How to Improve Social Intelligence ūü§Ē

Social intelligence is a skill that is decreasing by the day. As technology has progressed, we interact with people less and spend more time alone.

Improving social intelligence is a daunting task, and one might ask if it’s even possible to do so.

The answer is yes, but it’s rather complicated.

Think of social intelligence as a skill that has to be sharpened to be effective.

If you don’t practice and apply the principles consistently in a variety of situations, over time you lose the skill and hence your social intelligence lowers. This is simply because you are less in touch with reality and social dynamics.

Social interaction is what tells us valuable information about ourselves. We can’t be isolated if we want to have strong social skills.

Introverts are going to always need more social practice than extraverts. Unfortunately, we tend to prefer being alone more, but that often causes us to form irrational assumptions about ourselves and others because we aren’t receiving any kind of data or feedback.

So the bottom line is – if you want to improve your life and social skills — start talking to more people every day. Join groups, events, and optimize your social media. Do what you can to make friends and put your shyness aside. End of story.

 

“Confidence” is related to your job more than you think…

If you aren’t excellent at your job, you will not be very confident in most areas of life.

This is easily explained by the psychological concept of a dominance hierarchy.

Being at the top of a dominance hierarchy is a fancy way of saying “having a respected status or ranking” in a competitive social & work environment.

If you are low in a dominance hierarchy, your serotonin and dopamine levels will be low. You will almost always not be sufficiently happy. 

Why? Because you and everybody your work with knows you aren’t that valuable. Your services and skills simply don’t hold their weight to harder working, more intelligent workers. It’s not easy to say that, but it’s usually true.

If this happens, you will be neurotic. You will have that nasty voice in the back of your head that feels out of place and undervalued. This can plague you for years. Especially if you’re in sales or highly competitive environments and you’re not cut for that cloth…

The truth is…

People who contribute value to an organization receive value in return. 

The solution is to pick a job, career, or vocation where you’d be a big fish in a small pond. Even if that means downsizing, or working in a less competitive environment if you’d be better at your job.

What skills and natural aptitudes do you have that would put you at a competitive advantage?

Note: I’m suggesting to be self-aware before making any kind of career decision. If you aren’t smart enough for a job, you will have a miserable time pursing it as a career. This means social intelligence, too. Also, I’m not arguing “status = confidence” in a superficial manner. Rather, the purpose of this article is to show how confidence is related to being good at what you do…and “status” or “respect” results as a byproduct.

What you think? Leave your comments below!

“Take Your Pills” Commentary. What’s Adderall REALLY like?

I just finished watching the new Netflix documentary “Take Your Pills” which discusses the rise of Adderall and amphetamines and ADHD. What’s so great about these little blue monsters?

Adderall is a powerful drug. Only one methyl group from Methamphetamine, it can cause a myriad of health problems and psychological issues. As someone who has struggled with attention problems, I will discuss my experience with Adderall in hopes that it takes away any glorification of Adderall this documentary claimed.

Adderall floods your brain with dopamine and norepinephrine. Basically, it lights up the “feel good” neurotransmitters that allow someone to focus on tasks for longer periods of time.

People with ADD and ADHD have fragmented attention spans. They are easily swayed by environmental distractions, absorbing too much stimuli. Their brain is overloaded with too much at once, resulting in the inability to get anything significant done–because their attention centers are “burned out”.

Basically, it’s a symptom of dysfunctional or low dopamine levels. The more a person switches from one source of novelty to another, the weaker attention span they have. If you have a weak attention span and can’t get much done because of it, you almost certainly have low dopamine levels.

This is a significant and rising problem: With low dopamine, you feel unfulfilled. You aren’t confident to stick with things. You give in to distraction, and give up too easily. You become susceptible¬†to making poor decisions, seeking drugs, and becoming depressed.¬†

The real solution to raising dopamine is to focus on tasks for longer periods of time and eliminate distractions. A good example would be reading a book, running, or walking in a forest. These activities restore healthy neurotransmitter levels.

But why bother when you have pills, right!? That’s the mentality society has come to now. We want instant access to everything, and Adderall is no exception. Spending time diligently, and disciplining yourself is too much work. Eating wholesome foods is a hassle. Good parenting is too much work. Pills are more efficient apparently.

Negative Effects

I don’t take Adderall much anymore because I couldn’t relax on it. Here are some of the side effects I experienced:

  • Emotional blunting (when taken every day): I felt robotic, and unable to feel naturally happy.
  • Anger: People would irritate me for no reason. People were like obstacles I wanted to get out of my way. (When I’d go grocery shopping on Adderall, every person in the aisle seemed like roadblocks).
  • Stress: Inability to relax until 2am. Nonstop “let’s solve problems” thoughts. Racing mind and heart rate.
  • Lower dopamine levels when not on it

Positive Effects

  • Significantly increased conscientiousness: I followed through on every commitment I had. I cleaned my house. I connected with coworkers and friends more openly. I finished projects I kept delaying.
  • I felt more motivated to do mundane things, like dishes and cleaning.
  • Around 50-80% decrease in social anxiety.
  • Increased peripheral awareness.

Anyhow, I’ll be honest: Adderall really helped me¬†in the short term rut of my life. As an adult with attention problems, I finally felt like I could accomplish more. However, the side effects are just too intense for me to bother taking it often. It might seem alluring, but trust me, it’s not.

I recommend having 2 or 3 strong cups of coffee before ever considering Adderall. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. Seeing that 11% of kids are being diagnosed with ADD and ADHD (and most likely taking amphetamines) is really, really scary.

Stay sober guys.

What do you think about ADHD and amphetamine use? Leave your comments below!

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Being “Spiritual” is No Substitute for Psychiatric Evaluation…

I feel that I have to write this article to clear the air. Since most of my audience seems to be spiritually-inclined people, I feel obligated to present a counter argument to what I normally write about. 

A lot of people resort to spirituality in the midst of a life crisis. It helps them appreciate life in more subtle, holistic ways. Fantastic.

Many people learn to cope with alternative lifestyles, meditation, and healthy eating. Awesome.

Others have latent mental illnesses and resist psychiatric evaluation, thinking being spiritual is enough. Not good.

Let’s be real here: Mental illnesses are legitimate problems. Telling someone with mental health issues to “go meditate for a bit, smoke a blunt, and eat some kale” is dangerous. Instead of seeking professional help, they believe they can do it on their own. This is delusion, and it’s often difficult to fix once habituated.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health issues, do not resist seeking professional help. I’m not saying to go around¬†searching¬†for a diagnosis, but just be aware of the professional support that is out there and can drastically improve the quality of your life.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article.

Peace -Seth

Do We Have Free Will? The Answer is Complicated…

Yes and no.

We have free will in the day-to-day activities we engage in. I can pick the color of shirt I want to wear, which restaurant I want to dine at, and whether I want to date Susie, Sally, Sarah, or Sylvia. All at my own autonomous discretion.

However, do we always know what we want? And can we really change whatever we want about our lives?

The problem people run into is when we can’t make decisions for ourselves due to some kind of limiting obstacle. The obstacle could be in the external world, but more likely it’s within our own psyche. These are often called success barriers.¬†

Human beings are addicted to emotions. We essentially become slaves to our identities, constantly reinforcing beliefs about ourselves unconsciously. This “echo-chamber” of the mind can be extremely helpful, or extremely damaging, depending on what’s being reinforced.

For instance, if you have low self-esteem, it feels almost impossible to accomplish goals a person with high-self esteem would. Why? It’s because this person’s ego is addicted to believing a story about themselves that says “I’m not good enough to earn this because I’m [insert rationalization]…”

This neurotic, obsessive habit, when left unchecked, can plague someone’s life for years. Do the still have the free will to change it? Yes. However, it’s like digging yourself deeper in a hole. You don’t need more shovels, you need a fucking rope. But the person who has this problem (unconsciously) wants to keep digging deeper. So, in a sense, they really don’t have complete free will. They’d ignore the rope if they saw one.

There is a way to reclaim more of your free will, but it requires a combination of acceptance and applied knowledge. There is a quote that says…

“Without awareness, there is no choice.”

I don’t know where I heard this quote, but it’s ridiculously true when it comes to free will. We have to detach from what we know, and listen to what we don’t know. This is why meditation is becoming increasingly popular in Western culture. Being less reactive is a valuable skill in today’s distracted, reactive society.

Why? Because we’re stupider than we think. If we were super intelligent, we’d accomplish our goals in an extremely straightforward manner. But most people spend a lifetime trying to figure out how to play “life”. They’re too caught up dabbling around in the sidelines, reading a tutorial book on how to play hockey when they’re actually at a football game. It just doesn’t work.

Granted, there ARE people who seem to float effortlessly through life, with seemingly infinite free will, actualizing whatever goals they conjure. These people, however, are small minority, because most humans have very real problems.

“You don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are.”

This basically explains the Law of Attraction. Like attracts like. You can only hold what your cup can handle.

This may seem a little harsh, but it’s true. If you really want to change things, but just can’t seem to do so, have an honest assessment with yourself about what might be blocking your success. Is it your own thoughts?

You always have the free will to make changes in a positive direction. Just start now, ground yourself with as many positive influences as you can. The more pillars you have at the base of your building, the less likely the structure will collapse.

Stack the odds in your own favor.

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Why it’s Good to Have an Ego

Everybody hates on the word “Ego”. They instantly think of a smug asshole who thinks they’re better than you.

However (while those people are unfortunate to deal with), having an ego simply means “sense of self”. It’s your identity. It’s how you make sense of yourself and the world. It’s your relationship with others in a society.

Unless you go meditate on your own in caves your whole life, you’re going to need an ego to integrate with others in this world.

I hear so much of “slay the ego” in spiritual communities. People want to dissolve their sense of self and be “one with the universe”.

But frankly, that’s an extremely impractical (and dangerous) philosophy to practice in your life. Because you’re never going to completely get rid of your ego so long as you are a functioning member in society.

I’m making the argument that it’s a GOOD THING to have an ego.

Humans are tribal beings. We seek a place in society and it’s necessary to have an identity for this purpose. Our DNA is wired to be in groups.

Trying to destroy your sense of self can make it extremely difficult function in society. I see this phenomenon happen a lot with heavy psychedelic users. They think it’s helping them, but it makes it harder and harder for them to integrate back into society the more they trip.

However, there is a counter side to this argument, and I know many people (including myself) who have greatly benefited from the ego-destroying effects of psychedelics. Many people say being less attached to their ego makes life a lot less serious and less heavy…and I completely agree. Psychedelics can rewire the brain in beautiful ways and they can help people awaken and discover a greater spiritual appreciation of life.

I just want to reemphasize: You shouldn’t be ashamed of having an ego. It’s not going away, and fighting it is just playing a silly mental game with yourself.

Having a healthy ego can help you in business, relationships, jobs, hobbies, etc. Having an IDENTITY is one of the strongest motivational factors to human beings. We are motivated by how we are valued in society. This is not a bad thing.

When I say “having an ego” I do not mean possessing or becoming attached to your image. When this happens, a person becomes insecure and feels they need to brag about themselves or shove it in others faces why they’re better than you. This is an unhealthy ego — and I want to make a fine distinction here that this is not to be encouraged as it will lead to problems in life just as someone who is addicted to “dissolving” their ego may experience.

What do you think? Leave your comments below!

 

“Mental Masturbation” is Stopping You from Achieving Greatness

Inspirational content is becoming a drug for many people. It’s over-saturating the digital market and there is absolutely no scarcity of “good” advice out there. It’s at our fingertips and we can dabble in it 24/7 — living a fantasy of how marvelous¬†our lives could be.

Frankly, I would argue¬†self-help has become superficial entertainment for many. It’s no longer “motivating” people to actually¬†do anything progressive. Rather — it’s become yet another form of escapism just like¬†drugs, alcohol, social media, and television are.

It’s a cheap high. A quick way to masturbate your mind for a dopamine spike and artificial epiphany release.¬†“Wow, what a magnificent concept! I feel like a successful, actualized genius” is the feeling¬†people are addicted to.

Even worse, self-help dabbling is¬†deceivingly “healthy” ¬†because it’s pseudo-intellectual.¬†

I’m here to shatter¬†that paradigm and declare self-help is a total waste of time and mental energy¬†if we don’t practically integrate such advice into our lives.

We can learn all concepts and theories we want, but if we¬†don’t do anything with¬†the information, it’s totally useless.¬†Desensitizing our brains to content intended for pragmatic use is digging deeper into fantasy and further from reality.

What happens by over-fantasizing, is we tend to place too much emphasis on external happiness and need, and can’t find happiness within ourselves.¬†

Self-help works when an individual is at the cause of their actions, not the effect of their environment. Next article I will explain Cause vs. Effect and how to tell which side you may be operating in.