What makes interesting people interesting?


Interesting people have a special magnetism. They tell incredible stories and lead unusual lives. But what exactly makes them so captivating?

They are curious more than anything else. An interesting person is always excited to explore the world, and this energy radiates outward.

Some people are naturally interesting, but there are also ways to learn to be more engaging. Anyone can learn to become more interesting, which is a wonderful thing, because being interesting can help you strengthen your network, win more clients, and lead more effectively.

There are several habits that many interesting people have in common. Sometimes these habits form naturally, but they are more often than not the result of conscious effort. Here’s what interesting people do to make themselves engaging, unusual, and hypnotizing.

They are passionate. 

Jane Goodall, a bona fide interesting person, left her home in England and moved to Tanzania at age 26 to begin studying chimpanzees. It became her life’s work, and Goodall has devoted herself fully to her cause while inspiring many others to do the same. Interesting people don’t just have interests; they have passions, and they devote themselves completely to them.

They try new things. 

Interesting people do what interests them. They know what they want, and they’re brave enough to take the steps to get there. This often means trying new things—things at which they may be terrible at first. The very act of seeking new experiences also happens to be great for your mood, and people who are happy are magnetic and far more interesting to be around than duds.

They don’t hide their quirks. 

Interesting people often have unusual preferences that don’t fit the norm. They are open and unabashed about who they are, which gives everyone a good look at these interesting tendencies. Billionaire Warren Buffett, for example, has never been suited to the high-rolling lifestyle. Instead, he still lives in the same modest house he bought in 1958 for $31,500. It might seem quirky—or even strange—for such an incredibly wealthy man to live so frugally, but Buffett doesn’t sacrifice his preferences because of what’s expected of him.

They avoid the bandwagon. 

Nothing is more boring than following the bandwagon, and interesting people are intent on forging their own paths. There’s often nothing wrong with what everyone else is doing; it’s just that interesting people are innovators, who break conformity to pursue new, exciting, and yes, interesting ideas.

They check their egos at the door. 

An egomaniac is never interesting. Egomaniacs are always posturing, always worrying about how they’ll come across. It’s exhausting, and it’s also dishonest. Take Oprah Winfrey—an interesting and interested person. In a speech to the Stanford University graduating class of 2008, she said, “The trick is to learn to check your ego at the door and start checking your gut instead. Every right decision I’ve made—every right decision I’ve ever made—has come from my gut. And every wrong decision I’ve ever made was a result of me not listening to the greater voice of myself.” Oprah’s advice is so important: listen to your values, goals, and ambitions, rather than worrying about what will make you look good.

They’re always learning. 

To interesting people, the world has infinite possibilities. This curiosity about the unknown leads to constant learning, fueled by an ever-burning desire to discover the unknown. Despite his intelligence and accomplishments, Albert Einstein kept a sense of wonder throughout his life that made him continue to ask questions about the world. Like Einstein, interesting people are in a constant state of wonder.

They share what they discover. 

The only thing interesting people enjoy as much as learning is sharing their discoveries with others. While some will spin engaging yarns about their exciting travels, there is more to it than that. Interesting people are interesting because they feel out their conversational partner to see what sparks that person’s interest. They don’t share to expose all of the interesting things they’ve done; they share for other people to enjoy.

They don’t worry about what others think of them. 

Nothing is more uninteresting than someone who holds their true self back because they’re afraid that other people might not like it. Instead, interesting people are true to themselves wherever they are, whoever they’re with, and in whatever they’re doing. Interesting people are authentic to a fault. The famous English author Charles Dickens personified this. No matter where he was working—in a friend’s house or in a hotel—he would bring specific pens and objects and arrange them precisely. While his behavior may have seemed strange, he was always true to himself.

It might not always be easy to incorporate these habits into daily life, but that’s what makes the people who do so interesting—they go against the grain, and that is undeniably interesting.

Never forget to keep exploring the world and staying true to yourself.


Study Reveals Google Search Improves Brain Functions

The Internet, Facebook, smartphones, and other technology might be a challenging new frontier for many seniors, but there are benefits to learning and embracing the evolving technology.

A study at UCLA showed that simply using search engines such as Google triggered key centers in the brains of middle-aged and older adults, areas that control complex reasoning and decision-making, according to a press release at ucla.edu. Researchers involved said the results suggest that searching might help stimulate and possibly improve the function of the brain.

“The study results are encouraging, that emerging computerized technologies may have physiological effects and potential benefits for middle-aged and older adults,” said principal investigator Dr. Gary Small, a professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA who holds UCLA’s Parlow-Solomon Chair on Aging. “Internet searching engages complicated brain activity, which may help exercise and improve brain function.”

You might be familiar with the posit that crosswords, word searches and other puzzles help keep the brain active, but as technology becomes more a part of our daily lives, the influence of computer use, including the Internet, also helps keep the mind engaged and may help preserve cognitive ability.

Study volunteers were between the ages of 55 and 76; with half of them having search experience and half of them had no search experience. Gender, age and education level were kept similar between the two groups, which performed Web searches and book-reading tasks.

While all the participants showed significant brain activity during the book-reading task, Internet searches were another matter. All the participants showed the same brain activity as in the book-reading task, but those familiar with online searches also showed activity “in the frontal, temporal and cingulate areas of the brain, which control decision-making and complex reasoning,” the study revealed.

“Our most striking finding was that Internet searching appears to engage a greater extent of neural circuitry that is not activated during reading — but only in those with prior Internet experience,” said Small, who is also the director of UCLA’s Memory and Aging Research Center.

He said the minimal brain activation found in the less experienced Internet group may be due to participants not quite grasping the strategies needed to successfully engage in an Internet search, which is common while learning a new activity.

What does this mean? In addition to helping seniors keep up with ever-developing technology, being actively engaged with the Internet can help stimulate brain activity as we age.

Those who haven’t embraced the Internet might consider classes offered at senior centers or other locations. Or there’s always a computer-savvy grandchild who might provide an easy introduction.

New research study may reveal that people with kids live longer.

I read this article recently originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com1-aoKisu1Z7eqdOtuDJ4bVxQ If you want a longer life, consider creating one. They’ll help you out later.

This is the takeaway from a new nationwide study of Sweden in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Researchers tracked the lifespans of 1.5 million Swedes born between 1911 and 1925 and their children.

The people with kids outlived the childfree, especially later in life: At age 60, the gain in life expectancy was 1.5 years for women and 2 years for men, and the differences grew more pronounced from there.

Close relationships, psychologists are finding, have a profound effect on people. When we talk about how kids, partners, and friends offer social support, we’re speaking to how close bonds literally help regulate hormone levels and physiological arousal, helping to bring the body back into a healthy balance.

Like Jenny Anderson notes at Quartz, this study can’t conclusively say that having kids caused these Swedes to live longer; it’s an association. But the researchers, lead by Karin Modig at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, offer that it’s the best explanation, backed up the finding that people with kids who had been divorced still had greater lifespans than those without kids, with greater benefits for men. The finding echoesearlier research around how parents have better heart health than their child-free peers, and the folk wisdom that if you take care of kids when they’re young, they’ll look out for you when you’re old.

Technically, your brain’s efforts to keep your body’s systems in balance is calledallostasis, and getting it screwed up by stress and lack of sleep makes you more vulnerable to disease. But thankfully, you don’t have to just rely on your brain and body for that stabilization — at a physiological level, that’s what friends (and parents and partners and adult children) are for.


The Pope on Panhandling: Give Without Worry


New Yorkers, if not city dwellers everywhere, might acknowledge a debt to Pope Francis this week. He has offered a concrete, permanently useful prescription for dealing with panhandlers.

It’s this: Give them the money, and don’t worry about it.

The pope’s advice, from an interview with a Milan magazine published just before the beginning of Lent, is startlingly simple. It’sscripturally sound, yet possibly confounding, even subversive.

Living in the city — especially in metropolises where homelessness is an unsolved, unending crisis — means that at some point in your day, or week, a person seeming (or claiming) to be homeless, or suffering with a disability, will ask you for help.

You probably already have a panhandler policy.

You keep walking, or not. You give, or not. Loose coins, a dollar, or just a shake of the head. Your rule may be blanket, or case-by-case.

If it’s case by case, that means you have your own on-the-spot, individualized benefits program, with a bit of means-testing, mental health and character assessment, and criminal-background check — to the extent that any of this is possible from a second or two of looking someone up and down.

Francis’ solution eliminates that effort. But it is by no means effortless.

Speaking to the magazine Scarp de’ Tenis, which means Tennis Shoes, a monthly for and about the homeless and marginalized, the pope said that giving something to someone in need is “always right.” (We’re helped here by the translation in an article from Catholic News Service.)

But what if someone uses the money for, say, a glass of wine? (A perfectly Milanese question.) His answer: If “a glass of wine is the only happiness he has in life, that’s O.K. Instead, ask yourself, what do youdo on the sly? What ‘happiness’ do you seek in secret?” Another way to look at it, he said, is to recognize how you are the “luckier” one, with a home, a spouse and children, and then ask why your responsibility to help should be pushed onto someone else.

Then he posed a greater challenge. He said the way of giving is as important as the gift. You should not simply drop a bill into a cup and walk away. You must stop, look the person in the eyes, and touch his or her hands.

The reason is to preserve dignity, to see another person not as a pathology or a social condition, but as a human, with a life whose value is equal to your own. This message runs through Francis’ preaching and writings, which always seem to turn on the practical and personal, often citing the people he met and served as a parish priest in Argentina.

His teaching on divorced and remarried Catholics has infuriated some conservative critics who accuse him, unfairly, of elevating compassion over doctrine. His recent statements on refugees and immigrants are the global version of his panhandler remarks — a rebuke aimed directly at the rich nations of Europe and at the United States.

America is in the middle of a raging argument over poor outcasts. The president speaks of building walls and repelling foreigners. That toxic mind-set can be opposed in Washington, but it can also be confronted on the sidewalk. You don’t know what that guy will do with your dollar. Maybe you’d disapprove of what he does. Maybe compassion is the right call.

The four K–12 education tech trends emerging in 2017.

Meghan Bogardus Cortez outlined her top four K-12 education trends for 2017. Meghan is an associate editor with EdTech: Focus on K–12. She enjoys following all the ways technology is constantly changing our world.


K–12 Google Chromebook sales surpassing 51 percent. President Obama declaring that computer science is for all. An explosion of augmented reality and virtual reality. In 2016, teachers, administrators and students truly were on the front lines of incredible tech innovation.

The good news is that all of this new technology didn’t deter educators from dabbling and experimenting with it. For example, last year teachers said they were more comfortable using technology than ever before. Twenty-four percent of teachers surveyed by Education Week even said they considered themselves to be “risk takers” in terms of tech use.

Here are four education technology issues that took center stage in 2016 and are sure to be trending in 2017:

1. Creating Future-Ready Networks for Future-Ready Students

Preparing students for the tech-based workforce proved to be an ongoing impetus for the future of K–12 education. However, this requires an influx of technology, such as the massive one-to-one Chromebook deployment for example.

A robust infrastructure — including strong wireless networks — is a requirement for supporting and sustaining any updates to education technology. Building a strong, scalable network is the first step to establishing a future-ready school. But schools should always be ready to change both their thinking and their networks for whatever the future brings.

Conversations schools are having now can not only impact the ‘now,’ but also are part of the future.

Another component of getting students ready for the future is making sure they are using tech as they might in the real world. GK thinks this is a huge reason to create a ubiquitous network. However, this can also be done with a shifting of the curriculum.

With Common Core Standards requiring that students employ technology and use devices with tremendous computing power, K–12 schools are getting even closer to recreating the working environments of the real world.

2. Embracing Computer Science Education for All Students

President Obama began 2016 by declaring computer science education to be a huge priority for U.S. schools looking to prepare students for the digital economy.

“In the coming years, we should build on that progress, by … offering every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one,” the president said in his 2016 State of the Union address.

This program began as a means to address the lack of diversity in many tech fields.

Less than 10 percent of computer scientists are African-American or Hispanic, and only 18 percent of women major in computer science at colleges and universities, the National Science Foundation reveals.

Some educators have embraced computational thinking — thinking like a computer and using concepts of computer science to solve problems — with and without technology in order to demystify the topic for the youngest of students. Tech tools like the Minecraft: Education Edition have also given students the benefit of learning engineering skills through play.

The concept of computational thinking was also embraced by The College Board when they created AP Computer Science Principles, a high school course designed make the topic accessible for more students than ever before. The course, which launched last fall, experienced the largest AP course launch ever, with over 25,000 students participating.

3. The Power of Personalized Learning Through Tech

Technology has also allowed more teachers to provide a personalized learning experience for their students, something that New Media Consortium identified as a growing factor in embracing ed tech.

GK’s Jigsaw virtual learning platform is similar the the one used at Arlington Public Schools in suburban Washington, D.C., The platform offers the ability to collect data and get live feedback from students and teachers has fueled more engagement because students are able to choose how they learn.

The platform is the perfect tool to allow each student to take charge of his or her learning experience. Additionally, more accountability has provided better learning outcomes. Technology allows teachers to be in multiple places at a time.

4. The Virtual Future of Immersive Education

Thanks to the explosion in popularity of Pokémon Go last summer, augmented reality and virtual reality have been huge buzzwords in the education world this year.

A survey found that an overwhelming 85 percent of teachers think VR is beneficial for their classrooms, but only 2 percent are currently using it. Inroads are being made as more tools come out — and make VR application a real possibility. GK is creating its first VR music book and curriculum this year.

Farewell to America Idol.


“American Idol” kicked off its final season this year and for many viewers it will not be missed. It’s really easy to make fun of “Idol.” No one knows the recent winners and the last few years the show has had incredibly low ratings.

But lost in all the derogatory comments is the fact that “Idol” is the last singing competition to truly celebrate amateur musical performers. I think this is one of the only positive outcomes of the reality TV explosion.

Today TV is filled with people showing off beginner talents, from cooking to landscaping, flipping houses to socialites pulling out each others weaves on the streets of Atlanta. Even in an era of YouTube sensations making it big, nothing compares with a real, live talent show. There is something magical about someone being plucked from obscurity with the chance to be an actual rock star.

Sure, unassuming contestants appear on shows like NBC’s hit “The Voice”  yet those programs recruit skilled singers to audition, so you already know the competitors are talented. Originally, this was a way to avoid the awkward, terrible tryouts that made “Idol” famous. I believe the contest is a lot less interesting when a potential winner has already landed a record deal.

The best “Idol” success stories have all been about normal, everyday people with real homespun backstories.

Stories like Carrie Underwood, the college senior who had never been on a plane. Kellie Pickler, the waitress on roller skates. Jennifer Hudson, the cruise ship singer. Clay Aiken, the special education teacher. and of course Kelly Clarkson, trying to be a singer while working odd jobs.

At at the end of the day, “Idol” is still the only show where your average person can simply get in line at a local open audition and have a genuine shot at making it to the big leagues.

One reason “Idol” endured for so long is because it banked heavily on its “anyone can be a star!” premise. No matter how cynical I have become working on the fringe of the music business the potential “rags-to-riches” story is an still an alluring concept for me.

As a marketing man I find even the business model of American Idol sheer genius. The show was the brain child of producer and creator Simon Fuller . I met Simon in Tokyo before season 1 when he was looking to agencies like mine for sponsorship. He knew then he had a great concept.

Idol was beyond a craze or a fad it was an extremely successful business model that specialized in market interactivity.

The formula for this business model was simple, imagine a product, create an audience for the product, make the audience feel responsible for the product, and have the audience create the product. It puts on new spin on the adage, “If they build it they will come.”

The American Idol formula eliminated much of the risk normally associated with putting new products on the market. When Kelly Clarkson won the first contest the show’s audience had, through the process of voting for her over a several month period, already found the star they wanted and decided on the appropriate style to match.

When her first single appeared shortly after she was elected, those fans were more than happy to make it a number one title because, after all, they had helped create it.

It’s not hard to invest in something that you were a part of all along. One season 95 million voters had a hand in the selection of David Cook basically assuring his first album would be a double platinum seller. And forgetting about the record sales imagine the ad dollars earned with that size of an audience, Coca-Cola, Ford and Apple iTunes, not to mention the voting process was a boon to the relatively new phone feature from AT&T know as texting!

Idol changed TV and the recording business forever and I will miss it.