Does your college student tell you, “If I don’t get all As, I’ll never get into medical school,” or “I’m too embarrassed to go to the fitness center because everyone is in better shape than I am”? If he feels what he does or how he looks is never good enough, he might be suffering from too much perfectionism. You’ve probably heard the song “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie. I think of this song while I provide psychiatric care to college students, who are under increasing pressure to be perfect - to maintain high grades, have a busy social life, look great, all while appearing calm and collected. What, you might wonder, is the problem with perfectionism? Here is the trap of perfectionism: when we set the goal to be perfect, we are bound to fail, because we cannot do everything right all the time. Aiming for excellence, for the best you can be, is a far healthier approach to the world than trying to be perfect. … [Read more...] about “Dad, if I Get a B I Feel Like I’ve Failed”
Source: Nathan Lemon/Unsplash Who are you, deep down? The Practice: Be Aware of Your Virtues Why? For many of us, perhaps the hardest thing of all is to believe that "I am a good person." We can climb mountains, work hard, acquire many skills, and act ethically, but to truly feel that one is good deep down? Nah! We end up not feeling like a good person in a number of ways. For example, I once knew a little girl who'd been displaced by her baby brother and fended off and scolded by her mother who was worn down and busy caring for an infant. This girl was angry at her brother and parents, plus lost and disheartened and feeling cast out and unloved. She'd been watching cartoons in which the soldiers of an evil queen attacked innocent villagers, and one day she said sadly, "Mommy, I feel like a bad soldier." Later in life – whether in school or adulthood – shamings, moral indictments, religious chastising, and other criticisms come in many shapes and sizes. Feeling morally … [Read more...] about Be Aware of Your Virtues
“Five dollars is a magic number.” — Unnamed restaurant industry consultant. Source: Woman eating sandwich/ Alora Griffiths/ Unsplash Thanks to decades of behavioral economics research, we now know that microeconomic theories often fail to describe actual buying behavior. For instance, a basic microeconomic theory postulate is that as prices go up, demand should go down. In the real world, however, this is frequently not the case. A great example of such irrational consumer behavior is how people react to price points. In this blog post, I want to explain what a price point is and how it influences our purchasing behavior. I’ll do this with the fascinating story of a Subway franchise owner’s accidental discovery of a powerful price point. What is a price point? A price point is the price level that is so well-known and well-accepted by consumers that they consider it to be the normal or usual price for the product. Consumers use the price point for … [Read more...] about How Price Points Can Trick Us Into Making a Purchase
Until recently, most businesses changed their prices once or twice a year, usually when they printed new catalogs. As recently as a decade ago, even cutting-edge, upstart online retailers like Amazon didn’t change their prices all that much. In one study, for example, marketing scientists Mark Bergen, Robert Kauffman and Dongwon Lee analyzed book prices on Amazon over a 449-day period during 2003 and 2004. They found that a book’s price changed on the site an average of once every 222 days. In other words, Amazon changed its prices only once every 7 and a half months. Source: Sale by Thomas8047 Flickr Licensed Under CC BY 2.0 How things have changed since then! Nowadays many businesses use pricing optimization software that connects information about their internal costs with data points on their customers’ preferences and buying patterns. Much of this data sits in the cloud and is analyzed using sophisticated software. Additionally, companies have also started … [Read more...] about Why Shoppers Hate Frequent Price Changes
elizabeth taylor by warhol Source: Laura Deutsch I sanitized a piece about my trip to the Museum of Modern Art in Queens with my mother and her friends. A piece that made all my friends and fellow writers laugh. I thought I’d take a test run by letting Mom read an essay about her friends, not focusing on her. In the piece, Mom’s friend Helen, 86, was driving us to the Matisse/Picasso exhibit. Shirley, 84, rode shotgun. Mom and I were crammed into the Mazda's back seat with Flo, a baby at 75. I, younger still, perched on the middle hump. Helen, birdlike, thin and small, with short, feathery, silver hair, headed down the hill from Mom’s house to pick up the Long Island Expressway. Shirley's broad shoulders looked even wider from behind. I could see the bald spot on her crown, surrounded by a frizz of black hair. When she turned to smile at me, I saw her make-up was off the mark, like Warhol's off-register color print of Elizabeth Taylor at SFMOMA. Mom: Oh, so … [Read more...] about Are You Mean?