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It’s natural for parents to want their children to be successful. That’s why so many of us encourage our kids to study hard and master valuable skills. But research suggests that maybe we should all focus less on IQ and more on EQ.

Studies show that emotional intelligence is not only easier to impact through effort than innate intelligence, but it’s also incredibly valuable for career success. One study determined that higher EQ leads to higher pay, and another showed emotional skills are more important for group success than sheer brainpower.

In short, even if you put aside concerns about…

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We tend to think of emotions as simple, hard-wired responses. You see a hungry lion, you feel fear. You smell a pile of rotting garbage, you feel disgust. But according to fascinating new science, emotions are actually much more complicated than that.

Sure, physical responses like a pounding heart or a wrinkled nose are a big part of emotions. But so are the words your language provides you for your feelings, as well as your cultural beliefs about what different sensations mean and what emotions are expected in certain situations.

This isn’t just some abstract academic point. Understanding how the…

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A lot of career advice boils down to various ways to fit in with whatever group you aspire to join. That’s why people tell you to “dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” to network with those you admire, and to police your tone to sound more “professional,” among tons of other tips along these lines.

But at least two incredibly successful women have exactly the opposite take. Sure, being mindful of others and the norms of your industry is always a good idea. But, according to these two titans, the real secret to career advancement…

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When it comes to maintaining happy relationships (both romantic and professional), you may have heard of the magic 5:1 ratio. Developed by famed couples therapist John Gottman, the rule states that if you want your relationship to thrive, make sure you and your partner have five positive interactions for every negative one.

Why is the proportion of happy times to sad ones so lopsided? The rule is rooted in a wider truth about human psychology: we’re wired to be biased toward the negative. …

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“Across the country, everyone is looking for a cure for what ails them, which has led to a booming billion-dollar industry — what I’ve come to call the Wellness Industrial Complex,” reported performance couch Brad Stulberg for Outside Magazine

From “detox IVs” to “crystals for better energy,” Stulberg goes on to document the mania for any trick, technology, or outlandish practice that might make us feel a little happier and healthier despite the world’s many worrying ills.

But there’s one big problem with these interventions. …

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If science is sure about anything, it’s that walking and nature are good for you. One recent study showed walking just 15 minutes a day can add years to your life, while a prominent neuroscientist called walking “a superpower.” Meanwhile, study after study after study shows time in nature reduces stress, boosts happiness and self-control, and makes you more creative.

Now imagine what happens if you put these two activities together?

In everyday language we call this hiking, and according to a new book by neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, strapping on your boots and hitting the trails not only offers all…

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We all know reading can teach you facts, and knowing the right thing at the right time helps you be more successful. But is that the entire reason just about every smart, accomplished person you can think of, from Bill Gates to Barack Obama, credits much of their success to their obsessive reading?

Not according to neuroscience. Reading, science shows, doesn’t just fill your brain with information; it actually changes the way your brain works for the better as well.

The short- and long-term effects of reading on the brain.

This can be short term. Different experts disagree on some of the finer details, but a growing body of scientific…

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The popular view is that personality is largely unchanging. To some extent that’s true. If you take a scientifically validated personality test one year and then again a couple of years later, the results are likely to be very similar.

But there are exceptions. Over the course of our lifetimes, our personalities often change dramatically, studies show. Conscious effort and big life shifts can also shape our character. And, according to preliminary but intriguing new psychological research highlighted by BBC Future, that includes the huge life event we are currently all living through — the pandemic.

The pandemic and “the Michelangelo effect”

Before I delve into…

William Murphy via Flickr.

When you were little, you probably knew exactly what you wanted to be when you grew up. But when we get older and realize becoming a ballerina/astronaut is unlikely, this classic childhood question becomes way harder to answer. Plenty of us make it all the way to adulthood — maybe even decades into a career — without really knowing what we want to do with our lives.

One option is to muddle through with whatever job you landed in. That pays the bills, but a heap of research suggests you’ll eventually regret it bitterly. …

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Usually, when we picture a narcissist, we picture someone vain, confident, and completely uninterested in anyone else but himself. (I’ll let you choose your own favorite celebrity example.) But according to science, there’s actually a whole other, quieter harder-to-spot type of narcissist out there — the covert narcissist.

All narcissist are self-obsessed, but it turns out not all are confident of their own greatness. While your garden-variety egomaniac will preen and brag and generally make herself the center of attention, a covert narcissist will be just as self-focused, but in a defensive way. …

Jessica Stillman

Top columnist/ Editor/ Ghostwriter. Book lover. Travel fiend. Nap enthusiast.

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