Monthly Archives: May 2014

Study: You Really Can ‘Work Smarter, Not Harder’

Study: You Really Can ‘Work Smarter, Not Harder’

From the Atlantic

This Year’s Love/Flickr
Two weeks ago, my oldest son taught my youngest son how to perform a corner kick during half time of my middle son’s soccer game. He demonstrated the correct way to swing the leg, angle the foot, and launch the ball toward the goal. When the referee blew his whistle, resuming the game, we moved to a spot of grass nearby. There, my little boy began to explain how to do the corner kick, recounting every detail absorbed during his older brother’s half-time tutorial. I nudged him to practice what he had learned, rather than talking about it—after all, he was at a soccer field, with a mother willing to fetch errant balls. But he preferred to articulate each key point he had just learned and teach me how to do it. I thought we were wasting time, but new research says his approach beats mine.

Learning is more effective if a lesson or experience is deliberately coupled with time spent thinking about what was just presented, a new study shows. In “Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance,” a team of researchers from HEC Paris, Harvard Business School, and the University of North Carolina describe what they call the first empirical test of the effect of reflection on learning. By “reflection,” they mean taking time after a lesson to synthesize, abstract, or articulate the important points.

In the lab portion of the study, participants completed a math brain teaser under time pressure and wrote about what strategy they used or might use in the future to solve the problem. This group did 18 percent better in a second-round test than their control-group counterparts, who were not given time to reflect. In the field study, groups of newly-hired customer-service agents undergoing job training were compared. Some were given 15 minutes at the end of each training day to reflect on the main things they had learned and write about at least two lessons. Those given time to think and reflect scored 23 percent better on their end-of-training assessment than those who were not. And these improvements weren’t temporary—they lasted over time, researchers found.

The study also tested the adage that the best way to learn something is to teach it. The research team expected that the process of sharing or teaching newly acquired skills or subject matter would deepen understanding and produce better task performance. But the experiments revealed no significant difference between reflecting upon new knowledge alone and teaching or sharing it with someone else—both boosted performance.

For younger students, teaching someone else is a good way to practice synthesizing content after a lesson. For older students, other methods suffice: writing themes in journals, summarizing main ideas on note cards, or dictating takeaways into a phone. The authors emphasize that reflection is what matters for learning, whether it’s about management skills, school subjects, or sports trivia. It truly is possible, they conclude, to learn “smarter, not harder”—teachers, trainers, and tutors just have to add a little reflection to their lessons.

Frey Freyday – Alive and Living

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff..)

I feel alive today because today is a blessing. In this moment, I can find misery or meaning, boredom or motivation. I can expand the hatred in the world, or I can amplify love. In all the chaos, I can find stillness and joy within. All is well, and nothing has to happen to “give” me more happiness in life. I simply choose to be happy now, to be grateful now, to be a source of love and light for others. I am whole. I am ready. This is my day. – Brendon Burchard

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. –Marcus Aurelius

I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive. –Joseph Campbell

Passion rebuilds the world for the youth. It makes all things alive and significant. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t. –Richard Bach

Look, I don’t want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you’re alive you’ve got to flap your arms and legs, you’ve got to jump around a lot, for life is the very opposite of death, and therefore you must at very least think noisy and colorfully, or you’re not alive. –Mel Brooks

I enjoy life when things are happening. I don’t care if it’s good things or bad things. That means you’re alive. –Joan Rivers

You have to motivate yourself with challenges. That’s how you know you’re still alive. –Jerry Seinfeld

Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life. –Eleanor Roosevelt

– It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we’re alive – to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are. –Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact. –William James

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. –Winston Churchill

Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living? –Bob Marley

How To Become Productively Generous

How To Become Productively Generous

–by Adam Grant, syndicated from, Apr 24, 2014

In Western culture, many people define success narrowly as money and power. In her uplifting book Thrive, Arianna Huffington argues that this leaves us sitting on a two-legged stool, which will tip over if we don’t add a third leg. She makes a passionate case, supported by science, for expanding our definition of what it means to succeed. One of her new metrics is giving: a truly rewarding life involves contributing to and caring for others.

I love this message. It’s a powerful call for us to become more generous and compassionate. Unfortunately, when people answer this call, they sacrifice their own success. Burning the midnight oil for other people, they fall behind on their personal responsibilities, and burn out. Reaching down to help people climb up the ladder, they get stepped on—and sometimes squashed.

After studying these dynamics for the past decade, it turns out that there’s hope. In Give and Take, I discovered that although many people give at their own expense, there’s a group of people who are productively generous. How do they do give without compromising their well-being and falling short on traditional measures of success? They reject three common beliefs about giving. As leaders, it’s part of our job to debunk these misconceptions.

1. Giving is not about being nice. Most people confuse being generous with being nice, but research shows that they’re separate qualities. Being a nice person is about courtesy: you’re friendly, polite, agreeable, and accommodating. When people think they always have to be nice in order to give, they fail to set boundaries, rarely say no, and become doormats, letting others walk all over them.

Productive givers focus on acting in the long-term best interests of others, even if it’s not pleasant. They have the courage to give the critical feedback we prefer not to hear, but truly need to hear. They offer tough love, knowing that we might like them less, but we’ll come to trust and respect them more.

2. It’s not about altruism. In the eyes of many people, giving doesn’t count unless it’s completely selfless. In reality, though, giving isn’t sustainable when it’s completely selfless. For example, studies reveal that people who give altruistically—with no concern for their own interests—are prone to burnout and depression. Ironically, they’re also less likely to stick with helping and volunteering over time, because they’re too exhausted to keep giving.

Successful givers secure their oxygen masks before coming to the assistance of others. Although their motives may be less purely altruistic, their actions prove more altruistic, because they give more. As the psychologist Mark Snyder writes, “Ironically… it may be those volunteers who themselves are motivated by the most selfish of motivations who, in the long run, end up offering the greatest benefits to other people.” This doesn’t mean that they expect anything back from the people they help. It simply means that when they give, they keep their own interests in the rearview mirror. The productively generous choose to help in ways that are energizing rather than exhausting.

3. It’s not about refusing help from others. The clearest distinction between failed and successful givers is the willingness to seek and accept help. When people focus on giving, they often become fearful of asking. They don’t want to burden or inconvenience others—they want to be givers, not takers. Sadly, this leaves them suffering, because they lack the support of others.

The productively generous recognize the difference between taking and receiving. Taking is using others solely for personal gain. Receiving is accepting help when you need it, and maintaining a willingness to pay it back or forward.

“Giving and receiving arise from the same free and generous source,” reflects Arianna’s sister, Agapi Stassinopoulos, in her moving book, Unbinding the Heart. “We do have the right to ask, but we must give the person we are asking the option to respond the way he or she wants to respond—we must keep that door open.” If we never receive, we limit our abilities to give.

On the Road to Thriving

Instead of endorsing myths about giving, leaders can teach employees what the productively generous know:

1. Nice guys may finish last, but good guys finish first.

2. Whereas the selfless give until it hurts them, and the selfish give only when it helps them, the sustainably generous give when it helps others but doesn’t hurt them.

3. Receiving is necessary for giving—and if you never ask, you deprive the people in your life of the joy of giving.

Along with giving, Thrive is about three other pillars of a successful life: well-being, wisdom, and wonder. All of these pillars can be side effects of productive giving. Helping effectively can boost our well-being by strengthening relationships and injecting meaning into our lives, revitalizing us rather than draining us. It can make us wiser, allowing us to advance the common good without becoming martyrs. And it can free up time to be amazed by the wonders around us. “If our life’s journey is to evolve as human beings,” Arianna writes, “there’s no faster way to do it than through giving.”

Adam Grant is a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and author of the new book Give and Take. His research focuses on work motivation, job design, prosocial helping and giving behaviors, proactivity, and leadership.


Thank you.

What Memorial Day means….

Hello all. I appreciate some of the comments, regardless what you think about my stuff. Feedback is good.

Memorial Day…we rememember those who fought for us and took care of us.

Those on the battle field, on the seas, in the air, giving their lives, enduring all sorts of things we’ll never know.

Those in the kitchen and behind the desks or on the shovels and hammers, giving their hearts.

This weekend I’ve been so lucky to with a few good friends …just to be there as myself. Friends mean so much and I’m very grateful for our friends. Encounters with my friends this weekend have reminded me what it is to let go, have faith, enjoy life. Some of them inspired me to do things on my own and do my own thing. They all reminded me how nice it is to be giving and hospitable.

I am so lucky and grateful for all of my close friends and the new ones.

With their hospitality this weekend I was able to relax, have fun, have a few drinks and enjoy things, thanks

Thanks to those new ‘friends’ reading this, maybe we can be friends someday.

Let’s remember all those loved ones in our lives that made it possible. Thanks

Frey Freyday- Honor and Service

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff..)

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.-Winston Churchill

You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.-Aristotle

I love the name of honor, more than I fear death.-Julius Caesar

I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating.-Sophocles

Life every man holds dear; but the dear man holds honor far more precious dear than life.-William Shakespeare

I take things like honor and loyalty seriously. It’s more important to me than any materialistic thing or any fame I could have.-Lloyd Banks

Honor your commitments with integrity.-Les Brown

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.-Mahatma Gandhi

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.-Muhammad Ali

Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love?-Fulton J. Sheen

Whoever renders service to many puts himself in line for greatness – great wealth, great return, great satisfaction, great reputation, and great joy.-Jim Rohn

The road to perdition has ever been accompanied by lip service to an ideal.-Albert Einstein

The life of a man consists not in seeing visions and in dreaming dreams, but in active charity and in willing service.-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.-Audre Lorde

If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?-Abigail Adams

It is not fitting, when one is in God’s service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look.-Francis of Assisi

Try wanting something more for others than you want it for yourself. The love required to do this turns our focus away from the constant turmoil of the ego and instead opens real possibilities for living the highest and most joyful purpose. – Wayne Dyer

Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your Creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth. –Bradley Whitford


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In Honor and In Memory of all those men and women who have served, thank you.


A great daily habit reminder…


Facts of the Matter: Happiness

Here’s a great short article with things we already know and some new ideas on happiness

MONEY MIGHT buy happiness: New research found that the richer people are, the happier they are; there were zero unhappy millionaires in the study. Happiness correlates with living with others, renting, and better health, but not with the weather. Urban green space boosts happiness, as does listening to an upbeat song (but only if you know that you’re trying to lift your mood). Slackers are happier at work than their higher-performing colleagues. People are more likely to overeat when they are happy. Happy people sleep better, but only those who are consistently happy. Parents are happier watching TV or doing housework than being with their children. In a study from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, people rated sex and partying as the activities that made them happiest. (Facebook came in second-to-last, ahead of being sick.)

ʼTIS BETTER to give than to receive: People report being happier when they spend money on others than on themselves, and acts of kindness boost moods (but not if you perform the same act too frequently). No matter how much you have, regularly recording what you’re grateful for in a gratitude journal is linked with increased life satisfaction, higher energy, and improved health. Variety may be the spice of life, but people are happier if they have their favorite doughnut every time they go to the bakery, as long as the visits are spaced out.

GENETICS ACCOUNT for 50 percent of happiness, life circumstances for 10 percent, and daily thoughts and actions for 40 percent. In comparisons of brain activity in the right and left prefrontal areas, happy people have a higher ratio of activity in their left prefrontal cortex, while those prone to anxiety and depression have more activity in their right. Neuroscience suggests that we all have a happiness “set point,” or typical mood range. Data show that big life events, such as winning the lottery or being in a major car accident, do not influence this point. But it can be changed by meditating about kindness and compassion for half an hour a day; scientists hypothesize that this strengthens neurons in the left prefrontal cortex.

THE TINY Himalayan nation of Bhutan measures its residents’ happiness based on 124 variables to arrive at the Gross National Happiness Index. In a 2010 survey, 40.9 percent of the country’s people attained “deeply happy” or “extensively happy” status. A British researcher ranked Bhutan, which is one of the poorest countries globally, the eighth happiest in the world. The United States ranked 23rd. France, Great Britain, and Canada also have measures of happiness in their official statistics. In 2011, the United Nations adopted a resolution, introduced by Bhutan, to take steps to make happiness and well-being more important when measuring economic and social development. – Diana Schoberg


Frey Freyday-Distractions

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff..)

You can always find a distraction if you’re looking for one.-Tom Kite

Sometimes, I think if you get away from what you’re called to do, it’s more of a distraction.-Joel Osteen

Skip the religion and politics, head straight to the compassion. Everything else is a distraction.- Talib Kweli

Multi-tasking arises out of distraction itself.-Marilyn vos Savant

When there are thoughts, it is distraction: when there are no thoughts, it is meditation.-Ramanal Maharshi

I set a goal for myself everyday when I write – 10 pages a day – and it’s much harder because I’m too dumb to turn off my Twitter and everything so it’s always on and it’s a real distraction. It’s a major distraction.-R. L. Stine

By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.-Christopher Columbus

Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.-Adam Hochschild

If you dream of something worth doing and then simply go to work on it and don’t think anything of personalities, or emotional conflicts, or of money, or of family distractions; it is amazing how quickly you get through those 5,000 steps.-Edwin Land

One way to boost our will power and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us.-Daniel Goleman

Happiness can only be found if you can free yourself of all other distractions.-Saul Bellow

Set your agenda each day or the world will do it for you. Don’t decide on your next move based on the demands of your inbox but on the direction of your dreams. –Brendon Burchard

It took me forever to assemble this week’s quotes, I kept getting distracted.-Jim Frey



Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long by David Rock

Get off the bench….

Here is a simple but great one from Tony…..TOny1



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