consortium and No Lean Season and the least about HKI. We seek to be somewhat conservative about recommending large amounts of funding to organizations where there is a relatively high chance that additional research could lead us to believe the program was less cost-effective than we previously thought. Ease of communication with the organization. It is important to us that we are able to learn over time about the charities we recommend, to enable us to improve our decisions. The ability to communicate effectively with an organization is a key factor in our ability to learn from the organization’s experiences. Ongoing monitoring and likelihood of detecting future problems. Evaluating an organization’s monitoring processes and results is an important part of our charity reviews and for the most part is not captured in our cost-effectiveness analysis. As with ease of communication, we have more confidence in recommending funds to an organization if we believe that we will learn about how successful its work has been. Summary of key considerations for top charities The table below summarizes the key considerations for our nine top charities. More detail is provided below, as well as in the charity reviews. Estimated cost-effectiveness (relative to cash transfers) Our level of knowledge about the organization Primary benefits of the intervention Ease of communication Ongoing monitoring and likelihood of detecting future problems Room for more funding, after expected funding from Good Ventures and donors who give independently of our recommendation Other major considerations AMF ~6x High Deaths averted and possible increased income in adulthood Strong Strong High: could absorb tens of millions of dollars High proportion (~80%) of global gap for program is filled Malaria Consortium (SMC program) ~7x Moderate Under-5 deaths averted and possible increased income in adulthood Strong Strong High: could absorb tens of millions of dollars Relatively low proportion (~35%) of global gap for program is filled Helen Keller International (VAS program) ~9x Moderate Under-5 deaths averted Strong Moderate High: could absorb tens of millions of dollars Learning benefits Deworm the World ~12x High Possible increased income in adulthood Strong Strong Moderate: could absorb millions of dollars END Fund (deworming program) ~4x Moderate Possible increased income in adulthood Moderate Moderate Moderate: could absorb millions of dollars SCI ~10x High Possible increased income in adulthood Moderate Moderate High: could absorb tens of millions of dollars Sightsavers (deworming program) ~5x Moderate Possible increased income in adulthood Moderate Moderate Moderate: could absorb millions of dollars No Lean Season ~5x Moderate Immediate increase in consumption Strong Moderate Low: further funding would be used for different types of activities Potential upside GiveDirectly Baseline High Immediate increase in consumption and assets Strong Strong Very high: could absorb over 100 million dollars Reasons for this funding gap ranking Prioritization of funding that we have recommended to Good Ventures (we recommend Good Ventures fill the highest-priority funding needs first, to ensure these are funded): We start by recommending that each top charity receive $2.5 million as an “incentive grant.” These grants are intended to be a major contribution to the charity’s work in recognition of the fact that they have met GiveWell’s criteria and have dedicated significant time to working with us to help us follow their progress and plans each year. We don’t want our top charity funding process to be winner-takes-all because we believe that charities would be less likely to want to participate in that case. After incentive grants, we believe the next most valuable funding to provide is for Deworm the World’s work in Kenya and India over the next three years. Deworm the World’s work in Kenya and India is the most cost-effective opportunity we have found. We estimate that its work in Kenya is ~20x as cost-effective as cash transfers and in India is ~30x+ as cost-effective as cash transfers. We rank providing funding to our two new top charities, Helen Keller International (HKI)’s VAS program and No Lean Season, next. We estimate that HKI could use $7.2 million over three years to support VAS campaigns in countries with high child mortality rates that have recently missed campaigns due to lack of funds. HKI’s cost-effectiveness is at the high end of the range for top charities (~9x cash transfers). We believe HKI could absorb more than $7.2 million in additional funding for VAS effectively but that this $7.2 million gap is likely more cost-effective than HKI’s average cost-effectiveness. Also, because HKI is a new top charity of ours, we expect this first part of its gap to have significant learning benefits for us: by giving this money, we’ll be better positioned to follow HKI’s work and review its monitoring, which we believe will make it more likely that we have a more accurate estimate of its impact in future years. We decided to recommend funding all of No Lean Season’s funding gap in Bangladesh for the next three years. While No Lean Season’s cost-effectiveness is at the lower end of our top charities (~5x cash transfers), we see additional reasons to prioritize this gap. We believe No Lean Season is the top charity where there is the strongest case to be made for “upside”; our cost-effectiveness analysis may not capture the potential impact of scaling a new program that could lead to greater visibility and funding for a novel type of program. We think the next highest priority funding to provide is $10.4 million to Deworm the World. This funding would support a new program in Pakistan and provide reserve funding for programs supported with restricted funds. We estimate that the program in Pakistan will be roughly ~7x as cost-effective as cash transfers, though this estimate is very sensitive to estimates of worm burdens in the locations where Deworm the World plans to work. The reserve funding is intended to make it unlikely that the India program, which we believe is very highly cost-effective, will be interrupted—Deworm the World relies on restricted funding for this program and there is some chance that this funding will not be available in the future. It may use this GiveWell-directed funding for other opportunities if it is not needed to backstop restricted funding in India; we expect that it will have unfunded opportunities remaining in the next few years, particularly in Nigeria. The last funding gap on our list of recommendations for Good Ventures is $23.6 million to Malaria Consortium for its work on SMC. When choosing which gap to recommend for the remainder of Good Ventures’ $75 million, we focused on the remaining funding needs for Malaria Consortium’s SMC program, AMF, and SCI, which we believe to have the next highest-value gaps. Our cost-effectiveness model indicates that SCI is the most cost-effective of these three organizations (~10x cash transfers, compared with ~6-7x cash transfers for AMF and Malaria Consortium), but when the difference in modelled cost-effectiveness between two charities is relatively small, we also put significant weight on qualitative factors. We believe that AMF and Malaria Consortium are stronger on some qualitative factors, particularly the likelihood that we will be able to learn about the programs’ performance through the monitoring they conduct. Between AMF and Malaria Consortium, we have prioritized Malaria Consortium’s funding gap primarily due to the qualitative considerations discussed above around the proportion of the global funding need that is filled. After following Malaria Consortium for a second year, we believe that Malaria Consortium and AMF are comparable on other major qualitative factors, such as quality of ongoing monitoring and likelihood of detecting future problems. The total amount we are recommending for Malaria Consortium’s SMC program represents a rough compromise between providing a high level of funding to a program that we prefer to the next funding gap on the list and not wanting to make too large of a bet on an organization that we have less experience with than some other top charities. Prioritization for non-Good Ventures donors: Our current recommendation for donors is to give to GiveWell for making grants to top charities at our discretion. Our goal is for SCI to receive $9 million, in addition to the $2.5 million incentive grant that we are recommending to Good Ventures, and AMF to receive the remainder of expected GiveWell-directed funding because AMF and SCI represent the next highest-value funding opportunities we see. Giving us funding to grant at our discretion allows GiveWell to better target this allocation, and to adapt if we learn new information about pressing, high-value funding needs at our top charities. For donors who prefer to give directly to charities, we recommend giving 70 percent to AMF and 30 percent to SCI. These percentages are our best guess of what will achieve our target allocation given our projections of total donations driven by our recommendations. This allocation comes from a belief that, at these margins, it is difficult to distinguish between the quality of AMF and SCI’s funding gaps. SCI has better modeled cost-effectiveness, while AMF appears to be better on several qualitative factors, including monitoring of program performance. We have roughly targeted a two-to-one ratio between the two. Details on new top charities Helen Keller International (HKI) for work on vitamin A supplementation Our full review of HKI’s work on vitamin A supplementation is here. Overview HKI (http://www.hki.org/) is a large organization with multiple programs focused on reducing malnutrition and averting blindness and poor vision. Our review focuses on HKI’s work on vitamin A supplementation (VAS) and our recommendation is specific to its VAS program. HKI provides technical assistance, engages in advocacy, and contributes funding to government-run VAS programs. There is strong evidence from many randomized controlled trials (RCTs) conducted in the 1980s and 1990s that VAS can substantially reduce child mortality, but weaker evidence on how effective VAS is in the places HKI would work with additional funding in the next few years. In particular, there is little available information on current rates of vitamin A deficiency in areas where HKI works. We have adjusted our cost-effectiveness analysis for our best guess of how much less effective VAS is today (~25 percent as effective as in the trials in the 1980s and 1990s); the intervention remains cost-effective with that adjustment. We feel that the monitoring data that we have seen from HKI’s programs gives us limited information on HKI’s past performance, but demonstrates the types of data HKI is able to collect on program performance. We have requested that HKI collect this monitoring data of all programs funded with GiveWell-directed funds. Overall, we have not yet investigated HKI at the same level of depth as some of our other top charities, which we have recommended for several years. We have reviewed documents from HKI, had a number of conversations with their staff, and spent three days meeting with HKI and observing a VAS campaign in Guinea. We have remaining questions about HKI’s work that we will seek more information on in the future, but overall we believe this program is, like our other top charities, an excellent giving opportunity. Funding gap We believe that HKI’s VAS work is highly likely to be constrained by funding next year. HKI has provided details of VAS programs that it could support with additional funding of up to about $41.4 million in 2018-2020. HKI appears to have limited prospects for funding these programs from other sources. Our understanding is that with additional funds, HKI would cause additional rounds of VAS to occur in some countries, while in other countries, HKI primarily aims to increase coverage rates in rounds of VAS that would take place regardless of its involvement. We have asked HKI to prioritize use of GiveWell-directed funding in countries where it expects to cause additional rounds of VAS to occur. HKI’s funding gap for countries that have recently missed VAS campaigns due to lack of funds is $7.2 million. HKI’s VAS work was supported by the Canadian government in the past. That funding ended in 2016 and has not been renewed. Over the past year, several VAS campaigns have been skipped in countries HKI previously supported. Evidence Action’s No Lean Season program Our full review of No Lean Season is here. Overview No Lean Season (https://www.evidenceaction.org/beta-no-lean-season/) provides no-interest loans to poor rural households during the season of income and food insecurity (‘lean season’) between planting and the major rice harvest in rural northern Bangladesh. Loans are conditional on a household member stating their intention to migrate to urban or other rural locations to seek short-term employment. Several randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of subsidies to increase migration provide moderately strong evidence that such an intervention increases household income and consumption during the lean season. An additional RCT is ongoing. We estimate that No Lean Season is roughly five times as cost-effective as cash transfers (see our cost-effectiveness analysis). Evidence Action has shared some details of its plans for monitoring No Lean Season in the future, but, as many of these plans have not been fully implemented, we have seen limited results. Therefore, there is some uncertainty as to whether No Lean Season will produce the data required to give us confidence that loans are appropriately targeted and reach their intended recipients in full; that recipients are not pressured into accepting loans; and that participants successfully migrate, find work, and are not exposed to major physical and other risks while migrating. Funding gap We expect No Lean Season to have opportunities to spend $11.5 million more than we expect it to receive over the next three years to implement and monitor the program in Bangladesh. We expect it to have a further $3.9 million in opportunities to expand to other countries and do further research, in Bangladesh and other locations. Evidence Action is seeking funding beyond this level to allow it to build reserves for No Lean Season. Details on top charities we are continuing to recommend Against Malaria Foundation (AMF) Our full review of AMF is here. Background AMF (againstmalaria.com) provides funding for long-lasting insecticide-treated net (LLIN) distributions for protection against malaria in developing countries. AMF has conducted post-distribution surveys of all completed distributions to determine whether LLINs have reached their intended destinations and how long they remain in good condition. AMF’s post-distribution surveys have generally found positive results (with some exceptions); we believe they have some methodological limitations. We estimate that AMF’s program is roughly six times as cost-effective as cash transfers (see our cost-effectiveness analysis). This estimate seeks to incorporate many highly uncertain inputs, such as the effect of mosquito resistance to the insecticides used in nets on how effective they are at protecting against malaria, how differences in malaria burden affect the impact of nets, and how to discount for displacing funding from other funders, among many others. Important changes in the last 12 months Prior to this year, we had seen results from AMF’s “post-distribution check ups” (PDCUs) from two countries, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and had significant uncertainties about the methodology used in each location. We have now also seen results from Ghana. We have more confidence in our understanding of AMF’s PDCUs than we did previously, though this work is ongoing. In particular, we commissioned IDinsight, an organization with which we are partnering as part of our Incubation Grants program, to observe post-distribution surveys in Malawi and Ghana and report their findings (see links). Further discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of PDCUs here. In 2017, AMF signed relatively few new agreements to fund LLIN distributions and, as a result, has a balance of $58 million in uncommitted funds, or $35 million if distributions where AMF believes agreements are imminent are counted as committed. Our understanding is that many of AMF’s conversations with countries could not progress until decisions were made about how much Global Fund funding each country would allocate to LLIN distributions (as opposed to other malaria control efforts). This decision-making process extended into late 2017. Global Fund funding is allocated on three-year cycles and we do not expect this to continue to be a bottleneck for AMF in 2018. Funding gap We believe that AMF is very likely to be constrained by lack of funding. There is high uncertainty in the maximum amount of funding that AMF could use productively, though we expect the maximum to be much greater than what AMF is likely to receive. To fund all of the distributions that it is currently in detailed discussions about, AMF would need $50 million more than we project it will receive. The total funding gap for LLINs for 2018-2020 appears to be hundreds of millions of dollars. With additional funding, AMF’s top priorities would be to fund a portion of the next round of distributions, in 2018-2020, in each of the countries in which it has recently funded distributions. END Fund (for work on deworming) Our full review of the END Fund’s work on deworming is here. Background The END Fund (end.org) manages grants, provides technical assistance, and raises funding for controlling and eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). We have focused our review on its support for deworming. Slightly more than half of the treatments the END Fund has supported have been deworming treatments, while the rest have been for other NTDs. The END Fund has funded SCI, Deworm the World, and Sightsavers. We see the END Fund’s value-add as a GiveWell top charity as identifying and providing assistance to programs run by organizations other than those we separately recommend, and our review of the END Fund has excluded results from charities on our top charity list. We have seen limited monitoring results on the number of children reached in END Fund-supported programs. In 2016, the END Fund began requiring that surveys be conducted to determine whether its programs have reached a large proportion of children targeted; we have seen coverage surveys for (a non-random sample of) 35 percent of its 2016 deworming grant portfolio. These studies leave us with some remaining questions about the program’s impact. Important changes in the last 12 months We significantly improved our understanding of the END Fund’s cost per treatment and the baseline prevalence in areas that the END Fund works (which is used in our cost-effectiveness analysis), though we continue to have lower confidence in our estimates than we do for the deworming organizations that we have recommended for several years. We also saw some monitoring from END Fund programs; previously our recommendation of the END Fund was based on specific monitoring plans that we found credible. Funding gap We believe the END Fund could substantially increase its deworming grantmaking with additional funds. We roughly estimate that there is gap of $18 million between the amount of funding the END Fund will have available for grants for deworming and the amount of funding it would need to make all of the potential grants it has identified. Sources of major uncertainty in this estimate include whether the END Fund will encounter non-funding bottlenecks in some of its identified and early-stage opportunities, the amount of funding it will receive from other sources, the proportion of funding it will allocate to deworming, and costs other than grants. Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative Our full review of Deworm the World is here. Background Evidence Action’s Deworm the World (evidenceaction.org/#deworm-the-world) advocates for, supports, and evaluates deworming programs. Its main countries of operation are India, Kenya, and Nigeria, and it is considering expanding to Pakistan. Deworm the World retains or hires monitors who visit schools during and following deworming campaigns. We believe its monitoring is the strongest we have seen from any organization working on deworming. Monitors have generally found high coverage rates and good performance on other measures of quality. As noted above, we believe that Deworm the World overall is the most cost-effective charity we have found. We estimate that it is ~12 times as cost-effective as cash transfers, but note that, due to differences in worm burdens and costs across countries, there is significant variation in cost-effectiveness across the countries in which it works. We estimate that its work to date in India has been more than 30 times as cost-effective as cash transfers, while its planned work in Nigeria is around three times as cost-effective as cash transfers (though this estimate is based on low-quality information). Important changes in the last 12 months We estimate that Deworm the World could absorb considerably more funding this year than we estimated last year, due to opportunities it has identified to expand its geographic reach. (More in the next section.) The quality of the monitoring that we have seen from Deworm the World has remained high. To date, we have seen limited monitoring from Nigeria, which is a new addition to Deworm the World’s portfolio and is expected to become a major portion of its work in the future. This is of minor concern given the strong monitoring track record elsewhere and how new the program is in Nigeria. Funding gap We believe that Deworm the World is very likely to be constrained by funding. We expect Deworm the World to have opportunities to spend $18.9 million more than we expect it to receive over the next three years. Funding beyond this level would allow Deworm the World to build its reserves and take advantage of unanticipated opportunities. With additional funding, Deworm the World would sustain its current work in Kenya and India, and would seek to expand its work in Nigeria and India to additional states and support the government in Pakistan to initiate a deworming program. GiveDirectly Our full review of GiveDirectly is here. Background GiveDirectly (givedirectly.org) transfers cash to households in developing countries via mobile phone-linked payment services. It targets extremely low-income households. The proportion of total expenses that GiveDirectly has delivered directly to recipients is approximately 82 percent overall. We believe that this approach faces an unusually low burden of proof, and that the available evidence supports the idea that unconditional cash transfers significantly help people. We believe GiveDirectly to be an exceptionally strong and effective organization, even more so than our other top charities. It has invested heavily in self-evaluation from the start, scaled up quickly, and communicated with us clearly. We believe that GiveDirectly has been effective at delivering cash to low-income households. GiveDirectly has one major randomized controlled trial (RCT) of its impact and took the unusual step of making the details of this study public before data was collected. It continues to experiment heavily, with the aim of improving how its own cash transfer programs are run as well as those of governments. It has recently started work on a universal basic income trial and has started partnering with major funders on evaluations of cash transfers in new geographies with the aim of influencing the broader international aid sector to use its funding more cost-effectively. We believe cash transfers are less cost-effective than the programs our other top charities work on, but have the most direct and robust case for impact. We use cash transfers as a “baseline” in our cost-effectiveness analyses and only recommend other programs that are robustly more cost-effective than cash. Important changes in the last 12 months We had previously expressed reservations about GiveDirectly’s targeting strategy: that by excluding the least poor households in each village, the program might lead to negative reactions by non-recipients, increase costs per household reached, and exclude households that were still quite poor. In 2017, GiveDirectly largely switched to a “saturation” approach of making transfers to all households in selected villages. It will continue to use a targeted approach in Rwanda, where government regulations require such an approach, but the saturation approach will be used in Kenya and Uganda. In 2016, GiveDirectly built up its operations in Uganda and Kenya with the anticipation of revenue growth in 2017. Revenue growth has been slower than expected and GiveDirectly had to lay off some staff as a result. GiveDirectly launched its universal basic income project this month. In 2015, Good Ventures made a grant of $25 million to GiveDirectly on GiveWell’s recommendation. GiveDirectly’s goals for the grant were to expand its ability to raise funds from donors not influenced by GiveWell’s recommendation and to collaborate with large aid institutions or governments to address their questions about cash transfers. We expect to write more about the performance of the grant in the future, but, in short, our impression is that fundraising has progressed slower than expected and collaborative projects have progressed more quickly than expected. Funding gap We believe that GiveDirectly is highly likely to be constrained by funding next year. It expects to use additional funding primarily for standard cash transfers and for additional collaborative projects. For collaborative projects, GiveDirectly’s potential partners require it to contribute funding, which the partner matches (at a one-to-one ratio, minimum). These projects would largely be in countries GiveDirectly has not worked in before and many are at an early stage of discussion. We estimate that GiveDirectly could use more than $200 million in additional funding in 2018-2019. Malaria Consortium (for work on seasonal malaria chemoprevention) Our full review of Malaria Consortium’s seasonal malaria chemoprevention program is here. Background Malaria Consortium (malariaconsortium.org) works on preventing, controlling, and treating malaria and other communicable diseases in Africa and Asia. Our review has focused exclusively on its seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) programs, which distribute preventive anti-malarial drugs to children 3-months to 59-months old in order to prevent illness and death from malaria. There is strong evidence that SMC substantially reduces cases of malaria. The randomized controlled trials on SMC that we considered showed a decrease in cases of clinical malaria but were not adequately statistically powered to find an impact on mortality. Malaria Consortium and its partners have conducted studies in all of the countries where it has worked to determine whether its programs have reached a large proportion of children targeted. These studies have generally found positive results, though past surveys have been conducted after four rounds of SMC (SMC is given in a maximum of four treatment courses at monthly intervals) and may be subject to error due to the inaccurate recall or recordkeeping. Starting in 2017, Malaria Consortium is conducting coverage surveys after each round of SMC, to reduce recall error. Important changes in the last 12 months We have increased our confidence in Malaria Consortium’s monitoring, though we have not yet seen all of the research that Malaria Consortium expected to share in 2017 (in particular, tracking of malaria cases and deaths over time in areas where Malaria Consortium works). Coverage survey results from 2016 were generally positive, with a couple of outliers. The change from conducting coverage surveys after four treatment cycles to conducting them after each cycle will increase our confidence in the results. Last year, we had only a rough estimate of how much additional funding Malaria Consortium could use productively. We have significantly improved our understanding of its room for more funding this year. Funding gap We believe that Malaria Consortium could productively use more funding than it expects to receive to scale up its SMC activities. It appears that there is a large remaining global need for additional funding for SMC programs and that Malaria Consortium is well-positioned to fill these gaps, if it has sufficient funding to do so. Malaria Consortium estimates that it could spend $28-30 million per year on SMC in each of the next three years and that this level of funding would largely fill the global funding gap for SMC, with the exception of Nigeria, where the scale of the gap would be beyond Malaria Consortium’s operational capacity in the short term. It appears to have limited prospects for major funding from other sources. The major grant for Malaria Consortium’s work on SMC previously, from Unitaid, is ending and Malaria Consortium told us that it will not be renewed. Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) Our full review of SCI is here. Background SCI (imperial.ac.uk/schisto) works with governments in sub-Saharan Africa to create or scale up deworming programs. SCI’s role has primarily been to identify partner countries, provide funding to governments for government-implemented programs, provide advisory support, and conduct research on the process and outcomes of the programs. SCI has conducted studies to determine whether its programs have reached a large proportion of children targeted. These studies cover (a non-random sample of) about 40 percent of treatments SCI reports having delivered over the past few years. The studies have generally found moderately positive results, but leave us with some remaining questions about the program’s impact. As noted above, we believe that SCI is less cost-effective than Deworm the World and more cost-effective than Sightsavers and the END Fund. Given the uncertainty in our cost-effectiveness model, we are hesitant to say that SCI is more cost-effective than AMF and Malaria Consortium, though taken literally, SCI is 1.5 times as cost-effective as AMF and Malaria Consortium (~10x cash transfers vs. ~6-7x cash transfers). Important changes in the last 12 months We continued to follow SCI’s progress in 2017 and there have not been many major changes to its work. As in the past, SCI shared monitoring of deworming coverage levels for a portion of its programs with us; there continue to be several SCI-supported countries for which we have not seen monitoring results. In the past, we have noted that we had low confidence in the accuracy of the financial information that SCI provided and that SCI made significant improvements to its financial systems in 2016; our remaining concerns about SCI’s financial management and reporting are fairly minor. In 2017, SCI allocated nearly all available funding to programs in its 2017-2018 budget year. This was a large increase in spending over the previous budget year ($9.6 million in 2016-2017 compared with $22.5 million in 2017-2018), driven in large part by a large increase in GiveWell-directed funding ($3.7 million in 2015 compared with $16.6 million in 2016). We believe this decision was due in part to a miscommunication with GiveWell—in a conversation with SCI in early 2017, we recommended that they treat the funds like a multi-year grant because of the risk of large fluctuations in GiveWell-directed funding, but we did not emphasize this point. SCI told us that it plans to allocate future funding over multiple years, noting that its funding allocation decisions in 2016-2017 were due to the desire to avoid allowing drugs to expire as well as a misunderstanding with GiveWell about how the funding was intended to be used. Funding gap We estimate that SCI could productively use about $30 million more than it expects to receive to deliver treatments to school-aged children over the next three years. It could use almost three times this amount if it were to follow World Health Organization guidelines, which include treating many adults; we are not recommending funding to treat adults because we haven’t seen sufficient evidence on the impact of treating adults. The primary use of this funding, and SCI’s top priority, would be to sustain and expand work in current countries of operation. A smaller portion would be used to expand to up to four additional countries. Sightsavers (for work on deworming) Our full review of Sightsavers is here. Background Sightsavers (sightsavers.org) is a large organization with multiple program areas that focuses on preventing avoidable blindness and supporting people with impaired vision. Our review focuses on Sightsavers’ work to prevent and treat neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and – more specifically – advocating for, funding, and monitoring deworming programs. Deworming is a fairly new addition to Sightsavers’ portfolio; in 2011, it began delivering some deworming treatments through NTD programs that had been originally set up to treat other infections. Sightsavers has shared surveys for some of its past NTD programs that measure whether these programs have reached a large proportion of children targeted. These studies have generally found moderately positive results, but leave us with some remaining questions about the program’s impact. We have seen very limited results from Sightsavers’ deworming programs specifically. For GiveWell-supported programs, Sightsavers has told us it will conduct coverage surveys for each round of deworming; we have reviewed one of those surveys to date. Important changes in the last 12 months In 2017, as expected, we learned relatively little about the performance of Sightsavers’ deworming programs, because programs funded with GiveWell-directed funds were at early stages. We did not expect to receive any monitoring results from programs funded with GiveWell-directed funds; however, Sightsavers shared a coverage survey from Guinea with us earlier than expected. The survey found middling coverage results. We significantly improved our understanding of Sightsavers’ cost per treatment and the baseline prevalence in areas where Sightsavers works (which is used in our cost-effectiveness analysis), though we continue to have lower confidence in our estimates than we do for the deworming organizations that we have recommended for several years. Funding gap We believe that Sightsavers’ deworming work is likely to be constrained by funding next year. Sightsavers has provided details of deworming programs that it could fund with additional funding of up to about $6.4 million in 2018 and 2019. Sightsavers appears to have limited prospects for funding these programs from other sources. We believe it is likely that Sightsavers could absorb funding beyond this amount to extend programs to 2020 and/or seek out additional opportunities to fund deworming programs. Of the $6.4 million, $2.8 million would be used to add deworming to existing NTD programs and $3.7 million would be used to fund NTD programs that would treat several NTDs in addition to schistosomiasis and STH. We will request that Sightsavers prioritize the first set of opportunities, because we believe they will likely be more cost-effective. Standout charities In addition to our top charities, we recognize standout charities—organizations that support programs that may be extremely cost-effective and are evidence-backed but for which we have less confidence in their impact than we do for our top charities. We have reviewed their work and feel these groups stand out from the vast majority of organizations we have considered in terms of the evidence base for the program they support, their transparency, and their potential cost-effectiveness. These organizations offer additional giving options for donors who feel highly aligned with their work. We’ve added one organization to the list this year: Evidence Action’s Dispensers for Safe Water. We don’t follow standout organizations as closely as we do our top charities. We generally have one or two calls per year with representatives from each group and publish notes on our conversations. We provide brief updates on these charities below. New addition to the standout list: Evidence Action’s Dispensers for Safe Water. The Dispensers for Safe Water program provides chlorine dispensers for decontamination of drinking water to prevent diarrhea and associated deaths of young children. We believe that there is strong evidence that chlorination is biochemically effective at inactivating most diarrhea-causing microorganisms, but weaker evidence on the causal relationship between water chlorination programs and reductions in under-5 diarrhea and death. Our rough cost-effectiveness analysis of Dispensers for Safe Water suggests that the program is in a similar range of cost-effectiveness as unconditional cash transfer programs. Our review of Dispensers for Safe Water is here. Organizations that have conducted randomized controlled trials of their programs: Development Media International (DMI). DMI produces radio and television programming in developing countries that encourages people to adopt improved health practices. It conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of its child survival media campaign in Burkina Faso and has been highly transparent, including sharing preliminary results with us. The results of its RCT were mixed, with a household survey not finding an effect on mortality (it was powered to detect a reduction of 15 percent or more) and data from health facilities finding an increase in facility visits. (The results have not yet been published.) We believe there is a possibility that DMI’s work is highly cost-effective, but we see no solid evidence that this is the case. DMI is conducting an RCT of its family planning radio campaign in Burkina Faso and it is planning work on early child development in Burkina Faso and child survival in Mozambique. It is our understanding that DMI will be constrained by funding in the next year. Our full review of DMI is here and notes from our most recent conversation with DMI are here. Living Goods. Living Goods recruits, trains, and manages a network of community health promoters who sell health and household goods door-to-door in Uganda and Kenya and provide basic health counseling. They sell products such as treatments for malaria and diarrhea, fortified foods, water filters, bednets, clean cookstoves, and solar lights. Living Goods completed a RCT of its program and measured a 27 percent reduction in child mortality. Our best guess is that Living Goods’ program is less cost-effective than our top charities, with the possible exception of GiveDirectly. It is conducting a second RCT of its program and results are expected in 2020. Living Goods recently expanded the number of family planning products it offers and is interested in expanding to a third country. Living Goods is scaling up its program and could scale up more quickly with additional funding. Our review of Living Goods is here and notes from our most recent conversation with Living Goods are here. Organizations working on micronutrient fortification: We believe that food fortification with certain micronutrients can be a highly effective intervention. For each of these organizations, we believe they may be making a significant difference in the reach and/or quality of micronutrient fortification programs but we have not yet been able to establish clear evidence of their impact. The limited analysis we have done suggests that these programs are likely not significantly more cost-effective than our top charities—if they were, we might put more time into this research or recommend a charity based on less evidence. Food Fortification Initiative (FFI). FFI works to reduce micronutrient deficiencies (especially folic acid and iron deficiencies) by doing advocacy and providing assistance to countries as they design and implement flour and rice fortification programs. We have not yet completed a full evidence review of iron and folic acid fortification, but our initial research suggests it may be competitively cost-effective with our other priority programs. Because FFI typically provides support alongside a number of other actors and its activities vary widely among countries, it is difficult to assess the impact of its work. FFI’s recent work includes advocating for legislation to mandate that rice imported to West Africa is fortified with vitamins and minerals. Our full review is here and notes from our most recent conversation are here. Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) – Universal Salt Iodization (USI) program. GAIN’s USI program supports national salt iodization programs. We have spent the most time attempting to understand GAIN’s impact in Ethiopia. Overall, we would guess that GAIN’s activities played a role in the increase in access to iodized salt in Ethiopia, but we do not yet have confidence about the extent of GAIN’s impact. GAIN has focused its recent USI work on Tanzania, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Kenya, which it targeted based on relatively low levels of coverage of iodized salt and strong relationships with stakeholders. It is our understanding that GAIN’s USI work will be constrained by funding in the next year. Our review of GAIN is here and notes from our most recent conversation are here. Iodine Global Network (IGN). Like GAIN-USI, IGN supports (via advocacy and technical assistance rather than implementation) salt iodization. IGN is small, and GiveWell-directed funding has made up a large part of its funding in recent years. It expects to have data from before and after its recent work in Madagascar, Lebanon, and possibly Israel by the end of 2018; this data may provide additional evidence of IGN’s impact. It is our understanding that IGN will be constrained by funding in the next year. Our review of IGN is here and notes from our most recent conversation here. Project Healthy Children (PHC)/Sanku. PHC/Sanku aims to reduce micronutrient deficiencies by providing assistance to small countries as they design and implement food fortification programs and by enabling fortification among small-scale millers. PHC is scaling up its Sanku project, which equips small millers with a machine that enables them to fortify their flour with micronutrients; we have not done as much formal analysis of Sanku as of PHC’s core work on advocacy and technical assistance to countries to implement fortification. PHC/Sanku expects to be constrained by funding in the future. Our review of PHC/Sanku is here and notes from our more recent conversation are here. Our research process in 2017 We plan to detail the work we completed this year in a future post as part of our annual review process. A major focus of 2017 was improving our recommendations in future years, in particular through our work on GiveWell Incubation Grants and prioritizing promising programs for further investigation. Below, we highlight the key research that led to our current charity recommendations. This page describes our overall process. Following existing top charities. We followed the progress and plans of each of our 2016 top charities. We had several conversations by phone with each organization, met in person at least once with each top charity (including a three-day visit to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the END Fund), and reviewed documents they shared with us. Identifying new top charities. No Lean Season. We had recommended a series of Incubation Grants to No Lean Season beginning in 2014 and have followed its progress since then. This year, due to the scale at which No Lean Season was operating and the track record it had established, we decided that the No Lean Season program was at a stage of development where we could evaluate it as a potential top charity. In addition to extensive communications with No Lean Season staff over the phone and reviewing documents they shared with us, GiveWell staff spent five days visiting the program in Bangladesh. Helen Keller International’s vitamin A supplementation program. Earlier this year, Research Analyst Chelsea Tabart began reaching out to organizations that might be a fit for our criteria, but with which we had limited or no previous contact with. As a result of that process, we reconnected with Helen Keller International (which we first considered as a potential top charity in 2007) and began to consider its vitamin A supplementation program as a potential top charity. In addition to extensive communications with HKI staff over the phone and reviewing documents they shared with us, GiveWell staff spent three days meeting with HKI staff in Guinea and observing a vitamin A supplementation program. Completing intervention reports on obstetric fistula surgery and measles vaccination campaigns; completing interim intervention reports on SMS reminders for vaccination, Sayana® Press (an injectable contraceptive), oral rehydration solution, antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS, eyeglass distributions, handwashing promotion and oral pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV; and expanding our interim intervention report on seasonal malaria chemoprevention to a full intervention report. Staying up to date on the research for malaria nets, cash transfers, and deworming. We did not find major new research on cash transfers, nets, or deworming that affected our recommendation of GiveDirectly, AMF, or the organizations we recommend for their work on deworming. David Roodman published an in-depth review (parts 1 and 2) of the deworming studies that form the primary basis of our views on the impact of deworming (though much of this work was completed in 2016 and informed our top charity recommendations last year). Making extensive updates to our cost-effectiveness model and publishing several updates to the model over the course of the year. We instituted a process to track and report publicly on updates to the model to reduce the possibility of errors and make our process more transparent. This year, staff members have also provided substantially more detail in our cost-effectiveness file about why they have chosen particular inputs. Giving to GiveWell vs. top charities GiveWell is currently in a stable financial position. We project that our revenue and our expenses will be approximately equal in the future. However, this projection forecasts some growth in the level of operating support we receive. In the long term, we seek to have a model where donors who find our research useful contribute to the costs of creating it, while holding us accountable to providing high-quality, easy-to-use recommendations. We retain our “excess assets policy” to ensure that if we fundraise for our own operations beyond a certain level, we will grant the excess to our recommended charities. We cap the amount of operating support we ask Good Ventures to provide to GiveWell at 20 percent, for reasons described here. We thus ask that donors who use GiveWell’s research consider the following: If you have supported GiveWell’s operations in the past, we ask that you maintain your support. Having a strong base of consistent support allows us to make valuable hires when opportunities arise and to minimize staff time spent on fundraising for our operating expenses. If you have not supported GiveWell’s operations in the past, we ask that you designate 10 percent of your donation to help fund GiveWell’s operations. This can be done by selecting the option to “Add 10% to help fund GiveWell’s operations” on our credit card donation form or letting us know how you would like to designate your funding when giving another way. We’re happy to answer questions in the comments below. Please also feel free to reach out directly with any questions. The post Our top charities for giving season 2017 appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

    The Give Well Blog / 15 d. 1 h. 54 min. ago more
  • Supporting and Elevating Talent Around the WorldSupporting and Elevating Talent Around the World

    Cisco Blog | Corporate Social Responsibility There is an oft-quoted line that says, “Talent is evenly distributed, opportunity is not.” This is something that became clear to me on a [...] The post Supporting and Elevating Talent Around the World appeared first on SocialEarth.

    Social Earth / 15 d. 2 h. 42 min. ago
  • Empowering Local Innovators to Solve Today’s Global Health ChallengesEmpowering Local Innovators to Solve Today’s Global Health Challenges

    A $3 birthing kit created by an entrepreneur in India. A mHealth tool that enables health workers to accurately and rapidly diagnose common illnesses in rural Liberia. A chain of primary health clinics in rural [...] The post Empowering Local Innovators to Solve Today’s Global Health Challenges appeared first on SocialEarth.

    Social Earth / 15 d. 3 h. 11 min. ago
  • 29 of the Most Gifted and Highly Recommended Books29 of the Most Gifted and Highly Recommended Books

    It started with a simple question: What book (or books) have you given away to people the most and why? The email was sent to an interesting subset of people I’ve interacted with over the past year — CEOs, entrepreneurs, best-selling authors, hedge fund managers, and more. While not everyone replied, and some of those that did preferred not to have attributions to them, I think you’ll find the resulting list contains a lot of gems. One book is over $400. (We ordered that one and will share what we learn.) *** “The way I give books away is basically I read a book I get excited about and then get it for like nine people over the next couple weeks and then move onto some other book I'm excited about and start pushing that on everyone. At the moment, I've been giving Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant's Option B to a lot of people. Reading it helped me understand what someone mourning a loss is going through better than I ever had before. So the first people I thought of were those I know currently in mourning, and I sent it to most of them. Then I sent it to some other people who are close with the people who are grieving, because it's also very useful (and fascinating) as a guide for how to support someone coping with a loss.” — Tim Urban, author of Wait But Why Kennedy and King by Levingston. “The reason I am giving it is because I don’t think most people have a good enough understanding of the civil rights movement and why Trump is so reviled by those who made that progress in the ‘60s.” — The source of this suggestion prefers to remain anonymous “I started giving books away after I met Mohnish Pabrai and I saw that he was doing it. First book I gave away was the Checklist Manifesto. Now I am constantly giving books away – my own, those of friends, and those that I think will be interesting. Sometimes I just give away my own, personal copy, and sometimes I give away a number that I buy in from the publisher. Other books (that I’ve given away) have included: Guns, Germs, and Steel, The Shipping Man, Dangerous Odds by Marissa Lankester, Sapiens, Homo Deus, Cialdini’s Pre-suasion, Peter Bevelin’s books (Seeking Wisdom, All I Want To Know Is Where I'm Going To Die So I'll Never Go There, A Few Lessons for Investors and Managers), Alice Shroeder’s biography of Buffett.” — Guy Spier, Aquamarine Capital Management “I make it a point to give everyone Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth by Nick Murray when they ask about my investing philosophy and my career. No single book has been more formative or more influential on how I give advice to others, and how I think about my own financial future.” — Downtown Josh Brown “Resilience by Eric Greitens. It’s a book I give someone whenever I find out they’re going through some type of adversity. In Resilience, former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens (and now governor of Missouri) shares a series of letters written between him and a SEAL buddy who was going through a rough time in his life with alcoholism, job loss, and PTSD. Greitens calls upon his background in philosophy to provide insights and advice for his struggling friend on how to develop resilience in the face of adversity and suffering. Greitens’ book is by far the best I’ve ever read on the subject. Every page has some nugget of wisdom on how you can become more resilient to big adversities, or just life’s mundane struggles. Along the way you’re treated to personal war stories from Greitens’ SEAL days, as well as excerpts from Thucydides, Aristotle, and Aquinas.” — Brett McKay, The Art of Manliness “Addiction by Design by Natasha Dow Schull. The book is a cutting look into the machine gambling industry and the nature of addiction. It paints a telling portrait of who gets addicted and the games designed to take advantage of them.” — Nir Eyal, author of Hooked “Chapters in My Life by Frederick Taylor Gates. Charlie Munger says that extreme outcomes – good and bad – often educate best. With useful detail, these memoirs recount the extreme good outcome of Gates, a Baptist minister with no business education or business experience, who came to be lauded by John D. Rockefeller as the greatest businessman he ever encountered, better than Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie.” — Peter Kaufman, CEO of Glenair and Editor of Poor Charlie’s Almanack (I realize this is a very expensive book, so I’ve ordered it and will share what I learn with you). “The Power Broker – a perfect book on the relentless nature of accruing power, and how it can be wielded without a large public persona. As a counter-weight – Jane Jacobs' biography. One of the few people to defeat Bob Moses, AND she came to Toronto, AND the godmother of advocating for urban planning in a dense manner. Deep Work + So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal hit's the nail on the head – it's not about passion, it's about solving problems. Biographies – Arnold, Steve Martin, George Carlin – honest insight on how people succeeded, self-awareness, and more. Dumas' Three Musketeers and Count of Monte Cristo. Just great fiction, and too many entrepreneurs don't take the time to appreciate that. Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur by Sivers – just no-nonsense entrepreneur advice. No platitudes, not aspirational/inspirational – just the hard info.” — Sol Orwell, SJO.com “I love gifting The Specialist, a tiny little book written in the ‘30s by Chic Sale. It’s about a fictional carpenter called Lem Putt, who builds crappers. But these outhouses are the most considered, the most empathetic constructions you can imagine. He’ll suggest techniques like locating the outhouse past the wood pile, so when folks are going out to use the bathroom, they can come back with wood in their hands, rather than making it obvious they've just been doing their business. When you see how much thought and craft can go into building a bogger, you understand how much better we can all be at our chosen craft. Oh, and because it has been around forever, it's fun gifting old school second hand versions, that feel like they've already inspired other folks to elevate their craft. I hope it makes the recipient feel more like they're receiving ancient wisdom that has already served others well.” — Andy Fallshaw, CEO of Bellroy “The Dream Machine by Mitchell Waldrop.” — Patrick Collison, CEO of Stripe “Frederick Lewis Allen's book The Big Change. It explains technology and social change better than any book I've come across. There are so many small lessons about how America works — culturally and economically — that I've never seen articulated elsewhere. “ — Morgan Housel, Partner at the Collaborative Fund “I like to give The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Balthasar Gracián and The Waste Books by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg. Both are collections of aphorisms and notes around similar themes: how to live, how to grow and improve as a person, what success means, and how to understand and work with people as they are – not as we wish they would be. They are also quite witty, making them a joy to read. Gracián was a 17th-century Jesuit priest and administrator, and Lichtenberg was an 18th-century scientist and academic. Neither author is fond of the many failings of human behavior (many of which we’d categorize today as cognitive biases), and they don’t pull their punches. The aphoristic style also makes these books wonderful for repeated browsing. I’ve read them both many times, and every other page is dog-eared to mark a particularly insightful section. Time with either of these books is time well-invested.” — Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA “I run a small team of about 10 remote employees, and we have had to reinvent ourselves completely more than a few times in the decade Nerd Fitness has been in business. For that reason, I've given “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson to everybody on Team Nerd Fitness – it's a fast, fun, thought-provoking parable that has helped us pivot faster, embrace change, and seek out challenges rather than shy away from them. When it comes to peers and friends, I've gifted Ryan Holiday's “Ego is the Enemy” more times than I can count (along with reading it multiple times myself) – it's a great reminder that we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to growth and success.” — Steve Kamb, author of Level Up Your Life --Sponsored by: Royce & Associates – Small Cap Specialists with Unparalleled Knowledge and Experience..

    Farnam Street / 15 d. 7 h. 6 min. ago more
  • Most Common Winter Sports Injuries & How to Prevent ThemMost Common Winter Sports Injuries & How to Prevent Them

    It’s getting to be that time of year again when winter sports are taking off. People are trying skiing and snowboarding for the first time. Experienced winter sports enthusiasts are excited to catch the first snowfall of the season. But take caution, because with the slippery slopes aren’t very forgiving when it comes to shoulder, knee, and wrist injuries. Biddulph, Hunstman and Dalling Orthopedic Surgery in Idaho Falls has some great tips for preventing common winter sports injuries during this snowy season. The post Most Common Winter Sports Injuries & How to Prevent Them appeared first on Good Home & Health.

    Good Home & Health / 19 d. 20 h. 23 min. ago more
  • BD, Direct Relief and the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics Announce Winners of the Innovation and Continuity in CareBD, Direct Relief and the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics Announce Winners of the Innovation and Continuity in Care

    Direct Relief Direct Relief - Alexandria, VA, Nov. 22, 2017 — Direct Relief and BD have partnered with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC) […] BD, Direct Relief and the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics Announce Winners of the Innovation and Continuity in Care Direct Relief

    Direct Relief / 19 d. 23 h. 47 min. ago
  • Mission Moment Monday’s in 2018 – Grab Your SpotMission Moment Monday’s in 2018 – Grab Your Spot

    Click here to view the replay Did you miss the storytelling web class? Nearly 800 registered! Wow! We had an amazing turn-out… but I understand how sometimes life intervenes and you can’t attend live. I shared some best practice reminders, some new “hot off the press” fundraising data, plus: 1. The 3 things YOUR stories are likely NOT doing. Yet. 2. Why to pay attention to both the emotional and rational part of our brain. 3. The story of receiving a $150k contribution after only sharing stories, not asking for a gift. 4. Lori’s 7 Rules for Storytelling. During the web class I announced the launch of Mission Moment Monday’s starting in January 2018. Every Monday in 2018 my Fire Starters blog will feature one nonprofit professional receiving coaching on their story. I want to provide LIVE coaching for one of YOUR stories! View the replay or visit this page to learn how. For those who attended, I promised a few links to blog posts and resources that will answer some of your questions. I’m sure those who catch the replay will also find these helpful. Q: We are saving an 1888 depot. What stories might we find that are impactful to potential donors? A: 3 Steps to Gather Stories When You Don’t Have Cute Kids, Puppies, or People You Serve Q: So if you’re not saying “Please Give” at the end of the story, how are you doing the call to action? A: Blah Blah Blah vs. Inspiring Language Q: What are some 6-word stories? A: You Can Say A Lot With Only Six Words Q: Where can I find the latest giving statistics? A: 2017 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report Thank you for the important work you do! The post Mission Moment Monday’s in 2018 – Grab Your Spot appeared first on Ignited Fundraising.

    Ignited Fundraising / 20 d. 15 h. 27 min. ago more
  • Meeting the Needs of Teens with My.FutureMeeting the Needs of Teens with My.Future

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    MovingWorlds Blog / 21 d. 6 h. 54 min. ago
  • The Code of Hammurabi: The Best Rule To Manage RiskThe Code of Hammurabi: The Best Rule To Manage Risk

    Almost 4,000 years ago, King Hammurabi of Babylon, Mesopotamia, laid out one of the first sets of laws. Hammurabi’s Code is among the oldest translatable writings. It consists of 282 laws, most concerning punishment. Each law takes into account the perpetrator’s status. The code also includes the earliest known construction laws, designed to align the incentives of builder and occupant to ensure that builders created safe homes: If a builder builds a house for a man and does not make its construction firm, and the house which he has built collapses and causes the death of the owner of the house, that builder shall be put to death. If it causes the death of the son of the owner of the house, they shall put to death a son of that builder. If it causes the death of a slave of the owner of the house, he shall give to the owner of the house a slave of equal value. If it destroys property, he shall restore whatever it destroyed, and because he did not make the house which he builds firm and it collapsed, he shall rebuild the house which collapsed at his own expense. If a builder builds a house for a man and does not make its construction meet the requirements and a wall falls in, that builder shall strengthen the wall at his own expense. Hammurabi became ruler of Babylon in 1792 BC and held the position for 43 years. In the era of city-states, Hammurabi grew his modest kingdom (somewhere between 60 and 160 square kilometers) by conquering several neighboring states. Satisfied, then, with the size of the area he controlled, Hammurabi settled down to rule his people. “This world of ours appears to be separated by a slight and precarious margin of safety from a most singular and unexpected danger.”— Arthur Conan Doyle Hammurabi was a fair leader and concerned with the well-being of his people. He transformed the area, ordering the construction of irrigation ditches to improve agricultural productivity, as well as supplying cities with protective walls and fortresses. Hammurabi also renovated temples and religious sites. By today’s standards, Hammurabi was a dictator. Far from abusing his power, however, he considered himself the “shepherd” of his people. Although the Babylonians kept slaves, they too had rights. Slaves could marry other people of any status, start businesses, and purchase their freedom, and they were protected from mistreatment. At first glance, it might seem as if we have little to learn from Hammurabi. I mean, why bother learning about the ancient Babylonians? They were just barbaric farmers, right? It seems we’re not as different as it appears. Our modern beliefs are not separate from those of people in Hammurabi’s time; they are a continuation of them. Early legal codes are the ancestors of the ones we now put our faith in. Whether a country is a dictatorship or democracy, one of the keys to any effective legal system is the ability for anyone to understand its laws. We’re showing cracks in ours and we can learn from the simplicity of Hammurabi’s Code, which concerned itself with practical justice and not lofty principles. To even call it a set of laws is misleading. The ancient Babylonians did not appear to have an equivalent term. Three important concepts are implicit in Hammurabi’s Code: reciprocity, accountability, and incentives. We have no figures for how often Babylonian houses fell down before and after the implementation of the Code. We have no idea how many (if any) people were put to death as a result of failing to adhere to Hammurabi’s construction laws. But we do know that human self-preservation instincts are strong. More than strong, they underlie most of our behavior. Wanting to avoid death is the most powerful incentive we have. If we assume that people felt and thought the same way 4000 years ago, we can guess at the impact of the Code. Imagine yourself as a Babylonian builder. Each time you construct a house, there is a risk it will collapse if you make any mistakes. So, what do you do? You allow for the widest possible margin of safety. You plan for any potential risks. You don’t cut corners or try to save a little bit of money. No matter what, you are not going to allow any known flaws in the construction. It wouldn’t be worth it. You want to walk away certain that the house is solid. Now contrast that with modern engineers or builders. They don’t have much skin in the game. The worst they face if they cause a death is a fine. We saw this in Hurricane Katrina —1600 people died due to flooding caused in part by the poor design of hurricane protection systems in New Orleans. Hindsight analysis showed that the city’s floodwalls, levees, pumps, and gates were ill designed and maintained. The death toll was worse than it would otherwise have been. And yet, no one was held accountable. Hurricane Katrina is regarded as a disaster that was part natural and part man-made. In recent months, in the Grenfell Tower fire in London, we saw the effects of negligent construction. At least 80 people died in a blaze that is believed to have started accidentally but that, according to expert analysis, was accelerated by the conscious use of cheap building materials that had failed safety tests. The portions of Hammurabi’s Code that deal with construction laws, as brutal as they are (and as uncertain as we are of their short-term effects) illustrate an important concept: margins of safety. When we construct a system, ensuring that it can handle the expected pressures is insufficient. A Babylonian builder would not have been content to make a house that was strong enough to handle just the anticipated stressors. A single Black Swan event — such as abnormal weather — could cause its collapse and in turn the builder’s own death, so builders had to allow for a generous margin of safety. The larger the better. In 59 mph winds, we do not want to be in a house built to withstand 60 mph winds. But our current financial systems do not incentivize people to create wide margins of safety. Instead, they do the opposite — they encourage dangerous risk-taking. Nassim Taleb referred to Hammurabi’s Code in a New York Times opinion piece in which he described a way to prevent bankers from threatening the public well-being. His solution? Stop offering bonuses for the risky behavior of people who will not be the ones paying the price if the outcome is bad. Taleb wrote: …it’s time for a fundamental reform: Any person who works for a company that, regardless of its current financial health, would require a taxpayer-financed bailout if it failed should not get a bonus, ever. In fact, all pay at systemically important financial institutions — big banks, but also some insurance companies and even huge hedge funds — should be strictly regulated. The issue, in Taleb’s opinion, is not the usual complaint of income inequality or overpay. Instead, he views bonuses as asymmetric incentives. They reward risks but do not punish the subsequent mistakes that cause “hidden risks to accumulate in the financial system and become a catalyst for disaster.” It’s a case of “heads, I win; tails, you lose.” Bonuses encourage bankers to ignore the potential for Black Swan events, with the 2008 financial crisis being a prime (or rather, subprime) example. Rather than ignoring these events, banks should seek to minimize the harm caused. Some career fields have a strict system of incentives and disincentives, both official and unofficial. Doctors get promotions and respect if they do their jobs well, and risk heavy penalties for medical malpractice. With the exception of experiments in which patients are fully informed of and consent to the risks, doctors don’t get a free pass for taking risks that cause harm to patients. The same goes for military and security personnel. As Taleb wrote, “we trust the military and homeland security personnel with our lives, yet we don’t give them lavish bonuses. They get promotions and the honor of a job well done if they succeed, and the severe disincentive of shame if they fail.” Hammurabi and his advisors were unconcerned with complex laws and legalese. Instead, they wanted the Code to produce results and to be understandable by everyone. And Hammurabi understood how incentives work — a lesson we’d be well served to learn. When you align incentives of everyone in both positive and negative ways, you create a system that takes care of itself. Taleb describes Law 229 of Hammurabi’s Code as “the best risk-management rule ever.” Although barbaric to modern eyes, it took into account certain truisms. Builders typically know more about construction than their clients do and can take shortcuts in ways that aren’t obvious. After completing construction, a builder can walk away with a little extra profit, while the hapless client is unknowingly left with an unsafe house. The little extra profit that builders can generate is analogous to the bonus system in some of today’s industries. It rewards those who take unwise risks, trick their customers, and harm other people for their own benefit. Hammurabi’s system had the opposite effect; it united the interests of the person getting paid and the person paying. Rather than the builder being motivated to earn as much profit as possible and the homeowner being motivated to get a safe house, they both shared the latter goal. The Code illustrates the efficacy of using self-preservation as an incentive. We feel safer in airplanes that are flown by a person and not by a machine because, in part, we believe that pilots want to protect their own lives along with ours. When we lack an incentive to protect ourselves, we are far more likely to risk the safety of other people. This is why bankers are willing to harm their customers if it means the bankers get substantial bonuses. And why male doctors prescribed contraceptive pills to millions of female patients in the 1960s, without informing them of the risks (which were high at the time). This is why companies that market harmful products, such as fast food and tobacco, are content to play down the risks. Or why the British initiative to reduce the population of Indian cobras by compensating those who caught the snakes had the opposite effect. Or why Wells Fargo employees opened millions of fake accounts to reach sales targets. Incentives backfire when there are no negative consequences for those who exploit them. External incentives are based on extrinsic motivation, which easily goes awry. When we have real skin in the game—when we have upsides and downsides—we care about outcomes in a way that we wouldn’t otherwise. We act in a different way. We take our time. We use second-order thinking and inversion. We look for evidence or a way to disprove it. Four thousand years ago, the Babylonians understood the power of incentives, yet we seem to have since forgotten about the flaws in human nature that make it difficult to resist temptation. --Sponsored by: Royce & Associates – Small Cap Specialists with Unparalleled Knowledge and Experience..

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  • With All Due DISrespect … Clean Up Your ActWith All Due DISrespect … Clean Up Your Act

    Did you ever walk through a city and see cigarette butts glowing on the pavement, half-empty soda bottles littering the sidewalk, and garbage blowing in the air? The sight is hideous, and the stench is nauseating. It’s an invitation for rodents and disease. The crazy thing is, there’s a garbage can on almost every street corner eager to accept “donations.” But, for whatever reason, some people throw their trash on the ground rather than walk a few feet to dispose of it. For those of you thinking, “You’re really blowing this out of proportion,” consider this recent headline: According to the Wall Street Journal, “NYC Rats Are Boldly Jumping in Strollers.” As a result, New York City is investing over 32 million dollars to battle their rat infestation problem. BUT, this piece isn’t about garbage or littering. Everyone knows it’s wrong to litter. It doesn’t take much effort to throw out your garbage. The real reason people litter can be summed up in one word…disrespect. Disrespect Is Becoming an Epidemic Some people disrespect authority and their elders, as well as other people’s opinions and beliefs. Other folks disrespect a lifestyle, personal property, our nation’s laws, and even our country itself. And all the while, we’re complicit in their dreadful behavior because we watch idly as they commit these appalling offenses. Why is this taking place? you ask. Some folks are disrespectful because they simply don’t know better — they never learned the difference between right and wrong. Others are disrespectful to attract attention, make a statement, or just to look cool. There are some who believe that if their cause is just, the end always justifies the means. That’s garbage! The truth is, we are becoming a rude and uncivil society because we are condoning this kind of behavior. And, when it becomes the norm, don’t be surprised that you have garbage-laden cities, uncivil discourse, and widespread intolerance — also known as a crisis of moral character. Show Some Respect When you show respect, you’re implying that you value someone for their ideas, values, views, and feelings. On the other hand, when you disrespect someone, you’re attempting to diminish their worth as a person. Some people disrespect others because they view themselves as more intelligent, noble, or morally superior. The truth is, it doesn’t matter why you’re disrespectful — disrespecting someone says less about them and more about you — and your moral character. It’s time to raise the bar. If we want to live in a caring, understanding, and tolerant society, it’s time to lead by example. People who show respect for others often gain respect in return. The converse is also true. Furthermore, one of the best ways to build self-respect is by treating others with respect. What do your words and actions say about you? And what message are you sending to others? Follow your conscience. Sleep well. Why Do You Think People Are Disrespcetful? Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information. Additional Reading: Reputation: You Can’t Run from Your Shadow Moral Character Matters Are Role Models Becoming Extinct? Mind Your Manners If you like this article, subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss a single post. Get future posts by RSS feed, email or Facebook. It’s FREE. The post With All Due DISrespect … Clean Up Your Act appeared first on Frank Sonnenberg Online.

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  • 5 Cool Ways to Thank & Inspire Contributions for #GivingDays5 Cool Ways to Thank & Inspire Contributions for #GivingDays

    Whether you participate in #GivingTuesday, #GTMD2017, #GiveOutDay, or one of the many #GivingDays  throughout the year, making the giving experience fun is key. I’ve got a few favorites that have stood out over the past few years. Be sure to share yours in the comments. 5 cool ways to thank and inspire more gifts throughout #givingdays 1. Identify a handful of key donors and do a drop in thanking mob! The fun folks at College Possible chose to visit donor Lars Leafblad. They thanked him for his gift and both Lars and the organization posted the photo on social media. The key: Lars happens to be one of the most socially connected people I know. So, of course I saw the post on his Facebook page, as did hundreds of others. Who knows how much more giving the fun post inspired?! 2. Use fun count-down reminders! You don’t have to be a theater to have fun with your social media posts that create a sense of urgency. Image source: GiveMN 3. Create an #unselfie campaign Use this on social media. This gets your community involved by having them send in or post with your #hashtag their selfie shots about why they support YOU! 4. Record a fun thank you video Like this one from Mu Performing Arts that pops up when the online contribution transaction is complete. 5. Create personalized thank you videos that knock-the-socks-off a few key supporters! Students Today Leaders Forever sent me a video just 15 minutes after the 24-hour giving day ended and it still makes me smile. . . year’s later. Tactics used to increase giving from $10,600 to $78,000! Get the entire team involved Keep it fun Infuse your mission into the process Countdown war board Clear action steps Frequent updates A thank you call made to all donors within 4 minutes of each online contribution COMMUNICATION – listen at 4:32! You won’t believe what a donor did. Head over to the Free Resources section to Download a Sample Timeline for New Donor Retention and make sure you keep those new donors engaged all year! The post 5 Cool Ways to Thank & Inspire Contributions for #GivingDays appeared first on Ignited Fundraising.

    Ignited Fundraising / 27 d. 15 h. 27 min. ago more
  • The Generalized Specialist: How Shakespeare, Da Vinci, and Kepler ExcelledThe Generalized Specialist: How Shakespeare, Da Vinci, and Kepler Excelled

    “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Do you ever ask kids this question? Did adults ask you this when you were a kid? Even if you managed to escape this question until high school, then by the time you got there, you were probably expected to be able to answer this question, if only to be able to choose a college and a major. Maybe you took aptitude tests, along with the standard academic tests, in high school. This is when the pressure to go down a path to a job commences. Increasingly, the education system seems to want to reduce the time it takes for us to become productive members of the work force, so instead of exploring more options, we are encouraged to start narrowing them. Any field you go into, from finance to engineering, requires some degree of specialization. Once you land a job, the process of specialization only amplifies. You become a specialist in certain aspects of the organization you work for. Then something happens. Maybe your specialty is no longer needed or gets replaced by technology. Or perhaps you get promoted. As you go up the ranks of the organization, your specialty becomes less and less important, and yet the tendency is to hold on to it longer and longer. If it’s the only subject or skill you know better than anything else, you tend to see it everywhere. Even where it doesn’t exist. Every problem is a nail and you just happen to have a hammer. Only this approach doesn’t work. Because you have no idea of the big ideas, you start making decisions that don’t take into account how the world really works. These decisions ripple outward, and you have to spend time correcting your mistakes. If you’re not careful about self-reflection, you won’t learn, and you’ll make one version of the same mistakes over and over. Should we become specialists or polymaths? Is there a balance we should pursue? There is no single answer. The decision is personal. And most of the time we fail to see the life-changing implications of it. Whether we’re conscious of this or not, it’s also a decision we have to make and re-make over and over again. Every day, we have to decide where to invest our time — do we become better at what we do or learn something new? If you can’t adapt, changes become threats instead of opportunities. There is another way to think about this question, though. Around 2700 years ago, the Greek poet Archilochus wrote: “the fox knows many things; the hedgehog one big thing.” In the 1950s, philosopher Isaiah Berlin used that sentence as the basis of his essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox.” In it, Berlin divides great thinkers into two categories: hedgehogs, who have one perspective on the world, and foxes, who have many different viewpoints. Although Berlin later claimed the essay was not intended to be serious, it has become a foundational part of thinking about the distinction between specialists and generalists. Berlin wrote that “…there exists a great chasm between those, on one side, who relate everything to a single central vision, one system … in terms of which they understand, think and feel … and, on the other hand, those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way.” A generalist is a person who is a competent jack of all trades, with lots of divergent useful skills and capabilities. This is the handyman who can fix your boiler, unblock the drains, replace a door hinge, or paint a room. The general practitioner doctor whom you see for any minor health problem (and who refers you to a specialist for anything major). The psychologist who works with the media, publishes research papers, and teaches about a broad topic. A specialist is someone with distinct knowledge and skills related to a single area. This is the cardiologist who spends their career treating and understanding heart conditions. The scientist who publishes and teaches about a specific protein for decades. The developer who works with a particular program. In his original essay, Berlin writes that specialists “lead lives, perform acts and entertain ideas that are centrifugal rather than centripetal; their thought is scattered or diffused, moving on many levels, seizing upon the essence of a vast variety of experiences and objects … seeking to fit them into, or exclude them from, any one unchanging, all embracing … unitary inner vision.” The generalist and the specialist are on the same continuum; there are degrees of specialization in a subject. There’s a difference between someone who specializes in teaching history and someone who specializes in teaching the history of the American Civil war, for example. Likewise, there is a spectrum for how generalized or specialized a certain skill is. Some skills — like the ability to focus, to read critically, or to make rational decisions — are of universal value. Others are a little more specialized but can be used in many different careers. Examples of these skills would be design, project management, and fluency in a foreign language. The distinction between generalization and specialization comes from biology. Species are referred to as either generalists or specialists, as with the hedgehog and the fox. A generalist species can live in a range of environments, utilizing whatever resources are available. Often, these critters eat an omnivorous diet. Raccoons, mice, and cockroaches are generalists. They live all over the world and can eat almost anything. If a city is built in their habitat, then no problem; they can adapt. A specialist species needs particular conditions to survive. In some cases, they are able to live only in a discrete area or eat a single food. Pandas are specialists, needing a diet of bamboo to survive. Specialist species can thrive if the conditions are correct. Otherwise, they are vulnerable to extinction. A specialist who is outside of their circle of competence and doesn’t know it is incredibly dangerous. The distinction between generalist and specialist species is useful as a point of comparison. Generalist animals (including humans) can be less efficient, yet they are less fragile amidst change. If you can’t adapt, changes become threats instead of opportunities. While it’s not very glamorous to take career advice from a raccoon or a panda, we can learn something from them about the dilemmas we face. Do we want to be like a raccoon, able to survive anywhere, although never maximizing our potential in a single area? Or like a panda, unstoppable in the right context, but struggling in an inappropriate one? Costs and Benefits Generalists have the advantage of interdisciplinary knowledge, which fosters creativity and a firmer understanding of how the world works. They have a better overall perspective and can generally perform second-order thinking in a wider range of situations than the specialist can. Generalists often possess transferable skills, allowing them to be flexible with their career choices and adapt to a changing world. They can do a different type of work and adapt to changes in the workplace. Gatekeepers tend to cause fewer problems for generalists than for specialists. Managers and leaders are often generalists because they need a comprehensive perspective of their entire organization. And an increasing number of companies are choosing to have a core group of generalists on staff, and hire freelance specialists only when necessary. The métiers at the lowest risk of automation in the future tend to be those which require a diverse, nuanced skill set. Construction vehicle operators, blue collar workers, therapists, dentists, and teachers included. When their particular skills are in demand, specialists experience substantial upsides. The scarcity of their expertise means higher salaries, less competition, and more leverage. Nurses, doctors, programmers, and electricians are currently in high demand where I live, for instance. Specialists get to be passionate about what they do — not in the usual “follow your passion!” way, but in the sense that they can go deep and derive the satisfaction that comes from expertise. Garrett Hardin offers his perspective on the value of specialists:  …we cannot do without experts. We accept this fact of life, but not without anxiety. There is much truth in the definition of the specialist as someone who “knows more and more about less and less.” But there is another side to the coin of expertise. A really great idea in science often has its birth as apparently no more than a particular answer to a narrow question; it is only later that it turns out that the ramifications of the answer reach out into the most surprising corners. What begins as knowledge about very little turns out to be wisdom about a great deal. Hardin cites the development of probability theory as an example. When Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat sought to devise a means of dividing the stakes in an interrupted gambling game, their expertise created a theory with universal value. The same goes for many mental models and unifying theories. Specialists come up with them, and generalists make use of them in surprising ways. The downside is that specialists are vulnerable to change. Many specialist jobs are disappearing as technology changes. Stockbrokers, for example, face the possibility of replacement by AI in coming years. That doesn’t mean no one will hold those jobs, but demand will decrease. Many people will need to learn new work skills, and starting over in a new field will put them back decades. That’s a serious knock, both psychologically and financially. Specialists are also subject to “‘man with a hammer” syndrome. Their area of expertise can become the lens they see everything through. As Michael Mauboussin writes in Think Twice: …people stuck in old habits of thinking are failing to use new means to gain insight into the problems they face. Knowing when to look beyond experts requires a totally fresh point of view and one that does not come naturally. To be sure, the future for experts is not all bleak. Experts retain an advantage in some crucial areas. The challenge is to know when and how to use them. Understanding and staying within their circle of competence is even more important for specialists. A specialist who is outside of their circle of competence and doesn’t know it is incredibly dangerous. Philip Tetlock performed an 18-year study to look at the quality of expert predictions. Could people who are considered specialists in a particular area forecast the future with greater accuracy than a generalist? Tetlock tracked 284 experts from a range of disciplines, recording the outcomes of 28,000 predictions. The results were stark: predictions coming from generalist thinkers were more accurate. Experts who stuck to their specialized areas and ignored interdisciplinary knowledge faired worse. The specialists tended to be more confident in their erroneous predictions than the generalists. The specialists made definite assertions — which we know from probability theory to be a bad idea. It seems that generalists have an edge when it comes to Bayesian updating, recognizing probability distributions, and long-termism. Organizations, industries, and the economy need both generalists and specialists. And when we lack the right balance, it creates problems. Millions of jobs remain unfilled, while millions of people lack employment. Many of the empty positions require specialized skills. Many of the unemployed have skills which are too general to fill those roles. We need a middle ground. The Generalized Specialist The economist, philosopher, and writer Henry Hazlitt sums up the dilemma: In the modern world knowledge has been growing so fast and so enormously, in almost every field, that the probabilities are immensely against anybody, no matter how innately clever, being able to make a contribution in any one field unless he devotes all his time to it for years. If he tries to be the Rounded Universal Man, like Leonardo da Vinci, or to take all knowledge for his province, like Francis Bacon, he is most likely to become a mere dilettante and dabbler. But if he becomes too specialized, he is apt to become narrow and lopsided, ignorant on every subject but his own, and perhaps dull and sterile even on that because he lacks perspective and vision and has missed the cross-fertilization of ideas that can come from knowing something of other subjects. What’s the safest option, the middle ground? By many accounts, it’s being a specialist in one area, while retaining a few general iterative skills. That might sound like it goes against the idea of specialists and generalists being mutually exclusive, but it doesn’t. A generalizing specialist has a core competency which they know a lot about. At the same time, they are always learning and have a working knowledge of other areas. While a generalist has roughly the same knowledge of multiple areas, a generalizing specialist has one deep area of expertise and a few shallow ones. We have the option of developing a core competency while building a base of interdisciplinary knowledge. “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”— Archilochus As Tetlock’s research shows, for us to understand how the world works, it’s not enough to home in on one tiny area for decades. We need to pull ideas from everywhere, remaining open to having our minds changed, always looking for disconfirming evidence. Joseph Tussman put it this way: “If we do not let the world teach us, it teaches us a lesson.” Many great thinkers are (or were) generalizing specialists. Shakespeare specialized in writing plays, but his experiences as an actor, poet, and part owner of a theater company informed what he wrote. So did his knowledge of Latin, agriculture, and politics. Indeed, the earliest known reference to his work comes from a critic who accused him of being “an absolute Johannes factotum” (jack of all trades). Leonardo Da Vinci was an infamous generalizing specialist. As well as the art he is best known for, Da Vinci dabbled in engineering, music, literature, mathematics, botany, and history. These areas informed his art — note, for example, the rigorous application of botany and mathematics in his paintings. Some scholars consider Da Vinci to be the first person to combine interdisciplinary knowledge in this way or to recognize that a person can branch out beyond their defining trade. Johannes Kepler revolutionized our knowledge of planetary motion by combining physics and optics with his main focus, astronomy. Military strategist John Boyd designed aircraft and developed new tactics, using insights from divergent areas he studied, including thermodynamics and psychology. He could think in a different manner from his peers, who remained immersed in military knowledge for their entire careers. Shakespeare, Da Vinci, Kepler, and Boyd excelled by branching out from their core competencies. These men knew how to learn fast, picking up the key ideas and then returning to their specialties. Unlike their forgotten peers, they didn’t continue studying one area past the point of diminishing returns; they got back to work — and the results were extraordinary. Many people seem to do work which is unrelated to their area of study or their prior roles. But dig a little deeper and it’s often the case that knowledge from the past informs their present. Marcel Proust put it best: “the real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.” Interdisciplinary knowledge is what allows us to see with new eyes. When Charlie Munger was asked whether to become a polymath or a specialist at the 2017 shareholders meeting for the Daily Journal, his answer surprised a lot of people. Many expected the answer to be obvious. Of course, he would recommend that people become generalists. Only this is not what he said. Munger remarked: I don’t think operating over many disciplines, as I do, is a good idea for most people. I think it’s fun, that’s why I’ve done it. And I’m better at it than most people would be, and I don’t think I’m good at being the very best at handling differential equations. So, it’s been a wonderful path for me, but I think the correct path for everybody else is to specialize and get very good at something that society rewards, and then to get very efficient at doing it. But even if you do that, I think you should spend 10 to 20% of your time [on] trying to know all the big ideas in all the other disciplines. Otherwise … you’re like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. It’s not going to work very well. You have to know the big ideas in all the disciplines to be safe if you have a life lived outside a cave. But no, I think you don’t want to neglect your business as a dentist to think great thoughts about Proust. In his comments, we can find the underlying approach most likely to yield exponential results: Specialize most of the time, but spend time understanding the broader ideas of the world. This approach isn’t what most organizations and educational institutions provide. Branching out isn’t in many job descriptions or in many curricula. It’s a project we have to undertake ourselves, by reading a wide range of books, experimenting with different areas, and drawing ideas from each one. Still curious? Check out the biographies of Leonardo da Vinci and Ben Fraklin.  — Comment on Facebook | Discuss on Twitter | Save to Pocket --Sponsored by: Royce & Associates – Small Cap Specialists with Unparalleled Knowledge and Experience..

    Farnam Street / 28 d. 9 h. 28 min. ago more
  • Make Good ChoicesMake Good Choices

    “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s an age-old question that you’re asked early in life. What some fail to realize is how much power you have in determining your future and in making your dreams a reality. The fact is, everything you do, the achievements you realize, and the person you become can all be traced back to one thing…choice. Make your choices carefully — for they will become your destiny. Not All Choices Are Created Equal Next time you forget that you’re the captain of your ship, think about the choices that you make every day and the impact they have on your life. For example, do you: Surround yourself with positive role models or negative influencers? Satisfy your needs or try to please everyone else? Set high expectations or settle for mediocrity? Keep your promises or break your commitments? Crave instant gratification or invest in your future? Grumble about things or work to make them better? Live in the present or relive the past? Listen to your conscience or fall victim to temptation? Forgive and forget or harbor anger? Accept personal responsibility or make excuses? It’s your choice: what to think, how to spend your time, who to be. The Choice Is Yours Making a choice requires more than selecting between option A or option B. Here are seven factors to consider: You determine your fate. Some people let things happen; others make things happen. The choice is yours. Choices are tradeoffs. By definition, a choice is an either-or decision. As such, every time you choose one direction, you’re also choosing not to take an alternate path. In other words, saying “no” to one idea enables you to say “yes” to another. Choices are influenced by your attitude. Your view of the world can significantly impact the choices that you make. The fact is, we are blinded by filters that distort our thinking process. Be aware of these filters and the impact they have on your decision making. Choices are not equal. Do you put first things first or treat everything as a priority? If you treat everything on your plate equally, you won’t have adequate time or resources to address the important things. Choices don’t have an expiration date. Choices are easy. The tough part is living with them. While some of your decisions have short-term consequences, others will shadow you for life. That’s why it’s important to achieve balance between your short-term desires and your long-term goals. Choices have consequences. Some days you’ll make good choices; other times you won’t. That’s life. It’s important to accept responsibility for your decisions rather than shifting the blame to others. Accepting responsibility will instill humility, boost self-reliance, and emphasize the importance of making good choices. Not to decide is to decide. If you don’t take the bull by the horns, the decision will be made for you. Your choice. Your Life Is Determined by the Sum of the Choices That YOU Make The future you get depends on the choices you make. Period. No one’s going to force you to go to the gym, invest in your personal growth, or save for retirement. Additionally, you can choose to be an honest person, surround yourself with positive role models, and live a healthy lifestyle. Or you can choose an alternative path. The upshot is, you are bound by the consequences of your choices. It’s your life; own it. One of the choices that you make each day is determining how to spend your time. The truth is, we all have 24 hours each day. Do you spend your time on things that matter most to you, or do you squander it and lack enough time in the day? The fact is, you begin each morning with a blank canvas. It’s your life. You choose what you make of it. Get the picture? Do You Make Good Choices? Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information. Additional Reading: Dilemma: Have To vs. Want To Great Things Start with Great Expectations How Do You See the World Around You? Living Your Life With a Purpose If you like this article, subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss a single post. Get future posts by RSS feed, email or Facebook. It’s FREE. The post Make Good Choices appeared first on Frank Sonnenberg Online.

    Frank Sonnenberg Online / 28 d. 10 h. 26 min. ago more
  • MovingWorlds Institute Snapshot: How this Filmmaker Used His Creativity to Promote Tanzanian Social Enterprises #GlobalFellowsMovingWorlds Institute Snapshot: How this Filmmaker Used His Creativity to Promote Tanzanian Social Enterprises #GlobalFellows

    A few years ago, Tommy Yacoe was perfecting his craft as a professional storyteller, traveling the globe and framing the world through the lens of his video camera. Though he loved his creative and nomadic lifestyle, he wanted to focus on the stories that made

    MovingWorlds Blog / 29 d. 1 h. 22 min. ago
  • Hundreds Dead After Earthquake Rocks Communities in Iran, IraqHundreds Dead After Earthquake Rocks Communities in Iran, Iraq

    Direct Relief Direct Relief - More than 400 people are dead and thousands injured after a magnitude 7.3 earthquake reverberated from its epicenter in Ezgeleh, Iran, near […] Hundreds Dead After Earthquake Rocks Communities in Iran, Iraq Lara Cooper

    Direct Relief / 29 d. 3 h. 36 min. ago
  • Five Ways to Help Reach the Sustainable Development Goals in Your Professional Life #SDGSandMEFive Ways to Help Reach the Sustainable Development Goals in Your Professional Life #SDGSandME

    Not everyone can dedicate their lives to social impact work, but just because you’re working at a fulltime job at a for-profit corporation doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. By mobilizing your co-workers and company to join together to make steps towards

    MovingWorlds Blog / 32 d. 21 h. 52 min. ago
  • Storytelling is Not for SissiesStorytelling is Not for Sissies

    You’ve thought or said this before. I know you have. “Storytelling is only for emotional people.” OR “Telling stories is not for businessmen and women or our serious donors.” As your caring, truth-teller colleague, I’ve got news for you: Storytelling is NOT for sissies. Some of the world’s most successful businesses and nonprofit organizations use storytelling to engage, sell, and grow.  Read more about how Nike, Airbnb, Minnetonka Moccasins, Burt’s Bees, and others are hitting the mark with their storytelling. This year I’ve watched many of you struggle with your story sharing. You’ve got the mechanics down, but your mission moment stories are still missing something important. So, before year-end, I’m delivering a free web class. We’re going to take a deep dive into the topic everyone thinks they’ve already mastered, but many of you haven’t. If you are regularly inspiring 5, 6, and 7 figure contributions with your written and spoken communication, ignore this invitation. My web class is not for you. If you are serious about raising more money, the web class IS exactly what you are looking for. Free Web Class: Storytelling is Not for Sissies When:            Tuesday, Nov 21 Time:              11am Central (12pm Eastern / 10am Mountain / 9am Pacific) Register:        Click here It took me years to become a master storyteller. I’ve practiced, made mistakes, and practiced some more. And just this year, I’ve helped people like you raise more than $10 million unrestricted operating dollars – from individuals. Join me Nov 21 and I’ll help YOU become a nonprofit fundraising storytelling superhero. I promise. The post Storytelling is Not for Sissies appeared first on Ignited Fundraising.

    Ignited Fundraising / 34 d. 15 h. 27 min. ago more
  • How GiveWell and mainstream policymakers compare the “good” achieved by different programsHow GiveWell and mainstream policymakers compare the “good” achieved by different programs

    In a previous blog post, we described how we use cost-effectiveness analyses when deciding which charities to recommend to donors. Today, we published a report that discusses how GiveWell and other actors, such as governments and global health organizations, approach one of the most subjective and uncertain inputs into cost-effectiveness analyses: how to morally value different good outcomes. For example, GiveDirectly, one of GiveWell’s seven top charities, increases recipients’ consumption, while the primary benefit we see from our top charity the Against Malaria Foundation is that it averts the deaths of young children. How can one make a direct comparison between the amount of “good” achieved by each of these charities? GiveWell does this by assigning quantitative “moral weights” to different outcomes in our cost-effectiveness analyses. As a check on how sensitive our recommendations are to our moral assumptions, we investigated how others typically answer these questions in their cost-effectiveness analyses. For a full discussion of the findings from our investigation, see our detailed report. The summary of the report is: We focus on the following questions: Why does GiveWell explicitly include moral weights in our cost-effectiveness analyses, and how do we decide on moral weights? Is there a “standard” approach to moral weights in cost-effectiveness analyses? How do other actors, such as governments and the World Health Organization, make these judgments? How much would GiveWell’s cost-effectiveness analyses change if we took a “standard” approach to moral weights? In brief: We include moral weights in our cost-effectiveness analyses because they are an important part of any giving decision and we think it is valuable to be transparent about them. The moral weights that drive our cost-effectiveness estimates are based on our staff’s personal values. Governments and other prominent actors often use “value of a statistical life” estimates to compare the value of improving health relative to raising incomes. These estimates often imply that a year of healthy life is roughly 2-3x as valuable as a year of doubling someone’s income. However, there is little relevant research to inform such estimates in low- and middle-income country (LMIC) contexts; we understand that how income is valued relative to health may shift when a population is much poorer. There does not seem to be a standard approach for comparing the value of life at different ages; the most commonly used framework that we have seen (the disability-adjusted life year framework) explicitly does not provide judgments on this topic. Nevertheless, most other analyses that we have seen assume that averting death during childhood is about 1-2x more valuable than averting death during adulthood. Our initial analysis suggests that using relatively “standard” moral weight assumptions (i.e., the assumptions in the previous two bullet points) instead of our staff’s moral weights would not change our overall view of the relative cost-effectiveness of our current top charities. It may affect how we view some interventions in the future, particularly those that disproportionately focus on averting deaths for young children or adults. We plan to include explicit comparisons between staff moral weights and relatively “standard” moral weights in our analyses going forward. For more detail, see the full report here. The post How GiveWell and mainstream policymakers compare the “good” achieved by different programs appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

    The Give Well Blog / 35 d. 3 h. 44 min. ago more
  • I’m Not a Mind Reader. Are You?I’m Not a Mind Reader. Are You?

    “Pick a number between one and twenty-five. Wrong. Let’s try again. What’s my favorite color? Or my favorite food?” As crazy as this sounds, we bury our thoughts and then expect others to know what we’re thinking. Are you a mind reader? Why does this happen? Some folks have trouble expressing their thoughts and feelings because they’re shy or they fear a negative reaction or they’re afraid, after having been burned in the past. Others assume that if they voice their demands or concerns, they’ll sound ungrateful or needy. The fact is, just because thoughts may be swirling around in your head doesn’t mean that others know what you’re thinking. You can’t get upset that people don’t understand your needs and desires if you don’t voice them. While they can guess and look for signals, they’re not mind readers. People can’t hear what you don’t say. Thinking isn’t communicating. Why Are You Keeping It a Secret? Don’t assume people can read your mind. If it’s important to you, say something. You’re not going to make things better by keeping it to yourself; chances are you may make things worse. People like to feel appreciated; say something. If you take people for granted, you’ll both live to regret it. If an employee’s doing an outstanding job, let them know. If someone goes out of their way for you, say “thank you.” Don’t let misunderstandings fester; say something. Problems don’t get better with age. Address them in a proactive way. If you think the relationship is one-sided, let them know. If your friend just let you down, tell them. If you don’t understand why you were passed up for the promotion, ask why. Don’t let annoyances get bottled up inside you; say something. The alternative is letting them build into anger and resentment. If the people behind you are being obnoxious, say something. If your boyfriend’s (or girlfriend’s) habit is getting under your skin, speak up. If someone continuously requests favors but volunteers little in return, tell them. If your needs aren’t being met, say something. People can’t make things better if they’re unaware of your feelings. If you think your company isn’t recognizing your contribution, let your manager know. If you want greater commitment in your relationship, discuss it. If you want more quality time together, say something. Don’t say you care, and think you’re done; say something. It won’t kill you to repeat your message. If you love her, let her know how you feel, again. If you’re proud of your kids, tell them, again. What’s On Your Mind? Many problems arise, misunderstandings occur, and feelings are hurt simply because words are left unsaid. Do you internalize your feelings or express them? Do you voice your grievances or let them fester? Do you express your love and gratitude or assume it’s understood? Do you voice your needs or hope others magically recognize them? The truth is, you can’t read their minds, and they can’t read yours. Real communication requires more than small talk. It’s important to build trusting relationships in which you share your thoughts and feelings in an open and honest manner. Stop talking to yourself and speak your mind. It’ll enhance your relationships and save you a lot of heartache in the long run. As Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.” What’s on your mind? Do You Speak Your Mind? Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information. Additional Reading: May I Have a Word With You? 9 Barriers to Effective Communication How to Improve Your Conversation Skills 8 Communication Barriers in Business If you like this article, subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss a single post. Get future posts by RSS feed, email or Facebook. It’s FREE. The post I’m Not a Mind Reader. Are You? appeared first on Frank Sonnenberg Online.

    Frank Sonnenberg Online / 35 d. 10 h. 28 min. ago more
  • Power Laws: How Nonlinear Relationships Amplify ResultsPower Laws: How Nonlinear Relationships Amplify Results

    “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”— Albert Allen Bartlett Defining A Power Law Consider a person who begins weightlifting for the first time. During their initial sessions, they can lift only a small amount of weight. But as they invest more time, they find that for each training session, their strength increases a surprising amount. For a while, they make huge improvements. Eventually, however, their progress slows down. At first, they could increase their strength by as much as 10% per session; now it takes months to improve by even 1%. Perhaps they resort to taking performance-enhancing drugs or training more often. Their motivation is sapped and they find themselves getting injured, without any real change in the amount of weight they can lift. Now, let’s imagine that our frustrated weightlifter decides to take up running instead. Something similar happens. While the first few runs are incredibly difficult, the person’s endurance increases rapidly with the passing of each week, until it levels off and diminishing returns set in again. Both of these situations are examples of power laws — a relationship between two things in which a change in one thing can lead to a large change in the other, regardless of the initial quantities. In both of our examples, a small investment of time in the beginning of the endeavor leads to a large increase in performance. Power laws are interesting because they reveal surprising correlations between disparate factors. As a mental model, power laws are versatile, with numerous applications in different fields of knowledge. If parts of this post look intimidating to non-mathematicians, bear with us. Understanding the math behind power laws is worthwhile in order to grasp their many applications. Invest a little time in reading this and reap the value — which is in itself an example of a power law! A power law is often represented by an equation with an exponent: Y=MX^B Each letter represents a number. Y is a function (the result); X is the variable (the thing you can change); B is the order of scaling (the exponent); and M is a constant (unchanging). If M is equal to 1, the equation is then Y=X^B. If B=2, the equation becomes Y=X^2 (Y=X squared). If X is 1, Y is also 1. But if X=2, then Y=4; if X=3, then Y=9, and so on. A small change in the value of X leads to a proportionally large change in the value of Y. B=1 is known as the linear scaling law. To double a cake recipe, you need twice as much flour. To drive twice as far will take twice as long. (Unless you have kids, in which case you need to factor in bathroom breaks that seemingly have little to do with distance.) Linear relationships, in which twice-as-big requires twice-as-much, are simple and intuitive. Nonlinear relationships are more complicated. In these cases, you don’t need twice as much of the original value to get twice the increase in some measurable characteristic. For example, an animal that’s twice our size requires only about 75% more food than we do. This means that on a per-unit-of-size basis, larger animals are more energy efficient than smaller ones. As animals get bigger, the energy required to support each unit decreases. One of the characteristics of a complex system is that the behavior of the system differs from the simple addition of its parts. This characteristic is called emergent behavior. “In many instances,” write Geoffrey West in Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies, “the whole seems to take on a life of its own, almost dissociated from the specific characteristics of its individual building blocks.” This collective outcome, in which a system manifests significantly different characteristics from those resulting from simply adding up all of the contributions of its individual constituent parts, is called an emergent behavior. When we set out to understand a complex system, our intuition tells us to break it down into its component pieces. But that’s linear thinking, and it explains why so much of our thinking about complexity falls short. Small changes in a complex system can cause sudden and large changes. Small changes cause cascades among the connected parts, like knocking over the first domino in a long row. Let’s return to the example of our hypothetical weightlifter-turned-runner. As they put in more time on the road, constraints will naturally arise on their progress. Recall our exponential equation: Y=MX^B. Try applying it to the runner. (We’re going to simplify running, but stick with it.) Y is the distance the runner can run before becoming exhausted. That’s what we’re trying to calculate. M, the constant, represents their running ability: some combination of their natural endowment and their training history. (Think of it this way: Olympic champion Usain Bolt has a high M; film director Woody Allen has a low M.) That leaves us with the final term: X^B. The variable X represents the thing we have control over: in this case, our training mileage. If B, the exponent, is between 0 and 1, then the relationship between X and Y— between training mileage and endurance — becomes progressively less proportional. All it takes is plugging in a few numbers to see the effect. Let’s set M to 1 for the sake of simplicity. If B=0.5 and X=4, then Y=2. Four miles on the road gives the athlete the ability to run two miles at a clip. Increase X to 16, and Y increases only to 4. The runner has to put in four times the road mileage to merely double their running endurance. Here’s the kicker: With both running and weightlifting, as we increase X, we’re likely to see the exponent, B, decline! Quadrupling our training mileage from 16 to 64 miles is unlikely to double our endurance again. It might take a 10x increase in mileage to do that. Eventually, the ratio of training mileage to endurance will become nearly infinite. We know this state, of course, as diminishing returns: the point where more input yields progressively less output. Not only is the relationship between training mileage and endurance not linear to begin with, but it also gets less linear as we increase our training. And what about negative exponents? It gets even more interesting. If B=−0.5 and X=4, then Y=0.5. Four miles on the road gets us a half-mile of endurance. If X is increased to 16, Y declines to 0.25. More training, less endurance! This is akin to someone putting in way too much mileage, way too soon: the training is less than useful as injuries pile up. With negative numbers, the more X increases, the more Y shrinks. This relationship is known as an inverse power law. B=−2, for example, is known as the inverse square law and is an important equation in physics. The relationship between gravity and distance follows an inverse power law. G is the gravitational constant; it’s the constant in Newton's law of gravitation, relating gravity to the masses and separation of particles, equal to: 6.67 × 10−11 N m2 kg−2 Any force radiating from a single point — including heat, light intensity, and magnetic and electrical forces — follows the inverse square law. At 1m away from a fire, 4 times as much heat is felt as at 2m, and so on. Higher Order Power Laws When B is a positive integer (a whole number larger than zero), there are names for the power laws. When B is equal to 1, we have a linear relationship, as we discussed above. This is also known as a first-order power law. Things really get interesting after that. When B is 2, we have a second-order power law. A great example of this is kinetic energy. Kinetic energy = 1/2 mv^2 When B is 3, we have a third-order power law. An example of this is the power converted from wind into rotational energy. Power Available = ½ (Air Density)( πr^2)(Windspeed^3)(Power Coefficient) (There is a natural limit here. Albert Betz concluded in 1919 that wind turbines cannot convert more than 59.3% of the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical energy. This number is called the Betz Limit and represents the power coefficient above.)[1] The law of heat radiation is a fourth-order power law. Derived first by the Austrian physicist Josef Stefan in 1879 and separately by Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann, the law works like this: the radiant heat energy emitted from a unit area in one second is equal to the constant of proportionality (the Stefan-Boltzmann constant) times the absolute temperature to the fourth power.[2] There is only one power law with a variable exponent, and it’s considered to be one of the most powerful forces in the universe. It’s also the most misunderstood. We call it compounding. The formula looks like this: Future Value = (Present Value)(1+i)^n where i is the interest rate and n is the number of years. Unlike in the other equations, the relationship between X and Y is potentially limitless. As long as B is positive, Y will increase as X does. Non-integer power laws (where B is a fraction, as with our running example above) are also of great use to physicists. Formulas in which B=0.5 are common. Imagine a car driving at a certain speed. A non-integer power law applies. V is the speed of the car, P is the petrol burnt per second to reach that speed, and A is the air resistance. For the car to go twice as fast, it must use 4 times as much petrol, and to go 3 times as fast, it must use 9 times as much petrol. Air resistance increases as speed increases, and that is why faster cars use such ridiculous amounts of petrol. It might seem logical to think that a car going from 40 miles an hour to 50 miles an hour would use a quarter more fuel. That is incorrect, though, because the relationship between air resistance and speed is itself a power law. Another instance of a power law is the area of a square. Double the length of two parallel sides and the area quadruples. Do the same for a 3D cube and the area increases by a factor of eight. It doesn’t matter if the length of the square went from 1cm to 2cm, or from 100m to 200m; the area still quadruples. We are all familiar with second-order (or square) power laws. This name comes from squares, since the relationship between length and area reflect the way second-order power laws change a number. Third-order (or cubic) power laws are likewise named due to their relationship to cubes. Using Power Laws in Our Lives Now that we’ve gotten through the complicated part, let’s take a look at how power laws crop up in many fields of knowledge. Most careers involve an understanding of them, even if it might not be so obvious. “What's the most powerful force in the universe? Compound interest. It builds on itself. Over time, a small amount of money becomes a large amount of money. Persistence is similar. A little bit improves performance, which encourages greater persistence which improves persistence even more. And on and on it goes.”— Daniel H. Pink, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko The Power Behind Compounding Compounding is one of our most important mental models and is absolutely vital to understand for investing, personal development, learning, and other crucial areas of life. In economics, we calculate compound interest by using an equation with these variables: P is the original sum of money. P’ is the resulting sum of money, r is the annual interest rate, n is the compounding frequency, and t is the length of time. Using an equation, we can illustrate the power of compounding. If a person deposits $1000 in a bank for five years, at a quarterly interest rate of 4%, the equation becomes this: Future Value = Present Value * ((1 + Quarterly Interest Rate) ^ Number of Quarters) This formula can be used to calculate how much money will be in the account after five years. The answer is $2,220.20. Compound interest is a power law because the relationship between the amount of time a sum of money is left in an account and the amount accumulated at the end is non-linear. In A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Burton Malkiel gives the example of two brothers, William and James. Beginning at age 20 and stopping at age 40, William invests $4,000 per year. Meanwhile, James invests the same amount per year between the ages of 40 and 65. By the time William is 65, he has invested less money than his brother, but has allowed it to compound for 25 years. As a result, when both brothers retire, William has 600% more money than James — a gap of $2 million. One of the smartest financial choices we can make is to start saving as early as possible: by harnessing power laws, we increase the exponent as much as possible. Compound interest can help us achieve financial freedom and wealth, without the need for a large annual income. Members of the financial independence movement (such as the blogger Mr. Money Mustache) are living examples of how we can apply power laws to our lives. As far back as the 1800s, Robert G. Ingersoll emphasized the importance of compound interest: One dollar at compound interest, at twenty-four per cent., for one hundred years, would produce a sum equal to our national debt. Interest eats night and day, and the more it eats the hungrier it grows. The farmer in debt, lying awake at night, can, if he listens, hear it gnaw. If he owes nothing, he can hear his corn grow. Get out of debt as soon as possible. You have supported idle avarice and lazy economy long enough. Compounding can apply to areas beyond finance — personal development, health, learning, relationships and more. For each area, a small input can lead to a large output, and the results build upon themselves. Nonlinear Language Learning When we learn a new language, it’s always a good idea to start by learning the 100 or so most used words. In all known languages, a small percentage of words make up the majority of usage. This is known as Zipf’s law, after George Kingsley Zipf, who first identified the phenomenon. The most used word in a language may make up as much as 7% of all words used, while the second-most-used word is used half as much, and so on. As few as 135 words can together form half of a language (as used by native speakers). Why Zipf’s law holds true is unknown, although the concept is logical. Many languages include a large number of specialist terms that are rarely needed (including legal or anatomy terms). A small change in the frequency ranking of a word means a huge change in its usefulness. Understanding Zipf’s law is a central component of accelerated language learning. Each new word we learn from the most common 100 words will have a huge impact on our ability to communicate. As we learn less-common words, diminishing returns set in. If each word in a language were listed in order of frequency of usage, the further we moved down the list, the less useful a word would be. Power Laws in Business, Explained by Peter Thiel Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal (as well as an early investor in Facebook and Palantir), considers power laws to be a crucial concept for all businesspeople to understand. In his fantastic book, Zero to One, Thiel writes: Indeed, the single most powerful pattern I have noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places, and they do this by thinking about business from first principles instead of formulas. And: In 1906, economist Vilfredo Pareto discovered what became the “Pareto Principle,” or the 80-20 rule, when he noticed that 20% of the people owned 80% of the land in Italy—a phenomenon that he found just as natural as the fact that 20% of the peapods in his garden produced 80% of the peas. This extraordinarily stark pattern, when a small few radically outstrip all rivals, surrounds us everywhere in the natural and social world. The most destructive earthquakes are many times more powerful than all smaller earthquakes combined. The biggest cities dwarf all mere towns put together. And monopoly businesses capture more value than millions of undifferentiated competitors. Whatever Einstein did or didn’t say, the power law—so named because exponential equations describe severely unequal distributions—is the law of the universe. It defines our surroundings so completely that we usually don’t even see it. … [I]n venture capital, where investors try to profit from exponential growth in early-stage companies, a few companies attain exponentially greater value than all others. … [W]e don’t live in a normal world; we live under a power law. … The biggest secret in venture capital is that the best investment in a successful fund equals or outperforms the entire rest of the fund combined. This implies two very strange rules for VCs. First, only invest in companies that have the potential to return the value of the entire fund. … This leads to rule number two: because rule number one is so restrictive, there can’t be any other rules. …[L]ife is not a portfolio: not for a startup founder, and not for any individual. An entrepreneur cannot “diversify” herself; you cannot run dozens of companies at the same time and then hope that one of them works out well. Less obvious but just as important, an individual cannot diversify his own life by keeping dozens of equally possible careers in ready reserve. Thiel teaches a class called Startup at Stanford, where he hammers home the value of understanding power laws. In his class, he imparts copious wisdom. From Blake Masters’ notes on Class 7: Consider a prototypical successful venture fund. A number of investments go to zero over a period of time. Those tend to happen earlier rather than later. The investments that succeed do so on some sort of exponential curve. Sum it over the life of a portfolio and you get a J curve. Early investments fail. You have to pay management fees. But then the exponential growth takes place, at least in theory. Since you start out underwater, the big question is when you make it above the water line. A lot of funds never get there. To answer that big question you have to ask another: what does the distribution of returns in [a] venture fund look like? The naïve response is just to rank companies from best to worst according to their return in multiple of dollars invested. People tend to group investments into three buckets. The bad companies go to zero. The mediocre ones do maybe 1x, so you don’t lose much or gain much. And then the great companies do maybe 3-10x. But that model misses the key insight that actual returns are incredibly skewed. The more a VC understands this skew pattern, the better the VC. Bad VCs tend to think the dashed line is flat, i.e. that all companies are created equal, and some just fail, spin wheels, or grow. In reality you get a power law distribution. Thiel explains how investors can apply the mental model of power laws (more from Masters’ notes on Class 7): …Given a big power law distribution, you want to be fairly concentrated. … There just aren’t that many businesses that you can have the requisite high degree of conviction about. A better model is to invest in maybe 7 or 8 promising companies from which you think you can get a 10x return. … Despite being rooted in middle school math, exponential thinking is hard. We live in a world where we normally don’t experience anything exponentially. Our general life experience is pretty linear. We vastly underestimate exponential things. He also cautions against over-relying on power laws as a strategy (an assertion that should be kept in mind for all mental models). From Masters’ notes: One shouldn’t be mechanical about this heuristic, or treat it as some immutable investment strategy. But it actually checks out pretty well, so at the very least it compels you to think about power law distribution. Understanding exponents and power law distributions isn’t just about understanding VC. There are important personal applications too. Many things, such as key life decisions or starting businesses, also result in similar distributions. Thiel then explains why founders should focus on one key revenue stream, rather than trying to build multiple equal ones: Even within an individual business, there is probably a sort of power law as to what’s going to drive it. It’s troubling if a startup insists that it’s going to make money in many different ways. The power law distribution on revenues says that one source of revenue will dominate everything else. For example, if you’re an entrepreneur who opens a coffee shop, you’ll have a lot of ways you can make money. You can sell coffee, cakes, paintings, merchandise, and more. But each of those things will not contribute to your success in an equal way. While there is value in the discovery process, once you’ve found the variable that matters most, you should place more time on that one and less on the others. The importance of finding this variable cannot be overstated. He also acknowledges that power laws are one of the great secrets of investing success. From Masters’ notes on Class 11: On one level, the anti-competition, power law, and distribution secrets are all secrets about nature. But they’re also secrets hidden by people. That is crucial to remember. Suppose you’re doing an experiment in a lab. You’re trying to figure out a natural secret. But every night another person comes into the lab and messes with your results. You won’t understand what’s going on if you confine your thinking to the nature side of things. It’s not enough to find an interesting experiment and try to do it. You have to understand the human piece too. … We know that, per the power law secret, companies are not evenly distributed. The distribution tends to be bimodal; there are some great ones, and then there are a lot of ones that don’t really work at all. But understanding this isn’t enough. There is a big difference between understanding the power law secret in theory and being able to apply it in practice. The key to all mental models is knowing the facts and being able to use the concept. As George Box said, “all models are false but some are useful.” Once we grasp the basics, the best next step is to start figuring out how to apply it. The metaphor of an unseen person sabotaging laboratory results is an excellent metaphor for how cognitive biases and shortcuts cloud our judgement. Natural Power Laws Anyone who has kept a lot of pets will have noticed the link between an animal’s size and its lifespan. Small animals, like mice and hamsters, tend to live for a year or two. Larger ones, like dogs and cats, can live to 10-20 years, or even older in rare cases. Scaling up even more, some whales can live for 200 years. This comes down to power laws. Biologists have found clear links between an animal’s size and its metabolism. Kleiber’s law (identified by Max Kleiber) states that an animal’s metabolic rate increases at three-fourths of the power of the animal’s weight (mass). If an average rabbit (2 kg) weighs one hundred times as much as an average mouse (20g), the rabbit’s metabolic rate will be 32 times the mouse’s. In other words, the rabbit’s structure is more efficient. It all comes down to the geometry behind their mass. Which leads us to another biological power law: Smaller animals require more energy per gram of body weight, meaning that mice eat around half their body weight in dense foods each day. The reason is that, in terms of percentage of mass, larger animals have more structure (bones, etc.) and fewer reserves (fat stores). Research has illustrated how power laws apply to blood circulation in animals. The end units through which oxygen, water, and nutrients enter cells from the bloodstream are the same size in all animals. Only the number per animal varies. The relationship between the total area of these units and the size of the animal is a third-order power law. The distance blood travels to enter cells and the actual volume of blood are also subject to power laws. The Law of Diminishing Returns As we have seen, a small change in one area can lead to a huge change in another. However, past a certain point, diminishing returns set in and more is worse. Working an hour extra per day might mean more gets done, whereas working three extra hours is likely to lead to less getting done due to exhaustion. Going from a sedentary lifestyle to running two days a week may result in greatly improved health, but stepping up to seven days a week will cause injuries. Overzealousness can turn a positive exponent into a negative exponent. For a busy restaurant, hiring an extra chef will mean that more people can be served, but hiring two new chefs might spoil the proverbial broth. Perhaps the most underappreciated diminishing return, the one we never want to end up on the wrong side of, is the one between money and happiness. In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell discusses how diminishing returns relate to family incomes. Most people assume that the more money they make, the happier they and their families will be. This is true — up to a point. An income that’s too low to meet basic needs makes people miserable, leading to far more physical and mental health problems. A person who goes from earning $30,000 a year to earning $40,000 is likely to experience a dramatic boost in happiness. However, going from $100,000 to $110,000 leads to a negligible change in well-being. Gladwell writes: The scholars who research happiness suggest that more money stops making people happier at a family income of around seventy-five thousand dollars a year. After that, what economists call “diminishing marginal returns” sets in. If your family makes seventy-five thousand and your neighbor makes a hundred thousand, that extra twenty-five thousand a year means that your neighbor can drive a nicer car and go out to eat slightly more often. But it doesn’t make your neighbor happier than you, or better equipped to do the thousands of small and large things that make for being a good parent. Comment on Twitter | Discuss on Facebook --Sponsored by: Royce & Associates – Small Cap Specialists with Unparalleled Knowledge and Experience..

    Farnam Street / 36 d. 9 h. 28 min. ago more
  • Susan Cain: Leading the “Quiet Revolution”Susan Cain: Leading the “Quiet Revolution”

    For decades, introversion was looked at as something to overcome, almost like an illness. The way to win in life was through charisma, outspokenness, and self-promotion. Even now, in an increasingly noisy world, introverts may feel added pressure to take one of two paths: force themselves into more extroverted behavior, or become even more reserved and shrink back to themselves. My guest Susan Cain says both paths are wrong and in fact, rob the world of the unique contributions introverts make when they choose to be true to themselves. Susan knows what she’s talking about. A self-proclaimed introvert, she wrote the New York Times bestselling book, Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking and delivered one of the most popular TED talks ever delivered, with nearly 18 million views to date. Whether you consider yourself an extrovert, an introvert, or an ambivert (those lucky bastards in the middle) you’ll find a ton of value in this interview. We cover a lot of ground, including: How to find your “sweet spot” no matter what your stimulation preferences are How to tap into your deepest wells of thought and creativity What “free trait theory” is, and how it can help you accomplish the most important goals in your life The truth about collaboration and it’s effects on the creative process How she and her extrovert husband manage important differences in their life (like stereo volume) How not being honest with your own narrative slows personal growth and development The key to living a meaningful life that energizes and sustains you And much, much more. Listen Listen on iTunes. Listen on Stitcher Stream by clicking here. Download as MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as”. Transcript A full transcript is available to members of our learning community or for purchase separately. Learn More About Susan You can learn more about Susan on Twitter or by visiting her website. Discuss on Twitter | Comment on Facebook --Sponsored by: Royce & Associates – Small Cap Specialists with Unparalleled Knowledge and Experience..

    Farnam Street / 40 d. 10 h. 28 min. ago more
  • Five Easy Ways to Help Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Your Personal Life #SDGSandMEFive Easy Ways to Help Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Your Personal Life #SDGSandME

    In this #SDGSandME series, we’re exploring how you can help us reach the Sustainable Development Goals through the personal, professional, political and philanthropic aspects of your life – we call them the 4P’s. Today, we’re going to highlight the things you can do in your

    MovingWorlds Blog / 40 d. 21 h. 45 min. ago
  • Fundraising Best Practices Lori Taught UsFundraising Best Practices Lori Taught Us

    Pictured: Devan Luth & Helen Kyle, Ecumen Philanthropy staff Note from Lori: It’s not often I discuss my pro-bono work because it’s a private agreement between me and those I choose to support. For much of 2017 I’ve had the honor of mentoring two smart, special women. Because they’ve been so willing to take and implement my coaching I’ve invited them to share a story or two about what they learned. This is their story… As young professionals in the fundraising field, we are always actively looking for mentors to help us grow as individuals and fundraisers. We were fortunate to meet Lori at the LeadingAge conference in January 2017. With her coaching and guidance, we’ve successfully changed how we do our daily work. We are delighted to share some of the fundraising best practices Lori taught us: Best Practice #1: It is essential to share mission moments with donors, staff, and your board. A joyful gift is something that speaks to both our minds and our hearts. For some donors, results and logic-driven giving will be more appealing. For others, their emotional tie to your organization allows for the most meaningful gift. When sharing a mission moment you’ll be able to artfully share your organization’s mission, impact, and the current funding gap in a way that appeals to both logic-minded and emotionally-driven donors. We found that it’s important to practice (and practice some more) sharing mission moments. The more natural mission moments are to you, the more natural they feel to our donors. Lori showed us the power of mission moments. We are currently in the process of adding mission moments to the agenda of every all-staff meeting. Storytelling has become the best way to share a fundraising update from our team along with the impact of a gift to our organization. –Devan Best Practice #2: Invest in your own professional and personal development by tracking your work and reframing how you track your success. 3 things you can do today to foster personal growth: 1. Track contributions you’ve helped bring in. How many gifts? At what giving level? 2. It can be easy to focus solely on numbers but it’s also important to highlight progress with donors as well as stories that could be a good fit for your communications material. We are in the business of relationship building and that does not happen overnight, so it is important to take time to recognize the progress that you are making even if you haven’t gotten the gift you were hoping for. . . yet! 3. Regularly ask: “What’s working?” I now start all weekly check-in meetings with a quick answer to the question “What’s working personally or professionally?” Some days it can feel like absolutely nothing is going right, but framing check-in meetings this way, causes much-needed positivity and helps reframe any current challenges. -Helen Best Practice #3: Enhance your fundraising events with mission-centered materials, prepared volunteers, and follow-up calls. A few additions to try in your next fundraising event: Showcase your mission in your event materials. Prep your volunteers and board members with talking points or questions to ask guests throughout your event. After the event is over ask your volunteers to bring the comments and ideas back to you and your team. Call guests to thank them for attending AND ask for their honest feedback on how to improve the same event in the future. To be clear, this is NOT an ask, but rather a chance to engage with prospective or current donors on a deeper level. With Lori’s help, we were able to elevate our annual Golf Tournament experience for attendees. We took her advice and made our mission the focal point of the day-in the clubhouse and out on the course. We made annual reports available Had donor features on all tables Invited a guest speaker to the reception to showcase the importance and impact of donations to our organization Our guests walked away with smiles and our Philanthropy team was approached by a number of attendees asking if there was still time to increase their gift! Of course, we said ABSOLUTELY. About Devan Luth: Devan is the Development Supervisor at Ecumen. With a focus on collaboration and generosity, she encourages others to view aging in radically different ways. Through individual giving, event management, and donor stewardship, she welcomes individuals into Ecumen’s mission and work. Devan is a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN where she received a B.A in Communication Studies and Theatre Art. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. About Helen Kyle: In her role as the Development Specialist, Helen manages ongoing donor recognition opportunities, maintains and reports on solicitation efforts through data management and supports the success of Ecumen events. With a strong commitment to philanthropy and drive to fulfill Ecumen’s mission to create home for older adults, her role also includes individual giving. Helen recently graduated cum laude from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. She has a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology with a concentration in Family Studies. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. The post Fundraising Best Practices Lori Taught Us appeared first on Ignited Fundraising.

    Ignited Fundraising / 41 d. 16 h. 26 min. ago more
  • Nature and Spirituality: The Earth’s Role in Human HappinessNature and Spirituality: The Earth’s Role in Human Happiness

    Contribution by freelance writer Sally Keys Whichever way we look at it, the Earth gives us everything we need to survive and advance. Even when we go back thousands of years, we can find evidence of human life thanking the Earth for its natural offerings on the walls of caves and in the form of […]

    Global Harmony Crew / 42 d. 6 h. 55 min. ago
  • Do You Choose Convenience Over Principles?Do You Choose Convenience Over Principles?

    We’re faced with decisions each day. It’s not enough to know the difference between right and wrong. The important thing is to convert those principles into words and actions. Given the option, would you rather choose the right path, even though it’s difficult, or the easy route, knowing that you’ll be compromising your standards? The West Point cadet prayer sums up their position well: “Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.” Do you choose convenience over principles? 11 Ways Folks Choose Convenience over Principles It may be easier to: Sugarcoat bad news rather than tell it like it is. Sweep a problem under the rug rather than address the issue head-on. Create low expectations rather than set “stretch” goals. Look the other way rather than reprimand a star performer for unethical behavior. Point a finger rather than admit a mistake and learn a valuable lesson. Throw money at a problem rather than make good use of what we have. Follow the crowd rather than remain true to our beliefs and values. Promote a quick-fix solution rather than address a problem’s root cause. Distribute resources equally rather than set priorities and make tough choices. Maintain silence rather than speak up against injustice. Encourage dependency rather than provide people with good opportunities as well as the tools to succeed. Compromising your principles, even one time, can be a terrible mistake. As the saying goes, “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny!” The fact is, knowing what’s right isn’t as important as doing what’s right. Do You Choose Convenience Over Principles? Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information.   This post is adapted from BOOKSMART: Hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happiness, by Frank Sonnenberg.   Additional Reading: Moral Character Matters Live with Honor and Integrity ACTIONS Speak Louder Than Words Thanks for a Job Well Done If you like this article, subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss a single post. Get future posts by RSS feed, email or Facebook. It’s FREE. Save Save The post Do You Choose Convenience Over Principles? appeared first on Frank Sonnenberg Online.

    Frank Sonnenberg Online / 42 d. 11 h. 28 min. ago more
  • The Fairness Principle: How the Veil of Ignorance Helps Test FairnessThe Fairness Principle: How the Veil of Ignorance Helps Test Fairness

    “But the nature of man is sufficiently revealed for him to know something of himself and sufficiently veiled to leave much impenetrable darkness, a darkness in which he ever gropes, forever in vain, trying to understand himself.”— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America The Basics If you could redesign society from scratch, what would it look like? How would you distribute wealth and power? Would you make everyone equal or not? How would you define fairness and equality? And — here’s the kicker — what if you had to make those decisions without knowing who you would be in this new society? Philosopher John Rawls asked just that in a thought experiment known as “the Veil of Ignorance” in his 1971 book, Theory of Justice. Like many thought experiments, the Veil of Ignorance could never be carried out in the literal sense, nor should it be. Its purpose is to explore ideas about justice, morality, equality, and social status in a structured manner. The Veil of Ignorance, a component of social contract theory, allows us to test ideas for fairness. Behind the Veil of Ignorance, no one knows who they are. They lack clues as to their class, their privileges, their disadvantages, or even their personality. They exist as an impartial group, tasked with designing a new society with its own conception of justice. As a thought experiment, the Veil of Ignorance is powerful because our usual opinions regarding what is just and unjust are informed by our own experiences. We are shaped by our race, gender, class, education, appearance, sexuality, career, family, and so on. On the other side of the Veil of Ignorance, none of that exists. Technically, the resulting society should be a fair one. In Ethical School Leadership, Spencer J. Maxcy writes: Imagine that you have set for yourself the task of developing a totally new social contract for today's society. How could you do so fairly? Although you could never actually eliminate all of your personal biases and prejudices, you would need to take steps at least to minimize them. Rawls suggests that you imagine yourself in an original position behind a veil of ignorance. Behind this veil, you know nothing of yourself and your natural abilities, or your position in society. You know nothing of your sex, race, nationality, or individual tastes. Behind such a veil of ignorance all individuals are simply specified as rational, free, and morally equal beings. You do know that in the “real world,” however, there will be a wide variety in the natural distribution of natural assets and abilities, and that there will be differences of sex, race, and culture that will distinguish groups of people from each other. “The Fairness Principle: When contemplating a moral action, imagine that you do not know if you will be the moral doer or receiver, and when in doubt err on the side of the other person.”— Michael Shermer, The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom The Purpose of the Veil of Ignorance Because people behind the Veil of Ignorance do not know who they will be in this new society, any choice they make in structuring that society could either harm them or benefit them. If they decide men will be superior, for example, they must face the risk that they will be women. If they decide that 10% of the population will be slaves to the others, they cannot be surprised if they find themselves to be slaves. No one wants to be part of a disadvantaged group, so the logical belief is that the Veil of Ignorance would produce a fair, egalitarian society. Behind the Veil of Ignorance, cognitive biases melt away. The hypothetical people are rational thinkers. They use probabilistic thinking to assess the likelihood of their being affected by any chosen measure. They possess no opinions for which to seek confirmation. Nor do they have any recently learned information to pay undue attention to. The sole incentive they are biased towards is their own self-preservation, which is equivalent to the preservation of the entire group. They cannot stereotype any particular group as they could be members of it. They lack commitment to their prior selves as they do not know who they are. So, what would these people decide on? According to Rawls, in a fair society all individuals must possess the following: Rights and liberties (including the right to vote, the right to hold public office, free speech, free thought, and fair legal treatment) Power and opportunities Income and wealth sufficient for a good quality of life (Not everyone needs to be rich, but everyone must have enough money to live a comfortable life.) The conditions necessary for self-respect For these conditions to occur, the people behind the Veil of Ignorance must figure out how to achieve what Rawls regards as the two key components of justice: Everyone must have the best possible life which does not cause harm to others. Everyone must be able to improve their position, and any inequalities must be present solely if they benefit everyone. However, the people behind the Veil of Ignorance cannot be completely blank slates or it would be impossible for them to make rational decisions. They understand general principles of science, psychology, politics, and economics. Human behavior is no mystery to them. Neither are key economic concepts, such as comparative advantage and supply and demand. Likewise, they comprehend the deleterious impact of social entropy, and they have a desire to create a stable, ordered society. Knowledge of human psychology leads them to be cognizant of the universal desire for happiness and fulfillment. Rawls considered all of this to be the minimum viable knowledge for rational decision-making. Ways of Understanding the Veil of Ignorance One way to understand the Veil of Ignorance is to imagine that you are tasked with cutting up a pizza to share with friends. You will be the last person to take a slice. Being of sound mind, you want to get the largest possible share, and the only way to ensure this is to make all the slices the same size. You could cut one huge slice for yourself and a few tiny ones for your friends, but one of them might take the large slice and leave you with a meager share. (Not to mention, your friends won’t think very highly of you.) Another means of appreciating the implications of the Veil of Ignorance is by considering the social structures of certain species of ants. Even though queen ants are able to form colonies alone, they will band together to form stronger, more productive colonies. Once the first group of worker ants reaches maturity, the queens fight to the death until one remains. When they first form a colony, the queen ants are behind a Veil of Ignorance. They do not know if they will be the sole survivor or not. All they know, on an instinctual level, is that cooperation is beneficial for their species. Like the people behind the Veil of Ignorance, the ants make a decision which, by necessity, is selfless. The Veil of Ignorance, as a thought experiment, shows us that ignorance is not always detrimental to a society. In some situations, it can create robust social structures. In the animal kingdom, we see many examples of creatures that cooperate even though they do not know if they will suffer or benefit as a result. In a paper entitled “The Many Selves of Social Insects,” Queller and Strassmann write of bees: …social insect colonies are so tightly integrated that they seem to function as single organisms, as a new level of self. The honeybees' celebrated dance about food location is just one instance of how their colonies integrate and act on information that no single individual possesses. Their unity of purpose is underscored by the heroism of workers, whose suicidal stinging attacks protect the single reproducing queen. We can also consider the Tragedy of the Commons. Introduced by ecologist Garrett Hardin, this mental model states that shared resources will be exploited if no system for fair distribution is implemented. Individuals have no incentive to leave a share of free resources for others. Hardin’s classic example is an area of land which everyone in a village is free to use for their cattle. Each person wants to maximize the usefulness of the land, so they put more and more cattle out to graze. Yet the land is finite and at some point will become too depleted to support livestock. If the people behind the Veil of Ignorance had to choose how the common land should be shared, the logical decision would be to give each person an equal part and forbid them from introducing too many cattle. As N. Gregory Mankiw writes in Principles of Microeconomics: The Tragedy of the Commons is a story with a general lesson: when one person uses a common resource, he diminishes other people's enjoyment of it. Because of this negative externality, common resources tend to be used excessively. The government can solve the problem by reducing use of the common resource through regulation or taxes. Alternatively, the government can sometimes turn the common resource into a private good. This lesson has been known for thousands of years. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle pointed out the problem with common resources: “What is common to many is taken least care of, for all men have greater regard for what is their own than for what they possess in common with others.” In The Case for Meritocracy, Michael Faust uses other thought experiments to support the Veil of Ignorance: Let’s imagine another version of the thought experiment. If inheritance is so inherently wonderful — such an intrinsic good — then let’s collect together all of the inheritable money in the world. We shall now distribute this money in exactly the same way it would be distributed in today’s world… but with one radical difference. We are going to distribute it by lottery rather than by family inheritance, i.e, anyone in the world can receive it. So, in these circumstances, how many people who support inheritance would go on supporting it? Note that the government wouldn’t be getting the money… just lucky strangers. Would the advocates of inheritance remain as fiercely committed to their cherished principle? Or would the entire concept instantly be exposed for the nonsense it is? If inheritance were treated as the lottery it is, no one would stand by it. […] In the world of the 1% versus the 99%, no one in the 1% would ever accept a lottery to decide inheritance because there would be a 99% chance they would end up as schmucks, exactly like the rest of us. And a further surrealistic thought experiment: Imagine that on a certain day of the year, each person in the world randomly swaps bodies with another person, living anywhere on earth. Well, for the 1%, there’s a 99% chance that they will be swapped from heaven to hell. For the 99%, 1% might be swapped from hell to heaven, while the other 98% will stay the same as before. What kind of constitution would the human race adopt if annual body swapping were a compulsory event?! They would of course choose a fair one. “In the immutability of their surroundings the foreign shores, the foreign faces, the changing immensity of life, glide past, veiled not by a sense of mystery but by a slightly disdainful ignorance.”— Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness The History of Social Contract Theory Although the Veil of Ignorance was first described by Rawls in 1971, many other philosophers and writers have discussed similar concepts in the past. Philosophers discussed social contract theory as far back as ancient Greece. In Crito, Plato describes a conversation in which Socrates discusses the laws of Athens and how they are responsible for his existence. Finding himself in prison and facing the death penalty, Socrates rejects Crito’s suggestion that he should escape. He states that further injustice is not an appropriate response to prior injustice. Crito believes that by refusing to escape, Socrates is aiding his enemies, as well as failing to fulfil his role as a father. But Socrates views the laws of Athens as a single entity that has always protected him. He describes breaking any of the laws as being like injuring a parent. Having lived a long, fulfilling life as a result of the social contract he entered at birth, he has no interest in now turning away from Athenian law. Accepting death is essentially a symbolic act that Socrates intends to use to illustrate rationality and reason to his followers. If he were to escape, he would be acting out of accord with the rest of his life, during which he was always concerned with justice. Social contract theory is concerned with the laws and norms a society decides on and the obligation individuals have to follow them. Socrates’ dialogue with Plato has similarities with the final scene of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. At the end of the play, John Proctor is hung for witchcraft despite having the option to confess and avoid death. In continuing to follow the social contract of Salem and not confessing to a crime he obviously did not commit, Proctor believes that his death will redeem his earlier mistakes. We see this in the final dialogue between Reverend Hale and Elizabeth (Proctor's wife): HALE: Woman, plead with him! […] Woman! It is pride, it is vanity. […] Be his helper! What profit him to bleed? Shall the dust praise him? Shall the worms declare his truth? Go to him, take his shame away!   ELIZABETH: […] He have his goodness now. God forbid I take it from him! In these two situations, individuals allow themselves to be put to death in the interest of following the social contract they agreed upon by living in their respective societies. Earlier in their lives, neither person knew what their ultimate fate would be. They were essentially behind the Veil of Ignorance when they chose (consciously or unconsciously) to follow the laws enforced by the people around them. Just as the people behind the Veil of Ignorance must accept whatever roles they receive in the new society, Socrates and Proctor followed social contracts. To modern eyes, the decision both men make to abandon their children in the interest of proving a point is not easily defensible. Immanuel Kant wrote about justice and freedom in the late 1700s. Kant believed that fair laws should not be based on making people happy or reflecting the desire of individual policymakers, but should be based on universal moral principles: Is it not of the utmost necessity to construct a pure moral philosophy which is completely freed from everything that may be only empirical and thus belong to anthropology? That there must be such a philosophy is self-evident from the common idea of duty and moral laws. Everyone must admit that a law, if it is to hold morally, i.e., as a ground of obligation, must imply absolute necessity; he must admit that the command, “Then shalt not lie,” does not apply to men only, as if other rational beings had no need to observe it. The same is true for all other moral laws properly so called. He must concede that the ground of obligation here must not be sought in the nature of man or in the circumstances in which he is placed, but sought a priori solely in the concepts of pure reason, and that every other precept which is in certain respects universal, so far as it leans in the least on empirical grounds (perhaps only in regard to the motive involved), may be called a practical rule but never a moral law. How We Can Apply This Concept We can use the Veil of Ignorance to test whether a certain issue is fair. When my kids are fighting over the last cookie, which happens more often than you'd imagine, I ask them to determine who will spilt the cookie. The other person picks. This is the old playground rule, “you split, I pick.” Without this rule, one of them would surely give the other a smaller portion. With it, the halves are as equal as they would be with sensible adults. When considering whether we should endorse a proposed law or policy, we can ask: if I did not know if this would affect me or not, would I still support it? Those who make big decisions that shape the lives of large numbers of people are almost always those in positions of power. And those in positions of power are almost always members of privileged groups. As Benjamin Franklin once wrote: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” Laws allowing or prohibiting abortion have typically been made by men, for example. As the issue lacks real significance in their personal lives, they are free to base decisions on their own ideological views, rather than consider what is fair and sane. However, behind the Veil of Ignorance, no one knows their sex. Anyone deciding on abortion laws would have to face the possibility that they themselves will end up as a woman with an unwanted pregnancy. In Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, Rawls writes: So what better alternative is there than an agreement between citizens themselves reached under conditions that are fair for all? […] [T]hreats of force and coercion, deception and fraud, and so on must be ruled out. And: Deep religious and moral conflicts characterize the subjective circumstances of justice. Those engaged in these conflicts are surely not in general self-interested, but rather, see themselves as defending their basic rights and liberties which secure their legitimate and fundamental interests. Moreover, these conflicts can be the most intractable and deeply divisive, often more so than social and economic ones.   In Ethics: Studying the Art of Moral Appraisal, Ronnie Littlejohn explains: We must have a mechanism by which we can eliminate the arbitrariness and bias of our “situation in life” and insure that our moral standards are justified by the one thing all people share in common: reason. It is the function of the veil of ignorance to remove such bias. When we have to make decisions that will affect other people, especially disadvantaged groups (such as when a politician decides to cut benefits or a CEO decides to outsource manufacturing to a low-income country), we can use the Veil of Ignorance as a tool for making fair choices. As Robert F. Kennedy (the younger brother of John F. Kennedy) said in the 1960s: Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. When we choose to position ourselves behind the Veil of Ignorance, we have a better chance of creating one of those all-important ripples. Discuss on Twitter | Comment on Facebook --Sponsored by: Royce & Associates – Small Cap Specialists with Unparalleled Knowledge and Experience..

    Farnam Street / 43 d. 10 h. 27 min. ago more
  • Find, Earn, and Succeed in a Job That You Love (and that makes the world better)Find, Earn, and Succeed in a Job That You Love (and that makes the world better)

    I just had the pleasure of speaking at the 2017 Net Impact #NI17 conference in Atlanta. Thousands of students and working professionals joined us here to learn about how to find fulfilling careers that make the world better. To say it’s an inspiration is an

    MovingWorlds Blog / 45 d. 4 h. 48 min. ago
  • Digital Wisdom Is Digital Survival: Guidelines for Online SharingDigital Wisdom Is Digital Survival: Guidelines for Online Sharing

    As much as the Internet provides unlimited potential, there can be disastrous consequences if you navigate blindly. The fact is, a day doesn’t go by without witnessing examples of hateful speech, public shaming, and online bullying. How do you ensure that you don’t damage your reputation and expose yourself to preventable embarrassment and humiliation? This post is an excerpt from Sue Scheff’s new book, Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate. As you read it, remember: Problems are best addressed before they arise. Sue Scheff is a nationally recognized author, parent advocate, and family Internet safety expert. Her new book, Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate, is powerful! The book is filled with practical advice and real-world examples, as well as powerful tools and strategies, to ensure that you thrive—and don’t become a victim of the cyberworld. I strongly recommend it. It is important to mention that I do not accept, nor did I receive, any benefit for my endorsement. My sole purpose for publishing this piece is to share a valuable resource with you. –– Frank Sonnenberg Digital Wisdom Is Digital Survival: Guidelines for Online Sharing By Sue Scheff How do you make sure you’re never swept up in an Internet takedown?  While no one is totally immune, you do have the power to control many of these situations, if you employ my basic strategies of digital citizenship. You need to understand that you have to conduct your online life as you do your off-line life—with discretion and mindfulness, respect and integrity. Here are six guidelines for forging healthy online social connections. Sharing much too much: It’s about time we realize that not everything we do in our life needs to be documented online. Many of us have become addicted to documenting practically every breath we take on social media, from eating a doughnut to taking a train ride. Is it any wonder that overshare was The Chambers Dictionary’s word of the year in 2014? Even digitally savvy teens think people are divulging TMI online. In a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, 88 percent of teen social media users agreed that people share too much of themselves on social media. Everyone needs to understand the importance of social sharing for your platform—versus oversharing for your ego. A 2015 UCLA study revealed that people who overshare on social media are at a higher risk of being cybershamed. This study suggests oversharing of personal information leads bystanders to blame and not feel for the victim. Sharing inappropriate material: The Internet is unforgiving. Before texting, tweeting, emailing, posting, or sharing anything, consider how you’d feel if your words or images went viral. Is your human need for approval, for eliciting likes and retweets, driving you to share questionable material? Does the content convey how you truly want to be perceived? You should have zero expectation of privacy when it comes to cyberspace. Sharing with the wrong people: You should frequently review the settings on your social media accounts and make sure you actually know who are connecting with. Who’s in your Facebook friends and cell-phone contact lists? Do you actually know them? Would you be embarrassed if you accidentally butt-dialed one of them? In 2010, Jimmy Kimmel dubbed November 17 National Unfriend Day, a time to review your contact list and weed out your true friends from your virtual acquaintances. Just because you’ve set your privacy settings as high as possible doesn’t mean you are 100 percent secure from trolls or a friend turned foe. You may believe that you’re only sharing this with your core group, but remember, you don’t always have control over what photos others choose to take and share. Sharing in haste: People often refer to the phrase, “Think before you post.” I say, “Pause.” It only takes a second to post—and 60 seconds to pause. Take that minute to consider that post before you hit send. Picture yourself in that photo or receiving that email. Is this something that could be embarrassing or humiliating at a later date? Does it reveal too much information? Always ask the permission of others who are in the photo, especially with children, before posting it, and never assume that they have given you permission unless they have. If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a million times—think before you post—but that hasn’t stopped many of us from making digital blunders. Sharing without dignity: When we see adults, politicians, celebrities, or athletes acting childish or bullish online, it sends the wrong message to our fellow adults and to our kids. Many of these people are role models who our youths look up to. But when we have videos circling of hip hop-stars sniffing cocaine over a woman’s breasts and politicians trashing the reputation of private citizens or getting caught with their digital pants down, like Anthony Weiner, over and over again (and over yet again), we have crossed a line. Sharing with negativity: I’m sure everyone knows people who use their social media feed as a venting machine. The complaining never stops, whether it’s their bleak life, their horrible job, or their dismal dating scene. Worse is when they impose their negative thoughts on your good fortune—you’ve just landed your dream job, and they make an unenthusiastic remark like, “Not a great company to work for.” Yes, we’ve all experienced the Negative Nellies and Debbie Downers in our world, and we don’t want to be one of them—especially online. From the moment you are given the privilege of your first keyboard, your virtual résumé begins. It’s up to you to maintain and create a positive persona. It’s true, we can’t be happy all the time, and it’s fine to reach out for support in times of grief. But the good news about the Internet, and even your smartphone, is that you can turn it off if you’re having a bad day. Also, never post something in haste or anger that you might later regret—log off instead. I like to say, “When in doubt, click out.” Do You Feeling Differently About Online Sharing After Reading This Book Excerpt? Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information. Sue Scheff is a nationally recognized author and parent and family online safety advocate. Her new book, Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate, released October 2017, helps guide readers of all ages in preventing, surviving, and overcoming digital disasters such as online shaming and cyberbullying. Follow her on Twitter and join her on Facebook. Additional Reading: CyberParenting: Are Your Actions Helping or Hurting Your Kids? Reputation: You Can’t Run from Your Shadow 50 Ways to Lose Trust and Credibility If you like this article, subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss a single post. Get future posts by RSS feed, email or Facebook. It’s FREE. Save Save The post Digital Wisdom Is Digital Survival: Guidelines for Online Sharing appeared first on Frank Sonnenberg Online.

    Frank Sonnenberg Online / 47 d. 11 h. 28 min. ago more
  • 8 Ways to Ease Dentist Visit Anxiety8 Ways to Ease Dentist Visit Anxiety

    Going to the dentist isn’t high the on the list of things everyone wants to do, in fact, it’s probably not on that list at all, but it is important. Even if you have good dental hygiene habits and have been to the dentist plenty before, it can still be a nerve-wracking experience. It doesn’t have to be. We’ve partnered with a Pocatello dentist to compile this list of things that you should know before going to the dentist to help make the entire visit go a little more smoothly, for you and your dentist. Share Your Fears Tell your dentist if you’re nervous before a particular appointment. Let them know what you are afraid of and they can adapt their treatment method to ease your fears. If they don’t listen, it might be time to find another dentist. Your dentist should make you feel comfortable and help to ease your fears, not make them worse. Become Knowledgeable Ask them questions about the appointment. Discussing and becoming more knowledgeable about dental procedures and why the dentist does something can help you immensely. The unknown can be scary, so talk to your dentist about it. Listen to Music Bring your headphones with you and listen to music. If the sounds of the dental tools bother you, this can help to drown them out a little and give you something else to focus on. If you have wireless headphones, bring those, as they will be less likely to get in the way. If you don’t have headphones, ask your dentist for some. Some dentists now have movies and music in their office to watch and listen to during your appointments for this very reason. Low-stress Appointment Time Choose a time of day or during the week when you won’t be rushed for time. This could be early in the morning or right after work, or maybe on the weekend if your dentist’s office is open. The less you have to stress about, the better you’ll feel during your appointment. Breathe Breathing physically helps to relax your body. Focus on your breathing, inhale deeply through your nose and then exhale slowly through your nose. This will give you something else to focus on during your dental procedure. Look at Reviews If you’re looking for a new dentist, look at their online reviews. Finding a dentist who others feel comfortable with and trust will help ease your fear of going to them, rather than picking the first dentist you come across. Talk to family and friends in your area about their dentists to see if they would recommend them to you. Knowing that people close to you trust your dentist will help ease your fears. Brush Your Teeth Sometimes we get self-conscious or embarrassed by our teeth or our mouth. Brushing your teeth before your appointment, as well as regular brushing habits, can help you feel more confident in your teeth. Knowing that you have done your best to care for your teeth should make you feel better about how your appointment will go. Watch What You Eat Another item on the self-conscious or embarrassing list is bad breath. If you’re concerned about having bad breath, avoid foods that cause it. And know that a good dentist is not going to comment on your breath if it is bad. But it might not be a bad idea to ask about your breath because bad breath can be a sign of other problems. The main key is to find a dentist whom you can trust to help you feel comfortable and knowledgeable about each appointment. Do your research, talk to your dentist, take care of your teeth and you will feel much better about your next dentist visit. The post 8 Ways to Ease Dentist Visit Anxiety appeared first on Good Home & Health.

    Good Home & Health / 48 d. 6 h. 20 min. ago more
  • Are You Making it Possible for Supporters to Live Their Destiny?Are You Making it Possible for Supporters to Live Their Destiny?

    You may have heard or read the famous Gandhi quote: “Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” How, then, are we, as fundraisers, making it possible for our supporters to live their destiny? What words do you share to allow others to make a greater impact? If our thoughts become our words…remember, what you think and say has a direct correlation to how much money we raise. The post Are You Making it Possible for Supporters to Live Their Destiny? appeared first on Ignited Fundraising.

    Ignited Fundraising / 48 d. 16 h. 26 min. ago more
  • How to Let It Go and Delegate More EffectivelyHow to Let It Go and Delegate More Effectively

    Do You Know How to Let It Go and Delegate Effectively? 10 Proven Ways to Delegate Leave your comfort zone. If you don’t feel comfortable delegating, you’re not alone. Change is difficult. Think about it this way…if we didn’t try to walk, we’d all still be crawling. Know what matters most. Set priorities and determine which trade-offs are right for you. Build trust. Surround yourself with talented people who possess a high level of trust and integrity. Manage the process. Focus on the process as much as on the end result. And make sure to consider strengths and weaknesses when assigning work. Be explicit about goals and expectations. Tell people your ultimate goal rather than micromanaging how they do it. Who knows…they may come up with a better way. Set milestones. Delegating does not mean walking away from an activity until it’s complete. Establish key milestones and review progress along the way. Delegate responsibility and authority. It’s not enough to delegate a task. Give the person the responsibility and authority to get it done. Set the right tone. Create an environment in which dialog is open, questions are encouraged, and mistakes become part of a learning experience. Give continual feedback. Remember, there’s a difference between criticism and constructive feedback. Recognize and reward excellence. Give credit where credit is due. Compliment people in public; criticize them in private. Do You Know How to Let It Go and Delegate Effectively? Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information. Additional Reading: Criticism is Not Feedback Attention, Control Freaks: It’s Time to Delegate Get It Done! If you like this article, subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss a single post. Get future posts by RSS feed, email or Facebook. It’s FREE. Save Save The post How to Let It Go and Delegate More Effectively appeared first on Frank Sonnenberg Online.

    Frank Sonnenberg Online / 49 d. 11 h. 25 min. ago more
  • Tips to Create Your Own Hawaiian Bucket ListTips to Create Your Own Hawaiian Bucket List

    Blue waters, breathtaking sunsets, and rolling mountains cascading around white sands makes for a getaway unlike any other experience. These are just a few reasons why many people decide to seek out Hawaiian getaways and Big Island homes for rent. Hawaii is known for its magnificent landscape and activities; however, many people have discovered that Hawaii accommodates those who are seeking specific luxuries. Fine dining, comfortable hotels, and private adventures make this destination a decadent decision for all families. Hawaiian Beaches Big Island Beaches Countless travel entities, such as The Travel Channel have reported on this island resulting in many families adding Hawaii to their bucket list.  Known as the “Big Island”, Hawaii hosts amazing sites that uphold the majestic scenery we all know and love. Like most of Hawaii, it is home to beaches that seemingly look untouched. Clear water, white sand beaches, and a thriving coral community surround the island making this destination a complete paradise for any family. The beaches of Hawaii can accommodate just about anyone in the family. Whether you’re seeking some quiet time in the sun, seeking surf lessons from some of the best surfers in the world, or interested in the realm of underwater adventure, Hawaii is certainly a destination to ensure that everyone has what they need. With relaxation and adventure mixed into one island, the entire family can find something to do.   Hawaiian Resorts Hawaii is home to many luxury resorts that can take care of the entire family by mixing fun with serenity. One of the most luxurious resorts that can be found on the Big Island is the Four Seasons resort. With amenities such as spa treatments, infinity pools, and swimmable ponds with manta rays, it would be hard to turn down this resort. This ocean view resort has 243 rooms and has received a 5-star score for the traditional hotel class. Another 5-star resort with a view to impress is the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows. This resort offers a unique island twist as guests indulge in the workout rooms volcanic rock saunas, lava tube therapy treatments, and volcanic rock golf courses. Although this resort has embraced the outdoors, there is nothing but luxury offered by the resort atmosphere, just ask guests who have treated themselves to the private bungalows. Another legendary resort found among the islands is St. Regis Princeville. This luxurious resort sustains a specific sophistication and taste for remark-ability. The experience at St. Regis has been described as a place of celebration for all of the finer things in life. Equipped with fine dining and spas, the St. Regis is perfect for any occasion that requires serenity. From weddings, honeymoons, golf retreats and more, you’re certain to find this level of luxury some of the finest among all of Hawaii. Like any reservation, be sure to do some research ahead of time to ensure that the resort you’re booking satisfies your family’s needs.   Hawaiian Dining While experiencing the Big Island, it is important to consider celebrating the local flavor and the best part about this celebration is that there is no shortage of the decadent dishes. Those visiting will find an array of local produce and fresh caught fish at many restaurants. However, those seeking a traditional Hawaiian dish should consider the kalua pork which can be found among many restaurants on the Big Island. The Kalua pork utilizes a unique form of an underground oven found at your typical Hawaiian Luau. Although the pork is tradition, there have been other foods served at luau feasts such as veggies and even turkey. To prepare, a chef will make a wooden fire built in a pit large enough to hold all the food being cooked, stone are then used to over the food. The process can be a bit length as hours can go by before the meal is fully ready; however, the experience of the Hawaiian luau is an unforgettable experience and your taste buds are sure to agree. Another well-known dish that can certainly make heads turn is the Spam Musubi. Yes, you guessed it. The Spam Musubi is indeed made with Spam; however, many people insist that you try it before you decide to pass. This popular Hawaiian lunch is made up of a slice of grilled Spam on block of white rice and wrapped with dried seaweed. Hawaiian ice Another helpful island traditional dish is that of the Hawaiian snow cone. With some of the most delicious flavors from exotic fruits, found only in Hawaii, such as: the tangy lilikoi, the plum-like li hing mui, and the world-famous coconut, this is certainly one Big Island dish you won’t want to pass up. Conservation Hawaii is a place of unique wildlife, ocean reefs, and rolling mountains. All of this makes Hawaii a location unlike any other place and the people of Hawaii strive to keep it this way. While your stay in Hawaii, consider a way to give back to Hawaii. One way is to learn about the island’s unique ecosystem at the Hawaii Wildlife Center. Here you can learn about current efforts in effect to help protect and rehabilitate the wildlife. You can also catch up with some knowledgeable individuals at the Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii with a focus on sustainability and renewable energy. For those looking for a more hands on experience, consider getting your hands dirty with Hawaiian Legacy Tours and help plant a Koa tree as a part of your experience. Hawaii is a destination that is sure to provide an experience unlike anything else. Consider a few of the options to try out during your visit. Remember, the Big Island is just one of the islands that Hawaii is home to. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, you’ll find it in Hawaii. The post Tips to Create Your Own Hawaiian Bucket List appeared first on Good Home & Health.

    Good Home & Health / 49 d. 22 h. 37 min. ago more
  • How to Remember What You ReadHow to Remember What You Read

    “I cannot remember the books I have read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson Why is it that some people seem to be able to read a book once and remember every detail of it for life, while others struggle to recall even the title a few days after putting down a book? The answer is simple but not easy. It's not what they read. It's how they read. Passive readers forget things almost as quickly as they read them. Active readers, on the other hand, retain the bulk of what they read. There is another difference between these two types of readers: The quantity of reading affects them differently. Passive readers who read a lot are not much further ahead than passive readers who read a little. If you're an active reader, however, things are different. The more that active readers read, the better they get. They develop a latticework of mental models to hang ideas on, further increasing retention. They learn to differentiate good arguments and structures from bad ones. They make better decisions because they know what fits with the basic structure of how the world works. They avoid problems. The more they read, the more valuable they become. The more they read, the more they know what to look for. Think back to the books you studied in school. Despite the passage of time, most us remember a lot about them. Even if the details are fuzzy, we can doubtless recall the basic plots, main characters, notable themes, and motifs. We didn't just passively read those books. We actively read them. We had class discussions, took turns reading parts aloud, acted out scenes, or maybe even watched film adaptations. No matter how long it has been since we set foot in a classroom, we all probably remember Animal Farm. Having a deliberate strategy for anything we spend a lot of time on is a sensible approach. But most people don't consciously try to get the most out of the time they invest in reading. For us to get the most out of each book we read, it is vital to have a plan for recording, reflecting on, and putting into use the conclusions we draw from the information we consume. In this article, we will look at a strategy for deriving the maximum benefit from every single page you read. First, let's clear up some common misconceptions about reading. Here's what I know: Quality matters more than quantity. If you read just one book a week but fully appreciate and absorb it, you'll be far better off than someone who skims through half the library without paying much attention. Speedreading is bullshit. The only way to read faster is to actually read more. Book summary services miss the point. I know a lot of companies charge ridiculous prices for access to summaries written by some 22-year-old with zero life experience, but the point of reading for fluency is to acquire a repository of facts and details. Nuance, if you will. In this sense, you understand a bit more about why things work. Fancy apps and tools are not needed. A notebook, index cards, and a pen will do just fine. (For those of you wanting a simple and searchable online tool to help, Evernote is the answer.) We don't need to read stuff we find boring. We don't need to finish the entire book.  “Every time I read a great book I felt I was reading a kind of map, a treasure map, and the treasure I was being directed to was in actual fact myself. But each map was incomplete, and I would only locate the treasure if I read all the books, and so the process of finding my best self was an endless quest. And books themselves seemed to reflect this idea. Which is why the plot of every book ever can be boiled down to ‘someone is looking for something'.”— Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive Before Reading Choose Your Books Wisely There are no rules when it comes to choosing books. We don't have to read bestsellers, or classics, or books everyone else raves about. This isn't school and there are no required reading lists. Focus on some combination of books that: (1) stand the test of time; (2) pique your interest; or (3) resonate with your current situation. The more interesting and relevant we find a book, the more likely we are to remember its contents in the future. For older books or those that have been translated, check which version is considered to be the best. For example, the Hayes translation of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations is regarded as being truest to the original text, while also having a modern feel. Get Some Context A good place to start is by doing some preliminary research on the book. Some books – for example, A Confederacy of Dunces and The Palm Wine Drinkard – have a very different meaning once we know a bit about the life of the author. For older books, try to understand the historical context. For books written in an unfamiliar country, try to understand the cultural context. Some helpful questions to ask include: Why did the author write this? (Did they have an agenda?) What is their background? What else have they written? Where was it written? What was the political, economic, and cultural situation at the time of writing? Has the book been translated or reprinted? Did any important events — a war, an economic depression, a change of leadership, the emergence of new technology — happen during the writing of the book? Know Why You're Reading the Book What are you reading this book for? Entertainment? To understand something or someone you don't know? To get better at your job? To improve your health? To learn a skill? To help build a business? You have to have some idea of what you want to get from the book. You don't just want to collect endless amounts of useless information. That will never stick. Skim the Index, Contents, and Preface Before starting to read a book (particularly non-fiction), skim through the index, contents page, preface, and inside jacket to get an idea of the subject matter.  (This article on how to read a book is a brilliant introduction to skimming.) The bibliography can also indicate the tone of a book. The best authors often read hundreds of books for each one they write, so a well-researched book should have a bibliography full of interesting texts. After you've read the book, peruse the bibliography and make a note of any books you want to read next. Match the Book to Your Setting or Situation Although it's not always practical, matching books to our location and circumstances can be powerful. Books will have a greater resonance as they become part of an experience rather than just supplementing it. When choosing books, take a look at your own situation and decide on genres or authors that might help you overcome any current challenges. Whatever your state of affairs, someone has been in the same place. Someone has felt the same feelings and thought the same thoughts and written about it. It's up to you to find that book. For example: Traveling or on holiday? Match books to the location — Jack Kerouac or John Muir for America; Machiavelli for Italy; Montaigne’s Essays, Ernest Hemingway, or Georges Perec for France; and so on. Going nowhere in particular? Read Vladimir Nabokov or Henry Thoreau. Dealing with grief? Read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Torch by Cheryl Strayed, or anything by Tarah Brach. Having a crisis about your own mortality? (It happens to us all.) Read Seneca’s On the Shortness of Life or Theodore Zeldin’s The Hidden Pleasures of Life. Dealing with adversity? Lose your job? Read Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations or Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle Is the Way. Dissatisfied with your work? Read Linchpin by Seth Godin, Mastery by Robert Greene, or Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. If I were a Dr., I'd prescribe books. They can be just as powerful as drugs. While Reading You'll remember more if you do the following seven things while you're reading. Make Notes Making notes is perhaps the single most important part of remembering what you read. The best technique for notetaking is whichever one works for you and is easy to stick to. You need to create your own system. Some people prefer to record notes on index cards or in a commonplace book; others prefer a digital system. Notes are especially useful if you write on a regular basis, although everyone (not just writers) can benefit from making them. Start by writing a short summary of each chapter and transcribing any meaningful passages or phrases. If you are unsure how to simplify your thoughts, imagine that someone has just tapped you on the shoulder and asked you to explain the chapter you just finished reading. They have never read this book and lack any idea of the subject matter. How would you explain it to them? In The 3 Secrets That Help Me Write and Think, Robert Greene describes his notetaking process this way: When I read a book, I am looking for the essential elements in the work that can be used to create the strategies and stories that appear in my books. As I am reading a book I underline important passages and sections and put notes … on the side. After I am done reading I will often put it aside for up to a week and think deeply about the lessons and key stories that could be used for my book project. I then go back and put these important sections on notecards. David Foster Wallace recommends a similar form of active reading (for more, see Quack This Way: David Foster Wallace & Bryan A. Garner Talk Language and Writing): Not just reading a lot, but paying attention to the way the sentences are put together, the clauses are joined, the way the sentences go to make up a paragraph. Exercises as boneheaded as you take a book you really like, you read a page of it three, four times, put it down, and then try to imitate it word for word so that you can feel your own muscles trying to achieve some of the effects that the page of text you like did. If you're like me, it will be in your failure to be able to duplicate it that you'll actually learn what's going on. It sounds really, really stupid, but in fact, you can read a page of text, right? And “Oh that was pretty good…” but you don't get any sense of the infinity of choices that were made in that text until you start trying to reproduce them. Stay Focused Decide that for the time you will be reading, you will focus on the book and nothing else. No quick Twitter checks. No emails. No cell phone. No TV. No staring into midair. Understanding and absorbing a book requires deep focus, especially if the subject matter is dense or complex. Remember, we are aiming for active reading. Active reading requires focus and the ability to engage with the author. (Focus is hard work. If you're lost, start here.) Referring to the time before the internet, Nicholas Carr writes in The Shallows: “In the quiet spaces opened up by the prolonged, undistracted reading of a book, people made their own associations, drew their own inferences and analogies, fostered their own ideas. They thought deeply as they read deeply.” If you're struggling to stay focused on a particularly difficult or lengthy book, decide to read a mere 25 pages of it a day. It takes only a few minutes to nibble away at a challenging text. Completing a long book in this manner might take months, but at least you will have read it without getting overwhelmed or bored. Mark Up the Book Most of us were taught as children to treat books as something sacred – no folding the page corners, and no writing in the margins, ever. However, if you want to remember what you read, forget about keeping books pristine. I've spent a lot of time helping my kids unlearn the rule that books are not to be written in. In fact, go crazy with marginalia. The more you write, the more active your mind will be while reading. Jot down connections and tangential thoughts, underline key passages, and make a habit of building a dialogue with the author. Some people recommend making your own index of key pages or using abbreviations (Maria Popova of Brain Pickings writes “BL” next to any beautiful language, for example). The first time you write in a book can be unnerving, but in the long term, it leads to a rich understanding and a sense of connection with the author. Billy Collins has written a beautiful poem on the joys of marginalia: “We have all seized the white perimeter as our own / and reached for a pen if only to show / we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages; / we pressed a thought into the wayside / planted an impression along the verge. /… ‘Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love.'” Stop and Build a Vivid Mental Picture Building vivid mental pictures is one of the most effective techniques for remembering anything, not least what we read. When you come across an important passage or concept, pause and visualize it. Make the picture as salient and distinctive as possible. Make Mental Links Books do not exist in a vacuum. Every concept or fact can be linked to countless others. Making an effort to form our own links is a fruitful way to better remember what we read. Nicholas Carr writes in The Shallows: The bond between book reader and book writer has always been a tightly symbiotic one, a means of intellectual and artistic cross-fertilization. The words of the writer act as a catalyst in the mind of the reader, inspiriting new insights, associations, and perceptions, sometimes even epiphanies. And the very existence of the attentive, critical reader provides the spur for the writer's work. It gives the author confidence to explore new forms of expression, to blaze difficult and demanding paths of thought, to venture into uncharted and sometimes hazardous territory. Keep Mental Models in Mind Mental models enable us to better understand and synthesize books. Some of the key ways we can use them include: Confirmation bias: Which parts of this book am I ignoring? Does this book confirm my opinions? (Okay, but does it actually affirm your beliefs or are you just seeing what you want to see? If you cannot think of a single point in the book that you disagreed with, confirmation bias is perchance distorting your reasoning.) Bayesian updating: What opinions should I change in light of this book? How can I update my worldview using the information in it? Keep in mind the words of John Maynard Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” Pareto principle: Which parts of this book are most important and contain the most information? If I had to cut 99% of the words in this book, what would I leave? Many authors have to reach a certain word or page count, resulting in pages (or even entire chapters) containing fluff and padding. Even the best non-fiction books are often longer than is imperative to convey their ideas. (Note that the Pareto principle is less applicable for fiction books.) Leverage: How can I use lessons from this book to gain a disproportionate advantage? Can I leverage this new knowledge in a tangible way? Incentives: What motivates the characters or the author? What are they seeking? What is their purpose? Here’s how Kurt Vonnegut described the importance of incentives in books: “When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away – even if it’s only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.” Availability bias: Are the books I have recently read affecting how I perceive this one? How are my neoteric experiences shaping my reading? Am I assigning undue importance to parts of this book because they are salient and memorable? Stereotyping tendency: Am I unconsciously fitting the author, characters, or book in general into a particular category? Or is the author stereotyping their characters? Remember, there is no such thing as a good stereotype. Social proof: How is social proof — the number of copies sold, bestseller status, the opinions of others — affecting my perception of this book? Is the author using social proof to manipulate readers? It is not unusual for authors to buy their way onto bestseller lists, providing social proof which then leads to substantial sales. As a result, mediocre books can end up becoming popular. It’s a classic case of the emperor having no clothes, which smart readers know to look out for. Narrative instinct: Is the author distorting real events to form a coherent narrative? This is common in biographies, memoirs, and historical texts. In The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality, Hayden White explains our tendency to meld history into a narrative: “So natural is the impulse to narrate, so inevitable is the form of narrative for any report of the way things really happened, that narrativity could appear problematical only in a culture in which it was absent… narrative is a metacode, a human universal… Narrative becomes a problem only when we wish to give to real events the form of story… This value attached to narrativity in the representation of real events arises out of a desire to have real events display the coherence, integrity, fullness, and closure of an image of life that is and can only be imaginary. The notion that sequences of real events possess the formal attributes of the stories we tell about imaginary events could only have its origin in wishes, daydreams, reveries. Does the world really present itself to perception in the form of well-made stories, with central subjects, proper beginnings, middles, and ends, and a coherence that permits us to see “the end” in every beginning? Or does it present itself more in the forms that the annals and chronicle suggest, either as mere sequence without beginning or end or as sequences of beginnings that only terminate and never conclude? And does the world, even the social world, ever really come to us as already narrativized, already “speaking itself” from beyond the horizon of our capacity to make scientific sense of it? Or is the fiction of such a world, a world capable of speaking itself and of displaying itself as a form of a story, necessary for the establishment of that moral authority without which the notion of a specifically social reality would be unthinkable?” Survivorship bias: Is this (non-fiction) book a representation of reality or is the author failing to account for base rates? Survivorship bias is abundant in business, self-help, and biographical books. A particular case of a successful individual or business might be held as the rule, rather than the exception. Utility: If a book offers advice, does it have practical applications? At what point do diminishing returns set in? Put It Down If You Get Bored As a general rule, people who love reading never, ever finish a crappy book. As Schopenhauer once wrote, “one can never read too little of bad, or too much of good books: bad books are intellectual poison; they destroy the mind.” Life is much too short to finish a bad book. Nancy Pearl advocates the Rule of 50. This entails reading the first 50 pages of a book and then deciding if it is worth finishing. The Rule of 50 has an interesting feature: once you are over the age of 50, subtract your age from 100 and read that many pages. Pearl writes: And if, at the bottom of Page 50, all you are really interested in is who marries whom, or who the murderer is, then turn to the last page and find out. If it's not on the last page, turn to the penultimate page, or the antepenultimate page, or however far back you have to go to discover what you want to know… When you are 51 years of age or older, subtract your age from 100, and the resulting number (which, of course, gets smaller every year) is the number of pages you should read before you can guiltlessly give up on a book…When you turn 100, you are authorized (by the Rule of 50) to judge a book by its cover. Nassim Taleb also emphasizes the importance of never finishing a substandard book: The minute I was bored with a book or a subject, I moved to another one, instead of giving up on reading altogether – when you are limited to the school material and you get bored, you have a tendency to give up and do nothing or play hooky out of discouragement… The trick is to be bored with a specific book, rather than with the act of reading. So the number of the pages absorbed could grow faster than otherwise. And you find gold, so to speak, effortlessly, just as in rational but undirected trial-and-error-based research. “The things you're looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine percent of them is in a book.”— Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 After Reading Most people think that consuming information is the same as learning information. This idea is flawed. The basic process of learning consists of reflection and feedback. We learn ideas gained through experiences – ours or others – that remain unchallenged unless we make the time to reflect on them. If you read something and you don't make time to think about what you've read, your conclusions will be shaky. The Feynman Technique The Feynman technique is named after the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. You can think of it as an algorithm for guaranteed learning. There are four simple steps: choose a concept; teach it to a toddler; identify gaps and go back to the source material; and review and simplify. Think About What You Can Apply So, you've finished the book. Now what? How can you use what you have learned? Don't just go away with a vague sense of “oh yeah, I should totally do what that author says.” Take the time to make a plan and decide how to implement key lessons from the book. Reading alone is not enough. We have to contextualize the knowledge. When does it work? When doesn't it work? Where can I apply it? What are the key variables? The list goes on. If you can take something you've read and apply it immediately, it will reinforce the learning and add context and meaning. Teach What You Have Learned Teaching others is a powerful way to embed information in your mind. This is part of the Feynman technique. Upon completing a book, grab the nearest (willing) person and tell them about what you have learned. You'll have to remove or explain the jargon, describe why this information has meaning, and walk them through the author's logic. It sounds simple. After you try it the first time, you'll realize it's not easy. If there is no one around who is interested, try talking to yourself. That's what I do … but maybe I'm crazy. And if that doesn't work, write a review on Amazon or Goodreads, or post about it on Reddit or anywhere else where people are likely to be interested. One of the benefits of our virtual reading group is that people are forced to actually think about what they are learning. We ask weekly questions on the assigned reading, and responses are diverse and thoughtful. The jargon goes away and people remove blind spots. It's incredible to watch. The result is that after reading a book with us, people say “I've retained so much more than I would have if I did it on my own.” It was Schopenhauer who said, “When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process.” To escape this, you need to reflect on your views and see how they stand up to feedback. Catalogue Your Notes There are endless ways of organizing your notes – by book, by author, by topic, by the time of reading. It doesn't matter which system you use as long as you will be able to find the notes in the future. Having a catalogue of everything you learn from reading creates a priceless resource which can be consulted whenever you need an idea, want inspiration, or want to confirm a thought. Over the years, you will build up a bank of wisdom to refer to in times of crisis, uncertainty, or need. It is hard to convey quite how valuable this can prove to be. As General Mattis wrote: “Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flat-footed by any situation, never at a loss for how any problem has been addressed (successfully or unsuccessfully) before. It doesn't give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.” The options for cataloguing your notes include: A box of index cards, ideally organized by topic, author, or time of reading. Index cards can be moved around. A commonplace book (again, ideally organized by topic, author, or time of reading). A digital system, such as Evernote, OneNote, or plain old Microsoft Word. Digital systems have the added benefit of being searchable, which can save a lot of time if you refer to your notes on a regular basis. Schedule time to read and review these notes. Reread (If Necessary) Great books should be read more than once. While rereading them can seem like a waste of time because there are so many other books to read, this is a misunderstanding of the learning process. The best time to start rereading a great book is right after finishing. The goal is not to read as many books as possible; I've tried that and it doesn't work. The goal is to gain as much wisdom as you can. Rereading good books is of tremendous importance if we want to form lasting memories of the contents. Repetition is crucial for building memories. As Seneca wrote: “You should be extending your stay among writers whose genius is unquestionable, deriving constant nourishment from them if you wish to gain anything from your reading that will find a lasting place in your mind.” There's no better way to finish this article than with the wise words of Henry Thoreau: Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. Books, the oldest and the best, stand naturally and rightfully on the shelves of every cottage. They have no cause of their own to plead, but while they enlighten and sustain the reader his common sense will not refuse them. Their authors are a natural and irresistible aristocracy in every society, and, more than kings or emperors, exert an influence on mankind. Comment on Facebook | Discuss on Twitter --Sponsored by: Royce & Associates – Small Cap Specialists with Unparalleled Knowledge and Experience..

    Farnam Street / 50 d. 10 h. 27 min. ago more
  • What is it That You are REALLY Afraid Of?What is it That You are REALLY Afraid Of?

    Your important work requires philanthropic support. Philanthropists are people who support important work. The only thing holding those philanthropists back from making a significant contribution to your work is that someone (YOU) failed to make the invitation. Failure to ask for adequate financial support  — that truly matches the level of need the work you requires — is THE main reasons you’ve failed to meet or exceed your budget. If you are worried they’ll say no,  you’ve forgotten it’s not about YOU that you’re asking. It’s for those children, veterans, families, people or animals needing a home, and the laws that affect real people. If you are worried you’ll ask for too much, you’ve forgotten to share what it actually takes to do your important work. If you are worried about how you’ll feel making the ask, you’ve forgotten to be concerned with getting the donor ready to say yes. If you are worried – your focus is in the wrong place.  Remember fundraising is about fulfilling the aspirations of your supporters. Fundraising is about changing lives – together with others. Asking is about providing an opportunity. Go. Share a mission moment story and tell the truth about what it takes to do your important work. Stop thinking about how YOU’LL feel and have inspiring, authentic, conversations about what it takes to change lives at your organization. The Complete Storytelling System will provide everything you need to have the confidence and skills to find, craft, and share mission moment stories that generate $50,000, $100,000, and even $1 million contributions! The post What is it That You are REALLY Afraid Of? appeared first on Ignited Fundraising.

    Ignited Fundraising / 55 d. 16 h. 27 min. ago more
  • Help Your Dog Avoid These Three DiseasesHelp Your Dog Avoid These Three Diseases

    Just like humans need to keep up-to-date with vaccinations and their overall health, so do dogs. It’s even more important as some diseases can easily lead to death if left untreated. You can help provide your pet with an enhanced quality of life by taking a few proactive precautions. Learn about three common but preventable diseases dogs can get, and what you can do about them. 1. Canine Parvovirus Infection (CPV) Canine parvovirus or CPV is a virus that attacks the heart and intestines of dogs. Usually, puppies age six weeks to six months get CPV. Dogs that have CPV can spread it to other dogs, and it is very contagious. They get it indirectly by coming in contact with a CPV-contaminated object, such as a toy a dog drools on or when your dog sniffs the stool of an infected dog, or from being in direct contact with an infected dog. Symptoms can include a lack of energy, fever, anorexia, and vomiting and can lead to death. The virus has no true cure, either. That’s why it’s important to be proactive and make sure your puppy gets vaccinated. The recommended vaccination schedule starts at six weeks. Two more doses are also recommended at age 9 weeks and 12 weeks. An additional shot between the ages of 14 weeks and 16 weeks is also recommended for extra protection whether or not the dog received all her previous doses. However, some dog breeds that are more prone to CPV may need vaccinations up to 22 weeks, such as German shepherds and Doberman Pinschers. 2. Heartworm Disease Heartworm disease is caused by heartworms. These parasitic worms can grow up to one-foot long and live up to seven years in the blood vessels, lungs, and hearts of infected dogs. This disease can be spread from dog to dog with the help of a mosquito. Mosquitoes that draw blood from infected dogs carry the microscopic baby heartworms, which later mature into larvae. Dogs can get heartworms if they get bitten by these infected mosquitoes. Heartworm disease is potentially life-threatening if left untreated. It can seriously damage the lungs, arteries, and heart and even lead to heart failure. The surgery to remove the heartworms can be expensive, too. The good news is that you can take proactive steps to prevent the disease with a monthly heartworm medication. You can start by consulting with your veterinarian to determine if your pet has heartworm disease and getting your dog tested. Your vet should give you a prescription for a heartworm medication, such as the Heartgard Plus Chewables for Dogs that Allivet offers. 3. Rabies Rabies is a dangerous and frequently fatal viral infection that attacks a dog’s brain. The rabies virus is spread when a dog comes into direct contact with a rabid animal, such as getting a bite from a rabid fox or raccoon. However, it’s also possible for the virus to spread indirectly by coming into contact with the saliva from an infected animal. Symptoms can include unusual aggression, paralysis, and seizures. The disease is so prevalent in the United States that it’s a federal law to have your pet vaccinated and required in all 50 states. Keeping your dog current on his annual rabies vaccination will help prevent the disease from spreading, and also protect him from contracting the virus. Some veterinarians also give three-year rabies shots. Final Thoughts Protecting your pet from diseases, such as rabies, heartworm disease, and parvo, is simple when you take the necessary precautions. Be proactive and protect your furry friend by consulting with your veterinarian and administering the recommended medications and vaccinations in a timely manner. AUTHOR: Lannie, writer for Allivet. Allivet provides affordable pet supplies and pet medications. Listed below are some helpful resources that can provide some guidance for those looking for helpful pet supplies: https://www.avma.org/public/Health/Pages/Outdoor-Enthusiasts-Quick-Tips.aspx http://www.allivet.com/p-1002-heartgard-plus-chewables-for-dogs.aspx http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_dg_canine_parvovirus_infection?page=show   The post Help Your Dog Avoid These Three Diseases appeared first on Good Home & Health.

    Good Home & Health / 56 d. 1 h. 44 min. ago more
  • Are You Preparing Your Kids for the Real World?Are You Preparing Your Kids for the Real World?

    We baby our kids like infants; we coddle them like delicate crystal; and we pamper them like they’re totally incapable of surviving on their own. I can just hear the refrain, “Whatever you want, dear.” Are you preparing your kids for the real world? If our kids confront adversity, we clear a path for them. If they lose by a mile, we give them trophies for trying. And, when they have trouble coping in the big bad world, it’s never our error for overprotecting them or their fault for being helpless — we condemn the system instead. That way, there are no losers. Are we doing our kids a favor by making their life unrealistically easy? Or are we making it impossible for them to succeed when they go out into the real world — and reality hits them right between the eyes? What happens when our kids encounter a competitive showdown, struggle with a personal tragedy, or face a challenge with impossible odds? Will you tell his opponents to take it easy on him because he’s fragile? Will you tell her teammates to pull a little harder because she needs a break? Will you tell his manager to promote him, not because he’s the most deserving, but because it’s his turn? Seriously! We fight their battles, protect them from meanies, and pretend they do no wrong — even when actions should have consequences. “What do they learn?” you ask. Nothing! What will they do when there’s no one to grease the skids for them or to get them off the hook? These little darlings will be unable to cope. And there won’t be anyone to protect, defend, or catch them before they fall. That has disaster written all over it. Teach Your Children “How to Fish” Are you preparing your kids for the real world? Here are 13 guideposts for your kids to follow through life: Be self-reliant. Don’t allow yourself to become overly dependent on others. It can’t be done for you; it must be done by you. Own your life. Make good choices and accept responsibility for your actions. Your life is determined by the sum of the choices that YOU make. Face the facts. Every day isn’t filled with rainbows. Be prepared to accept the good with the bad — even roses have thorns. Establish realistic expectations. You don’t get what you want; you get what you deserve. Period. Get your hands dirty. You’ll start at the bottom and remain there until you demonstrate you can handle more. Learn a thing or two. Allow your mentor to guide, but never to perform, an activity for you. This will instill confidence and ensure that learning takes place. Take it slow. Don’t bite off more than you can chew at first. Build confidence and momentum through small wins. Don’t blame — learn. Make mistakes when the consequences are small. That way, you’ll know exactly how to handle things when it matters most. Don’t baby yourself. Show some grit when you’re confronted by challenges. Determination is habit forming; so is quitting. Take one for the team. Work hard. You’re expected to pull your own weight, not to weigh down the team. Invest in yourself. Education and experience are precious. Everything you learn makes you more valuable, and the benefits will remain with you through life. Accept “no” as a gift. People who don’t indulge your every whim are teaching you “how to fish.” They’re giving you the gift of confidence, strength, and self-reliance. Work hard; work smart. Nothing is accomplished without hard work, dedication, and commitment. It takes many years to become an overnight success. Preparing Your Kids for the Real World If you want the best for your kids, give them a good education, instill good values, and set them free. It’s not easy to let go of the reins because we don’t want our kids to get hurt. But, if you’re preparing your kids for the real world, saying “no” to your children can be an act of love. Sure…they’ll hit some bumps along the way, but they’ll grow confident and resilient over time and will be forever grateful for your loving gift. When they were young, many of their books ended with the phrase, “They lived happily ever after.” I have a feeling that if you follow this formula, your story will have a happy ending, too. Are You Preparing Your Kids for the Real World? Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information. Additional Reading: Parenthood Isn’t Child’s Play Hard Work is Good For Your Soul How Do You See the World Around You? Do You Have a Victim Mentality? Do You Discourage Excellence? If you like this article, subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss a single post. Get future posts by RSS feed, email or Facebook. It’s FREE. The post Are You Preparing Your Kids for the Real World? appeared first on Frank Sonnenberg Online.

    Frank Sonnenberg Online / 56 d. 11 h. 25 min. ago more
  • How to Make the Most of Your Life: The 24 Hour LifeHow to Make the Most of Your Life: The 24 Hour Life

    This is a guest post by Nancy Daley “If today were the last day of my life would I want to do what I am about to do today?” —Steve Jobs Despite his major successes and his 6.5 billion dollar worth, Steve Jobs got sick. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003. He spent […]

    Global Harmony Crew / 59 d. 5 h. 52 min. ago
  • Blah Blah Blah vs. Inspiring LanguageBlah Blah Blah vs. Inspiring Language

    The words we choose make a difference. We know this. Why, then, in our fundraising, do we use some of the same, tired phrases and words over and over and over again? Donate   Attend Help Us Give More Give Again The words we choose are often so utilitarian and over-used that our listeners, readers, volunteers, and donors hear noise — like the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher talking in class. When we take a few minutes to think about it and choose inspiring language that engages we open up opportunities for deeper connections and bigger actions. Invest vs Donate What it Takes vs We need See Your Impact vs Attend Who Will Your Gift Help? vs Help Us Long-term partnership vs Give More and Give Again What are yours?   Do the stories you include in your fundraising asks cause immediate action? Learn how they can in this free web class: 5 Essential Storytelling Secrets to Raise More Money The post Blah Blah Blah vs. Inspiring Language appeared first on Ignited Fundraising.

    Ignited Fundraising / 62 d. 16 h. 27 min. ago more
  • 3 Steps to Gather Stories When You Don’t Have Cute Kids, Puppies, or People You Serve3 Steps to Gather Stories When You Don’t Have Cute Kids, Puppies, or People You Serve

    Your organization has no cute kids, puppies, or people that you regularly serve. But you keep hearing that you’re supposed to share those “mission moments” about real people to engage your community. From Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax How does sharing powerful stories work for you? While it may feel like you have little to no connection to the end user of your work as an advocacy, policy, environmental, trade center, association, or other umbrella organization … you do. True Story I recently had the honor of working for a few weeks with Katie, director of development, at ConnCAN. This is an amazing multi-million-dollar organization doing what it takes to improve education for all of Connecticut’s children. When I first spoke with Katie she was unsure whether or not they had any “real” stories to tell about their educational sessions or legislation they work to pass each year. Through our discussions, we uncovered that indeed their work affects teachers and students every day all across the state. The powerful mission-moment story I coached Katie on was about a young high-school senior named Ashley. This bright, young woman had noticed the teachers in her middle and high school didn’t look like she did. They didn’t represent nor did they understand the struggles and lives of the diverse campus of students. Rather than getting angry or simply complaining, Ashley got to work. She searched online, talked to friends and family, and found out about a bill ConnCAN wanted to move through the state legislature. The bill requires schools to have more teachers that represent the diverse student population. While she was nervous and unsure if she could be of help, Ashley did whatever was asked. A high-school student testifying on behalf of the bill? Yes. That bill indeed passed. Who has that kind of experience coming out of high school? Ashley’s story is now shared regularly and inspires donors and others who are unsure how they can make a difference. Where will you find your mission-moment stories? Here’s a list to get you started: Volunteers doing research for your organization Recipients of your grants or educational programs Attendees at your association events Businesses that benefit from the partnerships or training delivered by you The end recipient of the safe housing or other legislation your organization passed 3 Steps to Gather Stories When You Don’t Have Cute Kids, Puppies, or People You Serve 1. Remember that your work does affect real people. 2. Ask the question: Whose lives are different because of the work we do? 3. Talk to the people whose lives are different: volunteers, donors, business owners, others. Ask them open-ended questions about how their life is better because of something your organization made happen. For help crafting your powerful, engaging story, put the story into the format you’ll find in my free Boring 2 Brilliant eBook. This post originally appeared on NonprofitPro.com on August 11, 2017 The post 3 Steps to Gather Stories When You Don’t Have Cute Kids, Puppies, or People You Serve appeared first on Ignited Fundraising.

    Ignited Fundraising / 69 d. 16 h. 26 min. ago more
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  • Interim update on GiveWell’s money moved and web traffic in 2016Interim update on GiveWell’s money moved and web traffic in 2016

    In 2016, we tracked a total of $91.6 million given to our top charities as a direct result of our research. In addition to this $91.6 million, we also directed $13.3 million to our Incubation Grants program. A note about this report: We have yet to complete all of the work necessary to publish our 2016 metrics report. There are a number of reasons the report has been difficult to produce this year. In our view the main factors responsible for this delay were the increasing number and complexity of the data sources used to track donors giving to our recommended charities and competing priorities that required the attention of the staff member who produced the 2016 report. The delay was not a result of a decreased dedication to transparency. In mid-September, we committed to publishing an update on our key metrics (money moved and web traffic) by October 1st even if we were unable to complete our report by then. We have failed to complete our full report, and, today, are publishing an interim update consistent with our commitment. Unfortunately, we don’t have an updated estimate about when we’ll publish our full metrics report. It is possible that it will take us several months or more to complete it. We view this as a major failing on our part, and we plan to correct this in the future. For the purpose of this report, please note: We report on “metrics years” that run from February through January; for example, our 2016 data cover February 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017. We differentiate between our traditional charity recommendations, the work of the Open Philanthropy Project, and our work aiming to support the development of future GiveWell top charities. GiveWell and Open Philanthropy are now separate legal organizations, but during 2016 Open Philanthropy was part of GiveWell, so we report its grantmaking here. More context on the relationship between Good Ventures, Open Philanthropy, and GiveWell can be found here. Summary of influence: In 2016, GiveWell influenced charitable giving in several ways. The following table includes (a) donations from donors who cited our research when donating to a third party (or cited a source that recommended our top charities because of our recommendation), (b) donations to GiveWell that we granted to top charities and standout organizations, and (c) grants made on our recommendation, through GiveWell Incubation Grants and the Open Philanthropy Project. Total money moved: In 2016, GiveWell tracked $91.6 million in money moved to our recommended charities. Our money moved figure only includes donations that we are confident were influenced by our recommendations. In our full metrics report, we plan to include our best guess of the total funding that was given to our top and standout charities due to our research; the numbers in this blog post include only donations that we could specifically track as being due to our research. The methodology used to generate the numbers in this post was very similar to what is described in our 2015 metrics report, with the exception that, for 2016, we counted more donations through partner organizations such as Giving What We Can. We now believe that we should have included those donations last year. Open Philanthropy gave an additional $13.3 million to the GiveWell Incubation Grants program, to support the development of future top charities, and GiveWell granted $400,000 in participation grants to organizations that applied for a top charity recommendation, from funding provided by Good Ventures for this purpose. We do not count either of these grant types in our headline money moved figure. Money moved by charity: Our seven top charities received the majority of our money moved. Our six standout charities received a total of about $3.1 million. Addition on October 13, 2017 Although we still have not completed the full metrics report for 2016, a question from a reader prompted us to add a brief addition to this post regarding the slow growth in total money moved in 2016. We responded below in a comment and pledged to make an addition to the post itself (this addition). The total money moved we tracked in 2016, excluding Good Ventures, grew a modest amount from $39.7 million in 2015 to $41.6 million in 2016. This 5% increase represents a sharp decline in the rate of growth of the money moved to our recommended charities on the basis of our recommendation, which is an important indicator of our impact on charitable giving. In previous years, our money moved from donors other than Good Ventures increased by 196% (2015), 65% (2014), and 23% (2013). This decrease reflects a shift in the distribution of donations from donors giving very large amounts of money to those giving more modest amounts as well as a decrease in the number of donors giving over $1 million each. Four donors giving $1 million or more gave a combined $10 million in 2016. In 2015, eight donors donated $1 million or more to our top and standout charities for a combined $21.3 million in donations. In 2016, three of these donors kept giving at the same level. Another three didn’t repeat their donations and two reduced the size of their donations. Based on conversations with four of the five donors who reduced or didn’t repeat their donations, we don’t believe that the change in their donations reflects a change in their assessment of the quality of GiveWell’s research. In one case, we were never able to get in touch with the donor (who gave $2 million), so we don’t have more information about why their gift didn’t recur. This decline in donations from donors giving very large amounts was offset by growth among donors giving less than $1 million, which increased from $18.4 million in 2015* to $31.6 million in 2016. The full report will contain additional details on the distribution of these donations among the different categories of donor sizes that we track, but we can currently say that we saw an increase in the number of donors giving at every level below $1 million or more. We view this growth as a positive sign that GiveWell’s donor base is broadening and may be more sustainable over time. We will complete a more thorough analysis of the changes to our donor base as part of the complete 2016 metrics report. *We incorrectly published $18.1 million in our comment below; the correct figure is $18.4 million (see pg. 2). The post Interim update on GiveWell’s money moved and web traffic in 2016 appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

    The Give Well Blog / 73 d. 20 h. 10 min. ago more
  • Battling Fear at 14,500 FeetBattling Fear at 14,500 Feet

    “C’mon Dad, it will be fun!” My oldest daughter Bailey kept saying that to me, but I couldn’t get past the feeling I was going to throw up.  Two summers ago I was about to turn fifty and wanted to do something I had never done before.  Bailey thought that skydiving would be the perfect activity for me – she had done it the summer before and loved it – plus she wanted to go again.  I can assure you that of all the things I was thinking of doing, jumping out of an airplane never came close to making the list.  As I age, I seem to have developed a growing fear of heights.  The mere thought of doing it made me break out in a sweat.  I was genuinely afraid. I got up close and personal with fear back in 2006, when my wife and I were both diagnosed with cancer just six months apart.  There’s a whole new intensity to fear when you stare death in the face.  I’ve learned a lot about fear and how it affects us.  In fact, as I look back at my life, I realize that fear is something I’ve dealt with quite a bit.  I’ve almost embraced it to a certain degree.  I certainly don’t mean I like it, but it drives me in many situations.  The motivation to “not fail” pushes me as much as the prospect of success does.  I don’t know if that’s healthy or not, but to this day I am still motivated that way to a certain extent.  I fear not being the best husband and father I can be, so I am driven to live up to some unreachable standard I set. In my previous job, I worried about all the potential issues that could keep things from running smoothly, and I knew if I addressed them, we would do well.  I fear my cancer could come back, so I pray, work out, do yoga, and drink these smoothies in the morning that look like something I’ve seen in a six-month-old’s diaper.  Hold up before you picture me in alone in a dark room watching Matlock reruns.  I consider myself an optimistic, happy person, but fear is definitely something I deal with on a semi-regular basis. So, back to the part where I’m trying not to puke.  After several requests from my daughter, I finally said yes…and she looked almost shocked.  I told her I needed to do something that I was really afraid of doing.  I told a friend/co-worker what we were doing, and she wanted to go.  We had a 3 hour drive to the jump site, and everyone was getting anxious as we got closer.  We drove through some beautiful countryside once we got off the interstate, but then we passed a small cemetery and everyone made some nervous jokes about it.  Then, we passed another cemetery…and another one. THREE cemeteries on this rural two-lane road in the last 10 miles of our trip!  I asked if so many people died jumping out of airplanes in this area that they needed to keep building more cemeteries to bury all the bodies! We arrived and they were over an hour behind schedule, so we had to wait…at least it gave us time to watch the video version of the waiver we signed that mentioned death no less than twenty times.  As we finally piled into the little plane, I buckled onto my tandem partner Ronnie that would make sure we did everything right.  The short ride to altitude was brutal for me.  As Bailey stepped to the door, she looked back at me and said “You good Dad?” with a thumbs up.  I said yes as they rolled out.  I immediately looked behind me and said “RONNIE I AM NOT $%*#$*% GOOD!”  He said, “It’s going to be great…besides, it’s too late now anyway”, and we tumbled out into what almost looked like a fake picture below me. The next five minutes were some of the most amazing, exhilarating, and gut-wrenching of my life.  It was so beautiful and peaceful – except for the parts where I was screaming.  I prayed to God for the parachute to open, but mostly I told Him how thankful I was for my life and being with me through good and bad. Author Jon Acuff wrote a book called Start and the subtitle says “Punch Fear in the Face”.  Remember that the next time you tell yourself that you can’t do something because you’re afraid or it makes you uncomfortable.  I talk and write a lot about getting out from underneath our blanket of “comfortable” and doing those things that we’ve always just talked or thought about.  Sometimes it takes more than just throwing off that blanket – you’ve got to punch it in the face. The post Battling Fear at 14,500 Feet appeared first on Possibility Change.

    The Change Blog / 74 d. 7 h. 25 min. ago more
  • How Could This Happen To Me?How Could This Happen To Me?

    How could this happen to me? How could I develop an autoimmune disease at the age of 36? This was not supposed to happen. Not to someone in their 30s, not to someone who had dedicated their life to health, wellness and fitness. Not to a microbiologist turned personal trainer and yoga teacher. Nope. That’s not how things worked. I had practically guaranteed good health and quality of life well into my 90s. Although the first 3 decades of my life hadn’t necessarily been easy, I had faced, and triumphantly overcome, varying challenges including caring for a terminally ill mother, a mentally ill sibling, and owning my own business in the mix. I was capable, resourceful, intelligent and had a proven track record I could deal with some of life’s ugliest moments. But… I did have this one requirement underlying it all… One necessary ‘condition’ that allowed me to be the ruler of my world: my health. My personal credo was: I can deal with anything life throws at me So long as I have my health… One must have health if they want to be in control of their life, right? The one thing I believed was absolutely necessary for me to face any and all challenges life threw my way – my health – was taken away. Never to fully return to its prior pristine state. My new norm included extreme, mind-boggling fatigue, memory loss, severe migraines, fevers, swollen joints, extensive hair loss and throbbing pain throughout my body. All these symptoms and more appeared in an unpredictable pattern that made it impossible to figure out a way to manage. Interspersed were days where I felt relatively ‘better’ (as in, being 75%). Gone were the days where I experienced a pain-free day. My life spiraled into one continuous chaos. I could not care for myself – basic self-care like showering, laundry, dishes, groceries, putting gas in my car, not to mention going to work… every single thing required inordinate amounts of energy of which I had none. I’d try to do my dishes and tidy up but the exertion was too much and would land me in bed for days. Doing groceries AND carrying them home became a herculean effort. I’d force my body through my Mon-Fri job only to lay comatose for 48 hours before repeating the torture. I fell into a deep, dark hole. My future looked grim and my hopes began to dim. I had no assets to fall back on, I wasn’t married and my family had distanced themselves, while the prospect of being able to work in any career was looking difficult. If I couldn’t maintain a job and basic self-care, what was next? A caregiver? Social assistance? And further than that? What would the rest of my years look like? I felt doomed and hopeless. I could see no possible positive outcome for my future. I kept waiting for the universe to shift, for some external force to change my life. My thoughts consisted of “if only” statements. If only… I had enough money I could hire help around the house with domestic duties. If only… I had a different job, one with a less toxic environment I’d manage better. If only… I didn’t have to work at all, that would be the answer. If only… I had a spouse, someone to lean on, my life would be easier. I was angry. Bitter. Pissed. I kept wondering where was all that good karma I had put out into the world all those years? All those countless acts of kindness and being a caregiver for family – didn’t they count for anything? I was a good person. I had assumed that good karma meant what goes around comes around and now that I desperately needed help, it ought to appear. And then… One of my pivotal moments (there were several in a series over time) arrived in the form of a quote that I saw on social media: A bird sitting in a tree Is never afraid of the branch breaking Because its trust is not on the branch But on its own wings. -Unknown I realized I was focusing only on the branch… on the earth being taken out beneath my feet, on some external force changing my circumstances and hadn’t for a moment considered my own power and role in my life. Because of the assumption that health equaled freedom and power I took the absence of full health to mean imprisonment and powerlessness. I realized I thought I didn’t have wings because I didn’t have my health. I thought my circumstances dictated my destiny. But I was wrong. The power lay within me, not outside of me. My life was determined by me; how I reacted to those circumstances, my perspective, my mindset, and choices were all up to me. Health, while being precious and a privilege, was not everything. I stopped worrying about the ‘branch’ and began cultivating trust in myself. Instead of looking ahead to the future and wondering ‘How will I manage? How can things get better?’ I chose to focus on my strength and resilience; on the fact that I was still on the planet and breathing in spite of it all. I have wings. I have power. Maybe not the way I used to or how I imagined it, or what I would prefer, but so long as I am breathing, I am a living force. The same is true for you, dear friend. The life force that you are is everything. THAT is what directs your life. You are a conglomerate of cells; a conglomerate of energy; you direct that energy whichever way you wish… so spread your wings and trust in the power that you are. The post How Could This Happen To Me? appeared first on Possibility Change.

    The Change Blog / 76 d. 6 h. 52 min. ago more
  • What Changed When I Stopped Consuming and Started CreatingWhat Changed When I Stopped Consuming and Started Creating

    “Creative thinking inspires ideas. Ideas inspire change.” – Barbara Januszkiewicz I grew up like every other teenager of the 80’s and 90’s – watching MTV. I was obsessed with Madonna, moshed my teen spirit with Nirvana, then entered the dark side of pop with Nine Inch Nails. I loved all of it; the music, the visuals, the performance. I decided that I too was going to become a rock star and perform on MTV. So I set off to work to make that dream come true. Until this artistic awakening, I had taken lessons in piano and dance, but doing my own thing was a completely different ball game. There were no notes to follow, there was no choreography to obey. I needed to decide for myself what the notes and the steps were going to be. This required a whole new way of thinking, seeing and listening. Consuming is easy. Getting inspired is easy. Following instructions is easy. But when you go from a consumer to a creator, you start to think about things you never thought about before. It is equally overwhelming and exciting. I wasn’t always sure I was going to be able to do it. Yet, when I shifted from a consumer of music to a creator, my life changed profoundly. For the first time, I started to listen to things I’d never listened to before, like the drums. Not just the beat that made me dance, but really, the sounds and the sequences. For the first time I started to really appreciate the power of the bass guitar, and the huge part it played in music. How was it possible that I’d never really heard it before? I started to pay attention to what all the different instruments were doing and it blew my mind. Music opened up to me on a whole new level. It was richer and more fascinating, and I started to appreciate it so much more than I had ever before. It became more layered and multi-dimensional. Becoming a creator and not a consumer turned me from a receiver into a producer. Life didn’t just flow over me, but I became keenly aware of what was happening all around me. Everything became potential material for my creative pursuits. I became an active gatherer-hunter of ideas. Ideas kept popping in my head all the time, and I had to capture them quickly before they would escape me. I started to carry a notebook with me everywhere. Everything became interesting. I collected stories, moments, feelings, anecdotes, quotes, and jokes. I started spotting interesting names, logos, and colors everywhere. My notebook became my favorite thing, my treasure trove. Eventually, I did reach my dream of being on MTV. It didn’t happen by luck or by accident. It happened because of this shift. Maybe I could have been one of the hopefuls, joining the queues of talent shows, thinking that someone would create me. Most likely I would’ve not done very well because no one can create anyone, we have to create ourselves. Music was my first muse. It taught me everything about being a creator. It awakened all of my senses and it opened up the world for me. Becoming a creator has changed the way I do everything in life. The world is so full of stuff that it’s easy to sit back and just consume it. Creating is hard, it quickly makes you aware of your shortcomings and your lack of knowledge. Yet, moving from a consumer to a creator in every area of life will open your eyes and your senses to so many fascinating things. Everything is a story. Everything can be a seed for an idea. You will become infinitely curious about life. The world will become richer, and a more interesting place to be. What a beautiful way to move through life, don’t you think? My Challenge to You Have a think about all the things that you consume and love. Is it books, music, perfumes, fashion? Maybe you love looking at someone who can dance really well. Or you love eating mother’s cooking. Or perhaps you admire someone who knows how to code, or builds shelves or fixes cars, but you’ve never thought you’d be able to do something like that. Instead of observing and consuming, I challenge you to pick one of these things and try to become the creator yourself. Ask someone person to show you the ropes. Spend a bit of time on YouTube tutorials. Join Skillshare. Start with something small and simple. Share your experience in the comments! What changed? The post What Changed When I Stopped Consuming and Started Creating appeared first on Possibility Change.

    The Change Blog / 78 d. 9 h. 2 min. ago more
  • 7 Ways To Start To Value Yourself7 Ways To Start To Value Yourself

    “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha One of the biggest myths we feed into is that setting ourselves as a number one priority is selfish and unkind. Truth is, it is the most loving thing we can do for ourselves and for others. Our loved ones gain when we are in a good space and when we have all our energy at any given moment. People benefit when we are whole and life opens when we are thriving. Yet, we’re so conditioned to believe that things will fall apart and it is not ethical to put the person who lives inside your heart, body, and mind first. I remember before I met my husband, I started to pull back from some toxic relationships in my life. I allowed myself to be taken advantage of; let myself be taken for granted. They demanded so much but gave so little. My time, my finances, my heartfelt, “I will stretch until I break, as long as you don’t have discomfort.” When my priorities shifted and I started giving a little more love to me. Not only did it feel amazing, but I had to have this love within me before I could give it freely to someone else. My new found happiness was poorly wished upon. And instead of attempting to fix those relationships, I stood my ground with “I am loveable and worthy” mantras. I focused on the blossoming relationships and let go of the suffocating. Making yourself a priority enables you to be a better person, not just for yourself, but for the relationships your forge along the way. The choices we make from a more loving space are far more beneficial than the ones we make from a place of guilt, lack and overextending. Below are seven ways to start to value yourself and make yourself an important person in your life. Besides, everything starts with you. 1. Stop comparing yourself Comparing ourselves to others is a losing battle. Not only do we look for things we lack, but we find ourselves in the feeling of lack. Unless you have been in their shoes, view life the way they do and gone through their experiences, you are comparing yourself to information that can in no way be accurate. Comparing takes the focus off you and onto that person, yet your power lies in things you can affect in your life. You are a unique being and there is nobody in the world like you. Start to shift your focus on things that are going right in your life and pay attention to the person looking back in the mirror. He or she has their own unique attributes. Let go of the inner perfectionist and start to appreciate your smile, your talents, what you have to offer. Starting to see your value is the fastest way to shift focus to the right place. 2. Don’t settle Some people stay in jobs they don’t like just because of the salary. Others settle in relationships that no longer cause their hearts to race. Some of us stay with friends who deplete us because we long for any kind of company. Whatever your settle, it’s not worth the cost. You deserve peace of mind and to be outrageously happy. If you are constantly saying to yourself, “There has to be something better than this”, you are probably settling. Don’t settle for less. Seek out to find your best. 3. Start appreciating Appreciate the bed you sleep it. Appreciate your significant other. Appreciate the clothes you have on your back, your car, your food. But mostly, don’t forget to appreciate what you bring into the world. Start to see the joy you bring to others. Give thought to the impact of that joy and its ripple effects. Just because you are not aware, does not mean it has not extended itself further than you can imagine. The more you appreciate, the more good will flow into your life. 4. Foster healthy relationships Let go of or at least distance yourself from anything that causes you to feel less than good. Find yourself in the presence of people who bring something significant into your life. Make it a point to have at least two people who feed your spirit, encourage your dreams and accept you for who you are. No alterations. Cultivating strong, nurturing bonds encourages us to remember we are not alone and keeps our hearts open. 5. Learn to say No While we are here to help one another there will be times we’re tempted to do things at the expense of our own well-being. Sometimes when we give more than we can we don’t allow the other person to learn from or have their own experiences. Continually doing things out of insincere obligation can lead to resentment. Instead, honor yourself by doing what feels right for you. ‘No’ can be liberating, because when we say no to others we are saying “yes” to ourselves and we’re in alignment with our values. Allow yourself to say no once in a while. This practice will improve your self-esteem and create a space for people to value and respect you more. 6. Set healthy boundaries Having clear boundaries is vital to establishing that relationships are mutually respectful. Believe it or not, but putting “up” boundaries actually creates freedom because when our wishes are clearly defined, there is no need to put up walls. Boundaries reflect our self-esteem and our values. A healthy self-respect will teach others how to treat you. And when the occasional person attempts to push against your lines, simply keep your feet placed firmly on the ground. 7. Follow your heart We all have something that makes us come alive and gives our lives meaning. Don’t forget to listen to the part of you that drives your bliss, and be aware of your idol wants and those little things that distract you. Focus on your purpose because dreams never really go away. They simply get postponed. Our passions can be as little or big as they are, and we can have one or a multitude of them. Listen to the things that are ticking at your heart’s door and find a way to do one thing at a time if you can. You can encourage yourself to do it all and to find a way for life to support you while you do. Everything in our lives starts with us and ripples into our relationships. So it only makes sense to give yourself as much love, nurturing and joy that you would look for in others, or that others would seek in you. By living the best life we can we inject these ripples to go out with love, beauty, and kindness. The post 7 Ways To Start To Value Yourself appeared first on Possibility Change.

    The Change Blog / 81 d. 7 h. 2 min. ago more
  • When Life Changes, Success Puts on Different ClothesWhen Life Changes, Success Puts on Different Clothes

    “I didn’t know where I was going until I got there.” When we were kids, life was so fun and fresh. Maybe it’s because we dived straight into adventure. Because we didn’t think of success or failure in the way we think now. I’ve always been passionate about creativity. When I was a kid I would draw all over the wardrobe doors, they were pure white just like a blank canvas. Back then we lived in a very small apartment with only one bedroom, and the only wardrobe in our home. Yet my mother didn’t stop me from drawing. She would even encourage me with kind words and compliments, and from time to time she would wash clean the wardrobe doors. In high school, I developed a passion for the arts. However, I also started to notice that there are things that “I needed to do” in order to succeed in life, and on the other had things I wanted to do. I was studying really hard, and aiming for a very successful career in information science and programming. I even went to national competitions for Math and Physics and had really good results. The problem was, I felt really empty inside. Although everybody was vigorously supporting me to continue on the “path of success”, I felt miserable, and my heart was aching for something more meaningful. I wanted to do art. Deep down I knew, I’m not this person everybody thinks I am. I was thirsty for self-discovery. We moved to a bigger apartment. I devoted myself to martial arts training. It was really beautiful and refreshing. I felt enthusiastic again. I met new friends, some of them are still some of my best friends. My grades and performance at school slightly lowered, but I was okay. I fell in love with my new passion and became fascinated with this different way of life. After 5 years of training, the passion was still burning and I dreamed of being a professional martial arts teacher. I started putting in even more effort, but instead of more progress, I started to face frustrations. It was a period of emotional turbulence for me. My personal relationships were pushing me to my limits. My pursuits and failures felt painful. Going to the other extreme, and completely dedicating myself to my passions, wasn’t working as well as I thought it would. There were moments of euphoria, and lot’s of self-discovery that I treasure, but eventually it became too much. I was realizing that just a strong desire will not bring me across the river. I had to do the work. I had to row. I had to go every step of the way. Although I earned my Aikido black belt after 5 years of training, I started to realize that I was very far from being a professional instructor. I guess especially when we’re young, we are running to meet our goals very quickly, not really having the patience or grit. We get disappointed very easily. We take everything personally and get offended very easily. My final years at college were a mess. I was late with my exams and didn’t manage to graduate in time with my generation. I was trying to pursue a different career in Animation and Design, which was so different from the programming career that I was always supposed to pursue. I even tried music for a while. I composed and produced 5 original songs, music and lyrics and did a few gigs, but it wasn’t enough. Creative breakthroughs gave me much fulfillment, but I was running out of money. I was stuck in a vacuum between finding a job and finishing my degree but not doing good progress at any of those two. One day, a former high-school professor met me on the street. He remembered that I was one of the top students in my class during my high school years and was sad to hear I’m not doing so well anymore. He helped me find my first job as a game developer. After starting work, my life started to improve. I got my college degree. I met a girl I’m still happily in love with. I got a small salary raise and started a blog. If I look back, I can see that my goals and dreams have dramatically changed over the years. I have achieved many things and have many yet to achieve, but that is not the full story. There are so many little moments in between those big goals that are so full of life. This is where most of us miss out. I often remind myself, that although some dreams may die out, you can always have your passion reborn again. Maybe it will be in a completely new form. Maybe it will come to you as something you never did before, but it’s the same underlying quality. “Success means different things at different times and circumstances. Don’t get attached to ideas.” To finish off, I would like to share with you some core values that remained with me all the time, and I believe they add value to a person’s life. Here is a short list: Keep learning Polish your skills or develop new ones Engage with people Find smarter and/or better ways to solve old problems or repetitive chores Don’t run away from difficulties Learn to relax and let go Find people you can be deeply honest with Do you have your own core values that have stayed with you for a very long time? The post When Life Changes, Success Puts on Different Clothes appeared first on Possibility Change.

    The Change Blog / 83 d. 9 h. 13 min. ago more
  • Here Is Why You Must Double Check The Spelling Before You Bid!Here Is Why You Must Double Check The Spelling Before You Bid!

    A month or so ago, I had my eye on a real good (or so I thought at the time) domain name on Namejet. I was extremely surprised when there were only about 4 or 5 other bidders against me in a private Pre release auction. Usually, I am up against several more people but on this day, I felt like I could possibly win this domain name, for a great price. Little did I know, I was going to make a boneheaded mistake. There was a HUGE reason why this auction didn’t have the action I thought it would. Could you guess why? Well obviously since the title of this post mentions “checking your spelling”, yep I bought a domain name that wasn’t spelled right. That sucks. What’s even worse about the entire process is that I literally stared at the auction for hours and didn’t notice how subtle the spelling error was UNTIL I placed my bid. For some reason, it was only after I placed my bid did I notice the mistake I had made. If I knew this domain was spelled wrong, I would have never paid the money I did for it. What’s interesting is that some misspelled domains could actually have value and are sought after in the domain name community. But I am generally not one to actively look for misspelled domain names. So, don’t make the same mistake as me. Double and even triple check the spelling of the domain you want to buy BEFORE you put your bids in. Has something like this ever happened to you? Let me know about it in the comment section below! EDIT: I actually forgot to mention that I just got an inquiry on this domain name today! 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0)));background:-webkit-linear-gradient(top, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.35) 0%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.45) 48%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0) 52%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0) 100%);background:-o-linear-gradient(top, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.35) 0%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.45) 48%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0) 52%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0) 100%);background:-ms-linear-gradient(top, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.35) 0%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.45) 48%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0) 52%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0) 100%);background:linear-gradient(to bottom, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.35) 0%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.45) 48%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0) 52%, rgba(255, 255, 255, 0) 100%);filter:progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.gradient(startColorstr='#59ffffff', endColorstr='#00ffffff', GradientType=0);}@media (min-width:1px) and (max-width:450px),(min-height:1px) and (max-height:450px){div.fca_eoi_layout_1 div.fca_eoi_layout_headline_copy_wrapper,form.fca_eoi_layout_1 div.fca_eoi_layout_headline_copy_wrapper{margin-bottom:0;}}#fca_eoi_form_1049 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}#fca_eoi_form_1049 .fca_eoi_layout_1.fca_eoi_layout_postbox div.fca_eoi_layout_submit_button_wrapper input { border-color: #eec22b !important; }#fca_eoi_form_1049 .fca_eoi_layout_1.fca_eoi_layout_postbox div.fca_eoi_layout_privacy_copy_wrapper div { font-size: 14px !important; }#fca_eoi_form_1049 .fca_eoi_layout_1.fca_eoi_layout_postbox div.fca_eoi_layout_privacy_copy_wrapper div { color: #8f8f8f !important; }#fca_eoi_form_1049 .fca_eoi_layout_1.fca_eoi_layout_postbox div.fca_eoi_layout_fatcatapps_link_wrapper a, .fca_eoi_layout_1.fca_eoi_layout_postbox div.fca_eoi_layout_fatcatapps_link_wrapper a:hover { color: #baa34e !important; } Like Our Blog? Join Our Newsletter Today To Stay Updated And Be The First To Receive Our Latest Post! We don't like spam and you probably don't either. The post Here Is Why You Must Double Check The Spelling Before You Bid! appeared first on OmarAndWill.com.

    OmarAndWill.com / 84 d. 19 h. 24 min. ago more
  • How I Did Something I Sucked At and SurvivedHow I Did Something I Sucked At and Survived

    The cold office wall held me upright as my breakfast teased the back of my throat. All I could do was focus on my breathing. My boss had booked me to coach a workshop for corporate professionals. She believed I could do it, yet my self-belief had quickly dissolved two minutes after she told me the news. As I waited outside the conference room, my fears jockeyed for front row seats in my mind as I scrambled to assemble coherent thoughts. Fast forward three hours and guess what? I lived! It was no Academy Award-winning performance, but everyone was happy. I didn’t embarrass myself, freeze like a deer in headlights, or burst into flames. I did suck a bit though. I tripped over my words. I’m sure I was beetroot red at some point. And I forgot to follow my slides. But something unexpected happened. As the workshop came to a close, I felt a tsunami of confidence arise inside me and I skipped out of that room on cloud nine. It was a pivotal moment that shaped my future. The lessons I learned were transformational. Here they are: 1. Success isn’t born in a single moment It’s easy to think of success as a grand fireworks moment. One day you’re cruising along and bam, you run headfirst into sparkling success. But here’s your wake-up call – life’s not like that. Success at anything is built over time. Success begins the moment you decide to commit one hundred percent to your goal and to do what it takes to get there. Success is built upon the failures of the weeks, months and years that precede it. 2. Your actions define you It’s a fact – you can’t learn to swim by reading a book. You’ve got to get in the pool and get wet. Your thoughts are the same. They’re the beginning of your understanding, but you’ll never grow and master new skills just by thinking about them. Practicing, experimenting, and experience enable you to learn, not fancy theories, ideas, and knowledge. And the more you do anything, the bigger and better your results will be. You are a product of your actions, not your thoughts. 3. Embracing uncertainty makes you stronger We live in an uncertain world. It’s just the way it is. And it’s natural to want to cling to certainty to feel safe. But waiting for certainty will never lead to success – it’ll never happen. You’ve got to learn to embrace uncertainty and to be flexible when faced with the unfamiliar to be able to cope and learn how to thrive. Doing new things that you suck at is the perfect way to throw yourself into an uncertain situation. It strengthens your relationship with uncertainty and the fears and emotions that go with it. 4. Mistakes feed your mind Your mind is a muscle, and to build strong muscles, you need to use them. Every time you work hard at new things and make mistakes, your mental muscle gets tired. It may even hurt. But as it repairs itself, it gets stronger. Mistakes are the best ways to discover your boundaries as you learn what it feels like in the moments right before you reach them. You’ll become more mentally agile, learn faster and be able to push yourself further with every mistake you make. 5. Failure offers three crucial choices It’s a given that you’re going to take a fall at some stage. And when you do, you’ll have three choices. You can choose to deny your role in what’s happened, avoid the truth or blame others. You can choose to surrender to the emotion and react in frustration, anger or tears. Or you can choose to gain from the insights and to accept, learn and grow from the experience. The Bitter Truth about Your Comfort Zone Now, this may sound a little shocking. Living in your safe little world, packed with comfort and certainty, will only ever lead to mediocrity. To live your biggest dreams, you’ve got to put yourself out there. You won’t always succeed. You’ll possibly suck big time. You’re sure to fail once or twice. But every time you do, you’ll grow ten times stronger. If you want to change your life, the only way is to get moving, walk your talk and take action. The bitter truth is that you’ll be more of a failure if you stay living in your cozy, safe zone of things that you know you’re good at. So if you’re looking for a burst of life-changing motivation, say yes to something that terrifies you. Say yes to something that you know deep down is good for you, but you fear you’re not good enough to do. Say yes to yourself and give yourself the opportunity to be extraordinary. And remember this . . . There is no failure, only feedback. The post How I Did Something I Sucked At and Survived appeared first on Possibility Change.

    The Change Blog / 85 d. 7 h. 58 min. ago more
  • September 2017 open threadSeptember 2017 open thread

    Our goal with hosting quarterly open threads is to give blog readers an opportunity to publicly raise comments or questions about GiveWell or related topics (in the comments section below). As always, you’re also welcome to email us at info@givewell.org or to request a call with GiveWell staff if you have feedback or questions you’d prefer to discuss privately. We’ll try to respond promptly to questions or comments. You can view our June 2017 open thread here. The post September 2017 open thread appeared first on The GiveWell Blog.

    The Give Well Blog / 91 d. 4 h. 49 min. ago more
  • Following Up With Your LeadsFollowing Up With Your Leads

    Isn’t it great when you get an inquiry on one of the domain names that you own? It may not happen often to many people but if you own a decent amount of domain names/higher quality names, you should receive a few per year at the least. The question is, are you following up with your leads in the best way possible? In this audio, Will is going to break down some quick tips in regards to following up with your leads. Click Here For Full Video If you aren’t following up with your inbound leads, I think it’s time you start. Are you working your leads with a follow up campaign? Do you think it’s worth it? Let us know in the comment section below! The post Following Up With Your Leads appeared first on OmarAndWill.com.

    OmarAndWill.com / 92 d. 20 h. 39 min. ago more
  • Domain Auction To Help Support Eric From NameprosDomain Auction To Help Support Eric From Namepros

    If you haven’t heard yet, Eric Lyon from NamePros was affected by Hurricane Harvey that hit the Houston area. A fellow domainer and someone I consider a friend brought it to my attention that he has an auction up and running were all the proceeds will go to help support Eric and his family during this troubling time. If interested, you can visit the auction here. Thank you! The post Domain Auction To Help Support Eric From Namepros appeared first on OmarAndWill.com.

    OmarAndWill.com / 94 d. 10 h. 1 min. ago more
  • This Person Really Doesn’t Like Domainers – How Would You Respond?This Person Really Doesn’t Like Domainers – How Would You Respond?

    If you didn’t know, there are a lot of people out there who DO NOT like domainers or the entire domain name industry. They do not like the idea of someone being able to have a domain name and not build anything on it. In some ways, I could compare owning domain names to real estate. You basically own “land” and are waiting for someone to buy the land off you OR you can develop it, your choice. Probably not the best explanation but again, it’s kinda similar. Anyway, I received an interesting comment over at our Youtube video “The Truth About Domaining“. It’s one of our most popular video and for the most part, we have received great comments on it. But this person really doesn’t like what “domainers” stand for. Check out their comment: What are your thoughts on this person’s views about the industry? Let us know what you think in the comment section! The post This Person Really Doesn’t Like Domainers – How Would You Respond? appeared first on OmarAndWill.com.

    OmarAndWill.com / 98 d. 21 h. 39 min. ago more