The Brown M&M’s Principle: How Small Details Can Help Discover Big Issues

  The brown M&M’s principle is the idea that small details can sometimes serve as useful indicators of big issues. This principle is named after a rock band (Van Halen), who had a “brown M&M’s clause” in their contracts with event organizers, stipulating that the organizers must provide M&M’s in the backstage area, but that …

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How to Make Decisions: A Guide for When You Can’t Choose

  Making decisions is a crucial part of life, but many people struggle to make decisions, in one way or another. Some people, for example, are naturally indecisive, and therefore struggle to make decisions in a timely manner, even when it comes to trivial things, such as choosing what to eat for dinner. Other people, on …

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Why It’s Hard to Make Decisions (Especially Good, Fast Ones)

  Making decisions is often hard, and making good decisions quickly is even harder. Accordingly, many people struggle when it comes to making big life-alternating decisions, such as which college to go to or what career path to pursue. Furthermore, some people also struggle with other types of decisions, from somewhat important decisions, such as …

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Reverse Psychology: Getting People to Do Something By Asking for the Opposite

  Reverse psychology is a manipulation technique that involves getting people to do something by prompting them to do the opposite. Reverse psychology can take various forms, such as forbidding the target behavior, questioning the person’s ability to perform the target behavior, and encouraging the opposite of the target behavior. For example, a parent might …

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The Napoleon Technique: Postponing Things to Increase Productivity

  The Napoleon technique is a productivity technique that involves postponing dealing with something, if there is a good chance that it will get properly resolved without your immediate input. For example, based on the Napoleon technique, you could decide to wait a day before replying to emails that ask for your advice on non-urgent …

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Double Standards: What They Are and How to Respond to Them

  A double standard is a principle or policy that is applied in a different manner to similar things, without proper justification. Essentially, this means that a double standard occurs when two or more things, such as individuals or groups, are treated differently, when they should be treated the same way. For example, a double …

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Hubris: The Dangers of Excessive Pride and Confidence

  Hubris is a personality trait that involves excessive pride, confidence, and self-importance. Accordingly, hubristic individuals tend to overestimate things such as their abilities, knowledge, importance, and likelihood of success. For example, a hubristic person might believe that they’re never wrong, that they’re guaranteed to succeed in all their ventures, or that they deserve to …

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The Fundamental Attribution Error: When People Underestimate Situational Factors

  The fundamental attribution error is a cognitive bias that causes people to underestimate the influence of environment-based situational factors on people’s behavior, and to overestimate the influence of personality-based dispositional factors. Essentially, this means that the fundamental attribution error causes people to assume that other people’s actions are less affected by their environment than they …

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Virtue Signaling: When People Try to Show Their Goodness

  Virtue signaling is the act of speaking or behaving in a way that’s meant to demonstrate one’s good moral values. For example, if a person widely proclaims on social media that they strongly support a certain cause, just because they want to show others how caring they are, that person is virtue signaling. Virtue …

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