When it comes to reading I am a big fan of doubling down on a topic or an author to understand a topic or a specific author’s thought process more. In this case, I doubled down on two of Scott Adams’ books How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big and Loserthink. The former, which I wrote about here, focuses on Scott’s life lessons learned in an actionable format for the reader to implement. The latter, subtitle: how untrained brains are ruining America, explores critical thinking skills and mental traps people often find themselves in who spend a lot of time watching the news or on social media. Generally I preferred and would recommend the first book if you had to pick one, but there is some good content in Loserthink. Let’s dive in.
- Inputs – Scott argues that you should think of your mind as having limited shelf space, and that certain inputs will increase cortisol. Adam’s writes, “If you fill that space with negative thoughts, it will set your mental filters to negativity and poor health, and there will be no space left for healthy, productive, and uplifting thoughts….The Mayo Clinic explains that cortisol ‘curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight[CK1] or flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with the regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear.’” In short monitor your inputs carefully.
- Halfpinions – halfpinions are when one ignores either the costs or the benefits of a situation. They participate in “loserthink” by only accepting one half of an argument. A good way to spot your own halfpinions is if you can’t think of anything good about a situation and yet you observe that others can.
- The Golden Age Filter – “bad” / emotional news sells. It keeps eye balls on the screen. Scott closes the book with what he calls the “Golden Age Filter” with reasons why we should be optimistic about the future. He loosely covers topics such as poverty, overpopulation, crime, world peace, climate change, unemployment, and healthcare innovations; providing reasons why we should be optimistic about the future and the progress that is being made in these fields. This was personally my favorite part of the book, as it is an angle that is not usually explored.