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Weston A.

@weston_ga482

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These are usually long-winded, boring documents that are purely written for academic rather than entertainment value. These are usually found in textbooks, case studies, business reports, financial analysis reports, and many more.

  1. Find a good place to read - your reading environment has a huge impact on how much text you cover and how much information you retain. It's best to have a well-lit, quiet, and comfortable reading environment
  2. SQ3R Reading method - stands for survey, question, read, review, and recite
  3. Learn to Speed Read
  4. Read Backwards - not lietrally, but it can be easier for you to locate the important topics when you read the conclusion or the context summary before reading the rest of the chapter

@weston_ga482

Tips for Wading Through Dry Text Quickly

thoughtco.com

Is a linear method of taking notes that proceeds down the page, using indentation or bullets to denote major and minor points.

Pros: it records content relationship in a way that is easy to review.

Cons: difficult to go back and edit information written in this system.

Works for: recording terms, definitions, facts and sequences, when taking notes on slides or readings.

The Ultimate Guide to Note-Taking

katemats.com

The goal is to jot down your thoughts as quickly as possible. Format is kept to a minimum: every new thought is written on a new line. 

Pros: Is like free writing for notes.

Cons: lack organization and notes can be hard to understand.

Works for: meetings or lectures that lack organization; when information is presented very quickly.

  • Skim the material for bolded text, images, summaries, to produce a list of headlines;
  • Each headline is then written in the form of a question;
  • Record your “answers” to the reading questions under each corresponding header;
  • Once you’ve finished reading the text, write a summary of the material from memory—this is the “recite” part of the process. 
  • Finally, review your notes to make sure you’ve completely grasped the concepts.

Works for: dense written material.

Visual mapping

A nonlinear system of note-taking that resembles a tree and root structure: ideas stem from one major concept and are connected by lines (or “branches”).

Pros: works well for visual learners; is tool for analytical-thinkers, because it outlines connections.

Cons: Time consuming; can get complex, doesn't work in every circumstances.

Works for: big-picture brainstorming sessions, planning essays and recording meetings.

Smart Wisdom

Instead of taking notes in full sentences, you record only keywords and place them in a chain that maps the thought process, written on a web-like grid, starting in the 1 o’clock position and working clockwise. 

Pros: allows you to take notes in “real time”.

Cons: few sources for learning how to use it.

Works for: meetings and lectures; dyslexic learners.

Timelines

A continuum of dates and events. 

However, timelines need not be limited to two-dimensions. Timelines can be multidimensional (i.e., date, relevant event, another event). 

Work for: recording history or biography, but they can also be used to compare and contrast similar events. 

Flow-chart

Represented by individual steps that start from a problem and lead to a solution. 

Each step is denoted by a different kind of shape which symbolizes whether the note requires action or decision. Unlike the timeline, a flow chart can veer in multiple directions, leading to different scenarios.

Venn diagram

Usually comprise overlapping circle that represent sets. A set includes items that all share a specific characteristic. 

Although there is no limit to the number of sets you compare, complicated Venn diagrams can be difficult to interpret

Works for: comparing and contrasting notes.

Fishbone diagram
  • Identify the main problem (effect) and write this in a box center left of the page. 
  • Draw a thick horizontal arrow pointing to this box - the head and spine of the fish
  • Then brainstorm categories of causes that could lead to this effect. 
  • For each of these causes, draw a line branching off of the main arrow

Works for: marketing, manufacturing or service industry for product design and quality defect prevention.

Different types of information demand different styles of note-taking. There are lots of reasons to take notes: to retain information, to capture ideas, to problem solve or brainstorm, to visualize complex systems or concepts etc.

But what works for outlining a blog post might not work so great for brainstorming new ideas.

 ... is the ability to regulate and alter responses in order to avoid undesirable behaviors, increase desirable ones, and achieve long-term goals.

How to Improve Your Self-Control

verywellmind.com

  • A 2011 survey found that 27 % of respondents identified a lack of willpower as the primary factor keeping them from reaching their goals. 
  • One study found that students who exhibited greater self-discipline had better grades, higher test scores, and were more likely to be admitted to a competitive academic program. 
  • The study also found that when it came to academic success, self-control was a more important factor than IQ scores.
  • A health study found that people who were rated as having high levels of self-control during childhood continued to have high levels of physical and mental health in adulthood.
  • Research has found that self-control is a limited resource. In the long-term, exercising self-control tends to strengthen it. 

A lack of willpower is not the only factor that affects goal attainment.

  • There needs to be a clear goal and the motivation to change. Having an unclear or overly general goal and insufficient motivation can lead to failure.
  • You need to monitor your actions daily towards the achievement of the goal.
  • You need to have willpower.
  • Avoid temptation. 
  • Plan ahead. If you are faced with temptation, what actions will you take to avoid giving in? 
  • Practice using self-control. Think of self-control as a muscle. While hard work may exhaust the muscle in the short-term, the muscle will grow stronger over time as you continue to work it.
  • Try focusing on one goal at a time. Once you turn the behaviors needed to reach a goal into habits, you will not need to devote as much effort toward maintaining them. 
Describing Functional Fixedness

It is the tendency to see objects as only working in a particular way. You might view a thumbtack as something that can only be used to hold paper to a corkboard.

Functional fixedness can prevent people from seeing other uses for an object. It can also diminish our ability to think of creative solutions to problems.

How Functional Fixedness Makes Solving Problems More Difficult

verywellmind.com

If you have two candles, numerous thumbtacks, and a box of matches, try to figure out how to mount the candles to the wall.
Answer: Using the matches, melt the bottom part of each candle, then use the hot wax to stick the candle to the matchbox. Then use the thumbtacks to attach the box to the wall.

Due to functional fixedness, many people might try to use the thumbtacks directly to fix the candles to the wall. They may consider it as the only way to use the thumbtacks.

Most of us understand probability and the likelihood of certain things to happen, or not happening, but still do not fully believe in it. For us, it’s about right and wrong, black or white.


Example: Nate Silver(a numbers guy) said in 2016 that Hillary Clinton has a 72 percent chance to win. This didn’t mean he was wrong when Clinton lost, but most people believed he was.

Why We're Blind to Probability · Collaborative Fund

collaborativefund.com

  • The pandemic death toll predictions are probabilities but the newspapers keep them as benchmark numbers which will be held against the experts.
  • In investing, stock predictions that come true are hailed on CNBC, as if those people have some superpower.

Probability gets sidelined because:


  • People want certainty, not accuracy. It’s more appealing to make them feel better(with lies, if required) than to give them cold, hard data.
  • There are not many chances to measure our prediction skills, with sufficient sample sizes taking long to play out.
  • People don’t really understand what odds mean, as their beliefs and preferences of what should happen, takes precedence over probability.
  • Write down 3 existing company goals impacted by the decision;
  • Write down at least 3 realistic alternatives;
  • Write down the most important information you are missing;
  • Write down the impact your decision will have 1 year in the future;
  • Involve a team of 2-6 stakeholders;
  • Write down what was decided, as well as why and how much the team supports the decision;
  • Schedule a decision follow-up in one to two months.

A Checklist for Making Faster, Better Decisions

hbr.org

  • Evocation: it is evoked spontaneously without intention.
  • Transcendence: it involves a moment of clarity and awareness of new possibilities.
  • Approach motivation: it pushes us to transmit, express, or actualize a new idea or vision.

Inspiration involves both being inspired by something and acting on that inspiration.

Why Inspiration Matters

hbr.org

It opens us to new possibilities by allowing us to go beyond our ordinary experiences and limitations. Inspiration propels a person from apathy to possibility and transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities. 

And the good news is that it can be activated, captured, and manipulated, and it has a major effect on important life outcomes.

Inspired people report higher levels of important psychological resources, including belief in their own abilities, self-esteem, and optimism.

Mastery of work, absorption, creativity, perceived competence, self-esteem, and optimism are all consequences of inspiration.

Inspiration is not the same as positive affect.

Inspiration involves elevated levels of positive affect and task involvement and lower levels of negative affects, but it is more meaningful and driven than a mere positive feeling.

Inspiration births creativity. Inspired people view themselves as more creative and show actual increases in self-ratings of creativity over time.

The link between inspiration and creativity is consistent with the transcendent aspect of inspiration since creativity involves seeing possibilities beyond existing constraints.

Inspiration facilitates progress toward goals.

The pursuit of goals is more successful among inspired individuals, with them experiencing more purpose in life and more gratitude.

Inspiration increases well-being due to the overall positive affect, purpose and gratitude that inspired people exhibit.

Inspiration is also more strongly related to future than to present satisfaction.

  • Using strategic vision to motivate and inspire.
  • Empowering employees at all levels.
  • Accumulating and sharing internal knowledge.
  • Gathering and integrating external information.
  • Challenging the status quo and enabling creativity.
The Survivorship Bias

We tend to be interested in the success stories of many. We love the encouragement it provides us, but we often overlook the fact that most of these success stories have undergone through many failures.

Survivorship bias is when we concentrate on the people and the things that passed through a selection process and experienced a form of success. This process tends to overlook those who did not make it through and almost always leads to false conclusions.

Survivorship bias: when failure gets forgotten

nesslabs.com

When we ignore the logical error of the stories and advice we hear it deceives us into believing that past failures are not adequate enough to be considered.

This bias induces people to see correlation in sheer coincidences.

A great example is when the U.S. Military tried to reduce aircraft casualties back in WWII. They analyzed the planes that got back safely but never the ones that didn't. They concluded that they should increase armor in the wings and the tails of the planes, but not the engine.

We must remember that most people do not become rich and famous. Most leaps of faiths are miscalculated. This does not mean that we should stop trying, instead we should remain to have a realistic understanding of reality.

Most entrepreneurs don't actually know what they're doing. There isn't a lot of them who have a detailed or a perfected plan to follow. Still, we try to "copy" their ways so that we can probably achieve what they have achieved.

Most of the inspirational success stories we see give out advice like waking up at 5 AM in the morning or eating a well-balanced meal. Those are important, but we should not overlook those who were unsuccessful.

We should learn from their mistakes and be careful not to repeat it for ourselves. We need to find our own recipe for success. Lastly, we need to consider the role of luck in our lives because it is rare to stumble upon something valuable to increase our chances of success.

Having An Open Mind

Being open-minded is a quality that makes us receptive to a diverse range of ideas, arguments and perspectives that may not align with our own.

If we are not open-minded, we may not be able to think critically or rationally in any given situation, making us unable to see all aspects of a problem and to come up with a balanced solution.

How to Become More Open-Minded

verywellmind.com

They are the individuals that only entertain their existing viewpoints, not being receptive to new ideas and previously unknown beliefs.

Having strong beliefs is not an indicator of a closed mind. One can have strong convictions and yet be empathetic towards others who have a different viewpoint.

When a new piece of information that we learn from ourselves conflicts with our existing beliefs, and we are unable to deny the authenticity of the new idea, we experience Cognitive Dissonance.

If we are able to revise and update our outdated or incorrect belief patterns, we move towards learning and personal growth.

Being open-minded is:

  1. Being tolerant and without any prejudice.
  2. Being able to consider other’s perspectives and get involved in new experiences.
  3. Seeking information that challenges one’s beliefs, with a sense of curiosity.
  4. Being able to agree to disagree and move on without personal differences.
  1. Curiosity about other’s point of view.
  2. Being able to have their own beliefs challenged.
  3. Not getting angry when they are proven to be wrong.
  4. Empathy for others.
  5. Being able to be in other people’s shoes.
  6. Being humble about one’s knowledge and skills.
  7. Giving others space to share their own beliefs and thoughts.
  1. One is able to gain fresh insights on things that challenge their existing beliefs, expanding our knowledge pool.
  2. One gets opened up about new experiences and learns new things, eventually growing as a person.
  3. New ideas and experiences makes one a vibrant and mentally strong person.
  4. Open-minded people are generally more optimistic.
  5. One is able to push their boundaries and keep one’s mind engaged and fresh, as one becomes a flowing river instead of a stale pond.
  • The openness of the mind is one of five dimensions of one’s personality, and also includes a willingness to consider new experiences and ideas.
  • Being an ‘expert’ in a particular domain has been linked to being closed-minded
  • Being comfortable with the feeling of confusion, ambiguity and cognitive inconsistencies.

According to psychologist JeanPiaget, being open-minded requires a specific mental process. Our existing body of knowledge is called a ‘schema’, and new information can be sorted and fitted in our various ‘schemas’ by a sort of filing process which is called assimilation.

Sometimes the new information is not able to be categorized and fitted, and we have to adjust our understanding of the world, a process known as accommodation.

Confirmation bias is when we are focused on only the ideas and information that align with our existing set of beliefs and reject any information that challenges our existing ‘schemas’.

If we become aware of our confirmation bias, we are able to see our lopsided way of evaluating new information, and we then tend to not rush towards readily agreeable information, but towards something that challenges us.

We normally question others when they do not fall in line with our belief patterns.

Part of being open-minded is to be able to question yourself whenever new information is encountered. This can be about our existing knowledge, or about the trustworthiness of the source. We can check our own bias and stress-test our existing beliefs.

One may think of oneself as an authority on whatever knowledge has been attained over the years (and assume that our brains are perfect), but one must not fall in the Dunning-Kruger Effect where one’s own knowledge is considered superior and versatile, making them blind towards their own ignorance.

One has to be humble and always in the learning mode, a student for life.

Studying Logic

Logic is a science of correct reasoning while making inferences.

Even if one is not into philosophy, studying logic is a good way to learn argument analysis and understand the world around us in a clear, linear way.

Good Reasons to Study Logic

thoughtco.com

Symbolic logic is akin to learning a new language, which we can use to analyse the logic of statements or validate arguments.

It can even be used to construct proofs for complex arguments, where it is not easy to validate right away.

If we train ourselves to construct complex arguments and are able to spot the weak ones, we can move towards what is authentic and avoid the traps.

Being able to study internal reasoning is a useful skill in any field.

Though many people get persuaded by identity rather than logic, it is still a good way to persuade the right kind of audience.

Good arguments can win the day where people are making a choice based on logic and merit, and are not persuaded by hyperbole, rhetoric or emotional appeals.

  • In any field, logic is the foundational discipline.
  • The logic of Aristotle or the modern symbolic logic are shining examples of the merit of this system.
  • It is widely used in mathematics, philosophy and computer science.

Many politicians, advertisers and corporate spokespersons use propaganda, exaggeration, misdirection and selective lying to promote their agendas and mislead the public.

The strongly visual and persuasive techniques are sometimes effective but hold no ground when they are studied with logical reasoning. A clear logical mind which cuts through the noise is more crucial than ever before.

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