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Archive for the ‘Self-Improvement’ Category

‘People found my voice and connected with it’: the rise of in-app running coaches – The Guardian

Posted: June 22, 2020 at 2:44 pm


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If you started running during lockdown, you might have occasionally heard a little voice in your head telling you to stop. But for an ever-increasing number of people, that naysayer is being drowned out by someone else. Hes called Beefy.

Beefy or Cory Wharton-Malcolm, as hes also known is a real live running coach who lives in Sydenham, south-east London, but hes also a disembodied voice, travelling with millions of people at once, telling more times than the talking clock. This version of Beefy lives in your phone, and as you plod your way up that hill and think fondly of the sofa, he says things like thank you and run easy and, for some reason, you keep going.

Wharton-Malcolm, 41, is one of a myriad of pre-recorded coaches who have become a staple of lockdown exercise for adherents all over the planet. Fitness apps were huge business before solitary exercise became our only hope of leaving the house but now they are bigger still, one of the winners of the pandemic, and the super-enthusiastic voice in your ear is the breakout star of the genre.

The thinking behind the apps is simple enough. You pick a distance or a time, from a few minutes to a marathon. When you hit certain waypoints, the music fades, and up pops Beefy, or one of his colleagues or competitors, to tell you how wonderful you are.

Its amazing how many people have found the app, and then found my voice and connected with it, said the real Wharton-Malcolm, on the phone shortly after his digital analogue in the Nike Run Club app ignored my complaints and drove me through some particularly brutal interval runs.

He estimates hes getting about three times as many messages from listeners each day as he did before the pandemic struck. This week he signed up with a talent management agency, and there has been talk of a book.

People say they didnt touch running with a bargepole prior to the pandemic, but because theyve been locked inside, theyre up for it, he said. They say since finding your voice and a little bit of calm, theyve started to enjoy it. I think people are in search of human connection.

Mobile data and analytics provider App Annie says downloads in April and May of health and fitness apps have rocketed to 64.5m a week, a rise of 65% worldwide compared with January and February. In the UK, users are spending about 70% more time with their virtual coaches each week.

The Nike app has risen from 41st most popular to fourth in the UK. There are also substantial rises for rivals such as Fitbit Coach and Peloton.

We saw a lot of fitness apps spike early on, said Lexi Sydow, enior insights manager at App Annie. Its one of the standout categories people maybe being optimistic about their quarantine period. And these apps that do have a coaching element, they are ranking highly.

Unsurprisingly, the combination of relentless compliments, self-improvement, and a real-world version of the AI played by Scarlett Johannson in the film Her leads to some disproportionate levels of enthusiasm. @Bitbeefy you are a frikkin legend! Laura wrote on Instagram. Such a great run thanks for being with me! Shelly Mittal told his colleague, Nikes guru-like global head coach, Chris Bennett. And @Eleniid summarised what a lot of people seem to feel: I VERY MUCH NEED COACH CORY TO TELL ME JOB WELL DONE IN HIS HOT ACCENT FOR ME TO CONTINUE RUNNING!!!

Wharton-Malcolm, who describes himself as a recovering fat kid, is amused, but bashful. I definitely have received some expressions of love, he said. I am definitely flattered by it. But I have a missus.

So familiar have his honeyed tones become to devotees that he gets recognised and, presumably, fancied on the basis of his voice alone. I was stopped in Victoria station and this person was like I know that voice! he said. And in Amsterdam, I was coaching a group of runners, and I said, Come on, lets go, the kind of thing I say in the app and someone said, Wait, its coach Cory! That was weird.

Since the death of George Floyd, Wharton-Malcolm has used his substantial social media following to promote Black Lives Matter, posting videos such as a guided run through his neighbourhood talking about local businesses run by black people. More broadly, he sees a profound social benefit to exercise and coaching in an era of isolation.

Some people are just doing it for performance, yes, he said. But theres a search for camaraderie, for partnership. Were part of a community. And we all want someone to talk to. Or listen to, at least.

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'People found my voice and connected with it': the rise of in-app running coaches - The Guardian

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June 22nd, 2020 at 2:44 pm

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MBTI Of Every Batman In Film & Television | CBR – CBR – Comic Book Resources

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Batman has been portrayed on screen in a number of different ways. Each one has a unique personality that fits on the MBTI.

Along with Superman, Batman is the most popular superhero in Hollywood and has had way too many actors and iterations that each and every one of them have become completely different from the other. Some Batmen are more logical and cold while others are more altruistic and impulsive.

RELATED:10 Reasons Why Batman: Knightfall Should Join DC's Animated Movie Universe

These different Batmen all have different personality types, for that matter, and approach and interact with their worlds differently. There is no "ultimate" Batman at the moment but certain personality types that each of Batman's actors have given everyone a clear picture of what the Dark Knight should be. Here's how different yet similar each Batman is based on MBTI.

Will Friedle's Batman might not be the original, but his is just as worthy. He voices Terry McGinnis, the DCAU successor for Bruce Wayne's Batman inBatman Beyond. Terry, however, lacks the original DCAU Batman's sophistication and sharpness.

In fact, he's closer in behavior to one of the Robins. terry is brash, more careless, and a lot less calculating than Bruce Wayne. He prefers short-term tactics to long-term strategies in combat. There's also the fact that he's the adventurous type-- taking up the Batman mantle without much fuss. That very well makes him an ISFP.

Batman: The Brave and the Boldis one of the lesser serious and lighter takes on the Caped Crusader's misadventures and focuses on Batman's World's Greatest Detective side. He's voiced by Diedrich Bader here and he's a lot less brooding.

RELATED:Batman: 5 X-Men Villains He'd Beat In A Fight (& 5 He'd Lose To)

Well, at least compared to the other Batmen. He's also more extroverted here and takes on the leadership role often, especially with other superheroes in tow. Hence, this Batman easily passes off as an ENFJ personality type or someone who embodies the "protagonist" archetype, this Batman can give Superman a run for his money when it comes to being a role model.

Will Arnett is one of the latest voice actors to give us a compellingBatman performance inThe Lego Batman Movie.It's more of a parodical version of the Dark Knight where his superiority complex and brooding is cranked up to 11 hilariously.

Those behaviors are all hallmarks of an INTJ one of the rarest strategic thinker personality types to exist in MBTI-- something that fits Batman really well. One of the negative qualities of a stereotypical INTJ is also being socially inept and edgy and Will Arnett's Batman has no qualms on letting this side of the character loose.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, one wouldn't dare call Batman "The Dark Knight" given how campy and seemingly harmless he was. It was all thanks to Adam West's classical portrayal of the character in the oldBatmantelevision show.

RELATED:Batman: 5 Underrated Villains We Want To See In Live-Action On The Big Screen (& 5 We Don't Need To See)

It was more of a comedy than action where Batman and Robin are more like father and son bonding by choosing to fight crime. Adam West's Batman is peculiar as far as Batmen go as he's an ISFJ or the stereotypical defender-- someone who's both analytical and sensitive at the same time.

George Clooney's Batman, for lack of a better word, is the leastacceptable in live action. Not only was he not brooding but he was also quite extroverted. In fact, one probably can't discern between Bruce Wayne and Batman in1997's Batman & Robinas possess the same level of energy.

Clooney's Batman is the kind who would say"hi, Freeze. I'm Batman," in case people forgot who he actually was. The amount of jokes he cracks and how much he accepts socialization from Batgirl and Robin makes him an extroverted ESFJ, someone extremely popular and enjoys attention but is also always eager to help.

Val Kilmer is one of the more decent live-action Batmen around considering he had big shoes to fill after Michael Keaton's eccentric performance. He's introverted enough and secretive-- even when it comes to Robin (though not to a certain woman, it seems).

RELATED:Batman: The Adventures Continue: 10 Things Fans Are Looking Forward To

Kilmer's Batman, which appeared in 1995'sBatman Forever, embodies the caped crusader well-- taking in Robin and advocating his own brand of justice while appearing to enjoy it. That very well makes him an INFJ, quiet, mystical, but an unrelenting idealist.

Being the second Batman to appear successfully in film, Michael Keaton redefined the Dark Knight and made him a darker and more tortured version of himself. Part of the success in his iteration of Batman is thanks to Tim Burton's vision.

As for what kind of Batman he is, it's a tough call but seeing as he likes for people to take notice of his work but still likes to do it alone, Keaton's Caped Crusader can be an ISFJ. This is the "defender" stereotype, one who won't say no to work and is a true altruist.

When talking about Ben Affleck's Batman, it's best to refer to theBatman V Supermanversion as Joss Whedon seems to have butchered the character inJustice League.Now, that Batman is the darkest in all of cinema history so far. He has no qualms on being overkill with violence nor killing people, Superman included.

RELATED:10 Things About The Batman Arkham Series You Only Learn In The Comics

He's also incredibly antisocial and does his work best alone, even managing to defeat Superman by being as strategic and tactical as he can be. These are clear indications of an INTJ or the "mastermind" or "architect" personality type. Some of this carries over to hisJustice Leagueversion, thankfully.

Out of all the live-actionBatmanfilms, none has showcased Batman's use of gadgetry and technology than theDark Knighttrilogy. We have Christopher Nolan to thank for that and for making Christian Bale's Batman a master mechanic-- making a safer Batcave and even tinkering with an experimental Hummer for his Batmobile.

These are all clear traits of an ISTP or the "craftsman" or "virtuoso" personality. It's not just through inventions that Bale's Batman demonstrates this personality but also in his upbringing where he was easily able to learn from any immediate environment he's in, be it Gotham or Hongkong. This is a strong quality for an ISTP.

Finally, we arrive what a lot of fans consider as the most definitive Batman ever-- Kevin Conroy's. He provided the voice and the pitch for theBatman: The Animated Seriesbut Conroy has been doing Batman for so long that he has his own idea of what the Dark Knight should sound like.

To him, Batman is cold, calculating, extremely introverted, dislikes rules, focuses on self-improvement, and has unlimited contingency plans and willpower-- all famed attributes of an INTJ. Thanks to Kevin Conroy's Batman, it's to reimagine a more interesting or definitive take on the Dark Knight.

NEXT:Batman: 5 Mysteries That Paid Off Well (& 5 That Didn't)

Next MCU: 10 Scenes Iron Man Roasted Captain America

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MBTI Of Every Batman In Film & Television | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources

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June 22nd, 2020 at 2:44 pm

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Men’s mental health: ‘Man up’ is not the answer – Medical News Today

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Written by Maria Cohut Ph.D. on June 21, 2020 Fact checked by Gianna D'Emilio

Surveys from around the world show that men everywhere find it difficult to open up about mental health, though they are significantly more at risk of attempting suicide than women. In this Special Feature, we look at why this may be and how to address this issue.

In high-income countries, three times as many men as women die by suicide, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report from 2018.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention also cite 2018 data, noting that in that year alone, Men died by suicide 3.56 [times] more often than women in the United States.

And Mental Health America, a community-based nonprofit, reference data suggesting that more than 6 million men in the U.S. experience symptoms of depression each year, and more than 3 million experience an anxiety disorder.

Despite these staggering figures, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) report that men are less likely than women to have received formal mental health support in the past year.

Why is this the case? Recent research offers some explanations and proposes ways of remedying the situation.

In their 2018 report, the WHO emphasize that cultural stigma surrounding mental health is one of the chief obstacles to people admitting that they are struggling and seeking help.

And this stigmatization is particularly pronounced in men.

Described in various media as a silent epidemic and a sleeper issue that has crept into the minds of millions, with chilling statistics, mental illness among men is a public health concern that begs attention.

Thus begins a study from The University of British Columbia (UBC), in Vancouver, Canada, published in 2016 in Canadian Family Physician.

Its authors explain that prescriptive, ages-old ideas about gender are likely both part of the cause behind the development of mental health issues in men and the reason why men are put off from seeking professional help.

Another study from Canada published in Community Mental Health Journal in 2016 found that, in a national survey of English-speaking Canadians, among 541 respondents with no direct experience of suicidal ideation or depression, more than one-third admitted to holding stigmatizing beliefs about mental health issues in men.

And among this group, male respondents were more likely than females to hold views such as: I would not vote for a male politician if I knew he had been depressed, Men with depression are dangerous, and Men with depression could snap out of it if they wanted.

Among 360 respondents with direct experience of depression or suicidal ideation, more male than female respondents said that they would feel embarrassed about seeking formal treatment for depression.

One contributor who spoke to Medical News Today also pointed out that it is not easy for men to be open with their peers about mental health struggles.

Talking about mental health isnt something that tends to come up readily in particular social environments, such as when playing football, he told us.

Often, the relationships there are tied into the game and little else away from the pitch, which is a real shame, he added.

Men of color and men of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds face additional challenges when it comes to looking after their mental health.

According to Prof. Norman Bruce Anderson, former CEO of the American Psychological Association in the U.S., Black and Latino men are six times more likely to be murdered than their white peers.

Prof. Anderson also notes that American Indian men are the demographic most likely to attempt suicide and that Black men are most likely to experience incarceration.

According to Dr. Octavio Martinez Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, the effect of these disparities on the mental health of people of color and of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds is a double whammy.

Add the stigmatization of help-seeking behavior by men of all races to the unique stressors faced by men and boys of color, and its no wonder men and boys of color are at higher risk for isolation and mental health problems. These challenges can manifest as substance use or acting out through violence and aggression which can lead to more stigma and a continuation of the cycle.

On top of this, the authors of a study published in 2015 in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved point out that Medical experimentation on African Americans during slavery laid a foundation of mistrust toward healthcare providers.

All of these issues taken together lay a further barrier to people of color seeking and accessing care for mental health when they need it.

Specialists also point out that men and women can experience different symptoms of the same mental health issues. This, they say, may be partly a side effect of divergent views of mental health.

For instance, NIMH specialists explain that Some men with depression hide their emotions and may seem to be angry, irritable, or aggressive, while many women seem sad or express sadness.

They also note that some symptoms of depression are physiological, such as a racing heart, digestive issues, or headaches, and men are more likely to see their doctor about physical symptoms than emotional symptoms, according to the NIMH.

The organization also note that self-medicating with alcohol and other substances is a common symptom of depression among men and that this can exacerbate mental health problems and increase the risk of developing other health conditions.

So what can mental health professionals and policymakers do to ensure that men feel confident and comfortable seeking support and that they receive the appropriate care?

The first step in addressing these issues, researchers argue, is enhancing education about mental health.

In the Canadian Family Physician study, the researchers emphasize the importance of disrupting how men traditionally think about depression and suicide by breaking down the stigma that surrounds these topics through nationwide campaigns.

They also explain that it is important to help men change the idea of receiving support from a mark of weakness to a necessary step in maintaining one aspect of health that is as important as any other.

Anecdotal evidence supports these suggestions. One MNT respondent, for instance, told us that:

[One] area I feel needs improvement is education. [] I had spells of bad mental health in my childhood. It wasnt until my teenage years, when I became aware of my mothers and grandfathers history of mental health problems, that I realised what was going on with me. As a child, feeling anxious and/or depressed for no apparent reason was terrifying and only made my symptoms worse.

Also, not knowing what was going on made me embarrassed, and I usually wouldnt tell anyone what was going on with me, this contributor went on to say.

I dont know for sure, but if there had been education about mental health in my childhood, I reckon my symptoms wouldnt have scared me as much, and I would have been more open about talking about it with my parents, teachers, healthcare professionals, etc.

Another step in providing better support for men, the UBC researchers say, is changing the landscape of care for mental health by offering community-based programs that help counter risk factors for mental health problems, such as a sense of isolation among older people.

But no intervention is complete until it accounts for the groups that face systematic marginalization, such as men of color and those of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds.

Specialists have found that Black men in the U.S. are more likely to seek support in informal settings, such as places of worship. Based on this, they have suggested community-based participatory research as an important first step.

This approach will require researchers to gain trust and seek collaboration from Black Americans in finding out what needs to change to make formal support more accessible.

Dr. Martinez, referring to a report from 2014, also emphasizes the importance of community-based approaches.

He promotes interventions aimed to encourage men and boys of color and of diverse backgrounds to connect on a personal level. Stigma fades when men and boys see resilience and mental health self-care modeled by their fathers, brothers, teachers, faith leaders, and friends, he says.

Seek ways to demonstrate the connection between individual mental health and popular traditions of mentorship, cultural pride, self-emancipation and community action among men.

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Men's mental health: 'Man up' is not the answer - Medical News Today

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June 22nd, 2020 at 2:44 pm

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Carl Sagan – The World Is A Unity

Posted: May 31, 2020 at 3:16 pm


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May 31st, 2020 at 3:16 pm

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Aldous Huxley – The Metaphysics of Suffering

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May 31st, 2020 at 3:14 pm

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Shelter-in-Place is Not a Productivity Race – The LumberJack

Posted: April 26, 2020 at 11:52 pm


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Inhale, pause, exhale. We are living through an unprecedented, intimidating and stressful time, but now is not the time to beat yourself up.

While the world seems at a standstill, many people have taken this time away from their normal daily duties to start new hobbies, lose weight or even learn new languages. These tasks and goals are not a reflection of yourself, nor should they be used to show off your journey through social distancing.

A 2013 study by a psychologist at the University of Michigan examined the effects of social media on peoples mental wellbeing. The study found that social media, Facebook in particular, does not facilitate beneficial social interactions.

The same, and worse, can be said in regard to many other social media platforms. For example, Instagram can be a mindless escape for some but a shame-inducing harbor for others.

Theres a constant creation of new challenges and trends coming up everyday, whether its the pushup challenge, #untiltomorrow or even celebrities singing tone deaf tunes. Or perhaps its a stream of self improvement posts and revitalized New Years goals.

Whatever is clouding your social media feed, it doesnt have to be a standard for you to live up to. This isnt a productivity competition.

Some of us might have more time on our hands, but that doesnt make things easierand some people still working or now taking care of children might not have more time. We are also still dealing with pre-existing mindsets on top of the stress of a viral global outbreak.

Dont waste this time comparing yourself to someone whos lost 10 pounds walking in circles in their driveway or to someone whos learned how to speak Italian while in quarantine.

We need to have compassion for ourselves always, but especially now. The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions COVID-19 webpage provides a section for stress and coping information. This page offers insight to stress causes and outcomes all while underscoring the importance of knowing everyone deals with stress differently.

Thus, we escape to viral social media trends for entertainment and relief.

In a recent Vox article, writer Rebecca Jennings supports the flood of Instagram challenges. She argues people should continue this outpour of personal content because it offers connections that will stay in this ephemeral time.

However, instead of cluttering a platform with more dog picture reposts or pictures of people wearing pillows as clothing that only distract from the now, we should contribute to the conversation by being honest and doing something that honors yourself and others. Let your friends on social media know how you really feelopen up, cry, laugh and inspire. If youre up for it, of course.

Dont waste this time comparing yourself to someone whos lost 10 pounds walking in circles in their driveway or to someone whos learned how to speak Italian while in quarantine. Of course, if walking in circles in your driveway while rambling in broken Italian is your thing, go for it.

Being honest with others allows for accountability. If you continue to keep up a guise of happiness when youre truly suffering inside, you wont receive the help you deserve.

Speaking up about how you feel is a challenge more people should face. You dont need to make immediate changes to improve, but you owe it to yourself to take the time you need.

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Shelter-in-Place is Not a Productivity Race - The LumberJack

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April 26th, 2020 at 11:52 pm

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Why you should ignore the pressure to be productive during lockdown – The Guardian

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It seems like every second that I dont put toward building a side business, making money from a hobby, or improving myself is in some way a second wasted. Photograph: PeopleImages/Getty Images

One consequence of Covid-19 is that we are now all being urged to hustle harder than ever. Isaac Newton discovered gravity and invented calculus while in quarantine, we are told. Shakespeare allegedly wrote King Lear on lockdown.

Ive received emails urging me to use the presumed downtime I now have to learn a new language, or to take a business course to more effectively monetize my photography skills. It seems like every second that I dont put toward building a side business, making money from a hobby, or improving myself is in some way a second wasted.

The pressure is convincing. I have at various points vowed to code a new website, study for every standardized admissions test I could potentially need to take in my life, train to bike nearly 500 miles across my home state, and reach the coveted inbox zero, in addition to doing my actual job.

But then I stop myself and I wonder: who is hustle culture actually benefiting, and is this really the best way to be spending my free hours in isolation?

The language of the hustle was embedded in the pre-corona world. Back when we could travel, hotels encouraged us to be more productive on vacation. The shared workspace company WeWork instructed us: Dont stop when youre tired. According to one ad that ran in London, sleep was for the weak. Its no wonder these pressures are being felt more keenly now amid mass economic dislocation.

I dont necessarily blame the people peddling hustle culture, however the fitness influencers trying to make a sale, or the economic advisers who suggest we cash in on any skill sets we have lying around to deal with the current financial insecurity.

Glorifying the hustle is part and parcel of late capitalism, where dependable employment with benefits and a living wage feel increasingly out of reach. Many in my generation are far less likely to experience the kind of financial stability our parents did, despite working longer hours.

The concept of the hustle helps reconcile these contradictions, and can be weaponized to justify income inequality in nearly any context, promoting an illusion that if you hustle hard enough, the playing field can be equal for you, too. So while the gig economy undermines worker protections and reinforces the expectation that every free second is monetizable, we scramble to assemble a collection of small side gigs to fill in the gaps. The emotional impact is profound. We live in a political and social climate where our sense of self-worth is often reduced to our productivity.

I know all this, yet Im no stranger to the side hustle. I have a full-time job working for the United Nations World Food Programme, but I also run a photography business, work as a freelance journalist, edit books, teach English, freelance as a translator, earn money as a bhangra dancer, and do policy research to supplement my income when Im not on the clock.

Heres what I have to remind myself. Being more productive is actually made harder by the disruption in daily routines, or by having no way to escape from roommates or family. Many people have have spotty internet or cell service. And the constant barrage of confusing and overwhelming bad news can make us sick and exhausted, exacerbating underlying mental health conditions for those who have them. For women, new and unexpected childcare pressures and the new reality of having to prepare more meals at home make it harder to get work done.

Acknowledging that we are all living in an impossible era with little, if any, extra free time is an important first step in breaking free of hustle culture, especially if you can laugh at the absurdity of it all.

The next step is understanding that narratives around the wonders of constantly working primarily benefit a small group of bosses and investors who pocket the profits their workers create, rather than individual workers, no matter how productive we are. The way so many institutions and employers have treated their staff in recent weeks only adds to this impression, as companies from Instacart to Trader Joes have failed to provide employees with hazard pay or adequate protective equipment for work in high-risk conditions.

There is more to our time on this planet than just getting things done

After doing all of that? Try getting involved in a network that addresses the problems with the systems of work and value we live under, like one of the thousands of mutual aid projects that have been organized from coast to coast.

Even though hobbies may seem frivolous or non-essential at a time like this, taking space to do things that arent necessarily productive, or part of a pages-long to-do list, reminds us that there is more to our time on this planet than just getting things done.

In the last few weeks, my favorite moments have included making a batch of homemade butter for the first time and getting my violin out after years in storage.

I was reminded that in addition to a productive employee, I am also someone who loves to cook and who has a passion for music. I remembered that I am more than the economic value I generate, the perfect antidote to a lifetime of indoctrination otherwise.

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Why you should ignore the pressure to be productive during lockdown - The Guardian

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April 26th, 2020 at 11:52 pm

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Patient Wong has no qualms over extending MCO – The Star Online

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PETALING JAYA: Patience is not simply the ability to wait its how we behave and what we do while were waiting.

National pistol shooter Johnathan Wong (pic) is adamant that he knows exactly how and what to do during the movement control order (MCO) imposed to stem the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia.

For starters, Olympian Johnathan said he would remain positive and keep himself busy even if the Government decides to extend the lockdown period after May 12.

Given the situation around the world, I have learnt to expect and prepare for the MCO extension, said the 10m air pistol gold medallist at the recent President Ally T.H. Ong Championships.

I have been keeping myself occupied during my time indoors, trying to make full use of the time that I wouldnt have when I am actively training, such as doing house cleaning, catching up with movies and video gaming.

Besides that, self-reflection in this period is the best. With no other distraction and external pressure it is easier to think of ways for self-improvement.

I have been working closely with the sport psychologist from National Sports Institute (NSI) and doing physical workout regularly, making sure that I will be ready when training starts, said Johnathan.

The pandemic has obviously uprooted the 27-year-olds shooters routine as he usually trains for hours at the National Sports Council (NSC) shooting range in Bukit Jalil.

Now he can only train indoors without any shooting done. His only guide is the training programme provided by the NSI.

During this period, Johnathan has also discovered the delights of reading which will help enhance his visualisation and imagination.

Currently Im reading the Lord of the Ring series, and Ive managed to finished two of it. Generally, I prefer fantasy or detective fiction, as it spurs my imagination.

There are some things that are hard to train if you are not at the shooting range. But I have been practising visualisation so that even without being physically at the range, the memory of my technique still stays fresh in my mind.

Coaches would also check on our health from time to time.

With no action for more than a month, Johnathan, who is gunning for an Olympic wildcard spot, said the Covid-19 situation, is a lesson in learning how to adapt to the different aspects of life.

It is best that we lower our expectations now and always be prepared to face the worst. Start from the bottom again, and the results will come.

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Patient Wong has no qualms over extending MCO - The Star Online

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April 26th, 2020 at 11:52 pm

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Time to change or be changed – Investment Magazine

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Being called a one-trick pony is not a compliment and yet many Australian super funds have been satisfied possessing only one core skill for almost 30 years.

Their main area of expertise is allocating long-term capital when their mandate to secure a dignified retirement for all members and minimise dependence on the Aged Pension demands so much more than that.

But Covid-19 presents a unique opportunity for the industry to pursue a different approach to managing members retirement savings.

In the same way that many Australians are using their time in quarantine to learn a new language, play an instrument and master the art of baking bread; funds must also use this crisis for self-improvement.

They should emerge with a resolve to become experts at risk management too. That requires a sharper focus on members liabilities.

The task of liability matching is fundamental to the role of trustees, but prudent risk management is not only about matching a funds long-term pension liabilities with appropriate long-term investments. It is also about understanding the liability profile of individual members.

As fiduciaries (and not mere asset owners), super fund trustees have a responsibility to give equal attention to members liabilities, and not just their financial goals and aspirations.

But this is not a pitch to return to the principles that underpin defined benefit schemes. Members liabilities are not as simple as 60 per cent of final salary. They are certainly not as straightforward as the defined contribution yardstick of CPI+.

In fact, the language of risk and liability management is problematic in its own right and reflects the technical focus and background of much of the industry (and particularly actuaries and investment professionals). It neglects the fact that the ultimate output of a superannuation fund, is an innately personal and emotional one.

Member diversity

Super fund members represent a complex web of disparate lifestyles, occupations and degrees of health and affluence, all of which are subject to continuous change.

One persons idea of a comfortable retirement will differ from anothers. Each individual member has deeply personal hopes and dreams.

Any number of uncontrollable events can see these dreams shattered, including long-term unemployment, a sudden health crisis, a major market correction and a good old-fashioned pandemic.

These are the risks that matter for the members that have placed their retirement aspirations in our care and must be appropriately managed.

Yet, the industrys approach to this dilemma has largely hinged on the asset component of this asset and liability equation, hence its myopic focus on growth and accumulation.

To bridge this gap, funds need to gain a deeper understanding of what really matters to members, understand the nature of retirement, and then use that knowledge to shape policy, drive engagement and develop solutions that address the needs of various member cohorts.

While the answers to some of these questions may be confronting, the benefits through a deeper understanding and relevance to our members are substantial. Moving away from using averages and arbitrary benchmarks like the ASFA retirement standard will demonstrate a genuine desire to understand the lifestyles and concerns of our members.

For the funds that rise to this challenge, there is an opportunity to also attract new members seeking a more personal and empathetic experience.

Implementation, however, will require an approach that coordinates the traditional silos that exist within a superannuation funds structure, and complements it with the necessary governance and focus on retirement outcomes, traversing education, advice, administration, and investment seamlessly and with a shared purpose.

Systems to capture and use member data already exist and a small number of local players already offer tailored investment solutions to match their members unique circumstances. A differentiated suite of solutions for particular segments, combined with ongoing education, advice and communication that is personalised will round this out.

Breaking free

This is a unique opportunity to lead from the front and break free from the herd.

There are challenges to navigate, from the development of an appropriate framework to monitor and assess a new business model focused on member outcomes, through to the need to collaborate with regulators and policymakers to help remove existing roadblocks and impediments to the delivery of greater personalisation.

The Financial Services Royal Commission and the Productivity Commission Superannuation Inquiry emphasised the role of trustees to help their members achieve optimal retirement outcomes. Furthermore, APRAs prudential standard (SPS 515) requires funds to regularly assess the outcomes provided to members and identify opportunities for improvement.

Fortunately, at 28 years old, Australias retirement income system is still young. It does not have the legacy problems that inhibit traditional sectors, like banking and life insurance.

There are no major impediments to cultural change.

If fund members can learn how to use Zoom and work remotely while home-schooling children and running their household, there is no good reason why their super fund cant emerge from COVID-19 with a reinvigorated roadmap for the future.

Even if their equivalent of homemade sourdough bread is only a sharper focus on members liabilities and a commitment to change for the better, it is enough to get started.

While my last columnReality bites for supers long-term theory raised the possibility of another 1-in-100 year pandemic or economic crisis lurking around the corner, Covid-19 is here and now.

Like any crisis, it is making the ordinarily difficult task of questioning the status quo easier.

Funds must act to fend off government intervention and the threat of disruption from new entrants who claim to know their members better than they do.

As Winston Churchill famously said: Never waste a good crisis.

Wade Matterson is a principal and leads the Australian practice of Milliman, a global actuarial management consultancy firm.

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Time to change or be changed - Investment Magazine

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April 26th, 2020 at 11:52 pm

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JoJo Chooses Herself Over A Toxic Partner On ‘Lonely Hearts’ – MTV.com

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Warner Records Pop

The new song is from her upcoming album 'Good To Know'

We're just a week out from JoJo's new album Good To Know her first since 2016's Mad Love and she's continuing to build excitement with the release of another new single.

On Friday (April 24), the singer continued her self-love chronicles with "Lonely Hearts," which is centered around the question that everyone struggling with codependency should ask themselves: "How can I work on me, if I'm working on your body?" That theme of self-improvement seeps into the bridge, as JoJo asserts, "I'm liking being alone / Emotions under control / Right now is only for me ... Don't take it personally." It's a soulful slow jam that shines as bright as the highlighter on her cheek in the single's artwork.

Speaking about her new single in a press release, JoJo explained, "This song continues the journey of self-love that I've been on. Realizing that while temptation and self-doubt may arise, at the end of the day, choosing self-preservation over toxic relationships is what I'm doing in my life right now."

"Lonely Hearts" follows last month's "Man," on which the 29-year-old laid out her requirements for a partner by singing, "I need somebody who can love me like I love me." Both songs are set to appear on Good To Know, along with last year's "Joanna" and the Chika-assisted "Sabotage." The new album arrives on May 1.

For more JoJo goodness, check out the singer's recent MTV Unplugged At Home performance, during which she performed "Man," "Too Little Too Late," and more hits from the comfort of her bedroom.

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JoJo Chooses Herself Over A Toxic Partner On 'Lonely Hearts' - MTV.com

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April 26th, 2020 at 11:52 pm

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