How to harness the power of self-affirmation

What are your values? Who are you? Such complex questions, and yet, few people spend enough time defining their sense of self. As a result, they answer with polite conversation ice-breakers, perhaps providing their name and their occupation. Beyond knowing yourself better, a strong sense of self has many benefits, including better performance and better …

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Status anxiety: when striving for success impacts our mental health

Bored and underpaid at work while colleagues seem to easily move up in their careers, jealous when a friend buys a new car, worried you cannot afford a product everyone around you is raving about… That feeling of being stuck while others around you appear successful is called status anxiety. Alain de Botton first introduced …

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The psychology of regret: how inaction affects our sense of self

We all have experienced regret, perhaps after making a hurtful comment or acting in a way that later turns out to be harmful. Regret is a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment at something that you have done, or failed to do. Psychologists Shai Davidai and Tom Gilovich have investigated the psychology of regret, illuminating a …

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Life management: a holistic approach to make the most of your life

If you are interested in personal development, you are most likely familiar with a variety of methods to effectively manage your time, energy, relationships, and career. These tools are designed to get the most out of each part of your life. But when you are blinkered into looking at each area in isolation, you might …

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How the end-of-history illusion prevents you from shaping your future self

“Where do you see yourselves in five years?” Tough question, isn’t it? It’s hard to imagine where we will be in five days, let alone five years. And yet, most people believe that their personalities, work situations, and values won’t change much in the future, even though they have changed tremendously in the past. This …

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Taste: why we like what we like

You may think your likes and dislikes are formed through rational decision-making. After all— whether it is books, movies, music, food, romantic partners, or fashion—your tastes are a defining part of your identity. But the reality is more complicated than that. Our genes, our culture, and our experiences define why we like what we like. …

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Selective ignorance: cultivating intentional knowledge in a chaotic world

Have you ever found yourself aimlessly scrolling online, then feeling guilty about the wasted time? Twelve years ago, the Webster’s New World Dictionary—which is the official dictionary used by the Associated Press and many leading newspapers such as the New York Times—selected “selective ignorance” as a candidate for the word of the year. (it lost …

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Personal values: how knowing yourself can guide your actions

Ask anyone their opinion on one of the many political and ethical divides of the moment, and you will receive a strong opinion as to what “ought” to be. While people tend to appeal to logic to justify their stance, many of these positions are actually guided by their personal values. Our values are our …

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The only numbers that matter

Nowadays, virtually anything can be tracked and measured. Smartwatches include a heart rate monitor, can count your steps, and record your sleep patterns. Apps let you log your meals, your fasting zones, your weight, and your calorie expenditure. A timer on your computer can track your productivity. As Gary Wolf, the co-founder of Quantified Self …

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