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10 Methods To Acquire Effective Knowledge

10 Methods To Acquire Effective Knowledge

Knowledge is the basis of everything in existence. Without knowledge nothing would exist as we perceive it to be. It is imperative and indispensable. Knowledge is the building blocks of any foundation. Knowledge is the key to opening doors that would otherwise be locked. Commodities are only sought after due to knowledge and awareness.

1) Research Meticulously

Being immersed in this world of information can be a daunting task to handle and comprehend. Ensuring proper research is completed has been proven to be conducive to fact finding. The truth is what holds value when researching a particular topic. Try your best not to let emotions play a role in how you perceive what’s being explained. The Internet is a wonderful place to start, and it can end there as well. However, the addition of reading books is a surefire methodology to enhancing your research. Having clarity and precision is the difference between gaining knowledge or becoming bamboozled.

2) Read Books

The level of convenience is unmatched when reading a book, whether it is electronic or physical. This process can be done anywhere you decide to go, and has zero limitations. The Internet cannot always be accessed, and cannot be relied upon to broaden your horizons. The information provided in books is direct, as opposed to reading published articles online.

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Reading stimulates the brain to focus solely on each word written down in the text, and expands the lens of imagination. The cognitive function changes direction when reading digitally. Shortcuts are taken, keywords are searched for, and the page disappears once its finished, making it impossible to turn back to the page for a review. That said, this doesn’t mean one method is better than the other. Balance is what matters. Don’t neglect the power of books.

3) Operate Consciously

Many people get caught up in the routine of doing what they need to survive, which can cause their actions to be mechanically inclined. Actions are then executed without thinking, while the procedure can be affected negatively. Sit back, clear your mind, and contemplate deeply on every move you make. Setting yourself into a trap is the most deadly decision you can make. Ameliorating circumstances are part of living a happy life. Remaining consciously aware of your surroundings and environment can prevent horrendous problems from occurring. Understand that your actions affect those who are around you, as well as people you may never meet. Push forward with firmness of purpose and constancy.

4) Develop Good Habits

We are all plagued with having bad habits. They are the flaws we all possess, but don’t settle for letting your bad habits outweigh the good. Every day is new and different; however, there are still responsibilities, duties, and tasks we are held accountable for. We have to do similar things everyday to survive, which are the habits we choose to develop. Replacing bad habits with good habits can take months, and it isn’t an easy feat. When you are locked in on something that isn’t improving your circumstances, it constitutes a bad habit.

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Whatever the habit may be, acknowledge you’re wasting time doing so, and replace it with a passion that will benefit you. These habits can range from something as simple as cooking more, to setting a deadline for a project you’re creating.

5) Harness Productivity

Work ethic goes a long way in this life. There are times for playfulness and relaxation, but you must devote the entirety of your day to the grind. Everyday you must work towards something better. Apart from your job, you must work on something new that will stimulate your mind. There’s always work to be done. It could be working on yourself, helping others, growing a business, finding another job, or even something simple like cleaning and organizing your residence. Boredom is a result of being uninspired and not challenging yourself to become better.

6) Set Obtainable Goals

Create realistic deadlines for the goals you want to accomplish. Don’t fool yourself by trying to complete what you’re working towards too quickly. Moving hastily is a dangerous sojourn to embark on, and it must be regulated. Try to set a date that suits your schedule, and then push it ahead a few days. This way you may be able to complete the goal before the deadline. If you are focused on completing a goal too soon, and don’t meet the deadline, you will only get discouraged and possibly give up. Goals are like anchors; once they are set they will stay in alignment.

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7) Encourage Others

Support people’s visions, and give them positive feedback on what they’re trying to accomplish. Let them know what they’re striving for is larger than them. Show up to their events. Constructive criticism is only warranted if you’re a genuine individual, and should only be expressed if there’s a personal relationship involved in the matter.

8) Believe In Yourself

Having faith in what you do is a tremendously insatiable power. It forces you to grow, helps you love yourself more, and constantly pushes you outside of your comfort zone. Understand the vast reality of what it takes to be what you want to become. If anyone doubts you, don’t bother listening to them, because if you indulge their negativity you’ll waste your time and energy. Definitely take what they say into consideration, but never let it diminish the vision you have been blessed with.

9) Embrace Pain

History has taught us that those who experience the most pain are the successful ones. Nothing will be given to you in this life; pain is an inevitable emotional state. You must learn how to enjoy the shackles of pain, push through it, and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Darkness is only the absence of light. We all have the ability to shed our own light.

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10) Learn From Your Mistakes

Failure is a part of life. Without failure none of us would be able to learn. Your best teacher is the last mistake you made, and nothing can trump the consolidation of experience. Think critically about why you failed at particular actions, then make adjustments, strategize, and try again. The process of learning is a cyclical process like the Earth spinning on its axis.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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