Examining Myself Today a la Style de David Evans and Bill Burnett’s Designing Your Life

Health:
Physically, I’m in pretty good shape. I’ve been trying to work out almost every other day, and it really helps me wash out the negativity and the mind wormholes I get into pretty often as someone with a head that has trouble not thinking. While being in shape is important, the need to exercise for me I feel comes mostly from the endorphins and relaxation (rewards!) I feel from getting an engaging workout in and having it demand all my physical and mental attention. It quiets my thoughts, and I really love that.
Food wise, I haven’t been eating healthily and I need to change that. I’m pretty tired from work most of the time, so I need to make sure I’m not eating foods that support lethargy or a weakening of the immune system.
I’m also struggling a lot with memory. Short term and some long term memories are really joggy and it’s getting concerning. At first I thought it was because I’m all over the place, and I’m just someone who needs to implement check lists, plan and such in very concrete, written ways. But I’m beginning to think it’s not just that. I keep forgetting things at an alarming frequency. Something to address and commit to going to a doctor for before it gets worse.
Physically also, I’ve been exploiting my youth by running on a bad foot for a while. The fractures keep recurring, the pain never goes away, and yet I’m still running. A conversation with a physical therapist last weekend really woke me up because she warned me that while my body is giving me all it’s got now, it won’t ever do that as I age, and that this could quadruple into a really serious issue if I’m not proactive and don’t make the decision to stop running as I’ve avoided so now. It hurts my young self: my passion and love for the rush of BREEZE I feel when running, experiencing nature at that kind of speed, and my pride as a 26 year old woman, but I need to work on being okay with stopping.
Work:
Work is pretty intense. I’m realizing more and more in hindsight that there were and are parts that are more intense and hard for me, as I’m still struggling a bit with resisting the unbalance that comes with being entrepreneurial. I kept fighting it. and I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I’m supposed to be sitting alongside the minion that is crazy startup life and embracing it. Not all of it, but some of it. And that my understanding and personal definition of what it means to be “balanced” is a little rigid and maybe open to revision. It’s crazy hilarious and exasperating just how much I’m resisting the startup life. It’s perhaps very foolish of me. A developing thought, and not a belief yet, but sharing nonetheless. Business this early stage is also not going well at any point in time, and as a small company it’s hard to take the gains and losses of the company at arm’s length. Everything hits me.
I need to mentally be there, in that everything I am doing is understood [by me] that it was the best I could do at every given moment, with the best interests in mind and that I need to be better at bouncing back, being more openminded, and adapting even more so when the variables and circumstance change around me.
In terms of network and and professional life, things are going really great. I’m coming into my own as a professional and as an individual who is really curious, has a lot of things to say and craves deep connection. I’m continuously building upon and defining this multi-faceted, yet-to-be-determined creature that is my public self. I’ve been freelance modeling, started lecturing as a guest lecturer at NYU, consulted a few consumer brands, and advocating for mental health & my main work, ATEM. Life is very good on that front, and it’s amazing being part of a new tribe that’s full of many beautiful, bright, and well-meaning people, and thick in with the entrepreneurial, founder, business-women & men community.
Love:
The love is great. Not without some bumps and minefields thrown onto the plane I live in, but man is it great:
My love for God is amazing right now and rising.
My family, as colorful as our dynamics are, is trending up in the most beautiful, and wholesome ways I’ve never seen!
My romantic experiences, while colorful [in part to my overthinking myself], have been wonderful in their own ways, and I’m growing and learning more about myself: exploring the good sides, examining the needing improvement sides, and am interfacing and growing to know, see and share in the promise of love with someone that I believe and am grateful I have such a natural connection to.
Friendships are great. I’ve really seen this arena defining itself in the past 2 years and friendships are sifting and solidifying in their places as I feel they should be. There is the constant influx of new and old characters of course, and navigating that and my changing feelings and our changing positions is sometimes verging on the disorienting (hello people pleaser Susan, but short on time and life Susan), but this sphere’s developed into something that’s very much a solid ecosystem of peoples that are very loving and awesome and just solid, solid, lovable, trustworthy friends.
Play:
Play for me from experience (and I only have twenty-some years of this thing, experience) is doing or seeing something very creative or emotionally provocative.
That usually means for me seeing art, going to see an opera, being in some very high-nature habitat, maybe going horse riding? (it’s on my bucket list, I’ve never done it!!).
Reading is for certain for pleasure, but most recently I’ve been reading a lot to learn with the intention of helping myself develop as a professional and in more public facing contexts, and I’ve not honestly been allowing myself to pick up much reading for sheer “valueless” (whatever that means) pleasure . Learning though is a direct pleasure channel for me, so this is a little murky. I love to read to learn. But I suppose the topics I would be reading on would slightly change if I was only reading this past season for sheer pleasure. I would be less focused [by my nature] in my choice of subject matter, and would be reading anything from surfing, to horseriding, to vinoculture, to wines in Paso Robles, to the history of an art I have my eyes newly fixed on, to reading on photography, to reading on sculpture making, to reading all the books I have in my personal reading to do list, and rereading Jane Austen on replay over, and over, and over again.
As Bill Burnett and Dave Evans define it in Designing Your Life, play eliminates any and all consideration of “work” that is colored even with a drop of something that is not pure joy:
“Play is all about joy. If you observe children at play, you will see the type of play we are talking about. Play is any activity that brings you joy when you do it. It can certainly include organized activity or competition or productive endeavors, but when those things are done, “for the joy of it” they are play. When an activity is done to win, to advance, to achieve– even if it’s fun to do so– it’s not play. It may be a wonderful thing, but it’s still not play. The question here is what brings you joy purely in the doing.”
While work has required me to pull down on the play, I’ve managed to stay really committed to a really concentrated number of “play” activities I consider my top most priorities and most consistent sources for sheer Susan joy: reading, nature, and art ūüôā
In an ideal world, I’d like to have even more leisure to explore more and see if other play activities would actually bring me more pleasure, but unfortunately exploration does require new commitment and more time allocated to things that are uncertain and at best to be determined in their joy-value adds in my life.  At least for now ūüôā And that’s okay.

Reflections on Entropy

“In short, we can define entropy as a measure of the disorder of the universe, on both a macro and a microscopic level. The Greek root of the word translates to ‚Äúa turning towards transformation‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ with that transformation being chaos.
As you read this article, entropy is all around you. Cells within your body are dying and degrading, an employee or coworker is making a mistake, the floor is getting dusty, and the heat from your coffee is spreading out. Zoom out a little, and businesses are failing, crimes and revolutions are occurring, and relationships are ending. Zoom out a lot further and we see the entire universe marching towards a collapse.”
– Shane Parrish

A couple nights ago, I read a great article called Battling Entropy: Making Order of the Chaos  in our lives. Writer and thinker Shane Parrish writes on what that means and the full ramifications of it in our world.

I find myself revisiting it today as a morning exercise of sorts and applying it to some current situations in my life.

  • Taking this mental rule and understanding that everything in their natural order falls apart, not together, and that I must understand that absolutely:
  • Understanding that really does give one peace and direction.

It’s not being pessimistic, it’s being pragmatic. When you search and connect with the reality of how the world really works you are also better prepared and expecting.

REFLECTIONS

PROFESSIONAL

At age 26 and as an entrepreneur, I’m still worrying about how I will be financially independent in the sustainable sense for the long game. Do I keep doing what my heart tells me to do, or do I one day make the decision to choose a stable job that affords me compound savings at an office job?

I am saving pennies on the dollar now, and I can be saving dollars and mucho moola on the dollar if I worked in something else.

I understand that without considerably added effort as an entrepreneur and with good fortune, this will only lead to entropy (in financial resources, in personal and time capital, etc.), so I need to set firm guidelines for myself, for how long I am taking this passion project for the ride and what milestones or goals I will set it against in order to validate sustaining my efforts in it.

HEALTH

At age 26, I have osteoporosis. That has resulted in me getting foot pain or fractures regularly, and I’ve also had to retire from many sports and activities that I never expected to have retired from at this age.

It’s frustrating, but I understand it’s just an early realization for me on my part that this body will only continue to degenerate as you age. There will be arthritis, there will be osteoporosis, there might be some disease, and you will most certainly start losing collagen & elasticity and develop fine lines on your forehead in your twenties. However, this does not mean I should just rest. Resting only encourages more entropy. ¬†To keep the body sharp is to keep the mind sharp is to keep the life sharp.

Sharp as a well made kitchen knife. Mhm.

Whatever effort humans put into regenerating the body is an effort of pure science, bullish effort, and going against nature. It’s quite impressive, thinking of all of it actually.

SOCIAL

From age 18 to my early 20s, I had the tendency to not want to create deep, personal relationships. For me, what I had was enough, and the immense effort required to sustain human relationships with often very irrational people just seemed like such a high cost for me, and I didn’t want to put the effort in. It was better I thought to invest in my work, my passions, and myself. Engage with others, but keep a distance. Don’t get too close. At least introspection with the self was certain to result in some kind of fruit. This was a shortsight, as I realize now that forming and working really hard¬†to maintain authentic relationships with people are one of the greatest investments I can make in my life. Human relationships counteract all forms of entropy: mental, emotional, professional, etc.

For those having trouble with developing relationships, or with little interest in developing any: Yes, people can disappoint you, yes they might not be the most intellectually stimulating people in the world, yes, they can be unreliable, but so am I, and so are you. And I’d still like to say I’m worth the effort and worth getting to know. There are fruits to be seen and revealed, through me, by you or some other person who enters my life. So I guess I’d apply the same for you.

‚ÄúThe energy of the universe is constant. The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum.‚ÄĚ
– Rudolf Clausius

FAMILY

I’ve experienced entropy at its max in this category. I’ve grown up out of a very troubled home, and what was considered “family” was breaking down at a Nitro rollercoaster steep rate from my middle school years. I saw what happens when there is no effort put in, or when the only effort put into the family unit encourages further dissolution and entropy.

However, through this experience, I’ve also seen what incredible things can happen in the re-building if you seek to counteract entropy. It requires double, no triple, the effort.

So why not make the effort in the first place.

My experience has brought my current family closer and we are more vigilant as a family in some ways. We are exceedingly careful to not say or do some things that would harm our relationship with the other. There is a foundational, rigid, understanding of what we must not do or entertain in our current romantic relationships and for our future relationships. And we’re aggressive with building, building, building. Building new ways and systems to affirm one another, to show we appreciate one another, to show we love one another.

“Truly understanding entropy leads to a radical change in the way we see the world. Ignorance of it is responsible for many of our biggest mistakes and failures. We cannot expect anything to stay the way we leave it. To maintain our health, relationships, careers, skills, knowledge, societies, and possessions requires never-ending effort and vigilance. Disorder is not a mistake; it is our default. Order is always artificial and temporary.”
Shane Parrish

ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS

With my romantic relationships I tend to take a one man stance. Considering 1. my subscription to this idea of chaos and disorder naturally developing (emphasis on natural order) as time goes on in every aspect of our lives and our world and 2. all I know about myself and my emotional and physical capacity as a human-woman, I just don’t think I can go on living life attaching myself to and emotionally engaging with more than one romantic interest at a given time. ¬†If the aim is to build and not to break-down, the effort involved in romantic relationships cannot be optional, but required. I believe this effort should begin at earlier stages of getting to know someone, not when there is a “are we…” talk. Getting to know someone at my convenience only, or not showing I care when I don’t really care at the early stage of a relationship is possible– my every right– and also comfortable, but in the end what does that lead to? What can all that lead to? There’s the chance that you might fall in love and I have seen many friends who are in wonderful, wholesome relationships which resulted from a start of the more casual or poly- sort. But it entertains a whole lot more chance. And I guess this all goes down to who I am as a person again. I don’t care for welcoming chance.

Personal Traits to Desire

I’ve written down a list of traits I find most desirable in a human:

Discretion

Understanding

Uprightness

Love

Faithfulness

Discipline

Righteousness

Wisdom

Humility

A study of these and I find I have much to improve on.

It’s easy for us to forget these most important things when the things we chase after for which we can see the end result/return more easily/tangibly start to consume us.

Better to write them down, imprint them on your skin, sear them in your heart, then to forget and find yourself lost in the chase.

The chase is long. And the human race has proven time and time again that it’s a gigantic, messy blob prone to dissatisfactions, strivings, and wanderings.

It’s good to re-evaluate regularly what you are about, who you are, and why you are pursuing the things you are pursuing.

It would be a pity if you found yourself at the long tail of a track some day… having run all your life… having forgotten the why.. so far away from the person you initially dreamed you’d be.

Musings & Tucans in Le Marais

I am sitting in a very pretty coffee shop called the Yellow Tucan.

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The cafe owner decorates the cafe with bright spots of yellow: oranges, tulips, architectural chairs, and truly brightens up the spirits of anyone stopping in.

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It’s been 4 days since I’ve arrived in Paris.

Outside of my meetings for work I’ve committing to a practice of solitude as that’s what I have been looking for as I chose to take this trip– to recalibrate and deepen my focus.

After a sprint of work here and finishing this letter, I will go out to meet a friend, Pierre, to do what’s perhaps some much needed socializing. We will be going to the Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature. It will be my first time, and I am so very excited to go as I know the decorative art pieces there are splendid!

It hasn’t been difficult at all to find new friends here. There have been the hiccups of having to ward off men though. …on runs, during walks between meetings. But it’s nothing.

Work is going very well, although I’m shy to share with you the details of the project I have been working on just yet. It takes a lot of preparation, a lot of risk, and sharing sometimes feels scary because it feels like I am putting all my eggs in one basket, when I myself am not absolutely sure where this heading. But this I think is¬†the scared me talking. ūüôā

Things are moving very quickly forward though. It’s enough to excite me and frighten me simultaneously.

I hope I have the courage to continue on.  And if not, I hope I have the courage to take up something new again. To persevere, and also to be brazen when acting for the good thingsРthe worthy things.

Arming myself for the days ahead.

Love,

Soo

 

 

 

Inside My Tulips

When something so simple can give you so much joy:

Start: Pot + 5 tulip bulbs

Flower Bloom:

The beautiful prints and propeller shapes formed by the overlapping petals.

Can you see the pretty fuzz on top of the tulip? It’s supposed to be mold though. ūüė¶

The richness of the flowers’ robes.

13 hours time:

Inspired, so I paint (acrylic and watercolour):

Another day:

Chop chop :

I placed the flowers in a mason jar and headed to my sister’s to surprise her.

2 Days Later: My sister, inspired like me by their beauty started drawing as well.

She is the best drawer in our family by far. ūüôā

Money Shot by Judith Bernstein

 

My friend Christine and I stopped by the Paul Kasmin Gallery yesterday to check out this LOUD art show, which represents the works of Judith Bernstein, a New York based artist, mainly known for her phallic symbol infused works and her ardent devotion to feminism.

Money Shot is a visual manifesto of some very explicit political commentary (truly, a no holds barred, lacking zero subtly situation). Asides from the strong messaging, the artist used fun and creative mediums like fluorescent paint and light for this exhibit to the delight of myself and the many other art goers that walked into the gallery (Exhibit A: it was fun to see anyone with hair lighter than brown with heads literally lit, and seeing men walk in with their stiff collared shirts noticing in surprise that the collars peeking out of their sweaters were brilliantly highlighted in spacey purple light).

Do I see a Darth Vadar, a skull, and a generic demon here or is it just me?

 

The Trinity Schlong

 

While this artist clearly shows her bias for the strong left, I believe this show is worth going to and seeing– regardless of one’s political affiliation, and preferably with an open mind.

It is worth mentioning and acknowledging the creative and intellectual risks this artist has made to voice out some very controversial and sensitive opinions, and the gallery that chose to represent her with this recent installation.

I applaud you, Paul Kasmin Gallery.

This show runs until March 03, 2018. @ 293 10th Ave., NY.

Trending In Retail & Consumer Goods

The Case For Lower In-season Markdowns:

“YNAP has also seen a deceleration in North America, where overall luxury goods sales growth has been slower in 2017 compared to Europe and Asia, according to¬†Bain & Co. At YNAP, North American sales in the third quarter of 2017 grew 10 percent from 2016, down from 17 percent growth a year earlier. ‘According to management, this was also driven by a slightly weaker performance in the in-season business, where they made a strategic decision to have lower markdowns versus¬†last year,’ Barclay analyst Andrew Ross wrote in a recent note. ‘While this helped margins, it had a detrimental impact on the top line.’ However, he said, “Long term, this approach by YNAP will strengthen relationships with brands.”” – Yoox Net-A-Porter Group, Bof.com

 

Digital & Print Publications for Next Level Branding: 

WoollyCasper, next-gen mattress brand

HereAway, next-gen luggage brand

AirbnbmagAirbnb, sharing economy unicorn

 

Technology: 

Helio: machine learning [via online fundraising platform for early stage consumer brands] Circleup to make investment calls on retail and consumer brands.

 

“Social Media Drives Sales,” They’ve Been Saying…:

What’s next on the affiliate partnership front for consumer goods giant Amazon:

Amazon expands its Influencer Program to include Twitter and Instagram, in addition to YouTube

 

 

 

 

Saying Something: Toyin Ojih Odutola

 

Say hello to the newest heavy-weight in portraiture, Toyin Ojih Odutola.

I first became acquainted with this Nigerian artist’s work during a run at the galleries in Chelsea a couple years ago. I remember being so viscerally struck by her drawings that day. They were white pencil on white paper– I had to lower my body and kneel closer to the ground to see what the drawings held. It was a moving experience to encounter the fullness of these white identities she drew out for the appraiser– very controlled and calculated.

I’ve since become fascinated by the unique mark-making techniques she employs.

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Imagine a big drawing like this, except everything was white on white.

 

The Brooklyn based artist uses whirls and lots of hairy (really that’s what it looks like in person: the wispiest of wispy hairs) detailing to create rich visual narratives that surround her already deeply contextualized subjects. If you look at her artwork in person, you’ll see all the swirls and membrane-like pieces that make up the sum of a composition of faces, bodies, and identities– so much integrity and thought put to paper face via graphite, charcoal, or pastel:

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Toyin toys with anything from discussions on natural identity to more poignant POVs on say, racial profiling.

 

I’m happy to share that Toyin Ojih Odutola will be holding her first solo exhibit at The Whitney Museum this month, a commission that is well deserved by this outspoken wunderkind.

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Pregnant, 2017

 

Check out her upcoming show, To Wander Determined, at The Whitney Museum of American Art on 99 Gansevoort St., open to the public from October 20th.

I can’t wait to see it.

 

Inspired by Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness

“On my deathbed, I will instruct a nurse to bring me the following:

 

A bag of parmesan flavored Cheese-Its, a burger, the crispiest rosemary covered thin fries, a glass of Diet Coke (lightly chilled), dill flavored waffle chips, a steak tartare with extra capers, the creamiest strawberry choux-creme cake, a McDonald Big Mac, and a Burger King Double Bacon Cheeseburger.

 

In my final moments, I will consume this food slowly and delicately as I fade into oblivion.” – Marina Keegan

 

Complement this creative marriage of Keegan’s prose from  The Opposite of Loneliness and my appetite with If I Die Tomorrow, by Korean hip-hop artist, Beenzino.

Italian Artist Gehard Demetz, my modern day Geppetto.

Formally trained in religious sculpture, Italian artist Gehard Demetz has progressed to become one of the most talented artists of our century. He wields his art technique and experience to create works, many with children as subject, that explore the dichotomies and marriages of contradiction… between that which is evocative and whimsical – provocative and contemporary. His sculptures often carry an energy verging on the socio-political.

He relies on mediums like wood and bronze and certainly knows how to make dry wood come alive.

These are my favorite works of Demetz throughout his career as a sculptor:

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Introjection. 2017, Wood

 

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Life Without Christmas. 2017, Wood

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Dirt on my Shoulders. 2016, Wood

 

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Restoring My Blisses. 2015, Wood.

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My Parents’ Stories Sound Different. 2015, Wood.

 

Personally, I would say his best works were made in 2013.

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Stones In My Pocket. 2013, Wood.

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Mom’s hands and daddy’s nose. 2013, wood.

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Complement these visuals with a contemplative rendition of Bach’s Christus, Der Uns Selig Macht, BWV 245, arranged by one of my favorite composers and pianists, Chad Lawson.

Dancing & Walking Gardens in England

Today is my last day in England and I’m honestly a bit sad to leave.

England ended up being the perfect place for me to rest and freshen up– in part because nothing felt new here.

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[For context, often times when you are traveling to a new country and it’s too unfamiliar (whether it be from the transportation style, interpersonal behaviors, lifestyle pace, or type of cuisine), the trip ends up feeling more exhaustive than healing, especially.. when you’ve decked out a week’s itinerary befitting a music band on tour]. Fortunately now, due to the the rampant innovation, cultural and people exchange, and systemic adoption of technologies that have lead economic centers to operate and appear fairly similar to one another, one can expect a growing predictability for navigation and assimilation in any urban or cosmopolitan city. You will quickly feel that New York reminds you of London, London of Seoul, and that Seoul reminds you in turn of a bit of Paris.

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Shoreditch Grind – I really appreciate the energy of this neighborhood.

 

Coffee shops were frequented, a disgusting amount of desserts were dabbled in, and dance floors conquered. I ate this delicious cheese that tasted like caramel fudge (The Gjetost! Mon dieu!). I even danced my first Scottish dance, and met a gentleman in full Scottish garb with dagger.

 

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What is life without dancing to techno in a room full of old master paintings?

 

Amidst the buzz of catching up with old friends and partaking in some good old entertainment, I was able to spend a great chunk of my stay exploring and appreciating all that nature had to offer unique to the terrain [and sheer size] of its country.

 

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Out to see a boat race on the River Cam.

 

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It was the first time in my life experiencing first-hand so many kinds of birds (they were everywhere, omnipresent, realy all about England) and I’m certainly leaving Heathrow with a newfound affinity for them. Watching their activity across various environments, feeding,

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Imagine seeing a horde of birds feeding and sticking their butts in the air as if under a spell of strange choreography, and seeing this against a backdrop of some beautifully landscaped park or skyline– it’s comical.

and passing so gracefully through the weeping branches of willow trees all lent me feelings of relaxed freedom and calm. I felt very glad.IMG_9721.JPG

The pigeons and the geese here were also surprisingly cute here and I sympathize a bit for the ones back home (perhaps if we didn’t treat ours like termites, they might appear more clean and endearing like the ones in England, I don’t know).

I also saw herds of cows in their natural habitat during my walks which was really nice.

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Like Gustav Klimt’s The Park. I grew up in a suburban area and close to New York, the city of cities, so I was never exposed to much of anything nature outside of grass, skinny trees, and mountain trails my family would take road-trips to. And half of my childhood interaction with nature was spent in the shelter of a car, with me looking through a window.

 

I walked nice trails in well protected parks multiple-vehicles-wide. And oh! Everything was so well gardened and trimmed.

I smelled flowers with aromas so strong and heavenly I became overwhelmed with feelings of different shades I’ve never felt before.

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Captured in a 4 x 6: Me becoming overwhelmed by nature.

 

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This is a beautiful plant I saw, although I have no idea what it is. It reminds me of the skin of freshly picked Concord grapes. Lusciously juicy.

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My favorite. If a flower was a pretty song.

Overall, this trip was a good time for me to re-center myself, slow down, and to re-learn an appreciation for the things right in front of me.

I am leaving re-charged.

Bises, Soo

 

Rituals

 

  1. On Sundays, I will allot 2 hours of my afternoon to read in a cafe with good lighting that makes me happy and keeps me alert. I try not to switch around locations.
  2. Every morning, as soon as I wake up  and before I reach for my phone,  I run a motto through my head: it usually rotates from these three:
    1. By the grace of God I am worthy.
    2. Thank you God for this day.
    3. God, help me to give my day to you.
  3. I read at least a chapter of the Bible every day. Currently I am working through Isaiah. Usually I will read Psalm 95 and dedicate a prayer to God before, so that I can prepare to give my heart and attention wholly to the reading.
  4. I go in for a  video call with my family once a week. Objective: To hear what my mom and my sister has been up to and to actively engage in listening to the people most important to me.
  5. I drip coffee every morning. Grinding coffee and hand-pouring coffee is a therapeutic experience on its own. Having the consistent and dependable reward of drinking better than average coffee always leaves me coming back the next day ready to go into the routine regardless of how snoozy I am.
  6. Before my foot injury, I would wake up at 6 or 6:15 (depending on the day) to run a route of 4 miles at Central Park (north – south from my place to the south entrance cleanly amounts to that much). It was one of the most rewarding and helpful routines I’ve developed in my adulthood. Unfortunately, due to my present state, I satisfy myself with long walks back home from my work place (about 4 miles), and I always work to stretch out my body for about 15 minutes either in the morning or before I head to sleep. I’d like to walk more often.
  7. In the mornings, if I’m extra productive, I try to get to text messages that I haven’t responded to in the previous days.
  8. Throughout the week, I task myself to read the book I am currently on if I ever find myself still fully alert post-work hours. If I’m less than fully alert (had wine; burgers!, tired out of my mind, or feeling unfocused), I will pick up a lighter book (if I have one by the side and at the ready), read articles and studies I’ve pocketed (my go-to sites are on the website tab), or a short essay.

It’s hard to get into a routine, because the word itself implies that you are blocking off a finite resource, time, of yours for an extended amount of time to invest in a variable reward, and sometimes¬†starting one¬†for the sake of doing it for accomplishment or because it aligns with your value-based identity just isn’t that sexy of a pull.

From my personal experience though, investing in the time to develop these practices has probably contributed to the greatest positive changes and developments in my life.

They keep my character, spiritual, physical & mental life strong.

Getting to a point in which you regularly exercise habits that require little to no cognitive effort to initiate (holla heuristics) is also a great reward in itself (less work for increasingly more rewards!).

They also help me keep my positive, optimistic, and energetic demeanor (which are arguably my most marked characteristics) ¬†in a way that’s as close to 100% authentic and sincere.

Anyways, it’s 9, I’d best start my day. Happy Memorial Day. I remember and honor those who gave their lives up for us.

“Don’t ¬†just fill up on things that you’ll have forgotten the next day”- Jonathan McReynolds

“What is the value of a fine watch if you don’t keep winding it and it can’t keep time.?

 

The Resolutions of John Edwards

Resolutions written by 18th century theologian, John Edwards, at the tender age of 19.

He referred to these every week to nourish and stay committed to all that’s good in his soul. I hope reading upon these yourself leads to solace and encouragement, and breeds vision in yours.

You’ll find below an un-edited version of his list. If you prefer an easier read: His list categorized by subject matter

RESOLUTIONS

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the forementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God. Vid. July 30, [1723].

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

11. Resolved, when I think of any1 theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances don’t hinder.

12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.

16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

21. Resolved, never to do anything, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.

22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself (as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of. 

Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God’s glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.

24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.

27. Resolved, never willfully to omit anything, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.

28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.

30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the Golden Rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.

32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that in Proverbs 20:6, “A faithful man who can find?” may not be partly fulfilled in me.

33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining and establishing2 peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects. Dec. 26, 1722.

34. Resolved, in narrations never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.

35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.

36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.

37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec. 22 and 26, 1722.

38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous,3 or matter of laughter on the Lord’s day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.

39. Resolved, never to do anything that I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or no: except I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.

40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.

41. Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.

42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God,
which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this 12th day of January, 1722‚ÄĒ23.

43. Resolved, never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were anyway my own, but entirely and altogether God’s, agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday, Jan. 12. Jan. 12th, 1723.

44. Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan. 12, 1723.

45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan. 12 and 13, 1723.

46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eye: and to be especially careful of it, with respect to any of our family.

47. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning, May 5, 1723.

48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or no; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.

49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.

50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.

51. Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.

52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.

53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.

54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in commendation4 of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.

55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.

56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether I have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it be just as providence orders it, I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9 and July 13, 1723.

58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May 27 and July 13, 1723.

59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill-nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July 11, and July 13.

60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4 and 13, 1723.

61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it‚Äďthat what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21 and July 13, 1723.

62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Ephesians 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully “as unto the Lord, and not to man; knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.” June 25 and July 13, 1723.

63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan. 14 and July 13, 1723.

64. Resolved, when I find those “groanings which cannot be uttered,” of which the Apostle speaks [Romans 8:26], and those “breakings of soul for the longing it hath,” of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalms 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be weary of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23 and Aug. 10, 1723.

65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and everything, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton’s 27th sermon on the 119th Psalm.5 [[July 26 and Aug. 10, 1723.

66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.

67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.

68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23 and Aug. 10, 1723.

69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.

70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak. Aug. 17, 1723.

Speaking Too Little, Too Much

An artist has to understand silence
An artist has to create a space for silence to enter his work
Silence is like an island in the middle of a turbulent ocean -Marina Abramovińá

So….. how does one get to the island?


Verbosity comes easy to me, and unfortunately, there’s no shortage of words to be found in my being.

Over the past few years, my sisters and I have increasingly recognized my need to be both succinct and precise (when I speak, when I think, when I write…when I text!), for the sake of my future livelihood.

My sisters often rightly say, “the length or loudness of one’s message does not substantiate its actual quality or substance”.

Consequently, pithiness has become that far-reaching virtue of mine to cultivate since end of 2016.

Granted, this is easier said than done, and it conjures up from me many a sigh as I attempt (with the ferocity of Hercules as he battles off the great beast!) to remediate my little big habit.

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Hercules and the Nemean Line. Painting by Pieter Paul Rubens. What’s great to know is that he overcomes. So shall I– one hopes.

So what can I do, except write a haiku?:

“My mind moves too quick

Can I really control it?

Silence, come quickly.”

I thank my mother for never telling me I should become a poet. That would have been a lie anyways. 

Echoing David Ogilvy, king of witty and considered locutions, I plead tonight for endurance, for charm, for silence.

Bises,

Soo

‚ÄúThere are many fine things which we cannot say if we have to shout,‚ÄĚ Henry David Thoreau
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Illustration by Maurice Sendak

Expanding Boundaries of the Mind: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality with Elon Musk and the Sundance Film Festival

Hi all!
As you know, I’ve been fairly interested in the Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality space.
 My personal surf usage usually spans and alternates between news and studies on that
and reading up on brilliant art or fashion shows such as¬†Elie Saab’s Haute Couture.
Chris Milk is continuing to produce some great media for VR and MR, so you should look him and his production company, Within (formerly Vrse) up (Jocelyn: the videos I showed you and Tony last summer were produced by him). He recently showed a new one at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and I heard it was MIND BLOWING! It’s called Life of Us, an expositional journey of our life as humans – music by Pharell Williams )
Sundance also hosted some very cool MR and VR installations like this:img_1635 I saw a demo of one which included not just the headset, but full audio and body set (vibrating suits??)Рso complete immersion. It was so scary and pretty funny to see the physical realization of someone within this, and it also invoked some very powerful reactions from me even as a secondary viewer.
It’s almost as if there should be more invested discussions in the making of MR substituting for traditional medical solutions. From what I’ve seen, it has the potential to induce hallucinations and effectively distort mental cognition processes, and I really see it being a strong tool in the future for neurological malaises (or for people who just want to get high).
Lastly, neural lace!:
neural-lace
^ this will give you a short summary on what the possibilities for neural lacing look like for advancing human intelligence, but many more and better articles will go into depth on the potentials for this if you look up anything from Elon Musk, M. Banks, to neuroprosthetics + neural lace.
Basically, the development of neural lace or prosthetically made brain functions could in theory augment parts of our brain or simulate entire functions of our brain and we could all just opt-in in becoming Gandalf the Grey, Sauron, and Tony Stark… in one!
Crazy stuff happening our world, outside of the antics of the new Trump administrationРnews of those are sadly invading prime front page  space by the hour.
I’m heading over to an opening reception for one of my favorite galleries here, Paul Kasmin. Their upper location on 27th st. is dedicating an exhibition tonight to American Artist William N. Copley’s retrospective of women, how exciting! Especially after that march last week.
Wish you all could be here with me.
Bises,
Soo

Band of Friends

“There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes are not content with his wealth. ‘For whom am I toiling,’ he asked, and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment? This too is meaningless- a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. but pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 5:12

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This is my wonderful CG. It’s crazy to think that I’ve only known my friends here for a little over 3 months.

As a CG, we convene every week as a means to deepen our relationship with God and engage in fellowship. Here, I find myself being fed not just spiritually, but intellectually, physically, and emotionally. It’s almost indescribable to explain the encompassing and enormous nature of the benefits and joy I’ve received from these gatherings.¬†I’ve also noticed that¬†I’ve become more alert and acquired a heightened sensitivity to the going-ons in the world around me… to the conflicts and celebrations arising day by day in the personal lives of those I care about and also of those I was previously indifferent to.

Every week, we challenge each other with our questions regarding issues present in our world and current events, and around scripture; we ask each other about our careers, our job searches, our physical well-being – whether that leg is feeling better and how much exercise it’s taking, whether x project/x presentation last week went well; we rapidly learn intensely personal things about each other (exhibiting¬†an unbelievable level of vulnerability and trust) I’m not sure I’ve ever learned this quickly in my other relationships.

We build one another up, and the effects of this is enduring and lasting throughout the week. Together, we actively seek and discuss ways to address and alleviate the hurt rampant in the broken world around us and to better each other as young citizens and humans bonded by a common belief.

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Sometimes I wonder if without this CG, I’d have ever befriended them or have even crossed paths with them. We all come from very different backgrounds and paths in life, and our personalities range across the entire color spectrum; it really would be hard to explain our deep friendships in relation to our compatibilities in the traditional sense of the word here.

Yet, these people have quickly become a home to me unlike any other I’ve found, and I can’t imagine a world not knowing them and not loving them.

I only wish I could explain to you better just how good this feels. How good he is to me.

Bises,

Soo

Understanding a Marginalized Metric in the Arms Race for Success: Emotional Intelligence

In his delicious article “What Makes A Leader?,” brain and behavioral sciences expert and professor Daniel Goleman summarily tackles and identifies Emotional Intelligence as the fulcrum of the development and measurement of leadership within spheres of business and management.

First surfaced in 1985 via Wayne Payne’s doctoral thesis, “A Study of Emotion: Developing Emotional Intelligence”, EI was formally termed to account for the additional types of intelligence not subscribed in the parameters of technical and IQ modules.

Emotional Intelligence is an important quality to understand as how you measure up against these elements/pre-requisites are factors that can affect one’s ability to be a leader: managing a critical mass of people and ultimately creating high-impact value.

Out of the many models that have since been created by many scholars in their attempts to define EI, Goleman’s on EI has withstood the 2000’s and has served as the frame of reference for many educational and professional institutions seeking to understand this more deeply; I have likewise found his model for EI to be particularly useful, so I will continue on with reference to his model of five fundamental components:

Self-awareness is pretty by the book. It’s having a keen knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses, your needs, and your desires.

Self-regulation is the ability to maintain what can be simply described as the “emotional/professional poker face”, having the ability to yield reason over instinct despite certain situations natural eliciting a reaction that might be oppositional.

Motivation is the desire to achieve something. Often times, those who are motivated in the work place who currently hold decision making power have been observed to have the inclination to achieve for achievement’s sake regardless of there being a targeted goal or not.

Empathy, is empathy ūüôā Showing and successfully conveying genuine camaraderie and understanding for teammates, despite facing situational differences, deadlines/hard decisions being needed to make (i.e. corporate layoffs). Having the ability to treat each person uniquely and smoothly to best fit his/her emotional makeup and reactionary dispositions.

Lastly, social skills, i.e. being¬†¬†gregarious – being willing to open up your time, resources, and mind widely. Studies have supported that people with great social skills often have ¬†friendship networks that are very wide in breadth. Also, in the working space, high-leadership potential individuals can paradoxically appear to not be working as much because they more often than not recognize the needs to do things like allocate amounts of time during their work day to “chat ” and get to know their colleagues cross-departmentally.

Goleman doesn’t merely expound on or seek to heighten the value of pre-existing didacticisms, and this particular excerpt, amongst many, is very enlightening as it gets into the neuroscience of it all–showing where exactly EI growth is being activated and how we can push ourselves and our lovely comrades forward towards [higher command!] higher vision:

“With competency and leadership training programs provided in leading companies, it’s important to determine where exactly our emotional intelligence comes from. It’s a mixture of nature and nurture, but studies show that a large part of our development in regards to this as physiological: “Emotional intelligence is born largely in the neurotransmitters of the brain’s limbic system, which governs feelings, impulses, and drives. Research indicates that the limbic system teams best through motivation, extended practice, and feedback. Compare this with the kind of learning that goes on in the neocortex, which governs analytical and technical ability The neocortex grasps concepts and logic. It is the part of the brain that figures out how to use a computer or make a sales call by reading a book. Not surprisingly-but mistakenly-it is also the part of the brain targeted by most training programs aimed at enhancing emotional intelligence. When such programs take, in effect a neocortical approach, my research with the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations has shown they can even have a negative impact on people’s job performance. To enhance emotional intelligence, organizations must refocus their training to include the limbic system. They must help people break old behavioral habits and establish new ones. That not only takes much more time than conventional training programs, it also requires an individualized approach.”

And just how important are these for professional development and how do they add up to affect the trajectories of our careers and our lives?

An extensive study of data culled through the numerous competency models employed by top 500 companies of manager to C-level executives has revealed that out of the technical, intellectual and EQ abilities we can strive to develop, EQ is what’s most paramount to hinting at one‚Äôs growth potential as a thriving leader.

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There are people that would scream out in surprise, “what a coincidence! That this is so important to my success!! ..I suppose they would be the kind of people who forget that humans are the backbone to every problem and every solution found in this world, but this is only the opinion of one.

Cool stuff!

Anyways, I shall end my advocacy for EI for the moment, but I do hope you take the time to read Goleman’s article, “What Makes a Leader” when you have the time.

Bises,

Soo

***

See here for another benefit to EI form a cost/benefits angle as noted by a leading research team in the UK specializing in management training:

Benefits of early EI measurement:

Case 1: “When hiring recruiters, the government used an emotional intelligence test as part of the process. They found that the recruiters who performed the best were the ones that had scored the highest on the EI test– particularly in the competencies of emotional self-awareness, empathy, happiness, and assertiveness [hiring employees who have high levels of EI gives you a better chance of hiring the right people the first time and reduces employee turnover, resulting in significant cost savings”. The Air Force soon learned that it could increase the chances of hiring successful recruiters by three times as much if they used the EI test. They found that using EI tests saved over $3 million annually by being able to hire the right people for the first time. The results were so notable that the Government Accountability Office (formerly the Government Accounting Office) presented the information to Congress who in turn requested the Department of Defense use emotional intelligence tests in recruitment and selection in all the armed forces.”

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Read on to get better acquainted with the fundamental tenets of emotional intelligence as delineated here by Goleman: self awareness, self regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills, and see them presented through examples within the business sphere.

For additional content, feel free to go further with Daniel Goleman’s work on EI¬†here, or here, to get his best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.