On being “intelligent” vs “smart”:
I’d define intelligence vs. smart like this: Intelligent people understand technical details, smart people understand emotional details.
Intelligence: Good memory, logic, math skills, test-taking ability, rule-following.
Smart: High degree of empathy, bullshit detection, organization, communication skills, persuasion, social awareness, understanding the consequences of your actions.
Both are important. But there’s a critical difference in how each is valued.
Schools are good at teaching and measuring intelligence, so that’s what people tend to value and aspire to. But in almost any field, smarts is what gets rewarded long term.
The following insights come from the extremely helpful book, *The Willpower Instinct* by Kelly McGonigal.
Willpower: What You Need to Know
- Willpower involves three components: “I Will,” “I Won’t,” and “I Want.”
- Willpower is a natural instinct.
- Self-control is like a muscle that can be trained and developed to increase capacity.
- Framing willpower in terms of morality (“good” vs. “bad”) can be counterproductive. Instead, focus on your goals and values.
- Be mindful of dopamine! The promise of a reward is not a guarantee of happiness and can lead to disappointment.
- Feeling bad or guilty can lead to giving up, but releasing guilt can make you stronger.
- Temptation and procrastination often stem from our inability to clearly see the future.
- Willpower and temptation can be contagious, influenced by social proof.
- Trying to suppress thoughts, emotions, and cravings can backfire and make you more likely to give in to them.
Questions to Ask Yourself about Willpower
- When facing a willpower challenge, what is the more difficult thing to do? Consider what makes it challenging.
- Identify your two competing selves in relation to your willpower challenge. What does the impulsive version of you want? What does the wiser version of you want?
- What is the threat? For your willpower challenge, identify the inner impulse that needs to be restrained.
- Pay attention to when stress occurs throughout the day or week, and observe how it affects your self-control. Do you experience cravings, lose your temper, or delay tasks you know you should complete?
- How can you track your self-control strength over the course of a week, paying attention to highs and lows?
- When you experience feelings of exhaustion, how can you challenge them? Can you take a moment to see if you can go beyond initial fatigue, which can lead to self-control failures?
- Do you give yourself permission to indulge in bad behavior just because you succeeded in a willpower challenge?
- Do you often promise yourself that you’ll do better tomorrow, but struggle to follow through?
- Have you ever justified a vice because of one positive aspect, such as being fat-free, saving money, or being environmentally friendly?
- When you think about your willpower challenge, do you feel like the “real” you is the part that wants to achieve the goal, or the part that needs to be controlled?
- What activates your dopamine neurons and drives you to seek satisfaction?
- How can you pay attention to how retailers and marketers try to trigger the promise of reward?
- When do your desires cause stress and anxiety?
- When you feel stressed, anxious, or down, what do you do to cope?
- What is causing your feelings of fear or anxiety? Take note of what you see or hear in the media, online, or from other sources.
- Do you respond to a lapse in willpower with self-blame and criticism?
- Instead of taking steps to change your behavior, do you use fantasies of your future self to distract yourself from your current feelings?
- To build your willpower, ask yourself what future rewards you sacrifice each time you give in to temptation or procrastination.
- Are you avoiding an important task or change, hoping that a future version of yourself with more willpower will handle it?
- Are others in your social circle facing the same willpower challenge as you?
- Do you notice any signs that you might be imitating other people’s behavior?
- Have you picked up or passed on any behaviors from your close associates?
- Are you avoiding your willpower challenge by using social proof to convince yourself that it’s not important?
- Do you try to avoid thinking about something? Does suppressing it actually work, or does it just make the thought come back stronger?
- In your experience, if you forbid something, does it make you want it more?
Actions to Take to Improve Willpower
- Track your willpower choices for at least one day. Pay attention to every decision you make regarding your willpower challenge.
- Meditate for five minutes. Focus on your breath and use the words “inhale” and “exhale” in your mind. When your mind wanders, notice it and bring it back to your breath.
- Slow down your breathing to 4 to 6 breaths per minute to shift into the physiological state of self-control.
- Engage in outdoor activities to reduce stress, improve mood, and boost motivation.
- Ensure you get adequate sleep. Take a nap if needed.
- Lie down and take deep breaths to take advantage of the physiological relaxation response. It will help you recover from the demands of willpower and stress.
- Eat healthy, low-glycemic foods to make sure you have consistent energy.
- Choose one thing to do or not do this week, or keep track of something you don’t usually pay close attention to. Exercise your self-control.
- Clarify your biggest motivation for the change you’re trying to make. Bring that motivation to mind whenever you feel tempted to give in.
- Rather than using good behavior as an excuse to indulge, remember why you did something good and focus on that, instead of whether or not you deserve a reward.
- Try to reduce the variability of your willpower challenge behavior every day. Imagine how you would live if you had to do, eat, drink, buy, etc. the same things every day.
- If you’ve been procrastinating, motivate yourself by connecting it to something that activates your dopamine neurons.
- Mindfully engage in an activity that your brain tells you will make you happy but that never seems to satisfy. Evaluate whether reality matches the brain’s promises.
- Consider trying one of these effective stress relief strategies the next time you feel overwhelmed: exercising or playing sports, attending a religious service or praying, reading, listening to music, spending time with friends or family, getting a massage, going for a walk outside, meditating or doing yoga, or spending time on a creative hobby.
- Be kinder to yourself when you experience setbacks to avoid giving in again.
- Plan ahead on how and when you might be tempted to break your vow, and come up with a specific plan to avoid giving in.
- Wait 10 minutes. Whenever faced with temptation, take a mandatory 10-minute break. During this time, remind yourself of the long-term rewards of resisting temptation.
- Reframe the situation. When tempted to act against your long-term interests, think of it as giving up the best possible long-term reward for giving in.
- Pre-commit to your goals. Create new defaults, make it harder to reverse your preferences, or motivate your future self with rewards or threats.
- Visualize success. Imagine yourself in the future, or write a letter to your future self to reinforce your commitment to your goals.
- Take a few minutes at the beginning of your day to focus on your goals and stay motivated.
- When you need extra willpower, think of a role model who inspires you and ask yourself what they would do.
- Share your willpower challenges with others and imagine the sense of pride you will feel when you overcome them.
- Turn your willpower challenge into a group project and invite others to join you in achieving your goals.
- Feel your emotions, but don’t necessarily believe everything you think. When an upsetting thought appears, acknowledge it and how it feels in your body. Then, shift your focus to your breathing and imagine the thought dissolving or passing by.
- Accept those cravings – just don’t act on them. When a craving strikes, don’t try to immediately distract yourself or argue with it. Instead, remind yourself that suppressing thoughts is often counter-productive.
- Observe the urge. When an urge arises, stay with the physical sensations and ride them like a wave, neither pushing them away nor acting on them.
“The standard pace is for chumps.” Agree or disagree? (For context, see “There’s no speed limit” by Derek Sivers sive.rs/kimo)
One of the timeless tools that can help us navigate life’s complex situations and interactions more effectively is a mental model known as “Hanlon’s Razor.” It’s a heuristic that can sharpen our understanding of the world around us and make our decision-making process a bit more straightforward.
**Hanlon’s Razor states: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance/stupidity.” **
In simpler terms, it suggests that the actions of others often result from a lack of understanding, neglect, or sheer oversight rather than a deliberate intent to harm or cause trouble.
It’s quite natural for us humans to make quick judgments about others based on their actions. We often perceive hostile intentions where none may exist. The simplicity and elegance of Hanlon’s Razor lie in its ability to help us step back from this inclination and consider less menacing possibilities.
Let’s imagine you’re at work and an email you sent to a colleague, requesting crucial data for a project, is ignored. The immediate reaction may be to assume that your colleague is deliberately trying to undermine your efforts. But, applying Hanlon’s Razor encourages a different perspective. Perhaps your colleague is swamped with other tasks, or your email got lost in the torrent of their crowded inbox. This viewpoint fosters understanding and patience rather than unhelpful resentment.
However, like all mental models, Hanlon’s Razor is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It doesn’t eliminate the possibility of malice—it simply reminds us not to rush to it as our first explanation. It’s a tool in your cognitive toolbox to help balance your perspectives and avoid unnecessary negativity.
Harnessing the power of Hanlon’s Razor can lead to healthier relationships, reduced stress, and a more positive mindset. So, the next time you find yourself attributing someone’s actions to ill intent, take a moment to consider Hanlon’s Razor. You might find that this slice of wisdom leads to a more compassionate, understanding view of the world around you.
Remember, the goal of our mental models isn’t to shape our reality, but to help us navigate it with greater ease and effectiveness. And Hanlon’s Razor is one such tool that gently nudges us away from hostility and towards empathy, fostering a more harmonious journey through life’s complexities.
(Learn more about Hanlon’s Razor and many other useful mental models in Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models!)
Did I buy and read all of Derek @sivers books? Why, yes, I did! Really loving his “Hell Yeah or No” mental model, because it’s helping to carve out some needed space in my life! 📚
The Slow Carb Diet is a dietary approach that advocates for the slow, sustained release of energy from food, rather than the immediate, intense energy spikes commonly associated with quick-digesting carbohydrates. The brainchild of entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss, this diet encourages intake of foods that fall low on the glycemic index, are high in fiber, and rich in proteins.
Key Principles of the Slow Carb Diet:
- Favor ‘Slow’ Carbohydrates: The Slow Carb Diet emphasizes the consumption of legumes, non-starchy vegetables, and other foods that are low on the glycemic index. These foods take longer to digest, providing a more steady stream of energy and helping to prevent feelings of hunger and subsequent overeating.
- Embrace Proteins and Vegetables: Proteins and vegetables form the core of this diet. They are integral to satisfying hunger and maintaining a balanced nutrient profile. The diet encourages the intake of lean proteins such as chicken, fish, and plant-based proteins.
- Avoid ‘Fast’ Carbohydrates: Fast carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, potatoes, and anything with added sugar, are largely off-limits. These foods are high on the glycemic index and can lead to energy spikes and crashes, as well as increased feelings of hunger.
- Take a Day Off: The Slow Carb Diet includes one “cheat day” per week where followers of the diet can consume whatever foods they like. This is believed to help dieters stick to the plan in the long term, as it allows for occasional indulgence.
What’s that all mean? Well, here’s how Tim Ferriss originally summarized the “rules” of the Slow Carb Diet:
- Avoid “White” Carbohydrates: This includes all bread, rice (including brown), cereal, potatoes, pasta, tortillas, and fried food with breading. In other words, refrain from any carb that is or can be white.
- Eat the Same Few Meals Over and Over Again: Ferriss suggests constructing your meals from one item from each of the following groups - proteins, legumes, and vegetables. It’s perfectly fine to eat the same few meals repeatedly.
- Don’t Drink Calories: Drink massive amounts of water and unsweetened tea, coffee (with no more than two tablespoons of cream), or other no-calorie/low-calorie beverages as you like. Do not drink milk, normal soft drinks, or fruit juice.
- Don’t Eat Fruit: Ferriss argues that, humans don’t need fruit six days a week, and they certainly don’t need it year-round. If your ancestors were from Europe, for example, how much fruit did they eat in the winter 500 years ago? Think about it.
- Take One Day Off Per Week and Go Nuts: Ferriss calls this “Dieters Gone Wild day”. Eat whatever you want, and he means anything, one day per week. For biochemical and psychological reasons, a cheat day can actually help you achieve your goals faster.
Benefits of the Slow Carb Diet:
- Weight Loss: The Slow Carb Diet can help with weight loss by limiting the intake of fast-digesting carbohydrates that can contribute to weight gain.
- Sustainable Energy Levels: Slow-digesting carbs provide a more stable and sustained energy source, helping to prevent the highs and lows that can come from a diet high in fast-digesting carbs.
- Improved Blood Sugar Control: By focusing on low-glycemic foods, the Slow Carb Diet can help improve blood sugar control, which can be beneficial for those with or at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Want to Learn More About the Slow Carb Diet?
We hope this post has sparked your interest in the Slow Carb Diet. Exploring new dietary approaches can be an exciting way to find what works best for your body, goals, and lifestyle. To further your knowledge on the Slow Carb Diet, consider delving into the following resources:
- “The 4-Hour Body” by Tim Ferriss: This bestselling book offers a deep dive into the Slow Carb Diet and its founding principles. Available on Amazon.
- Tim Ferriss’s Blog: Tim Ferriss’s blog features many posts detailing the ins and outs of the Slow Carb Diet. You can explore his content here, with his original post about the Slow Carb Diet here.
- “Slow Carb Diet Beginner’s Guide” by Healthline: This comprehensive guide breaks down the diet in an easy-to-understand format, offering practical tips and suggestions. Read it here.
- Slow Carb Diet Subreddit: Connect with a community of people exploring and practicing the Slow Carb Diet. Engage in discussions, ask questions, and share your journey here.
Remember, no single diet fits all. Always consult with a healthcare or nutrition professional before undertaking significant dietary changes. Your body’s needs are unique, and the best dietary plan is one that is sustainable, enjoyable, and nourishing for you.
“Abilene Paradox: A group decides to do something that no one in the group wants to do because everyone mistakenly assumes they’re the only ones who object to the idea and they don’t want to rock the boat by speaking up.”
“Highly focused people do not leave their options open. They select their priorities and are comfortable ignoring the rest. If you commit to nothing, you’ll be distracted by everything.”
- James Clear
While reading Think Again: How to Reason and Argue by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, I was introduced to a set of timeless principles known as “Rapoport’s Rules.”
Originally conceived by the mathematical psychologist Anatol Rapoport and further explored by Daniel Dennett in his work, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, these rules are designed to facilitate healthier and more productive conversations and debates. Here they are:
1: You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”
2: You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
3: You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
4: Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
Imagine the profound shift in the quality of our life conversations – from family dinners and classroom discussions to business meetings and beyond – if we adopted these rules. How would our interactions change if we approached every conversation with such respect, humility, and openness?
Rapoport’s Rules are more than just guidelines for conversation - they are timeless tools for improving the quality of our interpersonal connections. By applying them in our daily interactions, we can foster a deeper understanding of others, encourage constructive dialogue, and continually enhance our own perspectives.
Created by Intelligent Change, The Five-Minute Journal utilizes the principles of positive psychology to improve happiness. This tool guides users to start and end their days with purposeful reflection, all within just five minutes.
The journal prompts you with some simple yet powerful questions in the morning and evening that enable you to start your day with clarity and end it with a sense of fulfillment and learning.
Every morning, the journal nudges you to ask yourself:
- What am I grateful for? (list 3 things)
- What would make today great? (list 3 things)
- Daily affirmation: I am…(fill in the blank)
These questions cultivate a sense of gratitude, help you set intentions for the day, and boost your self-confidence. Beginning the day on a positive note, acknowledging the good in life, and visualizing what would make the day productive are the first steps to transforming your life one day at a time.
Before you close out your day, the journal asks you to reflect on:
- What were 3 amazing things that happened today?
- How could I have made today even better?
These questions help you focus on the positive aspects of your day, no matter how small, and also to learn from the events of the day. This practice of daily review can be an extraordinary catalyst for personal growth.
The Benefits of “The Five-Minute Journal”
While the benefits of maintaining a gratitude journal are well-established, “The Five-Minute Journal” takes it a step further by pairing gratitude with intention-setting and self-affirmations, all grounded in positive psychology.
It’s an efficient tool for those seeking an easy, structured method of reflection that won’t feel like a chore or take up a large chunk of your day. With just five minutes in the morning and evening, you can start to see shifts in your perspective, an improvement in your daily mood, and a greater sense of clarity in your life.
“The Five-Minute Journal” is an invitation to pause, a gentle reminder that despite our hectic lives, we can still dedicate a few minutes each day to our mental health and self-improvement. If you’re interested in reaping these benefits and more, you can find the journal here on Amazon.
Remember, the journey of self-improvement starts with a single step. Let that step be grabbing your copy of “The Five-Minute Journal”. It’s time to unleash the power of daily introspection. Happy journaling!
Question for Discussion
Do you have any go-to daily journaling questions? Please share them!
If you’re fidgety like me, try out one of these ONO Rollers. You’ll be glad you did! amzn.to/3NS1Sda
“Agile was made for developers, and not developers for Agile.” (Develation 2:27)
“Always buy the very best tool you can afford.” ~ Essential Craftsman
100 tools everyone should own! Check out this great list from Essential Craftsman: www.essentialcraftsman.com
What’s your favorite tool? It can be anything that makes your life easier, better, etc.!