All posts filed under: Human Condition

Between Cities

Oftentimes I find myself in another city. Though not necessarily physically, my mind may wander, triggered by a scent or a scene, or anything in between, and I’m in London, New York, Tokyo, Amsterdam…Daily life can get quite restrictive at times, so it’s not always possible to be there, even though you may really want to. Until we make it to these locations, we mentally transport ourselves, one-way ticket and all, and we’re there. feature image Shauna Leigh Robinson / FlickrCC

The Virtues of Remembering The Mundane

One summer my family and I drove from Melbourne to Adelaide to make it in time for my graduation. It was a 600 kilometre drive — that’s about a 7 hour road trip sitting in a hot car, passing an endless stretch of arid land, counting the naked trees scorched by the unforgiving Australian sun. Then, the time spent seemed insignificant. The conversations, the pep-talks, the packed lunches and pit stops. It was all part of one mundane experience to get us from A to B. We no longer take these trips, and my father has now passed away but these insignificant moments I initially took for granted, mean the world to me. It’s a discovery in retrograde: the essential from the insignificant. A four-part study in Psychological Science led by Ting Zhang explored the tendency to underestimate just how curious and interested we will be for recounting mundane activities such as making breakfast, or a trip to the mall. The first of Zhang’s studies, for example, required participants to create time capsules, with such contents including: last social activity attended, a fragment from …

daydreaming

An Ode To Spacing Out

Today only 6 percent of studies note the functional benefits of mind wandering. But in the 1960s psychologist Jerome L. Singer launched research which demonstrated that daydreaming is crucial for a healthy, satisfying mental life. His research is a kind of ode to spacing out: his work focused on what he identified to be positive constructive daydreaming which he found consisted of playful imagery, and playful creative thought. It’s a refreshing, and somewhat relieving perspective to hear — considering that mind-wandering is a universal human experience. In fact, in the time that I wrote this piece, I’ve drifted into thought about the effects of walking, or completing tasks which require little mental focus, and the effects they have on continuing with tasks that require stronger cognitive focus. And bingo: researchers from Bar Ilan University in Israel found that daydreaming can actually boost task performance. But there’s an important distinction to made between positive constructive daydreaming (pad) and procrastination — or poor attentional control. PCD refers more to playful imagery and playful creative thoughts, whereas say, constantly shifting …

success failure

If You’re Failing, You’re Doing Ok

During one piano recital I was so nervous that as soon as my fingers hit the keys, I completely forgot how to play. I was just pushing at keys – at that moment I was blind, the music infront of me meant nothing, and my fingers were temporarily disconnected from my hand. I was lost. Nevertheless, I tried again. My second attempt didn’t fare well either. I tried again, and again, and finally I got to playing my piece. It would have been much easier, and much less embarrassing to have left. My parents, peers, and teachers were in the audience, waiting to hear what the many years of piano lessons had left me with. When I finished my piece, I bowed, and walked back to them musicians room. It was grim, but at one point my friend came up to me and said, “if that was me I would have just left, but you actually stayed there until you got it right.” After that my music teacher and piano teacher said the same thing. Had I …

Sense of Purpose in Life? Your Heart Will Thank You For It

Researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York have found that a healthy heart is linked to having a sense of purpose in life. The researchers came to their conclusions after reviewing 10 relevant studies, and data from more than 137,000 people. Lead study author Randy Cohen, M.D, explained: “Developing and refining your sense of purpose could protect your heart health and potentially save your life…Our study shows there is a strong relationship between having a sense of purpose in life and protection from dying or having a cardiovascular event. As part of our overall health, each of us needs to ask ourselves the critical question of ‘do I have a sense of purpose in my life?’ If not, you need to work toward the important goal of obtaining one for your overall well-being.” Alan Rozanski, MD, study co-author and Director of Wellness and Prevention Programs for Mount Sinai Heart at the Mount Sinai Health System said that based on these findings future research should now further assess the importance of life purpose as a determinant …

job interview techniques

How Science Says You Can Ace a Job Interview

What kinds of techniques do you employ when in a job interview? From the clothes we wear, to how easy our names are to pronounce, there are many factors for success that are considered when being interviewed. But science says that our voice is something that we really need to pay attention to. New research has found that a person’s intellect, amiability and thoughtfulness is conveyed and perceived through their voice, rather than through text. The study entitled, The Sound of Intellect: Speech Reveals a Thoughtful Mind, Increasing a Job Candidate’s Appeal, by Juliana Schroeder and Nicholas Epley, conducted experiments where a group of MBS students composed both verbal and written elevator pitches to hypothetical employers. The results were unanimous across the experiments: from video to transcripts – evaluators – which included practicing recruiters – who listened to job pitches were consistently more interested in hiring the candidates than were evaluators who read identical transcriptions. Voice impressed evaluators so much so, that a more positive impression of candidates was formed, and were rated as more likeable. It was believed …

Feeling Rich Without Money

We buy things that attract us, as if somehow they’re going to fill our empty metaphorical spaces. We buy the pretty vase because our jobs aren’t what we expected, we buy the shoes and the bag because we ended a long-term relationship, we buy the new wardrobe fillers because our work wasn’t received how we wanted it to. We swipe, select check, savings or credit and enter our pins as if somehow we’re entering the secret code to enter the happy and satisfied life club. The thrill of that if it existed. But deep down we know those things are band-aid solutions. But we ignore them because acknowledging them would be too hard. Too powerful a tug on the marionette strings attached to our hearts. We wander the high streets, the mall strips, peering into the shopfronts, hoping to find something perfect but we’re really looking to find some kind of panacea for our lives. The perfect object, is a substitute for the perfect life. Every time we whip out our wallets,  we’re really wanting to …

empathy

How Technology Can Help Create Empathy

1. Explore the human condition Social media, although at times forces users to trawl through banal updates about every day life, there is a lot of dialogue which highlights how people feel. Perhaps these are people that you wouldn’t necessarily meet in your day-to-day life, yet they share their stories on an open platform. Their stories sit there waiting to be read, to gain some attention and maybe, just maybe, be understood. With this, we can learn how someone on the other side of the world is feeling, and add this as a reminder that we understand, if only a little, the lives of others. 2. Anonymity We’ve all undoubtedly got a range of odd usernames. The weirdest one I have is “bozzeyed”. I don’t really know what that means, but with my moniker, I feel a little more at ease when wanting to express my opinions online. Of course, we’ve all come across trolls, or other people/bots who are purely inflammatory, but, nestled among the hateful comments, are people who are trying to voice …

reading, books

6 Things To Do on a Quiet Night In | Introvert Dear

It’s well known by now that the introverted personality generates energy by being alone. The virtues of solitude have been extolled by many with benefits including freedom, creativity, and psychological well being. However, for some reason, society seems to fear, even chastise, the solitary individual: the person having dinner in a restaurant alone, the girl reading alone in the park, or the man strolling through the streets of a new city, is viewed as lonely, rather than free.