How to overwrite your cognitive scripts

Although we think we are fully aware and in control of our everyday decisions, we actually often follow a series of cognitive scripts. These cognitive scripts often develop in childhood and are personal to you. However, as they are commonly based on a sequence of events that we expect to occur in given situations, many …

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Novelty fallacy: why new isn’t always better

The most recent smartphone, the latest tool, the hottest trend… Humans are naturally attracted to novelty, whether it’s new objects or new ideas. In the modern world, our desire to be on the cutting edge of technology only exacerbates the appeal of adopting the newest innovations. However, there is danger in blindly embracing something new …

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The arrival fallacy: why we should decouple our happiness from our goals

“When I achieve this goal, then I will be happy.” If you’ve ever experienced such a when/then thought pattern, you’re not alone. Whether you’re aiming to run a marathon, get a promotion at work or buy your first house, having a goal in mind can increase your motivation. However, we often mistakenly believe that achieving …

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Present bias: how instant gratification impacts your long-term goals

How many times have you heard the phrases “live for the moment”, “you only live once”, or “seize the day”? This advice may sound great for adding some spontaneity to your life, but seizing short-term opportunities can lead you to settle for a small present reward rather than wait for a larger future reward. This …

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The dangers of apophenia: not everything happens for a reason

Humans love patterns. Sometimes that’s helpful, but other times… Not so much. Apophenia is the common tendency to detect patterns that do not exist. Also known as “patternicity”, apophenia occurs when we try to make predictions, or seek answers, based on unrelated events. Apophenia can lead to poor decision-making. For instance, many people choose their …

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The danger of emotional reasoning and using our emotions as proof

Cognitive distortions are thought patterns that can affect our perception of reality. One such distortion is emotional reasoning. This is a thought pattern in which our emotional reactions, or our feelings, lead us to believe that something is true even when the empirical evidence tells us otherwise.  Emotional reasoning is very common in the workplace. …

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Gratitude traps: why we should be critical of gratefulness

Gratitude is an efficient way to increase the appreciation we have for the things that we could otherwise take for granted. Practising gratitude might make us feel more thankful for the circumstances we find ourselves in, such as where we live, the work we do, the people we have in our lives, and the gifts …

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Mental filtering: when we focus on negative details

Do you tend to focus on negative details? Mental filtering is a cognitive distortion that leads us to magnify the negative details of a situation, while filtering out the positives. Also known as selective abstraction, this bias for dwelling on your shortcomings could lead you to focus on one piece of negative feedback, while disregarding …

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