Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Happiness is overrated

Rather than striving for hedonic well-being (happiness), you may be better off working on eudaimonia  — the sense that you’re living a life of purpose. The lion’s share of well being goes to those who focus on building meaning into their lives. A sense of life purpose has been tied to better sleep and a lower risk of dementia, stroke, and heart disease. Even better, you can build a sense of purpose at any time in life. Have conversations about what’s meaningful to you, and perhaps find activities in support of that purpose. Who knows? You might end up happy anyway. (NY Times)


How to disagree at work

Most of us prefer to avoid conflict, and for good reason. When we express dissent, we run the risk of being ostracized. But disagreement is too valuable a tool to go unused. As companies that encourage constructive conflict have more satisfied workers and develop more creative ideas. So, how do you get past that fear of conflict? Here are some suggestions:

  • Aim for respectability, not likeability. Not everyone is going to like you or what you think, and that’s fine. As long as you’re respectful, you’re on solid ground.
  • People are tougher than you think. You might think you’re being rude or hurtful by disagreeing with a colleague. You aren’t. If you don’t make the situation personal, chances are they won’t either.
  • When in doubt, pretend. If expressing dissent is not in your character, play a different character altogether. Acting the part is sometimes the first step toward living it.

(Harvard Business Review)


Apple faces activist pressure over children’s iPhone use

Two Apple investors are pressuring the iPhone maker to address concerns over smartphone addiction and the mental health effects of phone use among children, in a rare example of activist investors zeroing in on a public health issue rather than financial matters. They say there could be “unintentional negative side-effects” of smartphone use by children and teenagers, and call on Apple to research the issue and provide phone settings limiting children’s screen time and content. In the letter, the investors argue that mental health concerns could eventually lead to a regulatory backlash that would hurt Apple’s financial performance in the long run. Citing research about rising levels of distraction among students, and higher rates of depression linked to smartphone use, the letter requested that Apple invest in further research on the issue and add greater parental controls. (Financial Times)


Will smart speakers wean us off phones? 

People who use smart speakers such as Amazon Echo or Google Home are using their phones less, according to a new study. Speakers are poised to be big business in 2018: A report from Canalys named them the fastest growing consumer technology, outpacing VR, wearables, and other new products. The report also predicts smart speaker shipments will surpass 50 million this year. (Accenture And Harris Interactive)


A man’s testicle “exploded like a volcano” after he got a rare disease on vacation

A 59 year-old-man, caught African salmonella, a strain of the infection which was confined to his genital area, in Tunisia. The grandfather was in agony as his privates swelled to ten times their normal size when he got home. His left testicle then burst as he had a bath and he is now taking legal action against tour operator TUI. He said: “After the holiday, my testicle had swollen to the size of a grapefruit and it was so heavy it was like it was made of glass. The pain was so bad I thought I was going to die. When it finally exploded I felt fantastic. It was such a relief. It literally went bang. When the doctor saw it later she said that it was like a volcano exploding. But it was such a relief because the pain had been so bad.” The man was with wife at the Rui Marco Polo Hotel in Hammamet when he fell ill in 2014. Despite sickness and a high temperature, he claims a TUI rep said he just had sunstroke. Back home he spent ten days in hospital, but the burst came a day after he was discharged. (NY Post)


Iran bans the teaching of English in primary schools

Iran has banned the teaching of English in primary schools, a senior education official has said, after Islamic leaders warned that early learning of the language opened the way to a western “cultural invasion”. “Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations,” Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the state-run high education council, told state television. “The assumption is that in primary education the groundwork for the Iranian culture of the students is laid,” he said. The teaching of English usually starts in middle school in Iran, at the ages of 12 to 14, but some primary schools below that age also have English classes.  During the country’s recent protests, its Supreme Leader accused foreign “enemies” of stirring up trouble. Some Iranian officials pointed fingers at countries like the US and Britain in particular. (The Guardian)


Don’t expect a big raise this year

US unemployment is at a 17-year low and many companies are expecting windfall profits from the new tax bill — factors which might prompt employers to raise wages. But the average wage increase has been 3% for the past five years and  it appears corporations are going to stick with that. Typically, a tight labor market would increase competition for workers and boost wages, but the diminishing strength of unions combined with advances in automation and the rise of contract work have kept pay rates in place. And many companies are looking to avoid the risk of permanent pay raises by offering bonuses to high performers instead. (Bloomberg)



Tubular Tuesday Gives Us:

  • Balloon Ascension Day
  • Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
  • National Apricot Day
  • National Cassoulet Day
  • National Poetry at Work Day (2nd Tuesday)
  • National Shop For Travel Day (2nd Tuesday)
  • National Static Electricity Day
  • Panama’s Martyr Day


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