The Best of Ness Labs
20+ most popular Ness Labs articles, as voted by our community.
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These are currently making the rounds on Refind.
From Default Definitions to Deliberate Questions
Since we are born, a set of defaults influences our goals, our relationships, our tastes. From fashion to friendship, many of the choices we make in life are imperceptibly constrained by default…
«The aim of deliberate questions is not to turn your life upside down. It’s to have a more mindful approach to your goals in life.»
Growth Loops: From linear growth to circular growth
In a circular model of growth, nobody is more advanced than anyone. There is no “up” or “down.” People are at a particular point of their own, unique growth loop. Everyone only competes against one’s…
Ness Labs on Anxiety
What happens in liminal spaces? Doubt, discomfort, unfamiliarity, anxiety. But also growth, change, and discovery. Liminal spaces offer all of the ingredients for creativity.
«What happens in liminal spaces? Doubt, discomfort, unfamiliarity, anxiety. But also growth, change, and discovery. Liminal spaces offer all of the ingredients for creativity.»
Anxious for no apparent reason? It may be time to press “reset”
Racing pulse, tense muscles, dry mouth, restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating… The symptoms of anxiety are many, but sometimes we can’t pinpoint why exactly we experience this panicky…
Ness Labs on Better Living
How to measure meaning in life
Meaningfulness is associated with greater well-being, and scientists have even devised ways to measure meaning in life.
«However, one of the strongest predictors of how meaningful people perceive their lives to be is… Being reminded of valued sources of meaning.»
From FOMO to JOMO: the joy of missing out
JOMO—the joy of missing out—is a way to live an intentional life. It’s realising that FOMO is distracting you from your life’s purpose.
«Associated with a fear of regret, FOMO is the apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which you are absent.»
Ness Labs on Introspection
Fear setting: an exercise to define and conquer your fears
Fear setting involves identifying and defining your fears so that you can overcome them. It's a process of reflection to step away from the everyday grind to gain perspective on your fears.
«The good news is that if you can identify which fears are rational, and which are irrational, you can exert some level of control over them.»
The power of self-reflection at work
Self-reflection should not be reserved for our personal lives only. It can also be richly rewarding for our professional careers.
Ness Labs on Learning
How to make more time to read
Many of us would like to have more time to read, but life can get in the way of picking up a book. What are strategies that actually work?
«However, speed reading limits your comprehension of the novel, reducing the accuracy of what you read and hindering how much you retain of the story»
The Uncertain Mind: How the Brain Handles the Unknown
Our brain is wired to reduce uncertainty. The unknown is synonymous with threats that pose risks to our survival. The more we know, the more we can make accurate predictions and shape our future. The…
«Put simply, their results suggest that our brain redirects its energy towards resolving uncertainty, at the expense of other cognitive tasks.»
Ness Labs on Mental Models
Present bias: how instant gratification impacts your long-term goals
The present bias is our tendency to seize short-term opportunities, settling for a small present reward rather than waiting for a larger future reward.
«staying mindful of your long-term goals so you don’t fall prey to the dangers of instant gratification»
How to think better
Learn how to think better with a guide on decision-making frameworks, cognitive biases, mental models, and tools for thought.
«metacognitive skills allow people to bring their thought processes to the foreground, so they can be analysed, and potentially improved.»
Ness Labs on Note Taking
How to take notes while reading a book
When reading a book, taking notes interrupts our reading flow. There is a fine balance between taking too many notes and taking too few notes.
«Importing these ideas into my note-taking system is a way to create a dialogue between the authors whose work I have read.»
How to choose the right note-taking app
There's a note-taking app for everyone. The challenge: it's hard to decide which one's the best for your use case and your note-taking style.
Ness Labs on Problem Solving
Creative Problem Solving: from complex challenge to innovative solution
When facing a difficult dilemma, Creative Problem Solving offers a structured method to help you find an innovative and effective solution.
«With brainstorming, Osborn suggested that it’s better to bring every idea you have to the table, including the wildest ones, because with just a little modification, the outrageous ideas may later become the most plausible solutions. In his own words: “It is easier to tone down a wild idea than to think up a new one.”»
Systematic inventive thinking: the power of thinking inside the box
When talking about creativity, many people will tell you: “Think outside the box!” The catchphrase is so common in management consulting and business environments, it has become a bit of a cliché.…
«Thinking inside the box often provokes resistance as it runs counter to some of the most ubiquitous intuitions about innovation. However, it’s a formidable creative thinking tool which is actually fun to use.»
Ness Labs on Productivity
The psychology of unfinished tasks
Unfinished tasks can overwhelm us or motivate us. These contradictory experiences are due to the Zeigarnik and the Ovsiankina effects.
«compared to a task that has not yet been started, individuals have a stronger urge to complete interrupted or unfinished assignments.»
Temptation bundling: stop procrastinating by boosting your willpower
Temptation bundling is a productivity technique that involves combining an activity that gives you instant gratification, such as watching TV, with one that is beneficial but has a delayed reward,…
«trying to reply to important work emails while watching one of your favourite TV shows may not be the best combination, as your concentration levels are likely to be affected.»
Ness Labs on Psychology
The psychology of negative thinking
When negative thinking becomes the norm, it can contribute to mental health problems including social anxiety, low self-esteem, and even depression. To avoid falling into that pattern, let’s explore…
«when you’re already feeling anxious or depressed, succumbing to negative thought patterns is unfortunately likely to worsen the way you feel.»
The science of motivation: how to get and stay motivated
Motivation only starts to build again once we have taken the first steps and gained some momentum in our task. It's all about getting started and consistently taking action, making sure we get back on…
«three innate psychological needs which must be satisfied to enhance self-motivation and mental health: competence, autonomy and relatedness.»
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Purpose Anxiety: The Fear of not Knowing your Purpose in Life
Our search for purpose can be associated with psychological distress, such as worry, fear, stress, frustration, and even jealousy. But we can make the search a lot less excruciating by applying simple…
«purpose has become a choice instead of a calling, we are no longer provided with a map outlining what it looks like to live “the good life”.»
Digital detoxes don’t actually work
A digital detox is a period in which a person voluntarily refrains from using digital devices including smartphones, computers and social media platforms. However, recent research has shown that…
«The internet has made it possible to talk at length with strangers who share your passion for any subject—make the most of it»
Reopening the mind: how cognitive closure kills creative thinking
The need for cognitive closure is the motivation to find an answer to ambiguous situations — any answer that aligns with our existing knowledge. Not only can it lead us to make mistakes based on…
«we should seek knowledge to resolve questions regardless of whether that new knowledge points to an answer that aligns with what we believe or what we want»
The power of introspection
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom,” once said Aristotle. Introspection is the act of looking inwards to examine one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings.
«Reflecting on past experiences may help us to recall similar situations in which we either solved an issue or found our attempts fell short.»
Single-tasking: the power of focusing on one task at a time
Trying to multitask can not only hurt our productivity, but also our ability to learn. Fortunately, there is an alternative way to boost your efficiency: single-tasking.
«That’s why multitasking leads to decrements in performance when compared to performing tasks one at a time.»
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