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A Powerful Mindhack That You Can Use to Study or Work Less in Your Leisure

A Powerful Mindhack That You Can Use to Study or Work Less in Your Leisure

What if I told you that you could have more fun, learn quicker, and become perceived as smarter by your peers by doing one simple thing consistently?

– You’d probably say:

“Ludvig, stop trying to sell me on quick-fixes, because there are none!”

And you’d be right for the majority of the time. But in this case you’d actually be wrong, because what I’m about to tell you actually works, and it costs nothing on your part except a few seconds of discomfort.

So, what is this unconventional tip that I speak of?

It is to get buy-in from yourself as soon as possible in any given situation.

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What is Buy-in?

To buy-in is to become immersed in something as a result of having invested time, resources, or thoughts into it. The more you buy into something the more innately interested you’ll be in it.

I still don’t get it. Give me some more concrete examples!

Right, try these on for size.

You have buy-in when you:

  • Watch several episodes of a TV series and find yourself liking it, expecting the next episode to be just as cool as the previous ones were.
  • Start regularly checking a blog or website for updates that aren’t related to the things you really should be doing.
  • Implicitly trust what someone else says without being critical of it.

You have bought into a thing when you’ve crossed the threshold of no longer doubting its usefulness or truthfulness.

As a result of having bought into something you are much more receptive and attentive to the thing or activity because your brain has now identified it as something that you are interested in.

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How to Use it to Your Advantage

Now that you know what the concept of buy-in means, you’re probably wondering:

What the !!?#  am I going to use this for?

You’re going to use it to become interested in things you probably wouldn’t be interested in otherwise.

Getting personal buy-in is a very powerful mindhack that you can use anytime you want, and it is particularly useful in class or at work.

Here’s how you’d do it: in order to trick yourself into becoming interested during class or at work, you need to do one very important thing:

‒ You need to ask a question or speak up in public. Even if you don’t initially feel like it.

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Actually, it is especially important that you do this when you feel bored or disinterested in the topic at hand. That’s when you really need to use this mindhack.

Personally, I use this trick all the time to get buy-in from myself. Over the past year I’ve seen some pretty good results in school despite not spending much time studying in my leisure.

The reason for this was because I’ve been very active during class, and the reason why I was always active in class was because I forced myself to abide by this one rule:

‒ I  always ask a question or make an assertion in front of everyone else within 10 minutes of starting. No exceptions.

Why Does it Work?

Seeing as how you’re reading posts on LifeHack, I figure you’re a person who definitely wants to know why getting yourself to buy into a thing works as efficiently as it does.

There are at least three major reasons for why this mindhack works:

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  1. By speaking up in front of a group of other people, you raise your adrenaline levels, which in turn infuses glucose into your bloodstream and makes you feel alert.
  2. When you ask a question or make an assertion, you are committing to the interaction. This makes your brain think “well, I wouldn’t have asked asked unless I was interested, so I guess I’m interested…” and as a result you suddenly feel interested. It works like magic every time!
  3. When you ask a question or make an assertion in front of other people, you are making yourself accountable, and because you will want to make sure that you do not screw up and lose face in front of other people, you will pay more attention to reduce the risk of that happening.

If you still don’t believe this could work due to how simple it is, I strongly suggest you try it out tomorrow at work in a meeting or in school during your next class.

Tell yourself you will speak up as soon as possible upon arrival.

It doesn’t matter the least what you say, only that you say something.

It might feel scary to do at first, but I promise you: the payout is very high in relation to the price of temporary discomfort that you have to pay.

What is better?

Sitting through the meeting or class feeling comfortable, but utterly bored‒or going through a couple of seconds of discomfort to become really interested for the remainder of the time?

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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