Feeling Great by David D. Burns.

5 important points –

1-Your negative emotions result from your thoughts and not from the circumstances of your life.

2-The negative thoughts that upset you are nearly always distorted and twisted.

3-When you can change the way you think, you can change the way you feel.

4-Negative feelings always say something good about you.

5-People may resist treatment because they have mixed or even negative feelings about recovery or will have to do something they don’t want to do

Summary-


You feel the way you think. In other words, your negative emotions, like depression and anxiety, come from your thoughts and not from the circumstances of your life.

The negative thoughts that upset you are nearly always distorted and twisted. They’re just not true. Depression and anxiety are the world’s oldest cons.

When you can change the way you think, you can change the way you feel. Best of all, that change can happen rapidly, even if the feelings of depression and anxiety are severe.

While Feeling Good is about the cognitive revolution, Feeling Great is about the motivation revolution. “[Feeling Great] is based on the idea that we sometimes get “stuck” in depression and anxiety because we have mixed feelings about recovery,” writes Dr. Burns. “Although we may be suffering and desperately want to change, there may be powerful conflicting forces that keep us stuck. As strange as this might sound, part of you may fight against—or resist—the very change you’re yearning for.”

Cognitive distortions, which Dr. Burns introduced in Feeling Good, are highly misleading ways of thinking about yourself and the world. The following are ten of the most common cognitive distortions.

10 Cognitive Distortions
1. All-or-Nothing Thinking. You think about yourself or the world in black-or-white, all-or-nothing categories. Shades of gray do not exist. This is also known as “dichotomous” thinking. For example, you tell yourself, “I’m a total failure” after flunking an exam.

2. Overgeneralization. You think about a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat or a positive event as a never-ending pattern of success. For example, you label yourself “unlovable” after a breakup.

3. Mental Filtering. You focus on something bad and filter out all the positives—or you focus on something positive and ignore all the negatives. For example, you get one low rating in a job evaluation and conclude you’re doing a lousy job.

4. Discounting the Positive/Negative. You tell yourself that certain negative or positive facts don’t count to maintain a negative or positive image of yourself or the situation. For example, someone compliments you, and you tell yourself, “They’re just saying that to be nice.” Feelings of inferiority nearly always result from mental filtering and discounting the positive.

5. Jumping to Conclusions. You jump to conclusions that aren’t warranted by the facts. There are two common versions of this distortion.

5.1. Mind Reading. You assume you know what other people are thinking and feeling. If you’re at a party, for example, and feeling nervous, you might assume people are judging you.

5.2. Fortune Telling. You make negative or positive predictions about the future. If you’re depressed, for example, you might tell yourself things will never get better.

6. Magnification and Minimization. You blow things out of proportion or shrink their importance inappropriately. This is also called the “binocular trick” because things look much bigger or much smaller depending on what end of the binoculars you look through.

7. Emotional Reasoning. You reason from how you feel. This can be very misleading because your feelings result entirely from your thoughts and not from external reality. For example, because you feel like an idiot, you reason you must be one.

8. Should Statements. You make yourself miserable with shoulds, musts, or ought tos. Self-directed shoulds cause feelings of guilt, shame, depression, and worthlessness. Other-directed shoulds trigger feelings of anger and frustration toward others. World-directed shoulds cause feelings of anger and frustration toward the world.

9. Labeling. You label yourself or others so you see your entire self (or someone else) as totally defective or superior. For example, when you make a mistake, you call yourself a “loser” instead of saying, “I made a mistake.”

10. Blame. You find fault in others or yourself instead of solving the problem or identifying the true causes of the problem. There are two common versions of this distortion.

10.1. Self-Blame. You blame yourself for something you weren’t entirely responsible for, or you beat up on yourself because of some mistake you made. A lawyer, for instance, might blame himself for losing a case when the evidence against the man he was trying to defend was overwhelming.

10.2. Other-blame. You blame others and overlook ways you might have contributed to the conflict. Other-blame nearly always goes hand in hand with should statements directed against other people or the world.

When you record your negative thoughts on paper, it makes it much easier to see what you’re telling yourself. In addition, it becomes vastly easier to identify the distortions in each negative thought.

Thank you ☺️

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Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

The Book In Three Sentences

  1. “Wives are made to love, want to love, and expect love. Husbands are made to be respected, want respect, and expect respect”.
  2. “When a husband feels disrespected, it is especially hard to love his wife. When a wife feels unloved, it is especially hard to respect her husband”.
  3. “Often, we focus on our own needs and simply overlook the needs of the other person”.

The Five Big Ideas

  1. “No husband feels affection toward a wife who appears to have contempt for who he is as a human being. The key to creating fond feelings of love in a husband toward his wife is through showing him unconditional respect”.
  2. “Craziness happens when we keep doing the same things over and over with the same ill effect”.
  3. “The way to fully love a husband is to respect him in ways that are meaningful to him”.
  4. “We easily see what is done to us before we see what we are doing to our mate”.
  5. “Love your wife. Always try to see what is in her deepest heart”.

Love and Respect Summary

  • “Yes, love is vital, especially for the wife, but what we have missed is the husband’s need for respect”.
  • “No husband feels fond feelings of affection and love in his heart when he believes his wife has contempt for who he is as a human being”.
  • “Wives are made to love, want to love, and expect love”.
  • “Husbands are made to be respected, want respect, and expect respect”.
  • “As I wrestled with the problem, I finally saw a connection: without love from him, she reacts without respect; without respect from her, he reacts without love”.
  • “When a husband feels disrespected, it is especially hard to love his wife. When a wife feels unloved, it is especially hard to respect her husband”.
  • “When a husband feels disrespected, he has a natural tendency to react in ways that feel unloving to his wife. (Perhaps the command to love was given to him precisely for this reason!) When a wife feels unloved, she has a natural tendency to react in ways that feel disrespectful to her husband. (Perhaps the command to respect was given to her precisely for this reason!)”
  • “No husband feels affection toward a wife who appears to have contempt for who he is as a human being. The key to creating fond feelings of love in a husband toward his wife is through showing him unconditional respect”.
  • “Craziness happens when we keep doing the same things over and over with the same ill effect”.
  • “What I say is not what you hear, and what you think you heard is not what I meant at all.
  • Often, we focus on our own needs and simply overlook the needs of the other person”.
  • “Let me emphasize to wives that when men hear negative criticism, it doesn’t take them long to start interpreting that as contempt for who they are as men”.
  • “The way to fully love a husband is to respect him in ways that are meaningful to him”.
  • “When he honors her as first in importance and she respects him as first among equals, their marriage works”.
  • “The typical wife also fails to realize that her self-image often rests on what she believes her husband thinks of her”.
  • “While many wives do not intend to be disrespectful, they appear that way to their husbands, and their husbands take refuge in stonewalling them”.
  • “Right or wrong, men interpret their world through the respect grid, and a wife’s softened tone and facial expressions can do more for her marriage than she can imagine”.
  • “Whether it’s a husband or a wife who ‘doesn’t get it’, the answer is the same: we often don’t see the obvious”.
  • “We easily see what is done to us before we see what we are doing to our mate”.
  • “Love your wife. Always try to see what is in her deepest heart”.
  • “No matter how desperate or hopeless a marriage may seem, if husband and wife both have basic goodwill in their hearts, they can stop the Crazy Cycle”.
  • “Forgiving is the direct opposite of judging. Nothing is easier than judging, nothing is harder than forgiving, and nothing can reap more blessings”.
  • “Women confront to connect. The typical response from a man, however, is that he thinks his wife is confronting to control”.
  • “The truth is, it is easier for many a man to die for honor than to move toward a contemptuous wife in a loving way, saying, ‘I believe I was wrong. Can we talk about this?’ To turn to your wife in the middle of a conflict and say, ‘I am sorry. Will you forgive me?’ takes guts”.
  • “A great marriage happens when the tension is dealt with creatively—or when tension is avoided completely by doing a few positive, loving things”.
  • “Remember: be affectionate and attentive every day, not just on days you want sex. Affection should be an end, not a means”.
  • “Every husband must make a decision about his wife’s sensitivity and needs. He can close himself off and refuse to be open, or he can move toward her and connect with her at new levels of openness”.
  • “As a husband, if you can grasp that you don’t always have to solve your wife’s problems, you will take a giant step toward showing her empathy and understanding”.
  • “Don’t refuse to make peace by running from conflict with your spouse”.
  • “When she asks, ‘Do you love me?’ she’s not asking for information; she’s asking for reassurance”.
  • “A wife must have reassurance”.
  • “Do everything you can to let your wife know you are committed to her for as long as you both shall live”.
  • “The male feels a deep need to be involved in adventure and conquest. This is not an option for him; it is a deep-seated trait”.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People: The Principles

Part 1: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  1. Principle 1: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
  2. Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation
  3. Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want

Part 2: Six Ways to Make People Like You

  1. Principle 1: Become genuinely interested in other people
  2. Principle 2: Smile
  3. Principle 3: Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  4. Principle 4: Be a good listener
  5. Principle 5: Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
  6. Principle 6: Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely

Part 3: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. Principle 1: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
  2. Principle 2: Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
  3. Principle 3: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
  4. Principle 4: Begin in a friendly way
  5. Principle 5: Get the other person saying, “yes, yes” immediately
  6. Principle 6: Let the other person do a great deal of the talking
  7. Principle 7: Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers
  8. Principle 8: Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view
  9. Principle 9: Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires
  10. Principle 10: Appeal to the nobler motives
  11. Principle 11: Dramatize your ideas
  12. Principle 12: Throw down a challenge

Part 4: Be a Leader—How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Rousing Resentment

  1. Principle 1: Begin with praise and honest appreciation
  2. Principle 2: Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
  3. Principle 3: Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
  4. Principle 4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
  5. Principle 5: Let the other person save face
  6. Principle 6: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
  7. Principle 7: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
  8. Principle 8: Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct
  9. Principle 9: Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest

How to Win Friends and Influence People Summary

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, people don’t criticize themselves for anything, no matter how wrong it may be.

Criticism is futile because it puts us on the defensive and usually makes us strive to justify ourselves. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds our pride, hurts our sense of importance, and arouses resentment.

Don’t criticize others; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.

“Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean.”—Confucius

We’re not logical; we’re emotional, motivated by pride and vanity.

“I will speak ill of no man and speak all the good I know of everybody.”—Benjamin Franklin

Rather than condemn others, try to understand them. Try to figure out why they do what they do.

We all want to be appreciated.

“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people. The greatest asset I possess and t way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.”—Charles Schwab

Before trying to persuade someone to do something, ask yourself, “How can I make this person want to do it?”

“If there is any one secret of success it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”—Henry Ford

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

“It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”  

Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Always make the others feel important.

Most people you meet will feel superior to you in some way. A sure way to their hearts is to let them realize in some subtle way that you recognize their importance, and recognize it sincerely.

“Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours.”—Disraeli

“If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will.”

How to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument:

  1. Welcome the disagreement
  2. Distrust your first instinctive impression
  3. Control your temper
  4. Listen first
  5. Look for areas of agreement
  6. Be honest
  7. Promise to think over your opponents’ ideas and study them carefully
  8. Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest
  9. Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem

“There’s magic, positive magic, in such phrases as: ‘I may be wrong. I frequently am. Let’s examine the facts.’”

“Don’t argue with your customer or your spouse or your adversary. Don’t tell them they are wrong. Don’t get them stirred up. Use a little diplomacy.”

“If we know we are going to be rebuked anyhow, isn’t it far better to beat the other person to it and do it ourselves?”

“Say about yourself all the derogatory things you know the other person is thinking or wants to say or intends to say—and say them before that person has a chance to say them.”

When you’re right, try to win people gently and tactfully to your way of thinking. When you’re wrong, admit your mistakes quickly and with enthusiasm.

“In talking with people, don’t begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing—and keep on emphasizing—the things on which you agree. Keep emphasizing, if possible, that you are both striving for the same end and that your only difference is one of method and not of purpose. Get the other person saying, ‘Yes, yes’ at the outset. Keep your opponent, if possible, from saying ‘No.’”

“Remember that other people may be totally wrong. But they don’t think so. Don’t condemn them. Any fool can do that. Try to understand them. Only wise, tolerant, exceptional people even try to do that”

“If, as a result of reading this book, you get only one thing—an increased tendency to think always in terms of the other person’s point of view, and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own—if you get only that one thing from this book, it may easily prove to be one of the stepping—stones of your career.”

How to stop arguments, eliminate ill feeling, create good will, and make the other person listen attentively: “I don’t blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do.”

“Three-fourths of the people you will ever meet are hungering and thirsting for sympathy. Give it to them, and they will love you.”

It’s always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.

“Calling attention to one’s mistakes indirectly works wonders with sensitive people who may resent bitterly any direct criticism.”

“It isn’t nearly so difficult to listen to a recital of your faults if the person criticizing begins by humbly admitting that he, too, is far from impeccable.”

“Admitting one’s own mistakes—even when one hasn’t corrected them—can help convince somebody to change his behavior.”

“People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.”

“Everybody likes to be praised, but when praise is specific, it comes across as sincere—not something the other person may be saying just to make one feel good.”

“If you want to improve a person in a certain aspect, act as though that particular trait were already one of his or her outstanding characteristics.”

“Tell your child, your spouse, or your employee that he or she is stupid or dumb at a certain thing, has no gift for it and is doing it all wrong, and you have destroyed almost every incentive to try to improve. But use the opposite technique—be liberal with your encouragement, make the thing seem easy to do, let the other person know that you have faith in his ability to do it, that he has an undeveloped flair for it—and he will practice until the dawn comes in the window in order to excel.”

“Always make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.”

The effective leader should keep the following guidelines in mind when it is necessary to change attitudes or behavior:   

  1. Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person
  2. Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do
  3. Ask yourself what is it the other person really wants
  4. Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest
  5. Match those benefits to the other person’s wants
  6. When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin


  1. A behaviour becomes a habit when it no longer requires a decision from you.
  2. To change a habit effectively, you need to understand your ’tendency’.
  3. Scheduling is one of the most effective ways to building better habits.

The Five Big Ideas

  1. “Habits are the invisible architecture of daily life”.
  2. “It takes self-control to establish good habits”.
  3. “A habit requires no decision from me, because I’ve already decided”.
  4. “When we change our habits, we change our lives”.
  5. “If we’re trying to persuade people to adopt a habit, we have more success if we consider their Tendency
  • “Habits are the invisible architecture of daily life”.
  • “The most important thing is to know ourselves, and to choose the strategies that work for us”.
  • “[We] often learn more from one person’s idiosyncratic experiences than [we] do from scientific studies or philosophical treatises”.
  • “To understand how people are able to change, [we] must understand habits”.
  • “I’ve learned to put great store in my own observations of everyday life, because while laboratory experiments are one way to study human nature, they aren’t the only way”.
  • “Habits eliminate the need for self-control”.
  • “Yet one study suggests that when we try to use self-control to resist temptation, we succeed only about half the time, and indeed, in a large international survey, when people were asked to identify their failings, a top choice was lack of self-control”.
  • “With habits, we conserve our self-control”.
  • “It takes self-control to establish good habits”.
  • “In ordinary terms, a “habit” is generally defined as a behavior that’s recurrent, is cued by a specific context, often happens without much awareness or conscious intent, and is acquired through frequent repetition”.
  • “I concluded that the real key to habits is decision making—or, more accurately, the lack of decision making”.
  • “A habit requires no decision from me, because I’ve already decided”.
  • “This freedom from decision making is crucial, because when I have to decide—which often involves resisting temptation or postponing gratification—I tax my self-control”.
  • “Habits make change possible by freeing us from decision making and from using self-control”.
  • “Research suggests that people feel more in control and less anxious when engaged in habit behavior”.
  • “Surprisingly, stress doesn’t necessarily make us likely to indulge in bad habits; when we’re anxious or tired, we fall back on our habits, whether bad or good”.
  • “For this reason, it’s all the more important to try to shape habits mindfully, so that when we fall back on them at times of stress, we’re following activities that make our situation better, not worse”.
  • “Habit makes it dangerously easy to become numb to our own existence”.
  • “Generally, I’ve observed, we seek changes that fall into the ‘Essential Seven’”.

The Essential Seven:

  1. Eat and drink more healthfully (give up sugar, eat more vegetables, drink less alcohol)
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Save, spend, and earn wisely (save regularly, pay down debt, donate to worthy causes, stick to a budget)
  4. Rest, relax, and enjoy (stop watching TV in bed, turn off a cell phone, spend time in nature, cultivate silence, get enough sleep, spend less time in the car)
  5. Accomplish more, stop procrastinating (practice an instrument, work without interruption, learn a language, maintain a blog)
  6. Simplify, clear, clean, and organize (make the bed, file regularly, put keys away in the same place, recycle)
  7. Engage more deeply in relationships—with other people, with God, with the world (call friends, volunteer, have more sex, spend more time with family, attend religious services)
  • “A ‘routine’ is a string of habits, and a ‘ritual’ is a habit charged with transcendent meaning”.
  • “Habit is a good servant but a bad master”.
  • “Ask yourself, ‘To what end do I pursue this habit?’”
  • “When we change our habits, we change our lives”.
  • “We can use decision making to choose the habits we want to form, we can use willpower to get the habit started; then—and this is the best part—we can allow the extraordinary power of habit to take over”.
  • “The first and most important habits question is: ‘How does a person respond to an expectation?’”
  • “When we try to form a new habit, we set an expectation for ourselves. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand how we respond to expectations”.
  • “We face two kinds of expectations: outer expectations (meet work deadlines, observe traffic regulations) and inner expectations (stop napping, keep a New Year’s resolution)”.

The Four Tendencies:

  1. Upholders. Respond readily to both outer expectations and inner expectations.
  2. Questioners. Question all expectations, and will meet an expectation only if they believe it’s justified.
  3. Obligers. Respond readily to outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations (my friend on the track team).
  4. Rebels. Resist all expectations, outer and inner alike.
  • “Our Tendency colors the way we see the world and therefore has enormous consequences for our habits”.
  • “Upholders respond readily to outer expectations and inner expectations”.
  • “Because Upholders feel a real obligation to meet their expectations for themselves, they have a strong instinct for self-preservation, and this helps protect them from their tendency to meet others’ expectations”.
  • “Questioners question all expectations, and they respond to an expectation only if they conclude that it makes sense”.
  • “Because Questioners like to make well-considered decisions and come to their own conclusions, they’re very intellectually engaged, and they’re often willing to do exhaustive research”.
  • “Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet inner expectations”.
  • “Obligers may find it difficult to form a habit, because often we undertake habits for our own benefit, and Obligers do things more easily for others than for themselves”.
  • “Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike”.
  • “Rebels sometimes frustrate even themselves, because they can’t tell themselves what to do”.
  • “Knowing our Tendency can help us frame habits in a compelling way”.
  • “If we’re trying to persuade people to adopt a habit, we have more success if we consider their Tendency”.
  • “Self-measurement brings self-awareness, and self-awareness strengthens our self-control”.
  • “A key step for the Strategy of Monitoring is to identify precisely what action is monitored”.
  • “Unsurprisingly, we tend to underestimate how much we eat and overestimate how much we exercise”.
  • “Surprisingly often, when people want to improve their habits, they begin with a habit that won’t deliver much payoff in return for the habit-formation energy required”.
  • “It’s helpful to begin with habits that most directly strengthen self-control; these habits serve as the Foundation for forming other good habits”.
  • “Habits grow strongest and fastest when they’re repeated in predictable ways, and for most of us, putting an activity on the schedule tends to lock us into doing it”.
  • “Scheduling also forces us to confront the natural limits of the day”.
  • “Scheduling one activity makes that time unavailable for anything else. Which is good—especially for people who have trouble saying no”.
  • “To apply the Strategy of Scheduling, we must decide when, and how often, a habit should occur”.
  • “Consistency, repetition, no decision—this was the way to develop the ease of a true habit”.
  • “Scheduling can also be used to restrict the time spent on an activity”.
  • “Although scheduling time to worry sounds odd, it’s a proven strategy for reducing anxiety”.
  • “The Strategy of Scheduling is a powerful weapon against procrastination”.
  • “Scheduling is an invaluable tool for habit formation: it helps to eliminate decision making; it helps us make the most of our limited self-command; it helps us fight procrastination”.
  • “Most important, perhaps, the Strategy of Scheduling helps us make time for the things that are most important to us”.
  • “Accountability means that we face consequences for what we’re doing—even if that consequence is merely the fact that someone else is monitoring us”.
  • “To a truly remarkable extent, we’re more likely to do something if it’s convenient, and less likely if it’s not”.
  • “It’s not easy, as an adult, to make a new friend. It can feel very awkward to say, “Would you like to get a cup of coffee sometime?” The convenience of group membership makes it easier to become friends”.
  • “Two kinds of clarity support habit formation: clarity of values and clarity of action”.
  • “It’s easier to stick to a habit when we see, with clarity, the connection between the habit and the value it serves”.
  • “The fact is, changing a habit is much more challenging if that new habit means altering or losing an aspect of ourselves”.
  • “Research shows that we tend to believe what we hear ourselves say, and the way we describe ourselves influences our view of our identity, and from there, our habits”.

Deep Work by Cal Newport

The Book
In Three Sentences
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.
Shallow work is non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style work, often performed while distracted.
Deep work is like a superpower in our increasingly competitive twenty-first-century economy.
The Five Big Ideas
In order to produce the absolute best stuff you’re capable of, you need to commit to deep work.
The ability to quickly master hard things and the ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed, are two core abilities for thriving in today’s economy.
“To learn hard things quickly, you must focus intensely without distraction.”
“Your work is craft, and if you hone your ability and apply it with respect and care, then like the skilled wheelwright you can generate meaning in the daily efforts of your professional life.”
“The key to developing a deep work habit is to move beyond good intentions and add routines and rituals to your working life designed to minimize the amount of your limited willpower necessary to transition into and maintain a state of unbroken concentration.”

Deep Work Summary

  • Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.
  • Shallow Work: Non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend not to create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.
  • Newport argues if you spend enough time in a state of frenetic shallowness, you permanently reduce your capacity to perform deep work.
  • “Deep work is not some nostalgic affectation of writers and early-twentieth-century philosophers. It’s instead a skill that has great value today.”
  • In order to produce the absolute best stuff you’re capable of, you need to commit to deep work.
  • Newport calls deep work, “the superpower of the 21st century.”
  • The Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.

In Newport’s own words,

I build my days around a core of carefully chosen deep work, with the shallow activities I absolutely cannot avoid batched into smaller bursts at the peripheries of my schedule. Three to four hours a day, five days a week, of uninterrupted and carefully directed concentration, it turns out, can produce a lot of valuable output.

  • The ability to quickly master hard things and the ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed, are two core abilities for thriving in today’s economy.
  • “The differences between expert performers and normal adults reflect a life-long period of deliberate effort to improve performance in a specific domain.”
  • The core components of deliberate practice are usually identified as follows: (1) your attention is focused tightly on a specific skill you’re trying to improve or an idea you’re trying to master; (2) you receive feedback so you can correct your approach to keep your attention exactly where it’s most productive.
  • “This new science of performance argues that you get better at a skill as you develop more myelin around the relevant neurons, allowing the corresponding circuit to fire more effortlessly and effectively. To be great at something is to be well myelinated.”
  • “By focusing intensely on a specific skill, you’re forcing the specific relevant circuit to fire, again and again, in isolation. This repetitive use of a specific circuit triggers cells called oligodendrocytes to begin wrapping layers of myelin around the neurons in the circuits—effectively cementing the skill.”
  • “To learn hard things quickly, you must focus intensely without distraction.”
  • “When you switch from some Task A to another Task B, your attention doesn’t immediately follow—a residue of your attention remains stuck thinking about the original task. This residue gets especially thick if your work on Task A was unbounded and of low intensity before you switched, but even if you finish Task A before moving on, your attention remains divided for a while.”
  • According to Sophie Leroy, “People experiencing attention residue after switching tasks are likely to demonstrate poor performance on that next task,” and the more intense the residue, the worse the performance.”
  • “To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction.”
  • The Principle of Least Resistance: In a business setting, without clear feedback on the impact of various behaviors to the bottom line, we will tend toward behaviors that are easiest in the moment.
  • “Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.”
  • Busyness as Proxy for Productivity: In the absence of clear indicators of what it means to be productive and valuable in their jobs, many knowledge workers turn back toward an industrial indicator of productivity: doing lots of stuff in a visible manner.
  • “Deep work is at a severe disadvantage in a technopoly because it builds on values like quality, craftsmanship, and mastery that are decidedly old-fashioned and non-technological.”
  • “Human beings, it seems, are at their best when immersed deeply in something challenging.”
  • “To build your working life around the experience of flow produced by deep work is a proven path to deep satisfaction.”
  • “Your work is craft, and if you hone your ability and apply it with respect and care, then like the skilled wheelwright you can generate meaning in the daily efforts of your professional life.”
  • “You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it.”
  • “The key to developing a deep work habit is to move beyond good intentions and add routines and rituals to your working life designed to minimize the amount of your limited willpower necessary to transition into and maintain a state of unbroken concentration.”
  • “You need your own philosophy for integrating deep work into your professional life.”
  • “You must be careful to choose a philosophy that fits your specific circumstances, as a mismatch here can derail your deep work habit before it has a chance to solidify.”
  • “[Donald] Knuth deploys what I call the monastic philosophy of deep work scheduling. This philosophy attempts to maximize deep efforts by eliminating or radically minimizing shallow obligations.”
  • “[Carl] Jung’s approach is what I call the bimodal philosophy of deep work. This philosophy asks that you divide your time, dedicating some clearly defined stretches to deep pursuits and leaving the rest open to everything else.”
  • “[The rhythmic philosophy] argues that the easiest way to consistently start deep work sessions is to transform them into a simple regular habit.”
  • John Paul Newport on Walter Isaacson, “It was always amazing … he could retreat up to the bedroom for a while, when the rest of us were chilling on the patio or whatever, to work on his book … he’d go up for twenty minutes or an hour, we’d hear the typewriter pounding, then he’d come down as relaxed as the rest of us … the work never seemed to faze him, he just happily went up to work when he had the spare time.”
  • The journalist philosophy: you fit deep work wherever you can into your schedule.
  • “To make the most out of your deep work sessions, build rituals of the same level of strictness and idiosyncrasy as the important thinkers mentioned previously.”
  • “Your ritual needs to specify a location for your deep work efforts.”
  • “Regardless of where you work, be sure to also give yourself a specific time frame to keep the session a discrete challenge and not an open-ended slog.”
  • “Your ritual needs rules and processes to keep your efforts structured.”
  • “By leveraging a radical change to your normal environment, coupled perhaps with a significant investment of effort or money, all dedicated toward supporting a deep work task, you increase the perceived importance of the task.”
  • “[Peter Shankman] booked a round-trip business-class ticket to Tokyo. He wrote during the whole flight to Japan, drank an espresso in the business class lounge once he arrived in Japan, then turned around and flew back, once again writing the whole way—arriving back in the States only thirty hours after he first left with a completed manuscript now in hand.”

The Four Disciplines of Execution (4DX)

These deep work rules include the ability to:

  1. Focus on the Wildly Important
  2. Act on the Lead Measures
  3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard
  4. Create a Cadence of Accountability
  • “For an individual focused on deep work, the implication is that you should identify a small number of ambitious outcomes to pursue with your deep work hours.”
  • David Brooks: “If you want to win the war for attention, don’t try to say ‘no’ to the trivial distractions you find on the information smorgasbord; try to say ‘yes’ to the subject that arouses a terrifying longing, and let the terrifying longing crowd out everything else.”
  • “In 4DX, there are two types of metrics for this purpose: lag measures and lead measures.”
  • “Lag measures describe the thing you’re ultimately trying to improve.”
  • “Lead measures, on the other hand, ‘measure the new behaviors that will drive success on the lag measures.’”
  • “Lead measures turn your attention to improving the behaviors you directly control in the near future that will then have a positive impact on your long-term goals.”
  • “At the end of the workday, shut down your consideration of work issues until the next morning—no after-dinner e-mail check, no mental replays of conversations, and no scheming about how you’ll handle an upcoming challenge; shut down work thinking completely.”
  1. Reason #1: Downtime Aids Insights
  2. Reason #2: Downtime Helps Recharge the Energy Needed to Work Deeply
  3. Reason #3: The Work That Evening Downtime Replaces Is Usually Not That Important
  • Deep work training must involve two goals: improving your ability to concentrate intensely and overcoming your desire for distraction.
  • “Schedule in advance when you’ll use the Internet, and then avoid it altogether outside these times.”
  • The Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection: Identify the core factors that determine success and happiness in your professional and personal life. Adopt a tool only if its positive impacts on these factors substantially outweigh its negative impacts.
  • “The first step [to the Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection] is to identify the main high-level goals in both your professional and your personal life.”
  • “The key is to keep the list limited to what’s most important and to keep the descriptions suitably high-level.”
  • “When you’re done you should have a small number of goals for both the personal and professional areas of your life.”
  • “Once you’ve identified these goals, list for each the two or three most important activities that help you satisfy the goal. These activities should be specific enough to allow you to clearly picture doing them. On the other hand, they should be general enough that they’re not tied to a onetime outcome.”
  • “The next step in this strategy is to consider the network tools you currently use. For each such tool, go through the key activities you identified and ask whether the use of the tool has a substantially positive impact, a substantially negative impact, or little impact on your regular and successful participation in the activity. Now comes the important decision: Keep using this tool only if you concluded that it has substantial positive impacts and that these outweigh the negative impacts.”
  • “After thirty days of this self-imposed network isolation, ask yourself the following two questions about each of the services you temporarily quit: Would the last thirty days have been notably better if I had been able to use this service? Did people care that I wasn’t using this service?”
  • “If your answer is ‘no’ to both questions, quit the service permanently. If your answer was a clear ‘yes,’ then return to using the service.”
  • “The shallow work that increasingly dominates the time and attention of knowledge workers is less vital than it often seems in the moment.”
  • How long can deep work be sustained by an individual in a given day?
  • “[Anders Erickson] note[s] that for someone new to such practice (citing, in particular, a child in the early stages of developing an expert-level skill), an hour a day is a reasonable limit. For those familiar with the rigors of such activities, the limit expands to something like four hours, but rarely more.”
  • “We spend much of our day on autopilot—not giving much thought to what we’re doing with our time.”

Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

  1. Ego is an unhealthy belief in our own importance.
  2. Ego is there undermining us on the very journey we’ve put everything into pursuing.
  3. Ego can be managed and directed.

The Five Big Ideas

  1. At any given time in life, we’re aspiring to something, we have achieved success, or we have failed.
  2. We must cultivate humility, diligence, and self-awareness if we are to remove ego.
  3. Maintain your own scorecard.
  4. Don’t fake it ’til you make it—make it.
  5. Always stay a student.
  6. Book summary-
  • “The orator Demosthenes once said that virtue begins with understanding and is fulfilled by courage.”
  • “Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, your worst enemy already lives inside you: your ego.”
  • “The ego we see most commonly goes by a more casual definition: an unhealthy belief in our own importance. Arrogance. Self-centered ambition.”
  • “With every ambition and goal we have—big or small—ego is there undermining us on the very journey we’ve put everything into pursuing.”
  • “Just one thing keeps ego around—comfort.”
  • “At any given time in life, people find themselves at one of three stages. We’re aspiring to something—trying to make a dent in the universe. We have achieved success—perhaps a little, perhaps a lot. Or we have failed—recently or continually.”
  • “Ego is the enemy every step along this way.”
  • “Your ego is not some power you’re forced to satiate at every turn. It can be managed. It can be directed.”
  • “When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real.”
  • “You must practice seeing yourself with a little distance, cultivating the ability to get out of your own head.”
  • “What is rare is not raw talent, skill, or even confidence, but humility, diligence, and self-awareness.”
  • “For your work to have truth in it, it must come from truth. If you want to be more than a flash in the pan, you must be prepared to focus on the long term.”
  • “We will learn that though we think big, we must act and live small in order to accomplish what we seek. Because we will be action and education focused, and forgo validation and status, our ambition will not be grandiose but iterative—one foot in front of the other, learning and growing and putting in the time.”
  • “So what is scarce and rare? Silence. The ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation. Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong.”
  • “Talk depletes us. Talking and doing fight for the same resources. Research shows that while goal visualization is important, after a certain point our mind begins to confuse it with actual progress. The same goes for verbalization.”
  • “The only relationship between work and chatter is that one kills the other.”
  • “If your purpose is something larger than you—to accomplish something, to prove something to yourself—then suddenly everything becomes both easier and more difficult. Easier in the sense that you know now what it is you need to do and what is important to you. The other “choices” wash away, as they aren’t really choices at all. They’re distractions. It’s about the doing, not the recognition. Easier in the sense that you don’t need to compromise. Harder because each opportunity—no matter how gratifying or rewarding—must be evaluated along strict guidelines: Does this help me do what I have set out to do? Does this allow me to do what I need to do? Am I being selfish or selfless?”
  • “In this course, it is not “Who do I want to be in life?” but “What is it that I want to accomplish in life?” Setting aside selfish interest, it asks: What calling does it serve? What principles govern my choices? Do I want to be like everyone else or do I want to do something different?”
  • “Although it’s never too late, the earlier you ask yourself these questions the better.”
  • “The mixed martial arts pioneer and multi-title champion Frank Shamrock has a system he trains fighters in that he calls plus, minus, and equal. Each fighter, to become great, he said, needs to have someone better that they can learn from, someone lesser who they can teach, and someone equal that they can challenge themselves against.”
  • “The purpose of Shamrock’s formula is simple: to get real and continuous feedback about what they know and what they don’t know from every angle. It purges out the ego that puffs us up, the fear that makes us doubt ourselves, and any laziness that might make us want to coast.”
  • “As Shamrock observed, ‘False ideas about yourself destroy you. For me, I always stay a student. That’s what martial arts are about, and you have to use that humility as a tool. You put yourself beneath someone you trust.’”
  • “This begins by accepting that others know more than you and that you can benefit from their knowledge, and then seeking them out and knocking down the illusions you have about yourself.”
  • “A true student is like a sponge. Absorbing what goes on around him, filtering it, latching on to what he can hold. A student is self-critical and self-motivated, always trying to improve his understanding so that he can move on to the next topic, the next challenge. A real student is also his own teacher and his own critic. There is no room for ego there.”
  • “Your passion may be the very thing holding you back from power or influence or accomplishment. Because just as often, we fail with—no, because of—passion.”
  • “I’m talking about passion of a different sort—unbridled enthusiasm, our willingness to pounce on what’s in front of us with the full measure of our zeal, the ‘bundle of energy’ that our teachers and gurus have assured us is our most important asset.”
  • “It is that burning, unquenchable desire to start or to achieve some vague, ambitious, and distant goal. This seemingly innocuous motivation is so far from the right track it hurts.”
  • “Passion typically masks a weakness. Its breathlessness and impetuousness and franticness are poor substitutes for discipline, for mastery, for strength and purpose and perseverance. You need to be able to spot this in others and in yourself, because while the origins of passion may be earnest and good, its effects are comical and then monstrous.”
  • “What humans require in our ascent is purpose and realism. Purpose, you could say, is like passion with boundaries. Realism is detachment and perspective.”
  • “Passion is form over function. Purpose is function, function, function.”
  • “The critical work that you want to do will require your deliberation and consideration. Not passion. Not naïveté.”
  • “It’d be far better if you were intimidated by what lies ahead—humbled by its magnitude and determined to see it through regardless. Leave passion for the amateurs. Make it about what you feel you must do and say, not what you care about and wish to be.”
  • “When you want to do something—something big and important and meaningful—you will be subjected to treatment ranging from indifference to outright sabotage. Count on it.”
  • “Pride blunts the very instrument we need to own in order to succeed: our mind.”
  • “The question to ask, when you feel pride, then, is this: What am I missing right now that a more humble person might see? What am I avoiding, or running from, with my bluster, franticness, and embellishments? It is far better to ask and answer these questions now, with the stakes still low, than it will be later.”
  • “It’s worth saying: just because you are quiet doesn’t mean that you are without pride. Privately thinking you’re better than others is still pride. It’s still dangerous.”
  • “Make it so you don’t have to fake it—that’s they key.”
  • “Every time you sit down to work, remind yourself: I am delaying gratification by doing this. I am passing the marshmallow test. I am earning what my ambition burns for. I am making an investment in myself instead of in my ego. Give yourself a little credit for this choice, but not so much, because you’ve got to get back to the task at hand: practicing, working, improving.”
  • “It is not enough only to be a student at the beginning. It is a position that one has to assume for life. Learn from everyone and everything. From the people you beat, and the people who beat you, from the people you dislike, even from your supposed enemies. At every step and every juncture in life, there is the opportunity to learn—and even if the lesson is purely remedial, we must not let ego block us from hearing it again.”
  • “Pick up a book on a topic you know next to nothing about. Put yourself in rooms where you’re the least knowledgeable person. That uncomfortable feeling, that defensiveness that you feel when your most deeply held assumptions are challenged—what about subjecting yourself to it deliberately? Change your mind. Change your surroundings.”
  • “We want so desperately to believe that those who have great empires set out to build one. Why? So we can indulge in the pleasurable planning of ours. So we can take full credit for the good that happens and the riches and respect that come our way. Narrative is when you look back at an improbable or unlikely path to your success and say: I knew it all along. Instead of: I hoped. I worked. I got some good breaks. Or even: I thought this could happen. Of course you didn’t really know all along—or if you did, it was more faith than knowledge. But who wants to remember all the times you doubted yourself?”
  • “Writing our own narrative leads to arrogance. It turns our life into a story—and turns us into caricatures—while we still have to live it.”
  • “These narratives don’t change the past, but they do have the power to negatively impact our future.”
  • “When we are aspiring we must resist the impulse to reverse engineer success from other people’s stories. When we achieve our own, we must resist the desire to pretend that everything unfolded exactly as we’d planned. There was no grand narrative. You should remember—you were there when it happened.”
  • “Instead of pretending that we are living some great story, we must remain focused on the execution—and on executing with excellence. We must shun the false crown and continue working on what got us here.”
  • “It’s not about beating the other guy. It’s not about having more than the others. It’s about being what you are, and being as good as possible at it, without succumbing to all the things that draw you away from it. It’s about going where you set out to go. About accomplishing the most that you’re capable of in what you choose. That’s it. No more and no less.”
  • “As you become successful in your own field, your responsibilities may begin to change. Days become less and less about doing and more and more about making decisions. Such is the nature of leadership. This transition requires reevaluating and updating your identity. It requires a certain humility to put aside some of the more enjoyable or satisfying parts of your previous job. It means accepting that others might be more qualified or specialized in areas in which you considered yourself competent—or at least their time is better spent on them than yours.”
  • “Ego needs honors in order to be validated. Confidence, on the other hand, is able to wait and focus on the task at hand regardless of external recognition.”
  • “We have to fight to stay sober, despite the many different forces swirling around our ego.”
  • “According to [Robert] Greene, there are two types of time in our lives: dead time, when people are passive and waiting, and alive time, when people are learning and acting and utilizing every second. Every moment of failure, every moment or situation that we did not deliberately choose or control, presents this choice: Alive time. Dead time.”
  • “When success begins to slip from your fingers—for whatever reason—the response isn’t to grip and claw so hard that you shatter it to pieces. It’s to understand that you must work yourself back to the aspirational phase. You must get back to first principles and best practices.”
  • “The only real failure is abandoning your principles. Killing what you love because you can’t bear to part from it is selfish and stupid. If your reputation can’t absorb a few blows, it wasn’t worth anything in the first place.”

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

  1. Stoicism is as relevant today as it was when it was first recorded.
  2. Serenity and ethical certainty come from within.
  3. Detach from the things that are beyond your control and focus on your own will and perception.

The Five Big Ideas

  1. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
  2. You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
  3. Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
  4. It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.
  5. Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
  • When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me.”
  • “Stop allowing your mind to be a slave, to be jerked about by selfish impulses, to kick against fate and the present, and to mistrust the future.”
  • “At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return.”
  • “Concentrate every minute like a Roman—like a man—on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions. Yes, you can—if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable.”
  • “Do external things distract you? Then make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions.”
  • “People who labor all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting their time—even when hard at work.”
  • “Don’t ever forget these things: The nature of the world. My nature. How I relate to the world. What proportion of it I make up. That you are part of nature, and no one can prevent you from speaking and acting in harmony with it, always.”
  • “In comparing sins (the way people do) Theophrastus says that the ones committed out of desire are worse than the ones committed out of anger: which is good philosophy.”
  • “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”
  • “Nothing is more pathetic than people who run around in circles, ‘elving into the things that lie beneath’ and conducting investigations into the souls of the people around them, never realizing that all you have to do is to be attentive to the power inside you and worship it sincerely.”
  • “You cannot lose another life than the one you’re living now, or live another one than the one you’re losing.”
  • “You can’t lose either the past or the future; how could you lose what you don’t have?”
  • “The present is all that they can give up, since that is all you have, and what you do not have, you cannot lose.”
  • “Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people—unless it affects the common good. It will keep you from doing anything useful. You’ll be too preoccupied with what so-and-so is doing, and why, and what they’re saying, and what they’re thinking, and what they’re up to, and all the other things that throw you off and keep you from focusing on your own mind.”
  • “We should listen only to those whose lives conform to nature.”
  • “Never regard something as doing you good if it makes you betray a trust, or lose your sense of shame, or makes you show hatred, suspicion, ill will, or hypocrisy, or a desire for things best done behind closed doors.”
  • “Each of us lives only now, this brief instant. The rest has been lived already, or is impossible to see.”
  • “Nothing is so conducive to spiritual growth as this capacity for logical and accurate analysis of everything that happens to us.”
  • “If you do [a] job in a principled way, with diligence, energy and patience, if you keep yourself free of distractions, and keep the spirit inside you undamaged, as if you might have to give it back at any moment— If you can embrace this without fear or expectation—can find fulfilment in what you’re doing now, as Nature intended, and in superhuman truthfulness (every word, every utterance)—then your life will be happy. No one can prevent that.”
  • “Nowhere you can go is more peaceful—more free of interruptions—than your own soul.”
  • “The world is nothing but change. Our life is only perception.”
  • “Choose not to be harmed—and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed—and you haven’t been.”
  • “Every event is the right one. Look closely and you’ll see.”
  • “See not what your enemy sees and hopes that you will, but what’s really there.”
  • “Your conversion should always rest on a conviction that it’s right, or benefits others—nothing else.”
  • “Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquillity. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’”
  • “Don’t give the small things more time than they deserve.”
  • “What happens to everyone—bad and good alike—is neither good nor bad.”
  • “Suppose that a god announced that you were going to die tomorrow ‘or the day after.’ Unless you were a complete coward you wouldn’t kick up a fuss about which day it was—what difference could it make? Now recognize that the difference between years from now and tomorrow is just as small.”
  • “It’s unfortunate that this has happened. No. It’s fortunate that this has happened and I’ve remained unharmed by it—not shattered by the present or frightened of the future. It could have happened to anyone. But not everyone could have remained unharmed by it. Why treat the one as a misfortune rather than the other as fortunate?”
  • “Remember this principle when something threatens to cause you pain: the thing itself was no misfortune at all; to endure it and prevail is great good fortune.”
  • “The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.”
  • “If the gods have made decisions about me and the things that happen to me, then they were good decisions. Why would they expend their energies on causing me harm? What good would it do them—or the world, which is their primary concern?”
  • “Whatever happens to you is for the good of the world.”
  • “When you need encouragement, think of the qualities the people around you have: this one’s energy, that one’s modesty, another’s generosity, and so on. Nothing is as encouraging as when virtues are visibly embodied in the people around us, when we’re practically showered with them. It’s good to keep this in mind.”
  • “Remember that our efforts are subject to circumstances; you weren’t aiming to do the impossible. Aiming to do what, then? To try. And you succeeded. What you set out to do is accomplished.”
  • “Don’t be ashamed to need help. Like a soldier storming a wall, you have a mission to accomplish. And if you’ve been wounded and you need a comrade to pull you up? So what?”
  • “It doesn’t hurt me unless I interpret its happening as harmful to me. I can choose not to.”
  • “When people injure you, ask yourself what good or harm they thought would come of it. If you understand that, you’ll feel sympathy rather than outrage or anger. Your sense of good and evil may be the same as theirs, or near it, in which case you have to excuse them.”
  • “Treat what you don’t have as non-existent. Look at what you have, the things you value most, and think of how much you’d crave them if you didn’t have them. But be careful. Don’t feel such satisfaction that you start to overvalue them—that it would upset you to lose them.”
  • “Everywhere, at each moment, you have the option: to accept this event with humility to treat this person as he should be treated to approach this thought with care, so that nothing irrational creeps in.”
  • “Pain is neither unbearable nor unending, as long as you keep in mind its limits and don’t magnify them in your imagination.”
  • “You don’t need much to live happily. And just because you’ve abandoned your hopes of becoming a great thinker or scientist, don’t give up on attaining freedom, achieving humility, serving others, obeying God.”
  • “For every action, ask: How does it affect me? Could I change my mind about it?”
  • “If [an outcome] is in your control, why do you do it? If it’s in someone else’s, then who are you blaming? Atoms? The gods? Stupid either way.”
  • “Blame no one. Set people straight, if you can. If not, just repair the damage.”

Three relationships:

  1. With the body you inhabit
  2. With the divine, the cause of everything in all things
  3. With the people around you
  • “Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, ‘Why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?’ You’ll be embarrassed to answer.”
  • “External things are not the problem. It’s your assessment of them. Which you can erase right now.”
  • “If the problem is something in your own character, who’s stopping you from setting your mind straight? And if it’s that you’re not doing something you think you should be, why not just do it?”
  • “The existence of evil does not harm the world. And an individual act of evil does not harm the victim. Only one person is harmed by it—and he can stop being harmed as soon as he decides to.”
  • “Everything that happens is either endurable or not. If it’s endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining. If it’s unendurable … then stop complaining. Your destruction will mean its end as well. Just remember: you can endure anything your mind can make endurable, by treating it as in your interest to do so. In your interest, or in your nature.”
  • “If they’ve made a mistake, correct them gently and show them where they went wrong. If you can’t do that, then the blame lies with you. Or no one.”
  • “Characteristics of the rational soul: Self-perception, self-examination, and the power to make of itself whatever it wants.”

Four habits of thought to watch for, and erase from your mind when you catch them.

  1. Tell yourself: This thought is unnecessary
  2. This one is destructive to the people around you
  3. This wouldn’t be what you really think (to say what you don’t think—the definition of absurdity)
  4. And the fourth reason for self-reproach: that the more divine part of you has been beaten and subdued by the degraded mortal part—the body and its stupid self-indulgence
  • “Everything you’re trying to reach—by taking the long way round—you could have right now, this moment. If you’d only stop thwarting your own attempts. If you’d only let go of the past, entrust the future to Providence, and guide the present toward reverence and justice.”
  • “Don’t let anything deter you: other people’s misbehavior, your own mis-perceptions, What People Will Say, or the feelings of the body that covers you (let the affected part take care of those). And if, when it’s time to depart, you shunt everything aside except your mind and the divinity within … if it isn’t ceasing to live that you’re afraid of but never beginning to live properly … then you’ll be worthy of the world that made you.”

The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday

  1. What stands in the way becomes the way.
  2. Focus on the things you can control, let go of everything else and turn every new obstacle into an opportunity to get better, stronger, and tougher.
  3. It’s three interdependent, interconnected, and fluidly contingent disciplines: PerceptionAction, and the Will.

The Five Big Ideas

  1. “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way”.
  2. “Overcoming obstacles is a discipline of three critical steps. It begins with how we look at our specific problems, our attitude or approach; then the energy and creativity with which we actively break them down and turn them into opportunities; finally, the cultivation and maintenance of an inner will that allows us to handle defeat and difficulty”.
  3. “There are a few things to keep in mind when faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. We must try: To be objective. To control emotions and keep an even keel. To choose to see the good in a situation. To steady our nerves. To ignore what disturbs or limits others. To place things in perspective. To revert to the present moment. To focus on what can be controlled”.
  4. “There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means”.
  5. “Perspective has two definitions. Context: a sense of the larger picture of the world, not just what is immediately in front of us Framing: an individual’s unique way of looking at the world, a way that interprets its events.

The Obstacle Is the Way Summary

  • “Our actions may be impeded… but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting.”
  • “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
  • “Whatever we face, we have a choice: Will we be blocked by obstacles, or will we advance through and over them?”
  • “The world is constantly testing us. It asks: Are you worthy? Can you get past the things that inevitably fall in your way? Will you stand up and show us what you’re made of?”
  • “Every obstacle is unique to each of us. But the responses they elicit are the same: Fear. Frustration. Confusion. Helplessness. Depression. Anger.”
  • The only this at fault is our attitude and approach.
  • “Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.”—Andy Grove
  • “Great individuals, like great companies, find a way to transform weakness into strength. It’s a rather amazing and even touching feat. They took what should have held them back—what in fact might be holding you back right this very second—and used it to move forward.”
  • “We’re soft, entitled, and scared of conflict. Great times are great softeners. Abundance can be its own obstacle, as many people can attest.”
  • “Overcoming obstacles is a discipline of three critical steps. It begins with how we look at our specific problems, our attitude or approach; then the energy and creativity with which we actively break them down and turn them into opportunities; finally, the cultivation and maintenance of an inner will that allows us to handle defeat and difficulty.”
  • John D. Rockerfella had the strength to resist temptation or excitement, no matter how seductive, no matter the situation.
  • “Nothing makes us feel [desperate, afraid, powerless etc.]; we choose to give in to such feelings. Or, like Rockefeller, choose not to.”

There are a few things to keep in mind when faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. We must try:

  • To be objective
  • To control emotions and keep an even keel
  • To choose to see the good in a situation
  • To steady our nerves
  • To ignore what disturbs or limits others
  • To place things in perspective
  • To revert to the present moment
  • To focus on what can be controlled
  • “There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.”
  • “Just because your mind tells you that something is awful or evil or unplanned or otherwise negative doesn’t mean you have to agree.”
  • “We decide what story to tell ourselves. Or whether we will tell one at all.”
  • “Defiance and acceptance come together well in the following principle: There is always a countermove, always an escape or a way through, so there is no reason to get worked up. No one said it would be easy and, of course, the stakes are high, but the path is there for those ready to take it.”
  • “When you worry, ask yourself, ‘What am I choosing to not see right now?’ What important things are you missing because you chose worry over introspection, alertness or wisdom?”—Gavin de Becker in The Gift of Fear
  • “Does what happened keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self-control, sanity, prudence, honesty, humility, straightforwardness?”—Marcus Aurelius
  • “The phrase ‘This happened and it is bad’ is actually two impressions. The first—‘This happened’—is objective. The second—‘it is bad’—is subjective.”
  • “In The Book of Five Rings, [Musashi] notes the difference between observing and perceiving. The perceiving eye is weak, he wrote; the observing eye is strong.”
  • “Musashi understood that the observing eye sees simply what is there. The perceiving eye sees more than what is there.”
  • “Everything about our animalistic brains tries to compress the space between impression and perception.”
  • Take your situation and pretend it is not happening to you. Pretend it is not important, that it doesn’t matter. How much easier would it be for you to know what to do? How much more quickly and dispassionately could you size up the scenario and its options? You could write it off, greet it calmly.

Perspective has two definitions.

  1. Context: a sense of the larger picture of the world, not just what is immediately in front of us
  2. Framing: an individual’s unique way of looking at the world, a way that interprets its events.
  • “Where the head goes, the body follows. Perception precedes action. Right action follows the right perspective.”
  • “Focus on the moment, not the monsters that may or may not be up ahead.”
  • “Our perceptions determine, to an incredibly large degree, what we are and are not capable of. In many ways, they determine reality itself. When we believe in the obstacle more than the goal, which will inevitably triumph?”
  • “There is good in everything if only we look for it.”—Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • “The struggle against an obstacle inevitably propels the fighter to a new level of functioning. The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is the advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this. ”
  • “Once you see the world as it is, for what it is, you must act.”
  • “We forget: In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given.”
  • “The only way you’ll do something spectacular is by using it all to your advantage.”
  • “Remember and remind yourself of a phrase favored by Epictetus: ‘persist and resist.’ Persist in your efforts. Resist giving in to distraction, discouragement, or disorder.”
  • “[Nick Saban’s] process is about finishing. Finishing games. Finishing workouts. Finishing film sessions. Finishing drives. Finishing reps. Finishing plays. Finishing blocks. Finishing the smallest task you have right in front of you and finishing it well.”
  • “We don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we can always choose how we feel about it.”
  • “Persistence is an action. Perseverance is a matter of will. One is energy. The other, endurance.”

Grit by Angela Duckworth

  1. The secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but grit: a special blend of passion and persistence.     
  2. Grit is about having passion and perseverance for long-term goals.
  3. Gritty people are able to maintain their determination and motivation over long periods despite experiences with failure and adversity.

The Five Big Ideas

  1. Grit is about holding the same top-level goal for a very long time. (A top-level goal is your ultimate concern, a compass that gives direction and meaning to all the goals below it.)
  2. Paragons of grit have four psychological assets: (1) interest (2) practice (3) purpose (4) hope.
  3. Gritty people do more deliberate practice and experience more flow.
  4. For paragons of grit, the long days and evenings of toil, the setbacks and disappointments, and struggle, the sacrifice—all this is worth it because, ultimately, their efforts pay dividends to other people.
  5. Often, the critical gritty-or-not decisions we make are a matter of identity more than anything else.

Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.

Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. Our fires are damped, our drafts are checked. We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.

The “naturalness bias” is a hidden prejudice against those who’ve achieved what they have because they worked for it, and a hidden preference for those whom we think arrived at their place in life because they’re naturally talented.

In Duckworth’s view, the biggest reason a preoccupation with talent can be harmful is simple: By shining our spotlight on talent, we risk leaving everything else in the shadows. We inadvertently send the message that these other factors—including grit—don’t matter as much as they really do.

In a study of competitive swimmers titled, “The Mundanity of Excellence,” Dan Chambliss, writes, “The most dazzling human achievements are, in fact, the aggregate of countless individual elements, each of which is, in a sense, ordinary.”

Great things are accomplished by those “people whose thinking is active in one direction, who employ everything as material, who always zealously observe their own inner life and that of others, who perceive everywhere models and incentives, who never tire of combining together the means available to them.”

Talent—how fast we improve in skill—absolutely matters. But effort factors into the calculations twice, not once. Effort builds skill. At the very same time, effort makes skill productive.

Consistency of effort over the long run is everything.

Many of us, it seems, quit what we start far too early and far too often. Even more than the effort a gritty person puts in on a single day, what matters is that they wake up the next day, and the next, ready to get on that treadmill and keep going.

Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it. It’s not about falling in love; it’s about staying in love.

Grit has two components: passion and perseverance.

Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.

Duckworth on passion:

What I mean by passion is not just that you have something you care about. What I mean is that you care about that same ultimate goal in an abiding, loyal, steady way. You are not capricious. Each day, you wake up thinking of the questions you fell asleep thinking about. You are, in a sense, pointing in the same direction, ever eager to take even the smallest step forward than to take a step to the side, toward some other destination. At the extreme, one might call your focus obsessive. Most of your actions derive their significance from their allegiance to your ultimate concern, your life philosophy. You have your priorities in order.

Grit is about holding the same top-level goal for a very long time. Furthermore, this “life philosophy,” as Pete Carroll might put it, is so interesting and important that it organizes a great deal of your waking activity. In very gritty people, most mid-level and low-level goals are, in some way or another, related to that ultimate goal. In contrast, a lack of grit can come from having less coherent goal structures.

When prioritizing goals, ask yourself, “To what extent do these goals serve a common purpose?”

The more they’re part of the same goal hierarchy—important because they then serve the same ultimate concern—the more focused your passion.

Don’t beat your head against the wall attempting to follow through on something that is, merely, a means to a more important end.

Giving up on lower-level goals is not only forgivable, it’s sometimes absolutely necessary. You should give up when one lower-level goal can be swapped for another that is more feasible. (Note: to learn more about when to quit and when to stick, read The Dip by Seth Godin.)

As a species, we’re getting better and better at abstract reasoning.

Grit grows as we figure out our life philosophy, learn to dust ourselves off after rejection and disappointment, and learn to tell the difference between low-level goals that should be abandoned quickly and higher-level goals that demand more tenacity.

Duckworth on “The Maturity Principle”:

Over time, we learn life lessons we don’t forget, and we adapt in response to the growing demands of our circumstances. Eventually, new ways of thinking and acting become habitual. There comes a day when we can hardly remember our immature former selves. We’ve adapted, those adaptations have become durable, and, finally, our identity—the sort of person we see ourselves to be—has evolved. We’ve matured.

Like every aspect of your psychological character, grit is more plastic than we might think.

If you’re not as gritty as you want to be, ask yourself why.

Any of the following four thoughts might go through your head right before you quit what you’re doing: “I’m bored.” “The effort isn’t worth it.” “This isn’t important to me.” “I can’t do this, so I might as well give up.”

Paragons of grit don’t swap compasses: when it comes to the one, singularly important aim that guides almost everything else they do, the very gritty tend not to utter the statements above.

Paragons of grit have four psychological assets:

  1. Interest
  2. Practice
  3. Purpose
  4. Hope

From the very beginning to the very end, it is inestimably important to learn to keep going even when things are difficult, even when we have doubts.

Passion for your work is a little bit of discovery, followed by a lot of development, and then a lifetime of deepening.

Interests are not discovered through introspection. Instead, interests are triggered by interactions with the outside world.

What follows the initial discovery of an interest is a much lengthier and increasingly proactive period of interest development.

Longitudinal studies tracking learners confirm that overbearing parents and teachers erode intrinsic motivation. (Note: to learn more about motivation, read Drive by Dan Pink.)

Kids whose parents let them make their own choices about what they like are more likely to develop interests later identified as a passion.

Duckworth on the motivational differences between expert and beginners:

At the start of an endeavor, we need encouragement and freedom to figure out what we enjoy. We need small wins. We need applause. Yes, we can handle a tincture of criticism and corrective feedback. Yes, we need to practice. But not too much and not too soon. Rush a beginner and you’ll bludgeon their budding interest. It’s very, very hard to get that back once you do.

The grittier an individual is, the fewer career changes they’re likely to make.

For the expert, novelty is nuance.

If you’d like to follow your passion but haven’t yet fostered one, you must begin at the beginning: discovery.

Ask yourself:

  • What do I like to think about?
  • Where does my mind wander?
  • What do I really care about?
  • What matters most to me?
  • How do I enjoy spending my time? And, in contrast, what do I find absolutely unbearable?

To young graduates wringing their hands over what to do, Duckworth says, “Experiment! Try! You’ll certainly learn more than if you don’t!”

The directive to follow your passion is not bad advice. But what may be even more useful is to understand how passions are fostered in the first place.

Kaizen is Japanese for resisting the plateau of arrested development. (Note: To learn more about kaizen, read One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer)

A crucial insight of Anders Ericsson’s research on excellence is not that experts log more hours of practice. Rather, it’s that experts practice differently. Unlike most of us, experts are logging thousands upon thousands of hours of what Ericsson calls deliberate practice.

Duckworth on how experts practice:

  1. First, they set a stretch goal, zeroing in on just one narrow aspect of their overall performance. Rather than focus on what they already do well, experts strive to improve specific weaknesses. They intentionally seek out challenges they can’t yet meet.
  2. Then, with undivided attention and great effort, experts strive to reach their stretch goal. Interestingly, many choose to do so while nobody’s watching.
  3. As soon as possible, experts hungrily seek feedback on how they did. Necessarily, much of that feedback is negative. This means that experts are more interested in what they did wrong—so they can fix it—than what they did right. The active processing of this feedback is as essential as its immediacy. And after feedback, then what?
  4. Then experts do it all over again, and again, and again. Until they have finally mastered what they set out to do. Until what was a struggle before is now fluent and flawless. Until conscious incompetence becomes unconscious competence.
  5. Finally, experts start all over again with a new stretch goal. One by one, these subtle refinements add up to dazzling mastery.

Gritty people do more deliberate practice and experience more flow. There’s no contradiction here, for two reasons:

  1. First, deliberate practice is a behavior, and flow is an experience. Anders Ericsson is talking about what experts do; Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is talking about how experts feel.
  2. Second, you don’t have to be doing deliberate practice and experiencing flow at the same time (Duckworth argues for most experts, they rarely go together.)

Deliberate practice is for preparation. Flow is for performance.

Nobody wants to show you the hours and hours of becoming. They’d rather show the highlight of what they’ve become.

Duckworth has three suggestions for getting the most out of deliberate practice:

  1. Know the science
  2. Make it a habit
  3. Change the way you experience it.

Each of the basic requirements of deliberate practice is unremarkable:

  1. A clearly defined stretch goal
  2. Full concentration and effort
  3. Immediate and informative feedback
  4. Repetition with reflection and refinement

For paragons of frit, the long days and evenings of toil, the setbacks and disappointments and struggle, the sacrifice—all this is worth it because, ultimately, their efforts pay dividends to other people.

In Duckworth’s “grit lexicon,” purpose means “the intention to contribute to the well-being of others.”

Most gritty people see their ultimate aims as deeply connected to the world beyond themselves.

Three bricklayers are asked: “What are you doing?” The first says, “I am laying bricks.” The second says, “I am building a church.” And the third says, “I am building the house of God.” The first bricklayer has a job. The second has a career. The third has a calling. Many of us would like to be like the third bricklayer, but instead identify with the first or second.

Yale management professor Amy Wrzesniewski has found that people have no trouble at all telling her which of the three bricklayers they identify with.

Not surprisingly, Wrzesniewski’s conclusion is that it’s not that some kinds of occupations are necessarily jobs and others are careers and still others are callings. Instead, what matters is whether the person doing the work believes that laying down the next brick is just something that has to be done, or instead something that will lead to further personal success, or, finally, work that connects the individual to something far greater than the self.

Adam’s research demonstrates that leaders and employees who keep both personal and prosocial interests in mind do better in the long run than those who are 100 percent selfishly motivated.

In order to develop a sense of purpose, David Yeager recommends reflecting on how the work you’re already doing can make a positive contribution to society.

Amy Wrzesniewski recommends thinking about how, in small but meaningful ways, you can change your current work to enhance its connection to your core values.

Bill Damon recommends finding inspiration in a purposeful role model.

The hope that gritty people have has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with getting up again.

Optimists habitually search for temporary and specific causes of their suffering, whereas pessimists assume permanent and pervasive causes are to blame. (Note: To learn more about learned optimism, read The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.)

When you keep searching for ways to change your situation for the better, you stand a chance of finding them. When you stop searching, assuming they can’t be found, you guarantee they won’t.

Duckworth has measured growth mindset and grit in both younger children and older adults, and in every sample, she’s found that growth mindset and grit go together. (Note: to learn more about growth mindset, read Mindset by Carol Dweck.)

Growth Mindset > Optimistic Self-Talk > Perseverance Over Adversity

Duckworth’s recommendation for teaching yourself hope is to take each step in the sequence above and ask, “What can I do to boost this one?”

Duckworth’s three suggestion in that regard is to:

  1. Update your beliefs about intelligence and talent
  2. Practice optimistic self-talk
  3. Ask for a helping hand

If you want to bring forth grit in your child, first ask how much passion and perseverance you have for your own life goals. Then ask yourself how likely it is that your approach to parenting encourages your child to emulate you. If the answer to the first question is “a great deal,” and your answer to the second is “very likely,” you’re already parenting for grit.

As soon as your child is old enough, find something they might enjoy doing outside of class and sign them up and require that they stick with at least one activity for more than a year.

Kids who spend more than a year in extracurriculars are significantly more likely to graduate from college and, as young adults, to volunteer in their communities.

If you want to be grittier, find a gritty culture and join it. If you’re a leader, and you want the people in your organization to be grittier, create a gritty culture.

Over time and under the right circumstances, the norms and values of the group to which we belong become our own. We internalize them. We carry them with us. The way we do things around here and why eventually becomes The way I do things and why.

Often, the critical gritty-or-not decisions we make are a matter of identity more than anything else. Often, our passion and perseverance do not spring from a cold, calculating analysis of the costs and benefits of alternatives. Rather, the source of our strength is the person we know ourselves to be.

59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman

The Book in Three Sentences

  1. Many people are interested in self-help because it offers quick and easy solutions to various issues in their lives.
  2. The problem is most self-help techniques are ineffective.
  3. The most effective techniques come straight from the scientific community.

The Five Big Ideas

  1. “When people can afford the necessities in life, an increase in income does not result in a significantly happier life”.
  2. “To encourage people to do more of something they enjoy, try presenting them with the occasional small surprise reward after they have completed the activity, or praise the fruits of their labour”.
  3. “To increase the likelihood of someone liking you, get them to do you a favour”.
  4. “Fantasizing about your perfect world may make you feel better but is unlikely to help transform your dreams into reality”.
  5. “Some research suggests that eating more slowly helps people eat less, perhaps because it fools our brains into thinking that we’ve eaten more, and allows extra time for the body to digest food”.

59 Seconds Summary

  • “Happiness doesn’t just flow from success, it actually causes it”.
  • “When people can afford the necessities in life, an increase in income does not result in a significantly happier life”.
  • “Materialism takes root in early childhood, and is mainly driven by low self-esteem”.
  • “Want to buy happiness? Then spend your hard-earned cash on experiences”.
  • “When it comes to happiness, remember that it is experiences that represent really good value for money”.
  • “If you want to cheer yourself up, behave like a happy person”.
  • “To maximize happiness, choose intentional over circumstantial change”.
  • “If you set children an activity they enjoy and reward them for doing it, the reward reduces the enjoyment and demotivates them”.
  • “To encourage people to do more of something they enjoy, try presenting them with the occasional small surprise reward after they have completed the activity, or praise the fruits of their labour”.
  • “It seems that presenting weaknesses early is seen as a sign of openness”.
  • “From assessing the effects of a bad-hair day to performing badly in a group discussion, those who feel embarrassed are convinced that their mistakes are far more noticeable than they actually are. Why? It seems we focus on our own looks and behaviour more than others, and so are likely to overestimate their impact”.
  • “If you want to increase your chances of making a good impression in a meeting, sit towards the middle of the table”.
  • “To increase the likelihood of someone liking you, get them to do you a favour”.
  • “When you gossip about another person, listeners unconsciously associate you with the characteristics you are describing, ultimately leading to those characteristics being ‘transferred’ to you”.
  • We like people who are like us, and find them far more persuasive than others”.
  • “The more people who are around when a person is apparently in need of assistance, the lower the likelihood of any one person actually helping”.
  • “Favours have their strongest effect when they occur between people who don’t know each other very well, and when they are small but thoughtful”.
  • “Fantasizing about your perfect world may make you feel better but is unlikely to help transform your dreams into reality”.
  • “Some research suggests that eating more slowly helps people eat less, perhaps because it fools our brains into thinking that we’ve eaten more, and allows extra time for the body to digest food”.
  • “If you want to reduce your drinking, stay away from short, wide glasses, and stick to tall, narrow ones”.
  • “Research shows that just placing food or drink out of sight or moving it a few metres away can have a big effect on consumption”.
  • “To cut intake, make sure that tempting foods are out of sight, and in a place that is difficult to access, such as a top cupboard or basement”.
  • “People eat significantly more when they are distracted at mealtimes and therefore not paying attention to their food”.
  • “Try cutting down on your eating by replacing your crockery and cutlery”.
  • “Research conducted by the Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research suggests that making a note of how much you eat can help you lose weight”.
  • “Research conducted by Charles Abraham and Paschal Sheeran has shown that just a few moments thinking about how much you will regret not going to the gym will help motivate you to climb off the couch and onto an exercise bike”.
  • “Christopher Peterson from the University of Michigan believes encouraging people to consider how they would like to be remembered after their death has various motivational benefits, including helping them to identify their long-term goals, and assess the degree to which they are progressing towards making those goals a reality”.
  • “To prime your mind into thinking creatively, spend a few moments describing a typical musician or artist. List their behaviours, lifestyle and appearance”.
  • “According to work conducted by psychologist Stephen Worchel from the University of Hawaii at Hilo, biscuits taken from a jar that is almost empty taste significantly better than identical cookies taken from a full jar”.
  • “To help promote the chances of a successful date, choose an activity that is likely to get the heart racing”.
  • “The theory is that your date will attribute their racing heart to you, rather than the activity, convincing themselves you have that special something”.
  • “The results revealed that just a few minutes focusing on the benefits that flowed from the seemingly hurtful experience helped participants deal with the anger and upset caused by the situation. They felt significantly more forgiving towards those who had hurt them, and were less likely to seek revenge or avoid them”.
  • “Surrounding yourself with objects that remind you of your partner is good for your relationship”.
  • “People are far more likely to agree to a big request if they have already agreed to a small one”.
  • “When making straightforward decisions, stick with the conscious mind by thinking about the pros and cons and assessing the situation in a rational, level-headed way. However, for more complex choices, try giving your conscious mind a rest and letting your unconscious work”.
  • Research shows that when most people look back on their lives, they tend to regret things they didn’t do”.
  • “To help spot possible shifts, try establishing what researchers have referred to as an ‘honest baseline’. Before asking questions that are likely to elicit deceptive answers, start with those that are far more likely to make the person respond in an honest way. During these initial answers, develop an understanding of how they behave when they are telling the truth by looking at their body language and listening to the words they say. Then, during the answers to the trickier questions, watch out for the behavioural shifts outlined above”.
  • “Research shows that people have a strong tendency to underestimate how long a project will take, and that people working in groups are especially likely to have unrealistic expectations”.
  • “It seems that to get an accurate estimate of the time needed to complete a project, you need to look at how long it took to finish broadly similar projects in the past”.
  • “Those who carried out the mental unpacking produced estimates that proved far more accurate than other participants”.
  • “Research shows that people with surnames beginning with a letter towards the start of the alphabet are more successful in life than those with names towards the end”.
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