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Question Yourself: What a Common Play in Basketball Teaches Us About Ourselves

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If you’ve ever played or watched basketball, you know this play. The scramble for the loose ball. A player deflects a pass. Shawn Bradley [that lanky dude from Space Jam] is awkward, as per usual, and drops a pass thrown his way. A player dribbles the ball off of their own foot.

Two players from opposing teams scramble for it. Neither gains control of the ball yet both appear to have hit it. The trajectory of the ball is somehow altered and is sent careening out of bounds.

Neither player claims responsibility and both parties immediately launch into an over-the-top performative and surprisingly unnecessarily animated game of finger-pointing. Both players are suggesting that the other is at fault for the ball being sent out of play, each making the case for their team retaining possession.

Back when I played, there were more than a few times where I knew it was out off of me but I still plead my case. I’d wildly flail my appendages and point in the opposing team’s direction, loudly yelling about how it was off of the other player. However, maybe there’s actually something to this. Maybe we can actually learn about our own perception of the events in our lives because of a loose ball in basketball.

Are these players lying? Are they certain the ball went out off of them but pretending it didn’t to gain a competitive advantage? Or do they actually think it went out off of their opponent? Do two competitors participating in the same play experience it differently?

Much to my delight, researchers at Arizona State University who found themselves with way too much time on their hands somehow managed to get themselves paid to figure that out. Their findings were published in Science Advances.

Don’t Trust Your Perception

Ty Tang, a doctoral candidate in cognitive science, says that, in general, our subjective experience [“he touched it last!”] of an objective event [a loose ball that two players are chasing] is not trustworthy. ‘It’s very possible that people experience two different orders of events, two different experiences of reality, even though they experienced the same event.”

To test this, he ran three different experiments with ASU students. In the first, he had students sit across from one another with a divider between them. The divider had a slot for their hands and when a light flashed, each person tapped the other. They then indicated who they thought tapped first.

Most people perceived their touch as happening first. He then replaced the second human with a mechanically operated switch and got similar results. In the final experiment, they removed the element of touch and replaced it with a clicking sound. People still thought their touch happened before the click.

This bias makes sense in competitive situations. Coming back to the loose ball: it’s advantageous to believe that you touched it before your opponent indicating that they touched it last and your team should have possession. But what about outside of that?

“I have been up against tough competition all my life; I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.” – Walt Disney

What does this mean for us?

I’m still not convinced this wasn’t all just a thinly veiled excuse for a doctoral student to write a paper about basketball – but there’s interesting implications for our own understanding of reality.

Tang suggests this bias might be a result of our proclivity for attempting to predict what’s going to happen in our world and trying to build a mental model of reality before things have actually occurred.

First, we can learn to distrust our own judgments of events that have occurred. This doesn’t mean we should walk around in a constant haze of doubt, second-guessing everything that has happened to us. That wouldn’t get us anywhere, except maybe in an asylum. Instead, what we can do, is use the knowledge that our own perception is limited and biased as a launchpad for examining other ways of being in and seeing the world.

We can also entertain the idea that someone else’s perspective on an event is not only a valid interpretation but is equally as “real,” especially to them, as our own. This leads us to our second important takeaway.

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” – John C. Maxwell

Tang says, “Sometimes people actually do have different experiences of what happened and they’re not lying – they might have actually just experienced it that way. We can be more sensitive to other people’s perspectives. He says that “we really just want people to be more understanding of other people’s perspectives.”

These findings can facilitate a deeper understanding of our world and the perceptions that shape as well as develop a deeper empathy towards one another. Or maybe it was all just a clever ruse for a bored, overworked and underpaid grad student to write about basketball.

Tang ends his discussion with this: “We have identified what may be a principal cause of arguments in ballgames, and it’s about time.” Get it?

How do you handle conflict caused by a differing of opinions or perspectives? Share your tactics below!

Kyle Bowe is a blogger and entrepreneur. He blogs about all things personal development and human potential. The central question he tries to answer through his work is “What does it mean to live on purpose?” He is the host of the Aligned Influence podcast where he discusses entrepreneurship and personal transformation with entrepreneurs, dreamers and doers. You can find him online at his website or sign up for his newsletter here.

Life

These 7 Daily Resolutions Can Change Your Life

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We all strive to be better every day. Most of us want a new day to bring something new, and we plan for it as well. Of course, the execution is debatable as procrastination is real and it becomes an overwhelming feeling at times. Also, not to forget the customary practice of making resolutions on new year’s eve!  All of us are fascinated by the thought of preparing long lists of resolves to mark the beginning of a new year. Not sure how many people are able to translate these resolutions into functional realities. (more…)

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4 Reasons Why Content Is Pivotal For Mental Health Healing

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One of the most important things for an entrepreneur’s mental health is expressing their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. This is where content creation and writing becomes pivotal. Whether you read something that resonates with you or you write a compelling blog post, the act of expressing yourself through content can help to put a smile on your face and make you feel better about things.

Most entrepreneurs don’t spend as much time taking care of their mental health as they should. Over the course of your career, you will experience a lot of ups and downs; these emotions have the potential to take a toll on your mind and body if you don’t learn to manage them properly.

Here are four reasons why expression through content is pivotal for healing, slowing yourself down, and giving yourself grace when the going gets tough.

1. Content can be a form of self-expression

When you are an entrepreneur, you frequently face feelings of insecurity, doubt, fear, apathy, and exhaustion, just to name a few. Some days it feels like no one is on your business’s side and everyone else has it all figured out. On those days some of us try to look at our website’s analytics to cheer up. 

But an even more freeing task is creating content. You create content to improve your business and reach more people’s lives. But, there is something special that happens when you write with the intention of expressing your thoughts and feelings — you open a door to yourself. 

Content is inherently personal, which means content creators open themselves up when they share their thoughts on a platform. Everything from the title of the post, the keywords they choose to include, and even the content itself helps you to understand who the author of that post truly is. And as an entrepreneur, this can be an important experience because it allows others to empathize with you.

2. Self-reflection will lift you up

As you think through what to write about and how to express yourself, the process of self reflection is a valuable step you need to go through. You’re able to reflect on the blessings you have, assess what you learned from the negative experiences, and create a plan on how to maintain the positive experiences you’ve had. 

There are a few ways that self reflection can help you with mental health healing. The act of reflecting on your experiences helps to create clarity in feelings, thoughts and emotions which will eventually lead into acceptance for what has happened or is happening currently without feeling overwhelmed by it all. This process also leads people towards finding new things they enjoy doing. Self reflection is therapeutic and can be implemented anytime you feel the need to overcome overwhelm.

“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” – Hal Elrod

3. A sense of belonging and camaraderie

It is important to have a support network of people who will listen and understand what you are going through. When you post a blog or upload a video on YouTube, there are others who feel the same way and experience a sense of connection with you.

When you put time, attention and thoughtfulness into your writing, it is amazing when someone reads what you’ve written and comments on it thanking you or expressing how they resonate with what you’re going through. It’s hard to put into words how powerful it feels when someone who has gone through the same experience and reads your words then reaches out.  There is power in expression but miracles happen when people bond over a similar experience.

4. Library of content to share with more people

It can be very difficult to know what content to share with people as the symptoms of mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, etc.) vary from person to person. But as you accumulate more and more content, this will increase the number of articles or videos available for readers to choose from depending on their specific purpose. It also builds your personal library of resources you’re able to share to different people you encounter or engage directly with.

As chaotic and distracting social media can be, it can also be a beacon of hope with the right content. Many people share viral posts, or content that interest them. Since your content is valuable and personal, the more you share it, the more likely it is to be shared with the right audience.

You never know who is watching (reading)

Your content is speaking to someone and even though they may not be actively engaged, their experiences with your work are impacting them. Think about the last time you watched TV: did everyone in the room have something entertaining to say? 

You never know who’s watching because there’s always somebody reading your posts or viewing your videos-even if they just skim through it briefly. This is why creating content worth consuming is critical, not only to get you out of your funk, but also to serve your audience.  Be authentic and stay true to yourself; make every post count as an opportunity for connection with your best self and for potential readers to bond with you.

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Life

5 Ways To Invest In Yourself and Change Your Life

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Warren Buffett once said, the best investment you can ever make is in yourself. Time and money spent on bettering yourself are never considered a waste. Whether it’s through learning how to make money online, exploring new ways to increase your financial security, or watching TED talks to expand your knowledge. Do not be stingy when it comes to self-improvement because it will definitely pay off in the end. 

Need some ideas to get started on your journey to becoming a better you? Here are 5 ways to invest in yourself and transform your life. 

1. Change Your Self-Concept

Having a negative self-concept can have a tremendous impact on your life. Limiting beliefs and self-doubt are some of the main reasons why many never achieve or attempt to pursue their dreams. Take a moment and think about all the negative thoughts you have repeated to yourself throughout your life. How have these thoughts impacted the way you live life? From now on, create a new self-image by turning these negative thoughts into positive ones and appreciate your good qualities. 

2. Sign Up For An Online Course

If you’ve been wanting to brush up on your Photoshop skills or learn how to code professionally, this is the perfect time to get started. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can access an endless amount of valuable information online. For example, sites like Coursera and Youtube are both awesome resources for online learning. With a few search strings and clicks, you can find all the information you need. 

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.” – Robin Sharma

3. Learn From a Mentor

No matter which stage of your life you are currently in, working with a mentor can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. Not only can they guide you in the right direction, but also transform your vision, provide you with new insights, and connect you with amazing resources. If you’re feeling unmotivated or unsure about what you want to do in life, consider finding a mentor to help you navigate this process. 

4. Start A Side Hustle

The salary from a 9-5 job would rarely allow you to reach your maximum income potential. Why not achieve financial success while pursuing your passion by starting a side hustle? Whether it’s through starting an ecommerce business, freelance writing on the side, or starting a Youtube channel. There are infinite numbers of ways to make money, and there is bound to be one out there that fits your passion and skills. 

5. Nourish Your Body

As many may say, “health is the new wealth”. Without a healthy and functioning body, living a fulfilling and comfortable life becomes difficult. To take care of your body and prioritize your wellbeing, start with small habits such as eating healthier foods and exercising regularly. Bike or walk to work instead of taking the car, and opt for a healthy protein bowl instead of greasy burgers at Burger King. With time, these small habits can make an incredible difference.

Check out the infographic below, to see more ways you can invest in yourself:

home-electrification

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Life

How to Turn Inward and Detox Your Mind

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When we are overwhelmed by confusion, our psyche tries to establish certainty to alleviate our discomfort. This is usually accomplished by mentally imagining and acting out a plot. Unfortunately, much of the time, we mentally visualize pessimistic (or worst-case scenario) scenarios to provide certainty. (more…)

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