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Posts Tagged ‘West

30 revealing ideas from social psychology that can help us to appreciate people and our lives

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Below are interesting points (sometimes with some of personal thoughts & reflections) that I have learned from a course on social psychology taught by Professor Scott Plous of Wesleyan College.

@~@ Know yourself. Seach inside yourself.
LaoZi : "He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is enlightened."
Benjamin Franklin : "There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self"
Daniel Gilbert : "We seem to know less about the worlds inside our heads that about the world our heads are inside."

@~@ People often MISWANT.
Blueroselady :
How to overcome the challenge that we are remarkably bad at predicting of what will make us happy?
This question is very important because many of life’s big decisions involve predicting our future feelings.
Examples of life’s big decisions : marriage, career / profession, migration, vacation.
Funny real-life example : a friend J told me that her husband fluctuates between praising-in-the-form of question and complaining:
(1) "why a such a smart woman like you wanted to marry a jerk and stayed on?"
(2) "It’s a nightmare to be with you for the rest of your life, I was enticed by your physical attractions"

@~@ Most people are too preoccupied with themselves to notice our shortcomings (e.g. your pimple, your spiky hair because of having no time to comb your hair because of waking up late).

@~@ "Research has found that audiences can’t pick up on your anxiety as well as you might expect …
Other people are noticing less than you might suppose."
Blueroselady: The next time you have to deliver a public talk / give a company presentation / make a sales pitch, do not worry. Just do it!

@~@ Susan Andersen & Serena Chen, 2002: In our varied relationships, we have varying selves.

@~@ Much of our behavior is not consciously controlled but automatic and unself-conscious.
Blueroselady: Be mindful. We can choose to practice mindfulness.
Mindful breathing… Mindful eating… Mindful doing…

@~@ self-schema vs possible selves
self-schema = beliefs about self that organize & guide the procession of self-relevant information.
possible selves = images of what we dream of or dread becoming in the future.
self-schema strongly affect how we see / perceive, remember, evaluate other people & ourselves.

@~@ major negative events vs minor irritations
major negative events activate our psychological defense.
minor irritations do not activate our psychological immunity.

@~@ Role playing becomes reality.
As we enact a new role, e.g. college student, parent. salesperson, we initially feel self-conscious.
Progressively, the role playing becomes reality.
This reminds me on the message that Amy Cuddy wants us to remember in her TED talk on body language.
Fake it till you make it.
Fake it till you become it.

@~@ How do we decide if we are rich, smart, or tall?
The answer is social comparison (Festinger, 1954) in affluence, status, achievement.
Blueroselady: Many things in life (that I know of) are relative, particularly those that are measurable.
A reader’s question: "I have made a living comparing data in my job / career. Comparing has become my second nature. How can I stop comparing in life?"
Blueroselady suggestions:
# Gratitude exercises.
# Detachment exercises : Detach your emotions from the outcome of your comparisons. I hear you, it is easy to say, but challenging to do, that is why detachment is an art; for the sake of our happiness, we must practice the art of detachment.
# Mindfulness exercises : Remember that (1) social comparisons can decrease our life satisfaction. (2) 人比人气死人 (3) "There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self."
# Kindness exercises : Be kind & compassionate to yourself, leave behind comparisons with others.
# Affirmations e.g. It is better to be a first rate version of yourself than a second rate version of someone else.

@~@ Children whom other people label as as gifted, hardworking or helpful tend to incorporate such ideas into their self-concepts & behavior.

@~@ Self-reliance
Self-reliant individual is celebrated in Western literature, e.g. The Iliad, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

@~@ Classifying / pigeonholing / labeling cultures as solely individualist or collectivist oversimplifies.
The oversimplification is because within any culture, individualism varies from person to person (Oyserman et al, 2002).
Blueroselady: Remember not to do hasty generalization.

@~@ Interdependent self
# has a greater sense of belonging.
# is defined by social connections with family, colleagues, loyal friends.
# has many selves: self-with-parents, self-at-work, self-with-friends.
# disapproves egotism, whereas independent self disapproves conformity.
# e.g. collectivistic Asian & Third World cultures.
# persists more on tasks when they are failing because wants to meet others’ expectations (e.g Japanese)
# prioritizes WE over ME

@~@ "So far, most of psychology has been produced by psychologists in middle-class White American settings studying middle-class White American respondents."
However, there are ways of life beyond the one that each of us knows best.
Blueroselady: In other space & time context (e.g. sociocultural context), there can be different ideas & practices about how to live a meaningful life.

@~@ Tips: eat before shopping.
Gilbert & Wilson (2000) showed that hungry shoppers do more impulse buying

@~@ Why is your friend’s success can be more threatening that that of strangers?
According to Zuckerman & Jost (2001), you feel that your self-esteem is threatened.
How do people react to self-esteem threat?
High self-esteem people blame others or try harder next time.
Low self-esteem people blame themselves or give up.
According to Roy Baumeister, folks with high self-esteem are more likely to be obnoxious, to interrupt, & to talk at people rather than to talk with people.
Bonus: It is useful for parents to know that
# among sibling relationships, the threat to self-esteem is greates for an older chld with a highly capable younger brother / sister.
# many people could not escape their tough childhoods, which is a cause of low self-esteem.

@~@ Secure self-esteem
# is rooted more in feeling good about who one is than in grades, looks, affluence / money, others’ approval.
# is essential for long-term well-being.
# Blueroselady views secure self-esteem neither as high nor low self-esteem, but self-esteem in equilibrium / in balance.

@~@ self-esteem vs self-efficacy
self-esteem = if you like yourself overall
Self-efficacy = if you believe you can do something

@~@ How to be less intimated (by others) & less gullible?
# remember that personal testimonies are powerfully persuasive but they may also be wrong.

@~@ Self-serving bias?
# attribute positive outcomes to oneself (e.g. own managerial skill)
# attribute negative outcomes to other factors (e.g. a down economy)

@~@ Examples of self-serving bias
# Group members’ estimates of how much they contribute to a join task typically sum to more than 100%. For instance, husband & wife are members of a group.
# most business people see themselves as more ethical than the average business people.
# Pronin & Ross (2006) reported that we see ourselves as objective & everyone else as biased. No wonder we fight!

@~@ Feedback is best when it is TRUE & SPECIFIC.
Specific feedback e.g. You are good at maths.
General feedback e.g. You are great.
To encourage someone (e.g. children, mentees, students, subordinates), remember that specific feedback is more effective than general feedback.

@~@ To improve performance, give self-efficacy feedback instead of self-esteem feedback.
e.g. of self-efficacy feedback : You tried really hard.
e.g. of self-esteem feedback : You are really smart.

@~@ When to listen to criticism & not to listen?
David Dunning’s gentle rule: "if two people independently give you the same piece of negative feedback, you should at least consider the possibility that it might be true"

@~@ Terror management theory by Jeff Greenberg: the reality of our own death motivates us to gain recognition from our work & values, but not everyone can achieve such recognition.

@~@ Competence + perseverance = success

@~@ Success requires enough optimism to sustain hope and enough pessimism to motivate concern.

@~@ According to Jule Norem (2000), defensive pessimism can sometimes save us from the perils of unrealistic optimism.
Blueroselady: Negative emotions such as anger and pessimism are not entirely bad, we just need healthy ways to deal with them.
Tips: Whenever you feel angry, remember that the person you are hurting is yourself.

@~@ Tyranny of freedom? too many choices can lead to paralysis.
According to Barry Schwartz, individualistic modern cultures have an excess of freedom which leads to the tyranny of freedom.
# Choice may enhance regret.
# People have expressed greater satisfaction with irrevocable choices than with reversible choices. This is because when people can undo their decisions they tend to consider both the positive & negative features of the decisions they had made. When they could not undo their decisions, people tend to concentrate on the positive features & ignore the negative features. For example, people expressed more satisfaction with their marriages several decades ago when marriage was more irrevocable.

@~@ Love causes marriage, but marriage would also causes love.
Blueroselady: This hypothesis may explain why arranged marriages (in some cultures) have successfully worked and survived.

@~@ The 5:1 ratio of positive:negative activities
To sustain important relationships such as marriage and parental relationships, ensure that you strive to increase the ratio of positive to negative activities by at least 5 fold.
e.g. of positive activities : holding hands, giving a hug, lending a listening ear.
e.g. of negative activities : arguing, complaining.

More
# Book: Social Psychology. Chapter 2. DG Myers. 2012.
# Notes at the end of email

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Written by blueroselady

December 26, 2013 at 3:55 am

China Innovators

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This post is based on the book Chinnovation. I also note down my ideas based on the things I read there.

INNOVATION.
Definition: doing the same things in a new way (process) or doing new things (creating a product / service) pxii.

After learning from the West, it is time for me to focus on learning from the East this year.
Wu Po Chi (HKUST) proposed that "the Chinese and the American culture are different.
The Anglo-Saxon thought, business, legal, medical system is based on the Greek system of linearity – very nice and clear separation of right and wrong. The Chinese are very holistic; little good and little bad.

… the functional MRI of a person thinking in Chinese, many more parts of the brain light up.
The Chinese language is more complicated in sound; it is graphical (so it is very good for descriptive purposes). It requires context.

The English language is not nearly so rich but it is precise."
Blueroselady learned (from an English man at the birth town of Shakespeare) that the English language is actually pretty rich by constantly adapting and adopting, as compared to e.g. the French language.

Perhaps, Blueroselady has to let her children learn some graphical languages, e.g. Chinese, Arabic.

What did you do when you hear the news of Michael Jackson’s death?

My office mate suddenly shouted something that I would not write here. No matter what, he is a nice chap who offered me a headset to prevent me from hearing his loud machine.
A China innovator rapidly secured the rights to build a Neverland Ranch in China.

These innovators capitalize on events happening in the world.

QUANTITY
counts.
Do you know that the Chinese Academy of Sciences alone produces ~ 100,000 PhDs / year?
Wuxi Pharma Tech.
Let’s go to visit / invest in Jiangsu.

No wonder that there are so many influx of PhDs from China to the West.

The best businessmen in China are not Shanghainese, but the businessmen of Wenzhou and Hangzhou.
It is neither because of the innate human talent of Wenzhou and Hangzhou is superior nor the probability of succeeding in Hangzhou and Wenzhou is higher.

It is because (1) everyone in Wenzhou and Hangzhou is trying to succeed as an entrepreneur, so the absolute numbers of attempts generate a lot of successes, (2) failure only leaves the option of trying again. Sorry, no comfortable white-collar job.

RELATIONSHIP & HUMILITY matter.
"good relationship with gov officials in China are much more important thin in other countries.
Building a good relationship with gov officials can reduce unnecessary trouble." (p55).

connectedness = renqin (p53).
"Prioritize RELATIONSHIPS over laws." (p56)
"Remember that people with bigger networks tend to do better."

Zou Bo of Senodia (MEMS-based chips producer) shared 2 avenues which he used to establish connections.

1. government.
The gov would introduce many resources.
2. investors.
Investors have many connections with other similar / related establishments. Zou Bo found the investors back in the US and brought them to China.

Old friends / classmates are existing channels (p243).

Lim Sah Soon (Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce) advised that in expanding to China, you should gain the good impression of being a modest and trustworthy race of people. Do not make the mistake of treating the Chinese as an inferior or backward race as this would cause the loss of trust, and definitely hurt relations for the future." (p184)

While the advice was meant for foreign players intending to expand into the China market, Blueroselady thinks that we should be modest and treat nobody as an inferior (regardless of race / social / economic background).

Perhaps the notion of inferior raised from the relatively poor quality of "Made in China" products in the past, but today many high quality products were also Made in China, such as my laptop.
Moreover, to many Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans), face matters a lot. Being treated as an inferior cause them to lose face.

RESTRICTIONS.
"Often the best movies were shot under budget constraints so severe that the director had to innovate – and the same principle apply for start-ups" (p15)
This phenomenon reminds me on Uncle RT who was poor in Berkeley yet produced excellent results.

The Chinese / The Zhejiang entrepreneurs are not easily deterred by the politic-economic conditions unfavorable to business formation. (p102).

Beijing is a cultural, political, economic & IT center because the Chinese gov is in control of significant resources. (p24)

5 Ms of Zhejiang entrepreneurs:
markets.
masses.
mobility.
management.
meshing / adapting best practices from other industries.

MARKETs / CUSTOMERs
Listen more to market (shichang), listen less to the governor (shizhang) which can be disguised in the form of generous grants / funding. (p102).

Markets believed by most people to be dead tend to have less competition hence lower cost of doing business. Be courageous to enter such markets (p103).

"Technology innovation should be market driven and not technology driven. We need to cater to consumers, just like why Cisco changed its logo" Zou Bo of Senodia (p245).

Management = innovation + operations (p104).

FOCUS & ELIMINATE distractions.
To focus, people choose to work in Hangzhou than Shanghai even though the typical wage is RMB3,000 vs RMB 6,000. (p104)
A big city like Shanghai has too many distractions!

Picking the right battle to fight is a form of focus.
Sun Tzu once said: "If you try to fight every battle, there is no hope of any victory."
Carefully select where to invest / expend resources (time and money).

How to out-innovate the MNC (multinationals)?
Do not fight the elephant head-on.
You will be crushed.
If you are the nimble mouse hat can find the crevices to exploit, your chances of winning are much higher (p265).

OPPORTUNITIES
problems = opportunities.
the larger the problem, the greater the opportunity. (p37).
"To the trained eyes, innovation opportunities appear frequently in daily life." (p56)

Start SMALL, think BIG.
"Every great fashion enterprise, every outstanding financial institution, every mammoth IT company, and every great invention began in the imagination of some one person." (p80).

GROWTH
A company’s growth is the same as a person’s.

Liu Jiren (Neusoft) explains: "You need something when you are young, then you need other things when you become older.
A company with ideals should have a long-term plan.
You should think about your mature phase when you are young.

But in the process of development, you can’t make every step develop as you expected from a microcosmic angle.

Now, when you look forward to to the company’s future, you will find what made you prosper in the past may become what holds you back in the future.


restructure …." (p252)

DIVERSITY
of experiences leads to critical thinking (p43).

PASSION / love.
Qiu Xuefan (Wenzhou entrepreneur), "Love what you do, because you will have to do a lot of it." (p179)

Blueroselady agrees. It is not only about doing what we love, but also loving what we do. It is bidirectional and must act in sync.

Zhang Gang, the founder of Little Fat Sheep mentioned that "I always wanted to have a basic business, selling something simple that people wanted. Many people grow a company like raising a pig. The pig gets fat; you kill it and make money. I grow my company like raising a son. The average life of a restaurant is less than three years in China. I want Little Sheep to last a century". (p202)

Wow! A brand that lasts a century sounds highly ambitious yet cool! This is what visionary leaders / entrepreneurs / innovators should aim for.
Blueroselady was grateful for enjoying a hot pot with Little Fat Sheep recipe (with friends from China), but thought that it was not for her. She felt very thirsty after the meal and decided NO more. Fortunately for Zhang Gang, not all customers are health conscious and bland preferring as Blueroselady.

DETERMINATION matters.
The 30th US President Calvin Coolidge famously remarked,
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." (p46)

PEOPLE / TALENT / human capital

According to Ray Zhang (eHi), people need to find meaning and significance in the things the company does. They need a common platform, an environment where personal careers and company growth are in sync, with no differences between the two (p259).

Vincent Tai (CEO of RDA Micro) repeatedly said, "The mind is a terrible thing to waste".
He trusts his employees even though they make mistakes.
He would sit down with an employee who had made a mistake, asking why it happened and what lessons the employee has learned. (p85).

A way to attract investors is by becoming a magnet talent e.g. Lee Kaifu or Li Kaifu (p110).
Lee / Li won a loyal following from Chinese students through his numerous coaching books, public speeches, blog posts, and most importantly (Blueroselady thinks) his accomplishment in high tech (Apple, Google, Innovation Works).

I am going to read Li’s old book "Be Your Personal Best" published in 1991, perhaps re-published in 2005.

Be doggedly persistent in attracting talent.
Treat talent as though they are family (p130).

Blueroselady notices that her best friend also treats her mentors as family, thank you!

A random quote that comes to my mind "千里马常有,而伯乐不常有".

Be CONTRARIAN.
If an opportunity is obvious to all, it probably has no profits. (p176).

Experiment with the uncommon for supernormal returns.
Judy Leissner (President, CEO of Grace Vineyard) shared her winning strategy, "Whatever old traditional Chinese wine producers do, we don’t." (p142)

Most old traditional China wine producers spend significantly on advertising and pay restaurants to serve wine, Grace Vineyard does not advertise.
Leissner opened up a wine bar to brand her wine. A wine bar allows 2-way communication.

Instead of restaurants, Grace Vineyard serves Grace Vineyard wine in the best hotels, leading airlines (e.g. Cathay Pacific’s 1st class and business class flights serve Deep Blue of Grace Vineyard).
Grace Vineyard also avoids area where dominant local wineries exist.

Blueroselady thinks that everything popular is not always right.

Some interesting COMPANIES / virtual PLACES with potential useful service to you & me:

Baidu
the leading Chinese-language internet search provider.
Baidu name refers to a line from a Song Dynasty poem, meaning "search for one’s dream". Blueroselady thinks that name matters. name = branding.
founder Robin Li, Eric Xu (a biochemist).

Wukong.com
Search engine that aims to be Baidu’s No. 1 competitor.
Nick Yang.

dianping.com
online crowdsourcing guide, paid search, e-coupons.

restaurant review site.
China version of Yelp.

www.5xue.com.
Lee Kaifu, PhD computer science CMU: machine learning, pattern recognition.

Ctrip.com
Co-founder Neil Shen.
NASDAQ-listed.

Tudou
Gary Wang.
Besides watching Youtube, I want to learn more from Tudou.

QQ
QQ has more active users than Facebook (p13).

Career Album
a social platform for individual careeer development and corporate talent hunting.

founder: Crystal (Yanjing) Yin (Stanford).
Blueroselady thinks that this is a place where you try to put everything together, a LinkedIn combined with deviantArt; but Career Album is still in beta version as of Jan 2013. Blueroselady will not use it for the time being.

Fields that Blueroselady are going to explore:
PROPERTY.
Segments of the Wenzhou population speculate in property to get rich. They buy entire plots of buildings. Speculate based on careful planning (p101).

BIG DATA.
"The realm of technology is constantly striving to encapsulate larger and larger volumes of data in smaller devices" (p255)
To win customers, offer quality, convenience, portability.

Places that Blueroselady wants to visit / TRAVEL to:
Bama, Guangxi. Why? 1 of every 3,400 people is a centenarian. Perhaps, I will arrange visiting both Guilin and Bama in a single trip.

Pingyao, Shanxi. Why? The small town of Pingyao, in Shanxi province flourished as the financial hub of China for 300 years, in spite of poor soil and accessibility.

It was home to 22 banks, collectively controlling more than 50% of the nation’s wealth.
The secret of its success? innovation. Pingyao people ventured out to places such as Mongolia and Russia to trade.
The reason of its subsequent failure? complacency.

Always remember that innovation and reinvention is a continual process.