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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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You Are Not an Island. Three Steps to Building Real Relationships

April 25, 2013, 12:00 AM

Robert Kaplan is amazed at how often an executive will take a business trip with underlings and learn nothing about them. The former Goldman Sachs vice chairman says he is often surprised by his students at Harvard Business School as well. Students tend to come to him asking advice on a serious issue. Kaplan asks the students who else they have spoken to on the subject, and the answer is invariably no one.

In the age of social media we might have large networks but few if any real relationships. What is a real relationship? Kaplan defines it as one that involves three things: mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual understanding. 

In his book, What You're Really Meant to Do: A Roadmap for Reaching Your Unique Potential, Kaplan outlines three practical steps you can do to develop such a relationship with someone. They are:

Self-disclosure: You have to tell something about yourself to help that person understand you better. That doesn't mean something superficial like your favorite flavor of ice cream. Tell them something that is meaningful about who you are and where you came from. 

Inquiry: Ask someone a question that will help you understand them better. 

Seek advice: You are showing someone a great deal of respect when you ask for their advice. They will be flattered. 

Watch Kaplan explain the three steps here:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


You Are Not an Island. Thre...

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