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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 September 25, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

When we were still children, our thoughts seemed to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

Just imagine then, how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power!

We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities.

We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

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We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb.

We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits.

And we’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head…

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

So, how can we tap into the power of positivity?

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“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are 4 simple yet powerful ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

Just take a look at these 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life.

2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

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You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty.

If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what really is important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

Here’re 60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life that can inspire you.

4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking.

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Instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

Learn from this article how to change your mental images: How to Think Positive and Eliminate Negative Thoughts

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember:

You are (or will become) what you think you are.

This is reasonable enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

More About Staying Positive

Featured photo credit: Lauren Richmond via unsplash.com

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