Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Here’s Why That Coffee Just Isn’t Working For You

Sometimes we gorge on caffeine hoping it'll jump-start our attention and focus, but that's not actually how our brains work.

Angie McArthur: So the first strategy of mind patterns is really about how we each uniquely communicate, understand, and learn. This is like the hardwiring of your brain. It has nothing to do with personality; it's really the operating system of your mind. And it starts with attention. Attention is how we attend to things in the world. And what most people don't realize is that there's more than one way of paying attention. We consider attention in one form, paying attention. If you imagine my hands as your mind, this is focused attention. This is where details are apparent; this is where you have a lot of concentration. The mind also moves into a second state of attention. This is sorting attention. This is where confusion happens. This is where you're listening or experiencing something and you're attaching it to your own stories, your own history. This is where the brain is deciding am I going to keep this piece of information or am I going to discard it?

The third state of attention is open-wide, wonder. This is where insight happens. This is where you ah-ha moments. In this culture, we tend to only value this state of attention. We will caffeinate ourselves. We will do anything to keep in this state of attention. However, in order to have the type of breakthroughs that we so desperately need, we have to give ourselves space and time to go into these wider states of attention. The interesting thing is we each do that in a different way. And so for some, visual information is very important, it helps them focus. For others, kinesthetic information or hands-on experiences will help them remain focused. This is the person you may see fidgeting around a lot or moving a lot. What their mind is actually doing is trying to pay attention. And still for others, auditory information helps them keep focused. They're very quick with their words. The language they use is very ornate.

Similarly to get into an open state of attention, for some to get up in the back of a meeting room and pace around helps them have that insight, that ah-ha, that breakthrough. But, if we're in that meeting room I may look at that person and go, "Oh my gosh why are they standing up and walking around?" I may feel disrespected, when in fact we understand these types of diversities through the lens of mind patterns with one another. Instead of seeing that person as being difficult we actually are recognizing that their mind needs something different in that moment in order to think.

We tend to operate as if "paying attention" is uniform across human nature. As Angie McArthur, co-author of the new book Collaborative Intelligence, explains in this video, the brain's hardwiring points to several different states of attention. There's a focused, details-centric attention; there's a sorting attention wherein the mind attempts to un-confuse itself; and then there's the most highly valued "open, wide, wonder" form of attention. It's from this last form that our big ideas and ah-ha moments are derived. Naturally, we want to reside in this state of attention as much as possible when working on our projects. According to McArthur, reaching that state is a different process for everybody. It's important for companies and collaborators to facilitate environments in which all team members are able to comfortably enter their respective states of wonder-based attention.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

Keep reading Show less

The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

Videos
  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
Keep reading Show less

Masturbation boosts your immune system, helping you fight off infection and illness

Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?

Image by Yurchanka Siarhei on Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
  • The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
  • Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
Keep reading Show less

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

Quantcast