These Psychological/Personality Factors Predict Success

Yale Professor Amy Chua made big waves in academia with her 2014 book The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America. Her theory that three traits--belief in superiority of one's group, feelings of insecurity, and impulse control--explain the greater success of cultural groups such as Mormons, Nigerians, Persians, East Asians and Jews was denounced widely (particularly among Asian americans) for perpetuating the "model minority" stereotype. In 2016, two researchers, Joshua Hart and…

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Left-Handedness and Genius

Despite stunning scientific advances in genetics, nanotechnology and robotics (to name a few), many neurologic phenomena remain unexplained. Take hand dominance. Scientists have been struggling for centuries to explain why, unlike animal populations whose right vs. left limb dominance always follows a 50/50 distribution, nearly 90% of the human population is right-handed. Although the answer is still blurry, the history of how neuroscientists arrived at it--including a dissection of Einstein's brain--is fascinating. As a preliminary matter, it is…

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The Nietzsche Hypothesis: How Failure Fuels Fulfillment

In 1887,  famed philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote as follows: To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities — I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not — that one endures. At first…

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Are you an Optimal Human?

For centuries, humanity has struggled to identify optimal human functioning. Aristotle called the highest human good eudaimonia (i.e., happiness). Carl Rogers defined it as the "fully functioning person." Abraham Maslow concluded that optimal humans have achieved "self-actualization." For Erich Fromm, optimal humans valued personal growth and love over material possessions and status. But have these theories withstood the test of time and scientific experimentation? Psychologist Ken Sheldon aptly summarizes the findings in his book, Optimal Human Being, as…

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Like Water: The Wisdom of Bruce Lee

Two years before his death, at the age of 31, American martial arts icon Bruce Lee had an epiphany. Already a successful actor and filmmaker, Lee had accomplished much, but he wanted more. Self-consciousness over goals left unaccomplished consumed him. Sensing this inner struggle, Lee's sensei, Yip Man, said: "Preserve yourself by following the natural bends of things and don't interfere. Remember to never assert yourself against nature...never be in frontal opposition to any problems, but control it…

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Professions That Promote Pessimism, and How to Stay Happy Against the Odds

Lawyers, accountants and other professionals may be training themselves to be unhappy. Research indicates that careers that require people to look for mistakes or problems can also train the brain to be pessimistic. Now that we've unloaded that bad news, here's the good news- optimism is easier than you'd think. Learn how giving, striving, savoring and other psychological tactics can help you achieve perpetual happiness in this article. 

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