Psychology for Dummies (Like Me & You)
Bill Cottringer

“Common sense is the simple knack of seeing things the way they are and doing things the way they need to be done.” ~ Mark Twain.

1. Most of what we think we know really isn’t so, whether we like that reality or not because it is true. Why we wait so long to admit this, is a mystery. Our brains need to be purged of worthless information, so we can make room for what we really need to know in order to thrive past our surviving.

2.Emotions re simple—they are just digitally positive or negative. Positive ones confirm our right choices and negative ones nudge us in a different direction.

3.Perceptions are everything to us, but unfortunately they are usually not that accurate or complete. Oddly we stay convinced that they are and sadly, they become virtually impervious to changing.

4.Life is a perpetual series of conflicts and when one is solved, the solution usually brings a bigger one. The conflicts are of three different varieties: Us vs. life, us vs. others, and us vs. ourselves.

5.True happiness is an action we take to effectively solve problems and conflicts, big and little ones.

6.Getting along with others is simple—listen, understand, and accept their differences and cooperate with the commonalities for mutual benefit.

7.Morality is the simple process of becoming who we have pretended to be all along. This process usually takes a lot of courage and time.

8.Hopelessness is the worst possible feeling, so try very hard not to go there. Even false hope is better than none at all, at least until you grasp the wisdom of insecurity.

9.Our main challenge is to stop wanting more and accepting less of what we want and more of what we need.

10.Genuine security can only come when you are willing to shed all your sacred beliefs as to what is true and see your favorite security blankets for what they really are—just a temporary relief from inevitable suffering. This is the wisdom of insecurity.

11.Our main difference is in wanting to actively pursue universal virtuous behavior or invent our own private, relative versions of that behavior. Many people are stuck somewhere in between.

12.Common sense has been lost because we have learned to make ordinary, simple things too complex language-wise, with too much information, meanings and interpretations. That is why common sense is not so common anymore. Going from the manufacturing age of things to the Information Age of ideas is what got us here, so actual progress is sometimes questionable.

13.Life is more of a problem-solving journey than a destined solution, so it makes better sense to accept and enjoy the pain of problem-solving and the happiness from temporary solutions.

14.We can only experience true freedom when we allow others to, by using our own freedom responsibly and discover the truth that sets you free—that conflict is the one constant thing in life, sure as the speed of light is to physics.

15.We cannot control the things that happen to us in life until we learn to control our reactions. The earlier philosopher Epictetus was spot on when he said, “It is not the things in life that bother us, but rather our opinion about these things.” Or as George Moore said, “The difficulty in life is the choice.”

16. We all really have three basic psychological needs: A sense of being in control, a belief in the value of something, and a community to support our values. And this is where all the conflicts and differences get in the way of living.

17.There really is no sense in having a big ego because everything in your head, heart and soul came from somewhere outside. This borrowed stuff really isn’t “yours” to proudly own. Besides, big egos just get in the way of communicating with others. Narcissists tend to be unlikeable.

18.We will never feel whole until we figure out how our thinking and feeling brains can communicate with each other. How to do this is still a mystery, but one well worth unraveling.

19.Thinking doesn’t drive behavior but rather how we feel about our thoughts is what results in action or lack of it, and new experience is the only way to change feeling and thinking, backwards.

20.The only way your beliefs change—right or wrong—is when you feel more strongly about a new experience that convinces you otherwise and the former wrong belief can go bye-bye.

21.The main trouble with our commercial culture is that we are buying false hope as the only available antidote to our dread of hopelessness. This is delaying a better world, because we are not becoming better people.

22.The most sensible approach to life is to lean towards hoping for an optimistic outcome, but to always have a plan B in your back pocket just in case Murphy’s Law turns out to be truer than not.

23.A slight caution about opening up your mind—don’t open it up so far as to let your brain fall out.

24.Intrinsic motivation—or doing something because it feels right in and by itself inherently, is much stronger and longer lasting than extrinsic motivation—or doing something because of a consequence or condition to want to happen, which more often results in disappointment.

25.We finally grow up when we start treating everything as an end in and by itself, rather than just a means to our hoped-for end.

Psychology is just common sense dressed up in fancy words. ~The Author.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is now retired as Executive Vice President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, but is still active as a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living on the scenic Snoqualmie River and mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-Braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing); The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press); You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence); The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree); Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers); Reality Repair, (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Publish America); Thoughts on Happiness; Pearls of Wisdom: A Dog’s Tale (Covenant Books, Inc.) Coming soon: A Cliché a day will keep the Vet Away (Another Dog’s Tale). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (206) 914-1863 or