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Asking questions, seeking answers. I write articles that help you better understand the Universe and your place in it. Let’s chat → jonhawkinswriting@gmail.com

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About Me

Hey, it’s good to have you here.

My name is Jonathon Hawkins. At 22 years old, I’ve just finished studying Philosophy at the University of Nottingham, and I’m currently navigating the world as a Freelance Writer.

I live in a small town just outside of Worcester (UK) with my family. …


Why we should stop reading books and noting things down.

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Whether you’re browsing Facebook, reading this article, or leaving a sticky note on the fridge, we all rely on written communication. It’s a simple way to mark down information for others to see.

But this directly opposes the ancient advice of Plato. In 370 BCE, he actively encouraged others to stop writing things down.

Plato is hailed as one of the most influential thinkers in human history. As a 5th Century (BCE) Athenian philosopher, he was taught by Socrates and founded the academy.

The methods he recorded are still respected and followed. Reflecting some of the earliest instances of written…


Unlock your brain's full potential by utilizing these simple tips.

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Some people think intelligence is inherited. When I did better than them in school exams, these people would say:

“You’re so lucky you’re smart.”

As if they were the victim of some defective gene that caused them to fail. My achievement wasn’t worth recognizing; I was just lucky to have inherited my knowledge.

But they didn’t see the hours of sacrifice I’d spent preparing. I’m not naturally smart at all; any knowledge and skills were earned, not given.

Our genetics might influence us. But I’m an advocate of the interactionist approach: (as well as our biology) our environment and actions…


How to stay focused on what matters when your future is open.

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Our brains are hardwired to fear uncertainty.

This reactive response dates back to our caveman ancestors. When they entered an unfamiliar area, they had to tread with caution to avoid being killed by predators.

Thousands of years later, most of us still respond to uncertainty in the same way. A recent study by the California Institute of Technology analyzed participants' brains while they made uncertain bets — similar to those we make every day. They found the less information a person has, the more irrational and unpredictable their choices were.

When faced with uncertainty, the subject's brain shifted control over…


They’re rewiring your mind and entrenching negative behaviors.

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Our brains are one of our most flexible features.

Thanks to neuroplasticity, our neural network can continue to change and adapt for most of our lives. Neural pathways can make new connections, and systematic changes can occur.

These changes impact the way we are, including our emotions, feelings, and behaviors.

Neuroplasticity is influenced by our behavior and circumstances. Persistent stress, for example, can drastically alter our brain's structure. Compared to most animals, psychologist Richard Davidson claims our vertebrate brains are especially sensitive to the outside world. In his words:

“The brain is constantly being shaped, wittingly and unwittingly, by environmental…


When the going gets tough, adopt these tips to stay focused on your goals.

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We all have big dreams. But when it comes to our daily habits, we’re not that good at working on them. We put them off and tell ourselves we’ll start another day.

Working on your dreams takes effort and can be stressful. Most of us prefer to put them off in favor of something less taxing. We swap midnight reading for Netflix and our healthy diet for junk, because they offer the comfort and instant gratification we desire.

We use the excuse of:

“I don’t feel like it right now, I’ll do it another time.”

There’s nothing physically stopping us…


When you’re jaded and complacent here’s how to raise the bar.

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We all have big dreams. As children, we aim for the stars. Spaceman, train driver, professional singer, and chef were a few jobs I had contemplated by 10 years old.

But we’re hardwired to hate risks and uncertainty. As time goes on, we realize these goals are quite far-fetched. Our childhood dreams start to fade, we settle down and get caught in a repetitive cycle.

We get accustomed to the life we live, avoid risks and let our ambitions fade.

With the clock ticking and time running out, we settle for less than we once hoped. Our dream job slips…


Rather than passively skimming: understand, evaluate and internalize texts by utilizing these cognitive tools.

Image supplied by author (photo of me, courtesy of JMarch)

I get disheartened when I hear how many books my friends read. They can easily work their way through six in a month. I’m lucky if I manage one.

While studying philosophy at University, it could take me five hours to read ten pages. You can imagine how long it takes me to get through an entire book.

I can read fast. But when I do, I rarely understand or remember anything. What would be the point?

This made me wonder whether my friends properly understand what they read. Could they explain each book to me? …


Psychologists have found correlations between these sounds and character traits.

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It’s Monday evening, I’ve got my hairbrush in one hand, and I’m looking in the mirror, screaming the words to my favorite song. The imaginary crowd goes wild, and I feel a gush of positive energy run over me.

Whether you’re a metalhead, a jazz enthusiast, or an opera lover, we all have our favorite artists. But why are we drawn to different types of music? Why do some of us love the thought of aggressively smashing a guitar while others yearn for relaxing coffeehouse jazz sessions?

Psychologists have suggested that the music we love reflects our personality. They also…


In an era of information overload, why not keep things straightforward?

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I never felt confident going into school exams. That’s not to say I was underprepared; I always revised. But my inconfidence was self-inflicted. When I sat down in the exam hall and my heart was racing, I would over-complicate the questions.

I assumed the examiner was trying to trip me up with trick questions. “It can’t be that simple, can it?” I was repeatedly told that “if I had just taken the questions at face value,” my grades would have been significantly better.

Life can be pretty simple if we want it to be. Should we choose, we can cruise…

Jon Hawkins

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