Tag Archives: People
Americans could be forgiven for becoming numb to the swarm of stories reporting gun massacres. In the last five years, ordinary Americans have been murdered in mass shootings in a synagogue, in churches, at elementary and high schools, at a nightclub, at a bar, at a music festival, at a center for people with developmental disabilities, among countless others. After a shooting in Isla Vista, California, in 2014, The Onion wrote, “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”
The Onion got it right—at least for the “only nation” bit. The US is the only country where this keeps happening. And the US also claims the dubious distinction of being the only rich nation to see so many deaths from firearms, as the chart below shows. (We kill ourselves even more than we kill each other: Worldwide, the US ranks second only to Greenland in the rate of suicides by firearm; when you remove suicides from the equation, the US falls to number 28 worldwide for deaths from firearms, both from violent acts and accidents. But even subtracting suicides, the US’s death rate from guns remains far ahead of every single European nation and nearly every Asian one.)
Most countries that see high rates of gun violence are also economically depressed; El Salvador, for example, which claims the world’s highest rate of deaths from gun violence, has a per capita GDP of around $ 4,000—roughly 7 percent of the earnings per citizen in the US. The chart below shows that, generally, it’s the poorer countries that see high rates of violence, while rich countries—Luxembourg tops the list—tend to lose very few residents to gunfire. The US, again, stands alone for having a relatively high GDP per capita (number 8 worldwide) and a high level of gun violence (number 12 worldwide).
Rich countries that see virtually no deaths from firearms include Japan, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and South Korea, according to data from the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease survey.
Unsurprisingly, firearm deaths are correlated with firearm proliferation. American companies manufacture millions of guns each year and import many more. Domestic firearm manufacturing increased dramatically during President Barack Obama’s first term, in part because of fears that, after eight years of a Republican White House, a pro-gun-control president would take away citizens’ weapons.
That didn’t happen. By 2017 the number of handguns, shotguns, and rifles available in the United States was nearly three times higher than it was two decades earlier, according to the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Today, the US boasts more firearms than residents.
Canada, for its part, may have a lot of guns as well, as the chart below shows, but its citizens don’t often die from gunfire; the country ranks 72nd in the world for deaths from firearms. Despite having one firearm per every three Canadians, the country’s death rate from gun violence is about one-tenth that of the US (though still four times that of the UK). While mass shootings have been on the rise in Canada, only 223 Canadians died from firearm violence in 2016, compared with more than 14,000 in the US. Prospective gun buyers in Canada must pass a reference check, background check, and a gun-safety course before receiving a firearm license; the country also imposes a 28-day waiting period for new gun licensees. The AR-15 rifle—which was used to kill high school students in Parkland, Florida, moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado, and worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue, among many others—is a “restricted” firearm in Canada, meaning owners must pass an additional test and obtain a special license.
If Barack Obama had succeeded in passing stronger gun laws, would it have helped save lives? Maybe. On a state-by-state basis, there’s a general correlation between stronger gun laws and lower rates of firearm deaths. A May 2018 paper in JAMA Internal Medicine that sought to evaluate whether strong gun laws resulted in fewer deaths concluded, “Strengthening state firearm policies may prevent firearm suicide and homicide, with benefits that may extend beyond state lines.” Still, a February 2018 analysis by The New York Times found that most weapons used in mass shootings had been obtained legally.
The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gives the states of Alaska and Louisiana a failing grade for their gun-safety laws; those states also claim the nation’s highest per capita rate of deaths from firearms. Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey all receive higher marks for their laws and have comparatively lower death rates from guns.
But as long as it’s easy for firearms to be transported from, say, a gun-friendly state (like Nevada) to a state with strong gun laws (like California), as long as lawmakers fail to enact strong policies to restrict sales to people with mental illnesses or a history of violence, as long politicians continue to take money from the gun industry, as long as the gun lobby continues to pressure medical doctors to stop advocating for their patients with bullet wounds, and as long as a box of ammunition for an AR-15 rifle costs $ 20 for 50 rounds, the shootings will no doubt continue.
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Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
As the year begins to stagger to a close, you start to look around you, hoping that you’re still acceptable to the world.
Sometimes, it’s hard to know.
You’ve been working so hard. You’re been manically pursuing goals you wrote on a napkin in a particularly seedy bar.
And you still don’t remember how you got home from that bar.
Could it be, though, that those you work with think you’ve lost it?
Well, here’s a simple test. If you know — and use — the following five words, you’re still au fait with the world’s direction.
If not, woe is you.
We’ll start with one that surely everyone knows: Floss.
Ah, but wait. This isn’t the meaning associated with slipping a piece of string between your teeth.
Instead, it’s a little dance that people perform if they want to look especially silly.
You performed it in that seedy bar, didn’t you? That’s a relief.
Alright, let’s move on to VAR.
Yes, it’s easy to get your acronyms in a twist. VAR doesn’t stand for Variable Accounting Regimen. Nor is it Vineyard Arrest Record.
Instead — surely you knew this — it’s Video Assistant Referee, the device that tries to help soccer referees make the correct decision and still manages to occasionally fail.
You must know Gammon.
No, it’s not something to do with meat. Some might say, however, that it’s something to do with meatheadedness.
For the Collins definition is: “A person, typically male, middle-aged, and white, with reactionary views, especially one who supports the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union.”
Oh, you didn’t know? How reactionary of you.
Then there’s the most difficult of these words: Plogging.
No, I’d never heard of it either. It’s apparently the practice of jogging while picking up litter. Or picking up little while jogging.
But doesn’t stopping to pick up litter defeat the cumulative aerobic effects of jogging?
I’m plogged if I know.
Finally — and the winner in Collins’ great race — is Single-Use.
Surely everyone knows and uses this. Well, at least once.
Single-Use describes the greatest scourge of our times, I’m told.
These are products that made to be used once and then thrown away. Yes, like T-shirts from H&M.
Please don’t let that happen to you.
If you aren’t familiar with these five words, you, too, could be a one-year wonder, there to be thrown away by capricious rivals or recalcitrant employees.
That might turn you into a Gammon.
None of us are supposed to be static beings. We’re supposed to learn, to sweeten like wine over time into something better than we were yesterday. We constantly laud that idea. When we finally go to practice self-improvement, though, something quirky happens–people who once promised their support withdraw to the background or seem grumpier than a woodchuck with a toothache.
Why does this happen? Research led by Lydia Emery from Northwestern University might offer a clue, as summarized by Ashley Lyles in Psychology Today. Over several studies, individuals thought about how their partners had changed. They indicated how much previous or anticipated support or resistance they had to those changes. Researchers had the individuals self-assess how clear they were about their self-concept, as well.
The researchers found that, when people had lower clarity about their self-concept, they generally were not as supportive of their partner changing. The team concluded that this was because the individuals worried that changes in their partner meant they would have to change, too. Without a solid idea of who they were on their own, they were unsettled not knowing how the partners would redefine them.
While this work focused on more intimate, romantic relationships, it’s reasonable to believe that the same results could happen with anybody we feel deeply connected to. This includes family members who help with entrepreneurial efforts, mentors or team members you’ve bonded with. It’s human nature to cling to familiarity to some degree, and because we use external validation to form and confirm our perception of ourselves, it can be scary to see those we see as our foundation become willing to shift. We have to face the question of whether the changes we see somehow will alter our future or, worse, break the connection with the person who means so much to us.
So it’s not that people don’t care about what you want to do. In fact, they probably really want you to achieve and reach your goals. It’s just that they need to know who they are without you. You can help them figure that out by
- Encouraging them to try new things
- Asking for their opinion
- Inquiring about what they want or value
- Getting them more information or resources to explore their hobbies and interests
- Tactfully pointing out both strengths and weaknesses in a positive way
- Connecting them with new people
- Stepping back so they can take more control
- Encouraging them to try again after mistakes
- Taking time to listen about deeper experiences that can fuel fear and timidity
The more you build the other person up through these strategies, the more they’ll be able to stand on their own. And once that happens, you should see their support of your self-improvement go up, too.
Published on: Oct 18, 2018
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
When I book flights, I try to be patient.
Perhaps like many people, I go to Kayak or Google Flights, and hope to find everything that’s available.
Then, I might wait a few days to see if prices go up or down, depending on the urgency of my booking.
It’s like playing with your cat, really. Most of the time, Tibkins is quicker. Just occasionally, though, you get him.
The accusation was that Delta Air Lines made ordinary Economy Class flights appear as if they were Premium Economy when booked via Google Flights.
Or, as the Points-Saving God puts it: “Delta displays economy prices for Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy, and at no point during booking does it actually specifically tell you you’ve got the wrong deal.”
In essence, if you go through the Google Flights search process, wanting to book, say, return flights from London to LAX, you get what seems like a wonderful deal.
If you book via Delta’s site rather than its partner Virgin Atlantic’s, that is.
The price difference is more than $ 1,000. Which is clearly the very definition of a steal.
Because you like saving money and feelings clever, you click on that deal and still believe you’re booking Premium Economy.
It’s just that, if you look closely, it has a novel and delightful name: Economy Delight.
This is actually Virgin’s fancy name for something that’s slightly better than so-called Economy Classic, but is still very much Economy Class and not the wider seats and more pleasant experience of Premium Economy.
Which Virgin calls, oddly, Premium Economy.
For all you know, however, Economy Delight is what Delta calls Premium Economy.
There are so many names these days.
And nowhere, said God Save The Points, is it clear that it isn’t. After all, why are you being shown this option when you searched for Premium Economy fares?
I asked Delta for its view.
An airline spokeswoman told me:
Delta recognizes the limitations of some current shopping experience on third-party sites may not be ideal. That’s why we are leading industry collaboration to ensure customers have access to all of Delta’s products, no matter where they shop.
Ah, so it’s Google Flights’ fault?
Delta seems to think so. Its spokeswoman continued:
It’s time for third-party displays, including Google Flights, to invest in the technology necessary to display the various products available so customers can view all their options clearly, just as Delta has done for customers on delta.com.
An airline mocking Google’s technology? That resembles entertainment.
So I asked the Silicon Valley company for its reaction and will update, should I hear.
I remained perplexed. If Virgin Atlantic’s fares are accurately depicted, why aren’t Delta’s?
I was so moved by all this that I tried the search for myself.
I got very similar results to God Save The Points.
Not exactly close.
I clicked through to Delta’s site and there it was, the Economy Delight designation.
Only if I scrolled down would I see that an upgrade to Premium Economy would cost an additional $ 257.75 each way.
This all feels a touch unhealthy.
Delta says it’s the champion of the people, but airlines aren’t always so keen to play with third-party sites, where many people go to make comparisons.
Risibly, the airlines’ lobbying group claims this is all intended to increase, please wait for it, transparency.
It might even, say the comparison sites’ lobbyists, threaten the ability of fare comparison sites to operate.
Worse, the airlines seem to believe that third-party sites should deliver all the detailed information that airlines have, yet those same airlines refuse, in some cases, to give those sites that very information.
Which all should make emptors do a lot of caveating.
And we thought technology is going to make things easier.
Easier for corporations, perhaps.
If you are a business leader who believes that mindset is a critical part of your success, you probably listen to motivational lectures, attend seminars and read mindset books. While these activities contribute to cultivating a positive mindset, the one thing almost everyone overlooks in working with their mind is how they perceive their results.
The most common mistake entrepreneurs make is to only focus on what is working. They visualize an outcome and when it comes to fruition, they pat themselves on the back for a job well done. Then, when they do not get the desired result they do not know how to use that outcome to their benefit to grow.
Some dismiss the bad outcome as a fluke or bad timing and move on to work harder until they get what they want. Others beat themselves up for not doing it right and they feel they are flawed and search for some broken part of themselves to heal so they can control a positive result.
Instead of blaming yourself or moving on too quickly, stop and examine the results you are getting to understand yourself in a deeper way. There is gold in the result and here is why. Most of what drives your thinking and action is unconscious, the result reveals something very important about the intention you are putting into your business activities.
Here are some simple questions to ask yourself when you are triggered by a poor result to gain insight into what is happening in your mind and how you can turn it around.
What is the feeling that is triggered when I think of this result?
Are you feeling an intense emotion such as fear, anger, or desperation? If so, this is the energy you are unconsciously carrying as you do your business activities. You may be trying to think positive, but the true intention is to get a result to suppress deep feelings of fear or desperation. If I make this sale or get this deal, I will feel more secure. Your reaction to the result reveals your true intention — to feel secure.
Why does getting this result trigger this emotion?
Examine your thinking and listen to the stories your mind spins about the result. Many people hear stories about how they are not good enough, how they will look bad to others and realize how much emotional security is tied up in this result. Look at what you are attached to and how you take this result way too personally, when it is just business.
How can I act with non-attachment to results whether they are good or bad?
Here is some eastern wisdom that has made such a difference in how I do business. There will always be results in business, good and bad, and you cannot consciously control the results. I used to think that if I thought positive I would get better results, all I had to do is control my mind and I could always get good results. This philosophy is flawed because it keeps you on a rollercoaster of riding high when you think things are good and feeling low when you think things are bad. To top this off, there is really no way to know for sure if something is good or bad in the long run.
Put Your Intention in the Action Not the Result
Here is the key that will free your mind. Put all of your intention in the action regardless of the result. You are going to get the result anyway, but if you focus on your action – doing the things that you feel in your heart are good for the business and aligned with your mission — you will always feel successful.
When I took my golf lessons I had a habit of following the swing with my eyes and looking up to see where the ball was going. I was so concerned about the end result that I was not paying attention to my form. The instructor told me to keep my head down and focus on the to spot where the ball is even after I took my swing. When I kept my head down and trusted my body to make the right move, my golf swing improved tremendously.
In business, keeping your head down is akin to focusing on your mission. As long as you focus on doing what you love and your mission, you won’t be triggered by the ups and downs of good or bad results. Like I said earlier, the results are the gold in that they show you were your mind is caught up in fear and insecurity. They are great teachers but not an indication of your destiny.
Successful people tend to have very positive inner dialogues.
They know how to nurture their own personal growth. They believe they can do whatever it is they set their mind to. But most of all, they believe in themselves.
If you look at the differences between those who achieve their goals and those who fail, what you’ll usually find is a lack of self belief. Those who fail tend to plan for failure.
There is something to be said about the relationship you have with yourself–and the way you encourage (or discourage) your actions. If you are overly critical every step of the way, chances are, you’re going to lose your motivation to keep trying.
The key is to be patient, positive, and understanding of the process.
Over the years, I have interviewed hundreds of CEOs, executives, serial entrepreneurs, and successful individuals–for written content, and also my own learning. And I have found, time and time again, that successful people all tell themselves these 7 things on a daily basis:
1. “I will figure it out.”
People who succeed don’t plan for failure.
Instead, they plan for obstacles. They know there will be challenges. They know they will need to find their own solutions. So, instead of planning on dealing with defeat, they master skill sets that prepare them for the worst.
They tell themselves, over and over again, “I will figure it out. No matter what.”
And they do.
2. “Everything in the world was built by people no smarter than you.”
This Steve Jobs quote has become a mantra for successful people all over the world.
Those who achieve their goals don’t see the world as fixed, or set in stone. They see it as malleable, constantly moving, ready to be disrupted by the next great idea. And they see themselves as the person fit for the job.
The moment you realize that the world around you was made by other people just like you–people who woke up one day and decided to start working relentlessly toward their vision–is the moment you’re able to take full control over your life.
3. “Never mistakes. Only lessons.”
People who achieve big things in their lifetime operate under the assumption that in every mistake is a lesson.
They don’t get bogged down making themselves feel bad for a misstep. They don’t punish themselves for doing something wrong. They take everything in stride, in order to keep moving in a positive direction.
Calling something a “mistake” is almost counterproductive.
Call it a lesson instead.
4. “Work hard to know what you don’t know.”
There is a misconception that all successful people are egotistical, or “have it all figured out.”
The truth is, most very successful people are the complete opposite. They are extremely open, ready and willing to learn–always on the lookout for the next thing they don’t know.
This is such an important distinction between those who achieve short-term success and those who are able to sustain it over long periods of time. Success is all about being aware of your next weakness, the next thing you can improve.
And in order to do that, you have to know what you don’t know.
5. “Forget your competition.”
While there is absolutely something to be said for keeping tabs on your competitors, I’ve found the most successful individuals to be hyper focused on their own direction and where it is they feel they need to go.
Reason being, focusing on your competition for too long can cause you to be distracted. You end up making decisions based on someone else, rather than questioning what would be best for you, your team, your company, etc.
Successful people forget their competition.
6. “Take the time to get it right in the beginning.”
This is a phrase a mentor of mine, fellow Inc columnist Ron Gibori, said often. He’d say, “There is always time to get it right in the end, when everything has fallen apart. So make the time to get things right in the beginning.”
I find that most successful people work very, very hard in the beginning of projects, engagements, deals, etc., to make positively sure every single element is on track. They know that if they take the time to get things right from the start, they don’t have to put out fires half-way through.
It’s all about attention to detail.
7. “Never forget why you started.”
Again, I am constantly surprised by people who have achieved massive amounts of success in their lives, and how connected they are to the beginning of their journey. They remember where they started. They remind themselves often why they got into the business they’re in. Their motivation comes from a love for growth, not necessarily the achievement of an end goal.
In order to maintain long-term success, this is a crucial part of the process. You have to remember why you started down this road in the first place–and do everything in your power to make sure you never forget it.
Anger over Google Home’s inability to answer questions about Jesus led the company to bar the device from answering questions about all religious figures, according to a statement released Friday.
Some users became angry when the smart speaker was unable to answer questions such as, “Who is Jesus?” but could respond to similar queries about Buddha, Muhammad and Satan, CNBC reports. Some unhappy social media users alleged that Google was “censoring” Jesus.
Danny Sullivan, Google’s public search liason, tweeted a statement by way of explanation on Friday. “The reason the Google Assistant didn’t respond with information about ‘Who is Jesus’ or ‘Who is Jesus Christ’ wasn’t out of disrespect but instead to ensure respect,” the statement reads. “Some of the Assistant’s spoken responses come from the web, and for certain topics, this content can be more vulnerable to vandalism and spam.”
Until the issue is fixed, according to the statement, all responses for questions about religious figures will be temporarily unavailable.
Google’s reliance on “featured snippets” — the pullout information that appears at the top of a page of search results — has gotten the company in hot water before. Inaccurate and offensive information can find its way into featured snippets, which has led Google’s smart products to repeat sometimes inflammatory comments.
Google Home is now responding to questions about religious figures with, “Religion can be complicated, and I am still learning,” users report.
The most powerful threat to greatness isn’t evil. It’s mediocrity.
Of all the colorful ways to articulate that truth, one of the best is what Elon Musk told Chris Anderson of Wired magazine, back in 2012.
They were talking about Musk’s space exploration company, SpaceX, which grew out of Musk’s “crazy idea to spur the national will” to travel to Mars–by first sending a private rocket to the red planet.
He tried to to slash the cost of his quixotic dream by buying Cold War Russian missiles to turn into interplanetary rockets. While negotiating that deal, he realized that it wasn’t lack of “national will” that held the U.S. back from exploring space.
Instead, it was a lack of affordable technology–and the high cost, he told Anderson, was the result of some “pretty silly things” in the aerospace industry, like using legacy rocket technology from the 1960s.
Anderson: I’ve heard that the attitude is essentially that you can’t fly a component that hasn’t already flown.
Musk: Right, which is obviously a catch-22, right? There should be a Groucho Marx joke about that. So, yeah, there’s a tremendous bias against taking risks. Everyone is trying to optimize their ass-covering.
That’s the quote that I liked so much, especially those last six words: a “bias against risk,” because everyone is “trying to optimize their ass-covering.”
It’s funny–but also poignant. And, of course, it applies to a lot more than space exploration.
It applies to the vast majority of successful companies that get stuck producing legacy products–because they can’t risk that innovation might upset their own profit models.
It applies to the service providers that make a mockery of the word “service” (say for example, big airlines and utility companies)–because cost-cutting with crappy service maximizes shareholder value.
It applies also to temptations in our personal lives, and in the lives of those around us.
Think of the colleagues you know who hold onto uninspiring jobs for fear of going after the careers or entrepreneurial dreams they really want.
Or think of the friend you might have (I think most of us do), who stays in a lousy relationship because he or she is more afraid of being alone than of living with less than they deserve.
We’re all a little bit afraid of risk. Yet, each day represents a new chance and a new beginning. At the start of the year, that sense is especially acute.
And sometimes we need a little inspiration to take the leap.
Whatever is the thing you’re afraid of trying–a new business, a new adventure, a new relationship–maybe now is the time to give it a try.
Cast aside your risk aversion. Be uncomfortable for a while as you try something new. Accept the chance that you’ll fail.
Don’t optimize your ass-covering. Instead, optimize your opportunities. And find your own mission to Mars.
In 2018, the importance of being found online is key. It’s how most people search for, well, anything. That’s step one. After you’re found, you want to hold the attention of your potential customer or client. With everything online today, that’s not easy.
It’s no secret online video is engaging and growing in popularity. That’s the reason more and more people are turning to YouTube to spread their message – whatever it may be. According to FortuneLords.com, almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube every single day.
Focus on SEO
Yes, YouTube is a search engine, just like Google. It’s owned by Google, so the strategies are the same.
“If you can get the video to rank in Google, then a lot of the searches that are being performed on YouTube will click on your video in the results. Then, YouTube will judge your video based on how people interact with it. User engagement is the most important YouTube ranking signal, said Christoph Seitz, the CEO of CFR Rinkens.
Time your video
When you’re creating your video, try to make it at least five minutes long.
“Similar to text-based articles, longer videos rank higher. They consistently outperform shorter videos on YouTube and Google, said Dan Roberge President of Maintenance Care.
Remember, the length of time people are engaged plays into how high you rank on the platform.
Team up with other YouTubers
In order to stand out by using video online, utilize a recognizable influencer whose audience aligns with your target demographic.
This is something I did with YouTuber Sunny Lenarduzzi a few months ago. Because we both share the same audience and work to help them achieve the same goal by doing different things, it was a great fit.
Many marketers believe influencer marketing helps them raise brand awareness on social media.
Use other platforms to drive people to YouTube
In 2018, many people will not want to waste time. They simply want to get the information they need that they catch on their social feed.
“What organizations are doing to stand out is posting fun, informed content on YouTube, then distributing soundbites of that video through social media,” said Vijay Koduri, the Co-Founder of HashCut.
Koduri suggests teasing them with a five-second soundbite on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or over email and drive them to your YouTube channel to see more.
Michael Freeby, a model and photographer who has randomly amassed nearly half a million views on YouTube said, “Don’t try too hard. Always be yourself and stay the best representation of your brand.”
That doesn’t mean don’t create high-quality content that people will go out of their way to enjoy. You should do that, but remember your brand’s core message. Make the content less about yourself, and more about presenting something of value for your audience.
Marcellus has lived on the streets of Philadelphia for more than four years, and he wants you to know that being homeless isn’t easy.
“It’s, like, waking up hungry. Going to sleep hungry,” he says in a new video, as he fiddles with a small piece of blue plastic in his hands. “But this right here — this got me some food. This got me clothes. This got me a shower and all that.”
It’s not just any piece of plastic. Marcellus is holding a Bluetooth-connected beacon — a small component of an app called StreetChange that could transform how passersby help curb homelessness in their cities.