SYSK Choice: How to Be More Powerful & Fascinating Facts from the Google Earth of Health
Today on something you should know how to find the best seat in the movie theater. I'll tell you exactly where it is in every theatre plus. Would you say you're a powerful person will discuss how to acquire power and how not to lose it. Due to the power paradox. The power paradox is is we get power by being emotionally intelligent and advancing of other people but once we feel power we lose those very skills and are vulnerable to the abuse the power also you'll discover how to de stress quickly. He'll need some honey coffee the sound of birds and a hit song from one thousand nine hundred seventy two and some amazing findings on what we really need to do to stay healthy and live a long time. The leading dietary risk factor in the United States eight isn't too much red meat or lack of whole grains. It's not eating enough fruit all this today on something you should know something you should know is sponsored by. 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You can use in your life today something you should now. Mike carruthers compiegne welcome to what is now our regular weekend episode of something you should know and this episode begins with a question. Is there really a the best seat in the house at a movie theater. Does it really matter where you sit or maybe the better question is is there a perfect place to sit in a theater and the answer is yes according to the director of Global Technology and THX is company that's involved in the design of movie theaters others and making the experience the best it can possibly be and he says that when a theater is being built the sound is calibrated by taking microphone measurements measurements and while the goal is to make the experience the best it can be for every seat in the House the closer you can get to where they tested and where they put those microphones the better your seat will be and the seat where the microphones are placed is typically in the very center about two thirds of of the way back from the screen that is essentially the best seat in the house. If that seats taken the advice is to fan out to a center seat you WanNa stay a close to the center but start moving forward not back because the closer you are to the screen. The more you increase what's called your Horizontal Zonta Viewing Angle in other words the closer you get to the screen up to a certain point where it's too close the closer you get the more the screen fills what's up your field of vision and that is something you should know when you think about someone who is powerful. What does that that mean power. What is power. Is it money. Is it influence what what gives someone power over other people and how can you increase your personal power here to discuss that is Dr Kellner. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley and author of the book the Power Paradox welcome to the PODCAST docker. It's great to be with you Mike. I love this conversation about power because so often you hear people say well. He such a powerful awful person or he has a lot of power and usually I guess that means there. I assume that to mean he's got a lot of money or he's got a great job or he's high up in an organization but what is power mean to you. Well you know what power means is. It's not just money or military might or politics. It's really how you as an individual can influence other other people is how you alter the states of other people so give me an example. Well we know for example that you can have an enormous influence on other people's really good ideas right not necessarily money and so you know if you have an idea like Thomas Clarkson did where he really was upset about the conditions of slaves as writing and slave ships he wrote a simple essay in the eighteenth century and it really led to the undoing of slavery so one idea can change world politics and and I think we can be thinking about powers just influencing the emotions and ideas and conditions of other people's lives so when people say well. You know I have of power or you have power. This guy's got power it. It basically means they have the ability to influence what happens to other other people exactly. Mike you know very simply every moment of our lives when we're with our kids romantic partners we go to work where you know in a community media organization. Our power is in each moment. Do you have the capacity to influence. That person changed their mind alter how they feel well but but sometimes you don't need to do that or want to do that. Yeah and you know ironically in a lot of people have come to similar collusion when when you WanNa try to influence and they're often reactive so it's really this capacity to influence others that it's the kind of deepest form of power so having a great idea is is great but not if you don't know how to use it and express it and get other people hooked into it yeah absolutely you you know so the the you know best way to think about this is my power depends on how my ideas and the resources says that I share and the practice that I engage in to what extent does it move through social networks and if you have great ideas and your hermit living in a cave you have no power right so I gotta get out and engage with other people and and and spread your thoughts and and notion so it's really the ability to communicate your ideas not just just having the ideas yeah and you know and this is where the science is really painting a really clear picture that you know when kids at school all people who've joined the military people at work if they really engage in others right and they they and they spread those ideas and they ask good questions and they you know express gratitude in these ways of really engaging face to face. That's where your power really lies capacity to influence so is there uh-huh away to do this. Is there a way if you have always felt somewhat powerless to up your power. Yeah you know these these great studies of of just that right where you you bring people in you. Give them a chance to influence and they're just really simple techniques. You know so one is you know make sure early in a conversation that you express your point of view right and very often lose power. If we don't speak up we can gain power by asking great questions and by showing an interest in other people that earns the respect that they have and it gives it's a platform for power so really engaged with others and make the move and once you have this power. How do you make sure that you hold onto it well. This is when you know this is why I called the book the Power Paradox. which is you know we gain power? Mike you know as we've been talking about you know empathizing and listening and respecting people and sharing and collaborating August stuff right and then all of a Seddon when we feel powerful and feel kind of this almost manic rush of like wow I'm on top of the world here we stopped listening and we stopped we start treating people people disrespectfully and we kinda get greedy and so I think the key to avoiding that stuff is just to you know just to stay focused on other people. Just just make it a a very steady practice of your daily life. What happens when you've got two powerful people trying to kind of out power each other. We've all been there also who are trying to dominate things well. I love this study and has just been published that asses. This is question like you know what we know. You know Mike is you know. Power tends to make us a little bit less imaginative or less astute listeners of other people. We generate worse conversations. Were interrupting people a lot of bad stuff and so these these scientists asked the question what happens if you take a bunch the powerful people and you haven't tried to solve a problem and they actually are less effective in solving problems than the right mixture of people who are less than more powerful so put a lot of people together who have power and you're probably. GonNa get less productive work done. I'm speaking with Docker feltner these a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and he's author of the book the Power Paradox so docker when I think of someone who is powerful or someone who isn't powerful I think of like introverts and extroverts extroverts are better equipped to have power because they have that ability to engage with people and to get people to come to their side much more easily than quieter shyer more introverted people yeah and you know it's. It's such an interesting question so in a lot of contacts. You know kids at school. if you're working in a kind of a dynamic organization at work it is the extrovert who then really you have to think about what the core of that is which is it's somebody who really is just reaching out to other people people engagement right that will get you power but you know. Mike I work in consult down at facebook and Google you know engineering and statisticians and data people and they're giving these new kind of context or or work settings there. You have a lot of introverts who are doing really well so it it really it really depends on the context in how you get power but you a good bet is to really make sure you're reaching out and building strong social ties. Let's talk a little bit about the nuance of this just because I can think of people who ask a lot of questions. Who are you know always talking. Who are you know always always throwing out ideas and they're more annoying than powerful so there's more to it than just trying to you know you put yourself in the front of the conversation. There's gotta be some nuance to it. Yeah well put you know and we've all you know the book a power the power paradox talks about these old practices that get your power. You know expressing gratitude encouraging people asking good questions just stuff. Your grandma might tell you're right but we've all been around people who seem to be kind of faking this stuff and we it rubs us the wrong way. The person's thank you in a kind of inauthentic way and you know I think this is where the hard work really begins and a lot of people who have thought long and hard about great power great leaders just great community munity members suggests that it really is deeper kind of ethical commitment to the welfare of others and that you can't fake you know and once you find find that then these other practices of getting power of asking questions kind of really empathizing readily follow but you gotta do the hard work to they committed to others but if your intent is to engage others and help others and all that how do you get what you want. Well you know you have to I mean it one of the striking discoveries in all of this and you know I've just been writing thing about this. Is that we actually you know. When we cooperate with others we experience activation word circuits in our brain when we share resources with others a path to power reward circuits in the brain are activated when we express gratitude and show appreciation of other the people the same thing we get these physiological bursts of pleasure so very interestingly neurosciences discovered that we find rewarding again gratifying and uplifting being good to others so these past two power have their own personal delights since it is the title of Your Book? What is the power paradox well. The power paradox is this this puzzle social living which is we we get power by being emotionally intelligent and advancing the other people but we once we feel powerful. We lose those very skills. Are Vulnerable honorable to the abuse of power. Isn't that amazing so you once you become powerful. You lose the ability to know how to become powerful. I know and and you know if you look at history you see this time and time again and and what we find is this is just part of our daily lives. Is I get power by listening carefully and the minute I feel powerful. I'm not as good at at knowing what other people think so. I would imagine that being aware of that might help as it first step that if you realize that that's likely to happen you can guard against it or not absolut. Absolutely you know I think thank you know I I mean. Humans are amazing in how powerful just simple awareness is right just being aware of for example some warning warning signs that you might be abusing your power. Are you interrupting people. Are you not listening carefully are you. You know studies show that powerful people will literally literally turn away from somebody who speaking and look at something else check their cell phone or whatever these are warning signs that you are quickly losing your power. Our and problems may arrive. Do you lose power as fast as you gain it or is it is it is roughly the same speed on on the way down as it is on the way on the terrific question really question right so. I actually think you lose power more precipitously or fast then gaining it. I think gaining power in a lot of context is tough work. You know when you think about rising in the ranks that are in an organization but I think you know these abuses of power are quickly picked up by the people you're leading and and our make for a quick downfall how much of this is style versus substance and what I mean by that. Is you say that it's important to get your ideas across all that. What if your ideas aren't so great but you're still really passionate about him and you explain them well or when you're you know engaging and all that you may not have the substance but you've got the style? Do you need both or does that work. Is that good enough. I don't think there's a substitute for substance and you know the best answer to your really important question. Mike is is the studies of the legacies Z's. US presidents right and what they find is yeah. It's great to have this style of listening and then really sort of collaboration. Shen great communication but you also need a bold idea that unites the body politic or the country and the great presidents they they have this style. They're great storytellers. Lincoln was they're great listeners but they they have this substantive idea of that really transforms the country and I think when you look at innovation in the workplace if you look at great science if you look at Great Literature Great Film Substances Essential and it's interesting because because you know some of the abuses of power that we've been talking about actually diminish your ability to be made innovations to produce substantive contributions. What about the other way around. Can you have the substance and not style and I'm thinking in terms of like and I'm a big fan so I'm not I'm not saying anything negative about say Johnny Carson but he was not known as a as a nice guy or good listener a guy who would get out there and engage people but but he had so much talent that he had the talent he didn't need to do the other stuff. Yeah I mean I think you can clearly think of you know Lou geniuses at at trade right at you know the comic interview or or the scientist or the moviemaker or the artist who will will change the world through their their genius but I think that that time and time again we see that it also if you have this style it really appeals inspires your your influence will be even greater well. No that's true because you guys like say Jay. Leno who came after Johnny Carson was known own for being a very nice friendly engaging guy and he did quite well too so no. I think there are a lot of surprising examples of how you know. Niceness and just to sort of a good character is the basis of a power terrific well. I appreciate your time. Thanks Dr Yeah Great Observations. Mike thanks ducker. Kellner is a professor of psychology at the University of California Berkeley and author of the book the Power Paradox. There's a link to his book on Amazon on the show notes page Wjr for this episode of the podcast on our website which is something you should know dot net every day you hear health advice based on research and sometimes the information from that research conflicts with other information from other research so you never really know what to believe but there is actually a new massive study that is different than all the others in some pretty significant ways as that is worth paying attention to and. I think you'll find quite fascinating here to discuss it is Jeremy Smith. He is the author of a book called Epic Measures Measures Which Discusses All this Jeremy explained what is so interesting about this information in this research and how you got involved in and all that a friend of mine was a mathematician and I looked him up a few years ago and I learned that he was now a professor of global health at the University University of Washington and asked myself. How on Earth does a mathematician become a professor of health? I called him and I found out that he was is part of a global scientific team trying to create the equivalent of Google Earth for health and that's tricky because says you need to draw data from all over the world you need to fill in the gaps and information you don't have and just as important you need to correct the errors and inconsistencies in everything that's already out there for example when you add up the claims of all the different groups measuring one disease or another you find out that everyone dies two or three times over and obviously that's not possible at the same time many people causes and countries or never measured at all so the idea would this study is. Let's try to measure everything for everyone everywhere in the same way and make sure the numbers add up in a consistent way in looking at all that is there though a danger that because different parts of the world in different cultures and different people are are so different from each other that global snapshots don't mean much yeah if you are someone like. Bill Gates or the United Nations and you're interested in devoting your fortune or your efforts to global health than the big picture is really important but the cool thing about this project. That's it's profiled in that. Pick measures is that you can zoom all the way into your country or your age group or in the case of the US where there's more data sometimes you can look all the way down to county level and see what's most important for me or my family or how are we doing compared to the people next to us or the people couple of states over one of the things that you say that you talk about in the book is that fruits are healthier than vegetables. So how do you know that right and can you explain how that statement comes to be yeah. I was really surprised to learn that the leading dietary risk factor in the United States isn't too much red meat or lack of whole grains. It's not eating enough fruit and this is literally just two three the apples a day or the equivalent the reason not eating enough fruit is so harmful in this country is because fruit wards off off two of our leading killers heart disease and stroke. It's not that fruit is necessarily better for you than vegetables or something else. It's that we are further away. From our ideal amount of consumption in other words people are actually doing a little bit better at eating vegetables than they are eating their fruit and so the study he doesn't look at what's better for you in a vacuum it looks at what are the trends where people actually are in their diet exercise etc you know when I read that that I googled it and I couldn't find anybody else. Say differentiating between fruits and vegetables it is in most cases one group and and they're not treated separately and no distinction is made between the two in terms of health benefits anywhere well. This is really one of a kind of study in many ways it's taking everything ever discovered from everywhere else all the scientific literature and trying to put through sort of one consistent analysis and it's published in peer reviewed publication and The British Medical Journal Journal The Lancet which is sort of the British equivalent of the New England Journal of Medicine so when you know another really surprising fact on a global global level is that lots of people interested in involved in the cause of clean water and sanitation making sure people have clean drinking water with this study found is that that that is an important cause but five to ten times more important in most countries is the issue of indoor air pollution people cooking with thirty cook stoves and it just wasn't on the global health map before in the same way fruit hasn't been on the US health map but the US findings were introduced used to the public and this sort of interactive tool where you can play with them. US Health Map at sort of big presentation at the White House with the first lady eighty so I don't think it's you know to fringe at this point well so explain that a little deeper about the indoor air pollution because I've certainly heard that that's a problem but not not to the extent that you just stated well if you think about it if you have a dirty cook stove which is basically someone cooking in an unventilated related way with sort of dengue or charcoal. What you have is the equivalent of everyone entire household smoking twenty four hours a day and so it leads needs to lung cancer it leads to heart disease leads to stroke and it leads the disabling conditions like blindness and it affects people of all ages whereas whereas you know dirty water is important and it's especially affecting young children who die subsequently diarrheal diseases but but the number of children dying at early ages has dropped dramatically and so you want to address issues that affect people at all ages of life and once that you might not have thought to study before for but of course in this country not a lot of us are cooking with dengue so no country. We've got clean water. We've got you know Clean Cook Stoves so here we do want to look at the other kind of causes of death and the risk factors as I said low fruit consumption is a easy thing to improve at low cost for almost anyone but then there's other issues like you know smoking. It's still a leading cause of death in this country. If we eliminated you know cigarette consumption in this country. According to the studies estimate eighty percent of lung cancer cases would be eliminated and other things that we were well aware of but maybe having hard numbers on before for example are are you pursue. The ideal diet heart disease falls by about ninety percent stroke falls about seventy percent increasing physical activity or lowering body weight can cut the toll from diabetes you know somewhere between thirty and seventy five percent depending on which of those two paths through pursuing so so you can kind of see where am. I what are my biggest risks and you can zoom all the way in you know. I'm a male in the United States between thirty five and forty for my I particular group. The greatest dietary risk factor isn't low fruit consumption. It's actually over consumption of processed sort of lunch. Deli style meets so you know I I should be paused before I reach for the next hot dog. One of the things that fascinates me about this is that there is certainly the the information in your book but you don't need your even your book to tell the average smoker knows. Every smoker knows that smoking's bad for everybody everybody that's eating at McDonald's knows it if you eat there seven times a week. That's not good for you but people don't even with the information in hand aren't motivated needed often to do anything about a big message that I got after following. This research is that public health efforts can be just Mustaz or more important than individual efforts. Look at New York City. It's gotten a lot of attention and in some cases a lot of criticism for pushing a lot of public health efforts like cutting smoking and making cigarettes more expensive by like restrictions on what can be serving in food or the even the size of sodas at the same time if you're born in New York City today. You're likely to live about ten years longer than you were a generation go. It is the single greatest life expectancy gain in this country if everywhere in the US had the same gains as New York City. We will be the longest longest living country in the world instead. We're about fortieth but are you attributing those gains to those policies. I think that it's you know that's a great question. AM I. Attributing those gains to those policies. I think that they've had a big impact. I mean Pe- smoking has plummeted in New York. pity and certain elements of physical activity and diet have improved dramatically because of these public health measures other countries trees like Australia have modeled their public health efforts after the findings of this study and have seen similar kinds of gained and and internationally see that as well I mentioned dirty cook stoves the government of Rwanda a very poor country in Africa did sort sort of their equivalent of cash for clunkers they saw this finding and they swapped out a million dirty cook stoves for clean cook stoves and so I think when you look at what is the biggest problem the people I care about face you can say okay. What are the sort of solutions that are out there. It may be smoking. It may be diet right and maybe something else altogether. I live in County in Montana that does very well for smoking does very well for physical. Activity does worry well for obesity. Lisa compared to the rest of the country but according to their data. We've got a pretty big binge drinking problem and that leads to car crashes. Violence self-harm arm a host of other injuries so I can look at the data and say okay. This is actually where our biggest problems by. What are some of if you can. I do it as as succinctly as the fruit thing just to whet people's appetites some of the other things that aren't so obvious that that are making a difference work clearly can make a difference yeah well. There's a couple of other things in Diet for example the study suggests that second only to fruit and important is actually eating more nuts and seeds so that includes you know peanut butters or just sort of a handful of nuts and I think that's about about one hundred and fourteen grams weekly so it's not a huge amount it's just sort of something the sprinkle into the Diet and you know in terms of not just preventing premature premature death but sort of helping yourself live a long life to the end they suggest that the big issues people face are low back pain gene depression neck pain anxiety disorders and a lot of these actually can be addressed with things like regular stretching breaks or or you know. Inter proven interventions for depression anxiety including therapy so things like a pain in the neck you might just dismiss are actually pretty important affecting a lot of people and can be addressed. Are there things that people generally believe either help or a hurt your health that turn out at least according to this study turn out to be not true. You know diet high in red meat. doesn't ring very very high for example in the sort of toll according to this study Diet high in processed meat is much more important so I guess you could say hey. It's okay to have the steak but maybe skip the Baloney so another sort of surprise killer to me. Were the host of injuries injuries. I mean row worldwide road. Injuries kill more people than AIDS falls kill more than people than brain cancer. Drowning claims many more people than a lot of causes of death that you might think of much sooner. It was interesting to me that I read in the material about your book that a surprising number of people who die and there is a cause of death issued that the cause of death is medically the impossible. Yeah this is sorta scary fact every year about fifty million people die only a third of them have death certificates even in countries like the US. Yes we have death certificates about a quarter of them are just inaccurate on their face. They have causes of death like senility hangnail or something subtle title like heart failure think about heart failure. Everyone who's dead has had heart failure was it caused by drowning was caused by car crash was caused by heart attack. You you have to know that if you WANNA help save lives just to put it in perspective I mean there are studies out every day reporting that you should do this to live longer anger and do this to prevent disease so explain how the study you're talking about is different than you know. The usual studies that show up in the paper every day this is a thousand scientists over one hundred countries spending about a quarter of a billion dollars over a twenty year period to pull this all together and they're now updating it annually and in some cases even quarterly and what I love is. If you go to health data dot org their website you can play with the visualizations nations themselves yourself and sort of zoom in and look up whatever you're particularly interested in. Wow Fascinating look great. I appreciate your time time yeah. Thanks so much for having me and I appreciate the show. That's Jeremy Smith. He is the author of the book epic measures one doctor seven billion patients since and there is a link to his book on Amazon on our website. The show notes page for this episode has it. It's at somethingyoushouldknow dot net and finally today how to de Stress when you're all worked up because sometimes you just you just need to chill. Bill and here are some proven ways that will help you de-stress really really quickly. I smell coffee. Our sense of smell is ten thousand times more more powerful than any other sense in the body. Sniffing coffee or citrus fruit helps you de-stress by creating balance between your nervous system brain brain chemistry and hormones. Here's another one eat honey researchers in New Zealand confirmed the long held belief that among its many healing properties honey she can reduce anxiety and calm the mind have a good laugh or cry both stimulate the Vegas nerve which reduces the level of of Cortisol which is the stress hormone in your blood and increases serotonin production in the brain a good laugh also boost your energy and a new study shows that that it may improve short term memory as you get older run cold water over your wrists by dripping cool water on the pressure points on your wrist and splashing flashing it behind your ears you cool the arteries right under the skin taking the heat down a notch incoming your whole body and listen two birds recorded birds or live birds. The sound of birds in the wild can have a restorative effect and finally and there is no scientific evidence since that anybody's ever found to prove this but people swear that listening to the nineteen seventy two song. I can see clearly now by Johnny. Nash can have instant instant instant stress reducing effects and make you more optimistic and who doesn't WanNa be more optimistic and that is something thing you should know. Please leave a rating in review at I tunes Apple podcasts. Cast Box pod bean wherever you wherever you listen to this podcast a rating and review really helps us out. I'm Mike carruthers. Thanks for listening today to something you should know.