Life, Life lessons, psychology

3 Important Concepts You Should Know Before Leaving 2018.

Hi, I’m Anastasia. I like to gather random knowledge from the internet and every once in a while, I come across really fascinating stuffs. 

I specially handpicked these 3 concepts to tell you about today because I feel that most of us at some point have actually experienced them or been subject to them. Perhaps this post would give more meaning to little bits of your life that have gone unexplained for so long. Enough chitchat, let’s get down to business. 

1. Schadenfreude. 

The experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another.

I first heard this word while watching Boston legal. The legendary Alan Shore was defending a woman who had been accused of killing her much older millionaire husband. There was no evidence to prove that she did it but at the same time, there was no evidence to prove that she didn’t do it. The entire city was against her because she had a cold demeanor, was cheating on her dead husband and didn’t even shed a tear when she found out he was dead. In his closing before the jury,  Alan Shore introduced the term,  explaining that it’s the feeling of pleasure we get from experiencing other people suffer and that scientists have recently been able to capture the electric activity in our brains at these moments. Then he pointed out that there was no evidence proving that his client committed the crime but because she’s a young gold digger who didn’t love her dead husband, she was an easy suspect. He places the jury on the spot by concluding that if they convicted his client, it was not because they had proof beyond reasonable doubt but because of the pleasure of seeing her suffer (Schadenfreude).

I discussed this with a few people and we all agreed that at some point,  we have experienced momentary pleasure at the suffering of others. It doesn’t matter if the person deserved it or not,  they suffered and for a moment, we were happy about it. 

Schadenfreude is driven by one of 3 emotions; Aggression, rivalry or justice. It is commoner in children but adults have their fair share of the emotion. 

2. The Halo Effect.   

 This is a fancy way of saying

Beautiful People are more likely to be successful. 

A while ago,  I had a discussion with a friend about appearance and he told me that there was a theory of some sort that proved that beautiful people are more likely to succeed. It seemed incredible at that time and I decided to do my own research. Well,  turns out,  it’s not a theory or even a rule, it’s a consequence of The Halo Effect. 

In very simple terms the halo effect suggests that we make positive judgement and assumptions about a person based on one positive attribute. This is like that figure of speech that involves using a part to represent a whole. Synedoche I think? No? Okay. 

So for example, if I think a person is funny, I’m more likely to assume that the person is also kind and hospitable. 

This effect has a whole lot to do with appearance because most times,  we form our first impression based on how a person looks. So basically, beautiful people are assumed to be kinder, more hardworking, more successful and happier than other people. 

A study was carried out where subjects had to rate 3 different people based on their pictures. One was beautiful. The other was average looking. And the third was not beautiful. The subjects all thought that the beautiful person was happier, funnier, nicer and even more successful than the others. 

The consequence of this is that beautiful people get trusted more than people who are not. They get jobs easily than people who are not. They don’t need to put in as much work to get as much appreciation.  It’s crazy. 

The effect took it’s name from the concept of a halo which is a ring of light that surrounds the head of angels. The light falls over their entire being causing them to appear ‘angelic’. The single positive attribute of a person (Eg beauty) acts like a halo and spreads light over the rest of the persons character. 

The opposite of the halo effect is called the horn effect where we assume negative assumptions based on a simple trait . The devil’s horn? Get it? It reminds me of a joke commonly said that the ugliest person in the room becomes the suspect when the air smells foul. 

3. The door way effect. 

Let me explain this with 3 simple questions 

“What was I saying again?”

“Why did I open the fridge?”

“Why did I come to this room?”

I see your eyeballs getting bigger! You can relate? Yes? Splendid! That makes two of us. 

So the door way effect is simply the theory that it is difficult for us to remember things when we change environments. 

But contrary to what you might think, this ‘environment’ involves the physical environment as well as the mental environment. 

Here’s how it works. Tasks are divided into levels that our brain understands. For a example,  a woman asks 3 builders what they’re doing. One says “I’m laying bricks atop one another “, the other says “I’m building a wall”, the third says “I’m building a cathedral”. All the same thing but at different levels. 

Sometimes,  these tasks become routine and our brain doesn’t focus on the tiny details of these tasks. But when the need arises to focus on a tiny detail, that is to switch levels( physical and mental environment), our memory becomes difficult. 

For example, the bigger picture is to have a productive day. In order to do that, you need to clear your room and in order to do that, you need to take your tea cup to the kitchen  sink. So your brain switches levels to focus on the tiny detail of taking the cup to the kitchen(change in mental environment). But the moment you enter the kitchen (change in physical environment), you forget why you were there! Your memory becomes difficult. So you walk back to the room and look down at your hands. Voila! You see the tea cup and you remember! 

The same thing happens when we forget what we want to say. For example, the bigger picture is to tell a joke so your brain prepares the joke you want to say (mental environment),  then you get everybody’s attention and begin speaking (physical environment) causing your brain to switch levels and Bam! You forget! How embarrassing! 

You may conclude that our brains simply doesn’t like to switch levels but science reveals that switching levels can also juggle one’s memory. That is why you may walk into a room and remember all the events that happened ten years ago. How wonderful! 

There we have it. The three concepts you should know before the new year arrives. Did you find them interesting? Have you experienced them before? What new concept would you like me to know? Please leave a comment in the box below! 


Life, Life lessons, lifestyle, psychology

Uncertainties and Disappointments 

Uncertainty is one of the most important things that feature in our lives and as much as we try to, we never get used to it. 

How do you get used to the fact that this could be my last blog post ever? Or how do you get used to the fact that the person you call the love of your life today could be a complete stranger tomorrow? Or that a person seemingly sane could become an inmate of a mental institute? We never get used to it. 

I was about 9 years old when I learned about uncertainties and disappointments.  I had just had some issues applying for a federal college and as a result, I had to wait for a few months before I could gain admission into any school. During this period,  I spent most of my days home alone. All my siblings were away in school and I was left with my mum and dad.  They both left the house for work as early as 5am in the morning and didn’t get back till the night time. 

My routine was simple. I would wake when they were leaving and start reading any book I could lay my hands on. When the day broke, I made breakfast for myself and continued reading. I only took breaks from my books to use the toilet and fix a meal for myself. When it was 6pm, I would tidy the house and wait for my mum to arrive. She was usually the first to arrive and always came back between  7pm and 7.15 pm. 

Days turned to weeks and my mum stuck to this pattern. Everyday, once the clock struck 7pm, I would listen patiently for her footsteps on the stairs and surely before the clock struck 7.15pm, she would be knocking on the door. It was our little ritual and I absolutely loved it.

Then the day came. A normal Monday evening. It was 7pm and I was waiting for my lover’s footsteps like every other day but this time, I didn’t hear them. The clock struck 7.16 and I was already hyperventilating. It was getting dark and my fear of darkness was not helping. By 8pm, I was frantic with tears blinding and choking me. I imagined all things terrible that could have happened to her and wondered what would become of us.. Of me.. 
By 8.30pm, my mother knocked on the door in her usual cheerful self. She took one look at my face and frantically asked me what the problem was. After I managed to narrate my fear to her without sounding stupid,  she laughed sweetly and said “I’m sorry, I went to see your aunt and she wouldn’t stop talking. That’s why I’m home late” . 

Okay. Good thing is, she was safe. My fears were allayed. Bad thing is, I was sad and hurt and disappointed. Don’t ask me for a justification for my disappointment because my 9 year old self was not bothered about being reasonable but was merely dissapointed that my mum had broken our little ritual. 

It should have hit me at that point. But it didn’t. I was still convinced that if we take every tiny detail into consideration or that if we can find the pattern, we can, to an extent, predict the events of our life. For example, considering the fact that I was a star student throughout primary school and junior secondary school, I didn’t expect to be anything less than 3rd position in my first term in senior secondary school. I ‘expected’ that with my natural intelligence, coupled with reading and extra lessons, I would emerge top of my class. So when my results came at the end of the term with 5th position boldly written on it,  once again,  I was dissapointed. Dissapointed in myself and in my “intelligence”.

It should have hit me at this point. But still, it didn’t. I still believed that to an extent, life and the people in it were predictable. At least the sun rose every morning and set every evening. That should count for something. So I went about my daily life, constantly expecting. If I prepared hard for a competition, I expected to win. If I showed respect to someone, I expected respect in return. If I loved a person, I expected love in return. If I ate well and exercised daily,  I expected to be healthy. Expectations. Expectations. Expectations. 

Then on an uneventful evening, a person casually said to me. That if I lowered my expectations of life and people,i was bound to get less dissapointed. At that moment, it sounded like a good punchline so I tweeted it without thinking about it. 

And today. At this moment. I’m thinking about it. I’m sitting down in a crowded bank and the woman beside me smells like raw fish. My friend is on a long queue and I’m trying my best to breathe while holding my breath. At this moment, I’m thinking about it….

That the reason why it’s important to lower your expectations of life and people is because of uncertainties. The fact that you never truly know what could happen the next second is the reason why you shouldn’t have any expectations. It’s not about assuming the worst of every situation. It’s about not assuming at all. 

If I hadn’t expected my mum to stick to our ritual, I would not have been dissapointed. if I didn’t expect to automatically come top of my class, I wouldn’t have been disappointed. and so on and so forth. So on the surface it seems like a simple math formular. 

Expectations = Disappointment  when Uncertainty is constant. 

But here’s the plot twist; the fish smell has been replaced by the cologne of a young handsome man but unfortunately, my friend is done at the counter so I’m leaving the bank now. Now here’s the plot question… 

Is it humanly possible to have zero expectations? 

Isn’t there at least a minimum level of character you expect from friends and family? Don’t you expect your life to turn out a certain way? Here’s a sentence… 

I’m expecting a visitor by noon

If I lived a life of zero expectations, what would that sentence become? 


Do you see how hard this shit is? 

If the said visitor doesn’t show up, I’m going to be unavoidably dissapointed because let’s face it, I really was ‘expecting’ that human to show up

So in the comfort of my bed,  I’ve spent the past few hours surfing the internet and trying to figure out how a person can have zero expectations. How I can train my mind into understanding that no-one, not even life, owes me anything and how I can live my life with less expectations and less disappointments.

There is no ‘how’

After drowning myself in millions of articles, I’ve realized that there is no “how?”. You either have expectations or you don’t. 

It’s like a person asking “How do I smile?”. You either smile or you don’t smile. There’s no “how?”.

Perhaps we should try this principle at the crack of dawn today. There’s no asking “how do I have zero expectations?”. Wake up and have zero expectations and we’ll see if it’s possible and best of all, effective. 

Did I end this post too abruptly? Do you feel dissapointed? Remember what we just talked about?

PS. This is not my last blog post ❤ I love you too much to stop. 
PS: Happy world children’s day 

PS(i swear this is the last one): please drop a comment below and follow me on all social media @prettydiferent