Category: Brains

Sort of Fake It till you Sort of Make It

[post status: a quick & messy throwaway thought]

It’s a two-way street between our feelings and our actions. Sometimes we perform well because we’re confident, but acting confident also helps our performance.

Hence the popular advice: “Fake it till you make it!”

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Jiggling an Imaginary Rope Helps You Re-Evaluate Your Life

[Warning: contains mild physics.]

Imagine a short piece of rope. We’ll call him Ropert.

Let’s imagine that Ropert represents our lives.

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The Past is The Past is The Past

Time by dkalo, on Flickr

Original Photo © Dimitris Kalogeropoylos, dkalo on Flickr.
CC BY-SA 2.0

[Status: Only a quick undeveloped realisation.]

Isn’t it weird that something that happened years ago “feels like yesterday”, while something that happened last week “feels like forever ago”?

Well actually, I’ve just realised it might not be weird at all.

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Doing Things is Overrated… So Stop (A Bit)

resting by Michael Cory, on Flickr

Original Photo © Michael Cory, khouri on Flickr.
CC BY 2.0

You know that bit in the Simpsons intro where Maggie is steering on a pretend wheel to mimic the driving that Marge is doing?

Maggie (copyright Fox, or whoever owns the Simpsons these days)

Maggie Simpson (copyright Fox, or whoever owns the Simpsons these days)

Our brains would genuinely be happier if we could attach a fake steering wheel to “life” and pretend we were controlling everything that happens to us.

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Things I Was Going To Do But Didn’t

I’ve been travelling.

I had great plans to work while I travelled. I’ve done some, but mostly I’ve failed to be the super-productive me I envisioned. Staying on top of food, sleep, exercise, seeing people, seeing places, adventures AND work was always going to be hard.

I haven’t written several posts for this blog (albeit some are sorta drafted). I haven’t finished the draft of a book (although I’ve made progress). I haven’t sent my guaranteed-hilarious* mailing list email.

* not actually guaranteed

And you know what? The world isn’t ending.

I will have to catch up. But the level of guilty anxiety I’ve had over this perceived failure is – as usual – way out of proportion.

Especially when I step back and look at reality: I’ve done a LOT in a few weeks, especially considered I’ve had to handle some sad circumstances at home along with a few setbacks over here. If anything, I ought to be impressed with how I’ve handled everything, instead of beating myself up for failing to magic an extra five hours into every day to write a whole book as well.

Possibly there’s a wider lesson here, but as usual it’s the same lesson: changing my perspective by looking again at reality is very, very helpful.

One Weird Trick For Getting Over Perfectionism

Today I’m too tired to write a proper post, so my cunning plan is “just not to”.

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Compulsively and Without Joy

The Big Lebowski is one of my favourite movies.

I could go on – at length – about why. Although I’m not going to, so this GIF will have to suffice:

via GIPHY

One quote from the film that’s always stuck with me is “compulsively and without joy“.

I’m not sure why, perhaps there’s just something about the wording. For whatever reason, the phrase wiggled its way into my brain and has lived there ever since.

And I’m pretty pleased about that, because it turns out this particular quote is useful.

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Oh no, I’m Motivated By Fear!

fear based motivation 5

Now that I’m (mostly) successfully managing my anxiety, everything should be great forever… right?!

Well, no.

Obviously life isn’t magically perfect. (Though of course “less anxiety” is a huge improvement!)

This is fine. I never expected perfection.

But something else I didn’t expect was that managing anxiety better could itself cause problems.

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The Power of Short Term Thinking

Stonehenge (detail) by Francesco Volpi, on Flickr

How do you eat a Stonehenge? One bite at a time.

Original Photo © Francesco Volpi, Francesco Volpi on Flickr.
CC BY-ND 2.0

I’m fond of planning. I’m a Plan Fan, a man who can plan. I plan, er…

Inner critic: Hello reader. If you don’t respect anyone who can’t think of more than three rhymes for “plan”, you might like to turn away now.

Anyway. I like looking ahead, you might say. But if I get too caught up in long-term thinking, I end up struggling.

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Telling Emotions Apart

[post status: a quick, experimental, half-formed thought]

You know how when you feel something in your body, and you’re not quite sure what it is?

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