Tag: Psychology

You Can Like What You Actually Like

This love can’t be faked, not inside your own soul. Yet among those who are merely trying to impress, it is of course faked all the time. At my university, we foolishly used to ask applicants for a list of the writers and books that had “influenced” them. This is not an entirely fair question to ask any writer, but for a board of academics to spring it on a bunch of young, inexperienced, aspiring writers was madness. Of course the answers we got were mainly intended to impress. The question became the single most insincere item in the entire application—bypassing the mendaciousness even of professorial letters of recommendation. The lists we got were almost always very grand, academically impeccable, and exactly the same: that year’s higher-than-highbrow list of what every applicant assumed a bunch of professors wanted to see. We should have been ashamed. We were doing people damage by inducing them to lie about their real tastes and their real identities, leading them into a form of self-betrayal that at worst can be a symptom of self-contempt. Dishonesty about what really pleases your imagination is outright dangerous to you as a writer.

The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction
Stephen Koch

Hitler Hears Bad News – Don’t Shoot The Messenger

…as Halder recorded:

When he read a statement compiled from unimpeachable sources which showed that in 1942 Stalin would still be able to muster another one to 1-1/4 million men in the region north of Stalingrad and west of the Volga, and at least half a million more in the eastern Caucasus and the region to its north, and which proved moreover that the Russian output of first line tanks amounted to at least 1200 a month, Hitler flew with clenched fists and foam in the corners of his mouth at the one who was reading this statement, and forbade such idiotic nonsense.

Hitler’s Mistakes: New Insights into What Made Hitler Tick
Ronald Lewin

People will vote for someone they don’t like, they won’t vote for someone they think dislikes them.

“David Axelrod said to me, ‘Remember Anthony, people will vote for somebody they don’t like. They gave Richard Nixon a landslide, nobody liked him, they gave him a landslide. What they don’t like doing is they don’t like voting for people that dislike them.’ ”
“See the difference? So you’re standing at a podium calling people deplorable, they’re like, ‘okay, give my vote to the orange man.'”
Anthony Scaramucci

#Unfit, the Psychology of Donald Trump
An eye-opening and shattering analysis of the behavior, psyche, condition, and stability of Donald J. Trump.


Three Types of Yes

I’ll let you in on a secret. There are actually three kinds of “Yes”: Counterfeit, Confirmation, and Commitment.

A counterfeit “yes” is one in which your counterpart plans on saying “no” but either feels “yes” is an easier escape route or just wants to disingenuously keep the conversation going to obtain more information or some other kind of edge.

A confirmation “yes” is generally innocent, a reflexive response to a black-or-white question; it’s sometimes used to lay a trap but mostly it’s just simple affirmation with no promise of action.

And a commitment “yes” is the real deal; it’s a true agreement that leads to action, a “yes” at the table that ends with a signature on the contract. The commitment “yes” is what you want, but the three types sound almost the same so you have to learn how to recognize which one is being used.

Voss, Chris; Raz, Tahl. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

Software Development, Frustration Rollercoaster

What are the harshest truths of being a software engineer? from cscareerquestions

Sometimes you’ll encounter problems that seem impossible, and will take much longer than you’d expect to solve. If you let it, it will break your confidence for a while. Then you’ll finally figure it out, and feel amazing. It can be a self-confidence rollercoaster.

I struggle with this so much. Sometimes I feel like I know what I’m doing, other times I feel like I have an IQ of 55.

It’s like the IDE is stabbing the red squiggle right into my heart.

I pendulum between, “I am an absolute god at my job” to ” I am a fucking idiot” on a semi-daily basis.

Semantic Polarities – Ugazio, Parks

“Valeria Ugazio’s book Semantic Polarities and Psychopathologies in the Family: Permitted and Forbidden Stories proved particularly useful. Ugazio considers the construction of identity in terms of a number of “semantic polarities” (fear/courage, good/evil, success/failure, belonging/exclusion) and suggests that in each family of origin one criterion of value will tend to be hierarchically more important than others in the way people talk about and assess each other. As a result, it becomes a matter of urgency for each individual in the group to find a stable and comfortable position in relation to this dominant polarity. Is it, for example, more important in this family to be seen as independent and courageous, or as pure and good, or as a winner? Wherever and for whatever reason an individual is unable to find a stable position—perhaps he or she wishes to be good but simultaneously yearns for transgression, or desires intensely to belong but then feels diminished by inclusion in the peer group—this can lead to the kind of conflicts and oscillations we associate with mental illnesses, or again with the tensions and ambiguities we find in creative art.”

Parks, Tim. Life and Work: Writers, Readers, and the Conversations between Them 

Frequency Illusion / Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, Example of

Welcome to the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, otherwise known as frequency illusion or recency illusion. This phenomenon occurs when the thing you’ve just noticed, experienced or been told about suddenly crops up constantly. It gives you the feeling that out of nowhere, pretty much everyone and their cousin are talking about the subject — or that it is swiftly surrounding you. And you’re not crazy; you are totally seeing it more. But the thing is, of course, that’s because you’re noticing it more



When I moved I noticed all the other people moving, such as the people who got this UHaul. Now I’m settled in, either people are moving less or I’m just not noticing as much.

The Divided Self – Daudet Quote

“Homo duplex, homo duplex ! ” writes Alphonse Daudet. “The first time that I perceived that I was two was at the death of my brother Henri, when my father cried out so dramatically, ‘He is dead, he is dead ! ’ While my first self wept, my second self thought, ‘How truly given was that cry, how fine it would be at the theatre.’ I was then fourteen years old.

“This horrible duality has often given me matter for reflection. Oh, this terrible second me, always seated whilst the other is on foot, acting, living, suffering, bestirring itself. This second me that I have never been able to intoxicate, to make shed tears, or put to sleep. And how it sees into things, and how it mocks! ”

James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience