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Happiness is good, right? Researchers led by Steven Cole at the University of California at Los Angeles made a stunning discovery last year. They studied the gene expression profiles of people who experienced happiness from seeking pleasure and those who experienced happiness from seeking meaningful purpose in life. While both pleasure and purpose seekers reported experiencing happiness at a conscious level, the gene expression profiles of the two groups told a different story.

The profiles of the purpose seekers exhibited low levels of inflammatory gene expression and strong levels of antiviral and antibody genes. The pleasure seekers showed the opposite. Their profiles were consistent with people who are more likely to experience adverse health and premature death.

This new research is relevant to how we live our lives. People who seek purpose in their lives feel they make a difference. They experience greater energy and enthusiasm. They are more likely to give their best efforts and persevere through the inevitable challenges and difficult seasons in life that everyone experiences.…

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Children making music with instruments at homeMusic and song are some of the most underused educational techniques. We know that musical intelligence is one of the eight identified intelligences of Harvard researcher Howard Gardener, but we may not appreciate the role that music and song can play in deepening student learning and promoting memory.

Music and song can help students remember information, particularly lists or unrelated content. I used to integrate song when teaching names and other minutia in history class. By putting the names to a tune, the students were not only more engaged in learning the content, but would remember it far better.

Two years after they left my class — I taught high-school sophomores — my former students would still retain much of the information, as evidenced by their ability to “visit” my new class as seniors. Some would pop in from the hallway when they heard the familiar song being sung and join right in as if it they had learned it the day before.…

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SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How frequently do you use storytelling to influence and lead people?

  • All the time — I’m constantly telling stories: 45.03%
  • Sometimes — I tell a story on occasion: 43.91%
  • Rarely — I’m not known for telling stories: 9.29%
  • Never — I don’t use stories at all to lead: 1.76%

Use the power of stories. Influencing and leading through stories is a tremendously powerful skill. While some may think storytelling is too much of an art or a soft skill, it’s actually a simple process and a skill you can readily build. Find examples of great stories and pay attention to how they’re crafted. The better you are at telling compelling stories, the more effective you’ll be as a leader.…

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Crowdtap Back to School Shopping InfographicBack-to-school shopping is back — spending will reach $74.9 billion this year, according to National Retail Federation estimates, making back-to-school the second biggest consumer spending season of the year, other than the winter holidays. The NRF also reports that consumers are planning to spend more across every product category. While this spend increase is great news for marketers, they will also likely need a to adjust their strategies because how their consumers shop has changed. So, how will consumers discover and purchase new products this back-to-school shopping season?

Social media will have a large impact on consumer purchases this season, with 64% of back-to-school shoppers reporting that social media will play a role in their back-to-school shopping.

As parents scramble to prepare their kids for school, they’ll lean on the people they know to discover new products, reviews, recommendations, promotions and, of course, sales. A Crowdtap survey of more than 850 men and women found that 45% of those shoppers surveyed will search social sites for peer product reviews and recommendations.…

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CFTC regulations on trade reconstruction are changing the way firms need to think about compliance. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get started.

The Dodd-Frank Act unleashed an avalanche of new rules affecting the financial industry, chief among them the trade reconstruction requirement, which mandates that swap dealers are able to produce a complete reconstruction of a trade within 72 hours of a request by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). To solve for this complex challenge, swap dealers/firms must develop capabilities for correlating a broad range of structured and unstructured pre-trade, trade and post-trade data.

Bloomberg Vault recently hosted a webinar “Trade Reconstruction for Compliance Officers,” presented by Harald Collet, Global Head of Bloomberg Vault, and moderated by Mitch Avnet, Managing Partner, Compliance Risk Concepts, to help compliance officers understand the challenges and think strategically about the process.

“The endpoints of the reconstructed trade is to tie together the different elements: The structured data, including execution and post-execution confirmation and ledger data; unstructured data, such as sales and marketing; and finally communications data, the most complex data,” says Collet.…

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