From the category archives:

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Should You Embrace Your Negative Thoughts and Urges?

by Stephen Mills February 19, 2012

I know this is a rather strange suggestion, but I have recently finished an excellent book on willpower: The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It.  Towards the end of that book there was a chapter called “Don’t Read This Chapter: The Limits of […]

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Unconscious Influences On Our Behavior

by Stephen Mills January 28, 2011

One of the most fascinating, and to me unnerving, results to come out of a lot of recent psychological research is just how much of our behavior is subject to unconscious influence. I for one and I think most people like to believe we are acting deliberately when in fact we often are not. This article will focus on a phenomenon referred to in research as priming.

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Deep Death Bed Thoughts

by Stephen Mills August 21, 2010
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I’m thinking old age regret is going to suck. In order to avoid it, I find it useful to put myself on my death bed and imagine how I will feel. It’s easy to piss your precious life minutes away when you are young, or even when your not so young, but it is sometimes helpful to realize at some point you are done and will get none of them back.

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Do You Want To Live Longer?

by Stephen Mills July 24, 2010
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I think the key is where the emphasis lies; whether it is on the word live or on the word longer. People are concerned about quality of life in old age; things like losing their health, losing their mind, and losing their ability to live independently. I don’t want to live like that either. Those humans who live to a very advanced age, like the current record holder Jeanne Calmet who died in 1997 at the age of 122, don’t just live longer; they age slower. They stay healthy, vibrant, alert, and independent into advanced ages. Jeanne was still riding her bicycle at 100, a good 20 years after the average woman has already died.

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How Do You Spend Your Life Dollars?

by Stephen Mills July 9, 2010

experiences you didn’t enjoy. You don’t get to go back and do it over.

My attitude about how I spend has definitely changed. Realizing when you give someone a dollar you are giving them some of your life is a big step towards more awareness. It’s truly a different way to look at it. When you are young, it can seems like you have an eternity to figure things out and get it right. You don’t and it will go by faster than you would ever imagine. Spend wisely my friend and thanks for spending a small part of your life on my blog.

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Your Brain On the Internet

by Stephen Mills June 20, 2010
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Deep and reflective thinking seems to be disappearing and I think it is in large degree a result of changes brought about by Internet. If it is still there it is being overwhelmed by the shallows. Writers no longer write what they think, they write what they hope will rank in Google. Despite all the touted diversity of the Internet, obsession with Search Engine Optimization often takes priority over content. Google is funneling us into the narrow and boring land of the common.

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Put Down Those Rocks

by Stephen Mills April 14, 2010
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A metaphor that really helps me is that of picking up and putting down rocks. I don’t know where I first heard this, but it really helps when I visualize something physical like a rock. It makes the letting go seem real; you are putting down a rock and your load instantly seems lighter.

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The Sunk Cost Bias Mind Trap

by Stephen Mills March 16, 2010
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You should be looking forward and making your decisions based upon what is before you and not what is behind you. Do you want to spend two hours watching a bad movie? Do you want to take your free show tickets that you already have and go to a show or do you want to stay home or do something else? You need to decide how you should you spend the time and money that you have now and not the time and the money you had yesterday.

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Creativity and Novelty

by Stephen Mills February 14, 2010
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Optical illusions work because of the perceptual shortcuts your brain has developed from past perceptual experience. This tendency of your brain to make snap judgments and statistical predictions is a very good thing. It occurs in many different areas of your brain and it reduces by many magnitudes the amount of mental resources required to function in your every day life.

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Common Thinking Traps – Correlation and Causation

by Stephen Mills January 25, 2010
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They key lesson here is to not just automatically assume that because the media reports that people who do A are more likely to experience B, means that A is causing B. It pays to be skeptical of media reports, books, and gurus when they imply something correlated indicates a casual link. This is especially true if it sounds like something that was just dug out of data or surveys and not the subject of proper experiments. If you care about the issue, you should look deeper into the studies.

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