Positive and Cognitive Psychology Exercises

Positive and Cognitive Psychology are the branches that seem to be making it all relevant to your life. Scientists create exercises that are designed to change the way you think about things and thereby improve your experience in life without having anything actually changed. This should be the solid footing you need to go through life with a better perspective and ability to handle the inevitable emotional struggles that are a part of life. Feeling good about what you have As I mention in Quanology, research suggests that you’re better off not counting your blessings, but thinking about what your life would be like without the things you have. They call this counterfactual thinking. I couldn’t find any exercises on the internet, so I just created one here: Sit back, close your eyes and think about something good in your life. What is it? Feel how nice it is to have that thing. Hopefully, it’s something personal, something like a good friend or family member. Otherwise, it’s an accomplishment – something you did that shows your ability or your virtue. Now how would it feel if that thing were no longer in your life? Where would you be? Take that feeling of emptiness and amplify it. Make it bigger. It should really suck without that thing.  Doing this should make sure appreciate some aspect of your life more than you currently do. For me, that thing is my family. Sometimes it’s a mess and I’m tired, grumpy, and complaining. But if I use this exercise, I see how amazing it is that I can intimately share my life with these fantastic people. We’ll have fun...

Tony Robbins

This guy is incredible. Some human beings are super-human beings. More importantly, this super-human being is here to help you in life. He is someone people feel strongly about because he feels strongly about everything. There are other self-help leaders but Robbins seems to be in a league of his own. He seems to consistently get real results with high profile people. People like Andre Agassi, Pamela Anderson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Hugh Jackman. He comes in to help them either get back on track to where they were or to add new perspective on dealing with certain issues. There is no other performance coach I know of who so consistently help such big names. He is paid for this help. Personally, he was recommended to me by a friend. I bought his book Awaken the Giant Within but it didn’t really get me. Years later when I was really lost and had no idea how to get found, I got the audio book Get the Edge. Maybe it was the moment, maybe it was the passion in his voice, but it really hit home. Personal Power had the same effect. Robbins has a very practical, result driven system that puts aside such typical self-help themes as interpretation of emotions and how your childhood made you who you are. He focuses instead on the here and now and helps you to manipulate your emotional state to something more effective. If life stinks, he says, it’s because your mental state and attitude stink. For Robbins, changing these things is a physical exercise. Currently, I’m reading his latest, and first book in 20...

Otto says “Don’t call me stupid”

One of the best comedy movies of all time makes light of the fact that we all want to be seen as smart by our peers. Sure we want them to think we’re good-looking too, but intelligence is more permanent and has a special prestige to it. When we are dumb we feel awful. What’s more, unlike your looks, you can hide your real intelligence level in many ways. In the movie, Otto goes to great lengths to seem smart but underneath it all he knows he’s stupid. Anticipating that others will also think he is stupid, whenever they are about to call him on his he threatens “don’t call me stupid”! A Fish Called...

Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist

With so much negativity in the media, Matt Ridley presents a very solid case for optimism. Playing on many of the same themes as Robert Wright in Non-Zero, Matt Ridley shows us Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” at work in the market forces of trade and in cultural evolution. Through specialization we have been able to get better at doing things. This has provided us with something we never had before: surplus. I mean we used to be just like all other animals – eating what we could and living from year to year. But once we could accumulate surplus things, we could trade them. and once we started trading an upward spiral started that had innovation and trade feeding off each other. The more we innovated, the more surplus we could gather, and the more we could trade. The more we could trade, the more wealth we accumulated, because you only trade when you get a better deal! But the beauty of trade is that both parties get a better deal, because both parties only give up what they have for something they want more. This is the famous “win-win” that people talk about. This is what Robert Wright calls non-zero sum games. It is a winning strategy for evolution. The one concept that I want to talk briefly about here is Ridley’s metaphor of ideas having sex with each other. Just as plants and animals have sex in hopes of creating a new version of themselves that is slightly better, ideas mix with other ideas to do the same. I have an idea for a new product and...

Green Eggs and Ham

In Quanology I talk about how every bit of information in the world is trying to improve the rate of proliferation of the genes of its purveyor. Everything is taking sides. Even the innocuous book Green Eggs and Ham. Information helps people, it helps groups, but it is also aligning them together in their quest for a more prosperous existence. Take any bit of information and you can see this. If you read Quanology and have never heard of Green Eggs and Ham, you can have a look here. Green Eggs and...