Covey Cowan has worked in the construction industry for over 40 years, serving as a General Contractor, Project Manager, and Jobsite Supervisor on various residential projects in the greater San Francisco area. A long-time student of human nature, he has always been interested in understanding what it takes for people to cooperate.
A new study finds that having a reputation for cooperation may be key to getting other people to cooperate with you. ‘Human beings are among the most cooperative species on the planet. Yet it’s not always safe to cooperate with a stranger. What if they don’t have your interests at heart?
The ability to decide when to cooperate is an important skill for our survival. That’s why we’ve evolved to turn to our social groups for guidance, conforming to group norms when the situation is unclear. In fact, the pull to conform can be so strong that we will not even identify what’s right in front of us if our group says they see something different.
But group conformity is not the only force at work in the decision to cooperate. Research has found that, if strangers act cooperatively towards you or have a reputation for being cooperative, you will likely work with them, because of the expected reciprocal benefits of doing so.
So, which is more powerful in cooperation—those group norms or a reputation for reciprocity? And what happens when they happen to conflict? A new study aimed to find out.'
To read more click, “Reciprocity is an incredibly powerful tool.”
'What makes you ... you? Psychologists talk about our traits, or defined characteristics that make us who we are. But Brian Little is more interested in the moments when we transcend those traits -- sometimes because our culture demands it of us, and sometimes because we demand it of ourselves. Join Little as he dissects the surprising differences between introverts and extroverts, and explains why your personality may be more malleable than you think.'
For link to Ted Talk click, 'Who are you, really?'
‘The top line: the work of positive psychologists like Martin Seligman appears to show that the happiest people are those that have discovered their unique strengths (such as persistence and critical thinking) and virtues (such as humanity or justice) and use those strengths and virtues for a purpose that is greater than their own personal goals.
You may have had certain strengths that are so natural to you that you may not even consider them strengths. Think about an episode in your life when you were at your very best. What qualities enabled you to perform like that? While there are numerous talents and strengths that humans can possess, Character Strengths and Virtues are ones that humanity universally values. When Martin Seligman and Chris Peterson sought to discover and classify commonly held strengths and virtues across cultures, they created a classification of core virtues that humans morally value regardless of their cultural, racial, and religious differences.’
To read more click, ‘Determine your top three signature strengths’
'Earlier this year, the White House announced that Malia Obama would attend Harvard University – but not before taking a gap year. She, like countless other teenagers, decided to take some time off between graduation high school and enrolling in college.
But why should only young people take advantage of this opportunity? What about those folks middle-aged and older? Fortunately, while there are plenty of programs for students like Malia, there are alos several gap year programs that are geared for the restless, the retired or about-to-be retired.'
To read more click, ‘There are many volunteer trips abroad that tap into [older] people’s civic-mindedness, and that combine it with travel.’
'Some forms of exercise may be much more effective than others at bulking up the brain, according to a remarkable new study in rats. For the first time, scientists compared head-to-head the neurological impacts of different types of exercise: running, weight training and high-intensity interval training. The surprising results suggest that going hard may not be the best option for long-term brain health.'
To read more click, New brain cells
Beautiful video about a guy who found his way to communion with a horse.
To see the video click, Understanding the nature of the relationship
'Religions and philosophers have long praised the virtue of patience; now researchers are starting to do so as well. Recent studies have found that, sure enough, good things really do come to those who wait.'
To read more click, 'As virtues go, patience is a quiet one.'
‘The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure.’
There is has been a large body of research in the last few decades into what constitutes happiness. And in recent years various thinkers have been asking the question; Can government policies based upon this research be implemented effectively to increase the well being of its citizens? The government of the tiny nation of Bhutan thinks so, and accordingly has made "Gross National Happiness" the central aim of its domestic policy. Derek Bok, former President of Harvard University, delves into this discussion in his new book, "The Politics of Happiness", which examines the expanding research data and looks at the practicality of government promoting policies that target 'happiness.'
We're moving into an era where the continual expansion of material wealth, as we have viewed it, increasingly comes into conflict with population growth and environmental sustainability. Pretty soon now we have to start seriously asking the questions: If our happiness is to not to come primarily from increasing material wealth, where are we going to find it? And with that, how is the role of our government to change?
To read more click, 'Happiness as public policy'
How to give meaning and fulfillment to your life? Some good thoughts here.
'The reason I’m so religious about protecting my time in the first few hours of my day is that I know it’s when I’m most prolific, productive and creative. To waste this time would be to waste one of my most valuable assets. This time is mine. It’s blocked out on my calendar as “creation time.” Because of that nobody calls me, nobody schedules meetings with me or bothers me during this time. Most of what I write is produced during this one focused hour.'
To read more click, 'One focused hour a day can produce amazing results.'
An avid traveler, Covey Cowan counts trips to Nepal and India as some of his most memorable. He has helped build a youth hostel for the Hidden Villa Foundation, raised funds for a school library in a Huichol village in central Mexico, and volunteered his time at The Center for Attitudinal Healing.