I think this is when most people give up on their stories. They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies. But they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought. They can’t see the distant shore anymore, and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward. None of the trees behind them are getting smaller and none of the trees ahead are getting bigger. They take it out on their spouses, and they go looking for an easier story.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller
There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.
There are no soul mates. In fact, “soul mate” isn’t a pre-existing condition. It’s an earned title. They’re made over time. In my 20s someone told me that each person has not one but 30 soul mates walking the earth. (“Yes,” said a colleague, when I informed him of this, “and I’m trying to sleep with all of them.”)
WORKING TOO MUCH? No big city in this country works as hard—or at least as many hours per week on average—as San Francisco, where people log more than 44 hours at the office each week. People in Washington D.C. and Charlotte work the second longest work weeks, tied at 43.5 hours, followed by several cities in Texas.
Meanwhile, New York City, the city that supposedly never sleeps, ranks 12th on the list, at 42.5 hours per week. However, people living in the Big Apple spend more than 6 hours each week heading to and from work, nearly an hour more than that endured by dwellers of any other large city.
Cities Where People Work the Most (New York City Comptroller, WAPO)
BECOMING A LEADERS: Millennials are interested in becoming leaders — for different reasons. This ranged from 8% in Japan to 63% in India. Half of respondents from Central/Eastern Europe chose high future earnings as a reason to pursue leadership, while only 17% of Africans did. African Millennials seemed to care most about gaining opportunities to coach and mentor others (46%).
MANAGERS: in North America, Western Europe, and Africa, at least 40% of respondents said they wanted managers who “empower their employees.” Yet only about 12% of Millennials in Central/Eastern Europe and the Middle East chose that quality, instead technical expertise is the top pick.
WORK-LIFE BALANCE: Millennials strive for work-life balance, but this tends to mean work-me balance, not work-family balance. The dominant definition was “enough leisure time for my private life” (57%). Nearly half of respondents in every region said they would give up a well-paid and prestigious job to gain better work-life balance. Central/Eastern Europe was the exception, as 42% said they would not.
EXTRAVAGANT V. ORDINARY HAPPINESS: Extraordinary experiences bring great joy throughout life. No surprise there. But the older people got, the more happiness ordinary experiences delivered. In fact, the happiness-making potential of everyday pursuits eventually grows equal to that of ones that are rarer.
Extraordinary v. ordinary happiness (Robert Neubecker, NYTIMES)
EMAILS ON HOLIDAY MODE: At Daimler, the German automaker, employees can set their corporate email to “holiday mode” when they are on vacation. Anyone who emails them gets an auto-reply saying the employee isn’t in, and offering contact details for an alternate, on-call staff person. Then poof, the incoming email is deleted — so that employees don’t have to return to inboxes engorged with digital missives in their absence.
Volkswagen and Deutsche Telekom have adopted policies that limit work-related email to some employees on evenings and weekends. If this can happen in precision-mad, high-productivity Germany, could it happen in the United States?
White-collar cubicle dwellers spend 28% of their workweek slogging through email. They check their messages 74 times a day, on average. 38% check work email “routinely” at dinner peeking at the phone under the table
LOVE DESTINY OR JOURNEY? Do you see love as a union of two people who are destined to be together? Or is it more of a journey they undertake, facing obstacles and working together to overcome them? According to new research, how you answer these questions may affect how you handle relationship troubles.
Those who believe in ‘destiny’ put less effort into working through relationship conflict. If they are soul mates, then nothing will go wrong in the relationship, and it will be easy. A conflict makes a destiny-believer question whether the current partner is actually their soul mate, and then they give up on working it out.
There are two mind-sets — a fixed mind-set, which occurs when someone believes that personal qualities like intelligence are immutable, and a growth mind-set, which occurs when someone believes that skills and characteristics can be cultivated through effort.
Love lock (NYTIMES)
LIFE PURPOSE & LONGEVITY: People with a sense of purpose had a 15% lower risk of death, compared with those who said they were more or less aimless. And it didn’t seem to matter when people found their direction. It could be in their 20s, 50s or 70s.
It could be as simple as making sure one’s family is happy. It could be bigger, like contributing to social change. It could be more self-focused, like doing well on the job. Or it could be about creativity: produce something that is appreciated in written or artistic form, whether it’s music, dance or visual arts.
A sense of purpose may protect people against stress with all of its harmful effects, including greater risk of heart disease. And that may explain why people with a sense of purpose live longer.
DOES HANDWRITING MATTER? Most states call for teaching legible writing, only in kindergarten and first grade. After that, the emphasis quickly shifts to proficiency on the keyboard. But children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.
When the children composed text by hand, they not only consistently produced more words more quickly than they did on a keyboard, but expressed more ideas.
When these children were asked to come up with ideas for a composition, the ones with better handwriting exhibited greater neural activation in areas associated with working memory — and increased overall activation in the reading and writing networks.
Students learn better when they take notes by hand than when they type on a keyboard.
For adults, typing may be a fast and efficient alternative to longhand, but that very efficiency may diminish our ability to process new information.
What stage in life do you remember most fondly? (Source: United Healthcare)