eyeLive: Mental Heuristics Pt. II

You may remember the last post I did about mental heuristics, but if you don't here's what a mental heuristic is. A heuristic is a "rule-of-thumb", or advice that helps a human think and act more efficiently by directing thinking in an useful direction. I thought it would be interesting to name some of these heuristics that are age-old wisdom, bordering on cliche, but most are actually helpful.
Always assume that you will succeed - If you don't expect to succeed in an endeavor, then you will not do your best and will not notice possible solutions, while if you feel that you will eventually succeed you will concentrate all your power at the problem. Of course, there is no point in attempting what you cannot do, a certain amount of self-knowledge is always needed.
Don't try to explain away your actions for yourself - While we often do things we do not want to explain our real motivations for before other people (out of fear of embarrassment, anger or loss of image), it is a bad idea to try to convince oneself that the motivation was anything different from what it was. It will only reduce your self-knowledge with deliberate misinformation, and it is often valuable to understand what motivations you have (even if you dislike them or would never admit them in public).
Do not rely on conscious decisions for speed, Just Do It - The conscious mind is surprisingly slow, conscious choices and actions are delayed for a significant time (a reflex acts within some tens of milliseconds, an unconscious reaction to external stimuli circa 100 milliseconds and a conscious choice several seconds). The duty of the conscious mind is usually to inhibit rather than start action, and if you become too conscious of what you are doing in a tense situation you will hesitate or slow down.
It is a good idea to learn to rely on your non-conscious mind, since our conscious mind is slow and has very low bandwidth while the other systems in our brains have a tremendous capacity and actually do most of the real work anyway.

For more mental heuristics click here.

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