Do we have a soul? Is there life after death? In a society where science and empirical testing have taken over as requirements for truth, the idea of there being a life after death is sometimes thought of as wishful thinking. The afterlife, however, is something that has been experienced by countless people since recorded history who have returned to tell their tales, with the most noteworthy account experienced first-hand by Harvard trained brain neurosurgeon of 25 years, Dr. Eben Alexander.
Before his experience, he did not believe existence of a non-physical spirit. Trained in western medical school and surrounded by medical colleagues who are deeply invested in the materialism view of the universe, he thought that the idea of a soul was outlandish. Dr. Alexander changed his mind after he was in a coma for seven days caused by severe bacterial meningitis and experienced a vivid journey into the afterlife. He was guided by an beautiful angelic being and shown the Divine Source, which he referred to as “Om”. He then returned to his physical body, experienced a miraculous healing, and went on to write the NY Times #1 best selling book “Proof of Heaven.”
Sexual and verbal intercourse--intercourse being a fancy word for connecting--are two of the main ways that two people experience being one couple in a long-lasting and healthy relationship. Shared words and shared sexual feelings both can provide a glue that bonds two into one. At the same, important factors during these bonding activities determine whether sex and talking together will loosen or strengthen the bonds.
Symmetry makes for more satisfying intercourse for both partners.
When people talk together, equal airtime creates a relationship in which both people count. Same with the symmetrical pleasuring of sexual activity; equal attention to both partners' satisfaction conveys that both partners care about each other.
A few years ago while at Disney Land with my kids, I spent the entire time in line on my phone with a work related issue. The only reason I ended the phone call was because we were about to enter the building and I was going to loose my connection. My computer was set up in my hotel room and every spare moment was spent on various work projects. Not a great way to get away from it all.
I finally learned how to really take a vacation when I went on a ten-day cruise with my wife in Northern Europe. I was without cell phone, internet or any type of connection to work. After almost two weeks away from work, I returned to find all was still right with the world. As I thought back on it, I develop a quick formula for future vacation successes (and it has worked).
In my line of work, I hear from hundreds of people a month, and connect with professionals in a more public, open way than ever before. Through this experience, I've seen scores of toxic behaviors that push people away (including me). And I’ve witnessed the damage these behaviors cause – to relationships, professional success, and to the well-being of both the individual behaving negatively, and to everyone around him or her.
Let’s be real - we’ve all acted in toxic, damaging ways at one time or another (none of us are immune to it), but many people are more evolved, balanced, and aware, and it happens only rarely in their lives.
Whether your toxic behavior is a common occurrence, or once in a blue moon, it’s critical for your happiness and success that you are able to recognize when you’re behaving badly, and shift it when it emerges.
The 6 most toxic behaviors I see every day are:
Taking everything personally
In the powerful little book The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz talks about the importance of taking nothing personally. I teach this in my coaching programs and my book Breakdown, Breakthrough as well, and there is so much pushback. “Really, Kathy – don’t take anything personally?”
People are toxic to be around when they believe that everything that happens in life is a direct assault on them or is in some way all about them. The reality is that what people say and do to you is much more about them, than you. People’s reactions to you are about their filters, and their perspectives, wounds and experiences. Whether people think you’re amazing, or believe you’re the worst, again, it’s more about them. I’m not saying we should be narcissists and ignore all feedback. I am saying that so much hurt, disappointment and sadness in our lives comes from our taking things personally when it’s far more productive and healthy to let go of others’ good or bad opinion of you, and to operate with your own heart, intuition and wisdom as your guide. So yes – don’t take anything personally.
Most entrepreneurs are all about tech. Gadgets, gear and advances in technology make you faster, more productive and better performing than ever before in history.
Yet, moving at the speed of today’s fast-paced world can have other effects, too. Poor sleep, constant connectivity and other modern-day realities are often the unintended consequences of a rapidly changing world.
While some cultural movements, such as the hipster sipping his artisan whiskey by his vinyl record player or the boho chic woman and her inner-flower-child style, might have seeped back into the popular consciousness, there are some more intriguing, shall we say, “vintage” practices that can enhance your life and skills today as an entrepreneur.
Here are three habits that haven't changed much over centuries that will positively affect you as an entrepreneur today.
There are few phrases more loaded than "I love you." New research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology examines who says it first–and how it's received. —Andrea Bartz
The vast majority of study subjects believed that women normally say "I love you" first, near the two month mark. Surprise: In more than 62 percent of relationships, the man said it first.
It's been a little over a year since Apple Computer started creating its own, in-house advertising agency to compete with Media Arts Lab, the unit that award-winning advertising agency TBWA/Chiat/Day had created specifically to serve Apple. "Whilst the Californian tech giants have worked on expanding their 1000 person in-house ad team in an effort to have greater control on their advertising strategies," says UK blog Creativepool in a July 4 post, "it is still actively collaborating with TBWA, even though since April, reports have stated that Apple is trying to distance itself from the agency."
So how are Apple's do-it-yourself advertising efforts working out? According to Ace Metrix research data compiled by Bloomberg, not so hot.
Of eight Apple television commercials tested on consumers, the three that scored most effective came from TBWA/MAL. The lowest-scoring of these scored 611 on the Ace Metrix 900-point scale, while the highest scorer of the in-house spots failed to break 600 and the group as a whole averaged 533.
Don't try this at home
Rob Siltanen, who wrote the copy for Apple's 1997 "Here's to the crazy ones" campaign, quotes an old adage by way of explanation. "There's a truism out there that applies," he says, "'The lawyer who represents himself in court has an idiot for a client.' It's very hard to have the necessary perspective to do the job right."
And perspective is what makes the difference between the TBWA spots and the in-house ones. The former were created from the consumers' perspective, the latter from the perspective of manufacturers who have fallen so in love with their collection of no doubt self-evidently ingenious product features that they're convinced the rest of the world will become instantly and completely enamored too.
Over the past few years, we have seen an explosion of startup activity as the traditional barriers to entry have come down. The ability to raise money no longer determines one’s fate. With lowered costs to build and run websites, acquire and retain users, virtually anybody can pick up coding and start a tech company.
At the same time, funding opportunities have expanded for early-stage startups. More money is flowing in from a new crop of angels, newly wealthy from a number of tech IPOs. AngelList makes it easier for founders to reach angels and there are hundreds of accelerators and incubators to choose from. On top of all this, crowdfunding has now become a viable funding option for many start-ups, particularly those hardware projects that have had a tough time getting funding from the VC circles.
But this boom landscape might change soon.
While the top of the funnel has grown with all the angel and early-stage activity, the bottom of the funnel is still roughly the same size (about 10-20 billion-dollar companies per year). We have all heard about the Series A crunch in the Valley (there might actually be up to 2,000 companies in the Series A pipeline right now), and perhaps there’s a Series B crunch now too.
Additionally, we need to watch out for two developments on the horizon. First, there will be a consolidation in the accelerator space, with the net effect of reducing the number of available spaces for start-ups. And, we should expect angel activity to drop as new angels discover that returns from their seed investments aren’t so easy to come by.
Any entrepreneur trying to navigate the financing landscape should be aware of the over-abundance of angel money compared with subsequent rounds. You need to assess early on if your business is venture-fundable. Is your opportunity at least $100 million? If not, revenue from your customers will be your best source of financing. That’s okay: many great companies have been built by bootstrapping.
There’s a lot of “easy” early-stage money floating around right now, but don’t get fooled into taking seed money if you don’t have a viable path for later rounds. It will just be leading you down the wrong track.
When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffett, their host at dinner, Gates’ mother, asked everyone around the table to identify what they believed was the single most important factor in their success through life. Gates and Buffett gave the same one-word answer: “Focus.” (See more in The Snowball by Alice Schroeder).
I love the clarity of their answer but I am also concerned by how this can be, to quote Rudyard Kipling, “twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools.” I am an advocate for focus in work, life and leadership. However, the subject has a nuance and depth that many people miss. For a start, most people think of there only being one kind of focus.
“The bigger the brain, the smarter the animal.” “Humans only use 10% of their brain.” “I’m creative, so I’m right-brained. You’re analytical, so you’re left-brained.”
There’s a good chance that you’ve heard a lot of false information about the brain. Some of these ideas have been repeated so many times for so long, they become commonly accepted as fact, even after science has long since disproved it.
Check out this video from AsapSCIENCE that puts the top seven myths about the brain to rest:
NASA’s Opportunity rover landed on Mars on January of 2004, and this week, it set a new off-Earth roving distance record, accruing just over 40 kilometers (25 miles) of driving.
“Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world," John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says in a news release. "This is so remarkable considering Opportunity was intended to drive about one kilometer and was never designed for distance.”
Long before Curiosity arrived on the scene, the rover pair Spirit and Opportunity were cruising on the Red Planet. They were each designed to operate for just 90 sols (or Martian days, about 24 hours and 39.5 minutes long), Ars Technica explains, and they both exceeded that lifespan. Spirit’s solar power arrays stopped generating electricity in 2010, and Opportunity is still chugging along after celebrating its 10th anniversary. In this time, this plucky rover has been helping us understand the composition of Mars, even sending back clues of past water activity.
“No one in their wildest dreams thought the rover would last this long,” Callas tells the Los Angeles Times. “People made bets early on -- ‘Maybe we can get to the first Martian winter,’ ‘Maybe we can get two years out of it’ -- but no one thought that it would last this long.”
Driving just 48 meters (157 feet) on July 27, 2014 put Opportunity's total odometry at 40.25 kilometers (25.01 miles). Its route is mapped above. This month's driving brought the rover southward along the western rim of Endeavour Crater; it arrived at this 22-kilometer (14-mile) wide crater in 2011. These sites show evidence of ancient environments with less acidic water than those examined at the rover’s landing site, inside the Eagle Crater.
It is always troubling to see how many people are falling victim to unhealthy lifestyle choices (sigh, not me). At times a glimpse of the latest obesity statistics in the headlines has prompted me to send a forward to an afflicted family member, or shoot a quick message to a friend that I know has been slacking at the gym: “Time to step up the cardio or else you’re going to look like this, man.”
That’s why I was shocked to read that recent research confirms a sedentary lifestyle is correlated with higher incidences of not just obesity, but cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer—and basically anything and everything that can slowly kill you, regardless of whether you exercise on a regular basis. In short, compensating for sitting around all day with a one hour high intensity workout at the gym is no defence; all office workers are doomed.
There is Hope: How to Avoid Death by Office Chair
Still in a state of shock, there was only one person I could bring myself to call, Occupational Therapist Matt Gereghty.
Not only does Matt know a thing or two about workplace health and safety but since I had a sinking feeling that the news was going to be bad I needed someone who could give me the prognosis with a side of humor (If you’ve read Matt’s blog, i.e. “Your wrists are like baby squirrels” you’ll understand).
Confirmed: Sitting All Day is Killing Us
“The trouble with prolonged sitting,” Matt tells me, “is that it puts the majority of our body into sleep mode and while seated, our largest muscles groups (our body's engine) are essentially turned off. This has a profound effect on our energy expenditure and metabolism."
"The fact that we are exposing ourselves to eight hours of low metabolism every day at the office, then one hour for the commute, two hours of television watching, etc. means that over time, our body is going to adapt to these horrible conditions - this is when we start to see health problems like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer," he added.