Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives “If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve,” Debbie Millman counseled in one of the best commencement speeches ever given, urging: “Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities…” Far from Pollyanna platitude, this advice actually reflects what modern psychology knows about how belief systems about our own abilities and potential fuel our behavior and predict our success. Much of that understanding stems from the work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, synthesized in her remarkably insightful Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (public library) — an inquiry into the power of our beliefs, both conscious and unconscious, and how changing even the simplest of them can have profound impact on nearly every aspect of our lives. One of the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves, Dweck found in her research, has to do with how we view and inhabit what we consider to be our personality.
8 Things Everybody Ought to Know About Concentrating “Music helps me concentrate,” Mike said to me glancing briefly over his shoulder. Mike was in his room writing a paper for his U.S. History class. On his desk next to his computer sat crunched Red Bulls, empty Gatorade bottles, some extra pocket change and scattered pieces of paper. In the pocket of his sweat pants rested a blaring iPod with a chord that dangled near the floor, almost touching against his Adidas sandals. On his computer sat even more stray objects than his surrounding environment. Mike made a shift about every thirty seconds between all of the above. Do you know a person like this? The Science Behind Concentration In the above account, Mike’s obviously stuck in a routine that many of us may have found ourselves in, yet in the moment we feel it’s almost an impossible routine to get out of. When we constantly multitask to get things done, we’re not multitasking, we’re rapidly shifting our attention. Phase 1: Blood Rush Alert Phase 2: Find and Execute Phase 3: Disengagement
How To Stop Overthinking – 9 Simple Habits What is holding people back from the life that they truly want to live? I’d say that one very common and destructive thing is that they think too much. They overthink every little problem until it becomes bigger and scarier and it actually is. Overthink positive things until they don’t look so positive anymore. Or overanalyze and deconstruct things and so the happiness that comes from just enjoying something in the moment disappears. Now, thinking things through can be a great thing of course. I know. But in the past 8 years or so I have learned how to make this issue so small that it very rarely pops up anymore. In this article I would like to share 9 habits that have helped me in a big, big way to become a simpler and smarter thinker and to live a happier and less fearful life. 1. It is very easy to fall into the trap of overthinking minor things in life. So when you are thinking and thinking about something ask yourself: Will this matter in 5 years? 2. Here’s what have worked for me. 3. 4.
Your Evolved Intuitions Part of the sequence: Rationality and Philosophy We have already examined one source of our intuitions: attribute substitution heuristics. Today we examine a second source of our intuitions: biological evolution. Evolutionary psychology Evolutionary psychology1 has been covered on Less Wrong many times before, but let's review anyway. Lions walk on four legs and hunt for food. Certain evolved psychological mechanisms in humans are part of what makes us like each other and not like lions, skunks, and spiders. These mechanisms evolved to solve specific adaptive problems. An an example of evolutionary psychology at work, consider the 'hunter-gatherer hypothesis' that men evolved psychological mechanisms to aid in hunting, while women evolved psychological mechanisms to aid in gathering.6 This hypothesis leads to a list of bold predictions. And as it turns out, all these predictions are correct.7 (And no, evolutionary psychologists do not only offer 'postdictions' or 'just so' stories. Notes
Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing Up | Magazine Illustration: Cristiana Couceiro, Scientis: Getty Images How To Fail Screw ups, disasters, misfires, flops. Why losing big can be a winning strategy. It all started with the sound of static. But they made the scope too sensitive. At first, they assumed the noise was man-made, an emanation from nearby New York City. For the next year, Penzias and Wilson tried to ignore the noise, concentrating on observations that didn’t require cosmic silence or perfect precision. Kevin Dunbar is a researcher who studies how scientists study things — how they fail and succeed. He ended up spending the next year staring at postdocs and test tubes: The researchers were his flock, and he was the ornithologist. Dunbar came away from his in vivo studies with an unsettling insight: Science is a deeply frustrating pursuit. Dunbar was fascinated by these statistics.
Teaching the brain to reduce pain People can be conditioned to feel less pain when they hear a neutral sound, new research from the University of Luxembourg has found. This lends weight to the idea that we can learn to use mind-over-matter to beat pain. The scientific article was published recently in the online journal PLOS One. Scientists have known for many years that on-going pain in one part of the body is reduced when a new pain is inflicted to another part of the body. This pain blocking is a physiological reaction by the nervous system to help the body deal with a potentially more relevant novel threat. To explore this "pain inhibits pain" phenomenon, painful electric pulses were first administered to a subject's foot (first pain) and the resulting pain intensity was then measured. The brain had been conditioned to the ringtone being a signal to trigger the body's physical pain blocking mechanism. Explore further: Understanding and managing chronic pain
Top 10 Thinking Traps Exposed Our minds set up many traps for us. Unless we’re aware of them, these traps can seriously hinder our ability to think rationally, leading us to bad reasoning and making stupid decisions. Features of our minds that are meant to help us may, eventually, get us into trouble. Here are the first 5 of the most harmful of these traps and how to avoid each one of them. 1. The Anchoring Trap: Over-Relying on First Thoughts “Is the population of Turkey greater than 35 million? Lesson: Your starting point can heavily bias your thinking: initial impressions, ideas, estimates or data “anchor” subsequent thoughts. This trap is particularly dangerous as it’s deliberately used in many occasions, such as by experienced salesmen, who will show you a higher-priced item first, “anchoring” that price in your mind, for example. What can you do about it? Always view a problem from different perspectives. 2. Consider the status quo as just another alternative. 3. Be OK with making mistakes. 4. 5.
18 ways to educate yourself every day (because nerds are sexy) | Malavika Suresh “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Henry Ford At the start of this year I made a decision that I want to commit to myself to a pursuit of intellect. I’m already a bit of a nerd, so this wasn’t really an alien concept for me, however I quickly realized that in order for me to make educating myself a priority in my life – I would have to make it into a daily habit. Wow, I did not just say that. 1. “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.” 2. They are quick, easy, informative, and give you a glimpse of a subject that you may decide to do more research on later! A lovely reader recommended the podcasts “Stuff you should know” and “Stuff mom never told you” which can be found on the website. 3. This is such a monumental suggestion. 4. Focus more at work. 5. 6. This could be jigsaw puzzles, riddles, math puzzles etc. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.
How I Was Able to Ace Exams Without Studying Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Scott Young of ScottYoung.com. In high school, I rarely studied. Despite that, I graduated second in my class. In university, I generally studied less than an hour or two before major exams. However, over four years, my GPA always sat between an A and an A+. Recently I had to write a law exam worth 100% of my final grade. Right now, I’m guessing most of you think I’m just an arrogant jerk. Why do Some People Learn Quickly? The fact is most of my feats are relatively mundane. The story isn’t about how great I am (I’m certainly not) or even about the fantastic accomplishments of other learners. It’s this different strategy, not just blind luck and arrogance, that separates rapid learners from those who struggle. Most sources say that the difference in IQ scores across a group is roughly half genes and half environment. Rote memorization is based on the theory that if you look at information enough times it will magically be stored inside your head. 1.
Brain wave study shows how different teaching methods affect reading development Beginning readers who focus on letter-sound relationships, or phonics, instead of trying to learn whole words, increase activity in the area of their brains best wired for reading, according to new Stanford research investigating how the brain responds to different types of reading instruction. In other words, to develop reading skills, teaching students to sound out "C-A-T" sparks more optimal brain circuitry than instructing them to memorize the word "cat." And, the study found, these teaching-induced differences show up even on future encounters with the word. The study, co-authored by Stanford Professor Bruce McCandliss of the Graduate School of Education and the Stanford Neuroscience Institute, provides some of the first evidence that a specific teaching strategy for reading has direct neural impact. Instructional strategies Remarkably, the researchers said, these very rapid brain responses to the newly learned words were influenced by how they were learned. Monitoring brain waves
» 100 Ways to Increase Brain Power and Think Like a Genius! Want to think like Einstein? Use these brain boosters to increase brain power for faster learning, better memory, sharper thinking, out-of-the-box problem solving, more efficiency and productivity and enhanced creativity…and get you thinking like the great thinkers. Don’t make working your brain a chore! These are fun, they keep life interesting and best of all, don’t take any extra time (you might have to give up some TV, but you’ll love the results). Meditate: the #1 brain exercise! Work on being ambidextrous. Keep a journal.Write down ideas as soon as you have them and return to them often.Simplify, declutter and organize your living and work space.Take a class in something you’ve never explored.Take several 10-minute brisk walk-breaks throughout the day.Learn to spell backwards.Change the furniture placement and art/accessories in your home.Learn to play a musical instrument (and read music). Practice walking meditation. Haven’t heard of Omharmonics meditation audio yet?