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Curiosity: Reasons Why You Should Have It

Curiosity: Reasons Why You Should Have It

Curiosity killed the cat, but we all have to go one day. Curiosity is the basis of all great science and art in human history. Without it, we’d all be sitting in a cave somewhere eating whatever we could hunt and scavenge, hoping not to be attacked by our neighbor. Curiosity fuels innovation, and it’s what drives hackers, trolls, pirates, and other great human explorers to continue pushing the boundaries of human civilization. Here are some random facts you can learn if you’re curious…

Curious Facts about Love

  1. Although most wedding planning services are geared toward women, modern wedding rituals are mostly based on barbaric Germanic tribal rituals. Women didn’t start having equal rights in most places in the world until within the last half century, and even today, they don’t have all the rights they should. They have taken over the symbology of wedding ceremonies, though, so score one for the ladies.
  2. Even in the ancient Mayan days, chocolate was considered the drug of love. Cocoa and its many extracts have been used in love potions, lotions, elixirs, and other concoctions meant to stir people’s loins.
  3. Roses, with their variety of scents and colors, have also symbolized love for a very long time. Valentine’s Day, however, has been associated with several acts of violence.

Curious Facts about Nature

  1. Synthetic grass is actually better for the environment than a natural lawn. Studies have shown synthetic grass lowers your carbon footprint by eliminating lawn mower emissions, water usage, chemical fertilizers, and more. Advances in artificial turf technology have made synthetic lawns even more comfortable to walk on than natural grass.
  2. Big cats are one of the most hunted animals on the planet. Nearly every cat species in the wild is endangered and on the brink of extinction. Although cats are arguably the world’s most dangerous predator, human beings used invention to decimate big cat numbers. Unless something is done soon, big cats will stop existing in nature within a generation.
  3. Insects are consumed around the world as a viable source of protein. In fact, insects are ground up to make much of the junk food consumed in the US. The majority of your favorite syrups, cookies, candies, etc. contain some form of insect. Even without the help of major corporations, you’ll swallow dozens of creepy crawlers during your sleep.

Curious Facts about Technology

  1. The internet is the largest database of information ever collected in human history. With a wide array of drones already developed, technology has far surpassed humanity, and a computer-human war is a potential prospect, although it’s much more likely that a human being will be behind the next world war. Honda, Google, and many other companies are hard at work building cyborg versions of the most powerful animals on earth.
  2. Any device you have with a Wi-Fi or data antenna can be accessed by a third party without your knowledge, even if it’s turned off. Many governments and corporations have back doors in their software and databases to allow access to any of your private communications. Edward Snowden and Glen Greenwald have released a trove of data to the public regarding web security.
  3. Vegetable glycerin, the main component of the juice vaporized in electronic cigarettes, is also used by corporations to make cough syrup, dilute eggs, and more. Any drug can be dissolved in vegetable glycerin, so many municipalities have banned the devices. eCigs are healthier than cigarettes, though, as they release no carcinogens and can be used without the addictive nicotine.

Curious Facts about Law

  1. In the United States, you are innocent until proven guilty; however, it’s very easy to prove you guilty. You violate over a dozen laws on any given day. All a police officer has to do to find probable cause is follow you for a few hours. The US is still one of the best places to live for police responses, though, as many countries imprison, kill, or torture citizens with no provocation.
  2. Even though you’re the creator of a product, song, work of art, etc., until you register the copyright and/or trademark you can’t pursue someone else for infringing on your rights regarding your creation. Even if you protect your creation within the US, it’s very hard to pursue copyright infringement across international borders and your creation, if successful, could be copied and sold at will.

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Last Updated on November 15, 2019

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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