ARE YOU LUCKY: Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. The harder you look, the less you see. The more anxious you are, the less likely you notice the unexpected. The more tense you are, the less likely you will be able to take advantage of unexpected ‘luck’ – therefore the more unlucky you are.
Lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.
Ignorance Isn’t Bliss (Lucinda Schreiber, NPR)
IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS: Many of us have information aversion or the ostrich effect. In other words, we would rather not know if we have a serious or terminal illness if we have been scared by the consequences. The worse the consequences, the more likely people are to avoid testing. Scaring people more about the implications may scare them away from getting tested.
STRESSED OUT: Women are more stressed out than men in every category – too many responsibilities, finances, work, health, neighbors – except for friends.
18-29 year olds are most stressed out by “too many responsibilities.” 30-39 year-olds most stressed about finances. 65+ year-olds are least stressed out by their looks.
70% of people respond to extreme stress by sleeping less than usual.
83% of 18-29 year olds say stress has a positive effect in their lives – the highest in all age groups.
Sources of Stress by Age Group (NPR)
PARENTING AROUND THE WORLD: Dutch parents believe strongly in not pushing their children too hard. “People would talk about a cousin who got a PhD and was very unhappy because there were no jobs at universities, and said that you shouldn’t teach your child to read before they got to school, because then your child would be bored at school and not have any friends.”
MEN PREFER PAIN OVER MIND WANDERING: Most men would rather shock themselves than be alone with their thoughts. And while only 6 of the 24 women shocked themselves, 12 of the 18 men did so.
Men tend to be more “sensation seeking” than women. In other words, most men are more interested in seeking variety and stimulation than women are, even if that means getting 190 electric shocks in 15 minutes.
Being able to disengage mentally is an important attribute. It allows us to think about information that is not in the environment, which allows us to act in ways that aren’t directly influenced by our environmental stimuli. The ability to let the mind wander has been linked to greater working memory and increased creativity.
Low Energy, Low Ethics (HBR)
LESS ETHICAL AT NIGHT: When that energy is low, people are more likely to behave unethically. For example, people who didn’t sleep well the previous night can often act unethically, even if they aren’t unethical people. Larks will be more unethical at night than in the morning, and that owls will be more unethical in the morning than at night.
3 SIGNS OF PSEUDOMATURITY: These young teenagers sought out friends who were physically attractive; their romances were more numerous, emotionally intense and sexually exploring than those of their peers; and they dabbled in minor delinquency — skipping school, sneaking into movies, vandalism. The fast-track kids didn’t turn out O.K.
At 13, they were viewed by classmates with envy, admiration and not a little awe. The girls wore makeup, had boyfriends and went to parties held by older students. The boys boasted about sneaking beers on a Saturday night and swiping condoms from the local convenience store. They were cool. They were good-looking. They were so not you. Whatever happened to them?
Now in their early 20s, many of them have had difficulties with intimate relationships, alcohol and marijuana, and even criminal activity.
They are doing more extreme things to try to act cool, bragging about drinking three six-packs on a Saturday night, and their peers are thinking, ‘These kids are not socially competent.’
Cool Kid (Gianluca Fabrizio/Getty Images)
ANXIETY: Adolescents, on average, experience more anxiety and fear and have a harder time learning how not to be afraid than either children or adults. It turns out that the brain circuit for processing fear — the amygdala — is precocious and develops way ahead of the prefrontal cortex, the seat of reasoning and executive control. This means that adolescents have a brain that is wired with an enhanced capacity for fear and anxiety, but is relatively underdeveloped when it comes to calm reasoning.
BINGE DRINKER? Living on an island appears to exacerbate one’s tendency to drink. The Cook Islands, Samoa, Ireland and Sri Lanka are all near the top.
Portuguese women drink 8.8 gallons of alcohol per year – American woman 2.2 Mali men drink 16.4 gallons a year – American men 5.5.
If you’re Zambian, you’re probably drunk at least once per week — and in very good company.
The World Health Organization found in 2011 that the people of Moldova are the hardest drinkers in the world. They drink three times the global average, putting back 18 liters of pure alcohol per year
Pakistan, despite the fact that it’s a Muslim country, has a pretty sizable drinking problem. The penalty if you’re caught is 80 lashes, but the punishment is rarely enforced, and alcohol addiction clinics are flourishing.
Oktoberfest in Munich, September 18, 2010. (Reuters)