Consciousness, Brains, and the Future of Neuroscience (Dr. Heather Berlin)

Dr. Heather Berlin is a neuroscientist, professor of psychiatry, and TV host. In this chat, we talk about the nature of consciousness, common misconceptions in neuroscience, free will and decision-making, deep brain stimulation, and the future of neuroscience and technology. We also get to touch on some of our favorite movies about psychology and neuroscience, as well as the future of AI and consciousness.

Discover more about Dr. Heather Berlin here:

Movie Recommendations:
Ex Machina

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How “Roleplaying the Future” Can Help You Build Stronger and Faster Bonds With People

roleplaying the future

How do you build a deep connection with someone, even in the scope of just one conversation?

One interesting and unique way to do this is to use the power of “roleplaying the future.”

This is a really fun and easy way to let yourself build an immediate connection with someone – and it plays off a fundamental way our minds work and interpret our relationships.

Ask yourself, “What typically makes a relationship develop into something that is deep, genuine, and meaningful?” Often a relationship at that level encompasses a wide range of experiences that we share with someone over a long period of time.

When you first meet someone, you’re basically at “Stage 1” of the relationship journey. In your mind, it’s “that time you first met at a restaurant” or “that time you were introduced to each other.”

However, this perspective actually creates a “mental limit” to how deep you’re willing to get with someone when you first meet them. After all, you just met them.

In most situations, you normally wouldn’t build a super strong bond with that person until you’ve met them again, and again, and again…and slowly began to develop a deep and long-term connection that grew over time.

But this is a mental block more than anything else. There’s no real reason why we can’t have “multiple experiences” with a person our first time meeting them – and by doing that we can build a deeper connection at a faster rate.

This is why “roleplaying the future” can be so powerful when building a bond with someone – as it gives us the opportunity to walk through a multitude of experiences in a very short amount of time.

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The Power of Pretending You’re Someone Else: Stepping Outside of a Limited Self-Image

One of the key tools I recommend you add to your mental toolbox is to create a “list of role models.”

Role models play a big part in our self development because much of what we learn is based on what we see from others. This starts in early childhood when we first begin modeling the behavior of our parents, teachers, friends, siblings, etc.

If you take a moment, you can probably think of a certain thing you do that you’ve learned from watching someone else – like a habit you share with your parents, or a catchphrase you’ve picked up from a friend.

We all have role models whether we are aware of it or not. It’s a fundamental way our brains work and how they learn to adapt (and conform) to our environment and social circle.

By taking an active approach to finding new role models to learn from and be inspired by, we give ourselves more power and control to change in the ways we most want to see change.

For example, think of a trait you wish you had more of (like “confidence” or “kindness”). Then identify 2-3 role models who you believe embody that specific trait. Ask yourself, “What do these people do differently than me? And how can I adopt that into my own daily life?”

This is just a simple technique to use role models to help change your behavior. To get even deeper, try actually imagining yourself as another person.

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Taoism and Changing Our Relationship With Nature (Monk Yunrou)

Taoist Monk Yunrou is an ordained monk, Tai Chi practitioner, environmentalist, writer, and documentarian. In this chat, we discuss how he became interested in Taoism and how it changes our views of nature compared to typical Western attitudes where we often see nature and man as divided and not connected. We also touch on his process of becoming a monk, the role religion plays in our current society, and why it’s so important we start taking better care of the world and the future of our planet.

Discover more about Monk Yunrou here:

Monk Yunrou

Book Recommendation:
Yin: A Love Story

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Stuck with Negative Thoughts? Lose Social Anxiety and Become Socially Confident Today

This is a guest post by Timon, a former socially awkward geek. Now he helps fellow nerds to become socially confident. You can find his work at Techlecticism

Did you ever tell a friend something like: “You made things weird, you are making people uncomfortable.”

No? Of course not. That’s brutal, why would you tell your buddy that. Might as well throw him in front of a bus. So why do we say awful things like that to ourselves?

Especially in stressful situation like meeting new people, we harass our ego’s. Fueling our anxiety and low self esteem with doubts, criticism and judgement.

Your inner critic tells you how people are judging you. (“Becky look at her butt!”) But, do you really know what people are thinking? Do you have any proof? Because actually, people are pretty nice. Even if you know that rationally, negative thoughts keep popping up:

  • “She thinks you are unattractive”
  • “Why Am I so boring?”
  • “It’s your fault”
  • “Have I said anything bad?”

You just want to present a good version of yourself. Though you know you’re making things bigger than they are, that is not how it feels. This negative maelstrom makes you anxious.

What if your thoughts were supportive? Like an encouraging coach in your head. Reassuring you and telling you to keep your head up. A confident supportive voice. Resulting in a more relaxed life. So talking to new people is easy.

A bit of scepticism is good. But chronic pessimism is faulty programming of your sophisticated brain. But your gray matter is also the the solution.

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