If you are not growing-You are dying !!!

growth is addictive

by  Darpan Sachdeva

via Team Tony at www.tonyrobbins.com

Tony Robbins says that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. No wonder that he’s addicted to growth, obsessively focused on learning, understanding, and mastering new things, from finance strategies to playing polo. But growth doesn’t require massive changes 24/7 — for many of us it’s woven into our daily routine.

Think about it. How do you integrate growth in your life? Good methods of growing can be anything from feeding your mind with books, classes or lectures. Or perhaps even just listening to others and to the world around you. Growth can be taking a chance, a risk, or putting yourself in a situation that may be out of your wheelhouse. It also may be pushing yourself, and trying to find new ways to be a better version of yourself every single day. If you’re a business owner, then maybe it’s finding new strategies or tactics to growing your business or your investments. Or maybe it’s learning a new language or skill. It could also be something simple like trying a new kind of food, seeing a different movie than you usually do, or pushing yourself to not settle for the known but to reach, instead, for the unknown.

Growth can come in many forms. But growth creates the most impact when it leads to mastery. Remember, mastery has three levels: intellectual, emotional and physical, as Tony lays out here:

 

Repetition is the mother of skill, which is why for so many of us growth is truly addictive. Think of it this way — the more you grow, the more you’re able to master. The more you master, the more you grow. How’s that for a positive feedback cycle? And the more you bring growth into your body, the less you have to think about it.




 

How do you incorporate growth into your life? Have you made a habit of investing in yourself to grow as a person? Whether learning a new language, trying a new activity, or even attempting a new challenge, making growth a priority – and a habit – will make your life one of dynamic improvement.




 

Blog PhotoDarpan Sachdeva is the CEO and Founder of Nobel thoughts.com. With a long time passion for Entrepreneurship, Self development & Success, Darpan started his website with the intention of educating and inspiring like-minded people all over the world to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances.To keep going and never get disheartened and learn from every adversity.

How to improve your life in 2017

by  Darpan Sachdeva

Its middle of January and its time for everyone to start the implementation of all the steps and plans what we have set up for us for the fulfillment of our goals for the year 2017.The video below is so motivating and i find of huge value.Its a 30 minute watch approximately and should help you energize move forward with your goal achievement.

 

Some of the essence from the video gathered is :

1.Start changing yourself if you want to change the life around youMahatma Gandhi

2.Most People fail in life because they major in minor things-Tony Robbins

3.The more time you spend in your discomfort zone,the more your comfort zone will expand-Robin Sharma

4.If you do what you’ve always done,you’ll get what you’ve always gotten-Tony Robbins

5.Progress is impossible without change,and those who cannot  change their minds cannot change any thing-George Bernard Shaw

6.If you want to live a happy life,tie it to a goal,not to people or objects-Albert Einstein

7.The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.Think different-Albert Einstein



 

Blog PhotoDarpan Sachdeva is the CEO and Founder of Nobel thoughts.com. With a long time passion for Entrepreneurship, Self development & Success, Darpan started his website with the intention of educating and inspiring like-minded people all over the world to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances.To keep going and never get disheartened and learn from every adversity.

 

 

The Science of Scarcity-A behavioral economist’s fresh perspectives on poverty

By Darpan Sachdeva
Via CARA FEINBERG,Harvard Magazine

Sendhil


TOWARD THE END of World War II, while thousands of Europeans were dying of hunger, 36 men at the University of Minnesota volunteered for a study that would send them to the brink of starvation. Allied troops advancing into German-occupied territories with supplies and food were encountering droves of skeletal people they had no idea how to safely renourish, and researchers at the university had designed a study they hoped might reveal the best methods of doing so. But first, their volunteers had to agree to starve.

The physical toll on these men was alarming: their metabolism slowed by 40 percent; sitting on atrophied muscles became painful; though their limbs were skeletal, their fluid-filled bellies looked curiously stout. But researchers also observed disturbing mental effects they hadn’t expected: obsessions about cookbooks and recipes developed; men with no previous interest in food thought—and talked—about nothing else. Overwhelming, uncontrollable thoughts had taken over, and as one participant later recalled, “Food became the one central and only thing really in one’s life.” There was no room left for anything else.

Though these odd behaviors were just a footnote in the original Minnesota study, to professor of economics Sendhil Mullainathan, who works on contemporary issues of poverty, they were among the most intriguing findings. Nearly 70 years after publication, that “footnote” showed something remarkable: scarcity had stolen more than flesh and muscle. It had captured the starving men’s minds.

Mullainathan is not a psychologist, but he has long been fascinated by how the mind works. As a behavioral economist, he looks at how people’s mental states and social and physical environments affect their economic actions. Research like the Minnesota study raised important questions: What happens to our minds—and our decisions—when we feel we have too little of something? Why, in the face of scarcity, do people so often make seemingly irrational, even counter-productive decisions? And if this is true in large populations, why do so few policies and programs take it into account?

In 2008, Mullainathan joined Eldar Shafir, Tod professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton, to write a book exploring these questions. Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much (2013) presented years of findings from the fields of psychology and economics, as well as new empirical research of their own. Based on their analysis of the data, they sought to show that, just as food had possessed the minds of the starving volunteers in Minnesota, scarcity steals mental capacity wherever it occurs—from the hungry, to the lonely, to the time-strapped, to the poor.

That’s a phenomenon well-documented by psychologists: if the mind is focused on one thing, other abilities and skills—attention, self-control, and long-term planning—often suffer. Like a computer running multiple programs, Mullainathan and Shafir explain, our mental processors begin to slow down. We don’t lose any inherent capacities, just the ability to access the full complement ordinarily available for use.

But what’s most striking—and in some circles, controversial—about their work is not what they reveal about the effects of scarcity. It’s their assertion that scarcity affects anyone in its grip. Their argument: qualities often considered part of someone’s basic character—impulsive behavior, poor performance in school, poor financial decisions—may in fact be the products of a pervasive feeling of scarcity. And when that feeling is constant, as it is for people mired in poverty, it captures and compromises the mind.

This is one of scarcity’s most insidious effects, they argue: creating mindsets that rarely consider long-term best interests. “To put it bluntly,” says Mullainathan, “if I made you poor tomorrow, you’d probably start behaving in many of the same ways we associate with poor people.” And just like many poor people, he adds, you’d likely get stuck in the scarcity trap.

Poverty Taxes the Mind

MULLAINATHAN IS THE FIRST to admit he’s no stranger to the scarcity cycle—particularly when it comes to time. A self-confessed over-committer with endless energy for exploring new passions, he is “quite familiar” with tardiness and missed deadlines. Though he’s no slouch at juggling tasks—at age 42, he’s a tenured professor, a MacArthur Fellowship recipient, and a rising star in behavioral economics—things are still always piling up, he says during an interview, pointing to actual piles of papers around his office desk.

No one ever has enough time—making it an excellent way to understand how scarcity works, he explains. A time crunch can be useful; deadlines often increase motivation and concentration. But there are prices to pay for that amplified focus: anything that falls outside the scope of that time-limited task gets slighted, ignored, or put off to a later date. While this isn’t breaking news, for Mullainathan, anecdotes about time and its limits are a trusted Trojan Horse of sorts: a way to get into the minds of readers and audiences at lectures who may never have experienced more extreme types of scarcity. “The cycle of poverty generally gets talked about as a problem otherpeople face,” he says. “Our hope is to get people to understand how easy it is to get caught in it, even if they’ve never had the experience.”

Though he spent much of his early life in “decently comfortable” economic circumstances, Mullainathan has seen poverty first-hand, and it seared itself deep in his psyche. Born in a small South Indian sugarcane-farming village, he moved to Los Angeles at age seven with his family so his father could study, and later work in, aerospace engineering. But, as he recalls it, in the 1980s, when new laws mandated heightened security clearances in departments that had not previously required them, noncitizens like his father were suddenly out of a job with no chance of finding another one in the industry.

“This was the first time I felt real economic insecurity,” Mullainathan remembers. It was also the first time he saw scarcity’s effects in action. The job loss “in some ways liberated him,” he says of his father. Suddenly without a roadmap for the first time, Mullainathan’s parents bought a video store, which, through creative strategies—like developing a computer program they sold to other stores—became in time a successful endeavor. But those initial years were also packed with tensions and insecurity that set the family on edge. “Overnight,” he says, “I saw my parents change”: suddenly, they were much more stressed out and short-tempered, as if part of their personalities was different.

Years later, as a behavioral economist, Mullainathan saw this phenomenon at work in impoverished people around the world. “The evidence is everywhere,” he says. “We just had to find ways to gather it scientifically.” But like any science in the making—as Mullainathan and Shafir describe work like theirs—the path had to be blazed. Early on, for instance, as the authors recount in the introduction to their book, “When we told an economist colleague that we were studying scarcity, he remarked, ‘There is already a science of scarcity…. It’s called economics.’”

The colleague, of course, was right, Mullainathan concedes; economics is the study of how people manage physical scarcity. But even though actual scarcity is ubiquitous—there are always limits to time, food, and money—the feeling of scarcity is not, he explains. This overpowering mindset was what he and Shafir were interested in studying, and it had effects, they argued, that could be quantified and explored empirically.

In 2010, the authors and their colleagues set out to do that—setting up scientific trials in what Mullainathan jokingly calls “the best lab in the world”: a shopping mall in New Jersey. The group hoped to show in an experiment that poverty imposed a kind of “bandwidth tax” that impaired people’s ability to perform. “To put it crudely,” he explains, “poverty—no matter who you are—can make you dumber.”

To prove it, they planned to administer Raven’s Progressive Matrices tests (essentially IQ tests that measure skills without requiring experience or expertise) to their subjects. Just before taking the test, subjects were asked to consider a hypothetical scenario:

Imagine you’ve got car trouble and repairs cost $300. Your auto insurance will cover half the cost. You need to decide whether to go ahead and get the car fixed,or take a chance and hope that it lasts for a while longer. How would you make this decision? Financially, would it be easy or hard?

Using self-reported household income, the researchers split the subjects into groups of “rich” and “poor.” When they tallied their scores on the Raven’s Matrices, there was no statistically significant difference in the groups’ performance.

But in a second version of the test, researchers raised the price tag for the repairs to $3,000. Although rich people’s test scores showed no significant difference, the poor people’s scores dropped the equivalent of about 14 IQ points: the difference between the categories of “superior” and “average” intelligence—or more pointedly, from “average” to “borderline deficient.” That’s a greater deficit than subjects in sleep studies typically show after staying awake for 24 hours, Mullainathan and Shafir highlight. “Simply raising monetary concerns for the poor,” they explain, “erodes cognitive performance even more than being seriously sleep deprived.”

They attribute this result to the maelstrom of problems poor people must suddenly confront in the face of a large unexpected expense: how will I pay the rent, buy food, take care of my kids? This round of mental juggling depletes the amount of mental bandwidth available for everything else. Such problems simply don’t arise for the rich.

To rule out other factors, the researchers posed nonfinancial questions with small and large numbers; they even tried versions where they paid people for correct answers to questions. In each case, there was no difference in performance.

But the real test lay in the real world, Mullainathan continues. If just thinking about scarcity preoccupied subjects, what effect would real scarcity have?

The answer came from fieldwork he and his colleagues were already conducting in India. Sugarcane farmers, they discovered, get their income in one lump sum at harvest time, just once or twice a year. That meant farmers were poor during one part of the year, and flush with cash during another. Because harvests took place at different times for different farmers, researchers could rule out seasonal weather, events, and their accompanying obligations as bandwidth-usurping factors. And when the researchers conducted a study there similar to the New Jersey mall experiment, the results mirrored their original findings: the Indian farmers performed worse on Raven’s Matrices tests before their harvest, and better after they’d been paid.

The conclusion was clear, Mullainathan explains: poverty itself taxes the mind. And in the case of the Indian farmers, he adds, the data were even more convincing: unlike the New Jersey “lab” study, where subjects were compared to other people, the farmers were compared to themselves. The only variables that had changed were their financial circumstances.



Scarcity Begets Scarcity

DURING THE LAST HALF-CENTURY, the effects of stress and distraction on attention and self-control have been well explored by social scientists: psychologists like Roy Baumeister of Florida State University (formerly of Case Western Reserve University) have done extensive work on willpower and mental depletion, for example, showing that people who had forced themselves to eat radishes instead of tempting chocolates quit working on unsolvable puzzles sooner than those who had not. At Stanford, another study on decisionmaking found that subjects asked to memorize long strings of numbers had a harder time choosing healthy snacks over sweets than subjects asked to remember just two or three digits.

It’s a phenomenon scientists can see even in the chemistry of the brain: during periods of stress and tough self-control tasks, glucose levels plummet in the frontal cortex (the region associated with attention, planning, and motivation). Low blood sugar can deplete physical capacities; a struggling mind can create similar chemistry in the brain, and trigger the same debilitating results.

But despite these advances in psychology and neuroscience, the idea that behavioral findings could beget insight into economic decisions is relatively new. For years, neoclassical economics maintained that people were rational, selfish actors who consistently made decisions in their own best interests. But in 1979, a breakthrough paper on decisionmaking by Princeton psychologist Daniel Kahneman, LL.D. ’04, and Amos Tversky of Stanford, began to chip away at that idea. Their study asserted that the way choices are presented has as much effect on decisions as the actual value of the things people choose. In the following decades, their paper became one of the most widely cited studies in economics; 23 years later, after Tversky’s death, Kahneman won a Nobel Prize.

Today, behavioral economics is a mainstream endeavor (see “The Marketplace of Perceptions,”March-April 2006, page 50), and to Kahneman, work like Mullainathan and Shafir’s represents the field’s next logical steps. “Clearly there is a psychology of scarcity,” Kahneman said in an interview, “and this idea that scarcity itself produces its own decisions is a new—and very interesting—one.” The pair’s work inverts the long-held thinking that the poor are poor because they make bad decisions, he added. “Instead, people make bad decisions because they are poor.”

And, as Mullainathan explains, those bad decisions abound. Though he doesn’t place all of the problems that poor people face on scarcity’s shoulders, he believes scarcity can explain a mentality that people in its grip face. “We’re not just talking about shorter patience or less willpower,” he says. In the poor, “We’re often talking about short-term financial fixes that can have disastrous long-term effects.”

Take payday loans, for instance: high-interest loans that provide cash on demand, to be paid back when the borrower’s paycheck arrives. According to Mullainathan and Shafir, in 2006, there were more than 23,000 payday lender branches in the United States— more than all the McDonald’s (12,000) and Starbucks (nearly 9,000) locations combined. It’s a popular way to get money today, particularly for those without bank accounts. But for people without reliable incomes, debts must often roll over into the following month, incurring exorbitant fees. “This type of high-risk borrowing seems ridiculous,” Mullainathan says, but “we wanted to prove that thinking like this doesn’t come from a lack of financial understanding or foolishness—it comes from putting out fires.”

In 2011, in collaboration with Anuj Shah, now assistant professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (then a graduate student at Princeton), they devised a study that they hoped would prove their point, inducing that same high-risk borrowing behavior in Princeton undergraduates by having them play a version of the American TV game show Family Feud.

In the show, contestants are asked to name things that belong to categories—for instance, “Things you might find in a professor’s office.” Unlike regular trivia games that have right and wrong answers, there are no right responses in Family Feud, just popular ones (the list of answers is gathered from a survey of 100 people prior to the show). Because contestants must think through an array of options before answering, time pressure limits the number of paths they can explore before hazarding a guess, so scarcity’s effects are in full bloom.

At Princeton, contestants were randomly split into “rich” and “poor” groups—the rich having more time to guess than the poor. All were given the option to borrow time: each additional second borrowed would cost them two seconds of “interest” deducted from their total time.

“The results mimicked everything we see in the real world,” Mullainathan reports. At first, the poor performed better than the rich did; scarcity made them focus more intently on the task. But when, in the next round, the subjects were allowed to roll over their loans and “repay” in subsequent rounds (thus making future rounds shorter), things quickly fell apart for the poor contestants. Early borrowing created a vicious circle for the poor; pressed for time, they needed to borrow more seconds, and borrowing more made them more pressed for time. By the final rounds, most of their time went to paying back loans, and the poor lost rounds that the rich won handily.

These students were randomly assigned to “poverty,” Mullainathan explains, so there could be nothing substantially different between them and those fellow students labeled “rich.” “The study shows the intimate link between success and failure under scarcity,” he and Shafir write inScarcity. And scarcity, no matter whom it menaces, inevitably leads to more scarcity.

Escaping the Scarcity Trap

SO HOW CAN PEOPLE ESCAPE the scarcity trap? And why does such research matter? The answer, says Mullainathan, isn’t necessarily a shift in policy, but a shift in policymakers’ perspective.

Typically, he explains, when the poor remain stuck in the grip of poverty, policymakers tend to ask what’s wrong with them, pointing to a lack of personal motivation or ability. Rarely, he continues, do we as policymakers ask, “What is it about this situation that is enabling this failure?”

This is the question we should be asking, says Mullainathan—a point he and Shafir make quite memorably in their book by telling a story about a spate of plane crashes that occurred during World War II. During that era, the authors recount, the United States military experienced an inordinate number of “wheels-up” crashes; after planes had landed, pilots would inexplicably retract the wheels instead of the wing flaps, sending the planes crashing to the runways on their bellies. At first, the blame fell squarely on the pilots, the authors explain: why were they so careless? Were they fatigued? But when the military began to look more closely, they realized the problem was limited to two particular plane models: B-17s and B-25s. Instead of looking inside the heads of the pilots, Mullainathan and Shafir write, the military looked inside the cockpits of those specific planes; there investigators discovered that the wheel controls and flap controls were placed right next to each other and looked nearly identical—a design specific only to the crashing planes. After identifying the problem and implementing a minor change in design (a small rubber wheel was placed on the end of the landing-gear lever), the number of wheels-up crashes declined.

“Error is inevitable, but accidents are not,” Mullainathan and Shafir explain. It’s not that pilots don’t bear responsibility for their training and alertness, but “a good cockpit design should not facilitate mistakes.”

The same should be true, they argue, for programs and policies that address poverty. Just as well-trained World War II pilots made seemingly silly errors in poorly designed cockpits, well-intentioned social programs such as low-income job-training courses, subsidized vaccination programs, and bank programs designed to help people save money, sometimes fail to attract—or retain—the people they are designed to serve.

It’s natural to look at the intended clients and blame a lack of personal responsibility, the authors explain. But, as Mullainathan and Shafir have shown through their own work, all individuals stuck in a cycle of scarcity will inevitably find themselves plagued with similar slips in performance; focus often suffers, long-term planning gives way to immediate financial fire-fighting, follow-through on commitments often becomes sporadic.

So why not design social programs that make room for this scarcity-induced behavior? the authors ask. Why not look at the “cockpit” instead of the “pilot”?

Take job-assistance programs, for instance, where absenteeism and non-completion are a regular problem. The clients these programs serve are often mentally depleted by the time they arrive for classes, the authors explain: out-of-work clients struggle to make ends meet and often must arrange transportation and child care in order to attend a session. If a client misses a class—a likely occurrence—the authors explain, attending the next one becomes much more difficult, and dropping out becomes increasingly likely.

But what if the class had a less rigid curriculum? Instead of offering more classes or changing the curriculum, Mullainathan and Shafir suggest, existing classes could be altered to start at different times and proceed in parallel. Then, if clients miss a class, the authors argue, they could simply show up the following week to a parallel session running a week or two behind.

Although this type of accommodating approach is often criticized as coddling or paternalistic, Mullainathan and Shafir argue that it’s just the opposite. This is not a substitute for personal responsibility, the authors claim; rather, “fault tolerance is a way to ensure that when the poor do take on [responsibility] themselves, they can improve—as many do. It is a way to ensure that small slipups—an inevitable consequence of bandwidth [depletion]—do not undo hard work.”

Most importantly, the authors explain, this shift in focus from “pilot” to “cockpit” does not necessarily require expensive monumental changes in existing policy. Rather, they argue, just as the addition of the small rubber wheel to the landing-gear lever in the World War II planes reduced pilot error, these social programs might achieve greater success through small tweaks to their design.



Designing for Scarcity

SMALL CHANGES can have huge effects, Mullainathan explains—an approach to policy that has gained traction during the last decade, in particular through the work of Richard Thaler, Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of behavioral science and economics at Chicago’s Booth School, and Walmsley University Professor Cass Sunstein, of Harvard Law School (see“The Legal Olympian,” January-February, page 43). Their 2008 book, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, presented years of research and insight on “choice architecture”—methods of influencing decisions by changing which choices are offered, without taking away people’s freedom to choose.

This type of decision manipulation is well known—and widely used—in the world of marketing, and like any tool, Mullainathan says, “It can be used for evil.” But in the world of behavioral economics, the idea is to help people do the things they already want to do: ironically, to make the rational, healthy, self-benefiting choices that traditional economic models (wrongly) assumed they already consistently did.

In certain circumstances, he explains, “nudging” people into better choices can be as easy as changing the wording on a page. For instance, when workers start a new job in the United States, they are given a form asking them to check a box if they want to enroll in a 401(k) retirement plan. In a 2001 study by Brigitte Madrian and Denis F. Shea (both then at Chicago; Madrian is now Aetna professor of public policy and corporate management at the Harvard Kennedy School), researchers gave new employees at certain businesses slightly altered forms, instructing them to check the box if they did not want to enroll. The results were striking, notes Mullainathan: at companies where employees had to opt out, more than 80 percent enrolled; at companies where they had to opt in, only 45 percent checked the box.

But in other circumstances—for example in the case of payday loans—the solutions are much less straightforward. Poor people take on these predatory loans because they have to, Mullainathan explains; bills must be paid now. Any nudging—or even outright pushing—at that moment will likely have little effect. But what if the nudges occurred long before the payday loan was necessary? What if people who are consumed by financial pressures in the present got help in planning for the future?

Mullainathan and Shafir present pages of suggested solutions, citing successful programs like Save More Tomorrow, a retirement-savings plan designed by Thaler and behavioral economist Shlomo Benartzi, a professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. The program asks people to commit to savings deductions whenever their salary increases in the future; instead of asking them to sacrifice during times of scarcity, Mullainathan explains, it’s done during times of (relative) abundance. The results were encouraging across the board, and in one firm, more than 75 percent of those offered the plan chose to enroll. By the third pay raise, those who had opted in had more than tripled their savings rates.

To effect such changes, behavioral economists must first shift people’s thinking—and the only way to do that, says Mullainathan, is to provide more evidence that their approaches to policy work in the real world.

Many scientists and nonprofit organizations are already answering that call, running experiments around the globe to test proposed changes in policy. In 2008, Mullainathan and Shafir themselves joined with several other colleagues to co-found Ideas42, a nonprofit that collaborates with organizations and businesses worldwide to test behavioral approaches to problems. A 2013 collaboration with the Cleveland Housing Network, for instance, yielded a 20 percent improvement in timely rent payment simply by sending postcard reminders and creating a monthly raffle for tenants who paid on time. Even changes as simple as new wording on a bank statement, converting interest percentages to “dollars owed,” or telling people how their gas and electricity usage compares to their neighbors’, have affected people’s choices for the better, Mullainathan explains. “The idea is to encourage people to do things just by making things easier. And the best part is…it often costs policymakers nothing.”

To Nudge author Richard Thaler, work like this marks the next step in the evolution of behavioral economics. Mullainathan and Shafir “are part of a generation of economists and social scientists changing the way we think about development economics,” he said in an interview. “They have taken seriously the idea that we have to do things that are not just interesting to other academics, but that have the possibility of being scaled up.”

Scaling Up the Science of Scarcity

FOR POLICYMAKERS, it’s that potential to effect change broadly that matters—and the evidence of success from the behavioral sciences has begun to catch their attention. In 2010, the British government formed the Behavioural Insights Team, intended to spread understanding of behavioral approaches and to implement trial programs in several areas of social policy. In 2014, the White House formed its own Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (called SBST, though many in the field refer to it as the “Nudge Unit”), and other governments around the world have shown interest in doing the same.

Perhaps the best indication of growing awareness of the value of these behavioral insights came this past December, when the World Bank released its 2015 annual World Development Report, which for the first time was devoted entirely to behavioral approaches to policy. The chapter on poverty was heavily influenced by Mullainathan and Shafir’s work on scarcity, according to one of the report’s authors, the Bank’s Alaka Holla. “Evidence of these programs’ success has been building for a while,” she said in an interview. “It was time to take this to the policy world.”

For Mullainathan, it’s been thrilling to see the spotlight widen from its traditional focus on people’s decisions to the circumstances shaping those choices. Mounting evidence of experimental programs’ successes and increased attention from reputable organizations has spurred real interest from policymakers in exploring behavioral economic solutions. But interest and full-scale adoption are two very different things, he points out, and the biggest hurdle to widespread implementation is the problem of poverty itself. “Our solutions always struggle because the underlying problem is so complicated,” Mullainathan explains. What might work for one population might completely fail for another.

Although social scientists know a lot about the economics of poverty, they know much less about the psychology it creates in individual populations, and this social science, Mullainathan argues, is just as important as the technological sciences policymakers rely on to solve problems. Scientists spend vast resources developing medications, water-purifying technologies, financial products, and social services designed to help people in need, he explains. But getting people touse these technologies also requires understanding the psychology of the people using them. Policymakers, he says, must make this type of research a priority.

“Bandwidth is a core resource,” Mullainathan and Shafir argue—one just as powerful, limited, and influential in people’s decisionmaking process as the dollars in their bank account. If we begin to look at bandwidth and the factors affecting it in the same way we measure economic circumstances, the authors claim, we can design and evaluate social programs based on how people actually act—not simply how numbers and statistics tell us they should.

“The mistake we make in managing scarcity is that we focus on one side of the calculus,” they write at the conclusion of their book. The cost of making changes to existing policies is easy to measure, but the cost of not doing so is much harder to quantify. This is what the science of scarcity attempts to gauge, Mullainathan and Shafir maintain: how situations, programs, and policies can deplete, tax, or build up psychological resources that are every bit as important as the physical ones that fill—or empty—our coffers.



Blog PhotoDarpan Sachdeva is the CEO and Founder of Nobel thoughts.com. With a long time passion for Entrepreneurship, Self development & Success, Darpan started his website with the intention of educating and inspiring like minded people all over the world to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances.To keep going and never get disheartened and learn from every adversity.

 

The Biology of Positive Habits

Reposted by Darpan Sachdeva

Posted by  Leah Shafer and Iman Rastegari on March 21, 2016 12:14 PM

 

Your brain may be hard-wired to focus on the negative, but (with practice) you can reprogram it.

Biology of Positive Thinking

Stress happens, especially in education. A packed schedule, a new request from administrators, papers to grade, an accidentally missed appointment, spilled coffee . . . your head pounds, your shoulders tense, your eyelids droop. You feel stuck. How can you get a better handle on this?

One valuable, often overlooked, and durable way to manage stress is to build positive habits, slowly and over time. Our brains are hard-wired to focus on the negative, but by practicing mindfulness, we can reprogram them — teach our brains to accentuate positive experiences and maintain serenity.

Habit and the Brain

 

 

The human brain evolved with a “negativity bias,” says mindfulness expert Metta McGarvey, a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Negative events and thoughts have a proportionally greater impact on our memory and psychological state than positive ones do. From a survival standpoint, it makes sense — strong recollections of bad experiences means we’re more likely to learn from mistakes and avoid a life-threatening situation.

This negativity bias also means that smaller, day-to-day stressors tend to take precedence in our thoughts, leaving less room for positive framing or constructive action planning. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.

Our brains can change, physically, as a result of learning, says McGarvey. In a process called “experience dependent neuroplasticity,” neural connections grow based on what we’re learning. Repeating the same thoughts, feelings, and behaviors increases synaptic connectivity, strengthens neural networks, and creates new neurons through learning. In other words, practicing a positive habit can predispose our thoughts to be more affirmative.


Brain Training

The key to developing these positive habits? Mindfulness.

According to researchers at the Greater Good Science Center, a project at the University of California, Berkeley, mindfulness has two core components: maintaining an awareness of our immediate thoughts, feelings, and surroundings; and accepting these thoughts and feelings without judging them. McGarvey explains it as “single-tasking,” or approaching any situation with your undivided attention and keeping that attention on the present moment.

illustration of a brain

By approaching your work with mindfulness, you decrease the amount of energy you spend worrying about the past or the future, and you increase the amount of attention you give to present and positive experiences. But because stress and worrying can be so engrained, McGarvey explains, you need to practice (and keep practicing) the skills and habits you need to keep your attention on the present.

She offers five mindfulness exercises that build brain-strengthening positive habits over time:

  1. Several times a day, take a short break from whatever you’re doing — step away from the computer, put down your phone, close your book — and look at something different. Savor the feeling of calm for a minute or two.
  2. Practice looking for small moments of beauty or kindness throughout your day: raindrops moving across your window, a moment of warmth in the sunshine, an amiable exchange with a stranger. Focusing on the positive will strengthen your ability to turn your attention away from worries.
  3. Search for and comment on the positive qualities and actions of others. This behavior is especially important in exchanges with loved ones; research has shown that successful marriages have five positive interactions for each negative one. Appreciating the good in others, says McGarvey, “creates a ‘virtuous cycle’ that builds positive communication and relational habits.”
  4. Exercise. Calming meditations, yoga, and tai chi can all activate the parasympathetic nervous system and evoke a physically relaxed state. Making any of these practices into a habit can make it easier for your body to relax after a stressful event.
  5. Remember that habits can be hard to form, and change takes time. Focusing on the positive means going against your brain’s automatic response systems. Try to be persistent with your mindfulness practices, but don’t beat yourself up if you slip and find yourself getting stressed. Be gentle with yourself.




Blog PhotoDarpan Sachdeva is the CEO and Founder of Nobelthoughts.com. With a long time passion for Entrepreneurship, Self development & Success, Darpan started his website with the intention of educating and inspiring like minded people all over the world to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances.To keep going and never get disheartened and learn from every adversity.

The power of believing that you can improve:Carol Dweck( TED Talk)

by  Darpan Sachdeva

Carol Dweck is a pioneering researcher in the field of motivation, why people succeed (or don’t) and how to foster success.Dweck is a professor at Stanford and the author of Mindset, a classic work on motivation and “growth mindset.” Her work is influential among educators and increasingly among business leaders as well.

Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset” — the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and to solve problems. In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet? A great introduction to this influential field.

 




 

Blog PhotoDarpan Sachdeva is the CEO and Founder of Nobelthoughts.com. With a long time passion for Entrepreneurship, Self development & Success, Darpan started his website with the intention of educating and inspiring like minded people all over the world to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances.To keep going and never get disheartened and learn from every adversity.

 

Why our brain loves to Procrastinate

by James Clear

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Sometime around 2006, two Harvard professors began to study why we procrastinate. Why do we avoid doing the things we know we should do, even when it’s clear that they are good for us?

To answer this question, the two professors — Todd Rogers and Max Bazerman — conducted a study where participants were asked whether they would agree to enroll in a savings plan that automatically placed two percent of their paycheck in a savings account.

Nearly every participant agreed that saving money was a good idea, but their behavior said otherwise:

  • One version of the question asked participants to enroll in the savings plan as soon as possible. In this scenario, only 30 percent of people said they would agree to enroll in the plan.
  • In another version of the question, participants were asked to enroll in a savings plan in the distant future (like a year from today). In this scenario, 77 percent of people said they would agree to enroll in the plan.

Why did the timeline alter their responses so much?



As it turns out, this little experiment can tell us a lot about why we procrastinate on behaviors that we know we should do.

Present You vs. Future You

We have a tendency to care too much about our present selves and not enough about our future selves. We like to enjoy immediate benefits in the present, especially if the costs of our choices don’t become apparent until far in the future.

For example:

  • The payoff of eating a donut is immediate (sugar!) and the cost of skipping workouts won’t show up until you’ve skipped for months.
  • The payoff of spending money today is immediate (new iPhone!) and the cost of forgetting to save for retirement won’t show up until you’re years behind.
  • The payoff of unhindered fossil fuel usage is immediate (more energy! more heat! more electricity!) and the cost of climate change won’t reveal itself until decades of damage have been done.

However, when we consider these problems in the distant future, our choices usually change. In one year, who you rather be overweight and eating donuts or healthy and exercising consistently? In the long-run the choice is easy, but when it comes time to make the choice today, in this very moment, we discount the long-term costs and overvalue the immediate benefits of unproductive behaviors.

Behavioral economists refer to this concept “time inconsistency” because when we think about the future we want to make choices that lead to long-term benefits (“Yes, I’ll save more!”), but when we think about today, we want to make choices that lead to short-term benefits (“I’ll spend it right now.”).

I like to call this the Present You vs. Future You problem. Future You knows you should do things that lead to the highest benefit in the long-term, but Present You tends to overvalue things that lead to immediate benefit right now.

Alright, so what can we do about all of this?

The Answer to Inconsistency

If you want to beat procrastination and make better long-term choices, then you have to find a way to make your present self act in the best interest of your future self.

You have three primary options:

  1. Make the rewards of long-term behavior more immediate.
  2. Make the costs of procrastination more immediate.
  3. Remove procrastination triggers from your environment.



Let’s break down each one.

1. Make the rewards of long-term behavior more immediate. The reason we procrastinate is because our mind wants an immediate benefit. If you can find a way to make the benefits of good long-term choices more immediate, then it becomes easier to avoid procrastination. One way to do this is to simply imagine the benefits your future self will enjoy. Visualize what your life will be like if you lose those 30 pounds. Think about why saving money now is important to your future. Pull the future payoff into the present moment in your mind’s eye.

2. Make the costs of procrastination more immediate. There are many ways to force you to pay the costs of procrastination sooner rather than later. For example, if you are exercising alone skipping your workout next week won’t impact your life much at all. Your health won’t deteriorate immediately because you missed that one workout. The cost of procrastinating on exercise only becomes painful after weeks and months of lazy behavior. However, if you pre-commit to working out with a friend at 7 a.m. next Monday, then the cost of skipping your workout becomes more immediate. Miss this one workout and you look like a jerk.

Here are some other ways to make procrastination more costly:

  • Set a public deadline for your behavior. (“I am going to publish a new article every Monday.”)
  • Place an expensive bet on your behavior. (“For each workout I miss, I will pay my friend $50.)
  • Make a physical consequence for your behavior. (“For each dish I leave unwashed in the sink, I have to do 25 pushups.”)

3. Remove procrastination triggers from your environment. The most powerful way to change your behavior is to change your environment. It doesn’t take much guesswork to figure out why this is true. In a normal situation, you might choose to eat a cookie rather than eat vegetables. What if the cookie wasn’t there to begin with? It is much easier to make the right choice if you’re surrounded by better choices. Remove the distractions from your environment and create a space with better choice architecture.

Want to take it a step further? You can add triggers to your environment that prompt the good behaviors. Check out the Paper Clip Strategy as an example.

The Way Forward

“We’ll increasingly be defined by what we say no to.”
— Paul Graham

Each day, we are faced with hundreds of tiny decisions. The option to either take the easy way out and jump at instant gratification or to say no to temptation and commit to a long-term behavior.

These daily choices end up defining our reality. It is increasingly the distractions we avoid that define our capacity for success.

james-clear  James is a writer and researcher on behavioral psychology, habit formation, and performance improvement. His articles are read by over 500,000 people each month and many of them attend his online seminars on Habits, Willpower, and Procrastination. He believes in developing a diversity of knowledge and  maintain a public reading list of the best books to read across a wide range of disciplines.

 

The 13 Best TED Talks for all faces of life

by  Darpan Sachdeva

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There’s a quote attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. that says the following: “The human mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

That’s what the TED conferences do: they stretch the dimensions of your mind. Each TED speaker has 18 minutes to present an idea worth spreading in the most innovative and impactful way they can. Speakers range from Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, to a young man living in a remote village in Malawi who–at the age of 14– built a windmill for his family, from an old textbook.

Below you’ll find what I consider to be the 13 best TED talks for all faces of life. This is a massive post, so I suggest you bookmark it, and then come back to it when you have time to select the talks that interest you.

Medical Science

Jill Bolte Taylor’s Stroke of Insight

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard-trained brain scientist who suffered a stroke in 1996, at the age of 37, in the left hemisphere of her brain. She spoke of her experience at TED and wrote a memoir about the experience titled “My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey”.

Although the talk is, in part, about a brain scientist observing firsthand what it’s like to have a stroke, it goes much deeper than that. Dr. Taylor also explains her discovery that through the right hemisphere of the brain, the part of her brain that was untouched by the stroke, inner peace is just a thought away.

 

William Li – Can We Eat to Starve Cancer?

Angiogenesis is the process our body uses to grow new blood vessels. A typical adult has 60,000 miles worth of blood vessels. The smallest blood vessels are called capillaries–we have 19 billion of them in our bodies–, and they’re the vessels of life; however, they can also be the vessels of death. We get most of our blood vessels in the womb. Blood vessels grow in adults only under special circumstances, such as when we have an injury.

The body has the ability to regulate the amount of blood vessels that are present at any given time, through an elaborate system of checks and balances.  When we need a burst of blood vessels, the body can do this by releasing stimulators.  When those excess blood vessels are no longer needed, the body prunes them back.

However, sometimes there’s a defect in the system, and the body can’t prune back excess blood vessels, or it can’t grow new ones at the right place and at the right time.  This causes disease; there are about  70 diseases that have an imbalance in angiogenesis as their common denominator. Cancer is one of these diseases.

Cancers start out as a small, microscopic nest of cells.  This nest of cells can’t get any larger, because it doesn’t have a blood supply; so it doesn’t have enough oxygen or nutrients to grow.  Although most people have microscopic cancers in their bodies after a certain age, most will never grow to be dangerous.  This is because of the body’s ability to balance angiogenesis, which prevents excess blood vessels from growing and feeding cancers.

One way to treat cancer,  Li explains, is to cut off the blood supply.  However, Li argues that instead of concentrating on curing cancer once it happens, we should concentrate on preventing cancer. Li goes on to say that diet accounts for 30 to 35% of environmentally caused cancers.  So Li asked, “What could we add to our diet that would prevent our bodies from creating the blood vessels that feed microscopic cancers?”  That is, “Can we eat to starve cancer?” The answer is, “yes”.

Here are some examples of foods which inhibit abnormal angiogenesis:

  • Red grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Soy beans
  • Green tea
  • Lemons
  • Apples
  • Nutmeg
  • Tomatoes

Li explains more about these foods, and their role in preventing cancer, in his talk.



 

Personal Development

Tony Robbins – Why We Do What We Do and How We Can Do It Better

Personal development author and speaker Anthony Robbins explains in his TED talk that when people fail to achieve something, the defining factor is a lack of resourcefulness. He adds that if people are resourceful enough–if they’re creative and determined enough–they’ll find a way to achieve what they’re after.

In addition, Robbins explains that our ability to be resourceful largely depends on what we choose to focus on. Every moment of your life you’re making the following three decisions:

  1. What am I going to focus on?
  2. What does it mean? (The minute you focus on something you give it meaning. And whatever meaning you give to it produces emotion.)
  3. What am I going to do? (Emotion then drives you toward taking action.)

Robbins then gives examples of how these three decisions shape your life. As an aside, during the talk there’s a great exchange between Robbins and Al Gore, who’s sitting in the audience.

 

Matthieu Ricard: Habits of Happiness

Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard explains in his TED talk that we can train our minds in habits of happiness. He explains that often, in our quest for happiness, we look outside of ourselves. We think that if we get this or that, we’ll be happy. However, our control over the outside world is limited, temporary, and often illusory. So, if our happiness relies on something external, we’re on shaky ground.

The way to achieve happiness–which is a sense of well-being, serenity, and fulfillment–, is to look inside of ourselves, instead of looking outside. We need to realize that it’s the mind that translates what happens outside of us as either joy or suffering. Therefore, it all comes down to training the mind. Ricard adds that the best way to train the mind is through meditation.



Education

Do Schools Kill creativity? | Sir Ken Robinson

 

Ken Robinson argues in his TED talk that, today, creativity is as important in education as literacy. However, the way in which the educational system is set up, we’re educating children out of their creative capacity. He refers to a quote attributed to Pablo Picasso by saying that all children are born artists; the challenge is for them to remain artists as they grow up, given the way in which they’re schooled.

For example, Robinson explains that if you’re not prepared to be wrong, then you’ll never come up with anything original. Kids will risk being wrong; but by the time they grow up, most of them have lost this capacity. They’ve become frightened of being wrong. We’re running the educational system in such a way that we’re stigmatizing making mistakes.

Robinson argues that the school system creates people who live in their heads; and slightly to one side (since the subjects taught in school are mostly left-hemisphere subjects). He adds that the system is predicated on academic ability, because it was created to meet the needs of industrialism. You probably heard the following as a child:

  • Don’t go into music; you won’t find a job as a musician.
  • Don’t study painting; you don’t want to be a starving artist.

The consequence is that many highly talented, brilliant, creative people, think that they’re not very smart; the things that they’re good at were not valued in school.  Robinson argues that we can’t afford to go on that way.

 

Technology:

Juliana Rotich: Meet BRCK, Internet access built for Africa

Tech communities are booming all over Africa, says Nairobi-based Juliana Rotich, co founder of the open-source software Ushahidi. But it remains challenging to get and stay connected in a region with frequent blackouts and spotty Internet hookups. So Rotich and friends developed BRCK, offering resilient connectivity for the developing world.

 

Pranav Mistry: The thrilling potential of sixthSense technology

At TEDIndia, Pranav Mistry demos several tools that help the physical world interact with the world of data — including a deep look at his SixthSense device and a new, paradigm-shifting paper “laptop.” In an onstage Q&A, Mistry says he’ll open-source the software behind SixthSense, to open its possibilities to all.



Motivation

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Simon Sinek presents a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers — and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling.

 

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

Drawing from some of the most pivotal points in his life, Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death itself — at the university’s 114th Commencement on June 12, 2005.

 

Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating

Elizabeth Gilbert knows a thing or two about failure. Publishers rejected the former diner waitress’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love (Penguin Books, 2007) for almost six years. Once the book finally broke through, it wasn’t long before Oprah — and the rest of the world — couldn’t stop talking about it. Then it was adapted for the big screen and became a global box office hit.

Gilbert had made it big. The pressure was on for a repeat. In her TED Talk, she says it was all too much. She considered quitting while she “was behind,” but she didn’t.

“I knew that the task was that I had to find some way to gin up the inspiration to write the next book, regardless of its inevitable negative outcome,” she says.

Gilbert did write that second book and it bombed. She had failed again, but didn’t throw in the towel.

She describes how she found strength in identifying with her former unpublished, struggling aspiring writer self. In facing a new challenge, she did the same thing she did when she was a failure: She got her ass back to work, as she says.

“My point is that I’m writing another one now, and I’ll write another book after that and another and another and another and many of them will fail, and some of them might succeed,” she says, “but I will always be safe from the random hurricanes of outcome as long as I never forget where I rightfully live.”

Her advice: No matter how many times you fall down, fight the urge to stay down. Get up. Again and again, get up.

 

Sarah Lewis: Embrace the near win

Hard truth: Not everything you do will be a masterpiece, especially when you’re first starting out.

In her eloquent speech, art historian and critic Sarah Lewis talks about the benefits of almost but not quite succeeding, which she calls the “near-win.” The Harvard grad and current Yale faculty member argues that our almost-failures are necessary, even crucial, steps along the way to success. Failing to reach your goal can actually sharpen your game plan and strengthen your resolve to go after it. Never give up.

“What gets us to forward thrust more is to value the near-win,” Lewis says. “A near-win gets us to focus on what right now we plan to do to address that mountain in our sights.”

Philanthropy

Why giving away our wealth has been the most satisfying thing we’ve done

In 1993, Bill and Melinda Gates took a walk on the beach and made a big decision: to give their Microsoft wealth back to society. In conversation with Chris Anderson, the couple talks about their work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as their marriage, their children, their failures and the satisfaction of giving most of their money away.



Innovation

Can India become a global hub for innovation? Nirmalya Kumar thinks it already has. He details four types of “invisible innovation” coming out of India and explains why companies that used to just outsource manufacturing jobs are starting to move top management positions overseas, too.

Blog PhotoDarpan Sachdeva is the CEO and Founder of Nobelthoughts.com. With a long time passion for Entrepreneurship, Self development & Success, Darpan started his website with the intention of educating and inspiring like minded people all over the world to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances.To keep going and never get disheartened and learn from every adversity.

The New Horizon of Neuroscience

Brain

 

by DR. JOY HIRSCH

The field of neuroscience, particularly related to imaging the brain, particularly the human brain, has evolved rapidly in the last decade. We have developed technologies that have identified specific areas of the brain that are active during specific tasks. And clear and rigorous documentation of the hypothesis of functional specificity, which is that a specific part of the brain does specific things, was one of the first accomplishments of this field.

But as we move forward and we become more sophisticated in our understanding of brain function, we turn to other probes of brain function. And I think that the current research that is most exciting, that is aimed toward understanding how the brain looks now at the connectivity between these specific areas.

So we begin not to think about brain function in terms of the old phrenology ideas – specific parts of the brain do specific things – but rather we think about brain function in terms of clusters or constellations of regions in the brain that are active. The simultaneous or nearly simultaneous activity of these areas can be differentiated in terms of the responsiveness to specific tasks or specific decisions by the strengths of connections between the areas.

So we begin to tap into the dynamics of the language of the brain as opposed to just understanding specific areas. So I think that the most exciting fields in neuroscience right now is that look at brain responsiveness, are related to understanding how information transfers from one part of the brain to another part of the brain in order to underlie behaviors of the complex types.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think’s studio.