Tag: beliefs

Mind Games: Why everything you thought you knew about yourself is wrong

Mind Games: Why everything you thought you knew about yourself is wrong

The decisions we make and even the memories we hold are based on delusions, according to a new book.

So you remember your wedding day like it was yesterday. You can you spot when something is of high quality. You keep yourself well-informed about current affairs but would be open to debate and discussion, You love your phone because it’s the best, right? Are you sure? David McRaney from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is here to tell you that you don’t know yourself as well as you think. The journalist and self-described psychology nerd’s new book, You Are Not So Smart, consists of 48 short chapters on the assorted ways that we mislead ourselves every day. “The central theme is that you are the unreliable narrator in the story of your life. And this is because you’re unaware of how unaware you are,” says McRaney. “It’s fun to go through legitimate scientific research and pull out all of the examples that show how everyone, no matter how smart or educated or experienced, is radically self-deluded in predictable and quantifiable ways.” Based on the blog of the same name, You Are Not So Smart is not so much a self-help book as a self-hurt book. Here McRaney gives some key examples.

Expectation

The Misconception: Wine is a complicated elixir, full of subtle flavours only an expert can truly distinguish, and experienced tasters are impervious to deception.

The Truth: Wine experts and consumers can be fooled by altering their expectations.

An experiment in 2001 at the University of Bordeaux had wine experts taste a red and white wine, to determine which was the best. They dutifully explained what they liked about each wine but what they didn’t realise was that scientists had just dyed the same white wine red and told them it was red wine. The tasters described the sorts of berries and tannins they could detect in the red wine as if it really was red. Another test had them judge a cheap bottle of wine and an expensive one. They rated the expensive wine much more highly than the cheap, with much more flattering descriptions. It was actually the same wine. It’s not to say wine-tasting is pointless, it’s to show that expectation can radically change experience. Yes, these people were experts, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be influenced by the same things as the rest of us, whether it be presentation or advertising or price. This drives home the idea that reality is a construction of the brain. You don’t passively receive the outside world, you actively construct your experience moment by moment.

The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy

The Misconception: We take randomness into account when determining cause and effect.

The Truth: We tend to ignore random chance when the results seem meaningful or when we want a random event to have a meaningful cause.

Imagine a cowboy shooting at the side of a barn over and over again with a gun. The side of the barn fills up with holes. If you walk over and paint a bullseye around clusters of holes it will make it look like you have made quite a lot of correct shots. It’s a metaphor for the way the human mind naturally works when trying to make sense out of chaos. The brain is very invested in taking chaos and turning it into order. For example, in America it’s very popular to discuss how similar the Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations were. Elected 100 years apart, Lincoln was killed in the Ford theatre; Kennedy was in a Lincoln automobile made by Ford. They were both killed on a Friday, sitting next to their wives, by men with three names. And so on and so on. It’s not spooky. People take hold of the hits but ignore the misses. They are pulled into the things that line up, and are similar or coincidental, but they ignore everything else that’s not. The similarities are merely bullseyes drawn around the many random facts.

Confirmation Bias

The Misconception: Your opinions are the result of years of rational, objective analysis.

The Truth: Your opinions are the result of years of paying attention to information that confirmed what you believed, while ignoring information that challenged your preconceived notions.

Any cognitive bias is a tendency to think in one way and not another whenever your mind is on auto-pilot; whenever you’re going with the flow. Confirmation bias is a tendency to pay attention to evidence that confirms pre-existing beliefs and notions and conclusions about life and to completely ignore other information. This happens so automatically that we don’t even notice. Say you have a flatmate, and you are arguing over who does most of the housework, and both people believe that they do most of the work. What is really happening is that both people are noticing when they do the work and not noticing when they don’t. The way it plays into most of our lives is the media that we choose to put into our brains; the television, news, magazines and books. We tend to only pick out things that line up with our pre-existing beliefs and rarely choose anything that challenges those beliefs. It relays the backfire effect, which is a cognitive bias where if we’re presented with contradictory evidence, we tend to reject it and support our initial belief even more firmly. When people watch a news programme or pundit, they aren’t looking for information so much as confirmation of what they already believe is going in.

Brand Loyalty

The Misconception: We prefer the things we own over the things we don’t because we made rational choices when we bought them.

The Truth: We prefer the things we own because we rationalise our past choices to protect our sense of self.

Why do people argue over Apple vs Android? Or one car company versus another? After all, these are just corporations. Why would you defend a brand as if you are their PR representative? We believe that we prefer the things we own because we made these deep rational evaluations of them before we bought them, but most of the rationalisation takes place after you own the thing. It’s the choosing of one thing over another that leads to narratives about why you did it, which usually tie in to your self-image.

There are at least a dozen psychological effects that play into brand loyalty, the most potent of which is the endowment effect: you feel like the things you own are superior to the things you don’t. When you buy a product you tend to connect the product to your self-image, then once it’s connected to your self-image you will defend it as if you’re defending your own ego or belief structure.

The Misinformation Effect

The Misconception: Memories are played back like recordings.

The Truth: Memories are constructed anew each time from whatever information is currently available, which makes them highly permeable to influences from the present.

You might think your memory is a little fuzzy but not that it’s completely inaccurate. People believe that memory is like a video or files stored in some sort of computer. But it’s not like that at all. Memories are actually constructed anew each time that you remember something.

Each time you take an old activation sequence in your brain and re-construct it; like building a toy airplane out of Lego and then smashing the Lego, putting it back into the box, and building it again. Each time you build it it’s going to be a little bit different based on the context and experience you have had since the last time you created it.

Oddly enough, the least remembered memory is the most accurate. Each time you bring it into your life you edit it a little more. In 1974 Elizabeth Loftus had people watch a film of two cars having a collision and divided them into groups. Asking each group the same question, she used a slightly different description: how fast were the cars going when they contacted, hit, bumped, collided or smashed? The more violent the wording, the higher they estimated the speed. The way in which questions were worded altered the memories subjects reported.

They weren’t looking back to the memory of the film they watched, they were building a new experience based on current information. Memory is actually very malleable and it’s dangerous to think that memory is a perfect recording of a past event.

‘You Are Not So Smart: Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself’ by David McRaney (Oneworld, £8.99)

15 Things You Should Give Up to be Happy

15 Things You Should Give Up to be Happy

Here is a list of 15 things, which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and you’ll feel much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go and allowing ourselves to be stress-free and happy, we cling on to them.

Well, not anymore. Starting today, we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go!

1. Give up your need to always be right.

There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the “urgent” need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question from Dr. Wayne Dyer: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

2. Give up your need for control.

Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, co-workers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.

“By letting it go, it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu

3. Give up on blame.

Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.

4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk.

Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.

“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” — Eckhart Tolle

5. Give up your limiting beliefs

about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!

“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind.” Elly Roselle

6. Give up complaining.

Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations and events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

7. Give up the luxury of criticism.

Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.

8. Give up your need to impress others.

Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.

9. Give up your resistance to change.

Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” — Joseph Campbell

10. Give up labels.

Stop labeling the things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open.

“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” — Dr. Wayne Dyer

11. Give up on your fears.

Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

12. Give up your excuses.

Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck and lie to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time, are not even real.

13. Give up the past.

I know, I know. This one’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening. But, you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all, life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in thenow.

14. Give up attachment.

This is a concept that, for most of us, is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too (it still is), but it’s not impossible. You get better and better at it with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another. Attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and selfless; where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot co-exist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.

15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations.

Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them; they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them; to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need… and eventually, they forget about themselves. You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

Author: Luminita Saviuc

5 Steps to Turbocharge Your Dreams

5 Steps to Turbocharge Your Dreams

1. Dream of a brighter tomorrow. Your yearning power is more important than your earning power.

2. Be rational. Mysticism is your mortal enemy. There are obvious, logical steps between here and your dreams. Write them down in bite-sized chunks and follow them like a route map.

3. Act. All is dust without action. Action is the key.

4. Be disciplined. Life is tough. Fight. Others want you to fail. Ignore them. The world is against you – go your own way. People will spout rubbish – ignore it.

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Believe that You Deserve to be Wealthy

Believe that You Deserve to be Wealthy

You are lost if you do not believe that having money is a good thing.

You need the self-confidence and focus to follow your dream and this will be fatally undercut if you have the wrong philosophy of life and money.No amount of effort on your part will overcome a faulty philosophy. If, deep down, you believe that wealth is a sin or that money is dirty, or wicked then the first step is for you to correct this error or give up all hopes of wealth for you and your family.What is a ‘wrong’ philosophy with regard to making money?

Anything which could be described as altruistic, socialist, collectivist, communist or any one of its thousand manifestations no matter what the label, no matter what the disguise, no matter what the smoke screen.

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Change Your Beliefs and You Change Your Life

Change Your Beliefs and You Change Your Life

Our mind is to our body what the software is to the computer. It controls the body. Whatever words and deeds that come out through your mouth or your body must first be conceived in your mind. Our belief system is comparable to the computer’s operating system (OS). It determines…. how we respond or react to the external world and circumstances, and what we attract into our life.

If you look carefully at yourself, you’ll realise that how you respond to a certain situation is largely dependant on your core beliefs. If you believe that the world out there is a dog-eat-dog world, you’ll respond in a certain way. You’ll put on your guard when you deal with people around you, with a greater degree of mistrust and apprehension. This is a common mindset in the business world.

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How Beliefs Work

How Beliefs Work

A belief is merely a perception of reality.

The ancient spiritual teachers taught us that there are two types of truths – absolute truth and relative truth.

We live in a universe where everything we perceive is relative to something else. It is a relative universe. An object is big in relation to another smaller object. However, when compared to a larger object than itself, then it is small.

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Creating Money beyond Beliefs… the Spiritual Way

Creating Money beyond Beliefs… the Spiritual Way

I grew up in an environment of lack. At the tender age of 5, I remembered watching my mother looking all over the house and under the sofa set in our small living room for a five cent coin to pay the vegetable vendor – vegetables that she had wanted to buy to cook our dinner. She didn’t find the five cent but the kind vegetable vendor gave her the vegetables anyway.

To save money, I always packed my food to school. This way, I don’t need to buy from the school canteen. Most time it was just two slices of bread and a bottle of water.

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