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 power of self-reflection at work

We often hear advice about how self-reflection can help us learn more about our true inner selves and can help resolve interpersonal conflicts. However, self-reflection should not be reserved for our personal lives only; it can also be richly rewarding for our professional careers. Self-reflection can be defined as the process of replaying recent experiences …

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2021 year in review: making friends with fear

At the end of last year, all I was craving was calm and stability; my mind was hoping for an uneventful year, nicely ticking along, made of moments of rest and reflection. To say that things did not go to plan is an understatement. Calm and stability are definitely not the right keywords to describe …

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How to measure meaning in life

Philosophers and psychologists alike have long argued about the definition and factors of a meaningful life. What does it mean to live a meaningful life? Is meaningfulness necessary for happiness? While these questions may seem to belong to the realm of the metaphysical, meaningfulness is actually associated with greater well-being, and scientists have even devised …

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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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