The New Prodigal Son

bentley-1273361_1920Over Christmas I became reacquainted with the parable of the Prodigal Son. It is a frequently told story from the New Testament, yet it so often provokes grumbles amongst its audience. And this muffled disapproval always concerns the father’s behaviour. Although everyone can understand the actions of the selfish but ultimately repentant title character, and one can also sympathise with his steadfast but ultimately resentful brother, the father’s response to the return of his lost-but-now-found son strikes many as disproportionate. ..Read more on TCAM’s website

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A Pleasure Shared is a Pleasure Halved

“My book got a great review today,” my colleague announced proudly.
“Aren’t you supposed to say ‘our’ book,” I interjected, “there were two of you who wrote it after all?”
“Of course, I meant ‘our’ book,” he replied in voice that was fully one octave lower.

There is an old saying that goes: a pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled. Whoever came up with that was certainly not thinking about the co-authors of a book because when it comes to reviews, it seems that great review shared is a great review halved. Continue reading

The Secret to Great Teamwork

TLost in forest.he first task given to the attendees of a recent team-building seminar was to go out into the nearby woods on a treasure hunt. I heard about it from one of the disgruntled ‘treasure hunters’. Suffice it to say he was not best pleased by the request to search through damp undergrowth on a frosty January morning. Nor was it clear to him how this would improve the performance of his team of auditors and analysts.

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The World’s Most Expensive Dustbin

Open golden trash canJulia Roberts is a superb actress. All too often, though, she headlines in movies whose themes I find uniquely unappealing. This means, when I do see her films, I have been dragged reluctantly to the cinema by my insistent other. This simple observation partially explains my lack of appreciation for Ms Roberts’ choice of scripts: how could I confess to having liked a movie when I had protested my disdain 90 minutes earlier? Nonetheless, I am willing to confess here that one of her films did contain a scene I appreciated very much. This was the one in which a lady leaves some US city and embarks on a voyage of emotional, romantic and cinematographic self-discovery in Italy, Bali and India. The highlight for me was near the start of the film when she packed all of her belongings into self-storage before her grand departure.

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Stimulus interruptus

A patient, when offered the opportunity to take a break midway through a painful medical procedure will often accept the offer. However, a spa client offered the chance to take a short break during a relaxing massage session will typically refuse. In each case, the people on the receiving end of these experiences intuitively believe that they are improving their happiness with their choices. But do they? Continue reading

Dissonance at Every Turn

Due to current traffic conditions your route has been changed.’ These words, spoken in dulcet tones and with casual indifference by the in-car GPS navigation system, are surely the scourge of motorists the world over. So it was once again this weekend The threat of a traffic jam on the route ahead caused me (and dozens of other vehicles armed with shark fin-shaped antennae) to leave the highway in the middle of nowhere. Continue reading

Best Man, Worst Decision-Maker

He was the world’s greatest best man. On the couple’s big day, he had organised all the logistics, been a charming host for dozens of guests, delivered a riotous speech and made a gift of an unforgettable honeymoon vacation. Even years later, he saw his duties as incomplete; he wanted to offer the pair a surprise twentieth anniversary party. So he booked a venue for the bash and started going through his address book to contact all of the original wedding guests. The feedback was overwhelming; everyone found the idea sensational. Indeed, everything looked great, until he got to me. Continue reading

And the Magic Word is…?

There was a ridiculously long queue on the outside lane of the highway on my way home yesterday. It was only after I had driven alongside it for a few moments that I realised that all the cars were waiting to leave at my exit. By that time, of course, I had left the end of the queue far behind and was faced with the task of trying to squeeze into a line of impatient motorist, delayed by some as yet unknown incident beyond the exit ramp, in the middle of the rush-hour. Continue reading

Choice Fatigue

How many decisions have you made so far today? Feeling tired? You may not be surprised to learn that a decision-charged day will leave you mentally-fatigued and progressively worsen your decision-making ability. But did know you that this worsening takes place in a systematic way? As a rule, the greater the fatigue, the more the decision-maker will opt for the choice that is mentally the least demanding, namely the default or the status-quo. This means it is possible to predict what people will choose based solely on the number of decisions they have already made. Continue reading