Buying Time Provides More Than Buying Objects

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Start 2022 with a new mindset of buying time instead of material objects. Researchers continue to find more evidence that for a fulfilling life one should eschew material gains for temporal gains. In practice this means that, when given the choice between spending your money on a consumer good or a an opportunity to spend more time doing something you enjoy, you should prioritize the activity instead of the object.

The key to buying time is to consciously decide how you will use the time your money freed up. Buying time will make you happier only if it feels intentional and purposeful–not because you don’t have the time, but because you want to use the time you have differently.

Instead of cutting the grass, you might decide (again, to make this work you have to decide) to spend the time with family or friends. Or working on that side project you can’t seem to get to. Or reading. Or working out.

In short, doing something you enjoy–doing something you want to do–with the time you bought.

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How to Avoid Billionaire Trolls

Argument analysis flowchart
Figure 1 from Cook, Ellerton, and Kinkead 2018. CC BY 3.0

The biggest trolls in the world are also the richest. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp fame and Elon Musk of Tesla fame are trolling us online and we shouldn’t let them get away with it. Zuckerberg trolls us by censoring what we see and selecting what propaganda enters our screens, other tech giants do the same. Musk, on the other hand, trolls us by getting leagues of fanboys to defend his union-busting, tax avoiding, and questionable health practices. Let’s be clear: the billionaires who are troll like this are doing it for their own profit at our expense.

Don’t feed the trolls, feed your mind. Here are some tips to eliminate billionaire trolls from your news.

Thankfully some tools are still leaving you in control:

  1. Blogs are still out there. I had 50,000 visitors last month. You can still use RSS readers. You can subscribe to blogs like mine by email.

  2. I have recently discovered the fantastic substack community.

  3. Telegram is pretty decent as a secured news aggregator. My blog has a telegram channel. Nobody needs to know what you are reading.

  4. Twitter has a hidden feature (twitter list) which lets you subscribe to specific individuals and only see content from these individuals.

  5. DuckDuckGo is a fantastic search engine which mostly gives me what I am looking for instead of what it thinks I should find.

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Saying Yes is Easy, Realizing You Should Say No is Harder

When a friend or colleague asks for help your instinct may to say “yes” right away and to lend a hand. That quick response may not be the best approach for you or for the person you’re trying to help as it could lead to trouble. It’s too easy to overextend yourself and burnout, which can lead to actually failing to help your friend or by failing to deliver on something else entirely.
Think twice before saying yes, and don’t worry it doesn’t mean you’re rude.

Be diplomatic but truthful.
When it comes time to deliver your message, be assertive and clear without overexplaining. In other words, aim to be direct, thoughtful, and above all else, honest. For example, if you were pulling out of your friend’s committee, here’s what you might say: “When I said I could join the committee last month, I fully believed I had enough bandwidth to do a great job. After taking a closer look at my calendar, I realized I’ve overextended myself and there are several professional commitments I can’t move. This means I won’t be able to participate as chair.”

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Yes, You Have Changed

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You have changed. The person you are today is not the same person you were years ago. Being able to change your mind is the mark of a smart person because you can re-frame how you think based on new information. Indeed, we can rethink our personalities too, more and more researchers are discovering that we can indeed alter our personalities whenever we want to.

A growing batch of recent studies suggests that adult personality can be altered at any age – though, as Bleidorn and her co-authors show in a 2017 study, the magnitude of such shifts is by far the greatest for people in their 20s. And after we hit our 80s, the general pattern of change is no longer for the better. In one Scottish study which followed people for six years after the age of 81, their extroversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness all declined significantly as they grew older. “As a system, we tend to deteriorate as we get closer to dying, and personality traits are a kind of indirect indicator of our overall functioning,” says Roberts.

If you’d like to change at least some part of your personality, you’re in good company. A staggering 87 to 97 percent of people said they would too, in a 2014 survey with 200-plus participants published in the Journal of Research in Personality. Conscientiousness topped the wish list of desired traits. Luckily, given the proper tools, says Roberts, people can indeed alter their personality.

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Philosophers Help Scientists do Better Work

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Some empiricists argue that science is a separate discipline from philosophy, and those thinkers may want to rethink their stance. The debate isn’t philosophy or science, the debate is actually how much philosophical rigour should be applied within a certain field of research. In order to effectively advance scientific fields scientists practice philosophical processes and patterns of thinking.

This hopefully comes to no surprise to many readers as we often see on this site that cross disciplinary practices usually provide the best approach. Plus, historically science and philosophy are one.

The researchers identified a substantial body of work by philosophers of science that used “philosophical tools to address scientific problems and provide scientifically useful proposals.” They call such work philosophy in science. So what kind of tools do philosophers use that can be applied to science?  The study authors don’t offer an exhaustive list, but point to activities such as making distinctions and proposing definitions, critiquing scientific methods, and combining multiple scientific fields as examples of typical philosophical tools.  And while scientists use these methods too, they don’t tend to do so as often or as rigorously as philosophers.

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