GUILT – That uncomfortable, yet ubiquitous feeling that seems to never go away. Every day, we feel guilty about so many things: being a workaholic, not being productive enough, not having enough time to hang out with family & friends, etc.
The list is endless. Does it ring a bell?
We live in a society that puts a lot of pressure to balance it all perfectly well. We have been programmed to think that successful people can handle it all every day. But is it realistic?
Randi Zuckerberg pushes back against the idea of a well-balanced life. And in her book Pick Three is an easy self-help guide to achieve “real” balance in all areas of life.
You are the definition of a superwoman wearing different capes every day as a mom, entrepreneur, author, and speaker. How do you pick a project that you want to be involved with?
First of all, thank you. That’s incredibly kind, especially since I am 8 months pregnant right now and can barely walk down the street, let alone feel super at anything! But women truly are superheroes. For me, my passion is supporting other women who are performing at the top of their game – and just need that small boost up to get there – whether that’s in technology, business, theater, running their household, you name it. Sometimes I’ll invest in a particular entrepreneur or project if I think it’s something where I can truly be helpful, sometimes I’ll try and give advice that can scale to many people through my books, my radio show, or my mentorship and coaching platform, Zuckerberg Institute.
Where were you in your life when you were writing your book,
I was raising my two young sons while traveling 100 days a year to speak at events around the world and simultaneously running my own business back at home. Oh, and trying to have some semblance of maintaining health, fitness, and friendships. I love everything I do, but definitely felt the guilt creeping in and the sleep going bye bye. The concept of Pick Three (Work. Sleep. Family. Fitness. Friends. Pick Three) has saved me and my sanity more times than I can say, and writing the book definitely could not have happened at a more perfect or necessary point in my life!
In your book, you discuss the concept of being “well-lopsided” as the key to success and happiness. Please tell us more about that.
I’ve always believed that in order to achieve excellence in anything, you need to give yourself permission to really focus on that area of your life, even if it means that other things need to temporarily go on the back burner. If you ask anyone to tell you the one or two things they are most proud of in their life, they will start talking about times when they weren’t well-balanced at all. That’s why I am a huge advocate for being well-lopsided. In the long run, you can’t ignore or sacrifice areas of your life forever, but sometimes it is essential in order to thrive, or even simply survive, in the short term.
What was your motivation behind this book?
As a woman in technology and business, I’ve gotten used to being the only woman in the room, the only woman speaking in a panel discussion. And I noticed that I would be the only one who would get asked: “how do I balance it all?” It made me curious; when did work/life balance become an issue only for women? Doesn’t everyone have to make decisions and trade-offs about their time, regardless of gender, age, work, or marital status? I started diving deeper into different theories around time management and how we prioritize different aspects of our lives, and that’s how I came up with Pick Three. It took me almost seven years from coming up with this mantra to writing a book about it. During that time, I’ve done countless research, spoken with experts across all five of the Pick Three categories, and honed/changed some of my own theories about what truly leads to balance, success, and happiness.
How did the Pick Three method originate? How does it work?
I was starting to figure out that in the real world, achieving anything of substance, whether at work, a personal goal, a health milestone, required intense focus and “lopsidedness.” Everything you say yes to in life means you are saying no to something else, whether that something else is sleep, or going to the gym, or dating, you name it. One day, out of sheer exasperation, I tweeted out: “The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma. Maintaining Friendships. Getting Sleep. Staying Fit. Having a Family. Building a business. Pick Three.” After the tweet went viral, I realized that this wasn’t just something that applied to entrepreneurs. Everyone struggles with how to manage the many demands on our time.
The Pick three method encourages us to choose three categories of our life each day – Why is it important to ONLY pick three?
Before I committed to Pick Three, I would go to bed thinking about everything I didn’t do that day. I had mile-long to-do lists and guilt that flowed even longer. However, I noticed that when I gave myself permission to Pick Three in a given day, I could easily accomplish everything I set out to do. And not only that, I did it well. I’d end the day thinking about everything I had done, rather than what I hadn’t. And I started making Ta-Da lists rather than To-Do lists (which I outline in the book). Now I’m not saying that you can only pick Three things and then you’re stuck with those same three things every day until the end of time. No, I believe in balance over the long run but lopsidedness in the short term. Every day is a new opportunity to pick a different three things.
How does the Pick Three method help people achieve balance over time?
The reason Pick Three exists is to give ourselves permission to be lopsided at a time when life is skewed in different directions. By focusing on a few tasks each day—varying what needs attention and when—we eventually will balance out. Sometimes we are lucky and we get to choose which three to pick. Sometimes life is crazy and throws wrenches at us and picks for us. Either way, whether you are on top of the world or simply treading water, giving yourself permission to focus on a few things and freeing yourself from the guilt of not being everything to everyone can make a huge difference in our overall happiness and well-being.
We live in a culture that puts a lot of pressure to balance everything and get it perfectly right. How do you think we can change that?
It’s easy to look at social media and think that everyone else’s lives are perfect. But peer beneath the surface and you’ll find that everyone is struggling. If you try and do everything well every day, you are setting yourself up for failure and mediocrity across every category of your life. Personally, I’d rather be great at a few things than average at everything! But it definitely takes time, mindfulness, and focus to get to that place and to give yourself permission to be ok with being “lopsided.”
What do you hope for readers to take away from your book?
No one’s life is perfect, regardless of what it looks like on the outside. We’re all just trying to live the best way we know how. Comparison and judgment won’t make you happy, it’s actually the opposite, so avoid being hard on yourself at all costs. Being mindful and careful about what you focus your time on, even if it means saying no to things, will help you be happier, more successful, and yes, more balanced, in the long run.
You’ve had an amazing professional journey, from Facebook director of marketing to founder of the Zuckerberg Institute. What is the one piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs that are just starting?
Every single day is a new opportunity to make choices, to reconsider how you are going to spend your time, and to prioritize the things that truly feed your soul. I love seeing the entrepreneurs I mentor and coach through the Zuckerberg Institute start ditching the guilt and giving themselves permission to accomplish greatness. Nobody becomes an entrepreneur because they want to be mediocre – if you’ve made the decision to start your own business, this is the time to dig deep, focus,and build something you can truly be proud of.
Why wearing a mask is everyone’s business
Almost 20 million people have contracted COVID-19 and there have been over half a million deaths as well. Public health experts have emphasized the use of face coverings to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. In response, extremist groups have taken to rallying against the use of masks, claiming the required use of masks is an infringement on their rights.
“Masks make us slaves,” mentioned a lady from Berlin.
“Let kids be kids. No masks,” mentioned another from a Salt Lake City protest.
The use of masks has been encouraged extensively for its effectiveness in retaining bodily fluid that spreads germs and, if contracted, COVID-19. There are countless graphics and scientific studies that prove the benefits of using masks in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
Even so, a Florida restaurant owner, against mandated mask use, offered an anti-mask extremist group free meals at his restaurant, which violated Orange County’s mandate to wear masks in public spaces. Now, Florida is the world’s new epicenter for the virus.
The use of masks, as well as the handle of the virus, has become a political topic to be debated rather than a humanitarian emergency.
When public officials require the use of masks, there is a perception that constitutional rights are being infringed. However, in that thought, there’s a selfish disregard for those that don’t have basic human needs met, such as access to proper healthcare.
This pandemic has exposed the deep-rooted systemic disparities that exist in low-income families’ lack of access to healthcare.
Those that feel so inclined to attend rallies and protest the use of masks feel secure in their access to healthcare, the quality of treatment they may be receiving, and the fact that they can financially afford to be incapacitated by the virus. That is not a luxury that everyone has.
Nevertheless, those against the use of masks are constantly in contention with the public officials that require them.
Treating masks as something worth debating invalidates the lives of those who don’t have any of the aforementioned luxuries.
Additionally, it creates an excess of conversation around something timely that can cost people’s lives.
Some people have taken to social media to voice these protests.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color, but with the Black Lives Matter movement necessitating protest and attention, communities of color have had to endure two intense traumas.
Politicians have taken the opportunity to politicize the pandemic at the expense of communities of color. And as the aforementioned tweet pointed out, some people just don’t recognize oppression and thus minimize others’ experiences for their benefit.
People have forgotten to listen to the real experts, those that are informed on the risks of the virus, and are knowledgeable about how it spreads and how to contain it. Instead, they focus on those wanting to start speculative arguments, while millions continue to die.
4 Psychedelic Drugs That Are Shockingly Beneficial in Treating Mental Health Issues
Psychedelic drugs have been used across cultures for centuries, but only recently has modern science begun to tap into the potential use of these drugs as a mental health treatment.
The word psychedelic comes from two Greek roots: “psyche,” meaning mind/soul, and “Delos/delic,” meaning to reveal. Thus, the word translates to “soul/ mind revealing.”
Unfortunately, for this potentially revolutionary mental health treatment, the long-held stigma towards drugs continues to complicate research. For a while, this made it nearly impossible to continue looking into the potential benefits of psychedelic drugs. These restrictions are loosening, however, and the FDA has even called psilocybin therapy a “breakthrough therapy.” This means more and more researchers are able to study these drugs. The findings are often groundbreaking.
Trials are currently underway to test psychedelic drugs including psilocybin, LSD, ketamine, and others in order to treat a predicted mental health epidemic that is beginning to occur as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While more research is needed, preliminary findings are shockingly successful in treating mental health issues including, but not limited to, PTSD, depression, drug addiction, and anxiety.
Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms)
Research done with Psilocybin suggests that it may be successful in providing a lasting decrease in anxiety for people suffering from life-threatening diseases such as cancer.
In combination with therapy, the drug helped 13 participants “grapple with loss and existential distress.” Nearly all participants reported that they developed a different understanding of dying after using the drug according to Gabby Agin-Liebes, BA, of Palo Alto University, who conducted the research.
“Participants made spiritual or religious interpretations of their experience and the psilocybin treatment helped facilitate a reconnection to life, greater mindfulness and presence, and gave them more confidence when faced with cancer recurrence,” said Agin-Liebes.
Another study suggests that psilocybin can be used on patients with treatment-resistant depression with promising results. The results show symptom improvements for the patients after just two psilocybin treatment sessions which remained significant 6 months after the treatment.
Ayahuasca has played an important part in many South American traditional religions for centuries. This plant-derived psychoactive drug was first formulated by indigenous South Americans of the Amazon basin.
Some communities that use the drug regularly still exist in the 21st century despite exploitative measures of Western nations who saw the drug as “uncivilized.” The substance is typically prepared by a shaman or religious guide and ingested by members of a religious group. The substance is regarded as a valuable tool in places of worship.
Ayahuasca has only recently been studied as a potential treatment for depression and addiction, or for people coping with trauma.
“We found that ayahuasca also fostered an increase in generosity, spiritual connection and altruism,” said Clancy Cavnar, PhD, with Núcleo de Estudos Interdisciplinares sobre Psicoativos.
Adele Lafrance, Ph.D., of Laurentian University, highlighted a study of 159 participants who reported on past use of hallucinogens and their emotions and spirituality levels. The study found that using hallucinogens related to a higher level of spirituality and emotional wellbeing as well as fewer symptoms of disordered eating, depression, and anxiety.
A 2016 study found that after taking LSD, healthy participants reported increased optimism and trait openness. The study seems to reinforce the idea that psychedelics improve psychological wellbeing in the mid-long term.
LSD, like Psilocybin and Ayahuasca, shows promise as a treatment for anxiety and depression among other conditions. It is also commonly reported to increase spirituality and, in turn, emotional wellbeing.
In an interview with an anonymous source, they claimed that taking LSD substantially decreased their levels of social anxiety.
“Going into the trip, I set an intention to address my feelings of anxiety around my self-perception,” they said. “By focusing on this throughout the trip, I was shocked by how much happier I felt afterward.”
They say that the positive effects have continued in the months following the experience. “I can’t believe how much more self-assured I feel now. It is like night and day.”
They want to remind everyone that it is a serious drug and not to underestimate the power of it, and not to abuse it. “If you are going to trip, you need to do a lot of research and be in a safe environment with people you trust.” While they continue to experience long-term positive effects, they know it is not the same for everyone.
MDMA, more commonly known as ecstasy, is in its third and last phase of clinical trials and is hoping to win approval by the FDA to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
Findings from the study also suggest that the drug can help treat social anxiety in autistic adults when used in combination with psychotherapy. Twelve adults in the study with moderate to severe anxiety showed “significant and long-lasting reductions in their symptoms” according to the research.
“Social anxiety is prevalent in autistic adults and few treatment options have been shown to be effective,” said Alicia Danforth, Ph.D., of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, who conducted the study. MDMA and therapy, based on this research, could be a potential breakthrough for this condition.
These studies only represent a small percentage of a larger database of information on the potential benefits of psychedelic drugs. While the findings are promising, more research is needed. Self-treatment using these drugs is risky and potentially dangerous.
If you are interested, contact a medical professional and continue to do extensive research before taking any type of psychedelic. Waiting until they are an FDA approved treatment option will be the safest and most effective way to treat any mental health condition.
How I Began to Live More Meaningfully and How You Can Too
It took me a while to get to this point. I first realized—and I mean really realized— I had a problem during my freshman year of college. But my issues went back years and years.
I think we’d all like to believe that our problem can be summed up in one little diagnosis or one word, but that’s not how it works at all.
For me, my anxiety feeds into my body image issues, which feed into a lack of self-esteem, which then circles back to my anxiety.
When I did realize that I wasn’t okay and that the way I was feeling wasn’t sustainable, I decided to do nothing. I actively decided that there was no possible way to change how I felt and that I would always feel this way.
I would never be able to look in the mirror and not ache. I would never be able to break free of the self-pitying, cynical voice in my head. I wouldn’t be able to break away from my social anxiety and the constant fear that I wasn’t good enough and never would be.
I continued to believe this and live this way for a year. I smiled, laughed, and got good grades, but I actually wished I was someone completely different; someone, better. Not everyone wears their anxiety publicly; like covering myself up with a coat, mine was kept hidden until no one was looking.
It wasn’t until the fall of my sophomore year that I finally told a friend that I was struggling. I spent that entire quarter in a fog—I cried walking to and from class, sometimes leaving in the middle of lectures to hyperventilate in the bathroom. I had a single dorm room at the time, and I spent most of my time there, crying alone instead of in my usual haunts with friends.
It was there, in my room, that I finally told my friend everything. It was pure coincidence; she would often come bang on my door to scare me and then I’d invite her in and we’d chat and watch TV together. But this time, she caught me crying. Of course, I told her to go away; I convinced myself that I could handle everything alone like I always had.
But she didn’t leave. She waited outside the door listening, I guess. She waited a few more minutes, and knocked more softly and asked again if she could come in. I wiped off my face, put on my goofy, self-deprecating grin, and opened the door.
I probably lied, said something about what an idiot I was, pretended I was crying over a TV show or commercial.
What my friend did next saved me. She just sat cross-legged on my bed and waited for me to tell her everything, so I did. I told her the full truth that I had never told anyone before (and have told only one other person since). She listened and broke in rarely. And when I was all done, she told me I should go to the Counseling and Psychological Services at our university.
When I resolutely told her that I could still deal with it alone, she didn’t push me any farther. She just said that she valued me, even when I didn’t value myself. That she would always listen, though she couldn’t promise that she wouldn’t offer advice afterward.
She said that she loved me and that when I look in the mirror, I should tell myself I am beautiful, even if I didn’t believe it at first.
She saw the signs that my own mother didn’t. She noticed the way my smile would drop when no one was looking. She noticed when I would leave our circle of friends to be alone, only to come back with another fake grin.
She noticed how I avoided my own reflection like the plague. She had noticed that her friend could still smile and carry on while being in pain on the inside.
At the time, it felt inconsequential. I would go on to talk to her many times, and it was only because of her that I finally did seek help by calling a therapist.
I came to the realization that it simply wasn’t fair to treat her and her acts of friendship as therapy.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a friend who will take on that role while they are also trying to take care of themselves. She not only listened, but she pushed me to seek help and understood my emotions and pain though they were illogical and nonsensical at times.
I definitely should have sought help sooner. I assumed the painful conversations I had with my friend were not helping me, but I was wrong. I began to accept myself for who I was instead of hating myself for the person I thought I saw in the mirror.
No one deserves to hate themselves, though I spent a lot of time convincing myself otherwise. I hated myself for being so pitiful and for crying so much. I hated myself for not being able to control my eating better and for not looking like an Insta-model.
Frankly, it wasn’t fair of me to lean so heavily on a friend for so long, but I can’t express how grateful I am to her for letting me do so. During that period, I wasn’t giving back to that relationship nearly as much as I received. She did not deserve to bear the full brunt of my problems on her shoulders the way she did.
I’ve only just started therapy over quarantine, but it has not yet cured all my problems. Just a few months of counseling have not “fixed” me, nor have my anxieties and pain melted away.
But, I do know that I am getting there instead of just wallowing in my own feelings and self-directed anger. It honestly feels really good to take action against this negative attitude that has weighed me down for years. Some days, I even feel good when looking at myself in the mirror.
If you or your friend is suffering silently, please consider calling a hotline or the counseling service at your university or place of work. Money is secondary. What others think of you is secondary. You deserve to live meaningfully; you are worth more than the barriers that stand between you and your mental health.
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