Tag: Psychology

3 Tips for Dealing With Change

We, humans, are simple creatures.

Despite the fact that your neighbour claims he hates routine and is slowly dying in front of his office desk, he’s more than happy to just get home, turn on TV, grab some chips and ponder about the future while doing nothing for a few hours.

And admit it, so do you.

lazy_man
Human brain is not programmed to make us take risks, change our lifestyles and challenge us constantly. Our brain is designed to STOP us from doing all these things that biologically speaking are or might be a threat to our survival.

Challenging yourself and agreeing to things you are not certain about is extremely scary. But also, a hell of a fun.

…and now imagine the scenario that your neighbour suddenly starts jogging (after being a couch potato for years), stops buying his favourite chips and snacks on raw carrots with hummus instead. His oxytocin levels rise, he feels happier and more powerful and then – BANG – he decides to quit his job and actually do something he’s always been passionate about.

It took him 10 minutes to get dressed for his first jog that got him hooked.

It took him a few weeks of meal prep to get used to the new routine.

And it’ll be months or even years of joyous moments filled with self-satisfaction and pleasure.

Starting something new is difficult; achieving change requires a sense of urgency and active involvement in change efforts. But it’s not impossible if you focus on positives, talk to others and break the big, scary change into small, manageable pieces.

1. Focus on positives

Instead of focusing on the hurdles that you will face, focus on the positives that you will enjoy. Leave the difficulties aside (they will step in no matter what), but rather learn to see the positive aspects of each situation.
E.g. it might be costly and difficult to move from the US to China, but I’m sure it’ll broaden my knowledge, will challenge me and I can’t wait to try the wonders of the local cuisine!

2. Talk to someone who’s done it

At first, you may freak out about your resistance to change. But you’re not unique here – it’s completely normal; we are afraid of the unknown. To eliminate the fear of the unknown and to familiarize yourself with what’s coming next, give it a try and talk to someone who’s been through the same experience – it’ll help you prepare mentally.
E.g. I am intimidated by what it will bring, and I would like to know how my life will change. I know my friend’s cousin went through the same experience – why don’t I talk to him!

3. Break it down to actionable steps

Starting big is way scarier than starting small. Preparing yourself fully for the change is close to impossible, but making yourself aware of the change and starting to prepare is.
E.g. I have to move to China in two months. Why don’t I start a Chinese crash course now, to prepare myself for the upcoming change? I might as well find a few pen pals now to get myself introduced to the culture.

Accept that there will be a new chapter in your life that is meant for you, have an open mind and accept everything as it comes your way.

Because change, after all, is scary.

It’s terrifying.

But it can also be the best thing you’ll ever do.

The “Me, me, me!” Generation

The younger generation, usually also referred to “Millennials”, are often described as lazy, privileged attention seekers. They are also described as confident, assertive and narcissistic, craving for attention all the time. It might seem that “me me me” generation is wasting their precious young years in front of computer while using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for self-branding purposes, yet being a part of Millennials I would like to stand out and say: “Being self-centered is not bad. We’ve got the point”.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/3n/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/3n/

Strauss-Howe generation theory, created by American historians and authors William Strauss and Neil Howe, identifies a recurring generational cycle in American history. They believe that each generation has common characteristics that give it a specific character. Accordin to William Strauss and Neil Hower, there are four basic generational archetypes, repeating a cycle. Authors claim that Millennials will become “civic-minded” with stronger sense of community and stronger sense of belonging to a group.

In many developing countries Millennials dominate, comprising almost 30% of the population, whereas their parent generation, referred to Boomers (or baby boomers), comprise a little over 14%. In Denmark, Millennials comprise only 12% of population but they know to score the older generation off.

Risk-takers

Baby boomers had easier times finding the job. The older generation was satisfied with their position, pay and the company they work for. They were happy for the stable income and working conditions without thinking (too) much. Millennials want more. Millennials might be a little egoistic and self-centered, especially when it comes to job and working routine. But they know what they want and they are ready to get it, even though it might take some. “I am 28 and I just finished my education. I know I am relatively old, bu I am happy I took some years off and tried different activities to see what is it what my passion is. Now, being 28 I am ready to go for my dream”, claims Louise, a psychology student from Aarhus, who hasn’t studied for 2 years in a row, trying to figure out what she is passionate about.

Another type of Danish Millennials are the ones who put 100% efforts in creating innovative businesses, which are generally supported by Danish government, offering various types of support – counselling, free office space if you are studying and mentoring. “5 years ago I was a teenager looking for a summer job to save some money to travel with my friends. I had troubles finding a job because of my age. I guess employers thought I am not reliable enough… So I started my own business”, says Rasmus, currently owning a small online shop. “None of my parents have businesses and I don’t think their generation

Even though, as mentioned earlier, the younger generation, usually also referred to “Millennials”, are often described as lazy, privileged attention seekers, they seem to have a point: self-confidence and courage is the only way to success for them. Other options are rarely available.

Self-confidence – the only way to success?

Let’s face the truth: it is much harder to find a job now than it was 10 years ago. Back then you had to bring your CV and show that you have the needed qualities. That’s about it. Now, you have to knock employers doors for hours in order to be heard and make sure he remembers you, otherwise you will end up with a “pleasant” email with the content “we regret to inform, but…”. If you don’t show your skills and capabilities “at the face” your CV might get lost among other hundreds, if not thousands of other CVs. “If you are not self-confident, you will not get the job. A number of employers want someone with good education and experience. No one really cares about anything else, so being self-confident is not an option, it’s a necessity“, says Jonas, 26, who just finished architecture school. “If you cannot offer experience, you can offer your baldness, and it might work. I didn’t haven’t had any working experience until I got my job, but I have shown my employer a well-developed blog, where I passionately wrote about different styles and techniques”, explains Jonas. “I think it helped me a lot”.

Millennials need, no, must see where their career is developing and what their chances of getting a specific job are. Millennials want to test the things and be sure it’s working. “I think we all have dreamjobs. My dreamjob was one company in Copenhagen, which I started observing as soon as I realized that I want to be an architect. I followed them on Facebook and LinkedIn, and, to be honest, via acquintance of mine I got LinkedIn contacts of my current employer”, says Jonas.

Generation Y versus Baby Boomers

Millennials are accustomed to impact. We want to experience things and find the true answers ourselves, instead of being told so. We want to try out new things and get the new outstanding experiences, and after we do so, we want others to know about it.

Millennials simply have different characteristics than any generation before. We, Millennials are grown up in a society where we have been plugged into technology since we were born. Not long ago Baby Boomers bought their first computers in their 40, and their children outran them with the knowledge after 6-8 years. Baby Boomers agree that Generation Y is technology-savvy. Actually, not technology-savvy, but rather technology-dependent. We have to text, tweet and post. We are used to that. Maybe even addicted. But we know how to market us and our ideas and how to get the best outcome of that. Funny enough, Millennials (or Generation Y) is also called Net generation simply because they do not remember a time when there was no Internet.

Sustainability and CSR

Millennials care about global warming and recycling. They know which garbage is for paper and which one is for plastic or glass. They care that the carrots they are buying are ecological and that the workplace they want to work engages in strong CSR activities.

According to the pwc’s recent research on Millennial values and expectations, Millennials deliberately seek employers whose corporate responsibility behaviour reflects their own values. Besides, they also care about they also care about opportunities to work abroad (at least for a short time) and claim that the most important factors, while choosing an attractive employer are competitive wages and ood opportunities for career progression. Seems relatively simple and understandable, except for the fact that the need to work in a company, which has the same values as you do, now seems even more important than before. “I do not and would not want to work in a company that goes against my values. I myself am a strong supporter of ecological and sustainable lifestyle, so for me it would be natural to choose a company that also cares about that. While working, I want me to be – I don’t want and am not going to change my values and thoughts just to earn money” says Anne, studying global nutrition and health.

It’s clear that Millennials will form a powerful generaton of workers. Will companies have to adjust to that? Probably. Since Baby Boomers might already be thinking and planning their retirement, employers might need to reshape the workplace and adjust it to the needs of Millennials.

Some facts

* Interestingly enough, Millennials do not seem to be that much into buying houses. Only Only 18% of men and women (18-34 years old) claim that owning their own apartment is the most important achievement.

* Millennials seem to be careless about the price tags. Not too surprising, I believe, since second-hand clothing becomes more and more acceptable option.

* Only around 19% of 20-somethings are married. If we compared Millennials to ther parents’ generation, baby boomers, their parents were more likely to be married at the time they hit their 25th.

* The percentage of young adults, having drivers licence has plunged. I wonder whether it could be because of enormously huge prices?..

What is your opinion about Generation Y?

Does Solitude Enhance Productivity?

Do you remember the time you came up with a perfect idea for your project while singing in a shower? Or while brushing your teeth before going to sleep? It might not be a coincidence, even though you thought so. It seems that productivity and creativity flourishes when we are relaxed, alone and focused on a mechanical task – that’s at least what scientists claim.

Genius

http://www.flickr.com/photos/angeloabary/

 

One For All – One For Himself

It is commonly believed that a group is the sum of constituent parts or greater in terms of productivity. A group by its definition consists of two or more individuals who are independent and can contribute with various actions towards reaching a common goal. Yet researchers have recently came to the conclusion that working alone might bring better benefits than working in a group.

According to Steiner’s Law of Productivity, group’s ‘actual productivity’ is its ‘potential productivity’ minus ‘faulty group processes’. Potential productivity refers to the team’s best possible performance if all members perform to their full potential, yet such “perfect” situation is nearly never achieved due to changing environments and moods. ”When an individual could see their partner actually performing the task, the partner’s performance interfered with their own performance, causing them to perform more slowly,”, explained Dr. Tim Welsh working in University of Calgary, Faculty of Kinesiology, who has just performed a new research on productivity. It could be a starting point of believing that we are better of working alone – rather than together.

when

Researcher claims that when an individual only saw others’ work results but not the action itself, the interference effect was no longer observed and performance as well as focus on the specific task improved. The psychology behind is that if we see someone performing a task alone and we are perfoming a similar, yet related task, we automatically imagine ourselves perfoming the task of a co-worker. This behavior is part of our mirror neuron system.

Mechanical Task + Unexpected Moment = Brilliant Idea

All of us could come up with the situation or two from our past when the best solutions to our problems came when we were alone, instead of being surrounded by people. The craziest yet the most productive places would probably be working table, shower and toilet (!) since one can be alone and focused on performing a mechanical task, which does not require thinking or specific thoughtful action. In such cases our brains are “unoccupied” and therefore “open” for new ideas, i.e. creative and innovative solutions to the problems we have.

Creativity is defined as an ability to come up with solutions and/or products which are original, useful and value adding, yet, according to Susan Cain, solitude is said to be out of fashion, since schools, companies and even our culture encourages group work instead of solitude, even though research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom. I have recently found a great article published in New York Times, written by her, Susan Cain, writer and lecturer, famous for her non-fiction book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. There’s a grain of truth in Susan’s words; she claims that psychologists who study creativity know that it requires both solitude and collaboration and exceptional creativity (i.e. exceptional ability to come up with new ideas) involves a lot of hard work (i.e. thinking), and that often happens in solitude. And, to my surprise, the most creative people are introverted – they are not extroverted enough to exchange their ideas with others…

Co-Working Might Slow Us Down

According to the author, Susan Cain, solitude is a catalyst to innovation, and has long been associated with creativity and transccendence. She also quotes Picasso’s words, “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible”. Her thoughts on solitude enhancing productivity can also be supported by findings of Dr. Tim Welsh, who claims that co-working might be demotivating and slowing down.

We live in a society that worships teamwork rather than solitude. We encourage groupwork, group goals rather than personal achievements and personal characteristics. We tend to put people in “boxes” and view them as part of the content, not the content itself. Solitude is usually perceived to be a bad thing, as our whole society is built in order to serve each other in one or another way. With so many options and opportunities available to us for distraction, we generally tend to forget the value and importance of soliture and making room for thought, which is essential to sort our thoughts and find the power to regulate our lives.

But What About Brainstorm?

… I can hear you ask. It can also be argued that the activity we most often call brainstorming – the ability to bounce off ideas in a group, receive feedback and feed off of each others creative genius is something that cannot be achieved in solitude. Both are most likely true, because both serve different purposes. Brainstorm is arguably unmatched when the objective is to produce new ideas or entirely new ways of thinking, however when it comes to getting your sleeves rolled up and hands dirty it is probably not the best to be surrounded in the same environment where creativity lives. Creativeness and productivity seem to not get along too well, so best separate them. From this we can maybe draw the complete productivity formula – iterate between moments of solitude and work in groups for the maximum effect.

Alone But Not Lonely

Solitude itself is a state of seclusion, i.e lack of contact with people due to (mainly) purposeful actions. Short-term solitude is often valued as it can sparkle creativity (i.e. personl feels free and therefore has a chance to come up with useful solutions), yet purposeful long-term solitude, where any human contact is intentionally neglected, usually brings negative experiences to an individual. As mentioned earlier, persons creativity can be sparked when given freedom and solitude. Solitude should not be confused to loneliness and/or social isolation, which are unpleasant emotional responses due to isolation and lack of human contact. Loneliness and social isolation are usually involuntary and related to unpleasant feelings while being alone, whereas solitude is based on particular individual needs and wishes and are associated with intentional and positive experiences (i.e. I want to be alone, therefore I will not contact and/or talk to anyone today).

One could observe and conclude that a number of highly creative people, such as Nikola Tesla, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Albert Einstein or Franz Kafka highly valued solitude, since solitude was the only state of mind where they could use 100% of their potential as no one would observe or distract them while in process of creation.

The science of creativity shows that creative people, who do not need distraction would always prefer solitude to those, who feel good being part of the group. People differ. And so do our preferences. So question for you – do you have a method of finding solutions to your problems, and do you generally find the solutions while in solitude or in a group?

10 Things Men Wish Women Would Know

It is no longer a surprise that men think differently than women. Most of these differences are known but others remain a mystery. Let us hear some opinions from men of what they wish their partners would know.

1. Respect Me, Please

A man would rather feel unloved than non-respected. Men need to know that their lovers respect them both in public and private. They get strength and feel much more secure when they know that their partners admire them and trust them.

2. Think Of What You Say

The lack of security and respect in a men’s life will result in various types of rage. Therefore think twice about some words flung by because it just might just be enough.

3. Boost My Self-Esteem

Men are insecure, especially when in love. Men statistically fear more failure in life than women do. Therefore will need that extra bit of self esteem from their partners in order to conquer the world.

4. Help Me, When Needed

Most men feel pressured by the archetypal standard  of being the men of the house, they are programmed to sustain their families and deliver them only the best. When this is not possible  stress and anxiety settle in. This is when a woman is needed the most to appreciate them and strengthen them up. Gender roles might have become equal but the way each instinct is acting has not.

5. Make Me Feel Wanted

Men have a higher sex drive. And this is biologically known, but not always necessarily because of those matters. They generally want more sex in a relationship because they want to feel they belong to someone, to feel loved and wanted.

6.    Care About Me

When sex is more than just the simple act, it usually is to fulfill some kind of insecurity , or the way he genuinely shows he cares. Any healthy relationship has at the core of it good chemistry in bed .

7.   Dress Up & Make Me Crazy

Men, as women, have their temptations. In men visual temptations are a bit more powerful though. They respond to  visual desires at a primitive level, such as the brain triggers hunger. These could sometimes become  uncontrollable and take a while to be processed by the unconscious, to let them know if it is a good or bad thing and how to react to it.

8.   Gimme Some Romance

Men like and want romance in their love life. Although they don’t have the trust in themselves that they have the capacity to be true romantics. Of course they try and practice , but it is always a bit too hard to focus and nail each movement and signal sent, especially in front of something they love or in a situation where they feel nervous and don’t exactly know what they are doing. Simply they don’t want to look like a fool in front of you.

9.  Put That Lipstick On

Men, contrary to what they say, do care how their girlfriends look. That doesn’t mean you have to look like an actress or a supermodel, they just want you to remain the same girl they used to date and in response they’ll do the extra mile to look how you want if not imposed on them. If he tells you that a certain dress or this particular lipstick looks fabulous on you do put it on from time to time (even if you’re not too fond of it) just to make him feel special. He will appreciate it.

10. Let Me Love You

Men wish to always make their girlfriends feel loved and appreciated. They don’t think they always have the capacity to do that , but in their own way they do little gestures to show they care. They’ll always do something that had a great response from your behalf therefore give them the hints, they’ll be grateful for it as they can’t read minds.