How Biased Are You?

Our Perception and Our Anxiety

Your brain has 100 billion neurons, 100 trillion connections and you only command 5% of it.

The human brain is a natural wonder. It produces more than 50,000 thoughts each day and 100,000 chemical reactions each second. With this amount of processing power, you might think you are not that biased, but you are and we all are.

Cognitive bias is the way our mind skews our thinking or decisions. If you look up cognitive bias on Wikipedia, there is a list of over a hundred. Some social psychologists believe our cognitive biases help us to process information more efficiently, especially in dangerous situations. The problem is these biases still happen when we are not in danger and can often lead to serious errors in judgment. For example, you tend to look for information that confirms your beliefs and ignore information that challenges them. This is called confirmation bias. The contents of your bookshelf and bookmarks in your Web browser are a direct result of it.

Another component of our mind; Logical fallacies which are like math problems involving language, you skip a step or get turned around without realizing it. They are arguments in your mind where you reach a conclusion without all the facts because you don’t care to hear them or have no idea how limited your information is. Logical fallacies can also be the result of wishful thinking.

Researchers have found that only one in every 166 people believes they are more biased than the average person. It is what’s called the bias blind spot. It is the tendency to see ourselves as less biased than other people.

Let’s explore some of the most common types of cognitive biases and logical fallacies that rooted themselves in our lives. Awareness is the best way to beat these biases, so pay careful attention to how they influence you.

1) In-group & Out-group Bias:

Brazil’s soccer fan about Argentina’s soccer fans –

There is a joke about an old man who was a lifelong fan and supporter of the Brazil. When his doctor told him he was about to die he stop supporting Brazil, and became a fan and supporter of Argentina, which is Brazil’s worst and most hated rival. When asked “why change your support from Brazil to Argentina just before you die?” he replied “it’s better one of them dying than one of us”.

Why does this matter?  Well, because it’s a pretty well documented fact that people get angry over sports.  People often find themselves getting too riled up when things don’t go their way, and while there isn’t much evidence to support the claim that domestic violence rates increase on football/soccer game days, football/soccer has been known to lead to fights between fans of rival teams and accidental property damage (e.g., a broken TV) when things don’t go your way.

Decades of social psychological research has clearly demonstrated what is called the in-group, out-group bias. We identify with “our team” and our team’s fans (the in-group) and come to despise the other team and their fans (the out-group). This is the heart of sports rivalry. Research has shown that fans’ self-esteem rises with victories and falls with defeat.

The concept originally described by famous psychologist and professor of Stanford University, Robert Cialdini and relevant to sports viewership, is the tendency of people to bask in the reflected glory (BIRG) of successful others.  You often hear this in the language they use to discuss their favorite team.  Fans respond to victory by saying “we” won, “we” played great, and who do “we” play next.  Even though they themselves have done nothing concrete to have earned the victory, they still see themselves as part of the team and, therefore, partially responsible for the victory.  Sports enthusiasts are not the only people who BIRG.  We see it amongst political supporters, in the workplace, amongst teenagers trying to identify with popular kids, and other groups.

Anytime a sporting event is decided by just a few points, it’s easy to find controversy or some reason why the outcome was not fair or deserved. Ambiguous calls by officials, poor play by a player, or poor coaching all fall into the category of reasons why a team “should” have won and otherwise “would” have won.  It all feeds into the feeling that the desired outcome was taken from the fan and gives the fan a specific target to be angry with (e.g., coach, referees).

Finally, for some, the outcome of the game has actual consequences.  Typically, these consequences are manufactured by the person ahead of time through gambling, fantasy football/soccer, or even just through banter with a friend who supports the opposition (i.e., “smack talk”).  For such people, the outcome has very real financial or social implications and it is easy to have an emotional reaction to the idea of lost money or damaged pride.

As you might quickly realize, in-group bias can have serious real-world implications. Such attitudes often contribute to prejudice and even hostility toward out-group members. Children often experience bullying, loneliness, and exclusion thanks to the in-group bias as kids form small groups often referred to as cliques. In the workplace, people might find themselves favoring certain people who are part of their unit or work group. Sometimes these effects are just minor, but in some cases they can have a serious impact on how we interact with others and even how we see ourselves. On a larger scale, the in-group bias can contribute to major conflict between groups of people. Each group labels out-group members as the enemy, leading to arguments, strife, and even war.

2) Priming: When a stimulus in the past affects the way you behave and think or the way you perceive another stimulus later on, it is called priming. Every perception, no matter is you consciously notice, sets off a chain of related ideas in your neural network. For example, Pencils make you think of eraser/pens. Blackboards make you think of classrooms. Muslims make you think of terrorist. It happens to you all the time, and though you are unaware, it changes the way you behave.

3) Confirmation Bias: Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out information that supports our pre-existing beliefs. In other words, we form an opinion first and then seek out evidence to back it up, rather than basing our opinions on facts. For example, if you are thinking about buying a particular make (Hyundai or Toyota) of new car, you suddenly see people driving that car all over the roads. If you just ended a long-time relationship, every song you hear seems to be written about love. If you are having a baby, you start to see babies everywhere!

4) Hindsight Bias: You often look back on the things you have just learned and assume you knew them or believed them all along. For example, “I knew they were going to lose”; “I saw this coming”; “I had a feeling you might say that”; How many times have you said something similar and believed it? You tend to edit your memories so you don’t seem like such a dimwit when things happen you couldn’t have predicted. When you learn things you wish you had known all along, you go ahead and assume you did know them. This tendency is just part of being a person, and it is called the Hindsight Bias.

5) Dunning-Kruger Effect: The tendency for unskilled individuals to overestimate their own ability and the tendency for experts to underestimate their own ability. The Dunning-Kruger effect is what makes Britain’s Got Talent, Pop Idol and The X Factor possible. At the local karaoke bar you might be the best singer in the room. Up against the entire country? Not so much.

6) Burden of Proof Fallacy: The burden of proof lies with someone who is making a claim, and is not upon anyone else to disprove. The inability, or disinclination, to disprove a claim does not render that claim valid, nor give it any credence whatsoever. However it is important to note that we can never be certain of anything, and so we must assign value to any claim based on the available evidence, and to dismiss something on the basis that it hasn’t been proven beyond all doubt is also fallacious reasoning.

For example: Lisa believes in ghosts. Mark tells her that there is no evidence that ghosts exist. Lisa tells Mark that there is no evidence that they don’t.

Another example: Many religions believe in a higher power, but few back up the argument with evidence of its existence. Instead, many argue that you can’t prove that a higher power doesn’t exist.

7) Shifting the Burden of Proof: One way in which one would attempt to shift the burden of proof is by committing a logical fallacy known as the argument from ignorance. It occurs when either a proposition is assumed to be true because it has not yet been proved false or a proposition is assumed to be false because it has not yet been proved true.

8) Argument From Ignorance: The misconception is – when you can’t explain something, you focus on what you can prove. But the truth is – when you are unsure of something, you are more likely to accept strange explanations.

This is when you decide something is true or false because you can’t find evidence to the contrary. You don’t know what the truth is, so you assume any explanation is as good as another. Maybe those lights were alien spacecraft, maybe not. You don’t know, so you think the likelihood they were intergalactic visitors is roughly the same as those light being from a helicopter far away. You can’t disprove something you don’t know anything about, and the argument-from-ignorance fallacy can make you feel as though something is possible because you can’t prove otherwise. The same holds true for leprechauns and unicorns, fairies and monsters. These things aren’t more likely just because you can’t prove they don’t exist. Some people think the Holocaust didn’t happen, or human beings never walked on the moon, but there is plenty of evidence for both. People who refuse to believe such things claim they need more evidence before they can change their minds, but no amount of evidence will satisfy them. Any shred of doubt allows them to argue from ignorance.

9) Argument From Authority: The misconception is – you are more concerned with the validity of information than the person delivering it. But the truth is – the status and credentials of an individual greatly influence your perception of that individual’s message.

Insisting that a claim is true simply because a valid authority or expert on the issue said it was true, without any other supporting evidence offered. For exampleAccording to person 1, who is an expert on the issue of Y, Y is true. Therefore, Y is true.

You naturally look to those in power as having something special you lack, a spark of something you would like to see inside yourself. This is why people sometimes subscribe to the beliefs of celebrities who endorse exotic religions or denounce sound medicines.

Another exampleRichard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and perhaps the foremost expert in the field, says that evolution is true. Therefore, it’s true.

Explanation: Richard Dawkins certainly knows about evolution, and he can confidently tell us that it is true, but that doesn’t make it true. What makes it true is the preponderance of evidence for the theory.

If a celebrity footballer tells you to buy a particular brand of batteries, ask yourself if the footballer seems like an expert on electrochemical energy storage units before you take his word.

10) Argument From Popularity: Using the popularity of a premise or proposition as evidence for its truthfulness.  This is a fallacy which is very difficult to spot because our “common sense” tells us that if something is popular, it must be good/true/valid, but this is not so, especially in a society where clever marketing, social and political weight, and money can buy popularity. Also, in argumentation theory, an argument from popularity is a fallacious argument that concludes that a proposition must be true because many or most people believe it, often concisely encapsulated as: “If many believe so, it is so.”

For Example:

  • Nine out of ten people in the United States claim this bill is a bad idea; therefore, this bill is bad for the people.
  • 50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong or 100,000,000 Taylor Swift Fans Can’t Be Wrong.
  • Everyone’s doing it; therefore, it must be good.
  • Everyone thinks God exists. Therefore, God exists.
  • In a court of law, the jury vote by majority; therefore, they will always make the correct decision.
  • Many people buy extended warranties; therefore, it is wise to buy them.
  • Millions of people agree with my viewpoint; therefore, it must be right.
  • The majority of this country voted for this president; therefore, this president must, objectively, be a good President.
  • My family or tribe holds this as a truth; therefore, everyone who disagrees is simply wrong.

11) Circular Reasoning: This is also known as circular logic which is a logical fallacy in which the arguer begins with what they are trying to end with. The components of a circular argument are often logically valid because if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. Circular reasoning is often of the form: “A is true because B is true; B is true because A is true.” Circularity can be difficult to detect if it involves a longer chain of propositions.

For Example: The Bible is the Word of God because God tells us it is…in the Bible.

Explanation: This is a very serious circular argument on which many people base their entire lives.  This is like getting an e-mail from a Nigerian prince, offering to give you his billion dollar fortune — but only after you wire him a “good will” offering of $50,000.  Of course, you are skeptical until you read the final line in the e-mail that reads “I, prince Nubadola, assure you that this is my message, and it is legitimate.  You can trust this e-mail and any others that come from me.”  Now you know it is legitimate because it says so in the e-mail.

12) False Dilemma: A false dilemma is a type of informal fallacy in which something is falsely claimed to be an “either/or” situation, when in fact there is at least one additional option.

A false dilemma can arise intentionally, when a fallacy is used in an attempt to force a choice or outcome. The opposite of this fallacy is false compromise. The false dilemma fallacy can also arise simply by accidental omission of additional options rather than by deliberate deception. For example: “Kim spoke out against capitalism, therefore she must be a communist” (she may be neither capitalist nor communist). “Roger opposed an atheist argument against Islam, so he must be a Muslim” (When it’s assumed the opposition by itself means he’s a Muslim). Roger might be an atheist who disagrees with the logic of some particular argument against Islam. Additionally, it can be the result of habitual tendency, whatever the cause, to view the world with limited sets of options.

13) Brand Loyalty: The misconception is – you prefer the things you own over the things you don’t because you made rational choices when you bought them. But the truth is – you prefer the things you own because you rationalize your past choices to protect your sense of self.

In this 21st century, the Internet changed the way people argue. Check any Facebook post; comment system, forum, or message board and you will find people going at it, debating why their chosen product is better than the other guy’s. Coke vs. Pepsi, Hyundai vs. Toyota, Coles vs. Woolworths,Nikon vs. Canon, Mac vs. PC, iPhone vs. Android – it goes on and on. Usually, these arguments are between men, because men will defend their ego no matter how slight the insult. When someone always argue or writes a dozen paragraphs online defending his favorite thing or slandering a competitor, he is quickly branded as a ‘Fanboy’. If the product is unnecessary, there is great chance the customer will become a fanboy because he had to choose to spend a big chunk of money on it, It is the choosing of one thing over another that leads to narratives about why you did it, which usually tie in to your self-image.

14) The Just-World Fallacy: The misconception is – people who are losing at the game of life must have done something to deserve it. But the truth is – the beneficiaries of good fortune often do nothing to earn it, and bad people often get away with their actions without consequences.

It is common in fiction for the bad guys to lose and the good guys to win. This is how you would like to see the world – just and fair. In psychology, the tendency to believe that this is how the real world works is called the just-world fallacy. This is the tendency to react to horrible misfortune, like homelessness or drug addiction, by believing the people stuck in these situations must have done something to deserve it. The just-world fallacy helps you to build a false sense of security. You want to feel in control, so you assume as long as you avoid bad behavior, you won’t be harmed. You feel safer when you believe those who engage in bad behavior end up to the street, or pregnant, or addicted, or raped.

You have heard that what goes around comes around, or maybe you have seen a person get what was coming to them and thought, “That’s karma for you.” You want to believe those who work hard and sacrifice get ahead and those who are lazy and cheat do not. This, of course, is not always true. Success is often greatly influenced by when you were born, where you grew up, the socioeconomic status of your family, and random chance. All the hard work in the world can’t change those initial factors.

15) The Straw Man Fallacy: The misconception is – when you argue, you try to stick to the facts. But the truth is – in any argument, anger will tempt you to re-frame your opponent’s position.

 When you are losing an argument, you often use a variety of deceptive techniques to bolster your opinion. You aren’t trying to be sneaky, but the human mind tends to follow predictable patterns when you get angry with other people and do battle with words. It works like this: When you get into an argument about either something personal or something more public and abstract, you sometimes resort to constructing a character who you find easier to refute, argue, and disagree with, or you create a position the other person isn’t even suggesting or defending. This is a straw man.

The straw man fallacy takes the facts and assertions of your opponent and replaces them with an artificial argument you feel more comfortable dealing with. The straw man fallacy follows a familiar pattern. You first build the straw man, then you attack it, then you point out how easy it was to defeat it, and then you come to a conclusion. Straw men can also be born out of ignorance. Keep in mind whoever does it is using a logical fallacy and even if that person succeeds, he or she didn’t really win.

16) The Ad Hominem Fallacy:  The misconception is – if you can’t trust someone, you should ignore that person’s claims. But the truth is – what someone says and why they say it should be judged separately.

Sometimes an arguments can get so heated you start calling the other person names. You attack the other person instead of the position that person has take. It is easier to disagree with someone you see as nasty or ignorant. Calling someone a bigot, or an idiot, or any asshole feels good, but it does not prove you right or that person wrong. This makes sense, but you don’t always notice when you are doing it. When you assume someone is incorrect based on who that person is or what group he or she belongs to, you have committed the ad hominem fallacy.

17) Self-Serving Bias: The misconception is – you evaluate yourself based on past success and defeats. But the truth is – you excuse your failures and see yourself as more successful, more intelligent, and more skilled than you are.

You tend to accept credit when you succeed, but blame bad luck, unfair rules, difficult instructions, bad bosses, cheaters, and so on when you fail. When you are doing well, you think you are to blame. When you are doing badly, you think the world is to blame. This behavior can be observed in board games and elections, group projects and final exam. When things are going your way, you attribute everything to your amazing skills, but once the tide turns, you look for external factors to put the blame.

This sort of thinking also spreads to the way you compare yourself to others. Research shows just about all of us think we are more competent than our co-workers, more ethical than our friends, friendlier than the general public, more intelligent than our peers, more attractive than the average person, less prejudiced than people in our region, younger-looking than people the same age, better drivers than most people we know, better children than our siblings, and that we will live longer than the average lifespan. You don’t believe you are an average person, but you do believe everyone else is. This tendency, which springs from self-serving bias, is called the illusory superiority effect.

According to the research, you pay close attention to the success and failures of friends more than you do to those of strangers. You compare yourself to those who are close to you in order to judge your own worth. When you compare your skills, accomplishments, and friendships with those of others, you tend to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. You are a liar by default, and you lie most to yourself. If you fail, you forget it. If you win, you tell everyone.

18) Fundamental Attribution Error: This is the tendency to blame others when things go wrong, instead of looking objectively at the situation. In particular, you may blame or judge someone based on a stereotype or a perceived personality flaw. For example, if you’re in a car accident, and the other driver is at fault, you’re more likely to assume that he or she is a bad driver than you are to consider whether bad weather played a role or the other driver got a heart-attack.

19) Bandwagon Effect: The tendency to do or believe what others do or believe. For example, your leader may believe someone is great at their job and you go along with this. As more people come to believe in something, others also “hop on the bandwagon” regardless of the underlying evidence. Studies show that, in the right circumstances, as much as 75% of people will give answers that they know are false, simply because others around them have given the same incorrect answer (whereas less than 1% would answer incorrectly otherwise).

20) Halo Effect: This is a person’s overall impression of someone, and it influences our feelings and thoughts about the other persons overall character. It is the perception, for example, that if someone does well in a certain area, then they will automatically perform well at something else regardless of whether those tasks are related. Under the “Halo Effect” bias, we tend to lump together positive qualities, and assume where one attractive quality exists, others also exist.

Important Questions to Ask:

According to Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow (2013), recommends that you ask three questions to minimize the impact of cognitive biases in your decision making:

1) Is there any reason to suspect the people making the recommendation of biases are based on self-interest, overconfidence, or attachment to past experiences? Realistically speaking, it is almost impossible for people to not have these three influence their decisions.

2) Have the people making the recommendation fallen in love with it? Again, this is almost inevitability because, in most cases, people wouldn’t make the recommendation unless they loved it.

3) Was there group-think or were there dissenting opinions within the decision-making team? This question can be mitigated before the decision-making process begins by collecting a team of people who will proactively offer opposing viewpoints and challenge the conventional wisdom of the group.

In answering each of these questions, you must look closely at how each may be woven into the recommendations that have been offered and separate them from their value. If a recommendation doesn’t stand up to scrutiny on its own merits, free of cognitive bias, it should be discarded.

Only by filtering out the cognitive biases that are sure to arise while decisions are being made can you be confident that, at the end of the day, the best decision for you and your people was made based on the best available information.

 

-by Ms Silent Goodwork

Our Perception & Our Anxiety

Our Perception and Our Anxiety

This is very common – the first question you tend to get asked when you meet someone at a party or in a social gathering and they will ask you – “So what do you do?”  And according to how impressive your answer is, people are either keen to get to know you better, or swiftly leave you behind by the nuts. We are anxious because we live in a world of snobs, people who take a tiny part of us – our professional identities – and use these to come to a complete verdict about how valuable we are as humans.

The opposite of a snob is your mother. She doesn’t care about your status; she cares about your soul. Yet most people aren’t our mothers – and that’s why we worry so much about judgement and humiliation.

It’s said that we live in materialistic times. But it’s more poignant than that. We live in times where emotional rewards have been pegged to the acquisition of material things like big car, big house, expensive mobile, expensive shoes, bags, watches etc. When people go after money, the big job or fancy car is rare things they want for themselves but they want mostly the attention and the respect. Next time if you see a guy driving by in a Ferrari don’t think it is someone unusually greedy; think it is someone with particularly intense vulnerability and need for love.

We are also anxious because we are constantly told that we could become anything in our life and we hear it from our earliest day. It should be great that if there is lot of opportunity in this modern world. But what if we fail in such a world – what if you don’t manage to get to the top when there was said to be every chance?

The ‘self-help’ shelves of bookstores are filled with two kinds of books that capture the modern anxious condition. The first have titles like – ‘How to make it big in 15 minutes’ and ‘Be an overnight millionaire’. The second have titles like: ‘How to cope with low self-esteem’. The two genres are related. A society that tells people they could have everything, but we are in fact only a tiny minority can, will end up with a lot of dissatisfaction and grief.

There is a related problem: our societies are – to a large extent – deemed to be “fair”. Back in the olden days, you knew the system was rigged. It wasn’t your fault if you were a peasant and not to your credit if you were the lord. But now we are told our societies are meritocracies; places where rewards go to those who really merit them; the hardworking cleaver among us. It sounds lovely – but there is a nasty sting in this tale. If you really believe in a society where those at the top deserve to get there, that’s mean those are at the bottom deserve to be there too. Meritocracies make poverty seem not just unpleasant, but  also somehow deserved.

In medieval England, people used to call the poor ‘unfortunates’: literally, people who had not been blessed by the God or Goddess of fortune. Nowadays especially in the US where meritocracy is big, they call them – rather tellingly – ‘losers’.

We scarcely believe in ‘luck’ nowadays as something that explains where we end up. No one will believe you if you say you are fired because of ‘bad luck’. Your professional position has become the central verdict on your character. No wonder suicide rate rise exponentially the moment a society joins the so-called ‘modern world’.

So the question is – how can we cope with this modern world? First off, by refusing to believe that any society really ever can be meritocratic: luck or accident continue to determine a critical share of where people end up in the hierarchy. Treat no one – not least yourself – as though they entirely deserve to be where they are. Secondly, make up your own definition of success instead of uncritically leaning on societies. There are so many ways to succeed, and many of them have nothing to do with status as it is currently defined within the value system of industrial capitalism. Those who succeed at making money rarely succeed at empathy or family life. Thirdly, and the most importantly, we should refuse to let our outer achievements define our sense of self entirely. There remain so many vital sides of us that will never appear on our business card, that do not stand a chance of being captured by that maddeningly blunt and unimaginative question – ‘So What Do You Do?’

I am a …

By – Nijhum Sarkar

Stay Away From GYM To Lose Weight

Stay away from GYM

Myth: We stop eating when our stomach is full, right?

“Believe it or not, this is wrong. We don’t stop eating because our stomach is full except in very extreme cases. In reality, scientists don’t know exactly what makes us feel full. It seems to be a combination, among other things, of how much we chew, how much we taste, how much we swallow, how much we think about the food, and how long we have been eating. What does seem to be the case is that the faster we eat our food, the more we eat, because this combination of cues doesn’t get the chance to tell us we are no longer hungry. Many research studies show that it takes up to 20 minutes for our body and brain to signal satiation, so that we realize we are full.” -Brian Wansink (PhD).

Every day on average, we each make around 200 decisions about eating. But studies have shown that 90% of these decisions are made without our conscious thought and lead to mindless eating.

Basic Formula for Weight Lose:

This is a basic rule of thumb if you make a change on your food habit, there is an easy way to estimate how much weight you will lose in a year. You simply divide the calories by 10.That is roughly the number of pounds you will lose.

One less 270 calorie CANDY bar each day = 27 fewer pounds a year = 12.24 Kg a year!

One less 140 calorie SOFT DRINK (Coke & Pepsi) each day = 14 fewer pounds a year= 6.3 Kg a year!

One less 420 calorie DONUT each day= 42 fewer pounds a year= 19 Kg a year!

Note: 1 pound=0.45 Kg (Kilogram), the same idea will works with burning calories – walking one extra mile a day is 100 calories and 10 pounds a year. Exercise is good but for most people it’s a lot easier to give up a candy bar/soft drink than to walk 2.7 miles to a vending machine.

STRATEGY FOR WEIGHT LOSE BY EATING LESS:

Strategy – 1: Replace your 10 inch plate with an 8 inch plate – Larger plates always lead to larger food intake. A two inch difference in plate diameter — from 10″ to 8″ plates — would result in 22% fewer calories being served, yet it is not drastic enough to trigger a counteracting response. If a typical dinner has 800 calories, a smaller plate would lead to a weight lose of around 18 pounds per year for an average size adult.

DinnerPlateSize

Strategy – 2: Mini-size your boxes, bowls or eat with chopsticks – The bigger the bowls or boxes you pour from, the more you will eat: 20% to 30% more for most foods. People tend to eat more or less depending on the greater or lesser size of plates, bowls, serving spoons, serving bowls, and serving sizes. Also, research shows that people pour more drink into and drink more from a short, fat glass than a tall, thin glass. Greater or lesser variety of food types and colors encourage greater or lesser consumption. Repackage your jumbo box or bowls into smaller Ziploc bags or Tupperware containers, and serve it up in smaller dishes (8″ plates).

ChopStick

Strategy – 3: Serving vegetables first – Before starting any dinner start with vegetables first. This is how you can keep yourself from reaching out for more food, and can also track the amount of food you consume.

vegetables

Strategy – 4: Think 20 percent less – This is a Japanese concept call hara hashi bu – eating until you are just 80% full. Dish out 20% less than you think you might want before you start to eat. In most studies, people can eat 20% less without noticing it. If they eat 30% less, they realize it, but 20% is still under the radar screen. For fruits and vegetables, think 20% more.

Strategy – 5: Serving tasty dishes from kitchen – Believe it or not, but when the main dish is served from the counter or stove, we consumed less. Make sure every time you finish your food; you must walk to the counter to take food in your plate again.

Strategy – 6: See it before you eat it – Put everything you want to eat on a plate before you start eating – snacks, dinners, ice cream, and even chips. Also, instead of eating directly out of a package or box, put your snack in a separate dish and leave the box in the kitchen. You’ll be less likely to eat more food.

Strategy – 7: Eat slowly Slow eaters tend to eat less, feel more full and rate their meals as more pleasant than fast eaters. Scientists believe that taking at least 20–30 minutes to finish a meal allows more time for the body to release hormones that promote feelings of fullness. The extra time also allows the brain to realize you’ve eaten enough before you reach for that second serving. Eating with your non-dominant hand or using chopsticks instead of a fork are two easy ways to reduce your eating speed and make this tip work for you. Chewing more often can also help.

Strategy – 8: Turn your TV, smart phone, radio and computer game off – Eating while you’re distracted can lead you to eat faster, feel less full and mindlessly eat more. You eat more while watching TV, which is why, keeping your TV set off, is one of the important things to do. For instance, people watching television while eating their meals ate 36% more pizza and 71% more macaroni and cheese. Scientists note that longer distractions extend the amount of time spent eating, making you more likely to overeat. In addition, eating while distracted may cause you to forget how much you’ve consumed, leading to overeating later in the day.

Strategy – 9: Keep foods or snacks in an inconvenience place – By keeping all foods in an inconvenience place will automatically limit your food intake.  Adding extra effort will allow you to reduce the chance of overeating. Put all kind of snacks or cookies hard-to-reach cupboard to resist yourself to eat more.

Strategy – 10: Avoid eating in a group – Research show that when you are with 1 other person you will eat 35% more, with a group of 4 it’s 75% more and with 7 or more it’s 96% more! So do conscious thought next time you are in a group. When dining in groups, sit next to people who eat less or slow eater than you. This can help you to eat less.

Strategy – 11: Less variety, less eating – Research shows that having a wider variety of food in your daily menu lead you to eat up to 23% more. Reduce the variety of food, flavors, colors and textures can help you to eat less than your body needs.

Few more strategies:

  • Avoid having too many foods on the table. The more variety there is, the more people will eat.
  • Eat fruit for dessert instead of more indulgent choices.
  • Practice and make a habit of “Half-Plate Rule”. Half the plate is filled with vegetables and the other half is protein and starch.
  • Chewing gum can distract you away from the 4 C’s: Chips, Cookies, Ice Cream and Candy.
  • Chew gum to prevent eating from boredom or stress.
  • If you plan to attend a dinner party or a buffet-style dinner, arrive late or leave early. If you arrive late, most of the good stuff will be gone by the time you show up. Leave early and you will make it easier to avoid a dessert.
  • When you go out for dinner use the “Rule of Two”: Limit yourself to two of the following: an appetizer, a drink, or a dessert. Pick any two.
  • Replace every other soft drink with water. We often think we are hungry when instead we are simply thirsty. Fill up your water bottle a number of times each day.
  • If you want dessert, see if someone will share it. The best part of a dessert is the first two bites.
  • If you feel hungry and want to have some snacks, try yogurt and water or can of tuna fish instead. Protein can replace your craving for the snack.

Point to ponder:

  1. A study of 854 children under three years old showed that a child is nearly three times as likely to grow up obese if one of his parents is obese. If you are overweight, your child has a 65% to 75% chance of growing up to be overweight.
  2. There was a great study where 1 group of people ate chicken wings and their bones were kept in front of them. In the other group, the plates were cleared every 15 minutes or so.
    Who do you think ate less? The group who saw all of their bones.
  3. “Low-fat” labels are a prime example, because foods low in fat are not necessarily low in calories. For instance, “low-fat” granola is typically only 10% lower in calories than regular-fat granola.
  4. Another study compared calorie intake from Subway versus McDonald’s. Those who ate at Subway consumed 34% more calories than they thought they did, while those who ate at McDonald’s ate 25% more than they thought. Researchers noted that the Subway clients tended to reward themselves for their supposedly healthy meal choice by ordering chips or cookies with their meal.
  5. It seems that the longer the movie or show, the more food you’re likely to eat. One study noted that participants watching a 60-minute show ate 28% more popcorn than those watching a 30-minute show.
  6. Researchers found that participants given bowls with 10 colors of M&Ms ate 43 more candies than those given bowls with 7 colors, despite all M&Ms tasting the same.

Last but not least, I did start going to gym last year and lost 4.5 kg (9.92 lbs) within 3 weeks time and less than three months I have lost 9 kg (19.84 lbs) weight. But I have stopped going gym almost eight months now but I still keep the same body weight just following the above strategies. It’s estimated that over 95% of all people who lose weight on a diet gain it back. Of course, going to gym and follow all the instructions regularly will help you to lose weight and burn your extra calories but this is an alternative solution suggested by various scientists, nutritionists and researchers based on their experiments. Remember this quote – “The best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on.

Thanks and cheers!

 

By – Émile Ajar

 

 

OUR HABIT WITH DISTRACTION

D I S T R A C T I O N

My plan was to finish reading at least one book within a week but it is quite impossible because of so many distractions around me. I believe it is also true for you and true for so many others as well. Most of the time digital distractions pulled us from anything you plan to accomplish. I believe it is become plague for all of us in different extents.  It is become our habit of distraction; let me put it this way – we are become ‘addict’ from one to another.

One of the most challenging part of distracted habit is we often don’t even realize it is actually happening.  It sneaks up on us and before we know that we are become addicted and powerless and obviously turn ourselves into our addiction. But actually we are not powerless. The power we have is our awareness, and we can develop it by forming habit. The most common distraction nowadays are social media sites/apps (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube etc.) or it could be your mobile or computer or TV. So just pay attention to what kind of social media sites you visit and how long you want to spend with it, how often you’re looking at your phone and how long you’re spending in front of a screen all day. When we are aware of these distractions and urge, we can easily identify the causes and examine its effect precisely.

Realization when it happening: FoMO or “Fear of missing out” – is the popular buzz word around us nowadays. From the perspective of psychological needs according to Przybylski, A. K., Murayama, K., DeHaan, C. R., & Gladwell, V. (2013), FoMO is characterized by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”.  A psychological dependence to being online could result in anxiety when one feels disconnected, thereby leading to a fear of missing out or even pathological Internet use. A great write-up done by Wortham, J. (April 10, 2011) – “Feel like a wall flower? Maybe it’s your Facebook wall” on NY Times where Wortham mentioned FoMO is perceived to have negative influences on people’s psychological health and well-being, because it could contribute to people’s negative mood and depressed feelings.

As per Wikipedia – Fear of missing out (FoMO) refers to the apprehension that one is not in-the-know or one is out of touch with some social events, experiences, and interactions. People who grapple with FoMO might not know exactly what they are missing, but can still hold a fear that others are having a much better time or having a much more rewarding experience on the spur of the moment. FoMO could result from a variety of social activities in which one is absent, such as a conversation, a TV show, a wedding, a party, or a delicious restaurant in the town. FoMO is also defined as a fear of regret, which may lead to a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying event. In other words, FoMO perpetuates the fear of having made the wrong decision on how to spend time, as “you can imagine how things could be different”.

#What’s going on: Distractions, of course, are often about the fear of missing out. We can’t possibly take part in every cool thing that everyone else is doing, but we also don’t want to miss out on any of it. So we look online for what’s going on, what other people are doing and saying, what’s hot. None of that actually matters. What matters is being content, doing things that make people’s lives better, share your knowledge and expertise, being compassionate and empathetic. So let’s go of what we’re missing out on, and focus on the difference we want to make in the world.

Take Action & Habit-Forming: Research shows that it takes 66 days to form any kind of habit. So we can build awareness and form a good habit rather than distracted one. Before taking action or form a habit, try to consider few things and ask yourself – What’s truly important to you? Social media? News? What everyone else is doing all the time? Games? Gossiping?

As a human being we try to do everything, but then we’re not really focusing on anything. We are not going to make any of our little fantasies come true if we pursue all of them. What is the one thing you want to pursue right now? Can you focus on that for at least a month or a week or a day? If not, maybe it is not that important to you. What are the most important things in your life? Pick 3 or 5 at the most. How much of your time is devoted to these things? Can you cut out other things to focus on these? Can you give your 4 most important things your full attention?

Consider taking one or more of these for a month or a week or a day:

  1. Try to block your favorite distractions for a few hours. Games, social media sites, news sites or video sites. You don’t really need to engage all the time with them that often.
  2. Determine and fix a particular time or a day of the week when you can check social media status and other messages. You can fix the time of usages social media 10 minutes break at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. or while you waiting for your train/bus ( I always follow this). You can write that down. Stick to it.
  3. Get away. Go outside for a walk. Take a walk at your lunch time and explore. Or, ride your bike. Or, go for a run. Or, take the kids to the park.
  4. Meditate. Sit just a couple of minutes, without any distractions, and put your attention on your breath. Return to the breath when you get distracted.
  5. Read a paper book. Close all screens and just give yourself some quiet reading time.
  6. Delete distracting apps from your phone. Games, social media, whatever you tend to turn to when you want a bump of distraction.
  7. Eat without a device (mobile/TV/tab) and eat with your family and talk. Pay attention to your food. Notice the textures, flavors, colors, healthfulness that you’re putting into the temple of your body.

I want to jump on conclusion by referring an analogy given by Sir Ken Robinson on his book ‘The Element’ – he mentioned “Farmers base their livelihoods on raising crops. But farmers do not make plants grow. They don’t attach the roots, glue on the petals, or color the fruit. The plant grows itself. Farmers and gardeners provide the conditions for growth. Good farmers know what those conditions are, and bad ones don’t. Understanding the dynamic elements of human growth is as essential to sustaining human cultures into the future as the need to understand the ecosystems of the natural world on which we ultimately depend.”

So ask yourself what is truly important to you?

 

By – Doctor Who

DIVERGENT THINKING

Creativity

Divergent thinking is not as same as Creativity!

Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have values.

Btw, divergent thinking isn’t a synonym but an essential capacity for Creativity. It is ability to see lots of possible answers to a questions/lots of ways to interpret a question.

Think laterally not linear or convergent way.

Lateral Thinking: is solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic. The term was coined in 1967 by Edward De Bono.

 

By – Kabbo Ahmed

5 Tips To Improve Critical Thinking

5 Tips To Improve Critical Thinking

Following 5 tips which can improve your critical thinking –

  1. Formulate your question : Know what are you looking for.
  2. Gather your information :  Ask experts or seek other people’s opinions.
  3. Apply the information : asking critical questions, ask yourself
    • What concept it will work?
    • What assumption exist?
    • Is my interpretation logically sound good?
  4. Consider the implications: what could be the implications of your action in future. For example – if gas price become cheap it can cause a lot of air pollution, so consider your thoughts in future as well.
  5. Explore others points of view: look for what opinion other people have and what are they thinking about the tropic you are thinking of.

 

 

By – KTAS

The Education, The Educator & The Environment

It was in 2014, we had an appointment at our son’s school to collect his school report and had a chance to talk one of his teacher about his progress report like how he has done in exam and what would be his next focused area of improvement. He has done pretty well (100%) all his subjects including math, English and integrated education except language. In fact, my son was very much reluctant to meet his language teacher and he didn’t want to talk about why. The idea was playing around my head that the language teacher is not pleased with his class participation and home work. The only question I would have asked the teacher why was that? Why he did so well in other subjects and not in this language class? Is there any theory for this – like why he is not interested about this language? The only answer so far I figured that – the teacher was super boring teaching style and failed to make the language class more interesting to keep engage everyone in the class. I believe – every person achieve their best when they truly tune into their natural aptitudes and school administration must foster an encouraging environment rather than “command and control” with intimidating “pointing finger” attitude toward their students!

The other day I was watching an educational talk-show where the guest Sir Ken Robinson discussed that we really need to rethink some of the basic terms of the old education system. We need to get back to what it is that drives people to learn and achieve in the first place, and that’s what we’ve lost. And if we know anything about education, it’s all about individuals, it’s personal. It’s all about kids and energizing them in the right way. And he also mentioned that the problem often is that politicians think it’s like bailing out the auto industry. It’s like refining a manufacturing process. And it’s not; it’s about cultivating individual passions and talents. And if we (the policy makers, teachers, head-teacher, parents, doctors, engineers..) don’t get that right, nothing else will ever work.

I am excerpting few important points from the above program that are – we all human being born with tremendous creative confidence and abilities. Young children are full of great ideas and possibilities. But that tends to be diminished when we getting older with the current culture of standardized testing in our education system. But the most important point is that we all think and learn differently. That means, some kids are highly visual; some kids think best when they’re moving; some kids best when they’re listening; some kids respond well to words, some kids don’t. And getting the best from kids in schools is about understanding the way they think.

I believe that leadership is really important to play the vital role for the change the education system. If the head-teacher gets the idea anything is possible. And head-teacher should introduce a program to foster curiosity through creative teaching, which depends on high quality teacher training and development. As a parent we also need to educate ourselves through a continuous improvement process. I am very concern about the situation because nobody has any clue what this world will look like next coming years. What the next generation’s educational system would be and how that system could nurture our kid’s consciousness? People teach themselves if you create right environment for them. End of the day – we all are human being and we are very very organic. It is impossible to accept a mechanical standardized-testing-educational-system for our kids.

Before concluding my thoughts I would like to put the quote from Anais Nin“The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” In other word – the pain of containing our consciousness or to understand ourselves is greater than the pain to take the journey to make it happen.

Thanks and cheers!

 

By – Nijhum Sarkar