How your confidence makes you look ridiculous

Confidence is a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective.
Self-confidence is having confidence in one’s self. And while many of us might be struggling when it comes to self-confidence, we are sometimes too self-confident! Yes, that is right, we are too self-confident and this is influencing our actions and social behavior.
And quite frankly: it is making us look ridiculous! It is all cognitive biases’ fault!

The first thing that is making us look stupid is the Dunning-Kruger Effect. This is a cognitive bias wherein people of low ability believe they are superior to others.
A good example is a research where 80% of people evaluated their driving skills as above average. That is some average, ha?

We make this mistake because it is hard for us to evaluate ourselves rationally, and because we all have some holes in our knowledge. Having holes means we are unable to see the situation clearly because we are lacking crucial information, and explains why we might feel we are doing better than average people.

On the other side we have experts. Experts are people who have more knowledge than an average person, which enables them to see just how much they still have to learn and improve.

So Dunning-Kruger Effect is connecting two groups of people: experts who tend to underrate their skills, and a lot of dumbass who overestimate their abilities.
And of course, we can all be an expert in one field and a dumbass in the other.

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Nevermind in which group we are, there is another bias we have to deal with to keep our confidence in control.

The Self-Serving Bias. This is a cognitive bias where we ascribe our success to our own abilities and efforts and our failure to the external factors.

How it works? We focus on our strengths and achievements, and overlook our faults and failures, and ignore negative feedback. When working in a group, we take more responsibility for our group’s work than we give to other members.

We do it to protect our self-esteem and our ego from threat and injury. These cognitive and perceptual tendencies reinforce illusions and error and we can find them in interpersonal relationships, workplace, sports and customer decisions.
In classroom good grade means we are smart and always prepared, bad grade means bitchy teacher and unfair testing.

It is not easy to be aware of all of these biases all the time and it is not vital either, already knowing that we have them and trying to look at ourselves more rationally can help us build up a real self-confidence and not a biased one.

There are other cognitive biases which are playing tricks with our brain like Reactance and Group biases (Bystander Effect, In-group bias, and Groupthinking).

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What happens when we learn more languages

Languages are important because they help us express our own thoughts and ideas and they help us communicate with other people. Knowing more than one language is great if you are traveling, talking to people from other cultures and having better chances at employment.

But how about our personality and the way we see the world? Does this change as well? And our brain–are we somehow smarter if we know more languages or does it just make us more confused than ever?

What is language?

Language is central to human experience, and the languages we speak profoundly shape the way we think, the way we see the world, the way we live our lives.

Language is tightly connected to the culture, history, tradition, way of living and speaking. Which means that as we learn foreign languages we also dive into a new culture. And that bilingual people have more than one culture.

Bilinguals and multilinguals

Bilinguals are individuals who speak two languages. And multilinguals are people who speak more than two. There are different definitions on who is bilingual depending on the age of acquisitions, language competence, and cultural identity.

Cultural identity and personality

Based on researches culture walks hand in hand with a language and cannot be separated from it. Therefore, learning any language without getting to know some culture as well is impossible.

When bilinguals switch between languages, this influences their cultural identity. However, that is not all that changes. According to researches done on bilinguals in America who speak Spanish and English, the personality of bilinguals changes as they change languages.

65 % of bilinguals confirmed it; they feel like a different person when they speak a different language. When they were speaking English they were more extroverted, agreeable and conscientious compared to when they spoke Spanish.
Which doesn’t mean they became a completely different person. Changes are subtle, but they are there.

Why not reinventing ourselves as we change languages and learn new ones? Well, because there is also bilinguals’ basic personality which doesn’t change.

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Way of thinking

Switching personality is one thing, but does that mean bilinguals also change the way they are thinking?

Sceptics say that is not so. They say it’s possible that everyone thinks the same way, notices the same things but just talks differently.

Non-sceptics, on the other hand, say that if everyone thought the same way, learning new languages would be a piece of cake. We would just learn some new vocabulary and can speak any language there is.

We wouldn’t have to reconsider the concept of gender in French (where we can find 2 different genders) or in Russian (with 3). Or, even better, orientation in Aboriginal community Kuuk Thaayorre–where you don’t go left or right but rather East or North-west.

“Languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey.” Jakobson.
Which brings us to this: learning new language requires us to start paying attention to new things.

If we compare German and English, we will discover that in English we are paying attention to the movement, while in German, the result or the goal of that movement is the main focus.

A guy is walking. -English
A guy is walking towards a car. -German

Brain

MRI studies show that learning foreign languages makes the brain grow significantly compared to when we are learning something else.

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We develop better cognitive functions: better concentration and better performance on the attention tests, we get better at multitasking. People’s brain is aging for 3-4 years slower if they speak more than one language, there is less possibility to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

What happens when we learn more languages?

We become more resourceful and flexible, as we learn how to express ourselves in new ways, not knowing the right words. We grow more open-minded and patient when it comes to ourselves and other people. We become less arrogant–because we see there is always something new to learn, and get more self-confidence at the same time–as we see that we are able to do a lot of things. We discover bad things about our country and lifestyle, but we also discover good ones, which makes us modest and objective patriots.

Our brain grows and becomes forever young.

But most importantly, we get an alternative vision of the world: through a new language and culture our world becomes more colorful and our thoughts more diverse.

 

Group Biases’ Backfire

Have you ever heard of a person dying in the middle of a city center or in the metro, surrounded by hundreds, maybe thousands of people and nobody would even try to help him? Are we so stupid, indifferent to other people’s suffering or is it our brain playing tricks with us?

We are all social beings and being a part of the group is essential for our well being. Usually we are all part of many different groups, some we choose and others we are born into. Some we are forced to join and others we are just not refusing consciously. Groups are forming work, family, friends, religion, country, region, community, ethnicity, according to our believes, habits, traditions, interests, life style.
Cognitive biases are mostly result of evolution and are the tendencies to think in a certain way, which can lead to systematic deviations from standard of rationality or good judgment. Let’s take a look at three most common group ones.

BYSTANDER EFFECT
is the one we already mentioned in the beginning. People might die because of this cognitive bias. We presume someone else is going to do something in an emergency situation. When something terrible is happening in a public setting we can experience a kind of shock and mental paralysis that distracts us from a sense of personal responsibility. The problem is that everyone can experience this sense of deindividuation in a crowd. So for a long time nobody is doing anything, everybody is just waiting for other people to react.
Knowing that, we can make ourselves more alert and know that when emergency situation does appear, we have to be the ones to react. Even if that group seems really loud and helpful, you never know, maybe they are talking a lot but not doing much.
And talking about groups, we all belong to some and we favor those people who are in our group. That is called IN-GROUP BIAS. We presume that we’re fair and impartial, but the truth is that we automatically favor those who are most like us. If a person who is a part of your group (like a friend or a nice co-worker) is saying something stupid, you will be more likely to consider it and maybe even think it is OK, while if somebody who you have no personal relationship with and possibly looks a lot different for you, says stupid things, you will instantly judge, contradict or at least recognize it for what it is.
We are more tolerant with people in our group too. It is our brain tricking us, so we need plenty of emotional intelligence to position ourselves in the shoes of those in out-group, while we need to be more objective when judging those who belong to our in-group. But what if my group doesn’t like me after that?

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And we get to GROUPTHINKING. We let the social dynamics of a group situation override the best outcomes. Contradicting the group opinion can be uncomfortable and dangerous to one’s social standing, so most of us try to avoid it. The one who determines the group decisions is often the most confident or first one to speak. The rest of the group end up agreeing with everybody else even if we think differently, just so we are still part of the group. This cognitive bias can have quite severe side-effects, such as racism or slavery.
What we can do if we want to do the right thing while staying the part of the group is rather than openly contradicting others, is to encourage the group to think critically and be ready for a discussion on any given topic.

Interesting thing about brain and cognitive biases is that once we know about them, we start thinking about them, we are no longer reacting automatically. And if we share that with our group(s) and everyone starts thinking, this group will totally rock and kick the group biases ass!

Why Twenties Matter?

30s are the new 20s, you should enjoy life now, live to the fullest, experiment, change jobs, study for as long as you can, later will be too late. You have all your life to be responsible and work a lot, let yourself loose now!

And why that is a problem? Because the 20s are the time when we make the biggest steps into the future!

DEFINING THE REST OF YOUR LIFE

Some say that twentysomething years are an extended adolescence while others call them an emerging adulthood.

We all have plans for life, but we assume that life will just happen after we turn thirty. And maybe it will. We will be successful, have a family, house and great salaries. It will suddenly switch from careless 20s life to great responsible and comfortable 30s life.

“Your life is up to you! You can do and be whoever you want to be!”. Sounds great! But these words are also full of terror. Not knowing what you want to do with your life–or not at least having some ideas about what to do next–is a defense against that terror. Being confused about choices is nothing more than hoping that maybe there is a way to get through life without taking charge.

We imagine that if nothing happens in our twenties, then everything is still possible in our thirties. But going from no career in our 20s to great career in our 30s is not realistic. So we have to choose and keep in mind that getting a good job is not the end; it’s the beginning and a step we have to take in our 20s.

BRAIN

We have two critical periods of growth when our brain is producing more neurons than it can use, which is exponentially increasing our capacity for new learning. First growth period is the first 18 months of life and the second one is from adolescence until twentysomething years.
The second one prepares us for adulthood. We easily find a professional niche, a partner, a career, prepare for parenthood and being responsible in general.

Our frontal lobe is a part of the brain responsible for rational thinking, regulation of our feelings and impulses, solving problems and making decisions according to our best interest. This part of the brain does not fully mature until sometime between the ages of twenty and thirty. People with still-developing frontal lobe are “uneven”.

This is why our personalities change more during the 20sth years than at any time before or after. This is big news because conventional wisdom tells us that childhood or adolescence is when our personalities are on the move.
Never again will it be so easy to become the people we hope to be. The risk is that we may not act now and become what we hear and see and do every day: survival of the busiest.
We don’t change after 30, personality traits appear to be essentially fixed after that. The twenties are the time when people and personalities are poised for transformation.

Present bias

We prefer to get a reward right now than wait and get a bigger reward in the future. We are all prone to this bias; we think about today and say that we will deal with the future when it comes.
Present bias is especially strong in twentysomethings who put a lot of psychological distance between now and later. The problem with feeling distant from the future is that distance leads to abstraction, and abstraction leads to distance. It is tempting to stay distracted and keep everything at a distance. But then how can we create the future we want if we don’t think about it?

Negativity

MRI studies show that twentysomething brains react more strongly to negative info than do the brains of older adults. With age comes what is known as a positivity effect. We become more interested in positive information, and our brains react less strongly to what negative information we do encounter.

MARRIAGE

“Society is structured to distract people from the decisions that have a huge impact on happiness in order to focus attention on the decisions that have a marginal impact on happiness. The most important decision any of us make is who we marry. Yet there are no courses on how to choose a spouse.” David Brooks, political and cultural commentator.

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Money, work, lifestyle, family, health, leisure, retirement, and even death is connected to who you are going to marry–it influences almost every aspect of your and your partner’s life. Plus your overall happiness.

Postponing marriage does not make for a better union. Marrying later than the teen years does indeed protect against divorce, but this only holds true until about age 25. Older spouses may be more mature, but they are also set in their own ways, they are not forming together.

A good relationship does not just appear when we’re ready. We hit our thirties and our life will change. Nope, doesn’t work like that. It may take a few thoughtful tries before we know what love and commitment really are. And who we really want next to us for the rest of our life.

Our needs and wants change in time and marriage is no exception. We might need a great dancer in our 20s, but in our 40s we will want a partner we can trust and who is responsible with money. Who knows?

The point is that this is the greatest opportunity of twentysomethings: we can pick and create our families. Couldn’t choose the primary one, but we can surely choose the secondary.

Check out our YouTube channel Quick Fix.

Purchase the book The Defining Decade here.

Ikigai: Happiness in always being busy

Everybody wants to be happy but not everybody have the same way of achieving that. Some think that war is the right answer, others prefer peace. And no matter how different their means of reaching happiness are, they have a common goal. To be happy.
According to Blaise Pascal, French philosopher, people believe that the happiness can be only found in resting. When we are resting, when nothing stressful is going on, we are happy. But then there is another instinct—the one that pushes us to seek amusement. We are bored when we can just rest and enjoy and when nothing is happening. We have these two instincts that are contradicting each other and the vicious cycle from amusement to rest and back is what is keeping us from happiness.

Japanese people have found happiness and long life in Ikigai. They say that happiness can be found in always being busy and never stop working. Ikigai is about finding something you like doing and never stop doing it. The word “retirement” which we love in English, doesn’t even exist in Japanese. Most of the people there never retire, never stop working all together. They keep living their purpose until the day they die.
Their goal is different from ours, they don’t want to rest, they don’t’ want to find happiness, they want to find purpose and never retire from it.
Other things that centenarians in Okinawa claim are their secret to long life are: smile a lot, healthy diet full of various kinds of food, eating until they are 80% full, social ties with family and community, exercise (both mental and physical), plenty of sleep and no stress, positive attitude, and resistance to keep living Ikigai forever.

Check out Quick Fix channel.

Get your own Ikigai book.

Love through Time

Finding a perfect partner, get married, have amazing sex and be super in love. That is the dream not just girly ones but in general. With some minor adjustments but we all want to be happy and being happy means having a great relationship. Funny enough, in the past, there was never any attempts in combining romantic love, sex, and marriage with one single institution as we do it today. Why? Because it is not so easy (as we can see it today).

So what were they doing in the past? In traditional societies, it was common that the parents decided and agreed on who their children will marry. Who a person is going to marry depended on their social status, health state and reputation of both families involved. Marriage was first and most importantly a union of two families and not two individuals. Getting married had nothing to do with romantic love, marriage was not about a fairytale. It was simply a way to ensure the conservation of the family name and the property, all the children were raised according to their social status and knew what to expect in life. The traditional societies weren’t concerned with the feelings of an individual, love was not a feeling that would be enough to build a strong relationship between a man and a woman. Loveless marriage so to speak, even if love could and did often develop later on.

Greek culture was combining sex and marriage between a man and a woman under one roof, but no romantic love. That one was reserved for relationships between adult men and teenage boys, a mentor, and student. Sometimes this romantic love also included sex, but never marriage. For some, it sounds like a nightmare, for others it totally looks more modern than what we have for a fairytale of today.

The ideas of romantic love as we know it today originates from 17th century—troubadours and the courtly love. Man (most commonly a knight) would declare noble love for a woman (which would usually be married to someone else) and he would do heroic deeds to win her heart. This kind of romantic love was mostly literary and had nothing to do with marriage. Both hearts were longing for the other but not doing anything.

In Victorian times of 19th century, the first marriages based on love took place. But sex was not a part of the equation. A woman who was enjoying sex or showed any sexual desires was considered sick. Sexual pleasures belonged to the brothel and had nothing to do with marriage. There was a strict line between women as homemakers, pure beings, and dirty, disposable prostitutes.

Only recently we became sure that romantic love, sex, and marriage could and should exist between just two people. We are the first ones in the history of humanity, who are trying to combine all three of them with one single agreement. We raised the stakes really high and now we are barely holding onto them. With 40 % of first marriages ending in divorce, are we fooling ourselves?

So, is there hope? Certainly. But we should say goodbye to fairy tales, waiting for the perfect person and expect to live happily ever after.

The wedding is not the end, it is the beginning. Beginning of a journey to know yourself, an opportunity to grow as a person. But this can only happen if we realize and are aware of one thing: the partner is not here to make us happy, solve our problems and give meaning to our life. The real power of love is the power of our inner change. Our partner is here to accompany and support us on our path to personal growth.

Romantic love, sex, and marriage can walk hand in hand but only when we accept that the point of is not salvation, it’s meeting. Meeting with your partner and meeting with yourself.

Check out Quick Fix channel here.

 

The Big Diversion (ft. Blaise Pascal)

The world’s second biggest fear is fear of death, misery, being helpless and sick. Just thinking about it is enough to make us feel bad at the very least. Therefore, we choose not to think about it. It is just easier this way. But French philosopher Pascal claims that never mind what we think about, our last thought is about death. The more we think about things and the longer our train of thoughts is, the final thought is eventually going to be death.

And since that is the case, we turn to diversion. We distract ourselves with other things, so we don’t have to be alone with our thoughts. In the past kings had their own entertainers and servants, there was always somebody to keep them distracted and worst case scenario, they started a war J The women had to take care of their house, children, cook, clean, keep the husband happy, or they read, went for walks, balls and pose for portraits. The peasants had to keep the family alive, growing enough food and working like crazy to make the ends meet.

Today we have no problems like that (at least most of the people in the Western world). So we came up with other kinds of distractions like the Internet, social media, movies, books, drugs, alcohol, video games, fashion and so on. There is always something to do and we don’t even have a chance to get bored as long as there is some Wi-Fi.

What does Pascal say about distractions?

The only thing, which consoles us from our miseries, is the diversion, and yet this is the greatest of our miseries. For it is this which principally hinders us from reflecting upon ourselves and which makes us insensibly ruin ourselves. Without this, we should be in a state of weariness, and this weariness would spur us to seek a more solid means of escaping from it. But diversion amuses us and leads us unconsciously to death.

Is there a solution? Sure, everything has a solution, but sadly, not the one we want. There is no immortality, at least not yet. Nevertheless, there is the possibility to accept death. Accept that we are all going to die eventually and not just that. Our friends, family, our partner, children, dog and even forest behind the house is going to die, disappear altogether.

It sounds horrible, but it doesn’t have to be. Dying is the worst thing that can happen to us. That is it. You die, end of the story. Therefore, any problems we are dealing with right now are not as scary as the thought of dying. And knowing this is kind of liberating, don’t you think?

Check out Quick Fix channel here.

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Q&A Thyself

Answers are such an important part of our life because they determine how our life is going to develop, are we going to progress or not and how far we can go.

But the problem is that answers seem to be far more important than the questions. Answering vital questions is not about long, hard thinking, as it should be. Questions make us uncomfortable, so we ask others: friends and family, social media, internet, and books. And that is ok for a start, but the problem is that more often than not, this is also the end.

We are uncomfortable when we are asked a question we don’t know the answer to. We feel ashamed, angry, we feel like we don’t know enough, we are not smart enough or not educated enough. Questions make us feel weak, confused and unstable. But questions are also the ones who push us to look, to think, to understand ourselves. Questioning and answering vital questions (and less vital ones) is the way to know who we are. Think about it, if all of our answers are coming from other people, how can we know who we are and what we want?

The only way to progress is to start questioning. Ask yourself questions, look for answers, enjoy in the search for your own meaning, your own progress. Because questions might be unstable, but they are also keeping us young, energetic and active. Progress and self-growth are not about answers that are all the same, it is about authenticity. Only you know what your answers are. Because answers are the end, they are closing us in a box. They are safe, they are routine, but they are also closure. Once there are no more questions, there is no more vitality, no more passion.

The worst thing that happens to all of us is that we adopt other people’s answers without even realizing it. Our surroundings are influencing us, and us, being so keen to please everyone, take their answers. We adopt their point of view and stop answering for ourselves. Maybe we never had. Parents, family, then friends, school, tv and advertisement, social media and our idols. They are all offering us their answers and so very often we take them without questioning.

But these answers are the ones that form our identity. They are vital to who we are but they are not even our own. So we are not really who we are… Paradox. This is why we have to start asking ourselves questions and answering them for ourselves too. It is not a race, it is ok if you don’t know. Take your time. Just don’t give responsibility to other people. It is your life and it is your progress that is on the line. Make it count!

Check out our video here.

The Incarceration Taboo

Prisons are overcrowded, expensive, bad for human rights and are increasing the incivilities. So maybe it is time to talk about it here 🙂

PROBLEMS
To get to the bottom of any problem, the most important thing is to understand it. And other than prisons being expensive, prisons are also a crime school. An innocent person in prison becomes a criminal, and criminal stays a criminal. The cruelest and the strongest one is the one who is in charge; peaceful guys have a bad future ahead of them once in prison. Whatever the values are outside the prison, they are canceled once a person is imprisoned. And prison is one big mixture of people; no matter what we did wrong, as long as we did something illegal, we are locked up with other criminals.

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The researchers and plain logic show that prisons do not reduce incivilities, they actually increase them. The more prisons we build, the more prisoners and crime we have. We lock them away for some time, but we don’t help them, so once they are out, they go back to things they know, which is the crime for most of them.

When it comes to human rights, it is pretty obvious. A lot of human rights that prisoners should have are not really there. Such as the right to dignity and freedom, or to be treated with respect at all times. They shouldn’t be tortured, humiliated or punished, they should have good food, water, clothing, private toilet, proper medical care, they should feel safe at all times and it should be taken care of their safety at all times.

WHY?
Why do we even have prisons? Because we are afraid of criminals, that is one. And it is normal, we are afraid for ourselves, children, family and friends, we don’t want criminals around. But even bigger and sadder reason is revenge. We want to see them pay for what they did, we want to see them suffer, get hurt and feel exactly how they made us (or other people) feel. An eye for an eye. But are we any better than they are if we do that?

WHO?
Who do we put in prison? Everybody who did something against the law. So criminals. But we forget that those criminals are firstly and most importantly humans. They are people just like we are, with feelings, needs, with family and friends, maybe even a dog.

These people did something wrong, but why? The biggest problem we came up with is because they are (or are feeling) excluded from the society. All the other problems and reasons are secondary. They might have been neglected as children, didn’t get education, love, friends, home and as adults, they are still (or newly) excluded. Maybe they were or still are poor, have mental issues, were tortured, never had a real social connection, belong to a minority. Maybe they don’t know how to deal with their feelings, how to make friends, how to find work, where to turn to for help. Maybe they feel like nobody cares what happens to them. We are all social beings and we need social contacts. When we lose that we are also losing a part of our humanity.

This is why we should try to keep them in the society or try to include them as much as possible to the community and not through them away. Because by doing what we are doing today we are just increasing the problems that caused the criminal activity in the first place.

ALTERNATIVES

I do agree that something has to be done, we cannot just let them do whatever they please. And there are alternatives to prisons.

–     Open air prisons: prisoners work outside, maybe a farm or building something (they learn new skills and have something to show for at the end of the day and imprisonment).

–     House arrest: being held at home, the police is checking up on you, you are with your family in your own comfort zone.

–     Open ward: prisoners can go out during the day, look for work, go to school… And the results are good: prisoners who can go out and move more freely, they present minimal risk to commit a crime. This is not a theory, this exists and it is proving to be more efficient than “traditional” prisons.

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–     Referral to an attendance center: you can sleep at home and every morning you come back to prison.

–     Suspended or deferred sentence: you do not go to prison now, but next time you do something, you go to prison and both of your punishments combine.

–     Probation and judicial supervision: earlier release from prison and supervision after being realized

–     Confiscation or an expropriation order: the state can take your money, goods or property if they can prove that you got it thanks to your illegal activity.

–     Restitution to the victim or a compensation order: payback, come up with a plan to make it up to the victim.

–     A community service order: working, volunteering to do something good for the community.

–     Status penalties: you can no longer be a doctor, priest, lawyer, politician, teacher, pharmacist if you did something to mess it  (intentional murder or inadequate treatment of patients, raping and any kind of abuse…)

–     Economic sanctions and monetary penalties, such as fines and day-fines: day-fines mean you have to pay a certain percentage of your daily income, like 2% – this way we avoid rich people not going to prison because they can pay and poor have to.

–     Conditional discharge: if you do this, we do not charge you (if you pay back, if you do community work, if you fix what you broke, if you stop dealing drugs, if you get help with your addiction)

–     Verbal sanctions, such as admonition, and warning: basically telling people not do that anymore and to tell him what his actions caused, how he can improve.

THE END
What can we do today? Firstly, we should try to change the way we think. Instead of being afraid and wanting revenge, we could try to understand them. Try to help them and be there to offer them guidance when they need it. And try to keep them in the society as much as we can instead of locking them up. Maybe we could get inspired from how we teach children: being patient, be a positive role model, offer them guidance but constant surveillance, rewarding the good and not punishing the bad. And maybe this way we could create a bit better society than it is today. Because once we can accept that nobody perfect, we can cut some slack to ourselves too and allow ourselves to take a chance.

Check out our YouTube video here.

 

 

The Technologies Mind Rape

2 billion people use the internet everyday and internet today is the larger source of influence on such a huge group of people, on their daily thoughts and beliefs, religions and governments only dream about it!

But with great power comes great responsibility which big internet companies don’t really worry about. Our time and attention are their money and they have no ethics when it comes to persuading us to give them our time. To get as much of our attention as they can, they are employing experts, who know exactly how to take advantage of our cognitive biases and create systems that are way better at hijacking our instincts than we are at controlling them. To recognize whether we are being manipulated or not all the time, all 150 times a day we reach for our phone, would demand a huge amount of energy we simply do not have to spare.

The first person who warned us about this problem of big internet companies hijacking our brain and not having any ethics behind their actions was Tristan Harris. He used to work at Google as design ethicist and is now known as the conscious of the Silicon Valley. He is warning that science is coming up with new and new ways how to get even more of our time, more than what we are willing to give, but there is nobody taking care of our best interest. So we should do it on our own!

How does it work? When we receive notification and reach for our phone, we usually end up spending good 10-20 minutes of our time without planning too. And that is ok, if we have time, but what if we are at work or we are planning to go to sleep early that evening, when social media suddenly sucks us in the internet world?

We are trapped more often than we think we are and everyday experts are working harder to get our attention and keep it on their web site for as long as possible. And this is not going to change as long as our attention and time equal their money.

So what can we do to protect ourselves? First thing is to understand the problem, to know how does the hijacking of our brain works. Second thing is to admit that we have a problem, we are not excluded because we are too smart and have the best self-control ever. We are just one little brain with cognitive functions that leave us vulnerable. The thousands of scientists working against us, we don’t really have much luck to stand up. What we can do is to become aware of what is happening and limit the time we spend on the internet and from time to time find some other source of entertainment. Or use one of the apps and websites that help us control the time we spend and help us claim our attention back:

Here is the list of them:

  • Adblock (speaks for itself: it blocks out all the adds)
  • Mozilla Focus (allows you to delete your history right away)
  • Facebook purity (you decide what you want to see and what you don’t)
  • Rescue time (tracking time on each app and setting boundaries for certain apps of your choice)
  • Flight mode (during the night, when at work, with friends, family, studying…)
  • Ergonomy of the phone (delete apps from your home screen, place them in different folders so you don’t see them. Far from the eyes, far from the heart)
  • Consider apps you have (do you need FB app or twitter app on your phone—maybe use it only on your computer—this way less notification and better use of your free time).

Do you know any other ones? Please, share them in the comments!

Thank you in advance!

Check out Tristan Harris and his TedTalk.