Understanding Human Behaviour: The Dance Between Approach and Avoidance

whether you think you' can or you think you can't - you're right quote by Henry Ford
whether you think you’ can or you think you can’t – you’re right quote by Henry Ford

In the intricate dance of human behavior, two primal forces constantly shape our actions: approach and avoidance. It’s a delicate balancing act of seeking pleasure while evading pain, striving to keep or attain the good while steering clear of the bad. Understanding these dynamics is key to unraveling the complexities of our decisions and actions.

At its core, our behavior is driven by the pursuit of rewards and the avoidance of punishments. We are wired to seek out experiences that trigger feelings of pleasure and satisfaction, fueled by the neurotransmitter dopamine. This incentive reward system motivates us to move towards our goals, driven by the anticipation of gratification.

However, once we achieve our goals, the frame of reference shifts. The consummatory reward sets in, and we experience a sense of satiation. Yet, intriguingly, it’s often the anticipation of rewards that drives us more than the rewards themselves. We find ourselves constantly chasing the next high, the next dopamine hit, perpetually in a state of wanting over having.

Conversely, punishments serve as deterrents, signaling potential threats to our well-being. Whether it’s the diminishment of our self-esteem or social status, punishments act as barriers, dissuading us from engaging in behaviours deemed undesirable.

But how do we determine what is good or bad, right or wrong? It’s through the lens of subjective interpretation, colored by our beliefs, values, and social conditioning. We assign meaning to our experiences, filtering them through the sieve of our perceptions and biases. Yet, this process is inherently flawed, as our interpretations often lack the depth and nuance to capture the complexities of reality.

In retrospect, we may rationalize our actions, weaving a narrative that justifies our choices and minimizes cognitive dissonance. This tendency to twist reality to fit our narrative serves as a coping mechanism, shielding us from the discomfort of acknowledging our shortcomings.

However, we are able to change our mindset, by reframing how we think about things, by taking responsibility for our actions instead of adopting a victim mentality, by being resourceful, and by finding a big enough reason (or enough reasons) to initiate momentum towards positive change. We need to generate enough enthusiasm to overcome any resistance to change that may hold us back. This is often fueled by the fear of the unknown, uncertainty, loss, embarrassment, and an evolutionary desire to conserve energy in times of uncertainty.

Fear, instead of being an obstacle, can be harnessed as a catalyst for growth, propelling us forward into uncharted territory. By getting the fear of regret or fear of missing out (FOMO) behind us, we can use it to towards our goals.

Embracing chaos and complexity, we embark on the hero’s journey, confronting our fears and building competency through incremental, but continuous progress. Armed with knowledge, motivation, and productivity tools, we navigate the twists and turns of life, aiming for the highest good while standing on the border between our comfort zone and unknown territory.

In this ever-evolving dance of approach and avoidance, let us dare to venture bravely into the unknown, armed with the wisdom to differentiate the monsters that are from the monsters that could be. For it is in the journey itself that we discover the true essence of our humanity and the limitless potential that lies within.

Embracing Discomfort: The Path to Growth and Transformation

Get Results: expand comfort zone through discomfort
Get Results: expand comfort zone through discomfort

Stepping outside one’s comfort zone is akin to venturing into uncharted territory, where uncertainty reigns supreme and discomfort becomes a constant companion. By its very definition, discomfort implies a sense of unease, a feeling of resistance that stems from the instinctual urge for self-preservation. It’s the unsettling sensation that nudges us towards the familiar, towards the safety of what we know, rather than towards the unknown.

Yet, it is precisely at this juncture, at the threshold of fear and uncertainty, that we are presented with a choice—a choice that can either propel us towards growth and self-discovery or anchor us to the safety of the familiar. It is the choice between turning away from the fear or leaning into it, facing it head-on, and embracing the discomfort as a catalyst for change.

In many ways, embarking on this journey is akin to undertaking the hero’s journey—a narrative archetype that transcends cultures and time periods, embodying the universal quest for self-discovery and transformation. Like the hero of old, we are called to venture forth into the unknown, to confront our deepest fears and overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges, in pursuit of a greater truth.

For it is often said that the very thing we need most can be found in the place we least want to look. It is amidst the discomfort and uncertainty of the unknown that we uncover hidden truths about ourselves, about our capabilities, and about the world around us. It is here, in the depths of our discomfort, that we discover the resilience of the human spirit and the boundless potential that lies dormant within each of us.

In stepping outside our comfort zone, we come to realize that all the knowledge and wisdom we seek to improve our lives lie not within the confines of what we already know but in the vast expanse of the unknown. It is here that we find the answers to the questions we never thought to ask, the solutions to the problems we never knew existed.

Yes, it is true that we already possess a wealth of knowledge and experience that has brought us to this point in our lives. But if we are to continue growing, evolving, and becoming the best versions of ourselves, then we must be willing to embrace the discomfort of the unknown, to venture into uncharted territory, and to open ourselves up to the infinite possibilities that lie beyond our comfort zone.

So, the next time you find yourself faced with the choice between the safety of the familiar and the uncertainty of the unknown, remember this—true growth lies not in what we already know but in what we have yet to learn. Step boldly into the discomfort, for it is here that the greatest adventures await, and the most profound transformations occur.

A closer Look at Oscar Wilde’s Quote: Two Tragedies in Life …

“There are only two great tragedies in life: one is not getting what you want and the other is getting it.” — Oscar Wilde
“There are only two great tragedies in life: one is not getting what you want and the other is getting it.” — Oscar Wilde

This quote by Oscar Wilde reflects on the dual nature of life’s potential tragedies. Let’s break it down:

“One is not getting what you want”: The first tragedy refers to the disappointment and sorrow that come from unfulfilled desires and aspirations. Failing to achieve one’s goals or obtain what one desires can be a source of profound sadness and regret.

“The other is getting it”: The second tragedy is more subtle. It suggests that obtaining what one desires can also be a source of tragedy. This could be due to the unexpected consequences, responsibilities, or challenges that come with achieving one’s goals. Success may not always bring the fulfillment or happiness one anticipated, and the reality of attaining one’s desires may turn out to be less satisfying than expected.

In essence, Wilde’s quote highlights the complex and often contradictory nature of human desires and the potential for both disappointment in not achieving them and unexpected challenges in achieving them. It encourages reflection on the nature of personal goals and the broader implications of success and failure in the pursuit of those goals.

Avoid Self Deception And Work Towards Self Improvement

Get Results: Jim Rohn quotes
Get Results: Jim Rohn quotes

Self-deception is a major barrier to self-improvement, and people may engage in self-deception for a variety of reasons. It’s a complex psychological phenomenon with both adaptive and maladaptive aspects. Here are some reasons why self-deception can occur:

Coping Mechanism

Self-deception can be a coping mechanism to protect ourselves from painful or uncomfortable truths. Facing certain realities may cause emotional distress, so the mind creates a defense mechanism by distorting or denying those truths.

Preserving Self-esteem

People often want to maintain a positive self-image. They may deceive themselves to avoid acknowledging their weaknesses, mistakes, or failures, as this could threaten their self-esteem.

Confirmation Bias

Humans have a natural tendency to seek information that confirms their preexisting beliefs and to ignore or downplay evidence that contradicts them. This can lead to self-deception as individuals selectively perceive and remember information that supports their preferred view of reality.

Biased Perception

Perception is not purely objective; it can be influenced by emotions, personal biases, and desires. This subjectivity can lead to distorted interpretations of reality.

Social Conformity

Sometimes, people adopt beliefs or behaviors to fit into a particular social group or to be accepted by others. This desire for acceptance may lead individuals to deceive themselves about their true feelings or values.

Avoiding Responsibility

Self-deception can be a way to shirk responsibility for one’s actions. By convincing themselves that they are not at fault or that their actions were justified, individuals can avoid feelings of guilt or remorse.


Overestimating one’s abilities or the accuracy of their beliefs can be a form of self-deception. People may deceive themselves into thinking they are more competent or knowledgeable than they truly are.

Emotional Regulation

Sometimes, self-deception can be an attempt to regulate emotions. For example, individuals might convince themselves that a situation is not as bad as it seems to lessen their emotional distress.

What to do about it?

It’s important to be aware of the fact that people, you included, can fool themselves about their strengths and weaknesses. It’s often harder to see fault in yourself, or at least to admit to it, than seeing fault in other people. We often excuse our failings as being down to circumstances, or reasons in the situation, but fail to afford that courtesy to other people, preferring to question the quality of their character or abilities for their mistakes.

You need to separate out your value or worth as a human being, from your competencies,  abilities, and performance. Being a success really doesn’t make you a better person, it just means you’re better at doing a particular thing, or even many things, but that doesn’t make you more valuable as a person. So, let go of the fear of losing your value if you make mistakes or fail. Testing your limits requires stepping outside your competency, and faltering sometimes, it’s part of the process of learning and getting better and extending your comfort zone.

Ultimately, the only way to get better is to fully acknowledge and accept your present weaknesses, biases, and flaws, so you are better able to accurately map out a path forward toward a more capable version of yourself.

Becoming Successful

build character
build character

“Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become.” -Jim Rohn

This quote by Jim Rohn emphasizes a different perspective on achieving success. Instead of viewing success as something to be actively pursued or chased, it suggests that true success is a natural outcome or consequence of personal growth and development.

In essence, the quote suggests that the key to achieving success lies in becoming the kind of person who naturally attracts success. It places emphasis on self-improvement, character development, and the cultivation of positive traits, habits, and skills.

By focusing on becoming the best version of yourself, you naturally align with the qualities and attributes that lead to success in your chosen field or endeavor. Success becomes a byproduct of your personal growth journey rather than the sole destination of your efforts.

This perspective on success encourages individuals to invest in continuous learning, self-discipline, goal-setting, and a growth mindset. It emphasizes the importance of developing the qualities, values, and attitudes that draw success towards you.

The quote also implies that success is not solely measured by external achievements or material possessions but is also deeply connected to one’s internal qualities and character. It suggests that personal fulfillment and satisfaction come from the process of becoming a better, more accomplished, and purposeful individual.

20 Wise Things To Apply To Your Life


While wisdom is subjective and can vary from person to person, here are 20 general principles that are often considered wise and insightful and that you can apply to your life:

  • Embrace change and adaptability.
  • Practice gratitude and appreciate the present moment.
  • Cultivate self-awareness and personal growth.
  • Foster meaningful relationships and connections.
  • Learn from failures and embrace resilience.
  • Seek balance in all aspects of life.
  • Prioritize your physical and mental well-being.
  • Embrace uncertainty and take calculated risks.
  • Practice empathy and kindness towards others.
  • Pursue lifelong learning and intellectual curiosity.
  • Be authentic and true to yourself.
  • Accept that mistakes are part of the learning process.
  • Choose experiences over material possessions.
  • Embrace diversity and value different perspectives.
  • Practice forgiveness and let go of grudges.
  • Set clear goals and take consistent action towards them.
  • Practice patience and trust the process.
  • Find joy and purpose in meaningful work.
  • Live with integrity and uphold your values.
  • Remember that happiness is a journey, not a destination.

These points serve as general wisdom, and individuals may have different interpretations or additional insights based on their own experiences and beliefs. It’s important to reflect on these principles and personalise them to align with your own values and aspirations in life.

Learning New Skill Quickly – The Tim Ferriss Way

Get Results: Knowledge requires learning, comprehension and recall
Get Results: Knowledge requires learning, comprehension and recall

Tim Ferriss, a renowned author, entrepreneur, and podcaster, has shared several teachings and strategies for learning new skills quickly. One of his prominent approaches is outlined in his book “The 4-Hour Chef,” where he applies his principles of rapid skill acquisition to the domain of cooking. Here are some key teachings from Tim Ferriss regarding learning new skills quickly:

  • Deconstruct the Skill: Break down the skill into its fundamental components and identify the 20% of key elements that produce 80% of the desired results. By focusing on the most crucial aspects, you can accelerate your learning curve.
  • Find the Best Learning Resources: Look for the best available resources, including books, online courses, mentors, or experts in the field. Seek out those who have already achieved mastery and learn from their experiences and insights.
  • Apply the Pareto Principle: Prioritize your efforts on the high-value activities that yield the most significant results. Identify the critical few techniques or strategies that offer the most impact and dedicate your time and energy to mastering them.
  • Practice Deliberately: Engage in deliberate practice, which involves focused, intentional, and repetitive practice of specific skills. Break down the skill into smaller components and practice them individually before integrating them into a cohesive whole.
  • Experiment and Iterate: Embrace a mindset of experimentation and iteration. Don’t be afraid to try new approaches, adjust your methods, and learn from your failures. Iterate and refine your techniques based on feedback and results.
  • Utilize Accelerated Learning Techniques: Employ memory techniques such as mnemonics, visualization, or spaced repetition to enhance retention and recall. Find creative ways to make the learning process more engaging and memorable.
  • Practice Active Learning: Actively engage with the material rather than passively consuming it. Take notes, ask questions, and apply the information in real-world contexts. Actively participating in the learning process enhances comprehension and retention.
  • Find Accountability and Feedback: Seek accountability and feedback from others. Join communities or find accountability partners who can provide support, guidance, and constructive criticism. Regularly seek feedback to identify areas for improvement.
  • Embrace Discomfort: Recognize that learning new skills involves stepping out of your comfort zone. Embrace the discomfort and challenges that come with acquiring new knowledge or abilities. Push yourself to take risks and embrace a growth mindset.
  • Time Management and Efficiency: Optimize your learning process by managing your time effectively. Identify the most productive times for learning, eliminate distractions, and adopt efficient learning strategies, such as speed reading or audio learning.

It’s important to note that these teachings are based on Tim Ferriss’s personal experiences and insights. While they may be effective for some individuals, it’s essential to adapt and tailor these strategies to your specific learning style and the skill you aim to acquire. Experimentation and finding what works best for you is key to rapid skill acquisition.

Order, Chaos Interrupts Order, and Response

Get Results: expand comfort zone through discomfort
Get Results: expand comfort zone through discomfort

We, humans, navigate the world using schemas, conceptualisations, and abstractions that help us simplify the world, so we don’t get overwhelmed by its complexity, but that allows us to map the world around us well enough to predict cause-and-effect relationships. What we mustn’t do is mistake the map for the territory.

At a very high abstract level, we often see the following pattern at work…

  • Order – safe space. the world we are familiar with
  • Chaos – is all the unknown territory that surrounds the safe space we inhabit. It’s all the complexity we’re shielded from
  • Chaos interrupts order – inevitably order is invaded by chaos.
  • How to respond – the question is how we respond to the interruption.

Whenever things don’t work out as planned, the car breaks down, the relationship goes down the pan, the business we put so much effort into fails, all these are examples of chaos invading order.

We live our lives on a knife edge, and as the saying goes, it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you deal with it.

We have seen so many films, and read numerous books that reflect these dynamics in action. Here’s a short story, which I hope highlights how this pattern plays out.

A short story of order and chaos

Once upon a time in the bustling city of Metropolis, there lived a young and ambitious entrepreneur named Alex. Alex had always been captivated by the world of business and dreamed of establishing a successful company of his own. With a relentless determination and an innate ability to organize and strategise, Alex embraced order in his life.

Driven by his passion, Alex meticulously planned every step of his entrepreneurial journey. He diligently researched market trends, analyzed potential risks, and developed a solid business plan. With a clear vision in mind, he began laying the foundations of his company, diligently adhering to his structured approach.

As the business began to take shape, the first few months were marked by remarkable success. Clients were drawn to Alex’s professionalism and meticulous attention to detail. Orders poured in, and the company steadily gained recognition and respect within the industry. Alex’s commitment to order and organisation seemed to be paying off.

However, amidst the triumphant atmosphere, chaos lurked in the shadows, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. Unexpectedly, a major supplier failed to deliver a critical component essential for the production of Alex’s flagship product. Chaos had interrupted his carefully organized operations.

Staring at the obstacle before him, Alex felt a surge of panic. He had meticulously planned for every foreseeable scenario, but this unforeseen disruption threatened to throw everything off balance. In that moment, Alex faced a critical decision—how to respond to the chaos that had disrupted his ordered life.

Instead of succumbing to despair, Alex chose to confront the chaos head-on. He rallied his team, encouraging open communication and brainstorming sessions to find alternative solutions. Alex reached out to other suppliers, forging new partnerships to ensure the uninterrupted flow of materials. The chaos had interrupted his order, but it had also presented an opportunity for growth, innovation, and new relationships.

As time passed, Alex’s response to chaos proved to be a turning point for his business. The experience forced him to think outside the box and embrace flexibility in his approach. He realized that even the most meticulously planned endeavors can be vulnerable to unpredictable disruptions. By adapting to the challenges, He discovered new avenues for improvement and expansion.

In the face of chaos, Alex’s business not only survived but thrived. The company emerged stronger, more resilient, and adaptable. The initial disruption became a catalyst for innovation and propelled Alex’s business to new heights. Through his unwavering determination and ability to respond to chaos, he had transformed his dreams into a resounding success.

Alex’s journey serves as a testament to the power of order and the ability to navigate chaos. By maintaining a strong foundation of organization and planning, he was able to weather unexpected storms and emerge victorious. His story inspires aspiring entrepreneurs to embrace the balance between order and chaos, recognising that it is through chaos that true growth and success can be achieved.

End of story

So it’s important to realise that the #1 order, #2 chaos invading order, #3 response pattern is an intrinsic part of everybody’s lives, and we should not fear it, but embrace the opportunity of growth and improvement it presents us with.

Use OKR Framework For Goal Setting

OKR goal setting framework
OKR goal setting framework

The OKR (Objectives and Key Results) framework is a goal-setting methodology used by organizations to align their teams and individuals with strategic objectives. Here’s an explanation of the OKR framework:

  • Objectives: Objectives are the overarching goals that define what you want to achieve. They are qualitative, aspirational, and time-bound. Objectives should be challenging, inspirational, and aligned with the organization’s mission and vision. Each objective should be clear and specific, providing direction and focus for the team or individual.

Example: Increase customer satisfaction by improving product usability and support responsiveness.

  • Key Results: Key Results are measurable outcomes that indicate progress towards the objectives. They are specific, quantitative, and time-bound targets that define what success looks like. Key Results should be ambitious yet achievable, and they should provide a way to track and evaluate progress.

Examples of Key Results: Increase the Net Promoter Score (NPS) by 10 points within six months.
Reduce average response time for customer support tickets to under one hour.

  • Alignment and Transparency: OKRs are typically set at multiple levels within an organization to ensure alignment from top to bottom. Company-level objectives are cascaded down to team-level objectives, and individual objectives are aligned with team objectives. This alignment ensures that everyone’s efforts contribute to the overall strategic direction. OKRs are often shared transparently across the organization, fostering collaboration and accountability.
  • Regular Check-Ins: OKRs are not set and forgotten. Regular check-ins, typically conducted on a quarterly basis, are essential to review progress, discuss challenges, and make adjustments as needed. These check-ins provide an opportunity to track key results, assess performance, provide support, and ensure that objectives remain relevant and aligned with the evolving business context.
  • Stretch Goals and Aspirational Targets: The OKR framework encourages setting ambitious goals that push individuals and teams beyond their comfort zones. It promotes a mindset of continuous improvement and challenges the status quo. Stretch goals inspire innovation and encourage individuals to explore creative solutions to achieve exceptional results.
  • Focus and Simplicity: The OKR framework emphasizes focus by encouraging a limited number of objectives and key results. It promotes prioritization and avoids spreading resources and attention too thin. By focusing on a few key objectives, individuals and teams can concentrate their efforts on what truly matters.

The OKR framework provides a structured approach to goal setting that promotes alignment, transparency, and accountability. It encourages a balance between ambitious goals and measurable outcomes, ensuring that progress can be tracked effectively. By using OKRs, organizations can foster a culture of continuous improvement, collaboration, and goal-driven success.

Using AI To Improve Productivity

improve productivity
be more productive

You’ve no doubt already heard a great deal about artificial intelligence (AI), some of it positive, but much of it designed to stoke fear. Sure, we should be concerned about AI being misused, and growing into something we don’t fully understand, and can’t control, but that’s not something I’m going to cover in this short article. I’m going to focus on how to make use of AI in your business and make you more productive, particularly by using ChatGPI,  which at the time of posting this article, is free to use.

So, ChatGPT can be used to improve productivity and potentially increase income. Here are some recommendations on how to leverage ChatGPT for this purpose:

Improve time management and planning: ChatGPT can assist you in optimizing your time and creating effective schedules. You can ask for advice on time management techniques, productivity tools, or strategies to prioritize tasks. ChatGPT can provide suggestions tailored to your specific needs and help you make the most of your available time.

Decision making: When faced with important decisions related to your work or business, you can use ChatGPT as a tool to brainstorm ideas, evaluate options, and explore different perspectives. Describe your situation or provide relevant details, and ChatGPT can offer insights, pros and cons, or alternative approaches to consider. However, remember to critically evaluate the responses and use your own judgment.

Skill development: ChatGPT can be a valuable resource for learning and acquiring new skills. You can seek recommendations for online courses, books, or tutorials in areas that can enhance your professional expertise or improve your business operations. ChatGPT can provide suggestions based on your interests, goals, and the specific skills you wish to develop.

Problem-solving: If you encounter challenges or obstacles in your work or business, ChatGPT can help you brainstorm solutions or provide different perspectives on how to overcome them. Explain the problem you’re facing and ask for advice or potential strategies. While ChatGPT can offer suggestions, remember to exercise critical thinking and adapt the recommendations to your unique situation.

Industry insights and trends: Stay up to date with the latest industry insights and trends by asking ChatGPT about relevant news, market research, or emerging technologies in your field. Understanding the current landscape can help you make informed decisions, identify opportunities, and stay ahead of the curve.

Networking and collaboration: ChatGPT can suggest networking strategies, platforms, or industry events that can expand your professional connections. You can also seek advice on collaboration opportunities or finding potential partners or clients. Remember to combine ChatGPT’s suggestions with your own research and judgment.

Personal finance and investment: If you have questions about personal finance, investment strategies, or managing your income, ChatGPT can offer general information and principles to consider. However, keep in mind that ChatGPT does not have real-time financial data and its responses may not be tailored to your specific financial situation. Consult with financial professionals for personalized advice.

Remember that while ChatGPT can provide useful insights and suggestions, it is always important to exercise critical thinking, validate information independently, and make informed decisions based on your unique circumstances. ChatGPT should be seen as a tool to augment your own judgment and expertise, rather than a substitute for it.