It is not true that you can do anything you set your mind to. It is a lie that with hard work and perseverance, you can achieve your dream. And it’s better for you to know this: wanting something with all your heart does not mean you’re good enough at it. Letting go of a dream because it cannot be yours is not failing.
Confidence is a reduction of your own interest in whether others are thinking about you and if so, what they’re thinking. Put another way, to be more confident you need to give a whole lot less of a shit about what other people think of you.
the criteria that a person applies to judging a bit of knowledge are not necessarily criteria for truth, but merely and genuinely criteria for usefulness.
What are we promoting in society? Well-behaved automatons that spew back what they learned in a book. That's not science. You can get a parrot to do that.
A mental model is never finished. Great performers not only possess highly developed mental models, they are also always expanding and revising those models.
A nudge, as we will use the term, is any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people's behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid.
How we see ourselves plays a significant role in what we end up becoming. The selfish view of the self is not only unflattering, it is also a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Of all the status obsessions that preoccupy our elites, none is quite so prominent as the obsession with smartness. Intelligence is the core value of the meritocracy, one that stretches back to the early years of standardized testing, when the modern-day SAT descended from early IQ tests. To call a member of the elite “brilliant” is to pay that person the highest compliment. Intelligence is a... vitally necessary characteristic for those with powerful positions. But it isn’t just a celebration of smartness that characterizes the culture of meritocracy. It’s something more pernicious: a Cult of Smartness in which intelligence is the chief virtue, along with a conviction that smartness is rankable and that the hierarchy of intelligence, like the hierarchy of wealth, never plateaus. In a society as stratified as our own, this is a seductive conclusion to reach. Since there are people who make $500,000, $5 million and $5 billion all within the same elite, perhaps there are leaps equal to such orders of magnitude in cognitive ability as well.
The idea is pretty basic: Everyone in the room should be there for a reason. There’s no such thing as a “mercy invitation.” Either you’re critical to the meeting or you’re not. It’s nothing personal, just business.
We’ve all been there: we open up too much on a date, or tell a personal story at a dinner party, or write a heartfelt blog that feels hideously raw when we look back at it a week later and rush to delete it. We’re gripped by regret, and vow to keep a lid on it next time. After all, nobody likes an over-sharer. Have some decorum. We feel the regret because we’re taught that vulnerability is something we should be ashamed of.
The direct decision maker perceives a direct connection between intentions and outcomes; the oblique decision maker believes that the intention is neither necessary nor sufficient to secure the outcome. The direct problem solver reviews all possible outcomes; the oblique problem solver chooses from a much more limited set. The direct problem solver assembles all available information; the oblique... decision maker recognizes the limits of his or her knowledge. The direct decision maker maximizes his or her objectives; the oblique decision maker adapts continuously. The direct problem solver can always find an explanation for his or her choices; the oblique problem solver sometimes just finds the right answer. The direct decision maker believes that order is the production of a directing mind; the oblique decision maker recognizes that order often emerges spontaneously — no one fully grasps it. The direct problem solver insists on consistency, on always treating the problem in the same way; the oblique problem solver never encounters exactly the same problem twice. The direct decision maker emphasizes the importance of rationality of process; the oblique decision maker believes that decision making is inherently subjective and prefers to emphasize good judgment.
The kind of trust that is necessary to build a great team is what I call vulnerability-based trust. This is what happens when members get to a point where they are completely comfortable being transparent, honest, and naked with one another, where they say and genuinely mean things like “I screwed up,” “I need help,” “Your idea is better than mine,” “I wish I could learn to do that as well as you do,” and even, “I’m sorry.
That's been a necessary system: In a world where students are abundant and teachers are relatively scarce, grouping students into units has been a matter of industrial efficiency. It would be not only impractical, but also pretty much impossible, to create a learning model that, rather than being standardized, revolved around the individualized needs of individual students. So we've done our best with what we've had.
Another simple old-fashioned way to boost your willpower is to expend a little of it on neatness. As we describe in Chapter 7, people exert less self-control after seeing a messy desk than after seeing a clean desk, or when using a sloppy rather than a neat and well-organized Web site. You may not care about whether your bed is made and your desk is clean, but these environmental cues subtly influence your brain and your behavior, making it ultimately less of a strain to maintain self-discipline. Order seems to be contagious.
The first third of the session tends to produce mundane, everyone-has-thought-of-them-before ideas. These are the early thoughts that are very close to the surface of our consciousness...The second third of a good brainstorming session produces ideas that begin to stretch boundaries..The third third is where the diamond are.
When I made Dune, I didn’t have final cut. It was a huge, huge sadness, because I felt I had sold out, and on top of that, the film was a failure at the box office. If you do what you believe in and have a failure, that’s one thing: you can still live with yourself. But if you don’t, it’s like dying twice. It’s very, very painful.
The page-a-day folks had done well and generally gotten tenure. The so-called "binge writers" fared less well, and many had had their careers cut short. The clear implication was that the best advice for young writers and aspiring professors is: Write every day. Use your self-control to form a daily habit, and you'll produce more with less effort in the long run."
But when we eliminate uncertainty, we necessarily eliminate novelty. And novelty is the starting point for creation and innovation. In eliminating uncertainty, we kill our shot at brilliance. We become derivative. All in the name of not having to learn to live with butterflies.
Isolated positive deviants coexist in communities that operate like robins. A few may discover successful strategies to cope with difficult problems. But in the absence of a social process to disseminate innovation and incorporate it into the group repertoire, discovery bears few progeny.