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Developing object permanence around flinches

Summary:
Many years ago, I did an exercise where I made a list of thoughts that I flinched away from. Then, I made spaced repetition cards with the thoughts. The cards were statements like: “As of March 2009, I am currently uncomfortable with the idea that quitting my job might be the right move.” (Totally fake example to communicate the format.) I think it was a really useful exercise, and it’s pretty easy to implement, and I basically recommend it to people. I don’t think the part about spaced repetition software specifically was all that important–I think the idea was that I developed something like object permanence around these mental flinches of mine, and that was the way I accomplished that. If you try this, I wouldn’t try to force yourself to consider the uncomfortable thought at the object

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Many years ago, I did an exercise where I made a list of thoughts that I flinched away from. Then, I made spaced repetition cards with the thoughts.

The cards were statements like: “As of March 2009, I am currently uncomfortable with the idea that quitting my job might be the right move.” (Totally fake example to communicate the format.)

I think it was a really useful exercise, and it’s pretty easy to implement, and I basically recommend it to people.

I don’t think the part about spaced repetition software specifically was all that important–I think the idea was that I developed something like object permanence around these mental flinches of mine, and that was the way I accomplished that.

If you try this, I wouldn’t try to force yourself to consider the uncomfortable thought at the object level. I would try to internalize that you are in fact uncomfortable considering it at the object level, and maybe meditate on possible cognitive chilling effects of that situation.

Because, in my experience, human brains are pretty good at back-propagating these flinches, and that can cut off a lot of otherwise useful thought. (The linked article is very good, but includes a framing and approach that are, IMO, importantly different from what worked for me. YMMV.)

From Divia Eden, via Alexey Guzey.

The post Developing object permanence around flinches appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

Tyler Cowen
Tyler Cowen is an American economist, academic, and writer. He occupies the Holbert C. Harris Chair of economics as a professor at George Mason University and is co-author, with Alex Tabarrok, of the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution. Cowen and Tabarrok have also ventured into online education by starting Marginal Revolution University. He currently writes the "Economic Scene" column for the New York Times, and he also writes for such publications as The New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsweek, and the Wilson Quarterly.

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