There is much talk about emotional intelligence and the importance of it, but I rarely see any articles, posts or videos that explain how to develop it.
One thing that I personally think provides a foundation of emotional intelligence, is the ability to ‘detach from one’s thoughts’ – which normally requires a meditation practice. If you can’t stand back and observe your thoughts, it’s very difficult to evaluate their validity.
Physiological Responses & Emotions
Pre Existing Belief Bias
When information contradicts a pre-existing belief, our bodies generate a stress response with cortisol and adrenaline
When we force our opinion on someone, or someone confirms a pre-existing belief, our bodies generate a “dopamine-reward”
Consequences of Pre-Existing Belief Bias
Bullying – e.g. we see someone overweight – we’ve been led to belief as a child this is “wrong” or undesirable, or negative. So we bully the person
We dismiss people as being weird
We mock people with different beliefs
We’re brainwashed into fighting wars against people who oppose our beliefs (pretty heavy stuff!)
Examples of Pre Existing Belief Bias
When a child sees someone that is overweight – they believe people shouldn’t be overweight, so they bully that person
When someone questions if high cholesterol is the cause of heart disease – people think the statement is ridiculous, despite mounting scientific evidence and refuse to comprehend this counter-argument to mainstream ideas.
Self Serving Bias People tend to take credit for things when they go right, but blame others when things go wrong. People may also exaggerate what the do right and exaggerate what others do wrong. A classic example, is housework – both individuals in a marriage often over-estimate their own contribution to housework and underestimate their partner’s contribution
Confirmation Bias Reaffirming an existing belief by looking for information that confirms it. For example, if someone believes coconut oil is unhealthy because of the high saturated fat content – they might search for “why coconut oil is unhealthy?” rather than a more neutral search-term such as “what are the health benefits and health risks associated with coconut oil?”
Confirmation bias and self Serving bias are often intertwined. For example, a mother who doesn’t breastfeed her children, might read about babies losing weight and becoming ill because of not getting enough volume of milk via breastfeeding. The mother globally concludes from this, that breastfeeding is bad.
Global Judgements based on individual or minor observations David may judge Tom for being a boxer – because Tom engages in violence, there is no way he could be a nice person. This is also based on a self serving bias, David is an academic who is not athletic and as a result, will discount the value of anything physical or violent when possible. I’m not sure what the proper phrase is for this type of bias Another example might be that Tim, saw Peter lose his temper once, in 1999. Tim has since then held the belief that Peter has anger management problems.
Cognitive biases are highly prevalent in martial arts. For example, someone that does a traditional martial art, may state that MMA is no good for self defense, as there are too many rules. A boxer may dismiss grappling as “rolling around on the floor” and a grappler may dismiss boxing as ineffective because “most fights end in a grapple” (true, but they also tend to start and end with punches!).
Questioning the messenger instead of the message (Also known as Ad Hominem) You attacked your opponent’s character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument. When someone attacks a person, instead of the person’s opinion. For example, if a vegetarian is wearing leather shoes, whilst debating the morality of vegetarianism, someone might attack the vegetarian for wearing leather shoes. This however, doesn’t address the issue being debated – is vegetarianism more ethical that a diet containing meat-products?
Ad hominem attacks can take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character or personal attributes as a way to discredit their argument. The result of an ad hom attack can be to undermine someone’s case without actually having to engage with it.
Example: After Sally presents an eloquent and compelling case for a more equitable taxation system, Sam asks the audience whether we should believe anything from a woman who isn’t married, was once arrested, and smells a bit weird.
The Strawman Argument Changing the subject being debated half way through a debate. For example, someone might say that lots of sleep isn’t good for you, because depressed people sleep more than happy people. When it is pointed out that scientific evidence shows that too little sleep, might lead to degenerative brain conditions, and give Margaret Thatcher as an example – a strawman counter argument would be to refute this, because Margaret Thatcher achieved so much. Rather than addressing whether or not sleep is good for health, the debate changes to the achievement levels of famous people who are known not to sleep 8 hours or more.
A straw man is a form of argument and an informal fallacy of having the impression of refuting an argument, whereas the proper idea of the argument under discussion was not addressed or properly refuted. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be “attacking a straw man”. Wikipedia
Other Emotional Intelligence Issues
Stooping in arguments One major issue with debates and arguments is the willingness for one person to inflict emotional damage or to stoop more than another person.
For example, in an office environment, where aggression is deemed inappropriate – one debator may resort to aggressiveness, whilst the other person is unwilling to become aggressive, and so let’s the aggressive individual ‘win’ the debate to prevent an esculation. When future conflicts in opinion arise, the more passive individual may not be willing to dispute or discuss anything, due to fear of an aggressive confrontation.
Victim Triad When person X complains to person Y, and person Y gives them sympathy but then person X complains to person Z and is told to look for a solution or that the sitation is not especially bad, person X will often feel like a victim of both the scenario they are complaining about and the lack of sympathy from person Z
Drama Triad If person X ridicules, bullies or is not particularly nice to person Y for a prolonged period of time – eventually person Y retaliates and tells person X to stop. Person X may feel like a victim and engage in vicious gossip about person Y for being in such a bad mood. Person X and person Y feel like victims in this situation.
Emotional Projection Blaming other people for your negative emotions. An individual who is subconsciously (or consciously) deemed as being weak, is usually the subject of another person’s projected emotions.
A few of the above are not directly related to emotional intelligence but an awareness of them could help to foster it, in my opinion.
Putting Emotional Intelligence into Practice
Have respect for other people’s points and points of view
Don’t globally-judge people or things in general on one point or one incidence
Don’t believe your impulsive thoughts – they’re not always true!
I’m a big admirer of Huel, from both the perspective of a marketer and as a Nutritionist (I have an MSc in Nutrition). I recently saw the Huel office wall – “Don’t be a Dick” on my Linkedin newsfeed:
It certainly got my attention. A good bit of social media marketing foda, if nothing else.
It does sound similar to Google’s, now infamous, “don’t be evil” mission statement or motto which has since been dropped. Probably because they’re a bit evil.
The potential problem with such a bold statement, is that – nobody thinks they are a dick.
Even the laziest, most unpleasant people I’ve ever worked with, will constantly complain about others, but put themselves on a (dodgy) DIY pedestal. Self serving bias is an amazing thing.
This video explains the dickhead-bias a bit more – people who think they’re a good person, usually aren’t:
With this in mind, I thought I’d put together a post, on what I think, a dickhead’s behaviour typically entails; I hope it helps!
Summary how not to be a dick
Feedback in private, not in public or in meetings
Do not try and control & do everything, then complain nobody is helping you
Do not talk over people in meetings
Don’t be aggressive in the office – it’s cowardly
Don’t ‘bad mouth’ any other colleagues – it makes others anxious
Find a productive way to vent your negative feelings – complaining & projecting negative emotions needs to be avoided at all costs*
Don’t make fun of people, unless they’re a good friend and it’s mutual banter
Don’t force your opinions on other people – unless they’re backed with data
Work hard, have a laugh, have each other’s backs
*Everyone needs to vent somehow, I personally don’t like it when people talk ill of colleagues, to other colleagues. Talking to someone outside of work is a good way to vent, you can then exaggerate all you want without damaging the professional reputation of whoever is in question.
Exercise however, has to be the ultimate way to vent. You have the fuel in terms of anger or frustration, turn it into something positive by exercising.
Talking ill of other colleagues, will also make those around you anxious. Imagine let’s say, you talk badly about someone for making a mistake, everyone around you will automatically become more anxious about making a mistake and are less likely to fess up.
On a Personal Note (Bit of a mind-dump)
Please skip this bit unless you want to know my mental health history!
This section is a personal rant that I embarked upon after a few beers on a Saturday (what else can you do during lockdown!?)
So that’s me, in the picture above, on the left – about to slam UFC fighter Jack Marshman into the canvas. You can watch the video here.
You’d think that 8 MMA fights, 1 Full Contact Kickboxing Fight and years’ of experience as a doorman, might make me immune to office bullying – but if you did – you would be very wrong.
I hold myself accountable for not building enough confidence and not being able to set boundaries very well, but being mocked, shouted at, literally screamed at, made fun of constantly – led me down a pretty slipperly mental health slope in the last 3 years.
Again, I’m happy to ‘own’ this, I need thicker skin, but a vent on my own blog can’t hurt, I don’t think?
Maybe I’m a threat to people, maybe they don’t get me, I don’t know but avoid being a dick if you can because it literally made me suicidal…
I honestly think that 90% of people try and be good and nice, but they don’t realise when they are being dickheads. Not many people have the emotional intelligence to detach and evaluate their behaviour. Either way, never take anything personally and remember “hurt people, hurt people” – i.e. people with issues, often become bullies or general wankers.
If you’ve been on the receiving end of dickhead-behaviour, don’t be bitter, finds ways to cope and improve your resilience, lean into negative feelings and use them positively as fuel for exercise etc.
We all just want to be accepted and valued, if you can help people to achieve a sense of both – then you’ll avoid being a dick.
The problem I found was that, the worse my mental health was, the more spaced-out I felt and the more people made fun of me.
My depression & anxiety, really started to get bad in university. I had some problems as a kid, after my dad died, I remember having loads of skin peeling off my hands – and the doctor saying it was stress related, think I would have been about 7. I had stomach and GI issues starting at age 14 (a typical physical symptom of anxiety) and then started with really, excruciating muscle & joint pain. This was really confusing, because I literally couldn’t sleep and my feet and knees were always really painful, I used to ice them all the time. I went to the doctor’s and he said – “nothing is red or swollen, so there can’t be any pain”. This really messed me up, as I thought that I was clearly in pain, but apparently that was impossible – so what was I feeling then? was I going mad? Since then I’ve learnt that muscle pain is also a typical symptom of anxiety, it’s also a common side-effect of the acid-reflux medication they’d had me on for about 10 years. Wankers!
Anyway, got a bollocking and called a nutter by my mum when I told her what the diagnosis was (depression & health-anxiety), girlfriend at the time also had a go at me – for feeling sorry for myself – eventhough I’d not really been feeling sorry for myself or at least I hadn’t gone to the doctors about that, I’d gone to see why my muscles and joints were constantly hurting.
Depression is often caused by inflammation – inflammation can be caused by a lot of things, but gut issues are a common source. Inflammation can cause the muscle pain, anxiety adds muscle tension in the mix and you have a very painful body – especially if you’ve been hammering acid-reflux medication for a decade. Inflammation often causes brain-fog.
Brain-fog is a nightmare. It’s such a vague term that it sounds like bullshit, but if you think how groggy your mind can become when you have a bad cold – it’s a bit like that. In fact, I’d describe my issues with mental health as a bit like having a cold, all the time – as I don’t really think particularly negatively, I just get a shit-load of physical symptoms.
So 2003, after getting told to basically stop moaning and get on with life, Brain-fog-galore, and riddled with muscle pain, I go to work in a local hotel gym. I’m basically a zombie with muscles. This is the problem with depression, the more depressed and/or anxious you feel, the more spaced-out you will become and the more people will give you shit.
I had a first class degree from a top 10 UK uni, and a Master’s degree, but would regularly get introduced to people as “the thick one” whilst in work.
No real issues with people when I got my next job in a bank call centre. The same when I got my first digital marketing job – everyone was pretty cool. I’ve fitted in great in some places, but other places, people have not been particularly nice.
I’m quite eccentric and don’t have any self-confidence, so I guess I’m an easy target? Or maybe I’m just a dick myself – who knows? I used to be Buddhist and would always turn the other cheek – I’ve recently changed my life-philosophy to ‘modified Buddhism’ – Be nice to everyone, don’t take offence or get defensive with your close friends and family, but don’t take any shit off people you don’t know or don’t like.
Feedback in Private, Praise in Public
The number 1 passive aggressive tactic of an office dickhead, appears to be the eagerness, to feedback in front of as many people as possible.
This can cause all kinds of issues as a rebuttal will also be witnessed by colleagues, meaning that the initiator looks like a bit of an idiot.
In a team meeting, someone complains that you didn’t complete a task correctly. Instead of telling you at the time and giving you an opportunity to rectify any issues.
Feedback should be timely, specific and delivered privately.
Gaslighting – did it really happen like that?
I don’t think people realise how damaging, ‘gaslighting’ can be.
In case you’re not one of the cool kids – gaslighting was a term coined in a book (I think), within which the husband would mess with the gas lights in the house – the wife would say “did you see that, the lighting keeps going off?” to which the husband would typically reply “nope – you’re obviously going insane, nothing happened”
Do this a few times, and the victim will question their grasp on reality and have no confidence in what they’ve seen or perceived.
Don’t Put Other People Down
There are lots of ways to make yourself feel better. You can exercise, learn new skills, meditate, go for a walk in nature, have a bit of banter.
unfortunately, the default way, and lazy way to make oneself better is to put other people down.
This is a bad idea in work for a few reasons.
You make those around you more anxious
You make yourself more anxious
How does it make others anxious?
Well, let’s say you slate someone for making a stupid mistake.
This will make others more fearful of making mistakes. You also push yourself into a kind of metaphorical corner because if you make any mistakes, you will looks like a hypocrite and a bellend.
Assume Miscommunication Not Malice
Be aware of the main cognitive biases, and don’t have stupidly high expectations of your colleages.
If something goes wrong – could you have communicated the task better? Have you been approachable enough?
did you provide the nessery training?
Is morale low because everyone is always moaning?
Are you inspirnig others or being a dick?
If something goes wrong, don’t blame and finger point – see what you could have done differently.
7/10 there has been some kind of communication breakdown.
Avoid any negative-bias, have a more positive-bias in regards to people and give respect to get respect.
Don’t Have Aggressive Opinions about Stuff You’ve not Researched
if you haven’t read a book or researched a topic – how can you have an aggressive opinion about it?
If you shout louder than someone else – does that make your opinion more valid?
What is your opinion based on? Information, experience or a self-serving bias?
I once attempted and stuck to a low card, ketogenic diet for anxiety.
Every man and his dog slated me for it.
“Someone tell Drew to go and look at a food pyramid” exclaimed one, morbidly obese office dickhead.
Did I mention I’ve got a Master’s degree in Nutrition?
If you’d like an informed opinion on low carb diets, this article is a good starting point.
Don’t Get Angry
If you are consistenly losing your shit, you either have expectations that are too high, and/or you are not taking accountability like you should.
If you lose your temper – you will make those around you anxious.
An office is not a place for aggression. If I spend all day controlling any impulses after years of training to fight people, I expect the same of others.
Don’t Talk Over People in Meetings
This one is so obvious – yet people still do it all the time.
Best way to deal with interrupters, seems to be to wait for them to finish and then say “…as I was saying…” and carry on.
Don’t be H.I.T.O.
A new abbreviation that I literally just made up, stands for:
Hard In The Office
HITO dickheads will get aggressive and use confrontational postures to try and itimidate people in the office.
It’s just not appropriate, go and work on a building site if that’s what you’re into.
Cynicism is not Superior
Negativity is a lazy way to feel superior, as is cynicism.
It’s not difficult to find fault in ideas, projects, work people have done – finding solutions to those faults is challenging and much more productive. Many office inhabitants prefer to moan and pick fault however, I guess because it’s easier and makes them feel superior.
“…the belief that people care only about themselves and are not sincere or honest…the belief that things will not be successful or useful…the attitude or behavior of someone who is willing to let other people be harmed in order to get advantage.”
I think this quote or snippet says it all really:
“In a management training that my company sent me to a few years back, I was introduced to a new concept: “cynical terrorists.” This category was meant to describe the kind of person who assumes the worst of everyone, shoots down every new idea, and generally drenches their environment in negativity with the volatile energy of a broken sprinkler system”
There is often ‘much logic’ in cynacism, but it can lay a very negative foundation to all of your thoughts and interactions.
Sometimes, I believe, it is better not to think 100% logically. If something lies out of your control, for example, other people’s attitudes, other people’s abilites – then you may as well find a positive in it.
For example, if you work with someone who doesn’t know how to do his or her job very well – this is an opportunity for you to help someone out, or from a narcisstic point of view – to look good!
If you want to create a culture of negativity and disrespect, then cynicism is the way to go – more info in this study.
Don’t Hold Grudges
Try and vent in a positive manner. You need to vent – I think anyway – but venting in work and holding grudges is a pretty negative way of dealing with your emotions. Use it to fuel exercise, to motivate you to learn a new skill, or ‘get it all’ out with yoga and/or meditation.
I’ve been guilty of taking pride in never moaning or complaining, only for a rant to come out of nowhere when I’m tired or feeling low – e.g. when my son is teething and not sleeping!
Being spiteful in work however, is the epitome of bellend behaviour – not helping people out for eample, because you are holding a grudge is not exactly being a team-player.
Be Aware of Cognitive Biases
2 of the most common cognitive biases, are self-serving bias and confirmation bias. Also “Fundamental Attribution Error”. I remember one dickhead beeping and waving his fist at a learner-driver, only to complain about a man on his street who was aggressive with learner drivers.
Of course he had an excuse for himself. We judge others directly by events, but we always have an excuse for our own behaviour.
Don’t Disempower People then Complain they’re not Helping
Don’t be one of those dicks who has to control everything and then complains that he or she is the only one that every does anything
Don’t Take Things Out of Context
This well annoys me.
Apparently, I get all my nutrition info from conspiracy theorist Joe Rogan, I am an anti-vaxxer because I question the flu-jab for children and I went on the keto diet to lose weight.
Not of these are true, people just skew everything, not sure why. I do get some of my nutrition tips/info from Joe Rogan’s podcasts, but usually from Dr Rhonda Patrick and Professor Dom D’agastino – I’ll always check their info against Google Scholar and Examine.com too. I’m not an anti-vaxxer at all and I went on the keto diet to help with anxiety.
Don’t Think Less of Yourself, Think of Yourself Less
These are generally things I have read, I implement some but not others (e.g. the career ones, I do aspire to achieve/do most of them though) .
I see a lot of nice, ‘well brought up’ people with depression and one of the main reasons is that they’ve been brought up to do good, to share, to think of others, and this is not how 80% of the world works, especially the working-world.
Stoic philosophy helps best with this issue, I don’t think that there is one quick fix…just learn to laugh at injustice and don’t take life or yourself too seriously.
Also – don’t expect life to run smoothely, you may work hard, get a good degree, but then you might (like me) struggle to get a job, have to gather yourself again and try another direction. Don’t get angry with the injustice of bad things happening, stuff not working out as planned, regroup and go again!
You reap what you sow – if you are constantly complaining about people, treating people with contempt and being bad tempered, you will angry, unhappy and low spirited. I don’t believe 100% in karma, but I do think your words, actions & thoughts are all related
Focus on what you can control – Your reaction to people & events, and the work you put in. Most other things are out of your control.
Take 100% of the responsibility for your actions; it’s rare that you are the victim of circumstance & there’s never a time where you can blame other people for your actions. Attributing all of your problems and flaws to external forces such as bad luck, your wife, parents etc. leads to depression and learned helplessness.Rather than complaining, take ownership, analyse and make sure you make better decisions going forwards. Avoid saying “I haven’t got time” and “I have to…”. Blaming others leads to a victim mentality. So does blaming lack of time and money. e.g. If someone asks you to go on a lads holiday, you might say “I’d love to, but I’d prefer to spend the money on my university books”, rather than “I can’t afford it”. Saying “I can’t afford it” is logical in many instances, but it really helps to reframe the phrase.If you fall out with someone, or something goes wrong in work – focus on what you could have done differently, rather than what others did wrong. E.g. If you’re a project manager a someone doesn’t tell you about a mistake, you can analyse your own communication skills and approachability. See Jocko Willink’s ‘Extreme Ownership’ Ted Talk.
Thoughts of the self create much suffering: e.g. concerns regarding appearance, self worth, importance, how you are perceived etc True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself, less. Don’t flatter yourself by thinking people give you a second thought.
Thank people for criticism and use it objectively to improve. Defensiveness is usually a sign of insecurity and is the cause of most arguments
Logical (& cynical) thinking, is not always the ‘best’ way to think. e.g. logically thinking it’s someone else’s fault – is often not the best way to think. Or a logical approach to faith, or karma etc.
If you are made angry by something or someone, then it has beaten you. Laugh smile and be flexible in mindset. Prisoners of war survived the Nazi concentration camps by having a sense of humour, so don’t allow small problems & trivial insults overcome you
Beware of the narrative in your mind – “You are not your thoughts”. Don’t be ‘in’ your thoughts, observe them. It is okay to have jealous, aggressive thoughts, as long as you don’t speak or act upon them. “Automatic thoughts” are often negative & aggressive, acknowledge them, disassociate from them, and replace with rational, nice thoughts!
Perfectionism is an illness. Strive to improve, not to be perfect or the best.
Don’t Be a Harsh Judge or Critic – you force yourself to take life a little more seriously each time you do. For example if you criticise someone for having a cheap car, you’ll make yourself and those around you more anxious about the state of your/their car.
Be organised, to allow mindfulness – have a ‘To Do list’ in work and at home. This helps you to be mindful, rather than scanning our mind for things you may have forgotten.
You are the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with. Avoid negative and superficial people. Don’t judge them, they are just on a different path in life and unaware how they affect others.
Don’t Watch the News – Consume positive media only, negative news and events are normally out of your control and will only make you more negative.
Attachment is the cause of all suffering – especially to possessions. Take care of things, but don’t invest emotions in them.
Acceptance is important. Resisting ‘what is’ makes it infinitely worse.
Life is all about good experiences, interesting & fun experiences can happen anywhere like work, in a traffic jam, anywhere if you can learn to laugh and have fun. You don’t need to be on an expensive holiday to have a good experience.
Avoid hate, jealousy and bitterness. Life is just a random cluster of events, full of inconveniences & injustices that must be laughed at. Acceptance is key for happiness when you literally can’t change something.
Everyone needs a hobby & a passion. Ideally one which gets you in ‘flow state’ and builds social connections with ‘nice’ people. Remember to put your family before your passion however…
Type A Personality – If you have one – highly competitive and short tempered – don’t make the mistake of expecting everyone else to be a highly motivated Type A like you – the world would be a very stressful and unhappy place if this was the case. Your judging will lead to narcissism, which will lead to entitlement, which leads to anger and further frustration.
Happiness has a rippleeffect
“Capitalizing on the Happiness Advantage does more than solely benefit us. Research into social networks has shown that behavior is literally contagious, good or bad. Our attitudes and behaviors infect the people we work with directly, but also spread to the people they interact with. This is called the ripple effect” (p.201) The Happiness Advantage
Peace begins with a smile
Flexible people are the happiest – be flexible in terms of plans, set backs etc. Adapt, change & chuckle
Write down 3 good things which have happened each day
Write down a negative thought, then write down 4 positives. e.g. work is boring – positives – I don’t have to work shifts, I don’t have to travel to a city centre, I don’t have to deal with angry customers, I work with nice people
Find the positive in the negative whenever possible. e.g. I lost my job but have learnt massive amounts about careers & life that I can pass onto my children.
see the Zen Farmer – bad luck can be good luck: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81XIhTePvKE
Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk – Once a milk bottle is smashed and milk goes down the drain, no complaining or whining will bring it back. Deal with it and clean up the mess.
Happiness is not an Entitlement – Many people have to work at it, by giving gratitude everyday, meditating, exercising and eating good clean foods.
Citizenship & Social Skills
Be kind, you can make or break someone’s day and people hold grudges for decades – so be nice to everyone
Only hold aggressive opinions about things you have researched completely and deem as highly important. Whilst discussing politics, pretend you are interviewing someone rather than arguing with them
Don’t Expect People to Make an Effort with You – people will never really know what to say to a ‘new’ person. Smile and make an effort but don’t worry too much if they don’t fall head over heals to welcome you to a new team or job etc
Popularity is not important
Love & care for your family, friends and local community. See Dunbar’s number. Your brain isn’t designed to care about 7 billion people. If you care for the entire world’s population you may begin to suffer from stress and depression. You can do the right thing to help them, donate money etc but try not to invest too much emotion.
Speaking of Community – Everyone needs to be in one. We’re social and tribal animals and we need a sense of belonging, this is often cited as a reason for Crossfit being so successful! Crossfit, Church, Football, the pub – whatever it is, you need to be part of one (obvs stay away from dodgy cults and political groups though).
Never say “I hate people”. Focus on those you love, not those you don’t enjoy the company of. Focus on what is good about people not there 1 or 2 flaws. Don’t judge, everyone starts off as a happy baby and is shaped by their environment (and genes).
People Will Always Pick on Those They Perceive as Weak or Naive. Try your best to say things with confidence and stand tall etc. Easier said than done!
Say “you’re right” instead of “I know” and you’ll appear much nicer.
Never Expect Gratitude. It’s a bonus rather than an entitlement for someone to say thanks
Say nice things about those you don’t like – It will sometimes get back to them that you’ve said something nice, and will seem like a sincere compliment coming via someone else
“Look in the Mirror, Not out of the Window”
Focus on what you can change, not what you think other should change
Money & Career
Adverts (& the news) use negativity, fear & comparisons to sell you things. Don’t buy something because of an advert. It’s like a game to get you to part with your money.
Beware of social proofing, loss aversion, the law of reciprocity and the power of authority – all used in marketing. Know the difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’.
Business is always mixed with politics, don’t let it bother you. Read The Prince, The 48 Laws of Power and How to Win Friends & Influence People, this makes you revel in the politics rather than hate it. I used to get angry about work-politics but it comes with the territory, especially at bigger companies.
It’s better to have a small house and disposable income, than a large house and concerns about money. Be aware of the hedonic treadmill.
Buy investments not liabilities. In the book ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ the author describes how poorer people tend to buy ‘liabilities’ that decrease in value like cars, whilst the rich look first to buy assets (things that increase in value) like properties, currencies, gold etc. For both assets and liabilities, make sure you can afford them!
Move to get Promoted – When you’re single if you can buy a house, rent it out, then move anywhere in the world (literally) for a job that’s senior to your current position. Obviously the ‘buy a house’ bit only works if you work hard/get lucky to begin with and get a good job! The principle remains the same if you don’t have a house though, you just don’t have an investment to fall back on. I didn’t do this, I was too much of a pansy and came home after 3 months in America.
Set up an Online Business – Get Paid in Sterling or US Dollars and live like a king on bahts in Thailand.
Learn to entertain yourself for free or on a low budget. e.g. hiking, camping. Those who need expensive holidays to be entertained usually find it hard to be happy day to day and are often skint.
“Don’t outshine the master” pretend your life and your knowledge is slightly inferior to your boss’s
Meditate – meditation is all about not judging thoughts. Therefore it helps hugely if day to day you don’t judge people.
It’s good to have rubbish employment at some stage in your life. You’ll appreciate a better job later in life eg. I don’t let boredom effect me, after working in a call centre getting verbally abused all day. Boredom is good.
Social intelligence & confidence is just as important as knowledge when it comes to your career. (Perhaps different if you’re a highly skilled doctor or engineer)
Have a Stop – Loss Formula – Set a limit so you never risk more than you can afford
Experience is much more Important than Qualifications – Do unpaid work or start your own business if you have to, in order to get some experience.
If you work in an office, have a cold shower twice a week and engage in intense exercise at least once a week. Otherwise your body and immune system are likely to become weak.
If you are unable to rid yourself of anger – use it to motivate yourself. For example, gain new and better skills to move to a different job.
Act Formally When you start a new job – If you are too quick to make fun of yourself, then some people will see this as an invite to join in. You want to avoid these people if possible!
Learning New Skills
It takes 10,000 hours to become a master, 20 hours to become ‘good’ at something. When learning new skills, learn the basics and then practice, gain feedback, adjust, then practice again, gain feedback, adjust, etc. Don’t read and read about how to do something, you need to practice it
Set Monthly personal development goals such as reading books, going out of your comfort zone, or building character e.g. Take a cold shower each morning, speak to 2 new people each day
Growth mindset – never be afraid to learn new things – never say “I can’t do it”, you can’t do it yet.
You don’t need much money to be happy, but you do need sleep. Aim for ‘fuck you money’ – have enough money to say no to jobs etc you don’t want to do. Things don’t make you happy, other than food & shelter
Cheerfulness is always the best approach to problems and day to day issues.
‘Start with “why?”’ when trying to motivate and persuade people
Do everything with enthusiasm
Treat repetitive tasks like meditation. 1 thing/item at a time, don’t think about the past or present, just what you are doing, 1 at a time.
Never be afraid to fail. You win or you learn.
Low energy can be mental or physical but normally both
Address both potential issues with diet & exercise for physical, reading, CBT and meditation for the mental.
Diet – probiotics, fermented foods, high omega 3, low omega 6, low/no sugar
Feedback is crucial when learning new skills – perfect practice makes perfect. Video yourself is required.
The Goal Posts Move – Once you’ve learnt a new skill, keep up to date, or you’re skills will become out of date.
All great men and leaders in history preach ‘a mild temper’ (see above photo)
Don’t procrastinate for 1 moment – as this is the beginning of the biggest delays. Make a decision and do it straight away.
Beware the power of Intermittent Positive Reinforcement. See Skinner’s experiments. Gambling is addictive because of intermittent reinforcement, as is social media
What you criticise represents your own insecurities. e.g people’s appearance
Beware of all the cognitive biases – self-serving, confirmation bias, etc. Learn more here. These are crucial and should be taught in school!
For example – Self Serving Bias:
The self–serving bias is people’s tendency to attribute positive events to their own character but attribute negative events to external factors. It’s a common type of cognitive bias that has been extensively studied in social psychology
Be aware of ‘Faulty Thinking’ in CBT – for example, Mental filtering whereby people disregard the positives and focus on the negatives. e.g. when you focus on the one thing that went wrong in a presentation. More info here.
Don’t build huge expectations in children. Telling them they’ll be a dentist or a great football player when they grow up, may upset them if they end up working nights in a factory – not that there’s anything wrong with this.
For every person that says ‘never give up on your dreams’ there’s another 100 people that didn’t and never made it. Beware ‘survivor bias’
Reward effort, not outcome. Say ‘well done, you must have worked really hard!’ ‘instead of well done, you must be really talented/clever’.
Don’t personalise anything other than direct personal criticism. If someone is blunt, miserable etc, it’s generally nothing to do with you
Love imperfections for their quirks – they give things and people character
Don’t eat in front of the TV – you will eat ‘mindlessly’ and not appreciate the food or even register it going in
Have a preference for how people behave, but not a demand. e,g. it’s nice if people say thank you, but don’t expect it
Awkwardness – ‘move into it’, don’t be afraid of it – it can be used to manipulate you
You can Meditate doing any task – Be mindful when driving by constantly focusing on the road immediately ahead & bringing your thoughts back to the road, be mindful when walking by focusing on the sensations of touch and movement -such as the feeling of the wind on your face & the feeling of your feet pressing onto & driving off the floor, then be mindful of all the sounds you can hear
Everyone started off a smiling baby, people are a product of their environment & genetics. Had Gandhi been born in Nazi Germang, he would have likely been a Nazi, not a spiritual leader. Remember this when trying not to judge others.
Expect shit to happen & don’t be dramatic – The world and the universe is in perpetual chaos and gives zero fcuks about you. Just because you live in a comfy house and work a set rota, doesn’t mean random stuff and hassle won’t happen. Expect hassles like stuff breaking and just get on with fixing it.
Life is hard for everyone. Get on with it with a chuckle & less drama
Never be unhappy or angry about your lot in life. Others will always have more.
Change a negative inner narrative by listening to and repeating positive affirmations.
Sometimes you’ll do nothing wrong and get told off anyway. No dramas.
You Learn by Mistakes – but they don’t have to be yours – learn by reading.
Magnesium is a powerful muscle relaxant, great for headaches & sleep
“All disease starts in the gut” Hippocrates. If you have an inflamed gut, you will struggle to feel good regardless of how much you read and meditate. The gut directly impacts the brain and mood. Have a read up on leaky gut and the FODMAP diet
Power corrupts virtually everyone, don’t be surprised or upset by greed etc, all large organisations appear to have at least an element of corruption too.
Risk to Reward ratio – Only take high risks if the rewards are really high. Is it worth doing an exercise in the gym that might make you more powerful but could dislocate your shoulder if you get the technique slightly wrong?
I wish someone had of explained ‘banter’ to me earlier in life – possibly a British thing, whereby you exchange witty insults and the person who gets upset first is the loser
Resilience is related to flexibility. If you’re plans and ideals are flexible and ‘changeable’ then you will be more resilient than someone who is very fixed ideals and plans.
Guy Ritchie said (to paraphrase) on the Joe Rogan Podcast – there’s 2 worlds, an inner one and an outer one. You don’t need the outer world to validate who you are or your worth.
Don’t take life or yourself too seriously and remember that having a sense of humour & being cheerful is always the best way to cope
Always pick out the positives. Bad luck often makes you appreciate specific things or people or often turns into good luck if handled correctly
Don’t be duped by the system, which wants you to compare yourself to others, feel negative and buy things
Learn something from everyone – people don’t have to be role models, they can also be hideous warnings
Don’t judge your thoughts or other people if you want to be mindful
Be nice & don’t insult people unnecessarily – they’ll hold a grudge for decades
Tips to Avoid Early-Midlife Bitterness
Don’t compare yourself to your friends or others
Take complete ownership of your career – don’t blame others for a decision that you made and ‘wrong turns’ that you took
Don’t be judgemental. All the most miserable people I know, are constantly judging others (not that I’m judging them for judging).
Never be angry with your lot in life because someone had it easier or handed to them on a plate. Get on with what you have.
Don’t sweat the small stuff don’t be offended by anything other than a serious threat, don’t have a nervy B if a household appliance breaks or your car gets scratched.
“Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.”
Epictetus, The Art of Living
Experience is the best form of knowledge, reading is different but still highly valuable. I try and read books when I can, but I listen to audio books more nowadays and watch animated book summaries (or just listen to them in work if I’m doing something dull).
One thing I’m pondering at the moment is whether or not you should make an effort to fit in, with work colleagues etc.
People seem to like your company if you match their energy levels & mood. So for example, 2 negative people will get on well, whereas a negative person & a positive, energetic person, will not.
Another great book summary I’ve just stumbled upon:
Set your intention for every transition during the day.
For example, when you arrive home from work think to yourself
“What emotions & thoughts & energy do I want to bring into my family home”
Then reset with these new positive thoughts & attitude and release any tension from your body.
When you go to a meeting in work you might want to release tension and bring enthusiasm, patience & curiosity
To stay motivated think of 1 person who will benefit from your work. Maybe you have a boring task to do in work, think of 1 person who may benefit from your task, picture them and how a good job may help them.
Stuff Not To Do
Constantly bring conversations back to you, to talk about yourself
Give in/roll over for people & then complain about them taking advantage
Don’t disempower people, then complain that they’re lazy