50 episodes

Uncommon Sense is the podcast for This is True, the oldest Entertainment newsletter on the Internet, starting in early 1994 and running weekly since. TRUE features 'weird news' stories with a purpose: it's Thought-Provoking Entertainment. TRUE is news commentary using rewritten summaries of real news stories as its vehicle. The newsletter is text, but the podcast is decidedly not an audio version of the newsletter, so you may want to try a free subscription to the newsletter, too. Subscribe at https://thisistrue.com/podcast

Uncommon Sense: the This is True Podcast Randy Cassingham

    • Education
    • 4.9 • 43 Ratings

Uncommon Sense is the podcast for This is True, the oldest Entertainment newsletter on the Internet, starting in early 1994 and running weekly since. TRUE features 'weird news' stories with a purpose: it's Thought-Provoking Entertainment. TRUE is news commentary using rewritten summaries of real news stories as its vehicle. The newsletter is text, but the podcast is decidedly not an audio version of the newsletter, so you may want to try a free subscription to the newsletter, too. Subscribe at https://thisistrue.com/podcast

    080: The Eight Secrets to a (Fairly) Fulfilled Life

    080: The Eight Secrets to a (Fairly) Fulfilled Life

    In This Episode: The title of this episode — The Eight Secrets to a (Fairly) Fulfilled Life — isn’t mine, as I’ll explain, but it’s the distillation of one man’s writing, and this is going to summarize his summary.



    080: The Eight Secrets to a (Fairly) Fulfilled Life

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    * Help support Uncommon Sense: kofiwidget2.init('Support TRUE on Ko-fi', '#29abe0', 'L4L31K3PE');kofiwidget2.draw(); — yes, $5 helps!

    * Burkeman’s book, The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking, and his last column in The Guardian.

    * Two of the ideas Burkeman discusses that have been covered in earlier episodes are gratitude, which is covered briefly in Episode 77: 7 Things to Stop Doing, as well as in my own guided meditation, and (yes!) meditation, discussed in Episode 78: Tapping a Deeper Mind Power.

    * Wikipedia has a nice summary of Impostor Syndrome.





    Transcript

    Welcome to Uncommon Sense. I’m Randy Cassingham.

    Oliver Burkeman is a British writer with a Master’s degree in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University. He grew up in York, so naturally he lives in …New York. He’s mostly known for his books (my favorite title of his is “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking”, which I’ll link to on the Show Page), and his column in the London Guardian.

    His column was about psychology, with the unassuming series title, “This Column Will Change Your Life”. I say “was” because earlier this month he concluded his column after about 14 years, and in the last installment he distilled eight of his life lessons under the title, “The Eight Secrets to a (Fairly) Fulfilled Life”. I will of course link to that from the Show Page too, because it’s a worthy read.

    In his first column way back when, he said he’d continue writing it “until I had discovered the secret of human happiness.” A secret, he admits, he never expected to find. But then, he gave up the gig, and left the world with those eight “secrets.”

    While these eight aren’t an “exhaustive summary” of what he learned in those 14 years, he says, “these are the principles that surfaced again and again, and that now seem to me most useful for navigating times as baffling and stress-inducing as ours.” So let’s get right to it!

    Number 1: “There will always be too much to do — and this realisation is liberating.”

    Burkeman says that “Thanks to capitalism, technology and human ambition,” the demands on your time just keep going up, while the amount of time to do things every day still have to fit in the 24 hours you’re given. Trying to catch up is futile since “the more tasks you get done, the more you’ll generate.

    • 12 min
    079: The Key to Success

    079: The Key to Success

    In This Episode: The fear of failure is central to most of our lives. We worry about failing in business ventures, in personal relationships, and in our dreams. But what happens when you apply Uncommon Sense instead and embrace failure? Because that’s actually the key to success, and I’ll tell you how.



    079: The Key to Success

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    * Help support Uncommon Sense: kofiwidget2.init('Support TRUE on Ko-fi', '#29abe0', 'L4L31K3PE');kofiwidget2.draw(); — yes, $5 helps!

    * I mentioned my coach wife: her web site is here.

    * I mentioned Dr. Tsaousides’ book Brainblocks: Overcoming the 7 Hidden Barriers to Success.

    * The scholarly paper published in the journal Nature is here (free access).





    Transcript

    Welcome to Uncommon Sense, I’m Randy Cassingham.

    The fear of failure is the worry you get when imagining the terrible things that could happen if you fail while working on some sort of goal. The problem is, such worry increases the chances of failure by making you feel like you should hold back or give up. That’s what my coach wife calls “Believing in the stories you tell yourself” — stories that are probably not true — and instead “unlearning your false assumptions.”

    Her intuition and training is backed by research.

    “Being successful relies to a large extent on your ability to leverage fear,” says Dr. Theo Tsaousides, a neuropsychologist and the Training Director of the Brain Injury Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He studies goal achievement, and has found that only 10 percent of us succeed in achieving specific goals. That’s a 90 percent failure rate, but he believes we can reverse those numbers — achieve a 90 percent success rate — because he also says the brain is designed for success, to achieve goals.

    So where is the disconnect? He calls the things that get in the way “brain blocks,” and even wrote a book with that title — I’ll link to it on the Show Page. The “blocks” getting in the way of achieving goals that he identified are: self doubt, procrastination, impatience, multitasking, rigidity, perfectionism, and negativity.

    If you let them, all of those can interrupt the number one ingredient of success: action.

    So, how do you avoid the brain blocks and instead “leverage fear” to increase your odds of success? “Redefine failure as discrepancy,” he says.

    • 9 min
    078: Tapping a Deeper Mind Power

    078: Tapping a Deeper Mind Power

    In This Episode: What if there was a way to use your mind to reduce stress, increase emotional health, boost your attention span, help preserve your brain as you age, even help control pain? There is a way, and it’s actually easy to do.



    078: Tapping a Deeper Mind Power

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    * Help support Uncommon Sense: kofiwidget2.init('Support TRUE on Ko-fi', '#29abe0', 'L4L31K3PE');kofiwidget2.draw(); — yes, $5 helps!

    * I mention two earlier episodes: 041, about the Dunning-Kruger Effect, and 013, about ADD being my superpower.

    * Meditate in the American Heritage dictionary (and a couple of others).

    * The articles on Healthline, the National Institutes of Health, and The Mayo Clinic.

    * Details about the guided meditation I created is on this page.





    Transcript

    What if there was a way to use your mind to reduce stress, increase emotional health, boost your attention span, help preserve your brain as you age, even help control pain? There is a way, and it’s actually easy to do.

    Welcome to Uncommon Sense. I’m Randy Cassingham.

    This is True is pretty much “about” thinking, but that doesn’t mean thinking has to be hard. And as I’ve already established in previous episodes, thinking doesn’t demand high intelligence. I’ve met plenty of very smart people who don’t have a lick of common sense, let alone Uncommon Sense, and I’ve met people of pretty average or less intelligence who dazzle me with their Uncommon Sense, let alone displays of common sense!

    I think one of the keys that makes the difference is self awareness, because first, that helps you avoid the trap of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, discussed in Episode 41, and realize you have gaps in your knowledge (and, again, knowledge is mostly decoupled from intelligence), and it allows for the humility to be willing to gain that knowledge.

    So many people are so closed-minded that they are actually afraid of using the very tool that will enable them to not only boost their brain power, but also to get all of the benefits mentioned in the introduction, and more.

    Do you want to take a moment to meditate on what that tool might be?

    That word — meditate — has a lot of layers of meaning. I consulted my favorite dictionary, American Heritage, to help explain.

    First definition: “a) To train, calm, or empty the mind, often by achieving an altered state,

    • 12 min
    077: 7 Things to Stop Doing

    077: 7 Things to Stop Doing

    (& What to Do Instead)

    In This Episode: Want a happier, more-fulfilled, and less-stressed life? Here are seven things to stop doing immediately — and what to do instead — that are pretty easy to do right away.



    077: 7 Things to Stop Doing (& What to Do Instead)

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    * Help support Uncommon Sense: kofiwidget2.init('Support TRUE on Ko-fi', '#29abe0', 'L4L31K3PE');kofiwidget2.draw(); — yes, $5 helps!

    * Full Disclosure: While editing this episode I had two (“Double Stuf”!) Oreo cookies. But that’s just the thing: I had two — not 20. When you’re not addicted to sugar, you really will be able stop when you want.

    * The CDC on obesity and overweight Americans.

    * “Research has shown that being overweight or obese increases the risk of 11 types of cancers including colorectal, postmenopausal breast, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer,” says the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and why you don’t have to cut out every speck.

    * As noted at the end, Uncommon Sense will be taking an episode or two break so I can catch up on rest.



    Transcript

    Want a happier, more-fulfilled, and less-stressed life? Here are seven things to stop doing immediately (& what to do instead) that are pretty easy to do right away.

    Welcome to Uncommon Sense. I’m Randy Cassingham.

    It’s easy for humans to get locked into ruts, and the more we travel those ruts, the deeper they get. We stay the course, even when there’s plain evidence that we’re being stupid. Have you ever insisted you were right about something when friends tell you you’re wrong — up to and including losing those friends? That’s a massive rut.

    There are also habits that we get into that burn up our time and energy for no useful purpose. Do you have too much to do and not enough time in the day to do it? These tips will help free up hours of your time. And if you resist such easy steps, you’re probably in a rut!

    People with Uncommon Sense work hard to avoid those ruts. But since it is so easy to get caught up in them, they pay attention so they can tell when they’re in one, and they purposefully work to get out of them by thinking about it. “Why am I stuck here?” or, “What do I need to do to put a stop to this, and what should I do instead?”

    So here’s my list of 7 things to stop doing, in no particular order, and what to do instead to get out of those ruts and bad habits. There certainly are other things to stop too, and maybe later I’ll do another 7, but these are what came to mind this week.

    Number 1: Stop complaining. Nobody likes a whiner — probably not even you. Rather than looking for things to criticize, start looking for the positive,

    • 11 min
    076: Leading Yourself Down a Path

    076: Leading Yourself Down a Path

    In This Episode: Having vague, preconceived, and uninformed notions and, worse, acting upon them, isn’t just the opposite of Uncommon Sense, it can actually cause harm. How do you avoid that trap?



    076: Leading Yourself Down a Path

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    * Help support Uncommon Sense: kofiwidget2.init('Support TRUE on Ko-fi', '#29abe0', 'L4L31K3PE');kofiwidget2.draw(); — yes, $5 helps!

    * This episode recounts and comments upon Tony Green’s essay in the Dallas Voice, A Harsh Lesson in the Reality of COVID-19.

    * Taiwan pulled off one of The Best Global Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic despite their proximity to China.

    * The “original first death” from Covid was thought to be February 28th, but it was actually weeks earlier.

    * As for uncounted cases, it’s estimated that New York City alone undercounted more than 5,300 deaths which “might have been directly or indirectly attributable to the pandemic,” the CDC says. More recently, Coronavirus Infections Much Higher Than Reported Cases in Parts of U.S., Study Shows (by 2-13x).

    * An MRI study of recovered Covid patients found 78 percent had visible heart abnormalities compared to those who never have had Covid, and 60 percent had ongoing issues months later. Report from NBC News. If you don’t want a “mainstream media” report, here it is in the Journal of the American Medical Association/Cardiology.

    * Covid vs. Flu: “It’s not just what the infection-fatality rate is, it’s also how contagious the disease is, and COVID is very contagious,” says Dr. Eric Toner, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “It’s the combination of the fatality rate and the infectiousness that makes this such a dangerous disease.” (Wall Street Journal — but behind a paywall.)

    * Coronavirus face masks: Why men are less likely to wear masks (BBC)





    Transcript

    Having vague, preconceived, and uninformed notions and, worse, acting upon them,

    • 18 min
    075: Leveraging Thinking Tools

    075: Leveraging Thinking Tools

    In This Episode: A profound bit of advice isn’t necessarily usable just for the situation it’s created for. In fact, that may be what makes it profound, because sometimes you end up with a nice tool for leveraging your Uncommon Sense. This episode offers a great example of that.



    075: Leveraging Thinking Tools

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    * Help support Uncommon Sense: kofiwidget2.init('Support TRUE on Ko-fi', '#29abe0', 'L4L31K3PE');kofiwidget2.draw(); — yes, $5 really helps!

    * This is one of several “Thinking Toolbox” items discussed in various episodes. Others include episode 27, Think… or React?; episode 34, I Have a Scenario For You; and episode 49, Mind Triggers.

    * My friend Aaron Dragushan is a serial entrepreneur: his most recent startup is the human resources site Happy Monday.





    Transcript

    Welcome to Uncommon Sense. I’m Randy Cassingham.

    My mastermind group — a group of successful online entrepreneurs who support each other, share expertise, etc. — has several different online discussion lists. One of those is about investing. By definition after all, members are successful entrepreneurs, so how to save for the future is an obvious topic.

    One of the members asked how we decide when to get out of a stock — when do you sell?

    Well, a bunch of us weighed in with how we decide when to sell, including Aaron, who I’ve known since 1999. His answer to the question was not only very succinct, unlike mine, it disrupted the conversation with its simplicity. “A thought I’ve found both useful and rationally undeniable,” he posted, “is: If you wouldn’t buy that stock now, you should sell immediately.”

    Now, that’s not something Aaron came up with himself: it’s a fairly well known investing maxim, and posting that isn’t a demonstration of Aaron’s Uncommon Sense, even if it is short, easy to remember, and, really, fairly profound.

    So, that’s not why it’s worth discussing here.

    I’ve talked about “Thinking Toolbox” techniques in several episodes — I’ll link to them on the Show Page. The thing about tools is, they’re usually good for more than one situation, and this one is too, even if you don’t own any stocks.

    What takes this maxim from pithy advice to Uncommon Sense is how Aaron used it way away from the realm of the stock market.

    After another member gave thumbs up on Aaron’s advice, Aaron — almost as an aside — told a quick story about how he used this idea in a situation that had nothing to do with stocks.

    “I convinced my friends to put in a pool gate this way,” he said. “They have a beautiful 1-year-old. Life’s busy,

    • 5 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
43 Ratings

43 Ratings

HowardTur ,

Interesting Stories about Inovative People

Randy finds people that are "Thinking out of the box" and shares there stories

V_Walker ,

Thoughtful & Thought-provoking

It’s amazing Randy packs so much into every episode. Having a listen to each, including the original season, every episode makes/helps me think.

killerglass ,

Just found this!!!

Very professional, intelligent, witty and love the topics. The heck with the lady that wants a "tighter performance ".... I think it's just fine...;)))

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