Sep 092015
 

Happiness is all in your head

Here’s a simple yet useful life hack we can use in real world situations. It allows us to enjoy premium experiences at huge discounts. 🙂 We often hear that a high price equals high quality. But because we are humans, the way we perceive “quality” is a physiological process, made possible by enzymes, neurotransmitters, and tiny electrical signals in our brains. This means quality is more about subjective perception than monetary value.

For example, a study at Stanford University conducted a wine tasting experiment. Volunteers were given two types of wine to drink in equal portions. As they were served, the test subjects were “told” the price of the wine they were tasting. One costed $10 per bottle, and the other was $90 per bottle. But what the volunteers didn’t know was that both the cheap and expensive samples of wine were actually from the same $10 bottle, lol. Meanwhile an MIR machine scanned their brains to measure real-time blood flow. The results were almost mind blowing. 😀

The subjects’ brain scans showed that there was more blood activity in their prefrontal cortexes when they drank the sample that they thought was from a more expensive bottle. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that makes us feel pleasure.

15-08-all-in-head-brain-wine

In other words, the test subjects’ brains experienced greater delight when they thought they were tasting something more expensive, even though it had always been the same cheap wine. ? The brain can easily mistake high price for high quality, even when that’s not the case.

So the next time you want to drink wine, just buy the cheap stuff and pretend it’s really expensive when you drink it. 🙂 Pour some for your friends when they come over. Describe the wine to your pals using venerable words such as premium, estate, exceptional quality, etc. Your guests will think that they are drinking from a very expensive vintage. 🙂 And they won’t simply think it tastes like premium wine. It actually would taste like premium wine to them for all intents and purposes, as far as their reality is concerned. Just be careful to not drink too much yourself and accidentally reveal that it’s really just a $10 bottle.?

Brand-name drugs and generics both use the same active ingredients. Since we understand how our brains can play tricks on us, we can choose to buy generics to get the same effects as the brand-name label, but pay less money. 🙂

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Feb 282013
 

I often like to compare lifestyles between different countries. I think where each of us are born has a huge impact on not only our own lives but also how we influence those around us. I recently found this ifitweremyhome.com that compares countries and the average lifestyles of people from all over the world. Coincidentally Canada is currently featured as their country of the week lol. It’s a pretty nifty tool if you want to do some research on another country before you move, or even just go there for a vacation. You can compare Mexico to Australia, United Kingdom to South Korea, etc.. Below lists some of the things it said comparing US and Canada (my comments in italics).

If I lived in the US instead of Canada I would……

Spend 83% more money on health care.
Our government recently announced that health insurance premiums are going up 4% next year. At first I wasn’t too happy about this because over the last 12 years our MSP premiums have almost doubled. However NOW since I realize it’s still relatively cheap I would have no complaints even if they raised it by 10% because that’s still a discount compared to alternatives 🙂
Experience 40% more of a class divide.
I think this is why we’re generally perceived to be more friendly. Even when we get angry we’re nice about it. Unfortunately it also makes for some boring politics sometimes.
13_02_comparison_upsetHave 35% more babies.
Americans have about 138 births per 10,000 people every year. Canadians only have about 103. Not sure exactly why but some people are talking about immigration reform to help grow our population. Why do you think Canadians aren’t having as many children as our southern neighbors?
Have 23% more chance of dying in infancy
The number of deaths of infants under 1 year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in the US is 6.14 while in Canada it is 4.99.
Use 21% less electricity
Makes sense. It’s colder up here in the winter. ~Brrrr~
Make 20% more money
Maybe this is why a lot of smart people finish their studies in Canada and then move to the US to find career opportunities.
Die 3 years sooner
Maybe you live longer in colder temperatures 🙂
Consume 6% less oil
Looks like Canadians aren’t as environmentally friendly as we would like to be
Work 72 hours longer each year
That works out to about 6 hours a month.

So ideally if you want to have the best of both places, you should be born in Canada. Spend your working years in the US. And then move back to Canada to retire and live out the rest of your life. But of course life has too many moving parts to put it that simply. It’s hard to say which country really is better to live in. Both Canada and the US have their pros and cons.