The Fogginess of It All

The Fogginess of It All



This post is for those of you who are on the fence about making a decision—any decision—because you or someone close to you feels lost in the F.O.G. (Fear, Obligation and Guilt)

Here are Lessons for Cutting Through the Fog from visual-thinking gurus Austin Kleon & Mike Rohde; a first-time sketchnoter; a hollywood producer; and, former US Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. 

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The Melancholia of Social Networking

Even with the quantifiable explosion of social networking services--and the perceived multitude of ways to connect to other people--the feeling of isolation and disconnectedness continues to pervade our modern culture.

The disturbing results continue to be an increase in both depression and suicide.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that an average of 19 million Americans suffer from depression. Of these suffers, over 30,000 will take there own lives, with almost 20,000 of these suicides are aged 15 to 34-years-old.

Every day, approximately 80 Americans take their own life, and 1,500 more attempt to do so.

Depression has, of course, many causes: economics, family history, neurobiology and microchemistry, physical or emotional trauma.

However, the most profound source seems to be a person's interpersonal relationship with their surroundings and the people around them.

More than half (55%) of all online American youths ages 12-17 use online social networking sites, according to a 2007 national survey of teenagers conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. So why is suicide among young people rising?

From Sense of belonging a key to suicide prevention
Wed Apr 2, 2008 3:13pm EDT

clipped from

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The rate of suicide among young people is triple what it was 50 years ago, and while it remains exceedingly rare for college students to kill themselves, it is always a tragedy -- and always preventable, according to a New York psychiatrist and authority on suicide.

Helping people who feel isolated to connect or reconnect with others is also important, he added. "Connection and a feeling of social belonging is I think the most important initial step in preventing suicide," Kahn said. "Once the person feels that sense of trust in belong to the community, they may be more receptive to suggestions that they seek help, if they haven't sought it already."

They can also look to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (, and the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention ( for information.

This American Life: Unconditional Love

Dr. Harlow spent a lot of time with monkeys and their mommas. Evil, robot mommas, to be exact.

Dr. Harry Harlow and his Artificial Mother

Harry Frederick Harlow was an American psychologist best known for his maternal-deprivation and social isolation experiments on rhesus monkeys, which demonstrated the importance of care-giving and companionship in the early stages of primate development. He conducted most of his research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he worked for a time with humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow.

Some of Harlow's experiments involved rearing infant macaques in isolation chambers that prevented them from having any contact with other monkeys or human beings. The monkeys were left alone for up to 24 months, and emerged severely disturbed.

This podcast from This American Life examines Stories of unconditional love between parents and children, and how hard love can be sometimes in daily practice.

Hard as it is to believe, during the early Twentieth Century, a whole school of mental health professionals decided that unconditional love was a terrible thing to give a child. The government printed pamphlets warning mothers against the dangers of holding their kids. The head of the American Psychological Association and even a mothers' organization endorsed the position that mothers were dangerous—until psychologist Harry Harlow set out to prove them wrong, through a series of experiments with monkeys. Host Ira Glass talks with Deborah Blum, author of Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection.

Coaching the Alpha Male

By Kate Ludeman & Eddie Erlandson | May 1, 2004

The best treatise on taming the successful, chest-beating leader we all love to fear!

Highly intelligent, confident, and successful, alpha males represent about 70% of all senior executives. Natural leaders, they willingly take on levels of responsibility most rational people would find overwhelming. But many of their quintessential strengths can also make alphas difficult to work with. Their self-confidence can appear domineering. Their high expectations can make them excessively critical. Their unemotional style can keep them from inspiring their teams. That's why alphas need coaching to broaden their interpersonal tool kits while preserving their strengths.

Drawing from their experience coaching more than 1,000 senior executives, the authors outline an approach tailored specifically for the alpha. Coaches get the alpha's attention by inundating him with data from 360-degree feedback presented in ways he will find compelling.Such an assessment is a wake-up call for most alphas, providing undeniable proof that their behavior doesn't work nearly as well as they think it does.

That paves the way for a genuine commitment to change. To change, the alpha must admit vulnerability, accept accountability not just for his own work but for others', connect with his underlying emotions, learn to motivate through a balance of criticism and validation, and become aware of unproductive behavior patterns.

The goal of executive coaching is not simply to treat the alpha as an individual problem, but to improve the entire team dynamic.