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  1. #21
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Thanks for picking up the point of my post, ygolo.

    Someone else already addressed it, but as I read, I noticed the comment you made that you tend to overdo and I was going to say that's probably the key to your discouragement.

    I'm an overdoer also. Here's the hope: Age will probably knock that right out of you! Heh.

    Spouse just came in and said, "I think I'll go down and see my mom. I don't want to but I feel obligated."

    I laughed. Just what we're talking about. And I responded to him that, at least weekly, I do something I dont want to do but know that I will feel better about myself if I do it. It's a good habit, I think.

    One more thing. I've been told that it takes thirty days to build a habit. If this is true, that seems a small period of time to change a behavior. Then I suppose reinforcement every couple of days would be necessary. New habits have a way of slipping away.

    I am a born and bred pessimist and in my Thirties I decided I wanted a more positive outlook. In discussing this with a girlfriend we decided, together, to teach ourselves to think in a more positive manner and we did something extreme, I think.

    We pledged to each other that, for a year, we would state something positive each time we encountered each other and we would remind each other of any negative speech.

    At first it was funny and felt awkward, stilted. But at the end of a year we were both surprised to discover that we had become in the habit of thinking and speaking in a positive direction.

    It was no real hard work - kind of fun - and had results which have lasted me since.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  2. #22
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Wanted to add. "Just do it." does work. But it does depend, I think, on personality type and the period of life one is in.

    Example:

    Rational -emotive never worked for me. Never!

    Then about a year ago I experienced some kind of psychological shift and have now found it useful.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  3. #23
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    I am a born and bred pessimist and in my Thirties I decided I wanted a more positive outlook. In discussing this with a girlfriend we decided, together, to teach ourselves to think in a more positive manner and we did something extreme, I think.

    We pledged to each other that, for a year, we would state something positive each time we encountered each other and we would remind each other of any negative speech.

    At first it was funny and felt awkward, stilted. But at the end of a year we were both surprised to discover that we had become in the habit of thinking and speaking in a positive direction.

    It was no real hard work - kind of fun - and had results which have lasted me since.
    I can relate to much of what you've written, but this piece stood out, especially if I link it to ptgatsby's first post. I used to be much more of a pessimist, and more cynical, but in my mid-20's decided that I could either stay in that state, which I wasn't pleased at being in, and didn't particularly enjoy having that outlook, or I could 're-wire' my thinking patterns/responses, to eventually achieve a more positive outlook. It definitely took time, and wasn't a fast process by any means. Also involved doing a lot of analyzing of myself, my emotions, my responses, my inner psychae I guess....and it wasn't pleasant at all - but I desired to achieve a different overall outlook, so that was my end goal. At least for my own self (don't want to speak for others), I came to realize that ultimately my outlook could be a *choice*. I could choose to approach things more cynically/negatively, or I could choose to re-work my thought patterns so that they didn't automatically follow that well-worn path, but rather explore new avenues.

    Blah. Sorry for ambiguity there, I don't really know how to describe it.

    I guess self-discipline was not much of an issue for me growing up. I do think a lot of it is a basic combo of personality traits..some people are naturally more self-disciplined than others, so I've never considered the skills involved and would have to think more on that.

    But I guess for me, much of it involves doing things I don't necessarily want to do. And not following my feelings all the time. Being a bit more detached, maybe, and trying to see the longterm objective, and overall life goals/whatever, and then staying more firm in the moment and not succombing to in-the-moment impulses.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  4. #24
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  5. #25

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    Thanks guys for your inputs. People have a lot of different conceptions, and that is interesting in itself. I they are all important aspects to consider.

    Certainly it is fairly straight forward to apply will when that is possible. It would also be great if we simply enjoyed doing all the things we want to do. But it's not always that easy.

    There was a time when I would work marathon days as well, and loved it. But priorities and values change.

    I admire people who can naturally adjust their interests an impulses based on what they would like to do. It may be that people's traits allow them to do that. But even natural traits for some people can be learned habits of another--that's what I'm getting at by developing "skills."

    I looked at Steve Pavlina's site-- the third day is what struck me as most relevant to our discussion.

    Self-Discipline: Willpower

    [...]
    But guess what… willpower does work. But in order to take full advantage of it, you must learn what it can and cannot do. People who say willpower doesn’t work are trying to use it in a way that’s beyond its capabilities.

    What Is Willpower?

    Willpower is your ability to set a course of action and say, “Engage!”

    Willpower provides an intensely powerful yet temporary boost. Think of it as a one-shot thruster. It burns out quickly, but if directed intelligently, it can provide the burst you need to overcome inertia and create momentum.

    [...]

    Don’t try to tackle your problems and challenges in such a way that a high level of willpower is required every day. Willpower is unsustainable. If you attempt to use it for too long, you’ll burn out. It requires a level of energy that you can maintain only for a short period of time… in most cases the fuel is spent within a matter of days.

    Use Willpower to Create Self-Sustaining Momentum

    So if willpower can only be used in short, powerful bursts, then what’s the best way to apply it? How do you keep from slipping back into old patterns once the temporary willpower blast is over?

    The best way to use willpower is to establish a beachhead, such that further progress can be made with far less effort than is required of the initial thrust. Remember D-Day — once the Allies had established a beachhead, the road ahead was much easier for them. It was still challenging to be sure, especially with the close quarters fighting among hedge rows in France before the Rhino Tanks began plowing through them, but it was a lot easier than trying to maintain the focus, energy, and coordination of a full scale beach invasion every single day for another year.

    So the proper use of willpower is to establish that beachhead — to permanently change the territory itself such that it’s easier to continue moving on. Use willpower to reduce the ongoing need for such a high level of sustained force.

    An Example

    [...]
    You guys can read the site. It is rather interesting, thanks Sid.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  6. #26
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Ah. I don't like Steve Pavlina. His advice (to me, of course) seems to be the recipe for a life of strong, ever-lasting unhappiness.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  7. #27
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    Since I'm not entirely sure whether self-discipline is a skill one can learn, I'll answer on a personal level, as someone who struggled quite a lot to learn how to self-discipline but is unable to do it without consciously trying and without having a concrete reason to apply it.

    I think the most important step is to evaluate the importance of the desired outcome/goal to achieve.
    This, followed by a number of questions: -Is time and scheduling important for this particular goal? -Is precision important? -Is it something that needs space of its own or it can be combined with other processes/goals?
    After defining the desired outcome -and the tighter the definition the more self-discipline will be needed- next step would be imposing to one's self a mindset that will help the elimination of distractions - the one that functions for me personally is a kind of productive stress, and the acknowledgement that I'll be relieved of the stress once I've reached my goal.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by lastrailway View Post
    Since I'm not entirely sure whether self-discipline is a skill one can learn, I'll answer on a personal level, as someone who struggled quite a lot to learn how to self-discipline but is unable to do it without consciously trying and without having a concrete reason to apply it.

    I think the most important step is to evaluate the importance of the desired outcome/goal to achieve.
    This, followed by a number of questions: -Is time and scheduling important for this particular goal? -Is precision important? -Is it something that needs space of its own or it can be combined with other processes/goals?
    After defining the desired outcome -and the tighter the definition the more self-discipline will be needed- next step would be imposing to one's self a mindset that will help the elimination of distractions - the one that functions for me personally is a kind of productive stress, and the acknowledgement that I'll be relieved of the stress once I've reached my goal.
    This is actually almost exactly the type of thing I had in mind.

    Actually, it seems to me the most idifficult step is evaluating the importance of something. If you really don't see the point in almost anything, then how does something become important?

    More accurately, what if something becomes important only through some complicated set of consequences that links something you don't inherently value to something you value deeply?

    Say you need to pass a test full of questions you believe to be irrelevant, but passing that test is what is needed to continue along your chosen career path? What if it turns into a class with HW and tests that seems irrelevant? A series of classes, even a degree? --None of them are difficult, but seem exceedingly arbitrary and irrelevant--nevertheless, this is what's in front of you for a foreseeable period of time.

    This is a bit contrived, but I think we can all think of a long period of time when we had to do things unimportant to us, simply because they were the steps necessary to get to what was important to us.

    Sometimes, this stretch can get to be an amazingly long period of time--seems to me this is when self-discipline is needed the most.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  9. #29
    Courage is immortality Valiant's Avatar
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    I'll have to agree with FDG on this one. That shit is what have always worked for me if I apply that perspective on my life. I've been doing it more or less consciously, but I haven't given it much thought.
    I've gradually changed most areas of my life until I actually enjoy doing it. I used to hate school, because there were so many subjects that were boring and the people in them stupid. But I somehow got through it all, with some damage, and when I came to the university and was able to focus solely on stuff I love... It's a completely different story. Now i've almost become an authority on pedagogy and leadership for a group of about 100 fellow students. Our lectures always start with the lecturer talking a bit about a subject, then there is discussion. Basically me and this really bright ENTP bounce stuff back and forth while all the others listen in awe... Kind of fun.. Never been the "top of the class" kind of guy before.

    And as for work... I used to install advanced electronical equipment on ships. A lot like building and configuring huge computers. I hated it, and I was an employee in the "production" category... Hate that shit. And I had an ESTJ supervising my work group... Funny, isn't it? Well, I don't think much about killing people... But that son of a bitch... I was assigned to another group later, though, at my request... Had this weird New Zealander ISTP foreman. He was actually trained in leadership by an ex-SAS guy gone consultant... Really, no bullshit. Zealander ISTP had a lot to offer in the area of general inspiration. But then he got another job, and then I quit and took up my studies.

    Wtf... Why do my posts always... ALWAYS... look like this? But really, who could I talk about except me? I'm the only one that I know this well Oh, to hell with it!

    Mightier than the tread of marching armies is the power of an idea whose time has come

  10. #30

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    So what you're suggesting is the give-up the values goal and find something you will enjoy inherently? either that or try different ways to said goal to finally find something you will enjoy inherently.

    So if you are trying to loose weight, then keep trying different thing till you find something that works?

    What if you have inherent hurdles? How did you get through undergrad, if you hated it?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

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