ted talks

Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating

I came across this great TEDTalk this afternoon — Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers a simple — though hard — way to carry on, regardless of outcomes.

I had never thought of success in this way before — or even connecting similarities to failure.

In general I’ always trying to push forward and do better tomorrow than what I did today — and in some ways, that produces just as must work and concentration to continue to improve and do better as it would be to overcome a failure.

Its a neat talk — check it out.

Making the HR connection, yours,





I know that recent credits go to Tim Duncan for saying this, but I remember hearing it as a kid and again from one of the contestants on the Road Rule Challenge — I forget which season, but I he dad was a coach and I think he was a wrestler — yall remember?

Two Monkeys Were Paid Unequally, See What Happens Next

For those of you who know me or read some of my other articles, you know that I have an academic background in science — and I love science! I actually loved doing experiments and research — so imagine my surprise when I saw this excerpt related to two things that I dig — science and HR-related matters.

So first, some of the things that make this cool — just the primal drive for all things that are “fair” and “equal” — the monkey on the left knows immediately what is going on and his actions cry out “hey, that’s not fair” … actually it was more, “hey, that’s not fair and I don’t want your stupid cucumber — I know the grape is better.” Honestly — I’m not all that surprised by the result — are you? You may have been around children, or even remember times yourself as a child when you said, “that’s not fair!” But its neat to see the physical response of the monkey on the left.   (sidenote: I might add, I am not sure that “equal” and “fair” are the same thing.)

I’m not sure that I want to venture too far into a “fair” and “equal” discussion (hey, its an early Saturday morning and I’m a bit off my game) — also if you’ve seen some of my photos — I have multiple cultures and backgrounds (as do many of us) — so I bring to this discussion a my own perspectives of what I see and have observed — even when talking just about gender inequalities and leaving anything racial out of it. I’m not interested in having “THAT” discussion either — but what I will say, is that I think that while this an easy display of a reaction to what is perceived as in-equal — I think that it may only be part of the picture.  Pay equality, at least in the US, is not this simple.  Plus, I don’t know much about the social constructs of this type of monkey. However, while many people might focus on the monkey on the left – -what about the monkey on the right — seems to be okay that they are doing the same thing and he gets grapes and the other monkey gets cucumber — what, if anything, does that say? Also, by rejecting the cucumber, is there some parallel between understanding what one is worth in terms of compensation?

This is only an excerpt from de Waal’s study and the clip below is only an piece of what he presented at the TED Talk — so I’d be curious to know more about the conditions and scope of the entire study — and what was the overall goal (hypothesis to be tested). What would happen if the monkey on the right was paid in grapes, and THEN cucumber? What would happen if the monkey on the right had to give two rocks to get a grape and the monkey on the left still only had to give one?I don’t know — I guess that there are tons of permutations. I’ve also been saying “he” in reference to the monkeys — I have no idea their sex — but wouldn’t it be curious to know what the genders where and if different combinations gave different results?

I’m not sure that I have any ground breaking to conclude — but I just wanted to share, especially in light of some of the recent discussions on the  Fair Pay Act.  But if YOU have any thoughts or conclusions that you want to share —  love to hear ’em!

What was your reaction to the clip? Are there any parallels or similarities to what we are seeing with people?

Making the HR connection, yours,




Listen Better: Change How You Listen

Sometimes I find myself listening to respond or rebuttal and not really listening to understand or comprehend. I hate to admit it, but its true. 😦

However, knowing your weakness or areas that need attention is half the battle — so I’m always interested in articles and resources that are aimed at making me a better listening. Tonight during my regular look of articles on the net, I found this gem from Ted — and you KNOW how I love me some TedTalks. In his talk, Julian Treasure says that we spend about 60% of our unconscious time listening, but we’re not good at it — and only retain about 25% of what we hear.  WOW… only 25%… but what is it that you’re actually hearing?

What’s cool about this video, is that he is literally talking about listening better. I’ve never really admitted it before, but I’ve always had trouble with my hearing (maybe one reason why I don’t listen better, but just of course, “one” of the reasons 😉 ) so the thought of actually retraining the way that I hear things is fascinating.

If you heard things differently, would it make you a different kind of person? Manager? HR professional? Wife? Son? Neighbor? Friend?

Its a short video and totally engaging (you need to watch!) — but just in case you don’t get all the way through it, here are his 5 tips:

  1. Silence – have 3 minutes of silence a day
  2. The Mixer — how many channels of sound can you hear
  3. Savoring – enjoying mundane sounds (the “hidden choir”)
  4. Listening positions — move your listening position to make it appropriate to what you are listening to
  5. An acronym — RASA (which is Sanskrit for “juice” or “essence”—. Receive, Appreciate, Summarize, Ask

How good is your listening? Do you think you’re a good listener? Should listening be taught in schools like other skill sets?

I think this is huge.. and important to you as leaders, managers, HR pros… and as people in general. How many times have you felt that someone wasn’t *really* listening to you? Maybe people don’t really know how to do it….

Making the HR connection, yours




PS.. this Julian Treasure is pretty cool — check out some of his other stuff!

What is the opposite of depression…

I recently wrote a post on employee depression and its impact on engagement. Well this evening I came across this TedX talk and thought that I’d add a bit more to the conversation. I know its kinda downer thing to talk about and explore, but it could be something that is really impacting your employees — so as HR people, we should explore it and learn more about it… plus I really enjoy Ted Talks :).

“The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment.”

A gut-wrenching talk on overcoming depression:

New Grads and Young Professionals- Build a Good Career Base

I came across this article on Forbes, describing the 9 job mistakes that could stall your entire career.

I have a resounding “YES” when I read this article! The career decisions you make in your 20s DO impact your career decisions in your 30s and beyond. Sorry — not to stress you out 🙂 — but those career you start in early on builds a solid foundation for you to build your career on. Don’t just think “industry” or “specialty” — THINK SKILLS! What skills do you need to take you to the next phase of your career. SKILLS TRANSFER AND TRANSCEND INDUSTRY, FUNCTION, and REGION. Do you have the right skills?

I think about where I am now in my career and I can see logical alignments between things that I gained when I first started out. Those early years out of college as an HR person were rough! I am that HR person who ‘accidentally’ got into HR . So I had to rely on other skills to compensate, but looking back, I’m SO glad that I did. Those experiences coupled with skills helped me take to career steps along the way. I’ve also had some great managers and mentors to help keep me on track and help me with leverage things that I’m good at (and things that I’m not so good at).

Okay –now that I’ve got you really freaked out — let me talk you off the ledge — check out the article and see if you’re made some of the 9 job mistakes that could stall your entire career.  If so — no biggie! Once you are aware, you can take steps to make changes. Next check out the TED Talk: 30 is not the new 20, stressing the importance of that crucial time period post-college, especially when it comes to your career. And if you’re still needing some more convincing, try a read: The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter—and How to Make the Most of Them Now

Don’t freak! Get information and take action. You’re gonna be okay! 🙂 —

Making the HR Connection, yours,






Gayatri Devi, M.D.: How Do I Improve My Memory? Forget More!

Do you know what is essential for a good memory? The ability to forget. To completely and thoroughly forget. Forgetting, like breathing or sleeping, is physiologically normal. This is at odds with our modern compulsion to record and remember everything and is a perfect recipe for anxiety.

Deb Roy, a cognitive science professor at MIT studying language, recorded 8-10 hours daily of the first three years of his son’s home life. He compiled a quarter million hours of audio and video, creating a 200,000 gigabyte “ultimate memory machine.” Consider how much information each of us is exposed to in 24 hours, on streets, subways, screens and in sleep. Imagine recording and remembering all this. Thankfully, we were never meant to.

Fact: We are evolutionarily programmed to forget. Our brains evolved over millennia with built-in forgetfulness. Our brain is engineered to remember tastes, smells, voices, touch and visions, not names. Our brain is engineered to solve problems (How do we keep track of cattle? Mathematics; How do I communicate? Language), not remember disjointed facts. A fact not linked to a sense, an emotion, or a concept is quickly forgotten.

via Gayatri Devi, M.D.: How Do I Improve My Memory? Forget More!.