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It’s easy to get caught up in the pattern of thinking too much about what you don’t want. This includes noticing what you already have in your life but don’t like. If you think often about what you don’t want, it’s a safe bet you’ll make a mess of your life. Thinking about what you don’t want is a trap. Such thoughts can keep you stuck for a very long time. You can seriously blow years — even decades — of your life in the following vicious cycle: 1. Look around and observe what...

by School Of Life on 16 May 2016

With respect to goals, projects, and other to-do items, it’s easy to get stuck too long in the thinking and planning phase. You can sit around writing and rewriting your goals, delving into your subconscious mind, working through emotional blocks, praying … whatever. But if you don’t eventually get into action, you’re wasting your time. How can you get into a sustainable mode of direct action without feeling like you have to torture yourself to get moving? What can you do to cross the barrier...

by School Of Life on 16 May 2016

Are there people who constantly criticize you, tell you that you can’t do things, make you feel bad about yourself, even yell at you? These are toxic people. Dealing with them is never easy, but it’s such a difficult problem that it’s worth looking at some strategies you might consider. I’ve used a number of strategies in my life, and I’ll share what I’ve tried: Practice self-compassion when you’re feeling bad. Think about it: if you’re feeling bad because of someone else’s behavior,...

by School Of Life on 15 May 2016

If you’re stuck living a life you wouldn’t have consciously chosen if you had it to do all over again, what can you realistically do about it? The Black Hole By “stuck” I mean truly, deeply stuck. You’ve finished school but can’t find a job that is fulfilling. You want to start a business but you just don’t have the resources to start up or maybe you’ve even got the stable job, the family, and the mortgage. But even though your situation looks pretty good from an external standpoint,...

by School Of Life on 14 May 2016

Many of us are familiar with the idea of loving our spouses, children, or parents unconditionally — and we might even try to practice that unconditional love, though imperfectly. But do we try to love ourselves unconditionally? Consider whether you do any of these (I sure do): • Criticize your body. • Feel like you need to improve at things. • Feel guilty about things you do. • Feel undisciplined, lazy, unhappy with yourself. • Not feel good enough. • Fear that you’re going to fail,...

by School Of Life on 14 May 2016

Testing ideas through direct experience is among the best ways to learn and grow. If you want to know if an idea really has merit, test it under real-world conditions. Then you’ll have your answer. For example, suppose you want to ask someone out for a date. One simple test would be to go right up to the person and ask. Within minutes you’ll know the answer. Yes, this is common sense, but how common is it in practice? Unfortunately most of our tests are run only in our minds, and in that realm...

by School Of Life on 13 May 2016

When we’re frustrated with others, or feeling bad about ourselves … we often turn toward habits that comfort us: • distractions • food • shopping • smoking • drugs/alcohol These don’t often work, because they tend to make us feel worse in the long run. We become unhappier, more stressed, and then need to seek comfort in these things again … and the cycle continues. These are sometimes the only ways we know of comforting ourselves! I know this because for a long time I always turned...

by School Of Life on 12 May 2016

Let’s say you’ve been wanting to quit smoking for awhile, or you’ve really been wanting to start exercising. All of a sudden, you read something that motivates you … you’re ready to make the change!You have the determination to make this happen. That’s amazing. The question is: are you going to convert this determination into actual lasting change? How will you do that? The feeling of determination is wonderful, but it can be ephemeral. It doesn’t necessarily last for more than a...

by School Of Life on 12 May 2016

There’s a way of being that I’m trying to cultivate in myself — to let go of wanting others to be a certain way. Here’s the problem: we all get frustrated with other people. We want our kids to do certain things, our spouses to be less something or other, our friends to change their lives, our relatives to be healthier, other people to be less rude, etc etc. So what can we do about this? It can drive us crazy, but we can’t make it happen. It’s out of our control. Trying to change others,...

by School Of Life on 11 May 2016

Arrogance (too hot) Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. – Proverbs 16:18 Arrogance is overbearing pride that attempts to juxtapose others as inferior to yourself. Although this quality is considered honorable among Klingons, it tends to annoy human beings. Arrogance makes genuine socialization difficult because it paints others into a competitive position. By treating others as inferior to yourself, you invite them to respond to your opening move with a reactive counter-move....

by School Of Life on 11 May 2016