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The Leader's Mind

Short notes from the intersection of business and psychology

On good reading

Maybe they are books, emails, or Google ads, but we all read. Reading is consumption and we should mind what and how we consume. Starting my seventh and the last term as a psychology student at Harvard, I reflect on what the encountered chapters, authors, and researchers taught me about ‘good reading’.

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The Leader’s Mind – Blog by Jana Valkovicova

People’s minds and behaviors. Whether we consider them beautiful, good, bad, or ugly, the way we see others unveils a lot about ourselves. While knowing thyself is not an easy task, every step towards it counts. Learning is indeed a journey. My endeavors of being a psychology researcher, business executive, mentor, and entrepreneur keep challenging me and ‘aha’ and ‘wow’ moments do not come short or painlessly. I often inspire my business mind through research and philosophy. Herewith I would like to share my findings along the way.

My name is Jana Valkovicova, and this blog is a collection of short notes from the intersection of business and psychology, reminding us to think higher and broader in business and life.

I hope you enjoy it.


Falling for the beast of statistics

The term statistics often evokes the feeling of anxiety and aversion in many of us. Yet those who found the courage to learn it, swear by its beauty and often call it art. Undoubtedly, understanding of statistics shapes our view of the world and a surprise often awaits in the detail. But like any art, statistics provide room for interpretation and challenge not only our thinking but also our intellectual humility.

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‘Studying alongside working’​ and its colors

Struggling to fit my ambitions, some time back I walked into a place where any ambitions hardly stood out. Harvard and my journey as a psychology student and researcher created a precious world parallel to those of my professional and private. Living the experience showed that ‘studying alongside working’ evokes questions about its purpose and possibility. While many would agree that studying is challenging and pricy, only a few would acknowledge that the currency is life itself.

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On selflesness

It indeed takes a village and a person is a product of society. Maslow in his work A theory of human motivation (1943) describes the five levels of needs: Physiological, Safety, Love and Belonging, Esteem, Self-actualization. While Maslow’s pyramid has been challenged by many (e.g. Gao & Taormina, 2013), the basics construct remains largely relevant. Considering the description of these levels, it becomes obvious that a single person as a unit would struggle to fulfill them by their ‘self’. The social connection and attachments seem inevitable in survival.

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On good writing

Good writing is good thinking. This is why good writing is not easy, particularly when a situation calls for more prose than poetry. In the field of research, we are taught to reconsider every word we dared to put on a paper and so to change our approach to thinking. Our writing is the mirror of our minds. Nowadays we often showcase our virtuous minds in misspelled messages, emotional blurs, and ad-hoc confusing remarks. Let’s be mindful of the effect of reciprocity. The effort to write well elevates our thinking. But neglect to write well can corrupt our minds. What we want our thinking to be?

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About the concept of Grit

Angela Duckworth in her book Grit (2016) defines grit as a personal characteristic, which has two components: passion and perseverance. She builds on different performance theories and the work of various researchers. The construct of grit emphasizes the importance of effort as essential for success. While Duckworth provides some empirical support for her claims, she makes her claims vaguely. She does not take into consideration the importance of emotional intelligence, and she focuses only on a growth mindset.

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What do we get to see?

Bias is created by the flow when information enters our system and courses through the filters of our plural personalities, knowledge, and experiences. What is left at the end of this process is intelligibly unique to us, credibly varied from the input or the factual reality. Unless we consciously choose thinking over knowing, our brain comforts us with acceptable collective alchemy about “why things are the way they are”.

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