Gimme a break!

The power of breaks, meaningful work, and the key to better conversations

“It is remarkable when we witness these profound, generous gifts of forgiveness. And I think it inspires hope for us, too.” – Charlotte Witvliet

BRAIN WAVES

  • So, what do you do? The idea that we should all find meaning in our work sounds great in theory, but doesn’t always work out in practice. Over at Harvard Business Review,  researchers and entrepreneurs Leonard A. Schlesinger, Charles F. Kiefer, and Paul B. Brown argue, “If fulfillment at work is not possible, for whatever reason, and if it looks like it really won’t change, accept the fact and ramp up finding fulfillment elsewhere.” They point to a handful of historical figures who did just that. For example, composer Charles Ives co-owned an insurance agency until the day he died, and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Wallace Stevens was an insurance lawyer. The authors have written about how to find meaning in your work, but they also ask the question: who says work has to be fulfilling?

  • Break free (for a bit): Short breaks aren’t just good for problem-solving. They can help you learn new skills, too. In a study from the National Institutes of Health, researchers recorded the brain activity of right-handed people who typed a numerical sequence with their left hand. Researchers looked at how quickly the subjects could complete this task over time. It turns out, the biggest gains in learning to type faster happened during periods of rest. During this time, the brain replays the memories of what it just practiced, honing the skill. “Our results support the idea that wakeful rest plays just as important a role as practice in learning a new skill. It appears to be the period when our brains compress and consolidate memories of what we just practiced,” said co-author Leonardo G. Cohen. Use this as a friendly reminder to take more breaks.

  • Do you ever struggle to communicate with your mom? Or feel like you and your spouse sometimes speak different languages? Our conversational styles can cause unintended conflicts, but there are ways to communicate more effectively with the people in our lives. Listen to learn more.

ON THE PODCAST

June 14: Granting forgiveness for the wrongs done to us is one of the hardest things humans can do. But forgiveness can also be transformative. In the first of a two-part series on apologies and mercy, we explore the benefits of forgiveness, for both the body and the mind.

June 21: It’s hard to admit you’re wrong. But offering an apology is a way to repair relationships and heal emotional and psychological wounds. In the second part of our series on forgiveness, how we can learn to apologize better – and why we should.

Listen on Apple

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MINDGAMES

An Apple interview question: “There are three boxes. One contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges. The boxes have been labeled incorrectly, and no label correctly identifies the contents of its box. You must open just one box and take out one piece of fruit without looking at the contents of the box. By looking at the fruit you’ve picked, how can you label all of the boxes correctly?”

LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE

What is the product of all the numbers on a telephone pad?

The Answer:  Zero. That’s because zero is one of the numbers on a telephone pad, and when you multiply any number by zero, you get zero. 

FROM THE TWITTERATI...

A MOMENT OF JOY

Let the countdown begin…

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