More on Personal Growth
1 month ago
8 Communication Hacks I Use as a Young Employee
Learn these subtle cues to gain influence.
Hate being ignored?
As a 24-year-old, I struggled at work. Attention-getting tips How to avoid being judged by my size, gender, and lack of wrinkles or gray hair?
I've learned seniority hacks. Influence. Within two years as a product manager, I led a team. I'm a Stanford MBA student.
These communication hacks can make you look senior and influential.
1. Slowly speak
We speak quickly because we're afraid of being interrupted.
When I doubt my ideas, I speak quickly. How can we slow down? Jamie Chapman says speaking slowly saps our energy.
Chapman suggests emphasizing certain words and pausing.
2. Interrupted? Stop the stopper
Someone interrupt your speech?
Don't wait. "May I finish?" No pause needed. Stop interrupting. I first tried this in Leadership Laboratory at Stanford. How quickly I gained influence amazed me.
Next time, try “May I finish?” If that’s not enough, try these other tips from Wendy R.S. O’Connor.
Others don't always see what's obvious to you.
Through explanation, you help others see the big picture. If a senior knows it, you help them see where your work fits.
4. Don't ask questions in statements
“Your statement lost its effect when you ended it on a high pitch,” a group member told me. Upspeak, it’s called. I do it when I feel uncertain.
Upspeak loses influence and credibility. Unneeded. When unsure, we can say "I think." We can even ask a proper question.
Someone else's boasting is no reason to be dismissive. As leaders and colleagues, we should listen to our colleagues even if they use this speech pattern.
Give your words impact.
5. Signpost structure
Signposts improve clarity by providing structure and transitions.
Communication coach Alexander Lyon explains how to use "first," "second," and "third" He explains classic and summary transitions to help the listener switch topics.
Signs clarify. Clarity matters.
6. Eliminate email fluff
“Fine. When will the report be ready? — Jeff.”
Notice how senior leaders write short, direct emails? I often use formalities like "dear," "hope you're well," and "kind regards"
Formality is (usually) unnecessary.
7. Replace exclamation marks with periods
See how junior an exclamation-filled email looks:
Hope you’re as excited as I am for tomorrow! We’re celebrating our accomplishments with cake! Join us tomorrow at 2 pm!
See you soon!
Why the exclamation points? Why not just one?
Hope you’re as excited as I am for tomorrow. We’re celebrating our accomplishments with cake. Join us tomorrow at 2 pm!
See you soon.
8. Take space
"Playing high" means having an open, relaxed body, says Stanford professor and author Deborah Gruenfield.
Crossed legs or looking small? Relax. Get bigger.
1 month ago
Activating Your Vagus Nerve
11 science-backed ways to improve health, happiness, healing, relaxation, and mental clarity.
Vagus nerve is the main parasympathetic nervous system component.
It helps us rest and digest by slowing and stabilizing a resting heart rate, slowing and stabilizing the breath, promoting digestion, improving recovery and healing times, producing saliva, releasing endorphins and hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin, and boosting the immune, digestive, and cardiovascular systems.
The vagus nerve sends anti-inflammatory signals to other parts of the body and is located behind the tongue, in the throat, neck, heart, lungs, abdomen, and brainstem.
Vagus means wandering in Latin. So, it's bold.
Here are 11 proven ways to boost health, happiness, and the vagus nerve.
“Yoga stimulates different nerves in your body, especially the vagus nerve that carries information from the brain to most of the body’s major organs, slows everything down and allows self-regulation. It’s the nerve that is associated with the parasympathetic system and emotions like love, joy, and compassion.” — Deepak Chopra
Stretching doesn't require a yoga background.
Listen to your body and ease into simple poses. This connects the mind and body.
If you're new to yoga or don't have access to an in-person class, try Yoga with Adrienne. Over 600 YouTube videos give her plenty of material.
Because inhaling and exhaling activate the autonomic nervous system, we can breathe to relax.
Exhaling activates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). One inhales stress, the other exhales it.
So, faster or more intense breathing increases stress. Slower breathing relaxes us.
Breathe slowly, smoothly, and less.
Rhythmic breathing helps me relax.
What to do is as follows:
1. Take 4 smooth, forceless nose breaths.
2. Exhale smoothly and forcefully for 4 seconds
3. Don't pause at the inhale or exhale.
4. Continue for 5 minutes/40 breaths
5. Hold your breath as long as comfortable.
6. Breathe normally.
If four seconds is too long, try breathing in and out for two seconds, or in and out for three seconds, until your breath naturally relaxes. Once calmer, extend your breath.
Any consistent rhythm without force is good. Your heart will follow your lead and become coherent.
Singing, chanting, or humming activate the vagus nerve through the back of the throat.
Humming emits nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide improves blood circulation, blood flow, heart health, and blood pressure.
Antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties kill viruses and bacteria in the nose and throat.
Gargling water stimulates the vagus nerve.
Simple ways to heal, boost energy, and boost mood are often the healthiest. They're free and can be done anywhere.
4. Have more fun
Laughing stimulates the throat muscles, activating the vagus nerve. What's not to like? It releases dopamine.
Take time to enjoy life. Maybe it's a book, podcast, movie, socializing with friends, or laughing yoga.
Follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell says.
Laugh at yourself
Gagging activates vagus nerve-connected muscles. Some doctors use the gag reflex to test the vagus nerve.
Grossness isn't required. While brushing, gag quickly. My girlfriend's brother always does it.
I'm done brushing when I gag, he says.
6. Take in the outdoors
Nature relaxes body and mind. Better if you can walk barefoot.
Earthing is associated with hippies dancing in daisies.
Science now supports hippies.
7. Enter some chilly water.
The diving reflex activates the vagus nerve when exposed to cold water.
The diving reflex involves holding your breath in cold water. Cold showers work best.
Within minutes of being in cold water, parasympathetic nervous system activity, which calms the body, increases.
Exercise increases dopamine, blood circulation, and breathing. So we feel energized, calm, and well-rested.
After resting, the parasympathetic nervous system engages.
It's worth waiting for, though.
9. Play music with brainwaves
Brainwave music harmonizes brainwave activity, boosts productivity and mental clarity, and promotes peace and relaxation by stimulating the vagus nerve.
Simply play a song.
10. Make gentle eyes
Eyes, like breath, often reflect inner state. Sharp, dilated, focused eyes indicate alertness.
Soft, open eyes reflect relaxation and ease. Soft eyes relax the nervous system.
This practice reduces stress, anxiety, and body tension. It's a quick and effective way to enter a calm, peaceful state.
Wild animals can be hunted one minute and graze the next.
Put it into action:
Relax while seated.
Gaze at a distant object
Use peripheral vision while looking straight ahead
Without moving your eyes, look up and down. Connect side spaces to your vision.
Focus on everything as your eyes soften.
Stay as long as you like
11. Be intimate
We kiss, moan, and breathe deeper during love. We get dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and vagus nerve stimulation.
To sum up
Here are 11 vagus nerve resets:
Spend time outdoors
Leap into chilly water
Play music with brainwaves.
Make gentle eyes.
If these words have inspired you, try my favorite breathwork technique. Combining breathing, chanting, and brainwave music. Win-win-win :)
4 months ago
Digital Brainbuilding (Your Second Brain)
The human brain is amazing. As more scientists examine the brain, we learn how much it can store.
The human brain has 1 billion neurons, according to Scientific American. Each neuron creates 1,000 connections, totaling over a trillion. If each neuron could store one memory, we'd run out of room. 
What if you could store and access more info, freeing up brain space for problem-solving and creativity?
Build a second brain to keep up with rising knowledge (what I refer to as a Digital Brain). Effectively managing information entails realizing you can't recall everything.
Every action requires information. You need the correct information to learn a new skill, complete a project at work, or establish a business. You must manage information properly to advance your profession and improve your life.
How to construct a second brain to organize information and achieve goals.
What Is a Second Brain?
How often do you forget an article or book's key point? Have you ever wasted hours looking for a saved file?
If so, you're not alone. Information overload affects millions of individuals worldwide. Information overload drains mental resources and causes anxiety.
This is when the second brain comes in.
Building a second brain doesn't involve duplicating the human brain. Building a system that captures, organizes, retrieves, and archives ideas and thoughts. The second brain improves memory, organization, and recall.
Digital tools are preferable to analog for building a second brain.
Digital tools are portable and accessible. Due to these benefits, we'll focus on digital second-brain building.
Digital Brains are external hard drives. It stores, organizes, and retrieves. This means improving your memory won't be difficult.
Memory has three components in computing:
Recording — storing the information
Organization — archiving it in a logical manner
Recall — retrieving it again when you need it
Due to rigorous security settings, many websites need you to create complicated passwords with special characters.
You must now memorize (Record), organize (Organize), and input this new password the next time you check in (Recall).
Even in this simple example, there are many pieces to remember. We can't recognize this new password with our usual patterns. If we don't use the password every day, we'll forget it. You'll type the wrong password when you try to remember it.
It's common. Is it because the information is complicated? Nope. Passwords are basically letters, numbers, and symbols.
It happens because our brains aren't meant to memorize these. Digital Brains can do heavy lifting.
Why You Need a Digital Brain
Dual minds are best. Birth brain is limited.
The cerebral cortex has 125 trillion synapses, according to a Stanford Study. The human brain can hold 2.5 million terabytes of digital data. 
Building a second brain improves learning and memory.
Learn and store information effectively
Faster information recall
Organize information to see connections and patterns
Build a Digital Brain to learn more and reach your goals faster. Building a second brain requires time and work, but you'll have more time for vital undertakings.
Why you need a Digital Brain:
1. Use Brainpower Effectively
Your brain has boundaries, like any organ. This is true while solving a complex question or activity. If you can't focus on a work project, you won't finish it on time.
Second brain reduces distractions. A robust structure helps you handle complicated challenges quickly and stay on track. Without distractions, it's easy to focus on vital activities.
2. Staying Organized
Professional and personal duties must be balanced. With so much to do, it's easy to neglect crucial duties. This is especially true for skill-building. Digital Brain will keep you organized and stress-free.
Life success requires action. Organized people get things done. Organizing your information will give you time for crucial tasks.
You'll finish projects faster with good materials and methods. As you succeed, you'll gain creative confidence. You can then tackle greater jobs.
3. Creativity Process
Creativity drives today's world. Creativity is mysterious and surprising for millions worldwide. Immersing yourself in others' associations, triggers, thoughts, and ideas can generate inspiration and creativity.
Building a second brain is crucial to establishing your creative process and building habits that will help you reach your goals. Creativity doesn't require perfection or overthinking.
4. Transforming Your Knowledge Into Opportunities
This is the age of entrepreneurship. Today, you can publish online, build an audience, and make money.
Whether it's a business or hobby, you'll have several job alternatives. Knowledge can boost your economy with ideas and insights.
5. Improving Thinking and Uncovering Connections
Modern career success depends on how you think. Instead of overthinking or perfecting, collect the best images, stories, metaphors, anecdotes, and observations.
This will increase your creativity and reveal connections. Increasing your imagination can help you achieve your goals, according to research. 
Your ability to recognize trends will help you stay ahead of the pack.
6. Credibility for a New Job or Business
Your main asset is experience-based expertise. Others won't be able to learn without your help. Technology makes knowledge tangible.
This lets you use your time as you choose while helping others. Changing professions or establishing a new business become learning opportunities when you have a Digital Brain.
7. Using Learning Resources
Millions of people use internet learning materials to improve their lives. Online resources abound. These include books, forums, podcasts, articles, and webinars.
These resources are mostly free or inexpensive. Organizing your knowledge can save you time and money. Building a Digital Brain helps you learn faster. You'll make rapid progress by enjoying learning.
How does a second brain feel?
Digital Brain has helped me arrange my job and family life for years.
No need to remember 1001 passwords. I never forget anything on my wife's grocery lists. Never miss a meeting. I can access essential information and papers anytime, anywhere.
Delegating memory to a second brain reduces tension and anxiety because you'll know what to do with every piece of information.
No information will be forgotten, boosting your confidence. Better manage your fears and concerns by writing them down and establishing a strategy. You'll understand the plethora of daily information and have a clear head.
How to Develop Your Digital Brain (Your Second Brain)
It's cheap but requires work.
Digital Brain development requires:
Recording — storing the information
Organization — archiving it in a logical manner
Recall — retrieving it again when you need it
1. Decide what information matters before recording.
To succeed in today's environment, you must manage massive amounts of data. Articles, books, webinars, podcasts, emails, and texts provide value. Remembering everything is impossible and overwhelming.
What information do you need to achieve your goals?
You must consolidate ideas and create a strategy to reach your aims. Your biological brain can imagine and create with a Digital Brain.
2. Use the Right Tool
We usually record information without any preparation - we brainstorm in a word processor, email ourselves a message, or take notes while reading.
This information isn't used. You must store information in a central location.
Different information needs different instruments.
Evernote is a top note-taking program. Audio clips, Slack chats, PDFs, text notes, photos, scanned handwritten pages, emails, and webpages can be added.
Pocket is a great software for saving and organizing content. Images, videos, and text can be sorted. Web-optimized design
Calendar apps help you manage your time and enhance your productivity by reminding you of your most important tasks. Calendar apps flourish. The best calendar apps are easy to use, have many features, and work across devices. These calendars include Google, Apple, and Outlook.
To-do list/checklist apps are useful for managing tasks. Easy-to-use, versatility, budget, and cross-platform compatibility are important when picking to-do list apps. Google Keep, Google Tasks, and Apple Notes are good to-do apps.
3. Organize data for easy retrieval
How should you organize collected data?
When you collect and organize data, you'll see connections. An article about networking can assist you comprehend web marketing. Saved business cards can help you find new clients.
Choosing the correct tools helps organize data. Here are some tools selection criteria:
Can the tool sync across devices?
Personal or team?
Has a search function for easy information retrieval?
Does it provide easy data categorization?
Can users create lists or collections?
Does it offer easy idea-information connections?
Does it mind map and visually organize thoughts?
Building a Digital Brain (second brain) helps us save information, think creatively, and implement ideas. Your second brain is a biological extension. It prevents amnesia, allowing you to tackle bigger creative difficulties.
People who love learning often consume information without using it. Every day, they postpone life-improving experiences until they're forgotten. Useful information becomes strength.
 ^ Scientific American: What Is the Memory Capacity of the Human Brain?
 ^ Clinical Neurology Specialists: What is the Memory Capacity of a Human Brain?
 ^ National Library of Medicine: Imagining Success: Multiple Achievement Goals and the Effectiveness of Imagery
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9 months ago
Donor-Advised Fund Tax Benefits (DAF)
Giving through a donor-advised fund can be tax-efficient. Using a donor-advised fund can reduce your tax liability while increasing your charitable impact.
Grow Your Donations Tax-Free.
Your DAF's charitable dollars can be invested before being distributed. Your DAF balance can grow with the market. This increases grantmaking funds. The assets of the DAF belong to the charitable sponsor, so you will not be taxed on any growth.
Avoid a Windfall Tax Year.
DAFs can help reduce tax burdens after a windfall like an inheritance, business sale, or strong market returns. Contributions to your DAF are immediately tax deductible, lowering your taxable income. With DAFs, you can effectively pre-fund years of giving with assets from a single high-income event.
Make a contribution to reduce or eliminate capital gains.
One of the most common ways to fund a DAF is by gifting publicly traded securities. Securities held for more than a year can be donated at fair market value and are not subject to capital gains tax. If a donor liquidates assets and then donates the proceeds to their DAF, capital gains tax reduces the amount available for philanthropy. Gifts of appreciated securities, mutual funds, real estate, and other assets are immediately tax deductible up to 30% of Adjusted gross income (AGI), with a five-year carry-forward for gifts that exceed AGI limits.
Using Appreciated Stock as a Gift
Donating appreciated stock directly to a DAF rather than liquidating it and donating the proceeds reduces philanthropists' tax liability by eliminating capital gains tax and lowering marginal income tax.
In the example below, a donor has $100,000 in long-term appreciated stock with a cost basis of $10,000:
Using a DAF would allow this donor to give more to charity while paying less taxes. This strategy often allows donors to give more than 20% more to their favorite causes.
For illustration purposes, this hypothetical example assumes a 35% income tax rate. All realized gains are subject to the federal long-term capital gains tax of 20% and the 3.8% Medicare surtax. No other state taxes are considered.
The information provided here is general and educational in nature. It is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal or tax advice. NPT does not provide legal or tax advice. Furthermore, the content provided here is related to taxation at the federal level only. NPT strongly encourages you to consult with your tax advisor or attorney before making charitable contributions.
1 year ago
What The Hell Is A Crypto Punk?
We are Crypto Punks, and we are changing your world.
A “Crypto Punk” is a new generation of entrepreneurs who value individual liberty and collective value creation and co-creation through decentralization. While many Crypto Punks were born and raised in a digital world, some of the early pioneers in the crypto space are from the Oregon Trail generation. They were born to an analog world, but grew up simultaneously alongside the birth of home computing, the Internet, and mobile computing.
A Crypto Punk’s world view is not the same as previous generations. By the time most Crypto Punks were born everything from fiat currency, the stock market, pharmaceuticals, the Internet, to advanced operating systems and microprocessing were already present or emerging. Crypto Punks were born into pre-existing conditions and systems of control, not governed by logic or reason but by greed, corporatism, subversion, bureaucracy, censorship, and inefficiency.
All Systems Are Human Made
Crypto Punks understand that all systems were created by people and that previous generations did not have access to information technologies that we have today. This is why Crypto Punks have different values than their parents, and value liberty, decentralization, equality, social justice, and freedom over wealth, money, and power. They understand that the only path forward is to work together to build new and better systems that make the old world order obsolete.
Unlike the original cypher punks and cyber punks, Crypto Punks are a new iteration or evolution of these previous cultures influenced by cryptography, blockchain technology, crypto economics, libertarianism, holographics, democratic socialism, and artificial intelligence. They are tasked with not only undoing the mistakes of previous generations, but also innovating and creating new ways of solving complex problems with advanced technology and solutions.
Where Crypto Punks truly differ is in their understanding that computer systems can exist for more than just engagement and entertainment, but actually improve the human condition by automating bureaucracy and inefficiency by creating more efficient economic incentives and systems.
Crypto Punks Value Transparency and Do Not Trust Flawed, Unequal, and Corrupt Systems
Crypto Punks have a strong distrust for inherently flawed and corrupt systems. This why Crypto Punks value transparency, free speech, privacy, and decentralization. As well as arguably computer systems over human powered systems.
Crypto Punks are the children of the Great Recession, and will never forget the economic corruption that still enslaves younger generations.
Crypto Punks were born to think different, and raised by computers to view reality through an LED looking glass. They will not surrender to the flawed systems of economic wage slavery, inequality, censorship, and subjection. They will literally engineer their own unstoppable financial systems and trade in cryptography over fiat currency merely to prove that belief systems are more powerful than corruption.
Crypto Punks are here to help achieve freedom from world governments, corporations and bankers who monetizine our data to control our lives.
Crypto Punks Decentralize
Despite all the evils of the world today, Crypto Punks know they have the power to create change. This is why Crypto Punks are optimistic about the future despite all the indicators that humanity is destined for failure.
Crypto Punks believe in systems that prioritize people and the planet above profit. Even so, Crypto Punks still believe in capitalistic systems, but only capitalistic systems that incentivize good behaviors that do not violate the common good for the sake of profit.
Cyber Punks Are Co-Creators
We are Crypto Punks, and we will build a better world for all of us. For the true price of creation is not in US dollars, but through working together as equals to replace the unequal and corrupt greedy systems of previous generations.
Where they have failed, Crypto Punks will succeed. Not because we want to, but because we have to. The world we were born into is so corrupt and its systems so flawed and unequal we were never given a choice.
We have to be the change we seek.
We are Crypto Punks.
Either help us, or get out of our way.
Are you a Crypto Punk?
Steffan Morris Hernandez
2 days ago
10 types of cognitive bias to watch out for in UX research & design
10 biases in 10 visuals
Cognitive biases are crucial for UX research, design, and daily life. Our biases distort reality.
After learning about biases at my UX Research bootcamp, I studied Erika Hall's Just Enough Research and used the Nielsen Norman Group's wealth of information. 10 images show my findings.
1. Bias in sampling
Misselection of target population members causes sampling bias. For example, you are building an app to help people with food intolerances log their meals and are targeting adult males (years 20-30), adult females (ages 20-30), and teenage males and females (ages 15-19) with food intolerances. However, a sample of only adult males and teenage females is biased and unrepresentative.
2. Sponsor Disparity
Sponsor bias occurs when a study's findings favor an organization's goals. Beware if X organization promises to drive you to their HQ, compensate you for your time, provide food, beverages, discounts, and warmth. Participants may endeavor to be neutral, but incentives and prizes may bias their evaluations and responses in favor of X organization.
In Just Enough Research, Erika Hall suggests describing the company's aims without naming it.
Third, False-Consensus Bias
False-consensus bias is when a person thinks others think and act the same way. For instance, if a start-up designs an app without researching end users' needs, it could fail since end users may have different wants. https://www.nngroup.com/videos/false-consensus-effect/
Working directly with the end user and employing many research methodologies to improve validity helps lessen this prejudice. When analyzing data, triangulation can boost believability.
Bias of the interviewer
I struggled with this bias during my UX research bootcamp interviews. Interviewing neutrally takes practice and patience. Avoid leading questions that structure the story since the interviewee must interpret them. Nodding or smiling throughout the interview may subconsciously influence the interviewee's responses.
The Curse of Knowledge
The curse of knowledge occurs when someone expects others understand a subject as well as they do. UX research interviews and surveys should reduce this bias because technical language might confuse participants and harm the research. Interviewing participants as though you are new to the topic may help them expand on their replies without being influenced by the researcher's knowledge.
Most prevalent bias. People highlight evidence that supports their ideas and ignore data that doesn't. The echo chamber of social media creates polarization by promoting similar perspectives.
A researcher with confirmation bias may dismiss data that contradicts their research goals. Thus, the research or product may not serve end users.
UX Research design bias pertains to study construction and execution. Design bias occurs when data is excluded or magnified based on human aims, assumptions, and preferences.
The Hawthorne Impact
Remember when you behaved differently while the teacher wasn't looking? When you behaved differently without your parents watching? A UX research study's Hawthorne Effect occurs when people modify their behavior because you're watching. To escape judgment, participants may act and speak differently.
To avoid this, researchers should blend into the background and urge subjects to act alone.
The bias against social desire
People want to belong to escape rejection and hatred. Research interviewees may mislead or slant their answers to avoid embarrassment. Researchers should encourage honesty and confidentiality in studies to address this. Observational research may reduce bias better than interviews because participants behave more organically.
Relative Time Bias
Humans tend to appreciate recent experiences more. Consider school. Say you failed a recent exam but did well in the previous 7 exams. Instead, you may vividly recall the last terrible exam outcome.
If a UX researcher relies their conclusions on the most recent findings instead of all the data and results, recency bias might occur.
I hope you liked learning about UX design, research, and real-world biases.