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Archive for the ‘psychology & behavior’ Category

How can I find my passion?

Posted by Matthias on October 3, 2019

If you need to “find” your passion it’s quite likely you simply don’t have one.

Highly creative people are the ones who really need a passion in order to feel alive, and they usually know this as a fact since when they’re kids. They identify quite early in life what drives them, and you can’t really separate them from it. Be it making music, painting, building companies, doing research…

If you don’t have such a burning drive to do something specific, it means that you’ve reached adulthood being exposed to a lot of things and never identified anything that triggered it. Unlikely. At this point, you should do some introspection and find out why you think you should even have it. Are you just following a (very American) cultural stereotype, something someone else told you that you’re supposed to have, based on nothing but motivational speaking?

Most people seem to find their meaning and happiness in the sense of belonging to a community, in having children, and in helping other people (which is the reason why, as PayScale surveys show every year, the jobs in the healthcare sector are virtually the only ones where >80% workers state they think their job is meaningful to the world).
Try volunteering and working for something community-based, and see if your feeling of lacking something (that you think is “a passion”) decreases or not.

Also, I recommend reading the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You. It makes the case, supporting it with logic and evidence, that what most people call “passion” is actually just something they’ve become masters at.
Mastery makes you love what you do, because it makes you feel competent, needed, and in control.
But maybe saying “work seriously on something complex for 10 years and you’ll have a passion” is a less marketable concept to the masses than suggesting them they’ll find one under a rock while they’re hiking…

Posted in food for thought, life choices, psychology & behavior | Leave a Comment »

After 4 years of trying something and utterly failing, how do I bounce back from depression and purposelessness?

Posted by Matthias on October 3, 2019

  1. Focus on the answer to “what is the alternative?”. Explore what are your alternative options if you don’t keep trying. Then try to visualize your future self in the various scenarios that will happen after you take those alternative paths. Maybe you’ll find a scenario you like, most likely you won’t.
  2. Take a bold, radical move that you previously did not try or even consider (ex. changing country). If you feel like you have now nothing to lose, this is the perfect time you should go big. Shock yourself with a big change, you’ll avoid numbness.

P.S. I strongly recommend reading the book A Guide to Rational Living. It’s highly likely your mind is cluttered with self-defeating ruminations and anxieties. Reading this very accessible classic of cognitive behavioral therapy can work wonders for your mental health as a detox.

Posted in food for thought, generic stuff, life choices, psychology & behavior | Leave a Comment »

Which culture drinks the most tea?

Posted by Matthias on October 3, 2019

Rather than focusing on the raw volume of tea consumed, which just ends up being a chart of all “tea countries” just ordered by their own population volume (thus nothing insightful), a more interesting measure to answer the question is tea consumption per capita.

And, in this case, the winners are Turkey and Ireland, the only two countries in the world where over 2 kg of tea get consumed per capita every year.

UK, Russia, Morocco, New Zealand, Chile, Egypt, Poland and Japan are also heavy tea drinkers, each of them with between 1 and 2 kg consumed annually per capita.

China consumes just 0.6 kg, and India a quite average 0.3 kg.

Complete list can be found here.

Posted in psychology & behavior | Leave a Comment »

What should we do to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship?

Posted by Matthias on October 3, 2019

William Nordhaus, the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics co-winner, wrote a paper in 2004, “Schumpeterian Profits in the American Economy: Theory and Measurement“, in which he shows how 98% of the value produced by technological advancements over the 1948-2001 period in USA has been captured by consumers, and only 2% by the producers.

This means that, for every 1$ an innovator makes in profit, society as a whole gains 50$.

Which, in turns, means certain career choices are actually still extremely under-rewarded compared to how positive their outcome is for the whole society.
(For a more in-depth analysis of this dynamic, I recommend reading The New Geography of Jobs)

How can we make things better and stimulate more innovation? By treating its value more correctly.
A good start would be making this information mainstream knowledge and putting it at the center of the mainstream discourse. Innovators deserve much higher levels of social status and social recognition, if anything.

Other good steps would be to improve access to credit as much as possible, be smart with taxation, be smart with labor market laws, have a robust safety net for the innovators who fail, etc. But these conditions by themselves are not going to magically create innovation, if the culture and the public discourse are not correctly oriented first.

Posted in business, economics, psychology & behavior | Leave a Comment »

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