It’s not liking, it’s familiarity

I’m sure we can all imagine a time when someone made a recommendation for a place to eat that we felt repulsed by. “You know I don’t like that place, I hate Chinese food, how about….” Of course it’s not just food, we all express preferences in many aspects of life. We have our favorite grocery store. We have our…

Constraints can be your best friend

If you feel overwhelmed with options when making a decision, sometimes adding a constraint is the best way to make a worthwhile decision. For example, this weekend I was looking for brunch ideas here in NYC. As you can imagine it can be quite frustrating sifting through hundreds, if not thousands, of possibilities. So, I asked myself where would I…

Assume the best or the worst?

Often our view of reality is wrong, born out of the inevitable ignorance of not having enough information to form a realistic view. For example, if someone provides a word of caution: the stairs are slippery, hold onto the rail on the way down. When we hear this we may be inclined to feel as if we’re being treated like…

Center of the universe mental misfiring

Center of the universe bias (perhaps complex?): When you worry about what other people think about what you’re doing, when in reality nobody else has a clue what you are doing because they’re too worried about what you might be thinking of what they’re doing. This explains a lot of life, for example, it’s a common impediment to people joining…

Deciding for other people.

Another bad habit with decision making, is making decisions for other people. For example, telling someone else how to do their job when that individual is perfectly capable of making decisions about how to work. Is your way really the only way to stuff an envelope? Does your rewording of an email really make a difference? Does it matter what…

Visual cues and junk mail

Visual cues are a powerful way to remind ourselves of new habits we’d like to form. For example, if junk mail tends to pile up, put a waste basket or paper shredder where the mail typically accumulates. You might be surprised how often you notice the receptacle and decide to process the mail and purge it right away instead of…

Keep a list of distractions

When working to achieve a goal, distractions will inevitably arise. Keep a pad of paper and a pen nearby, scribble down distractions to get them out of your mind. Then, refocus on the outcome you set out to achieve and then get back to work. This allows you to capture the tangential tapestry of ideas that naturally arise without losing…

Biasing your mind for success

Our minds only have the bandwidth to focus on one goal at a time. This is both a blessing and a curse. The curse is we all wish we could simultaneously keep many things in mind. The blessing is that our mind will latch onto ONE goal if we keep everything else out of the way. And our mind will…

What’s NOT missing when you’re frustrated

I mentioned, last week, frustration is often a sign that something is missing. That something that’s missing is often the piece of information that will liberate your frustration. This is the case with many other afflictive emotions too. What’s NOT missing is blame, fault, intent, personality, and motive. These are further distractions from what is missing because these will only…