How Dogs Changed History - Season 2, Episode 1

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Adam is the author of the following books: 

How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English): 
Antivirus For Your Mind: 
Principles For Personal Growth: 
Cultivating Fire: 
Direct Your Mind: 
Self-Help Stuff That Works: 
Fill Your Tank With Freedom: 
Self-Reliance, Translated: 
What Difference Does It Make: 

Follow Adam Li Khan here:

Four of My Kindle Books Are On Sale For Six Days

Four of my books, in their Kindle versions, will be on sale in the United States and the United Kingdom, from this Friday, September 16th until Wednesday, September 21st, 2022:

Slotralogy: How to Change Your Habits of Thought: On sale for 99 cents. Using one of the simplest self-help methods ever created, this small book shows you how to change the one thing that will change everything: Your habitual way of thinking.

Self-Help Stuff That Works: On sale for $1.99. This is a collection of short, easy-to-read, to-the-point articles on how to have a better attitude, how to do better at work, and how to deal with people successfully. The articles were originally published in a newsletter called At Your Best, where Adam Khan's column was voted the reader's favorite.

How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English): On sale for 99 cents. You know from experience that when you change your perspective on something that troubles you, it can sometimes quickly change how you feel and improve the way you deal with challenges. This small book explains how to change your perspective deliberately and reliably, which will make you feel good more often and get more of your goals accomplished. This is a short, practical, easy-to-read book on reframing the events in your life so you're more capable of dealing with them and better able to keep a good attitude.

Cultivating Fire: How to Keep Your Motivation White Hot: On sale for 99 cents. While it's true that sometimes you are naturally motivated, especially immediately after deciding on a goal, it is also true that you can cultivate motivation or let it do what it naturally does most of the time: fade. Motivation is a tremendous power. A highly motivated person can accomplish seemingly impossible things. In this tiny book, you will learn how to stoke your inner fire, to get and keep your motivation burning white hot. This not only makes you more capable of accomplishment, but it makes life more fun. Would you like to see what you are really capable of? Intense motivation can unleash it.

The Fundamental Component of a Relationship

When two people interact, what is the interaction made of? Strip the conversation of its content, and what are the fundamental elements? What are the building blocks of connection?

John Gottman, one of the most influential researchers into marital relationships uses what he calls “the love lab” to study couples. The lab is an apartment fixed with two-way mirrors and cameras, where married couples come and spend the weekend while being filmed and observed, and then these films are analyzed carefully. After 25 years of this kind of painstaking analysis of hundreds of thousands of personal interactions, Gottman discovered an elemental core of connection. It’s something he calls “the bid.”

In an interaction, one person “makes a bid for connection.” The other person responds to that bid in one of three ways: Turning toward, turning against, or turning away.

These are the fundamental components of connection — between anyone. This is what connection is made of: The bid, and the response to the bid.

This understanding removes the complication and confusion from relationships. Each subject and interaction may be different, but underneath it all are these basic components.

People are bidding and responding to bids all the time. But without seeing what is happening, the responses to bids can shut down any further bidding. And the bids people make to others can be made in a way that doesn’t encourage good responses to the bids. Fully understanding the concept of “the bid” can greatly improve your capacity to connect with people.

So what is a “bid?” It can be anything:

  • “Can you tell me what time it is?”
  • “Hey, Joe, how’s it going?”
  • “You look great in that color!”
  • “Are you hungry? Do you want to get a pizza?”
  • “What are you doing tomorrow?”
  • “I just saw a great movie called Date Night. Have you seen it?”

And the response to a bid can be turning away, turning against, or turning toward. The responses of turning away and turning against tend to discourage further bidding. For example, you say, “You look great in that color!” The other person could turn away by completely ignoring your statement as if she didn’t hear it, or responding with something like, “Do you know what time it is?”

Or the person could turn against it by saying, “I hate this color,” or “What do you know about color matching?”

Or the person could turn toward your bid by saying, “Thank you!” or “Oh I’m so glad you said that; I don’t usually wear this color but I really liked the dress.”

Every interaction we have with someone else is a bid and one of those three responses to bids. That’s all there is. These simple building blocks are the foundation of all relationships.

You want to know how to connect with someone. Here’s how: Respond to other’s bids by turning toward those bids. And learn to be good at making bids for connection.

Okay, what makes a good bid? The most important element in making bids is to understand that the point of all the bidding and responding is to give and receive emotional information. This is so important, let me say it another way just to be crystal clear: To connect with people, the important thing is to transmit and receive emotional information. So a bid would invite the other person to give you some emotional information. Volunteering some emotional information about yourself is also a good way to bid.

Not all bids or responses might seem like emotional information. If I ask you what time it is and you respond “12:30,” it may not seem to deliver any emotional information. However, the way I ask and the way you respond can indeed give each of us emotional information about each other. I can ask you what time it is in a commanding way, in a friendly way, and many others. You can respond to me in many ways too, while technically giving the same information.

The important principle is that you begin to see your interactions with others as bids and responses to bids. This will give you a whole new way to view what’s happening and it will make it easier for you to connect with someone.

Notice the way you bid, and notice the responses you get, and you will naturally get better at connecting.

Don’t focus on what’s complicated about it. You are a human being, a social animal, and your brain is exquisitely engineered to learn social information, and will learn all by itself. All you need to focus on is making good bids, and responding to others’ bids by turning toward them. This is how to connect with people.

Read more at the Gottman Institute:

Testosterone is Like Cocaine

Women and men both have testosterone. Men have 10 to 20 times more of it though. And testosterone has strong effects on muscle growth, feelings of confidence, and mood (among other things). When people are given extra testosterone, they feel more energetic, more confident, and more aggressive. 

One of the things about men that exasperate women is that he is "overconfident," which, in a technical sense, he is. He feels more certain about what he's doing and the decisions he makes than she does, generally speaking. He's more likely to feel he's right and he's more likely to be wrong than she is (click here to read more about these differences and why they exist). 

This overconfidence seems like a flaw, but it is also an advantage, and that's why evolution selected for it. To see how it's an advantage, check out an article by two women in The Atlantic: The Confidence Gap. Basically, if someone has more confidence, he's more likely to speak up, to put his ideas forward, to act on his ideas, etc. It adds up to greater success, even though he's more likely to make mistakes, more likely to be wrong, and more likely to pitch dumb ideas.

There is a benefit to you if you understand this. If you're a man, it can help you make better decisions to realize your feeling of confidence isn't necessarily correlated to how right you are. And if you're a woman, it's in your best interest to understand that the man you're talking to is under the influence of a very powerful cocaine-like substance.

Adam Khan is the author of What Difference Does It Make?: How the Sexes Differ and What You Can Do About ItPrinciples For Personal GrowthDirect Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Follow his podcast, The Adam BombYou can email him here.

In Women But Not In Men, and Vise Versa

I've been collecting instances of sex differences that show up in diverse fields. I came across another one today. It was from an interview with Stephen Kopecy, MD, a heart specialist at the Mayo Clinic. He was talking about research on using aspirin daily to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

In the interview, he said, "Aspirin reduces the risk of stroke in women but not in men (first stroke). Aspirin reduces the risk of a heart attack in men, but not women."

Many people try to deny or minimize the differences in the sexes, but they are extensive and pervasive. To learn more about it, and what good it might do to know about the differences, read this: How the Sexes Differ (and What You Can Do About It).

Some Like It Hot

Does it seem like your mate likes the temperature of the room colder or hotter than you do? This may be a biological difference.

I just read a little article in a really great newsletter called The Whippet. A study on bats found that female bats stayed in the warmer valleys and the male bats tended to go to the higher, cooler mountain areas. And that across the board, in both birds and mammals, females feel colder. Their core temperatures are actually not any colder, but they feel colder, and the researchers think it's an evolutionary adaptation to making sure their offspring stay warm. If the mother feels cold, she will tend to stay in warmer places, and very young animals are not very good at staying warm.

Read more differences between the sexes here: How the Sexes Differ (and What You Can Do About It).

Adam Khan is the author of What Difference Does It Make?: How the Sexes Differ and What You Can Do About ItPrinciples For Personal GrowthDirect Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Follow his podcast, The Adam BombYou can email him here.

Feeding the Ocean Might Reverse Climate Change

I watched a video a couple days ago, by Freethink. They make pretty good videos — interesting, and relatively short. Here's the video: The Highly Controversial Plan to Stop Climate Change. It's about the idea of putting iron (the mineral) into the ocean as a kind of fertilizer for plankton.

The idea is that plankton is the base of the food chain in the ocean, and there would be more plankton if the ocean had more iron. The lack of iron is the main thing that limits their reproduction. So when you add iron, the plankton multiply like crazy, which provides food for the next biggest animal that eats them, and that provides food for the next biggest animal, etc., all the way up the food chain.

Whale poop contains a lot of iron and there used to be a lot more whales in the ocean pooping.

Plankton is the world's most abundant life form. The plankton in the ocean make about 70 percent of the oxygen in our atmosphere. That's way more than the Amazon rainforest and all other forests combined.

One important possible consequence of adding iron to the ocean is carbon sequestration. When the plankton die, a percentage of them would sink to the ocean floor and get buried for hundreds or thousands of years. So CO2 would be pulled out of the atmosphere by the plankton and then sequestered under the ocean floor.

This is, of course, a very controversial idea because we don't really know what the long-term consequences of it would be. Several experiments have been done on a small scale, and it seemed to do exactly what they thought it was going to do, but what they tested was limited.

But one entrepreneur took the idea and ran with it. He was hired by some indigenous people living in a village called Old Massett to try it. The people in Old Massett rely on salmon, and the salmon runs were getting smaller, so they paid Russ George to put iron in the ocean near their village, and sure enough, the next two years, the salmon yield was record-breaking.

More plankton equals more of everything up the food chain, which equals more salmon surviving.

Rush George got in trouble for doing this, and environmentalists were up in arms around the world about it, justifiably feeling frightened by the thought of a lone actor or even a lone country feeling they had the right to put something in the ocean that may affect life in the ocean or even affect the whole world's climate. Who gets to decide whether or not something like that can be done?

The idea, however, seems to be a good one, it seems to do what people think it's going to do, but what if there are negative consequences we're unable to anticipate until it's too late?

The reason I wanted to write something about this is that the topic of climate change is covered everywhere. You can't really watch much of anything or read much of anything without hearing about climate change and the impending doom it will bring. And yet I have never heard of the idea of putting iron in the ocean. And it's not even new. It's been around since the 1980's. In the description below the video, I found three articles about it. They're all good — long, detailed and authoritative — explaining how and why this idea has merit.

Scientists aren't one hundred percent certain it would reduce CO2 in our atmosphere, but it seems likely it would, and it could do the job on a large enough scale to make a real difference. And a side effect would be an increase in yield for the fishing industry, which would be good for all of us. So it looks like something worth experimenting with (in a way that's safe until we are sure about what we're doing).

Any viable idea that might help reduce the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is worthy of our attention. So check it out and share it with your friends. Here are the three articles I mentioned:

The Complicated Role of Iron in Ocean Health and Climate Change

The Climate Renegade

Engineering the Ocean

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal GrowthSlotralogyAntivirus For Your Mindand co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English)Follow his podcasts, The Adam Bomb and Talk to Klassy. You can email him here.