Tag Archive for 'Neuroscience'

Benefits of being an outsider

There was a very interesting articled in Wired Magazine a few years ago Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing Up, and it helped me understand why some of my points of view were different from my peers. I used to think that just because I had a different cultural background was the cause of my difference, but apparently there is a whole reason why I grew apart from the rest and continue on that vector.

This article brings up the concept of curiosity in a new light for me in the method that asks whether one is interested in a new result that is discovered while searching for a different set of results. Because we are wired not only to ignore results for which we were not looking, but our memory is capable of deleting them immediately if we don’t have a mental cubby hole in which to store the new information.

The article continues that outsiders are very good at discovering the new because outsiders question the status quo, which sometimes is misinformation that hides the truth and even causes our minds to “delete” observations. One doesn’t have to be a social reject to become an outsider; one just needs to be from another group of specialists who speak different jargon. Then, as the various groups attempt to translate their own jargon to one another, status quo is put under a microscope, which gives way to questioning it.

I once brought this up to a friend of mine who is a CFO of a hospital, and asked me, “Why aren’t you a CEO already?” which made me feel special and that maybe I have something in me to be a great transcendental leader


Lately, I concluded to raise my priority of my sleep. Although it appears that sleeping more leaves less time in the day to accomplish tasks, I concluded that the rate at which the tasks are I accomplish tasks on less sleep is significantly slower. It is so much slower that it is simply better to sprint through tasks than to drudge through them.

For a busy person like me, sleep seems to be the lowest cost way to acquire more time, but unfortunately, that time only is borrowed and must be paid back, sometimes with interest. It is still better to invest time to plan how to maximize the short time I have than to try to stretch that time I have further. It seems paradoxical, but this is where I stand today.

Supporting information

Typically, to arrive at conclusions like this, significant data gathering is required upon which to make some calculations let the answer bubble up to the top. Productivity is not everything because lifespan is more important to me, while …

  • loosing sleep
  • getting fat from slower metabolism due to lack of sleep
  • not getting the most of our work out due to lack of sleep and slower metabolic rate
  • skipping workouts because I am too tired
  • less stress required to anger me
  • compromised immune system

… all contribute to the cost of borrowing time against sleep. To me, these are very high costs.

Furthermore, I have listened to several scientific podcasts, and the guests on these shows can draw certain conclusions, although with less confidence, with simple gut instinct, especially when it comes to evaluating the feeling experience of a person.


Learning in Your Sleephttp://www.kurzweilai.net/learning-in-your-sleep

Sleep Selectively Stores Useful Memorieshttp://www.kurzweilai.net/sleep-selectively-stores-useful-memories

How I do it

I am one of those people who like to plan things very thoroughly, especially if a subject matter that is dear to me. My mind almost always stops before every decision to first decide how much time to spend on arriving at best decisions. For example, I used to plan trips to the grocery store much more than I do now to avoid the cost of time of driving to store more frequently than necessary, but lately, I relaxed on the planning and make faster, sloppier shopping lists, if one at all, and just do the rest from memory.

For the less repetitive tasks, I like to deeply imagine, almost to the verge of meditation, the entire process of completing a complex task (or mini-project), and then write it down. Ultimately, my tasks are entered and organized in Taskcoach, and from there, I make a daily agenda of tasks or steps to accomplish in a given day. These steps may not all be related to one project. The most important thing for me is to avoid stopping to think of what to do next because, after all, I have very little time home because I work a full workweek, which is much more time-consuming than I ever imagined.