Retail Sales For June Provide An Early Boost, But Bond Yields Mostly Calling The Shots

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The first week of earnings season wraps up with major indices closely tracking the bond market in Wall Street’s version of “follow the leader.” Earnings absolutely matter, but right now the Fed’s policies are maybe a bigger influence. In the short-term the Fed is still the girl everyone wants to dance with.

Lately, you can almost guess where stocks are going just by checking the 10-year Treasury yield, which often moves on perceptions of what the Fed might have up its sleeve. The yield bounced back from lows this morning to around 1.32%, and stock indices climbed a bit in pre-market trading. That was a switch from yesterday when yields fell and stocks followed suit. Still, yields are down about six basis points since Monday, and stocks are also facing a losing week.

It’s unclear how long this close tracking of yields might last, but maybe a big flood of earnings due next week could give stocks a chance to act more on fundamental corporate news instead of the back and forth in fixed income. Meanwhile, retail sales for June this morning basically blew Wall Street’s conservative estimates out of the water, and stock indices edged up in pre-market trading after the data.

Headline retail sales rose 0.6% compared with the consensus expectation for a 0.6% decline, and with automobiles stripped out, the report looked even stronger, up 1.3% vs. expectations for 0.3%. Those numbers are incredibly strong and show the difficulty analysts are having in this market. The estimates missed consumer strength by a long shot. However, it’s also possible this is a blip in the data that might get smoothed out with July’s numbers. We’ll have to wait and see.

Caution Flag Keeps Waving

Yesterday continued what feels like a “risk-off” pattern that began taking hold earlier in the week, but this time Tech got caught up in the selling, too. In fact, Tech was the second-worst performing sector of the day behind Energy, which continues to tank on ideas more crude could flow soon thanks to OPEC’s agreement.

We already saw investors embracing fixed income and “defensive” sectors starting Tuesday, and Thursday continued the trend. When your leading sectors are Utilities, Staples, Real Estate, the way they were yesterday, that really suggests the surging bond market’s message to stocks is getting read loudly and clearly.

This week’s decline in rates also isn’t necessarily happy news for Financial companies. That being said, the Financials fared pretty well yesterday, with some of them coming back after an early drop. It was an impressive performance and we’ll see if it can spill over into Friday.

Energy helped fuel the rally earlier this year, but it’s struggling under the weight of falling crude prices. Softness in crude isn’t guaranteed to last—and prices of $70 a barrel aren’t historically cheap—but crude’s inability to consistently hold $75 speaks a lot. Technically, the strength just seems to fade up there. Crude is up slightly this morning but still below $72 a barrel.

Losing Steam?

All of the FAANGs lost ground yesterday after a nice rally earlier in the week. Another key Tech name, chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA), got taken to the cleaners with a 4.4% decline despite a major analyst price target increase to $900. NVDA has been on an incredible roll most of the year.

This week’s unexpectedly strong June inflation readings might be sending some investors into “flight for safety” mode, though no investment is ever truly “safe.” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell sounded dovish in his congressional testimony Wednesday and Thursday, but even Powell admitted he hadn’t expected to see inflation move this much above the Fed’s 2% target.

Keeping things in perspective, consider that the S&P 500 Index (SPX) did power back late Thursday to close well off its lows. That’s often a sign of people “buying the dip,” as the saying goes. Dip-buying has been a feature all year, and with bond yields so low and the money supply so huge, it’s hard to argue that cash on the sidelines won’t keep being injected if stocks decline.

Two popular stocks that data show have been popular with TD Ameritrade clients are Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT), and both of them have regularly benefited from this “dip buying” trend. Neither lost much ground yesterday, so if they start to rise today, consider whether it reflects a broader move where investors come back in after weakness. However, one day is never a trend.

Reopening stocks (the ones tied closely to the economy’s reopening like airlines and restaurants) are doing a bit better in pre-market trading today after getting hit hard yesterday.

In other corporate news today, vaccine stocks climbed after Moderna (MRNA) was added to the S&P 500. BioNTech (BNTX), which is Pfizer’s (PFE) vaccine partner, is also higher. MRNA rose 7% in pre-market trading.

Strap In: Big Earnings Week Ahead

Earnings action dies down a bit here before getting back to full speed next week. Netflix (NFLX), American Express (AXP), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), United Airlines (UAL), AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), American Airlines (AAL) and Coca-Cola (KO) are high-profile companies expected to open their books in the week ahead.

It could be interesting to hear from the airlines about how the global reopening is going. Delta (DAL) surprised with an earnings beat this week, but also expressed concerns about high fuel prices. While vaccine rollouts in the U.S. have helped open travel back up, other parts of the globe aren’t faring as well. And worries about the Delta variant of Covid don’t seem to be helping things.

Beyond the numbers that UAL and AAL report next week, the market may be looking for guidance from their executives about the state of global travel as a proxy for economic health. DAL said travel seems to be coming back faster than expected. Will other airlines see it the same way? Earnings are one way to possibly find out.Even with the Delta variant of Covid gaining steam, there’s no doubt that at least in the U.S, the crowds are back for sporting events.

For example, the baseball All-Star Game this week was packed. Big events like that could be good news for KO when it reports earnings. PepsiCo (PEP) already reported a nice quarter. We’ll see if KO can follow up, and whether its executives will say anything about rising producer prices nipping at the heels of consumer products companies.

Confidence Game: The 10-year Treasury yield sank below 1.3% for a while Thursday but popped back to that level by the end of the day. It’s now down sharply from highs earlier this week. Strength in fixed income—yields fall as Treasury prices climb—often suggests lack of confidence in economic growth.

Why are people apparently hesitant at this juncture? It could be as simple as a lack of catalysts with the market now at record highs. Yes, bank earnings were mostly strong, but Financial stocks were already one of the best sectors year-to-date, so good earnings might have become an excuse for some investors to take profit. Also, with earnings expectations so high in general, it takes a really big beat for a company to impress.

Covid Conundrum: Anyone watching the news lately probably sees numerous reports about how the Delta variant of Covid has taken off in the U.S. and case counts are up across almost every state. While the human toll of this virus surge is certainly nothing to dismiss, for the market it seems like a bit of an afterthought, at least so far. It could be because so many of the new cases are in less populated parts of the country, which can make it seem like a faraway issue for those of us in big cities. Or it could be because so many of us are vaccinated and feel like we have some protection.

But the other factor is numbers-related. When you hear reports on the news about Covid cases rising 50%, consider what that means. To use a baseball analogy, if a hitter raises his batting average from .050 to .100, he’s still not going to get into the lineup regularly because his average is just too low. Covid cases sank to incredibly light levels in June down near 11,000 a day, which means a 50% rise isn’t really too huge in terms of raw numbers and is less than 10% of the peaks from last winter. We’ll be keeping an eye on Covid, especially as overseas economies continue to be on lockdowns and variants could cause more problems even here. But at least for now, the market doesn’t seem too concerned.

Dull Roar: Most jobs that put you regularly on live television in front of millions of viewers require you to be entertaining. One exception to that rule is the position held by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. It’s actually his job to be uninteresting, and he’s arguably very good at it. His testimony in front of the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday was another example, with the Fed chair staying collected even as senators from both sides of the aisle gave him their opinions on what the Fed should or shouldn’t do. The closely monitored 10-year Treasury yield stayed anchored near 1.33% as he spoke.

Even if Powell keeps up the dovishness, you can’t rule out Treasury yields perhaps starting to rise in coming months if inflation readings continue hot and investors start to lose faith in the Fed making the right call at the right time. Eventually people might start to demand higher premiums for taking on the risk of buying bonds. The Fed itself, however, could have something to say about that.

It’s been sopping up so much of the paper lately that market demand doesn’t give you the same kind of impact it might have once had. That’s an argument for bond prices continuing to show firmness and yields to stay under pressure, as we’ve seen the last few months. Powell, for his part, showed no signs of being in a hurry yesterday to lift any of the stimulus.

TD Ameritrade® commentary for educational purposes only. Member SIPC.

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I am Chief Market Strategist for TD Ameritrade and began my career as a Chicago Board Options Exchange market maker, trading primarily in the S&P 100 and S&P 500 pits. I’ve also worked for ING Bank, Blue Capital and was Managing Director of Option Trading for Van Der Moolen, USA. In 2006, I joined the thinkorswim Group, which was eventually acquired by TD Ameritrade. I am a 30-year trading veteran and a regular CNBC guest, as well as a member of the Board of Directors at NYSE ARCA and a member of the Arbitration Committee at the CBOE. My licenses include the 3, 4, 7, 24 and 66.

Source: Retail Sales For June Provide An Early Boost, But Bond Yields Mostly Calling The Shots

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Critics:

Retail is the process of selling consumer goods or services to customers through multiple channels of distribution to earn a profit. Retailers satisfy demand identified through a supply chain. The term “retailer” is typically applied where a service provider fills the small orders of many individuals, who are end-users, rather than large orders of a small number of wholesale, corporate or government clientele. Shopping generally refers to the act of buying products.

Sometimes this is done to obtain final goods, including necessities such as food and clothing; sometimes it takes place as a recreational activity. Recreational shopping often involves window shopping and browsing: it does not always result in a purchase.

Most modern retailers typically make a variety of strategic level decisions including the type of store, the market to be served, the optimal product assortment, customer service, supporting services and the store’s overall market positioning. Once the strategic retail plan is in place, retailers devise the retail mix which includes product, price, place, promotion, personnel, and presentation.

In the digital age, an increasing number of retailers are seeking to reach broader markets by selling through multiple channels, including both bricks and mortar and online retailing. Digital technologies are also changing the way that consumers pay for goods and services. Retailing support services may also include the provision of credit, delivery services, advisory services, stylist services and a range of other supporting services.

Retail shops occur in a diverse range of types of and in many different contexts – from strip shopping centres in residential streets through to large, indoor shopping malls. Shopping streets may restrict traffic to pedestrians only. Sometimes a shopping street has a partial or full roof to create a more comfortable shopping environment – protecting customers from various types of weather conditions such as extreme temperatures, winds or precipitation. Forms of non-shop retailing include online retailing (a type of electronic-commerce used for business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions) and mail order

Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Price Chart May Show $30,000 as Floor

Bitcoin has been grinding lower in a trading range just above $30,000, prompting cryptocurrency insiders to flag the round number as a potential floor for the virtual coin.

Crypto prognostication is fraught with risk, not least because Bitcoin’s price has roughly halved from a record high three months ago. Even so, some in the industry are coalescing around $30,000 as a support point, citing clues from options activity and recent trading habits.

In options, $30,000 is the most-sold downside strike price for July and August, signaling confidence among such traders that the level will hold, according to Delta Exchange, a crypto derivatives exchange. It “should provide a strong support to the market,” Chief Executive Officer Pankaj Balani said.

Traders are also trying to take advantage of price ranges, including buying between $30,000 and $32,000 and selling in the $34,000 to $36,000 zone, Todd Morakis, co-founder of digital-finance product and service provider JST Capital, said in emailed comments, adding that “the market at the moment seems to paying attention more to bad news than good.”

Bitcoin has been hit by many setbacks of late, including China’s regulatory crackdown — partly over concerns about high energy consumption by crypto miners — and progress in central bank digital-currency projects that could squeeze private coins. The creator of meme-token Dogecoin recently lambasted crypto as basically a sham, and the appetite for speculation is generally in retreat.

Bitcoin traded around $31,600 as of 9:26 a.m. in London and is down about 6% so far this week. It’s still up more than 200% over the past 12 months, despite a rout in calendar 2021.

Konstantin Richter, chief executive officer and founder of Blockdaemon, a blockchain infrastructure provider, holds out hope for institutional demand, arguing Bitcoin would have to drop below $20,000 before institutions start questioning “the validity of the space.”

“If it goes down fast, it can go up fast,” he said in an interview. “That’s just what crypto is.”

— With assistance by Akshay Chinchalkar

Source: Bitcoin (BTC USD) Cryptocurrency Price Chart May Show $30,000 as Floor – Bloomberg

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Critics:

The dramatic pullback in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies comes as a flurry of negative headlines and catalysts, from Tesla CEO Elon Musk to a new round of regulations by the Chinese government, have hit an asset sector that has been characterized by extreme volatility since it was created.

The flagship cryptocurrency fell to more than three-month lows on Wednesday, dropping to about $30,000 at one point for a pullback of more than 30% and continuing a week of selling in the crypto space. Ether, the main coin for the Ethereum blockchain network, was also down sharply and broke below $2,000 at one point, a more than 40% drop in less than 24 hours.

Part of the reason for bitcoin’s weakness seems to be at least a temporary reversal in the theory of broader acceptance for cryptocurrency.

Earlier this year, Musk announced he was buying more than $1 billion of it for his automaker’s balance sheet. Several payments firms announced they were upgrading their capabilities for more crypto actions, and major Wall Street banks began working on crypto trading teams for their clients. Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange company, went public through a direct listing in mid-April.

The weakness is not isolated in crypto, suggesting that the moves could be part of a larger rotation by investors away from more speculative trades.

Tech and growth stocks, many of which outperformed the broader market dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, have also struggled in recent weeks.

The Invisible Addiction: Is It Time To Give Up Caffeine?

After years of starting the day with a tall morning coffee, followed by several glasses of green tea at intervals, and the occasional cappuccino after lunch, I quit caffeine, cold turkey. It was not something that I particularly wanted to do, but I had come to the reluctant conclusion that the story I was writing demanded it. Several of the experts I was interviewing had suggested that I really couldn’t understand the role of caffeine in my life – its invisible yet pervasive power – without getting off it and then, presumably, getting back on.

Roland Griffiths, one of the world’s leading researchers of mood-altering drugs, and the man most responsible for getting the diagnosis of “caffeine withdrawal” included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the bible of psychiatric diagnoses, told me he hadn’t begun to understand his own relationship with caffeine until he stopped using it and conducted a series of self-experiments. He urged me to do the same.

For most of us, to be caffeinated to one degree or another has simply become baseline human consciousness. Something like 90% of humans ingest caffeine regularly, making it the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world, and the only one we routinely give to children (commonly in the form of fizzy drinks). Few of us even think of it as a drug, much less our daily use of it as an addiction. It’s so pervasive that it’s easy to overlook the fact that to be caffeinated is not baseline consciousness but, in fact, an altered state. It just happens to be a state that virtually all of us share, rendering it invisible.

The scientists have spelled out, and I had duly noted, the predictable symptoms of caffeine withdrawal: headache, fatigue, lethargy, difficulty concentrating, decreased motivation, irritability, intense distress, loss of confidence and dysphoria. But beneath that deceptively mild rubric of “difficulty concentrating” hides nothing short of an existential threat to the work of the writer. How can you possibly expect to write anything when you can’t concentrate?

I postponed it as long as I could, but finally the dark day arrived. According to the researchers I’d interviewed, the process of withdrawal had actually begun overnight, while I was sleeping, during the “trough” in the graph of caffeine’s diurnal effects. The day’s first cup of tea or coffee acquires most of its power – its joy! – not so much from its euphoric and stimulating properties than from the fact that it is suppressing the emerging symptoms of withdrawal.

This is part of the insidiousness of caffeine. Its mode of action, or “pharmacodynamics”, mesh so perfectly with the rhythms of the human body that the morning cup of coffee arrives just in time to head off the looming mental distress set in motion by yesterday’s cup of coffee. Daily, caffeine proposes itself as the optimal solution to the problem caffeine creates.

At the coffee shop, instead of my usual “half caff”, I ordered a cup of mint tea. And on this morning, that lovely dispersal of the mental fog that the first hit of caffeine ushers into consciousness never arrived. The fog settled over me and would not budge. It’s not that I felt terrible – I never got a serious headache – but all day long I felt a certain muzziness, as if a veil had descended in the space between me and reality, a kind of filter that absorbed certain wavelengths of light and sound.

I was able to do some work, but distractedly. “I feel like an unsharpened pencil,” I wrote in my notebook. “Things on the periphery intrude, and won’t be ignored. I can’t focus for more than a minute.”

Over the course of the next few days, I began to feel better, the veil lifted, yet I was still not quite myself, and neither, quite, was the world. In this new normal, the world seemed duller to me. I seemed duller, too. Mornings were the worst. I came to see how integral caffeine is to the daily work of knitting ourselves back together after the fraying of consciousness during sleep. That reconsolidation of self took much longer than usual, and never quite felt complete.


Humanity’s acquaintance with caffeine is surprisingly recent. But it is hardly an exaggeration to say that this molecule remade the world. The changes wrought by coffee and tea occurred at a fundamental level – the level of the human mind. Coffee and tea ushered in a shift in the mental weather, sharpening minds that had been fogged by alcohol, freeing people from the natural rhythms of the body and the sun, thus making possible whole new kinds of work and, arguably, new kinds of thought, too.

By the 15th century, coffee was being cultivated in east Africa and traded across the Arabian peninsula. Initially, the new drink was regarded as an aide to concentration and used by Sufis in Yemen to keep them from dozing off during their religious observances. (Tea, too, started out as a little helper for Buddhist monks striving to stay awake through long stretches of meditation.) Within a century, coffeehouses had sprung up in cities across the Arab world. In 1570 there were more than 600 of them in Constantinople alone, and they spread north and west with the Ottoman empire.

The Islamic world at this time was in many respects more advanced than Europe, in science and technology, and in learning. Whether this mental flourishing had anything to do with the prevalence of coffee (and prohibition of alcohol) is difficult to prove, but as the German historian Wolfgang Schivelbusch has argued, the beverage “seemed to be tailor-​made for a culture that forbade alcohol consumption and gave birth to modern mathematics”.

In 1629 the first coffeehouses in Europe, styled on Arab and Turkish models, popped up in Venice, and the first such establishment in England was opened in Oxford in 1650 by a Jewish immigrant. They arrived in London shortly thereafter, and proliferated: within a few decades there were thousands of coffeehouses in London; at their peak, one for every 200 Londoners.

To call the English coffeehouse a new kind of public space doesn’t quite do it justice. You paid a penny for the coffee, but the information – in the form of newspapers, books, magazines and conversation – was free. (Coffeehouses were often referred to as “penny universities”.) After visiting London coffeehouses, a French writer named Maximilien Misson wrote, “You have all Manner of News there; You have a good fire, which you may sit by as long as you please: You have a Dish of Coffee; you meet your Friends for the Transaction of Business, and all for a Penny, if you don’t care to spend more.”

London’s coffeehouses were distinguished one from another by the professional or intellectual interests of their patrons, which eventually gave them specific institutional identities. So, for example, merchants and men with interests in shipping gathered at Lloyd’s Coffee House. Here you could learn what ships were arriving and departing, and buy an insurance policy on your cargo. Lloyd’s Coffee House eventually became the insurance brokerage Lloyd’s of London. Learned types and scientists – known then as “natural philosophers” – gathered at the Grecian, which became closely associated with the Royal Society; Isaac Newton and Edmond Halley debated physics and mathematics here, and supposedly once dissected a dolphin on the premises.

The conversation in London’s coffee houses frequently turned to politics, in vigorous exercises of free speech that drew the ire of the government, especially after the monarchy was restored in 1660. Charles II, worried that plots were being hatched in coffeehouses, decided that the places were dangerous fomenters of rebellion that the crown needed to suppress. In 1675 the king moved to close down the coffeehouses, on the grounds that the “false, malicious and scandalous Reports” emanating therefrom were a “Disturbance of the Quiet and Peace of the Realm”. Like so many other compounds that change the qualities of consciousness in individuals, caffeine was regarded as a threat to institutional power, which moved to suppress it, in a foreshadowing of the wars against drugs to come.

But the king’s war against coffee lasted only 11 days. Charles discovered that it was too late to turn back the tide of caffeine. By then the coffeehouse was such a fixture of English culture and daily life – and so many eminent Londoners had become addicted to caffeine – that everyone simply ignored the king’s order and blithely went on drinking coffee. Afraid to test his authority and find it lacking, the king quietly backed down, issuing a second proclamation rolling back the first “out of princely consideration and royal compassion”.

It’s hard to imagine that the sort of political, cultural and intellectual ferment that bubbled up in the coffeehouses of both France and England in the 17th century would ever have developed in a tavern. The kind of magical thinking that alcohol sponsored in the medieval mind began to yield to a new spirit of rationalism and, a bit later, Enlightenment thinking.

French historian Jules Michelet wrote: “Coffee, the sober drink, the mighty nourishment of the brain, which unlike other spirits, heightens purity and lucidity; coffee, which clears the clouds of the imagination and their gloomy weight; which illumines the reality of things suddenly with the flash of truth.”

To see, lucidly, “the reality of things”: this was, in a nutshell, the rationalist project. Coffee became, along with the microscope, telescope and the pen, one of its indispensable tools.


After a few weeks, the mental impairments of withdrawal had subsided, and I could once again think in a straight line, hold an abstraction in my head for more than two minutes, and shut peripheral thoughts out of my field of attention. Yet I continued to feel as though I was mentally just slightly behind the curve, especially when in the company of drinkers of coffee and tea, which, of course, was all the time and everywhere.

Here’s what I was missing: I missed the way caffeine and its rituals used to order my day, especially in the morning. Herbal teas – which are barely, if at all, psychoactive – lack the power of coffee and tea to organize the day into a rhythm of energetic peaks and valleys, as the mental tide of caffeine ebbs and flows. The morning surge is a blessing, obviously, but there is also something comforting in the ebb tide of afternoon, which a cup of tea can gently reverse.

At some point I began to wonder if perhaps it was all in my head, this sense that I had lost a mental step since getting off coffee and tea. So I decided to look at the science, to learn what, if any, cognitive enhancement can actually be attributed to caffeine. I found numerous studies conducted over the years reporting that caffeine improves performance on a range of cognitive measures – of memory, focus, alertness, vigilance, attention and learning.

An experiment done in the 1930s found that chess players on caffeine performed significantly better than players who abstained. In another study, caffeine users completed a variety of mental tasks more quickly, though they made more errors; as one paper put it in its title, people on caffeine are “faster, but not smarter”. In a 2014 experiment, subjects given caffeine immediately after learning new material remembered it better than subjects who received a placebo. Tests of psychomotor abilities also suggest that caffeine gives us an edge: in simulated driving exercises, caffeine improves performance, especially when the subject is tired. It also enhances physical performance on such metrics as time trials, muscle strength and endurance.

True, there is reason to take these findings with a pinch of salt, if only because this kind of research is difficult to do well. The problem is finding a good control group in a society in which virtually everyone is addicted to caffeine. But the consensus seems to be that caffeine does improve mental (and physical) performance to some degree.

Whether caffeine also enhances creativity is a different question, however, and there’s some reason to doubt that it does. Caffeine improves our focus and ability to concentrate, which surely enhances linear and abstract thinking, but creativity works very differently. It may depend on the loss of a certain kind of focus, and the freedom to let the mind off the leash of linear thought.

Cognitive psychologists sometimes talk in terms of two distinct types of consciousness: spotlight consciousness, which illuminates a single focal point of attention, making it very good for reasoning, and lantern consciousness, in which attention is less focused yet illuminates a broader field of attention. Young children tend to exhibit lantern consciousness; so do many people on psychedelics.

This more diffuse form of attention lends itself to mind wandering, free association, and the making of novel connections – all of which can nourish creativity. By comparison, caffeine’s big contribution to human progress has been to intensify spotlight consciousness – the focused, linear, abstract and efficient cognitive processing more closely associated with mental work than play. This, more than anything else, is what made caffeine the perfect drug not only for the age of reason and the Enlightenment, but for the rise of capitalism, too.

The power of caffeine to keep us awake and alert, to stem the natural tide of exhaustion, freed us from the circadian rhythms of our biology and so, along with the advent of artificial light, opened the frontier of night to the possibilities of work.

What coffee did for clerks and intellectuals, tea would soon do for the English working class. Indeed, it was tea from the East Indies – heavily sweetened with sugar from the West Indies – that fuelled the Industrial Revolution. We think of England as a tea culture, but coffee, initially the cheaper beverage by far, dominated at first.

Soon after the British East India Company began trading with China, cheap tea flooded England. A beverage that only the well-to-do could afford to drink in 1700 was by 1800 consumed by virtually everyone, from the society matron to the factory worker.

To supply this demand required an imperialist enterprise of enormous scale and brutality, especially after the British decided it would be more profitable to turn India, its colony, into a tea producer, than to buy tea from the Chinese. This required first stealing the secrets of tea production from the Chinese (a mission accomplished by the renowned Scots botanist and plant explorer Robert Fortune, disguised as a mandarin); seizing land from peasant farmers in Assam (where tea grew wild), and then forcing the farmers into servitude, picking tea leaves from dawn to dusk.

The introduction of tea to the west was all about exploitation – the extraction of surplus value from labor, not only in its production in India, but in its consumption by the British as well. Tea allowed the British working class to endure long shifts, brutal working conditions and more or less constant hunger; the caffeine helped quiet the hunger pangs, and the sugar in it became a crucial source of calories. (From a strictly nutritional standpoint, workers would have been better off sticking with beer.) The caffeine in tea helped create a new kind of worker, one better adapted to the rule of the machine. It is difficult to imagine an Industrial Revolution without it.


So how exactly does coffee, and caffeine more generally, make us more energetic, efficient and faster? How could this little molecule possibly supply the human body energy without calories? Could caffeine be the proverbial free lunch, or do we pay a price for the mental and physical energy – the alertness, focus and stamina – that caffeine gives us?

Alas, there is no free lunch. It turns out that caffeine only appears to give us energy. Caffeine works by blocking the action of adenosine, a molecule that gradually accumulates in the brain over the course of the day, preparing the body to rest. Caffeine molecules interfere with this process, keeping adenosine from doing its job – and keeping us feeling alert. But adenosine levels continue to rise, so that when the caffeine is eventually metabolized, the adenosine floods the body’s receptors and tiredness returns. So the energy that caffeine gives us is borrowed, in effect, and eventually the debt must be paid back.

For as long as people have been drinking coffee and tea, medical authorities have warned about the dangers of caffeine. But until now, caffeine has been cleared of the most serious charges against it. The current scientific consensus is more than reassuring – in fact, the research suggests that coffee and tea, far from being deleterious to our health, may offer some important benefits, as long as they aren’t consumed to excess.

Regular coffee consumption is associated with a decreased risk of several cancers (including breast, prostate, colorectal and endometrial), cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and possibly depression and suicide. (Though high doses can produce nervousness and anxiety, and rates of suicide climb among those who drink eight or more cups a day.)

My review of the medical literature on coffee and tea made me wonder if my abstention might be compromising not only my mental function but my physical health, as well. However, that was before I spoke to Matt Walker.

An English neuroscientist on the faculty at University of California, Berkeley, Walker, author of Why We Sleep, is single-minded in his mission: to alert the world to an invisible public-health crisis, which is that we are not getting nearly enough sleep, the sleep we are getting is of poor quality, and a principal culprit in this crime against body and mind is caffeine. Caffeine itself might not be bad for you, but the sleep it’s stealing from you may have a price.

According to Walker, research suggests that insufficient sleep may be a key factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, arteriosclerosis, stroke, heart failure, depression, anxiety, suicide and obesity. “The shorter you sleep,” he bluntly concludes, “the shorter your lifespan.”

Walker grew up in England drinking copious amounts of black tea, morning, noon and night. He no longer consumes caffeine, save for the small amounts in his occasional cup of decaf. In fact, none of the sleep researchers or experts on circadian rhythms I interviewed for this story use caffeine.

Walker explained that, for most people, the “quarter life” of caffeine is usually about 12 hours, meaning that 25% of the caffeine in a cup of coffee consumed at noon is still circulating in your brain when you go to bed at midnight. That could well be enough to completely wreck your deep sleep.

I thought of myself as a pretty good sleeper before I met Walker. At lunch he probed me about my sleep habits. I told him I usually get a solid seven hours, fall asleep easily, dream most nights. “How many times a night do you wake up?” he asked. I’m up three or four times a night (usually to pee), but I almost always fall right back to sleep.

He nodded gravely. “That’s really not good, all those interruptions. Sleep quality is just as important as sleep quantity.” The interruptions were undermining the amount of “deep” or “slow wave” sleep I was getting, something above and beyond the REM sleep I had always thought was the measure of a good night’s rest. But it seems that deep sleep is just as important to our health, and the amount we get tends to decline with age.

Caffeine is not the sole cause of our sleep crisis; screens, alcohol (which is as hard on REM sleep as caffeine is on deep sleep), pharmaceuticals, work schedules, noise and light pollution, and anxiety can all play a role in undermining both the duration and quality of our sleep. But here’s what’s uniquely insidious about caffeine: the drug is not only a leading cause of our sleep deprivation; it is also the principal tool we rely on to remedy the problem. Most of the caffeine consumed today is being used to compensate for the lousy sleep that caffeine causes – which means that caffeine is helping to hide from our awareness the very problem that caffeine creates.


The time came to wrap up my experiment in caffeine deprivation. I was eager to see what a body that had been innocent of caffeine for three months would experience when subjected to a couple of shots of espresso. I had thought long and hard about what kind of coffee I would get, and where. I opted for a “special”, my local coffee shop’s term for a double-​shot espresso made with less steamed milk than a typical cappuccino; it’s more commonly known as a flat white.

My special was unbelievably good, a ringing reminder of what a poor counterfeit decaf is; here were whole dimensions and depths of flavour that I had completely forgotten about. Everything in my visual field seemed pleasantly italicised, filmic, and I wondered if all these people with their cardboard-sleeve-swaddled cups had any idea what a powerful drug they were sipping. But how could they?

They had long ago become habituated to caffeine, and were now using it for another purpose entirely. Baseline maintenance, that is, plus a welcome little lift. I felt lucky that this more powerful experience was available to me. This – along with the stellar sleeps – was the wonderful dividend of my investment in abstention.

And yet in a few days’ time I would be them, caffeine-tolerant and addicted all over again. I wondered: was there any way to preserve the power of this drug? Could I devise a new relationship with caffeine? Maybe treat it more like a psychedelic – say, something to be taken only on occasion, and with a greater degree of ceremony and intention. Maybe just drink coffee on Saturdays? Just the one.

When I got home I tackled my to-do list with unaccustomed fervour, harnessing the surge of energy – of focus! – coursing through me, and put it to good use. I compulsively cleared and decluttered – on the computer, in my closet, in the garden and the shed. I raked, I weeded, I put things in order, as if I were possessed. Whatever I focused on, I focused on zealously and single-mindedly.

Around noon, my compulsiveness began to subside, and I felt ready for a change of scene. I had yanked a few plants out of the vegetable garden that were not pulling their weight, and decided to go to the garden centre to buy some replacements. It was during the drive that I realised the true reason I was heading to this particular garden centre: it had this Airstream trailer parked out front that served really good espresso.

This article was amended on 8 July 2021 to include mention of the Turkish influence on early European coffeehouses.

This is an edited extract from This Is Your Mind on Plants: Opium-Caffeine-Mescaline by Michael Pollan, published by Allen Lane on 8 July and available at guardianbookshop.co.uk

By

Source: The invisible addiction: is it time to give up caffeine? | Coffee | The Guardian

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Critics:

Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant of the methylxanthine class. It is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug. Unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world. There are several known mechanisms of action to explain the effects of caffeine. The most prominent is that it reversibly blocks the action of adenosine on its receptors and consequently prevents the onset of drowsiness induced by adenosine. Caffeine also stimulates certain portions of the autonomic nervous system.

Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline purine, a methylxanthine alkaloid, and is chemically related to the adenine and guanine bases of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). It is found in the seeds, fruits, nuts, or leaves of a number of plants native to Africa, East Asia and South America, and helps to protect them against herbivores and from competition by preventing the germination of nearby seeds, as well as encouraging consumption by select animals such as honey bees. The best-known source of caffeine is the coffee bean, the seed of the Coffea plant.

Caffeine is used in:

  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia in premature infants for both prevention and treatment. It may improve weight gain during therapy and reduce the incidence of cerebral palsy as well as reduce language and cognitive delay. On the other hand, subtle long-term side effects are possible.
  • Apnea of prematurity as a primary treatment, but not prevention.
  • Orthostatic hypotension treatment.
  • Some people use caffeine-containing beverages such as coffee or tea to try to treat their asthma. Evidence to support this practice, however, is poor. It appears that caffeine in low doses improves airway function in people with asthma, increasing forced expiratory volume (FEV1) by 5% to 18%, with this effect lasting for up to four hours.
  • The addition of caffeine (100–130 mg) to commonly prescribed pain relievers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen modestly improves the proportion of people who achieve pain relief

Future Careers Get A Much-Needed Shot In The Arm

Cognizant’s “Jobs of the Future Index” posts a 29% increase as tech-oriented job markets begin to return to normal, notes Robert Brown, a futurist within the company’s Center for the Future of Work. The US labor market is recovering faster than expected, as successful vaccination programs and stimulus dollars generate sweeping impacts throughout the nation.

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, together with the full inoculation of 51 million Americans by the close of the first quarter (and at least partial inoculation of more than 50% of the adult population by April’s end), are instilling confidence in both consumers and businesses. The accelerated use of and reliance on digital technology during the pandemic are now being accompanied by long-term investment in a digitally enabled workforce to meet the needs of tomorrow.

Cognizant’s “Jobs of the Future Index (CJoF Index)” tracks demand for 50 digitally enabled jobs of the future identified by Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work, capturing the quarterly fluctuations in postings for these jobs. In the first quarter of 2021, the growth of the CJoF Index outpaced that of the Burning Glass jobs index by nearly 10%.

The CJoF increased 28.8% from the previous quarter (from an index figure of 1.22 to 1.57). The Burning Glass index posted a quarter-on-quarter increase of 18.9%, rising from 1.45 to 1.72. These are the greatest gains for either index in the past two years, signaling not only a strengthening labor market but also a larger shift from business survival to digital growth and expansion.

Note, however, that growth notwithstanding, digitally enabled job postings remain far below pre-pandemic levels. The CJoF Index posted a severe year-on-year decline of 22.2%, dropping from 2.02 in Q1 2020 (its highest value ever) to 1.57 in Q1 2021. Growth in digitally enabled positions, which broadly represent higher-wage earners and larger investments for employers, signals longer-term economic confidence — which has yet to be fully achieved.

In contrast, the demand for all jobs is on the verge of bouncing back; the Burning Glass index posted a negligible year-on-year decline of 2.8%. That’s because brick-and-mortar jobs have been more susceptible to business restrictions and lockdowns; they’re now seeing a rush of activity as the economy reopens.

A rising tide: Quarterly growth for all CJoF job families

In addition to total job openings, the CJoF Index monitors trends in eight job families: Algorithms, Automation and AI; Customer Experience; Environment; Fitness and Wellness; Healthcare; Legal and Financial Services; Transport; and Work Culture.

In the first quarter, all eight families registered quarter-on-quarter increases, with the most modest growth in Work Culture (14.5%) and Healthcare (18.5%). Over the quarter, Fitness and Wellness (137.8%) and Transport (38.0%) emerged as top-performing jobs families after experiencing the largest declines in Q4 2020.

Measured over the year, seven of eight families posted declines: Work Culture (-27.8%), Algorithms, Automation and AI (-24.3%), Transport (-16.9%), Customer Experience (-15.7%), Legal and Financial Services (-13.1%), Environmental (-2.8%), and Fitness and Wellness (-2.3%) all dropped. Healthcare (12.4%) was the only family in the CJoF Index to register year-on-year growth.

The Fitness and Wellness family posted the sharpest quarterly increase in job postings (+137.8%) thanks to especially strong growth in digitally enabled Caregiver/Personal Care Aide (249.5%) and Home Health Aide (156.5%) postings. These two job categories have experienced much volatility during the pandemic, running countercyclical with expectations for the progression of the virus.

During declines in the number of new COVID-19 cases in Q1 2021, patients underwent long-postponed elective and routine medical procedures, thereby increasing the demand for in-home care.

Also noteworthy was the Transport family, which realized the second-largest increase (38.0%), led by gains in job postings for Aerospace Engineer (47.6%) and Urban/Transportation Planner (42.1%). The most recent federal stimulus package provided a much-needed lifeline to the travel industry, which was hit hard by the pandemic.

Algorithms, Automation and AI, the largest family in the CJoF Index, realized a 28.3% gain over the quarter. Within this family, 15 of the 16 individual job indexes registered quarter-on-quarter growth. However, only five categories showed year-over-year expansion. Unsurprisingly, each of these also saw growth for the quarter in Q1 2021: Robotics Engineer (73.0%), Robotics Technician (50.2%), Chief Information Officer/Director of Information Technology (47.1%), Mechatronics Engineer (45.7%), and Data Scientist (+42.2%).

The pandemic dampened tech hiring despite the increased reliance on digital technologies to facilitate collaboration and interaction among remote workers. But experts predict that tech occupations will recover to their pre-pandemic strength in 2021 as organizations accelerate their adoption of cloud strategies and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions.

Quarterly ups and downs

In Q4 2020, the fastest-growing jobs in the CJoF Index were:

  • Caregiver/Personal Care Aide (+249.5%)
  • Home Health Aide (+156.5%)
  • Solar Engineer (+131.9%)
  • Sustainability Specialist (+126.1%)
  • Genetic Counselor (+123.3%)

Jobs that posted the largest declines for the quarter were:

  • Solar Installer (-22.4%)
  • Alternative Energy Manager (-20.8%)
  • Fashion Designer (-10.4%)
  • Surveillance Officer/Investigator (-4.6%)
  • Career Counselor (-2.1%)

Annual ups and downs

The fastest-growing jobs in the CJoF Index for the year ending with Q1 2021 were:

  • Solar Engineer (+263.3%)
  • Genetic Counselor (+123.3%)
  • Registered Nurse (+81.0%)
  • Solar Installer (+49.1%)
  • Sustainability Specialist (+39.0%)

Jobs that posted the largest declines during this period were:

  • Physician (-60.9%)
  • Career Counselor (-57.2%)
  • Fashion Designer (-42.3%)
  • Health Information Manager/Director (-35.4%)
  • Alternative Energy Manager (-34.5%)

We encourage you to review our overall index on a regular basis, as these COVID-19-driven shocks continue to alter the landscape of jobs of the future — and jobs of the now. Visit our Cognizant Jobs of the Future Index page to see the most up-to-date data and analysis.

Robert Hoyle Brown is a Vice President in Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work and drives strategy and market outreach for Cognizant’s Business Process Services business unit. He is also a regular contributor to the CFoW blog. Prior to joining Cognizant, he was Managing Vice President of the Business and Applications Services team at Gartner, and as a research analyst, he was a recognized subject matter expert in BPO, cloud services/BPaaS and HR services. Robert also held roles at Hewlett-Packard and G2 Research, a boutique outsourcing research firm in Silicon Valley. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and, prior to his graduation, attended the London School of Economics as a Hansard Scholar. He can be reached at Robert.H.Brown@cognizant.com

Source: Future Careers Get A Much-Needed Shot In The Arm

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Career Development Perspectives- Individual versus Organizational Needs

An individual’s personal initiatives that they pursue for their career development are primarily concerned with their personal values, goals, interests, and the path required to fulfill these desires. A degree of control and sense of urgency over a personal career development path can require an individual to pursue additional education or training initiatives to align with their goals.

In relation, John L. Holland’s 6 career anchors categorizes people to be investigative, realistic, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional, in which the career path will depend on the characteristic that an individual may embody. The more aware an individual is of their personality type, the better alignment of career development and opportunities they may obtain.

The factors that influence an individual to make proper career goal decisions also relies on the environmental factors that are directly affecting them. Decisions are based on varying aspects affecting work-life balance, desires to align career options with their personal values, and the degree of stimulation or growth.

A corporate organization can be sufficient in providing career development opportunities through the Human Resources functions of Training and Development.The primary purpose of Training and Development is to ensure that the strategic planning of the organizational goals will remain adaptable to the demands of a changing environment.

Upon recruiting and hiring employees, an organization’s Human Resource department is responsible for providing clear job descriptions regarding the job tasks at hand required for the role, along with the opportunities of job rotation, transfers, and promotions. Hiring managers are responsible for ensuring that the subordinates are aware of their job tasks, and ensure the flow of communication remains efficient.

In relation, managers are also responsible for nurturing and creating a favorable work environment to work in, to foster the long term learning, development, and talent acquisition of their subordinates. Consequently, the extent to which a manager embraces the delegation of training and developing their employees plays a key factor in the retention and turnover of employees

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References

  • Driver., and Cooper, Michael J., and Ivan T. (1988). International review of industrial and organizational psychology. Los Angeles, CA: University of South California. pp. 245–277. ISBN 0-471-91844-X.
  • McDonald., and Hite, Kimberly., and Linda (2016). Career development: a human resource development perspective. New York, New York: Oxfordshire, [England]: Routledge. pp. 2-4. ISBN 9781138786127.
  • McDonald., and Hite, Kimberly., and Linda (2016). Career development: a human resource development perspective. New York, New York: Oxfordshire, [England]: Routledge. pp. 16-18. ISBN 9781138786127.
  • McDonald., and Hite, Kimberly., and Linda (2016). Career development: a human resource development perspective. New York, New York: Oxfordshire, [England]: Routledge. pp. 20. ISBN 9781138786127.
  • Driver., and Cooper, Michael J., and Ivan T. (1988). International review of industrial and organizational psychology. Los Angeles, CA: University of South California. pp. 245–277. ISBN 0-471-91844-X.
  • “Task management”, Wikipedia, 2020-10-20, retrieved 2020-11-26
  • Driver., and Cooper, Michael J., and Ivan T. (1988). International review of industrial and organizational psychology. Los Angeles, CA: University of South California. pp. 245–277. ISBN 0-471-91844-X.
  • McDonald., and Hite, Kimberly., and Linda (2016). Career development: a human resource development perspective. New York, New York: Oxfordshire, [England]: Routledge. pp. 16-17. ISBN 9781138786127.
  • “Hollands Occupational Personality Types” (PDF). hopkinsmedicine.org. Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  • McDonald., and Hite, Kimberly., and Linda (2016). Career development: a human resource development perspective. New York, New York: Oxfordshire, [England]: Routledge. pp. 19-20. ISBN 9781138786127.
  • McDonald., and Hite, Kimberly., and Linda (2016). Career development: a human resource development perspective. New York, New York: Oxfordshire, [England]: Routledge. pp. 38-44. ISBN 9781138786127.
  • McDonald., and Hite, Kimberly., and Linda (2016). Career development: a human resource development perspective. New York, New York: Oxfordshire, [England]: Routledge. pp. 38-41. ISBN 9781138786127.
  • McDonald., and Hite, Kimberly., and Linda (2016). Career development: a human resource development perspective. New York, New York: Oxfordshire, [England]: Routledge. pp.46. ISBN 9781138786127.
  • McDonald., and Hite, Kimberly., and Linda (2016). Career development: a human resource development perspective. New York, New York: Oxfordshire, [England]: Routledge. pp. 40-46. ISBN 9781138786127.
  • Barbose de Oliveira, Lucia; Cavazotte, Flavia; Dunzer, Rodrigo Alan (2019). “The interactive effects of organizational and leadership career management support on job satisfaction and turnover intention”. The International Journal of Human Resource Management. 30., no 10 (10): 1583–1603. doi:10.1080/09585192.2017.1298650 – via Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
  • McDonald., and Hite, Kimberly., and Linda (2016). Career development: a human resource development perspective. New York, New York: Oxfordshire, [England]: Routledge. pp. 20-21. ISBN 9781138786127.
  • Barnett, R. C. and Hyde, J. S. 2001. “Women, Men, Work, and Family.” American Psychologist 56:781-796.Pope, M. (2009). Jesse Buttrick Davis (1871-1955): Pioneer of vocational guidance in the schools. Career Development Quarterly, 57, 278-288.

 

How To Talk To Someone You Find Intimidating

Whether it’s at work, at a party or on a date, we often find ourselves in conversations that test our confidence. When talking to people we perceive as more intelligent, more powerful, more personable, more talented or more attractive, it’s normal to feel inadequate or intimidated. We worry this more-impressive person will judge us, think less of us or reject us.

There’s no shame in struggling in these social situations, said therapist Melissa Weinberg of Open Lines Counseling in Baltimore.

“We’re social creatures, and naturally we care a lot about what others think of us, especially those we respect, people who have some social standing over us or anyone we’re attracted to,” Weinberg, who specializes in treating anxiety, told HuffPost. “Rather than feel weird about it, beat yourself up or avoid situations, remind yourself of the universality of the experience.”

Below, experts offer tips on how to hold your own with people you find intimidating.

First, change the tone of your inner dialogue.

Self-talk is the way we speak to ourselves. For many of us, it’s that negative inner voice that’s always telling us we’re boring, unlikable, socially awkward and destined to screw up. Positive self-talk may not come naturally to everyone, but it’s something that can be cultivated with practice.

“People may rarely talk to themselves in a positive tone that is reassuring and supportive, yet it is pivotal in setting the mood and tone for your possibly intimidating social interaction,” said Kendra Witherspoon Kelly, a licensed professional counselor at the Resilience Project in Atlanta. “Say things that highlight your positive attributes or even the parts of you that are in progress of becoming better. Shine on yourself some!”

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If you have these signs, then you have a strong personality that others may find intimidating! Some people assume that such a label is just a polite way of saying that a person is loud and obnoxious. But there’s a big difference between these and a more general strength of character. Someone with strong personality traits radiates self confidence.
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Some examples of positive self-talk might be: “I’m anxious about attending this work event, but I’m proud of myself for getting outside my comfort zone,” “I’ve never had a problem making friends in the past — so why would this be any different?” or “My small-talk skills are still a work in progress, but I ask great questions and I’m a good listener.”

Figure out the gist of what you want to say beforehand.

You won’t always be able to prepare for these conversations, as they sometimes happen on the fly. But when you can, it may help ease your nerves if you think about what you want to say ahead of time. You don’t need to write and memorize a whole script; coming up with a few bullet points should do the trick.

“We’re social creatures, and naturally we care a lot about what others think of us, especially those we respect, people who have some social standing over us or anyone we’re attracted to.”

– Melissa Weinberg, therapist at Open Lines Counseling

“The more ready you are before the interaction, the more confident you’ll be,” counselor Caris Thetford wrote in a post for The Muse. “This may not completely nix your nerves, but that’s OK — a touch of anxiety can help you perform under pressure. The idea is to reduce or prevent crippling fear.”

Remember that this person is human, too.

No matter how much status this other person has, they have physical and emotional needs just like you (and everyone else). To remind yourself of this commonality, try using the phrase “just like me,” said communication coach Jennifer Kammeyer, who teaches leadership communication at San Francisco State University.

“Say to yourself, this person eats breakfast, just like me. This person feels sad, just like me. It helps to shift your perspective of the person from ‘intimidating’ to ‘human,’” she said.

Know what value you add to the conversation.

Pinpoint your strengths: Maybe you’re a great storyteller, a creative problem-solver or have a wealth of knowledge on a particular subject.

“Before you engage, remind yourself why you are there,” Kammeyer said. “Somebody else invited you to the meeting or the social engagement for a reason. Tell yourself why you were invited and how you are adding value.”

“Somebody else invited you to the meeting or the social engagement for a reason. Tell yourself why you were invited and how you are adding value.”

– Jennifer Kammeyer, communication coach

Let that thought empower you to be yourself in the conversation. Sure, you might turn the volume up or down on certain parts of your personality, depending on who you’re talking to and the setting. But whether you’re chatting with the head of your company or an attractive acquaintance at a barbecue, it’s still “you.”

“Communicating as our authentic selves allows us to be free in our conversations,” said Amelia Reigstad, a communication consultant and coach in Minneapolis. “Know yourself, how you react in situations and how you best communicate. To be an authentic communicator, give thought to actively listening, respecting yourself and others, taking responsibility for your own feelings, and know that showing emotions in conversations is OK.”

Be aware of your body language.

During the conversation, try to stay physically grounded in your body, as that can help you feel more mentally steady, too.

“Stand with your feet hip width apart or sit with your knees hip with apart and both feet on the ground,” Kammeyer said. “Don’t cross your legs or your arms. Focus on the feeling of your feet literally grounding you. Focus on your posture being upright with a strong belly and back. Grounding yourself physically helps with confidence.”

Dive into the interaction before you psych yourself out.

“The longer you linger and avoid getting engaged in the conversation, the more stuck in your fears you will remain,” Weinberg said.

Then take a deep breath and tune into the here and now — focus on the sound of the other person’s voice, the color of their eyes or the texture of your clothes. That way, you’ll be more present in the conversation and less preoccupied with how you’re coming across.

“Obviously, this is hard to control, but try to bring yourself to the present moment, notice that your attention is creeping inward to your own fears and discomfort, and remind yourself to listen,” Weinberg said. “Get yourself out of your head and physical sensations by turning your attention to the present, grounding yourself through your senses.”

Embrace the discomfort.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re in an anxiety-inducing social situation is trying to force their way out of those uncomfortable feelings, Weinberg said. But it’s a paradox: The more mental energy you exert trying not to feel anxious or intimidated, the more anxious or intimidated you end up feeling.

“The more you try to get rid of it, the more intense and distracting your anxiety will become,” Weinberg said. “Practicing acceptance and allowing the presence of anxiety is a much more adaptive strategy. Even though it can understandably be uncomfortable to practice, it can teach you that anxiety is tolerable.”

We’ve all been there: Somehow, you’ve found yourself in a conversation with a person you have nothing in common with, someone who intimidates you or someone who won’t stop complaining. These kinds of interactions can be uncomfortable, to say the least. Our HuffPost series How to Talk to Just About Anyone will help you navigate these conversations and others. Go here for all the latest.

Source: How To Talk To Someone You Find Intimidating | HuffPost UK Relationships

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How to Be That Girl Who Everyone Loves to Be Around

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According to Science, Your Girl Squad Can Help You Release More Oxytocin

The No BS Guide to Protecting Your Emotional Space

 

Doing Good May Make People Look Better

Giving is good for you. For years, researchers have been finding that people who support charities or volunteer for causes can benefit from being generous.

For example, they might learn new things, meet new people or make others whom they care about happier. Researchers have also found that giving may make the givers themselves happier, more confident and even physically healthier.

As experts on the science of giving, we looked into whether there’s another possible upside to doing good: physical attractiveness. It may seem surprising, but across three peer-reviewed studies, we found that others rate people who give money or volunteer for nonprofits, give to their friends and even register as organ donors as more attractive. We also found that more attractive people are also more likely to give in various ways.

While our findings may raise eyebrows, we actually weren’t too surprised – the personal benefits of being generous are well established in our field.

3 studies

Our first study examined data from a large, nationally representative sample of older U.S. adults. We found that seniors who volunteered were rated as more attractive by interviewers than those who did not volunteer – despite the fact that the raters were unaware of respondents’ volunteering status.

The second study analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of U.S. teens for several years. We found that those who volunteered as teenagers were rated as more attractive once they became young adults. We also found the reverse: Those rated as more attractive by interviewers as teenagers were more likely to volunteer when they grew up. Again, raters did not know about participants’ volunteering history.

Our third study used data collected from a sample of Wisconsin teenagers from 1957 until 2011. We found that teens whose yearbook photos were rated as more attractive by 12 raters were more likely to give money over 40 years later, compared to their less attractive peers. We also found that these adult givers were rated as more attractive by interviewers than nongivers around 13 years later, when they were around the age of 72.

In all three studies, raters were asked to give their opinions on how good-looking participants were, using a rating scale where lower numbers meant less attractive, and higher numbers meant more so. Although beauty can be in the eye of the beholder, people often agree on who is more or less attractive.

A halo effect

Our results suggest that giving could make people better-looking, and that being more attractive could make people more likely to donate to charity or volunteer.

These findings build on previous research indicating that beauty confers a “halo” – people attribute other positive characteristics to them, such as intelligence and good social skills.

These halos may explain why attractive people tend to marry better-looking and more educated spouses and are more likely to be employed and make more money.

Those higher earnings, logically, mean that good-looking people have more money to give away. They also make more friends, which means they have larger social networks – subjecting them to more requests to donate and volunteer.

Not just a bias toward beauty

Because we were aware of this beauty bias, in all three of our studies, we statistically controlled for demographic factors such as gender, marital status and income.

We also controlled for respondents’ mental health, physical health and religious participation, given their links to both attractiveness and giving.

So, we know that our results are not explained by these preexisting differences. In other words, it is not merely that more attractive people are more likely to be married, richer, healthier or happier – and therefore more likely to give.

But, there could be other alternative explanations that were not measured.

Why this happens

We would love to know whether doing good actually causes people to be more good-looking. But it is not possible to figure that out for sure.

For example, in studies on what smoking does to your health, scientists could not require some participants to be long-term smokers and other participants to avoid tobacco altogether. Such arrangements would not be ethical or even possible.

Similarly, we can’t require some participants to be long-term givers and others to never volunteer or support charities. Most people give in some way, so asking them to stop would not be realistic, or even ethical.

Still, by following what a group of specific individuals do over time, we can discover whether giving at one time can predict whether someone will be more physically attractive at another time – just like we know that people who smoke have higher rates of lung cancer than those who don’t.

Overall, using the best available evidence, we find that it is indeed possible that doing good today may make you appear better-looking tomorrow.

[You need to understand the coronavirus pandemic, and we can help. Read The Conversation’s newsletter.]

To be sure, we don’t know why beauty and doing good are linked. But it’s possible that people who take care of others are also more likely to take care better care of themselves. This possibility is supported by our previous research showing that volunteers are more likely to get flu shots and take other health precautions.

Taken together, our three studies confirm the link between moral and physical beauty that was described in ancient Greece by the poet Sappho: “He who is fair to look upon is good, and he who is good, will soon be fair also.”

Our findings also contradict myths that beautiful people are shallow or mean, as suggested in the movie “Legally Blonde” and countless other “mean-girls” films about teens.

Instead, we have found another way that doing good could be good for you.

By: Sara Konrath Associate Professor, Indiana University, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, IUPUI & Femida Handy Professor of Social Policy at the School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania

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AlexKaltsMotivation 690K subscribers WATCH THIS EVERYDAY AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE – Denzel Washington Motivational Speech 2019 —————————————- Email(for business inquiries only):alexkaltsbusiness@gmail.com -Instagram Page :https://www.instagram.com/alexkaltsmo… -Facebook Bodybuilding Page : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bodybu… Bodybuilding Clothes : https://shop.spreadshirt.com/AlexKalt… —————————————– Generation Iron : Website:https://generationiron.com/ Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/user/Generati… Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/generationi… —————————————– Music: Mitchell Broom – It’s Not Over Mitchell Broom – I Have Hope Mitchell Broom – Aeon Follow Mitchell Broom : Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/MitchellBroo… Twitter:https://twitter.com/mitchellrbroom SoundCloud:https://soundcloud.com/mitchell-broom… Spotify:https://open.spotify.com/artist/67b2L… Speech by Denzel Washington —————————————– Video Footage: All Video Footage licensed through Artgrid.

D. L. Hughley points out the hypocrisy behind painting Black people with broad strokes

You’re Not Actually Bad at Sales 3 Ways to Gain More Confidence

Sometimes, it’s not your abilities that let you down. It’s doubting yourself.

“When I was first getting clients, it felt like I had to fight objections in near hand-to-hand combat with the prospect,” Joshua Centers, founder of Clicks on Command, told me once. “They’d eventually tap out, and I became disheartened. It wasn’t that I couldn’t sell; it was that I doubted whether I could pull it off. I was not confident, and it was affecting my sales.”

This experience is very common with entrepreneurs, and though sales isn’t everyone’s forte, it’s possible to get better at it. You may feel you’re bad at sales because of your lack of experience selling, and you’ll try to make up for it by taking courses, reading books and watching videos to close that gap.

However, the best way to improve your sales performance — and performance in other areas — is actually to improve your confidence first. Confidence has been shown to positively affect performance in many areas, from school to athletics to the workplace. Here are three ways to boost your confidence and sell more.

Related: Self-Confidence Is the Best Motivation for Chasing Your Goals

1. Learn more about your product

One of the reasons you may feel less confident in sales is not because you don’t know sales, but because you don’t know your product well enough. When you need notes or even a presentation to sell a product, you don’t know it well enough.

This doesn’t mean that visual or written aids can’t help you sell. But if you couldn’t talk about the product without using these aids, then there’s a problem. The more comfortable you are with the product, the more confident you are in your own ability to talk about it.

Take the time to learn about your product. What does it really do? How does it work? How has it helped your current clients? What do they like about it? Being able to handle the details of the product and speak about it more qualitatively will make a huge difference.

Even further, this familiarity comes across in your sales conversation, making you appear more relaxed, knowledgeable, and assertive — all of which help you sell.

2. Build an arsenal of what already converted

There’s a reason companies use case studies to sell: They work. People like reviews, unboxings, data and evidence that a product actually does what you say it does. However, beyond being more convincing, knowing what already worked can help your confidence.

Instead of making an empty promise to a customer in your sales pitch, bring up examples of when you used the product to successfully grow another client. In digital marketing, I can present a funnel that I know has already converted leads for my clients.

The more you believe in your own product, with actual examples and evidence to back you up, the more confident you’ll be in it — and in your ability to sell it.

Related: 4 Mistakes You’re Probably Making If You’re Struggling to Close a Sale

3. Use the DIP method

Centers, who I quoted at the beginning of this article, uses a method he calls the DIP Method to organize and close his sales conversations. DIP stands for Discover, Identify, Position.

The DIP Method focuses on finding your customer’s needs and targeting them. Instead of jumping into why your product is so great, you should find the reasons why your customer needs your product and how it can be the best solution for their problems.

  • Discover: Ask your customer some questions. How many leads do you have right now? What is your offer? What marketing efforts are you currently conducting? Don’t interrupt them or answer for them in this part. Let them talk to you about what they’re doing in their marketing and lead-capturing, without filters or expectations.
  • Identify: Based on their answers, you should know what problems they’re having. Do they have little to no leads? Do they have a problem converting leads? Are they not running any marketing at all? Identify the problems and relay them back to your customer so they can confirm them. Often, the customer may not recognize them for themselves, but since you’re basing it on the answers they gave, they can easily accept them to be true.
  • Position: Here’s where you shine. Position your product or service to solve the problems you and the customer identified. Tell them you and your product can help and explain how. This is where you make your sales pitch, getting into benefits, features and pricing. However, it should always be focused on solving the problems they’ve identified.

Following the DIP Method gives you confidence, not only in your process but also in knowing that your product can actually help your customer. If you’ve built confidence in your product, your process and yourself, you can more effectively sell and promote your product and business.

JC Hite

JC Hite Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor – CEO / Founder of Hite Digital

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There Are Two Types of Happiness & We’re Chasing The Wrong One

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We’re always chasing something—be it a promotion, a new car, or a significant other. This leads to the belief that, “When (blank) happens, I’ll finally be happy.”

While these major events do make us happy at first, research shows this happiness doesn’t last. A study from Northwestern University measured the happiness levels of regular people against those who had won large lottery prizes the year prior. The researchers were surprised to discover that the happiness ratings of both groups were practically identical.

The mistaken notion that major life events dictate your happiness and sadness is so prevalent that psychologists have a name for it: impact bias. The reality is, event-based happiness is fleeting.

Happiness is synthetic—you either create it, or you don’t. Happiness that lasts is earned through your habits. Supremely happy people have honed habits that maintain their happiness day in, day out. Try out their habits, and see what they do for you:

1. They slow down to appreciate life’s little pleasures

By nature, we fall into routines. In some ways, this is a good thing. It saves precious brainpower and creates comfort. However, sometimes you get so caught up in your routine that you fail to appreciate the little things in life. Happy people know how important it is to savor the taste of their meal, revel in the amazing conversation they just had, or even just step outside to take a deep breath of fresh air.

2. They exercise

Getting your body moving for as little as ten minutes releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses. Happy people schedule regular exercise and follow through on it because they know it pays huge dividends for their mood.

3. They spend money on other people

Research shows that spending money on other people makes you much happier than spending it on yourself. This is especially true of small things that demonstrate effort, such as going out of your way to buy your friend a book that you know they will like.

4. They surround themselves with the right people

Happiness spreads through people. Surrounding yourself with happy people builds confidence, stimulates creativity, and it’s flat-out fun. Hanging around negative people has the opposite effect. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. Think of it this way: If a person were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with negative people.

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5. They stay positive

Bad things happen to everyone, including happy people. Instead of complaining about how things could have been or should have been, happy people reflect on everything they’re grateful for. Then they find the best solution available to the problem, tackle it, and move on. Nothing fuels unhappiness quite like pessimism. The problem with a pessimistic attitude, apart from the damage it does to your mood, is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you expect bad things, you’re more likely to experience negative events. Pessimistic thoughts are hard to shake off until you recognize how illogical they are. Force yourself to look at the facts, and you’ll see that things are not nearly as bad as they seem.

6. They get enough sleep

I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep for improving your mood, focus, and self-control. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, removing toxic proteins that accumulate during the day as byproducts of normal neuronal activity. This ensures that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your energy, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough quality sleep. Sleep deprivation also raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. Happy people make sleep a priority, because it makes them feel great and they know how lousy they feel when they’re sleep deprived.

7. They have deep conversations

Happy people know that happiness and substance go hand-in-hand. They avoid gossip, small talk, and judging others. Instead they focus on meaningful interactions. They engage with other people on a deeper level, because they know that doing so feels good, builds an emotional connection, and is an interesting way to learn.

8. They help others

Taking the time to help people not only makes them happy, but it also makes you happy. In a Harvard study, employees who helped others were ten times more likely to be focused at work and 40% more likely to get a promotion. The same study showed that people who consistently provided social support were the most likely to be happy during times of high stress. As long as you make certain that you aren’t overcommitting yourself, helping others is sure to have a positive influence on your mood.

9. They make an effort to be happy

No one wakes up feeling happy every day and supremely happy people are no exception. They just work at it harder than everyone else. They know how easy it is to get sucked into a routine where you don’t monitor your emotions or actively try to be happy and positive. Happy people constantly evaluate their moods and make decisions with their happiness in mind.

10. They do things in person

Happy people only let technology do their talking when absolutely necessary. The human brain is wired for in-person interaction, so happy people will jump at the chance to drive across town to see a friend or meet face-to-face because it makes them feel good.

11. They have a growth mindset

People’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged, because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. This makes them happier because they are better at handling difficulties. They also outperform those with a fixed mindset because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.

Happiness can be tough to maintain, but investing in the right habits pays off. Adopting even a few of the habits from this list will make a big difference in your mood.

This post was originally published on LinkedIn.

Dr. Travis Bradberry
Travis Bradberry is the co-author of the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and co-founder of TalentSmart, which provides emotional intelligence tests and training to corporate clients.
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6 Unexpected Habits of the Most Confident People

Here’s something you know. Being self-confident improves odds of success, whether you’re a leader wanting to lead confidently, an entrepreneur, or someone just trying to learn how to deal with criticism. And you know the obvious ways to become more confident such as living with a sense of purpose and leveraging your strengths.

Now for the less obvious, unexpected ways that the most confident people become that way. I encourage you to tap into these unexpected, even counterintuitive hidden gems to shine more confidently from within.

1. Don’t start with self-confidence, start with self-compassion.

Believe it or not, to start feeling more self-confident, don’t start with trying to feel more self-confident. Start by focusing on feeling compassionate towards yourself. Forgive yourself when you make a mistake, remind yourself that you’re not perfect, allow yourself a learning curve and don’t expect to be an overnight sensation in everything you do.

Here’s the good news, research from the University of Texas, Austin shows that focusing first and foremost on self-compassion will lead to more consistent confidence, because you have a built-in mechanism to keep from spiraling downward in moments you catch yourself beating yourself up. To practice self-compassion, talk to yourself like you would a friend in need in those moments.

2. Insist that you’re not good enough.

Wait, huh? Isn’t self-confidence about insisting the opposite of this? It’s about the spirit and intent behind this insistence. For example, when you’re facing a tall task, cheerily remind yourself that you’re probably not good enough to do the task to your absolute best ability by going it completely alone –no one is. In other words, it’s a self-reminder that it’s OK to ask for help.

Highly self-confident people view asking for help as an opportunity to go from good to great. You should too. Research from Harvard and University of Pennsylvania even shows that asking for help makes you look good in the eyes of others which can further boost your self-confidence.

3. Be egotistical (at times).

Standard advice is to be confident without being egotistical, otherwise it backfires and that whole self-confidence thing begins to unravel. But actually, you should leverage your ego specifically to pump yourself up here and there with self-affirmations. Remind yourself of what you’re good at, that you’ve done it before, or that you’ve come so far already.

2013 research published in the psychology journal PLOS indicates that engaging in self-affirmations even improves problem solving under stress because you aren’t thrown off your game as easily and don’t let negativity add to the difficulty at hand.

4. Celebrate self-doubt.

Hold on, don’t confident people cast self-doubt aside? Not necessarily. In fact, they embrace it. The highly self-confident don’t wait until they feel 100 percent confident before proceeding, knowing that the simple act of doing will make them feel more confident over the long run. Think about it. After you try something difficult, even if you don’t 100 percent succeed, aren’t you going to be more confident the next time for having the experience under your belt?

A seminal, 2010 study in sports psychology even showed that a little self-doubt can improve performance, because it helps athletes maintain an edge.

5. Be stubborn when it counts most.

We’re told to stay flexible-minded because confidence flows from knowing you can bend and mold to what the moment requires. Except when it comes to preparing for that big, challenging event. Then it’s time for stubbornly sticking to rituals you’ve created. Harvard research shows that sticking to preparation rituals make you calmer when the moment to perform arrives.

I’ve found this to be true in preparing for any keynote I give. I have a ritual of rehearsing a keynote, no matter how many times I’ve given it, twice two days before and on the day before, and once the morning of. It gives me great comfort in knowing I’m prepared, and helps me to perform at my best.

6. Make comparisons (but do draw the line).

I often write about the importance of understanding that the only comparison that matters is to who you were yesterday. I’d like to amend that a bit to acknowledge that comparing to someone who has achieved what you want to can be helpful for goal setting. But stop there, because carrying on with the comparisons is more dangerous than meets the eye.

2018 research from Oakland University proved it’s a vicious cycle; when you compare to others you experience envy, the more envy you experience the worse you feel about yourself and thus the lower your self-confidence.

So pulling from the unexpected means you can expect to pull your self-confidence up. Better get started –greater success awaits.

 

 Scott Mautz Keynote speaker and author, ‘Find the Fire’ and ‘Make It Matter’

Source: 6 Unexpected Habits of the Most Confident People

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Bill Gates: High Schoolers Should Cultivate 1 Skill to Thrive in 2030 and Beyond

No one can predict the future. Not even Bill Gates. But the billionaire founder of Microsoft and philanthropist can tell you which skills he thinks will give you a competitive edge in the future.

Gates recently touched on this topic when he delivered a lecture at his high school alma mater, Lakeside School in Seattle. Fun fact: Another famous alumni is Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The two met when they were students there.

The first question the school’s head Bernie Noe posed to Bill Gates was this: “What do today’s students need to know to thrive in 2030 and 2040?”

You’re never too old to keep learning.

Gates encouraged the high school students to cultivate their curiosity. The more knowledge they seek out, the better they’ll be prepared for what’s ahead.

“For the curious learner, these are the best of times because your ability to constantly refresh your knowledge with either podcasts or lectures that are online is better than ever,” Gates said.

To do that, Gates said students must build your sense of curiosity and basic framework of knowledge. History, science, and economics are the subject areas he sees as being particularly useful to be successful in the future.

What Bill Gates predicts for the decades ahead.

During the decades ahead, the digital revolution will surprise us,” Gates said.

This is where that foundational knowledge and drive to keep learning will come into play. He thinks having the self confidence and willingness to keep learning will help prepare students for that revolution.

For example, he says changes that will take place in healthcare and climate change will require an understanding of the sciences.

He also believes teeangers must be more informed than ever on current affairs and past events. “Democracy is going to more and more require participants,” he said. He says understanding history — both of the United States and the entire world — will prepare students to understand why the world is in the situation it’s in.

Bill Gates is his own case study.

When Gates graduated from Lakeside in 1973, he didn’t know what the future would hold. There was one thing he took with him though that prepared him for his future success: “I had the ability to learn.”

He never expected that he would drop out of Harvard. In fact, Gates was so hungry for knowledge that he took extra classes in college just because they sounded fun and interesting. He admits that he wasn’t very sociable because his heavy course load was all-consuming. “I managed to get two and a half years there, and I loved every minute of it,” he said.

Gates dropped out of Harvard and started Microsoft with his former Lakeside buddy Paul Allen in 1975. The rest is history.

Betsy MikelOwner, Aveck

Source: Bill Gates: High Schoolers Should Cultivate 1 Skill to Thrive in 2030 and Beyond

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