High agency: how to feel more in control in your life and work

Personal agency, or self-agency, describes the experiences we have when we set goals for ourselves and take action to achieve them. People with high agency feel a sense of control over their lives, and they can make decisions about what they want or need and act to meet those needs. On the other hand, people …

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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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Negative capability: how to embrace intellectual uncertainty

Certainty is reassuring; what we know can be better understood, managed, and controlled. But intellectual certainty can limit our creativity. Where lies a certain path, many alternative doors leading to innovative ideas are ignored. We follow a fixed roadmap, without giving ourselves the opportunity to explore, make mistakes, and learn. In contrast, negative capability is …

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Are you a taker, a giver, or a matcher?

Some people only help when it benefits themselves, others foster transactional relationships, while yet others are generous with their time and energy, without asking for anything in return. Whether in their personal or professional relationships, takers, givers, and matchers achieve different outcomes. Surprisingly, givers display the most radically distinctive results. Are you a taker, a …

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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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90 journaling prompts to spark new personal insights

Journaling offers many benefits, including improved mood, fewer stress-related visits to the doctor, feeling of greater psychological well-being, reduced depressive symptoms and absenteeism from work, improved working memory, and more. However, many people struggle to build a journaling habit. The blank page of a journal can feel daunting, and many journaling methods assume a well-ingrained …

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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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