Dean Burnett Quotes



Best 30 Quotes by Dean Burnett

Happy Brain Quotes

“Intrinsic motivation seems the more potent kind, because, you could argue, the rewards come from within our own brains.

The contradiction produced here is that sometimes if you coerce people into doing something via rewards like financial incentives, they feel less like it’s their decision to do it, so their motivation becomes contingent on said rewards. Basically, once the reward is received/removed, the associated motivation fades away.

This doesn’t seem to happen if it stems from an internal, personal source, if it’s our own decision to do it.”

Happy Brain

“Your parents’ actions and reactions are how you learn about the world, and if your parents don’t react to anything you do, it’s easy to see how things can end up seeming meaningless.”

Happy Brain

Idiot Brain Quotes

“Deadlines are one of the most common ways of inducing stress that provoke an increase in performance.”

Idiot Brain

“Depression can be so bad that those experiencing it end up concluding that ending their life is the only viable option.”

Idiot Brain

“Every human is technically a meaningless sack of carbon clinging to a rock hurtling through the uncaring void around trillions of tonnes of nuclear fire, but that’s too big for a single human to be aware of.”

Idiot Brain

“Everything you are is a feature of your brain, and as such much of what your brain does is dedicated to making you look and feel as good as possible. For example by modifying your memories to make you feel better about yourself.”

Idiot Brain

“Feeling in control makes most people feel secure and safe. It doesn’t matter how much actual control we have.”

Idiot Brain

“Habits are a big part of our eating regime, and once our brain starts to expect things, our body quickly follows suit.”

Idiot Brain

“Humans are social creatures and need approval, support and affection (or at least interaction) from others. Solitary confinement in prisons is considered a serious punishment for a reason.”

Idiot Brain

“I'm also part of the great conspiracy of global scientists to promote the myths of climate change, evolution, vaccination, and a spherical earth. After all, there's nobody on earth wealthier and more powerful than scientists, and they can't risk losing this exalted position by people finding out how the world really works.”

Idiot Brain

“If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn't.”

Idiot Brain

“If the short-term memory where we do our thinking has such a small capacity, how the hell do we get anything done?”

Idiot Brain

“Logic is one of the first casualties of drug use.”

Idiot Brain

“One of the brain's most prominent skills is the ability to ignore anything that becomes too predictable, no matter how important it may be.”

Idiot Brain

“Overall, personality tests would be more useful if our personalities didn’t get in the way.”

Idiot Brain

“Personality is that pattern of characteristic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that distinguishes one person from another and that persists over time and situations.”

Idiot Brain

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“The scientist’s behavior while facing the refutation of his ideas has been studied in depth as part of the so-called attribution bias. You attribute your successes to skills, but your failures to randomness.

This explains why these scientists attributed their failures to the 'ten sigma' rare event, indicative of the thought that they were right but that luck played against them.

Why? It is a human heuristic that makes us actually believe so in order not to kill our self-esteem and keep us going against adversity.”


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“Procrastination is motivation to do the wrong thing.”

Idiot Brain

“Sadly, the words 'reliable' and 'accurate' can rarely be applied to the workings of the brain, particularly for memory.”

Idiot Brain

“Science itself exists thanks to our intelligence, and now we use science to figure out how our intelligence works? This is either very efficient or circular reasoning, I'm not smart enough to tell.”

Idiot Brain

“Stress can actually increase your performance at a task. It’s a neurological process, not just 'something people say'. Deadlines are one of the most common ways of inducing stress that provoke an increase in performance.”

Idiot Brain

“The brain apparently thinks logic is a precious resource to be used only sparingly.”

Idiot Brain

“The more privileged and comfortable someone’s life is, the harder it is for them to appreciate the needs and issues of those worse off. But as long as we don’t do something stupid like put the most pampered people in charge of running countries, we should be OK.”

Idiot Brain

“These two traits, impostor syndrome in intelligent people and illogical self-confidence in less intelligent people, regularly overlap in unhelpful ways. Modern public debate is disastrously skewed due to this.

Important issues such as vaccination or climate change are invariably dominated by the impassioned rantings of those who have uninformed personal opinions rather than the calmer explanations of the trained experts, and it’s all thanks to a few quirks of the brain’s workings.”

Idiot Brain

“Two people experiencing something unpleasant will be very good at empathising correctly, recognising the emotion and intensity of feeling in the other person, but if one is experiencing pleasure while the other is enduring unpleasantness, then the pleasure-experiencing person will seriously underestimate the other’s suffering.”

Idiot Brain

“We see patterns in the world that don't exist, then attach serious significance to them on the off chance they may negatively affect us.”

Idiot Brain

“We've all met people who think they know best because they're older or have been doing something for longer. Working with these people can be a nightmare, like trying to write computer programs with someone who insists on using a typewriter because that's how it's always been done. The reptile brain can be like that, derailing useful things by being incredibly obstinate.”

Idiot Brain

“We've seen how your brains automatically big up and exaggerate our own experiences, or minimize our impression of other people's experiences if they differ from our own.”

Idiot Brain

“What have we learned so far about the human brain? It messes with memories, it jumps at shadows, it's terrified of harmless things, it screws with our diet, our sleeping, our movement, it convinces us we're brilliant when we're not, it makes up half the stuff we perceive, it gets us to do irrational things when emotional, it causes us to make friends incredibly quickly and turn on them in an instant.

A worrying list. What's even more worrying, it does all of this when it's working properly.”

Idiot Brain

“You may be a big fan of something like, say, cake. You can be eating cake for years without any bother, then one day you eat some cake that makes you sick. Could be some of the cream in it has gone sour; it might contain an ingredient you’re allergic to; or (and here’s the annoying one) it could be that something else entirely made you sick shortly after eating cake. But, from then on, your brain has made the connection and considers cake out of bounds; if you even look at it again it can trigger the nausea response.”

Idiot Brain

“You'd assume that the smartest people would end up running things; the smarter a person is, the better job they'd be able to do. But as counterintuitive as it may seem, the smarter a person is, the greater the odds of them being less confident in their views, and the less confident they come across as being, the less they're trusted. Democracy, everyone.”

Idiot Brain

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“The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change:

What gets rewarded, gets repeated. What gets punished, gets avoided.

Don’t reward behavior you don’t want to see repeated.”


More quotes by James Clear