Author, Professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin & Executive Director of the IC2 Institute
Art Markman is the Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin and Executive Director of the IC2 Institute, a think-tank focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. He served as Founding Director of the Program in the Human Dimensions of Organizations, a program that uses the humanities, and the social and behavioral sciences that teaches people in business, government, nonprofits, and the military about people. Art brings insights from cognitive science to a broader audience through his blogs at Psychology Today and Fast Company as well as his radio show/podcast Two Guys on Your Head. Art is the author of several books including Smart Thinking, Smart Change, Brain Briefs, and Bring Your Brain to Work. When he isn’t working or spending time with his family, Art can be found playing saxophone with the ska band, Phineas Gage.
My Daily Thoughts:
Goal of the Day: Meet a new person, learn a new thing, teaching something to someone
Thought of the Day: You can teach an old dog new tricks.
Action of the Day: Write at least 500 words
Deed of the Day: Make someone’s life a little brighter
Tip of the Day: Before answering someone’s question, think about what question they should have asked.
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
Austin, TX is one of the great cities in the United States. It is young, vibrant, and brimming with energy. I just love to tap into that energy to learn more and keep up with new trends in education, technology, and business.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
I love the (vegan) chick’n and waffles at The Beer Plant.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Dragging myself out of bed…
10:00 AM – Ideally, the morning is my writing time, whether I’m working on a blog post or a new book.
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal? I love a good meal with a colleague to find out what they are working on.
7:00 PM – My best 7pm hours are spent with my band either rehearsing or playing a show. We play early, because that’s when folks in their 50s will go hear live music…
11:00 PM – I’m asleep by 10. Sleep is the most important meal of the day.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
One cup of coffee in the morning. A good rye whiskey on weekends caps off a good day.
Most used App/Favorite Accounts?
I’m on Twitter too often trying not to get annoyed or to be too annoying with self-promotion. My favorite Twitter account is Thoughts of Dog. A bit of sunshine in a cloudy mess. My favorite Instagram is my oldest son’s account (lucas_markman). He’s become quite a good photographer as he makes his way in LA.
What should everyone try at least once?
Learning a musical instrument. I took up the saxophone in my mid-30s, and it changed my life.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
A good bookstore, the record section of Waterloo Records, or down a rabbit hole learning about the latest research in a new area. As my partner-in-crime on my radio show and podcast , Bob Duke, says, “we are lucky enough to get paid to be confused most of the time.”
My Native AdVice:
How did you get into the business of connecting people in the community to research?
About 15 years ago, I was watching TV and saw yet another member of Congress trying to cut funding for research in psychology. Psychology is the one science everyone is guaranteed to need, because everyone has a mind, and almost nobody knows how it works. It was clear that people don’t understand why psychology research is so important. So, I decided to act as if it is literally my fault that people don’t know why the research in my field matters. That led me to start blogging, speaking to groups, and writing books. It has been a rewarding pivot that has brought me into contact with lots of interesting people.
My latest book is called . It is focused on using psychology to maximize the effectiveness of your career. One piece of advice is for people to really think about their values. There is great social psychology research by Shalom Schwartz on the values people hold. Learn about your own values and then find ways to introduce more of those values into your work. If you value helping others, find ways to help your colleagues, clients, or consumers. Don’t be afraid to switch careers if you find yourself unable to express your values at work. Worst case, find hobbies or volunteer activities that give you a chance to express those values. You only get one shot at life. Don’t give yourself too many regrets of actions you didn’t take.
Any emerging ideas in your field?
Everyone should pay attention to research in psychology, because it can change the way you interact with colleagues, friends, and loved ones; make you a better communicator; and incrase your productivity. But, if you are going to look at research, focus on studies that are at least 15 years old and have been replicated by other labs. It is tempting to glom onto the latest finding, but it takes a long time before the scientific process helps us to distinguish which findings are worth incorporating into your understanding of yourself.
Books (that aren’t mine) that I recommend
Friend of a Friend-David Burkus
Ungifted-Scott Barry Kaufman
How do you motivate others?
Motivation is all about bridgeable gaps. That is, you get energy from recognizing the gap between where you are right now and where you want to be. The dissatisfaction that comes with recognizing that you have more to achieve is energizing. To turn that energy into action, you also need a plan that will help you to bridge the gap between present and future. I strive to help people find their bridgeable gaps and then to learn to seek out more bridgeable gaps in their lives.
My Native AdVantage:
What are my aspirations?
I just took over as director of the at the University of Texas. My goal at the institute is to bring together researchers and practitioners to help rural communities and small isolated cities learn to create business communities that support each other. I want the University of Texas to be a leader in that area.
Personally, I want to keep finding things that excite me. I see friends and colleagues in my age-group (mid-50s) starting to slow down, because they’re getting bored. I want to find new challenges.
My Biggest Success?
Serving as Founding Director of the program is the most important role I have had to date. We galvanized a community to create a brand new academic program that includes an executive masters program, an undergraduate degree program, and seminars and certificate programs. We built something no school had ever done before that really demonstrates the value of the liberal arts for people in business, government, nonprofits, and the military.
My Pivotal Moment? I have had several choice-points where I could keep working on what I was doing or take on a new challenge. One was when I agreed to take on the Human Dimensions of Organizations program. Another was when I chose to develop a successor at HDO so that I could move on to another challenge. A third was agreeing to lead the IC2 Institute. In each case, it would have been easier and more comfortable to continue doing what I was doing, but each new position has been rewarding and energizing.
My mom always told me that you can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it. My dad told me that it is better to be lucky than good. I try to keep both in mind. Success is partly about working hard and partly by being in the right place at the right time with the right people around you. Enjoy your successes, but recognize that those successes had a lot to do with circumstance and with the great people who help you along the way.
My younger brother died in 2004 when he was 33-years-old after an illness. That moment made me realize that you don’t get to put off your accomplishments for the future. You have to make them happen every day. The trick in life is not to leave anything on the table.