Lessons from the book Think Again by Adam Grant

Category – Psychology

Reading time – 5 minutes

Consciousness- A brief survey #brain #conscious

Category- psychology

Reading time – 4 minutes

According to Nagel, a being is conscious just if there is “something that it is like” to be that creature, i.e., some subjective way the world seems or appears from the creature’s mental or experiential point of view.

It sounds as complex as it appears. Consciousness is a tough nut to crack and till now no one has caught one of its fingers.

There are various questions which need an answer.

First we are a zygote. Or I must say. First we are atoms which form molecules which form organelles which organise inside a cell.

Then embryo. And at certain point this lump of cells becomes conscious.

When and how it is not clear. May be one day we could pin point the exact point at which zygote becomes conscious.

How to detect consciousness. How we say that a particular thing is conscious.

By observing behaviour of the organism. Or with our intuition.

But it is not foolproof.

A patient in, ‘locked in state’ is conscious but cannot show external behaviour to confirm it.

Few people with anaesthesia unawareness are conscious; but cannot show behaviour when under anaesthesia.

A starfish has no nervous system; but can evade obstacles.

A fly eating plant can differentiate between drops of rain and insects. It even remembers touch pattern on its hairs. It hence remembers events. Is it conscious like us

Plants show care of each other and effect of touch in subtle but definite ways.

Advanced AI and deep learning can show features of a thinking mind without being alive.

So question becomes sticky. What is consciousness?

Then there is one more problem.

Our consciousness is last to register a decision.

Intuition and our brainstem knows few milliseconds earlier about our next movement.

It has been shown repeatedly in scientific experiments in which scientists can guess the next movement even before the person performing the task becomes aware of this.

Benjamin liver showed that activity can be detected 300 milliseconds earlier in motor cortex before action occurs.

Our senses send signals at different speeds to our brain, which integrates them by the process of binding and creates a coherent and synchronous conscious feeling.

Hence what we see as present is actually a little distant past; which has happened few milliseconds earlier. We see a movie that whole subconscious has uploaded few milliseconds earlier after editing it expertly.

Hence we see the past and brain has already decided a particular thing few milliseconds before your consciousness knows it.

So is consciousness a driver or a observer?

It is likely that consciousness is last to know what brain intends to do and hence it cannot change thing which has already been decided before it knows.

It is a sort of spooky weird thing.

So where is the free will of an organism?

Can you decide to change a thing with consciousness . It looks like subconscious needs no direction from our consciousness to do most of the things.

You are not aware of automatic things like breathing or digestion or beating of the heart or secretions of liver, until something goes wrong.

When we die then also; consciousness leaves before life goes.

Various scientific views about consciousness.

Everythig is conscious. Thus is called Panpsychism.

Consciousness cannot be deciphered by our brain. This is hard problem of the consciousness.

Consciousness is an inherent property of the matter and is strange to understand.

Consciousness is an emergent phenomenon.

Still we are far from the right question about consciousness.

Inspiration – Conscious by Anaka Harris

As a man thinketh – A pictorial revisit #picturestory

Category – psychology

Reading time – 2 minutes

As a man thinketh, so is he.

Manifest personality is end result of all the thoughts.

Each thought has a certain end result on circumstances.

Thoughts finally reveal themselves.

Psychology is mixture of all your thoughts.

Habits are dependent on thoughts, which in turn affect the life.

Bad thoughts, bad outcomes.

Inner thoughts must be in harmony with outer behaviour for a happy life.

Bad thoughts end up in bad lives.

Our biggest superpower is that we can choose which thoughts to focus upon.

Lessons from the book think straight by Darius foroux – #dariusforoux #psychology

Category- psychology

Reading time -3 minutes

I wish to clarify one thing. This man is not the founder of these thoughts but only one of many bloggers writing about ideas of greats of past centuries.

He read all the books by William James and observed that even though we can’t control all our conscious thoughts, but we can very well decide which thoughts to focus upon.

This selection of thoughts will eventually lead to better habits and hence better actions.

Basically he is borrowing and editing ideas of James Allen and Victor frenkel for his book.

This school of thought is called pragmatism.

Or we can say practical approach to the life.

Few of thoughts in this small book.

Question the source of belief, not the belief itself.

Life is not linear. Path from idea to goal is tipsy turvy.

Filter good thoughts out of heap of millions of your thoughts.

Be aware of your thoughts with regular practice.

Don’t think more about things that you can’t control. You can’t change them anyway.

Always remain aware of unknown unknowns.

There is no truth but Intrepretations of facts by different minds.

Don’t trust first thoughts; that crop up in your mind. Take your time.

Don’t reply to everything immediately. Take some time.

Take breaks to start afresh; in between your endeavours.

Don’t overthink.

There is no absolute proof and all over decisions are bet on the workings of the universe.

Testing your psychological safety. #psychology #personalgrowth

Category – psychology

Reading Time – 2 minutes

You have a particular type of psychology. You got it from society. From your genes. From interactions between you and your environment.

There are few questions; that you can ask yourself to find if you have a balanced psychology. Do you feel safe to navigate your world.

1. You see mistakes as opportunities to learn

2. You feel; it is ok to fail.

3. You speak your mind in meetings.

4. You are willing to take risks and fail.

5. You openly share your thoughts.

6. You believe in your collegues and seniors.

If your answer is yes to most of these questions; you feel psychologically safe in your surroundings.

Why looking like a fool may be good sometimes! #psychology #rethinking

Category – Psychology

Reading time – 5 minutes

Luca Parmitano is an astronaut. He is the youngest astronaut to go to International Space Station. He was given duty to do a spacewalk to repair a few things.

But that was not a normal day. There was something in his space suit. He felt there was liquid in his headpiece; mainly on back of the head. He was not sure what it was; when he reported this to the command in Houston.

He even tasted few drops to make sure if it was water ; it tasted metallic. Then suddenly liquid reached his nostrils and cut his communications from the space station.

With luck he reached the hatch. When he opened his halmet, water flew out. He survived; but it was close.

In his spacewalk one weak earlier; he had noted water droplets in his helmet. He and Crew in Houston had regarded it as a leak in water bottle without digging deep.

But it was due to leakage from fan pump separator. I don’t know what that means but it was part of the spacesuit.

So engineers in the Houston overlooked possible new reasons for a new observation and attributed this to their most visible belief. ( Availability bias)

They didn’t even think for a second that they may not know few of the things and they are not infinite in their intelligence.

Thay failed to rethink.

But there was one physicist who did the opposite. He had his reputation in the line. He was at centre stage of a big event of astronomists. In an important conference.

He was about to share an astounding discovery of a planet around a collapsed star; which is called PULSAR.

His research had shown a planet around a Pulsar; which was never believed earlier by physicists.

But he caught his mistake. In his calculations he had assumed orbit of earth around Sun to be circular in stead of elliptical.

When he corrected himself new planet vanished away.

He didn’t try to act smart or superhuman. He walked on podium and expected his mistake and retreated his paper from conference.

He got standing ovation. For saying that be was wrong thus time. For accepting with humility that he doesn’t know everything and he needed to work more.

We need more of such people.

Professor Andrew Lyne is a genius.

Everytime their is anomaly in observations try to find new insights.

Rethink everytime you think.

Inspiration – Think again by Adam Grant.

Lessons from the book courage to be disliked. #Alfredalder #hapiness #psychology

Category – psychology

Reading time – 5 minutes

Ever wondered why it is so hard to be happy!

When human beings started as a hunter gatherers, it was relatively easy to be happy. You needed few things to be happy. You needed food, water, warmth, safety and a family and you were okay.

Their were no stocks, bills or quarterly targets.

As time passed, hapiness got increasingly attached to external things. It depended on things you could gather and then feel happy by displaying those things to others. Humans started collecting land, money, metals, fat and servants.

But then things got more complicated. It was still hard to be happy.

They stocked more and more stuff,only to see that it got outdated before they could earn enough to buy its next version.

They needed pills more frequently to be happy and feel meaningful.

As incomes grew; after a particular level of money; hapiness stayed the same.

So, it was probably wrong approach to achieve sustained hapiness free of transient dopamine spikes.

Only when hapiness is detached from the external things, tgen only it can become stable and eternal.

When I read , courage to be disliked, I realised it was the simplest philosophy to be happy. Although it was hard to apply fully in real world; but it provides framework over which sustained hapiness could be developed.

I will share few of these concepts of Alderian psychology in this blog with illustrations.

Here we go.

1. Think in terms of teleology and not in terms of aetiology.

Aetiology is cause of an event. Teleology is purpose behind that event.

For example if somebody is depressed, we may deduce that, he is depressed because of his troubled home environment. ( Aetiological explaination)

In teleolgical terms, person has created depressive symptoms to avoid the effort of sorting out causes of his depression. ( Teleological explaination)

So, if we start seeing things in terms of hidden purpose, in stead of exact cause; it will be easier to start acting for improvement of the condition.

Aetiology provides difficult route to a solution. Teleology makes it a bit simpler. Aetiology gives causes, teleology guides towards possible solutions.

2. Stay away from life lies –

Life lie is lie that we make to avoid change. We shift blame from ourselves to someone else.

Like feeling inferiority to avoid being courageous enough to change your circumstances. It is easy to stay locked in home by constructing life lie of inferiority complex; than going out to face your fears and making best of whatever talent you possess.

3. Once you find purpose behind a particular symptom, you need to accept yourself and move ahead in spite of the fear. You need to have courage.

As all great minds have said, we choose our emotions, our reactions to a particular event and meaning that we provide to a certain event.

If you accept these, you give yourself power to change.

Humans are slow to change. Change needs courage. Change is inconvenient. Change needs sacrifice and pain.

We rather choose to avoid it. We may create symptoms like anger, impulsiveness, depression, irritability, inferiority to avoid the change. Our purpose of all these symptoms may be an effort to avoid process of painful change.

Better thing is to see that you can change situation with hit and trials using courage and assistance from your family, meditation or your doctor.

First you need to know that you have power over your response and thoughts.

Think I have ability.

4. All problems are interpersonal problems.

All problems can be seen as problems arising out of our relationship with others and situations.

Don’t put your happiness in the hands of external things. Other people or things or situations. This will free you of a lot of burden.

Keep out of useless competition. Don’t get sucked up into useless struggles, to prove your superiority to anyone. Even if you are correct, don’t assert your yourself. If you are right, don’t sweat to prove it.

Don’t fall in trap of reward punishment circuit.

Step back and show no reaction. See problem in the circumstances, not in the particular person.

Life is not a competition. Don’t compare with others, compare with your old self. You should be improving with time.

5. Develop feeling that all people are my comrades. Develop horizontal relationships.

All humans are not same, but all are equal. Consider everyone as your friend or comrade.

It gives you power to think positively and to stay away from negative feelings. This will give you ability to see their perspective. It will solve a lot of problems.

Treat everyone as equal with no bias or hierarchy. It gives community feeling. Know that you are not centre of the universe and don’t expect many things from others. See what you can contribute, in place of what you can get.

6. Seperate tasks –

See clearly which is your task and which is not. If it is not your task, don’t overindulge in its execution. Provide nudge or guidance but don’t do it yourself.

For example, if child is not studying well understand that it is his task. Tell him that studies are necessary for him. Provide for tuition, reading space and help whenever he requires. But don’t force things on the child or punish.

Let him walk his path himself, so that he learns to face life alone.

7. Know that contribution leads to hapiness –

If you contribute to society and other people, your feeling of self-worth and hapiness are exalated. Believe in others. Don’t generalise things.

Few bad events or people don’t make everything bad.

Contribute according to your ability. But still know that person is worthy for being or existing. His contribution increases this worth.

8. Know that life is a journey, not a destination. Life is a series of dots, it is not a straight line.

To summarise everything.

See purpose of an event or action. Seperate tasks. Focus on internal drive for hapiness. Treat everyone as comrade. Solve interpersonal issues. Have courage to change.

Have courage to be disliked.

Inspiration – Courage to be disliked

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Difference between attitude and approach. #personalgrowth #attitude #psycholgy

Reading time – one minute
Category – psychology

Attitude is the way of thinking about someone or something.

Approach is the way of dealing with a situation or a challenge.

Let’s see the difference by reading a short event about real life.

Ramesh and suresh both are friends. They have final exams. Ramesh misses last question due to shortage of time. He is sad and full of remorse.

Suresh misses the exam as alarm didn’t ring. He is happy that he will be better prepared in repeat exam and thankful that no body has died due to this omission.

They both have different Attitude towards circumstances.

.

Now Suresh and Ramesh join jobs.

They both need to prepare presentation before weekend.

Ramesh is stressed, about to bite any one distracting him and cancels planned birthday party of his friend.

Suresh gets in touch with his senior and gets his presentation on same themes presented last year. He quickly modifies it for current year. He stays late in party and enjoys the bash.

Boss finds no difference in their presentation and also they were not related to critical aspect of the business.

This shows difference in their approach.

Inspiration – Ashwin Sanghi’s nonfiction works.