I think about Peter Thiel’s question a lot:
What important truth do very few people agree with you on?
I also think a lot about Wes Kao’s concept of a spiky point of view:
A spiky point of view is a perspective others can disagree with. It’s a belief you feel strongly about and are willing to advocate for. It’s your thesis about topics in your realm of expertise.
As a psychologist, most of my beliefs about emotional health are pretty conventional. But a few are spiky in that I believe them strongly, most people don’t, and they’re debatable.
I hope you find them thought-provoking:
- Coping skills are a bad idea. You don’t need to regulate your emotions. You need a better relationship with them.
- Emotional intelligence is overrated. Emotional fitness matters much more.
- You are not responsible for how other people feel. You are only responsible for your behavior—including your mental behavior.
- There’s no such thing as a negative emotion. Some emotions are pleasant, others are not—none are bad.
- Don’t trust your emotions. Listen to them, but don’t take orders.
- Procrastination is a values problem. Your tendency to procrastinate is inversely proportional to the clarity of your values.
- Thoughts are the only direct cause of emotions. If you want to feel differently, practice thinking differently—or better yet, pay attention differently.
- Stress management is a waste of time. Manage your stressors, not your stress.
- Relationship problems are never about communication. Poor communication is the symptom, not the cause.
- Chronic anxiety comes from avoiding anxiety. To free yourself from anxiety, you must be willing to have it.
- The events of your past are less important than your habits in the present. Allocate your time and attention accordingly.
- Therapy is often harmful. Like you would taking drugs or purchasing a house, consider the potential costs in addition to the expected benefits.
- Emotion management is the most important skill in life. Most people never learn even the basics, which is a tragedy for those who don’t and an incredible advantage for those who do.