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Arianna Huffington: Our Macho Culture of 24/7 Work is a Delusion. Mindfulness is the antidote.
Arianna Huffington argues that mindfulness meditation is a necessary antidote to America's unhealthy work culture.
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of fourteen books. Her newest book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder was published by Crown in March 2014 and debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Since launching in 2005, The Huffington Post has become one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.
Huffington has been named to Time Magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union.She serves on several boards, including HuffPost's partners in Spain, the newspaper EL PAÍS and its parent company PRISA; Onex; The Center for Public Integrity; and The Committee to Protect Journalists.
Arianna Huffington: Unquestionably mindfulness enhances as you’ve said in your book our clarity of thought. Unquestionably. And both anecdotally and scientifically we can prove that point. One of the main reasons is because by allowing us to be in the moment, it means we don’t stay with what just happened. And that’s one of the reasons that Phil Jackson, now the coach of the Knicks has given for making mindfulness mandatory as part of the Knicks training which I love. I love having elite athletes incorporating mindfulness into their training. And the reason Phil Jackson gives is that he said you’re always going to make mistakes, you know, on the field or in the court. The question is can you then move on and be fully present. Otherwise you’re going to carry the mistake with you and your actions and your decisions are going to be impaired because of that.
Well the same applies to life. If I’m still smarting over something that happened that I’m not happy with, when the moment comes for me to make another decision already on to something new, it’s going to affect that particular moment’s decision.
Maria Konnikova: It’s interesting that you mention professional athletes. One of the things that strikes me about the mindfulness research — and you mention a lot of this in your book is just how broadly it’s been adapted. I mean it’s not just athletes. We have the military doing studies with mindfulness. You have hedge fund managers like Ray Dalio saying that that’s part of their success. All of these people clearly have used it after they reach a certain elite point in their career and then they use mindfulness to almost transcend, you know, to get a step further, to be the athlete who’s not just a great athlete, but who can overcome the problems in the moment. Do you feel like there needs to be some work that has to happen beforehand?
Arianna Huffington: Not at all. And I think with athletes definitely we see them integrating mindfulness, meditation, training into their coaching right away. I think the reason why we have so many successful people who’ve accomplished a lot, who’ve burned out along the way, and have not exactly lived very mindfully is because our whole culture is drenched in the delusion that the only way to really succeed is to burn out. Understand when you go back and read Thomas Edison inventing the electric bulb and talking about how sleep is something to be completely contemptuous towards, the whole macho idealization of sleep deprivation and burnout, they are very, very deeply embedded in our culture, in our language, you know. We congratulate people for working 24/7. We congratulate people for being always on and so we have a lot of work to do to unravel that. And I think that a lot of people who’ve succeeded have done so despite the fact that they burned out along the way, not because of it.
And I have included in the book a lot of people who are sort of iconic in our culture like Steve Jobs saying that he came with his best ideas that led to the most iconic Apple products after Zen meditation. And he describes it very well saying this was when he could hear more subtle things. You know the idea that when you are multitasking you are more efficient is a complete illusion. And yet so many of us believe that. That’s why you walk the streets of New York and you see so many people who can’t walk without being on the phone or worse, walking and texting. And I was one of these people. I remember when I stopped doing that I started noticing things that I had completely missed. Like I remember going down the street where I live in SoHo and seeing this beautiful building and telling a friend this is such a beautiful building. And I said when did it go up? And she said 1890. And I wondered what else have I missed.
In conversation with How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes author Maria Konnikova, Arianna Huffington argues that mindfulness meditation is a necessary antidote to the US' unhealthy work culture, one that rewards long hours and the appearance of hard work over real focus and connectedness
This is the second video in an exclusive video series of today’s brightest minds exploring the theory of genius. Exclusive videos will be posted daily on youtube.com/bigthink throughout 92nd Street Y’s second annual 7 Days of Genius Festival: Venture into the Extraordinary, running March 1 to March 8, 2015.
Join us at 2 pm ET tomorrow!
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.
- Outplacement is an underperforming $5 billion dollar industry. A new non-profit coalition by SkillUp intends to disrupt it.
- More and more Americans will be laid off in years to come due to automation. Those people need to reorient their career paths and reskill in a way that protects their long-term livelihood.
- SkillUp brings together technology and service providers, education and training providers, hiring employers, worker outreach, and philanthropies to help people land in-demand jobs in high-growth industries.
Source: McKinsey Global Institute analysis [PDF]<p>Work in understanding the skills at the heart of the new digital economy is leading to novel assessments that allow individuals to prove mastery to faithfully represent their abilities—but also to give weight and stackability to the emerging ecosystem of micro-credentials that make education more seamless across time and education providers. And we are seeing the beginnings of a renewal in the liberal arts, focused on building human skills in affordable ways that are accessible to many more individuals and far more effective.</p><p>Amidst these dark times, there is much opportunity to refresh the nation's education and training solutions to support the success of individuals and society writ large.</p>