A Teachable Moment

Could Our Inherent Empathic Nature Save the World?


Do you ever wonder how humankind will continue to survive on this planet with all the awful things going on? In this 10 minute talk, Jeremy Rifkin introduces us to empathy, how it works, how we are hardwired to have it, and how it could potentially save the world as technology continues to further the connection between us and everyone else around the world (and thus further our empathic concern for them).

If you want to feel a little more hopeful about the world this morning and have a few wonderful a-ha moments, definitely watch this video!

PS- Another amazing thing you learn in this film… there really were two people, a man and a woman, that started our entire race…Adam and Eve??!

PPS- I also think this is an excellent argument for why socially responsible businesses are the future of our economy– people want to care and connect and will buy products that help them do that and will respect companies that they feel share those values.

A Teachable Moment

Does money make us happy?


This NYT article suggests, as most of us have heard, that no, money itself does not make us happy.  And neither does buying things. However, the ways in which we choose to spend our money does have an impact on our happiness level.

The long and short of it is that spending on possessions does not increase happiness, but spending on experiences does!  As one researcher put it, “If money doesn’t make you happy then you probably aren’t spending it right.”  This, they say, is because experiences help build bonds, and having stronger relationships does build happiness in the long run.

So here’s the takeaway:  spending money to go away for a weekend with your honey or to throw a dinner party with friends will make you happier than a new tv or pair of shoes.  That’s a life lesson worth remembering!  And it’s proven by research!

Here’s another interesting takeaway, about the idea that more is never enough: ”Scholars have discovered that one way consumers combat hedonic adaptation is to buy many small pleasures instead of one big one. Instead of a new Jaguar, Professor Lyubomirsky advises, buy a massage once a week, have lots of fresh flowers delivered and make phone calls to friends in Europe. Instead of a two-week long vacation, take a few three-day weekends.”

Read the rest here.

[via ECAB, images via Ginny Branch]

A Teachable Moment

Dear reader…

Dear reader,

You have reached the end of the “freshest” archives that are formatted for this new site layout, so things beyond here get a little less pretty. I hope you don’t mind.

Or, if you care to browse according to specific archive topics, the old posts appear much nicer within their specific categories, like listening to, style files, etc., because of the way those pages are formatted. You can click on the category archives at the top of the page.

Happy browsing!

A Teachable Moment

Must See >> Where Good Ideas Come From

“Chance favors the connected mind.”

A Teachable Moment

Must See >> What Motivates Us

Surprising material about what actually incentivizes us, particularly at work (hint: it’s not just money), animated in that addictively watchable style from the people at RSA Animate.

A Teachable Moment

A Teachable Moment >> JK Rowling’s Graduation Speech

J.K. Rowling’s address to the Harvard class of ’08, on the “fringe benefits of failure.”
This video is on the long side, but as is no surprise, it is very well-written and engaging, so if you have some time and want to feel inspired, refreshed, and entertained, give it a listen.  It’s like the graduation speech you never had, and you also want her to become your adopted aunt.  
I’d actually never really heard an interview or anything with her, I realized, so I was very interested to hear her speak, and the speech is personal and wonderful.  After listening to this, I felt like a new grad all over again, inspired to head out into the world and make a difference. 

A Teachable Moment

A Teachable Moment >> Are you past, present, or future-oriented?

Just discovered this organization, the RSA, self-described “cradle of enlightenment,” has this series called RSA Animate, where they illustrate and animate the talks they have sponsored.  I feel like I could sit down and watch about twenty of these in a row… I’ve already watched three, and it was very hard to decide which one to share here (I’ll have to post more later).

This one is a very interesting 10 minute lecture + animation about how we perceive time.  Apparently, there are six different types of people with regards to how we perceive time, and this affects our work, health, and well-being.

Did you know that the closer people live to the equator, the more present-oriented they are because the seasons don’t change very much throughout the year, so there is a continuing perception of sameness all the time?  I can say as a non-local living in SB, I think that’s true!!  People are never in a hurry and it’s sort of a joke how everyone comments on how nice life is here all the time.
Also, I was totally captivated by this guy’s drawings and the overall animation!  I was totally sucked in by wanting to see how he would illustrate the lecturer’s message… watch it for one minute and I bet you’ll be hooked.
[Fresh Creation]

A Teachable Moment

We need more of this kind of stuff in the world >> Crop Mobs

Loved this article in the NYT about “crop mobs.”  Essentially, a small-scale sustainable farmer who has more work than he can handle gets a one-day boost from a “mob” of volunteers who subscribe to a listserv.  It’s like a modern-day barn-raising!

The idea of a group of ordinary people pulling together to help someone out with their burder for a day is pretty inspiring, and the tie-in to what this says about the generation that started it– and their ideas about fulfillment and community– is really interesting.

Also check out design*sponge’s post about “work parties”– getting friends together to help out with your house (or yard) work in exchange for a great dinner and the promise of help in exchange should they need it at some point at their house.  It all seems very timely given what’s been going on in the world.

Field Report: Plow Shares

Published: February 24, 2010

“Who brought their own wheelbarrow?” Rob Jones asked the group of 20-somethings gathered on a muddy North Carolina farm on a chilly January Sunday. Hands shot up and wheelbarrows were pulled from pickups sporting Led Zeppelin and biodiesel bumper stickers, then parked next to a mountain of soil. “We need to get that dirt into those beds over there in the greenhouse,” he said, nodding toward a plastic-roofed structure a few hundred feet away. “The rest of you can come with me to move trees and clear brush to make room for more pasture. Watch out for poison ivy.”

Bobby Tucker, the 28-year-old co-owner of Okfuskee Farm in rural Silk Hope, looked eagerly at the 50-plus volunteers bundled in all manner of flannel and hand-knits. In five hours, these pop-up farmers would do more on his fledgling farm than he and his three interns could accomplish in months. “It’s immeasurable,” he said of the gift of same-day infrastructure.

It’s the beauty of being Crop Mobbed.

The Crop Mob, a monthly word-of-mouth (and -Web) event in which landless farmers and the agricurious descend on a farm for an afternoon, has taken its traveling work party to 15 small, sustainable farms. Together, volunteers have contributed more than 2,000 person-hours, doing tasks like mulching, building greenhouses and pulling rocks out of fields.

Click the jump for the rest of the article…


A Teachable Moment

A Guide to Contractors

Loved this guide to contractors in Dwell.  Pretty funny and also has some useful tips for making sure all goes well with your contractor.

Here is the intro:

Contractors fascinate me. They always have. They are fundamentally different from other people. They have their own language of sorts and their own curious customs and mannerisms, like Klingons, or French people. They have cool belts and cool stuff (multitools, wee little anodized flashlights, and other things that would be handy to have) fastened to their cool belts. They look different, and they smell different. They smell like work getting done.1 In this perhaps, contractors are not so much like French people.

*1: Like WD-40 and sawdust and Lectric Shave. My race—–the architects—–smells like hotel shampoo and that ozoney smell that wafts up when you fiddle around with the back of your computer.

A Teachable Moment

How You Can Live to 100

My mom is up there as one of my top blog-supporters, and I had to post this for her. 

I started reading and saw the tip about eating nuts, and my mom eats more almonds than anyone I’ve ever met, (at any given time there are about eight bags of almonds in their freezer just to ensure she’ll never run a shortage), and then I saw the part about having a baby after 40, and now I’m convinced she’s going to live to 100.  She had me at 42!  Not that I had any doubts before, but Mom, I’m pretty sure this gaurantees it.

Click for legible size.

From The Future Well, via The Essential Man.

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