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You Don't Know What You Want

Petter Johansson

“A lot of what we call self-knowledge is actually self-interpretation. So I see myself make a choice, and then when I’m asked why, I just try to make as much sense of it as possible when I make an explanation. But we do this so quickly and with such ease that we think we actually know the answer.”

Petter Johansson

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Worrying about what others think
We all worry, in our own ways, about how we’re being perceived.

The fact that we’re being judged matters much more than whether those judgments seem fair or well-informed. We also don’t tend...

Being "fairly" judged

It’s impossible to be fairly judged. Nobody will ever understand you perfectly. You will continually be both underestimated and overestimated.

Your own assessment of yourself is hardly the “right” one. We tend to either obsess over our faults or overlook them completely.  And with strangers, there’s no hope of anything approaching a fair assessment. They have zero context for what they see in you. 

How we judge strangers

Become aware of your own judgments. You’ll discover that they’re almost always categorical (good person or bad person), that they’re provoked by a single behavior, and that you rarely second-guess these judgments.

Notice what it feels like to judge a person, how absolute and uncomplicated it seems, then remember that you’re seeing this person through the keyhole of a single moment in their lives.

“Work and rest are actually partners. They are like different parts of a wave. You can’t have the high without the lo..."
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Why we don't take time off

  • We think more work should equal more output: we see productivity not as doing more with less. But simply doing more.
  • We’re afraid of being “left behind”:  not only could we miss out on some important conversation, but we worry that we’ll be left behind.
  • Work has become a larger part of our identity: we feel personally connected to the work we do. Taking time away opens up all sorts of questions that can be hard to face. 

Deliberate rest

It is a play on the term “deliberate practice” and it means engaging with restful activities that are often vigorous and mentally engaging.

It is not a continuation of work, but a way to find activities that let you recharge from your workday, while still being mentally productive.

The savior complex
The savior complex

It is defined by the constant need to try and save people by solving their problems. You have this syndrome, if:

  • you feel attracted by vulnerable individuals
  • ...
The "savior

Trying to save the others might prove an extremely exhausting goal for the savior. Among the negative effects that this savior syndrome can have:

  • having a burnout 
  • breaking the relationship with the person you are trying to save
  • once you realize you cannot actual save anybody else but you, a feeling of frustration might emerge.
Fighting the savior syndrome

In order to overcome the savior complex:

  • practice active listening rather than active helping
  • talk to the person in need in order to find common ground rather than putting in place your own solution
  • remember that you are in control only of your own life
  • make sure your need to help the others doesn't come from an unsolved personal problem.