Let’s talk about your brain, your love life, and your bank account.
|Read time: 12 min
Check out how to maximize our newsletter here.
“I am lucky that whatever fear I have inside me, my desire to win is always stronger.”
– Serena Williams
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Master the soft skills
Honest Abe’s Persuasion Secret
Lincoln’s 271 word Gettysburg Address memorialized the soldiers lost at the Battle of Gettysburg and invoked the principles of human equality contained in the Declaration of Independence.
In less than two minutes, Lincoln eloquently expressed his conviction that the Civil War was the ultimate test of whether the Union created in 1776 would survive or “perish from the Earth.” He charged those living with the “great task” of ensuring that the “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.” Lincoln was able to pack this punch with his use of the English language.
The book, Farnsworth’s Classical English Style, by Ward Farnsworth, explores how we can use the English language for persuasion.
English is a jumble of words from the different groups that invaded the British Isles over the years. Words with Anglo-Saxon origins generally come across as plain and direct–e.g., get or need–while those with French origins feel more formal and flowery–acquire or require.
Lincoln, Farnsworth argues, was a master at mixing these two types of words for maximum impact. “Lincoln especially liked to start a sentence with Latinate words and then end with a Saxon finish”, Farnsworth explains, offering Lincoln’s famous “House Divided” speech as an example:
“Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South.”
Lincoln kicks off with a formal style, employing many Latinate words like opponents, extinction, and advocates. He then closes with 14 straight single-syllable words in a row, almost all of them of Anglo-Saxon origin.
While more complex Latinate words can convey expertise and help create pretty sentences, shift gears, and end your argument with the plainest terms possible for maximum impact.
Who knew Honest Abe had these smooth moves up his sleeve?
ACHIEVERS’ ARMORY: Equip yourself with proven tools & tactics
Investing For Two
Twine is a financial app built by insurance giant John Hancock that is made specifically for couples. The purpose of the app is to help committed couples, including the married and the soon-to-be married, invest their money and work together towards their financial goals. Decisions must be made together. This may seem awkward at first, as it forces couples to be on the same page from the start, but this also avoids issues down the road.
Once you deposit money into Twine, you work with your partner to reach your financial goals through a series of investing choices. Twine offers three investment strategies based on your risk tolerance. Check out our Money editorial for some definitions you may not have heard of.
Conservative: This option is for those who like to play it safe and may have a limited amount of money to invest. This investment includes mostly bonds and cash.
Moderate: The majority of this portfolio is made up of money market funds and bond ETFs. Investors who are less than 5 years away from their goal are recommended to select this option.
Aggressive: Aggressive portfolios are for those who believe in high risk and high reward. This option is for those with long term goals that can afford to take a hit if necessary.
Twine is essentially for couples struggling to accomplish their joint financial goals and super helpful for those who want to take their financial life seriously.
NEXT LEVEL: Keep your success going
Make Better Decisions – Neural Chunk to Strengthen Intuition
In a famous study, Adriaan de Groot asked expert and novice chess players to view a position for a few seconds and then reconstruct it from memory. When the position was one that could occur in real games, the experts performed significantly better than novices. However, when the position was created by placing pieces at random, the experts performed no better than novices. Why would this be?
The experts had previously seen and analyzed countless chess positions, which allowed them to connect patterns to ones they already knew instinctively and thus were better at recognizing actual chess positions than the novices.
In neuroscience, this parsing and grouping of information in the most efficient way possible is called Chunking.
Barbara Oakley, an engineering professor at Oakland University and whose Learning How to Learn is a hugely popular online course, says, “Chunking is the mother of all learning…when you know something so well that it is basically a snap to call it to mind and do it or use it. Creating neural patterns — neural chunks — underpins the development of all expertise.”
Instinctive decisions appear intuitive, but they are just the product of extensive practice and profound experience. One way to create neural chunks is to follow Adam Grant’s simple three-step process:
It seems as if there’s no substitute for great experiences if you want to be able to act on your intuition alone.
MONEY: Become wealthy
Pay Yourself First!
Think about this: if you make $1,000, how much of that do you actually keep? Let’s say taxes net you $850 out of that grand. Then, you have a cell phone bill, giving you $800. Then there’s gas for the week, another $50, and food, $100. Now you have $650. There are plenty of other things that can chip away at that paycheck, internet bill ($50), electric bill ($50), dinner out ($50), shopping, textbooks, medical bills, on and on. Not to mention these are only the expenses you know about. What about that flat tire or vet bill out of nowhere? These numbers are variable but you get the idea. Soon you have $300 left and think “where the hell did my money go!?”
This can happen all the timeand it can still get people down even if they’ve been aware of this for years. Here’s how to win: pay yourself first before you ever pay anything else. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount, start with $50 and see how it goes. Think you can do $100? $200? Great, try that. You will slowly build a healthy balance in your bank account that you can feel confident about and that is robust enough to handle those unsuspecting life challenges.
Uncle Sam pays himself out of your paycheck first…you should too.
MINDSET: Train your brain to win
Why Your Brain Loves Being Right
You’re in an intense back-and-forth with your partner, friend, or colleague. The conversation started as harmless “just talking.” You interrupt your opponent and set the facts straight. They, obviously frustrated by your interruption, push back with some off-base analogy intended to make your point seem ridiculous. So, naturally, you go into maximum overdrive to convince them that you’re right. Near the end of the whole ordeal, you don’t even remember what you said. The entire argument feels like an out of body experience. Scientifically, your brain has been hijacked (and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise).
What Really Happened?
In situations of high stress or fear, the hormone cortisol floods the brain. Your life-jacket executive functions that help with thought processes like strategy, trust-building, and compassion are not there to save you. They’re deflated, shut down. The amygdala, our “instinctive” brain, takes over.
There’s shame, loss of power, and embarrassment associated with being wrong. We want to avoid feeling these negative emotions at all costs. Your body chooses to protect itself with one of four responses:
The most common response is fight. During fight, you’re blinded by wanting to win. When you win, your brain floods with happy hormones: adrenaline and dopamine. You feel powerful and invincible, saved from the shame of being wrong or the sorrowful retreat. After experiencing what it feels like to be right, we’re tempted to choose the fight response when arguments arise.
Luckily for arguers, there’s another hormone that can feel just as good as adrenaline: oxytocin. Activated by human connection, oxytocin opens up the networks in our executive brain, or prefrontal cortex, further increasing our ability to trust and open ourselves to sharing. Your goal should be to spur the production of oxytocin in yourself and others while avoiding cortisol and adrenaline spikes.
When you’re high off being right, often, your “adversary” feels pretty bad. Not to mention, although it might feel amazing to be correct, the fight is exhausting in and of itself.
What opposite words mean the same thing, in the same sentences?
NEWS BREAK: Stay informed
1% BETTER: Improve each day
Read 1 Self-Help Based Article Each Day This Week
Answer: I’m (up/down) for that.