Losing hurts more than the joy of winning

Human Brain, Labelling, losing, winning

I have read multiple psychologists write that the brain always tends to get impacted more with a loss than an equivalent or higher gain.

Today I had a real experience with both the loss and gain at the same time,.

I had ordered groceries from BigBasket which is one of the e-commerce sites for delivery of grocery items. They have a very convenient mobile app through which I order and they come and deliver all the items. Unlike other marketplaces, where each item comes at a different schedule, the benefit is that everything comes together.

So I am not trying to do an advertisement for BigBasket. But there’s a relevance to the statements above.

So I had ordered a lot of items and the delivery boy started handing over each of those. This was early in the morning at 7 AM and I had just brushed my teeth and washed my face. Now within these items zi had also ordered 2 packets of buns. This item was more critical than all the others because I had to make breakfast for myself with those buns.

While this boy was handing over the items he handed me a box of chicken drumsticks. Now I had not ordered it. So I handed it back to him. But he insisted I keep because it was complementary. Just so that you get a relevance – this free item may be worth Rs150 or 2 USD. So I was happy to get a free gift early in the morning.

But because I had my breakfast in mind I had my eye on the 2 packets of buns. Otherwise I would have to go to the shop and get them physically….early in the morning that’s a pain.

Now my man handed over one packet of buns. Then he gave me other items and finished the delivery and asked me to check. I was agitated since I had got one less packet. Then the boy checked his delivery receipt and it showed 2 packets, so I got even more agitated. Again for relevance we are talking about a packet of about Rs19 or 25 cents US which had not come.

I was brooding over an item which was 1/8 of the free gift they had sent me. But my brain was seeing the negative that I would now have to go and get the item. For full disclosure, when the boy realized that there really was a gap, he immediately put it out in his “app” and BigBasket immediately credited the money into my wallet instantly for the one packet of buns which were not delivered. So it was not that I had lost money , it was just that now I would have to do extra work.

Since our brains are designed for survival, they always find the negative in a situation and remember it longer. So the extra work was what made my brain make me feel bad about.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Analytics,  causation and human evolution

books, Brain size, Evolution, Human Brain, Thinking

About a month back I was giving a training to our team on Analytics  and what could be the uses for customers.  During that training I spent a lot of time on how Analytics can be used to do correlation and also causation. These are 2 concepts which a lot of people mix up. So I  spent a lot of time on that, clarifying doubts.

Today I was reading the book “Framers: Human Advantage in an Age of Technology and Turmoil” by Kenneth Cukier, Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger, Francis de Vericourt.

I am right now in the first half of the book. There’s a specific chapter on causation.

If you have been following my blog, you would notice that I have been interested in understanding why humans succeeded in advancing so much while the whole animal kingdom and other living beings are where they were millions of years back. Zebras thousands of years back still had the same stripes and ate grass as they do now. But humans moved from stones to weapons to flying and all kinds of other advancements.

I already believed that because the real estate for the development of the human brain was much larger than other animals , it gave our brain more capabilities to evolve physically. The second reason in my opinion was the motor mechanism where we have the concept of grip which helped us to hold things and also walk on 2 limbs rather than four.

One of the things that the authors are suggesting is the fact that humans had two key skills which the other animals did not. One was the ability to see causation and the other were social skills. With causation they were able to think about how the same causes could be caused to have the same effects while with social skills they could ask for help and collaborate.

While some animals do live in colonies, they don’t seem to seek help for achieving tasks. On the other hand even if you were to put 2-3 kids who don’t know each other into a room, you will soon find that they are playing with each other trying to help each other.

As I read further I will see if they have more information on this subject. But for me , now if I have to give another training on Analytics and its uses, I will have some more content to talk about on how causation has helped humans evolve.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Mental rumination

Human Brain, Worry

This was a term I learnt a few days back, I don’t remember the exact book I read it in because I have read about 3 books int he last oe week. But this term has left a lasting impression.

Everyone’s brain is hyper active. The human brain was designed to ensure survival. So by its very nature it has a negative bias. Which means that the brain will always try to see the negative in any situation first. If you are enjoying something, maybe you are at a party, you have this nagging feeling that something would be about to go wrong. Its just the way the brain tries to keep you safe and attentive to possible dangers.

But because the brain is hyperactive, it is able to float through different scenarios in your mind. Suddenly you start to actually feel terrible, if you have worked yourself up. This author used a very good term mental rumination. Its not a new term. If you go on Google and do a search for this term you will find that the search returns more than 3 million results. So it is a very well known term. It talks about the negative emotions that get generated when the brain is idling and starts thinking negative thoughts which slowly go out of control in terms of negativity.

However why it stuck to me, was that it is a term which I had heard the first time and I related it to how a cow regurgitates its food to chew further, while its resting. I have many bouts in the day where because of some random or stupid stimuli, my mind goes in a spin and then I am rewinding into the past and then imagining the negative future on some action I have taken. Its like I have become the cow who is moving its mouth to digest the food while its resting.

That image is what I am now trying to bring in front of me, whenever my brain gets into a spin. Its a little crazy, but it gives my brain an impulse and pulls it out of the negative spiral it has gone into. This is similar to what the NLP folks talk about to get the brain into a different state immediately.

Not only does mental rumination make you feel negative, it also ends up wasting so much of your productive time in useless activity.

If you also face a similar situation to what I face of mental rumination, I suggest you also visualise some crazy image, whenever you think you are going into a negative spiral, and come out faster.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Writer’s block – how I push the resistance

Deadlines, Energy, Fear, Focus, Human Brain

Yesterday I wrote about how I get the Writer’s block everyday and some of the tactics I use to trick my brain into supporting me to write my articles. As I have mentioned multiple times earlier, the brain tries to conserve energy because it assumes its main responsibility is to ensure survival and it feels more comfortable with the idea of having energy rather than spending it on writing a new blog post.

One more tactic that I have found useful to get my brain into supporting me in my writing is the use of time pressure or deadlines. Generally I write my blog towards the end of my working day. Which means that quite often I have pressure to go for dinner or there’s a favorite program that I need to watch.

When the brain realizes that there’s a deadline to be met, it generally gets into action. You would have noticed this in all walks of life. Till there’s no pressure of a deadline, any project, any activity will be nowhere near closure. Suddenly when the deadline is due, people will put everything aside and only focus on this one activity. The combined focus and action miraculously gets the “project” shipped / delivered in record time.

Similarly when I have a deadline , but I know that I have to write the blog as part of the commitment I have made to myself, suddenly things fall in place.

All the resistance that the brain showed earlier, falls by the wayside and it supports me in getting the blog written and “shipped” or published.

Truthfully I don’t know the science behind this, it’s just a tactic that I have found useful so I am sharing with you. In addition to writing a blog, I have used the same tactic to also improve to a certain extent on hitting my daily tasks. By giving my myself a deadline and putting an alarm for the deadline, I have realized that my brain wanders less. If there’s no deadline, it tends to get into day dreaming and ruminating over things which happened or got messed up.

I would even suggest you also try and let me know if you got any benefits. In addition let me also know if you know of other ways to ensure that our brain does not create resistance or fear when you have to do a new task.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!