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256 ways to be a Better Human

A fundamentally insane idea, here is a directory of 256 ways to be a better human.

👉 A Directory of Advice That Works

This list covers productivity, health, mindfulness, business, and more. I think the list is too big to be helpful, but I like the inspired attempt to compile all this stuff. We could all certainly benefit from this info.

Personally, I feel like I have basically earned a degree on self-help over the last couple of years, and I’m at my limit. One of the things I’ve learned is to stop reading and thinking quite so much and instead get out there and do stuff. Nonetheless, here is the list. 😂

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“What I’ve Learned from Surrounding Myself with Confident People”

Back in the day, I used to think that confidence was about putting on a show for people or just thinking you’re better than other people. I kind of hated the idea of “confidence” because I though it was an act — fake and self-serving. In retrospect, I think I was confusing confidence with over-confidence or arrogance.

I finally understand now that true confidence (and leadership) is about being yourself, having a vision, and lifting other people up with you. I keep running into articles on this topic, and this is one of my favs.

👉 What I’ve Learned from Surrounding Myself with Confident People

I actually had trouble with this idea for a long time: being confident doesn’t make you an asshole. In fact, just the opposite is true. It makes the people around you feel valued and comfortable.

Highlights

Confident people are flexible and humble.

What separates the truly confident from the overconfident is their ability to seek out advice from people with varying points of view.

They are curious.

Confident people don’t need to control a conversation. They know their own agenda; they want to learn about yours.

They’re not in it for approval.

The truly confident, as Kareem Abdul Jabbar once put it, just want “to play the game well and go home.”

They are generous.

Confident people take real pleasure in seeing other people succeed and recognize the importance of supporting others.

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How a Genius Solves Problems (by putting details second)

Amazing article on solving problems by first understanding essentials of the problem (not the solution). Simplify and focus on the big picture or “core” of the problem before jumping into details.

👉 Claude Shannon: How a Genius Solves Problems

Finding the true form of the problem is almost as important as the answer that comes after.

I practically want to copy and past the whole article in here, but here are a few select highlights.

Finding the core problem

…it is to get the bigger picture right before you go chasing after the details. Otherwise, you start by pointing yourself in the wrong direction.

Shannon’s reasoning… was that it isn’t until you eliminate the inessential from the problem you are working on that you can see the core that will guide you to an answer.

Looking at the problem in different ways

One of Shannon’s go-to tricks was to restructure and contrast the problem in as many different ways as possible. This could mean exaggerating it, minimizing it, changing the words of how it is stated, reframing the angle from where it is looked at, and inverting it.

In every day life

Much of life — whether it’s in your work, or in your relationships, or as it relates to your well-being — comes down to identifying and attacking a problem so that you can move past it.

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Think something positive? Voice it.

Great article about building better relationships (of all kinds).

Want a Happier, More Fulfilling Life? 75-Year Harvard Study Says Focus on This 1 Thing

It basically comes down to expressing gratitude towards people you appreciate.

When you think something positive and you genuinely believe it, voice it.

And this habit tends to circle back to you.

When you practice Positive Alacrity, you’re not only uplifting others. Above all, you’re uplifting yourself.

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Optimism is not always > pessimism

👉 https://blog.liberationist.org/the-bright-and-dark-sides-of-optimism-and-pessimism-95c6092f560c

I’d consider myself to be an optimist, even against overwhelming evidence at times. It’s a sort of faith. It’s fun to be optimistic and see what happens. I like to give the middle finger to negativity.

While this article acknowledges the positive powers of optimism, it also details the surprising advantages of some healthy pessimism. I may need to work on leveraging some pessimism more, especially while estimating projects and budgets!

Pessimism can help us prepare and do our best work, increase desire and enthusiasm to improve things, and even reduce anxiety by motivating focus over avoidance. 🤯

Highlights…

The down side of optimism

Multiple research has shown that optimism has a dark side too. Not only it can lead to poor outcomes, but it makes us underestimate risks or take less action. 

Optimists pay less attention to detail and fail to seek new information to challenge their rosy views leading to poor decisions.

The Optimism Bias is one of the two key factors why we inaccurately calculate big projects — we tend to underestimate both time and cost.

Defensive pessimism

Defensive Pessimist is a particular type of pessimist that takes negative thinking to a whole new level. It’s a strategy that helps people reduce their anxiety — it drives focus rather than avoidance.

The defensive pessimist focuses on the worst-case scenario — s/he identifies and takes care of things that optimists miss. This approach can help us better prepare for events that are out of our full control such as a job interview.

Meliorism

In philosophy, Meliorism is a concept which drives our ability to improve the world through alteration — we can produce outcomes that are considered better than the original phenomenon.

Meliorism doesn’t mean ignoring the world’s evils. But to accept life’s setbacks as challenges to overcome. This joie de vivre energizes us — it boosts our desire and enthusiasm

Quotes

There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

I’ve been thinking lately how many “good” things have a bad side, and many “bad” things have a good side. A crisis is an opportunity. A loss is a rebirth. A failure renews focus. Sadness motivates appreciation. And on the flip side, getting what you want can be a letdown or even a disappointment.

I think Shakespeare’s quote is mostly about attitude and perception, and that’s a big part of this equation.

There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

William Shakespeare

See also: The Bright and Dark Sides of Optimism and Pessimism