Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Winter blows, doesn't it?
It blows cold into your ears, damp into your bones, and darkness into your very core.
You don't want to get out of bed. You don't have enough energy. You wish the whole thing would just get lost.
Some people suffer far beyond mere discomfort. They get seasonal affective disorder, which can be extremely debilitating.
Stanford University researcher Kari Leibowitz thought she'd find out how those who live in Tromsø, Norway, respond to winter.
Tromsø is 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It's an island where the sun doesn't bother coming up over the horizon for two months of the year. Despite that, 70,000 people live there.
Here's the strange thing: They don't appear to be all that miserable.
At least that's what Leibowitz found, which made her wonder about humans and the way they approach certain problems. Specifically, these Norwegian humans who seem to actually thrive amid all this dark and foreboding.
Leibowitz's tentative conclusion: It's their mindset.
They don't look upon the onset of winter as a depressing event at all. They rather look forward to skiing. There's something else they anticipate with glee: Koselig.
Koselig is the idea of cuddling up beneath a warm blanket and feeling cozy all over. It's a positive feeling. What's not to look forward to?
Leibowitz decided to create a Wintertime Mindset Scale that would measure just how strong and positive these Tromsønian minds were.
She writes: "The results of our study in Norway found that having a positive wintertime mindset was associated with greater life satisfaction, willingness to pursue the challenges that lead to personal growth, and positive emotions."
How much, then, can be achieved by persuading the mind that things aren't merely not bad, but actually quite good?
What possesses these Norwegian Jedi to have mind tricks that might defy many in the world?
Personally, I view the arrival of winter with the same joy that I view the arrival of men in suits at my front door trying to talk me into a new religion.
The idea of winter is so painful to me that I try and escape to sunnier climes for most of December and at any other times until the end of March.
Does this mean I am mental jelly? Does this mean that my mindset is weaker than a British upper class chin?
Or could it be that these Norwegians are on intravenous alcohol drips and don't let on what makes them so positive about the bleak midwinter?
Discussions about mindset often seem to focus on a certain level of mental discipline and strength. There are, apparently, ways to strengthen your internal sinews.
But when the temperature has numbed your ears and frozen your eyeballs, when the chilling wind has entered your bones and held a held a frigid fart-party, how much mental strength do you need to tell yourself that life is good?
In Tromsø, the daily mean temperature in January is 24 degrees Fahrenheit. The daily mean in July is only 53.2 degrees. This is surely, if not hell, then a pungent purgatory.
Something else crosses my mind, however. Tromsø isn't exactly a poor place. Norway is the most prosperous country in the world and Tromsø is a hub for such relatively healthy industries as oil and IT.
Might the relative wealth of the inhabitants have at least a little influence on their mental strength and well-being?
Or is the grimy darkness of the season getting to me?