Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs: notes

Categories Personal growthPosted on

“Wives are made to love, want to love, and expect love. Husbands are made to be respected, want respect, and expect respect”.

“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”.

“Often, we focus on our own needs and simply overlook the needs of the other person”.

The Five Big Ideas

“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”.

“The way to fully love a husband is to respect him in ways that are meaningful to him”.

“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”.

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”.

Buy The Book: Love and Respect

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How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Categories Personal growth, Top 10Posted on

Part 1: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  • Principle 1: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
  • Principle2: Give honest and sincere appreciation
  • Principle3: Arouse in the other person an eager want

Part 2: Six Ways to Make People Like You

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

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

  • Principle1: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
  • Principle2: Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
  • Principle3: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
  • Principle4: Begin in a friendly way
  • Principle5: Get the other person saying, “yes, yes” immediately
  • Principle6: Let the other person do a great deal of the talking
  • Principle7: Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers
  • Principle8: Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view
  • Principle9: Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires
  • Principle10: Appeal to the nobler motives
  • Principle11: Dramatize your ideas
  • Principle12: Throw down a challenge

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

  • Principle1: Begin with praise and honest appreciation
  • Principle2: Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
  • Principle3: Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
  • Principle4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
  • Principle5: Let the other person save face
  • Principle6: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty inyour approbation and lavish in your praise.”
  • Principle7: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
  • Principle8: Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct
  • Principle9: 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:

  • Welcome the disagreement
  • Distrust your first instinctive impression
  • Control your temper
  • Listen first
  • Look for areas of agreement
  • Be honest
  • Promise to think over your opponents’ ideas and study them carefully
  • Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest
  • 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:  

Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person

Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do

Ask yourself what is it the other person really wants

Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest

Match those benefits to the other person’s wants

When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit

Recommended Reading

If you like How to Win Friends and Influence People, you may also enjoy the following books:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Persuading, Convincing, and Influencing Others by Daniel H Pink

Buy this book

Feeling Good by David D. Burns

Categories Personal growthPosted on

All your moods are created by your thoughts.

When you’re depressed, your thoughts are dominated by a pervasive negativity.

The negative thoughts which cause your depression nearly always contain gross, cognitive distortions.

TheFive Big Ideas

  • “Everybad feeling you have is the result of your distorted negative thinking.”
  • “Yourthoughts create your emotions; therefore, your emotions cannot prove that yourthoughts are accurate.”
  • “Everybad feeling you have is the result of your distorted negative thinking.”
  • “Yourfeelings result from the meaning you give to the event, not from the eventitself.”
  • “YouAre Wrong in Your Belief That Suicide Is the Only Solution or the Best Solutionto Your Problem.”

Feeling Good Summary

“The first principle of cognitive therapy is that all your moods are created by your ‘cognitions’, or thoughts.”

“The second principle is that when you are feeling depressed, your thoughts are dominated by a pervasive negativity.”

“The third principle is of substantial philosophical and therapeutic importance. Our research has documented that the negative thoughts which cause your emotional turmoil nearly always contain gross distortions.”

“Every bad feeling you have is the result of your distorted negative thinking.”

“Every time you feel depressed about something, try to identify a corresponding negative thought you had just prior to and during the depression. Because these thoughts have actually created your bad mood, by learning to restructure them, you can change your mood.”

Cognitive Distortions: A Complete List

(Note from Sam: To learn more about cognitive distortions and how to overcome them, read this article.)

All-or-Nothing Thinking. “This refers to your tendency to evaluate your personal qualities in extreme, black-or-white categories. All-or-nothing thinking forms the basis for perfectionism. It causes you to fear any mistake or imperfection because you will then see yourself as a complete loser, and you will feel inadequate and worthless. The technical name for this type of perceptual error is ‘dichotomous thinking.’”

Overgeneralization. “You arbitrarily conclude that one thing that happened to you once will occur over and over again, will multiply like the Jack of Spades. The pain of rejection is generated almost entirely from overgeneralization.”

Mental Filter. “You pick out a negative detail in any situation and dwell on it exclusively, thus perceiving that the whole situation is negative. The technical name for this process is ‘selective abstraction.’”

Disqualifying the Positive. “An even more spectacular mental illusion is the persistent tendency of some depressed individuals to transform neutral or even positive experiences into negative ones. Disqualifying the positive is one of the most destructive forms of cognitive distortion.”

Jumping to Conclusions. “You arbitrarily jump to a negative conclusion that is not justified by the facts of the situation.”

Two examples of jumping to conclusions are “mind reading” and “the fortune teller error.”

Mind Reading. “You make the assumption that other people are looking down on you, and you’re so convinced about this that you don’t even bother to check it out.”

Fortune Telling. “You imagine that something bad is about to happen, and you take this prediction as a fact even though it is unrealistic.”

Magnification. “Magnification commonly occurs when you look at your own errors, fears, or imperfections and exaggerate their importance: ‘My God—I made a mistake. How terrible! How awful! The word will spread like wildfire! My reputation is ruined!’ This has also been called ‘catastrophizing’ because you turn commonplace negative events into nightmarish monsters.”

Minimization. “You inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow’s imperfections). This is also called the ‘binocular trick.’”

Emotional Reasoning. “You take your emotions as evidence for the truth. Your logic: ‘I feel like a dud, therefore I am a dud’. This kind of reasoning is misleading because your feelings reflect your thoughts and beliefs.”

Should Statements. “You try to motivate yourself by saying, “I should do this” or “I must do that.’”

Labeling and Mislabeling. “Personal labeling means creating a completely negative self-image based on your errors. Mislabeling involves describing an event with words that are inaccurate and emotionally heavily loaded.”

Personalization. “This distortion is the mother of guilt! You assume responsibility for a negative event when there is no basis for doing so.”

“Your thoughts create your emotions; therefore, your emotions cannot prove that your thoughts are accurate.”

Dr. Aaron Beck said a depressed self-image can be characterized by the four D’s: You feel Defeated, Defective, Deserted, and Deprived.

“At the bottom line, only your own sense of self-worth determines how you feel.”

Specific Methods for Boosting Self-Esteem

Talk Back to That Internal Critic!

Train yourself to recognize and write down the self-critical thoughts as they go through your mind.

Learn why these thoughts are distorted

Practice talking back to them so as to develop a more realistic self-evaluation system.

The Triple-Column Technique

The Triple Column Technique

Ask yourself, “What thoughts are going through my mind right now? What am I saying to myself? Why is this upsetting me?”

“When you are down on yourself, you might find it helpful to ask what you actually mean when you try to define your true identity with a negative label such as ‘a fool’, ‘a sham’, ‘a stupid dope’, etc. Once you begin to pick these destructive labels apart, you will find they are arbitrary and meaningless. They actually cloud the issue, creating confusion and despair. Once rid of them, you can define and cope with any real problems that exist.”

Three Crucial Steps When You Are Upset

Zero in on those automatic negative thoughts and write them down.

Read over the list of ten cognitive distortions. Learn precisely how you are twisting things and blowing them out of proportion.

Substitute a more objective thought that puts the lie to the one which made you look down on yourself.

“Whether your critic is right or wrong, initially find some way to agree with him or her.”

“Your feelings result from the meaning you give to the event, not from the event itself.”

“Irrational should statements rest on your assumption that you are entitled to instant gratification at all times.”

The following two guidelines will help you to determine when your anger is productive and when it is not.

Is my anger directed toward someone who has knowingly, intentionally, and unnecessarily acted in a hurtful manner?

Is my anger useful? Does it help me achieve the desired goal or does it simply defeat me?

“If you have a ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ rule that has been causing you disappointment and frustration, rewrite it in more realistic terms.”

“You will notice that the substitution of one word—‘it would be nice if’ in place of ‘should’—can be a useful first step.”

“The rationale for eliminating your ‘should’ statement is simple: It’s not true that you are entitled to get what you want just because you want it.”

“Remorse or regret are aimed at behavior, whereas guilt is targeted toward the ‘self.’”

“Sadness is a normal emotion created by realistic perceptions that describe a negative event involving loss or disappointment in an undistorted way. Depression is an illness that always results from thoughts that are distorted in some way.”

“When a genuinely negative event occurs, your emotions will be created exclusively by your thoughts and perceptions. Your feelings will result from the meaning you attach to what happens. A substantial portion of your suffering will be due to the distortions in your thoughts. When you eliminate these distortions, you will find that coping with the ‘real problem’ will become less painful.”

“Although your distorted negative thoughts will be substantially reduced or entirely eliminated after you have recovered from a bout of depression, there are certain “silent assumptions” that probably still lurk in your mind. These silent assumptions explain in large part why you became depressed in the first place and can help you predict when you might again be vulnerable.”

“A silent assumption is an equation with which you define your personal worth. It represents your value system, your personal philosophy, the stuff on which you base your self-esteem.”

“Choose any activity, and instead of aiming for 100 percent, try for 80 percent, 60 percent, or 40 percent. Then see how much you enjoy the activity and how productive you become.”

“You Are Wrong in Your Belief That Suicide Is the Only Solution or the Best Solution to Your Problem.”

“When you think that you are trapped and hopeless, your thinking is illogical, distorted, and skewed.”

“Nihilism is the belief that there is no truth or meaning to anything, and that all of life involves suffering and agony.”

“Nearly all suicidal patients have in common an illogical sense of hopelessness and the conviction they are facing an insoluble dilemma. Once you expose the distortions in your thinking, you will experience considerable emotional relief.”

“Your feelings of hopelessness and total despair are just symptoms of depressive illness, not facts.”

“I let the following rule of thumb guide me: Patients who feel hopeless never actually are hopeless.”


If you like Feeling Good, you may also enjoy the following books:

Awaken The Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny by Anthony Robbins

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor

Notes From a Friend by Anthony Robbins

Buy The Book: Feeling Good

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Essential Zen Habits by Leo Babauta

Categories Personal growthPosted on

We struggle with habit change because we have unrealistic expectations of how things will turn out, how others should be, and how we should be.

When our expectations aren’t met, we feel disappointed, frustrated and sad.

When we turn from our Mind Movie and embrace reality, we overcome our inner resistance to habit change.

The Five Big Ideas

“There’s a projector in our minds, and it’s constantly playing a movie about how we’d like things to be, our ideals about the world, our expectations of how things will turn out, how others should be, [and] how we should be”.

The Mind Movie is what stands in our way of making habit changes. It tells us that changing a habit should be easy and fun, but the reality is that we must wander outside our comfort zone.

The Childish Mind is the part of our mind that complains about how things are, that fears discomfort, that just wants pleasure and comfort, that doesn’t want things to be difficult.

“Gratitude is a great antidote to resistance that we can practice each day, including when our Childish Mind eventually starts to rebel against doing the habit”.

“Take mistakes in stride, and take the long view that what really matters is not whether you mess up for a day or two, but what you do over weeks and months and years”.

Essential Zen Habits Summary

“There’s a projector in our minds, and it’s constantly playing a movie about how we’d like things to be, our ideals about the world, our expectations of how things will turn out, how others should be, [and] how we should be”.

The Mind Movie is what stands in our way of making habit changes. It tells us that changing a habit should be easy and fun, but the reality is that we must wander outside our comfort zone.

The Childish Mind is the part of our mind that complains about how things are, that fears discomfort, that just wants pleasure and comfort, that doesn’t want things to be difficult.

“Gratitude is a great antidote to resistance that we can practice each day, including when our Childish Mind eventually starts to rebel against doing the habit”.

Consider writing a short journal entry about your reflections, to solidify your learning.

“Treat habit formation as a learning process, as a way to learn about yourself, your mind, mindfulness, resistance and more”.



habit becomes your new normal and you can expand a bit more, pushing your comfort zone a little at a time”.

Question: “What does the resistance feel like? Is there a way to accept the thing you’re resisting, accept the discomfort, relax into it, and find gratitude for it? What is good about the discomfort?”

“When you miss a day or two, you can either feel bad about it and possibly get derailed completely, or you can flow around it and not make it a big deal”.

“A key habit skill is learning to flow around the disruptions and just keep going”.

“Notice feelings of discomfort and uncertainty, and stay with them. Get to know them. Get intimate with these feelings”.

“When we experience groundlessness — a feeling of not being anchored, not certain, things not going our way, a feeling of loss — our minds don’t normally like it”.

“One of the most difficult tasks we can give to our Childish Mind is letting go of what it really wants, and accepting life as it is, seeing that it’s already enough”.

“It can be disappointing to let go of a habit you had such high hopes for and worked so long for, but we have to remember that we do these habit changes to learn about ourselves”.

“If making a commitment to yourself isn’t working, you can increase the commitment by telling others that you’re going to create this new habit”.

“When you miss one day, do everything you can to figure out why you missed, and solve it so you don’t keep missing”.

“When you make a change, others in your life might unconsciously see this change as threatening”.

“I’ve found the best method of persuasion is being a good model for change”.

“If others won’t get on board with your changes, ask just that they give you the space to make the change on your own, without their help”.

“A good practice is to not attach to the outcome. Have a good intention for the habit, but don’t worry too much about how it will turn out because you can’t control that”.

“Tell yourself that when you slip and fall, it’s just another lesson that will teach you to be better at change”.

“Mistakes means you’re pushing into new ground and exploring something interesting — if you weren’t, you wouldn’t make mistakes”.

“See every mistake as an opportunity to learn, a thing that you can get better at, the feedback that’s so crucial for improvement”.

“Most people make the mistake of trying to tackle a quit too early when they still haven’t gotten good at forming habits”.

“I recommend forming new, positive habits at least three times before taking on a quit”.

“The first thing you need to do before you attempt to quit a habit is track it for three days and try to write down every trigger for the habit”.

“Each bad habit meets some kind of need, or you wouldn’t be doing the habit”.

“For each trigger and need, write down a positive replacement habit that will meet the same need”.

“When you’re feeling stress, anxiety, boredom, loneliness, etc. … just pause and turn your attention to this feeling. Be curious and really see how it feels, where it is in your body, what the quality of the feeling is. Become intimate with it, without trying to avoid it”.


[an urge]

gently, without judgment or wishing the feeling weren’t there. Treat it like a friend, kindly. And see that this feeling is impermanent, just arises but will pass, like a cloud. This is the whole meditation: just watch with curiosity and kindness, not attaching to the feeling or needing to act on it”.

When quitting a bad habit, change one trigger at a time.

“Tell yourself you can do this, you’re strong, you got this. And be realistic in that things won’t go as planned, but those are learning opportunities. In the long run, you’re going to make it, because you’re worth it”.

“The real question isn’t whether you’ll mess up, but what you’ll do if you do mess up”.

“Take mistakes in stride, and take the long view that what really matters is not whether you mess up for a day or two, but what you do over weeks and months and years”.

How to Create a New Habit

Pick one new, easy habit you can do once a day

Don’t start right away

Create a vow

Create a space

Set a trigger & a reminder

Start with a Minimum Viable Habit

Focus on enjoying the habit

Practice mindfulness

Watch your Mind Movie

Reflect and journal

A daily practice

Increase gradually

How to Quit a Bad Habit

Don’t attempt a quit until several successful new habit changes

Track your habit

List your triggers

List your needs

Come up with replacement habits

Use techniques you’ve learned

Gradual change vs. cold turkey

Learn to recognize urges as they arise

Form the right mindset

When you fail, get back on track and don’t let it derail you

Recommended Reading

If you like Essential Zen Habits, you may also like the following books:

Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin

Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise

One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer

Buy this book

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The 5 Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman

Categories BehaviourPosted on

People speak different love languages. After many years of marriage counseling, Chapman’s conclusion is that there are five emotional love languages—five ways that people speak and understand emotional love.

Chapman believes that, once you identify and learn to speak your spouse’s primary love language, you will have discovered the key to a long-lasting, loving marriage.

The Five Big Ideas

Wehave been led to believe that if we are really in love, it will last forever.However, once the experience of falling in love has run it’s course, we return to the world of reality and begin to assert ourselves.

Some couples believe that the end of the “in-love” experience means they have only two options: a life of misery with their spouse or jump ship and try again.

However, there is a third and better alternative: We can recognize the in-love experience for what it was—a temporary emotional high—and now pursue “real love” with our spouse.

Your wife’s complaints are the most powerful indicators of her primary love language.

Thereis nothing more powerful that you can do than to love your wife even when she’s not responding positively.

The 5 Love Languages

  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Receiving gifts
  • Acts of service
  • Physical touch

The 5 Love Languages Summary

Chapman is convinced that keeping the emotional love tank full is as important to a marriage as maintaining the proper oil level is to an automobile.

When your spouse’s emotional love tank is full and they feel secure in your love, the whole world looks bright and your spouse will move out to reach their highest potential in life.

Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love.

Giving verbal compliments is one way to express words of affirmation to your spouse. Another dialect is encouraging words.

We must first learn what is important to our spouse. Only then can we give encouragement.

Sometimes our words say one thing, but our tone of voice says another.

We can choose to live today free from the failures of yesterday.

When you make a request of your spouse, you are affirming his or her worth and abilities. You are introducing the element of choice. This is important because we cannot get emotional love by way of demand.

If your mate’s primary love language is quality time, your spouse simply wants you, being with them, spending time.

Spending time with your mate in a common pursuit communicates that you care about each other, that you enjoy being with each other, that you like to do things together.

One of the most common dialects is that of quality conversation. By quality conversation, Chapman mean sympathetic dialogue where two individuals are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly, uninterrupted context.

Words of affirmation focus on what we are saying, whereas quality conversation focuses on what we are hearing.

We must be willing to give advice but only when it is requested and never in a condescending manner.

Ask yourself, “What emotion is my spouse experiencing?” When you think you have the answer, confirm it. For example, “It sounds to me like you are feeling disappointed because I forgot.”

One way to learn new patterns is to establish a daily sharing time in which each of you will talk about three things that happened to you that day and how you feel about them. Chapman calls this the “Minimum Daily Requirement” for a healthy marriage.

The essential ingredients in a quality activity are:

At least one of you wants to do it

The other is willing to do it

Both of you know why you are doing it—to express love by being together.

A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or, “She remembered me.”

Physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give if your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts.

By acts of service, Chapman mean doing things you know your spouse would like you to do.

Love is a choice and cannot be coerced.

Each of us must decide daily to love or not to love our spouses. If we choose to love, then expressing it in the way in which our spouse requests will make our love most effective emotionally.

People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need.

Don’t make the mistake of believing that the touch that brings pleasure to you will also bring pleasure to her.

A common mistake many men make is assuming that physical touch is their primary love language because they desire sexual intercourse so intensely.

Most sexual problems in marriage have little to do with physical technique but everything to do with meeting emotional needs.

If your deepest pain is the critical, judgmental words of your spouse, then perhaps your love language is words of affirmation.

Chapman suggests three ways to discover your own primary love language:

What does your spouse do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply? The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language.

What have you most often requested of your spouse? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved.

In what way do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that that would also make you feel loved.

Almost never do two people fall in love on the same day, and almost never do they fall out of love on the same day. Chapman calls this “The disequilibrium of the ‘in-love’ experience.”

Love is not the answer to everything, but it creates a climate of security in which we can seek answers to those things that bother us.

Can emotional love be reborn in a marriage? You bet. The key is to learn the primary love language of your spouse and choose to speak it.


How does your spouse respond when you try to show affection?

On a scale of 0–10, how full is your love tank?

Can you pinpoint a time in your marriage when “reality” set in? How did this affect your relationship, for better or worse?

What would you most like to hear your spouse say to you?

What in your marriage detracts from spending quality time?

Reflect on ways to give gifts even if finances are tight.

Many acts of service will involve household chores, but not all. What are some non-chore ways of serving your mate?

Recall some non-sexual “touching times” that enhanced intimacy between the two of you.

Do you think by now you have a good sense of what your spouse’s love language is? How about them for you? What more could you do to explore this?

A key thought here is the idea of speaking our mate’s love language whether or not it is natural for us. Why is this so fundamental to a healthy marriage?

What does your spouse do to make you feel more “significant”? How about what you do for them?

Recommended Reading

If you like The 5 Love Languages, you may also enjoy the following books:

Awaken The Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny by Anthony Robbins

Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

Buy this book

Print | Kindle | Audiobook

You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney

Categories Business, Personal growthPosted on

We have no clue why you act the way we do, choose the things we choose or think the thoughts we think

Our errors in thinking are caused by cognitive biases, heuristics, and logical fallacies

We can better deal with these biases once we understand them

The Five Big Ideas

  • We think we know how the world works, but we really don’t
  • We narratives to explain why we do what we do
  • Cognitive biases are predictable patterns of thought and behavior that lead us to draw incorrect conclusions
  • Heuristics are mental shortcuts we use to solve common problems
  • Logical fallacies are like maths problems involving language, in which you skip a stepor get turned around without realizing it

“There is a growing body of work coming out of psychology and cognitive science that says you have no clue why you act the way you do, choose the things you choose or think the thoughts you think.”

“From the greatest scientist to the most humble artisan, every brain within every body is infested with preconceived notions and patterns of thought that lead it astray without the brain knowing it.”

“You are naturally hindered into thinking in certain ways and not others, and the world around you is the product of dealing with these biases, not overcoming them.”

“Cognitive biases are predictable patterns of thought and behavior that lead you to draw incorrect conclusions.”

“Heuristics are mental shortcuts you use to solve common problems. They speed up processing in the brain, but sometimes make you think so fast you miss what is important.”

“Logical fallacies are like maths problems involving language, in which you skip a step or get turned around without realizing it … They are arguments in your mind where you reach a conclusion without all the facts because you don’t care to hear them or have no idea how limited your information is.”

“Logical fallacies can also be the result of wishful thinking.”

1. Priming

Priming is when a stimulus in the past affects the way you behave and think or the way you perceive another stimulus later on. (Sam: Dan Ariely discusses priming at length in his book, Predictably Irrational.)

“Priming works best when you are on autopilot when you aren’t trying to consciously introspect before choosing how to behave.”

“You can’t self-prime, not directly. Priming has to be unconscious; more specifically, it has to happen within what psychologists refer to as the adaptive unconscious—a place largely inaccessible.”

Often, we are unaware of how unaware we are.

“Priming works only if you aren’t aware of it, and those who depend on priming to put food on the table work very hard to keep their influence hidden.”

“You are most open to suggestion when your mental cruise control is on or when you find yourself in unfamiliar circumstances.”

2. Confabulation

Confabulation describes our tendency to ignore our motivations and create fictional narratives to explain our decisions, emotions, and history without realizing it. 

3. Confirmation Bias

“When the frequency illusion goes from a passive phenomenon to an active pursuit, that’s when you start to experience confirmation bias.”

Confirmation bias occurs when you perceive the world through a filter, thinking selectively.

Put simply, you want to be right about how you see the world, so you seek out information that confirms your beliefs and avoid contradictory evidence and opinions.

“People like to be told what they already know.”

4. Hindsight Bias

We often look back on the things we’ve just learned and assume we knew them or believed them all along. This is known as hindsight bias.

“You are always looking back at the person you used to be, always reconstructing the story of your life to better match the person you are today.”

“Hindsight bias is a close relative of the availability heuristic.”

“The availability heuristic shows you make decisions and think thoughts based on the information you have at hand while ignoring all the other information that might be out there.”

“You do the same thing with Hindsight Bias, by thinking thoughts and making decisions based on what you know now, not what you used to know.”

5. The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy

“Picking out clusters of coincidence is a predictable malfunction of normal human logic.”

“If hindsight bias and confirmation bias had a baby, it would be the Texas sharpshooter fallacy.”

“Anywhere people are searching for meaning, you will see the Texas sharpshooter fallacy.”

“You commit the Texas sharpshooter fallacy when you need a pattern to provide meaning, to console you, to lay blame.”

6. Procrastination

“Procrastination is all about choosing want over should because you don’t have a plan for those times when you can expect to be tempted.”

“Faced with two possible rewards, you are more likely to take the one that you can enjoy now over one you will enjoy later—even if the later reward is far greater.”

“One of the best ways to see how bad you are at coping with procrastination is to notice how you deal with deadlines.”

“If you fail to believe you will procrastinate or become idealistic about how awesome you are at working hard and managing your time, you never develop a strategy for outmaneuvering your own weakness.”

“You must be adept at thinking about thinking to defeat yourself at procrastination.”

The trick to overcoming procrastination is to accept that the now-you will not be the person facing those choices, it will be the future-you—a person who can’t be trusted. Future-you will give in, and then you’ll go back to being now-you and feel weak and ashamed. Now-you must trick future-you into doing what is right for both parties.

7. Normalcy Bias

“No matter what you encounter in life, your first analysis of any situation is to see it in the context of what is normal for you and then compare and contrast the new information against what you know usually happens … Because of this, you have a tendency to interpret strange and alarming situations as if they were just part of business as usual.”

“In any perilous event, like a sinking ship or a towering inferno, a shooting rampage or a tornado, there is a chance you will become so overwhelmed by the perilous overflow of ambiguous information that you will do nothing at all.”

“Normalcy bias is stalling during a crisis and pretending everything will continue to be as fine and predictable as it was before.”

8. Introspection

The origin of certain emotional states is unavailable to you, and when pressed to explain them, you will just make something up. This is called the introspection illusion.

9. The Availability Heuristic

The availability heuristic describes our tendency to react more rapidly and to a greater degree when considering information you are familiar with.

“The old adage ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ is the availability heuristic at work.”’

“It’s simply easier to believe something if you are presented with examples than it is to accept something presented in numbers or abstract facts.”

10. The Bystander Effect

The more people who witness a person in distress, the less likely it is that any one person will help. This is known as the bystander effect.

“Whether it is to donate blood, assist someone in changing a tire, drop money into a performer’s coffers, or stop a fight—people rush to help once they see another person leading by example.”

11. The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Here’s how McRaney describes the Dunning-Kruger Effect

The more skilled you are, the more practice you’ve put in, the more experience you have, the better you can compare yourself to others. As you strive to improve, you begin to better understand where you need work. You start to see the complexity and nuance; you discover masters of your craft and compare yourself to them and see where you are lacking. On the other hand, the less skilled you are, the less practice you’ve put in, and the fewer experiences you have, the worse you are at comparing yourself to others on certain tasks. Your peers don’t call you out because they know as little as you do, or they don’t want to hurt your feelings.

“If you want to be great at something, you have to practice, and then you have to sample the work of people who have been doing it for their whole lives.”

12. Apophenia

“Coincidences are a routine part of life, even the seemingly miraculous ones. Any meaning applied to them comes from your mind. This is known a apophenia.”

13. Brand Loyalty

“You prefer the things you own because you rationalize your past choices to protect your sense of self. This is called brand loyalty.”

14. The Argument from Authority

“When you see the opinions of some people as better than others on the merit of their status or training alone, you are arguing from authority.”

15. The Argument from Ignorance

The argument from ignorance is when you decide something is true or false because you can’t find evidence to the contrary.

“You don’t know what the truth is, so you assume any explanation is as good as another.”

16. The Straw Man Fallacy

“When you get into an argument about either something personal or something more public and abstract, you sometimes resort to constructing a character who you find easier to refute, argue, and disagree with, or you create a position the other person isn’t even suggesting or defending.”

“Any time someone begins an attack with ‘So you’re saying we should all just . . .’ or ‘Everyone knows . . . ,’ you can bet a straw man is coming.”

17. The Ad Hominem Fallacy

“When you assume someone is incorrect based on who that person is or what group he or she belongs to, you have committed the ad hominem fallacy.”

18. The Just-World Fallacy

“When you hear about a situation you hope never happens to you, you tend to blame the victim, not because you are a terrible person but because you want to believe you are smart enough to avoid the same fate.”

“It is common in fiction for the bad guys to lose and the good guys to win. This is how you would like to see the world—just and fair. In psychology, the tendency to believe that this is how the real world works is called the just-world fallacy.”

“You want the world to be fair, so you pretend it is.”

19. The Public Goods Game

“The public goods game suggests regulation through punishment discourages slackers.”

20. The Ultimatum Game

“When it comes to making a deal, you base your decision on your status.”

21. Subjective Validation

“You are prone to believing vague statements and predications are true, especially if they are positive and address you personally.”

“The tendency to believe vague statements designed to appeal to just about anyone is called the Forer effect, and psychologists point to this phenomenon to explain why people fall for pseudoscience like biorhythms, iridology, and phrenology, or mysticism like astrology, numerology, and tarot cards.”

The Forer effect is part of a larger phenomenon psychologists refer to as subjective validation, which is a fancy way of saying you are far more vulnerable to suggestion when the subject of the conversation is you.

22. Cult Indoctrination

“Cults are populated by people just like you.”

“The research on cults suggests you don’t usually join for any particular reason; you just sort of fall into them the way you fall into any social group.”

23. Groupthink

“The desire to reach consensus and avoid confrontation hinders progress.”

“For a group to make good decisions, they must allow dissent and convince everyone they are free to speak their mind without risk of punishment.”

“True groupthink depends on three conditions—a group of people who like one another, isolation, and a deadline for a crucial decision.”

“When groups get together to make a decision, an illusion of invulnerability can emerge in which everyone feels secure in the cohesion. You begin to rationalize other people’s ideas and don’t reconsider your own. You want to defend the group’s cohesion from all harm, so you suppress doubts, you don’t argue, you don’t offer alternatives—and since everyone is doing this, the leader of the group falsely assumes everyone is in agreement.”

24. Supernormal Releasers

A supernormal releaser is an exaggerated version of a stimulus to which there is an existing response tendency, or any stimulus that elicits a response more strongly than the stimulus for which it evolved.

25. The Affect Heuristic

“The tendency to make poor decisions and ignore odds in favor of your gut feelings is called the affect heuristic.”

“The affect heuristic is one way you rapidly come to a conclusion about new information.”

“When first impressions linger and influence how you feel about second, third, and fourth impressions, you are being befuddled by the affect heuristic.”

26. Dunbar’s Number

“You can maintain relationships and keep up with only around 150 people at once.”

27. Selling Out

“Both consumerism and capitalism are driven by competition among consumers for status.”

“Poor people compete with resources. The middle class competes with selection. The wealthy compete with possessions.”

28. Self-Serving Bias

“You excuse your failures and see yourself as more successful, more intelligent and more skilled than you are.”

“When things are going your way, you attribute everything to your amazing skills, but once the tide turns, you look for external factors that prevented your genius from shining through.”

“You don’t believe you are an average person, but you do believe everyone else is. This tendency, which springs from self-serving bias, is called the illusory superiority effect.”

29. The Spotlight Effect

“People devote little attention to you unless prompted to.”

30. The Third Person

“For every outlet of information, there are some who see it as dangerous not because it affects them, but because it might affect the thoughts and opinions of an imaginary third party. This sense of alarm about the impact of speech not on yourself but on others is called the third person effect.”

“The third person effect is a version of the self-serving bias. You excuse your failures and see yourself as more successful, more intelligent, and more skilled than you are.”

31. Catharsis

“Venting increases aggressive behavior over time”

“If you think catharsis is good, you are more likely to seek it out when you get pissed. When you vent, you stay angry and are more likely to keep doing aggressive things so you can keep venting.”

32. The Misinformation Effect

“Memories are constructed anew each time from whatever information is currently available, which makes them highly permeable to influencers from the present.”

33. Conformity

“It takes little more than an authority figure or social pressure to get you to obey, because conformity is a survival instinct.”

34. Extinction Burst

“Anytime you quit something cold turkey, your brain will make a last-ditch effort to return you to your habit.”

“Your brain didn’t evolve in an environment where there was an abundance of food, so whenever you find a high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium source, your natural inclination is to eat a lot of it and then go back to it over and over again. If you take away a reward like that, your brain throws a tantrum.”

“There are two kinds of conditioning—classical and operant. In classical conditioning, something that normally doesn’t have any influence becomes a trigger for a response. Operant conditioning changes your desires. Your inclinations become greater through reinforcement, or diminish through punishment.”

“When you expect a reward or a punishment and nothing happens, your conditioned response starts to fade away.”

35. Social Loafing

“Once part of a group, you tend to put in less effort because you know your work will be pulled together with others’.”

36. The Illusion of Transparency

“You know what you are feeling and thinking, and you tend to believe those thoughts and emotions are leaking out of your pores, visible to the world, perceivable to the outside.”

“When your emotions take over, when your own mental state becomes the focus of your attention, your ability to gauge what other people are experiencing gets muted.”

37. Learned Helplessness

“If you feel like you aren’t in control of your destiny, you will give up and accept whatever situation you are in.”

“If, over the course of your life, you have experienced crushing defeat or pummeling abuse or loss of control, you convince yourself over time that there is no escape, and if escape is offered, you will not act—you become a nihilist who trusts futility above optimism.”

38. Embodied Cognition

“You translate your physical world into words, and then believe those words.”

39. The Anchoring Effect

“Your first perception lingers in your mind, affecting later perceptions and decisions.”

“You depend on anchoring every day to predict the outcome of events, to estimate how much time something will take or how much money something will cost. When you need to choose between options, or estimate a value, you need footing to stand on.”

40. Attention

“Psychologists call missing information in plain sight inattentional blindness.”

“Your attention is like a spotlight, and only the illuminated portions of the world appear in your perception.”

“Your perception is built out of what you attend to.”

“The problem with inattentional blindness is not that it happens so often, it’s that you don’t believe it happens.”

“The fraternal twin of inattentional blindness is change blindness. The brain can’t keep up with the total amount of information coming in from your eyes, and so your experience from moment to moment is edited for simplicity.”

“The more your attention is engaged, the less you expect something out of the ordinary and the less prone you are to see it even when lives could be at stake.”

41. Self-Handicapping

“You often creation conditions for failure ahead of time to protect your ego.”

“Self-handicapping is a reality negotiation, an unconscious manipulation, of both your perceptions and those of others, that you use to protect your ego.”

“Self-handicapping behaviors are investments in a future reality in which you can blame your failure on something other than your ability.”

“Men use self-handicapping more than women to assuage their fears of failure.”

“Whenever you venture into uncharted waters with failure as a distinct possibility, your anxiety will be lowered every time you see a new way to blame possible failure on forces beyond your control.”

42. Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

“Just believing a future event will happen can cause it to happen if the event depends on human behavior.”

“The future is the result of actions, and actions are the result of behavior, and behavior is the result of prediction. This is called the Thomas Theorem.”

“What was once false becomes true, and in hindsight it seems as if it always was.”

“When you fear you will confirm a negative stereotype, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy not because the stereotype is true, but because you can’t stop worrying that you could become an example proving it.”

“If you want a better job, a better marriage, a better teacher, a better friend—you have to act as if the thing you want out of the other person is already headed your way.”

“A negative outlook will lead to negative predictions, and you will start to unconsciously manipulate your environment to deliver those predictions.”

43. The Moment

“You are multiple selves, and happiness depends on satisfying all of them”

44. Consistency Bias

“Unless you consciously keep tabs on your progress, you assume the way you feel now is the way you have always felt.”

“One of the stranger facets of consistency bias is how it can be evoked on the spot.”

“Consistency bias is part of your overall desire to reduce the discomfort of cognitive dissonance, the emotions you feel when noticing that you are of two minds on one issue.”

45. The Representativeness Heuristic

“You jump to conclusions based on how representative a person seems to be of a preconceived character type.”

“When it comes to strangers, your first instinct is to fit them into archetypes to quickly determine their value or threat.”

“The representativeness heuristic helps fuel several other cognitive missteps, like the conjunction fallacy.”

“The conjunction fallacy builds on your representativeness heuristic. The more things you hear about which match your mental models, the more likely they seem.”

“Representativeness heuristics are useful, but also dangerous. They can help you avoid danger and seek help, but they can also lead to generalizations and prejudices.”

46. Expectation

“Wine experts and consumers can be fooled by altering their expectations.”

47. The Illusion of Control

“You often believe you have control over outcomes that are either random or too complex to predict.”

48. The Fundamental Attribution Error

“Other people’s behavior is more the result of the situation than their disposition.”

“When you are at a restaurant, you have a hard time seeing through to the personality of the server. You place blame and assume you are dealing with a slacker. Sometimes you are right, but often you are committing the fundamental attribution error.”

“When you don’t know much about a person, when you haven’t had a chance to get to know him or her, you have a tendency to turn the person into a character. You lean on archetypes and stereotypes culled from experience and fantasy. Even though you know better, you still do it.”

“According to psychologist Harold Kelly, when you conjure an attribution for someone else’s actions, you consider consistency.”

“When you can’t check for consistency, you blame people’s behavior on their personality.”

“You commit the fundamental attribution error by believing other people’s actions burgeon from the sort of people they are and have nothing to do with the setting.”

“When you interpret your loved one’s coldness as his or her indifference to your wants and needs instead of as a reaction to stress at work or problems ricocheting in your loved one’s own heart, you’ve committed the fundamental attribution error.”

“The fundamental attribution error leads to labels and assumptions about who people are, but remember first impressions are mostly incorrect.”

Recommended Reading

If you like You Are Not So Smart, you may also enjoy the following books:

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Persuading, Convincing, and Influencing Others by Daniel H Pink

Buy The Book: You Are Not So Smart

Print | Hardcover | Audiobook

Spark by Dr. Jeremy Dean

Categories Business, Personal growthPosted on

Thinking back to one single previous bout of exercise motivates people to raise their exercise levels in the future.

“One of the best ways of getting going is to set yourself some ‘If…then’’ statements.”

“People generate higher intrinsic motivation when they ask themselves questions.”

The Five Big Ideas

“Try to imagine some of the consequences of not trying hard to complete your project. How will you feel if you give up? What will it mean to other people? How much will you regret it in the future?”

“Psychologists have found that people will go to quite incredible lengths to protect their own self-esteem.”

“Identity changes are not just the result of increased motivation, they can also feed your motivation.”

“One important key to imagining your future self is to think of the process as a journey.”

“Monitoring progress consistently emerges from studies as key to making progress towards a goal.”

Spark Summary

Step 1. Identify your starting point

Step 2. Discover the change you want

Step 3. Identify powerful internal and external motivations

Step 4. Modelling

Step 5. Getting Started

Step 6. Self-affirmation

Step 7. The backup plan

Step 8. Engage other people (or not)

Step 9. Self-compassion

Step 10. A good mood

Step 11. Envy

Step 12. Fear

Step 13. Anger

Step 14. Avoid self-handicapping

Step 15. Finding your individual motivation

Step 16. Journey towards a new identity

Step 17. The review

One popular model of change used by psychologists has five different phrases:

Pre-contemplation. You are not even considering making any changes.

Contemplation. You are at least considering a change.

Determination. Your plans for action are coming along but you haven’t put them into action yet.

Action. You are already part way through making a change.

Maintenance. You are trying to make the change permanent.

Ask yourself: “What would be the advantages and disadvantages of making this change?”

At the heart of intrinsic motivation lie three factors, according to Professors Richard Ryan and Edward Deci, the theory’s authors:

Competence. We want to be good at something—but it needs to be something we find just hard enough. Things that are too easy don’t give us a sense of competence.

Autonomy. We want to be free and dislike being controlled. When people have some freedom—even within certain non-negotiable boundaries—they are more likely to thrive.

Relatedness. As social animals, we want to feel connected to other people.

“When we see someone take a particular series of action and achieve the desired goal, it gives us hope we can do the same.” (Matthew Syed also touches upon “motivation by association” in Bounce)

“Modeling can give us hope that we can learn, as long as we choose someone who is similar enough to ourselves.”

“Studies have shown that just thinking back to one single previous bout of exercise motivates people to raise their exercise levels in the future.”

“One of the best ways of getting going is to set yourself some ‘If…then’ statements.”

“Turning a self-affirmation into a question is better than simply using a statement, research reveals.” (This study is also referenced in To Sell Is Human by Dan H. Pink.)

“People generate higher intrinsic motivation when they ask themselves questions.” (See: “Quality Questions” in Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins.)

“Backup plans can actually help feed our motivation for our main plan.”

“What feeds our motivation is knowing that we have a good chance of achieving the goal.”

“Under experimental conditions, it is the people with backup plans that have more motivation for their task.”

“The experiments do reveal one twist in the tail, though. As people get close to their goal, creating backup plans starts to demotivate them.”

“One study of joining online social networks has even found that these can be beneficial in pumping up motivation ”

Here are three psychological strategies you might use to deal with despair:

Self-esteem boost. Think about positive aspects of the self to boost confidence.

Positive distraction. Think back to nice memories from the problem.

Self-compassion. Think about the self with kindness and compassion, seeing the period of low self-confidence in context, without evaluating or judging it.

People who practice self-compassion find it easier to:

See the possibilities for change

Increase the motivation to change

Take steps towards making a change

Compare themselves with those doing better, to help motivate their change

“When we are actually doing something we care a lot more about how it feels than when we are not doing it.”

“One of the most useful aspects of a positive mood is it tends to make us feel more confident in our own abilities.”

“There are at least two types of envy: malicious envy and benign envy.”

“When another’s success feels served to us, we tend to feel a benign envy: one that is not destructive.”

“What need cultivating is a kind of benign fear of what might happen if you fail to at least try and achieve your goal or complete your project.” (See: “Pain/Pleasure” in Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins)

“Try to imagine some of the consequences of not trying hard to complete your project. How will you feel if you give up? What will it mean to other people? How much will you regret it in the future?”

“Research has shown that anger can make us push on towards our goals in the face of problems and barriers.”

“Studies find that anger makes people more motivated for rewards.”

“Whatever the source of the anger, it needs to be channeled in a positive and constructive way.”

“Psychologists have found that people will go to quite incredible lengths to protect their own self-esteem.”

“The first step in avoiding self-handicapping is noticing and cutting out the most obvious self-defeating behaviors, like not trying very hard.”

Think of a setback that you’ve experienced and ask yourself these two questions:

Can I take responsibility for the setback (rather than blaming someone else)?

Can I accept a poor outcome for what it is rather than trying to rationalize it away? This may hurt now but will produce greater motivation to change in the future.

“It may not be until you make some progress towards your goal that your real motivations become clear.”

“If we make steady progress, then slowly, almost imperceptibly, our self-image starts to change.”

“Identity changes are not just the result of increased motivation, they can also feed your motivation.”

“Research suggests that thinking about who you want to be in the future can increase optimism and motivation.”

“One important key to imagining your future self is to think of the process as a journey.”

“Monitoring progress consistently emerges from studies as key to making progress towards a goal.”

Recommended Reading

If you like Spark, you may also like the following books:

Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice by Matthew Syed

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Persuading, Convincing, and Influencing Others by Daniel H Pink

Buy The Book: Spark


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The Good Life Handbook by Epictetus

Categories PhilosphyPosted on

There are things over which we have complete control and things over which we have no control at all.

If you think you can control things over which you have no control, then you will be hindered and disturbed.

If you desire and avoid only those things that are under your control, then you will not feel victimized by things you dislike.

The Five Big Ideas

  • Focus on the things over which you have control.
  • Welcome everything that happens in life.
  • You have all the resources you need to overcome challenges.
  • You cannot lose anything you don’t own, to begin with.
  • Always conduct yourself as though you are at a formal dinner.

To achieve freedom and happiness, you need to understand that some things in life are under your control, and others are not.

What things are under your total control? What you believe, what you desire or hate, and what you are attracted to or avoid.

If you think you can control things over which you have no control, then you will be hindered and disturbed.

If you desire and avoid only those things that are under your control, then you will not feel victimized by things you dislike. But if you resent unavoidable things like illness, misfortune, or death, that are not under your control, you are headed for disappointment.

Select carefully what you want to choose and what you want to refuse. Be disciplined and detached while making the choice.

When you kiss your spouse or child, remind yourself that it is a mortal that you are kissing. Then you won’t be too distraught should they be taken from you.

When you blame others for your negative feelings, you are being ignorant. When you blame yourself for your negative feelings, you are making progress. You are being wise when you stop blaming yourself or others.

Don’t wish for things to happen the way you would like them to. Rather, welcome whatever happens. This is the path to peace, freedom, and happiness.

If you practice attributing the correct source to problems you face, whatever happens, you will soon find that nothing that happens outside of you pertains to you.

Remember that for every challenge you face, you have the resources within you to cope with that challenge.

You cannot really lose anything because you don’t own anything in the first place.

Think of all the things you have as things entrusted to you and you are free to enjoy them for a while.

What you lose is what you pay for your peace of mind.

To make progress, you should be able to accept being seen as ignorant or naïve.

You cannot be in agreement with nature and, at the same time, care about things outside your control.

Always conduct yourself as though you are at a formal dinner.

Like an accomplished actor, you need to perform the role assigned to you in life skillfully.

People with more prestige, power, or some other distinction are not necessarily happier because of what they have.

When someone provokes you, if you respond with anger or some other negative emotion, your mind is tricked into believing you are being harmed. So it is essential not to respond to impressions impulsively. Take some time before reacting. You will see you are in better control.

Whenever you face difficult situations in life, remember the prospect of death and other major tragedies that can and do happen to people. You will see that, compared to death, none of the things you face in life is important enough to worry about.

If you decide to live by lofty principles, be prepared to be laughed at by others.

You compromise your integrity when you seek outside approval.

We need to accept what happens to us in the same spirit as we expect others to accept their lot.

Remember how wisely you understand when others face unfortunate situations. Apply the same wisdom when something unfortunate happens to you. Learn to accept whatever happens.

If your body was turned over to someone else, you would be ashamed and outraged. Should you not be equally ashamed when you turn over your mind to others so they can control it?

When you are about to undertake a project, consider not only what is involved now but what it would involve later.

No one can hurt you unless you let them. You are hurt the moment you believe you are.

The labels good and bad apply only to things under your control. If you consider anything beyond your control as good or bad, you will fail to get what you want and get what you don’t want.

When something looks pleasurable, don’t get carried away by that impression. Take a minute and let it sink in. Then consider its effect at the time you experience pleasure and later. Will you still be happy or will you regret having indulged in something that’s not good for you? Think about how good you would feel if you controlled yourself instead of being swayed by your first impression.

Take extra care to make sure you are not pushed around by the seductiveness of impressions. Think about how much better you will feel if you exercise self-control.

When you decide to do something you believe to be right, don’t let others stop you, even if a majority of people disapprove of it.

Don’t undertake to do things that are beyond your means.

As you are careful not to step on a sharp object or sprain your ankle, so you should take care not to do any injury to your character. If you exercise caution when you act, you are less likely to damage your character.

While you should take care of your body, you should spend most of your time taking care of your mind.

When someone criticizes you, they do so because they believe they are right. They can only go by their views, not yours. If their views are wrong, it is they who will suffer the consequences. Keeping this in mind, treat your critics with compassion. When you are tempted to get back at them, remind yourself, “They did what seemed to them to be the right thing to do.”

Unless you know their reasons for their actions how can you be sure of your negative judgment of them? Not judging others too quickly will save you from misperceiving their actions.

If you have chosen a simple life, don’t make a show of it. If you want to practice simplicity, do so quietly and for yourself, not for others.

Once you undertake to do something, stick with it and treat it as something that should be carried through. Don’t pay attention to what people say. It should not influence you in any way.

Decide that you are an adult, and you are going to devote the rest of your life to making progress. Stick closely to what is best. If you are distracted by pleasure or pain, glory or disrepute, realize that the time is now. The game has started and waiting any further is not an option. Win or lose will be decided today. Use reason to meet every challenge.

Recommended Reading- Ifyou like The Good Life Handbook, you may also enjoy the following books:

A Guide to The Good Life by William B. Irvine

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday

Buy The Book: The Good Life Handbook

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The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

Categories PhilosphyPosted on

Stoicismis a ‘tool’ for living a good life.TheStoics asserted virtue (self-control, courage, justice, and wisdom) ishappiness.

It is our perception of things that cause most of our trouble.

The Five Big Ideas

  • Stoicismis founded on three critical disciplines: (1) the discipline of perception, (2)the discipline of action, and (3) the discipline of will.
  • “Thesingle most important practice in Stoic philosophy is differentiating betweenwhat we can change and what we can’t.”
  • TheSeven Clear Functions of The Mind: (1) Choice (2) Refusal (3) Yearning (4)Repulsion (5) Preparation (6) Purpose (7) Assent
  • Beforemaking a decision, stay poised and remember the purpose and principles youvalue most.
  • TheFour Habits of The Stoic Mind: (1) accept only what is true (2) work for thecommon good (2) match our needs and wants with what is in our control (4)embrace what nature has in store for us.

The Stoics framed their work around a series of exercises in three critical disciplines:

The Discipline of Perception. How we see and perceive the world around us

The Discipline of Action. The decisions and actions we take—and to what end

The Discipline of Will. How we deal with the things we cannot change, attain clear and convincing judgment, and come to a true understanding of our place in the world

“The Stoics were pioneers of the morning and nightly rituals: preparation in the morning, reflection in the evening.”

“The single most important practice in Stoic philosophy is differentiating between what we can change and what we can’t.”

“Education—reading and meditating on the wisdom of great minds—is not to be done for its own sake. It has a purpose.”

“Knowledge—self-knowledge in particular—is freedom.”

“One of the hardest things to do in life is to say ‘No.’”

“The more you say no to the things that don’t matter, the more you can say yes to the things that do.”

“The following little reminder sums up the three most essential parts of Stoic philosophy worth carrying with you every day, into every decision: Control your perceptions. Direct your actions properly. Willingly accept what’s outside your control.”

“Having an end in mind is no guarantee that you’ll reach it—no Stoic would tolerate that assumption—but not having an end in mind is a guarantee you won’t.”

“Have you taken the time to get clarity about who you are and what you stand for?”

Seven Clear Functions of The Mind:

Choice—to do and think right

Refusal—of temptation

Yearning—to be better

Repulsion—of negativity, of bad influences, of what isn’t true

Preparation—for what lies ahead or whatever may happen

Purpose—our guiding principle and highest priority

Assent—to be free of deception about what’s inside and outside our control (and be ready to accept the latter)

“You must reclaim the ability to abstain because within it is your clarity and self-control.”

“You don’t control the situation, but you control what you think about it.”

“All we have is our own mind.”

“If you want to be steady, if you want clarity, proper judgment is the best way.”

“Serenity and stability are results of your choices and judgment, not your environment.”

“This morning, remind yourself of what is in your control and what’s not in your control. Before lunch, remind yourself that the only thing you truly possess is your ability to make choices (and to use reason and judgment when doing so). In the afternoon, remind yourself that aside from the choices you make, your fate is not entirely up to you. In the evening, remind yourself again how much is outside of your control and where your choices begin and end. As you lie in bed, remember that sleep is a form of surrender and trust and how easily it comes.”

“A wise person knows what’s inside their circle of control and what is outside of it.”

“According to the Stoics, the circle of control contains just one thing: YOUR MIND.”

“Philosophy is simply asking us to pay careful attention and to strive to be more than a pawn.”

“Find what you do out of rote memory or routine. Ask yourself: Is this really the best way to do it? Know why you do what you do—do it for the right reasons.”

“There is clarity (and joy) in seeing what others can’t see, in finding grace and harmony in places others overlook.”

“Whoever we are, wherever we are—what matters is our choices. What are they? How will we evaluate them? How will we make the most of them? Those are the questions life asks us, regardless of our station.”

“What happened yesterday—what happened five minutes ago—is the past. We can reignite and restart whenever we like.”

Ask yourself, “What bad habit did I curb today? How am I better? Were my actions just? How can I improve?”

“The more things we desire and the more we have to do to earn or attain those achievements, the less we actually enjoy our lives—and the less free we are.”

“Try to remember that when you find yourself getting mad. Anger is not impressive or tough—it’s a mistake. It’s weakness. Depending on what you’re doing, it might even be a trap that someone laid for you.”

“Today, when you find yourself getting anxious, ask yourself: Why are my insides twisted into knots? Am I in control here or is my anxiety? And most important: Is my anxiety doing me any good?”

“The next time you are afraid of some supposedly disastrous outcome, remember that if you don’t control your impulses, if you lose your self-control, you may be the very source of the disaster you so fear.”

“The next time you find yourself in the middle of a freakout, or moaning and groaning with flu-like symptoms, or crying tears of regret, just ask: Is this actually making me feel better? Is this actually relieving any of the symptoms I wish were gone?”

“Practice the ability of having absolutely no thoughts about something—act as if you had no idea it ever occurred. Or that you’ve never heard of it before. Let it become irrelevant or nonexistent to you. It’ll be a lot less powerful this way.”

“Locate that yearning for more, better, someday and see it for what it is: the enemy of your contentment.”

“Ask yourself: Is [my vice] really worth it? Is it really that pleasurable? Consider that when you crave something or contemplate indulging in a ‘harmless’ vice.”

“What we desire makes us vulnerable.”

“Whether it’s an opportunity to travel the world or to be the president or for five minutes of peace and quiet, when we pine for something, when we hope against hope, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Because fate can always intervene and then we’ll likely lose our self-control in response.”

“When it comes to your goals and the things you strive for, ask yourself: Am I in control of them or they in control of me?”

“It’s easy to act—to just dive in. It’s harder to stop, to pause, to think: No, I’m not sure I need to do that yet. I’m not sure I am ready.”

“We should enjoy this brief time we have on earth—not be enslaved to emotions that make us miserable and dissatisfied.”

“Focus. Prioritize. Train your mind to ask: Do I need this thing? What will happen if I do not get it? Can I make do without it? The answers to these questions will help you relax, help you cut out all the needless things that make you busy—too busy to be balanced or happy.”

“One becomes a philosopher when they begin to exercise their guiding reason and start to question the emotions and beliefs and even language that others take for granted.”

“Don’t fear self-assessment because you’re worried you might have to admit some things about yourself.”

“We underestimate our capabilities just as much and just as dangerously as we overestimate other abilities.”

“Cultivate the ability to judge yourself accurately and honestly. Look inward to discern what you’re capable of and what it will take to unlock that potential.”

“As you walk past your possessions today, ask yourself: Do I need this? Is it superfluous? What’s this actually worth? What is it costing me?”

“Ego and self-deception are the enemies of the things we wish to have because we delude ourselves into believing that we already possess them.”

“When we experience success, we must make sure that it doesn’t change us—that we continue to maintain our character despite the temptation not to.”

“We lose very little by taking a beat to consider our own thoughts. Is this really so bad? What do I really know about this person? Why do I have such strong feelings here? Is anxiety really adding much to the situation? What’s so special about __________?”

On fighting biases and preconceptions: “Ask yourself: “What haven’t I considered? Why is this thing the way it is? Am I part of the problem here or the solution? Could I be wrong here? Be doubly careful to honor what you do not know, and then set that against the knowledge you actually have.”

“Your attention is one of your most critical resources. Don’t squander it!”

“To be rational today, we have to do just three things: First, we must look inward. Next, we must examine ourselves critically. Finally, we must make our own decisions—uninhibited by biases or popular notions.”

“When someone points out a legitimate flaw in your belief or in your actions, they’re not criticizing you. They’re presenting a better alternative.”

“When you catch an elbow or an unfair blow today, shake off the pain and remind yourself: I’m learning. My sparring partner is learning too. This is practice for both of us—that’s all. I know a bit more about him or her, and from my reaction, they’re going to learn a little bit more about me too.”

“When someone asks you what you did yesterday, do you really want the answer to be ‘nothing’?”

“How you handle today is how you’ll handle every day. How you handle this minute is how you’ll handle every minute.”

“What if, when it came to your reading and learning, you prioritized quality over quantity? What if you read the few great books deeply instead of briefly skimming all the new books?”

“Today, not tomorrow, is the day that we can start to be good.”

“Don’t spend much time thinking about what other people think. Think about what you think. Think instead about the results, about the impact, about whether it is the right thing to do.”

“Choose the right way, and watch as all these little things add up toward transformation.”

The First Two Things Before Acting:

“First, don’t get upset—because that will color your decision negatively and make it harder than it needs to be. Second, remember the purpose and principles you value most. Running potential actions through this filter will eliminate the bad choices and highlight the right ones.”

“Evaluate what you are doing, why you are doing it, and where accomplishing it will take you. If you don’t have a good answer, then stop.”

“Today, give yourself the most simple and doable of tasks: just don’t make stuff worse.”

“Whatever happens, don’t add angry or negative emotions to the equation. Don’t react for the sake of reacting. Leave it as it is. Stop digging. Then plan your way out.”

“You can ask anyone for help. You don’t have to face everything on your own.”

“The next time you face a political dispute or a personal disagreement, ask yourself: Is there any reason to fight about this? Is arguing going to help solve anything?”

“How you handle even minor adversity might seem like nothing, but, in fact, it reveals everything.”

“Every impediment can advance action in some form or another.”

“Today, don’t try to impose your will on the world. Instead see yourself as fortunate to receive and respond to the will in the world.”

Stoic joy is joy that comes from purpose, excellence, and duty.

“No matter what happens today, no matter where you find yourself, shift to what lies within your reasoned choices.”

“Silence is a way to build strength and self-sufficiency.”

“Our pursuits should be aimed at progress, however little that it’s possible for us to make.”

“Even one minute without playing the blame game is progress in the art of living.”

“If you give things more time and energy than they deserve, they’re no longer lesser things. You’ve made them important by the life you’ve spent on them.”

“There is no rule that says financial success must mean that you live beyond your means.”

“If you start something and right away feel yourself getting lazy and irritated, first ask yourself: Why am I doing this? If it really is a necessity, ask yourself: What’s behind my reluctance? Fear? Spite? Fatigue?”

“Your hidden power is your ability to use reason and make choices, however limited or small.”

“The Stoic does two things when encountering hatred or ill opinion in others. They ask: Is this opinion inside my control? If there is a chance for influence or change, they take it. But if there isn’t, they accept this person as they are (and never hate a hater).”

“The next time you make a donation to charity, don’t just think about the good turn you’re doing, but take a moment to consider that one day you may need to receive charity yourself.”

“Make yourself invulnerable to your dependency on comfort and convenience, or one day your vulnerability might bring you to your knees.”

“When we become successful, we forget how strong we used to be.”

“Remember today that you’d be OK if things suddenly went wrong.”

“No matter what’s happening to your body, no matter what the outside world inflicts on you, your mind can remain philosophical.”

“Self-awareness and wrongdoing rarely go together.”

“We go through our days responding and reacting, but it’s rare to really pause and ask: Is this thing I’m about to do consistent with what I believe? Or, better: Is this the kind of thing the person I would like to be should do?”

“When a bad habit reveals itself, counteract it with a commitment to a contrary virtue.”

“Goodness isn’t something that’s going to be delivered by mail. You have to dig it up inside your own soul. You find it within your own thoughts, and you make it with your own actions.”

On saying no to distractions: “Ask yourself: What is it that only I can do?”

“What is the best use of my limited time on this planet? Try to do the right thing when the situation calls for it. Treat other people the way you would hope to be treated. And understand that every small choice and tiny matter is an opportunity to practice these larger principles.”

“When you seek to advance your own position in life, character is the best lever—perhaps not in the short term, but certainly over the long term.”

“Instead of simply accepting what happens, [the Stoics] urge us to actually enjoy what has happened—whatever it is. Nietzsche, many centuries later, coined the perfect expression to capture this idea: amor fati (a love of fate). It’s not just accepting, it’s loving everything that happens.”

“No matter how much preparation, no matter how skilled or smart we are, the ultimate outcome is in the lap of the gods.”

“Acceptance isn’t passive. It’s the first step in an active process toward self-improvement.”

“To resent change is to wrongly assume that you have a choice in the matter.”

The Four Habits of The Stoic Mind:

Accept only what is true

Work for the common good

Match our needs and wants with what is in our control

Embrace what nature has in store for us

“Pretend that each event—whether desired or unexpected—was willed to happen, willed specifically for you.”



for a moment is the same as having it forever.”

Other Books by Ryan Holiday

Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

Recommended Reading

If you like The Daily Stoic, you may also enjoy the following books:

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World Book by Cal Newport

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Buy this book

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Wooden by John Wooden

Categories Management & LeadershipPosted on

Youmust know who you are and be true to who you are if you are going to be who you can and should become.

Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.

Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details.

The Five Big Ideas

  • You must know who you are and be true to who you are if you are going to be who you can and should become.
  • You cannot have a perfect day without helping others with no thought of getting something in return.
  • You have to apply yourself each day to become a little better.
  • If you sincerely try to do your best to make each day a masterpiece, angels can do no better.
  • Drink deeply from those great books of your own choosing and you will enrich yourself.

It took me a long time to understand that even a stubborn mule responds to gentleness.

Four things a man must learn to do if he wants to make his life true:

Think without confusion clearly

Love his fellow-man sincerely

Act from honest motives purely

Trust in God and Heaven securely.

Be true to yourself.

Help others.

Make each day your masterpiece.

Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.

Make friendship a fine art.

Build a shelter against a rainy day.

Pray for guidance and count and give thanks for your blessings every day.

You must know who you are and be true to who you are if you are going to be who you can and should become.

You cannot have a perfect day without helping others with no thought of getting something in return.

You have to apply yourself each day to become a little better.

If a player appeared to be taking it easy in practice, Wooden would tell him, “Don’t think you can make up for it by working twice as hard tomorrow. If you have it within your power to work twice as hard, why aren’t you doing it now?”

If you sincerely try to do your best to make each day a masterpiece, angels can do no better.

Drink deeply from those great books of your own choosing and you will enrich yourself.

Your faith, whatever it may be, is the greatest shelter of all.

So often we fail to acknowledge what we have because we’re so concerned about what we want.

It’s important to keep trying to do what you think is right no matter how hard it is or how often you fail. You never stop trying. I’m still trying.

Never believe you’re better than anybody else, but remember that you’re just as good as everybody else.

Very early we understood that there would be times when we disagreed but there would never be times when we had to be disagreeable.

Abraham Lincoln once said that the best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother.

The person you are is the person your child will become.

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Character is what you really are. Reputation is what people say you are.

Make the effort to do the best you are capable of doing—in marriage, at your job, in the community, for your country.

Perfection is what you are striving for, but perfection is an impossibility. However, striving for perfection is not an impossibility. Do the best you can under the conditions that exist. That is what counts.

“I tell people I definitely believe in God,” Wooden writes. “I just hope God believes in me.”

There’s nothing wrong with having faults so long as you work conscientiously to correct them.

People want to believe you are sincerely interested in them as persons, not just for what they can do for you.

True happiness comes from the things that cannot be taken away from you.

Wooden believe that things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.

You have little say over how big or how strong or how smart or rich someone else may be. You do have, at least you should have, control of yourself and the effort you give toward bringing out your best in whatever you’re doing. This effort must be total, and when it is, Wooden believes you have achieved personal success.

Try your hardest in all ways and you are a success. Period. Do less than that and you have failed to one degree or another.

Preparation is where success is truly found.

A successful journey becomes your destination and is where your real accomplishment lies.

Likewise, in Wooden’s coaching, he informed every player who came under his supervision that the outcome of a game was simply a by-product of the effort they made to prepare.

You never fail if you know in your heart that you did the best of which you are capable. I did my best. That is all I could do.

You always win when you make the full effort to do the best of which you’re capable.

You can make mistakes, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming others for those mistakes.

Do not become too concerned about what others may think of you. Be very concerned about what you think of yourself.

Goals should be difficult to achieve because those achieved with little effort are seldom appreciated, give little personal satisfaction, and are often not very worthwhile.

Mix idealism with realism and add hard work. This will often bring much more than you could ever hope for.

Understand there is a price to be paid for achieving anything of significance. You must be willing to pay the price.

The worthy opponent brings out the very best in you. This is thrilling.

Wooden told his athletes in basketball, “I don’t care if you are tall, but I do care if you play tall.” It’s just another way of saying that he judged them by the level of effort they gave to the team’s journey.

Perhaps you fret and think you can’t make a difference in the way things are. Wrong. You can make the biggest difference of all. You can change yourself. And when you do that you become a very powerful and important force—namely, a good role model.

Promise to give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

Don’t measure yourself by what you’ve accomplished, but rather by what you should have accomplished with your abilities.

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Leadership is the ability to get individuals to work together for the common good and the best possible results while at the same time letting them know they did it themselves.

Develop a love for details. They usually accompany success.

The four laws of learning are explanation, demonstration, imitation, and repetition.

People learn more effectively if given information in bite-size amounts rather than everything all at once.

There’s a difference between the journey and the inn.

Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.

Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details.

Buy this book

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