Understanding the psychology of distraction can help you stay on task

Could your urge to check emails — instead of finishing that major project — be a response to an uncomfortable emotional state?

  • It's easy to stumble down a rabbit hole when we consider the action beneficial like checking emails, stock prices, or sports scores.
  • However, if these seemingly beneficial actions take the place of something else we intended to do, they're just distractions. And we've been moved to these distraction as a psychological response to discomfort.
  • The truth is that distraction comes from within, and time management is just another form of pain management.
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How does academic freedom change society for good?

Even the most controversial research conducted by scholars can impact cultures and drive progress.

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  • Academic freedom is, at the same time, absolutely critical and underappreciated.
  • This protection drives innovation and progress, but do we take it for granted? Scholars' ability to conduct controversial research impacts culture and society in a positive way.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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Are passwords obsolete? Thoughts from a famous fraudster.

In the next two to three years we'll see passwords go away in a way that's long overdue.

  • When we look at online breaches, about 86 percent of the time the hacks have to do with passwords. Because of this, many security experts believe we need to move away from using them.
  • Consequently, we've now developed the technology to do just that. For instance, we now have a technology called Trusona — it stands for "true persona." The technology recognizes the individual, more accurately, based on their device.
  • Many industries are already switching to this method of identity verification. Airlines are already switching, banks are switching, universities, too, are switching.
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The right to know: How does censorship affect academics?

When academics and journalists forego sharing their findings, out of intimidation, we all lose out.

  • Academic freedom is what makes a university space work as a setting to develop students' capacities. It is the permission to think freely, and have contrarian discussions, that leads to new insights.
  • There are whole zones of knowledge that we never get to because of intimidation put on academics: "We simply don't know what we haven't even thought to ask."
  • Self-censorship, especially regarding sensitive topics, is the dark matter of the academic freedom universe. Out of fear of being attacked, or their families being harmed, some journalists and scholars will forego publishing their findings.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.

Dehumanization has been trending for decades. Here’s how.

There is greater social distance between Americans than ever before.

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  • There has been a trend toward dehumanization the past four or five decades. This dehumanization has made it easier for us to see others more as commodities than as co-citizens.
  • This dehumanization manifests in four different pillars: political polarization, income inequality, automation, and marketization.
  • Whether through political splits, or income differences, there is more social distance between us than ever before. This distance makes it easier for us, out of ignorance, to treat others in ways that are inhumane.
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Defining values is one thing, living them is another

This is how companies can better align with the values they claim to uphold.

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  • Defining corporate values is increasingly important to organizations and society—which is why consulting firms are making millions of dollars helping organizations define their values. What we're seeing consistently, says social innovator Aaron Hurst, is this is not working.
  • You can print values on posters and talk about them at conferences, but these values often fail to become part of the fabric of the organization. They remain upper-management-speak.
  • You could start to fix that problem in one hour, says Hurst. Try his recommended exercise: Connect your employees in pairs and ask them to talk about how a given value has shown up in their career, what does it mean to them? Values are only legitimate if everyone in your company can tell genuine stories about how those values have shown up in their daily jobs.
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Navigating reality: It’s all about perspective

Learn to level up your thinking on how you perceive reality.

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  • Social philosopher Daniel Schmachtenberger explains why the capacity to hold the relationships between many perspectives at once can inform our choice-making and help us navigate reality.
  • Transperspectival thinking is useful in the abstract—like Schmachtenberger's example of two tribes of dimensional beings—as well as in the real world.
  • Try to recall this lesson on transperspectival thinking during your next political debate or discussion and see how it may change your reactions and the way you navigate political realities.
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