A scientific approach to everyday thinking.
Self-awareness is a key contributor to happiness. It’s what makes the difference between dating good or bad people for you, creating an easy or soul-crushing workflow, and it’s the stepping stone when managing your emotions.
So how do you become self-aware?
For a big chunk of my life, I hated eggs. Nothing you’d say would make me eat them. Until one day I was traveling and the only option available was scrambled eggs. Since I didn’t want to be the picky one of the group, I ate them. To my surprise, I really enjoyed them. Had I been wrong about eggs all along? Maybe.
If there’s one thing I learned from reading David Deutsch’s The Beginning of Infinity, is that bad explanations are easy to vary and good explanations are hard to vary. So when I discovered that my view on eggs was shaky, this meant I had a bad explanation on my hands. It was time to create a better one.
Karl Popper suggests that to have a scientific view you should use the Principle of Falsification. What is that? Basically, instead of trying to justify why your opinions are the best damn thing in the world, you should look for holes in it. Not to destabilize your views and be a downer, but to obliterate false misconceptions and build a more grounded and solid notion in its place.
At the comfort of my own home, I tried every egg recipe in the cooking book. Fried eggs? Alright. Italian Frittatas? Hell yeah. Hard-boiled eggs? Pure trash. Some egg recipes might suck, but not all of them.
My mistake about hating eggs was thinking I had a good foundation on what I didn’t like beforehand. And a lot of people do that too. (Un)fortunately, proof to the contrary can’t be found a priori, because the truth you start with is not a truth, but a belief or a logical tautology. Those kinds of ideas can be dismissed immediately because they don’t convey any real knowledge about the world. Knowledge is conjectural. And scientific knowledge is tested by observation, not derived from it. Scientific theories are just testable conjectures.
Your theories about what you know about yourself are just conjectures. All you need to do to improve and discover more about yourself is to falsify your ideas. If they are a little bit shaky when faced with opposite views, they are bad explanations. So go out of your way to be creative and discover why and which parts are bad explanations. If they are solid, you are good to let them go and move on.
This is a good way to update what you know and discover more about yourself.
Hope you find it useful and talk to you soon,
Did you know your personality shapes your pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? Take the big 5 Personality Test and get to know more about yourself today.