Oscar #Pistorius Accused Of Using Breakdowns As An Escape

GTY_oscar_pistorius_kab_140407_16x9_992

“When all else fails, tell the truth.” – Mark Twain

(The following excerpt from Oscar Pistorius Accused Of Using Breakdowns As An Escape recently appeared on chicagotribune.comTo view it in its entirety click on the link below.)

PRETORIA—
The prosecutor in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial Monday accused the track star of using emotional breakdowns under cross-examination to evade answering questions about the night he killed his girlfriend.

The Olympic and Paralympic sprinter, who faces life in prison if convicted of murdering Reeva Steenkamp, says he shot the 29-year-old model in a tragic accident, firing at what he thought was an intruder hiding behind a locked toilet door.

The athlete has broken down numerous times during the 22-day trial, including retching into a bucket. He burst into tears again Monday morning when recounting the moment he screamed at what he thought was a burglar, prompting the judge to call a 30-minute adjournment.

State prosecutor Gerrie Nel, whose reputation as one of South Africa’s toughest attorneys has earned him the nickname “The Pitbull,” said the athlete was just putting on an act to avoid having to answer his questions.

Nel questioned why Pistorius would get upset when being asked about whether he did or did not open doors leading from his bedroom to a balcony to shout for help minutes after the shooting.

“I cannot see how that can cause you to be emotional because you cannot remember how to open a door. We’re not talking about Reeva,” Nel said, referring to previous breakdowns, which have usually been when he describes the shooting.
“You’re not using your emotional state as an escape are you?” Nel said, raising his eyebrows and shaking his head.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-pistoriuis-trial-20140414,0,2935291.story

First Impressions: 5 Things Not To Screw Up

business-woman-meeting-970x450_36072

first impression is a powerful thing. In seconds (or less than a second, depending on whom you ask), someone you meet is going to put you in a mental box. Are you trustworthy? Aggressive? Likable?

These qualities and many more are labels people inwardly attach to others when introduced to someone new. But how do you come off in the most favorable light so potential customers, partners, investors, and others want to have a relationship with you?

After years of work helping small businesses manage their relationships with customers, Larry Caretsky, CEO of online CRM software company Commence, has some ideas.

1. Prepare for every meeting.

Even if you’ve been doing your job for 25 years and think you know everything about your industry, you still need to do your homework. This can be as simple as checking someone’s profile on LinkedIn.

“Maybe you are friendly with someone that I’ve known in the past,” says Caretsky. “So now we have kind of a warm connection. You’d be amazed at the value of that kind of interaction. So getting prepared is, ‘Whom am I talking with? What is their background? Do we have anything in common? What are their skills and expertise?’ Maybe you even worked in the same company at some point. You never know.”

2. Display confidence and passion.

The best way to be confident? Know your subject matter cold if you want to inspire confidence, Caretsky says.

As for passion, there’s no hiding a lack of it. “[People] see and read body language very, very quickly,” he says, “and from the minute you walk in the door: what you look like from the standpoint of a dress code to the handshake that you do to what comes out of your mouth five minutes later. So leadership is critical.”

3. Focus on building relationships, not selling something.

Any agenda you may have in meeting with someone should take a back seat to your taking an honest interest in the person.

“You have to be an outstanding listener,” he says.

4. Mind your nonverbal cues.

Smile, for one thing.

“I size people up very quickly when they come in and don’t seem to be very happy and they’re trying to sell me something,” says Caretsky. “They shake my hand as if ‘Well, I guess I have to shake the guy’s hand because that’s the right thing to do,’ but they really could care less. You get that vibe from someone right out of the gate, and that sets the stage for a very productive meeting or one that’s not so productive.”

5. Put some thought into your clothing.

How you dress is a big one, as well, and Caretsky recalls with disdain a meeting his team–which intentionally dressed up for the occasion–had with an outside group.

“These guys came in the summer with golf shirts and T-shirts,” he says. “So my impression was, ‘How dare you come to my company looking like you just got off the golf course? What right do you have to do that?. And it still stays with me. I don’t know how many people I’ve told about it.”

http://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/5-simple-tips-on-making-a-great-first-impression.html

Is Your #Brain Programmed For #Pessimism?

a053b65383fd52906ddc71c1974a9500

(The following excerpt from Are Pessimistic Brains Different? recently appeared on aol.comTo view it in its entirety click on the link below.)

A new study from Michigan State University says that there’s a physical, biological difference in the brains of optimists and pessimists.

The study took 71 female participants and pre-screened them to see whether they were predisposed toward thinking the glass was half full or half empty. Then. they hooked them all up to an fMRI and showed them pictures of potentially dangerous or negative situations — things like a woman being mugged at knifepoint. They were then told not to worry because every picture had positive outcomes, like the woman escaping.

The subjects who showed a more negative attitude in the beginning showed completely different brain activity than those who were more positive. The pessimists showed what the team referred to as a ‘backfiring effect’ — not only could they not picture the positive outcome, but being asked to think positively actually increased their negative thoughts, almost like their brain was digging in its heels, saying ‘nope, you can’t talk me out of this. I know how it ends.’

But are pessimists born that way or is this a case of neuroplasticity (negative life experiences training the brain to think negatively)? A study from the University of British Columbia last year did find connections between pessimistic behavior and a particular gene called ADA2b. People without a particular variant of it are unfailingly more optimistic. So yeah, pessimism could be genetic.

But why are we so pessimistic about pessimism? Sure, optimism puts less stress on us, causing us to take more risks, but a healthy dose of fear and pessimism is probably what kept us alive early on as a species. Too much optimism can lead to recklessness.

But anyway, it’s looking more and more like you were born with the outlook you have.

http://www.aol.com/article/2014/04/11/are-pessimistic-brains-different/20867723/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl22%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D463676

Manifesto For A #Stressed Out, Meaningless #Life

images-2

(The following excerpt from Manifesto For A Stressed Out Meaningless Life by Greg McKeown recently appeared on psychology today.com. To view it in its entirety click on the link below.)

Manifesto for a stressed out, meaningless life:

Let others dictate how you spend your time and energy
If you can’t do it all, you just aren’t trying hard enough
Play and relaxation are for babies and slackers
Try to emphasize every project as an additional priority
Believe less sleep = more productivity
Make “yes” the default answer to everything
The longer your to-do list, the more worth you have as an employee, and a human being
Believe, “If I don’t accept every invitation I receive, no one will like or respect me.”
Rememeber, boundaries are for countries, not human relationships
Live in yesterday and tomorrow and be rarely present in the here and now

Manifesto for an essentialist, meaningful life:

Exercise the invincible power of choice
See many things as trivial but only a few as truly vital
Instead of thinking “I can do both,” ask “What is the trade-off I want to make?”
Remember play is essential to spark creativity and innovation
Defend sleep is a #1 priority
Say yes to only the top 10% of opportunities
Make 1 decision that eliminates 1,000 later decisions
Dare to say no firmly, resolutely, and gracefully
Believe if you have limits you will become limitless
Find joy in the journey

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/essentialism/201404/manifesto-stressed-out-meaningless-life

The Argument For Messiness #Creativity

confusing-illustration-1940x900_30362_20048There’s a general assumption–in homes, in workplaces–that neatness corresponds to productivity.

It begins in elementary school, with the annual rite of buying school supplies. You have the intent of staying organized, subject by subject, throughout the year. In adulthood, the habit continues. Every December, you buy an annual planner or calendar. It’s as if you’re buying a fresh white set of intentions. Moleskine notebooks beckon dreamers at every register.

As it happens, the fine art of getting organized is an official profession, with formal certifications, a code of ethics, and an official industry group (the National Association of Professional Organizers, or NAPO, 4,000 members strong).

And that’s just the beginning. Moleskin, for its part, is a highly profitable luxury brand. The Container Store, beloved by organizers everywhere, had an IPO last year and boasts $532 million in year-to-date sales. Baron Fig, a notebook-maker based in New York City, raised $168,000 on Kickstarter not long ago–roughly 11 times more than it was targeting, according to cofounder Adam Kornfield.

And all that is just a yellow brick in the road of America’s $4.3 billion stationery industry. Clearly, consumers are still paying for the tools of neatness and organization.

Yet it’s possible–and even demonstrable–that you’ll be more creative if your work space is disorganized and messy.

The Argument for Messiness

Last week, at the Yale School of Management’s Art, Mind + Markets conference, Kathleen Vohs, a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota with an extensive psychology background, gave a talk called “Effect of Visual Order on Creativity.” Her main point–which she and her colleagues have demonstrated in experiment after experiment–is that you get a creativity boost when you work in a messy space.

Last year, she described her work in the New York Times. In one experiment, she assigned 48 individuals to messy or neat rooms, and asked them “to imagine that a Ping-Pong ball factory needed to think of new uses for Ping-Pong balls, and to write down as many ideas as they could.” Independent judges rated the answers for creativity. Here’s what happened:

When we analyzed the responses, we found that the subjects in both types of rooms came up with about the same number of ideas, which meant they put about the same effort into the task. Nonetheless, the messy room subjects were more creative, as we expected. Not only were their ideas 28 percent more creative on average, but when we analyzed the ideas that judges scored as “highly creative,” we found a remarkable boost from being in the messy room–these subjects came up with almost five times the number of highly creative responses as did their tidy-room counterparts.

(These results have been confirmed by independent researchers at Northwestern University, who found that subjects in a messy room drew more creative pictures and were quicker to solve a challenging brainteaser puzzle than subjects in a tidy room.)

Comparable results–wherein individuals in messy room were more creative than those in neat rooms–have occurred again and again in Vohs’ research.

What This Means for Businesses

Does this mean that neatness has no use in the contemporary workplace, which venerates innovation and disruptive thinking above all else?

Of course not. The key takeaway here is that messy spaces have their place in work settings, while neat ones have theirs. At the Yale conference, I asked Vohs to speculate about how her research might apply to business settings. She agreed that a setting with visual disorder might facilitate brainstorming, while an orderly setting might be better for a fast meeting where an immediate decision is required.

Mind you, Vohs’ research has to do with individuals, rather than teams. Is it not possible that a group dynamic would produce different outcomes? Vohs’ doesn’t think so, but admits that this is only her informed speculation. “I would say that what happens in people should happen in groups, but that’s just a prediction,” she noted in a follow-up email after the conference.

I asked NAPO for its thoughts on a Vohs’ research–which quite thoroughly demonstrates that a messy office space spurs more creativity than a neat one. They pointed out that organizing isn’t necessarily about neatness as a one-size-fits-all solution; that it’s more about pleasing clients, and helping them structure their work spaces to achieve their desired outcomes. If creativity is the desired outcome, then an organizer will not be averse to devising a “messy” office space that provides some visual stimulation.

By contrast, if efficiency is the goal, then traditional neatness might be more appropriate. “For example, if the client’s goal is to improve on-time delivery of recurring financial reports, and the client sees this as a structured task with an established process–then maybe a very cluttered workspace with random piles of reports makes it more difficult to find the information needed without digging,” observes NAPO board member Kate Brown, owner of Impact Organizing in Sarasota, Fla.

She adds, “Vohs’ study abstract concludes that, ‘…different environments suit different outcomes.’ I think most NAPO members would agree with that statement.”

There’s a general assumption–in homes, in workplaces–that neatness corresponds to productivity.

It begins in elementary school, with the annual rite of buying school supplies. You have the intent of staying organized, subject by subject, throughout the year. In adulthood, the habit continues. Every December, you buy an annual planner or calendar. It’s as if you’re buying a fresh white set of intentions. Moleskine notebooks beckon dreamers at every register.

As it happens, the fine art of getting organized is an official profession, with formal certifications, a code of ethics, and an official industry group (the National Association of Professional Organizers, or NAPO, 4,000 members strong).

And that’s just the beginning. Moleskin, for its part, is a highly profitable luxury brand. The Container Store, beloved by organizers everywhere, had an IPO last year and boasts $532 million in year-to-date sales. Baron Fig, a notebook-maker based in New York City, raised $168,000 on Kickstarter not long ago–roughly 11 times more than it was targeting, according to cofounder Adam Kornfield.

And all that is just a yellow brick in the road of America’s $4.3 billion stationery industry. Clearly, consumers are still paying for the tools of neatness and organization.

Yet it’s possible–and even demonstrable–that you’ll be more creative if your work space is disorganized and messy.

http://www.inc.com/ilan-mochari/creativity-messy-offices.html