7 Secrets to Effective Teamwork (as Reported by Hundreds of Teams)

What do effective teamwork and Russian literature have in common? Why is successful teamwork so much like a happy marriage? How can you make teamwork more effective? Let’s start with this premise: Happy teams are all alike; every unhappy team is unhappy in its own way. Have you heard of the Anna Karenina principle? It’s derived from the famous first sentence of Leo Tolstoy’s seminal novel: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way…………

Source: 7 Secrets to Effective Teamwork (as Reported by Hundreds of Teams)

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Older Workers Need Further Labor Market Improvements

Older workers in particular need the labor market to continue its growth streak. Employers added 312,000 new jobs in December 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is welcome news, but the labor market needs to continue improving, so that older workers will see real economic security. Additional job gains could make it easier for unemployed older workers to find a new job. And continued job market growth could further shrink inequalities in job market outcomes for older workers, for instance, by race and ethnicity…..

Source: Older Workers Need Further Labor Market Improvements

See How Many Times Your School District Has Been Investigated for Civil Rights Violations – Beth Skwarecki

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If you believe your school district or college is discriminating against students on the basis of sex, race, or disability, you’re entitled to file a complaint with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. Sexual harassment and assault are also grounds for complaints. The office is supposed to investigate fully and, if necessary, recommend corrective action to right any wrongs.

But ProPublica reports that the Department of Education is now dismissing far more cases without taking action under Betsy DeVos than it did under her predecessors. To go along with their report, they have published a tool that lets you look up your school district or college to see how many investigations have been opened in the last few years, and how they were resolved.

The data doesn’t break out individual schools, so New York City’s entire school district shows up as one entry with hundreds of cases. But if you look up a smaller district, or a college, the data becomes more meaningful—two cases at in one Pennsylvania district I checked. Six at the University of Pittsburgh, but 15 at that same university’s medical school, which is listed separately.

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For the full details on what the cases are about, you’ll have to check local news or other sources; ProPublica only provides dates and some very basic information on the type of complaint and the nature of the resolution. But it’s worth checking to see what’s happening at your district that you might not have known about.

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What Do 90-Somethings Regret Most – Lydia Sohn

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My preconceptions about older people first began to crumble when one of my congregants, a woman in her 80s, came into my office seeking pastoral care. She had been widowed for several years but the reason for her distress was not the loss of her husband. It was her falling in love with a married man. As she shared her story with me over a cup of tea and Kleenex, I tried to keep a professional and compassionate countenance, though, internally, I was bewildered by the realization that even into their 80s, people still fall for one another in that teenage, butterflies-in-the-stomach kind of way.

One of the strange and wonderful features of my job as a minister is that I get to be a confidant and advisor to people at all stages of life. I’ve worked with people who are double and even triple my age. Experience like this is rare; our economic structure and workforce are stratified, and most people are employed within their own demographics. But because I’m a minister in a mainline denomination with an aging base, the people I primarily interact with are over the age of 60. I came into my job assuming that I, a Korean-American woman in my mid-30s, would not be able to connect with these people — they’re from a completely different racial and cultural background than me. It did not take long for me to discover how very wrong I was.

We all have joys, hopes, fears, and longings that never go away no matter how old we get. Until recently, I mistakenly associated deep yearnings and ambitions with the energy and idealism of youth. My subconscious and unexamined assumption was that the elderly transcend these desires because they become more stoic and sage-like over time. Or the opposite: They become disillusioned by life and gradually shed their vibrancy and vitality.

When I initially realized that my assumptions might be wrong, I set out to research the internal lives of older people. Who really were they, and what had they learned in life? Using my congregation as a resource, I interviewed several members in their 90s with a pen, notebook, a listening ear and a promise to keep everyone anonymous. I did not hold back, asking them burning questions about their fears, hopes, sex lives or lack thereof. Fortunately, I had willing participants. Many of them were flattered by my interest, as America tends to forget people as they age.


I began each conversation by asking if they had any regrets. By this point, they’d lived long enough to look at life from multiple angles so I knew their responses would be meaningful. Most of their regrets revolved around their families. They wished relationships, either with their children or between their children, turned out differently. These relational fractures, I could see on their faces, still caused them much pain and sorrow. One of my interviewees has two children who haven’t seen or spoken to each another for over two decades. She lamented that this, among all the mistakes and regrets she could bring to mind, was the single thing keeping her up at night.

I then moved on to the happiest moments of their lives. Every single one of these 90-something-year-olds, all of whom are widowed, recalled a time when their spouses were still alive and their children were younger and living at home. As a busy young mom and working professional who frequently fantasizes about the faraway, imagined pleasures of retirement, I quickly responded, “But weren’t those the most stressful times of your lives?” Yes of course, they all agreed. But there was no doubt that those days were also the happiest.

Their responses intrigued me. They contradicted a well-known article on happiness in The Economist, “The U-bend of Life.” The article went viral in 2010 and was a common conversation topic among my family and friends. Its counter-intuitive yet completely reasonable analyses seemed to resonate with my generation.

The theory of the “U-bend” came about as researchers discovered consistent findings from several independent research projects on happiness and well-being around the world. They concluded that happiness, pleasure and enjoyment are most tenuous during the middle ages of life, starting in our 20s with depression peaking at 46 — which the author described as “middle-age-misery.” The happiness of youth however, not only returned but was experienced at higher levels in subjects’ 70s. Researchers hypothesized that middle-age-misery was due to the overwhelming number of familial, professional, and financial demands during these years. Following a happiness dip in middle age, researchers concluded that we become more self-accepting, less ambitious and more mindful of living in the present moment (instead of the future) as we approach our 70s.

My interviewees’ responses contradicted the popular “U-bend” theory. Why? Perhaps happiness is more complex than we thought. Maybe our understanding of what makes us happy changes as we age. When we’re younger, perhaps we think of happiness as a feeling instead of a state of fulfillment, meaning, or abundance — which my interviewees were associating it with. Regardless, their responses came as a sobering reminder to fully appreciate and soak in these chaotic days of diaper changes, messiness, and minimal me-time. They may just end up being my happiest moments.


I was dying to ask if their spouses (of many decades, in most cases) were really the loves of their lives. As it turns out, this was true for some and not for others. In both cases, though, they kept trying to make their marriages work. I got the sense from their responses that after they had children, their marriages became much less important to their happiness than the overall nuclear family dynamic. This focus on the family unit, however, did not mean their sexual and romantic passion vanished. They still longed to be wooed and pursued. They still experienced intense attraction to people who were not their spouses and continue to experience intense attraction for others to this day. Of course, sex becomes more tiresome, as well as masturbation, but their desire for companionship is just as prominent as it was during the height of their youth.

Being old brought a lot of advantages: more time, more perspective, less hustling to be the best and most successful, and an urgency to strengthen the important relationships in her life.

My interviewees’ thoughts on beauty and aging were also varied — their physical appearance only mattered insofar as it mattered to them when they were younger. Those who were valued for their good looks or athleticism experienced much more grief in regards to their current bodies than those who derived confidence from qualities that were much less time-fixed. One interviewee, for example, was well-known in her community for being a writer and columnist in local newspapers. When I asked her if she was saddened by her aging appearance, she responded, “Well, I never thought I was pretty to begin with so, no.” The ones who did experience greater negative emotions about aging, though, shared that the peak of that grief occurred in their 70s and has diminished since then.

The same woman who told me she wasn’t bothered by her aging appearance also shared that she wasn’t afraid of death but of dying. I found this to be a profound distinction. She believed in an afterlife, as one might expect given that she belongs to a church. She felt sure that she would, in one way or another, be well taken care of after her time here came to an end. She is still very physically and mentally healthy, so it was that final leg of her journey that worried her. Would she be restricted to a hospital bed, just a mess of tubes and needles? Would she still recognize family and friends? Would she be in constant pain? Being old didn’t bother her until it affected the quality of her life in an incredibly detrimental way. In fact, being old, she shared, brought a lot of advantages: more time, more perspective, less hustling to be the best and most successful, and an urgency to strengthen the important relationships in her life.


The radical relationship-based orientation of all my subjects caught me by surprise. As someone entering the height of my career, I expend much more energy on work than on relationships. And when I imagine my future, I envision what I will have accomplished rather than the quality of my interactions with those who are most important to me. These 90-something-year-olds emphasize the opposite when they look back on their lives. Their joys and regrets have nothing to do with their careers, but with their parents, children, spouses, and friends. Put simply, when I asked one person, “Do you wish you accomplished more?” He responded, “No, I wished I loved more.”

My conversations challenged me. I certainly won’t be giving up my job to hang out with my family more because I also recognize that satisfying careers and financial stability are great sources of fulfillment — which, in turn, affect family well-being. But these different perspectives helped me focus on what really matters in the face of competing responsibilities and priorities. That sermon really does not have to be the best sermon in the world when my son is starving for my attention. My husband really does not need to get the highest-paying job he can find if that means I can spend more time with him.

Put simply, when I asked one person, “Do you wish you accomplished more?” He responded, “No, I wished I loved more.”

However, the biggest impact they left on me was not reprioritization but being okay with aging. I confess that prior to my conversations, I had an intense fear about growing old. This, I realize, was what motivated me to begin this research in the first place. I assumed the elderly lost their vibrancy and thirst for life. That couldn’t be further from the truth. They still laugh like crazy, fall in love like mad and pursue happiness fiercely.

 

 

 

 

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13 Things Highly Successful People Do Not Waste Their Mental Energy On – Brianna Wiest

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Highly successful people (regardless of the variety of ways one could define being “successful”) all seem to understand a few core principles. Chief among them is that it is not your time, but your energy, that is limited each day and therefore, needs to be carefully managed.

This is why you hear stories of extremely accomplished people with odd habits, like eating the same thing for lunch each day or wearing a minimal “uniform” to work. These individuals understand the psychological concept of decision fatigue, which is the way in which the quality of your decision-making capabilities deteriorates over time. Think of it like this: In the morning, your tank is at 100%. As you move through your day, you expend your energy bit by bit. You don’t want to waste it, and unfortunately, most people do.

Often, this happen through something called microdistractions, or issues that are so small that they don’t seem to threaten your stamina, but which are also pertinent enough that they actually exhaust you slowly. Highly successful people do not waste their mental energy on things they don’t need to. Here, some of the sneakiest culprits:

1. Fear of the least likely outcome.

Worrying, though referred to as a “maladaptive trait,” actually has an evolutionary connection to intelligence. This is why highly successful people are often more anxious by nature, Jeremy Coplan, lead author of a study published in Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience, explained to ABC News.

Be that as it is, to function well, you need to be able to discern which fears are worth responding to, and which are just your brain conjuring up the most extreme potential danger in order to “prepare” you to survive. This is an outdated, animalistic mechanism that does not help you in your day-to-day life. Highly successful people do not waste their energy being afraid of that which is least likely to occur

2. Other people’s melodramas.

Anyone can understand how easy it is to get caught up in the intrigue of what’s happening in other people’s lives. (NPR reports that there’s an evolutionary function to this as well, which is that gossip actually helps us predict who is a potential friend or foe.) Regardless, getting caught up to the point of worrying and/or obsessing about someone else’s life status can be paralyzing. Highly successful people prioritize their own wellbeing, and that very rarely includes immersing themselves in petty melodramas that they have no ability to resolve regardless.

3. Microdistractions.

Your push notifications alarm you every time your favorite author posts a new tweet. You don’t lay out your clothes or pack your bag the night before you have to leave for work, and so your first moments of the day are spent scrambling to be on time.

You check and answer emails four times within your first hour of the day. You take a phone call from your mom at 10:15 and it carries on until 11. You scroll mindlessly through your news feeds not to educate yourself on what’s happening on any given day, but as a manner of distracting yourself for a “break.”

It’s easy to see how quickly microdistractions can add up. Before you know it, it’s the afternoon, you feel exhausted and barely anything to show for it. Highly successful people don’t give their mental energy to anything that is not going to have a significant impact on their lives in the long-term. They designate specific hours and times to solely focusing on their most crucial tasks, and then prioritize from there.

4. Ruminating, but not taking action.

The moment when reflecting becomes ruminating is when the intent to act dissolves in place of needlessly replaying certain scenarios or issues through your mind again and again.

Highly successful people are usually very self-aware, or at least try to be. This means that they spend a lot of time reviewing their behaviors and interactions, and evaluating how they can improve. However, they do not waste their mental energy just thinking about what went wrong and not actively changing what they need to make the correction.

5. Getting it “right” the first time.

Highly successful people are often masters of their crafts and leaders in their fields. Their work comes across as innovative, unprecedented, and very detail-oriented. What you might not realize is that it often doesn’t begin that way. People who aspire to be successful often scare themselves into beginning their work just because their first attempts may not compare to someone else’s final product. However, highly successful people do not worry about getting it perfect, they worry about just showing up and beginning. Once the fear of being “wrong” is out of the way, it opens a portal to be more creative and productive. There’s always time to improve later.

6. The opinion of anyone they wouldn’t want to switch places with.

Highly successful people are very aware of the impact that their social circles have on the quality of their lives. They value their mentors, partners and teachers. However, they do not give any weight to the opinions of anyone they would not want to switch places with. In the same manner, they also do not worry about what those people potentially think of them.

7. Feeling guilty about taking time for themselves.

Established people understand that success is a holistic thing. You aren’t able to perform your best if you’re tired, undernourished, or experiencing any other kind of extreme imbalance in your life.

That’s why it’s common to see highly successful people as committed to relaxation and wellness as they are work and productivity. They do not spend time guilting themselves over everything they could have gotten done over a three day weekend, or why they shouldn’t take time off if they really need it.

8. Justifying their place in life.

Often, committing to any kind of work that’s atypical incurs the questions and, at times, judgments of those who either don’t believe in your mission or are skeptical of its future success. However, consistently feeling the need to explain or justify your place in life is not only a tireless pursuit, it’s pointless. You are never going to earn the approval of people who don’t want to give it, and highly successful people understand that.

9. Senseless worrying and unchecked thought patterns.

One of the biggest ways that people rob themselves of their own energy is by worrying. Worrying is the practice of preparing for the worst possible outcome, and then believing it is not only possible, but most likely.

However, worrying does not make you more prepared to cope with life’s difficult moments, it makes you more inclined to actually create your fears. If you were to write down a list of everything you’ve ever worried about in life, you’d find that 99.9% of it was groundless, and didn’t “come true.”

If you were also to make a list of everything you didn’t worry about in life, you’d discover that worrying actually didn’t change the outcome of anything, it only zapped up your energy in the present. And if anything, worrying only made things more difficult and skewed and less enjoyable. It is not productive, and highly successful people train themselves to focus on anything else.

11. Trying to be liked by everyone.

Another striking trait of highly successful people is that they aren’t usually people pleasers. Their worst fear isn’t to be disliked by others, because they understand that they are going to be disliked by some people regardless of what they do in life. Instead, you could say that their real fear is actually not living the way they want and need to be out of fear that it would prevent them from “earning” the love and admiration they are desperate for.

12. Too much positive thinking.

It’s obvious that nobody achieves a great deal of success without overcoming their patterns of negative thinking. What’s less obvious is that highly successful people also don’t engage in an overabundance of positive thinking, as in excess it can often be subjective, skewed, and at times, distracting. Worse, too much positive thinking actually sets them up for failure, or disappointment. Instead, highly successful people master the power of neutral thinking, in which they aren’t trying to filter life to be more or less than what it is.

13. Anything they don’t deem to have long-term value. 

Highly successful people understand that what they put their energy into grows. If they want their worries to grow, they focus on them. If they want their success to grow, they focus on that instead. They are also very focused on the long-term, and therefore, highly successful people do not worry about that which they don’t deem to have value, even if it is something society tells them they should care about. These people are outliers, individualists, and most of all, free thinkers. They do not let their lives be dictated by that which the rest of the world is bogged down by.

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Social Interaction Is Critical for Mental and Physical Health – Jane E. Brody

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Hurray for the HotBlack Coffee cafe in Toronto for declining to offer Wi-Fi to its customers. There are other such cafes, to be sure, including seven of the eight New York City locations of Café Grumpy. But it’s HotBlack’s reason for the electronic blackout that is cause for hosannas. As its president, Jimson Bienenstock, explained, his aim is to get customers to talk with one another instead of being buried in their portable devices.

“It’s about creating a social vibe,” he told a New York Times reporter. “We’re a vehicle for human interaction, otherwise it’s just a commodity.” What a novel idea! Perhaps Mr. Bienenstock instinctively knows what medical science has been increasingly demonstrating for decades: Social interaction is a critically important contributor to good health and longevity.

Personally, I don’t need research-based evidence to appreciate the value of making and maintaining social connections. I experience it daily during my morning walk with up to three women, then before and after my swim in the locker room of the YMCA where the use of electronic devices is not allowed.

The locker room experience has been surprisingly rewarding. I’ve made many new friends with whom I can share both joys and sorrows. The women help me solve problems big and small, providing a sounding board, advice and counsel and often a hearty laugh that brightens my day.

And, as myriad studies have shown, they may also be helping to save my life. As the Harvard Women’s Health Watch reported, “Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.”

In a study of 7,000 men and women in Alameda County, Calif., begun in 1965, Lisa F. Berkman and S. Leonard Syme found that “people who were disconnected from others were roughly three times more likely to die during the nine-year study than people with strong social ties,” John Robbins recounted in his marvelous book on health and longevity, “Healthy at 100.”

This major difference in survival occurred regardless of people’s age, gender, health practices or physical health status. In fact, the researchers found that “those with close social ties and unhealthful lifestyles (such as smoking, obesity and lack of exercise) actually lived longer than those with poor social ties but more healthful living habits,” Mr. Robbins wrote. However, he quickly added, “Needless to say, people with both healthful lifestyles and close social ties lived the longest of all.”

In another study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1984, researchers at the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York found that among 2,320 men who had survived a heart attack, those with strong connections with other people had only a quarter the risk of death within the following three years as those who lacked social connectedness.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center also found that social ties can reduce deaths among people with serious medical conditions. Beverly H. Brummett and colleagues reported in 2001 that among adults with coronary artery disease, the mortality rate was 2.4 times higher among those who were socially isolated.

In a column I wrote in 2013 called “Shaking Off Loneliness,” I cited a review of research published in 1988 indicating that “social isolation is on a par with high blood pressure, obesity, lack of exercise or smoking as a risk factor for illness and early death.”

People who are chronically lacking in social contacts are more likely to experience elevated levels of stress and inflammation. These, in turn, can undermine the well-being of nearly every bodily system, including the brain.

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Absent social interactions, blood flow to vital organs is likely to be reduced and immune function may be undermined. Even how genes are expressed can be adversely affected, impairing the body’s ability to turn off inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to heart disease, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes and even suicide attempts.

In a 2010 report in The Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Debra Umberson and Jennifer Karas Montez, sociology researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, cited “consistent and compelling evidence linking a low quantity or quality of social ties with a host of conditions,” including the development and worsening of cardiovascular disease, repeat heart attacks, autoimmune disorders, high blood pressure, cancer and slowed wound healing.

The Texas researchers pointed out that social interactions can enhance good health through a positive influence on people’s living habits. For example, if none of your friends smoke, you’ll be less likely to smoke. According to the researchers, the practice of health behaviors like getting regular exercise, consuming a balanced diet and avoiding smoking, excessive weight gain and abuse of alcohol and drugs “explains about 40 percent of premature mortality as well as substantial morbidity and disability in the United States.”

Lack of social interactions also damages mental health. The emotional support provided by social connections helps to reduce the damaging effects of stress and can foster “a sense of meaning and purpose in life,” the Texas researchers wrote.

Emma Seppala of the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, and author of the 2016 book “The Happiness Track,” wrote, “People who feel more connected to others have lower levels of anxiety and depression. Moreover, studies show they also have higher self-esteem, greater empathy for others, are more trusting and cooperative and, as a consequence, others are more open to trusting and cooperating with them.

“In other words,” Dr. Seppala explained, “social connectedness generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well-being.”

She suggested that a societal decline in social connectedness may help to explain recent increases in reports of loneliness, isolation and alienation, and may be why loneliness has become a leading reason people seek psychological counseling. By 2004, she wrote, sociological research revealed that more than 25 percent of Americans had no one to confide in. They lacked a close friend with whom they felt comfortable sharing a personal problem.

For those seeking a health-promoting lifestyle, it’s not enough to focus on eating your veggies and getting regular exercise. Dr. Seppala advises: “Don’t forget to connect.”

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The Insane Amounts of Data We’re Using Every Minute (Infographic) – Rose Leadem

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With all the tweets, iMessages, streamed songs and Amazon prime orders, did you ever wonder just how much data is actually being generated every minute? To find out, cloud-based operating system Domo analyzed data usage over the past year, and shared the results in its sixth Data Never Sleeps report. It dives into online consumer behavior, examining the amount of data being generated every minute across popular apps and platforms including Google, Instagram, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and more.

By the looks of the research, things are only getting bigger. In 2012, there were approximately 2.2 billion active internet users. In 2017, active internet users reached 3.8 billion people — nearly 48 percent of the world’s population.

When it comes to social media, data usage is unsurprisingly high. Since last year, Snapchat alone saw a 294 percent increase in the amount of images shared per minute. Nearly 2.1 million snaps are shared every 60 seconds. On average, there are 473,400 tweets posted every minute, 49,380 Instagrams photos and 79,740 Tumblr posts.

So who’s behind all this social media madness? Americans upped their internet usage by 18 percent since 2017, however it’s not all going to Snapchat and Twitter. Much of it is going to video-streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube. Since last year, Netflix saw a whopping 40 percent increase in streaming hours, going from 69,444 hours to 97,222. And YouTube videos have reached 4.3 million views per minute. Even the peer-to-peer transactions app Venmo saw a major data jump, with 32 percent more transactions processed every minute compared to last year. Overall, Americans use 3.1 million GB of data every minute.

To learn more about our data usage of 2018, check out the infographic below.

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How To Teach Your Kids To Care About Other People – Caroline Bologna

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As deep-seated divisions, vitriol and disturbing news fill headlines, many people are wondering what happened to the qualities of empathy and kindness in our society.

In the same vein, many parents are wondering how to raise kids who will be a force for love and goodness in the face of bitterness and hate.

HuffPost spoke to psychologists, parents and other experts about how to instill empathy in children.

Talk About Feelings

“The gateway to empathy is emotional literacy,” said Michele Borba, an educational psychologist and the author of numerous parenting books, including UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.

A simple way to foster emotional literacy is by promoting face-to-face communication in the age of texting and smartphones. “Digital-driven kids aren’t necessarily learning emotions when they pick emojis,” Borba said. “Make it a rule in your house to always look at the color of the talker’s eyes because it will help your child tune in to the other person.”

Another key aspect is teaching kids to identify their own emotions early on. “Use emotional language with kids. Say things like, ‘I see you’re really frustrated,’ or, ‘I see you’re really mad,’” Laura Dell, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Education, told HuffPost.

“Before children can identify and empathize with other people’s feelings, they need to understand how to process their own feelings,” she continued. “Once they can identify their own emotion, they’re better able to develop those self-regulation skills to control their own emotions ― and then take the next step to understand the emotions of others.”

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Ravi Rao, a pediatric neurosurgeon turned children’s show host, believes parents should teach feelings as much as they teach things like colors and numbers.

“You’ll see parents walking through the park and taking every opportunity to ask, ‘What color is that man’s jacket?’ ‘What color is the bus?’ ‘How many trees are there?’” he explained. “You can also practice emotion by saying things like, ‘Do you see the woman over there? Does she look happy or does she look sad?’”

Rao also recommends playing a “guess what I’m feeling” game at home by making happy or sad faces and asking your children to identify the emotion. “You just get their brains in the habit of noticing the signals on other people’s faces.”

Once kids have a better sense of emotions and how things make them feel, you can ask them about the emotional perspectives of others. “You can ask things like, ‘How do you think it made Tommy feel when you took his toy?’ or, ‘That made Mommy really sad when you hit me,’” said Borba.

Use Media To Your Advantage

Watching TV or reading books together presents another great opportunity to cultivate empathy, according to Madeleine Sherak, a former educator and the author of Superheroes Cluba children’s book about the value of kindness.

“Discuss instances when characters are being kind and empathetic, and similarly, discuss instances when characters are being hurtful and mean,” she suggested. “Discuss how the characters are probably feeling and possible scenarios of how the situations may have been handled differently so as to ensure that all characters are treated kindly.”

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Borba recommends engaging in emotionally charged films and literature like The Wednesday Surprise, Charlotte’s Web, Harry Potter and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Set An Example

Parents need to walk the walk and model empathy themselves, noted Rao.

“Kids will pick up on more things than just what you say. You can say, ‘Pay attention to other people’s feelings,’ but if the child doesn’t perceive or witness you paying attention to people’s feelings, it doesn’t necessarily work,” he explained.

Rao emphasized the importance of parents using language to convey their own emotional states by saying things like, “Today, I’m really frustrated,” or, “Today, I’m really disappointed.” They can practice empathy when role-playing with dolls or action figures or other games with kids as well.

It’s also necessary for parents to recognize and respect their children’s emotions, according to Dell.

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For kids to show empathy to us and others, we need to show empathy to them,” she explained. “Of course it’s tough as a parent trying to get multiple kids to put on their clothes and shoes and get out the door to go to school in the morning. But sometimes it makes a difference to take that pause and say, ‘I see it’s making you really sad that we can’t finish watching ‘Curious George’ this morning, but if we finished it, we wouldn’t be able to make it to school on time, and it’s really important to get to school on time.’”

“It doesn’t mean you have to give in to their wants all the time, but to recognize you understand how they feel in a situation,” she added.

Acknowledge Children’s Acts Of Kindness

“Parents are always praising children for what grades they got or how they did on a test. You can also boost their empathy by letting them know it matters to develop a caring mindset,” said Borba, noting that when children do things that are kind and caring, parents can stop for a moment to acknowledge that.

“Say, ‘Oh, that was so kind when you stopped to help that little boy. Did you see how happy it made him?’” explained Borba. “So your child realizes that caring matters, because you’re talking about it. They then begin to see themselves as caring people and their behavior will match it.”

Expose Them To Differences

“Parents have to help their children grow up and thrive in a diverse society through education about and exposure to others who are different, whether culturally, ethnically, religiously, in physical appearance and ability or disability,” Sherak said.

There are many ways to expose your children to the diversity of the world ― like reading books, watching certain movies and TV shows, eating at restaurants with different cuisines, visiting museums, volunteering in your community, and attending events hosted by various religious or ethnic groups.

“It is also important to follow up such visits and activities with open discussions and additional questions and concerns, if any,” said Sherak. “It is also valuable to discuss differences in the context of our children’s own environments and experiences in the family, at school, in their neighborhoods, and in the larger community.”

Parents can urge local schools to promote cross-cultural awareness in their curricula as well, said Rao.

“We also just have to eliminate jokes about race and culture from our homes,” he added. “Maybe back in the day making jokes about race like Archie Bunker seemed acceptable and part of what the family did when they got together on holidays. But that actually undermines empathy if the first thought a child learns about a race or group of people is something derogatory learned from humor. It can be very hard to then overcome that with other positive messages.”

Own Up To Your Mistakes

“If you make a mistake and behave rudely toward someone who messes up at a store checkout, for example, I think you should acknowledge that mistake to kids,” said Dell. After the bad moment, parents can say something like, “Wow I bet she had a lot on her hands. There were a lot of people at the store right then. I should’ve been a little kinder.”

Acknowledging and talking about your own lapses in empathy when your kids are there to witness them makes an impression. “Your child is right there watching, seeing everything,” Dell explained. “Own up to moments you could’ve made better choices to be kinder to the people around you.”

Make Kindness A Family Activity

Families can prioritize kindness with small routines like taking time at dinner every night to ask everyone to share two kind things they did, or writing down simple ways to be caring that they can all discuss together, said Borba. Playing board games is another way to learn to get along with everybody.

Borba also recommended volunteering together as a family or finding ways that your children enjoy giving back.

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If your kid is a sports guru, then helping him do arts and crafts with a less privileged kid might not be the best match, but you can find other opportunities for face-to-face giving that match their interests,” she explained. “Help them realize the life of giving is better than the life of getting.”

Families might also consider writing down their own mission statements, suggested Thomas Lickona, a developmental psychologist and author of How to Raise Kind Kids: And Get Respect, Gratitude, and a Happier Family in the Bargain.

“[It’s] a set of ‘we’ statements that express the values and virtues you commit to live by ― for example, ‘We show kindness through kind words and kind actions’; ‘We say we’re sorry when we’ve hurt someone’s feelings’; ‘We forgive and make up when we’ve had a fight,’” he explained.

Lickona also recommended holding everyone accountable to the family values at weekly family meetings centered around questions like, “How did we use kind words this week?” and, “What would help us not say unkind things even if we’re upset with somebody?”

“When kids slip into speaking unkindly ― as nearly all sometimes will ― gently ask for a ‘redo,’” he said. “‘What would be a kinder way to say that to your sister?’ Make it clear that you’re asking for a redo not to embarrass them, but to give them a chance to show that they know better. Then thank them for doing so.”

Another piece of advice from Lickona: Just look around.

“Even in today’s abrasive, angry, and often violent culture, there are acts of kindness all around us. We should point these out to our children,” he said. “We should explain how kind words and kind deeds, however small ― holding the door for someone, or saying ‘thank you’ to a person who does us a service ― make a big impact on the quality of our shared lives.”

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14 Ways to Improve Your Self-Discipline

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Sadly, your natural genius and an occasional burst of hard work are not quite enough to guarantee success in this life. Great entrepreneurs all have one additional amazing trait in common: discipline. It takes a lot of consistency and determination to get your great ideas recognized and to convert your hard work into dollars.

It is ironic, then, that self-discipline is often a feature that the brightest people among us lack the most. The problem is that there are so many wonderful things to learn about the world; concentrating on any one project can be a big ask.

Related: Why You Need Discipline to Achieve the Good Life

If you’re concerned that your lack of self-discipline is holding you back from fulfilling your full potential, you can remedy this by trying a range of techniques to sharpen your focus. Visualizing the effects of your work, making lists and thinking about the company you keep are all good ways to get started.

Check out the infographic below for further details on these and other methods of honing your self-discipline. Study it today, and you are sure to see the positive results of your new regime before you know it.

14 Ways to Improve Your Self-Discipline

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