Ted Talk Friday: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Manipulate Our Emotions

I work in tech in the Bay Area so these tech giants are everywhere; Google buses (G-buses) are all over the place and Amazon delivers anything and everything. Galloway goes into the psychology of how these giants have taken over both the individual and the industry. Listen to his interesting, even if extreme, perspective on where these tech giants are leading us:

 

 

 

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Do you agree with Galloway? Do you consciously feel manipulated?

Ted Talk Friday: How to deal with gaslighting

I have heard the term gaslighting quite a bit frequently, and it is definitely ringing true in the political world right now. The #MeToo movement has really brought this to the forefront–for so long women have been targeted with gaslighting, but when everyone has the courage to speak up, the power of gaslighting falls to pieces. I hope you enjoy this brave, vivid experience form Ariel Leve about surviving a childhood of chaos, lies, and gaslighting–and how she copes.

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Have you ever experienced gaslighting? Do you agree with her coping strategies?

A Day on Resilience at the Greater Good Science Center

I have heard about the Greater Good Science Center for quite some time now and I’ve been curious to check them out. I finally started looking at the schedule over the holiday season and wanted to go to all the seminars–so many amazing topics and amazing leaders! Kristin Neff taught a seminar on self-compassion in February, which I sadly couldn’t attend, but I was able to make it to “The Science and Practice of Resilience” by Rick Hanson. img_9992-1I left my apartment at the crack of dawn and caught the BART from my apartment to Berkeley; luckily it was a short hour long train ride where I people watched, read, and caught up on work emails.

I caught an Uber from the BART station to the event and serendipitously ended up sharing the ride with a few other attendees. One is a student at Georgia Tech (I went to Emory–coincidence!), whose name was Jalen, and he excitedly told me about his startup, which is an app from focused on emotional awareness and self-compassion. Jalen was such a kind person and I can’t wait to see how his startup, Mind Hack, grows. His companion is a coach at Heroic Voice Academy, which is an incredible company helping individuals develop their own brave, authentic voice whether they are giving a TED talk or interviewing for a new job.

The workshop was incredible; the day was broken down into sections of lecture, activity, and practice. We learned about the neurobiology of resilience, but also why that neurobiology matters so much in the clinical, real world setting.

One of my favorite exercises came near the beginning of the day when we discussed what we see as our own personal inner strengths that we draw on as our mental resources in difficult times. We paired up randomly, and my partner was a thoughtful, open psychiatrist grappling with his recent divorce. He shared his own strengths and my turn rolled around a few minutes later. At first I was drawing only blanks, but I suddenly tapped into this beautiful place of self-empowerment and reflection. Speaking my strengths out loud made me feel powerful, strong, worthy. As Dr. Hanson mentioned frequently during the day, humans naturally focus on the negative; we have an inherent negativity bias that we have to correct for. By focusing on my strengths, rather than the daily frustration I tend to perseverate over, I wasn’t just seeing the world, or myself through rose colored glasses, I was correcting for my own bias. This was definitely a light bulb moment for me.

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Beyond the course, I had the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful, kind people. I spent about an hour getting to know a woman with such a fascinating background who is now a therapist and shaman. She was so open in sharing her story and had such helpful insight into my own future goals.

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I feel so lucky to have gone to such a fascinating, educational event. It is such a privilege to be able to hit the pause button of life every once in a while and attend an event like this. I met so many like-minded people, learned more about the neurobiology of resilience, and developed tools to cultivate resilience.

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Have you heard of the Greater Good Science Center? What do you think are your inner strengths?

Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air

I’ve had When Breath Becomes Air on my list for about three years. I’ve often prioritized other books or put off reading it because I knew it would be heavy and difficult. Luckily it was our book club pick for this month and I am so glad I finally read it.

This book was written by a Stanford neurosurgeon diagnosed with late stage lung cancer. He describes his life, philosophy, and reflections on practicing medicine and dying. Yes, it was incredibly sad, but it was so much more than sad. I stayed up two hours past my usual bedtime reading this–caught up in a journey even when I already knew the ending.

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The writing was so beautiful; the thoughts so insightful and grounding. His reflections made me think about my own mortality and facing death of those we love. He lived his life so fully with a dedication to his goals & values. His book is a testament to this and will continue to impact the world long after his passing.

I went to an Emory alumni dinner this past weekend, and one alum brought her husband who happened to be a neurosurgeon at Stanford. Since I just finished the book and wanted to create conversation, I brought up that I had just finished the book. To my surprise, the neurosurgeon had actually worked with Paul Kalanithi and knew him well. I was slightly shocked at how nonchalantly I had brought it up; I immediately apologized. He stopped me and said that he was glad that the book was having such a broad impact–the best possible outcome for such a tragedy.

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It also reminded me that Paul was not a mythical figure, but a real person who died only a few short years ago. His legacy lives on not only through his book, but also through the hundreds of physicians, nurses, patients, and friends with whom he interacted. A few days after finishing the book, I was listening to NPR One and a Modern Love podcast episode came on (also an essay–“When a Couch is More Than a Couch”)…it was all about a woman who was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer at 39. It was deeply engaging; and the twist at the end connected back to the book. Definitely give it a listen!

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#CABE SF: A weekend as an extroverted introvert

This weekend was jam-packed with social fun! If you know me, you know this sounds a bit strange…I am a deeply extroverted introvert.

*What does this mean?*

It means I love being around people, but get my energy and feel recharged through alone time–learn more about this in the book Quiet by Susan Cain. I spent both of my days meeting new people and catching up with old friend.

Saturday: I met a new friend for coffee and talked on the phone for over two hours. Yes, two. This is what happens when some of your best friends live hundreds of miles away.

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With plenty of snacks of course

Sunday: I started the day at an amazing event hosted by California Bloggers.

Look at the crazy line to get in:

Huge thanks to my friend Pauline from Sweatpink for hooking me up with the event! I met up with a few other Sweatpink ladies there (Sara and Melissa) , but also had the chance to meet some inspiring female bloggers and entrepreneurs.

Dee Gautham of @squats_and_samosas started the day with her amazing journey from unhappy project manager to entrepreneur living her dream without sacrificing quality of life. She emphasized the importance of vulnerability, which really resonated with me as I try to share both my bad and good days equally.

Danetha Doe of Money & Mimosas  talked about financial independence and how to grow your own personal business (or side hustle).

Danetha broke down her talk into the “5 P’s” for entrepreneurs:

1) know your why/purpose

2) people-getting clear on who is in your community..find your tribe

3) pricing-know what your packages are; how are you helping brands? what are your specific talents you can put a price tag on?

4) positioning- even if you have 2k followers, that doesn’t matter…it’s all about communicating to brands & letting brand know you can help them get to their goals

5) pitching yourself-brag about yourself (yes, brag!), you have skills & a unique message to share..be very clear with companies & business owners; provide a one pager vs. deck based on the conversation…and do your research!

Misha Skova of Skova talked about her development as a person and how the changes in her life have changed her brand. Having a family shifted her brand and she discussed the importance of going with that flow, while still maintaining the vision.

And last but not least the amazing lady behind @girlandthebay, Mandy Ansari. Mandy is an instagram goddess and instantly made me feel comfortable–like she was a friend. She provided her top ten tips for Instagram:

1. Know who you are—being authentic self is so important

2. Find your audience-keep to what they (and you) are interested in

3. Teach yourself how to do something—stay intellectually curious and learn about ads, design, Lynda/YouTube skills–the internet provides endless opportunities for learning

4. There’s an app for that!-look for apps that are great for photo editing to up your photo game

5. Be original (duh?)

6. Be professional-always respond to emails, be courteous, and outsource via upwork if necessary

7. Good things take time & patience; it took Mandy 7 years to grow her account

8. Invest in yourself- try Khan academy, General Assembly, skillshare.com…there are so many resources out there and you are worth the time and money

9. Stay honest

10. Tap it back-respond to everyone & share the love

Plus we got tons of adorable goodies in our gift bags thanks to the amazing sponsors!

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Thanks to…

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Ted Talk Friday: The secret to living longer may be your social life

I have posted talks on this topic in the past, but I don’t think the importance of social interaction can be emphasized enough. Pinker doesn’t just talk about social connectedness, but she also compares social connectedness to the impact of other health factors. I hope you enjoy.

 

 

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Do you make the time to maintain relationships? Do you think you will be the happy or the grumpy old man? 😉

Miraculously Stuffed Eggplant

I’ve been living life on the fly a lot recently. For the past decade (or longer) I’ve planned every moment down to the second. Planning certainly has a lot of perks, but it makes our brain think in binary, rigid ways sometimes. In an effort to break out of this more, I’ve been actively trying to seek out spontaneity and go with the flow. I found eggplants on sale the other day, so I bought a few and just decided I would let an idea come–and if not, just chop and freeze them! I think living life without a guide, without a plan, without a recipe can be a great asset when you find yourself getting bogged down in and stressed by the arbitrary details.

Ingredients:

-1 eggplant

-1 bag prepared @miraclenoodle rice

-1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped

-2 tsp olive oil

-1 cup cherry tomatoes

-1 tsp minced garlic

Directions:

1. Combine tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, & garlic in a skillet and let simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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2. Cut eggplant in half length wise and roast at 350 for 10 minutes.

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3. Scrape out inside of eggplant and mix the pieces of eggplant “insides” into your skillet of veggies. .

4. Add prepared @miraclenoodle rice to veggie mix and continue stirring.

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5. Stuff both halves of the eggplant with veggie/rice mixture.

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6. Return stuffed eggplants to oven and roast for 7-10 minutes at 375.

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7. Enjoy! Feel free to freeze or use the leftover veggie rice in another dish or as a side dish.

This month use code HANNAHFEB18 for a discount when you order from miracle noodle 🍜

The Dangerous Power of “Productivity”

I believe we have started a dangerous cult this country–I don’t know how far it extends, but I’ve noted almost all of my peers have a constant desire to be productive. Anything that is not productive is not worthwhile. How sad is that?

I understand this mindset since I had it for at least four years. During college, I would not do anything if I did not see its purpose:

  • Going out for dinner? No, a waste of valuable study time.
  • Taking a weekend trip? Nope, I won’t have time to work ahead.
  • Hanging out and watching a movie? No, I need do x, y, z unfulfilling “productive” activity.

 

After graduating, this led to me completely going off the rails without action items that needed to be done. My parents took me on a trip to the beach after graduation and I could not even take one day off. I would sneak back from the beach to our hotel room and look through potential jobs on LinkedIn–yeah, that’s nuts. But it’s not just me…it’s a lot of people.

Over the past six months since graduating, I’ve been actively working to disengage from certain routines that make spontaneity difficult (I don’t always have to go to bed early, I can ask to reschedule). In addition, I have been forcing myself to be just a little bit lazy…I might just lie in bed for an extra ten minutes in the morning. Today I woke up without a plan and drove to the beach–no plans, nothing productive in store. I laid down on the sand and just read my book. Afterwards I spent the day wandering around the area, going into local shops and people-watching.

I don’t want to diss productivity too much–it gave me a solid GPA, amazing experiences, and it’s an inherent part of who I am. At the same time, it can’t be all I am; there is a high price for living a life that constantly prioritizes productivity. For me, it sacrificed the things that matter most: relationships, mental health, and physical wellbeing.

In sum, I think it’s knowing when to prioritize productivity, and when to let it go and enjoy life for all it is–the fast, the slow, the mundane, the powerful.

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Do you prioritize productivity? If so, at what cost?

Ted Talk Friday: My failed mission to find God — and what I found instead

Anjali Kumar does a wonderful job explaining her experience; as someone who feels spiritual but still checks the same “none” box, it is refreshing to hear someone’s journey on the path of finding spiritual community. She sprinkles in plenty of humor for a topic that is often so serious and difficult to discuss. I hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

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Do you consider yourself spiritual? Have you experimented with other religious communities?