December 21, 2009

Happiness, The Goal of Ethics - An Insightful Essay

This is something I randomly stumbled upon today. I found it interesting and thought-provoking. Every once in a while it is important to read insightful literature, essays, or articles to help us look inside ourselves. It helps us find out what makes us tick, who we really are, and where we might like to go with our lives. So, do enjoy this article.





Happiness, The Goal of Ethics

by

John Cowan
http://www.newwork.com/Pages/Contributors/Cowan/Happiness.html


Why do we so hate to begin at the beginning when it is the only place to really begin? Every day a new business hits a snag, flips over, and goes under. Insufficient inventory to meet market demand. Unable to afford continuing research and development to stay ahead of copycat competitors. Sales force too small to produce revenue in time to satisfy creditors. But each of these snags was predictable. Each exists on the navigational chart issued by even the most rudimentary business course in any college in the country. The snags could have been avoided, but only by a leader who was willing to begin at the beginning, plan for the snags, and seek the capital to ride over them.

So with ethics. Volumes can be written about specific problems. Should a broker advise a customer to move funds at neither loss or gain so that the broker earns commission? Is it ethical to cause the downfall of a person who has by action indicated she was your political enemy? How must minorities be treated? Is it fair to sell a product that the public will buy but that you know is detrimental to health? If not a volume, at least a chapter or two can be written about each of these problems. But an adequate solution will not be found starting from the problem. It will be found in the beginning.

As the person beginning a business asks what capital will be required to sustain this business, the business person who thinks ethically asks: What will it take to make me happy?

Which may seem an unlikely question.

Ethics are usually seen as strictures standing between us and complete happiness. "If I could manipulate my customers, punish my enemies, flock with my own, risk the public good and devote myself to making as much money as I possibly can without going to jail, I would be happy. Unfortunately I have these ethical standards that get in my way."

But that is not what the science of ethics is about. It is not about setting limits on the pursuit of happiness. It is about finding the way to be happy.

The Orthodox Jews of today limit themselves with an ethical imperative blocking the eating of pork. This imperative, whatever its present day purpose, historically rose from the pursuit of happiness. The lawgivers knew that when people ate pork they frequently became ill and often died. Thus, "God's" prohibition of pork. Buddhists counsel detachment from worldly goods, not so that they may suffer more than other people, but because the original Buddha found himself happier when he gave up his own considerable possessions. Jesus of Nazareth counseled love because he found that it brought him more joy than living in the service of self.

The world religious traditions, while extremely diverse in their mythologies, are close to unanimous in their ethics. Their picture of the happy person is remarkably consistent: A person of love, humility, caring. A person unbounded by own ego. One more interested in giving than getting. A person who trusts self, and others, and the universe. A seeker and follower of the truth.

It would be quite reasonable for today's businessperson to dismiss these traditions as similar cases made by people with the same ax to grind, the ax of the common good. Quite reasonable, if somewhat arrogant.

In this our own day we have some scientific data and a mass of anecdotal data on what makes people happy.

From 1945 to now people have been assembling in sensitivity groups, encounter groups, and personal growth groups in pursuit of a variety of goals, including managerial excellence. In these groups they were supported as they learned to work together in loving, trusting, and ethical ways. The intensive research on the groups is ambivalent about their worth in teaching people to continue behaving in these ways when they returned to their places of work and to their homes. But the research is definite, that while in the groups and being together in ethical ways, the group members report that they are happier than when they are outside of these groups subjected to pressures to behave in non-ethical ways. So happy that, to the consternation of the educators, many of them will return year after year to these settings without regard to whether or not they are learning anything they can use back home. They just like who they are when they are there.

Examine the paperback section at your local discount store. Count the books by people who have chosen the ethical life and found happiness. Can you find books by people who have chosen the unethical life with similar results? Of course, you can find books praising the unethical life, but they are not by authors who have experienced both life styles and then chosen between them. Can you find books titled: How I Solved My Mid-life Crisis with Scotch, or How Gambling Improved My Life, or My Recovery from a Loving Family, or Learning to Lie: the Secret of Joy. The anecdotal and scientific evidence supports the somewhat strange notion that happiness is found in a lifestyle that might be most simply described as an ethical lifestyle.

Abraham Maslow, the father of self-actualizing theory, and the unwitting grandfather of its bastard child, the "me" generation, assumed out of the inherent goodness of his own heart that the self to be actualized would be the better self. I think he would be upset to discover that people are actualizing their greed in his name. He thought that they would actualize their potential nature, the nature that has burst into history in the form of some extraordinary people. People who were extraordinary only because they chose to be what any human person is able to be.

The most complex of business ethical questions become relatively simple when they are examined not as they arrive in our laps, but in the light of the first ethical question: "What will make me happy? What will bring me closer to experiencing the inner joy of a Buddha, an Eleanor Roosevelt, a Jesus of Nazareth, a Gandhi, a Nelson Mandela, a Crazy Horse, or a Lao Tse?"

"Should a broker advise a customer to move funds at neither loss or gain so that the broker earns commission?" In the light of the primary ethical imperative the question becomes: "Will I be happier as a broker if my central purpose is to make a buck, or will I be happier if my central purpose is to serve my customer?"

"Is it ethical to cause the downfall of a person who has by action indicated she was your political enemy?" becomes: "Will I be happier as a political murderer or will I be happier as a person who forgives, forgets, and moves on to important things?"

"How must minorities be treated?" becomes: "Will my life be richer surrounded by people who look just like me, or will it be richer through interacting with, learning from, and teaching people different than I?"

"Is it fair to sell a product that the public will buy but that you know is detrimental to health?" becomes: "What will please me more, telling my grandchildren I outwitted the public, or telling them that I served the public?"

The ethical questions of business are simplified by beginning at the beginning with what ethics is about, the pursuit of happiness. With the question so simplified, ethics becomes, not the method for blocking the pursuit of happiness, but the method for discovering the road to happiness. Which strikes me as not only simpler, but more fun.

The author of this essay is John Cowan. He has written two books of similar essays: Small Decencies and The Common Table Each is approximately 160 pages in paperback. To purchase either book by mail send a check for $10 per book to him at 1498 Goodrich, St. Paul, MN 55105. Price will be negotiated for any order over 20 books. If you wish to discuss consulting or speaking engagements or attendance at a workshop he may be reached by e-mail. His address is Johnedie@aol.com


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December 6, 2009

We sincerely thank you for everything Jim Rohn.

The incredible man and human being, Jim Rohn, passed away on December 5th, 2009. I can firmly say that Jim Rohn's teachings have been the most influential on my life in the last year to 15 months in which I have begun the life change process. His incredible philosophy, simple ideas, and profound insights are truly some of the best items in this world that our minds can be exposed to.

I will continue to study his teachings, learn from him, and apply these things to my life and expose other willing minds to them as well. I want to sincerely thank Jim Rohn for giving so much to so many people, and I wish him and his family and friends all the best possible. God bless you!



You can view his web site and tribute here for more information here:
Jim Rohn Tribute http://tribute.jimrohn.com


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December 1, 2009

As the peerless Jim Rohn says...

Life change starts with education!




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November 25, 2009

Random Inspirational and Motivational Quote from Gandhi on Change

If you're seeking motivation, want to change a character trait or habit, or generally desire personal improvement, the remember and live by Gandhi's philosophy:

"You must be the change you seek."


Keep Mohandas Gandhi's quote in mind today when deciding what YOU should do next to make YOUR life better. To change our lives we must be completely personally responsible.


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November 24, 2009

Buddha Random Inspirational and Motivational Quotes

“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”

Buddha (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)


“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

Buddha

These are a couple really profound quotes from the Buddha himself. If you're feeling anger, how true is that first quote for you?


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November 23, 2009

Self Mastery: The Zen Way to Attain Peace, Develop Attachment and Program Success by Dick Sutphen

I just started listening to this bit. So far only 30 or so minutes in it's proven quite good. A couple mental exercises to probe around into your own self, and some useful tips.

One such tip is to ask yourself the following question:

What at this moment is lacking?

Ask yourself this question at any moment this question. Do a mental check to see if you're resisting what is, and to see if you are living in the now. And make sure you accept the decisions you've made, and not carry any unnecessary burdens.


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November 22, 2009

Random Inspirational and Motivational Jim Rohn Quotes

Today's quotes to help you get motivated and be inspired are from the highly esteemed, wise, inspirational, and impressive Jim Rohn!


If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.


We must risk going too far to discover just how far we can go.


Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.


Never begin the day until it is finished on paper.


Finally...

Don't say, "If I could, I would." Say instead, "If I can, I will."



Get more motivational and inspirational Jim Rohn quotes here!


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November 21, 2009

Profound Question to Ask Yourself - Are You On the Right Track

Now, of course, to invest the value of the following insightful question into your future, you must answer it.

If the question seems odd to you or you really do not know how to answer it, you need to start studying goals. Let me also point out that everybody has goals - subconscious, conscious, or both. But not everyone knows what their goals are. That is where the divergence from mediocrity begins.

How will you know that you've arrived if you don't know where you are headed?

Answer this question today, tonight at the latest!


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Jack Canfield Comments on Self Esteem and the "Comfort Zone"

"If you want more you have to do more. And as you do more it's uncomfortable."


This is moving out of the "comfort zone."


-Jack Canfield on self esteem

Canfield has a lot of material on self esteem and motivational strategies, and much of his research and material is on moving out of your comfort zone. He has practical information that you can apply to your life if you read or listen to his materials. He's definitely a "keeper"!


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November 20, 2009

Zig Ziglar Top Performance and Andrew Carnegie

When asked about how to develop so many millionaires, Andrew Carnegie said when you work with people it is a lot like mining for gold.

You've got to dig through tons of dirt to find a single ounce gold. However, you do not look for the dirt. You look for the gold. It works the same way when you work with people.


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November 19, 2009

What to Say When You Talk to Yourself (Shad Helmstetter) Book Notes

I finally got back into reading this book, and I'm glad I did! What to Say When You Talk to Yourself is the kind of book that fills your mind with the good things about life and helps us stretch to become the better people we know we can be. It sure beats getting beaten down by the 5 o'clock news!

Here are some nice "What to Say When You Talk to Yourself" excerpts:

"If you want to improve your job: In one way or another we are all subject to the directions of others. We all have rules which we must follow. How you look at your job, your vocation, your associates and your employer, boss, or supervisor, will have an important effect on how well you do and how you feel about yourself in the job you are in. If you tell yourself that you do not like your job - you probably won't. If you tell yourself that you are unhappy with your manager or employer, you probably will be."


"Imagine for a moment any problem you would like to overcome, right now, or any change you would like to make in yourself or in your life. If there were two of you, and one of you became a positive, productive Self-Talker, and the other did not, for whom would you cast your vote? I know which one I would vote for, every time." page 149

Just examine this paragraph for even a moment. Many people, perhaps even myself at one point, dismiss the positive self talk ideology. The reasons for this are likely numerous, but perhaps the largest reason is that it seems too simple-minded or too hocus-pocus like. However, answer Shad Helmstetter's question above and re-evaluate just exactly how you feel about self talk. It is an eye-opening question, but moreso a revealing answer.


Here are some of the actual positive self talk affirmations from this book:
Positive self talk for freedom from worry and Anxiety affirmations


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November 18, 2009

How To Read A Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren: Quote

The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.

from page 49 regarding "How to Make a Book Your Own"

Do you know anyone like this? Maybe I should ask, how many people do you know that cannot express what they really think? If you are unfamiliar or only vaguely know of Jim Rohn, How To Read A Book is one of the books he continually recommended for a large part of his public speaking career. Continue your study in personal development to ensure you do walk away from the 90%!


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Secrets of Success Random Inspirational and Motivational Quote


"You are the same today as you’ll be in five years, except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read."


Charles E. Jones

I heard this on Og Mandino's, Secrets of Success.


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November 8, 2009

The Greatest Salesman In The World Book Quotes - Og Mandino

"Weak is he who permits his thoughts to control his action. Strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts."


An insightful quote from Og Mandino's The Greatest Salesman In The World.


This really is a great book if you are looking for something simple to understand and practical to put into your life today. It's just loaded with bits and pieces that I, and you, will want to write down and go back to time and again. Here's some more inspirational quotes for today from Mandino's inspiring book!

Excerpts from Scroll 9:
"It is better to act and fail than not to act and flounder.
"
"Without action, all fruit will die on the vine."
"... I will say 'it is done', before the failure says 'it is too late'."



Another quote and some info about The Greatest Salesman In The World
A quote and question to ponder from Og Mandino's The Greatest Salesman In The World


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November 6, 2009

How To Read A Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren

Here is a particularly insightful paragraph from Chapter one on this book, How To Read A Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren, that discusses how to read a book for greater understanding:

"The packaging of intellectual positions and views is one of the most active enterprises of some of the best minds of our day. The viewer of television, the listener to radio, the reader of magazines, is presented with a whole complex of elements-all the way from ingenious rhetoric to carefully selected data and statistics-to make it easy for him to "make up his own mind" with the minimum of difficulty and effort. But the packaging is often done so effectively that the viewer, listener, or reader does not make up his own mind at all. Instead, he inserts a packaged opinion into his mind, somewhat like inserting a cassette into a cassette player. He then pushes a button and "plays back" the opinion whenever it seems appropriate to do so. He has performed acceptably without having had to think."


Page 12:
"...it is obvious that teaching is a very special art, sharing with only two other arts-agriculture and medicine-an exceptionally important characteristic. A doctor may do many things for his patient, but in the final analysis it is the patient himself who must get well-grow in health. The farmer does many things for his plants or animals, but in the final analysis it is they that must grow in size and excellence. Similarly, although the teacher may help his student in many ways, it is the student himself who must do the learning. Knowledge must grow in his mind if learning is to take place."


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November 4, 2009

Jim Rohn Random Inspirational and Motivational Quote on Gifts

"If you work on your gifts they will make room for you."


Ancient saying brought to you by the inspirational Jim Rohn from his book, Take Charge of Your Life, one that I recommend incredibly if you appreciate the value a simple book can have.There is a reason this individual was able to speak in front of millions.

Read more about Jim Rohn's book in audio format at this link:
Take Charge of Your Life: The Winner's Seminar


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November 2, 2009

Ponder a Question from The Greatest Salesman In The World

Here is a random thought to ponder from Og Mandinos The Greatest Salesman In The World...

Can sand flow upward in the hour glass?


Think on this quote from the book for a moment and tell me what this means to you!



Another quote and some info about The Greatest Salesman In The World


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November 1, 2009

The Greatest Salesman In The World - Life Skills Beyond Merely Sales

The Greatest Salesman In The World is a widely acclaimed book by Og Mandino. Now, before I start this post much more, I should point out that I heard of this book before - several times. Quite frankly, I superficially read the title and made just about enough judgments about the book based solely on the title that I thought I was simply not interested.

Unfortunately for me, I heeded that superficial "once-over" when it came to this inspirational book. It is so much more than a book on sales or marketing. It is an ancient parable about skills for life, skills for building confidence, and lessons for everyone as opposed to merely people in sales or marketing.

Anyways, I just started listening to the audio version and I certainly like it so far. As hinted at before, it is in the form of a story in ancient times with a young apprentice being taught from secret scrolls with a life lesson on each one. I would definitely share this easy-to-read, yet inspirational book with any friend.

Here is one powerful quote from Og Mandino's, The Greatest Salesman In The World:

"Failure will never overtake you if your determination to succeed is strong enough."


If you have not yet read this book, pick it up! Whether you're a salesman or not the book will resonate with you. In the past, I never bothered because I thought it was just for salesmen. Don't make the same mistake I did.

The Greatest Salesman in the World: Gift Edition
More quotes and excerpts from The Greatest Salesman In The World


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October 27, 2009

Charles "Tremendous" Jones Quote from Og Mandinos Secrets of Success

I just began listening to Og Mandino for the first time ever. After a mere 30 minutes in to the inspirational audio book Secrets of Success, Og Mandino has already made quite an impact on me. Furthermore, he has displayed an absolute masterful ability to tell a story and deliver a speech performance.

The powerful quote from Mandino's Secrets of Success I just heard is:

"You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read."

Charles Jones

So I must ask, does this inspiring quote resonate with you? It certainly does with me. And no doubt about it, this is one I will remember!


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October 25, 2009

Psychology Humor from Mad TV

Humor and psychology usually don't go together. But here is a funny clip from MADTV with Bob Newhart about psychology humor. It is quite related to self improvement, and the video clip is entitled Stop It!:




If you have any of your own psychology humor videos or jokes, please do comment here! We'd all love to see them.


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Andrew Carnegie Quotes Random Inspirational and Motivational Quotes

“No man can become rich without himself enriching others.”

-Andrew Carnegie


“People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.”

-Andrew Carnegie


“Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”

-Andrew Carnegie


“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.”

-Andrew Carnegie


“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”

-Andrew Carnegie


“The secret of success lies not in doing your own work, but in recognizing the right man to do it.”

-Andrew Carnegie



Who was Andrew Carnegie?


"Andrew Carnegie (25 November 1835 – 11 August 1919) was a Scottish businessman, entrepreneur, industrialist, and a foremost philanthropist.

Carnegie is one of the most well known captains of industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

He was an immigrant as a child with his parents. He built Pittsburgh's Carnegie Steel Company, which was later merged with Elbert H. Gary's Federal Steel Company and several smaller companies to create U.S. Steel. With the fortune he made from business, he later turned to philanthropy and interests in education, founding the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Carnegie gave away most of his money to establish many libraries, schools, and universities in America, the United Kingdom and other countries, as well as a pension fund for former employees. He is often regarded as the second-richest man in history after John D. Rockefeller. Carnegie started as a telegrapher and by the 1860's had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars, bridges and oil derricks. Andrew Carnegie built further wealth as a bond salesman raising money for American enterprise in Europe."

From: "Andrew Carnegie." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.


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Krish Dhanam Video - Motivational and Inspirational Speaker!

This is a great video I just saw for the first time about a person I just heard about while researching the Get Motivated seminar. You may have heard their commercials on the radio. It's very cheap and they threw out some big names (Ziglar, Giuliani, Terry Bradshaw, Colin Powell) so that got me interested. Unfortunately, the reviews are generally negative and at best the reviewers say there are some good points, but not a good overall experience. If it were in my area I think it would be an easy decision to go if the day is free seeing as how the even only costs around $20-25.

Regardless, check out this inspirational Krish Dhanam video.

Krish Dhanam biography

Krish Dhanam was born in the coastal town of Vizag, in Andhra Pradesh, India. In 1984 he finished his MBA at the Institute of Management Technology and migrated to the United States in 1986. As a proud card carrying member of the sales force of America Krish soon started his corporate climb. Through training, teaching and facilitating seminars all over the world, Krish launched his professional speaking career.

As one of only two executive coaches personally trained by Zig Ziglar, Krish Dhanam has successfully delivered his message of hope, humor and balance in over forty international venues and throughout the continental United States . His client list is the who's who of global enterprise and he has received accolades from some of the most distinguished organizations including, The United States Army, Christian Dior, Steelcase Industries, Apollo Hospitals, The Environmental Protection Agency, Weyerhauser and the Florida Department of Revenue. Dhanam is the author of The American Dream from an Indian Heart and contributing author to Top Performance written by Zig Ziglar.






If you want more, read some inspiring Krish Dhanam quotes on life and success!
Krish Dhanam Video on Goals, Inspiration, Motivation


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October 16, 2009

Random Wayne Dyer Quote from Power of Intention

"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."


Wayne Dyer from his program Power of Intention.


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October 10, 2009

How Proust Can Change Your Life Book Excerpt about Reading

The following excerpt is the conclusion to the book, How Proust Can Change Your Life." I found this rather insightful and compelling. It most certainly lends a strong point to the idea of putting to action what you actually read.

“It is one of the great and wonderful characteristics of good books…that for the author they may be called “conclusions” but for the reader “incitements”…That is the value of reading and also its inadequacy. To make it into a discipline is to give too large a role to what is only an incitement. Reading is on the threshold of the spiritual life; it can introduce us to it: it does not constitute it. Even the finest books deserve to be thrown aside.”

How Proust Can Change Your Life
by Alain de Botton

Very often, we all read things and come across good ideas, but we hesitate to take action -- sometimes indefinitely. Be sure that you heed Alain de Botton's wise words and listen to great words from great books, but let that be the beginning, not the ending.


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October 6, 2009

Random Brian Tracy Quote from Maximum Achievement on Praise

"People may work harder for more money, but they will crawl over broken glass to get more praise and recognition."


Brian Tracy from Maximum Achievement


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October 2, 2009

Wise Inspirational Quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Joyce Meyer

Here is an inspirational quote I heard on t.v. from Joyce Meyer:

If you don't do it, you haven't really learned it.


What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist and poet (1803-1882)

If you're wanting more inspirational Joyce Meyer quotes read the Joyce Meyer Quote Page I put together with various quotes on happiness, motivation and success, life, and love and forgiveness.


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October 1, 2009

Inspirational Classic Quotes and Pearls of Wisdom

Some random quotes from famous figures:

"You are young, my son, and, as the years go by, time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore awhile from setting yourself up as a judge of the highest matters."

Plato



"Yes, risk-taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, it would be called sure-thing taking."

Tim McMahon



"You always pass failure on the way to success."

Mickey Rooney



"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree rotten and its fruit rotten, because a tree is known by its fruit."

The Bible


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A Classic Poem by Rudyard Kipling


Rudyard Kipling

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!


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September 30, 2009

The Good Life Story by Mark Albion - Very insightful and wise!

This animated short film is based on New York Times best-selling author Mark Albion's book, More Than Money, and produced by Free Range Studios. It sounds like it is narrated by Chris Widener.

It's a story about an MBA graduate meeting an island fisherman, and while the MBA tries to teach business, the fisherman teaches the MBA about life. The conclusion of it all is really profound and a bit comical as well, even if you may see it coming!




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September 29, 2009

Sarcastic Quotes on Life from Lily Tomlin

Sarcastic quotes on life are often funny, but it's amazing how true they can be too! Lily Tomlin was obviously funny enough to get paid for it, and here is a funny quote about life...

"The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat."
    Lily Tomlin, US actress & comedienne (1939 - )


If you're thinking this sarcastic quote on life sounds a lot like Robert Kiyosaki, then I would have to agree with you! The Rat Race is one of Kiyosaki's biggest and most fundamental ideas that he talks about in his real estate and personal development programs. To top that off, he's even got a board game all about getting out of the rat race. For a somewhat funny but informative Robert Kiyosaki video on rat race investing check out this link.


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September 20, 2009

Great quote and essay from Annie Dillard

"Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?"

-Annie Dillard, May 28, 1989


Write Till You Drop

People love pretty much the same things best. A writer looking for subjects inquires not after what he loves best, but after what he alone loves at all. Strange seizures beset us. Frank Conroy loves his yo-yo tricks, Emily Dickinson her slant of light; Richard Selzer loves the glistening peritoneum, Faulkner the muddy bottom of a little girl's drawers visible when she's up a pear tree. ''Each student of the ferns,'' I once read, ''will have his own list of plants that for some reason or another stir his emotions.''

Why do you never find anything written about that idiosyncratic thought you advert to, about your fascination with something no one else understands? Because it is up to you. There is something you find interesting, for a reason hard to explain. It is hard to explain because you have never read it on any page; there you begin. You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment.

Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?

Write about winter in the summer. Describe Norway as Ibsen did, from a desk in Italy; describe Dublin as James Joyce did, from a desk in Paris. Willa Cather wrote her prairie novels in New York City; Mark Twain wrote ''Huckleberry Finn'' in Hartford. Recently scholars learned that Walt Whitman rarely left his room.

The writer studies literature, not the world. She lives in the world; she cannot miss it. If she has ever bought a hamburger, or taken a commercial airplane flight, she spares her readers a report of her experience. She is careful of what she reads, for that is what she will write. She is careful of what she learns, because that is what she will know.

The writer knows her field - what has been done, what could be done, the limits - the way a tennis player knows the court. And like that expert, she, too, plays the edges. That is where the exhilaration is. She hits up the line. In writing, she can push the edges. Beyond this limit, here, the reader must recoil. Reason balks, poetry snaps; some madness enters, or strain. Now gingerly, can she enlarge it, can she nudge the bounds? And enclose what wild power?

A well-known writer got collared by a university student who asked, ''Do you think I could be a writer?''

''Well,'' the writer said, ''I don't know. . . . Do you like sentences?''

The writer could see the student's amazement. Sentences? Do I like sentences? I am 20 years old and do I like sentences? If he had liked sentences, of course, he could begin, like a joyful painter I knew. I asked him how he came to be a painter. He said, ''I liked the smell of the paint.''

Hemingway studied, as models, the novels of Knut Hamsun and Ivan Turgenev. Isaac Bashevis Singer, as it happened, also chose Hamsun and Turgenev as models. Ralph Ellison studied Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. Thoreau loved Homer; Eudora Welty loved Chekhov. Faulkner described his debt to Sherwood Anderson and Joyce; E. M. Forster, his debt to Jane Austen and Proust. By contrast, if you ask a 21-year-old poet whose poetry he likes, he might say, unblushing, ''Nobody's.'' He has not yet understood that poets like poetry, and novelists like novels; he himself likes only the role, the thought of himself in a hat. Rembrandt and Shakespeare, Bohr and Gauguin, possessed powerful hearts, not powerful wills. They loved the range of materials they used. The work's possibilities excited them; the field's complexities fired their imaginations. The caring suggested the tasks; the tasks suggested the schedules. They learned their fields and then loved them. They worked, respectfully, out of their love and knowledge, and they produced complex bodies of work that endure. Then, and only then, the world harassed them with some sort of wretched hat, which, if they were still living, they knocked away as well as they could, to keep at their tasks.

It makes more sense to write one big book - a novel or nonfiction narrative - than to write many stories or essays. Into a long, ambitious project you can fit or pour all you possess and learn. A project that takes five years will accumulate those years' inventions and richnesses. Much of those years' reading will feed the work. Further, writing sentences is difficult whatever their subject. It is no less difficult to write sentences in a recipe than sentences in ''Moby-Dick.'' So you might as well write ''Moby-Dick.'' Similarly, since every original work requires a unique form, it is more prudent to struggle with the outcome of only one form - that of a long work - than to struggle with the many forms of a collection.

Every book has an intrinsic impossibility, which its writer discovers as soon as his first excitement dwindles. The problem is structural; it is insoluble; it is why no one can ever write this book. Complex stories, essays and poems have this problem, too - the prohibitive structural defect the writer wishes he had never noticed. He writes it in spite of that. He finds ways to minimize the difficulty; he strengthens other virtues; he cantilevers the whole narrative out into thin air and it holds. Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed? Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that most deeply engages our intellects and our hearts? Can the writer renew our hopes for literary forms? Why are we reading, if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage and the hope of meaningfulness, and press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power? What do we ever know that is higher than that power which, from time to time, seizes our lives, and which reveals us startlingly to ourselves as creatures set down here bewildered? Why does death so catch us by surprise, and why love? We still and always want waking. If we are reading for these things, why would anyone read books with advertising slogans and brand names in them? Why would anyone write such books? We should mass half-dressed in long lines like tribesmen and shake gourds at each other, to wake up; instead we watch television and miss the show.

No manipulation is possible in a work of art, but every miracle is. Those artists who dabble in eternity, or who aim never to manipulate but only to lay out hard truths, grow accustomed to miracles. Their sureness is hard won. ''Given a large canvas,'' said Veronese, ''I enriched it as I saw fit.''

The sensation of writing a book is the sensation of spinning, blinded by love and daring. It is the sensation of a stunt pilot's turning barrel rolls, or an inchworm's blind rearing from a stem in search of a route. At its worst, it feels like alligator wrestling, at the level of the sentence.

At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your fists, your back, your brain, and then - and only then -it is handed to you. From the corner of your eye you see motion. Something is moving through the air and headed your way. It is a parcel bound in ribbons and bows; it has two white wings. It flies directly at you; you can read your name on it. If it were a baseball, you would hit it out of the park. It is that one pitch in a thousand you see in slow motion; its wings beat slowly as a hawk's.

One line of a poem, the poet said - only one line, but thank God for that one line - drops from the ceiling. Thornton Wilder cited this unnamed writer of sonnets: one line of a sonnet falls from the ceiling, and you tap in the others around it with a jeweler's hammer. Nobody whispers it in your ear. It is like something you memorized once and forgot. Now it comes back and rips away your breath. You find and finger a phrase at a time; you lay it down as if with tongs, restraining your strength, and wait suspended and fierce until the next one finds you: yes, this; and yes, praise be, then this.

Einstein likened the generation of a new idea to a chicken's laying an egg: ''Kieks - auf einmal ist es da.'' Cheep - and all at once there it is. Of course, Einstein was not above playing to the crowd.

Push it. Examine all things intensely and relentlessly. Probe and search each object in a piece of art; do not leave it, do not course over it, as if it were understood, but instead follow it down until you see it in the mystery of its own specificity and strength. Giacometti's drawings and paintings show his bewilderment and persistence. If he had not acknowledged his bewilderment, he would not have persisted. A master of drawing, Rico Lebrun, discovered that ''the draftsman must aggress; only by persistent assault will the live image capitulate and give up its secret to an unrelenting line.'' Who but an artist fierce to know - not fierce to seem to know - would suppose that a live image possessed a secret? The artist is willing to give all his or her strength and life to probing with blunt instruments those same secrets no one can describe any way but with the instruments' faint tracks.

Admire the world for never ending on you as you would admire an opponent, without taking your eyes off him, or walking away.

One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.

After Michelangelo died, someone found in his studio a piece of paper on which he had written a note to his apprentice, in the handwriting of his old age: ''Draw, Antonio, draw, Antonio, draw and do not waste time.''


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September 16, 2009

Excerpts from "Embracing Fear" by Thom Rutledge

The following is a collection of excerpts I found "shareworthy" whilst reading this book:

When faced with some worry or uncertain fear, ask yourself the following: Am I responding to something in my environment or to something in my imagination? Is this feeling based on something I perceive in my circumstance, or merely something in my memory?


If the feeling is a worry, we just chew on it, giving the illusion that we’re doing something, when in fact, worry is stalling us from doing something. Conversely, when a dreaded outcome is actually imminent, we don’t worry about it—we take action. Seeing lava from the local volcano ooze down the street toward our house does not cause any worry; it causes running.

  • Almost all worry evolves from the conflict between intuition and inaction.
There is only one freedom: the freedom from fear.
—ORIAH MOUNTAIN DREAMER


Healthy fear is about protection and guidance. Neurotic fear is about the need to be in control. Healthy fear inspires us to do what can be done in the present. Neurotic fear speaks to us endlessly about everything that could possibly go wrong tomorrow, or the next day, or next year.


...we will look at why and how we as otherwise intelligent human beings can look at the glaring contrast between healthy and neurotic fear, and in spite of what is rational and wise consistently choose neurotic fear as our lead advisor.


Bottom line: the lower our self-esteem, the easier we are to control. This holds true whether the controlling personality is a parent, a spouse, or a neurotic fear within us.


We must learn to make the conscious choice to turn away from the Bully and toward the Ally. In the group exercise, that is what we do: the person in the middle practices listening to the neurotic fear long enough to identify who and what it is, then he or she is taught to turn away from the Bully and face the Ally.


Four Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Fear
• Face it.
• Explore it.
• Accept it.
• Respond to it.


I tell therapy clients that keeping a journal can save them time and money because sometimes sitting down with a journal can be as productive as a good therapy session.


I told Jenni that the point of my pairing these two learning challenges is simply this: you should not expect to master a new way of thinking without hours and hours of dedicated practice any more than you would expect to master the card sleight without practice.

Chapter 2

My intention is not to oversimplify the potential solution to our battles with fear, but to make an important point: the great majority of the emotional distress we experience results from how we think about ourselves and our circumstances, rather than the circumstances themselves.


Remember that the little voice told me that “the assignment is to live a life that is not ruled by fear.” It didn’t say anything about being without fear.


What occurred to me seemed too simple, offensively simple. But each time I approached it, like trying to get 2 + 2 to equal something other than 4, I came up with the same answer: how we relate to fear determines how we do in life, and maybe it is the essence of who we are.

Chapter 3

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
—BERTRAND RUSSELL

Sometime when you are feeling stuck or confused, ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” Listen for the first answer that occurs to you, and then climb down your own ladder. Don’t run from the fear; turn to face it; go looking for the most powerful, threatening part of the fear by climbing down your ladder. The chances of solving a problem are greatly enhanced by accurately defining the problem.

Chapter 4

One of the ways we send out distress calls, demonstrating our need to be reminded, is complaining. It is far from the cleanest communication, certainly not the most effective, but listening to our complaints with a willingness to climb down the ladder is at least a starting point. Rather than discount our human tendency to complain, I try to make good use of it. A complaint that seems petty or meaningless is just at the top of the ladder. By bitching and moaning about this and that, we avoid taking the ladder down to discover the bigger fears below. So instead of simply criticizing ourselves for complaining (which is essentially complaining about our complaining), it serves us well to look more closely at the nature of our complaints.


When we become aware of these old, stored-up feelings, it is important to spend some time with them. Beware of tendencies to notice the feeling, quickly explain it to yourself, and then move on. I am not suggesting you become obsessive about your fears, just that you practice moving into that place of self-awareness without acting on the natural temptations to shut the feelings down, cover them up, minimize their importance, or explain them away. Some of the hardest work you will do will be sitting still with your fears, experiencing the anxiety or the terror sitting in the pit of your stomach or lodged in your throat. The effort to sit still and do nothing beyond being aware of a feeling state, even for just a few minutes, is real and difficult work. Please give yourself credit when you are able to do it, and try not to condemn yourself when you are not. I strongly urge you to make a decision right now to take plenty of self-compassion along on this journey.


And on top of the fear, as so often is the case, was self judgment. As I did Owen, I encourage you to suspend self judgment as you read on. In our acronym map there is no J for judging. Face what you become aware of, whether it is in the form of a deeply ingrained fear or a seemingly innocuous complaint. Explore whatever you find, remaining willing to travel down the ladder to discover your deeper fears. And remember that accepting your discoveries and insights, contrary to popular belief, will not keep you stuck. Acceptance is the way through to the other side of your fears, where you will learn to respond from a position of power and strength.

Consider the emotions that may be stuck within you, the feelings still unexpressed. Be aware of the feelings. Resist the temptation to run, and resist the temptation to try changing whatever emotions you discover. Feel what is there to feel. Accept this as your experience, remembering that acceptance doesn’t mean you like it; it only means you know that this is yours to experience.

Fully aware of these unexpressed feelings stuck somewhere inside you, try this strange little exercise: imagine that you, as an adult, can travel back in time, scoop up the child you once were, and walk right through the feelings. Repeat the motto to yourself: NO FEAR. Holding your child close to you, walk straight through the feelings, never changing one of them. Sadness, anger, hurt, shame, confusion—and all kinds of fear. Keep walking until you come all the way through.

The bad news—or what we think is bad news—is that we cannot change the feelings that are already inside us. The good news is that we don’t have to change even one of them in order to heal. We simply have to become willing, with our eyes wide open, to walk straight through them.


Chapter 5

In fact, evaluating ourselves according to that kind of comparison is one extremely effective way of stopping forward progress dead in its tracks. I have heard this expressed in a very concise form: compare and despair.


Certainly I cannot offer you any guarantee that you will find meaning and purpose when you invest time and energy in examining your life. In fact, I tend to distrust those who tell me they know the specific purpose of their life—all tied up in a neat little package. I prefer the wisdom of Viktor Frankl, psychiatrist, author, and survivor of the Nazi death camps of World War II. Dr. Frankl tells us we should not ask, “What is the meaning of my life?” but instead realize that each of us is being asked, “What meaning will you make of your life?” It is an excellent question, possibly the only question we would ever need—a question I hope to never stop answering.

Put it to work and discover what a versatile tool it is. Ask the question about your life as a whole or apply the question to specific areas of your life. What meaning will I make of my life as a parent, spouse, friend, or worker? Or apply it to particular events or periods of time. What meaning will I make of my life in the wake of this disaster, or this loss, or this success? Probably the most powerful use of Frankl’s excellent question is in daily practice. What meaning of my
life will I make today? Use the question generously; it will certainly help you stay awake.


Fear’s intent, though often misguided, is always protective. When you stand facing the fear, ask,
“What are trying to protect me from? What is the danger you perceive?”
And when you ask a question of fear, become very still, sit quietly, and listen for the answer.


After listening to the objections of June’s fear of engagement and marriage, if I had told her that she didn’t have anything to worry about, that I was certain that she would be able to “handle it,” what effect would that have had? To let her know that I do genuinely believe in her, and specifically in the progress she has made in therapy, will very likely make a difference, but telling her I can predict the outcome of her decision will only serve to reduce my credibility. I would be claiming to be capable of doing something that we both know I cannot. As her supporter, when my credibility is lessened, even the power of my belief in her is diminished.

The most powerful stance any one of us can take when we stand at the threshold of something new and previously unexplored is best characterized as follows: gather the confidence
you have in yourself, along with the confidence (“I believe in you” reassurance) expressed by others, and plant your feet firmly in the doorway of what is yet to come. Invite your fear to speak. Do not hide from it; call it out. Look directly at the fear, listen to what it is saying, what it is threatening you with, and then take a deep breath and say,
“I’m willing to risk it.”
“If you do this, you will be sorry,” the Bully loves to say.
“I’m willing to risk it.”
“You are sure to make a fool of yourself.”
“Maybe. I’m willing to risk it.”
“You can’t do it. You have failed before, and you will
certainly fail again.”
“I have failed in the past and lived to tell the story. I am willing to risk it.”
“This is it, your last chance. If you blow it this time, it’s all over for you.” The Bully is pulling out the big guns, the famous “last chance” threats.
And still you respond, “I doubt it, but even if that is so, I—am—willing—to—risk—it.” See yourself speaking clearly and distinctly and, as you step across the threshold, push the fear aside with a powerful arm.

Watching this scene unfold never gets old, whether it is happening within a client’s consciousness or we are literally acting it out in group therapy. “I am willing to risk it” is powerfully effective because it makes maximum use of the confidence we have in ourselves and that others have in us, plus it is a completely credible position. There are no guarantees, and we know it. Can I fail? Yes. Might I fail? Maybe. Will I hide or retreat? No. I am willing to risk it.


Self-sabotage is simply a response to fear. Its intent, more often than not, is protective.


Many of us respond to fear with avoidance. ***We take refuge in our potential.*** As long as there is something we are going to do (e.g., lose weight, stop drinking, write a book, change careers) in the future, we can safely perceive ourselves as potentially physically fit, sober, prolific, or successful in that new career. When we choose to take action toward a goal, the dream of our potential is in danger. By being proactive, taking the necessary risks, we have to face the
comparison of our dreams to reality. We might fall short of our goals. We might fail. The prospect of such an outcome makes our potential seem like such a cozy place.

The perception of our potential is a very popular hideout. It is a place in our minds where procrastination reigns, where we keep ourselves sedated with pleasant images of all that we are bound to become and all that we will accomplish—later.


...we all need to find that common meeting ground. It’s called humility. One of the Nutshells defines it succinctly: “Humility is the awareness that I am neither better nor worse than anyone else.”


Humility is the goal here, and it is not a minor goal. Humility is not just a pleasant character trait or a nice compliment. It is the necessary, realistic starting place for any of us who are serious about facing and conquering our fears.


I also want to be clear about my belief that without full acceptance of personal responsibility, deserving or not, we will not get to where we want to go.

Address these negative messages directly. Gather what you have learned so far and imagine yourself sitting face to face with the Bully. Speak the conversation out loud; give yourself permission to switch from one chair to the other to keep the personalities separate in your thinking. Or write a dialogue between yourself and the Bully.

And when you begin this direct dialogue—welcome to the final letter of our acronym map—you will now be in a solid position to choose your responses to fear.


Chapter 6

Our acronym map tells us that we don’t get rid of recurring fears; we move toward them, experience them, and move past them.


Like recurring fear themes, obstacle themes in our lives are clues, put there to get our attention, intrigue us, and ultimately to guide us toward the Bully. As long as Walter remained occupied with all the various brands of therapy, self-help, and personal-improvement techniques, there would be no space in his consciousness for him to have to experience what he and I discovered was his greatest fear: that he might be a man without a purpose.


We are all influenced by themes of personal desire, but not everyone identifies them. Unfortunately, we often don’t find our way beyond the perpetual recurrence of obstacles and fears. Too often we live our lives by default rather than decision. We accept beliefs and value systems that are handed to us, allowing life’s circumstances to determine the directions we will take without realizing that what we do with our lives is up to us. The idea that personal desires are not only important but central to living fully and responsibly often seems ridiculous, idealistic, naive, or selfish. My father lived like this—a good man who never believed he could be in charge of his own life.

Walter encountered one particular obstacle in his pursuit of purpose that is important to mention because it represents a common misconception that frequently slows progress. That obstacle is the assumption that our purposes in life are assigned to us, rather than chosen by us. I cringe a little each time I hear someone say, “I want to know what my purpose is,” or in response to a specific situation, “I wonder what I am supposed to learn from this.” These statements limit us severely by implying that there is some kind of “answer in the back of the book,” the one correct answer to the question. The more productive questions to ask are, “What do I want my purpose to be?” and “What are some things I can learn from this situation?”


If the person remains in therapy after the smoke clears—personal desire themes are likely to surface. A very important question appears: “What had I intended for my life?”

Ask yourself this question: “What had you intended for your life?”

When we fail to ask ourselves this question, we may simply live our lives out by default, nudged this way and that by life’s circumstances, forgetting that we ever had a plan for our lives at all. Or we may devote our lives to what I have come to think of as mistaken personal desire.


Maybe the themes we identify as recurring in spite of our previous efforts and progress are simply indicative of the course of education we have chosen for our lives. Maybe not. But regardless of how or why the themes came to be, to proceed as if they are our chosen lessons is an effective approach to life.

When we encounter our life themes, we must remember what we have learned. If faced with a recurring fear, we can immediately put our acronym map to work. When considering obstacle themes or themes of personal desire, we must first find out where the Bully is hiding. We do this by asking questions. We might try climbing down the ladder. After we find the fear, we must see it for what is, walk toward it, and then past it. We change our relationship with the fear and take charge of our lives.

Make a list of a few recurring themes in your life. See if you can think of an example from each category. Maybe there is one life theme you have significantly resolved, such as a dysfunctional relationship pattern or, like Jenni, a career direction. Maybe there is a life theme you have just recognized as you read this chapter. Or maybe one particular life theme has been haunting you for as long as you can remember.


What we decide to be aware of, attend to, and work on are personal choices, choices that are a significant part of who we are as individuals. How I approach a situation in my life may or may not be similar to your approach. How I approach a situation today is likely to be very different from how I would have approached a similar situation ten years ago. It’s only reasonable to assume that my approach in five years will be different as well. Healthy personalities are fluid, not stagnant, and when we respect that—in ourselves and in each other—we realize that psychotherapy and self-help material will benefit us most when it is tailored to fit our individual personalities and needs. Carl Jung said that he developed a new therapy for each of his patients.


Chapter 7

FEAR TAKES MANY FORMS: dread, worry, panic, anxiety, self-consciousness, superstition, negativity. And it shows itself in many ways: avoidance, procrastination, judgment, control, agitation, perfectionism.

How much more relaxed would I be, how much more my true self, how much more productive and efficient and effective, how much more loving and generous and focused would I be…if this fear didn’t live in my chest?


These “knowns” are points of information that can make a tremendous difference when it comes to facing and conquering our fears. They are simple truths about ourselves that, once acknowledged, offer us a way of creating a plan, keeping us unstuck, on track, and moving in our chosen directions. These simple truths help us to see the Bully as separate from ourselves and tell us that it is our decision to face him. They tell us to expect resistance and then encourage us to do whatever it takes to overcome our fears. These simple truths are what I have come to think of as “offensively simple,” ideas we tend not to question much, ones we are likely to pass over as “obvious.” All too often we fail to give them the attention they deserve. It seems inherent in our human condition that we overlook the simple in the search for something more complex. I think that this is a version of the “medicine has to taste bad to be good” mentality. It is the Serenity Prayer applied backward again: our efforts going to things we can’t change, ignoring the simple things we can. Well, medicine does not have to taste bad, and most of the time simple is more powerful than complex.


If we force ourselves to have only one feeling about something, we experience mental anguish, stress, and discomfort. Once an emotion is created, it stays with us in the present moment until it is allowed to be expressed. We waste lots of energy and time trying to change feelings that exist within us. In addition to turmoil within an individual, the myth of singularity puts an unnecessary strain between people. When each person in a relationship is convinced that there is only one way to look at something, conflicts become very difficult to resolve. The myth of singularity leads to distance, separation, and even divorce. From a broader perspective, throughout history countless wars have been fought over the myth of singularity, each side of the battlefield convinced that its way is the right way. For the most personal and the most global reasons, this must be changed.


We remain in charge of our lives even when we are not in control. To be in charge simply means that we accept that we alone are responsible for making the decisions about what to do or not do with the circumstances (the cards) dealt us. I may say that I have no choice but to pay my bills every month, but of course that is not so. Although I do not control the mortgage company, the electric company, the water department, and so on, it is up to me how I will respond to the bills they send.


I was fortunate early in my career to hear the psychologist and author Richard Bandler say, “There is no such thing as resistant clients; there are only inflexible therapists.”


In other words, be the Decision Maker, and expect—even embrace—your own resistance. Another Nutshell posted in my office reads: “I reserve the right to disagree with myself.” I exercise that right frequently, and I encourage you to do the same.

As you change your relationship with fear and as you meet your committee, expect to hear the voice of resistance. It will tell you that the NO FEAR motto is stupid, climbing down the ladder is ridiculous, and our acronym map will never work. Acknowledge the voice of resistance and realize that it is just one committee member’s point of view.


Each of us must choose for ourselves not only what we are willing to do, but also when we are willing to do it. Lori will choose when to take necessary steps toward her wall. And so will you.



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September 3, 2009

Quotes and Sayings About Life and Reality

Here's a really good life quote, or more appropriately a "reality quote." It's easy to get sucked into living in delusion. It's one of the major problems that Jim Rohn talks about. One of Jim Rohn's inspirational quotes says, "Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion." This quote from Jim Rohn echoes the idea that in today's society we want to wish our way to success, but when push comes to shove we really don't want to work very hard for it most of the  time.

But that's where life change starts - with action. Get an idea of where you want to go and then take action. Once you get an idea of where you want to go, however, you need to find out where you are! I wouldn't suggest you write the great American novel this year if you barely know how to write a letter to your parents. Sometimes quotes and sayings about life can help put things into perspective. So look over these quotes on reality and face reality.

Quotes on reality

"Nobody cares as much about you as you. What life do you want?"

"Reality is your best friend..."


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August 31, 2009

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Random Quote

To attack effects rather than causes, and as long as the attack is on effects only, then no change is possible.




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August 27, 2009

Random Quote from Beverly Sills on Shortcuts

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”

Beverly Sills 

Are you looking for shortcuts or paying the full price of success?


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August 26, 2009

Earl Nightingale The Strangest Secret Video

Earl Nightingale's The Strangest Secret 1950's Recording

This informational and inspirational video is from one of the "founding fathers" to the entire modern day personal development industry. If you have not heard of Earl Nightingale you probably just haven't been into personal development for very long yet. And if you haven't seen this short video clip, watch it now!


Even though the idea and catchphrase "secret" is so heavily bastardized, eventually I think most successful people come to realize the keys to success (success in both your business and your life) are secrets in some respect. 


I say that only because people insist on looking for secrets so they inevitably overlook the basics. And it doesn't matter what you do in life - without a mastery of the fundamentals - the basics - you simply can't be world class in anything.






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August 25, 2009

Tony Robbins Interview with Frank Kern and John Reese Video

I just saw this video from Tony Robbins interviewing two people, Frank Kern and John Reese, about what makes some people successful and puts them past that "sticking point." For example, they talk about some people who take a step towards a better life and then BAM! it's like they hit a brick wall. This happens to so many people!

What Tony says contributes to this is a persons belief in their potential and the certainty they feel about their actions. Definitely watch this video if you're interested or you feel like maybe you have been caught in a sticking point.

http://tonyrobbinstraining.com/320/interview-with-frank-kern-and-john-reese/


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August 24, 2009

Anthony Robbins Should and Shoulds All Over Ourselves!

I was recently listening to the esteemed and incredibly energetic Anthony (Tony) Robbins, and he said something both amusing, funny, and insightful. It's rare that you get all 3 at once from my experience. With that in mind, it's probably a strong reason as to why I remembered, and you will too, so well.

What he said was that people don't get their "shoulds". A lot (or all) of us say we "should do this" or we "should do that" but the truth of the matter is that we don't usually, if ever, achieve our shoulds. In his words, "we should all over ourselves!" Hah!

But as humorous as it is, how true is that for you? Take some time to think about it. Personally, I can't think of any should's I have completed. Rather, we get our needs, our must haves, or must do's. I can easily recall some of those that are done.


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August 21, 2009

Focus on the day - A Motivational Quote on Time Management

If you don't focus on a day then you're going to waste a day of your life.


I don't remember where I heard this from, but I found a note of it just now. Perhaps you know?


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August 12, 2009

Excerpts from Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton

I started reading the book Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton just a day or two ago. I feel compelled to share a couple excerpts from the book that struck me as profound and truthful:

"A few of us occasionally escape the bullshit jail of the mind. Most of us die in jail. All of us have the magnificent possibility of getting beyond the jail of our own minds, over and over again. The first step to this process is to doubt our minds. The truth turns to bullshit in the human mind just like food turns to excrement in the human body."
Here is another good thought:

To be whole, we must recontact the being we are and were and evermore shall be until the end of each of our times. That being is the creator being—the background hum that keeps us cooking, the basic circuit board, the baseline buzz. The cognitive faculties of the mind are a secondary development for steering, not the primary driving force of life. Minds are developed and lead us away from the experi-ence of being, and religious practices were developed to get us back to it. All religions were developed to help us get back home to the hum we started with.

Meditation, sitting quietly until the mind settles down, brings a sense of wholeness. I believe the primary value of meditation is that, while meditating, we reunify the memory of our first sense of being with our current breathing, heart-beating, sensate, present-tense experience of being. Being a living being, "knowing" in our bones that we have been being for some time, is the heart of who each of us is. We are beings alive behind the mask of personality.





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July 28, 2009

3000 Years from now we will be dead. What on Earth is holding us back?

So I just heard something on the t.v. related to the amount of methane reserves in the ocean available for some type of fuel. While that is almost completely irrelevant to this post, it pointed out the fact that those reserves were estimated to last around 3,000 years. Three thousand years. It's almost unfathomable to wrap our minds around what that even entails.

But one thing is for certain. We are guaranteed nothing in this life. At best we can expect to live 100-110 years, and on average we'll have around 75 years. And amid all these numbers on our expected lifespan is the notion of just how brief our time is on this Earth. It makes me think - why in the world, with such a little amount of time we have, would we hold back from something?

To take a step back and really try to think about it, it's nearly disturbing to think about the petty stuff that holds us back, prevents us from going for our dreams, or keeps us bound to some idea of living in security. The reality is is that whatever we have is a gift and it's not a gift that lasts forever. We owe it to ourselves to take advantage of our opportunities, and forge the life we truly want.

One day everyone reading this very brief writing will be dead. I can't think of many things that I could reasonably justify depriving myself of in living a fulfilling, happy life. But how many of us live with that as part of our philosophy? To live our lives knowing we won't be around forever, and to go for what we really want.

In my opinion, it's a very powerful idea.


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July 23, 2009

Russell M Nelson Quote on Education - Inspirational Quote

"I believe that in the pursuit of education, individual desire is more influential than institution, and personal faith more forceful than faculty."
-Russell M Nelson

I've thought this for at least a few years now, but only just came across this profound quote.

Want to know more about Russell M Nelson?





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July 22, 2009

Wake Up Next to Jim Rohn

Lately, I've been going to bed and having Jim Rohn wake me up! Hah! Well, it's not as homoerotic as it sounds, but I downloaded a free program that is an alarm clock that plays whatever mp3's you have on your computer. I think I found it on hotfiles.com as a free download but I'm sure you can pick any one from Google.

Over the last week I have set the alarm to play Jim Rohn, and it is so refreshingly invigorating that you must try it! You may be suprised to find how much you can listen to in a morning where typically we think there's barely enough time to even get ready to leave.


One little gem of a Jim Rohn quote to go out on today:

"Rarely does a good idea interrupt you."




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July 11, 2009

Mark Twain said... Great Advice for Everyday

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

Mark Twain


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July 10, 2009

The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall - Timeless Lessons for Life Change

If you don't know who Jim Stovall is, look him up if you want to be inspired. I would bet he has videos on youtube since he is a prolific speaker.

If you do or do not know who he is, you'll still have something to gain from his book The Ultimate Gift. I found out about this book from someone who doesn't study success at all ironically. They simply found from word of mouth that it was a good read.

The book is written as a story about a young man who goes through a journey according to his billionaire great-uncle's will. Some of the lessons are truly awesome. Some of the stories are very moving and emotional. Overall, the story quality is decent to good, but the moral lessons are timeless and life changing if you give them thought and then apply them.

You could probably read the entire book in 3 days even if you read quite casually, and that time will be very well invested. I'm sure they packaged it to be given as a gift, but what's in the pages really is a gift to the reader.

Click here to give The Ultimate Gift!


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July 9, 2009

Started listening to Ready for Anything by David Allen + Quotes!

A personal friend of mine really liked David Allen's other audiobook called Getting Things Done so I figure this audiobook (Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life) will have some sound (no pun intended) advice and quick-and-easy tips as well.

Just around 30 minutes into it already and I've already taken quite a few notes. It's definitely a practical book, and sometimes I find that exceedingly refreshing when undertaking the study of personal improvement. I'm sure you can relate if you have been a student of this field for even a few months.

Here is a nice quote I heard that was new to me: "What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do." That is an Aristotle quote, but it certainly sounds like Jim Rohn!

I will be posting more on this audiobook in the days to come. I don't think it will take but 2-3 days to listen to it in it's entirety.



Additional random quote gems:

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Thomas A. Edison

"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon." Susan Ertz


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July 8, 2009

Famous Inspirational Quotes

I found these particularly profound and wrought with truth:

"No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men." Thomas Carlyle

"Do not confuse notoriety and fame with greatness... For you see, greatness is a measure of one's spirit, not a result of one's rank in human affairs." Sherman Finesilver

"No great man ever complains of want of opportunity." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Great men are like eagles, and build their nest on some lofty solitude." Arthur Schopenhauer

"Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things and I'll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things." Lawrence D. Bell

"The price of greatness is responsibility." Winston Churchill

"The ultimate is not to win, but to reach within the depths of your capabilities and to compete against yourself." Billy Mills

"True greatness is the most ready to recognize and most willing to obey those simple outward laws which have been sanctioned by the experience of mankind." Froude

"The man who is anybody and who does anything is surely going to be criticized, vilified, and misunderstood. This is a part of the penalty for greatness, and every great man understands it; and understands, too, that it is no proof of greatness. The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure contumely without resentment." Elbert Green Hubbard

"Every great man is always being helped by everybody, for his gift is to get good out of all things and all persons." John Ruskin

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people." Hyman Rickover

"Well, I wouldn't say that I was in the great class, but I had a great time while I was trying to be great." Harry S. Truman

"Some things have not changed since the dawn of history, and bid fair to last out time itself. One of these things is the capacity for greatness in man—his capacity for being often the master of the event —and sometimes even more—the changer of the course of history itself. This capacity for greatness is a very precious gift, and we are under a danger in our day of stifling it." Dr. William Clyde de Vane

"A desire for bigness has hurt many folks. Putting oneself in the limelight at the expense of others is a wrong idea of greatness. The secret of greatness rather than bigness is to acclimate oneself to one's place of service and be true to one's own convictions. A life of this kind of service will forever remain the measure of one's true greatness." Richard W. Shelly, Jr.

"Excellence is not a destination; it is a continuous journey that never ends." Brian Tracy


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July 6, 2009

What to Say When You Talk To Your Self - My Introduction

"What to Say When You Talk To Your Self" by Shad Helmstetter is my most recent endeavor, as you may have noticed from the top right of the web site. I've added that small progress meter moreso than anything just because I like it.

Regardless, so far up to page 115 the book is good. It has been addressing a lot of valid reasons why self-help generally fails. I, being a neophyte to the study of self help (perhaps just about at 1 year now), could not help but have formed this idea already - that self help generally leaves people where they started. It is unfortunate to be certain. I do believe, nonetheless, that most, if not all, people can improve.

Back to the book -- Shad Helmstetter has many good points and his key reason why self help generally fails is that it is often external motivation and does not address the core of changing and improving your self. The short chapter on actually talking to yourself took the appearance of personal affirmations, and I must say I considered myself a skeptic of the idea. I can't lie to myself. Rather, it is more likely I think I do not want to lie to myself. But still, he does sell the idea in a rather good, new light (at least to me).

All in all, I am anticipating the rest of this book and I just get this feeling that I will be coming back to it again and again for the great truths I've already encountered.


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June 29, 2009

Is Willpower Limited?

Are we dealing with finite quantities of willpower? The idea is rather disconcerting at first. But nonetheless, if it turns out to be true it will only help us be more aware of it and work with it.

Check out this audio bit from National Public Radio to get introduced to the topic and hear some chatter about it. I found it quite interesting. And who doesn't deal with procrastination sometimes?

Is willpower limited? Willpower and procrastination


And, if you prefer to read as an article, here is the transcript:


Willpower Is Limited, But Can Grow with Practice


Do our brains contain a limited amount of willpower? If you're on a diet, is it harder to keep your emotions in check? If you're studying for an exam, will you backslide on the diet?

In an op-ed that appeared in the New York Times, Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang argued that willpower is a limited resource best applied to one behavior at a time. So, has your willpower been tested lately? Did you have to prioritize one area and abandon another? Call us with your story: 800-989-8255. You can also e-mail us: talk@npr.org. You can also join the conversation on our blog at npr.org/blogofthenation.

And Sam Wang joins us now. He's an associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton University, and co-author of the New York Times op-ed: "Tighten Your Belt, Strengthen Your Mind," with us today from the studios at Princeton.

Nice to have you on the program.

Dr. SAM WANG (Associate Professor, Molecular Biology and Neuroscience, Princeton University; Co-Author, Tightens Your Belt, Strengthen Your Mind): Nice to be here. Thanks very much.

CONAN: And willpower, is this an element of character or is this something that we store up on our brains?

Dr. WANG: Well, willpower is this thing that we talk about in everyday life as being a thing that we exercise when we refuse a candy or when we control ourselves in an awkward situation. But what's interesting is that psychologists have recently found in the last few years increasing evidence that willpower is a thing that you can measure and it's a thing that can run out. And it's something that's generated by the brain like all our mental processes.

CONAN: So there's a finite supply of willpower?

Dr. WANG: There is a finite supply of willpower. Psychologists like to call it self-regulation, and when you run out, they like to call it by the phrase ego depletion.

CONAN: Ego depletion.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. WANG: That's the phrase.

CONAN: There's been a few times in my life where — ego depletion. I'll bear that in mind.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: So, what the effect of this, you argue, is that, in fact, if you're - I don't know — trying to convince yourself to go out and run five miles every day that it might not be the greatest idea to start studying for a big exam at the same time.

Dr. WANG: Well, studies have shown that very different kinds of tasks draw on this one reserve, and it could be going out on the run. It could be trying to impress someone in a job interview. It could be refusing that extra helping. And all those appear to occlude one another. So, if you do one then you have a little bit less oomph to do the other.

CONAN: But this flies in the face of all of those people who said, wait a minute, if you can learn a little discipline, a little - enforce a little willpower, well, it spreads from one thing to another and you can benefit your entire life.

Dr. WANG: No, I think it's - I don't think it's different from that at all because experiences can change the brain, and that's a general area called neuroplasticity. And I think — and something that's been observed is that this reserve of willpower — let's just call it willpower — can be exercised. And so, you can exercise it like a muscle. And so, for instance, people who undertaken exercise program for several weeks get better at staying on a diet. And so, you can exercise it.

CONAN: And is there any way that we could measure our willpower tank and see how we're doing?

Dr. WANG: Measure your willpower tank. Well, people had done this in the laboratory and you'd have to - so one kind of study that people have done, say, some college students who are always up for this kind of thing were given a puzzle to solve and they weren't told that the puzzle was impossible. And what psychologists measured was how long they spent working on this puzzle. Now, on average, they spent 20 hours - 20 minutes working on it. And so, I guess you could do something like that.

CONAN: Hmm. And build up your - that muscle, if you will.

Dr. WANG: Yeah. Maybe the amount of time that was spent working on a hard puzzle before you give up.

CONAN: Our guest is Sam Wang, an associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton. If you'd like to join us: 800-989-8255. E-mail: talk@npr.org.

Have you exercised your willpower muscle of late? How have you prioritized the uses of that finite supply of willpower? 800-989-8255. E-mail: talk@npr.org.

Farah(ph) joins us. Farah, calling from Phoenix, Arizona.

FARAH (Caller): Hi.

CONAN: Hi, Farah.

Dr. WANG: Hi, Farah.

FARAH: Hi. I'm a kind of embarrassed actually to tell you this, but I - for once, I gave up sweet, which I thought is so embarrassing — but I also tried to give up gossip blogs. And…

Dr. WANG: Gossip blogs?

FARAH: Yeah. Gossip blogs. They (unintelligible) health and things like that. And I could…

(Soundbite of laughter)

FARAH: I quit the sweets, but as soon as I tried to do the gossip blogs, I just could not. I couldn't it. And so, I rewarded myself for not eating sweets by reading the gossips blogs.

CONAN: So, you could pass on the rocky road but TMZ, you were there.

(Soundbite of laughter)

FARAH: I'm there. I couldn't help it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: And so, is this a classic example, do you think, Sam?

Dr. WANG: I think it's - I think that's a good example. The thing is different activities reward us to different extents. And the brain has different reward mechanisms. And so, we wrote in our book "Welcome To Your Brain" that the brain has systems for rewarding you. In your case, Farah, maybe the thing that really rewards you is social information like what's happening with, I don't know, what ever your favorite gossip story is.

(Soundbite of laughter)

FARAH: Yeah. Angelina Jolie.

CONAN: Are they married? Is she - anyway.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: Farah, thanks very much for the call and you're going to run up - write up and buy a big dish of ice cream and a copy of Us magazine.

FARAH: Exactly, Us Weekly (unintelligible).

Dr. WANG: Just do one or the other, try it out.

CONAN: One or the other. Thanks very much and good luck, Farah. Bye-bye.

Let's see if we could go to - this is - excuse me, five - Ciara(ph). Ciara, with us in Sacramento.

CIARA (Caller): Yes. I have - I'm obsessive-compulsive, and I wonder if we either have a different mechanism or a different capacity. Because I went on a medical fast a number of years ago, 300 calories a day plus…

Dr. WANG: Three hundred calories a day?

CIARA: Yes, they don't do that anymore.

CONAN: Ah, good.

CIARA: Yeah, really.

Dr. WANG: Wow.

CIARA: It was, well and…

CONAN: Well, you could pick up 300 calories walking pass a bakery.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CIARA: Oh, no. But I finished my master's degree at the same time. In fact, the day that I defended my thesis was the first day that I hadn't lost any weight, and I was more upset about that than I was proud about having the thesis accepted.

CONAN: So, Sam Wang, she's talking about OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Might this change the equation somewhat?

Dr. WANG: I think it does, because obsessive-compulsive disorder is not all that terribly well understood, but it, you know, as Ciara knows, it's the perseveration of an activity over and over again. And that would be something, which the act of willpower then would be to decide not to do something.

And so, that's an unusual situation. Did you use your OCD to write your thesis, Ciara?

CIARA: Well, it got it the - I didn't, you know, I'm usually not aware of it unless I get ridiculous about repeating things and it get to my way. But it was just - it had to be done and so, I just ground my teeth and did it.

Mr. WANG: Well…

CIARA: But it had never occurred to me before. I've never purged this theory that you can only, you know, dream I got so much drive…

CONAN: Willpower.

CIARA: Willpower.

Dr. WANG: Yeah. Well, these appear to the best of anyone's knowledge. These appear to draw on different mental resources. And so, when people talk about ego depletion or self-regulation, those are probably mechanisms that are in the front of the brain in the prefrontal cortex and in another part of the brain called the anterior cinguli. And obsessive-compulsive disorder is - as I said, it's not really well understood, but it appears to draw on other brain regions. And the treatments, to my knowledge, that people give for OCD are not the kinds of things that are known to affect willpower. So, that's something different. That's probably your brain's reward system.

CONAN: Ciara, thanks very much for the call and congratulations on the master's degree.

Dr. WANG: Yes, congratulations.

CIARA: Thanks.

CONAN: Let's see if we can go now to Alex(ph). Alex, calling us from Charlotte, North Carolina.

ALEX (Caller): Hi, Neal, how was your day?

CONAN: Well, I'm doing very well. Thank you.

ALEX: I'm not so sure I completely agree that the will is a finite resource. I feel that every individual choice and decision we make is made in that moment. And I think that one of the reasons that I see some people who decide to either to do something or not to do something, the caving in to the desire, it usually have something to do with the pain that's involve with either choosing not to do something or choosing to do something.

And I think that maybe we live in a time where we just really can't deal with any discomfort at all. And that's what, you know, that's what we say, well, my willpower caved in, so I went and grabbed a cigarette or I went and had a doughnut. No, not really. It's just the pain of not having that or the pain of desiring something caused us to cave in, because we're really pleasure seeking entities.

Dr. WANG: That's an interesting point that Alex has made. In modern times, you can of course have whatever you want, in many case, is on demand, and that changes the formula about what constitutes willpower. So we were talking about a very specific controlled situation of being faced with as situation where you have to control yourself.

And now, moral decision making, emotional decision making - these are things that call on all your brain's resources. And there's much more to making decisions than just this one thing that's been studied in the lab in isolation.

PATRICK: Mm-hmm. I see. Well, I'd like - well, a great show, and let's all have more willpower.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: To exercise that most (unintelligible).

PATRICK: That's right.

CONAN: Thanks very much. Let's go now to Tony(ph). Tony's on the line in San Francisco.

TONY (Caller): Hi, there. I was wondering if your study had any implications on the treatment of addiction.

Dr. WANG: On the treatment of addiction - oh, that's interesting. Well, Tony let's see. So, first, it was a - these are studies done by psychologist Roy Baumeister. And we - what we did is we just synthesized all of their work and we put it together into something that would be helpful for people's everyday lives.

CONAN: And in English.

Dr. WANG: In English, yeah, that's right. It turn outs - actually it's a bit of work going through these technical articles and making sense out of them.

TONY: But perhaps (unintelligible) in work with it later.

Dr. WANG: So, for addiction, that's an interesting question. Addiction is - you mean, for instance, to something, like, say, cocaine or alcohol that kind of addiction?

TONY: Right.

Dr. WANG: Yeah. Those kinds of addiction induce chemical changes in the brain, and that's a thing that's not all that well understood. But those, again, act on these mechanisms in the brain for reward. And there - it's sort of a different part of the brain than willpower. Now, obviously, you have to exert your willpower in order to say no to whatever it is that's being offered to, whether it is a gossip blog or, you know, an illicit drug.

And so, certainly willpower training can help you in this regard. But there are other things that are in chemical in nature that are out of reach with this kind of training.

TONY: Okay, thanks a lot.

CONAN: Thanks for the call.

Dr. WANG: Thanks, Tony.

CONAN: Sam Wang is co-author - along with Sandra Aamodt, the editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience - of the book "Welcome To Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys, But Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life." We're talking to them about an op-ed that appeared in the New York Times, called "Tighten Your Belt, Strengthen Your Mind."

Again, if you'd like to joins us: 800-989-8255. E-mail: talk@npr.org.

This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

CONAN: Trisha's(ph) on the line. Trisha's calling us from Charlottesville in Virginia.

TRISHA (Caller): Hi, there. I guess, you know, the question I have has to do with, you know, just what you've said there, tighten your belt. It's more of a comment. I'm from a family that has never had a problem expressing willpower. You know, we look around to people and just wonder what's the issue. You know, if you don't want to eat something, just don't eat it.

You know, and I just have always wondered why it is with people, and I'm just very curious in your research, if you have comments on that.

Dr. WANG: Do you and your family members find that you're good at not only refusing food, but other situations like social situations or…

TRISHA: Yeah, I mean, we just knuckle down and do it. If there's work to be done, we just do it, you know?

Mr. WANG: Well, that's…

TRISHA: And we don't find that this is really onerous. I'm just curious about that because in our whole family, this has been the situation.

Mr. WANG: That's interesting. There are elements of personality that heritable, and to my knowledge, people have not studied whether will power is an inherited quality, but your family might suggest that that's the case.

TRISHA: Yeah, it's absolutely expected. And we don't, you know, we're not awful people, we're not boring, we're fun. It's just what we do.

CONAN: Do you find that because you grew up in that context, where that sort of willpower was commonplace, that you have difficulty understanding why other people don't have it?

TRISHA: Yeah. And we - you know, we certainly aren't judgmental about it. I'm just - I've often been curious.

CONAN: Hmm. Well, maybe some ancestor really, really pumped up that willpower muscle.

TRISHA: Oh, yes. It's just the whole Irish thing, you know, you had to get through the salmon and everything and, you know, have fun later in the pub, right?

CONAN: That's, I guess, the idea. Trisha, thanks very much for the call.

TRISHA: Thank you. Bye.

CONAN: Bye-bye.

And let's try now, Mary(ph). And Mary is with us from Denver, Colorado.

MARY (Caller): Hi.

CONAN: Hi, Mary.

Mr. WANG: Hi, Mary.

MARY: I am on a very strict diet, having to do with allergies that I may have developed. And I've noticed - I'm a psychotherapist - and I've noticed that I am a little crankier, less patient with not only my family and friends, but also my clients. And I'd attributed it to not having any of the kinds of foods I'm used to eating. But it is now occurring to me that it may have something to do with this research that you've done, that I'm putting all of my energy into this diet, and I don't have a lot of reserves to exercise patience when I usually have been able to do that.

Mr. WANG: That's interesting. So, the studies from the Baumeister people and the studies that we describe in "Welcome To Your Brain" go into the idea that blood sugar may be a limiting resource. And one possibility, if you're on a strict diet, as you could consider things that are within your diet that allow you to keep and even keel on your blood sugar like complex carbohydrates or proteins, things that will keep you from fluctuating too much during the day. Have you thought about that?

MARY: I'm definitely doing that. I'm - doing this with an (unintelligible), and definitely focusing on all the complex carbohydrates and certain amounts of protein. I'm not doing any red meat, but certainly fish and chicken…

CONAN: Hmm.

MARY: But I've cut back on all the caffeine, sugar, dairy, wheat, gluten - all of that is gone…

Mr. WANG: I'm feeling a little cranky just listening to this.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: I was also going to even suggest, Mary, have you considered the idea that maybe your family and your clients are all idiots, and that was just - you're just blind to it when you are eating?

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARY: I love that. Well, no, I'd rather not think that. But I definitely have noticed a shift, and more so with family and friends. But it's definitely making its way in to the client territory. But I was fascinated by your comments and your research today. It made think about it in a different way.

Mr. WANG: Given to other small impulses that are harmless, try that out and see if it helps.

MARY: Okay. I will do that.

CONAN: Okay, good luck, Mary. Thanks.

Mr. WANG: Bye, Mary.

CONAN: Here's an e-mail from Adam(ph): I'm a medical student. I just finished taking my first of a series of licensing exams. The one thing I told myself I would not do during a months I spent studying for the standardized test was to stop exercising, stop eating healthily, and start pounding the junk food.

I tried very hard, and studying always seemed to edge everything else out in my mind. I did amazingly on the exam, but I gained 12 pounds and that being and very out of shape.

Mr. WANG: Common, common experience. Everything goes, the diet goes, laundry goes - I know where Adam's been.

CONAN: Or in fact, you've probably been there.

Mr. WANG: Yes I have. In my line of work, there's - there are a lot of deadlines that come up, and we usually do it at the last minute. So I am totally sympathetic to Adam.

CONAN: And I wonder, how do you know when will power has succeeded? Was there, you know, flag to be posted on the top of that mountain of willpower?

Mr. WANG: Well, one thing that you can do is you can undertake a, say, a small task that is difficult but attainable and that it's, in some sense, sort of a will power exercise. And so if you set yourself clear goals and if you - don't set yourself too many goals at once, then that accomplishment you feel will provide reinforcement that makes you more likely to exert willpower again.

CONAN: Sam Wang, thanks very much for your time today. Appreciate it.

Mr. WANG: My pleasure. Thanks a lot.

CONAN: Sam Wang, associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton University, co-author of a New York Times op-ed titled "Tighten Your Belt, Strengthen Your Mind," with us today from the studios at Princeton.

Tomorrow, we'll be broadcasting live from the Newseum, all about confidential sources. Stay with us.

I'm Neal Conan. This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)


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