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Exploration Or Exploitation


Our younger self was far more interested in exploring new ideas, hidden treasures or seemingly dangerous opportunities. As we get older and more experienced we tend to focus on exploitation, exploiting the knowledge and trends we have acquired over the years, making us less vulnerable to challenges and in turn less likely to acquire new experiences and more knowledge.

Imagine a life lived in offense as opposed to defense, in which you opt to lean in further as life demands more from you.

In which you don’t seek comfort and minimize your role in life, especially when the going gets tough - You actually become more adventurous, more creative and explore even more opportunities.

Broaden and Build Theory

Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D.

Among the most highly cited scholars in psychology, Barbara Fredrickson is most known for her “broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions,” foundational within Positive Psychology for providing a blueprint for how pleasant emotional states, as fleeting as they are, contribute to resilience, wellbeing, and health.

A theory associated with the field of positive psychology that explores the function of positive emotions in building resiliency. This theory is based on the notion that positive emotions can have the effect of broadening awareness and response to events as well as building resiliency and coping skills.

Broaden and Build theory posits that positive emotions lead to a broadening of experience and the building of resources.

Try to be aware of how you are feeling in each moment and your reactions. Have a plan to deal with negative emotions so that they don't last as long and switch into a positive mindset when you are able.

Positive emotions are believed to do all of the following:

  • Enhance survival over the long-term by giving you greater coping resources

  • Increase creativity by allowing you to step out of survival mode to consider more options

  • Increase your coping resources by building your toolbox of coping skills

  • Put negative emotions in a broader context helping you to see that the current situation is not your destiny; that things can change for the better in the future

  • Make it easier to see positivity in future situations by noticing that things change and that you can always find some positive in a negative situation

  • Increase feelings of well-being which improve in a positive upward cycle

  • Give greater meaning to life so that you can find the "good in the bad"

Ways in which to practice positive emotions

  • Practice meditation at the same time each day so that you get into a rhythm

  • Write about positive memories of things that happened in your past and reminisce about them to the point that they feel real and you experience the positive emotion all over again

  • Practice gratitude by writing in a daily journal or thinking of five things to be thankful for each morning (e.g., by writing in a gratitude journal)

  • Be altruistic and help others by giving them gifts, offering to help them with chores, or just calling up people who might be lonely

The goal of the Broaden and Build theory is not to suggest that you never experience anything negative—the idea is that you can build up your resiliency through small positive acts each day.

Be aware of the hedonic treadmill effect, which states that any positive emotion is short lived and you will soon return to your baseline happiness.


Haruki Murakami is a Japanese writer. His books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages and selling millions of copies.

While most authors dream of becoming famous writers from a young age, Murakami didn’t even know that he had the skill. After studying drama, he opened a coffeehouse and jazz bar, and writing was the last thing on his mind.

This extremely popular Japanese author has a way with words that keys into something deep within us, parts of us that perhaps we didn’t even know existed before.

Pre order his upcoming book here - First Person Singular

Wisdom/ What I'm Reading...

Why Zebras don't get ulcers

Robert Sapolsky

A book about stress management. The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping with it.

In actual fact most animals don't get ulcers.

This book has been referenced by many authors not least Angela Duckworth in her book GRIT

Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers is a wonderful book. Sapolsky is a great writer, and the science is interesting. The core theme of the book is that chronic stress is bad for your health. It can lead to cardiovascular disease, destroy your sleep, age you faster, and so on.

When we worry or experience stress, our body turns on the same physiological responses that an animal does, but we do not resolve conflict in the same way-through fighting or fleeing. Over time, this activation of a stress response makes us literally sick.

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers explains how prolonged stress causes or intensifies a range of physical and mental afflictions, including depression, ulcers, colitis, heart disease, and more. It also provides essential guidance to controlling our stress responses.

When the stressor first arises, CRH (corticotropin releasing hormone) is released from the hypothalamus in the brain. CRH helps to turn on the sympathetic nervous system, with the nerve endings of the sympathetic nervous system releasing adrenaline (called epinephrine through the book). This all leads to increased heart rate, vigilance and arousal. It triggers the cessation of many bodily functions, such as digestion, repair and reproductive processes, and suppresses immunity, mobilising the body’s resources to solve the stressor at hand.

Fast forward 15 seconds, and the CRH has triggered the pituitary at the base of the brain to release ACTH (also known as corticotropin). A few minutes later the ACTH in turn triggers the release of glucocorticoids by the adrenal gland. The glucocorticoids increase the stress response, further arousing the sympathetic nervous system and raising circulating glucose. The glucocorticoids are also involved in recovery and the preparation for the next stressor. For instance, they stimulate appetite.

Many of the costs of stress arise through the actions of these hormones when the stress is intermittent or chronic. CRH is cleared from the body a couple of minutes after the end of the stressor. It can take hours for glucocorticoids to be cleared. Continued intermittent or chronic stressors results in permanently elevated glucocorticoid levels, subjecting the body to a stress response without pause. For instance, the stress response makes the heart work harder. If you are in chronic stress, this increased work effort is constant, leading to high blood pressure, and wearing out your blood vessels.

There are a raft of other hormones and processes involved in the stress response, each with their own roles, costs and benefits, but this basic picture, particularly the cost of ongoing high levels of glucocorticoids, forms the book's central thread.

Although this sounds like a somewhat mechanical process, an important theme in the book is that the cost of stress is not just a mechanical equation, whereby stress causes a bodily response with various costs.

When a zebra runs for its life, it experiences enormous stress. So why

don’t zebras get ulcers?

Zebras and lions may see trouble coming, but they do not get stressed

weeks or months in advance. Unlike humans, they do not have the propensity

to worry themselves sick, at least not in their natural environment.

Have a stress free week…

See you next week...


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