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Employers often use vision statements to instill optimism and positivity in their employees, but unfortunately even the most well-crafted ones are rarely compelling enough to keep people hopeful over the long term. To be happy at work, we must feel that our responsibilities and opportunities fit a personal vision—one that speaks to our values, desires, and beliefs—and we must imagine pathways that lead to it. Hope is really about planning—it encourages us to chart a course even in the face of seemingly dire prospects; it encourages us to take concrete, practical actions that are tied to how we want our lives and careers to unfold.

I’ve met many people in my work who shy away from big dreams, fearing that they’ll only be disappointed. But I don’t believe there’s any such thing as false hope. Hope is not magical thinking or fantasy; it’s a powerful, positive emotional experience that leads to courage, thoughtful plans, and concrete actions.

If you work with people you like and respect, and if they like and respect you in return, you probably enjoy going to work. But if you’re in a job where you feel constantly on guard, disdained, or excluded, you’re probably on your way to deep unhappiness—or there already. You may tell yourself that the situation is tolerable or that you don’t need friends at work. That’s not true.

In fact, good relationships are the backbone of successful organizations. People who care for one another give generously of time, talent, and resources. Gallup found that close work relationships boost employee satisfaction by 50% and that people with a best friend at work are seven times as likely as others to engage fully in their work. Mutual respect motivates us to resolve conflicts so that everyone wins. And when we believe that we will be accepted for who we are, that we have important roles to play, and that we’re part of a team, we are more committed to collective goals.

Warm, positive relationships are important at work for very human reasons. Since the beginning of time, people have organized into tribes that labor and play together. Today organizations are our tribes. We want to work in a group or a company that makes us proud and inspires us to give our best efforts.

Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change Shawn Achor Crown Business, 2013

The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel and Live—and How You Can Change Them Richard J. Davidson and Sharon Begley Avery, 2012

The Oxford Handbook of Happiness Susan A. David, Ilona Boniwell, and Amanda Conley Ayers Oxford University Press, 2014

Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths Shane J. Lopez, Jennifer Teramoto Pedrotti, and C.R. Snyder Sage Publications, 2015

Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3 to 1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life Barbara L. Fredrickson Harmony, 2009

Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee Harvard Business Review Press, 2013

Read more

We also want people to care about us and value us as human beings. And we need to do the same for others. We thrive physically and psychologically when we feel compassion for others and see that they are concerned for our well-being in return. In fact, the Harvard Grant Study, among others, has found that love—yes, love—is the single most important determinant of happiness in life. What’s more, people who experience love—including the love involved in friendships—are more successful, even financially. (The study notes that during peak earning years, participants who scored highest on “warm relationships” made an average of $141,000 more a year.)

The majority of trials of cholesterol lowering therapy have not selected populations with levels of cholesterol which have been particularly high. Indeed the average serum cholesterol in trial participants is only around the average of the middle aged British population. 69 A major factor determining whether there was a significant decrease in all cause mortality in these trials was the absolute risk and therefore numbers of CHD deaths in the populations studied. 109 The likelihood that there is a similar relative reduction in the risk of CHD events, including death, regardless of the absolute risk of CHD, is supported by a comparison of the results of the 4S study, in which the annual CHD event rate was 4.5%, 72 and the WOSCOPS study, in which the annual CHD event rate was 1.5%. 75 In relative terms the decreases in CHD events and mortality are similar in the two trials, but the number of patients who must receive treatment to prevent one such event is fewer in 4S. The implication is that the difference between primary and secondary prevention trials is largely explicable in terms of absolute risk rather than any therapeutic responsiveness induced by clinically overt CHD.

If antihypertensive or cholesterol lowering therapy is associated with a definite risk of major adverse effects, unrelated to BP or cholesterol, then it is possible to balance this risk against the decrease in CHD events which treatment will achieve, and thus establish the threshold of risk above which the overall therapeutic outcome is favourable. In the case of thiazide diuretic and β blocker treatment for hypertension, and statin therapy for cholesterol reduction, during the five year course of most trials major adverse events have been few. There is thus little to offset the benefits of such therapies. In the case of fibrate treatment the same has not yet been demonstrated with confidence and some of the newer antihypertensive drugs remain to be evaluated.

The threshold for drug treatment of blood pressure and blood lipids in terms of absolute CHD risk is a matter of judgment, and for blood pressure it is necessary to consider cardiovascular risk because of the additional benefit seen for stroke. Considerations include the absolute CHD (or cardiovascular) risk of patients in the trials that demonstrated benefit and the number of at risk patients at these levels of risk who must be treated for a defined period of time for one individual to benefit. It is also necessary to consider the cost of preventing that CHD event at these different levels of absolute CHD or cardiovascular risk. One difficulty with basing recommendations entirely on cost benefit analysis is that the costs of drugs change. Cost benefit analysis of antihypertensive therapy with thiazide diuretics is, for example, favourable because these drugs are cheap and highly effective in decreasing stroke risk even though they are less effective in preventing CHD than cholesterol lowering medication. Statin therapy for lowering cholesterol is currently expensive, but is likely to become cheaper with increasing competition and as patents expire. Importantly, the cost of drug therapy is only one part of the cost as there are resource implications for screening, investigation, and follow up of individuals at different levels of CHD risk, principally in general practice but also in specialised hospital clinics. The evidence from clinical trials has unequivocally shown that individuals with an absolute CHD risk as low as 15% (equivalent to a cardiovascular risk of 20%) over 10 years do benefit from blood pressure and lipid lowering therapies that reduce coronary and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. So the scientific evidence justifies lifestyle and therapeutic interventions in the population, at least down to a 15% absolute CHD risk, but the magnitude of this task and its cost for the medical services would be considerable. The costs would include those of opportunistic screening, follow up, laboratory and other investigations, referral of some patients for a specialist opinion, etc, as well as the cost of drugs. In advocating an order of priorities for coronary prevention, and having started with patients with established atherosclerotic disease, it is appropriate to stage risk factor intervention in the general population, and audit the results achieved at each stage. As a minimum all individuals with an absolute CHD risk of 30% or more over 10 years should be targeted now for comprehensive risk factor management, which will include, as appropriate, blood pressure and lipid lowering therapy. There is already compelling evidence from national audits such as ASPIRE and other local studies that the potential for comprehensive risk factor intervention has not even been achieved in these coronary patients and other high risk individuals. When it has been shown that those at highest risk have been effectively targeted the scientific evidence justifies a progressive expansion of coronary prevention from 30% down to 15% absolute CHD risk, linked to NHS resources needed to deliver effective preventive care. For individuals with an absolute CHD risk less than 15% over the next 10 years, drug therapy is not normally recommended.

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Artificial Unintelligence

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/artificial-unintelligence

A guide to understanding the inner workings and outer limits of technology and why we should never assume that computers always get it right.