When I moved to Washington D.C. back in 2014, I was offered an opportunity to become a business partner for an innovative startup that provides psychological counseling via WhatsApp and SMS. I remember my phone call with the entrepreneur, explaining that it seemed illogical for me to give a 3-minute or 140-character response to someone who was considering acting on his suicidal ideations. In retrospect, perhaps I had not fully understood the idea.
There is an excellent series featuring Keren Mor called The Psychologist, where she cynically and full of wit mocks herself, society, and life as a whole.
My takeaways from her show where:
1. To get help, you genuinely have to want to help yourself.
2. Breakthroughs and insights can actually happen within a matter of 3 minutes. However, what is essential is to work on them daily and regularly.
3. Laughter is essential for our health. Try laughing for at least 10 minutes a day––the endorphins are worth it!
As a startup business coach, I am positioned right at the seam between behaviors, state of mind, and technology. Every day I am privileged to work with tech entrepreneurs empowering them to drive themselves and their venture forward. My mission is to support entrepreneurs in sustainably scaling their ventures through my coaching and consulting by helping them embody the traits and values of resilience, resourcefulness, mindfulness, and balance.
Back in 2004, while pursuing my bachelor's degree, I took a physiological psychology course. My professor, Dr. Gal Richter Levin, explained how our technologically driven world would eventually evolve through machine learning to mimic many human patterns. However, he argued that innate human psychology is far more extensive and complex than it may seem, so computers will take time to mimic the human's internal wiring flawlessly.
Technology is evolving rapidly. Developers are working to enhance AI, CV, and ML algorithms to imitate the brain's neural networks related to forming connections, contexts, and pattern recognition. The machine is already evolving to teaching itself, yet it isn't aware of the information it isn't already programmed to know. Imagine when we reach the point that artificial intelligence knows how to read our inner thoughts and feelings? For instance, if I were to dictate my thoughts into a Google Doc verbally, not only would there be no typos, but the computer would also manage to incorporate my mood into the text by voice, tone, and rhythm into the transcription. It would understand my emotional nuances by how I pause and articulate or know how to sense my emotions from my facial expressions through a camera.
I recently had a fascinating session with one of my entrepreneurs about this topic. Their startup automates the construction building design process through AI. Beyond all the architectural, regulatory, and cost aspects taken into account, it also integrates incoming tenants' envisioned design, looks, and feel. These attributes embody the human necessities and brand values of a company's employee who would hypothetically work there. These soft skills are complex for high-precision algorithms.
Later, I continued to ponder the human factor found within startups. Imagine when emotion and the ability to calibrate, quantify and predict is comprehensively monitored, and it is possible to produce profiles securely. Imagine the potential application of this power in recruiting candidates for work, selecting partners for marriage, or analyzing security suspects. We know that the National Security Agency is already aware of our cell phone activity. Imagine if they were to take it a step further using the unlimited data and metadata with digital tools to produce extensive correlations and connections. For instance, what if they knew how to deduce that whoever takes X amount of selfies has a Y% tendency to be narcissistic per se, and anyone who runs Google searches, whether in brief or very detailed ways, has a Z% greater chance of being thorough or superficial, etc.
By the way, my dear sister Michal who works for Microsoft, led the development of a feature that takes all the action items out of emails and knows how to monitor them. Imagine that a more advanced version of the feature would have been able to monitor my entire business, media, and emotional profile via email––wow! So much insight can be gathered about our determination, the pursuit of our goals, positivity, professionalism, language, intelligence, emotional intelligence, ability to convey messages and values, just based on my email threads over the years, using the correlations of my age and experience to extract insights.
As part of my personal and professional education, I seek out new emerging technologies and try to use them for myself.
Two great apps, which fall under the sector of MentalTech, are Headspace and Calm. Both offer a format for embracing mindfulness, meditation, empowering content, music, and soothing background sounds. These apps even have built-in stress management programs to create balance, connect the body and mind, and reduce anxiety. Large corporations in the U.S. provide subscriptions to these apps as part of their employee benefits. Doing so enables organizations to see their employees in a more holistic, humane, and empowering way. When companies as a whole will begin to value and prioritize the holistic health of employees, alongside profitability, scheduling, and reporting, that is when we will all start to live and breathe what work-life balance truly means. Furthermore, I believe that increased mindfulness will inherently improve a company's profitability: personal profit, business profit, immediate profit, and future profit.
Another recommendation for an impressive personal growth-focused startup is Mindvalley, from Indonesia. It provides excellent content on a scalable platform, including lesson plans, development, and growth for individuals and organizations. It's worth checking out.
In Hebrew, the words for resilience and immunity come from the same root, which is no coincidence. When our internal resilience is strong, our immunity to maintain health is also in a much better place. So, in case the message wasn't clear yet, taking care of your mental health should be your #1 priority these days.