Report from Wisdom 2.0: Time Well Spent

Wisdom 2.0 is an unlikely conference. Its goal: to help people “not only live connected to one another through technology, but to do so in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being, effective in our work, and useful to the world.”

There, tech titans such as LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner mix with masters of mindfulness, including Jon Kabat-ZinnHaving experienced that breadth of perspectives, each attendee leaves with a different takeaway. This is mine.

The 6th-ever Wisdom 2.0 felt less wide-eyed and more mature. Soren Gordhamer, founder of the W2.0 movement, set the tone: “At the end of our lives, what’s gonna be important?” Adding, “What is it like to live like any one moment isn’t more important than another moment?”

The conference covered compassion in business, wisdom in leadership, and mindfulness in everything. But the overall theme was Time—and the battles being waged over how we spend it.

The term “peak attention” emerged. Like peak oil, or “the point of maximum [oil] production,” peak attention suggests we humans are maxed out mentally. We’ve reached the point that every moment of our time can be filled with Continue reading

Train Your Brain to be Happy

Young man has head resting on golden retriever's shoulder

Athletes do endless drills to qualify for the Olympics. It takes practice to perfect any skill, whether calligraphy or coding. Now, it may be possible to train your brain for an ongoing sense of well-being.

“There is a lot of evidence that the technologies of the 20th and 21st centuries may have made us more productive and able to do more stuff, but we are not happier,” claims Ofer Leidner, developer of Happify.com. But his creation uses technology “as a means of creating happiness and human to human interaction.” Games and activities on Happify are grounded in science proving that repeating certain behaviors can reroute pathways in the brain to make happiness a habit. The goal of using his platform, says Leidner, is to obtain “a set of skills to use and apply.”

Continue reading

Where Steve Jobs Left Us

Steve Jobs pumpking carving photo by Jenifer Joy Madden

This article was co-written shortly after Steve Jobs died in 2013.  

Steve Jobs was a durable human. His natural curiosity led him to explore new ideas, his brilliance allowed him to capitalize on what he learned, and his creativity drove him forward.

Jobs applied his experience to the design of what he called “seamless” products: devices so intuitive that using them is second nature. Yet he himself grew up in a world without such gadgets. Continue reading

Driverless Vehicles and Human Durability

Will vehicles which drive themselves help or hurt us as human beings? It may not be an either/or proposition.

In today’s Washington Post I paint a picture of how an edge city near Washington, D.C. can be wired with a system connecting smart phones with self-driving cars, buses and trucks. We hear from robotics expert Robert Finkelstein and consultant Richard Bishop who say we’ll gain productive time if we aren’t driving or caught in traffic. We’ll be safer, too. Smart vehicles have onboard sensors which are being shown to dramatically reduce crashes. Plus they never get tired or distracted. Continue reading

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