“You must become more aware of how you see,
not just what you see.”
– Michael Kimmelman
“What you perceive depends a good deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
– C.S. Lewis
Reality, and your perceptions of reality are often two different things.
You are wise to recognize that sometimes your perceptions can’t be trusted, and must be examined… even challenged.
This was pointed out recently by Professor Steven Pinker in an article for Time Magazine. He noted that according to actual measurable statistics about life in the 21st century, people overall are…
- Living longer
- Better fed
… than ever before.
Those are the undeniable facts.
Yet, the average person’s opinion of the state of the world is much more pessimistic and worried.
What’s going on here? Why are people drawing conclusions that are the exact opposite of the facts?
I’m glad you asked. There is a phenomenon going on that you must understand and address in your life if you are going to experience a better, more hopeful life (that is rooted in reality).
“I want to make the best, most
optimum decisions because better
decisions will lead to a better life.”
I applaud that desire. It is a core message of this website.
Unfortunately, optimum decision making in a given situation depends on a number of factors… all of which can derail your best intentions.
Fortunately, there is one small factor that can quickly and easily be leveraged to improve your decision making.
“Small hinges can swing big doors.”
If you take this factor into consideration in your daily decision making, you WILL see better outcomes. If you don’t, well… all your good intentions will not be enough to overcome the results.
Do you desire/aspire to become a person that others are attracted to?
Do you want people to admire and respect you more (especially by the people that really matter)?
Then, you need an influential character trait that is in short supply these days. In fact, its disappearance in many societies is creating all sorts of problems… and is getting worse.
- Hindering personal growth
- Ruining interpersonal relationships
- Reducing innovation/progress
- Limiting our ability to solve major problems
What’s ironic is that the lack of this trait allows a poison cloud to develop that no one likes experiencing… but everyone still uses when it serves them.
The trait is called intellectual humility… and very few have it these days.
BTW- if you already think you know what it is (and are tempted to skip reading further), that is evidence you don’t possess it.
Here’s what I can promise you… If you can grow in this trait, you can accelerate your personal growth/success. Plus, you will dramatically improve both your relationships and your influence in this world.
A positive outlook toward your future and your life has many well documented benefits:
- Lower stress and depression levels.
- Greater resilience to hardships.
- Better health, longer life, and more energy.
- Better relationships.
- An overall higher sense of well-being.
But a positive attitude isn’t all sunshine and unicorns.
Having a positive outlook also has a rarely mentioned dark side. In certain situations, positivity can lead to unnecessary hardships, misery and frustrations.
The good news is that not only can you negate this potential downside, you can actually leverage this negative dimension to experience greater success in what you are doing.
Sometimes “little hinges swing big doors” in your life. They can have a disproportionately beneficial impact, considering how inconsequential they seem.
One scientifically verified example is found in the regular use of two simple words: Thank You.
As author Max Lucado reminds us–
Two essential words deserve special attention– “Thank you”
Gratitude is a mindful awareness of the benefits of life. It is the greatest of virtues.
Studies link it with a variety of positive effects. Grateful people tend to be– (more…)
“I always have trouble remembering three things: faces, names, and uh –I can’t remember what the third thing is” – Fred Allen
“I have always had a bad memory… as far back as I can remember.” -Lewis Thomas
Let’s be honest… everyone wishes they had a better memory, especially when trying to recall an important item.
You know how that works: You know the information is in your brain… somewhere. You just can’t locate it when you really need it.
Here’s the question: Is there a way to quickly improve your long-term memory… especially before you need it?
Research has uncovered a surprising way to boost your long-term memory by up to 20%. Better still, it only takes a few minutes to improve your results. (more…)
“I didn’t have to choose the way I did. I just couldn’t help myself.”
Something strange and irrational often goes on in the human heart. See if this rings a bell for you.
At certain times you seem to have freedom to make choices that you are proud of—
- I am going to stick to my diet this time (I have a very strong desire to do this).
- I will pay down my debt and/or save money (I am committed and motivated to do this).
- I’m done with pornography (the thought of going down that path again disgusts me).
- I am going to work on and finish this project (this is something I really want to complete)
But at other times it seems like you are being pulled, almost compelled to choose a lesser option. A feeling comes over you: I really WANT TO do this other option right now (even when it undermines the better option you say you want).
Sadly, it’s not the one you really want (when you are thinking straight).
“I didn’t have to choose it. I just couldn’t help myself.”
How can you have MORE freedom to choose the wisest, best options… at those times when it feels like you are being compelled to choose the lesser option?
When you feel stress about performing an upcoming task, how can you find stress relief by reducing your anxiety levels?
Here’s why this is crucial: If you don’t reduce your anxiety, it will almost certainly impact your performance… potentially leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy – things didn’t turn out well, just like you were worried about in the first place.
Researchers at Michigan State University discovered a simple technique that measurably reduces your anxiety levels, allowing you to perform without the crippling effects of the anxiety.
I believe this technique has broader application for the anxiety and stress you face in your life (not just for an upcoming task).
I use it every day, and I can attest to its power to release much of the anxiety you unnecessarily carry around with yourself.
Do you like being deceived? You know, being led to believe one thing… but reality is quite different?
Pardon my French, but h*!ll no.
As bad as that is, it gets worse. Not only are you being fooled, what if I told you there is something in our human wiring that causes us to be fooled again and again by this same illusion?
Worse still, this illusion often leads to unnecessary stress, anxiety, frustration, fear and many other negative emotions.
If you can recognize this deception and counteract it, your life will have … lower stress and anxiety, plus greater peace and hopefulness. (more…)
Making better decisions isn’t always easy (is that a Captain Obvious statement, or what?).
The best decision makers go to their decision making “tool kit” and try out different tools to see if one or more helps clarify which way they should go.
There was a particular tool (I’ll call it a technique) used by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos when he was trying to determine if he should start Amazon in the first place.
When Bezos used this technique, things became very clear about what he should do. In fact, he found it so helpful, that he has continued to use it regularly for decisions big and small. (more…)