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Why embracing diversity, equity and inclusion matters to financial advisor firms – CNBC

Posted: October 21, 2020 at 2:55 am

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Paul Bradbury | OJO Images | Getty Images

As more Americans push for diversity, equality and inclusion in the world around them, financial advisors are finding ways to adapt.

The Black Lives Matter movement and nationwide protests have changed the dynamic, yet many financial firms are still dominated by White males. In 2019, 77.7% of those who worked in the management, business and financial operations occupations were White, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Yet to adapt, financial advisors need to do more than just checking off a box by hiring a person of color and then calling it a day, experts told CNBC's Sharon Epperson on Tuesday during the CNBC Financial Advisor Summit, a day-long roundtable for financial advisors.

They'll have to rethink their strategies and find ways to attract and sustain diverse new talent and clientele.

"If you are really interested in reaching a certain segment, it needs to be authentic," said certified financial planner Lazetta Rainey Braxton, co-founder and co-CEO of New York-based advisory firm 2050 Wealth Partners.

More from FA 100:CNBC ranks the top-rated financial advisory firms of 2020Stock market is 'OK,' right now, says top advisorAdvisors use tech to helps clients adjust to new environment

"It needs to be in your messaging. It needs to be in all your materials."

You also have to make sure your internal culture is ready for a different population. She suggests conducting a cultural audit of the firm. Look at your demographic balance, and put it all in one document.

Then, survey your workers to find out about the culture. Ask questions about whether they feel if they belong and how comfortable they are voicing contrary opinion, said Braxton, a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council.

You should also try to become aware of any unconscious biases you may have. Make a decision that it is an area you want to improve, said Winnie Sun, director and founding partner of Irvine, California-based Sun Group Wealth Partners

"Have that self awareness," said Sun, whose firm has a very diverse client base.

To attract diverse clients, take to social media, Sun suggests.

You can also look for referrals from current clients, said CFP Louis Barajas, CEO of Newport Beach, California-based MGO Wealth Advisors.

"Always be vulnerable and say you need help," he said. "There is nothing better than getting a referral."

When it comes to hiring new team members, Sun tries to do her best in terms of attracting someone from a different background.

"It means being very strategic and very mindful of this," Sun said. "It is OK to take a chance on someone who doesn't look like you.

"You have to find the similar value system."

Our industry has to change and unfortunately, in my opinion, a lot of cleaning house needs to take place.

Winnie Sun

director and founding partner of Sun Group Wealth Partners

To find new talent, you can look to becoming part of the community of advisors. For instance, you don't have to be Black to become a member of the Association of African American Financial Advisors, said Braxton, chair of the organization's board.

Also, be sure to give people you hire a chance to move up the ladder, otherwise they won't stick around.

"You have to give them the opportunity and the expectations what it takes to get to every level," said Barajas.

All three financial advisors struck out on their own after feeling their voices were not heard at their respective firms.

They believe there is still a lot of work to be done in the industry.

"What we see is a lot of succession planning still happening," Braxton said. "They are still grooming people that look like them.

"You have to take a chance, you have to expand your pool."

If they don't, other firms will be innovative and scoop up the talent being left behind, she added.

Sun concurred, noting that many firms still look one-dimensional.

"Our industry has to change and unfortunately, in my opinion, a lot of cleaning house needs to take place," Sun said.

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Why embracing diversity, equity and inclusion matters to financial advisor firms - CNBC

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October 21st, 2020 at 2:55 am

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New Research Shows Why Crows Are So Intelligent and Even Self-AwareJust Like Us – Good News Network

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Crows, rooks, and ravens, a family of birds known as corvids, are pretty dang smart. In some ways, there are crows as smart as first graders.

In 2014, a famous ornithological accomplishment saw New Caledonian crows, who as outlined in Jennifer Ackermans brilliant work The Genius of Birds, are possibly the smartest of their race, and capable of passing newly acquired knowledge down to immediate offspring, completing the Aesops Fable challenge.

This famous test of intelligence and problem solvingwhich no animal had ever solved before, saw the crows drop stones into a water-filled tube in order to raise a floating platform of food high enough so that they could reach it.

More recently though, carrion crows have demonstrated that they can subjectively experience, process, and report on tasks or phenomena they have completed or seen.

RELATED: New Bird Song That Went Viral Across This Species of Sparrow Was Tracked by Scientists For the First Time

This type of behavior is associated with the cerebral cortex, a region of the brain which not all animals possess, including birds, and suggests, according to the scientists, not only empirical evidence of consciousness in birds, but that consciousness as we would understand it can arise from different configurations of the brain organ as a whole; potentially changing the understanding of animal intelligence and neurology.

Though the theory of what designs enable consciousness has moved on substantially from Descartes famous cogito ergo sum during the 1600s, the Latin phrase which translates to I think therefore I am, can be used to describe the recently reported performance of crows during a visual detection test.

Two crows, Ozzy and Glen, at the University of Tbingen in Germany were trained to peck at a red or blue target after they saw a light flash. Andreas Nieder, the scientist administering the test, then did something very difficult for even young children to grasp: he began changing the rules.

When at first the objective was to peck the red panel when a flash was detected, Nieder changed it to blue, which the crows picked up on and followed before Nieder changed it back to red. Furthermore, he would change the ruleafter the flash had already occurred or hadnt occurred,giving the birds a few seconds to review what they knew about the task and make the correct corresponding choice.

This meant that they not only attached a phenomenon to a physical motion, but were able to review that in their head, and apply the same (could you say logic, or inference?) to the task again to continue pecking the correct panel.

CHECK OUT: Heres How Thousands of Birds Are Being Saved From Flying into Toronto Buildings

These results suggest that the neural foundations that allow sensory consciousness arose either before the emergence of mammals or independently in at least the avian lineage and do not necessarily require a cerebral cortex, wrote Nieder et al. in their corresponding paper published inScience.

During the task hundreds of neurons were lighting up on monitors which tracked the activity of cells in the brain when the crows were acting on the flash, but when a light didnt go off, the neurons remained silent, i.e. no, I didnt see it.

The brilliant work of Glen, Ozzy, and Nieder was reported on by STATnews, who talked with Nieder about the study.

I think it demonstrates convincingly that crows and probably other advanced birds have sensory awareness, in the sense that they have specific subjective experiences that they can communicate, he said. Besides crows, this kind of neurobiological evidence for sensory consciousness only exists in humans and macaque monkeys.

Indeed crow brains can contain 1.5 billion neuronsas many as some monkeys.

MORE:This Hacker Built a Vending Machine for Crows as an Ingenious Response to a Cocktail Party Argument

With the possibility of crows, and perhaps other animals outside the mammalian order having complex if differently formed brains, it could change the way humans view our earthly neighbors and perhaps replicate the respect we have for monkeys and apes in other creatures.

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New Research Shows Why Crows Are So Intelligent and Even Self-AwareJust Like Us - Good News Network

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October 21st, 2020 at 2:55 am

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How Leaders Can Learn To Be Humble And More Effective – Forbes

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The importance of working together

Humble leaders are more effectiveand have better relationships with those they manage.Yet being humble and being a leader- can seem like oxymorons; leaders are expected to be dominant, charismatic visionaries, and that role appears to be the opposite of stopping to write letters to employees parents to thank them for the gift of their children, the action that Indra Nooyi took when she became CEO of PepsiCo in 2006.Yet during Nooyis twelve years ofleadership, PepsiCo experienced an 80 percent growth in sales.

As Jim Collins taught us two decades ago, great leaders embody both humility and drive.Humility allows them to focus on competing for market share, not competing with their workers for status. And humility may also be important for political leadership: Carly Fiorina explained that she is voting for Joe Biden and believes that he is a strongerleader because he hasdemonstrated humility, empathy,the willingness to collaboratewith others.

It turns out that humility can be learned, according to Marilyn Gist, an author, speaker, and educator.She defines humility as a tendency to feel and display deep regard for others dignity to recognize that every person has and needs a sense of self-worth. All it takes is reasonable self-awareness and an interest in learning, explains Gist, in her just-published book, The Extraordinary Power of Leader Humility.

With those building blocks of self-awareness and interest in growth, leaders can develop shared vision, accountability, and responsibility throughout their organizations.As Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Boeing and Ford, notes in the books forward, leaders with humility can promote inclusion, participation, commitment, innovation, safety, excitement, discipline, caring, adaptability, and continuous improvement and thats just the start.

In an interview, Gist suggested that there are six pillars for humility:a balanced ego, integrity, a compelling vision, ethical strategies, generous inclusion, and a developmental focus. She stresses that while humility does not involve arrogance, it does require being strong and confident. Leaders who lack humility focus on dominating other people and create toxic environments, while leaders who have humility focus on working together to create a better product.

To check on the status of your own humility, Gist provides a set of questions so that readers can evaluate themselves.See how you rate on the following list:

Do I talk about myself too much?

Am I known for doing the right thing?

Do I include people in conversations and meetings about issues when it really matters to them?

Do I dominate conversations, cutting others off?

Have I shared a clear and compelling vision for our work that shows how it supports the greater good?

Am I true to my word?

Do I openly express genuine concern to all stakeholders?

Do I listen?Am I open to ideas that are not my own?

Do I demonstrate concern for others long-term interests?

Do I interact with everyone in respectful ways?

Depending on your responses and how much you want to change there are tools for developing humility, including learning how to support others and ensuring integrity.

The ability to learn how to be humble may not be the real problem, however,according to a forthcoming paper.The problem may, instead, be that organizations do not select for humble leaders, but usecompetitive tournaments to select for corporate executives promising immediate results, explains UMKC School of Law Professor Nancy Levit.Since leaders with humility are better for their workers and their communities, we need more of them, and we need to create cultures that encourage their characteristics.

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How Leaders Can Learn To Be Humble And More Effective - Forbes

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October 21st, 2020 at 2:55 am

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5 Strategies You Can Use to Build an Emotionally Intelligent Team – Entrepreneur

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October 20, 2020 5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Why has emotional intelligence(EI) been a buzzword since the 1990s? Well, it can lead to a healthier, happierand more fulfilling life. Professionally, it can make improve your performance and productivity. But, how can you build an emotionally intelligent team?

I recommend checking off the following items.

Lets paint a picture here. You always wanted to be your own boss. Specifically, you wanted to be a gym owner. However, youve never obtained any sort of fitness certification even worse, you arent in peak physical condition. If you put yourself in someone elses shoes, why would they come to you? It just sounds like this would be a waste of time and money.

The same idea is true when it comes to EI. If you havent improved your own emotional intelligence, then how are you going to increase it among your team members?

If youre new to this, I would strongly suggest that you first dispel common myths regarding EI. Examples would be that its only about empathy and self-awareness. While both are important, EI is more complex than that. In fact, EI encourages behavioral changes that can influence everything from our decision-making to physical well-being.

From there, you can boost your EIand become a better leaderby:

Related: Use These 7 Emotional Intelligence Tips to Be a Better Leader

If you feel you don't have the chance toidentify your team'sstrengths and weaknesses, or allowyour team to voice their individual concerns, make sure youprioritize time with each individual team member. That may seem like a daunting undertaking. But, its possible if you block out time in your schedule for one-on-ones. During breaks, you could walk around and check-in with them. Or, invite them to have lunch with you.

You can also understand your team better by engaging in team-building activities, issuing surveysor having them create work-style tables.

Related: Creating a Business Culture That Values People

Stress, as you should know, can seriously put your health and well-being in jeopardy. Whats more, it can also damage relationships. Just recall any time that youve been stressed out and have been short or crude with a family member or colleague.

In short, you want to decrease stress levels among you and your team. One suggestion would be to partake in healthy outlets. Examples would be physical activity, meditation, journaling, or having a vent session.

You can also recommend tactics like:

Your mileage may vary here. But, in my opinion, this typically means fostering a positive work environment and encouraging social responsibility. When you do, youll be able to improve everyones well-being, forge stronger bonds, and improve your community.

In a Calendar article, Angela Ruth writes that this can be done via strategies like tapping internal networks like Slack or paying it forward.

Establish team norms

In Building the Emotional Intelligence of Groups, Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff state that in order to build an emotionally intelligent team there needs to be three conditions. These include trust among members, a sense of group identity, and a sense of group efficacy.

One effective way to meet these circumstances is by having rules in place that reflect your teams values. They should also make everyone feel valued.

Group emotional intelligence is about small acts that make a big difference, writeDruskat and Wolff. It is not about a team member working all night to meet a deadline; it is about saying thank you for doing so.

Related: Why You Need Diversity on Your Team, and 8 Ways to Build It

Despite the research, this is an area where businesses are still struggling, and thats a real shame.

One study from Erasmus University, Rotterdam found that diverse teams were more willing to learn than their homogeneous counterparts. Moreover, diverse companies are more innovative and creative. As a result, this can retain talent, fortify relationships, and even boost profits.

How can you construct a more diverse team? Well, recruiting and hiring the right people is an excellent starting point. For instance, you could use third-party websites and online job boards to cast a wider net. Additionally, you could take Harvards Implicit Association Test (IAT) to eliminate any unconscious bias.

From there, be willing to celebrate employee differences, and always stop to actually listen to what your team is saying.

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5 Strategies You Can Use to Build an Emotionally Intelligent Team - Entrepreneur

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October 21st, 2020 at 2:55 am

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How music therapy benefits the autistic brain – Big Think

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It can be tempting to look at the economic history of the last two decades and derive a certain lesson. That lesson being: The millennial generation is screwed. The Washington Post even tagged millennials as the "unluckiest generation in history."

It's understandable why the punditocracy would think this. Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials exited school and entered work right into the Great Recession. The recession forced many millennials to postpone financial milestones such as marriage, buying a home, retirement savings, or even reliable employment. That global setback quietly became a generational one. While the baby boomers and GenXers recovered their lost wealth relatively quickly, millennials couldn't and became the first generation with a standard of living lower than their parents'.

A decade later, millennials face the pandemic shutdown. Although we can't say with certainty how the pandemic will affect us in the long-term, early forecasts suggest millennials will again take the brunt. Pew Research Center data, for example, suggest that about a third of millennial-aged homes have had someone in the household lose a job, while Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data forecast millennials suffering longer stretches of joblessness.

"Millennials are in a fundamentally different economic place than previous generations," Reid Cramer, director of the Millennials Initiative at New America, wrote in "The Emerging Millennial Wealth Gap. "Relatively flat but volatile incomes, low savings and asset holdings, and higher consumer and student debt have weakened their finances. The Millennial balance sheet is in poor shape."

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How music therapy benefits the autistic brain - Big Think

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October 21st, 2020 at 2:55 am

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UW studies investigate need for and impact of culturally aware mentorship training – University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Higher education institutions frequently offer mentored research experiences to increase undergraduate student interest, motivation and preparedness for research careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematic and Medicine (STEMM) fields.

However, for participating students from historically underrepresented groups, unaddressed cultural factors may hinder engagement and result in a less effective mentoring relationship.

Two recent studies led by University of WisconsinMadison researchers demonstrate the different ways mentors and mentees understand and experience race and ethnicity within the mentoring relationship, and how culturally aware mentoring (CAM) training may help improve mentoring efforts.

In the first study, published in the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, the team conducted a preliminary qualitative analysis of a sample of 38 mentors and mentees who had participated in a biology summer research opportunity program.

They found that while mentors and mentees recognized that racial and ethnic diversity may play a role in the mentoring relationship, some perceived it as not relevant to the lab environment or to being a proficient researcher.

Some participants viewed race and ethnicity as separate realities outside of the mentoring relationship, reflecting a perception that science is beyond culture, said lead author Angela Byars-Winston, PhD, professor of medicine and associate director of the Collaborative Center for Health Equity at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Byars-Winston also serves as director of research and evaluation in the UW Center for Womens Health Research and is aninvestigator with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research'sCenter for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research.

Mentors and mentees had differing beliefs about if and how racial and ethnic diversity in the mentoring relationship should be addressed, with some reporting that it should only be addressed if a problem or issue arose.

Notably, while several mentors felt that the responsibility for bringing up the topic should be on the mentee, only one mentee echoed this statement.

This mismatch could become a source of discord in the research mentoring relationship, Byars-Winston noted.

Some participants suggested that discussions of race and ethnicity within mentoring relationships may introduce problems or discomfort, and others indicated difficulty managing those conversations sensitively.

Noting the overall culture of silence about the relevance of race and ethnicity in mentoring relationships, the authors advocated for further examination into the effects of checking ones racial/ethnic identity at the laboratory door.

Previous studies from other experts affirm that mentees from historically underrepresented groups benefit from mentors who address race and ethnicity, acknowledge their unique needs and allow them to bring their identities into the academic and research environment.

Moreover, efforts to improve diversity in STEMM fields typically focus on increasing the numbers of historically underrepresented students and faculty at educational institutions. But without also emphasizing inclusionfostering environments in which people feel welcome, valued, and have a sense of belongingthese efforts may fall short.

Other scholars have encouraged research mentor training that includes culturally sensitive practices, Byars-Winston said. Our study suggests that mentor training should include content targeting different experiences with and perceptions about racial/ethnic diversity.

In a second study, recently published in PLoS One, Byars-Winston and a multidisciplinary research team from UWMadison, Northwestern University and the University of Maryland showed how the lasting impact of culturally aware mentoring (CAM) training on academic administrators and faculty can help improve diversity efforts in STEMM fields.

CAM training prepares faculty and staff who have existing mentorship roles to navigate the social and cultural dynamics that accompany a more diverse academic community.

By addressing the lived experiences and treatment of underrepresented individuals, this method can help counter biases and prejudices in the prevailing culture, and foster mentors who can effectively engage with and develop the talent of all individuals.

The team conducted follow-up interviews with a sample of 24 research mentors from three institutions who had participated in a day-long CAM training session 18 to 24 months earlier.

The training focused on intrapersonal awareness, interpersonal awareness and interactions, and skill building for behavioral change, as described in a related article. Participants immediate reactions to the training had previously been published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science.

In the follow-up, researchers found that participants most frequently remembered activities that were novel or that had elicited an emotional response. These included the culture box, in which participants shared items representing their cultural identity; role playing; and the video A Tale of O, which highlights what its like to be the only visibly identifiable member of a specific group.

Over the long term, CAM training increased participants cultural awareness and deepened their understanding of cultural differences. This helped them better recognize and respect differences, make fewer assumptions about mentees and listen more closely to them.

In addition, participants said they were able to more effectively intervene when culturally insensitive comments arose, and in some cases, address broader dimensions of cultural diversity and inequalities in the training environment.

Mentor training targeted to cultural awareness through the entry point of personal cultural self-awareness and introspection, coupled with sharing these insights in community, can be effective in prompting changes, the authors wrote.

These findings are consistent with neuroscience research showing that self-reflection stimulates the same circuits that underlie compassion and sympathy.

Cultural self-awareness facilitated through CAM training may increase [mentors] ability to have empathy toward their historically underrepresented students and their attention to cultural dynamics in their mentoring relationships, the authors concluded.

Its remarkable that 18 to 24 months after the training, participants were able to recall concrete takeaways and start to change their behavior with mentees and colleagues, reflects Byars-Winston.

In addition, because the original training and the current follow-up study are both grounded in scientific, validated approaches, the results provide evidence that CAM training can be incorporated into existing mentor training programs.

Not all diversity and inclusion training uses a systematic approach, added Byars-Winston, whose work also includes leading the national committee that developed The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM, a 2019 report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Our goal is to elevate competency-based, evidence-informed mentoring practice thats effective and that makes a difference in the success of trainees and early career professionals.

Byars-Winston and collaborator Richard McGee, Jr, PhD, associate dean for faculty recruitment and professional development and a professor ofmedical education at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine, have recently joined with Sylvia Hurtado, PhD, a professor of education at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies to lead a five-year, National Institutes of Health-funded project to further test the impact of the CAM training on individuals and institutions.

As part of Phase 2 of the NIH National Research Mentoring Network, the new study uses a randomized control design to investigate the impact of the length and dose effect of CAM training on faculty mentors in doctoral training programs in the biomedical sciencesand how that may spur institutional change.

The long-term goal of this body of work is to further the science and practices of mentoring, thereby improving the training environment for students from underrepresented groups and ultimately, advancing their success, said Byars-Winston.

By Andrea Schmick

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UW studies investigate need for and impact of culturally aware mentorship training - University of Wisconsin-Madison

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October 21st, 2020 at 2:55 am

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A guide to male height – University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily

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Self-awareness is a trait far more attractive than height. Photo by Emma Hitchcock | The Cavalier Daily

Height is a touchy subject for many men. Unlike many causes for our insecurity, this one is immutable and completely out of our control. Like men with erectile dysfunction, the short kings among us need to be lifted up. This is not the place for that, however. I am going to be brutally honest here, but self-awareness is a trait far more attractive than height. Here we go, gentlemen the implications of your stature

5 feet This is nothing short of an anatomical disaster. At least you are designed to bench press a lot of weight, but dont gloat over 315 for reps when your arms are shorter than a loaf of bread.

5 feet, 2 inches Your peers secretly refer to you as the manlet. Yes, the giggles are about you. This is a demoralizing situation to be in, but hey, you can now ride every attraction in an amusement park.

5 feet, 4 inches Clearly self-conscious about your height, or lack thereof, you frequently reference your personality on the dating front. But I am really down to earth, you often say. We know you are you dont have to remind us.

5 feet, 6 inches You actively try to elevate your height by employing some well-known strategies. You opt for a high sole in your footwear and resort to lift inserts for your flat-bottoms. When it comes to pictures, get off your tiptoes and tilt your chin back down.

5 feet, 8 inches This is 1 inch shy of the average height for a man in the United States, but it is average or even above average for men in many parts of the world. So bolster your ego by studying abroad. Im willing to bet that your height is inaccurate on your passport, though.

5 feet, 10 inches You identify as five-eleven, but you are not. Take it up with a measuring stick.

6 feet Congratulations, you are officially in the enviable six club. I bet it feels good not having to lie about it. The true five-eleveners will try to claim youre one of them. When that argument erupts, youll just have to go over their heads.

6 feet, 2 inches If you have an attractive face, too, youre basically Mr. Dos Equis. Regardless, the musculoskeletal genetics you carry are admirable. Youve got one lucky kid swimming around in your balls. Get them involved in sports early.

6 feet, 4 inches Even if you are plagued by excessive shrinking later in life, you should still die at a commendable height. Thats assuming you dont live to be 120 or so. A once striking presence, Noah was a miniscule two-foot-four when he died at the age of 950

6 feet, 6 inches At this height, you are very tall, but not so tall that a basketball career was inevitable. Therefore, your shameful no, in response to the Do you or did you play basketball? question tells us everything we need to know about your athleticism.

6 feet, 8 inches Youre the asshole people dread seeing in a theater, stadium or other seated venue. And please, if the audience is not situated on a slope, go stand in the back.

6 feet, 10 inches Now the basketball questions are ineluctable. They are going to come up in just about every social situation, so I hope you at least played Division II to avoid complete humiliation. You better have a really good excuse if you didnt.

7 feet A true marvel, you are now taller than 99.9999 percent of humans worldwide and 74 percent of humans in the village of Bibwaclanda.

Michael Lindemann is a Humor columnist for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at

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A guide to male height - University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily

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October 21st, 2020 at 2:55 am

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Love Island’s Ovie Soko: ‘It takes guts to live by your internal compass’ – The Guardian

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Months before Ovie Soko applied to be a contestant on hit reality show Love Island, he set himself a goal. Im a huge believer in manifesting stuff. You know that if I write it down it will happen, the 29-year-old says. So I wrote in my journal: Provide a service or a product that helps people feel better about themselves and it will reach millions of people. I hadnt a clue how I was going to do that. So to go on to Love Island later and get that reception, well, it was nuts. Blew me away. Still does. I dont really get it but nonetheless, I do appreciate it.

Previously only known to basketball fans (at the time he was signed to Spains CB Murcia), Soko was instantly catapulted to fame. Almost overnight, he earned millions of fans who were struck by his self-possession and chilled personality in an environment where bravado and insecurities reign supreme. He became known for his wise words of comfort and advice to the other contestants, including pulling other men up on any disrespectful behaviour toward the women on the show (and there was a lot). It is in this vein that his debut book You Are Dope (subtitled Let the power of positive energy into your life) continues, offering guidance, advice, and inspiration on how to become the dopest person you can be.

So what is dopeness? Dopeness is innate, and its in everyone, reads the book. Youve probably been dope for a lot of your life and didnt even realise it. Remember the time you did the washing-up for your mum and dad without them even asking? Dope. Broadly speaking, dopeness is a feeling of contentment, self-awareness and self-acceptance that isnt reliant on money or social status.

When my management first said publishers were interested in me writing a book, I thought of course not, Im not an author, says Soko, who co-wrote the book with Guardian journalist Lanre Bakare. But maybe people took a liking to me because they saw me as being a bit different on the reality TV setting. And I just think hold on, all you guys are different, too! Everyones different. And thats something that should be celebrated, not just because someones on reality TV. You should celebrate yourself, not what is sold on Instagram.

For Soko, helping others be grateful and happy through the book is his way of giving back to the many people who have been so warm toward him since his appearance on the show, and is a particularly personal undertaking as an avid reader of self-help books himself (he says they helped me advance my life.). His book is similarly bright and accessible, coming with worksheets to help readers organise their thoughts, and packed with anecdotes from Sokos own life. Learning to overcome doubt through professional basketball, dealing with social media pressures after Love Island, or navigating two cultures, as a young man raised by Nigerian parents in London but its not a memoir, he insists.

Im not going to write a memoir, I havent lived long enough, he says. The book has stories about me, and lets people into my life, but the goal is to show people how I dealt with certain situations. Theres lots from my life that isnt in the book.

Soko joins a roster of personalities Fearne Cotton, Russell Brand and Chidera Eggerue to name a few who have entered the self-help space, a genre that has seen sales boom by 20% to reach 30m a year. The book is not explicitly written for men (I think men and women can benefit from this material, says Soko) but with chapters on masculinity, and the lessons hes learned from his romantic relationships with women, You Are Dope will have a very strong appeal to men, especially young men.

Self-help books for young men have come under scrutiny in recent years as some of its most popular authors are accused of repackaging alt-right ideologies and misogynistic thinking in the guise of self-improvement. Perhaps the most famous example is Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychology professor who ostensibly gives out tough love to disaffected young men, but whose classically influenced philosophy champions strict social hierarchies, including along gender lines.

Against this, Sokos book is a breath of fresh air. He describes a masculinity that can be soft, and urges the reader especially young black men to resist social pressures. And instead of laying out a sweeping philosophy to inform a fixed code of conduct or way to live, he urges the reader to use their own inner compass to figure out what is right or what is dope for them. In many respects its a progressive answer to the demand for mens self-help, but without ever using the word feminism. Would that have been a step too far? Or was he simply playing it safe?

I think it takes more guts to live by your own internal compass than to live within the safety of what everyone else thinks, says Soko, who argues that the personal growth he wants to help his readers experience can be hindered by labels. In politics, everyone wants you to take a side. But if you think about what you actually believe in, youll probably not fit fully into any one specific political group. Maybe you agree with most of it so you put yourself in that box, because were trained to think that if you dont fit in a box, youre weird.

But hold on its a bit weird that you want to be put in a box. Everything about our lives since we were born, systematically as a society, is to train us to believe that you must fit inside the box. Your house is a box. We drive in a metal box. We go to school and sit at square tables. Well how about you think outside of the box? he exclaims. Weve all been given the mind that enables us to, but the older we get, the more we get used to just trying to fit into the parameters created by those who run the society which is obviously a tool used to control the masses and the more we feel alienated by our own intuition. Our own intuition becomes foreign to us, and it becomes madness. Dont do that to yourself! Youre selling yourself short.

Does Soko think hes now living to his full potential? In addition to writing a book, earlier this year he became the face of Diet Coke and finished filming a new BBC documentary exploring life after reality TV. He has also launched a fashion line for Asos, all while continuing to play professional basketball in France.

I do have goals. I want to do stuff in fashion, and maybe do some more TV. So Ill just keep on knocking down little milestones, he says. But the overall goal, the main goal of my life is to be happy and give back. Help other people be happy. And if you ask me, thats a life well lived.

Love Island's Ovie Soko: 'It takes guts to live by your internal compass' - The Guardian

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October 21st, 2020 at 2:55 am

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Breast cancer survivor telling others to trust their instincts – ABC 36 News – WTVQ

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) A woman diagnosed with breast cancer one year ago is now working to raise awareness about getting tested and trusting instincts.

Alana Cottrill says she found a lump in her breast in July 2019 and was told it was probably nothing.

She says doctors didnt think she fit the bill for having breast cancer because she was only 30-years-old, worked out often, didnt smoke or drink, and had no family history of the disease.

Months later, she went back and asked for a diagnostic mammogram because she felt something wasnt right and the lump wasnt going away.

Cottrill says her self-advocacy is why shes still here today. She held a yoga event Saturday to raise awareness, in collaboration with Sweat Fitness Studio, and she hopes it helps others develop the same self-awareness.

I am standing and preaching to the rooftops do your self exams trust your gut, Cottrill says. Even if your healthcare provider tells you that they think that its nothing if your gut is telling you somethings wrong with your body, nobody knows your body better than you do.

Posh Salon held a Cut-a-Thon in support of Cottrill last year. The salon is hosting another one for one of its employees who was recently diagnosed with the disease.

Its happening on October 25 from 10 a.m. 6 p.m. All nail services and haircut costs will go to the employee.

Originally posted here:
Breast cancer survivor telling others to trust their instincts - ABC 36 News - WTVQ

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October 21st, 2020 at 2:55 am

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The Making of Saint Maud, the Most Chilling Film of 2020 – AnOther Magazine

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October 20, 2020

When I can bring myself to watch horror, I find it incredibly rewarding, says Morfydd Clark, the Welsh actor and star of Saint Maud the most fiercely anticipated film of the genre to come out this year which has been picked up by A24 (Uncut Gems, Hereditary, Lady Bird, Moonlight and more). I find sad horrors very difficult, she continues, I watched Goodnight Mommy and it was just so sad as well as terrifying that I was like, I can only watch The Bogeyman from now on. Social horrors are the ones that really send me into a terrible spiral, in a way that makes me a better person.

Saint Maud, then, seems exactly the kind of film someone of Clarks disposition might steer away from. But shot mostly in a school in Islington with a mid-December stint in Scarborough, where the film is set Clarks first lead role explores the relationship between religion and mental health through the sometimes gruesome lens of horror. Having experienced a never-fully-explained trauma while working for the NHS, Clarks Maud becomes a private healthcare worker whose first patient is a celebrated former dancer called Amanda (Jennifer Ehle).

I was raised Christian and Im a pretty neurotic person, explains writer-director Rose Glass of the films genesis. Its only in the last few years that Ive started to think critically and with more self-awareness about both subjects and how they connect: Saint Maud is just what came naturally. Despite being a relative stranger before joining the project, Clark immediately identified with the themes in Glasss script. I have a lot of thoughts but I dont have stories in me, so reading it was like this is what Id write if I could write, she enthuses. Im not religious, but my dads been in and out of faith and Ive always found that interesting.

Mauds connection to God is born from her earlier professional distress, by the time she meets Amanda her religion is overwhelming her. From her modest appearance (the scraped back ponytail and modern tunic and trousers of an earlier scene are replaced with a low pony and more conservative uniform dress and wool tights when she arrives at Amandas) to her internal dialogue, everything she does either alludes to or is outright propelled by Him. This intensity similarly frames her behaviour and interactions with Amanda, who entertains her faith by asking questions, and later gifting Maud, my saviour, a William Blake book. Lines are inevitably blurred, and the pairs relationship ends after an uncomfortable scene at a party.

I'm interested in human behaviour and why we do the things we do, says Glass. I like finding out what makes people tick; the weirder the better. For Clark, the role meant looking inwards. I dont become someone else when Im acting at all, she says, instead searching for the parts of herself that relate to the role shes playing. Ive often felt that theres a parallel world where Im very lonely because Ive argued too much and havent apologised enough and thats something that chills my nightmares, so this idea of playing someone incredibly lonely is a particular horror of mine. Loosely in tandem with playing Maud were roles in Eternal Beauty and His Dark Materials Craig Roberts recent feature and the BBC One show respectively both of which saw Clark play women who were seen as not fitting in, and therefore seeming to be frightening or dangerous, and subsequently bled into the character.

In addition to examining her own behaviours, research fell on those around her; many family members are doctors or nurses. Growing up with someone who was being worked very hard in the NHS, I have been quite fascinated by how people did this work, she says. There were occasions where my mum was deeply affected by something at work, and I couldnt understand how she ever managed to compartmentalise. Reading Maud made sense because I was like yeah, if I was working in the health service without support, I would struggle hugely. Engaging with early feedback for the film, which had its world premiere at TIFF in 2019, Clark found others currently working in the sector concurred. They were glad they saw it but it was very painful, she says. Im so glad weve made a film that makes sense, but that it does ring true in some ways, thats been sad, to see that this horror is not far from peoples worlds who are doing the most important, most thankless work.

On set, any mental health concerns of her own were lifted by Ehle, who volunteered her care. I dont know if Id have been able to do it if it hadnt been with someone so lovely. Also Rose having the three of us together was really special. Three quite quiet introverted people who got to be quiet and introverted together. That the film was her debut lead (shes on screen throughout), Glasss debut feature, and a first for several other crew members created a productive and ultimately united atmosphere. This film was a big deal for a lot of us, agrees Glass, the personal stakes felt high and everyone threw themselves into it. Im aware its boring and nauseating to say how bloody nice everyone was, how much fun we had. But we really did and they really were.

Saint Maud is in cinemas now.

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The Making of Saint Maud, the Most Chilling Film of 2020 - AnOther Magazine

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October 21st, 2020 at 2:55 am

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