Self Improvement


  • People with softer, sonorant names like Marla or Samantha (names that flow from the tongue easily) are perceived to be more agreeable and warm.
  • Names that sound sharp and abrupt like Eric or Kirk are perceived to have a cold nature.
  • Names that are uncommon and rare often have an unusual career like that of a judge or film director.
  • An unusual name can shape us into being more creative and open-minded, according to US research.
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Self Improvement

If a name has an unappealing or unfashionable association, it can impact how others treat the person. Self-confidence and self-perception are also impacted if the person does not like their own name.

A study conducted on how names affect choice of partners in dating apps showed that unfashionable or ‘off-putting’ names were more likely to be rejected.

Parents can pick a particular name for their kid due to many reasons: vanity, a test of creativity or an expression of their own personality.

The choice plays a significant part in how others see the child and what kind of person the child evolves into. As our names reveal our ethnicity and background, there is both conscious and unconscious social bias attached to it, even though they are a highly unreliable indicator of personality.

A German study found that people were less likely to help out a complete stranger if the name was negatively rated in their minds, regardless of it being normal. An otherwise warm and trustworthy person can feel wrecked if there is repeated rejection simply due to their name, and is more likely to commit a crime.

This can be explained by cause and effect: If a person is socially rejected, there is a risk that he or she develops a disagreeable personality, and commits wrongful deeds as a result.

  • If you desire that your child should be popular and well-accepted, you can provide them with a common, recognized name that sounds positive and likeable.
  • If you want your child to be unique and outstanding, a distinctive name will act as a constant reminder that the individual is special and has to do something out-of-the-ordinary.
Our Name And Its Impact
  • A name is used for communication on a daily basis, but it is much more than just a calling card.
  • The name forms the person’s self-conception and is a highly personal influence imposed from birth.
  • The name becomes a crucial and foremost anchorage to one’s self-identity.

Being addicted to escapist media like video games and web series (that keep us hooked using algorithms) is linked to poor cognitive health.

Watching an episode or two of a good TV show intentionally is beneficial for us, but overdoing the same leads to increased worry and anxiety, the very thing we are trying to avoid.

De-stressing Through Escapist TV
  • Binging Netflix shows, marathoning on escapist TV all night is a popular way to pass time, more so due to the pandemic.
  • We dive into endless streams of media to avoid confronting our emotions and numbing our uncomfortable feelings.
  • While it does de-stress us once in a while, making us forget our problems temporarily, escapism harms us in the long run.

Escapist media causes damage to our brains as we soak into our senses all the sounds and visuals, our bodies lying on the couch doing nothing.

We need to honestly ask ourselves what we are feeling and what we need to do, rather than distracting ourselves by consuming mind-numbing media. The solution may lie in self-introspection, journaling or even therapy.

Cutting To the Chase
  • The phrase originates from the silent films era when normal dialogue wasn’t engaging enough to the viewer.
  • Physical comedy, popularized in the 1920s by Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, relied heavily on action sequences that involved a chase, to keep the viewers hooked on without sound.

Moviemakers were advised to ‘cut to the chase’ or move faster towards an action sequence to keep their audiences engaged.

This carried on in the screenplays of the 60s, and though the phrase is figuratively used nowadays (We say ‘cut to the chase’ to someone when we want to tell them to get to the point), newer movie franchises like Fast And The Furious remind us that viewer patience is still short.

Being overly critical of oneself and developing a negative self-image is a sure-fire way to create a distorted self-perception.

People with self-doubt are more susceptible to confirmation bias about their own incompetence. This subconscious phenomenon is like a reversal of the Dunning-Kruger effect, where people seem to wrongly believe that they are competent.

  • We have certain unconscious inclinations and motives, a part of our personality that is hidden from us.
  • An extensive psychological experiment that examined the automatic, reflexive response in participants revealed that the image conveyed in surveys has little to do with the actual personality.
  • Questions that required automatic reactions showcased the habitual and spontaneous personality parts, whereas those requiring thought and reflection revealed a different personality.

Our desire to impress others leads to self-deception. To make sure that others are convinced about our truthfulness, capabilities and IQ, we ourselves have to be convinced first. Extensive studies show that our self-deception fluctuates depending on factors like how we believe others will perceive us.

We are also ready to deceive ourselves to come closer to our own perception about ourselves, which is kind of head-spinning!

Mindfulness meditation increases self-reflection and helps in overcoming two major hurdles: Distorted thinking and justification of our egoistic nature.

Meditation makes us remove our identification with the constant stream of thoughts, and simply observing the mind increases clarity. Imagination is also a powerful tool to manifest our desires.

We Are Totally Wrong About Ourselves

Our self-perception is completely distorted, according to psychological research. We do not know who we are, something known as ‘introspection illusion’. Further complicating matters is the fact that we do not realize this and think about ourselves as somebody who we are not.

Our self-image, it seems, is affected by biases, illusions and processes that remain in the unconscious realm.

The Dunning-Kruger effect says that most incompetent people are not aware of their incompetence and have inflated self-esteem.

Believing we are better at something than we are in reality has an advantage: it makes us cope up with the daily ups and downs in a better way.

An attitude of personal growth (also called growth mindset) can be a way to learn, evolve and succeed in life.

Self-knowledge is not a rigid piece of information but is a continuously changing process.

People who are insecure are the ones who are more aligned towards behaving in a moral, socially acceptable way. Those who are really sure that they are intelligent, good looking, generous or sociable are confident about themselves and make less effort to prove it to others.

However, too much self-assurance results in an inflated ego, which if fed constantly, takes us away from reality.

While our moral values are relatively stable, our preferences can change. How we view our true self plays a big role in our self-worth.

Being faithful to our true self reduces complexity in a world that is complicated and always in flux. Our true self becomes the center of the wheel that is not going round and round like the circumference. That is why people move towards enlightenment, the path of self-realization.

Self-image can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. We need to see ourselves as a process, an evolving individual who is adaptive, flexible and shape-shifting. If we see our traits (like willpower or IQ) as fixed, we won’t be able to improve upon those.

Example: Fear of failure can be the root cause of eventual failure.

Our outward appearance, hairstyle, clothes, behaviour (like averting a gaze or hand-wringing) indicates a lot to other people without our being conscious about it.

We are not always aware of our hand gestures, facial expressions and body language, and are blind towards the effect it has on others. A blinking eye, for instance, indicates stress, and a slump in one’s posture portrays how mentally burdened we are feeling.

We need to ‘unsubscribe’ from what everyone else is reading, and randomly pick books or magazines, and even talk to strangers for creating a twist in our information consumption routines, exposing us to fresh new insights.

A good network of people who can guide our thinking can become a better source of curated knowledge.

Toxic News Bombarded At You 24/7

Most of the sensational news stories we read and watch on TV all day are just to grab our eyeballs and do not even matter any more after a short while.

The more information we have around us, the less we digest, and it makes sense to go over quality (depth of news) than quantity (breadth of news stories).

The way to save yourself from the deluge of news vying for your attention is to have an innovative and counterintuitive approach to information: making a ‘smart information filter’ net.

Bill Gates has a ‘Think Week’ every year here he reads academic papers in a solitary retreat.

One has to switch off the information overload (your smartphone) and the TV which constantly fills our minds with junk news and reflect on what you want to read and enjoy.

  • Travel to those places where you would not find everyone else. Try to take the road less travelled and learn new things while on the road by having new experiences and talking to new people.
  • Embrace silence and learn how to be mindful and self-aware. Stop the chatter in your brain and the mindless talks we keep having and go to places that are quiet and beautiful, like the forest or the mountains.
  • It is also a great idea to simply relax and not to hunt for any information proactively every day.
  • Don’t go by the trends, instead, look at counter-trends and tread your own digital path. Mainstream news is common and there is too much of it online.
  • One has to collect precious, uncommon information, which is valuable and worth our attention.
  • Turn off your smartphone every evening and on weekends, or if you can, do not even own one.

Do not worry about where the crowd is going.

It helps to trim out your news sources and only read a few good publications, physical newspapers and weekend edition magazines for better insight on current events, and for reducing the noise going in our brain.

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