Many people become angry and double-down on their opinions, even when presented with contrary evidence. This doesn’t happen with all beliefs — only our most deeply held convictions. The non-negotiable ones.

Neuroscience teaches us that our nervous system prompts the same “fight or flight” mechanism when these beliefs are challenged. Think about that for a moment. Telling me I’m wrong about something I feel strongly about produces the same physiological reaction as me being in urgent, life-threatening danger.

Next time you’re in a war of ideas with someone who refuses to be sane and rational (by agreeing with you), just remember that you also hold many beliefs. Some of them, if challenged, may cause you to become similarly insane and irrational.

The R.A.S. is the tiny portion of your brain that notices yellow cars the moment you consider buying one.

One way to use modern technology to activate the R.A.S. and force multiple “exposures” is to save a relevant image to the lock screen on your smartphone, which research shows the average person sees 110 times per day (perhaps the subject of a separate discussion).

If your focus is on money, save an image of a pile of cash as your default lock-screen photo. You’ll see it multiple times per day, which may unconsciously open your mind to opportunities you may not have seen otherwise.

Some of the rules I learned from people smarter than me:

IN EVERYDAY LIFE
- Don’t take anything personally — most things that seem malicious are better explained by ignorance or self-hatred/anger having nothing to do with you
- Recognize that where you are now is just where you are now. History does not equal destiny. Your present state is just a snapshot, a balance sheet of today
- Avoid negative, toxic people, and complainers. You are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with

IN CRISIS OR DIFFICULT SITUATIONS:
- Acknowledge reality → Make a decision → Take action
- Ask “what’s good about this?”
- Always do the best you can, with what you have, from where you are

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky famously said that he doesn’t skate to the puck, he skates to where the puck is going. This seems like a useful analogy.

Communicate, behave, and dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Consume macronutrients in the amount that your ideal body…

Happy memes that say “pay it forward” are nice, and they might spark momentary inspiration. But to be someone who consistently offers advice, support, and generally seeks to spark joy without regard for what one will get in return…that is life-changing.

Serving as an example to others who are then inspired to do the same normalizes it and allows it so spread and scale. And that is world-changing.

I’m writing this on what would be my grandmother’s 97th birthday.

Grief feels like pain, and therefore something we should fend off. One beautiful alternative though is to view grief as unexpressed love. Unexpressed not because you failed to express it. But simply because there is no longer a physical recipient of your love and gratitude.

Viewed this way, grief becomes a way to stay close to those we’ve lost.

Thanks to Google there is little value in memorizing facts. Critical thinking — the ability to analyze facts to form judgements — might be the most valuable skill to come out of any academic system.

We should be careful we don’t simply educate people so they know just enough to repeat what they heard, but not instill the importance of analyzing and questioning.

It’s hard to exaggerate the difference between teaching someone what to think, versus teaching them how to think.

Pros and cons lists can be helpful when assessing what to do, but they can also lead down a very unhelpful path of over analyzing. One shortcut that can help quickly identify how you really feel is to give multiple scenarios 1–10 ratings, but remove 7 as an option.

This…

Seeing ourselves as perfectionists can lead to a failure to take action out of fear that something won’t turn out ideal. Aiming for perfection and being attentive to detail is admirable. But do-ers do. Perfectionists can hold themselves back in a state of non-action and analysis.

There is no perfect…

Steve Acho

I write very short articles (20 seconds to read) sharing perspectives on health, relationships and business that have been most helpful (SteveAcho.com for more)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store