Sunday, 29 June 2014

10 Reasons I chose to study Applied Psychology

A quick tldr, I'm still playing chess and keeping at more or less the same level (top 97%), but I haven't studied chess in a while. Instead I've been rigorously studying a Masters in Applied Psychology. Here is why:

  1. The human mind is the most complex machine there is and we are never taught how to operate it!
    Choosing to study Psychology is my bid to understand first and foremost my own behaviour, how to gain more control of this complex machinery I've been given. Would you not learn to drive if someone gifted you a Ferrari?
  2. I wanted to solidify and give foundations to all the self help books I've read.
    I've read plenty of self help books, from Think and Grow Rich to The Power of Habit and more. I wanted to dig deeper and find out where these best sellers got their foundations.
  3. The interest was there since my undergrad degree
    One of the main reasons I studied Computer Science in my undergrad was due to the pressure to pick something to study. It was the easiest choice because it was easy. I never really knew what my real interests where but my databases teacher got me started with positive psychology and to this day I love it.
  4. I needed an outlet for my creativity
    I had been studying chess less and less, I hadn't been creating cool products or games. Aside from learning languages and travelling I felt like I wasn't growing enough as a person. Studying psychology gives me an opportunity to come up with ideas and back them up with research.
  5. I could do it on-line, while travelling
    One of the key selling points was that a prestigious British university was offering exactly the degree I wanted, completely on-line. This way I can keep my freedom and relocate as much as I want. For example, this year I will have lived in Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. Last year, I was in Germany.
  6. I got a discount
    It smells like a cheeky influence technique used by my enrolment advisor, but I managed to get a "scholarship", a whole 20% off the cost of my degree. Not too shabby.
  7. I love learning
    I haven't stopped learning at any point in my life. It's fun, it's what we are born to do. We are here to follow our curiosity.
  8. It will be useful
    Applied psychology can be used in sports psychology, business, theoretical psychology, forensic psychology and more! Having this qualification will open countless more doors.
  9. I needed a break and time for my chess knowledge to crystallise
    I do not have any psychological research to back this up but my intuition said that I needed some time for all my chess knowledge to solidify. This left me with spare time, and since I was not ready to start building products, a second degree was the answer.
  10. Why not?
    The only thing I could come up with against taking this degree was the cost. If I had paid it all at once there would go all my savings, forcing me to get a job or launch a successful product straight away. Luckily, I was able to pay it in 36 quotes. So I can bum around a bit more.

So what's next?
I will be on a well earned 6 week break soon. As usual, I've overloaded myself with plans on what to do during this break. I want to:
  • Read a few books
  • Train & Summit Chimborazo (once and for all!)
  • Finish developing a proof of concept for a start up I am working on with my brother
  • Finish programming a chess study tool I left half done, this is on my list thanks to Igor SmoliƄski :)
  • Sell a car I bought before I leave for Chile & Argentina. I thought this would be a quick flip sale but instead its taught me some difficult lessons.
  • Of course, keep playing chess :) Here is my current on-line chess ranking: #15,241 of 423,339 (96.3%). I flirted with 97% for a while.

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