In epidemics, the messenger matters: messengers are what make something spread. But the content of the message matters too. And the specific quality that a message needs to be successful is the quality of "stickiness." Is the message - or the food, or the movie, or the product - memorable? Is it so memorable, in fact, that it can create change, that it can spur someone to action?
We tend to spend a lot of time thinking about how to make messages more contagious - how to reach as many people as possible with our products or ideas. But the hard part of communication is often figuring out how to make sure a message doesn't go in one ear and out the other. Stickiness means that a message makes an impact.
These three characteristics - one, contagiousness; two, the fact that little causes can have big effects; and three, that change happens not gradually but at one dramatic moment - are the same three principles that define how measles moves through a grade-school classroom or the flu attacks every winter. Of the three, the third trait - the idea that epidemics can rise or fall in one dramatic moment - is the most important, because it is the principle that makes sense of the first two and that permits the greatest insight into why modern change happens the way it does. The name given to that one dramatic moment in an epidemic when everything can change all at once is the Tipping Point.
If someone does not feel safe with a teacher or boss, he or she may not be able to perform as well. If a student feels misunderstood because the teacher cannot connect with the way the student learns, the student may become isolated. [...] Certain types of learning wither in the face of traumatic stress.
Arching above like a cathedral is your "human brain," the cortex. Latin for "bark," the cortex is the surface of your brain. It is in deep electrical communication with the interior. This "skin" ranges in thickness from that of blotting paper to that of heavy-duty cardboard. It appears to have been crammed into a space too small for its surface area. Indeed, if your cortex were unfolded, it would be about the size of a baby blanket.
A true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah, too painful.
I met an old lady once, almost one hundred years old, and she told me, "There are only two questions that human beings have fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? and Who's in charge? Everything else is somehow manageable. But these two questions of love and control undo us all, trip us up and cause war, grief and suffering.
Having seen so many students go through my classrooms, I've come to know that a lot of parents don't realize the power of their words. Depending on a child's age and sense of self, an offhand comment from Mom or Dad can feel like a shove from a bulldozer.
Halfhearted or insincere apologies are often worse than not apologizing at all because recipients find them insulting. If you've done something wrong in your dealings with another person, it's as if there's an infection in your relationship. A good apology is like an antibiotic; a bad apology is like rubbing salt in the wound.
Too many people go through life complaining about their problems. I've always believed that if you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you'd be surprised by how well things can work out.
So what was Kirk's skill set? Why did he get to climb on the Enterprise and run it?
The answer: There is this skill set called "leadership."
I learned so much by watching this guy in action. He was the distilled essence of the dynamic manager, a guy who knew how to delegate, had the passion to inspire, and looked good in what he work to work. He never professed to have skills greater than his subordinates. He acknowledged that they knew what they were doing in their domains. But he established the vision, the tone. He was in charge of morale.
Ask yourself: Are you spending your time on the right things? You may have causes, goals, interests. Are they even worth pursuing? I've long held on to a clipping from a newspaper in Roanoke, Virginia. It featured a photo of a pregnant woman who had lodged a protest against a local construction site. She worried that the sound of jackhammers was injuring her unborn child. But get this: In the photo, the woman is holding a cigarette. If she cared about her unborn child, the time she spent railing against jackhammers would have been better spent putting out that cigarette.