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What are some counter-intuitive life lessons that go against common sense or wisdom?

What are some counter-intuitive life lessons that go against common sense or wisdom?

Life provides us with many lessons many of which are passed down from generation to generation unfortunately some of them, which may sound like common sense, don’t actually work as well as we would like to think, and in fact, the opposite may hold true. Similarly, there are other life lessons that are  counter-intuitive to what we think would happen. This answer found in Quora helps to describe what counter-intuitive life lessons go against common sense or wisdom.

Here’s what Alan Rutledge, has to say about it –

Happiness = Outcome – Expectations.

The key to enjoying life is keeping expectations low to the degree that you’re always pleasantly surprised.

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You can accomplish more if you work less and sleep more.

Hypothetically a well-rested person working 55-hour work weeks can usually outperform a sleep-deprived person working 80-hour work weeks in terms of quality, all else equal (specifically for knowledge work).

Better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Caveats: so long as it fits within your ethical framework and the perceived penalty is tolerable (not advisable in foreign countries however haha). People die regretting all the things they didn’t do rather than the things they did do.

You can pay the farmer, or you can pay the doctor.

Prevention (i.e. good diet and food ingredients) is an order of magnitude cheaper than treatment (most age-related diseases are correlated with poor dietary choices).

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Your willpower/concentration is a finite resource, replenished when you sleep.

Students who were asked to exert willpower by not eating enticing cookies put before them for a period of time spent an average of 8 minutes trying to solve an impossible puzzle. Students who could freely indulge in the cookies attempted to solve the puzzle for an average of 32 minutes.

Behavior is controlled more by your environment than your own willpower.

If you try to stop watching TV your willpower will eventually break. If you get rid of your TV and use a browser extension to block Hulu/YouTube your habit will more readily break.

A cheap chair and mattress may end up costing you 10-20x in doctor’s bills.

Most of us spend the majority of our 24-hour day sitting in a chair or sleeping on a mattress so it’s not surprising that most back problems originate from poor sitting/sleeping posture. The extra money spent in getting a good Aeron chair and foam mattress pays for itself in the long-run.

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Work output does not scale linearly with manpower.

The marginal benefit of adding a sixth or seventh person to a team rarely outweighs the marginal costs associated with additional communication and collaboration effort (specifically for knowledge work that requires close collaboration like software development).

Children’s personalities are influenced more by parents’ actions than words.

By doing something (working hard, smoking, etc.) you are actively endorsing that behavior for your children. The more time you spend around them, the more influential behavioral signals become relative to spoken demands/requests (“you should work harder,” “please stop smoking,” etc.)
For more:

Spoken communication has a massive non-verbal component.

Study body language and you’ll be pretty shocked at how often peoples’ spoken words contradict their telltale non-verbal cues.

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Intelligence and skill level are subject to diminishing returns.

Beyond a certain threshold of intelligence and skill, the efficacy bottlenecks quickly become your ability to communicate, get along with others, prioritize, focus, structure your thinking in advance, manage your time well, etc.

The biggest risk is not taking one.

I’ll leave this one open to interpretation :)

Here’s the link to the original answer plus many more.

Featured photo credit: businessman at the start of his journey via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on October 6, 2020

6 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Life

6 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Life

Is it time to make some changes in your life? It just might be. Life is too short to not live it to the fullest.

Here are some signs it’s time to change your life.

1. Every week, you cannot wait for Friday.

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    Fridays are fun, but one thing I’ve discovered in my quest to find and do work I absolutely love is that almost every day can be really fun. If you’re saving all your living for the weekends, it’s time to truly think about your lifestyle and consider making some changes. Don’t get me wrong; it’s great to have plans you look forward to on the weekends, but what if you could have that excited Friday feeling most, if not all, days of the week? It takes a lot of self-discovery and work, but it’s truly possible to live a life you love—even on Mondays.

    2. You live for your vacations.

    Vacations are great, but what’s even better is building a life you don’t need to take a vacation from. As Seth Godin said, “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” Vacations are fun and exciting, but even better is building a life where you have the potential to do what lights you up many weeks of the year, not just your two allotted vacation weeks.

    3. When you stop and think about it, you’re really not focusing your life on your priorities.

    Write down your 3 top priorities. Then write down the 3 things you focus most of your life on. Are you spending your time living your top priorities? Consistently spending time doing what matters most to you is one of the keys to feeling fulfilled in your life. If you’re not focusing your life on what’s important to you, it’s time to make some changes.

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    4. You have no idea what lights you up, and you don’t have the space in your life to discover it.

    If you haven’t found your passion in your current life, you’re not going to find it if you continue to do your same routine, over and over, year after year. In order to discover what lights you up, start by creating the space in your life to seek it. Give yourself time to figure out who you are, what your strengths are, and what picques your interest. Experiment with learning new things, spending time with inspiring people, and doing more of what excites you and less of the things that suck your energy.

    5. You’re frequently jealous.

    If you find yourself frequently feeling jealous of someone, there are 3 changes to consider making:

    1. Make a point to focus on your path instead of his or her journey. Sometimes this involves taking a break from social media.
    2. Get inspired from the person you’re jealous of, and work toward a similar goal in your life.
    3. Decide what the other person has is not something you are willing to put in the effort to achieve, so you’ll cheer him or her on but choose to not be jealous.

    When you are feeling jealous, consider why you want what the other person has, and what your motives are. Living a life on your terms, focused on your priorities, passions, and strengths, will provide you with much more fulfillment than trying to be somebody else.

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    6. You can’t remember the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone.

    According to Neale Donald Walsch, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Your life can become even more amazing if you stretch beyond your comfort zone. If you’re not sure where to start, try the tips in this article about small ways to step out of your comfort zone.

    Life is too short to spend your years not living to your full potential. If you decide you’re ready to change your life, I encourage you to start taking small action steps toward the life you want to live. Keep moving forward.

    Check out this video if you’re ready to make a change in life:

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    Featured photo credit: Lauren McKinnon/https://flickr.com via flickr.com

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