5 ways to lead in an era of constant change

0:11Have you ever noticed when you ask someone to talk about a change they’re making for the better in their personal lives, they’re often really energetic? Whether it’s training for a marathon, picking up an old hobby, or learning a new skill, for most people, self-transformation projects occupy a very positive emotional space.

0:32Self-transformation is empowering, energizing, even exhilarating. I mean just take a look at some of the titles of self-help books: “Awaken the Giant Within,” “Practicing the Power of Now,” or here’s a great one we can all relate to, “You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.”


0:59When it comes to self-transformation, you can’t help but get a sense of the excitement. But there’s another type of transformation that occupies a very different emotional space. The transformation of organizations. If you’re like most people, when you hear the words “Our organization is going to start a transformation,” you’re thinking, “Uh-oh.”


1:27“Layoffs.” The blood drains from your face, your mind goes into overdrive, frantically searching for some place to run and hide.

1:39Well, you can run, but you really can’t hide. Most of us spend the majority of our waking hoursinvolved in organizations. And due to changes in globalization, changes due to advances in technology and other factors, the reality is our organizations are constantly having to adapt. In fact,I call this the era of “always-on” transformation.

2:08When I shared this idea with my wife Nicola, she said, “Always-on transformation? That sounds exhausting.” And that may be exactly what you’re thinking — and you would be right. Particularly if we continue to approach the transformation of organizations the way we always have been.

2:27But because we can’t hide, we need to sort out two things. First, why is transformation so exhausting? And second, how do we fix it?

2:40First of all, let’s acknowledge that change is hard. People naturally resist change, especially when it’s imposed on them. But there are things that organizations do that make change even harder and more exhausting for people than it needs to be. First of all, leaders often wait too long to act. As a result, everything is happening in crisis mode. Which, of course, tends to be exhausting. Or, given the urgency, what they’ll do is they’ll just focus on the short-term results, but that doesn’t give any hope for the future. Or they’ll just take a superficial, one-off approach, hoping that they can return back to business as usual as soon as the crisis is over.

3:36This kind of approach is kind of the way some students approach preparing for standardized tests.In order to get test scores to go up, teachers will end up teaching to the test. Now, that approach can work; test results often do go up. But it fails the fundamental goal of education: to prepare students to succeed over the long term.

4:05So given these obstacles, what can we do to transform the way we transform organizations so rather than being exhausting, it’s actually empowering and energizing? To do that, we need to focus on five strategic imperatives, all of which have one thing in common: putting people first.

4:32The first imperative for putting people first is to inspire through purpose. Most transformations have financial and operational goals. These are important and they can be energizing to leaders, but they tend not to be very motivating to most people in the organization. To motivate more broadly, the transformation needs to connect with a deeper sense of purpose.

4:56Take LEGO. The LEGO Group has become an extraordinary global company. Under their very capable leadership, they’ve actually undergone a series of transformations. While each of these has had a very specific focus, the North Star, linking and guiding all of them, has been Lego’s powerful purpose: inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. Expanding globally? It’s not about increasing sales, but about giving millions of additional children access to LEGO building bricks.Investment and innovation? It’s not about developing new products, but about enabling more children to experience the joy of learning through play. Not surprisingly, that deep sense of purpose tends to be highly motivating to LEGO’s people.

5:53The second imperative for putting people first is to go all in. Too many transformations are nothing more than head-count cutting exercises; layoffs under the guise of transformation. In the face of relentless competition, it may well be that you will have to take the painful decision to downsize the organization, just as you may have to lose some weight in order to run a marathon. But losing weight alone will not get you across the finish line with a winning time. To win you need to go all in.You need to go all in. Rather than just cutting costs, you need to think about initiatives that will enable you to win in the medium term, initiatives to drive growth, actions that will fundamentally change the way the company operates, and very importantly, investments to develop the leadership and the talent.

6:57The third imperative for putting people first is to enable people with the capabilities that they need to succeed during the transformation and beyond. Over the years I’ve competed in a number of triathlons. You know, frankly, I’m not that good, but I do have one distinct capability; I am remarkably fast at finding my bike.


7:27By the time I finish the swim, almost all the bikes are already gone.


7:35Real triathletes know that each leg — the swim, the bike, the run — really requires different capabilities, different tools, different skills, different techniques. Likewise when we transform organizations, we need to be sure that we’re giving our people the skills and the tools they need along the way.

7:57Chronos, a global software company, recognized the need to transfer from building products —software products — to building software as a service. To enable its people to take that transformation, first of all they invested in new tools that would enable their employees to monitor the usage of the features as well as customer satisfaction with the new service. They also invested in skill development, so that their employees would be able to resolve customer service problems on the spot. And very importantly, they also reinforced the collaborative behaviors that would be required to deliver an end-to-end seamless customer experience. Because of these investments,rather than feeling overwhelmed by the transformation, Chronos employees actually felt energizedand empowered in their new roles.

8:55In the era of “always-on” transformation, change is a constant. My fourth imperative therefore is to instill a culture of continuous learning. When Satya Nadella became the CEO of Microsoft in February 2014, he embarked on an ambitious transformation journey to prepare the company to compete in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. This included changes to strategy, the organization and very importantly, the culture. Microsoft’s culture at the time was one of silos and internal competition — not exactly conducive to learning. Nadella took this head-on. He rallied his leadership around his vision for a living, learning culture, shifting from a fixed mindset, where your role was to show up as the smartest person in the room, to a growth mindset, where your role was to listen, to learn and to bring out the best in people. Well, early days, Microsoft employees already noticed this shift in the culture — clear evidence of Microsoft putting people first.

10:07My fifth and final imperative is specifically for leaders. In a transformation, a leader needs to have a vision, a clear road map with milestones, and then you need to hold people accountable for results.In other words, you need to be directive. But in order to capture the hearts and minds of people,you also need to be inclusive. Inclusive leadership is critical to putting people first.

10:38I live in the San Francisco Bay area. And right now, our basketball team is the best in the league.We won the 2015 championship, and we’re favored to win again this year. There are many explanations for this. They have some fabulous players, but one of the key reasons is their head coach, Steve Kerr, is an inclusive leader. When Kerr came to the Warriors in 2014, the Warriors were looking for a major transformation. They hadn’t won a national championship since 1975.

11:16Kerr came in, and he had a clear vision, and he immediately got to work. From the outset, he reached out and engaged the players and the staff. He created an environment of open debate and solicited suggestions. During games he would often ask, “What are you seeing that I’m missing?”

11:39One the best examples of this came in game four of the 2015 finals. The Warriors were down two games to one when Kerr made the decision to change the starting lineup; a bold move by any measure. The Warriors won the game and went on to win the championship. And it is widely viewedthat that move was the pivotal move in their victory.

12:08Interestingly, it wasn’t actually Kerr’s idea. It was the idea of his 28-year-old assistant, Nick U’Ren.Because of Kerr’s leadership style, U’Ren felt comfortable bringing the idea forward. And Kerr not only listened, but he implemented the idea and then afterwards, gave U’Ren all the credit — actions all consistent with Kerr’s highly inclusive approach to leadership.

12:40In the era of “always-on” transformation, organizations are always going to be transforming. But doing so does not have to be exhausting. We owe it to ourselves, to our organizations and to society more broadly to boldly transform our approach to transformation. To do that, we need to start putting people first.

13:10Thank you.


Barack Obama: America will take the giant leap to Mars

(CNN)One of my earliest memories is sitting on my grandfather’s shoulders, waving a flag as our astronauts returned to Hawaii. This was years before we’d set foot on the moon. Decades before we’d land a rover on Mars. A generation before photos from the International Space Station would show up in our social media feeds.

I still have the same sense of wonder about our space program that I did as a child. It represents an essential part of our character — curiosity and exploration, innovation and ingenuity, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and doing it before anybody else. The space race we won not only contributed immeasurably important technological and medical advances, but it also inspired a new generation of scientists and engineers with the right stuff to keep America on the cutting edge.
President Barack Obama

That’s one of the reasons why, in my first address as President to the American people, I vowed to return science to its rightful place. In our first few months, my administration made the largest single investment in basic research in our history, and I went to the Kennedy Space Center to call for reimagining and reinvigorating our space program to explore more of our solar system and look deeper into the universe than ever.
In the years since, we’ve revitalized technology innovation at NASA, extended the life of the International Space Station, and helped American companies create private-sector jobs by capitalizing on the untapped potential of the space industry.
Last year alone, NASA discovered flowing water on Mars and evidence of ice on one of Jupiter’s moons, and we mapped Pluto — more than 3 billion miles away — in high-resolution. Our space telescopes revealed additional Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars, and we’re pursuing new missions to interact with asteroids, which will help us learn how to protect the Earth from the threat of colliding with one while also teaching us about the origins of life on Earth. We’ve flown by every planet in the solar system — something no other nation can say. And we continue to drive down the cost of space exploration for taxpayers.
This week, we’ll convene some of America’s leading scientists, engineers, innovators and students in Pittsburgh to dream up ways to build on our progress and find the next frontiers. Just five years ago, US companies were shut out of the global commercial launch market. Today, thanks to groundwork laid by the men and women of NASA, they own more than a third of it. More than 1,000 companies across nearly all 50 states are working on private space initiatives.
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We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America’s story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time. Getting to Mars will require continued cooperation between government and private innovators, and we’re already well on our way. Within the next two years, private companies will for the first time send astronauts to the International Space Station.
The next step is to reach beyond the bounds of Earth’s orbit. I’m excited to announce that we are working with our commercial partners to build new habitats that can sustain and transport astronauts on long-duration missions in deep space. These missions will teach us how humans can live far from Earth — something we’ll need for the long journey to Mars.
The reporter who covered the moon landing for The New York Times, John Noble Wilford, later wrote that Mars tugs at our imagination “with a force mightier than gravity.” Getting there will take a giant leap. But the first, small steps happen when our students — the Mars generation — walk into their classrooms each day. Scientific discovery doesn’t happen with the flip of a switch; it takes years of testing, patience and a national commitment to education.
President Eisenhower knew this: In 1958, he devoted great resources to science and math education around the same time he created NASA. And it’s why I’m proud that we’ve passed important milestones in STEM education. For the first time, more than 100,000 engineers are graduating from American schools every year, and we’re on track to accomplish my goal of training 100,000 excellent new STEM teachers in a decade.
When our Apollo astronauts looked back from space, they realized that while their mission was to explore the moon, they had “in fact discovered the Earth.” If we make our leadership in space even stronger in this century than it was in the last, we won’t just benefit from related advances in energy, medicine, agriculture and artificial intelligence, we’ll benefit from a better understanding of our environment and ourselves.
Someday, I hope to hoist my own grandchildren onto my shoulders. We’ll still look to the stars in wonder, as humans have since the beginning of time. But instead of eagerly awaiting the return of our intrepid explorers, we’ll know that because of the choices we make now, they’ve gone to space not just to visit, but to stay — and in doing so, to make our lives better here on Earth.

Helen Fisher: Why we love, why we cheat

0:11 I’d like to talk today about the two biggest social trends in the coming century, and perhaps in the next 10,000 years. But I want to start with my work on romantic love, because that’s my most recent work. What I and my colleagues did was put 32 people, who were madly in love, into a functional MRI brain scanner. 17 who were madly in love and their love was accepted; and 15 who were madly in love and they had just been dumped. And so I want to tell you about that first, and then go on into where I think love is going.

0:47 (Laughter)

0:49 “What ’tis to love?” Shakespeare said. I think our ancestors — I think human beings have been wondering about this question since they sat around their campfires or lay and watched the stars a million years ago. I started out by trying to figure out what romantic love was by looking at the last 45 years of the psychological research and as it turns out, there’s a very specific group of things that happen when you fall in love. The first thing that happens is, a person begins to take on what I call, “special meaning.” As a truck driver once said to me, “The world had a new center, and that center was Mary Anne.”

1:32 George Bernard Shaw said it differently. “Love consists of overestimating the differences between one woman and another.” And indeed, that’s what we do.

1:41 (Laughter)

1:44 And then you just focus on this person. You can list what you don’t like about them, but then you sweep that aside and focus on what you do. As Chaucer said, “Love is blind.”

1:57 In trying to understand romantic love, I decided I would read poetry from all over the world, and I just want to give you one very short poem from eighth-century China, because it’s an almost perfect example of a man who is focused totally on a particular woman. It’s a little bit like when you are madly in love with somebody and you walk into a parking lot — their car is different from every other car in the parking lot. Their wine glass at dinner is different from every other wine glass at the dinner party. And in this case, a man got hooked on a bamboo sleeping mat.

2:30 And it goes like this. It’s by a guy called Yuan Zhen. “I cannot bear to put away the bamboo sleeping mat. The night I brought you home, I watched you roll it out.” He became hooked on a sleeping mat, probably because of elevated activity of dopamine in his brain, just like with you and me.

2:48 But anyway, not only does this person take on special meaning, you focus your attention on them. You aggrandize them. But you have intense energy. As one Polynesian said, “I felt like jumping in the sky.” You’re up all night. You’re walking till dawn. You feel intense elation when things are going well; mood swings into horrible despair when things are going poorly. Real dependence on this person. As one businessman in New York said to me, “Anything she liked, I liked.” Simple. Romantic love is very simple.

3:21 You become extremely sexually possessive. You know, if you’re just sleeping with somebody casually, you don’t really care if they’re sleeping with somebody else. But the moment you fall in love, you become extremely sexually possessive of them. I think there’s a Darwinian purpose to this. The whole point of this is to pull two people together strongly enough to begin to rear babies as a team.

3:44 But the main characteristics of romantic love are craving: an intense craving to be with a particular person, not just sexually, but emotionally. It would be nice to go to bed with them, but you want them to call you on the telephone, to invite you out, etc., to tell you that they love you. The other main characteristic is motivation. The motor in the brain begins to crank, and you want this person.

4:12 And last but not least, it is an obsession. Before I put these people in the MRI machine, I would ask them all kinds of questions. But my most important question was always the same. It was: “What percentage of the day and night do you think about this person?” And indeed, they would say, “All day. All night. I can never stop thinking about him or her.”

4:36 And then, the very last question — I would always have to work myself up to this question, because I’m not a psychologist. I don’t work with people in any kind of traumatic situation. My final question was always the same. I would say, “Would you die for him or her?” And, indeed, these people would say “Yes!” as if I had asked them to pass the salt. I was just staggered by it.

4:58 So we scanned their brains, looking at a photograph of their sweetheart and looking at a neutral photograph, with a distraction task in between. So we could look at the same brain when it was in that heightened state and when it was in a resting state. And we found activity in a lot of brain regions. In fact, one of the most important was a brain region that becomes active when you feel the rush of cocaine. And indeed, that’s exactly what happens.

5:26 I began to realize that romantic love is not an emotion. In fact, I had always thought it was a series of emotions, from very high to very low. But actually, it’s a drive. It comes from the motor of the mind, the wanting part of the mind, the craving part of the mind. The kind of part of the mind when you’re reaching for that piece of chocolate, when you want to win that promotion at work. The motor of the brain. It’s a drive.

5:54 And in fact, I think it’s more powerful than the sex drive. You know, if you ask somebody to go to bed with you, and they say, “No, thank you,” you certainly don’t kill yourself or slip into a clinical depression. But certainly, around the world, people who are rejected in love will kill for it. People live for love. They kill for love. They die for love. They have songs, poems, novels, sculptures, paintings, myths, legends. In over 175 societies, people have left their evidence of this powerful brain system. I have come to think it’s one of the most powerful brain systems on Earth for both great joy and great sorrow.

6:38 And I’ve also come to think that it’s one of three basically different brain systems that evolved from mating and reproduction. One is the sex drive: the craving for sexual gratification. W.H. Auden called it an “intolerable neural itch,” and indeed, that’s what it is. It keeps bothering you a little bit, like being hungry. The second of these three brain systems is romantic love: that elation, obsession of early love. And the third brain system is attachment: that sense of calm and security you can feel for a long-term partner.

7:11 And I think that the sex drive evolved to get you out there, looking for a whole range of partners. You can feel it when you’re just driving along in your car. It can be focused on nobody. I think romantic love evolved to enable you to focus your mating energy on just one individual at a time, thereby conserving mating time and energy. And I think that attachment, the third brain system, evolved to enable you to tolerate this human being at least long enough to raise a child together as a team. So with that preamble, I want to go into discussing the two most profound social trends. One of the last 10,000 years and the other, certainly of the last 25 years, that are going to have an impact on these three different brain systems: lust, romantic love and deep attachment to a partner.

8:05 The first is women working, moving into the workforce. I’ve looked at 130 societies through the demographic yearbooks of the United Nations. Everywhere in the world, 129 out of 130 of them, women are not only moving into the job market — sometimes very, very slowly, but they are moving into the job market — and they are very slowly closing that gap between men and women in terms of economic power, health and education. It’s very slow.

8:37 For every trend on this planet, there’s a counter-trend. We all know of them, but nevertheless — the Arabs say, “The dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on.” And, indeed, that caravan is moving on. Women are moving back into the job market. And I say back into the job market, because this is not new. For millions of years, on the grasslands of Africa, women commuted to work to gather their vegetables. They came home with 60 to 80 percent of the evening meal. The double income family was the standard. And women were regarded as just as economically, socially and sexually powerful as men. In short, we’re really moving forward to the past.

9:23 Then, women’s worst invention was the plow. With the beginning of plow agriculture, men’s roles became extremely powerful. Women lost their ancient jobs as collectors, but then with the industrial revolution and the post-industrial revolution they’re moving back into the job market. In short, they are acquiring the status that they had a million years ago, 10,000 years ago, 100,000 years ago. We are seeing now one of the most remarkable traditions in the history of the human animal. And it’s going to have an impact.

10:01 I generally give a whole lecture on the impact of women on the business community. I’ll say just a couple of things, and then go on to sex and love. There’s a lot of gender differences; anybody who thinks men and women are alike simply never had a boy and a girl child. I don’t know why they want to think that men and women are alike. There’s much we have in common, but there’s a whole lot that we do not have in common.

10:22 We are — in the words of Ted Hughes, “I think that we are like two feet. We need each other to get ahead.” But we did not evolve to have the same brain. And we’re finding more and more gender differences in the brain. I’ll only just use a couple and then move on to sex and love. One of them is women’s verbal ability. Women can talk.

10:42 Women’s ability to find the right word rapidly, basic articulation goes up in the middle of the menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels peak. But even at menstruation, they’re better than the average man. Women can talk. They’ve been doing it for a million years; words were women’s tools. They held that baby in front of their face, cajoling it, reprimanding it, educating it with words. And, indeed, they’re becoming a very powerful force.

11:08 Even in places like India and Japan, where women are not moving rapidly into the regular job market, they’re moving into journalism. And I think that the television is like the global campfire. We sit around it and it shapes our minds. Almost always, when I’m on TV, the producer who calls me, who negotiates what we’re going to say, is a woman. In fact, Solzhenitsyn once said, “To have a great writer is to have another government.”

11:40 Today 54 percent of people who are writers in America are women. It’s one of many, many characteristics that women have that they will bring into the job market. They’ve got incredible people skills, negotiating skills. They’re highly imaginative. We now know the brain circuitry of imagination, of long-term planning. They tend to be web thinkers. Because the female parts of the brain are better connected, they tend to collect more pieces of data when they think, put them into more complex patterns, see more options and outcomes. They tend to be contextual, holistic thinkers, what I call web thinkers.

12:19 Men tend to — and these are averages — tend to get rid of what they regard as extraneous, focus on what they do, and move in a more step-by-step thinking pattern. They’re both perfectly good ways of thinking. We need both of them to get ahead. In fact, there’s many more male geniuses in the world. And there’s also many more male idiots in the world.

12:42 (Laughter)

12:44 When the male brain works well, it works extremely well. And what I really think that we’re doing is, we’re moving towards a collaborative society, a society in which the talents of both men and women are becoming understood and valued and employed.

13:00 But in fact, women moving into the job market is having a huge impact on sex and romance and family life. Foremost, women are starting to express their sexuality. I’m always astonished when people come to me and say, “Why is it that men are so adulterous?” “Why do you think more men are adulterous than women?” “Well, men are more adulterous!” And I say, “Who do you think these men are sleeping with?”

13:26 (Laughter)

13:27 And — basic math!

13:29 Anyway. In the Western world, women start sooner at sex, have more partners, express less remorse for the partners that they do, marry later, have fewer children, leave bad marriages in order to get good ones. We are seeing the rise of female sexual expression. And, indeed, once again we’re moving forward to the kind of sexual expression that we probably saw on the grasslands of Africa a million years ago, because this is the kind of sexual expression that we see in hunting and gathering societies today.

14:03 We’re also returning to an ancient form of marriage equality. They’re now saying that the 21st century is going to be the century of what they call the “symmetrical marriage,” or the “pure marriage,” or the “companionate marriage.” This is a marriage between equals, moving forward to a pattern that is highly compatible with the ancient human spirit.

14:32 We’re also seeing a rise of romantic love. 91 percent of American women and 86 percent of American men would not marry somebody who had every single quality they were looking for in a partner, if they were not in love with that person. People around the world, in a study of 37 societies, want to be in love with the person that they marry. Indeed, arranged marriages are on their way off this braid of human life.

15:06 I even think that marriages might even become more stable because of the second great world trend. The first one being women moving into the job market, the second one being the aging world population. They’re now saying that in America, that middle age should be regarded as up to age 85. Because in that highest age category of 76 to 85, as much as 40 percent of people have nothing really wrong with them. So we’re seeing there’s a real extension of middle age.

15:37 For one of my books, I looked at divorce data in 58 societies. And as it turns out, the older you get, the less likely you are to divorce. So the divorce rate right now is stable in America, and it’s actually beginning to decline. It may decline some more. I would even say that with Viagra, estrogen replacement, hip replacements and the incredibly interesting women — women have never been as interesting as they are now. Not at any time on this planet have women been so educated, so interesting, so capable. And so I honestly think that if there really was ever a time in human evolution when we have the opportunity to make good marriages, that time is now.

16:27 However, there’s always kinds of complications in this. These three brain systems — lust, romantic love and attachment — don’t always go together. They can go together, by the way. That’s why casual sex isn’t so casual. With orgasm you get a spike of dopamine. Dopamine’s associated with romantic love, and you can just fall in love with somebody who you’re just having casual sex with. With orgasm, then you get a real rush of oxytocin and vasopressin — those are associated with attachment. This is why you can feel such a sense of cosmic union with somebody after you’ve made love to them.

17:00 But these three brain systems: lust, romantic love and attachment, aren’t always connected to each other. You can feel deep attachment to a long-term partner while you feel intense romantic love for somebody else, while you feel the sex drive for people unrelated to these other partners. In short, we’re capable of loving more than one person at a time. In fact, you can lie in bed at night and swing from deep feelings of attachment for one person to deep feelings of romantic love for somebody else. It’s as if there’s a committee meeting going on in your head as you are trying to decide what to do. So I don’t think, honestly, we’re an animal that was built to be happy; we are an animal that was built to reproduce. I think the happiness we find, we make. And I think, however, we can make good relationships with each other.

17:57 So I want to conclude with two things. I want to conclude with a worry, and with a wonderful story. The worry is about antidepressants. Over 100 million prescriptions of antidepressants are written every year in the United States. And these drugs are going generic. They are seeping around the world. I know one girl who’s been on these antidepressants, SSRIs, serotonin-enhancing antidepressants — since she was 13. She’s 23. She’s been on them ever since she was 13.

18:36 I’ve got nothing against people who take them short term, when they’re going through something horrible. They want to commit suicide or kill somebody else. I would recommend it. But more and more people in the United States are taking them long term. And indeed, what these drugs do is raise levels of serotonin. And by raising levels of serotonin, you suppress the dopamine circuit. Everybody knows that. Dopamine is associated with romantic love. Not only do they suppress the dopamine circuit, but they kill the sex drive. And when you kill the sex drive, you kill orgasm. And when you kill orgasm, you kill that flood of drugs associated with attachment. The things are connected in the brain. And when you tamper with one brain system, you’re going to tamper with another. I’m just simply saying that a world without love is a deadly place.

19:35 So now —

19:36 (Applause)

19:41 Thank you.

19:42 I want to end with a story. And then, just a comment. I’ve been studying romantic love and sex and attachment for 30 years. I’m an identical twin; I am interested in why we’re all alike. Why you and I are alike, why the Iraqis and the Japanese and the Australian Aborigines and the people of the Amazon River are all alike. And about a year ago, an Internet dating service, Match.com, came to me and asked me if I would design a new dating site for them. I said, “I don’t know anything about personality. You know? I don’t know. Do you think you’ve got the right person?” They said, “Yes.” It got me thinking about why it is that you fall in love with one person rather than another.

20:27 That’s my current project; it will be my next book. There’s all kinds of reasons that you fall in love with one person rather than another. Timing is important. Proximity is important. Mystery is important. You fall in love with somebody who’s somewhat mysterious, in part because mystery elevates dopamine in the brain, probably pushes you over that threshold to fall in love. You fall in love with somebody who fits within what I call your “love map,” an unconscious list of traits that you build in childhood as you grow up. And I also think that you gravitate to certain people, actually, with somewhat complementary brain systems. And that’s what I’m now contributing to this.

21:05 But I want to tell you a story, to illustrate. I’ve been carrying on here about the biology of love. I wanted to show you a little bit about the culture of it, too, the magic of it. It’s a story that was told to me by somebody who had heard it just from one — probably a true story. It was a graduate student — I’m at Rutgers and my two colleagues — Art Aron is at SUNY Stony Brook. That’s where we put our people in the MRI machine.

21:36 And this graduate student was madly in love with another graduate student, and she was not in love with him. And they were all at a conference in Beijing. And he knew from our work that if you go and do something very novel with somebody, you can drive up the dopamine in the brain, and perhaps trigger this brain system for romantic love.

22:00 (Laughter)

22:02 So he decided he’d put science to work. And he invited this girl to go off on a rickshaw ride with him.

22:11 And sure enough — I’ve never been in one, but apparently they go all around the buses and the trucks and it’s crazy and it’s noisy and it’s exciting. He figured that this would drive up the dopamine, and she’d fall in love with him. So off they go and she’s squealing and squeezing him and laughing and having a wonderful time. An hour later they get down off of the rickshaw, and she throws her hands up and she says, “Wasn’t that wonderful?” And, “Wasn’t that rickshaw driver handsome!”

22:43 (Laughter)

22:46 (Applause)

22:53 There’s magic to love!

22:54 (Applause)

22:55 But I will end by saying that millions of years ago, we evolved three basic drives: the sex drive, romantic love and attachment to a long-term partner. These circuits are deeply embedded in the human brain. They’re going to survive as long as our species survives on what Shakespeare called “this mortal coil.”

23:17 Thank you.

23:18 Chris Anderson: Helen Fisher!

23:19 (Applause)

Technology hasn’t changed love. Here’s why

0:11 I was recently traveling in the Highlands of New Guinea, and I was talking with a man who had three wives. I asked him, “How many wives would you like to have?” And there was this long pause, and I thought to myself, “Is he going to say five? Is he going to say 10? Is he going to say 25?” And he leaned towards me and he whispered, “None.”

0:31 (Laughter)

0:34 Eighty-six percent of human societies permit a man to have several wives: polygyny. But in the vast majority of these cultures, only about five or ten percent of men actually do have several wives. Having several partners can be a toothache. In fact, co-wives can fight with each other, sometimes they can even poison each other’s children. And you’ve got to have a lot of cows, a lot of goats, a lot of money, a lot of land, in order to build a harem.

1:02 We are a pair-bonding species. Ninety-seven percent of mammals do not pair up to rear their young; human beings do. I’m not suggesting that we’re not — that we’re necessarily sexually faithful to our partners. I’ve looked at adultery in 42 cultures, I understand, actually, some of the genetics of it, and some of the brain circuitry of it. It’s very common around the world, but we are built to love.

1:26 How is technology changing love? I’m going to say almost not at all. I study the brain. I and my colleagues have put over 100 people into a brain scanner — people who had just fallen happily in love, people who had just been rejected in love and people who are in love long-term. And it is possible to remain “in love” long-term. And I’ve long ago maintained that we’ve evolved three distinctly different brain systems for mating and reproduction: sex drive, feelings of intense romantic love and feelings of deep cosmic attachment to a long-term partner. And together, these three brain systems — with many other parts of the brain — orchestrate our sexual, our romantic and our family lives.

2:13 But they lie way below the cortex, way below the limbic system where we feel our emotions, generate our emotions. They lie in the most primitive parts of the brain, linked with energy, focus, craving, motivation, wanting and drive. In this case, the drive to win life’s greatest prize: a mating partner. They evolved over 4.4 million years ago among our first ancestors, and they’re not going to change if you swipe left or right on Tinder.

2:45 (Laughter)

2:47 (Applause)

2:49 There’s no question that technology is changing the way we court: emailing, texting, emojis to express your emotions, sexting, “liking” a photograph, selfies … We’re seeing new rules and taboos for how to court. But, you know — is this actually dramatically changing love? What about the late 1940s, when the automobile became very popular and we suddenly had rolling bedrooms?

3:20 (Laughter)

3:21 How about the introduction of the birth control pill? Unchained from the great threat of pregnancy and social ruin, women could finally express their primitive and primal sexuality.

3:36 Even dating sites are not changing love. I’m Chief Scientific Advisor to Match.com, I’ve been it for 11 years. I keep telling them and they agree with me, that these are not dating sites, they are introducing sites. When you sit down in a bar, in a coffee house, on a park bench, your ancient brain snaps into action like a sleeping cat awakened, and you smile and laugh and listen and parade the way our ancestors did 100,000 years ago. We can give you various people — all the dating sites can — but the only real algorithm is your own human brain. Technology is not going to change that.

4:20 Technology is also not going to change who you choose to love. I study the biology of personality, and I’ve come to believe that we’ve evolved four very broad styles of thinking and behaving, linked with the dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen systems. So I created a questionnaire directly from brain science to measure the degree to which you express the traits — the constellation of traits — linked with each of these four brain systems. I then put that questionnaire on various dating sites in 40 countries. Fourteen million or more people have now taken the questionnaire, and I’ve been able to watch who’s naturally drawn to whom.

5:05 And as it turns out, those who were very expressive of the dopamine system tend to be curious, creative, spontaneous, energetic — I would imagine there’s an awful lot of people like that in this room — they’re drawn to people like themselves. Curious, creative people need people like themselves. People who are very expressive of the serotonin system tend to be traditional, conventional, they follow the rules, they respect authority, they tend to be religious — religiosity is in the serotonin system — and traditional people go for traditional people. In that way, similarity attracts. In the other two cases, opposites attract. People very expressive of the testosterone system tend to be analytical, logical, direct, decisive, and they go for their opposite: they go for somebody who’s high estrogen, somebody who’s got very good verbal skills and people skills, who’s very intuitive and who’s very nurturing and emotionally expressive. We have natural patterns of mate choice. Modern technology is not going to change who we choose to love.

6:08 But technology is producing one modern trend that I find particularly important. It’s associated with the concept of paradox of choice. For millions of years, we lived in little hunting and gathering groups. You didn’t have the opportunity to choose between 1,000 people on a dating site. In fact, I’ve been studying this recently, and I actually think there’s some sort of sweet spot in the brain; I don’t know what it is, but apparently, from reading a lot of the data, we can embrace about five to nine alternatives, and after that, you get into what academics call “cognitive overload,” and you don’t choose any.

6:47 So I’ve come to think that due to this cognitive overload, we’re ushering in a new form of courtship that I call “slow love.” I arrived at this during my work with Match.com. Every year for the last six years, we’ve done a study called “Singles in America.” We don’t poll the Match population, we poll the American population. We use 5,000-plus people, a representative sample of Americans based on the US census.

7:15 We’ve got data now on over 30,000 people, and every single year, I see some of the same patterns. Every single year when I ask the question, over 50 percent of people have had a one-night stand — not necessarily last year, but in their lives — 50 percent have had a friends with benefits during the course of their lives, and over 50 percent have lived with a person long-term before marrying. Americans think that this is reckless. I have doubted that for a long time; the patterns are too strong. There’s got to be some Darwinian explanation — Not that many people are crazy.

7:52 And I stumbled, then, on a statistic that really came home to me. It was a very interesting academic article in which I found that 67 percent of singles in America today who are living long-term with somebody, have not yet married because they are terrified of divorce. They’re terrified of the social, legal, emotional, economic consequences of divorce. So I came to realize that I don’t think this is recklessness; I think it’s caution. Today’s singles want to know every single thing about a partner before they wed. You learn a lot between the sheets, not only about how somebody makes love, but whether they’re kind, whether they can listen and at my age, whether they’ve got a sense of humor.

8:40 (Laughter)

8:42 And in an age where we have too many choices, we have very little fear of pregnancy and disease and we’ve got no feeling of shame for sex before marriage, I think people are taking their time to love.

8:57 And actually, what’s happening is, what we’re seeing is a real expansion of the precommitment stage before you tie the knot. Where marriage used to be the beginning of a relationship, now it’s the finale. But the human brain —

9:12 (Laughter)

9:14 The human brain always triumphs, and indeed, in the United States today, 86 percent of Americans will marry by age 49. And even in cultures around the world where they’re not marrying as often, they are settling down eventually with a long-term partner.

9:28 So it began to occur to me: during this long extension of the precommitment stage, if you can get rid of bad relationships before you marry, maybe we’re going to see more happy marriages. So I did a study of 1,100 married people in America — not on Match.com, of course — and I asked them a lot of questions. But one of the questions was, “Would you re-marry the person you’re currently married to?” And 81 percent said, “Yes.”

9:59 In fact, the greatest change in modern romance and family life is not technology. It’s not even slow love. It’s actually women piling into the job market in cultures around the world. For millions of years, our ancestors lived in little hunting and gathering groups. Women commuted to work to gather their fruits and vegetables. They came home with 60 to 80 percent of the evening meal. The double-income family was the rule. And women were regarded as just as economically, socially and sexually powerful as men.

10:35 Then the environment changed some 10,000 years ago, we began to settle down on the farm and both men and women became obliged, really, to marry the right person, from the right background, from the right religion and from the right kin and social and political connections. Men’s jobs became more important: they had to move the rocks, fell the trees, plow the land. They brought the produce to local markets, and came home with the equivalent of money.

11:00 Along with this, we see a rise of a host of beliefs: the belief of virginity at marriage, arranged marriages — strictly arranged marriages — the belief that the man is the head of the household, that the wife’s place is in the home and most important, honor thy husband, and ’til death do us part. These are gone. They are going, and in many places, they are gone.

11:25 We are right now in a marriage revolution. We are shedding 10,000 years of our farming tradition and moving forward towards egalitarian relationships between the sexes — something I regard as highly compatible with the ancient human spirit.

11:44 I’m not a Pollyanna; there’s a great deal to cry about. I’ve studied divorce in 80 cultures, I’ve studied, as I say, adultery in many — there’s a whole pile of problems. As William Butler Yeats, the poet, once said, “Love is the crooked thing.” I would add, “Nobody gets out alive.”

12:02 (Laughter)

12:04 We all have problems. But in fact, I think the poet Randall Jarrell really sums it up best. He said, “The dark, uneasy world of family life — where the greatest can fail, and the humblest succeed.”

12:19 But I will leave you with this: love and attachment will prevail, technology cannot change it. And I will conclude by saying any understanding of human relationships must take into account one the most powerful determinants of human behavior: the unquenchable, adaptable and primordial human drive to love.

12:44 Thank you.

12:45 (Applause)

12:50 Kelly Stoetzel: Thank you so much for that, Helen. As you know, there’s another speaker here with us that works in your same field. She comes at it from a different perspective. Esther Perel is a psychotherapist who works with couples. You study data, Esther studies the stories the couples tell her when they come to her for help. Let’s have her join us on the stage. Esther?

13:13 (Applause)

13:21 So Esther, when you were watching Helen’s talk, was there any part of it that resonated with you through the lens of your own work that you’d like to comment on?

13:31 Esther Perel: It’s interesting, because on the one hand, the need for love is ubiquitous and universal. But the way we love — the meaning we make out of it — the rules that govern our relationships, I think, are changing fundamentally.

13:46 We come from a model that, until now, was primarily regulated around duty and obligation, the needs of the collective and loyalty. And we have shifted it to a model of free choice and individual rights, and self-fulfillment and happiness. And so, that was the first thing I thought, that the need doesn’t change, but the context and the way we regulate these relationships changes a lot.

14:13 On the paradox of choice — you know, on the one hand we relish the novelty and the playfulness, I think, to be able to have so many options. And at the same time, as you talk about this cognitive overload, I see many, many people who … who dread the uncertainty and self-doubt that comes with this massa of choice, creating a case of “FOMO” and then leading us — FOMO, fear of missed opportunity, or fear of missing out — it’s like, “How do I know I have found ‘the one’ — the right one?”

14:51 So we’ve created what I call this thing of “stable ambiguity.” Stable ambiguity is when you are too afraid to be alone but also not really willing to engage in intimacy-building. It’s a set of tactics that kind of prolong the uncertainty of a relationship but also the uncertainty of the breakup. So, here on the internet you have three major ones. One is icing and simmering, which are great stalling tactics that offer a kind of holding pattern that emphasizes the undefined nature of a relationship but at the same time gives you enough of a comforting consistency and enough freedom of the undefined boundaries.

15:32 (Laughter)

15:35 Yeah?

15:36 And then comes ghosting. And ghosting is, basically, you disappear from this massa of texts on the spot, and you don’t have to deal with the pain that you inflict on another, because you’re making it invisible even to yourself.

15:50 (Laughter)

15:52 Yeah?

15:53 So I was thinking — these words came up for me as I was listening to you, like how a vocabulary also creates a reality, and at the same time, that’s my question to you: Do you think when the context changes, it still means that the nature of love remains the same?

16:13 You study the brain and I study people’s relationships and stories, so I think it’s everything you say, plus. But I don’t always know the degree to which a changing context … Does it at some point begin to change — If the meaning changes, does it change the need, or is the need clear of the entire context?

16:34 HF: Wow! Well —

16:36 (Laughter)

16:38 (Applause)

16:41 Well, I’ve got three points here, right? First of all, to your first one: there’s no question that we’ve changed, that we now want a person to love, and for thousands of years, we had to marry the right person from the right background and right connection. And in fact, in my studies of 5,000 people every year, I ask them, “What are you looking for?” And every single year, over 97 percent say —

17:04 EP: The list grows —

17:05 HF: Well, no. The basic thing is over 97 percent of people want somebody that respects them, somebody they can trust and confide in, somebody who makes them laugh, somebody who makes enough time for them and somebody who they find physically attractive. That never changes. And there’s certainly — you know, there’s two parts —

17:26 EP: But you know how I call that? That’s not what people used to say —

17:30 HF: That’s exactly right.

17:32 EP: They said they wanted somebody with whom they have companionship, economic support, children. We went from a production economy to a service economy.

17:39 (Laughter)

17:40 We did it in the larger culture, and we’re doing it in marriage.

17:43 HF: Right, no question about it. But it’s interesting, the millennials actually want to be very good parents, whereas the generation above them wants to have a very fine marriage but is not as focused on being a good parent. You see all of these nuances.

17:57 There’s two basic parts of personality: there’s your culture — everything you grew up to do and believe and say — and there’s your temperament. Basically, what I’ve been talking about is your temperament. And that temperament is certainly going to change with changing times and changing beliefs.

18:12 And in terms of the paradox of choice, there’s no question about it that this is a pickle. There were millions of years where you found that sweet boy at the other side of the water hole, and you went for it.

18:24 EP: Yes, but you —

18:25 HF: I do want to say one more thing. The bottom line is, in hunting and gathering societies, they tended to have two or three partners during the course of their lives. They weren’t square! And I’m not suggesting that we do, but the bottom line is, we’ve always had alternatives. Mankind is always — in fact, the brain is well-built to what we call “equilibrate,” to try and decide: Do I come, do I stay? Do I go, do I stay? What are the opportunities here? How do I handle this there? And so I think we’re seeing another play-out of that now.

18:55 KS: Well, thank you both so much. I think you’re going to have a million dinner partners for tonight!

18:59 (Applause)

19:01 Thank you, thank you.


How to raise successful kids — without over-parenting

0:11 You know, I didn’t set out to be a parenting expert. In fact, I’m not very interested in parenting, per Se. It’s just that there’s a certain style of parenting these days that is kind of messing up kids, impeding their chances to develop into theirselves. There’s a certain style of parenting these days that’s getting in the way.

0:35 I guess what I’m saying is, we spend a lot of time being very concerned about parents who aren’t involved enough in the lives of their kids and their education or their upbringing, and rightly so. But at the other end of the spectrum, there’s a lot of harm going on there as well, where parents feel a kid can’t be successful unless the parent is protecting and preventing at every turn and hovering over every happening, and micromanaging every moment, and steering their kid towards some small subset of colleges and careers.

1:09 When we raise kids this way, and I’ll say we, because Lord knows, in raising my two teenagers, I’ve had these tendencies myself, our kids end up leading a kind of checklisted childhood.

1:24 And here’s what the checklisted childhood looks like. We keep them safe and sound and fed and watered, and then we want to be sure they go to the right schools, that they’re in the right classes at the right schools, and that they get the right grades in the right classes in the right schools. But not just the grades, the scores, and not just the grades and scores, but the accolades and the awards and the sports, the activities, the leadership. We tell our kids, don’t just join a club, start a club, because colleges want to see that. And check the box for community service. I mean, show the colleges you care about others.

1:57 (Laughter)

1:59 And all of this is done to some hoped-for degree of perfection. We expect our kids to perform at a level of perfection we were never asked to perform at ourselves, and so because so much is required, we think, well then, of course we parents have to argue with every teacher and principal and coach and referee and act like our kid’s concierge and personal handler and secretary.

2:26 And then with our kids, our precious kids, we spend so much time nudging, cajoling, hinting, helping, haggling, nagging as the case may be, to be sure they’re not screwing up, not closing doors, not ruining their future, some hoped-for admission to a tiny handful of colleges that deny almost every applicant.

2:53 And here’s what it feels like to be a kid in this checklisted childhood. First of all, there’s no time for free play. There’s no room in the afternoons, because everything has to be enriching, we think. It’s as if every piece of homework, every quiz, every activity is a make-or-break moment for this future we have in mind for them, and we absolve them of helping out around the house, and we even absolve them of getting enough sleep as long as they’re checking off the items on their checklist. And in the checklisted childhood, we say we just want them to be happy, but when they come home from school, what we ask about all too often first is their homework and their grades. And they see in our faces that our approval, that our love, that their very worth, comes from A’s. And then we walk alongside them and offer clucking praise like a trainer at the Westminster Dog Show —

3:53 (Laughter)

3:54 coaxing them to just jump a little higher and soar a little farther, day after day after day. And when they get to high school, they don’t say, “Well, what might I be interested in studying or doing as an activity?” They go to counselors and they say, “What do I need to do to get into the right college?” And then, when the grades start to roll in in high school, and they’re getting some B’s, or God forbid some C’s, they frantically text their friends and say, “Has anyone ever gotten into the right college with these grades?”

4:28 And our kids, regardless of where they end up at the end of high school, they’re breathless. They’re brittle. They’re a little burned out. They’re a little old before their time, wishing the grown-ups in their lives had said, “What you’ve done is enough, this effort you’ve put forth in childhood is enough.” And they’re withering now under high rates of anxiety and depression and some of them are wondering, will this life ever turn out to have been worth it?

5:00 Well, we parents, we parents are pretty sure it’s all worth it. We seem to behave — it’s like we literally think they will have no future if they don’t get into one of these tiny set of colleges or careers we have in mind for them.

5:16 Or maybe, maybe, we’re just afraid they won’t have a future we can brag about to our friends and with stickers on the backs of our cars. Yeah.

5:29 (Applause)

5:35 But if you look at what we’ve done, if you have the courage to really look at it, you’ll see that not only do our kids think their worth comes from grades and scores, but that when we live right up inside their precious developing minds all the time, like our very own version of the movie “Being John Malkovich,” we send our children the message: “Hey kid, I don’t think you can actually achieve any of this without me.” And so with our overhelp, our overprotection and overdirection and hand-holding, we deprive our kids of the chance to build self-efficacy, which is a really fundamental tenet of the human psyche, far more important than that self-esteem they get every time we applaud. Self-efficacy is built when one sees that one’s own actions lead to outcomes, not — There you go.

6:28 (Applause)

6:32 Not one’s parents’ actions on one’s behalf, but when one’s own actions lead to outcomes. So simply put, if our children are to develop self-efficacy, and they must, then they have to do a whole lot more of the thinking, planning, deciding, doing, hoping, coping, trial and error, dreaming and experiencing of life for themselves.

7:00 Now, am I saying every kid is hard-working and motivated and doesn’t need a parent’s involvement or interest in their lives, and we should just back off and let go? Hell no.

7:12 (Laughter)

7:13 That is not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is, when we treat grades and scores and accolades and awards as the purpose of childhood, all in furtherance of some hoped-for admission to a tiny number of colleges or entrance to a small number of careers, that that’s too narrow a definition of success for our kids. And even though we might help them achieve some short-term wins by overhelping — like they get a better grade if we help them do their homework, they might end up with a longer childhood résumé when we help — what I’m saying is that all of this comes at a long-term cost to their sense of self. What I’m saying is, we should be less concerned with the specific set of colleges they might be able to apply to or might get into and far more concerned that they have the habits, the mindset, the skill set, the wellness, to be successful wherever they go. What I’m saying is, our kids need us to be a little less obsessed with grades and scores and a whole lot more interested in childhood providing a foundation for their success built on things like love and chores.

8:27 (Laughter)

8:29 (Applause)

8:34 Did I just say chores? Did I just say chores? I really did. But really, here’s why. The longest longitudinal study of humans ever conducted is called the Harvard Grant Study. It found that professional success in life, which is what we want for our kids, that professional success in life comes from having done chores as a kid, and the earlier you started, the better, that a roll-up-your-sleeves- and-pitch-in mindset, a mindset that says, there’s some unpleasant work, someone’s got to do it, it might as well be me, a mindset that says, I will contribute my effort to the betterment of the whole, that that’s what gets you ahead in the workplace. Now, we all know this. You know this.

9:16 (Applause)

9:19 We all know this, and yet, in the checklisted childhood, we absolve our kids of doing the work of chores around the house, and then they end up as young adults in the workplace still waiting for a checklist, but it doesn’t exist, and more importantly, lacking the impulse, the instinct to roll up their sleeves and pitch in and look around and wonder, how can I be useful to my colleagues? How can I anticipate a few steps ahead to what my boss might need?

9:47 A second very important finding from the Harvard Grant Study said that happiness in life comes from love, not love of work, love of humans: our spouse, our partner, our friends, our family. So childhood needs to teach our kids how to love, and they can’t love others if they don’t first love themselves, and they won’t love themselves if we can’t offer them unconditional love.

10:16 (Applause)

10:20 Right. And so, instead of being obsessed with grades and scores when our precious offspring come home from school, or we come home from work, we need to close our technology, put away our phones, and look them in the eye and let them see the joy that fills our faces when we see our child for the first time in a few hours. And then we have to say, “How was your day? What did you like about today?” And when your teenage daughter says, “Lunch,” like mine did, and I want to hear about the math test, not lunch, you have to still take an interest in lunch. You gotta say, “What was great about lunch today?” They need to know they matter to us as humans, not because of their GPA.

11:10 All right, so you’re thinking, chores and love, that sounds all well and good, but give me a break. The colleges want to see top scores and grades and accolades and awards, and I’m going to tell you, sort of. The very biggest brand-name schools are asking that of our young adults, but here’s the good news. Contrary to what the college rankings racket would have us believe —

11:37 (Applause)

11:43 you don’t have to go to one of the biggest brand name schools to be happy and successful in life. Happy and successful people went to state school, went to a small college no one has heard of, went to community college, went to a college over here and flunked out.

11:57 (Applause)

12:04 The evidence is in this room, is in our communities, that this is the truth. And if we could widen our blinders and be willing to look at a few more colleges, maybe remove our own egos from the equation, we could accept and embrace this truth and then realize, it is hardly the end of the world if our kids don’t go to one of those big brand-name schools. And more importantly, if their childhood has not been lived according to a tyrannical checklist then when they get to college, whichever one it is, well, they’ll have gone there on their own volition, fueled by their own desire, capable and ready to thrive there.

12:48 I have to admit something to you. I’ve got two kids I mentioned, Sawyer and Avery. They’re teenagers. And once upon a time, I think I was treating my Sawyer and Avery like little bonsai trees —

13:01 (Laughter)

13:04 that I was going to carefully clip and prune and shape into some perfect form of a human that might just be perfect enough to warrant them admission to one of the most highly selective colleges. But I’ve come to realize, after working with thousands of other people’s kids —

13:22 (Laughter)

13:25 and raising two kids of my own, my kids aren’t bonsai trees. They’re wildflowers of an unknown genus and species —

13:38 (Laughter)

13:40 and it’s my job to provide a nourishing environment, to strengthen them through chores and to love them so they can love others and receive love and the college, the major, the career, that’s up to them. My job is not to make them become what I would have them become, but to support them in becoming their glorious selves.

14:06 Thank you.

14:07 (Applause)

Isaac Lidsky: What reality are you creating for yourself?

I learned that what we see is not universal truth. It is not objective reality. What we see is a unique, personal, virtual reality that is masterfully constructed by our brain.

sight is an illusion.

So for example, what you see impacts how you feel, and the way you feel can literally change what you see.

You create your own reality, and you believe it.

You see, sight is just one way we shape our reality. We create our own realities in many other ways.

Fear replaces the unknown with the awful.

So, for example, in my leadership team meetings, I don’t see facial expressions or gestures. I’ve learned to solicit a lot more verbal feedback. I basically force people to tell me what they think. And in this respect, it’s become, like I said, a real blessing for me personally and for my company, because we communicate at a far deeper level, we avoid ambiguities, and most important, my team knows that what they think truly matters.



We are human on the earth and we are the same!







“认为有差异 -> 所以不理解 -> 从而不信任 -> 导致误解和矛盾 -> 沟通对话减少 -> 更不容易理解 -> 加深不信任 -> 明确并夸大差异” 这是一个恶性循环。