To Get What You Want, Find Ways to Want it Less

Passion is a great motivator but having too much emotion riding on a particular job, promotion, or interview is a sure way to lose the interest of your professional colleagues.

Passion is a great motivator but having too much emotion riding on a particular job, promotion, or interview is a sure way to lose the interest of your professional colleagues.

Professional consultant David Jensen says that interviewers have a sixth sense, and when they detect that someone is desperate or overly eager for a kernel of success, they loose interest, preferring a candidate who appears to have a more balanced approach to the job—and to life.

Three decades into his professional career, Jensen says he still becomes extremely passionate about taking advantage of new opportunities. But an opportunist, or someone who thinks their own achievement is paramount (rather than the collective achievement of the organization), is not who most employers are looking for.

"What matters is not fulfilling your desires but what you can do for others—for the company, for science, for a cause you care about. When you recognize that, that sixth sense that interviewers have starts to work for you instead of against you."

What is needed is a redefinition of success. It no longer means personal achievement outside the context of community and corporation. Successful job seekers and employees derive their idea of success from what can be accomplished working with others within an organization.

As Malcolm Gladwell explains in his Big Think interview, responding to job interviews successfully can be more about making friends with your interviewer than trumpeting your own skills: 

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

Trauma in childhood leads to empathy in adulthood

It's not just a case of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Mind & Brain

  • A new study suggests children who endure trauma grow up to be adults with more empathy than others.
  • The effect is not universal, however. Only one kind of empathy was greatly effected.
  • The study may lead to further investigations into how people cope with trauma and lead to new ways to help victims bounce back.
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Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

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