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Book Launch Giveaway!

Book Launch Giveaway!

Book Launch Giveaway!

    To celebrate the launch of Thursday Bram’s new ebook, Discover Your New Job Online, we are launching a contest! The grand prize is your choice of Veronica London bag from CareerBags.

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    About the prize

    image

      Veronica London bags come in 3 different styles, each in two colors, all of them classically elegant. With several compartments for all your necessities plus a removable laptop sleeve to hold laptops up to 15”, these are perfect for just about any office environment – or for the worker on the move. Imagine showing up to your next job interview with one of these great bags over your shoulder! (Men, this would make a mighty fine gift for a special woman in your life! Valentine’s Day is coming up, and Mother’s Day is not too far behind…)

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      One lucky winner will receive their choice of bags from the Veronica London lineup at CareerBags. (Value: $140 US)

      About our sponsor, CareerBags

      CareerBags was created by working women for working women to fill a pressing need for stylish, fashionable, and woman-friendly business cases. The innovative website allows shoppers to browse by career (education, marketing, engineering) and personal style (Bohemian & Eclectic, Conservative, Chic & Sophisticated) as well as by size, type of bag, and brand, making it easy (and more than a little fun!) to find the perfect bag for yourself or for a gift. Be sure to check out the blog, Laptop Bag Lifeline, written by CareerBags’ president, Ellen Hart, and full of advice about office life, careers, and of course, fashion.

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      About the book

      Discover-New-Job-cover

        Thursday Bram’s ebook Discover Your New Job Online is jam-packed with advice for today’s job-hunter. Bram walks you through the process of creating your resume, building up your online presence through social networking, using job boards and employment sites to find openings, and making the best possible impression with your application.

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        Discover Your new Job Online is available now from our bookstore. Use the coupon code DREAMJOB until January 20 to receive $2 off the cover price of $8.99 US.

        How to enter

        To enter the contest, simply leave a comment on this post with your best job-hunting tip. All entries must be received by January 20 at 11:59 PM PST. After all entries are received, one winner will be drawn at random using a random number generator. You must leave a valid email address with your comment as the winner will be contacted by email. Prize will be shipped directly from CareerBags, which reserves the right to make substitutions in the event of prize non-availability.

        So, let’s hear it: what’s your greatest tip for job-hunters? Tell us now and enter to win a Victoria London bag from CareerBags. And if you’re in the market – and these days, who isn’t? – order your copy of Thursday Bram’s Discover Your New Job Online today.

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        Last Updated on July 17, 2019

        The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

        The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

        What happens in our heads when we set goals?

        Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

        Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

        According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

        Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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        Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

        Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

        The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

        Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

        So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

        Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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        One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

        Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

        Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

        The Neurology of Ownership

        Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

        In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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        But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

        This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

        Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

        The Upshot for Goal-Setters

        So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

        On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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        It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

        On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

        But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

        More About Goals Setting

        Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

        Reference

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