You May Be More Creative and Persuasive Than You Think

The surest way not to succeed, an old saying tells us, is not to try at all (and science tells us that this is also one of the surest routes to end-of-life regrets). One of the most common reasons people don’t try is that they’re convinced they’ll fail–why make an effort when a negative outcome is already all but assured?

But how good are people at estimating the likelihood of success and failure? When we think it’s not even worth giving it a go, are we usually right?

According to a fascinating pair of recent blog posts, the answer to these questions is a resounding no. Science is discovering that many of us are pretty dreadful when it comes to assessing our own abilities in key areas of professional success like creativity and persuasiveness.

Yes, you do have what it takes to be creative.

The first study, highlighted on New York magazine’s Science of Us blog, deals with the 99 percent perspiration part of the creative process. Innovation, we’re told, is largely about experimentation and determination, not instantaneous inspiration. Which sounds like it might be encouraging–you can’t control when a flash of genius will hit, after all–but according to new research, most of us actually are excessively discouraged by the reported hard work of creativity. In short, we underestimate our own ability to persevere and come up with creative solutions.

“People tend to doubt their own ability to stick to the tedious trial-and-error part of creative work, suggests a large new study from Northwestern University, published recently in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,” writes Melissa Dahl on Science of Us. “Across seven experiments involving more than 1,200 participants, psychologists Brian J. Lucas and Loran F. Nordgren found that people underestimated how many creative solutions they could come up with in a given amount of time, suggesting, the researchers argue, that in a real-life situation, they might give up too easily.”

You’re more persuasive than you think.

But we don’t just underestimate our creative problem-solving abilities. We’re also pretty lousy at estimating our own persuasiveness, according to another study, covered on Harvard Business Review’s Web site. In the piece, researcher and Cornell University professor Vanessa K. Bohns explains the findings of her latest research, which suggest we all have a lot more influence at work than we think.

The study asked participants to first estimate how well they’d do at tasks that required persuasiveness, such as convincing others to donate to charity or fill out a survey, and then had them complete these tasks. Their estimated rate of success was compared to the actual rate.

The conclusion? We think people will say no a lot more than they do.

“It’s amazing the opportunities we miss because we doubt our own powers of persuasion. Our bosses make shortsighted decisions, but we don’t suggest an alternative, figuring they wouldn’t listen anyway. Or we have an idea that would require a group effort, but we don’t try to sell our peers on it, figuring it would be too much of an uphill battle,” Bohns writes.

Why? While we can vividly imagine the cost of saying yes to a request, most of us fail to imagine the awkwardness of saying no. Getting an agreement, in other words, is easier than you probably think, though in the complete post Bohns does offer some tips on how to best frame requests.

The takeaway is obvious and energizing: Science suggests that you’re not living up to your full potential simply because you don’t believe in yourself enough. Next time you hesitate to tackle a problem or make a public pitch for your ideas, just remind yourself of this fact for a free and easy shot of instant courage.


How to pick the perfect gym partner


Everyone likes some alone time, but your workout is neither the time nor the place. Having a buddy to train with means mental and physical benefits that translate to some serious gains. Training with friends causes a rush of endorphins, according to research from the University of Oxford, which act as pain blockers. Not only does this spell good news for your pharmaceutical bills, it’ll help you kick on to smash that PB. Drugs don’t work, but friends do.

Good news for those trying to lose weight too: “Having someone to train with can help you have a 176% greater chance of making an improvement”, says online personal trainer Scott Baptie. That’s because they count as something called a ‘social support group’, which ups your odds of reaching your goal. The legwork comes in picking your squad. You need team players who will consistently bring their A-game, not a host of sub-par bench-warmers. MH has sifted the Sergio Agueros from the Juan-Sebastian Veróns to give you the best chance of Premier League gains.

Make sure…

…they’re reliable
There’s no use making a bromantic gym date if your partner doesn’t turn up. A gym buddy who won’t bail on you is a must. Even better, they should be the one chiding you to get the gym. “Exercise is the easiest thing to sacrifice if you have a busy schedule,” says Baptie. Your partner’s constant texts on legs day will stop you skipping out. It’s better to have a barbell on your back than your gym partner.

…they know your style
A spotter who knows that you like to pause at the bottom of a rep won’t throw you off kilter by rushing in and grabbing the bar too early. Lay the ground rules first, says Baptie.

…their goals match your own
“If you’re trying to put on as much muscle as possible, and they training to build muscular endurance, it just won’t work,” says Baptie. “Your whole style of training is going to be different.” If none of your mates are in bulking mode, approach the guy benching double his bodyweight and offer to spot.

…they’re your level of strength, or stronger
A complete beginner won’t help you hit a new PB, but someone who outlifts you will spur your efforts. Aim for a partner 40% stronger than you and you’ll push yourself 90% harder, according to research from the University of Kansas.

…they have jokes
Take gains seriously. Just not too seriously. “You don’t want someone who just puts their headphones in after a set,” says Baptie. Healthy competition is fuelled by humour; try these award-winning jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe to ease the pain of legs day.

…they know what they’re doing
Greek research shows you work harder and more effectively when the feedback’s external, rather than internal. You’re not looking for a lecture on breathing techniques, but your spotter needs to know whether your back should be bending as you squat. (Hint: it really shouldn’t.) Safety first.

50 Habits That Prove You Were Born to Be an Entrepreneur

Most aspiring entrepreneurs feel it in their bones — they were born to be an entrepreneur, to the point where nothing else in life could satisfy them. They’re dissatisfied as employees, followers or consumers. They want to create, build and grow their own enterprises, and they’re filled with the passion of their own ingenuity.

Here are 50 habits that born-to-be entrepreneurs can’t help but show. How many do you possess?

1. You can’t sit still. You’re always itching to come up with something, and do something great.

2. You’re always coming up with ideas. Good or bad, the flow of ideas never stops.

3. You can pinpoint flaws in other ideas. It comes naturally to you.

4. You marvel at successful business owners. Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are just a few of your heroes.

5. You get excited when you see a successful business in action. Whether it’s a local bar or a supermarket franchise, you can’t help but smile when you see a good business.

6. You constantly think of ways to improve your employer’s business. When you’re at work, you only think about how it could be better.

7. You hate being told what to do. You’re resentful of taking orders.

8. You love to learn new things. How tos and tutorials are what you’re all about.

9. You take things apart to see how they work.Remotes, toasters, phones — you love to see the inner workings.

10. You dream of wealth. Money isn’t everything, but you can’t help but have it on your mind.

11. You don’t give up easily. You face tough challenges but keep going.

12. You’re disciplined in your habits. You have set routines that don’t get broken easily.

13. You aren’t afraid of hard work. You give everything in your life 100 percent.

14. You have a high threshold for risk. You don’t take blind risks, but you don’t stay complacent either.

15. You meet as many people as you can. You aren’t afraid to branch out and meet new people.

16. You talk to everyone you meet. Strangers aren’t intimidating to you.

17. You bounce back from failure. You’veexperienced crushing failure, but it’s never stopped you from coming back.

18. You like calling the shots. You like the sound of being a director.

19. You set goals for yourself. Big or small, goals fill your life.

20. You help people whenever you can. You’re interested in the greater good.

21. You find challenges in everything you do. You seek out opportunities to challenge yourself.

22. You find ways to inspire people. You’re inspired by inspiration.

23. You plan everything down to the little details.Plans are a prerequisite for any activity.

24. You’re proud of yourself. You like who you are.

25. You help your friends solve their problems.You’re great at problem analysis.

26. You effectively delegate tasks and assign resources. In household chores and business operations alike.

27. You set deadlines for yourself. No excuses.

28. You like telling stories. You love to tell people about your experiences.

29. You’re hyper competitive. You can’t even play a board game without flipping that switch.

30. You get involved with things. If you see a car on the side of the road, you get out and ask if you can help.

31. You cut out things in your life that don’t work for you. If it’s inefficient or bothersome, it’s gone.

32. You negotiate whatever you can. Flea markets and salaries are just the beginning.

33. You see the potential in people. You don’t see people for who they are. You see them for who they could be.

34. You’re calm in a crisis. When stuff hits the fan, you still think logically.

35. You follow up with people when you want something. You don’t let opportunities go.

36. You avoid things that waste your time. You’re immune to mobile games and idle social-media time.

37. You persuade people to your side. You’re a natural rhetorician.

38. You make rational decisions, not emotional ones.For the most part, you trust your logic over your emotions.

39. You don’t forget people’s emotions. Still, there’s great sympathy in you.

40. You lose track of time when pursuing passion projects. Time seems to fly when you’re heads-down working on something.

41. You frequently start new passion projects. Every week, a new idea is transformed into a hobby.

42. You constantly upgrade your house (or car or anything). There’s always something to tinker with, replace or improve.

43. You’re crazy about new technology. You’re addicted to learning how new technologies can improve your life.

44. You read the news every day. It’s an ingrained habit.

45. You read books voraciously. Every book offers something new.

46. You listen to that internal voice. You trust your instincts.

47. You listen to others’ advice. You make your own decisions, but listen to others’ opinions too.

48. You don’t dwell in the past. When bad things happen, you keep moving forward.

49. You make sacrifices for what you want. You know you have to give things up to see greater success.

50. You never write off your dreams. You take your aspirations seriously. They’re a part of you.

Why I Failed as a Student and Succeeded as an Entrepreneur

Donny Zanger is the founder and CEO of All Week Walls, a New York-based pressurized wall company. In addition to All Week Walls, he has started up a number of other businesses too. I talked to Donny recently about his experience as an entrepreneur, and what it took for him to create a successful business.

The words that follow are all Donny’s.

# # #

According to my high school report card, I shouldn’t be where I am today. My college GPA will concur. Ask around among my teachers and former classmates and they’ll probably recall me as a below average student, at best, and “that kid with learning disabilities,” at worst.

Growing up with dyslexia is no walk in the park, and it’s an open secret that schools are built to cater to one specific type of student. For the rest of the world–the creative thinkers, the talented artists, the energetic athletes–sitting at a desk for hours on end, memorizing lists and analyzing information in a test-taking format, doesn’t necessarily compute with our skill set.

Personally, I found the theoretical nature of school studies antithetical to my own way of thinking. Who cares if Adam has ten green apples and Sarah has four less? The main question is, could Adam get Sarah to buy those apples from him for more than he paid? Now that’s my kind of thinking.

I never could pick up on the etymology of obscure SAT words, and doing spelling homework with dyslexia is like trying to sew on a button with your toe–it just ain’t equipped for a job like that. But here’s the catch, the covert information that no one tells you as you suffer through years of feeling second class: succeeding in business requires completely different areas of proficiency than succeeding in school.

Most of the information that you learn in school is entirely irrelevant when you go out into the real world. I don’t even use half the stuff I learned in my business marketing class and I spend all day marketing my businesses.

To succeed as an entrepreneur, you need to know how to market yourself and your product. You have to be able to sell. It’s important to be able to manage, so you can keep your burgeoning business afloat. You need people skills because there’s a lot of interpersonal interaction. Honesty, integrity and creativity are all major pluses. When was the last time your school tested you on how to give a firm handshake and a genuine smile? Believe it or not, lots of valedictorians can’t pull off these two crucial components of a business deal.

After I graduated college, I took my own $3,000 in savings and opened up my first business. I was 23 years old with no formal work experience and no prior knowledge of running a business, but I knew I had the drive and I definitely the determination to make it work. I’m proud to say that, seven years later, I’m still completely self-supporting.

My original business is going strong and I never took outside funding to help it along. I’m now also the founder of a technology company in the process of developing our own mobile apps. We have over five serious investors who have contributed more than $230,000 towards our development costs because they want a piece of what I have to offer. I may not be a millionaire, but I consider myself a success story in the business world.

To those out there who think success in school is a measure of future accomplishment, I am here to say, it is NOT. Don’t look at your grades, your test scores, or your teachers’ opinions. Don’t focus on your learning disabilities or your inability to remember immaterial dates and numbers. Not everyone is cut out for success in school and that’s okay: it’s not a true measure of what you can achieve.

If you’ve got drive, creativity, motivation, passion and the ability to push up your sleeves and get to work, then come join the Entrepreneur’s Club. We’ll be happy to have you and we don’t need your SAT scores to let you in; we know you can succeed no matter what number the College Board gave you.

I certainly did.

10 Apps to Help Sell Your Business

Selling your business is going to require attention to detail and a lot of patience on your part. While you are organizing your team to help you maximize the profits from your sale, you can also use a variety of mobile apps to help organize and maintain each aspect of the process to sell your business.

Too many business owners feel as though they have to be tied to their business location during the selling process because that one buyer may call or stop by at any moment. But if you are used to doing some portion of your business on the road, then you need to find ways of making sure that you can keep doing business and monitor the process of selling your company at the same time.

Some of the processes you need to monitor include:

Employee work schedules;The value of your business;The progress of your business sale promotion online.

With the right apps on your mobile computing device, you can stay in front of your customers and manage the business sales process at the same time. A profitable business is easier to sell and the more tools you use to keep your business profitable, the easier it will be to sell your company for a profit.

#1. Your Own Company App

To increase the value of your company, you need to develop an app that adds significant value for your customers, employees, etc. You should have your company app on your phone and check it frequently to make sure it is adding value to your business. As a buyer, you want to see it is business as usual and continued efforts by the current owner. This is a great start!

Promote the Sale

There are plenty of apps to help promote your business, but there are two in particular that will bring you more exposure.

When you are using apps to help sell your business, you should only use the very best apps available to get the job done.

#2. Twitter

Twitter is rapidly becoming one of the most powerful business promotion apps online and that includes the mobile computing world as well. You can join groups and get involved in conversations that will help your Twitter following to grow to the point where it will help you to sell your business.

#3. Facebook

Facebook has grown as a business promotion tool and the Facebook mobile app has grown along with the website. By managing your company’s Facebook presence and being able to instantly respond to Facebook interactions, you can find people who are interested in buying your business.

Improve Business Efficiency

A big part of attracting buyers for a business is to improve business efficiency. This means keeping track of costs and getting the most out of business operations.

There are a few apps you can use that will help you to maintain and improve business efficiency.

#4. Microsoft Office Mobile

The mobile version of Microsoft Office has Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to help you be productive and efficient on the road. You can develop presentations and review spreadsheets without having to be tied to your desk and you can take your Microsoft Office documents with you wherever you go.

#5. When I Work

Improving the efficiency of your company means always being able to monitor your company work schedule, and that is what the When I Work app does. With this app you will be able to see the schedule of each employee and make any necessary changes while you are on the road.

#6. Pocket Informant

The Pocket Informant is a calendar app that allows you to create entries with all of the details and links you need. You can schedule meetings, business trips, and even employment candidate interviews with this helpful app.

#7. Asana

Asana is a task coordinator that you can have loaded on the mobile devices of all of your employees and then create task lists and guidelines that everyone can see. This is the ultimate app for keeping your entire company focused on the same goals.

#8. Valuate the Business

Double Dog Studios offers the best mobile app for constantly checking and monitoring the value of your business. This app is simple to use and it can even help you to project cash flows to give immediate projections to any prospective buyers.

The value of your business can fluctuate based on a variety of factors including:

Local and global economic conditions;Activities of your competition;Increases or decreases in company revenue.

With good mobile apps on your phone, you can keep close tabs on the financial condition and value of your company.

Organize Sale Information

As you go through the sale process, you will start collecting data on potential buyers, selling agents, and other pertinent information that you will need to access regularly. There are excellent apps that will help you access, organize, and utilize that information to help you sell your business, such as:

#9. Dropbox

When it comes to online organizational apps, few can compete with Dropbox. You can sync up Dropbox with all of your other computing devices and always have your important documents and information with you at all times.

#10. EZ Balancer II

The EZ Balances II app will allow you to store and track expense information and get real-time financial updates on your company whenever you need them. With this information, you are better equipped to track your company’s efficiency and keep all of your financial information in one place.

When you start the process of selling your business, you will find that your life changes dramatically until the sale is complete. To help you cope with the changes and get the best return on the sale of your company, you need to use mobile apps that have the types of features and services you need.

13 Top Executives Who Have a Salary of $1 or Less


While many executives are criticized for their excessive pay, some CEOs have been able to skirt around the issue by choosing to forgo a lofty salary and opting instead for a paycheck of $1 a year, or less.

Of course, this isn’t to say these executives are living off the dollar menu.

The CEOs on this list are still worth millions, if not billions, but while some merely pay lip service to the $1 salary club by taking home hefty compensation in the form of company stock awards and bonuses, others forgo adding to their wealth in this way entirely.

“I’ve made enough money,” said Mark Zuckerbergduring a Q&A on Facebook in June. “At this point, I’m just focused on making sure I do the most possible good with what I have.” Zuckerberg chooses to take home a $1 salary and declines stock awards and bonuses.

Here are some CEOs and other executives that belong to the $1 (or less) salary club:

Larry Page and Sergey Brin

According to Google’s annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Brin and Page, the company’s cofounders asked that their base salaries each be reduced to $1 per year in 2004.

Since then, Google’s compensation committee has offered them market-competitive salaries annually, which they continue to decline.

While they also forgo cash bonuses based on their individual and company performance and do not hold any stock options, Google stock units, or other contingent stock rights, Page is currently worth an estimated $34.9 billion and Brin is worth an estimated $34.3 billion.

Jack Dorsey

In a filing with the SEC in June, it was revealed that Twitter’s interim CEO receives no compensation for his role. This is of little financial consequence to Dorsey, whose current estimated net worth comes in around $2.3 billion.

“At your request, you have agreed to forego any compensation for your role as Interim Chief Executive Officer until the Compensation Committee agree upon a compensation package for you at the same time that it conducts its annual assessment and setting of executive compensation later in the year. Until a compensation package is finalized, you will be entitled to no cash or equity compensation for your services as Interim Chief Executive Officer,”the document reads.

Larry Ellison

As in previous years, Oracle reported to the SEC that Ellison, now executive chairman and CTO, took home a salary of $1 in 2014.

Meanwhile, new co-CEOs Safra Catz and Mark Hurd, who took over in September, 2014, each took home a $950,000 salary last year in addition to other compensation.

So how does Ellison continue to add to his estimated $49.2 billion net worth? Compensation Ellison received last year included $65 million in stock option awards, $740,000 in non-equity compensation, and $1.5 million for other compensation, most of which went towards security-related costs for Ellison’s home.

Elon Musk

According to Tesla Motors’ SEC filings, Musk, whose net worth is valued at an estimated $13 billion, was required by California law to be paid a minimum wage of $37,000 in fiscal year 2015.

The filing also noted, though, that Musk has never accepted and currently does not accept his salary. He also declines receiving a bonus, stock awards, option awards, or any other compensation.

Mark Zuckerberg The Facebook CEO went from receiving a half-a-million-dollar salary in 2012 to just $1 a year in 2013, according to the company’s most recent SEC filing.

He also forwent receiving a bonus or stock awards.Zuckerberg received a little more than $600,000 in other compensation last year for costs related to his personal use of a chartered aircraft, and his estimated net worth is currently valued around $41 billion.

David Filo

For years the Yahoo cofounder and “Chief Yahoo” has earned a salary of $1, and according to this year’s SEC filing, after returning to the board in 2014, he received no additional compensation. He also does not participate in any of the equity incentive programs Yahoo provides to our other executive officers. Still, his estimated net worth comes in around $2.8 billion.

Jeremy Stoppelman

Yelp reported to the SEC that its CEO has decreased his base salary over the years from $300,000 in 2012, to $37,501 in 2013, to $1 in 2014.

He also declines receiving option awards.Stoppelman received $67,000 in other compensation last year, most of which went to paying his executive assistant, and is currently worth an estimated $222 million.

John Mackey

According to the company’s SEC filing, in 2007, the Whole Foods co-CEO reduced his salary to $1 and elected to forgo any bonus and stock option awards and other compensation.

Edward Lampert

When Lampert took over as Sears’ CEO in 2013, he took a salary of $1, the company’s SEC filing reports, which he continues to take. He also continues to forgo bonuses, non-equity incentive plans, and most other compensation offered to Sears executives.

Lambert isn’t struggling to get by, though. With an estimated net worth of about $2.6 billionLampert received almost $6 million in stock awards last year.

Richard Fairbank

Capital One’s founder and CEO hasn’t received a salary for almost 20 years now. But his annual compensation last year according to the company’s annual SEC filing totaled more than $19 million.

Among other things, in 2014 Fairbanks received a more than $4 million bonus, more than $13 million in stock awards, $1.75 million in option awards, and almost $100,000 in other compensation, which included about $70,000 for the personal use of a driver who also provided personal security.

Steven Kean

Taking over for Richard Kinder in June as Kinder Morgan’s CEO, Steven Kean continued Kinder’s tradition of taking a $1 salary, the company’s SEC filing notes. He also declines receiving an annual bonus, non-equity incentive compensation, and stock awards.

Richard Hayne

In 2009, Hayne, Urban Outfitters’ president and CEO, requested that his base salary be set at $1 a year, the company’s SEC filing notes. A portion of his estimated $1.41 billion net worth comes from his performance bonus for fiscal year 2015, which totaled $500,000.

He also received about $30,000 towards his automobile and life insurance premiums from Urban Outfitters.

How do people in emerging countries feel about their economies?

Optimistic: Green
Pastimistic: Red



Outdo your co-workers’ outfits, and there’s a strong chance you’ll out-think them too.

Get just a bit more dressed up than the people you work with, and you’ll also generate bigger ideasand think on a higher, more abstract level.

How so? According to new research, when you outdress your co-workers to even a subtle degree, it makes you feel more powerful; that, in turn, allows you to feel and think more like a leader, reports the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

“Wearing more formal clothing leads to more big-picture thinking,” says study co-author Michael L. Slepian, Ph.D. And it doesn’t even matter how dressed up you get, he says: “What’s key is that you’re wearing clothing that’s more formal than your peers.”

So if your office is full of chinos and button-downs and you want to bump it up a notch, add a checked blazer and suede boots; if your firm is just suits as far as the eye can see, try one of the new slim-cut double-breasted or three-piece numbers, or a nailhead or houndstooth pattern.

And if anyone challenges you about upping your style game, your new, more powerful brain will have just the right snappy comeback. 

Put an End to Nervous Sweating

Tired of stress turning you into a briny mess? You need to start using the ultimate antiperspirant: your mind

Eight healthy men in shorts and t-shirts. Average age, 26.  

They’re covered in sensors, wires dangling, like marionettes at rest. As they sit together in silence—blindfolded—they wait for their 10 minutes of psychological torture to begin.


These guys are part of an experiment inperspiration. Most human sweat is the “thermal” kind, that dampness you feel during a workout or on a hot day. But psychological sweating is the beading on your forehead when your boss singles you out in a meeting, or the clammy hands you wipe on your jeans before a first date.

That’s why these human lab rats are here.

So what kind of torture would evoke nervous sweating in the laboratory? Being asked to deliver a speech in front of a crowd? Having to strip naked before a panel of hot female scientists? Nope.

“Subtraction, addition, multiplication, division,” says study author Nigel Taylor, Ph.D., of the University of Wollongong, Australia, who’s investigated human sweating for more than 20 years.

The men had to do math—just basic problems, says Taylor.

“They were certainly within everybody’s capacity.” Faced with problems like “1,654 + 73,” every man started dripping with sweat.

We have a complicated relationship with perspiration. At the gym or on the court, it’s welcome in abundance—not just for its physiological cooling function, but for what it says about our exertion levels and competitiveness.

A soaked shirt is a badge of effort expended, evidence that you’ve pushed yourself with something especially demanding (like the fat-scorching Anarchy Workout). A single hour of hard exercise can yield 1 1/2 liters of tangible proof that you gave it your all. That’s roughly enough sweat to fill one and a half large Nalgene bottles.

But psychological sweating—nervous perspiration—is something else entirely. It’s a physical response we try to avoid or, failing that, hide.

In a Men’s Health survey of nearly 800 guys, 73 percent said they wish they’d sweat less.

Our romantic interests wish we would too: Of 970 women surveyed, 84 percent deemed it gross when a man dews up on a date.

“Involuntary sweating is like your body betraying you,” says Carisa Perry-Parrish, Ph.D., a psychologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Sweat Disorders in Baltimore.

We want to appear confident, but our bodies scream, “I’m freaking out!” Then we go from sweating because we’re stressed to stressing because we’re sweating, says Perry-Parrish.

Next thing you know, you’re in the men’s room aiming the hand dryer at your pits.

The first step toward sweating less lies in understanding the source.

You have two types of sweat glands, apocrine and eccrine. The apocrines are located mostly around your armpits and genitals and produce a thicker, stickier sweat consisting of proteins and lipids.

The eccrines cover your entire body and produce a solution that’s mostly water and salt.

Scientists used to think the eccrine glands were activated only by a need to cool, and the apocrines by mental stress. But Taylor and his colleagues recently confirmed, in a series of precisely controlled experiments, that both types of sweat can be produced by the eccrine glands and controlled by a single neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

That means whether you’re running 5 miles or trying to seal a deal for $5 million, both sets of glands are working. Though clammy hands are the most obvious sign, psychological sweat can be a whole-body experience.

This finding lends support to one evolutionary explanation for why stress makes people perspire: If our skin became slippery in a fight-or-flight situation, predators wouldn’t have been able to grab and hold on to us.

Another theory, notes Daniel Lieberman, Ph.D., an evolutionary biologist at Harvard, is that sweat could help aid a quick escape from danger. Most mammals, including those from which we evolved, have sweat glands on their paws.

“Imagine that you are a small furry animal in Africa and you catch sight of a raptor swooping down to kill you,” says Lieberman. “Moistened paws will help you scamper up a tree or cliff by creating tiny little vacuums.”

It works the same way that a licked finger helps you turn a page in a book.

(For innovative ideas on how to keep your cool in any situation, pick up The Better Man Project, the new book by the Editor in Chief of Men’s Health. It’s got over 2,000 tips and tricks that will help you get better at sex, fitness, nutrition, and even your career.)

Nervous sweating may also have helped us save our clan. In a U.S. military study, researchers collected sweat from people during two tasks: running on a treadmill, and skydiving for the first time.

A separate group of volunteers were then hooked up to brain scanners and asked to smell the collected sweat. Nothing interesting happened when they sniffed the treadmill drippings. But the scent of skydiving sweat triggered the parts of their brains associated with alertness—they could literally smell fear.

In other words, perspiration could have warned others that there was a whiff of trouble in the air.

In fact, your body odor can act as a health indicator to you and others close to you, says Pamela Dalton, Ph.D., M.P.H., a researcher at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.

Sweat itself is actually scentless, but as it interacts with the bacteria living on your skin, the combination gives off a musty smell—a.k.a. your BO.

But your scent can change when you’re fighting off an illness: A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that people can detect a difference in body odor when someone becomes sick. The researchers think an ill person emits a different chemical cue that signals the activation of the immune system.

This specific scent may warn others to keep their distance.

Advertisers started to market antiperspirants to women in the late 1800s, but they initially didn’t bother pitching pit protection to guys. Most men back then considered their sweat—and a little stink—to be a sign of masculinity.

But when men started moving from manual labor toward desk jobs in the 1930s, marketers saw an opportunity.

“If you’re a farmer working outdoors, no one really cares if you’re sweaty and dirty,” says Cari Casteel, Ph.D.(c), an Auburn University history researcher who studies the improbable topic of antiperspirant and deodorant marketing. “But if you’re at a desk all day, presumably you’re susceptible to the idea that people care.”

The first antiperspirant ads for men set the tone for the sweaty conflict we still feel today.

One from October 1938 is typical: It was for a jar of goop called Odorono Ice (“Odor, oh no!”). It shows the same man in two different scenarios: In the first, he looks sporty with a racket in his hand, and in the second, he’s in an office holding a sheet of paper.

“All right in a locker room,” says the ad, “but all wrong here.”

Casteel says ads have hammered this point for decades, implanting a single impression in men’s minds: There are just some situations when you should never sweat.

Still, controlling your dew is a far more complex endeavor than buying the most expensive antiperspirant at your local drugstore—even that won’t save you from a full-body nervous sweat.

So what can you do?

For most people, the best way to treat nervous sweating is to deal with the nervousness itself, says Perry-Parrish.

She first asks patients to think through the last time they were made uncomfortable by their excessive sweat: What were you doing, and what were you thinking when the waterworks began?

And here’s the key question, says Perry-Parrish: “Were you doing something really embarrassing, or were you magnifying it in your mind?”

More often than not, she says, we imagine the worst-case scenario—even if everything is going perfectly fine.

When that happens, your mind tells your body to start the sweating. Her advice the next time this happens: Take stock of the situation. What’s the reaction of others around you? If no one else seems unhappy or uncomfortable, it’s likely that you’re unnecessarily stressing—and sweating—over something small.

It’s a brain exercise, but it’s one you can improve at with practice.

It probably could have helped those men in the sweat experiment. Instead of worrying about flubbing a few simple arithmetic problems, they would have taken a step back, realized that the stakes were low, and noticed that their compatriots were equally thrown by the introduction of arithmetic.

A cool head plus a little perspective: That’s what defeats nervous sweating. It’s basic math.

Don’t Sweat It
Excess perspiration is the pits. If you’re too soggy, discuss these options with your M.D.

Prescription Roll-On
With three times the sweat-stopping metallic salt as OTC antiperspirants, Rx-strength options, such as Drysol, may dry you up, says Mark Ferguson, M.D., a hyperhidrosis specialist at the University of Chicago Medicine.

Shock Therapy
You place your hands or feet in a pan of water while a device passes a mild electric current through it for about 20 minutes. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why it works, but three zaps a week can help you sweat less.

Botox Shots
The neurotoxin injections that smooth wrinkles can also block the nerve signals that stimulate sweat.

But you may need booster shots: In a French study, first-time users saw sweat return to baseline after 4 1/2 months.

Anti-Sweat Pills
Anecdotal evidence suggests that anticholinergics, drugs that block your body’s sweat trigger, can work.

The problem? Side effects, says Dr. Ferguson. They include dry mouth, constipation, and blurred vision.

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