Hello, and Happy Labor Day to all Riskologists worldwide.
For those who may not know, Labor Day is a holiday in the U.S. where we’re supposed to celebrate the work organized laborers in our country have done over the years to improve working conditions for all of us.
Today, though, the priority is mostly to take the day off, enjoy a long weekend and, perhaps, do some barbecuing.
And there’s an unspoken rule that goes something like this: “No talking about work on Labor Day!”
It’s a fine rule—it’s important not to spend all your time talking about work. But, if you lead a busy life—one where you often get to the end of the day and ask yourself, “What, exactly did I get done today?”—perhaps today is the pefect day to ask yourself, “What have I been laboring on?”… Continue Reading →
I’m sitting at home playing solitaire on my iPhone when the phone rings. I can’t recall the number, but it’s vaguely familiar. I answer, “Hello?”
“Hello, is this Tyler Ter….Tervoo….”
“Tervooren. Yes, this is him. How can I help you?”
“Hi, Mr. Terv…Terver…Terveren. I’d like to talk about settling your auto claim.”
It’s Ethan, the claims adjuster I’ve spoken to a few times now. I was recently in a rear-end collision, and Ethan has my car in his shop, estimating it for repairs. He explains the car is a “total loss”—they won’t fix it—and they’ll write me a check for its value instead.
He breaks out a bunch of insurance lingo—leaving me completely confused about what he’d just said (confusion may actually be a claims adjuster tactic)—but, at the end, tells me I can come into his office, sign a few papers, and be out the door with a check to go buy a new car.
I’m not quite sure what to do. Is this really the best offer to accept? The accident has definitely put a small speed bump in my daily schedule, and I’m eager to get back to normal, so the idea of settling up today and being done with it is tempting.
In a lot of situations, the best advice is this: When you don’t know what to do, do something. But is that always the best advice? Hell no!
… Continue Reading →
It’s a busy day on campus. Students are rushing to and from classes, checking their notes hurriedly before sitting down for yet another test.
It’s finals week at Stanford and, despite the demand on students time and attention, 41 who’d been paid $10 stopped in at the psychology department to take a brief survey. What was asked? Questions like, “How many unhealthy snacks have you eaten recently?” and “How often did you watch TV instead of studying?”
This wasn’t the first time they were asked. These same students were monitored over the course of a whole academic term—times when they were bored, stressed, under pressure, relaxed, etc.
What the researchers were looking for was a discernible pattern for the students who seemed to have no problem sticking to their goals of healthy eating, studying, and other good habits. They wanted to study people with superhuman willpower.
And this wasn’t the only test they ran, either. Using completely different students at different times, they conducted three more studies to control for a number of possible variables.
What they learned goes against many decades of research, but their findings are fascinating. Turns out, students showing massive amounts of willpower despite high levels of stress did one thing differently than those who struggled.
And what they did can be replicated. You can train yourself to do it, too, and reap the rewards of limitless willpower. Want to know what it is and how to do it?… Continue Reading →