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Free Won’t: Why You Shouldn’t Take Any Single Thought Too Seriously

free won't

You can’t take any single thought you have too seriously.

Why? Because your mind is a lot like a “mental playground,” constantly generating and experimenting with new solutions and new ideas.

Therefore, no single thought can possibly define you.

So you had a scary or negative idea, or image, or dream? No big deal – it’s just your mind playing around with new ideas.

It doesn’t necessarily mean anything important or significant. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to act on it. Your imagination just needs to run wild sometimes.

This attitude toward our mind can often help us approach our thinking in a more healthy and constructive way.

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How to Stop Being Jealous of Other People’s Success


“100% of all haters in the world are unrealized potential.”

Joe Rogan

You can tell a lot about a person by how they react to other people’s happiness and success.

For many, we seem to get easily threatened when we see other people doing better than us in some area in life. We find it hard to be happy for them, but instead we have feelings of jealousy and envy.

I remember when I was young and whenever I used to see my peers succeed at something – whether it be grades, sports, relationships, jobs, etc. – I used to always try to downplay it. Good grades? “Lonely nerd.” Good at sports? “Dumb jock.” Good job? “Sold his soul to corporate America.”

But the root of all jealousy is ultimately low self-esteem.

I’d see a friend’s band play a show and I would think, “They aren’t really that good. They make boring music. I could do better.” But the truth is that it was better than anything I could’ve done at the time. I was just protecting my ego from getting too hurt.

Jealousy is a form of self-protection. And we can get jealous of all different types of success, merely because we aren’t experiencing them yet in our own lives.

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Just You and Your Thoughts

your thoughts

Imagine just you and your thoughts, alone in an empty room, with nothing else to distract you.

How long would you be able to spend in this room by yourself? For most people, the answer seems to be “not very long at all.”

In a recent study published in Science, participants were asked to spend between 6-15 minutes just entertaining themselves – with no cellphones, books, TV, or any type of distraction.

At first, they tried it in a laboratory, where almost 50% of the participants reported that they “didn’t enjoy the experience.” Next researchers let people spend time with their thoughts at home, and 36% ended up “cheating” by checking their phones or listening to music.

The most surprising finding was that when participants were given the option to spend time with just their thoughts or receive a small electric shock, 67% of men and 25% of women actually chose the electric shock rather than the alone time.

What is it about just you and your thoughts that can seem like such a frightening proposition? What makes it so unpleasant that many are even willing to go through a painful experience just to avoid it?

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Accepting Your Bias

accepting your bias

Every mind has a bias, because everyone’s beliefs and worldview are shaped by their own unique experiences within a particular environment.

So no single person has a perfect view of reality. Instead, we each have our own window into reality. And everyone’s view is going to be a little bit different.

Therefore, every person you meet knows something that you don’t know. And you know something that they don’t know. That’s a powerful insight to keep in mind.

When you accept your bias, it actually puts you in a better position to learn new things and expand your perspective.

You recognize that everyone has something to teach you, so you should be willing to listen to all perspectives, and try to find a grain of truth.

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Turning Emotions Up and Down at the Flick of a Switch

turning emotions up

Our minds can often be influenced by our environment in many ways without us even realizing it.

A fascinating new study discovered that we feel our emotions more intensely when we are in rooms with bright lighting rather than dim lighting.

This effect works no matter what emotion you are feeling in that moment.

For example, if you’re happy then turning the lights brighter will amplify those feelings of happiness. But if you’re sad then turning the lights brighter will also amplify those feelings of sadness.

This could also explain why another recent study found depressed people are much more likely to commit suicide on sunny days vs. rainy days.

Because for depressed people, long days of sunlight may actually be increasing their feelings of sadness and depression.

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