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James Altucher


10 Things I Learned Today

    1. Birth rate below replacement rate

    To sustain a population, every woman needs to have 2.1 babies each.

    In the US today, that number is 1.6. Europe and China come in at 1.5 and 1.3, respectively.

    2. US heat waves have gone up since the 1960s...but down overall in the past century


    3. The odds of dying from various accidents


    4. Gottman's 7 Principles for making a marriage work:

    • 1) Sharing love maps.
    • 2) Nurturing fondness and admiration.
    • 3) Turning toward each other, instead of away.
    • 4) Letting your partner influence you.
    • 5) Solving your solvable problems.
    • 6) Overcoming gridlock.
    • 7) Creating shared meaning together.

    5. What part of the brain controls "forgiveness"

    From the neurobiology of forgiveness:

    Participants showed more metabolic activity in the precuneus, left temporo-parietal junction, and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex when given scenarios that elicited sympathy than for no-sympathy

    6. How to activate the part of the brain that is in control of forgiveness, making it easier to forgive.

    From "Compassion Meditation and related neural activity":

    Upon completion of the study interventions, participants randomized to CBCT (compassion meditation) and were significantly more likely than control subjects to have increased scores on the RMET and increased neural activity in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex

    7. Why I care about the above:

    On my podcast, Flow research, Steven Kotler told me that one thing that helps achieve the flow state when you are in your 50s is developing the capacity to not hold grudges and to forgive. Podcast being released .. Mar 21 I think.

    8. Deliberate Play vs Deliberate Practice

    Deliberate Practice is hand in hand with the "10,000 hour rule". i.e. practice the same thing for 10,000 hours and you will be great.

    e.g. Violinists with 10,000 hours of deliberate practice have more successful violin careers than people who have done deliberate practice for 4,000 hours.

    Deliberate Practice can be described as: "practice, analyze and fix, repeat." for 10,000 hours.

    Deliberate Play, though has similar goals (success) but is more like, "practice but occasionally go in directions that are inspired by curiousity and fun, analyze and fix, repeat".

    So, for instance, in chess the most common openings are 1.e4 and 2. d4. People spend years memorizing variations after those moves.

    But what if, every now and then you play a completely odd move, like "1.a4" . This is a HORRIBLE move. But Magnus Carlsen, the world chess champion, has played it in tournament play and won. Just to keep things interesting. And also expanding his knowledge of the game in unfamiliar territory. Perhaps this is why he is world champion.

    9. Most people don't care...

    I got an email, a pitch for someone to be on my podcast, this morning. It was from a PR agency:

    ""Hi James,

    Would you be interested in Dr Ben Goertzel, one of the world’s leading authorities on artificial intelligence and the pioneer behind Sophia the Robot, appearing on the XX podcast to discuss the massive progress being made within AI development"

    Since my podcast is not called "the XX podcast", I have to assume this guy just didn't really go a good job for his client.

    10. A Duchenne Smile has been shown to reduce stress, even if you are faking it


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