Of all the distractions that come with working in an office, the biggest is not the room temperature or the traffic sounds from outside. It’s ourselves.
In a survey commissioned by office-equipment maker Poly and conducted by research firm Future Workplace, 76% of respondents said a co-worker talking loudly on the phone created a moderate, high, or very high level of distraction for them while at work in their primary workspace, making it the most commonly cited disruption in the survey. Noise from a co-worker talking nearby was cited by 65% of respondents.
If you look at the people someone is connected to on Facebook or Twitter, you can tell a lot about them.
You can tell if they’re a social butterfly or a hermit. You can tell if they’re depressed, or anxious. Researchers have even used people’s connections to predict, accurately, whether someone is likely to become overweight or obese in the future.
The connections that we make, and the networks we build, come to define us. That’s true whether it’s your Twitter followers, or your work network — your mentors, your advisors, your colleagues.
As someone who has owned over 30 different businesses in speciality retail, fast food and hospitality, here are some of the biggest myths that I have discovered in relation to owning a small business, especially in the early stages:
Myth 1: That owning a business means that you can work whenever you like.
The truth is that you don’t own a business … it owns you. If it is right for the business to serve its customers 24/7, then it is up to you as the owner/manager to staff that need, even if it means staffing it yourself – which it usually does. It’s not uncommon for people that own their own business to commit 80–100 hours a week to its survival and success.
Myth 2: That you will make a fortune when you own your own business.
We humans have a deep need to think highly of ourselves. If that opinion of our goodness, greatness, and brilliance diverges enough from reality, we become grandiose. We imagine our superiority. Often, a small measure of success will elevate our natural grandiosity to even more dangerous levels. Our high self-opinion has now been confirmed by events. We forget the role that luck may have played in the success, or the contributions of others. We imagine we have the golden touch. Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last. Look for the signs of elevated grandiosity in yourself and in others—overbearing certainty in the positive outcome of your plans; excessive touchiness if criticized; a disdain for any form of authority. Counteract the pull of grandiosity by maintaining a realistic assessment of yourself and your limits. Tie any feelings of greatness to your work, your achievements, and your contributions to society.
Tracing the history of humans trying to reduce one another to a personality profile.
Henry Murray yearned to go to war. The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, and the Harvard psychologist started working out, rowing every morning to get himself in fighting shape. But there was little need for an academic on the battlefields, so Murray turned his skills as an analyst and onetime patient of Carl Jung toward a new project. Instead of getting his hands dirty overseas, he would strive to understand the world’s evilest man and thus help stop him—from afar.
If you thought that proactively offering help to your co-workers was a good thing, think again. New workplace research from Michigan State University found that when it comes to offering your expertise, it’s better to keep to yourself or wait until you’re asked.
Building upon previous findings that showed how helping colleagues slows one’s success, management professor Russell Johnson looked more closely at the different kinds of help in which people engage at work – and how that help was received. The research findings, published in Journal of Applied Psychology, quantified the term, “it’s best to stay in your own swim lane.”
Three-person engineering teams just work better. Everyone on a three-person team is more motivated because they feel like they own their work. They also deal with less overhead and nonsense. Yet three-person teams aren’t too small. They have just enough people to handle vacations or to swarm on complicated problems.
In past articles I have examined the nature of power and division in our society and have always come to the same conclusion, that there are only two types of people: the people who want control over others and the people who just want to be left alone. However, there are also subgroups that swim within the boundaries of each end of the spectrum. Often, psychologists and self-help gurus attempt to promote the idea that the defining quality of the average person’s life is whether he is a follower or a leader. I have seen this spectrum applied to every political and social organization. Continue reading “Why Is Independence So Frightening To Some People?”