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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Paul Ekman: Outsmart Evolution and Master Your Emotions

August 8, 2013, 12:00 AM

Renowned psychologist and emotion-guru Paul Ekman describes how introducing conscious awareness to facial expressions can help one override and control their emotions.

Watch here:

What's the Big Idea?
As Ekman points out, the face is not simply a display system that tells you what's happening inside.  "I can self-generate any emotion by making movements on my face," he says. Happiness, it turns out, is one of the most difficult emotions to generate. A smile alone won't do it.  As Ekman points out, only about 10 percent of the population is able to activate the muscles around the eyes that are required for self-generating happiness. 
Nonetheless, Ekman argues, the most important takeaway is to recognize and be aware of the role of emotions in your decision-making. "It's a system that evolved to deal with really important things without your thinking about it," he says. So it takes true mindfulness to outsmart this system. 
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Paul Ekman: Outsmart Evolut...

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