What is your superpower?
Kelly Hearsey always knew she was good at recognizing faces. She could easily recognize childhood friends she had last seen decades earlier, but when she approached them with a warm greeting, they would stare blankly back at her, having no idea who she was. At first she thought she must be forgettable, then it dawned on her that her talent for remembering faces was unusual. Actually, it was extraordinary. Of six million people who took a test measuring facial recognition ability, Kelly had the top score. Kelly Hearsey has a superpower as a super recognizer and uses her skill full-time to help law enforcement solve crimes and to stop threatening people from attending public events. You may not be a super recognizer (...or perhaps you are...you can take the facial recognition test here), but we all have access to strategies that can make us much stronger, even superpowerful, and in this edition of The 5-Minute Recharge, we'll explore a few of them. ONE SUPERPOWERFUL QUOTE “Tics use up a lot of physical and mental energy. But I'm able to take that energy and channel it into to a job that I love, which is why I feel Tourette's is actually an advantage. My superpower.” – Amazon Prime TV presenter Aidy Smith
– Sankavi Rathan, who just broke the Guinness World Record for solving 30 Rubik's cubes with one hand while hula hooping, wants to inspire you to pursue even your wildest dreams. Sankavi was born with a brachial plexus injury on her right hand, leaving only her left hand fully functional...and superpowerful. THREE SUPERPOWERFUL IDEAS #1 SUPERPOSITIVITY Gaur Gopal Das is a former Hewlett-Packard engineer, current monk, and author of The Way of the Monk. In a recent podcast interview on Insights at the Edge, Gaur talks about how one of your most potent superpowers is to be able to direct and focus your mind rather than letting your mind direct you and take you where it wants to go. Left to its own devices, the mind tends to drift into negativity; therefore you need to consciously turn up the volume on the good and drown out the bad by: 1. reading, watching and listening to uplifting material; 2. being of service to others; 3. expressing your love and gratitude. Gaur suggests that you regularly disconnect from the social and digital worlds so that you can connect with your own superpowerful self (try The Schulz Hour), and consistently make the choice to surround yourself with positivity. “Being negative is automatic. Being positive is a choice we have to make. You have the power to choose positivity.” – Gaur Gopal Das #2 WOOP IT UP One of the most surprising scientific findings in the field of psychology is that imagining achieving a goal can actually prevent you from succeeding. In one study, dieters who fantasized about weight loss were less likely to lose weight. According to "fantasy realization theory," your brain gets fooled by your visions of wish fulfillment and will encourage you to ease up on the hard work you need to do to move you toward your goal. The answer to the problem of wishful thinking and the self-sabotage it triggers is mental contrasting, captured in the acronym WOOP where you consider your Wish, imagine the Outcome, identify the Obstacles, and develop a Plan. For example, a smoker who WOOPs could select a wish to become a non-smoker, an outcome where they no longer desire a cigarette, an obstacle of stress that makes them want to smoke, and a plan to go for a walk whenever that obstacle appears. WOOPing it up is a cheap, easy, and effective superpower. “WOOP is now very well researched. It has been found to be very helpful for people to implement their goals in various areas, from sport to business.” – Katja Friederichs, Psychologist, University of Trier, Germany #3 THE AA SUPERPOWER “One day at a time” is perhaps Alcoholics Anonymous's most famous mantra. Tricking her brain into staying in the moment and not dwelling in the future or past is how Molly Jong-Fast has remained sober for over twenty years. The pandemic presents us all with an ordeal that has no deadline. We can look to the end of 2020 as an imaginary Covid finish line where a vaccine will surely be available, we can catastrophize with predictions of the worst winter in modern history, or we can draw on the superpower of focusing on getting through the day where life is happening. Now. “I sit in my apartment day after day, week after week, focused on getting through the next few hours and not allowing myself to worry too much about, or even think too much about, the future. For this superpower I have to thank Alcoholics Anonymous.” – Molly Jong-Fast *********************************** THE FAST FIVE 1. Amazon's first health wearable is no Fitbit or Apple Watch clone - Fast Company (Amazon's Halo listens to your voice to determine your emotional state and takes a picture of your body in 3D. But it angelically promises not to share this information with anybody.) 2. Frog and Toad Tentatively Go Outside After Months in Self-Quarantine - McSweeney's (“Time means nothing now,” said Toad. “It is just the thing that happens between snacks.”) 3. The unexpected joy of the worst summer of our lives - Vox (Who in the year 8820 will remember 2020?) 4. Everything you need to know about intermittent fasting - The Growth Equation (Be a little hungry most days.) 5. Why it's sensible to be silly - The Guardian (Warning: after reading this, you may want to take a Sharpie to your bananas.) *********************************** YOUR 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE YOUR ALTER EGO Early in her career, when Beyoncé wanted to quell her pre-performance jitters, she would become Sasha Fierce, an alter ego who enabled her to perform with increased confidence and sensuality. Inspired by Beyoncé's example, Adele became Sasha Carter, a combination of Beyoncé's alter ego and country music star June Carter. Scientific research backs up the use of alter egos to improve performance, and the reason is that, by pretending you're someone else, you dramatically increase 'self-distancing.' Self-distancing enables you to take a step back and reduce your emotional and ego entanglement with whatever you're facing. The result of the increased psychological space between your alter ego and the job that needs to be done is reduced anxiety, increased perseverance, and a boost of self-control. This week, your 5-Minute Recharge challenge is simply to select an area of your life that you'd like to improve and find an alter ego who will help you get to the next level. “When I was a postdoc, we had a little saying in our lab that if you're an undergrad, pretend to be a grad student. If you are a grad student, pretend to be a postdoc, and if you're a postdoc, pretend to be the leader of the lab – just to get you to that next level.” – Rachel White, Associate Professor of Psychology, Hamilton College, New York To end with a charge of positivity, in an “unbelievable act of generosity and compassion,”on their wedding day, Tyler and Melanie Tapajna served food from their canceled reception to women and children at Laura’s Home, a Parma, Ohio shelter...
Please send your comments, suggestions, and alter egos to firstname.lastname@example.org.