“The simplest answer is usually the correct one.”
A favorite rule of thumb of mine is Occam’s Razor, which was developed by William of Ockham in the 13th century. To summarize, it means when trying to understand why something occurs, don’t make the answer more complex than necessary. The simplest or most obvious solution is more often the best choice.
This principle is not bulletproof and does not apply to everything. But I think it serves as a reminder not to complicate things for ourselves beyond necessity. You can read examples of Occam’s Razor applied to real life situations here. A favorite story of mine, the Russian/American space pen myth also demonstrates applying it to problem-solving, although it is not true:
When NASA started sending astronauts into space, they quickly discovered that ball-point pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat this problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion developing a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside-down, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 300 C. The Russians used a pencil.
Seeing and understanding the world clearly leads to better decisions and better living. Remembering Occam’s Razor can help us cut away complexity whenever life confuses us.
Everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life and a secret life. – Gabriel García Márquez
The internet is what we project onto it. We humans have biases and goals to represent ourselves and our causes or beliefs in the best way possible. We also like to make our wins public, while usually keeping our losses private. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but recognize it’s there and don’t let it get you down. And maybe try projecting more positive things into our collective knowledge ecosystem. 🙂
If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself. – Rollo May
The act of highest honor in life is creation. Every time we create, we step closer towards self-actualization. It is up to each of us to explore this world, seek out the works of those who have come before us, and expand on it with our own vision.
Whether running a business, career, art, science or any hobbies – are you a consumer or a creator? It is ok to consume, but is that all you are doing? Or, are you pursuing the things that make life worth living for you and trying to improve them by injecting your own individuality?
I go to music, computer programming and writing to find my acts of creation. Every human needs to create. When we create, we look outward at the world, bring the things we like into ourselves, give it our own spin and put it it back into the world. Regardless of the output, an attempt at this process is honorable in all cases. (Unless, for example, you are trying to improve on technologies that will kill other humans.)
The process of creating can be tough, but we usually feel happier afterwards. Think about what excites you most. What are you going to create?
I spend a lot of time pondering expectations. Why? Because I think a lot of our unhappiness due the inevitability of reality not meeting up with our expectations. It’s important to realize that sometimes, things aren’t going to go how we want. When we release from our expectations and just take things as they come, we’re happier.
I do think that a positive mindset helps to achieve the best outcomes. However, when we expect too much of ourselves and others, it makes us discontent, whether subconsciously or consciously (when we’re visibly unhappy). So what’s the key? Manage your expectations carefully and let yourself be happy regardless of the outcome.
Looking at our world in 2017, there doesn’t seem to be much to be positive about. However, my driving philosophy revolves around optimism, education, and keeping a positive outlook. I think it’s important to keep a positive mind frame for ourselves and to lift up our fellow humans.
Back in 2014, I created a Facebook page called Positive Thoughts Daily. I began posting the things I read and found interesting there after I discovered the Positive Psychology movement. I was very excited about the ideas presented by Martin Seligman, a Harvard professor who is considered by many to be the father of the field of modern Positive Psychology. The main premise of positive psych is that our ideas and expectations of how we will perform and achieve our goals does actually affect our ability to achieve them. By creating the mindset that we will succeed, we are more likely to do the “undo-able”. Another book I read around this time that got me jazzed about Positive Psychology was “One Simple Idea” by Mitch Horowitz.
Another great series of videos comes from a Harvard professor named Tal Ben-Shahar. 22 lectures of his class, Positive Psychology 1504, are posted to YouTube for anyone to watch. You can find the first lecture here.
It’s been almost 3 years since I started posting to the PTD Facebook page, and I have decided it’s time to begin writing my own thoughts so I’m going to post them here.
My promise for Positive Thoughts Daily is: “Bringing you one inspiring thought (almost) every day with an edge of philosophy, psychology or anything that’s interesting.”, so the thoughts on this blog will echo that in some ways. I’ve chosen the name “Intellectual Positivity” for this blog because I believe a positive attitude, based on the ideas of the greatest thinkers in human history is a great foundation to live a good life and I want to share it with others! We’ll see how it goes 🙂 Thanks for reading!