Zemblanity: the inexorability of unfortunate discoveries

We have all experienced serendipitous moments in life, the unexpected discoveries or fortunate occurrences that happen by chance. Serendipity occurs when you stumble upon a first edition novel by your favorite author at a car boot sale, or bump into an old friend who you then realize could become the fantastic business partner you’ve been …

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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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Metacognition: the mind’s Swiss Army knife

When you want to learn or build something new, it’s tempting to just get going. Read as much as you can, do some tutorials, work on some related projects. Short-term, this gives you a motivation boost. You feel like you’re moving forward. But, after a while, you notice that you’re not progressing as fast as …

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Protect your focus with Peter Hartree, creator of Inbox When Ready

Welcome to this edition of our Tools for Thought series, where we interview founders on a mission to help us be more focused and productive, without sacrificing our mental health. Peter Hartree is the founder of Inbox When Ready, a browser extension that helps you check your inbox with reasonable frequency, batch process email on …

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Creative Problem Solving: from complex challenge to innovative solution

Even if you usually excel at finding solutions, there will be times when it seems that there’s no obvious answer to a problem. It could be that you’re facing a unique challenge that you’ve never needed to overcome before. You could feel overwhelmed because of a new context in which everything seems to be foreign, …

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Cognitive bottlenecks: the inherent limits of the thinking mind

The “thinking mind” is the part of the mind that seeks to make sense of the world; it analyses situations, imagines scenarios, evaluates solutions, and tells stories. It’s an inherent aspect of what makes us human. However, it’s limited by multiple cognitive bottlenecks. Why does it matter? Because these cognitive bottlenecks limit how much information …

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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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