Thinking Toys #14 — Implementation Intentions

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Coming up with goals that feel worth achieving can be a struggle in an of itself. Unfortunately, merely formulating a desirable goal is rarely enough to succeed. The next critical step is planning the implementation. Forming implementation intentions helps with this. In 

Thinking Toys #13 — Miracle Question

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Is there something in your life or work that you’ve been trying to solve but can’t seem to make progress on? Perhaps it even seems impossible. Try posing the miracle question… Imagine you wake up tomorrow morning and a miracle 

Reason as Attentional Prosthesis

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  What are we doing when thinking, or reasoning?   Often, thinking is goal-directed. There is some outcome we are trying to achieve or problem we are trying to solve. In hindsight, answers often seem obvious. “Why didn’t I think 

Thinking Toys #12 — Granularizing

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Sometimes we’ll have a big goal that we’re excited about but can’t seem to make progress on. It can be so big and important that we feel overwhelmed by the enormity of it. Making a plan seems like the prudent 

Thinking Toys #11 — Self-Decomposition

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  When was the last time that you were examining an issue and noticed yourself becoming emotional? Maybe it was something like anger or frustration. Or it was a voice telling you how stupid you were or how obvious something 

Thinking Toys #10 — Bargaining

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  Do you notice yourself waffling between different approaches to a  problem? Half-assing two strategies and not making the kind of progress that seems possible? This can feel like stuckness or indecision between two paths. Sometimes it’s experienced as a 

Thinking Toys #9 — Undichotomizing

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  Pick a choice you made this week where you felt tension or indecision over which option to take. Perhaps you saw two approaches and neither of them seemed more appealing than the other. They both had their drawbacks. Or 

Thinking Toys #8 — Curiosity

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  There are parts of the world that don’t make sense. Some of these also generate a strong emotional reaction. People exist that hold very different beliefs from us. But can we say that we understand their perspectives? A common 

Parts in Conflict

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Internal conflict is a staple of human experience. In fact, it seems our mental dynamics oscillate between Flow and Conflict. Flow feels like a dissolution of self — of a critic or observer — and as immersion in an activity. 

Thinking Toys #7 — Action Echoes

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  Think ahead to the next few days and find an upcoming situation where you expect to face temptation. Specifically, an urge that often leads to involuntary action that you don’t like. Something where it feels like in the long-run 

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