Fun Friday Links: Leadership Advice is Worthless, Daily Intelligence Boosters, and Getting Out of Your Head

Filed Under Mindjet

Arwen Heredia

August 22, 2014

Welcome to Conspire’s Fun Friday Links, a weekly collection of interesting discoveries from around the Web. Most of the time, the goal is to get you thinking differently about innovation, collaboration, business culture, and life in general. Other times, we may toss an infographic or fun video your way. Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to for consideration.

Three Reasons Why Most Leadership Advice Is Completely Worthless

Though many bite-sized bits of advice are perfectly sound, it’s a safe bet that the world’s greatest leaders didn’t get where they got by reading a handful of tips-and-tricks articles. And that’s exactly the point J. Maureen Henderson is driving home in this piece on why so much leadership advice is, essentially, completely worthless.

“Leaders who are called on to make tough decisions every day don’t have the time to read clickbait about what we can learn about leadership from The Rock’s Hollywood career. They just don’t. They’re in the trenches (sometimes literally) making decisions about who gets to keep their job, what programs are salvaged, how to fight off a hostile takeover, whether to send in more troops or how to stretch a razor thin budget to cover supplies for every classroom. Leadership advice is mostly consumed by those who aspire to lead, but have little idea what it actually entails and no opportunity to apply the wisdom they’ve gleaned.”

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10 Small Things You Can Do Every Day to Get Smarter

The majority of people — super geniuses aside — have occasionally wished they were a little more intelligent. But the problem with actively pursuing smarts is that it can take a great deal of time, particularly if the method (like studying a language, for example) is complex. Thankfully, research is proving that those who don’t have the time or bandwidth for complex studying can make small changes that produce big results.

“You might be under the impression that intelligence is a fixed quantity set when you are young and unchanging thereafter. But research shows that you’re wrong. How we approach situations and the things we do to feed our brains can significantly improve our mental horsepower.

That could mean going back to school or filling your bookshelves (or e-reader) with thick tomes on deep subjects, but getting smarter doesn’t necessarily mean a huge commitment of time and energy, according to a recent thread on question-and-answer site Quora.

When a questioner keen on self-improvement asked the community, “What would you do to be a little smarter every single day?” lots of readers–including dedicated meditators, techies, and entrepreneurs — weighed in with useful suggestions.”

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7 Science-Backed Methods To Get You Out Of Your Head

It’s rare for people to have complete and total focus these days. Distractions are a dime a dozen, multitasking is expected, and work/life balance is typically accomplished through an impacted series of repetitive tasks. And though letting your mind wander might seem like a great way to take a mental hiatus, it may actually be making you miserable.

“People get stuck in their heads all the time – some of us more than others. Although it’s lovely to ponder life and be inquisitive about yourself, the problem is that the majority of our thoughts are not so upbeat. When we’re in mind-wandering mode (a.k.a., “in your head”), thoughts usually turn to what bills are due, why your partner was a jerk last night, why a coworker took credit for your work today, why you reacted in a particular way to a family member, and so on. And, funnily, at times like this, when we’re not focusing on anything in particular, the brain’s default mode network (DMN) is “on,” which means that the brain literally defaults to this kind of (worry-based) thinking much of the time.

When your mind is wandering in any direction from what you’re doing, you’re a lot less likely to be feeling happy. One Harvard study a few years ago used a specially designed iPhone app to query people about what they were doing at random times throughout the day, whether they were thinking about that task or not, and how happy/unhappy they were. The verdict was clear, and became the title of the paper: “A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.’”

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