If you’re like over 1 billion people on this planet that use the internet, you have probably searched at some point for information pertaining to your health.  From understanding whether you have a common cold to symptoms of depression, these searches can provide useful information.  I use Google almost daily, and sometimes to understand health-related topics.
Conversely, many clients I work with find that the internet/Google/WebMD/etc. can also be an enemy to well-being.  For some clients, I recommend the intervention of avoiding scouring the web on topics related to their diagnosis.  Problems come up in one of several ways:

  1. Compulsive searching for reassurance, connection, and understanding- producing more anxiety
  2. Making doctor-like decisions about health
  3. Self-diagnosing complicated diagnoses
  4. Getting suckered into a product or service
  5. Getting unbalanced information

The internet is an amazing tool.  I see how it can also become the “decision-maker extraordinaire.”  I caution folks to consider the limitations of this tool- as with anything.  In my office, I hear how people fall deeper into fears, phobias, health concerns, and cognitive distortions.  When you read news stories, blogs (this one included), and comments, are you discerning into what you’re reading?  Do you just take it as Gospel-truth, or do you approach actively?

Here’s a brief study in statistical science (trust me, I’m getting somewhere).  The famous saying is, “Correlation does not imply causation.”  Just because something seems to relate to another thing doesn’t mean it really does.  One experience or claim, even multiple ones, don’t prove truth.  This is where science itself has to be careful.  Research can be ever-changing, sometimes with very different results under the same conditions.  Examples in the last half-century alone are:

  • Eggs are bad for you/good for you
  • Alcoholism is insanity/brain disease
  • Spicy foods boost metabolism/don’t
  • Exploding with anger gets rid of it/intensifies it

If scientific studies disagree with each other, information found through an online search probably needs to be ‘taken with a grain of salt’ even more.  Sensational news receives the most attention.  The loudest voice gets heard.  Being healthy requires sifting through all of the harmful and worthless information with discernment and wisdom.  Enjoy Google searches; but remember its limitations and what you’re getting.  If you learn to be a discerning researcher and critical thinker, your mental state will thank you.

Truly Yours,

Justin K. Hughes


Five WORST Ways To Job Hunt

Some of your best guesses might be, well, not good ones.  Just because your ideas are intuitive and creative does not mean they will land you a job.  

According to the world’s most popular career manual, What Color Is Your Parachute- 2012 (pp. 58-68), Richard Nelson Bolles identifies a 4-10% rate of success finding a job through an employer’s internet job posting.  At a 7% success rate is mailing/posting your resume to an employer.  Also successful 7% of the time is answering ads in professional journals in your field.  5-24% goes to local newspaper ads.  Finally, going to firms or agencies that search for you only bags a 5-28% rate.  

Finding your passion, what you are good at, and what “makes you tick” are no small tasks.  Seeking out a trained career counselor can be an important first step in figuring out not only your next job, but why you do what you do and finding fulfillment in it.  There are various approaches used, involving everything from career and personality testing to addressing barriers of substance abuse and mental health problems.  

Okay, so what are  the MOST successful ways to land a job?  1)  33% rate of success: ask for leads from friends, family, and staff at career centers.  2) 47% success: Literally show up at a place that interests you and knock on the door.  3)  65%: after locating places of interest through Yellow Pages, etc., call or visit employers in that field and ask if the type of position you do well is hiring.  4)  70%: doing #4 while in a group with other job-hunters.  5)  Finally, at a whopping 86% success rate is doing an inventory of yourself.  

There are no magic bullets.  No quick fixes.  These approaches take work and dedication.  Check out Bolles’ book for more detailed information.  The worst thing you can do is go at this alone!