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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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