Tune into Business Game Changers Radio with Sarah Westall: Economy Won’t Collapse, but Dollar Reset in our Future!

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Tune in Monday to hear my interview on Business Game Changers Radio! Learn more!

Irvin Goldman, founder of Validity Holdings, joins Business Game Changers for an in-depth discussion about the United States and global economy. His past experience as head of strategy at JPMorgan Chase (one of the Worlds largest banks) and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald (one of a very small list of primary dealers with the Federal Reserve Bank) gives him unique insight into the inner workings of the U.S. and global economy.

Video Meditation in the Office — Level 1

Video Meditation in the Office — Level 1

Mindfulness in the office often helps reduce stress, especially in high performing, fast-paced work environments. Progressive startups and even financial institutions whose CEOs were once opposed to these methods of decompression are coming around due to studies that have shown that anxiety can be quelled with simple meditation techniques.

This video shows meditation exercises for beginners. Keep an open mind and it’s possible that your body can affect the way your mind responds to stressful stimuli. You may find yourself better equipped to deal with the rest of your work day with these new tools.

 

Past Discontinued Bills Included Another Alexander Hamilton

Past Discontinued Bills Included Another Alexander Hamilton

With the ever-growing digital option for cashless transactions: PayPal, Square and Venmo, wallets are often found sans greenbacks. But as of now, cash is still king — until that denomination gets discontinued.

While we can choose from a rich array of singles, fins, sawbucks and Benjamins (and one day maybe Tubmans), there have been a number of forgotten money that the U.S. Treasury has discontinued.  Ironically, one of the bills had a familiar face on it, that of Alexander Hamilton, who is slated to be removed from the $10 in a few years. (What does the U.S. Treasury have against Hamilton?)

The $10 switch-up debate aside, here are the most notable discontinued bills:

Reverse side of the $2 bill

Reverse side of the $2 bill

$2 Bill

Aside from the years between 1966 to 1976, the $2 bill has been printed since the Civil War. For those who come across the bill, it is still something of a whimsical sight. Its sporadic production makes it a rare treat. The reverse side features one of the most famous paintings in American history: “Declaration of Independence” by John Trumbull.

Most years the Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces zero $2 bills, often less than 1% of the bills that roll off the presses are $2 bills.

The $5000 Bill

The $5000 Bill

The $500 Bill

The most recent $500 bill featured President William McKinley. The last $500 was hot off the presses in 1945, and cold and no longer printed by 1970. Though the bills remain legal tender to this day, most businesses return the currency for smaller denominations — which is a big mistake on their part. The market value of the discontinued currency averages about 40% above its face value.

The $1,000 Bill

The $1000 bill has something in common with the $10 bill: the original featured Alexander Hamilton only to be swapped out for someone else.

The $1K was discontinued in 1969, but is worth more in 2015 than 1969 due to inflation. With The Consumer Price Index at 36.8 in 1969 and at 231 now, the bill was worth less than $160 in ‘69. It was no Summer of Love for the $1000.

So with that tidbit of knowledge revealed, hold onto a $1,000 bill if it happens across your palm, there are only 165,372 of them still in existence. And Hamiltons seem to be targeted for discontinuation.

Good Office Ergonomics Lead To Happiness & Success

Good Office Ergonomics Lead To Happiness & Success

Americans work more than any other country in the industrialized world, which means they spend more time sitting and more time in a sedentary, often non-ergonomic position. Juliet Schor, who penned The Overworked American in 1992, concluded that Americans worked an average of nearly one month more per year in 1990 than thirty years prior.

What people may not know is that bad posture for an extended period of time can affect mood, health and ultimately, productivity in the workplace.

Data collected by Lumo Lift Posture Coach, revealed that only 36% of Americans’ workdays are spent sitting in good posture. “Workers are spending as much as 38 minutes per hour slouching,” says Lumo Bodytech CEO Monisha Perkash — and women’s postures are 20% worse than men.

Can good posture lead to more happiness, more confidence and better leadership? Yes, it can.

Posture Ergonomics

Posture Ergonomics

 

GOOD POSTURE = PRODUCTIVITY

According to the Cleveland Clinic, back pain associated with poor posture is the second leading cause of visits to the doctor’s office — second only to the common cold — which ends up costing employers over $7bn annually, and leads in the cause of disability for workers under 45.

How does that affect productivity? It keeps workers from being at the office due to pain or doctor visits, and when employees are in the office, their energy levels are generally lowered due to headaches, increased stress and lowered concentration. Perkash suggests that sitting in incorrect positions can compress vital organs which prevents them from optimal functioning.  Good posture allows these organs to expand, breathe and work the way they’re intended to.

GOOD POSTURE = CONFIDENCE

The “powerful pose” (shoulders back, back upright) releases certain chemicals in the body related to confidence.  When workers open their chests by using the powerful pose, a hormone associated with increased confidence, testosterone, is released. Cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is decreased.

An Ohio State University study co-author, professor of psychology Richard Petty said, “Most of us were taught that sitting up straight gives a good impression to other people. But it turns out that our posture can also affect how we think about ourselves.  If you sit up straight, you end up convincing yourself by the posture you’re in.”

GOOD POSTURE = BETTER LEADERSHIP

In a 2012 TED Talk on posture, social psychologist Amy Cuddy said, “In the animal kingdom, power and dominance is about expanding; making yourself look bigger,” she says.

Similarly, when we slouch our bodies, we’re in essence making ourselves subservient which leads to less confidence.  Alternately, proper posture exudes dominance and confidence. This confidences leads to better morale and a better attitude, which goes hand-in-hand with better communication with others. If we exude positivity and confidence, it makes us better leaders and better communicators.

If Americans continue to work longer and take less vacations, one way to combat the physical (and psychological) difficulties of those demands, is for employers to insist on good posture techniques for their employees. Better posture means better health and a happier employee.

Here some posture exercises that can help.

 

 

MOOC Popularity Rises While Skepticism Remains

MOOC Popularity Rises While Skepticism Remains

Massive open online courses, or MOOC for short, continue to grow in popularity despite some experts still unsure of its effectiveness. Regardless of the sentiment, the movement to free, open courses for the masses gained a significant worldwide following in recent years. It’s sort of amazing to see where the movement has reached after such humble beginnings.

Many cite the foundation for MOOCs emerged from three main generations of what was once called distance learning: correspondence study, multimedia and computer-mediated. With 1969’s Open University in the UK, the initiative grew because of the school’s combination of several support and learning services. With the digital age birthed out of the 1990’s, open courses expanded with CD-ROMs and other advancing information storage. Soon, college courses began offering lectures and texts on online forums like Blackboard and other similar programs.

MOOCs + Learning

MOOCs + Learning

Then in 2008, the modern MOOC era began with Connectivism and Connective Knowledge/2008 (CCK8). The course took inspiration from a University of Manitoba course–incorporating social media, blogging and other online communication and learning platforms to educate students online. Over 160,000 students from 190 countries enrolled and the movement officially became a worldwide phenomenon. Soon, companies like Udacity, Coursera and EdX would join the ranks–taking the trend to previously unheard of levels.

While the movement has boomed since 2008, many education experts remain split on the true power of MOOCs. One side embraces the movement as the next great education boom for the common person. Others, however, are uncertain of how the movement really educates students with such high levels of students failing to complete courses. Regardless of the mixed sentiments, MOOCs continue to gain in enrollment as more companies enter the open education fray.

Beyond the previously stated big three programs, 400 universities–including much of the country’s highest-ranked institutions–offer MOOC versions of their classes. Currently, 2,400 courses are offered through the platforms. In 2014, the top three subjects remained the same as Humanities, Computer Science & Programming and Business & Management topped the most-enrollment list.

When it comes to MOOC providers, Coursera is the current enrollment leader with 10.5 million students enrolled in programs. EdX has 3 million enrolled while Udactiy boasts 1.5 million. Joining the top five is MiriandaX (1 million) and FutureLearn (800,000).

Currently, China may be the best example of what MOOCs could become. Described as a “rising star,” the country evolved the MOOC term beyond large open courses to cover anything related to online learning and its programs. Not only are students taking to the course, but businesses are emerging as well to become the next MOOC breakout business.

Other programs like Khan Academy are noted for leading the open course movement. When it comes to more specific learning platforms, users have several to chose from as well. For example, language learners can take courses like Duolingo’s free program that currently offers 12 languages to date. Or, when it comes to coding students can learn at several destinations like Codecademy. Furthermore, Coursera continues to expand their course offering with classes on career readiness to prepare students with useful job skills for the workplace.