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Daniel Pink

Once the ratio hit about 11 to 1, positive emotions began doing more harm than good. Beyond that balance of positive-to-negative, Life becomes a festival of Panglossian cluelessness, where self-delusion suffocates self-improvement.

Some negativity (…) is essential to offer us feedback on our performance

DANIEL PINK

Myth – Incantations

Myth – Incantations

"Repeat yourself a mantra and you will eventually come to believe it and embody it."

The Truth:

"We have found that merely repeating positive statements to yourself does not raise mood or achievement very much, if at all.", says ​psychologist Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology

What To Do:

  1. Work to improve yourself to the point where you receive (real) positive feedback from others.
  2. Challenge your negative thoughts, “talk back” to them with well-reasoned arguments.
  3. Ask yourself questions and then force yourself to come up with positive answers.

Myth – Law of Attraction

Myth – Law of Attraction

"If you think often enough and with enough conviction about what you want you can attract it in your life."

The Truth:

From a psychological perspective, this notion has some merit but there is no empirical scientific evidence supporting the law of attraction, and it is widely considered to be pseudoscience.

Myth – Smile And You’re Happy

Myth – Smile And You’re Happy

"To be happy, you just need to smile."

The Lie:

This was actually backed by a famous study originally called in psychology the “facial feedback hypothesis” (Strack Et Al., 1988).

The Truth:

A much larger successive study failed to replicate its results (Wagenmakers Et Al., 2016). 

Myth – Goal Setting in Yale

Myth – Goal Setting in Yale

"A survey of Yale’s class of 1953 found out that people who wrote down their goals out-earned all the rest by several orders of magnitude."

The Truth:

Some people looked for the source of this study. 

And there was none.

Finally, Yale University itself came out saying a survey on goal setting was never conducted.

Myth – Focus Only on Positives

Myth – Focus Only on Positives

"If you focus on positives you will be happier and more successful. If you focus on the negative you will be unhappier."

The Truth:

  • Frederickson and Losada found out that too many positives become harmful above a certain threshold (11:1).
  • Research shows that thinking about the worst-case scenario can help people to manage their anxiety and lower the pressure.

Myth – High Self-Esteem

Myth – High Self-Esteem

"The more confident and the higher your self esteem, the better off you are."

The Truth:

That’s not wholly wrong. High self-esteem is good.

But only if accompanied by a growth mindset and an antifragile ego.

Paradoxically, the higher your self-esteem, the more dangers you see in your external environment.

Myth – Brain Plasticity

Myth – Brain Plasticity

"The brain can rewire and change itself, and that means that you can learn anything."

The Self-Help Lie:

  • There is no talent, only effort. 
  • Since the brain is plastic, you can learn anything and you can get good at anything. 

The Truth:

The brain is plastic… Quite a bit. But that doesn’t mean it can rewire itself limitlessly.

What To Do:

  • You can improve on pretty much anything.
  • You are also better off choosing fields where you have a natural affinity for.

Myth – EI Is 80% Of Success

Myth – EI Is 80% Of Success

"IQ doesn’t matter, it’s all about how you understand and get along with people."

The Truth:

  • Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, found out that EI rises until mid-level management but then decreases at CEO level.
  • Hence, if we measure “success” as the “ability to climb hierarchical structures in business organizations”, then the claim that EI is 80% of success is blatantly not true.

Myth – The 10,000 Hour Rule

Myth – The 10,000 Hour Rule

"If you want to become world-class good all you need to do is put in 10,000 hours."

Why It’s Wrong:

  1. It focuses on the quantity of time practicing, not the quality of the practice – and not all practice is equally helpful.
  2. It leads to a misconception that anyone can become an expert in a given area by putting in the time.

What to Do Instead:

Myth – Visualize Winning

Myth – Visualize Winning

"The more you visualize yourself winning, the closer you get to actually winning."

The Truth:

  • Thinking about goals increases the number of times people thought of those goals and decreased the amount of actual work.
  • Research shows that people who used visualization to envision themselves studying instead of getting an A not only performed better, but also experienced less stress and anxiety.

What To Do

  • Remind yourself that work trumps visualization.
  • Don’t visualize yourself too much with the gold medal but also focus on the process.

Myth – Force Yourself Into Positive States

Myth – Force Yourself Into Positive States

"You become what you think of. Force yourself to think positive and you’re good."

The Truth:

  • Research shows that switching to a good mood when we’re normal is easy.
  • When we’re anxious or stressed and we “force” ourselves to feel good is that we fail.
  • When we’re already down and we fail to switch to happy, we feel even worse and powerless.

The Solution:

  1. Accept the idea that it’s OK not to be always happy.
  2. If you want to switch mood, getting other people to help and/or changing the environment can be more effective.

Roy Baumeister

Violence ensues when people feel that their favorable views of themselves are threatened or disputed by others.

As a result, people whose self-esteem is high but lacks a firm basis in genuine accomplishment are especially prone to be violence because they are most likely to have their narcissistic bubble burst.

ROY BAUMEISTER

Myth – Only 7% of Communication is Verbal

Myth – Only 7% of Communication is Verbal

"Most meaning of human communication is nonverbal, so you can forget about the actual words."

The Truth:

This is what, in a nutshell, the Mehrabian study tells us:

"When it comes to feelings and atittudes, we get most of our cues of the speaker’s intent from non-verbal sources. When the two are in conflict, we give precedene to non-verbals."

That’s the truth of the study and it cannot be generalized outside of feelings and attitudes.

Myth – Release Anger

Myth – Release Anger

"To feel better and live fully, you must let out all negative emotions."

The Truth:

There is plenty of evidence that venting your anger actually only makes you more angry and aggressive and increases the negative consequences of anger.

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