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RSA 2014: A Talk InfoSec Curmudgeons Should Attend

Two good friends are delivering a talk at RSA Conference 2014 that's near and dear to my heart. The subject: work-life balance, mindfulness and happiness in the security profession. 

Session details:
Neuro-hacking 101: Taming your inner curmudgeon
By Mike Rothman & Jennifer Minella
Wednesday, Feb. 26, 8-9 A.M.
West, Room: 3018, Moscone Center

Jennifer offered the details on her Security Uncorked site:

Short Abstract
For self-proclaimed security curmudgeons and anyone else searching for better work/life balance, this session is a how-to guide for happiness, health and finding a paths to increased productivity. Case studies, methods and research in the science of mind and body are followed up with resources and ways to get started. From neuroscience to nutrition, there's something for everyone.

Quick Abstract
A how-to guide to balance and increased productivity - for curmudgeons and other security professionals. From neuroscience to nutrition, there's something for everyone.

Session Details
Do we really want to have a balanced lifestyle and be happy? If so, security folks sure don't act like it! We're a group of self-proclaimed curmudgeons, grumps and skeptics in a thankless job just waiting to judge others, criticize everyone and complain about, well, everything.

But, a job in infosec is not a jail sentence. We don't have to be skeptics, nor do we need to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. With an open mind and a few minutes of time, we can completely hack our brains, rewiring the machinery and becoming calmer, clearer and way more productive.

Some call it neuro-hacking, some call it mindfulness, and in Eastern philosophies there are a plethora of words to describe both the actions and the benefits resulting from a shift in perspective. Concepts once viewed as a bunch of hooey now have their results proven daily by scientific and medical research, confirming what people knew 2,500 years ago.

Silicon Valley, the hotbed of innovation, is taking notice -- and so should you. Companies like Google have entire programs centered on meditation for their employees. They're not alone: Facebook, Zynga and a host of other technology companies are integrating these concepts in their businesses.

And these benefits are not just limited to high tech. At every building in General Mills' sprawling campus, there's a meditation room. Among General Mills' senior execs taking a meditation course, 80% reported a positive change in their ability to make better decisions, while 89% said they became better listeners. Research with business managers show yoga reduced insomnia and anxiety by 66% and depression by more than 85%.

In this session, we'll discuss tactics to find this balance including meditation, yoga, Tai Chi and other traditionally Eastern practices. You may think we've been spending too much time smoking the peace pipe, but in reality security is lagging in using these easy and effective techniques to enable you to deal with the daily grind of security with elegance and grace.

You don't believe it. We get it because we're paranoid skeptical curmudgeons just like you. We didn't believe it until it started to make a difference in our own lives. So we'll show you the research and share the data to prove it. We'll share case studies and our own personal experiences. And we'll give you detailed information and resources on how to start putting these techniques to use today - with as little as ten minutes a day.

Mike's post on mindfulness at Securosis blog: https://securosis.com/blog/mindfulness-works