Pareto strikes again

mental-1831391_1280.png

 

All those records of people’s lives are finally proving useful.

Researchers have tapped into New Zealand’s extensive digital databases to examine the lives of 1000 subjects from birth to age 38. They found that the Pareto Principle, or more commonly the 80/20 rule, holds true for illegal and other non-desirable behaviors.

The scientists from Duke University, King’s College London, and the University of Otago in New Zealand say 20% of those studied accounted for a whopping 81% of incarcerations, 77 % of fatherless child rearing, 75 % of drug prescriptions, and 66% of welfare benefits plus more than half of nights in the hospital and cigarettes smoked. They were more likely to be obese and to file personal injury claims too.

In the study, they gave participants tests at age three to measure what they called “brain health.” This consisted of intelligence, language and motor skills, frustration tolerance, restlessness, and impulsiveness. Low scores in brain health even at such an early age predicted high healthcare and social costs as adults.

The results point to the continuing need for early interventions with disadvantaged children. The components of brain health can be taught or improved upon. Such education would benefit not only the individual children but ultimately society as a whole.

Lead researcher Avshalom Caspi says the return on investments to undertake this sort of intervention would be remarkable. Indeed.

Educators, what kinds of interventions have you seen in your community?

Without a net

circus-835705_1280

 

Are you one of those people who always have a Plan B? Turns out that might not be such a good idea.

Two management professors, Jihae Shin of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Katherine L. Milkman of the Wharton School of Business at Penn, undertook a study to see if having a backup affected how hard people work toward a goal and their chances for success. Turns out if it is a goal that requires hard work, it does. People don’t put as much effort into achieving their goal and consequently don’t achieve less.

A goal that is dependent on having high innate skill isn’t affected by this dynamic.

The professors acknowledge that making an alternate plan helps reduce uncertainty and stress. They suggest, however, waiting until later in the process to think about Plan B. Do the work first and see what happens.

What is your best strategy for achieving goals?

Help the new prof

skills

 

For the first time, I will be teaching a class at out local community college for the fall term. It is called Cornerstone here, and is the basic freshman success class that is now mandatory in many schools.

I’m looking for suggestions from experienced teachers on activities and resources I can use besides lectures. I want to keep the students engaged.

Some of the topics I’ll be covering are time management, diversity, critical thinking, financial literacy, and careers.

What about it, fellow educators? Any ideas you’d like to share?

Propel yourself to marketing success

Propel book Front Cover (1)

 

I am no stranger to marketing; I’ve done it in both the for-profit and non-profit arenas. Yet even this old dog learned a few tricks in Propel: Five Ways to Amp Up Your Marketing and Accelerate Business by Whitney Keyes. If you, on the other hand, are a newcomer to the field, her five marketing principles lay out everything you need to know very clearly. They apply equally to big business, small business, and even personal branding.

Keyes breaks it all into five sections aspects: strategy, story, strength, simplicity, and speed.

A lot of thinking goes into marketing before you ever take any actions. The Strategy section thoroughly defines the basics: mission, vision, values, and SMART goals and objectives. Keyes also covers SWOT analysis, how to do market research, and what to do with the information you discover.

Keyes talks about the process of branding and finding target audiences in her Story section.

Strength comes through developing and then leveraging authentic relationships with customers as well as collaboration and alliances with other businesses and with the media.

Simplicity is the result of focus on priorities and setting action plans to avoid wasting time and money.

Speed is not only about being able to move quickly to take advantage of opportunities but also being able to judge quickly whether your actions are getting the right results.

What I particularly liked about Propel are the numerous examples all along the way from Keyes’ own career and clients. These clarify the concepts she offers and demonstrate how they work in real life.

If you need a crash course in marketing or just a refresher, you will find it in Propel.

 

whitney

Over the past 20 years, Whitney Keyes has worked as a senior Microsoft manager, strategic adviser for American Express and a marketing consultant to thousands of individuals and organizations around the world. She is a member of the National Women’s Business Council, a non-partisan federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners. Whitney was a winner of the Small Business Administration’s Women in Business Champion of the Year Award for Washington State.

Whitney serves as a professor and fellow for the Center for Strategic Communications at Seattle University and guest lectures for the University of Washington and other academic institutions. She teaches Global Reputation Management and related marketing communication courses. She also manages a consulting practice, delivers keynotes and facilitates workshops for organizations including the Small Business Administration and Port of Seattle.

What Makes You Fascinating?

Sally Hogshead has just released a completely revised edition of her book Fascinate: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist. With an extensive background in advertising, she brings a specific viewpoint to differentiating yourself from others. According to the system she has devised, your brand can be Innovation (using the language of creativity), Passion (the language of relationship), Power (the language of confidence), Prestige (the language of excellence), Trust (the language of stability), Mystique (the language of listening),or Alert (the language of details.) She’ll help you determine which one you or your company are and how to use your innate qualities to your best advantage.

I found her original book, well, fascinating. This new and improved version promises even more help for those who want to stand out from the crowd.

Excerpt:

Democratic Design

Ikea’s business model is as quirky as its furniture. The company believes that good design shouldn’t be reserved for the elite; instead, it markets good design for the masses. Each piece of furniture is a collaboration between the company and the consumer. In exchange for assembling the furniture yourself, you get better design at a lower price. Ikea calls this “democratic design.” A replicable process for ideas makes it possible to have “democratic branding.” Anyone can develop good ideas. I want to bring branding out of the ivory tower and into the trenches. Most businesses have limited time or money, but that doesn’t mean they can’t create effective and engaging messages. Just as you no longer need a travel agent to book your cruise, or a trip to the doctor to learn the symptoms of a common cold, you no longer need a marketer to do marketing.

Marketing for Non- Marketers

If it was easy to create a brand message, then anyone could do it. And if anyone could build a brand, then branding experts would be out of business.Here’s why: If a process is confusing and terribly difficult, only a few exquisitely talented minds do it. That’s why many agencies cultivate an intimidating image, hotbeds of new and exciting trends. Brand development usually requires months of research, development, and testing. The process is not for the faint of heart or the low of budget. Someone coached me that when presenting ideas to a client, it should be just one idea, so that it would be one of a kind. Like precious jewel sitting atop a black velvet cushion. By doing so, it would feel more rare and unreplicable. I believe that’s backward. Brands live inside communities, not corporations. Your brand lives inside conversations and aspirations. A brand lives in workplaces and schools. Inside homes and dinner table conversations. Brands aren’t static; they are living, breathing things that organically change and evolve as new people join the conversation. Your brand won’t shatter like your grandmother’s brittle china doll. Don’t keep your brand high on the shelf, out of reach. Hold your brand, push it, stretch it, and see how far it can go. A brand shouldn’t live under lock and key, hidden away at night. Quite the opposite. It should unite people, giving them a shared sense of ownership. Don’t just give consumers a better option to purchase . . . give them a better perspective on themselves and their world.

How the World Sees You (and Your Brand)

If you’re a brand, it doesn’t matter how you see your consumers; it matters how your consumers see you. Corporations don’t create brands. People do. The people inside your company are also the keepers of your brand. An outside party won’t know the culture and spirit and nuances like your team. You might not have a dedicated marketing department, and that’s okay. But what if the branding process could be open source, accessible to anyone?

It can be. It should be. You can do this. You can build your brand. You should build your brand. In fact, if you want to compete in a crowded and competitive marketplace, you must. Nobody knows your brand like you. You just need a template to follow. Or a hack.

Branding Hacks

You’ve probably heard of “life hacks”— clever shortcuts that allow you to save time, money, or hassle. Life hacks might reveal how to sneak more green vegetables into your kids’ meals, or how to relax more quickly to fall asleep. A productivity hack might show you how to speed- read. And the author Tim Ferriss once described a “sport hack,” in which he supposedly hacked the national Chinese kickboxing championship by winning with only a few weeks of training. Josh Linker, venture capitalist and entrepreneur, describes hacking this way: “Putting motives aside, the act of hacking requires tremendous creativity. A hack is an innovative and unorthodox way to crack big problems.” So what about marketing? Can we “hack” that process? What if branding could be open source, accessible to anyone? It can be. It should be. You can do this. You can build your brand. You should build your brand. In fact, if you want to compete in a crowded and competitive marketplace, you must. And you don’t need an ad agency.

 

You too can have a super power

wonder-woman-1016324__180

 

Wonder Woman got it right

If you are feeling helpless at work, there is a very simple strategy that may help you feel more powerful. Strike a pose.

Amy Cuddy of Harvard University has researched how assuming the classic Wonder Woman pose, hands on hips, feet wide apart, shoulders back, actually raises your body’s testosterone. After holding the pose for only two minutes, you feel a surge of confidence, and those around you perceive you as more powerful.

Another benefit is a reduction in cortisol, so you also feel less stressed.

This is classic body language advice of being open versus being closed in stance. But now there is physical evidence to back it up.

In other words, don’t cross your arms as if to protect yourself. Take up as much space as you can. Keep your head up. You probably want to avoid putting your feet up on your desk though.

There has been some push back on these ideas by other researchers. Maybe they won’t work for everyone, but maybe, just maybe, they will work for you.

Why not give the pose a try and see what happens?

Overcome Your Sedentary Lifestyle book review

OvercomeYourSedentaryLifestyle_eCover_8001

 

P J Sharon’s book Overcome Your Sedentary Lifestyle offers to help couch potatoes. Yes, that’s me all right. She’s a massage therapist, personal trainer, and yoga teacher, so she has plenty of real life experience to draw from.

Fortunately for me, I don’t suffer from chronic pain or have existing medical issues that often go hand in hand with a sedentary lifestyle. If you do, Sharon gives helpful advice on how to choose both traditional and alternative healthcare providers.

What I do suffer from is chronic dieting. Sharon wants me to think weight management instead of weight loss. Makes sense. This has to be forever, not a one-time thing.

The statistics are sobering. More and more people fall into the “obese” category. And these people, on average, sit two and a half hours more per day than thinner people. Other contributing factors are heavily marketed processed food, stress, sleep deprivation, social pressures, and emotions. Some of these are easier to overcome than others. The emotional component is probably the hardest. Sharon provides tips to get started in the right direction, but you have to love yourself as you are first.

Separate chapters address the other challenges. Much of it you’ve seen before if you have read other self-help books; however, Sharon includes just enough science to prove her points without boring you to death. If you do nothing else, check out the pages of illustrated stretches and try them.

Above all, Sharon says you must figure out your own personal “why.” Hint: it should be bigger in scope than looking good at your high school reunion. Once you’re clear on your intrinsic motivation, all things are possible.

PJ.jpg

In addition to authoring award winning young adult novels, PJ Sharon owns ABSolute Fitness and Therapeutic Bodywork, a private practice massage therapy and personal training business in East Granby, CT. With over twenty-five years in the health and fitness industry, Ms. Sharon offers a multidisciplinary approach to wellness. As a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), Massage Therapist (LMT), Certified Personal Fitness Trainer (CPFT), and Yoga Instructor, Ms. Sharon brings a wealth of knowledge to her clients and workshops. A graduate of Springfield Technical Community College and the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy, Ms. Sharon also holds certifications as a trainer through the NFPT and teaches therapeutic yoga. A Black Belt in the art of Shaolin Kempo Karate and former figure skating and power skating instructor, Ms. Sharon’s passion for holistic health and healing comes through in her writing—whether she is penning romantic and hopeful stories for teens or sharing her wisdom and experience with clients and workshop attendees. When she’s not writing or spreading the love through her practice, she can be found kayaking in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts and renovating an old farmhouse with the love of her life. Author contact info and social media sites: Website: http://www.pjsharon.com Follow PJ on Twitter: @pjsharon http://www.twitter.com/pjsharon “Like” PJ on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pjsharonbooks Signup for PJ’s Newsletter at her website: http://eepurl.com/bm7rj5