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Croatia’s President Taught a Lesson In Leadership At The World Cup

Spectators in the VIP section of the FIFA World Cup tend to be a far more sedate and stolid crew than fans elsewhere in the stadium. At Sunday’s final between France and Croatia, though, Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović was a literal bright spot in the crowd.

Dressed in a red-and-white team jersey, Grabar-Kitarović spent most of the game on her feet, cheering in support of a squad that ultimately lost the 4-2 final. Before being invited into the VIP box as a guest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Grabar-Kitarović watched every single one of her team’s appearances from the stands with fellow Croatia fans.

Being a visible booster for a winning team is one of the fun parts of being a leader. Croatia has never advanced to a world cup final before and the team, led by captain (and former refugee) Luka Modric, were national heroes.

But when it was over and Croatia was left to reckon with the deeply disappointing defeat, Grabar-Kitarović was as present and supportive as she’d been during their ascent. She embraced a shattered Modric after he was presented with the Golden Ball, the tournament’s most valuable player award. A hard rain...

How Setting A Schedule Can Make You Less Productive

It can seem like there’s never enough time – not enough for sleep and not enough for play, not enough for cooking and not enough for exercise.

There’s a relatively new term to describe this feeling: time famine, or the sensation of having too much to do without enough time to do it.

In order to structure what little time we feel we have, one strategy we deploy is scheduling. In fact, reliance on organizational tools like daily planners has been on the rise. In two recent surveys, 51 percent of respondents said they regularly used their calendar app, while 63 percent of office workers consider calendars “very important.”

The idea is that scheduling will make you more efficient: When you allocate your time, it organizes your day into a series of appointments, meetings and calls, while blocking off free time for other activities or tasks.

But in a series of eight studies, Gabriela Tonietto, Steve Nowlis and I found that scheduling can sometimes backfire – and actually make us less productive.

An appointment approaches – and time ‘shrinks’

Much of scheduling’s downside has to do with the anticipation of a meeting or appointment. When we know a scheduled meeting...

‘Find Your Passion’ Is Awful Advice

Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, remembers asking an undergraduate seminar recently, “How many of you are waiting to find your passion?”

“Almost all of them raised their hand and got dreamy looks in their eyes,” she told me. They talked about it “like a tidal wave would sweep over them,” he said. Sploosh. Huzzah! It’s accounting!

Would they have unlimited motivation for their passion? They nodded solemnly.

“I hate to burst your balloon,” she said, “but it doesn’t usually happen that way.”

What Dweck asked her students is a common refrain in American society. The term “Follow your passion” has increased ninefold in English books since 1990. “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” is another college-counseling standby of unknown provenance.

But according to Dweck and others, that advice is steering people wrong.

“What are the consequences of that?” asked Paul O’Keefe, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale—NUS College. “That means that if you do something that feels like work, it means you don’t love it.” He gave me the example of a student who jumps from lab to lab...

Harnessing the Benefits of Physical Transformation for Career Reinvention

The single most important part of my own personal journey for career reinvention has been integrating an obsession with exercise and diet into the work of transforming from corporate executive to a successful executive and career coach and speaker. The benefits from my obsession with physical transformation are measurable in medical terms and priceless in psychic terms. While the work of career reinvention is mostly brain work, the physical regimen is a game-changer for the mental work.

The Physical Starting Point for My Career Reinvention:

Like many corporate and road warriors who wake-up in their late 40’s or early 50’s, I found myself with 30 extra pounds and as it turns out, according to the experts at the Mayo Clinic Executive Health Center, a baker’s dozen or so of health warning signs. Years of sitting at a desk or in meetings, flying weekly, and spending way too much time in restaurants had all taken their toll. I had reached critical mass in more ways than one with my health.

That was four years ago. I returned just this past week to run through what I describe as the medical carnival ride from hell, and after 18 appointments...

The Psychology Of Why You Feel Alone Even When You’re Surrounded By People

Despite the world’s population creeping upward by around 200,000 people a day, many of us have never felt as alone.

We are more connected than ever before, yet we somehow feel more isolated. We have the ability to reconnect with our high-school classmates and talk to our heroes on social media, yet we feel that we have less intimate connections than the generation before us. And it’s not just a nagging feeling in the back of our minds—it’s affecting our physical health, too. The news headlines speak for themselves: “Chronic loneliness is a modern-day epidemic.” “Loneliness is a public-health threat.” “Widespread loneliness is killing people and we need to start talking about it.

But our social lives aren’t the only place we experience loneliness. We are also spending more time working than we have in previous decades—especially in the U.S. All those extra hours spent around our colleagues should help us foster closer relationships. But when you arguably spend more time with your workmates than your own family, why can the office sometimes still feel so isolating?

BYU psychology professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad is one of the world’s leading researchers on social...