The last of the human freedoms

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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It is not the critic who counts

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” 

Excerpt from the famous speech of Franklin D Roosevelt, “Citizenship In A Republic”. Delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April 1910. 

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“A blazing fire makes flame and brightness out of everything that is thrown into it.”

– Marcus Aurelius

Starting off in good earnest

A lazy tramp sauntering along the road saw an old man sitting at the door of his house and stopped to inquire of him the whereabouts of a certain place. “How far is such and such a village?” he asked.

The old man remained silent.

The man repeated his query several times. Still, there was no answer. Disgusted at this, the traveller turned to go away. The old man then stood up and said, “The village of __ is only a mile from here.

What!” said the tramp, “Why did you not speak when I asked you before?”

Because then“, said the old man. “you seemed so halting and careless about proceeding, but now you are starting off in good earnest, and you have a right to an answer.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

– Marcus Aurelius


1 Minute Read: Want to be well perceived?

Have you ever thought that saying “thank you” can help you to build new relationships? A study conducted by the University of New South Wales has shown for the first time that thanking a new acquaintance for their help makes them more likely to seek an ongoing social relationship with you.

Expressing gratitude changes how others perceive you. “Saying thank you provides a valuable signal that you are someone with whom a high-quality relationship could be formed,” says UNSW psychologist Dr Lisa Williams, who conducted the research with Dr Monica Bartlett of Gonzaga University in the US.


Old-fashioned good manners and a simple thank you are among the best ways to establish new relationships, UNSW research shows

If you can make it memorable, for instance, to write a handwritten thank-note, it can be miraculous. It makes others feel important to perceive you as someone who should be reciprocated with the equally generous intent.

Thank you for taking time to read it! 🙂


Before You Choose a Workplace

Choose a career instead of a company


See what your career goals and learning objectives, whether you aspire to work in a multinational organisation or in a startup are. If it is not a good match of your career goals, you are in oblivion. 

Explore the soul of an organisation, see if you can marry her

Choosing an organisation is like choosing a bride, wisest choice you ever make. 

Seek what inspires you


There is no scientific process, no algorithm, to inspire you to do something extraordinary unless you do what you feel like doing.

PEOPLE

People make organisations. Do not fall into the trap of tags, look for empathetic, hardworking and inspiring people.

Money is short-term, Career is long-term

Money is a temporary solution to  a permanent problem. 

The Eight Factors of Persistence

DEFINITENESS OF PURPOSE: Knowing what one wants is the first and, perhaps, the most important step towards the development of persistence. 

DESIRE: One has to desire something with all the heart and mind, to put the action in place. 

SELF-BELIEVE: Know thyself.

DEFINITENESS OF PLANS: Plan what you can conceive, and compare it with what you have achieved. Make corrections, additions and subtractions. 

ACCURATE KNOWLEDGE: Do not guess, know it. Search for reliable information, analyse it. Talk to mentors, have their point of view. 

COOPERATION: Sympathy, understanding, and harmonious cooperation with others tend to develop persistence. 

WILL POWER: Nothing is possible if you have enough will to make it happen. Minimize noise, maximise concentration. Visualise your goal to keep yourself focused. 

HABIT: Persistence is the direct result of habit. The mind absorbs and becomes a part of the daily experiences upon which it feeds. Repetition is mighty. 

Mary Kom: A Life of Lessons

How did Mary Kom celebrate after becoming the first woman boxer to win six gold medals at the World Championships? Sitting on the ringside steps, huddled with coaches, she cried. And the more the crowd cheered, the more the tears flowed.

She is the only woman to become World Amateur Boxing champion for a record six times, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the seven world championships.

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A 35 years old woman, a mother of 3, her life itself a lesson: 

IT DOES NOT MATTER WHERE YOU COMING FROM, WHAT MATTERS IS WHERE YOU GOING 

Born to parents who were landless agricultural labour in the state of Manipur in Northeast India, she becomes a legend defying every odd.

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER

Life is not a set of pre-defined rules, you have to write yours. At 35, mother of 3, she is power punches to dismantle any opponent in minutes.

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS

Her years of hard work, the refusal to give up, pushing every boundary there was. The thrill, the joy of winning, the successes. The Olympic bronze, the 2020 Olympic dream, the unstoppable spirit.

USE EVERY SITUATION TO BUILD YOUR DREAMS

A childhood of hard labour prepared her body for the sport just as well as any fitness training might have. Her own will and aggression carry her through the minefield of politics that any sport in India is. Nimble of foot and pulling no punches, the boxing ring was Mary’s dominion

Mary’s story is one of relentless struggle and unflagging passion for the sport of boxing.

 

Behavioural Science Behind: Why Supreme Court orders were defied on Diwali

Even three days after Diwali, the air quality remains in the ‘severe’ category in Delhi. The Supreme Court’s orders were defied, and firecrackers were used extensively, resulting in thick smog that engulfed Delhi and NCR region.

Supreme Court is a highly respected and legitimate authority in India, despite being its order of regulating timings (between 2000 to 2200 hours) of burning fire-crackers on Diwali, the fire-show went on way beyond. Crackers were burned by the people of Delhi even knowing the ongoing hazard of air pollution in the capital city.

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Image Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle

Why it had happened, how it could have been handled, what are the possibilities of the future? Behavioural sciences have some answers:

Nudging:

“A nudge is an aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s Behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Putting fruit at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning junk food does not.” (Thaler & Sunstein 2008)

Without giving an option of green fire-crackers, it is almost impossible to stop people from bursting crackers. People are irrational, restricting their choices make them curious and offender of breaking the barrier. Just like kids often do what you stop them from doing. It is almost impossible to have a reasonable effect of such restricting orders, especially when dealing with the general public.

The Psychology of All or Nothing: We, as an individual, manage to undermine our contribution and tend to think of ‘all or nothing’. A change starts from an individual and spreads all over.

Bystander Effect: The bystander effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation. 

If we wait everyone to act before we act, no one will ever act before its too late.

Availability Heuristics: Availability is a heuristic whereby people make judgments about the likelihood of an event based on how easily an example, instance, or case comes to mind.

Celebrities should talk about air pollution on social media, the government should extensively campaign its hazard and solutions, politicians should refrain from making it a religious issue. Let people aware of it, let it trending on minds, the way it worked in decreasing tobacco consumption.

 

Do you have anything in your mind related to the application of behavioural economics in this situation? Feel free to write me at: sourav.raina@alumni.ie.edu

 

The science of first impression: How TWO words can change everything about you

Our propensity to label people, ideas or things based on our initial opinions of them is so high, that even two simple words have the power to influence it.

handshake

Here’s the experiment. A class of MIT students were told that their economics professor was out of town and therefore a substitute instructor would be filling in. The students received a brief bio describing him. Half the students received this version:

Mr._____ is from the Department of Economics and Social Science here at MIT. He has had three semesters of teaching experience in psychology at another college. This is his first-semester teaching Economics 70. He is 26 years old, a veteran, and married. People who know him consider him to be a very warm person, industrious, critical, practical, and determined.

The second half received the same bio. Only two words had been changed:

Mr._____ is from the Department of Economics and Social Science here at MIT. He has had three semesters of teaching experience in psychology at another college. This is his first-semester teaching Economics 70. He is 26 years old, a veteran, and married. People who know him consider him to be a rather cold person, industrious, critical, practical, and determined.

At the end of the class, each student filled out an identical questionnaire about the substitute instructor. Most students from the first group that received the bio describing him as ‘very warm’, loved him. They described him as good-natured, considerate, informal, sociable, popular, humorous and humane. Though the students in the second group sat in the same class, same session, most of these students saw him as self-centered, formal, unsociable, unpopular, irritable, humourless and ruthless!

Just two words have the power to alter our perception of another person and possibly sour the relationship before it even begins. Once we get a label in mind, we don’t notice things that don’t fit within the category. Labeling is important for us to go through the regular day bombarded with information so that we can organize and simplify. But it also prevents us from seeing things as they are.

Source:

Harold Kelley (University of Michigan) – The warm-cold variable in first impression of persons, Journal of Personality 18, no 4 (1950): 431-439.

Summarised by: Behavioural Design

 

10 forms of content that work best for SEO

Search engines have two primary functions: crawling and building an index, and providing search users with a ranked list of the websites they’ve determined are the most relevant. Great Content encourages people to link to your pages and shows Google your pages are exciting and reliable. This leads to a successful SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION  because Google wants to show interesting and authoritative pages in its search results.

Having ranked higher in SEO helps you to gain organic traffic on your website, and the majority of search engines users are more likely to click on one of the top 5 suggestions in the results pages (SERPS).

Here is the type of content that works best for SEO:

1. Blog posts: Blog posts that are updated regularly with quality content and links directing to the relevant information.
e.g. Four roads we call customer service ranks for seth.blog

2. Short-form content and articles: Short, quick and easy read that is well structured.
e.g. Jim Collin’s Piece on Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals ranks for BHAG

3. Long-form articles: Articles that are interesting, informative and well written.
e.g. Nudged: How Brands Can Create a Difference by Using Behavioural Economics (Via souravraina.com)

4. Photo and visual galleries:  Visualisation is easily understood by the brain without making many efforts. Also, recent developments in the technology of reading data from pictures make it irreplaceable content for SEOs.

e.g. Right Hairstyle’s 100 Cool Short Hairstyles for Men/ (ranks for men’s hairstyles)

5. Detailed and information-rich lists of information: There are 1.2 trillion searches on Google every year and many of them are for informational purposes.
e.g. Wearable’s Best Fitness Trackers of 2016 (ranks for Fitness Trackers)

6. Interactive tools and content got some good examples of those.
e.g. Zoopla’s House Prices Tool (ranks for property prices)

7. Comprehensive category landers: This would be like if you search for kitchen designs, how you might land on Houzz’s page of various kitchen designs and that’s really a lander to get you into more content, so it’s not technically a content marketing piece by itself, but it leads you into content pieces or could.
e.g. HGTV’s Kitchen Ideas (ranks for kitchen remodelling ideas)

8. Multi-page guides: things like Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
e.g. Bates University’s “Painless Guide to Statistics” (ranks for statistics guide)

9. Data or complex information that is visualized
e.g. CNN’s Election Results (ranks for election results 2016)

10. Video: YouTube or embedded video on a particular page, Whiteboard Friday itself is an example of that.
e.g. Whiteboard Friday itself (ranks for Unique Content)