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Don't Look Down

A man who was afraid of heights decided to conquer his fear by rappelling down the side of a steep cliff. A guide was on hand to help him, but as he stood on the edge of the cliff, the sight of the long drop and the rocks waiting for him down below made him freeze.

The guide gave him some simple advice: “Don’t look where you don’t want to go.”

By this simple twist on familiar goal-setting advice ("look where you want to go"), the man was able to complete his descent.

The following Monday at work, the man remembered his mountaineering advice. He had been stressing about all the stuff he didn’t like about his work: his boss, his effectiveness, his job duties, some of his co-workers. His efforts to fix these issues just made him feel anxious.

After his climbing trip, he realized that, metaphorically speaking, he had been staring directly down the mountain at these issues at work—looking only where he didn’t want to go. He decided to try an experiment and resolved to “see” only things he enjoyed about his job for the entire day.

The result? He found himself relaxing more, getting along with his boss better, and getting more done.

Next time you find yourself buried in pessimism…take the guide’s advice and don’t look where you don’t want to go. Focus on things you enjoy about the situation. It may not fix the problems, but you’ll probably feel better.

How to Get A Raise

The economy may be partially to blame for recent freezes on raises, but your own mistakes could also be blocking the increase you think you deserve. Take a look at these reasons why you might not be earning as much as you could:

· Your achievements are invisible. Don’t be a showoff, but make sure your bosses know what you’ve accomplished in the previous year. Managers are busy; they may be unaware of your good work if you don’t keep them in the loop.

· You’re focused on the wrong priorities. You can work hard, but if you’re not supporting your manager’s objectives, you won’t be able to justify a bump in salary. Find out what tasks and activities contribute directly to measures of success, and concentrate on those.

· You haven’t asked. Don’t make demands, but tell your manager what you’d like to earn. You may find out that your figure is unrealistic, of course. But you may learn what you can do to win the raise you want, and your manager will know what your goals are.

· You’re working too hard. Twelve-hour days and 60-hour weeks don’t necessarily mark you as worthy of a raise. You’ll impress managers more with efficiency and results than by just working longer hours than anyone else (which may suggest you don’t know how to manage your time).

· You don’t know your value. Keep track of the employment market for people in your job and your region. Current data will help you make your case. Or you may realize that you’re already earning what’s reasonable for someone in your position, in which case you’ll want to start looking at pursuing opportunities for training and advancement to enhance your worth.

· You’re not pushing yourself. The days of getting more than a cost-of-living raise for just showing up are dwindling. Show your willingness to take on more responsibility—stretch yourself and your skills, and demonstrate a commitment to going the extra mile when necessary.

The Science of New Elements

Look fast, and you might just see a new element being born in a German particle collider. The new element, number 117, is a “superheavy” atom containing 117 protons. It was created by scientists who shot a beam of calcium atoms made up of 20 protons and 28 neutrons into a target of radioactive berkelium, which has 97 protons and 152 neutrons. The collision between the elements fused some of the protons while ditching a few of the neutrons, resulting in a new short-lived substance currently known as ununseptium, according to the Science News website. A new, official name must come from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

Why should you care, and why do scientists look for new elements anyway?

The fact is a lot of fundamental research is undertaken for the sake of pushing the envelope, or furthering our understanding of the physical world simply for the sake of it. 100 years ago, we might have thought special relativity was "useless." Turns out it is necessary for our GPS to communicate with satellites in real time. We never know what will come of something we study. And even if we can't find a practical application, the value of the study might simply be a stepping stone to something else in some far future scientific study.