Five Hidden Strengths of Five Famous People

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In their latest book, Milo and Thuy Sindell discuss how people tend to either focus on eliminating their weaknesses (often a fruitless endeavor) or rely on their more obvious strengths almost entirely (so much so that they become a crutch) instead of developing their latent strengths. These latent strengths are ones that the individual demonstrates some aptitude for and have great potential for development into legitimate dominant strengths. By focusing on such strengths, individuals will add to their personal strengths inventory and expand their skill set even further.

Many of us have secondary strengths and most times, those strengths remain unknown to most others. Here are five famous people with skills you didn't know that they had:

1. Geena Davis: She is an Oscar-winning actress with countless other accolades that testify to her acting skills. What most people don't know is that she is a card-carrying MENSA member and was a semi-finalist for the U.S. Olympic Archery team in 1999. She was ranked in the top 32 archers in the country at the time.

2. Paul Revere: He is a well-known patriot who played a pivotal rule in fighting the British, but he was also a skilled dentist. In fact, he was able to identify the body of Major General Joseph Warren based on the fact that he could identify the dental prosthetic the general wore at the time of his death. This was the first instance in US history where a member of the military was identified through forensic dentistry (now a vital science).

3. Jimmy Stewart: He was a much-beloved star who still regularly appears in reruns almost every week. Stewart was an incredibly successful film star with an Oscar under his belt when World War II broke out. What most people don't know about is the fact that he not only enlisted with the military but took part in several high-risk missions and earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses. He was also considered an exemplary military leader and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After the war ended, Stewart continued in the military and was promoted to Brigadier General. In 1985, he was presented with the Medal of Freedom and the rank of Major General by President Ronald Reagan.

4. Gerald Ford: We all know him as the former President but few know that if it wasn't for politics, Ford may have had an equally illustrious career in the NFL. He played football while at the University of Michigan and earned three varsity letters in the years between 1932 and 1934 (in '32 and '33 Michigan went undefeated all the way to the championships because of his skills). He even earned the MVP title in the Wolverines' disappointing year in 1934. Both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions expressed interest in Ford but instead he went to get his law degree at Yale and get into politics.

5. Emperor Hirohito: The 124th Emperor of Japan was not very popular owing to the fact that he was in charge during World War II and escaped being court-martialled for thousands of war crimes and deaths. However, when he was not concentrating on politics, his passion was marine biology. No amateur, he established a marine laboratory and research space in his palace and hired numerous marine biologists to help with his research. Several decades after the war, Hirohito was so knowledgable about the marine sciences that he regularly published scientific research papers in journals about various types of marine life found in Japanese waters.


Five Scientific Reasons Why Singletasking Works (and Multitasking Doesn't)

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In Devora Zack's new book, she argues for the benefits of singletasking over multitasking. Put simply, multitasking is not the way to get things done properly, though our culture tells us there is no other option. There is another option, and it is singletasking -- focusing on one priority or issue at a time with complete attention all the way to completion.

But why singletask? Isn't multitasking effective? Nope, and here are five good reasons why singletasking is way better:

1. Your brain is built for singletasking: Neurologists and researchers have shown that your btain is capable of balancing only two things at a time at most. Overload it any more and it becomes overwhelmed and incapable of balancing concentration and attention adequately.

2. Multitasking makes you fat. Well, maybe not fat, but it definitely makes you put on weight. Studies have shown that those who tend to multitask at mealtimes or when they are hungry end up overeating. This is because the mind is not focused on the task at hand: getting nutrition, so you are less likely to know when you are full.

3. SIngletasking is the key to creativity. Extensive research conducted by academic researchers has shown the moments of creative insight and "a-ha!" instances only occur in an uncluttered mind. The more competition there is for the mind's attention, the less it wanders into creative and non-traditional areas and patterns.

4. Multitasking actually slows down productivity. One of the main reasons we multitask is so that we can get more done in less time. However, a study reported by the American Psychological Association actually indicates that switching between tasks actually slows down productivity more than focusing on each task one at a time.

5. Singletasking is real; multitasking does not exist. There have been countless productivity experts and scientists alike who have made this compelling argument: there is no such thing as multitasking. The very phrase "multitasking" suggests accomplishing several tasks simultaneously. However, all the evidence shows that the "tasks" are never done as competently or as thoroughly as they should be in most cases of multitasking, so what is really being achieved? Can it be called multitasking if the tasks are not handled?