The Numbers Game is a fun infotainment series aired on National Geographic Channel. The show starts with a question, which data analyst Jake Porway will answer by presenting numbers and statistics. It tackles different interesting topics like being a millionaire, death, and surviving a zombie apocalypse. I find this show really entertaining. Here, I have listed four episodes that I like the best and the things I've learned from them.

Could You Be the Boss?

BossCredit: of all the billionaires out there. What do they have in common? All of them possess a high level of creativity.

Host Jake asks a couple of men to describe the unconventional uses for a paper clip. The viewers are challenged to guess which of them is the boss based on their answers. Both men are very creative in their answers but the older guy is able to explain in greater detail about the uses of a paperclip (ear-scratcher, tie clipper). While I think the younger guy has cool ideas (cellphone stand), the older guy is actually the boss between the two. This shows that your ideas don't have to be just original. You also have to be able to explain them.

As we all know, confidence is a key to success. Studies show that raising both hands in front of the mirror (I mean in a victorious way, not in a surrendering manner) helps boost your confidence level. You can do this before a job interview for a higher success rate.

No man is an island. Of course, a boss needs a great team in order to succeed. To find awesome team members, the boss has to know how to ask the right questions in job interviews.

In a street experiment, three different guys will try to retrieve a dollar bill from a high post. The first guy is very tall, the second has a medium height, and the third one is a short guy. Among them, only one person is capable of getting the bill. Without revealing the answer to the viewers, Jake asks random people which of the three guys they think will be able to get it. The passersby can ask them one question before they make a guess. Some of them ask questions like "Do you play basketball?" "Do you climb trees?" or "Are you a great dancer?" Those who ask such questions cannot correctly guess the right guy. So what is the proper question to ask to determine the right person for the job? Avoid asking questions that are answerable by yes or no. Someone asks, "What do you do for a living?" and he is able to guess that the shortest guy, who is a stunt man, is the person who can get the dollar bill. Ask the right questions and you will get the right person for your team.

Another surefire way to having a great team is to hire women. Surveys show that a team made up of mostly women tends to become more effective. To prove this, another street experiment is made by host Jake. Two teams are asked to form three equilateral triangles from six matches. The first team has three women; the second has two men and one woman. The first team wins. So, what is it with women that makes a team so great? Women have higher interpersonal skills and are more sensitive than men. I'm not saying that men are no good. Far from that. But a team can surely benefit a great deal from women because of their feminine qualities.

Are You a Jerk?

For the sake of discussion, let me define jerk. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, jerk is "a stupid person or a person who is not well-liked or who treats other people badly". There are many advantages in being one. Statistics show that jerks tend to earn more, get more promotions, and have less stress than their nicer counterparts. That said, being a nice guy has its perks as well. Studies show that nice people tend to live longer, get more dates, and make better leaders.

To validate the last point (being a better leader), TV host Jake makes an informal experiment in the show. Two groups are made and they are to pop as many blue and red balloons as they can that are scattered on the ground. Two jars are on each team's table. They have to place the popped balloons into the proper jar - the blue ones go into the first jar and the red ones into the second jar. This is not just a speed test but also an accuracy test. Both teams have a coach, Team 1 with a nice coach and Team 2 with a jerk coach. As the game starts, the nice coach keeps on saying encouragements while the jerk coach keeps on yelling mean things to his team. When the game ends, the popped balloons are counted. While Team 1 gets 40 fewer balloons than Team 2, they get more correct balloons in their jars. Team 1 wins in this game. This shows that nice guys have far better leadership skills than the jerks.

Since both types of guys have their own perks and perils, we have to balance our niceness and jerkness on every situation. However, we can't be both at the same time. Studies show that our brain is incapable of being empathic (nice) and analytical (jerk) at the same time. Another experiment is made. A group of participants are asked to solve a math problem on the street. While they are busy cracking the equation, a cyclist falls in front of them. Only a small percentage of these participants have stopped to help the cyclist. This shows that there is no room for being empathic when one is being analytical at the moment.

Lastly, another experiment is made to find out which guy gets more dates. Two hot guys walk around the street and try to get as many numbers as they can from different girls. The nice guy makes nice compliments on the girls he meets. The jerk guy makes lascivious comments on girls while trying to get their numbers. If you're a guy who believes that nice guys finish last, you will be surprised to know that this is not the case in terms of dating. The results show that the nice guy actually gets far more phone numbers than the hot but jerk guy. So, guys, it's okay to be nice!

How Tough Are You?

Tough SupermanCredit: a street experiment, random people are asked to spot the five differences in two photos. Most of them can easily spot an average of 3 to 4 differences. After that, they repeat the process, only this time, they submerge their feet in a bucket of ice water, listen to a baby crying in the headphone while being poked with a blunt stick at the back. With so many distractions, most of them can only spot one or two differences in the pictures. What they did requires mental toughness. It takes practice to become mentally tough.

Studies show that taking a cold shower at least six times, not holding back sleep, and listening to music increases our pain tolerance. The last two are very easy to do and I'm glad that I can tolerate cold showers! I feel a lot tougher!

In another experiment, three participants are asked to stand in a tennis court while a ball machine throws balls at them. The purpose of the experiment is to find out which of them has the highest tolerance level. One is a man in his 20's, the second one is a woman in her 30's, and the last one is an old man. The young man is the first to give up and soon after, the woman leaves too. Both of them can only take not more than 20 hits. Surprisingly, the last man standing is the old man. He gives up after about 50 hits, I think. This shows that the older we get, the more tolerant of pain we become.

In the last street experiment, two teams stand in front of a table. With their consent, they put their fingers in what looks like a small mouse trap for a short period of time. It doesn't snap their finger but it does look painful. The first team has to keep their mouth clean while enduring the entire ordeal and the second team is allowed to say whatever they want (including swear words). Afterwards, they rate their pain level. Not surprisingly, the second team rates it as less painful than the first team. This shows that swear words can help us tolerate pain!

Are You Desirable?

Attractive Girl with DogCredit: to studies, people who are more attractive tend to earn more and live longer. People also tend to treat these beautiful individuals better than their less attractive counterparts. In the show, host Jake and an attractive woman make an experiment. They go to a busy street where both of them would ask male passersby to take off their shirts for them. Whoever gets more shirts wins the game. As expected, the attractive woman gets far more shirts than geeky Jake. They interview some guys and they admit that the girl's attractiveness make them give up their shirts.

They make another experiment. Five pictures of males and five pictures of females are put on black curtains. They ask random people to choose which person of the opposite sex they find the most attractive. After they've asked enough people, the winners are announced. The curtains are pulled open to let the crowd meet the contestants in person. To everyone's surprise, only the eight contestants are behind the curtains. Jack explains that the two winners do not really exist. Their faces are in fact the combination of the four other people's faces. This means that an "average" face is what most people find attractive. Most of us don't like extremes (e.g. big forehead, flat nose). I haven't realized that the Goldilocks rule also applies to looks - we prefer our facial features to be just right. Anything that is too much is usually perceived as unpleasant.

If you're not that attractive, there's no reason to despair. We can still make ourselves look more desirable without going under the knife. Here are some surefire ways to make ourselves look hotter:

1. Wear red. For some reasons, this color improves our looks tenfold.
2. Have a sense of humour. Women like funny guys. Girls, on the other hand, don't need to be a joker. They just have to know when to laugh.
3. Bring your dog with you. A study shows that men with dogs appear more attractive than they actually are.
4. Bring the right accessories. Men carrying a guitar look hotter than when they're carrying a gym bag.
5. Exhibit good manners.
6. Keep yourself well groomed. No one wants to date you if you smell bad or look sloppy.
7. Be a good listener.
8. Wear the right clothes. Most of us express ourselves through our style. However, it's best to not overdo it. Over-the-top outfits may intimidate potential dates. Also, choose clothes that fit you properly.

Though these things will make us look better, please bear in mind that these are merely guidelines. You don't have to go too far by getting a dog if you can't afford to have one or if you don't like animals. At the end of the day, we should just be ourselves. We all know that everyone has a unique preference and what is attractive to one may not be attractive to you. Most of the time, our uniqueness is what makes us truly attractive.

© Rainy Kua 2016