Scientists seek to quantify everything—even the ineffable. And so the human search for meaning recently took a physical turn as Columbia and Yale University researchers isolated the place in our brains that processes spiritual experiences.
In a new study, published in Cerebral Cortex (paywall) on May 29, neuroscientists explain how they generated “personally relevant” spiritual experiences in a diverse group of subjects and scanned their brains while these experiences were happening. The results indicate that there is a “neurobiological home” for spirituality. When we feel a sense of connection with something greater than the self—whether transcendence involves communion with God, nature, or humanity—a certain part of the brain appears to activate.
The study suggests that there is universal, cognitive basis for spirituality, as opposed to a cultural grounding for such states. This new discovery, researchers say, could help improve mental health treatment down the line.
by Daniel Goleman, author of the international best-seller, Emotional Intelligence
In hindsight, the questions only become more nagging. Why didn’t Kodak jump into digital photography? Couldn’t BlackBerry, with such a hold on the corporate market, have adjusted better to the iPhone? And then there is Sears, probably the granddaddy of the never-saw-it-coming firms.
We call the missing skill set here adaptability. Companies (and the executives who run them) continually need to balance exploring new possibilities with exploiting what works. Adaptability takes many forms, from simple flexibility in handling change and juggling multiple demands to coming up with innovative approaches and openness to fresh ideas. You stay focused on your goals, but adjust how you get there.
By Carol Tuttle
Overwhelmed, scattered, totally worn out. Does that ever sound like you? Even though you’re committed to work-life balance, sometimes equilibrium isn’t as easy to find as you’d like.
Most advice suggests that you set boundaries, manage time better, and practice self-care. Yes, those are important. But if you’re juggling a hundred balls, you need an overall strategy to calm things down — not just tactics that give you more to do.
Consider the possibility that you can have work-life balance with a simpler (and even counterintuitive) approach.
Where your balance (and imbalance) actually comes from
It’s easy to look at your emails, phone calls, meetings and to-do’s and believe that they are the problem. Everything coming at you is just too much!
by Suzie Doscher, Executive and Life Coach, Zurich, Switzerland
In the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of a “control freak” is “a person who feels an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others and to take command of any situation.” The Merriam Webster dictionary says that a control freak is “a person whose behavior indicates a powerful need to control people or circumstances in everyday matters.” One way or another, control freaks are not always easy to be around.
I understand this personality trait could stem from a chaotic childhood. Such experiences can make it hard for people to trust others or relinquish control to others. The fear of falling apart pushes them to control what they can. As their emotions are all over the place, they feel loss of control. For this reason, control freaks will micromanage whatever they can with the belief that this makes them strong. People who feel out of control tend to become controllers.
By Marcel Schwantes
Does a high IQ contribute to success? Certainly. But not without hard work, experimentation, failing forward, and an undying devotion to self-improvement.
Take Elon Musk, one of the smartest people on the planet. The driving force behind Tesla, SpaceX, and OpenAI is never satisfied with where he is, and he knows that there's always room for improvement -- whatever the challenge he's tackling at the moment. But he takes the cake with this quote from a 2014 interview:
You should take the approach that you're wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.
To Musk, being wrong (and failing) is always an option because if you're not, he says, you're not innovating enough.
This is what we call a growth mindset -- the ability to fail, learn something new, and then approach the problem from a different angle until you find a solution that works.
By Marcel Schwantes
Ever wonder if you're true leadership material? Perhaps you've been told you are, but the question is, by what standard? Thousands of leadership books are written each year, many of them with marketing agendas to rehash and repackage what has been talked about for decades.
What is true about leadership that will remain unchanged through the centuries is this: It's about people and relationships. And that requires that leaders have a natural bent for both. If you're not into either, you're not a leader.
And you can start with the proven fact that great leaders aspire to lead by serving the needs of their people. You don't need flavor-of-the-month books and expensive formal training to learn this concept.
But you do need to develop and measure yourself against the standards of great leadership (which I strongly propose to be servant leadership). Here are four top leadership characteristics I have witnessed that float to the top. Do any describe you?
by Thomas Oppong
You are most productive in the morning, according to research.
Your best work happens within a short time span of the day. And you should be making the most of it.
Instead of letting others dictate your priorities, give yourself at least an hour to focus without external distractions.
by Maktuno Suit - Leadership Consultant & Psychotherapist
Christine dreads going into work everyday to face her manager, Paula. She feels as though Paula is ready to criticise her for any mistake that she makes and hence tries to avoid her due to the anxiety that she feels in her presence. Christine spends excessive amounts of time trying to make her work ‘perfect’ before presenting it to Paula - fearful of the critique she will receive. Christine feels like she is constantly undermined and that Paula is threatened when she performs well. Christine describes her as a ‘bad boss’ who makes her feel unsafe and she is looking for a new job.
Recently, the notion of creating psychologically safe cultures and teams in the workplace has become central to our understanding of an effective organisational environment.
By Ellie Kaplan
Most people fail to achieve their goals and the success they want — here’s why.The classic “marshmallow test” proved the universal importance of delaying one’s gratification. The ability to resist immediate rewards in anticipation for much bigger things is a test of character that only successful people benefit from.
However, while you strive to reach your long-term goals, energy-draining struggles and challenges will come your way and affect your mindset. If you are not in your best shape mentally and physically, your performance will become compromised.
The good news is that Harvard Business Review found a solution to this dilemma through a series of extensive studies.
Read on to get some tips on how to properly motivate yourself over the long-term and crush your goals, without having to give up on what’s truly important in life.
By Peter Barron Stark
On a scale from 1-10, how would you rate your productivity as a leader? Many of us, if not all, wouldn’t rate ourselves as high on the productivity scale as we would like to be. Sometimes leaders feel like they are constantly busy but are somehow still unable to accomplish their goals. Have you ever started your workday with a list of things to do and at the end of the workday STILL had the same number of things to do?
If you are nodding your head in agreement as you read this, take a look at our recent blog post  which will walk you through conducting a time audit . Once you have completed at least one time audit, you will be able to take a more objective look at how you spend your time. Chances are good that you will have several tasks on your list that can be delegated to your employees, freeing up more of your time to work on higher level assignments that will help you and your team achieve the organization’s goals.
It’s important to remember that as we rise further up the ladder in organizations, our responsibilities change from less emphasis on the operational or the “doing” tasks and more emphasis on the leadership tasks (managing, planning, leading).