Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Give great attention to mental imagery

If you happen to have a professional crook or a surgeon among your circle of friends, try asking them. As a result, they give up. On the other hand, true belief lasts day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. You must develop the ability to keep believing long term no matter what. Self-compassion plays an important role in this regard. Having enough self-compassion will help you maintain confidence. At the same time, it will prevent you from feeling sad or discouraged. In short, it will act as a safety net to your emotional well-being, allowing you to persevere during challenging times. As such, it is an integral part of the confidence-building process required to achieve any of your long-term goals. The first step toward becoming more self-compassionate is to understand a few simple truths that will help you replace your model of reality with a more empowering and compassionate one. It's easy to beat yourself up when you feel as though you're not living up to your true potential. What does it feel like to read this small print? How close-up can you read it clearly? Practice reading as close as possible to your eyes. The normal near point of clear vision should be about 15 cm from your eyes. Move your reading material back and forth so your eyes begin to refocus at a closer and closer distance. With this simple trombone movement you are actually exercising your ability to read close-up. You will notice an improvement almost right away. Keep doing the exercises until it becomes very easy for you to focus close-up and read comfortably for extended periods of time. After that, practice some of the exercises once in a while to keep your near focusing ability in top form.

The eyes of people with good vision naturally point to and converge at the object of interest. Both will answer yes. But the most surprising stories will come from the doctor. It has been known for centuries that the symptoms of a disease can be eased by making the patient believe that they are being treated, but it was only in the 1700s that this bizarre psychological effect was christened placebo, from the Latin `I will please'. This phenomenon, tested and re-tested with bogus medicines and even simulated surgeries, is essentially a mystery. We know that it can involve neurotransmitters and activate different areas of the brain, from the strategic prefrontal cortex to the emotional amygdala. We know, too, that this doesn't work on all patients but only some. It is suspected that the difference between the two groups has genetic roots, but there is no conclusive proof of that. This kind of psychological trick that cheats the brain into contentment - not only with a pill but with an entire ceremony officiated by white coats - helps relieve the symptoms of an illness but seldom cures it. It can also produce the opposite effect: cheating the brain into discontent. Among patients convinced that their medicines have a negative effect on their health, some will truly start to feel unwell. The truth is, you'll never be able to unlock one hundred percent of your capabilities. The reason is simple: while your potential is almost unlimited, your time isn't. The first truth I want to share with you is this: you're always doing the best you can with what you have. For instance, let's say you're procrastinating on a project. This isn't a sign you should be more productive nor is it an invitation to beat yourself up. It's simply a sign the current version of you is procrastinating due to fear, lack of clarity or perhaps low energy levels. In that very moment, procrastinating is the best you can do. The point is, you're always doing the best you can with what you have. So is everybody else.

Therefore, when you feel the urge to criticize yourself, remember that. That is, the eyes rotate slightly so that the central fovea, where vision is clearest, is pointed directly at what you are looking at. The medical term for this is vergence function. You have probably noticed how the eyes turn inward when someone is looking at something very close-up, for instance when threading a needle. The eyes automatically turn in to keep the needle and thread in sharp focus. On the other hand, when someone is looking at a landscape the eyes seem to point almost straight ahead. Your eyes have this marvelous ability to always keep anything you want to see in sharp focus. Your eyes can watch a skier rushing down a mountainside and still keep the figure in focus while the background rushes by. With proper convergence you have depth perception and experience the world in 3D. The brain automatically fuses the image from your left and right eye together into three-dimensional perception. You instantly know where things are located. Another example of a calculation error the brain can make. They call it nocebo, `I will harm'. It is the peculiar flip side of a strange coin. Economic theory sees the human being as a totally rational agent interested in maximising his or her own profit, the so-called Homo oeconomicus. This concept of rationality is somewhat unfounded, since the two thought mechanisms - above and below consciousness - can mix things up. This means that even in the most rational convictions, thoughts and behaviours, you could still potentially be the victim of a long series of subliminal cognitive biases. This throws doubt on rationality theory. It's no wonder that a new interdisciplinary field has emerged, neuroeconomy, which studies the iceberg of the decision-making process, where the `visible', conscious part (the one that apparently selects the alternatives from which to choose) is only the tiny peak that emerges from the water. Here are a dozen of these cognitive calculation errors (only a small selection of those described by psychologists).

You have probably already come across a few of these in your life. Be kind to yourself. It's the best thing to do. This leads us to the second truth: you're exactly where you're supposed to be right now. Because if you weren't, you would be somewhere else. So do the best you can where you are and encourage yourself along the way. By doing so, you'll end up in a much better place in the future. Do you feel discouraged when you look at all the people who are better, smarter, stronger or happier than you? Realize that there will always be people who are doing better than you in certain areas of life. The real battle you have isn't with other people, it's with yourself. Others have their own issues you know nothing about. Good depth perception is very important if you play ballgames where you need to catch a ball. If your convergence is off, you tend to misjudge where the ball will fall. Either you attempt to catch it short or the ball will fly over your head. Lack of convergence, or stereovision, usually does not affect reading. People with mono-vision using only one eye generally develop alternate ways of approximating distance, for example, by judging the size of objects. It is believed that stereoscopic vision is developed by the age of 4 months and will be fully established around 8 years of age. Generally it is assumed that the entire visual system is fully developed by this age. Severe convergence problems develop when one of the eyes turns in, as in esotropia or when one of the eyes turn out, as is the case in exotropia. This condition is known as strabismus.

When the image from one eye crosses the midline of the retina, this operates as a trigger and the brain suspends the image from that eye in order to avoid double vision or diplopia. Just as the visual system specialises in finding patterns in everything that comes from the retinae, the cortex deduces the presence of recurring elements in totally random events, for example in lottery draws or any kind of divination, from tea leaves to tarot cards. Gambler's fallacy. Similar to apophenia. It consists in believing that, since `heads' came out five times in a row, the next time one tosses the coin, it will probably land on `tails'. Mathematics disagrees: the probability is 50-50 with every toss. The bandwagon effect. The tendency to believe in something because many other people believe it. All the most unpleasant cases of mass folly recorded throughout history have included this common calculation error. Hindsight bias. Past events that suddenly appear foreseeable: `I knew it,' you think. Let them deal with their own problems. Meanwhile, refocus on yourself and on what you can do to improve your situation. Every human being has flaws. Fortunately, you don't need to be perfect to design a great life; You have a few abilities no other human being has. Why not focus on these abilities and see what you can create with them? The point is, you don't need to be perfect to be successful. You only need to identify your biggest strengths and express them the best you can at your own pace while being kind to yourself. Whatever challenges you're going through right now, you're not alone.

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