The problem with work-life balance

The concept of work-life balance implies that work is bad and life is good; it suggests that work and life are two dichotomous entities that need to be strictly separated and kept at an equilibrium; for some, it even insinuates that less work equals more happiness. In its most neutral definition, work is generally seen …

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The Semmelweis Reflex: when current beliefs trump new knowledge

Why do we often want to stick with our current beliefs, even when new knowledge seems to contradict them? Why does dogmatic belief habitually trump objective evidence? This effect is called the Semmelweis reflex, which Thomas Szasz described as “the invincible social power of false truths”—a phenomenon so dangerous it has caused many deaths throughout …

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The ambidextrous mindset: how to balance exploration and exploitation

People who can both innovate and optimize are an extremely rare breed. Innovating requires a taste for risk taking and experimentation; optimizing calls for an altogether different skill set, mostly reliant on refinement and efficiency. That’s known as the exploration-exploitation dilemma. Great innovators are not always great managers. This is a common story: a founder …

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Nootropics, adaptogens, brain foods… What the heck is going on?

In a world where cognitive performance is considered a clear advantage to succeed—whether as a student or a busy professional—it’s not surprising the idea of popping a pill to enhance your brainpower is appealing to many. And marketers have noticed: the market for cognitive enhancers is a multi-billion dollar industry. Between drinks supplemented with “adaptogenic …

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The Diderot Effect: why we buy things we don’t need

Did you really need everything you bought? Except if you are one of the most extreme minimalists out there, the answer is likely to be: probably not. Even so, we keep on buying new products, upgrading to the latest version, and filling our lives with possessions we don’t need. That’s the Diderot Effect at play: …

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9 useful templates for Roam Research

Roam is one of these tools that just work out of the box, but that can grow with you as your needs become more complex and specific. One such way Roam can grow with you is by using templates—snippets of pre-formatted content you can then reuse by typing a shortcut, rather than manually re-typing the …

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Sophrosyne: the art of mindful moderation

From the doctrines of Confucianism to the cardinal virtues of Christianism, modern humanity has always sought to define the most desirable traits of mind and character. For the ancient Greeks, sophrosyne was an important concept describing a sound mind and an excellent character—a combination of moderation, self-control, and temperance. In today’s chaotic world, this ancient …

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Navigating the mind: 40 major fields of psychology and neuroscience

Psychology and neuroscience are such rapidly growing fields of research, it’s easy to get confused. Is a school psychologist the same as an educational psychologist? What’s the deal with neuroethics? Is nutritional neuroscience an actual area of research? What’s the difference between neuroinformatics and computational neuroscience? If you’ve sometimes been scratching your head trying to …

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The benefits of stretching: why your body needs to move

Do you feel tight from sitting in your chair all day? Is it becoming harder to extend your legs or your arms? You may need to get up and stretch. A stretching routine is not just for athletes. Stretching helps our muscles and joints stay flexible and strong, which in turn helps keep our body …

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The Nirvana fallacy: when perfectionism leads to unrealistic solutions

“Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien” wrote Voltaire in 1772—which translates to “better is the enemy of the good”, but is often translated as “perfect is the enemy of the good.” The Nirvana fallacy consists in comparing existing solutions with ideal, perfect ones—which are often unrealistic. A form of perfectionism, the Nirvana fallacy can lead …

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