Tag: personal-development

  • ‘Locked’ Value, and Paying for Everything Twice

    How to account for the true cost and value of our possessions? In the same vein as Thoreau, who wrote in Walden: “the cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run”, David Cain suggests that everything…

  • Rules of Formulating Knowledge

    Back in 2009, I posted about the SuperMemo learning algorithm, based on the tried-and-true learning principle of spaced repetition (see also). I see now that, around that time, Piotr WoĆșniak, developer of the SuperMemo algorithm, wrote about his twenty rules of formulating knowledge. The below seven really stuck out to me, with all of them…

  • Studying and Learning: What Works, What Doesn’t

    Self-testing and spaced repetition are the “two clear winners” in how to study and learn better. That’s from an informal meta study conducted by six professors (from fields such as psychology, educational psychology, and neuroscience) when they reviewed over 700 scientific articles to identify the ten most common learning techniques and which are the most…

  • Sagan’s Cosmos on the Scientific Method and Uncomfortable Ideas

    I’m currently watching Carl Sagan’s excellent Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. I feel compelled to post the following quote from episode four, Heaven and Hell, as it stood out for its elegant argument for the strength of scientific ideas and for not rejecting uncomfortable (if incorrect) ideas: There are many hypotheses in science which are wrong. That’s all…

  • The Zeigarnik Effect and the Force of Incomplete Tasks

    Why do unresolved issues linger in our mind, making us ponder them for days on end? Why are cliffhangers so successful in getting viewers to tune in to the next episode? How can we overcome procrastination? These questions can be answered by learning about the psychological concept/theory known as the Zeigarnik effect. ‘Discovered’ by Soviet…

  • The Wadsworth Constant: Ignore 30% of Everything

    I’ll start with a story. Last year my girlfriend and I watched the pilot episode of a new TV show and were immediately hooked. The pilot episode was refreshingly complex and forced us to guess missing plot details continuously: it’s adventurous to make your audience work so hard during a pilot, we surmised. We later…

  • Entrepreneurship and the Possibility of Real Failure

    In 2007 Vinicius Vacanti quit his highly-paid job in finance to take on life as an entrepreneur. In a short post describing his reasons for doing so, Vacanti says that most of us haven’t faced the possibility of real failure, and entrepreneurship is a way to test your limits by attempting to create something of…

  • Words to Be Aware Of

    Wish. Try. Should. Deserve. These are four words that “lend themselves to a certain self-deception”, says David Cain of Raptitude, and when you catch yourself using them you should take note, figure out how the word is being used, and maybe try to change your perspective. Why? Because, Cain says, these are ‘red flag’ words that…

  • Timed Exposure Can Be As Good As Practice

    We know that deliberate practice is an important part of learning (and mastering) new skills–but what role, if any, does mere passive exposure play? Can relevant background stimulation help us to reduce the amount of effort and practice necessary to master a skill? To answer these questions Jonah Lehrer contacted the authors of a recent paper studying exactly…

  • To Complete Goals, Concentrate on ‘The Big Picture’ (Not Subgoals)

    To help control and manage progress on a difficult or long-term goal, we often split that goal into many individual subgoals. Once we begin to complete these subgoals, our continued motivation and progress toward the main, or superordinate, goal can be compromised. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2006…