Why you can’t argue with a conspiracy theorist

“Cognitive dissonance is the uncomfortable feeling you get when you have two ideas that conflict with each other. You don’t like the feeling, so you’ll try to get rid of the dissonance. There are two main ways you can do that: change your belief, or deny one of the ideas.”

When forced, people will change their beliefs. In a study, people were forced to defend an opinion that they didn’t believe in. The result was that people tended to change their beliefs to fit the new idea.

The best way to change a belief is to get someone to commit to something very small. When not forced, people dig in – the tendency is to deny the new information instead of changing your belief to fit. Don’t spend a lot of time trying to change someone’s ingrained beliefs, as if uncertain, people will argue harder.

If people are given evidence that their belief is not logical, or tenable, or a good choice (for example, conspiracy theories), this may backfire and make them dig in even harder.

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Smile – Even When You Don’t Mean It

Sometimes it’s best to throw on a smile, even when you’re not feeling it.

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy says; “Our bodies change our minds, our minds change our behaviour and our behaviour changes our outcomes.” Body language affects how others see us as well as how we see and feel about ourselves, such as standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident – can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain. Following this, smiling – even when you’re not feeling happy – can lift your mood. How we hold ourselves can even affect our memory: studies have revealed that folding arms and legs while sitting in a lecture theatre can reduce recall of the information by up to 40% – another good reason to avoid folding your arms.

“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.”
– George Carlin

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Take Charge of Your Life

Take charge. Take charge of your life – and in particular – your personal and professional development. Investing in yourself always pays the highest interest.

Taking charge of your own growth will help you identify and pursue more opportunities, improve your own self worth, and create a happier more confident you in YOUR own image – not someone else’s.

I’m my opinion you’re either growing or dying – and staying still or stagnant isn’t growing! Congratulations if you’ve found something you love for work! Identify what makes you happy (I mean literally write it down) as so many people put conditions on their happiness (eg I’ll be so happy when I….).

When I was in a rut, learning and growing got me out of it, helped me to continuously evolve and keep growing. Always learning. So if you find yourself in a rut, go take those flight or motor cycle lessons, horseback riding or take that online course on interior design.

It’ll help, and it’ll bring growth 🙏

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Your Mind Wanders 30% of the Time

How common is mind wandering? – If you ask people that question they estimate that mind wandering happens 10% of the time. But it’s actually much more common. According to Jonathan Schooler of UC, Santa Barbara, your mind is wandering at least 30% of the time when you are doing your normal day-to-day tasks, and in some cases – for example, when driving on an uncrowded highway – it might be as high as 70%.

Mind wandering is our natural state of our brains at rest: When people reported that their mind was wandering their brains showed activity in several cortical regions that are the same regions that are active when our brains are “at rest.”

The multi-tasking mind-wanderer: Multi-tasking doesn’t really exist, but mind wandering does allow you to switch focus from one idea to another, and then back again quickly.

The link between mind wandering and creativity: Researchers at UC, Santa Barbara have shown that people whose mind wanders a lot are more creative and better problem solvers.

Christoff, Kalina, Gordon, A. M., Smallwood, J., Smith, R., and Schooler, J. 2009. “Experience sampling during fMRI reveals default network and executive system contributions to mind wandering.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106(21): 8719–24.

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What Wing Chun Taught Me About Business

What Wing Chun Taught Me About Business

Having practiced martial arts since for 31 years – Wing Chun Kung Fu being 23 of those years – it’s no wonder that martial arts creeps into every area of my life. It had me thinking; what lessons has Wing Chun taught me about business & real estate?

– In martial arts, risk management is the actual assessment of the situation (eg taking note of your surroundings, being aware of other potential problems as well as the attacker/s), and actually implementing one’s martial arts (eg physically defending yourself & taking out the threats). This teaches in business to look at your options, often when things have hit the fan. However, the better option is to practice risk avoidance.

Risk avoidance is being aware of potential dangers and avoiding them in the first place (eg NOT walking blindly down a dark alley where you can see people skulking in the shadows). In my opinion, avoiding a confrontation is the before form of self defence – and the best fighters are the ones that don’t need to fight. In business, this is planning ahead, forecasting, putting money away for when things aren’t going as well etc.

Relaxation. Fluidity. Continuity. 3 simple terms, tips, aims. Any one of these in Wing Chun are a massive bonus, however put them together and they work like magic. Take this out of martial arts, and insert into your life. How many times have you heard that stress is a killer? Stress kills 120,000 people / year in America alone as a direct result of work-related stress. Stress causes disease (or dis-ease), can weaken the immune system and cause high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, anxiety and even heart disease.

What’s the opposite of stress? Relaxation.

Rigidity doesn’t move, break, or change. When an external force is applied, it retains its shape. In other words, it stays the same. Ever heard of the book by Spencer Johnson called “Who Moved My Cheese?” Change is the only constant, and we must adapt – what happened to United Video? They were offered to join up with Netflix however didn’t think anyone would want to watch tv on their computers. Fluidity is the ability to move & flow. A car engine without fluidity becomes rigid (ie doesn’t go!).

Continuity is just that – continuous. Never ending. What’s the opposite of this? Stopped, broken, unsteady, intermittent, interrupted, wobbly, discontinuous – ending.

Lessons from martial arts ALWAYS apply to life – it just takes time to see HOW.

– Hopefully this is easy to see how it can work in business: stress = bad. Relax, find the path of least resistance (eg out source what you’re worst at so you can concentrate on what you’re best at)

– In martial arts and in business, often your biggest competition is yourself. Is your mindset your enemy, or your asset? Self discipline will help you in all areas of your life.

– There’s a saying which is very relevant: growth is outside of your comfort zone. Applies to Wing Chun just as much as it does business.

There’s plenty more; maybe you’ve got some ideas yourself!

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Change Means Less Cruelty

Going vegetarian started off for me originally as my giving the vegan diet a 2 week trial in support of

The Truth About The Dairy Industry

Bridget. After the 2 weeks were up I ate meat at a wedding & really enjoyed it – however the following 2 days I had the worst stomach ache of my life.

This told me that my body didn’t like digesting meat, and I should listen. So I did, and haven’t had meat since. Over the last year, I’ve begun to understand the ethical side of the vegetarian & vegan mindset, and now feel upset when I see cattle trucks, knowing they’re full of sad-crying cows being taken away for slaughter.

The meat substitutes have come a long way, I highly recommend giving them a go. Try meat-free for a dinner a week to start with… 🙏

(I’m also averaging 220g protein each day 💪)

Here’s some great things to watch to learn more (most on Netflix):




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Rise Every Time We Fail

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” – Confucius

Having been an entrepreneur in some form for most of my life (having only been in paid employment for approx 5%-10% of my working life – meaning I’ve been mostly self employed or owning a business), I’ve had perhaps more failures in all arenas of my life then most. It also means I’ve taken more risks than most. After every setback (or massive screw up!) the key thing is to learn from these massive failures, and get back up.

There’s very little to do with luck, that’s for sure 😉

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How do YOU change a mood?

A mood can be described as an emotion that lasts a long time. We can find ourselves in “good” moods or “bad”; the question is what we do once we recognise this.

There’s a lot of information out ther suggesting that to improve your mood you can take 10 large breaths or think about what you’re grateful for. In reality, when you’re in a dark place, dark thoughts are easier to find that good ones (just as it’s easier to recall good memories when in a good mood).

This is my 2 cents worth on what I think is quite good, and that I’ve used:

– Going for a walk & spending time outside
– Exercise (aka therapy for a lot of people)
– Nana nap (or make sure you get enough sleep)
– Listen to music eg favourite album (combined with the gym is awesome!)
– Watch something funny on YouTube for 5 min (silly animal videos)
– Get some sunshine
– Smile and stand taller; enforce good posture. This body / mind connection can often override mood
– Touch. My favourite pick-me-up as my love language is physical touch; can’t get enough.

Some people eat chocolate or reach for the wine (which I also like to do, just not in the middle of the day). Do you have any “mood hacks” that you do when you catch yourself feeling down or flat?

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Teams Are The Future in Real Estate

Ever since getting into real estate, I’ve always been in a team with my wife. Being in a team is not only great for new agents, it’s the future of real estate.

That’s one of the reasons that inspired us to create The Team Realty. We encourage agent-first branding so agents can own their own identity (we provide personal branding training too!), enable agents to work from home, have an extremely attractive commission structure for agents (as you do most of the work!), plus much more.

Considering real estate or switching it up from your current brokerage? Drop me a line; Stu@TheTeamRealty.co.nz

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Why wait to achieve your goals?

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

How many times have we said to ourselves; “If I have a million dollars I’d….” and we state some big goal or dream. My question is; why not start working towards your goals or dreams anyway? Do what you can now, with what you currently have at this moment.

Don’t wait, take some small action today towards something you thought was always out of reach, then do a little something tomorrow. Repeat.

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