learn to love the pain

Ever wonder what makes people endure marathons, triathlons, ultra-distance cycling races? Their perception of pain is different from normal peoples’ perception of pain.

Ever wonder what makes people quit their jobs and endure the ups and downs for entrepreneurial life? Their perception of pain, risk and reward are different, from others’.

We came across some research that studies the perception, tolerance and sensitivity to pain among athletes, with interesting results: Endurance athletes and soccer players endure pain longer, tend to have a higher tolerance and lower sensitivity to pain, than non-athletes.

It seems to me that we’re unlikely to find one neat mental trick that distinguishes pain gluttons from pain avoiders. Instead, successful athletes likely have an array of different mental tactics for dealing with different types of discomfort in different contexts.

Perhaps the tolerance is higher because they developed coping mechanisms to manage their pain.

Compare that to a world in which we have entrepreneurs that develop products, services and who build companies. These people have sleepless nights, live a life of uncertainty and doubt but are willing to give into that pain, to bring progress to the world. What are the personality traits of these people? Resilience? Grit? Passion?

Thank you, Outside Online

stay-at-home forrest bathing

While Europe is not in shut-down mode (just yet), we strongly suggest you pay a visit to your local forest once in a while. But for the times ahead when we cannot get out, for weather or pandemic reasons, we suggest you bookmark the “Sounds of the Forest Soundmap” by the Timber Festival. A mere 20 minute meditation to the tunes of the Redwood Drive in Santa Cruz, CA or Peñas Blancas National Park, Nicaragua will effectively lower your heart rate and give you clarity & focus for the day.


four ideas for post-covid cities

As cyclists ourselves, we’re loving these ideas, here at Alpha Works!

As coronavirus wreaks havoc on existing structures, we take a look at some visions for cities of the future – and how they hold up
— Read on www.theguardian.com/cities/ng-interactive/2020/sep/25/garden-streets-bike-superhighways-cities-future-coronavirus

ever more evidence for forrest bathing

As we said before, shinrin-yoku is essential for mind, body and soul. Now, the NY Times has published some comprehensive research on the effects of nature deficit:

Numerous studies have shown the mental and physical benefits of spending time in nature, but for some people, it took a pandemic and stay-at-home orders for that desire to spend more time outdoors to feel like a necessity. 

Head on over to the NY Times to read more.

who would have thought that drawing a straight line could be so hard?

This made me set my coffee cup aside:

Even though mathematicians have spent over 2,000 years dissecting the structure of the five Platonic solids — the tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, icosahedron and dodecahedron — there’s still a lot we don’t know about them. Now, a trio of mathematicians has resolved one of the most basic questions about the dodecahedron.

Not is it just amazing that we hadn’t figured out yet how to solve this case, this article makes me actually understand what the mathematicians did!

And what’s best: They had fun while solving the problem:

The analysis was “one of the most fun projects I’ve gotten to work on in my whole career,” Athreya said. “It’s important to keep playing with things.”

The new result shows that even objects that have been studied for thousands of years can still hold secrets, Eskin said. “I think even for [the three mathematicians], it was very, very surprising to say something new about the dodecahedron.”

Quanta Magazine

smarter every day

One of your favorite YouTube channels is Destin‘s „Smarter Every Day“. That’s the place where science meets phantom slo-mo cameras to answer everyday questions and uncover that physics run the world. The host, Destin, is a former developer of weapons and the archetype of a nerd in the YouTube era: smart, witty and equipped with a contagious childlike curiosity.

His most recent video, Episode 242 – World‘s Fastet Pitch, Supersonic Baseball Canon, is a must see for you, my dear readers. Please sit back and enjoy 20 min of physics, joy and mindblown-ness:

Why post this in a business blog? Because I urge you to watch it to the very end. Starting at the 20:20 min mark, the host reaches out to the viewers and asks for (financial) support, in a way that is genuine, authentic and straight from the bottom of the heart.

If you‘re out there, growing your business, you will inevitably be confronted with a similar situation and you‘ll need to raise finance. The stakes seems high and the pressure to raise money is even higher. The lesson you should take home from this video, is that whole-heartedness and authenticity will pave your way. It’s okay to be shy – but be genuine.

Wir schaffen das

It was 2015 when Angela Merkel proclaimed:

“I put it simply, Germany is a strong country, […] the motive with which we approach these matters must be: we have already managed so much, we’ll manage this.” 

This piece by Philip Oltermann, writing for The Guardian, covers the situation of refugees in Germany with an interesting twist, as it’s channeled through the lenses of the British press.

I’m happy and proud over the fact that we managed well. But I’m furious that populists from the far right are gaining ground and undermining the democratic principles and discarding the bare basics of good citizenship.

The Single Most Important Thinking Skill Nobody Taught You

We have been coming across many people and companies (essentially, companies are made of people) with a fixed mindset. This may prove well in a world, where nothing happens. But come Covid-19 and shutdown, these people failed to adapt.

Elastic thinking is about stretching your mind and using ‘bottom up’ processing in the brain rather than the top down executive functions that drive analytical thinking. It encompasses a range of processes including, but not confined to, neophilia (an enthusiasm for novelty), schizotypy, imagination, idea generation and divergent thinking,” explains Dhruti Shah of BBC Capital.

Elastic thinking, in combination with rational or logical thought, and creative thinking will make you indispensable.

Staying in your fixed-mindset will bring you nowhere from today on. Recruiters must have an elastic mindset to hire the greatest talent (think out of the box). Companies must adapt their strategies. We, as a society, must keep a fluid mindset in order to progress.

Think of water: it always finds a way because its fluid.

via The Single Most Important Thinking Skill Nobody Taught You