The brain is an empty void. It waits to remember until we give things meaning. Otherwise, it clings to the instincts of the amagdyla for its main sensory perception.
Thankfully, our brains are large processors. It knows that survival depends on exchanging information with others. Information is quid pro quo.
But the problem with oral communication is all the selling. Through rhetoric and persuasion, one can rise to have incredible influence. This is, unfortunately, how we got the Kardashians. We make stupid people famous.
Modern life narrows down our perceptions. Praising others, let alone mimicking them, makes us blind to our own self-worth.
The thrill of knowing is internal. It reminds us that we are more interesting than the role society gives us. Nothing means anything if we can't float with nature and find the question.
No one ever died sitting and doing nothing or staring out into space. These are precious moments where the mind has no choice but to wander, to dance with fear, and to play with ephemeral thoughts. You don't need another splash of smartphone dopamine, you need to relax.
Lifehacker Tim Ferriss writes in his gratitude journal every morning. The simple technique may also do wonders for you, a gentle reminder that life depends on others. Remove the ego.
Reflection also comes in the form of deliberate processing. If you want to remember more, you can try two things. One, you can teach something to yourself as you would a child.
A lot of people tend to use complicated vocabulary and jargon to mask when they don’t understand something. The problem is we only fool ourselves because we don’t know that we don’t understand. In addition, using jargon conceals our misunderstanding from those around us.
The other mental processing hack is reducing interference. Give your brain a 10-15 minute rest by sitting in a quiet room and dimmed lights. No phones, no distractions, only effortless brain rest. Reflection comes in many forms, a habit vital to success in today’s fast-paced, screen-obsessed mobile culture.
If humans didn't have an amygdala — the two tiny almond-shaped nuclei in the temporal lobes of the brain — we wouldn't have any fear. We wouldn't know how to process risk, thereby letting us go hug a bear or climb the highest cliff.
But we do feel fear and in most cases, we're smart enough to run away or not do anything as a survival tactic. The problem becomes though when fear has us running away from the very things we wish to accomplish.
As they say, do something enough and the fear dissipates. The habit of practicing public speaking reduces presentation anxiety. Shooting hoops every day will make you more confident at the free throw line come game time.
The obstacle is the way
Risk-taking helps develop courage which helps engender competence. We shouldn't ever feel fear, but we should be able to manage its impact.
In doing anything more and more, whether it's through risk-taking, practice, or visualization, we can dull the senses. We can take things on without thinking about them or second-guessing ourselves.
According to Harvard psychologist Shawn Achor's book [easyazon_link identifier=”0307591557″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]The Happiness Advantage[/easyazon_link], it is happiness that begets success and not the other way around.
And one of the quickest ways to boost your mood is to start by sending someone a quick email every morning.
The simplest thing you can do is a two-minute email praising or thanking one person that you know. We’ve done this at Facebook, at US Foods, we’ve done this at Microsoft. We had them write a two-minute email praising or thanking one person they know, and a different person each day for 21 days in a row. That’s it. What we find is this dramatically increases their social connection which is the greatest predictor of happiness we have in organizations. It also improves teamwork. We’ve measured the collective IQ of teams and the collective years of experience of teams but both of those metrics are trumped by social cohesion.
For a longer-term impact on happiness, Achor advises checking your attitude, sociability, and how you choose to view challenges.