The holy man, a beggar in the eyes of Alexander, was the real conqueror, the real emperor. Alexander was not a conqueror. He died unhappy. He died a beggar. Nothing new here. Eating well, taking exercise and sleeping properly are part of these things you already know you should be doing. But are you really eating, exercising and sleeping well consistently every day? It is incredibly difficult to stay focused when your fundamentals are weak. So be honest, ask with yourself: Am I eating as well as I could be? Am I sleeping enough or am I going to bed too late? Am I exercising regularly and consistently? For now, just focus on one of these things. If you were to improve just one of these three, which would make the biggest difference in your life? He told me how he had just promoted to the position of senior district manager a man from Nigeria whom he had hired years earlier as a rookie salesman. He shared how he had sponsored a local foster child to become a champion basketball star in his community. This wasn't bragging. Nick genuinely lit up with each story. The following day, we sat down at his big oak desk and went through the thinking-talents assessment. As we reviewed his choices, Nick leaned his chin on his right hand and covered his mouth with his fingers, actually blushing as he told me that he knew he had an ability to recognize and develop greatness in people, unlike the rest of the senior leaders in the company.

He stood up, took his phone out of his pocket, and began to toss it in the air mindlessly as he launched into a long and excited story about how he also could sell anybody anything, even the toughest customers they had. It wasn't because he was slick but rather because he could fix any problem a customer had. I guess fixing people's problems is another one of my thinking talents. Again, I could see him light up. The reality is very different, as is demonstrated by the above graph showing the gap between human mortality and the onset of disability. People spend an increasingly greater proportion of their already long lives with serious disabling physical and mental conditions. Bernard Isaacs, one of the first professors of geriatric medicine, coined the phrase `the survival of the unfittest' in his article of the same name about the elderly in the East End of Glasgow in the 1960s. With the rapid rise in obesity and its associated diseases - heart disease, diabetes and arthritis - the onset of disability may be occurring at an even younger age. This huge rise in life expectancy has little to do with medical advances. The Victorians, if nothing else, had vision. Slums were cleared. Sewage systems developed. Education was made compulsory. Clean water, sanitation, improved nutrition, housing and vaccination were the social policies that shifted the shape of the life curve. Smart people dump bad ideas instead of clinging to them. Now Try It on People All relationships can be boiled down to one scary question. Is this person a plus or a minus in your life? The answer comes immediately. It's frightening, in fact, how fast the answer comes.

How long it takes you to address the consequences of that answer is another problem entirely. Then Try It on Your Job If you hate your job, the job hates you back. We stay in jobs because leaving requires work. Single cells still divide and multiply. Hours of daylight still wax and wane. Abstractions, labels, describe interactions that have always been true. And so, we went on to use manipulatives to experiment with the ways in which two quantities being combined (called binomials and written as 4 + 5 or a + b) acted when they occurred repeatedly (multiplied). We used real beads, observed patterns, and then concluded that we could use squiggly labels (numbers) to describe the very real ways those quantities always behaved. We laid out two beads next to three beads four times over and called it 4 x (2 + 3). Then, we played around, and found that we could make a switch and just lay out five beads four times, calling it and writing it 4 x (5). Or, we could combine four sets of two beads with the four sets of three beads, and describe it as (4 x 2) + (4 x 3). Either way, the reality was the same - a concrete observation that we could call twenty and label 20. Asperkids need concrete to precede abstract, reality to precede pictorial, language or numerical labels, because that is exactly what happens in the real world. In a set of studies conducted between 1966 and 1972 by researchers at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, researchers Montague Ullman and Stanley Krippner examined whether telepathic messages could be transmitted to someone who was asleep. Participants (receivers) were placed in a soundproof dream lab in which the receiver would sleep with his or her head hooked up to machinery that measured brain waves and eye movements (rapid eye movements are indicative of dream states). Once the receiver's eyes moved rapidly and was assumed to be dreaming, another person (the sender) would open a sealed package with a randomly selected picture that was selected out of eight pictures. The sender would then try to send (with his or her mind) images of the picture to the receiver while the receiver was dreaming. In some cases, the sender and receiver were as far as 45 miles apart. Once the machinery indicated that the receiver had reached a likely dream state, the receiver was awakened and asked to describe his or her dreams.

The receiver's descriptions were recorded and then transcribed. An independent panel of judges--none of whom knew which picture the sender looked at--were asked to rank which of the eight pictures the sender likely saw based on what the receiver described about his or her dream. The data was clear. According to biochemist Dr Rupert Sheldrake: Combining all 450 dream-telepathy trials reported in scientific journals, the overall hit rate was positive and very significant statistically, with odds against this result being due to chance of 75 million to 1. Studies show that when patients are shamed by their health care provider they are less likely to get routine medical care and more likely to gain weight. After all, these people work for us, and we pay them our hard-earned money for their medical expertise. One of the best ways to advocate for your health care is to hire a size-friendly provider. This is a medical professional who practices evidence-based, compassionate care. He or she is a provider who doesn't just equate good health with a low number on the Body Mass Index (BMI) chart. How do you find a size-friendly health care provider? The best place to start is by reaching out to your friends of all sizes, but especially your fat friends. Do they have a doctor they like? If the answer is yes, write down that provider's contact information. You can also ask your coworkers, because they usually have the same insurance provider you do. KEEP EVERYTHING ORGANISED Once you've decided on your storage solutions, put everything away so that it is easy for you to find things. While colour-coordinated DVDs might look beautiful on a shelf, is that sustainable for you or will you spend hours looking for one DVD because you can't remember if it was blue or red? USE AN INVENTORY I like having an inventory for every room in my house. That way, I know what I own and where it is.

This stops me from buying stuff that I already have. DON'T FORGET ABOUT IT! Once you've done your big declutter, make sure you keep on top of things. Taking 15 minutes once a month to organise your Tupperware, for example, will be much more sustainable than doing a giant kitchen clear-out once a year. And as you may have guessed, Finnish schools allowed students unrestricted use of calculators. Kids there have much more sense that they're going to have to construct their own future, Wagner says. They're taught to be entrepreneurs of their own lives. Instead of standing passively on an education assembly line and being handed reams of facts and figures, they are thrown into rooms of bricks and asked to build castles. By teaching tools and problem solving instead of memorization and by hiring only teachers with master's degrees, Finland created a higher educational platform that gave its kids an advantage. That's how its school system shot to number one. For so long, innovation in education has amounted to more class time, more memorization, more tests. Smaller classes, but the same classes. Finland actually got better, through lateral thinking. Edward de Bono, who coined the term lateral thinking in 1967, put the Einstein quote a bit differently: You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hole deeper. Left to their own devices, an anxious child may avoid doing things altogether if given too many choices. This reinforces their anxiety as they don't get to face their fears, so finding the right balance is essential. When there is an important decision to be made, we can all feel a bit pressured. Let your child know that feeling nervous is normal. If they're able to do so, give them the space to make a decision, letting them know that no decision that they come to will be the wrong one. Once the child makes a decision, they can start organising their environment so that what they decided to do is more likely to work out;