American culture is obsessed with the idea that we need to “find our passion” in order to be happy and successful. But there’s a problem: “It’s astonishingly bad piece of advice,” says best-selling author Cal Newport. We have no pre-existing passion. Instead, passion is found by first building a rare and valuable talent and using it to take control of your career path. In other words, be so good and work so hard that no one can ignore you.
The emotionally charged story recounted at the beginning Dr. Paul Zak’s film—of a terminally ill two-year-old named Ben and his father—offers a simple yet remarkable case study in how the human brain responds to effective storytelling. As part of his study, Dr. Zak, a founding pioneer in the emerging field of neuroeconomics, closely monitored the neural activity of hundreds of people who viewed Ben’s story. What he discovered is that even the simplest narrative, if it is highly engaging and follows the classic dramatic arc outlined by the German playwright Gustav Freytag, can evoke powerful empathic responses associated with specific neurochemicals, namely cortisol and oxytocin. Those brain responses, in turn, can translate readily into concrete action—in the case of Dr. Zak’s study subjects, generous donations to charity and even monetary gifts to fellow participants. By contrast, stories that fail to follow the dramatic arc of rising action/climax/denouement—no matter how outwardly happy or pleasant those stories may be—elicit little if any emotional or chemical response, and correspond to a similar absence of action. Dr. Zak’s conclusions hold profound implications for the role of storytelling in a vast range of professional and public milieus.
Most kids dream of running away to join the circus—Eike von Stuckenbrok actually did.
Nietzsche once said, “Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” Directed, Filmed & Edited by Anna Piltz & Annikki Heinemann [Oddiseefilms]
Many companies find themselves at a crossroads. The next few years will decide which business models will survive and which will undergo sweeping changes. Technological evolution, the modern consumer and the total market compel us to answer that one crucial question: who is prepared to re-invent their company as well as themselves? Interesting thoughts by Steven Van Belleghem,
In world with Vine, Snapchat, and Twitter, how can creatives capture attention to make their voices heard? In this 99U talk, best-selling author and founder of VaynerMedia Gary Vaynerchuk breaks down how our work can cut through our current “A.D.D. Culture” — One where we binge-watch entire television seasons in one sitting and prefer texting to phone calls. “We’ve gotten to a point where everything is on our time,” says Vaynerchuk, “So why is everyone storytelling like it’s 2007 in a 2014 world?” The best digital storytellers, he says, use the social media to “hook” audiences in for the deeper stuff. We should give, give again, and give some more before ever asking for anything from our community. “We have to start respecting the nuances of every platform.”
Why do people feel so miserable and disengaged at work? Because today’s businesses are increasingly and dizzyingly complex — and traditional pillars of management are obsolete, says Yves Morieux. So, he says, it falls to individual employees to navigate the rabbit’s warren of interdependencies. In this energetic talk, Morieux offers six rules for “smart simplicity.” (Rule One: Understand what your colleagues actually do.)
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