"I have fear"

There’s a common mistranslation that causes us trouble. We say, “I am afraid,” as if the fear is us, forever. We don’t say, “I am a fever” or “I am a sore foot.” No, in those cases, we acknowledge that it’s a temporary condition, something we have, at least for now, but won’t have forever….

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On being discovered

Wouldn’t that be great? Great if you could share all your wisdom on a popular podcast, or be featured on Shark Tank? Great if you had a powerful agent or bureau or publisher? Great if you could get admitted to an internship program that would lead to a well-attended gig on the main stage? Great…

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Sloppy science

We can measure it. For decades, every single year, scientists have visited the Galapagos and measured the beaks of a particular species of finch. And year after year, with each generation, the beaks change, exactly as we’d expect from the weather patterns of the year before. Evolutionary biology works, and rigorous data collection backs it up….

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"But we needed the eggs"

Addiction to substances has been around ever since someone fermented grapes a million years ago. The opioid epidemic is the latest addiction tragedy, brought on by greed and disinformation. It took longer for behavioral addictions to arrive, but they’re just as real. The ASAM defines it: Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in…

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Questions for the underinformed

For the jingoistic sign carrier, the impatient shareholder, the late-night goofball and the nascent entrepreneur in search of cash… We’ve heard your rants, your threats, your plans. We understand that you are in a hurry for a simple, dramatic, obvious solution to whatever problem you face.  “And then what happens?” “Has this ever worked before?”…

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Waves are free

When someone lets you into the flow of traffic, or holds a door, or takes a second to acknowledge you, it’s possible to smile and offer a wave in response. This, of course, costs you nothing. It creates a feeling of connection, which is valuable. It makes it more likely that people will treat someone…

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An audience of one

More than ever, people, lots of people, hordes of anonymous people, can watch what you do. They can see your photos, like your posts, friend your digital avatar. An essentially infinite collection of strangers are in the audience, scoring you, ranking you, deciding whether or not you’re succeeding. If you let them. The alternative is…

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Seeing and believing

It turns out that the more you watch TV, the more you believe that the world is dangerous. It turns out TV watchers believe that an astonishing 5% (!) of the population works in law enforcement. And it turns out that the more you watch TV the less optimistic you become. Cultivation theory helps us understand the enormous…

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Appearing to care

We know that your customers will put up with imperfect, but one thing that they’d like in return is for you to care. Marketers keep making big promises, and organizations struggle to keep those promises. Sooner or later, it leads to a situation where the broken promise arrives on the customer’s lap. In that moment,…

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Bought

How much does it cost you in tolls to drive across town? In most cities, the answer is nothing. How much does it cost you to take a bus or subway across town? In most cities, if it’s available at all, quite a bit. How did that come to be? Mass transit is safer, cleaner…

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