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The Power Pause - Regain Your Balance And Manifest Your Intentions

"The Three Minute Power Pause" is a very simple but powerful technique developed and taught by John Harricharan.

It relieves stress and anxiety, helps you regain your balance and manifest your intentions.

This is an excellent tool for managing your energy state, and it is about applying the positive energy of gratitude towards your future intentions.

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Julia Galef - Applied Rationality

“Do you have the scout mindset and yearn to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?”

Julia Galef is a writer and public speaker on the topics of rationality, science, technology, and design. Applied rationality is her speciality and she asks the question:

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Stanford Prison Experiment - A Masterclass In Self Deception

"The military told me they used the SPE tapes to train people not to behave like our guards. I used to quote that as a good outcome of the research.

Now I know they also used it to train interrogators to break people.

I had no idea they were doing that"

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Philip Zimbardo - How Good People Are Transformed into Perpetrators Of Evil

Philip Zimbardo has contributed greatly to our understanding of the situationist perspective as to why people can change and choose to exercise bad/evil behaviour in response to the pressures and demands of the environment upon them.

Here are the 5 lessons to be aware of from Philip Zimbardo's story and his infamous Stanford Prison Experiment:

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Roxanne - I Will Not Share You With So Many Other Men

The Toxicity Of Addiction To Instagram Self-Validation

You don't have to put on the red light
Those days are over
No more posting selfies on Instagram tonight
You don't have to sell your body for likes

One man's pain at losing a much loved woman through her obsession with posting sexualised body pics to 1,300 exclusively male followers on Instagram.

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How To Win Without Succeeding - Avoid Losing!

We Celebrate Success And Ignore Failure.

The personal development and self-help world is steeped in case studies and analysis of success.

Numerous studies have been undertaken on successful people to understand what it was that they did to become so successful, how they did it and when they did it - and we are led to believe that we too can achieve comparable success if we replicate this.

This focus on success is very odd given that success is the exception rather than the rule. Failure is the norm.

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Hanlons Razor - Never Attribute To Malice That Which Can be Explained By Stupidity

Hanlons Razor - will check your innate tendency to quickly jump to the wrong conclusion and assume something is the result of an intentional malicious action.

Applying Hanlon’s Razor will check your natural tendency to make an assumption and quickly jump to the wrong conclusion that something your way is the result of an intentional malicious action.

It is human nature to expect that things will always work out as we want them to. But statistically this is very unlikely.

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Keeping Things Simple - The Art of Knowing What To Overlook

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.

The phrase "keeping things simple" is in itself so simple that you may wonder why it warrants talking about!

But it is important because achieving simplicity challenges how you think, how you don't think, how you behave and how you live.

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Satisficing - When Near Enough Is Good Enough

Satisficing is a heuristic - a practical shortcut - for making decisions that aims for a satisfactory or adequate result, rather than the optimal solution.

The opposite decision-making process to satisficing is optimisation [or maximisation] where you collate and analyse all the necessary data that is required to make the optimal choice.

The term satisficing was introduced by Herbert A. Simon (1916-2001), an American economist, political scientist, sociologist and computer scientist. He first coined the word in his 1956 paper, “Rational Choice and the Structure of the Environment”.

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Skin In The Game - Invested With Shared Risk And Reward

In business, competent action is required as well as shared risk and reward.

Only take advice from people who are already invested in the situation they are advising you about, and where they have something to lose if you fail as a result of following their advice.

Often in the world of business its not just about taking advice, its more often about making decisions about who to get involved with, who to invest your time and resources in, and who to trust.

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Black Swans - Impossible To Predict, Rare and Devastating

Black Swans are events that are difficult to predict, occur very occasionally and have potentially severe consequences.

It is extremely foolish to just ignore the potential for black swans to occur.

To take the view that because we cannot predict them we will pretend they don't occur is setting yourself up for trouble - which of course is exactly how most individuals, companies and governments operate.

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Nassim Taleb - Focus On The Consequences And Not On The Probability

An investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision making when we don’t understand the world.

Our world is full of chance and the unknown and the broader canvas of Taleb's work is all about alerting us to the level of uncertainty and unpredictability of life whilst offering us practical ideas and strategies to enable us to survive and even prosper in these conditions.

He teaches us how to avoid crossing the street blindfolded as he urges us to follow the main rule of living with uncertainty...

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Inflection Points - The Tipping Point

The critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place

Inflection points occur when there is build up of forces, a critical mass, that lead to a spontaneous and often irreversible change of direction.

Inflection points in personal relationships affects us all.

How many times in your life have your reached a tipping point in a relationship with someone where you finally decide that "enough is enough"?

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Root Cause Analysis

Establishing The Issue That Lies Beneath A Presenting Problem

Often the true underlying root issue is not immediately apparent and is only uncovered with persistent investigation.

The traditional application of this technique is situational and frequently in organisations and businesses where there has been a systemic, process or performance failure. The other - and frequently neglected - application is relational, that is to say uncovering the root underlying issue behind someone's behaviour and thus being able to understand them better and to provide the most resourceful response.

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"The Balanced Toolkit" Approach To Life

Introducing - The Balanced Toolkit

The purpose of this site is to show you how to cope in tough times, and to provide you with the tools to do this successfully.

The way we do this is by adopting a balanced approach and providing the "toolkit" of information and resources to enable you to do this.

I call this approach the "The Balanced Toolkit". The toolkit is the resources, the information, the tools and techniques contained within this site. The balance is the bringing together of a number of core values and principles, and applying that to these resources.

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Atomic Habits - Tiny Changes Remarkable Results

We live in a delayed return environment yet we are hardwired for instant gratification

Atomic habits are the single irreducible component that when practiced regularly yield incredible results through the power of compound growth.

They are comprised of small and seemingly insignificant changes that will compound into remarkable results if you persist with them consistently over many years.

They are the result of having the right system in place. Bad habits are the result of you having the wrong system in place.

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Discernment - Exercising Good Judgement

The Six Elements Of Good Judgement

Discernment is based on good thinking skills, analytical thinking, independent thinking, and an understanding of cognitive biases and distortions.

Whilst discernment and good judgment is not a guarantee of the best outcome resulting from every decision, it certainly does increase the odds for achieving a success.

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Issues You'll Face On The Road less Travelled

How To Deal With The Challenges Of The Road Less Travelled When You Are Playing The Long Game

The first step to the long game and the acceptance of delayed gratification is the most difficult and negative.

You have to be willing to suffer today in order to reap enormous rewards tomorrow.

The long game is so hard to play because it involves taking a series of very small steps, that people rarely see, persistently and consistently over a long period of time to reach an enormous and visible outcome.

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Delayed Gratification - Why You Just CAN'T Wait!

The Human Brain Did Not Evolve For A Life Of Delayed Gratification

How to apply the long game approach to your life and sacrifice short term gains for long-term wins.

There is one major problem with this, and it is nothing to do with will-power, commitment or focus or any form of conscious effort and it is that human brain has not yet evolved to accommodate delayed gratification.

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Knowing When To Quit

Pain vs. Gain

Is the pain of putting up with the tough times worth the benefit of the light at the end of the tunnel?

Knowing when to quit is an important thinking skill and applies to several areas of your life, notably your relationships and your career and business.

There is an important difference between quitting a project or a job and quitting a relationship. Quitting a project or a job is about opportunity cost. Quitting a relationship is to do with toxicity

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The Long Game - Delay Gains Now To Get More Later

The long game describes an approach to any area of life that sacrifices short term gains for long-term wins.

It is about having a long term goal and taking the necessary steps now to set yourself up for long term success.

This can be hard and it means being prepared to make a lot of mistakes and errors. You have to be willing to look like an idiot in the short term to look like a genius in the long term.

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Daniel Khaneman - Thinking Fast And Slow

How Good Judgement Leads To Better Decisions.

"Thinking Fast and Slow" is the book by Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, in which he presents decades of research to help us understand what really goes on inside our heads when we are making decisions

There are two systems in your brain which are constantly in conflict for control of your behaviour and actions. Here's how to manage them to your best advantage.

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Antifragile - How To Benefit From Disorder

Antifragile is a term coined by Nassim Taleb to represent things that benefit from disorder.

Antifragility allows us to deal with the unknown, to do things without understanding them - and do them well

Are there ways in which you can position yourself to make gains from this disorder and get stronger? The answer is yes. There are principles you can follow that will help you.

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Less Is More - Subtractive Solutions

Why do we nearly always add something, regardless of whether it helps or not.

Why do our brains miss opportunities to improve through subtraction?

How to reduce your subtraction bias? Ask yourself “What are the things that I should avoid?” rather than asking “What should I do?”

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Understanding The Effect of Multiplying by Zero

In a multiplication equation each number is entirely dependent on the number it is being multiplied by. Thus a zero in the equation wipes out the whole total.

You need to be very clear whether you're in an additive system where a zero will make no incremental difference or a multiplicative system where it could wipe you out!

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Regression To The Mean - Why Perfection Rarely Lasts

Regression to the mean shows that following an extreme random event, the next random event is likely to be less extreme.

"Regression to the mean is a common statistical phenomenon that can mislead us when we observe the world.

Learning to recognize when regression to the mean is at play can help us avoid misinterpreting data and seeing patterns that don’t exist."

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Pareto Principle - 80/20 Rule

In practical terms: 20% of your actions/activities will account for 80% of your results/outcomes.

However, the disparities are even larger than most people think. The really striking part is just how concentrated the “fat tail” of the curve is. Less than 1% of your resources will deliver over 50% of the results

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Compounding - Making Gains On Gains

Compounding is the process whereby a gain made on an invested resource is reinvested alongside the original resource, and further gains are made on that gain.

"Compound interest is the eight wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn't pays it."

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Margin Of Safety - If It Can Go Wrong, Assume That It Will

How much slack, or scope, have we got if something goes wrong or it doesn't work out according to plan?

Assume that it will take twice as long to happen than you think it will, that it will cost twice as much as you think it will, that the gain/profit/pleasure will be half what you expect it to be.

If it stacks up against this - then do it. If not, rethink!

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Incentives - What's In it For Me?

Incentives are what drive human behavior. Understanding this is the key to understanding people. Conversely, failing to recognize their importance often leads us to make major errors.

In seeking to understand what drives the other person, ask yourself, if I was in his/her shoes, what would I want?

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The Red Queen Effect - Running Faster and Faster Only to Stay in the Same Place

The message of The Red Queen Effect is you can’t be complacent or you'll fall behind. To survive you have to run very fast and hard, and you need to co-evolve with the people and the systems you interact with.

The challenge is to find ways of doing things that enable you to run smarter rather than faster AND to develop the capabilities that will enable you to keep doing that.

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Leverage - Achieving A Large Output For A Small Input At The Right Place

A small well-focused action can produce a significant and long-lasting improvement - when applied in the right place.

High leverage activities are those where you can achieve a large increase in output for a relatively small amount of additional input.

When applied in the right place, a small well-focused action can produce a significant and long-lasting improvement.

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Do Something Syndrome

When to step in and when to leave things alone?

Iatrogenics is a term, drawn from the medical world but now used generically, that refers to any effect resulting from an intervention that causes more harm than gain.

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Rather Than Trying To Win, Focus On Avoiding Losses

"Amateurs win the game when their opponent loses points, experts win the game by gaining points." (Shane Parrish)

Most of us are amateurs but we refuse to believe it. This is a problem because we’re often playing the game of the professionals. What we should do in this case, when we’re the amateur, is to invert the problem and focus on avoiding losses.

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Not Confusing Activity With Accomplishment

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” [Warren Buffett]

"You need to be able to distinguish between tasks that offer a lot of speed and those that offer a lot of velocity..." and select the latter.

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Avoiding Stupidity Is Easier Than Seeking Brilliance

"It is remarkable how much long term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent." [Charlie Munger]

By simply thinking about what you want to avoid or the opposite of what you want to achieve, you can plan effectively to prevent failure.

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How To Build Self Esteem - If You Don't Take Care Of You, Who Will?

Your self esteem is based on how you value and respect yourself and not on the opinions of others.

Self esteem = Who you think you are.

Mastery in self esteem = Who you know you are.

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Mental Models - Help You Think Effectively

A mental model is a high level representation, or overview, of how something works.

“...developing the habit of mastering the multiple models which underlie reality is the best thing you can do.”

Our world is multi-dimensional and our problems are complex. Most problems cannot be solved using one model alone.But if you don’t have a range of models, you become the proverbial man with a hammer to whom every problem looks like a nail.

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Cognitive Distortions - The Psychology of Human Misjudgment

Cognitive distortions are irrational thought patterns that cause you to to perceive reality inaccurately.

Our focus in this article is the area of decision making in life in everyday situations and also in a work and a business context, its about identifying and avoiding cognitive distortions and biases to cut through complexity and make good judgement calls and good decisions.

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Petulant Posing and Posturing - The Weaknesses Of Existentialism

Live authentically - rise above your circumstances, make your choices, accept total responsibility...

Existentialism makes some interesting observations that contribute to your understanding of life, and how to navigate your journey through it; but it undermines these ideas by adopting a dramatic and petulant posture based on clever word play that has little substance when seen from wider angles.

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You Are Not Your Thoughts - It's Not The Content But Your Relationship With Your Thoughts That Matters

There are four stages in dealing with your thoughts:

# awareness of your thoughts;

# understanding your thoughts;

# accepting your thoughts; and,

# living with your thoughts.

Ultimately, what matters is not the content of your thoughts but your relationship with your thoughts.

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The Power Of Framing - Change Your Language To Change How You Feel

Framing is about how we define context, make associations, establish reference points and emotional touch points all designed and positioned to convey the sense and meaning that we want to convey.

How you mentally characterize a situation has a profound impact on how you respond to it emotionally.

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Luck is Where Opportunity Meets Preparation

A significant component of the power of any success strategy lies in the expectation that you will achieve your goal or objective. Whatever you expect - of yourself, your career, your relationships, your life - sets the limit of what is possible for you.

Henry Ford once said: "If you believe that you can do a thing, or if you believe you cannot, in either case, you are right."

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The Stockdale Paradox - In Tough Times Balancing Realism And Optimism Is A Key To Survival And Success

What the Stockdale Paradox shows is that in times of prolonged and seemingly never-ending hardship, set-backs, suffering and distress we need to maintain optimism that we will survive and pull through, and yet at the same time balance that with a total realism and practicality about the harsh present realities.

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Alive Time vs. Dead Time

2020 was a hard year.

Covid-19 has had an impact on all our lives. Here’s a question for you

“When you can’t work because you have no work, when you feel stuck and can see no way out of this situation, when you don’t even know if there is an end of the tunnel, what do you do with your time?”

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Lost In Transition? How To Cope With Hard Times

With the world slowly emerging from Covid-19 lockdown, with our economies strangled, business failures and unemployment rising and our national governments flailing around like drowning men clutching at straws I think it is fair to say that many of us are currently experiencing hard times as a direct result of imposed change!

Here are some practical tools and resources that I have used many times, that will empower you and show you how to cope with tough times.

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The Meaning Of Life Is Entirely What You Choose It To Be

The Meaning Of Life And Choice"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

These are the final words of the dissolute, alcoholic lawyer Sydney Carton in Charles Dickens' "Tale Of Two Cities" as he take the place of the condemned husband of the woman he loves at the guillotine. In this final act of self-redemption he finds a meaning and a purpose for what he perceived to be a wasted life.

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Marcus Aurelius - You Have Power Over Your Mind, Not Outside Events

Trained in Stoic philosophy, Marcus Aurelius dedicated time almost every night to practicing a series of Stoic spiritual exercise which are reminders intended to help him train himself to humble, patient, empathetic, generous, and strong in the face of whatever adversity he was dealing with.

They have become one of the most influential philosophy books in the history of the world and have come to be known as: “The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius”.

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The Stoics - Focus On Things You Can Control, Ignore The Rest

Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle.

Some things are in your control.

And some things are not.

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