Tag Archives: wellbeing

Happiness Cannot Be Described, But Can It Be Pursued?

Happiness Cannot Be Described, But Can it Be Pursued_ worklifefeed

Some think it is time to stop pursuing happiness, and I wonder why? I would not concede that it is because happiness cannot be described or because it is unattainable. Even if it is a Utopian pursuit, it might just be possible that the cost of trying to get it, might be paid off by any benefit that may be inherent in the exercise.

Illustration by James Melaugh

Like many teenagers, I was once plagued with angst and dissatisfaction. These were feelings that my parents often met with bemusement rather than sympathy. They were already in their 50s. And, having grown up in postwar Britain, they struggled to understand the sources of my discontentment at the turn of the 21st century.

“The problem with your generation is that you always expect to be happy,” my mother once said. I was baffled. Surely happiness was the purpose of living, and we should strive to achieve it at every opportunity. I simply wasn’t prepared to accept my melancholy as something that was beyond my control.

The above last two paragraphs were by David Robson, in “Why it’s time to stop pursuing happiness,” Act 1, Scene 1.

“The constant desire to feel happier can make people feel more lonely. This can make us become so absorbed in our own wellbeing, we forget the people around us.”

Opening The Blockade to Happiness

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt imposed a diplomatic, trade, and travel boycott on Qatar in June 2017. The group accused Doha of supporting “terrorism” and having what they deemed, a too close a tie with Iran.

The Saudi-led coalition had alleged that Qatar violated a 2014 agreement with the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which Qatar is a member.

Qatar repeatedly denied the allegations and said there was “no legitimate justification” for the severance of relations.

However, in the week of 5th January 2021, all of that changed. The “blockade to happiness” – the borders – were opened. And for the first time in more than 3 years, Qataris drove across the land border into Saudi Arabia on 9th Saturday. At least 70 vehicles passed through the crossing into the Kingdom on the first day and 20 travel in the other direction.

While the “de-escalation” of the crisis may not have addressed the core disagreements between Riyadh and Doha, it provides some useful lessons. Psychologists analyzing those who crossed the border between Saudi Arabia and Doha may still insist that happiness cannot be described. But those who had the “happy” experience, knew what they felt.

Why It’s Time to Stop Pursuing Happiness

David Robson in the Guardian Newspaper article titled, “why it’s time to stop pursuing happiness” provided different perspectives on the subject. But different twists and conclusions can also be shaped by those perspectives.

Photograph: solidcolours/Getty Images/iStockphoto
  • Avoid paying constant attention to your mood so you do not miss out on enjoying everyday pleasures.
  • Don’t have such a high standard for achieving happiness, that you do not appreciate the small and simple things that are really meaningful in your life.
  • If you really want to succeed, you’d do far better to engage in “mental contrasting.” This involves combining your fantasies of success with a deliberate analysis of the obstacles in your path, and the frustrations you are likely to face.
  • Keep a “gratitude journal” to regularly count your blessings and increase your overall wellbeing. But not like a chore, or in overdose quantity. Rather, it should be something you actually enjoy doing.
  • Frequently re-assess and reset your expectations. Accept that no matter how hard you try, feelings of frustration and unhappiness will appear from time to time. And actually, in reality, certain negative feelings can serve a useful purpose.

If happiness cannot be described because the outcome is always personal, the acts to getting there can be described. Ultimately, you might adopt the old adage “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and be unsurprised by everything in between”. Ease the pressure off yourself, and you may just find that contentment arrives when you’re least expecting it.


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Home Office Burnout Is Real: Here’s The Way Out

Home office burnout is real: here’s what you can do about it

The global work-from-home experiment has rewritten the productivity playbook. Working from home or living at work? Thriving, or simply trying to survive? The home office burnout is real!

By now, the thrill of trading in the office commute for a few short steps to the desk has long worn off. Now faced with fewer (if any) face to face meetings with colleagues, there is the overnight evaporation of casual corridor conversations. And what were once interactive workshops are now reduced to sharing screens.

Whereas, whilst the workplace dynamic has shifted, the relentless pursuit of delivering impactful results has not. Also, there is the increasingly blurring boundary between home and work life. This have paved the way for the rise of the ‘always-on’ home office. With the increasing risk of burnout.

According to a recent study by Forbes, more than two-thirds of workers surveyed in the US have reported an increase in burnout symptoms. Clearly, changes are needed. To promote a better work-life balance, here are three simple ways to improve productivity from the home office.

Focus On The Output, Not The Hours

Rather than measuring success base on the number of hours spent at the desk, set a list of impactful deliverables to complete. Prioritize the most impactful tasks first and worry less about trying to get through your entire to-do list.

Lights, Camera … Action!

From all the calls you attended last week, who left a memorable impression on you? Chances are, it was those who had their camera switched on. And whilst it may seem easy and often tempting to opt for audio-only, switching the camera on can have a profound impact on your presence in the virtual meeting room.

Most importantly, remember to look directly into your camera’s lens. Whilst it might take a bit of getting used to at first, looking into the lens equates to looking directly at your audience – just like being in the office.

Take Breaks, And Take Them Often

When it comes to working effectively from home, taking regular breaks is an absolute necessity. Set aside a 30-minute meeting with yourself at least once a day.

This will give you time to clear your mind, refocus and reflect on your progress. It will leave you feeling significantly re-energised and enable you strategize on what you want to get out of the rest of the day. And if you find there are too many meetings in your calendar preventing you from taking breaks, get ahead of the game and block the time in your diary.

Your 30-minute break might be a short-sweat session, a meditation program, a call to your best friend, or even a walk around the neighbourhood.

Being At Your Best

Home office burnout is real, but by implementing and embracing new norms and ways of working you can make a difference. You can optimize for better physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This will in turn translate into improved productivity.


You can find the original version of this article as written by Robert Simons at www.thedrum.com. Robert Simons is head of partner and developer marketing, International Markets . He is also a member of The Marketing Society Asia.

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Build A Mentoring Relationship With A Leader You Admire

BUILD A MENTORING RELATIONSHIP WITH A LEADER YOU ADMIRE

image: trumzz/Getty Images/Build A Mentoring Relationship With A Leader You Admire

Years ago when I taught a graduate leadership course in Seattle, one of my students asked me to be his mentor. This was about a week after the class had ended. It was clear that the question was difficult for him. Throughout the course, he appeared disinterested in my teaching, aloof, and often scoffed at the materials I presented. I’d assumed that he didn’t like the course or me.

But what caught me off guard that day was his sincerity. He explained that he’d had some bad experiences with mentors in the past. He came to realize that the people he had reached out to and admired weren’t genuinely interested in helping him grow. And they usually wanted something in return: free labor, an ego boost, the chance to feel important.

Trusting someone he wanted to learn from was still difficult. But he’d found the courage to ask me anyway. His vulnerability was disarming. I’d never been formally asked to “mentor” anyone and I felt like a fraud. I feared that if he knew my many flaws and insecurities, I’d end up being yet another disappointment.

Reluctantly, I agreed and decided I could simply hide those parts of myself.

Trust, Vulnerability And Growth In Mentoring Relationships

It wasn’t until months later, when we had built a foundation of trust, that I felt comfortable enough to follow his example. Sick of carrying around my angst, I confessed my fears about being the “perfect” mentor. As it turned out, the last thing he wanted was my perfection. He wanted me to be human, to see how I dealt with my shortfalls, and grew to trust me more because I acknowledged them.

I tell this story because I understand how complicated relationships between different generations can be in academic and professional settings. We spend a great deal of time comparing what we each have to offer to one another, and to the world.

In academia, young students want professors to help them make sense of the world. While their professors are worried about keeping up with their publishing demands.

At work, many emerging leaders feel those senior to them stand in their way. While those in senior roles privately question their relevance in the face of younger, tech-savvy newcomers. Such is the dilemma that both sides faces in an effort to build a mentoring relationship.

It Is Beyond The Legacy Or Wisdom Of Older Leaders, We Need Each Other

The irony is that the legacy of older leaders is only secured through helping the young ones reach their potential. And the opportunity to fulfill your potential as a young leader can be realized much more fully if you make an effort to inherit the wisdom of your predecessors. We need each other to feel like we both matter.

If a senior leader you want to connect with hasn’t figured that out yet, there are ways to help them, as my mentee helped me. Of course, all generations have more work to do in this area. These connections can only be made if both sides build bridges and make an effort to understand our mutual wants and differences.

But right now, I want to empower you, the young leader, with a few tools that I’ve seen help lay the foundation.

Test Your Assumptions And Labels. 

Chances are, if you’ve struggled to connect with a particular older leader, you’ve formed biases about them. You may have interpreted some of their behavior as off-putting, unapproachable, or disinterested in you. While your concerns may very well be valid, it’s also important to check yourself before completely writing them off.

I initially interpreted my student’s aloofness as disinterest. When in fact, it was the opposite. You may be surprised by what you find when you dig a little deeper.

Before shutting the door on a relationship with an older employee, put yourself in their shoes. Could you be misinterpreting where they are coming from? Are you projecting some of your own anxiety or misgivings onto them?

If you have any connection with someone who knows them better, check in with them to find out more to test your beliefs. Make sure that your criteria for judging their behavior isn’t based on how similar or different they are from you. The things that are different about them, may end up being the most valuable.

Use Vulnerability, Not Just Confidence, To Build Credibility

Many emerging leaders feel the best way to win the approval of older leaders is to appear confident, smart, and assertive. But that can backfire. It can come across as entitled or overly self-assured.

After asking me to be his mentor, my graduate student went on to confess that his behavior during our class was his way of trying to prove that he didn’t need help. He told me, “It’s funny, I was looking to be developed and led by trying to convince both of us that I needed neither.” His humility deeply impressed me.

What will show more seasoned leaders your maturity and credibility is being vulnerable. Being able to openly talk about what you don’t know. Asking for help in places you feel unsure, and acknowledging areas you need to improve. While that may feel risky, older leaders know that there’s only so much legitimately earned confidence, someone who is early in their career will have. Faking more than you have will only make others less likely to trust you.

Demonstrating that you know your limitations by being confident enough to ask for help indicates you are trustworthy and open to learning. If you are struggling with a project, for instance, you might say, “I’d love to get your input on this. I’m feeling really good about these parts, but I haven’t had enough experience in this area and I know that it’s your expertise.”

Avoid Complete Deference

On the other hand, extreme deference can create distance. In some cases, it can make you come across as a suck up. In others, it establishes a formality that makes senior leaders feel as though they always have to “be on” when they are around you.

Believe it or not, deference triggers a sense of imposter syndrome, a fear many older leaders have (that they aren’t worthy of the role they are in). This was my struggle in my relationship with my graduate student.

Recommended: Mentoring During A Crisis – Place Of Self And Mentee

You want to be someone that older leaders can feel safe with. Someone who they can be themselves around. When leaders across generations can learn to be vulnerable with one another, it can be transformational.

Find Common Ground

What many emerging leaders long for is to feel respected by older leaders.

Creating “peership” with older leaders — approaching them as equals without being cocky and showing respect for their seniority without being overly deferent — is one of the hardest parts of these relationships.

To establish mutuality, learn about their lives outside of work. If they have pictures of their family in their office, ask about them. Or, if you’re on a video call and one of their kids walks in the room, use that chance to learn more about their life. To build a mentoring relationship that will last long, also find out what interests they have outside of work.

When my student and I were first getting to know each other, I was still a newcomer to Seattle. My family and I were steeped in boxes from our move to the new city and he offered to help. As we unpacked boxes of books in my office, he asked about my clients and the work I did. It became a ritual for us to sit on the floor in front of the bookcase and tell stories of leaders facing real-life challenges.

Shared humanity is a great way to establish common ground, setting the foundation for a strong relationship. It also helps neutralize any hierarchical differences without ignoring them. You can show respect for your differences in experience by asking about their career choices and how they’ve approached their development.

Ask For What You Need

As simple as it sounds, seasoned leaders love when younger leaders cut to the chase and ask for what they want. If you want more time with someone, ask for it within reason. You probably can’t get an hour a week, but you might get an hour a month. With such baby steps, you will build a mentoring relationship that is fulfilling.

If you want more opportunities to have your ideas heard, ask for it. You can say, “I know our meetings are very full, but sharing my ideas is an area I need to grow in. Sometimes we move so fast that I don’t feel comfortable jumping into the fray. I wonder if we could set aside 15 minutes in an upcoming meeting for me to share an idea and engage the team?”

What Rejection Actually Mean

If you fear your request will be denied, you’re not alone. Many emerging leaders are afraid of the feeling of rejection that comes with that denial. Instead of personalizing silence, or a “no” answer, ask the other person to help you understand.

Whatever their response, they likely have your best interest in mind. You may have to ask several times to make something happen. This is why you should always ask with a level of respect, and explain why your request makes sense. Any hint of insistence, entitlement, or sulking if your request isn’t granted, is more likely to be met with resistance.

Remember that your desire to connect with more experienced colleagues is worthy and admirable. You are beginning to walk your way to build a mentoring relationship that is mutually beneficial. You are striving to learn from them, to offer something in return, and to broaden your network beyond your peers. Learning how to make those desires known to senior leaders takes practice, but it’s a skill you will use all your life.

It may feel risky, and at times, it will feel uncomfortable. But that discomfort is the same thing that will make your relationship go from enjoyable to transformational.

Start Now, Start Small. Keep It Friendly, Informal And Enjoyable

It takes some work to build a mentoring relationship. But you can start small. Who is a more experienced professional or leader that you admire? Someone you’d want to emulate? Whose career has made you think differently about your own?

Reach out to them. Let them know how they, and their work have influenced you. And then, ask for a 20-minute virtual coffee. Prepare one or two questions to ask them. Keep it friendly and informal. Let them feel enjoyed, and help them to enjoy you. Some of the greatest relationships of our lives start with a simple question over a cup of coffee.

Click to read the original script @ Harvard Business Review – Build a Relationship With a Senior Leader You Admire by Ron Carucci


Welcome to Worklife Feed articles and site-files indexing and adaptation series.

Mentoring During A Crisis – Place Of Self And Mentee

Mentoring During A Crisis - Place Of Self And Mentee

image: Westend61/Getty Images/Mentoring During A Crisis-Place Of Self And Mentee

Shortly after September 11, 2001, I (David) stood in the cafeteria line at work, anxieties still swirling in my mind. I happened to see one of my mentors, a senior member of our department. After we exchanged hellos, our conversation quickly turned to current events.

I remember he said two simple – yet powerful – words: “It’s scary.”

Almost instantly, my fears began to settle, replaced by a sense of connection. Knowing I wasn’t alone made a difference.

Even The Strong Need A Strong Hand Of Support

We have combined ~50 years of experience mentoring healthcare professionals before the Covid crisis. And now during it, we’ve learned just how important mentors can be—especially for those on the front lines.

For months, doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, postal carriers, and many others have been navigating physical danger, complexity, and uncertainty, with no end in sight. Now more than ever, they need emotional support.

But they can’t always turn to their managers. They also may be consumed with solving problems and likely overwhelmed with keeping their organizations running.

Workers may also fear their managers. They are the ones who hold the key to their future advancement. There is always the concern that managers may view  a request for help as a weakness. That is where you as a mentor can play a critical role. You can provide them with a stabilizing force. This is the time to be that someone who can help talk them down when they’re triggered, scared, burned out, or confused—all off the record.

Fortify Yourself First

However, if you consider yourself a mentor to someone on the front lines, the first step is to take care of yourself. You can’t offer emotional support if you don’t have your own emotional fortifications in place. Then you can turn to helping your mentee’s by offering them emotional support and concrete tactics.

First, you need to take stock of your capacity. Do you have the necessary time, focus, and energy for your mentee? If you don’t have time but still want to help, one solution is to help your mentee’s develop a  “team of mentors.”

If you do determine that you have the bandwidth to play a mentorship role, ask yourself: what can I do to fortify myself? Ultimately, you cannot provide care to others with an empty tank.

The Basics Are Not Luxuries But Essentials

Adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, and activities that provide rejuvenation and meaning—such as meditation, prayer, nature walks, listening or playing music—are not luxuries; they are essential.  

Micro-practices such as keeping a gratitude journal, deep breathing, and moments of mindfulness such as when using hand sanitizer can build moments of wellness into your day. And they take only seconds to minutes to implement.

And just as your mentee benefits from having you and other mentors to support them, you need your own support network as well. Highly effective leaders lean on support teams of colleagues near or far, and good mentors do the same. Do this by scheduling regular check-in calls with friends, family, mentors, coaches, spiritual advisors, or mental health professionals.

Encourage Reverse Mentoring

In the same vein, keep in mind that your relationship with your mentee isn’t one-way. Being open to learning from your mentees can be a source of positive energy for both of you. Reverse mentoring can pay big dividends, both emotionally and practically.

Voicing your appreciation for these moments of exchange can also build your relationship and provide its own form of emotional support to your mentee.

Attend To Your Mentee’s Emotional Well-Being

In your work with your mentees, it may be tempting to focus on teaching them new skills. You may also feel the need to give them advice about how to solve specific technical problems. But during a crisis and for front-line workers, you’re one of the few places and persons they can turn to for emotional support. So it’s critical that you make their well-being a focus for any mentoring discussion.

Encourage your mentees to share what they’re feeling. Reassure them, offer wellness strategies, and affirm their strengths.

How Are You Really Doing?

Begin with listening. Ask your mentees, “How are you really doing?”—more than once. Expect to hear about grief, anxiety, and fear. Encourage them to talk about these feelings.

Naming emotions helps us feel them, and allows them to flow through us, bringing a helpful shift in brain activity and perspective. Expect too that your mentoring meetings may involve more emotion than usual, including tears.

Practise Highly Supportive Reflective Listening

If you’re worried about what exact words to use with your mentees, know that reflective listening is in itself highly supportive. This just involves taking the essence of what the mentee said and offering it back as a connecting confirmation that they have been heard and understood.

For example, if your mentee is describing how stressful work is, you could say, “I hear it’s really stressful—and it’s hard to know what to do with the unexpected.”  

If you want to dig deeper, you can ask, “What is your biggest challenge right now?  What is helping? What’s going well—or still OK—in your world?”

In times of stress, clarifying what is most important to your mentees can be the biggest gift of all. In so doing you help them appreciate and focus on the things that bring meaning and purpose to their life.

Lower Expectations, Appreciate Strength

Offer reassurance and opportunities for connection. Discuss lowering expectations in these uncertain times. Explain that they shouldn’t feel they have to push themselves beyond their limits.

At the same time, express your appreciation for their strengths.

Simply naming them can be surprisingly helpful: “One of the things I most appreciate is your curiosity and drive for learning.” Or: “Coronavirus is one for the history books. You’re helping to pull us through. Thank you.”

Encourage Increase In Number And Spread of Mentee’s Support Team

Finally, share tactics for supporting their emotional well-being. Encourage your mentees to have their own support team and to limit their media exposure.

Offer a detail or two about your support team, and how you use it; ask about their own loved ones. Even just talking about mental health resources helps to normalize them. Each of us has used a coach, psychologist, therapist, or spiritual counselor. And at various times, has shared this fact with our mentees, as appropriate.

For both mentors and mentees, this may also be an especially meaningful time to renew dormant connections. Even if it’s been years since you’ve been in touch. A “check-in” call or e-mail can help.

And while virtual mentoring may not be as satisfying as the in-person kind, there is evidence supporting its efficacy.  In ways large and small, one person can make a lasting difference.

Even a few words, mentioned in passing, can last a lifetime.

Click to read the original script @ Harvard Business Review – Mentoring During A Crisis by David P. Fessell, Vineet Chopra and Sanjay Saint


Welcome to Worklife Feed articles and site-files indexing and adaptation series.

14 Interesting Ways To Combat Boredom At Work

Worklife Daily_14 Interesting Ways To Combat Boredom At Work

Click to read: 14 Interesting Ways To Combat Boredom At Work

Source: Inventiva

Snippet: Boredom at work is very common. It is always there in a government sector job, where the work pressure is very low. Have you dozed off at work when you had nothing to do? Well, you are not alone, this is common in the workplace especially once you start doing a monotonous work daily.

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In New Normal How Will We Go Back To Work? – Poll

Worklife Daily_In New Normal How Will We Go Back To Work

Click to read: In New Normal How Will We Go Back To Work? – Reader Poll

Source: Napa-net

Snippet: We may not be exactly sure when we’ll all be returning to the old way of earning a living. But interesting outcomes came out when readers were asked how they thought we’d be going “back” when we do.

One reader commented, “I’m a CEO and we are definitely going back to work in the office environment. Collaboration is 100% better with people physically in the office. Working from home is nice but not a good long term solution for creativity, work environment, employee rapport or growth.”

Another said, “Organizations have learned they do not necessarily have to have employees on site to get quality performance, so they can save on real estate, It will change the entire industry.” Another noted, “We are letting our lease expire and will all work remotely for at least the near future.”

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Why Did Women Drop Out Of The Workforce?

Worklife Daily_Why Did Women Drop Out Of The Workforce

Click to read: Why Did Women Drop Out Of The Workforce?

Source: New York Times

Snippet: “The bigger the wage gap across spouses, the smaller the labor supply of the secondary earner, which is typically the wife.” — Stefania Albanesi, an economics professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

In September, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 7.9 percent, far below the record high of nearly 15 percent in April. A large part of that drop was driven not so much by economic growth, but by hundreds of thousands of people leaving the job market altogether. A majority of those dropping out were women.

A key factor in their decision? The persistent gender wage gap, experts said.

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Female Detective Set Apart By Compassion

Worklife Daily_Female Detective Set Apart By Compassion

Click to read: Female Detective Set Apart By Compassion

Source: Journal Gazette

Snippet: Four months after Liza Anglin became a homicide detective in the Fort Wayne Police Department, an incident happened. A 2-year-old Malakai Garrett died of internal injuries so severe that his liver was lacerated. Anglin had rushed to the hospital that day. She witnessed the family as relatives spent agonizing moments until Malakai took his last shallow breath.

As a female detective, giving it her all is typical of Anglin, those who know her say. Because Anglin is “so committed to her work,” Dottie Davis, a former FWPD deputy chief, has talked to Anglin about “work-life balance.”

“She’s dealing with constant crisis. Homicide is usually a pretty small unit, very close knit,” said Davis, who helped train Anglin 20 years ago and considers her a friend.

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Investing In Corporate Quality of Worklife – Emory

Work Life Index - INVESTING IN CORPORATE QUALITY OF WORKLIFE - EMORY

Worklifefeed – Web Index 3: Investing In Corporate Quality of Worklife

By periodically investing in an index, the ‘know-nothing’ investor in Work-Life can actually outperform most professionals. There are other Worklife – Index from Worklife Feed. Here, we discuss Investing In Corporate Quality of Worklife

A number of companies are investing in corporate quality of worklife for their employees and they are letting them know about how to maximize them.

Your Work Life At Emory University

Maintaining a positive work-life integration is important for employees productivity, happiness and health. To help employees manage the many demands of work and life, Emory offers many resources, programs and services. Emory also have a Benefits and Work Life department.

Financial Programs: Managing personal finances is challenging at all stages of life and financial stress can make it difficult for employees concentrate on their other work-life responsibilities. Emory provides several resources and programs to help employees plan their financial future.

Workplace Flexibility: To respond to today’s need to be a more agile workplace, Emory encourages the use of flexible work options to help employees meet their work and personal responsibilities.

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Pandemic Prompts Work-Life Overhaul For World’s Business Leaders

Worklife Daily_Pandemic Prompts Work-Life Overhaul For World's Business Leaders

Click to read: Pandemic Prompts Work-Life Overhaul For World’s Business Leaders

Source: PR Newswire

Snippet: Bupa Global’s Executive Wellbeing Index reveals that 94% of global executives are planning a major overhaul of their work-life balance.

Over half do not plan to return to the same fast pace of life; one in three intends to work from home permanently, and one in five will even work from their holiday home. While over a quarter (26%) will stop all business travel for 12 months.

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