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If I Were 22

A funny thing happens when you’re 22. You dream big. You work hard. You charge forward. But you are not so sure where you are going. 

At 22, I had just graduated from college and had started teaching pre-K in an inner city school in Denver. My ambition was to be a great teacher. I thought that would define my success. That was my plan, or so I thought. What I didn’t realize then was, there would be many, many more turns in the road.

I soon figured out that each year brings another set of experiences and growth. And each experience, each opportunity to learn, exponentially broadens the possibilities of who you can be. In reality, it takes a great deal of strength to move past who you are in the moment to who you can be in the future. And often that means just being willing to take a risk and follow your passion. It was taking risks and following my passion for public service that led me from the classroom to community service to government leadership.

It turns out that what I had imagined for myself at age 22 wasn’t exactly the right plan ...

The Myth of the Brain Game

In Phaedrus, Plato's 2,400-year-old set of dialogues, Socrates narrates a conversation between the King of Egypt, Thamus, and a god, Theuth. Theuth had invented various fields of learning, including arithmetic, astronomy, geometry, and writing, and he wanted the king to share them with his people. While each discovery had its pros and cons, writing, Theuth said, was the best invention of all, since it would “improve both the wisdom and the memory of the Egyptians.” The king unconvinced, described writing as the “conceit of wisdom,” arguing that it would cause men to become forgetful, because they would rely upon written texts rather than remember things for themselves. The god's discovery wasn’t a tool for memory, said the king. It would only enable reminiscence.

Almost two-and-a-half millennia later, our impulse to remember things, and to do so efficiently, remains fierce. The tools we use include grocery checklists, photo albums, flash cards, smartphone memos, and even scrawls on Post-Its. Over the past decade, digital brain-training games have emerged as the newest way to sharpen memory skills. They’re often touted as having a wide range of benefits, from helping people remember names and childhood stories to possibly staving ...

Scientists Say They Have Found a Cure for Fear

If love can’t conquer all, at least now there’s hope that it conquers fear.

Researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany found that doses of oxytocin can help eliminate fear. The hormone bonds to the amygdala (the emotional center of the brain) and parts of the prefrontal cortex. In addition to playing a role in mother-child and romantic bonds, oxytocin reduces anxiety, according to the study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

When people go through a traumatic experience, certain triggers associated with that experience can set off that fear for them. The researchers simulated this fear by using Pavlovian fear conditioning—they showed images of houses and faces to 62 men, then administered a light electrical shock to their hands to associate that image with pain multiple times. Eventually, that image evoked fear for the subjects, as measured by their cold sweat and brain scans showing the part of the brain that registers fear.

Then, half the subjects received doses of oxytocin sprayed through the nose as they saw the images they were now conditioned to fear. Initially their fear response increased upon receiving the oxytocin (studies have shown that oxytocin can also make the brain ...

How Much Sleep Do Americans Trade for Work?

Among my Type A, career-minded friends, I've heard two opposing types of personal mantras for the amount of sleep a person should get. The first: 8 hours of sleep will help you be more awake and aware, and then you can work harder. The second: Sleep is for losers.

The American Time Use Survey(ATUS) reports that employed Americans spend on average one more hour working than they do sleeping on workdays. Worldwide, America lags behind Europe in OECD's work-life balance index—not to mention Americans are more likely to work late at night and on weekends than Europeans. And although the recommended amount of sleep is seven to eight hours a night, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 30 percent of employed Americans—or roughly 40 million workers—sleeps six hours or fewer each night.

new study in the journal Sleep looks at the activities that are most exchanged for slumber. Using data from the ATUS, researchers Mathias Basner, Andrea Spaeth, and David Dinges sorted sleepers into three groups and compared their waking habits: short sleepers (those who sleep fewer than six hours a night), normal sleepers (six to 11 hours), and long ...

The 10 Tell-Tale Signs Your Boss Doesn’t Like You

Does your boss really like you? While it’s true that you don’t have to be bosom buddies with your boss in order to do your job, it certainly makes things a lot more difficult if there’s some personal dislike between you and your superiors.

But how can you tell if you’re really disliked, or if you’re just being overly sensitive?

Here are some key signs to look out for that will tell you the answer:

  1. Excludes you from important meetings, discussions, decisions. Either she forgot to invite you (which means you’re forgettable in her eyes) or it was deliberate. Either way, it’s not good.
  2. Micromanages you. If your boss is micromanaging you, it’s because he doesn’t trust you—whether his reasoning is valid or not.
  3. Inaccessibility. The opposite of micromanagement, this can be just as bad if your boss is never available to answer questions or talk with you about important subjects.
  4. Publicly criticizes you. First, this is just bad management technique. But in addition, it may mean that he is trying to humiliate you or call you out.
  5. Skips you in the promotion round. If this happens more than once ...