What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite

It has been a while since I have written anything educational, about stuff I am learning. Since I like to learn all sorts of random stuff, here’s a book I recently finished reading,
What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite
, by David DiSalvo.


I really read the book because I liked the title. πŸ™‚ But it had all sorts of interesting information in there too, like…

  • Our brains will default to what makes them happy β€” comfort, safety, avoiding risk and harm. We do not like uncertainty! In act, we crave certainty over ambiguity and feel threatened with the more ambiguity we face.
  • Our brains are biased, including
    • Selectivity bias β€” looking at only one part of our environment and ignoring other parts
    • Framing bias β€” looking at only certain things to make decisions and ignoring others
  • People naturally try to make sense of their environments. We like stories because they link together things into a greater meaning β€” they help us make sense of the world.
  • Ever wonder why people like to gamble? Because they play into the illusion that people are in control.
  • Our brains like immediate gratification. It’s easier to look at the immediate rewards and downplay longer-term commitment.
  • We do not do a good job forecasting our emotional reactions, or how we will react to something.
  • Our brains like to switch to autopilot mode. We suddenly “come to” and realize we have been someplace else. Here’s an interesting quote: “The latest consensus is that most of us are mentally elsewhere between 30 and 50 percent of our waking hours.” Yup, that’s me! πŸ™‚
    • However, the good news is there is a strong link between mind wandering and creativity!
  • Compulsive behaviors are due to a malfunctioning reward center. We look for more reward, and reinforce the compulsive behavior.
  • Loneliness is not caused by how many or few people who are around us, but because we fail to get what we need from our relationships.
  • High acheivers perform lower when you tell them a task is fun. Low achievers perform better when you tell them a task is fun.
  • People do worse when there are too many people to compete against.
  • Regret is one of the most influential factors in making decisions.
  • We tend to trust those who extend trust to us.
  • We are social beings wired for interdependence.
  • The harder a message is to process, the less likely we will believe it. (Keep it simple!)
  • We feel most confident about a message after we have heard it three to five times.

And lots more stuff! Very enlightening.

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design β€” angelayeedesign.com) and teaches leadership skills at strategysketchnotes.com.

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