Love Letters to Ourselves

What amount of selfies get posted to social media daily? The choices are 100 million, 500 million, and 1 billion. What’s your guess?

The correct answer to this week’s quiz is 100 million. As a percentage of the 2 billion images uploaded daily to social media daily, that’s only 5%. Nevertheless, 100 million is a lot of selfies in an era when it’s also estimated that every 3rd photograph taken by an 18-24 year-old person is of themselves. In 2006, Time magazine’s person of the year was “You.” That same year, Facebook became available to anyone with an email address and the selfie-stick was invented. Every selfie has been described as a “love letter to yourself,” and Rod Stewart has sung that every face tells a story. Bringing all of these—and more—fascinating strains together regarding what is happening within popular culture is Jessica Helfand in her fascinating, visually-rich book Face: An Visual Odyssey. Check it out!

Released today: episode #58 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Helfand and her book published by MIT Press in 2019. Click here to get to the new episode. 

Image of author Jessica Halfand and an image of her book "Face: A Visual Odyssey" for Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight Podcast episode #58 "Love Letters to Ourselves".

Jessica Helfand is a designer, artist, and writer. She taught at Yale University for over two decades, and has had additional roles at a variety of institutions ranging from the American Academy in Rome to the California Institute of Technology. Helfand also cofounded Design Observer.

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Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

On the 1st Anniversary of George Floyd’s Murder

Photo from Exhibit 17 from Derek Chauvin’s trial was a still-frame image of the police officer glaring at onlookers while his knees rested on George Floyd’s throat. What was Chauvin’s facial expression saying? The answer is both anger (tense lower right eyelid, wide open right eye and lowered eyebrows) as well as fear (eyebrows raised, creating a large wrinkle across Chauvin’s forehead) and Disgust  (curled upper lip and protruding lower lip)

This week marks the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death under the knee of Derek Chauvin. Much has been written about that tragedy, including an article a month ago by John Blake of CNN.

The thrust of Blake’s article—about the harm that indifference to injustice causes—I agree with. As an expert in analyzing facial expressions, however, I couldn’t disagree more with how Blake describes the look on Chauvin’s face as being “one of bored disinterest,” with the “only flicker of emotion” being “annoyance at the crowd” gathered to plead for Floyd’s life. This still-frame image (Exhibit 17 in Chauvin’s trial) actually tells a far different story. There isn’t just annoyance on display; there’s very real anger in how strongly Chauvin is glaring at the crowd. There’s fear, too, as at some level Chauvin must have known that having video bear witness to what was transpiring could put him in legal jeopardy. 

Finally, there’s a hint of a third emotion as well, namely disgust given how Chauvin’s upper lip curls a bit while the lower lip pushes down slightly. Disgust with the victim his knee is suffocating? Disgust with the crowd? With the idea that anybody would dare contest a policeman’s actions? Who’s to say. Disgust is an emotion Chauvin certainly won’t own up to as he appeals a guilty verdict as it would reveal a repugnance for the very people he was sworn to protect and serve.

What inspired you to write the book?

Released today: episode #55 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” on the New Books Network. The episode features Carla Diana, the author of My Robot Gets Me: How Social Design Can Make New Products More HumanClick here to get to the new episode.

Carla Diana is a robot designer responsible for the creative aspects of Diligent Robotics’ new hospital service robot named Moxi. She created and leads the 4D Design masters program at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, wrote the world’s first children’s book on 3D printing, Leo the Maker Prince, and she cohosts the Robopsych Podcast.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

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Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

What Women Show That Men Don’t Notice

Actually, the answer was the women’s faces about 80% of the time, with the remaining 20% split more or less evenly between the women’s bust lines and the products on sale at various price points. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Faces reveal a lot, if you’re paying attention. For instance, in Nicole Tersigni’s book that pairs 17th-19thcentury paintings of men and women together alongside snarky, pointed captions, what are the women being portrayed in the paintings feeling as they listen to the men hold court?

When the topic is mansplaining, it’s often anger—perhaps due to men trying to control how the women should “see” the world. When the topic is men pretending to be concerned, it’s often contempt—perhaps due to the women not trusting that the men have their needs and wants most at heart. And when it’s men giving guidance regarding sex and deportment, it’s often fear—perhaps due to the women’s discomfort with having their private space violated by men making insinuating moves in their direction. Do the men in the paintings notice how the women are reacting? No, they don’t; instead, the men are mostly smiling—at ease, despite failing to comprehend, or perhaps enjoying that the women in their company feel uncomfortable.

Released today: episode #53 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Nicole Tersigni, the author of Men to Avoid in Art and LifeCheck out the audio link below to get oriented or click on here to get to the new episode.

Nicole Tersigni is a comedic writer experienced in improv comedy and women’s advocacy. She lives in metro Detroit with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. 

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Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Is It Time to Retire the Saying “Bully for You”?

Given the difference between bias and prejudice, what’s the best counter-response to prejudice. Is it an “I” statement, an “It” statement or a “You” statement?

First, let’s clarify that prejudice is a consciously-held bias against others based on gender, race, religion, or other factors. As for our little quiz, “I” statements may work best in responding to people not even aware that they have a bias problem. The reason is that telling these people how their bias impacts you personally, as a victim of bias, increases their awareness, and makes them take responsibility for the bias rather than (falsely) attribute that bias to others. A “You” statement is a way to get bullies who are being mean-spirited and exercising power to back off – in very personal terms. You’re fighting power with the power that your response will have consequences for the bully in question. That leaves an “it” statement as your best tool in countering prejudice because you’re dealing with a fixed attitude, a bias or essentially, an unmovable object that must be called out objectively for what it is: a cancerous problem.

Released today: episode #52 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Kim Scott, the author of Just Work: Get Sh*t Done, Fast & Fear and her business partner, Trier BryantCheck out the audio link below to get oriented or click here to get to the new episode.

Kim Scott and Trier Morgan co-founded the company Just Work to help organization and individuals crate more equitable workplaces. Scott was previously a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and other tech companies. She’s been on the faculty at Apple University and led various teams at Google. 

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Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

What’s Your Unpacking List Look Like?

“If you’re looking to challenge yourself and change your life, where might you visit? Option A is Las Vegas, where “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Option B is for you to decide.

It’s been said that tourists visit, travelers explore. A journey that has both an external and internal component means taking a hard, realistic look at the habits and characteristics of your current life and daring to imagine how you might transcend the status quo to reach a more ideal self. To do so requires “unpacking” to make room for new learnings and growth. Some journeys pose physical challenges. Others might pose challenges that are more emotional, spiritual, social or mental in nature. Everyone has a bucket list. Take your top 5 destinations and put them to this test: which best qualifies as posing the fullest challenge possible along all five dimensions for you?

Released today: episode #50 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Eric Rupp, the author of The Transformational Travel Journal: Your Guide to Creating a Life-Changing JourneyCheck out the audio link below to get oriented or click on here to get to the new episode.

Eric Rupp is a founding partner at the Transformational Travel Council, and runs an insightful naturalist guiding company. He’s a traveler, storyteller, engineer, carpenter, designer, and woodsman. After building traditional stone houses in Spain and running a small university in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Rupp currently splits his time on- and off-grid around Seattle, Washington.

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Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Restoring the Statue of Liberty

An image of this Q&A-  Q: Does the Statute of Liberty celebrate: 1) immigration or 2) Emancipation? A: As originally conceived, #2.  Source: Berry & Gross, A Black Women’s History of the United States

When the French abolitionist Edouard de Laboulaye and designer Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi unveiled their concept for the Statute of Liberty in 1871, the monument include a broken shackle at Liberty’s feet and a chain in her left hand. By 1886, however, the tide had turned. Jim Crow—and Jane Crow—laws were being cemented into place across the South. So a new version of the statute was dedicated instead, leaving black women bereft of their rightful place in the country’s iconography. Since 1886, has there been progress? Yes, but sometimes just barely. Why did black women working as domestic servants in the South join the Great Migration north? Often to escape the risk of rape in their masters’ homes. It’s been a long road forward to commanding figures like Kamala Harris and Serena Williams, among others, leading the charge.

Released today: episode #48 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Kali Nicole Gross, the co-author along with Daina Ramey Berry of A Black Women’s History of the United StatesCheck out the audio link below to get oriented or click on  https://newbooksnetwork.com/category/special-series/dan-hills-eq-spotlight to get to the new episode.

Kali Gross is Acting Professor of African American Studies at Emory University. Her previous books include Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso, winner of the 2017 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in nonfiction.

News Items

My interview on Cynthia Farrell’s podcast “This Is How We Lead” aired this week. Check out “Emotions & Facial Coding in Leadership” by clicking on any of these links below:

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3fCztHJ
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/31w0SCw
Google Podcasts: https://bit.ly/3ctGiZS
iHeart Radio: https://ihr.fm/31x6exq
Pandora: https://bit.ly/3cwVIg0
Amazon Music: https://amzn.to/2PHb5K4

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Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

A Tale of Forbearance & Resiliency

The 2018 movie Green Book won an Academy Award for Best Picture. The real deal, however, is Taylor’s book, which involved scouting over 10,000 Green Book sites where black motorist found safe places to refuel their cars, eat and sleep while on the road. Today, under 5% are still in operation and 75% have ceased to exist since The Green Book was published (1936-1967). Some establishments were the victims of decay over time. But often there are other explanations: “urban renewal” that meant new highways plowing through black communities, laying waste to black-owned businesses; redlining bank practices; or to a lack of anti-monopoly enforcement, whereby white-owned businesses seized unfair advantages. Add in a staggering 700% rise in America’s prison population since Bill Clinton’s crime bill and the reasons why African-American commercial centers are no longer as resilient as they once were are clear.

Released today: episode #43 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Candacy Taylor, the author of Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in AmericaListen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Candacy Taylor is an award-winning author, photographer and cultural documentarian. She’s been a fellow at Harvard University under the direction of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and her projects have been funded by organizations ranging from National Geographic to The National Endowment for the Humanities. Her work has received extensive media coverage in places like the PBS Newshour and The New Yorker

Events & Tips

Candacy Taylor was instrumental in helping the Smithsonian create the special traveling exhibit “The Negro Motorist Green Book.” First stop is the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. For the other, future stops of the exhibit, check out the Smithsonian’s web site.

A friend of mine, David Perry, has released a book Diary of a Successful Job Hunter on the App Sumo to help get the country back to work. It costs merely $1.

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Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Fair is Fair

Meetings eat up the workday of most office employees.  But how efficient—and fair—are those meetings? Meetings often involve vague agendas, without a clear sense of purpose or outcome. When that problem of inefficiency happens meetings can feel like a long-winded story without a dramatic climax or pay-off. The story lumbers on until time runs out and everyone goes on to the next tedious meeting.

Beyond that problem, however, is another, ultimately even more corrosive problem: fairness. Often, meetings aren’t inclusive. Women in particular aren’t getting an equal chance to speak or, when they do, find themselves being sidelined. Men tend to speak 75% of the time, even though they rarely constitute 75% of the people in the room. Men also tend to interrupt women, co-opt their ideas, and leave them to do the “office housework,” i.e., things like taking meeting notes or bringing attendees refreshments. As a result, women can feel disregarded, disrespected and less motivated on the job, and who could blame them?

“Work smarter, not harder” has become a cliché. “Work more fairly” should take its place.

Why Gender Equity Is a Men’s Issue

Released today: episode #36 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring David G. Smith and W. Brad Johnson, the authors of Good Guys: How Men Can Be Better Allies for Women in the WorkplaceListen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

David Smith is Associate Professor of Sociology in the College of Leadership and Ethics at the U.S. Naval War College. Brad Johnson is Professor of Psychology in the Department of Leadership, Ethics and Law at the U.S. Naval Academy, and a Faculty Associated in the Graduate School of Education at Johns Hopkins University.

This episode explores the experiences women have at work and how to improve matters, especially if male allies provide some help in changing office politics and how organizations behave. From situational awareness to acknowledging that sexual harassment is a man’s issue, so much can and should change. 

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.

Working up a Sweat

Quote: Between 1965 and 2009, the amount of time Americans sit around increased by 43%. Daniel E. Lieberman

It’s a typical New Year’s resolution: you’re going to get in better shape. To do it, you’ll eat less or healthier and you’re also going to exercise more. Here’s the math. For the average adult American weighing 180 pounds, total daily energy expenditure is about 2,700 calories. Maintaining our body, i.e., our resting metabolism, will cover only 1,700 of those calories.

Where can you “pick up the slack” by expending another 1,000 calories each day? You might still be growing. You might be sexually active. You might be otherwise physically active, i.e., exercise. Those are your options. Otherwise, that extra 1,000 calories will go towards storing energy, i.e., getting fatter.

Human beings have not evolved to use up extra calories through exercise, even though that would be healthier. We inherited a survival strategy based on reserving our extra calories, a trait that has helped us stay alive and reproduce in the past. If we have not inherited an instinct to help us work up a sweat, what will motivate us? The answers is making it fun, including: exercising with friends, doing so while entertaining yourself, as part of a game, in a nice setting, and adding variety to exercise routines. Finally, set realistic goals in order to stay with it. Use those tips to make your life span and health span overlap.

Despite Not Evolving to Exercise, It’s Healthy

Released today: episode #35 of “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring Daniel E. Lieberman, the author of Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and RewardingListen to the clip below and click on the image to get to the new episode.

Photo of Author Daniel E. Lieberman and a photo of his new book: Exercised Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding. Episode 35 of Dan Hill's EQ Spotlight podcast "Despite Not Evolving to Exercise, It's Healthy"

Lieberman is the Lerner Professor of Biological Sciences in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. He received degrees from Harvard and Cambridge Universities. This episode isn’t about how to exercise (more) but, rather, why exercise is important and the myths that surround it. A key part of the conversation is a comparison between Westerners and non-Westerners, especially in Africa, to offer insights of what kind of historic lifestyle patterns Americans now run the risk of violating.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the president of Sensory Logic, Inc.