The Counterintuitive Ways Your Brain Looks Out For You
An almond sized part of your brain called the amygdala functions to help you survive. If youre being chased by a mountain lion, its what tells you to run for your life.
While the amygdala is great for helping you in life-threatening situations, its not the best when it comes to your personal development. It stunts your growth by doing the following things.
Ask Roy G Biv For A Hand
Mnemonic devices make it easier to remember a series of words or data points. One familiar example is Roy G. Biv, an imaginary man whose name helps us remember the colors of the rainbow in order. You may have also used this with planets My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pies or music, where Every Good Boy Does Fine represents the notes on the scale. Try applying this to the subject you’re trying to learn, making up your own words to capture the information you’re working with.
Find Your Peak Performance Hours
The hours of the day are not equal, Yousef said. Some parts of the day lead to more creativity, while others keep you at a low energy level. Finding the hours of the day you reach your peak performance level and optimizing that time frame leads to more success, she argues.
In fact, the country’s top executives report being five times more productive during their peak performance hours in the day yet only 5% of them report being in a state of deep engagement during this time, according to a McKinsey study. Increasing the amount of time spent on deep engagement from 5% to even just 20% can double productivity, according to the study.
Yousef suggests strategically designing your workday around your peak performance hours, which you can find through jotting down what parts of your day lead to the most productivity.
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How Social Media Trick Your Brain
Expert/Designer Creative Transformation & Playful Learning
We know that social media have a strong hold on our attention span, including that of our youngsters. The compelling urge to check your social channels regularly is a real issue. Youngsters check their phones 145 minutes a day, mostly checking their social media.
The question is: how do social media achieve this? Why are they so effective? And what kind of devious design tricks do they employ to achieve this remarkable result. Some of these are mischievous and hidden. So here is an attempt for a brief heads up. Because some of these principles are on the border of being unethical, similar to the marketing efforts of McDonalds to connect fastfood to getting a present in their infamous happy meals for kids, it is important to raise awareness on these hidden features.
In order to achieve this, social media try to grab your attention in three distinct phases:
Lets have a look at each of these phases and see how they achieve this.
Once we are in, the channel uses different tricks. Ever noticed that firing up a social media app, it takes a little while for updates to show up in your app? You might be tempted to think this has a technical reason. But it uses basic psychology. Let us call this the anticipation mechanic.
Make The Start Of The Project Fun
Remember your limbic system wants you to enjoy yourself, so give in a little. Find a way to make this project you have to do fun, at least in the beginning.
Maybe you can promise yourself your favorite cup of coffee when you sit down to write, or some other sort of treat that compels you.
Turn on your favorite music to get you going, or use a calming sound like that of an ocean or small creek. By the way, the more often you do this, the less procrastination will bother you, because your brain will start to see the beginning of any project as something pleasurable.
For writers, reading is usually fun, so give yourself a limited number of time to read first, then move into your project. Decide youll read one page of a story, or two blogs on the subject youre working on. Maybe you read two blogs about effective freebies to attract subscribers. This can work for you in two waysits usually more fun to do, so it leads you in, and once you start researching, its likely to make getting started on your own project more appealing.
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How To Trick Your Brain Into Worrying Less
A new year brings both hopes and anxieties. We want things to be better for ourselves and the people we love, but worry that they wonât be, and imagine some of the things that might stand in the way. More broadly, we might worry about whoâs going to win the election, or even if our world will survive.
As it turns out, humans are wired to worry. Our brains are continually imagining futures that will meet our needs and things that could stand in the way of them. And sometimes any of those needs may be in conflict with each other.
Worry is when that vital planning gets the better of us and occupies our attention to no good effect. Tension, sleepless nights, preoccupation, and distraction around those very people we care for, worryâs effects are endless. There are ways to tame it, however.
As a professor of medicine and population and quantitative health sciences, Iâve researched and taught mind-body principles to both physicians and patients. Iâve found that there are many methods of quieting the mind and that most of them draw on just a few straightforward principles. Understanding those can help in creatively practicing the techniques in your everyday life.
Your Memory Isn’t As Sharp As You May Think
Memory isn’t like a video camera, carefully preserving events exactly as they occur. It’s much more fragile, inaccurate, and susceptible to influence than you may believe.
For example, research shows it’s surprisingly easy to make someone have false memories of events that did not really occur. In one study, scientists found watching a video of other people do something actually led participants to believe that they had performed the task themselves.
We also tend to forget enormous amounts of information, from trivial details we run into every day to important information that we need. Memory expert Elizabeth Loftus suggests that there are a few major reasons behind these memory failures. Failing to retrieve the information from memory, falling victim to competing memories, failing to store information in memory, and purposely forgetting painful memories are just a few of the possible underlying causes of forgetfulness.
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Think The Best Of People And Make More Friends
I love this quote from the movie Harvey. The hero of the movie, Elwood P. Dowd, has a best friend whos a pooka, an invisible six foot rabbit. Elwood has a philosophy of life thats very simple:
Years ago my mother used to say to me, shed say, In this world, Elwood, you must be she always called me Elwood In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.
Be pleasant. Not only will you make more friends, but youll also be happier. The next time someone is nasty, consider their action from their point of view. Maybe theyre just having a bad day.
Its Okay To Be Wrong But Not To Be In Doubt
Make a decision and stick with it. Be bold, and trust in yourself. One of the most valuable skills you can learn is learning how to be decisive. In business, money loves speed, and if you arent able to be bold and make quick decisions, you are going to end up poor.
For example, have you ever stuttered during an opportunity, only for someone else to swoop in and steal it from you? In business, this happens quite frequently. Business people who arent decisive run into the problem of having opportunities stolen right from them. Because they hesitate, it leaves room for their competitors to come in and make a better offer.
If you want to be more decisive, have the mindset that a decision is not good or bad what matters is how you handle what comes next. In fact, the consequences of not taking action or making a decision are far more costly than making a mistake. Not making a decision means that you are accepting your current circumstances and allowing them to continue. If you are unhappy with your current situation, realize that by doing nothing, nothing gets solved either.
Learning how to trick your brain goes beyond just motivation. Being able to see different perspectives and turn losses into wins is another way that successful people take control of their lives. A truly successful person can learn from both their victories, and their failures. And the only way to achieve something great, is to make and commit to a decision.
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Why Miss Out On A Single Article When You Can Get Them Delivered Straight Into Your Inbox For Free
An unexpected surge of success
Several months passed, and Id given up hope that my TEDx video would reach many more people. To be honest, I kind of forget about it for a little while
Then out of the blue last week, I randomly checked to see how many views it had accrued, just out of curiosity
My jaw dropped
I had over 4.7 million views!
I thought it was a mistake at first, so I refreshed the page in case there was some kind of glitch.
Nope, no glitch.
I couldnt believe it.
I dont know why or howor what made this happen, but there were now over eight thousand comments, over 100k likes, and even some Internet trolls !
And as I read through the comments, I realized my goal was becoming a reality
People who had trouble falling asleep for weeks, months, and even years, were using this technique every night and enjoying deeper, longer, and more refreshing rest.
Today, I thought Id share with you what some viewers are saying about it. Maybe your sleep issues are exactly like one of theirs
Solid, stay-asleep-all-night slumber
Until I saw this video I can count on one hand the # of nights I slept solid all night. My sleep would best be described as a bunch of mini-naps. In bed by 10:30, finally fall asleep at some point awake by 2:30. Then I was asleep again for another hour/ hour and a half, repeating this cycle. Well, last night was night 5 of trying this technique of the rhythmic pattern and I have slept straight through all 5 nights. Thank you for this video.
Trash Negative Thoughts With Music And Movement
Heres a simple trick to feel more positive: turn on some happy music. Get up and dance. Within a minute or two, youll feel much more positive.
Try it the next time youre swamped with negativity. Be aware of how negativity feels. Your body feels heavy. Turn on your music, and dance. Then consider how you feel: you feel lighter, dont you?
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Turn Off Your Notifications
People have, on average, 90 seconds before getting interrupted as of 2013, according to the University of California-Irvine. In 2011, people had three minutes before getting distracted.
Notifying you and distracting you is all part of the design, Yousef said. Apps are designed to use psychological tricks to continuously grab your attention. App developers even looked at how casinos keep gamblers addicted to slots, and they created notifications to mirror their effects, Business Insider’s Avery Hartmans reported.
To keep from getting distracted, Yousef said to take back control over notifications by turning them off and focusing your energy on productive tasks.
Get Together With Another Writer And Overcome Procrastination Together
What may seem difficult and unpleasant when you have to do it by yourself can become fun if youre doing it with someone else. Some writers invest in shared office spaces for this reasonits simply easier to get things done if youre around other people who are getting things done, too.
But you dont have to rent a space to take advantage of this effect. Simply get together with another writer at someones house, or even at a café, library, or coffee shop. Make it a weekly or twice-weekly appointment, and youre both likely to get more done, and have fun doing it.
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Here Is Why These Rules Helped Me Complete The Challenge:
Rule #1 is to write something every day. In my head I actually told myself Write 1 crappy blog post every day.
This took away the pressure of feeling like I had to write something amazing. I gave myself permission to just focus on following through without worrying about trying to make some amazing piece of writing every day.
Instead of having that staring at a blank canvas kind of fear, I was able to sit down and bust out a blog post without feeling like I had to make a masterpiece.
Consistency was more important than quality, because the main goal of the 30-day blogging challenge was to establish a writing habit and to get over my fear of doing something new.
Its also important to point out that even though I told myself to write 1 Crappy Post each day, I didnt end up with 30 crappy blog posts.
I wrote a lot of pretty-good blog posts and even a few remarkable posts that helped me to get hundreds of email signups.
Its hard to evaluate the quality of my own writing, but I know that my posts were valuable because I had multiple artists message me on Instagram and tell me that my blog posts were really helpful.
Rule #2 is to hit post every day.
This rule was really important because it helped me to commit to shipping the work without getting caught up in analysis paralysis or trying to make the work perfect.
Sometimes I can be such a perfectionist that I will end up spending 4 hours on something that should have taken me 20 minutes.
How To Trick Your Brain Into Keeping A New Years Resolution
This post has been updated. It was originally published on December 30, 2020.
Breaking New Years resolutions is so time-honored a tradition that companies can actually stake their business model on it. Gyms like Planet Fitness depend on thousands joining up at the beginning of the year, only to fail on the follow-through. They sign up about 6,500 people per location despite the fact that each one can only accommodate about 300, relying on the low cost of membership to convince people that at $10 a month, you shouldnt cancelyoull definitely start going next week.
Getting fit and losing weight are two of the most common New Years resolutions, and both depend on making daily changes to your life. That means interrupting your normal habits and exchanging them for new ones. Unfortunately, humans are terrible at doing both of those things.
Ironically, though, its hard to change habits precisely because our brains are so good at becoming habituated. Were hardwired to automate processes. Its how you can find yourself at work without having to think about getting there, or why you reach for the patch of wall where the light switch is in your own bathroom when you stumble into a hotels commode. Its also why most new diets and exercise plans fail. Once a habit is automatic, its extraordinarily difficult to change it.
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How I Tricked My Brain And Got Myself To Follow Through With A 30 Day Writing Challenge
In this post Im going to show you exactly how I got myself to take action and write one blog post every day for 30 days.
Now before you get all skeptical, I want you to know that this was the first time Id ever successfully committed to and followed-through with a 30-day challenge.
I was the guy who would say Im going to start exercising every morning, exercise for like a week, and then by day 10 I would find myself sleeping in and making excuses for why I wasnt waking up early to exercise any more.
The worst part about starting something and not committing to it was how it hurt my self-confidence. After multiple failed attempts to start a new habit, I started to believe that I was the kind of person who was never going to achieve anything big because I couldnt discipline myself to do something for more than a week.
Evolution Prioritizes Survival Over Happiness
This default to planning is part of our evolutionary history. Its value is evident in the effortless persistence and universality with which it occurs. Mind-body programs like yoga and mindfulness are indicative of the yearning many people have to be in the happier present moment.
How we use our attention is central to our emotional well-being, and many mind-body programs are based on training our minds to be more skillful in this way.
Mindfulness training, for example, asks students to direct their attention to the sensations of breathing. And while that may seem easy, the mind resists, tenaciously. So, despite repeated resolve, a person finds that, within seconds, attention has effortlessly defaulted to planning daydreams.
In those moments when you do manage to notice these thoughts with some detachment, their dogged concern with past and future becomes clear. And planningâs semi-vigilant orientation also becomes clear.
We begin to notice that this hoping, comparing and regretting is often concerned with family and friends, job and money â themes of relationship, status and power that are central to the survival of tribal primates. All set against the background knowledge of our passing.
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