The NYTimes changes their narrative

Narratives aren’t fact.

Saint Paul

People love to think humans are persuaded by facts, that we’re rational beings, willing to weight the information in front of us, and even if we don’t like the outcome, we’re willing to change our minds in the face of truth.

Do you blindly weigh the facts available? Photo "Nighttime Jutice" by Rob Kroetz, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Do you blindly weigh the facts available? Photo “Nighttime Jutice” by Rob Kroetz, Flickr, CC-By-2.0


This pretty much never happens. Emotions… our tribe’s position… and what we want to believe… are far more important to us than boring old facts. Continue reading “The NYTimes changes their narrative”

Seeing is Believing

Millennials may think they’re a different breed.

Perhaps, the reasoning goes, because they grew up in a distracting environment… their brains have adapted to the distractions of our fast paced world!

"Brained" by Jose, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
“Brained” by Jose, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

I frequently hear, “Maybe this generation is different!”

Attempts to outlaw competitive sports or bullying rely on that same flawed belief — that somehow humans are reaching a new level of consciousness. Finally.

For all the drum-beating about “Science!” it’s amazing to see how many people Continue reading “Seeing is Believing”

10 Things I Learned from “Nudge” by Thaler and Sunstein

Most weekends, my wife and I make it a point to write out a dinner menu, spend an hour shopping, and prep for some dinners in the upcoming week.

It’s not the way we’d prefer to spend Sunday morning. It doesn’t matter. We know that having the menu ready and the food in the house is going to massively increase the chances that we will enjoy a home-cooked dinner.

"Mmmmm, Burgers!" by m01229, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
Restaurant food is always ready to please! “Mmmmm, Burgers!” by m01229, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

The ever-present alternative is restaurant food. I love restaurant food! It’s cooked, it’s salty and fatty and delicious, it’s exactly what I wanted, and I can get it brought right to my front door! Continue reading “10 Things I Learned from “Nudge” by Thaler and Sunstein”

I Smell a Rat! The Prisoner’s Dilemma

Did you know the original Universities were designed as Prisons to keep unruly young men caged up while their hormones drove risky behavior that threatened the local social harmony?

Rather than allow young people to take risks that help them to grow and experience life, we continue to indoctrinate them with social rules to help keep the order.

The risks available to busy students are far less violent than what may be the alternatives.

I don’t remember everything from University. There certainly weren’t a lot of dangerous risks in the small town where I studied.

Dorm life was a party — and we could smoke indoors! A “career” after graduation seemed a lifetime away. Econ 101 taught me the benefits of Free Trade.

I hated this class! Photo "Amherst63-012" by NealeA, Flickr, CC-By-2.0
I loved this class! Photo “Amherst63-012” by NealeA, Flickr, CC-By-2.0

And while I learned a lot I’m sure, there is plenty that I didn’t learn.

Maybe you, too?

•We didn’t learn how to start a business in university — the mindset of an entrepreneur.

•We didn’t learn how to create and maintain a budget — the mindset of habit.

•We didn’t learn to negotiate — the mindset of persuasion.

This is the reason I’ve started — to learn what I should know to understand what moves the human mind, and to share these concepts of influence with you. Continue reading “I Smell a Rat! The Prisoner’s Dilemma”

Good Luck? Bad Luck? Who knows?

Once there was a farmer whose frail old horse ran away. The farmer was unable to plow his fields without that old horse. All the people in town were concerned for the old man and his family, asking how he’d be able to handle his bad luck.

The farmer responded, “Bad Luck? Good Luck? Who knows?”

Later in the week, that horse returned with a pack of wild horses. The townspeople were excited for the old man’s fortune.

The farmer responded, “Good Luck? Bad Luck? Who knows?”

The following month was spent breaking the wild horses to work the farm and to sell. During this time, the farmer’s son fell off a horse and broke his leg.

By then everyone knew the farmer’s answer. “Bad Luck? Good Luck? Who knows?”

While the son was healing, the nation went to war. Every able-bodied male was conscripted to fight. The son with the broken leg was allowed to stay home while the neighbors’ sons went off to war.

Good Luck? Bad Luck? Who knows?

Is a flat tire Good luck or Bad luck? Photo "Changing a Tire" by Don O'Brien, Flick, CC-By-2.0
Is a flat tire Good luck or Bad luck?
Photo “Changing a Tire” by Don O’Brien, Flick, CC-By-2.0

We often see life’s events in terms of Good or Bad (or maybe even Good vs. Evil). Continue reading “Good Luck? Bad Luck? Who knows?”

In and Of Itself with Derek DelGauido

What has four legs, a long nose, two large ears, and a tail, and is immovable?

Could five blind men work together to answer that question?

Early in December of 2017, I saw the elephant in the room. I mean, I think I did.

Daryl Roth Theater, Manhattan
Daryl Roth Theater, Manhattan

I was an hour into Derek DelGaudio’s show about identity in the small Daryl Roth theater in Manhattan. Continue readingIn and Of Itself with Derek DelGauido”

Living with Happiness

The Secret calls it Living in Bliss.

Tony Robins calls it Living in a Beautiful State.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls it the Flow.

Lao Tzu wrote about Tao, the Way of the Universe, in the 4th century BCE.

Whatever name you give it, when you are happy your life is much better. Time disappears. Everything seems easier.

I have the Chinese character of Tao hanging on my wall among the photos that make me happy.
I have the Chinese character of Tao hanging on my wall among the photos that make me happy.

Imagine a pleasant summer morning. The world seems a bit lazier today. You hear the birds singing as you make your way to work. The sunlight warms your head. You hear your favorite song just before you arrive. Your smile is mirrored back to you by a coworker.

You know it’s going to be a great day. Confirmation bias will help to ensure it. Continue reading “Living with Happiness”