Conventionally we assume that we have the freedom of choice over our actions, feelings, and our thoughts. But we don’t. There have been numerous enlightening discussions over underlying psychological factors for our behaviors and feelings while physiological aspects have been in shade.

There are psychological and physiological aspects of our engagement with the world and with ourselves. The portfolio of what we can think, feel, and do at any given time depends on our physiological state.

Because of that, I believe, it is important to regulate our physiological state in order to increase our freedom to choose our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. …

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Illustration by Nadia Mokadem

I grew up in a culture that did not value hard work but glorified finding hacks and cutting corners. I became very critical of that mindset because it doesn’t lead to high-quality work and high performance.

Now I live in a country where hard work is glorified over anything else. I see that quite problematic as well, at least in terms of high performance and wellbeing. Let me explain.

1. Sometimes, it leads us in the wrong direction

I see frequently that people resort to working harder when they are not getting the results they want. The subconscious equation is “getting what you want=hard work”. So if I’m missing the mark, it means that I’m not working hard enough. …

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In my practice with startups, I see frequently how people create hell for themselves paved with good intentions. They do not ask for what they need, they do not give crucial feedback and they enable dysfunctions of others by overcompensating for them….all in the name of being nice.

That’s only the surface reality though. Niceness is a tricky trait. Frequently it’s the disguise of our selfish need to be liked. We want to think that we are nice but more than that we want others to think that we are nice. …

Brain being cleaned with a tooth brush.
Brain being cleaned with a tooth brush.

Like every other species, human beings are evolved to adapt to their environment. Our intelligence helped us survive the wild nature of the earth and went ahead to manipulate the environment for the benefit of humankind. Today the majority of us live in an artificial world that is very different from our ancestors’ world.

While enjoying the conveniences of it, it would be wise to pay attention to the consequences of living in an environment we did not evolve for. For example, there used to be a time when people did not have toothbrushes, flosses, or dentistry. …


Banu Hantal

Leadership Psychologist // Executive Coach // SuperHumanist

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