Saturday, 31 October 2020

A great day is 24 great hours

Over time, you'll be able to achieve bigger and bigger goals and your self-confidence will grow. A side benefit of keeping your promises to yourself is that you will boost your self-esteem and feel better about yourself. Another side benefit is that people around you will see you as trustworthy, and they will be more willing to listen to you and follow in your footsteps. Who would you rather trust? Someone who walks the talk or someone who never does what he or she says? What about you? How often do you break the promises you make to yourself and to others? Exercise: keep your promises As we looked at her relationships, Amanda admitted that many of her friends were really just acquaintances with whom she enjoyed a pleasant if superficial connection. They'd hang out or meet for drinks and their conversations always revolved around gossip or their latest dating escapades. Amanda wanted more. As she became more invested in improving the quality of her life, she longed for deeper connections that went below the superficial level of conversation to something more emotionally and spiritually rewarding. Addressing the delicate issue of her relationships, Amanda carefully assessed the quality of each one. She had to limit her time and energy to those people who shared her desire for a more meaningful connection. This meant letting go of some relationships, investing more intentionally in others, and proactively seeking new friends who shared her interests. You can learn to use your time and energy in a way that honors your gold standards by making wise choices in little ways every day. For example, you might: By practicing this skill in little ways each day you'll find that it has a cumulative effect. Impressions: Schemas About People Schemas that represent knowledge about other people are called impressions.

Your schema of the cyclist Lance Armstrong might include physical characteristics (athletic, good looking), personality traits (charismatic, courageous), and other beliefs about him (philanthropist, cancer survivor, stripped of titles after doping scandal). Similarly, we can also have a schema for a category of people (eg, sports superstars), called a stereotype. You can see that your impression of Armstrong contains many traits (eg, wealthy, athletic, courageous) that are also part of your stereotype for sports superstars. Impressions Schemas people have about other individuals. We also have a schema about ourselves--our self-concept. Self-concept is a topic we'll discuss in more depth in article 5. Schemas Can Change Complete the exercises in the corresponding section of your action guide. Procrastinate smartly Take the path of least resistance Mark Twain once said, Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. The success expert, Brian Tracy, reused this idea in his popular article, Eat That Frog, explaining that you should be working on your most important task(s) first thing in the morning (ie, eat your frog). As you complete these tasks, you will experience a surge of motivation and will be able to build a momentum that carries you through the rest of the day. I agree with this philosophy and recommend you apply it in your own life. However, the truth is that sometimes, we fail to work on our most important tasks. Perhaps, this is because we're feeling a little sad. Or perhaps we're scared and don't have the energy or courage to tackle the task right away. Over time you'll not only realize that even small choices can have a significant impact on the quality of your life, but you'll raise the bar on your expectations and with it the level of your self-worth. Take Action!

Create a Daily Habit of Passing up Good for Great Challenge yourself throughout the day to use your new skill of passing up good for great. You might even use the following question to guide your choices: If this is good, what would be great? Reinforce this new habit by taking a few moments at the end of each day to record your success in your journal. Not only will this strengthen your ability to pass up good for great, it will provide you with the motivation you need to make even better choices continually. As you continue to make wise choices that honor your spiritual standards you'll learn to trust that a power greater than you always has your best interest at heart. Ask your support team or partner to hold you to your spiritual standards. Regardless of the type of schema, the content of our schemas consists of a pattern of learned associations. These patterns of associations can change and expand over time. You first might have learned about Lance Armstrong as an incredible athlete and cancer survivor and only later had to update this positive view of him after repeatedly encountering media reports about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, which eventually led to his being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. Some of our associations with Armstrong might be stronger than others because we more frequently think about or hear about Armstrong in terms of those aspects. Your schema of Lance Armstrong might include aspects of his physical characteristics (athletic), personality traits (courageous), and beliefs about his life experiences (cancer survivor, stripped of Tour de France titles after doping scandal). But it's also important to realize that schemas are not passively filled up with information from the outside. Because of our need to validate and maintain particular beliefs and attitudes, we often tailor our schemas to highlight certain bits of knowledge while pushing others to the edges of the brain. Think about it this way: On your computer you probably have file folders that contain documents, pictures, and sound files that are related in some way, and you label those file folders accordingly, such as Social Psychology Class and Summer Vacation. The schemas stored in your long-term memory are like those file folders in the sense that they contain all the bits of knowledge you have about a given category, from Nazis and pedophiles to doorknobs and stickers. But the similarities end there. As a result, we put it off. And the more we put it off, the more difficult it becomes to return to it.

If you add negative self-talk to the situation, you may end up feeling guilty, angry at yourself or even depressed. To avoid this trap, I recommend you procrastinate smartly. What I mean by this is, when you're in a negative emotional state, you should work on any task that helps you make progress, rather than trying to tackle your most daunting obstacle. The idea is to use the power of completion by finishing small tasks to help you build momentum. You want these momentum-building tasks to be: Manageable: Tasks you can complete with your current level of motivation. The less motivated you feel, the smaller and easier the tasks need to be. Momentum-building: Tasks you believe will help you enter the zone and prepare you for bigger challenges. At those moments when you are most tempted to settle for less, take a deep breath and wait. In your waiting you will find the inner strength and maturity to accept what you truly deserve--nothing less than great. A Year to Live by Stephen Levine (Bell Tower, 1997) A beautiful guide to making choices that really matter by living this year as if it were your last. Dancing at the Edge of Life by Gale Warner (Hyperion, 1998) This is a deeply moving account of a young woman's last thirteen months of her life. An award-winning poet and journalist, Gale captured her extraordinary journey of coming face-to-face with death and life, in these powerful and poignant journal entries. While this article may be hard to find, it's worth the search. Living a Life That Matters by Harold S. Kushner (Knopf, 2001) Computer file folders usually don't magically acquire or lose documents, and they never insist that you open this picture and get nervous if you open up that picture. But that is exactly what schemas do, even without our conscious awareness.

For example, if you are the faithful president of the Lance Armstrong fan club, your schema for Lance likely will emphasize the bits of knowledge that flatter the athlete (great cyclist, charity sponsor) and will downplay anything that casts him in a negative light. Where Do Schemas Come From? Cultural Sources of Knowledge Let's take a closer look at where we acquire the knowledge that makes up our schemas. The example of Lance Armstrong pointed to various sources of knowledge. In some cases, we come into direct contact with people, events, and ideas and form concepts on the basis of that personal experience. But looking at this from the cultural perspective, we also learn a great deal about our social world indirectly, from parents, teachers, peers, articles, newspapers, magazines, television, movies, and the Internet. A lot of our general knowledge comes during childhood from the culture in which we are raised. Enjoyable: Tasks that are enjoyable in themselves or that motivate you because they move you toward an exciting vision. The most important thing is that you take action. Action creates momentum and, as you start moving, it easier to stay in motion. For instance, I could stare at my computer screen unable to write anything, or I could do something that contributes to my goal of being a successful writer. For example, I could read a article on a similar topic, edit the parts of the manuscript I've already written, et cetera. Needless to say, the latter option is more likely to help boost my motivation than the former. Similarly, when you are struggling to work on your most important task, I encourage you to seek the path of least resistance. Personally, I always strive to move forward in some way or another. I call this process procrastinating forward. In fact, it's better to do something that moves you toward your goals than to do nothing at all. One of my favorite authors, Kushner writes about the importance of making a difference in the world by affecting the life of even one person in a positive way. In doing so, we prove that we do in fact matter.

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