Why You Should Follow Your Heart, Not Your Brain

Following your heart is the smart thing to do. Because when people tell you to follow your heart, what they’re really telling you to do is to allow your subconscious to make decisions for you.

Your subconscious is the part of the brain that’s not your frontal lobe, considered responsible for self-control, planning, and reasoning. It’s the size of our frontal lobe and other other parts of our neocortex, which sets us apart from animals, but it’s our limbic brain thats associated with things like pleasure and happiness, which light up when we experience extreme happiness.

Your subconscious also has the ability to tap into more knowledge than your logical self, which tries to structure select variables into a logical sequence. On the other hand, your subconscious takes into account every bit of knowledge you’ve ever accumulated and merely nudges you toward one decision or another. This is what many people call instinct or “gut feeling”. Because the subconscious takes into account an infinite number of variables, it’s often difficult to describe one’s “gut feeling”. Thin-slicing information is another term for this coined by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Blink, in which he explains the amount information we analyze in the blink of an eye, without even realizing.

Does any of this make sense?

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The Way Things Change and Stay The Same

 

“Today is the day” says the hard working bee.

“What is today?” asks the tall sunflower.

“Today is the day, I told myself,

I get to fly over the meadow,

and enjoy my work,

which I diligently do,

to provide for my family,

and benefit the world.”

“You did that yesterday,

and the day before.”

“and I will do it tomorrow,

and the day after.”

“Someday, I will be gone,

replaced by a house,

with a family,

and kids.”

“and I,

by the IRS.”

 

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The Current System of Education is Destroying Our Creativity

My roommate showed me this video a few weeks ago, and I came across it again today. Finding the compelling need to share this with as many people as possible, I’m sharing it with you now.

This video is an animated adaptation of a talk given at RSA (the Royal Society for encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) by Sir Ken Robinson called Changing Education Paradigms. He gives a very compelling argument to why we need to drastically change our current education system by looking at both the history and current practices of education. It’s important to note that he doesn’t provide an answer.

The following are some of my favorite quotes/thoughts/facts:

– How do countries pass on their heritage and culture while being a part of globalization?
– The current education system was designed & conceived for a different age, specifically the intellectual culture of the enlightenment.
– The public education system was at one point revolutionary, but the current definition of academia is outdated, resulting in some brilliant people believing they are incapable.
– The arts especially address the idea of aesthetic experience, when your senses are operating at their peak, when you’re present in the current moment, when you’re resonating with the current thing that you’re experiencing, when you are fully alive.
– Education is modeled in the interest of industrialization and the image of it.
– We still educate children by batches. We put them through the system in age groups. Why do we have this assumption that the most important thing in common is how old they are? It’s like the most important thing about them is their date of manufacture.
– Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value.
– Divergent thinking is an essential capacity for creativity. It’s the ability to see many answers to a question, lots of different ways to interpret a question, to be able to think laterally, as opposed to linearly or convergently.
– How many uses can you think of for a paper clip?

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Facebookian Philosophy

This blog post depicts my internal struggle to understand why and how I use Facebook.

I recently asked a pretty serious question on Facebook and received a very satisfying answer:

Q: Do your actions define who you are? Or does who you are define your actions?

A: It depends how you’re looking at it. If it’s through somebody else’s eyes, then its your actions that defines who you are. If it’s through your own mind, then its who you are that defines your actions as you think about what your going to do before you do it and your character helps you judge your actions. Other people cannot see your thoughts and only have your actions to go by.

In college, I was against using Facebook to share my day to day actions. On an intrinsic level, I was against the notion of needing to be “plugged in” to enjoy my life. It’s the same hesitation I have toward texting during a conversation or taking a photo of a beautiful moment. From a self-branding perspective, I felt that sharing information on Facebook was signaling to others that I was desperate for attention and had nobody to talk to other than those who weren’t really listening.

I then realized that the reasons I didn’t like Facebook were extremely biased, heavily guided by neophobia. Neophobia is the fear of new things or new experiences. Everybody is affected by technology-related neophobia in some way, it’s a simple fear of the unknown. I know plenty of people who hate cell phones, e-mail, Facebook, Foursquare, or Twitter, but none of them understand the technology and it’s benefit to the full extent.

Whether or not we like it, the way in which people perceive us is based on what they see or hear. Using tools like Facebook and Foursquare, you can signal information about yourself to those that know you. Deciding what to post on Facebook is no different than deciding what you want to wear in the morning. Checking into Venice beach is like wearing a tie dye shirt. Checking into a tanning booth signals that you like to “beat up the beat”.

It’s also true that the longer a person doesn’t hear about you, the less often they will think about you. This should be nothing new to people who’ve studied anything about behavioral psychology or the concept “out of sight, out of mind.” If you want to stop smoking cigarettes, keep cigarettes out of your sight. If you want to work out more often, keep your work out clothes out where you can see them daily. Similarly, if you’re afraid of people forgetting about you (who isn’t?), then put yourself in front of them.

Unfortunately, the way we view ourselves is heavily based on the way in which we believe others view and value us. Not only that, the way in which we view ourselves also limits what we are capable of. We’ve heard every athlete, actor and musician say, “I’d like to thank my family, friends, and fans for believing in me. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have made it.” This is true. We need people to believe we are something, for us to truly become it.

Then doesn’t it seem silly not to take advantage of a tool that allows us to control the quantity and content of the information about us that is put out into the world for others to see? Personally, I’ve decided to share information online that I find exciting and inspiring about my own life, that relates to both who I am and who I want to be. I hope my friends do the same. On one end, it’s a way for me to communicate with friends I don’t want to lose touch with. On the other end, it’s a way for me to commit to, by leveraging both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, an identity that I’m actively projecting into people’s mind.

Cheers to thinking. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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