Redefining Success

Posted: November 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

Lately, the question of what makes one successful has been on my mind.  Traditionally, success lies in financial gain, improved status, and social recognition.  In these days and times, I’m not sure that definition really holds.  America is not the superpower it once was, the economy remains shaky, and a collegiate degree no longer guarantees a so-called ” good job.”   What’s more,  the promise of being more successful than your parents is more difficult than ever before to actually obtain.  In today’s reality. innovation, resourcefulness, and resilience are priceless; along with the ability to be happy and satisfied in your current situation while earnestly seeking new accomplishments that  contribute to a greater good.

via NPR

There is real danger of a disconnect between what’s on your business card and who you are deep inside, and it’s not a disconnect that the world is ready to be patient with.” — Alain de Botton

Success has become synonymous with financial wealth, influence and status. But can we define success in another way — one that welcomes a broader range of accomplishment? It may not be as obvious as you think. In this hour, TED speakers share ideas for what makes us successful.


In the age of social media, folks step to the internet to say everything. In this case, the intent of the confesson is questionable. I hope the man that admitted killing another human and getting away with it on youtube honestly wanted to step up, face the consequences of his actions, and provide closure to the family of his victim.

Video  —  Posted: October 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


At the turn of the millennium, “Think  Different” was the widely acclaimed advertising campaign for Apple Inc. But for  company chairman Steve Jobs, thinking differently was more than just a slogan — it was an unavoidable fact of life.


Jobs — subject of a new biopic, “Jobs” — was a typical obsessive, according  to author Joshua Kendall, and Apple’s leader probably had a little-known  disorder that psychiatrists now refer to as obsessive-compulsive personality  disorder, or OCPD.

Is this a case of psychiatric overreach, in which any human quirk is declared  a dangerous pathology (especially if Big Pharma can invent a pill for it)? Or  did Jobs’ undeniable success at Apple — perhaps the most imaginative and  successful company of the 21st century — cost him his happiness, his family and  even his health? [Creative Genius: The World’s Greatest  Minds]

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) describes OCPD as “a mental health  condition in which a person is preoccupied with rules, orderliness and control.”  It often runs in families, but scientists are unclear whether genes, environment  or a combination of these factors are behind the disorder.

OCPD or obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Though they’re similar, the contrast between OCPD and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) couldn’t be starker:  People with OCD have unwanted thoughts that interfere with their functioning,  whereas people with OCPD are highly functioning individuals who are convinced  that their way of thinking is absolutely correct, if not superior to everyone  else’s.

“OCD, in contrast to OCPD, often paralyzes people,” Kendall told LiveScience.  “Someone with OCD may have trouble working at all, because he might spend hours  every day scrubbing his hands to make sure that they are perfectly clean. That  person won’t have the energy to start Apple or to fly across the Atlantic on a  piece of wood like Charles Lindbergh.” [The 10 Most Controversial Psychiatric  Disorders]

Jobs, Lindbergh and other high-fliers are the subject of Kendall’s recent  book, “America’s Obsessives: The Compulsive Energy That Built a Nation” (Grand  Central Publishing, 2013). The book is filled with examples of people (mostly  men, as OCPD is less common among women) who rose to the top of their fields,  largely due to their obsessiveness.

A long history of obsessives

Thomas Jefferson — architect, botanist, diplomat, farmer, meteorologist,  president and author of the Declaration of Independence — also kept a  written log of every penny he ever spent and charted every vegetable market in  the Washington, D.C., area, according to Kendall.

Baseball legend Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox also  exhibited the traits of OCPD, Kendall said. “When I wasn’t eating or sleeping, I  was practicing my swing,” Williams famously said. He also approached the  practice of hitting a baseball as a science, even attending physics lectures at  MIT to better understand the dynamics of swinging a bat.

But single-mindedness like this comes at a dear cost — one that’s generally  paid by other people. “Obsessives tend to miss out on the joys of family life.  They have a hard time connecting with others,” Kendall said “They are control  freaks who are uncomfortable unless they are in a dominant position in a  relationship.” Indeed, Jobs refused all contact with his biological father, who  tried in vain to reconnect with his famous son.

The annals of history are filled with successful, obsessive people who  cultivated rich, benevolent public personas, but had private lives that bordered  on monstrous. “Lindbergh kept detailed checklists on the so-called infractions  of his sons and daughters. He would record every incident of gum-chewing,”  Kendall said. [7 Personality Traits You Should Change]

Slugger Williams, who championed cancer treatment on behalf of the  Dana-Farber Cancer institute in Boston, once admitted that he was “horses**t” to  his own neglected children.

Perhaps no one personifies this dichotomy better than Jobs, whose  achievements could make his life story read like a hagiography (he was a  rags-to-riches electronics wizard, a Zen Buddhist and a billionaire). But behind  the scenes, he reportedly could be impossible to relate to on a human level.

“Jobs was difficult to work for,” Kendall said, “and would often blow his  stack when something wasn’t done the right way,” which meant, of course, his way.

“And his difficult personality was the reason for his hiatus from Apple in the 1980s,” Kendall said. Suffering  from a bad reputation earned by his heavy-handed, mercurial management style,  Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985 (he rejoined the company in 1996).

There’s some evidence that Jobs — who was never actually diagnosed with OCPD  (Kendall asserts that he’s simply suggesting the diagnosis, based on current  criteria) — also had an eating disorder that’s frequently associated with OCPD.  “He struggled on and off with anorexia, a condition that is also associated with  a history of trauma in childhood,” Kendall said. “While Steve Jobs was lucky  that his adoptive parents were kind, he seems to have possessed some scars from  the adoption.”

“A harsh early life seems to be a common theme in the icons whom I studied,”  Kendall explained. “Ted Williams was neglected by both his parents, neither of  whom was around much when he was a kid. He ended up bonding with his bat rather  than with other people.”

The benefits of mental illness

There’s a large and growing body of research devoted to the link between  successful, high-achieving personalities and some degree of mental illness. For  instance, a few personality traits of psychopaths may  actually be positive in some circumstances, according to researcher Scott  Lilienfeld, a psychologist at Emory University in Atlanta.

Lilienfeld found that a couple of psychopathic traits are, ironically, also  linked to heroic behavior. A psychopathic trait called fearless  dominance — essentially boldness — was linked with greater heroism and altruism  toward strangers.

“Personality traits can be good or bad depending on the person and depending  on the situation and also how they’re channeled,” Lilienfeld told LiveScience in  an earlier interview.

“Fortunately, obsessives aren’t as dangerous as psychopaths — they don’t kill  anyone — but they can be destructive,” Kendall said. “Obsessionality is part of  the way [up] on the psychopath continuum. And we need to realize that just  because someone is successful doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is totally  sane or even reasonable … Sometimes a person rises to the top precisely because  he is a tad mad.”

Obsessives and human civilization

There’s even some evidence that OCPD may have helped human civilization  evolve: A 2012 report in the journal Medical Hypotheses presented the “ADHD-OCPD  theory of human behavior,” which states that people with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and OCPD were  critical in the switch from a hunter-gatherer society to an agricultural  society.

Farmers, the theory proposes, who were more meticulous, detail-oriented  perfectionists would have been more successful than others, especially when  growing just one crop (only corn, for example). Being more successful, these  obsessive individuals would have had more children, and their successful traits  would have thus spread to other fields, giving rise to merchants, teachers,  doctors and other specialists.

There are positions, it seems, in which people with OCPD naturally shine,  Kendall asserts. “Obsessives do very well in the IT world. In fact, tech firms  such as SAP are now making a concerted effort to hire workers who have Asperger syndrome, which is an analogous condition,”  Kendall said. “They also do well in athletics, particularly in sports such as  baseball or golf in which they need to do the same thing over and over again — such as swing and hit the ball.”

But the obvious talents of these individuals don’t make them perfect for  every task. “Since they lack people skills, they should stay away from jobs that  require sensitive interaction with others,” Kendall said. “For example, an  obsessive would be a disaster as the head of an HR [human resources]  department.”

The key, then, is playing to the strengths of people with OCPD, while  minimizing their limitations, Kendall said. “The challenge for obsessives — and  perhaps for everyone, as most of us have a touch of something — is to find a way  to channel constructively their passions.”

Follow Marc Lallanilla on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.

Copyright LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights  reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or  redistributed.


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According to data captured by the site, thousands odf teachers are looking to hook up with well-off dates that can help them financially.Call me crazy, but I think the real story here is how horribly paid teachers are!!

Video  —  Posted: August 20, 2013 in Uncategorized


The old adage “give a man food he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for life” is happening…Proactive, grassroots movements such as these are a true inspiration!

via NPR

Food banks around the country face growing demand, despite improvements in the economy. Many families are still underemployed and struggling. So some food banks are looking for more permanent ways to address hunger, beyond handing out food.

One of them is the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, based in Tucson. Among the many programs it runs is Las Milpitas de Cottonwood, a community farm located in one of the city’s lower-income neighborhoods.

More than 50 families have garden plots there. Most, like Jamie Senik, who lives in a nearby trailer park, are regular clients at the food bank.

Enlarge image

Food bank client Jamie Senik takes a break near her garden plot sponsored by the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. She grows food for herself and her diabetic mother.
Pam Fessler/NPR

Working under the hot morning sun, Senik says the ground at the farm might look hard and dry, but it’s good for growing. Her plot is surprisingly green.

“I have tomatoes and basil, cucumbers and peppers and some beans,” she says, walking around her plot. Senik says the food bank provides the land, the seeds and the water: “All I have to do is plant it and tend it.”

But then she gets to reap the benefits. Senik says the fresh produce is a big help for her and her mother, who has diabetes.

Robert Ojeda, who oversees the program, calls it “part of a growing movement within food banking.” Ojeda says as the number of people seeking emergency aid continues to grow, food banks have started thinking about what more they can do to help their clients become more self-sufficient.

He says it involves “thinking about long-term solutions to the problem of hunger and really getting at the core issues.”

Besides operating this farm, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona has helped about 1,000 people set up home gardens. It encourages those who grow more than they need to earn extra cash by selling the surplus at farmers’ markets, which are also run by the food bank.

The food bank also trains people to raise chickens and bees. And president and CEO Bill Carnegie says it has programs to help local schoolchildren learn about nutrition and food.

Enlarge image

Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona President and CEO Bill Carnegie says the food bank uses this area to teach clients how to raise chickens.
Pam Fessler/NPR

“I was at a little session, probably a year ago, with I think it was fourth-graders, and they were asked where carrots come from. Not one child knew that carrots grew in the ground,” he recalls.

Many U.S. food banks are doing similar work, as they warily eye the future. They’re especially worried about efforts in Congress to cut federal food aid, including food stamps, which many of their clients use.

Carnegie says you have to take a holistic approach if you want people to thrive. He says many of his clients need jobs, but they also have to be healthy enough to do them.

“We’re one of the few food banks in the country that we only accept healthy foods being donated to us. We turn down truckloads of chips or truckloads of things that aren’t really considered healthy for people to eat,” he says.

Back at the community farm, 22-year-old Efren Martinez pulls two huge green zucchinis out from under a plant.

“These are really good to make zucchini bread with,” he says.

Martinez has been gardening since high school and says there’s nothing like eating something you’ve grown. He and a few friends have taken over several plots here, so they can work with neighborhood kids to get them interested in gardening and the benefits that go with it.

The Salt

Howard Buffett Battles Hunger, Armed With Money And Science

“A space for where they feel they belong at,” says Martinez. “And also to do it in a drop-in, drop-out sort of way, so they can bring their friends and kind of come and go as they please.”


Food Bank Shortages Lead To Innovation

They’ve got only four takers so far, but Martinez hopes the idea will catch on.

That’s another goal of the food bank — getting people here more involved in the well-being of their community. It hopes that also will eventually yield something good.

goth Barbies

So how many of you are fans of the new Goth Barbies that come in Vampire and werewolf varieties (among others) ?   Some say that these dolls represent a more progressive idealized female image that celebrates individuality.  Perhaps they do, but why do their body measurements have to be impossibly skinny?

Touted as more progressive and cutting edge than their “normal” Barbie sisters, Monster High dolls are taking the world by storm. But are they really a positive influence on the little girls who play with them?

According to NPR, these so-called “Goth Barbies” are now one of the best-selling dolls in the world, second only to Barbie, which continues to reign supreme despite a recent dip in sales.

Manufactured by Barbie-maker Mattel, the Monster High dolls are the super-thin relatives of famous monsters. There’s dark-haired Draculaura and the blue-skinned zombie Ghoulia, werewolf Clawdeen and Spectra, the progeny of ghosts — among other characters. The dolls are being marketed as modern, relatable toys that promote acceptance and diversity.

“The message about the brand is really to celebrate your own freaky flaws, especially as bullying has become such a hot topic,” Cathy Cline, Mattel’s vice president of marketing, told NPR. She added that the Monster High line has significantly boosted the company’s profits and is one of the fastest-growing brands in the toy industry.

While some appear thrilled with the success of the Goth Barbies, others have expressed concern that the dolls aren’t quite as good for kids as they are hyped up to be.

In an op-ed for Jezebel on Wednesday, Callie Beusman argued that the Monster High dolls aren’t all that different from Barbie. The “brand doesn’t really encourage individuality at all,” she said, pointing to the dolls’ lack of diversity and “disturbing obsession with body image.” 

Wrote Beusman:

Instead of providing a valuable representation for children of other races and ethnicities, children who fail to conform to our rigid expectations of body-type, LGBT children and so on, Mattell has populated yet another fantasy universe with superficial, mostly white, wealthy (each of the three main characters is obsessed with shopping — and they all have famous dads) and boy-crazed teens. Monster High is not at all a departure from the norm: [I]t’s just more of the same.


Her argument is not a new one.

Back in 2010, when the Monster High dolls first hit shelves, a blogger for Ms. Magazine declared that the toys fed into “old-school stereotypes.”

“[The brand has] a good premise, and certainly one with potential to deliver a subtext about ‘normalizing’ difference and accepting a wider range of identities,” Ellie Lipkin wrote of the dolls. “But, unfortunately, the Monster High line of dolls does exactly the opposite. The five main girl characters debut with high-heeled platform shoes, nipped waists and hyperfeminine long hair.”

Indeed, as Fox news reported in 2011, the dolls’ revealing outfits, rail-thin bodies and heavy makeup angered some parents who felt that the toys had been overly sexualized. “This doll looks like a prostitute,” one parent said at the time.

Also in 2011, blogger and mom Jeanne Sager lamented the skinniness of the Goth Barbies — specifically mummy girl Cleo De Nile.

“When a doll’s proportions are so off that the product descriptions warn she can’t stand on her own, it’s hard to find a way to legitimize her being on the shelves,” Sager wrote in a blog post for The Stir. “No girl should ever look like Cleo De Nile. But if you put her in the hands of your 6-year-old, are you prepared to explain to her why not?”

NPR’s piece on the Goth Barbies is part of a broader series on the impact of media and entertainment created for kids. Click here for more from the series — and tell us what you think of the Goth Barbies in the comments below.

Listen to the full report on Goth Barbies here


It’s no secret that racial intolerance and hate groups that feed these attitudes are on the rise. As our nation becomes increasingly diverse, many are reacting with extremism and hate-based actions, while others find value in interacting with people from different backgrounds. What role, if any, do you believe our government should play in this evolving social landscape? This week, the Supreme Court is handing down landmark decisions on both affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act. As far as I’m concerned, the court is needed to step in and articulate the values of justice, human rights, and fairness that our nation is supposedly founded upon and ultimately, help us as a society move forward. To do this, we must admit how much further we still have to go in the fight for fair treatment of all regardless or race, creed, gender, economic status, or an other category the ugly side of human nature can find to divide us.

via Democracy Now
With just days before the summer recess, the Supreme Court has handed down the first of four major decisions on issues of civil rights, discrimination and equality, ruling on a challenge to the use of race-conscious affirmative action in college admissions. The petitioner, Abigail Fisher, accused the University of Texas at Austin of discrimination for rejecting her college application, she says, because she is white. Many had expected the court’s conservative members to seize upon the case as part of a right-wing effort to end affirmative action for good. But instead, the court came down with an opinion that gives both sides reasons to cheer. In a 7-to-1 decision, justices sent the case back to a federal appeals court and told it to consider affirmative action under a harsher standard. But they also refused to overturn the 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, which rejected the use of racial quotas in college admissions but allowed for less direct methods of affirmative action in order to improve diversity