Before making a decision, considers how you’ll feel about this decision in 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years.
It’s easy to make short-term decisions that may be beneficial 10 minutes or 10 months from now, but these types of decisions usually don’t benefit us in the long-term. What’s harder is to make decisions that may not appear attractive or impactful in the short-term, but over time can have a positive impact in your life.
In anything we do, there’s always ~20% of activities that will deliver 80% of our desired results.
It’s easy to be wrapped up in ‘busy’ work without ever getting anything done. Pareto’s Law is a useful mental model to be more effective, rather than just be efficient.
Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. So try placing artificial time limitations.
If we’re given three hours to complete a task that normally would take an hour, we’ll find a way to fill those three hours. However, when we’re down to the final thirty minutes, we’re suddenly feeling the pressure to get things done.
Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55) believed that in order to practice philosophy, you have to doubt everything.
His belief in thinking for oneself is noticed throughout his pseudonymous works. In writing under aliases, he lessened the sense that an authority wrote the books.
Søren Kierkegaard was influenced by Socrates, who thought that his task was not to discover the truth and then communicate it to his students, but to open the question to the pupils and ensure they stay open.
The last thing you should do is turn to an authority to tell you what you should think. You have to do that for yourself.
Successful people give up all the time. If something is not working, smart people don’t repeat it endlessly. They revise. They adjust. They quit.
Just like the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Many people prefer to go-with-the-flow and take life as it comes. In theory, that's just fine.
But in practice, there is a problem: If you never decide on a vision for your life, you'll often find yourself living someone else's dream.
These are WHO mistakes. They occur when society fails to provide equal opportunity for all people.
Failures of Opportunity are the result of many complex factors: age, race, gender, income, education, and more.
When inquired about an occupation that has the most insight on human behaviour and human nature, one would assume it would be teaching, as it requires shaping and developing a lot of young minds.
However, it is a comedian who has a much deeper insight into human behaviour, as he(or she) has to make the audience laugh and yet ensure that the comfort barrier isn’t broken. It requires a great deal of insight into the immediate reaction that a live audience is going to have.
In his book Rhetoric, Aristotle has analyzed what a joke is: Creating an expectation and then breaking it.
“What’s the best thing about Switzerland?”
“I don’t know, but the flag’s a big plus.”
This joke builds an expectation in the first sentence (Chocolates? Watches?) but breaks it in the second, and after a confusing pause, we see that the answer does make sense: The Swiss flag has a big plus sign.
Psychologists and comedians are working in a similar fashion: They observe the world and test a new hypothesis (raw joke matter) on how people see it. They run experiments on individuals and groups that confirm or deny their new theories or jokes.
Both rely on the feedback of the colleagues, scholars or the audience to shape their experimental jokes or theories.
It's knowing how to learn. Learning itself is a skill, and knowing how to do it well is an incredibly valuable advantage.
Merely acquiring information is not learning. People need the ability to make sense of complexity and to combine many bits of data into a broad picture of the world, especially in today's high-information world.
Learning is a two-step process:
You should not waste your time by committing unimportant details to memory.
Your focus should be on understanding the bigger picture, on how things relate to each other.
A mental model is a mental, simplified depiction of how something works. It influences our perception, decisions, and behavior.
Learning means upgrading your mental models. The more models you have — the bigger your toolbox — the more likely you are to have the right models to see reality.
It's a visual technique for summarizing the material that is specifically designed for the purpose of building a mental picture and seeing new connections. Mind-mapping is great for getting the core concepts of the book and ‘seeing’ how they relate to each other.
It works great for understanding the broad picture and updating your mental representation of your reality.
After you’ve completed a chapter, write bullet points on what you want to take away from it.
It will give you a concise list of bullet points per chapter, without interrupting the flow of reading and without you having to write stuff you don’t care about.
The QEC (question/evidence/method) described by Cal Newport: "Reduce the information presented to you into questions paired with conclusions. Between the two, list the evidence that justifies the connection. In other words, the questions and the conclusions become a wrapper around the raw facts — transforming them into self-contained ideas."
Intentionally direct the workings of your subconscious mind while you’re sleeping.
What you can’t explain to others, you don’t understand yourself.
The single best strategy for organizing constant growth is by involving fellow human beings. To test your understanding of something — anything — explain it to someone.
Acquiring information and learning are not the same thing.
To learn, we need to get the information into our latticework of mental models. For a higher return of investment of reading, we need to engage with the information we read and reflect on it.
We have all encountered failure, be it failing a final exam, or a job interview. We're told that overcoming difficult obstacles will make a future success much sweeter.
But new research shows that initial failure can lead people to underestimate how good it would feel to succeed.
In a study, people who see grass as greener on the other side predict higher happiness with future success. Participants that reacted like Aesop's fox would try to distance themselves from failure. It suggests that initial failure made people underestimate how good it would feel to succeed.
Named after "The Fox and the Grapes", the sour-grape effect is a systematic tendency to downplay the value of unattainable goals and rewards. We underestimate our future happiness because we don't always know what we want, and adjust our desires to what appears within reach.
People will rather devalue a goal than devalue the self. It means that people could miss out on the chance to try again because what once seemed impossible might now be within reach.
An approach to decision making that prevents manipulation:
Flow is a state of mind when we are so absorbed in an activity that we lose all track of time and effort.
Flow happens when we are doing an activity that embraces our skillset with several challenges we are able to overcome only by stretching ourselves. And we feel good when we conquer each challenge.
People who are in flow can keep going for a long time without experiencing cognitive fatigue. They report feeling calm and detached from negative emotions.
In a study, volunteers had more sympathetic activity in a state of flow, meaning they were more alert and mentally sharp. They had demonstrably less activity in the amygdala, a brain region involved in emotion-processing.
To get into flow, find an activity you can do with some effort. The challenge should meet your skillset without making you feel overwhelmed or bored.
If your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, then getting into flow can help you detach from emotional reactivity.
Superstition can be described as the belief in supernatural forces, such as fate, to describe unpredictable factors. Psychologists found that superstition comes from the assumption that a connection exists between non-related events that coincide.
Individual beliefs and experiences drive superstitions, explaining why they are generally irrational.
Superstition is also prevalent within sport. It has been shown to reduce tension and provide a sense of control over unpredictable factors.
Personalized actions and behaviors include wearing lucky clothes, kit, and charms.
While superstitions can provide reassurance and help reduce anxiety in some people, research has shown that it can also become self-reinforcing, meaning the behavior develops into a habit, and failure to perform the ritual can result in anxiety.
This is regardless of the actual outcome of a situation that is still dependent on known factors and not unknown supernatural forces.
The central concept of creativity is that some people are open to examine things from all angles and visualize more possibilities.
The part of our personality that seems to drive our creativity is called openness to experience. Openness best predicts performance on varying thinking tasks, on real-world creative achievements, as well as engagement in daily creative pursuits.
Research found that open people don't just bring a different perspective; they really see things differently.
The research findings suggest that open people's creative tendencies are ingrained in their basic visual perception. Open people may have inherently different experiences to other people.
A well-known perceptual phenomenon is called inattentional blindness. This is when people are so focused on one thing that they miss something else right in front of their eyes.
A study showed that your susceptibility to inattentional blindness depends on your personality. Open people are less likely to suffer from inattentional blindness.
There is mounting evidence that personality is malleable, and cognitive training interventions shows promise to increase openness. Travel also broadens the mind.
However, the dark side to the permeability of consciousness that characterises open people is that it is linked to aspects of mental illness, such as being disposed to hallucination. Care should be taken not to see things that are not there.