Your team needs you to be clear more than they need you to be right

When we are leading a group of people in accomplishing a goal, we want to make sure things are done right.

So very reasonably we focus on first figuring out what is the correct way to do things and then try to make sure that the actions of our team are matching that model of correctness as closely as possible. The trouble is that quite often it is very difficult to determine what the “correct” thing to do is.

When we are studying a subject in school, there is a curriculum which at least provides a standard of comparison for…

It is not giving up

When we are dealing with our own shortcomings or with the frustrations of life, we exacerbate our stress by considering ourselves to be failures. We are not doing what we want to be doing and as if that were not painful enough, we dogpile on ourselves by beating ourselves up for not achieving that.

Acceptance is a tool that we can use to break out of this negative feedback loop.

At first, this seems strange. …

Animal vs Human

Animals and humans both feel pleasure but only humans are capable of happiness. They are both positive experiences and sometimes we equate the two but they are actually very different.

Pleasure is a simplistic physical drive common to all animals and is centered in the moment. Happiness is unique to humans, is a higher order complex interaction between our intellect and our emotions, and is not necessarily associated with a moment in time.

Pleasure is the partner to pain and is purely about the most simplistic drives to do things that will keep the organism alive and propagate its genes…

Often when we are disagreeing with someone who holds a political or social position diametrically opposed to our own we operate from the assumption that if only we can explain to them the what and why of why they are wrong about the way they feel, we could break through.

After all, we have all this evidence supporting this position that we feel so strongly about so clearly that must be how we arrived at it.

But that’s not how feelings work and not even how judgement actually works.

We think of our judgement as this dispassionate analysis of facts…

The road to hell is paved with self-attention not best intentions

“Naval Gazing” (get it?)

We have all encountered people who are trying to help but end up causing more trouble than they are solving (we’ve likely been that person ourselves on occasion).

Sometimes this is truly because they are well-meaning but just incompetent. Meaning that while they may be mistaken about what is helpful they are at least thinking about what is best for the person they are trying to help rather than being motivated out of some personal drive, unconsciously or explicitly.

I would argue that this truly altruistic but incompetent helper is unfortunately not that common.

What is usually going on is…

Follow your dreams despite your “evidence” that you can’t

Delusion is defined as “an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder”. It is often described as the triumph of hope over experience, ie acting as if the world is a certain way despite evidence that it is not.

But there can be a problem with taking the opposite approach, ie problems with following a logical path driven by evidence. The issue is that our judgement of the evidence is not necessarily objective. …

A cycle of conscious focus followed by stepping back is the pathway to success

We are always told that we need to be disciplined and focused on our goals in order to achieve success in life. That is true but sometimes a laser focus and rigid discipline can become an obstacle to progress. The key is to know when to focus and dig in and when to take a step back.

Truth means knowing when the pattern you’re seeing really exists

Humans are very visual. We base our interactions with the world primarily on what we see. But there is a difference between truly seeing and merely looking.

Looking is the act of directing your eyes towards something. The image enters your eyes, hits your retina and is processed by the visual parts of your brain. However just because that physical process of vision is occurring doesn’t mean that you are taking in information about the outside world.

Seeing takes place when the data from this physical act of vision gets processed by your higher level functions. Looking starts to become…

Courage and Humility are the keys to success

We do not always make the best choices. We often make decisions that thwart our desires or lead to outcomes that we would rather avoid. In particular our actions often stem from fear and pride rather than being driven by an objective view of what needs to be done in order to achieve our long term goals.

Fear arises from a misinterpretation of reality. There is an objective reality out there that we are trying to understand but we are getting it wrong. …

Our actual goal is to address our fear of the unknown, not to find the truth

We can’t both be wrong

Humanity’s killer app is our intellect, our ability to analyze available data and make decisions based on that. At least that’s what it says in the brochure.

The reality is that we are not as far away from our caveman heritage as we would like to believe. Rather than arrive at conclusions from an objective view of the world we mostly make our decisions emotionally and then find the evidence to support it after the fact.

We are less objective scientists drawing conclusions from all the available data than we are lawyers selectively presenting facts to support a particular point…

Andrew Patricio — Sentience > Intelligence — Being effective, ie getting the results you want, depends on clear thinking rather than brains.

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