Dissolving Fear + Anxiety, Jeff Bezos's Life Hack & How To Make Smarter Decisions (1)

The newsletter which curates & delivers the best mind hacks, mental health tips & high performance strategies to you every single week.

🧠 MIND HACK

‘Precise Language’ (Or… How To Dissolve Fear & Anxiety In Seconds By Changing Your Language/Self Talk.)

Researchers conducted an "emotion regulation" study, involving people who had a fear of spiders...

As part of the study, they tested 3 different approaches to help people to reduce the anxiety & their fear of spiders...

The first approach, called "cognitive reappraisal", taught the participants to describe the spider in a nonthreatening way...

For example:

“Sitting in front of me is a little spider & it’s safe.”

The second approach was "distraction"... a very deliberate, very intentional distraction away from the spider (which can be a good strategy sometimes too, but didn't prove to be so in this case.)

The third was to categorize sensations with “precise language”:

For example, they might say to themselves:

“In front of me is an ugly spider & it is disgusting, nerve-wracking, and yet, intriguing.”

Of the 3 approaches, guess which one was the most effective?

Turns out the 3rd one ('precise language') proved to the most effective in helping people with arachnophobia to be less anxious when observing a spider & to actually approach spiders…

Fun detail: with this 3rd approach of ‘precise language’, the effects lasted a week beyond the experiment as well.

So, what's the advice?

Well, our words actually affect how we feel & we can use them more consciously to change how we feel at will (including dissolving fear & anxiety in seconds.)

If you want to feel more of a specific emotion (e.g. happiness, excitement, ecstacy, etc) you can use language that you would use if you were feeling that way already & it'll help you to do so…

And vice versa, to stop feeling a certain way (e.g. fear, anxiety) use more precise or subtle language, including less emotional words & more detailed / literal descriptions of what's happening.

That will reduce the anxiety (as in the study) & help you to show up in the best way you can 😃 

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♟️ MENTAL MODEL

‘Second Order Thinking’ (Or… How To Avoid Mistakes, Make Smarter Decisions & Achieve Better Results!)

When most people think about decisions, actions, options, consequences… they only ever really consider what are known as the "first order consequences" of the decision...

If I do "A", then it leads to "B", we think...

Meanwhile, what the world's highest achievers, most intelligent & most successful people do is, is they go a number of steps further in their thinking (& you can train yourself to do the same!)...

Here's a graphic to illustrate this:

As physics teaches us, everything always has a 'cause' ("A")...

And then that cause always an 'effect' ("B")... (also known as the 1st consequence of "A")...

But, it doesn't usually stop there...

That effect ("B") is also usually a 'cause' for something else (like "C" or "D")...

It's becomes like a chain...

This next effect in this chain is known as the "2nd order consequence" in this chain of that original cause ("A")...

Then, there's a 3rd order consequence & a 4th order consequence & so on (as we'll discuss)...

As you can see on the graphic...

“C” is the "effect" (or "1st consequence") for “B”... but "C" is also - it becomes - the "2nd order consequence" to the initial thing that happened (which is "A")

Then, you there's "D"…

"D" is the effect (or 1st order consequence) caused by "C"… but it's also the 2nd order consequence for "B"…. & 3rd order consequence for "A".

Does that make some sense?

It's like a chain of cause-effect relationships.

"A" leads to "B" (1st consequence), which leads to C (2nd consequence), which then leads to D (3rd consequence) & so on & so forth (4th, 5th, 6th consequence & beyond)...

So a change in "A" leads to all of these other benefits (which, most of the time people do not think about as they ONLY focus on "B" - the first immediate consequence).

This mental model's job is to change that...

The goal is to keep thinking & asking yourself…

"What happens next?”

By asking this & identifying all those 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc order consequences & factoring those into your decision-making ahead of time, you’ll make smarter decisions & get better results!

💭 QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”

C. Joybell C.

📖 DECISION HACK

Use Jeff Bezos's “2-Way Door, 1-Way Door” Framework To Further Enhance Decision-Making While Saving Time!

Here’s how the billionaire founder of Amazon explained this framework in a letter to shareholders:

"Some decisions are consequential & irreversible or nearly irreversible — 1-way doors — & these decisions must be made methodically, carefully, slowly, with great deliberation & consultation.

If you walk through & don’t like what you see on the other side, you can’t get back to where you were before."

But most decisions aren’t like that — they are changeable, reversible — they’re 2-way doors. If you’ve made a sub-optimal Type 2 decision, you don’t have to live with the consequences for that long...

You can reopen the door & go back through. Type 2 decisions can & should be made quickly by high judgment individuals or small groups...

If you consider that most decisions are Type 2 then you need to default to making a fast decision...

Make fast Type 2 decisions & if they don’t work out as you had planned then course-correct... You’ll probably have learnt more & made more progress than if you had sat on your hands & done nothing."

Pretty powerful, don't you think?

Essentially, before you make any decision… (potentially even before figuring out the 2nd, 3rd & 4th order consequences we covered earlier) the first things you want to do is to figure out if this particular decision is a "1-way door" decision (consequential, hard to reverse or undo)... or is a "2-way door" (easy to change your mind if it doesn't work out!)

Based on this, you want to either default to making quick decisions… or in the case of consequential ones that are hard to undo, slow down & consider your options much more carefully.

Use this to further elevate your critical thinking & decisions!

And if you’d like to learn more thinking frameworks (like the one above) or strategies (like this one) that you can use to make better decisions & achieve better results, be sure to check out our other publication, called:

As part of this particular publication, we do the heavy lifting & grunt work of meticulously researching, studying & curating the best insights, concepts & frameworks for you & share it all… helping you make more intelligent decisions & get ahead in life...

…& ultimately supporting you to achieve more of the results, the success, happiness & wellbeing you truly deserve in this life!

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