Understanding the Psychology of Space: Having a Functional Home

After a long day at school or at work, there’s nothing better than walking through our home’s front door, kicking our shoes off, and finally winding down. But what if our home isn’t exactly the oasis of comfort we’d like it to be?

Addressing the dysfunctional aspects of the home isn’t always easy and actually getting started on the updates themselves can be even harder. The inevitable destruction that comes along with renovation isn’t comfortable and, in the short run, may not seem worth it – but leaving a project half finished due to poor planning is even worse.

Save yourself the headache down the line by being as honest and realistic as possible during the planning phase and consider your own time restrictions and skill level. While many homeowners plan on doing at least some of the work themselves, consulting with professionals will help reel in scope, manage priorities, and get the job done right the first time.

For most families, a functional home is a happy home. Here’s how to keep renovation projects on track, within budget, and build a space that works for your family, not against it.

Most People, By Default, Choose to Focus on What They Can’t Control (The Illusion of Karma), Instead of What They Can (Their Own Emotions)

It was about three years ago, when I turned 35, that I taught myself one of the most life-changing lessons (and secrets) about the human experience:

That 100% of the time, no matter what anyone else says to me or about me, I always get to decide whether or not I will allow that person to hurt my feelings, insult me, or disrespect me. Similarly, it’s always a choice as to whether I will forgive another person, regardless of what they have done.

Imagine the freedom that I have been able to appreciate these past few years knowing this unspoken nugget of wisdom: That I alone control how I feel in relation to other people… unless I allow them to control me.

That bit of information is one of the greatest gifts I have received in my life so far. If only I could have known this all along!

Contrast that to the illusion that most people live in: Most people, by default, believe this about themselves:

“I’m a good person. Well, I may not be a saint, but at least I’m not an ax murderer.”

This mindset is generically based on the ideologies of Buddhism and Hinduism. Ultimately, people rely on the flaky concept of karma to determine what good things they do deserve in life and what bad things they don’t deserve in life.

Here’s the problem: Karma, in this understanding, doesn’t actually exist.

Children have terminal cancer. Meanwhile, white collar criminals go unpunished their entire lives because they have the luxury of being called politicians.

Most people make themselves constant easy targets to be offended or disrespected because they believe they are moral people who “deserve better”, while they ironically deny the fact that only they alone decide whether another person offends or disrespects them.

Here’s where I’m at in life:

I don’t see myself as a good person or a bad person. I am a person.

I make good decisions and I make bad decisions.

I don’t deserve good and I don’t deserve to escape bad. I ultimately can’t control those things as much as I would like to.

Instead, I can control my own emotions; especially in regards to how I react to other people.

As goofy as it sounds, being a YouTuber and a blogger for the past several years has taught me this:

People in the comments section are constantly hoping to label me as one of the following:

Wrong, ignorant, and/or immoral.

I feel that in the real world, it’s the same way. People are insecure within themselves and haven’t fully figured out their own identity, so they look for people who will get offended, insulted, or allow their feelings to be hurt when it is applied they are wrong, ignorant, and/or immoral.

So imagine the power you have when you are instantly ready to agree with a person like that:

“You’re right: I’m wrong. I’m ignorant. I’m immoral.”

Man, I wish somebody would have taught me this stuff about 30 years ago!

Facebook Makes Close Friends of Acquaintances (and Acquaintances of People You Actually Know)

In 2017, the need to “catch up” with people has essentially become obsolete. We all mutually stalk each other on Facebook, on a daily basis, becoming instantly aware of each other’s highlight reels.

So really, what’s there to know about another person that’s not already on Facebook?

And even if it’s a bad thing going on in our lives, it’s almost a requirement; that you owe it to your Facebook friends to announce via prayer request or “send positive thoughts my way”, regarding what difficult time you are going through.

So not only do your close friends and family members already know everything going on in your life, but so does the guy who transferred to your school in junior high; who if you actually ran into him in person, you wouldn’t be able to remember his name… but you could probably tell him what movie he took his kids to see last weekend.

The level of intimacy that we used to have with the people we love the most has, by default, become cheapened to a fast-food version of the real thing; in which people we barely know can have the same concept of knowing us as our close friends and extended family.

It’s universal and it’s easy now. Scrolling Facebook doesn’t require much of us, yet it ironically can distract us from spending true quality time with the people we do love the most; with people we are physically in the same room with.

Perhaps the strangest irony is when people do gather together in person to visit each other, but then end up talking about what other people are doing and saying on Facebook… probably due in part to the fact everything else to talk about between them has already been said on Facebook.

It is as if our real lives and our online avatars have swapped places- and over time, we haven’t noticed. In fact, the abstract version of life has become more comfortable than normal life.

Isn’t it safe to say, that at least to some degree, the universal familiarity that Facebook provides for us also causes us to have to put forth more serious effort to maintain relationships with the people we are close with, but who we don’t actually see on a daily basis?

Don’t we all sort of miss actually talking to people and having something to say or something to ask?

I do. I miss the nostalgia.

Facebook is the modern day Tower of Babel and we continue to build it to the heavens,

with our “likes” and status updates.

Don’t You Think If I Were Wrong, I’d Know It? (A 5 Point Psychological Dissection)

Don’t You Think If I Were Wrong, I’d Know It? (A 5 Point Psychological Dissection)

I admit. I’ve never seen an episode of The Big Bang Theory. For years now, people have been telling me it would be my kind of humor. Yet, I’ve just never gotten around to watching it.

However, thanks to an Internet meme, I am definitely aware of a funny line that Sheldon apparently said in Episode 2 of Season 3:

“Don’t you think if I were wrong, I’d know it?”

I find that quote to be worthy of dissecting, from a psychological point of view.

For a person to ask that question, it assumes the following about them:

  1. They have the ability to always instantly self-identify when they are about to be wrong.
  2. Therefore, they immediately change their mindset, convictions, and actions the moment they identify truth; and always do it before anyone else can notice it.
  3. Therefore, they technically are only privately wrong about anything for a split-second, since they have the ability to notice it right away.
  4. Therefore, they are immune to human accountability.
  5. Therefore, they have the privilege of legitimately being close-minded to all constructive criticism.

And here’s the irony of that theory:

In reality, a person who is close-minded to constructive criticism is limiting their ability to learn more and improve their own life, therefore proving they are less intelligent than those who are open to learning.

Therefore, to ensure I don’t endanger myself of having such a close-minded mindset where I believe I am immune to constructive criticism, I constantly assume I am wrong at least 50% of the time.

My self-esteem is high and I have much confidence in my ability to make good decisions. However, it would limit me to believe that only in a rare occasion could I be wrong about something.

On the contrary, I am fully aware I put myself in a position to get further in life A) by being so open to criticism to learn to be a more efficient and educated human being and B) because so many people on this planet are not willing to so, therefore putting me further ahead.

The general concept is introduced in Robert Kiyosaki’s Best Seller book: Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

He explains that the people who get ahead and stay head in business are the ones who are willing to do that things that most people aren’t willing to do.

I have learned that most, or at least many, people are not willing to make themselves a sponge for constructive criticism.

Instead, they allow themselves to become victims because they give power and authority to other people by giving them the authority to “hurt my feelings.”

As I recently mentioned, I don’t give other people the ability to offend me.

Eleanor Roosevelt make this concept easily understandable with her famous quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

So for the record, there’s a good chance that if I were wrong, I wouldn’t know it.

“Should I Be Offended by That?” (Victorious Mindset versus Victim Mentality)

“Should I Be Offended by That?” (Victorious Mindset versus Victim Mentality)

Should I be offended by that?

No.

No, I should not.

The answer is simply no. Whatever it is, you shouldn’t be offended by it.

Because you can choose to be more intelligent and psychologically stronger by making the decision to not be offended.

There’s no question that in an age of social media serving us in the likeness of Big Brother, word travels quickly and even makes national headlines when someone or some group out there gets offended by something.

Some of these cases seem more legitimate than others, of course.

But my challenge to you is that whatever the offense, choose to not be offended.

Here’s why.

I am a believer in choosing to be victorious.

(After all, that’s literally how my name translates. Nicholas is Greek for victorious.)

My observation is that if you don’t proactively choose to adopt a “victorious mindset,” you by default fall in danger of having a “victim mentality”.

I can choose to be on top of this thing, psychologically.

Or, I can choose to allow someone else to “do me wrong.”

If I believe that the entire free world has the ability to offend me (or for lack of a better term, “hurt my feelings”), then I am fair game to constantly being a victim.

But if up front, each and every day, I decide that no one has the ability to offend me, then I instead place myself in a position where being offended by someone else is always one less thing I can worry about that day.

My observation is that most of the time, people aren’t intentionally trying to offend each other.

And even if they are, that simply reflects the offender’s own character.

I’ve learned the best thing to do when someone says something seemingly offensive, whether they are outright intending to offend or not, is to simply acknowledge what they are saying, with confidence and a smile, but no sarcasm nor biting remarks.

In the past year alone…

-Taller men than me have pointed out that I am shorter than they are.

-Men with lower hairlines and no thinning spots at the back of their head have pointed out that my hairline is higher and that my hair is thinner in the back.

-Smaller nosed men have pointed out my nose is bigger.

Consider those things. Other grown men have taken time and energy out of their day to point out perceived imperfections about me.

What does that say about their own level of confidence?

More importantly, what does it say about my level of confidence when I am quick to respond that I indeed am shorter, have thinner hair, and a bigger nose than those who are pointing it out?

I simply own up to their perception.

What does it hurt me?

I go on with my day. And they realize that their lack of self-confidence was unable to bring down my level of self-confidence, which ironically is something they don’t have.

Should I be offended by anything?

Try me.

5 Simple Psychological Steps to Winning an Argument, by Nick Shell

5 Simple Psychological Steps to Winning an Argument

Being a dad, and working in a customer service department by day, for several years now, I feel I have taught myself the art of winning arguments.

I should point out, though, that winning an argument isn’t exactly what you might think. It’s not simply convincing the other person to agree with you and to officially admit they are wrong and you are right.

Because that would simply be superficial.

Instead, my definition of winning an arguments is this:

Establishing yourself as the leader of the current conflicted conversation and helping the two of your move forward together in the same positive direction.

With that being said, here are my 5 simple psychological steps to winning an argument:

1.       Let the other person carry all the emotion, which in contrast, sets them up as the unstable, irrational person.

2.       Do not rebuttal their claims. Instead, remain silent, look into their eyes, while not shaking your head “yes” or “no”, nor saying “mmm hmm” or “okay” to imply you agree or disagree, all while mentally collecting their most incriminating and accusatory statements against you, which will likely include them using illegitimate and impossible claims like “you always” and “you never”. Make sure you don’t smile, as smiling can be perceived as insincere and/or condescending.

3.       Instead of you bringing up any offensive actions on their part which led to this confrontation, when they finish speaking, ask them to clarify statements only from the existing conversation, asking, “I just want to make sure I am hearing you correctly. Are you saying…?” Keep it in question format, which prevents your words from becoming a claim against them. Apologize for the confusion on your part if they disagree with the question you ask based on their statements.

4.       State no opinions of your own. Speak only using undeniable facts as well as direct quotes that they used just minutes earlier in the conversation. Get them to agree with these facts and quotes, by asking, “I want to make sure we’re on the same page right now. Do we both agree that…?” Then state an undeniable fact or one of their quotes, not an opinion or claim; which helps back up your own point using statements they either already agree with or having at least stated already on their part. At this point they will likely begin back-peddling  their claims against you as they begin to hear how extreme and emotional their earlier statements were.

5.       Make it clear you want peace with them and want to bring positive closure to the incident. Apologize for offending/hurting their feelings by acknowledging exactly what you did their hurt them emotionally; which is often the actual issue; their own perception of an emotional attack.  Ask them, “What can I do right now to work together with you to resolve this? I want to move forward together with you. What I can do differently on my part? I want to take responsibility here.”  If they give you no answer, offer your own suggestion, beginning with, “I feel that maybe what I can do differently on my part is…” Then follow up with, “How do you feel about that approach?” Even if they at best indifferently agree to your proposed solution, finalize the deal by closing with, “I could definitely be wrong about the solution here, but based on our conversation today, it seems like the best option right now. We’ll try it- and if it doesn’t work after a few weeks, we’ll try a new approach.

By default, you have just won the argument. You have clearly and sincerely demonstrated that you have listened carefully without attacking them, using their own “ammunition” in a more proactive, positive, constructive way as you recognize it as something you yourself are willing to specifically and personally address and alter your own behavior accordingly.

From there, it makes it quite difficult for them to see you as an adversary, but instead, a stable and confident leader who is worth trusting. Even though you “won,” you have much responsibility to actually carry out the solution, in addition to having helped the other person mutually discover, understand, and agree to that solution with you.

Here’s the 4 minute video version:

Psychologically Analyzing the Token “Feet at the Beach” Selfie on Social Media

It’s a cliche by now:

Psychologically Analyzing the Token “Feet at the Beach” Selfie on Social Media

We go to the beach and then we Instagram a picture of our feet, with the ocean waves in the background.

The token “Feet at the Beach” picture is actually a selfie, though we don’t necessarily immediately think of it that way. The camera is pointed at the feet instead of the face, but ultimately it serves the same purpose.

An efficient selfie of any form communicates the message, “Look at me right now and please positively validate my existence.”

And people do. A few dozen “likes” easily follow.

People enjoy helping each other celebrate life. People like to see their friends and family being happy.

But specifically, the token “feet at the beach” selfie communicates a certain message to its audience.

Here is how I translate the implied message behind it, from a psychological and analytical perspective:

“I am wishing to share with you that I currently am relaxing in a surreal state of mind. As you can see from my physical point of view, I am literally looking at the edge of the world, into the seemingly endless ocean; which serves as a metaphor for my life. The future is still unwritten; my life is still ahead of me. In this moment, I am able to escape from real life and share my perspective with you. (Now, please click “like” to show that you are celebrating this escape from reality with me; in hopes that you too will soon be able to enjoy such a view.)”

The next time you see a “feet at the beach” selfie, consider the paragraph above. Test my theory.

But I believe the reason it collectively resonates with so many people is that there is some familiar and universal psychology behind it.

And I believe I have officially put those abstract thoughts into black-and-white words today.