Want to Grow and Develop in the Face of Fear or Suffering ? Learn from the Sages and Modern Day Research

To be a growth orientated person is a skill that can be learned. It is the basic foundation that underlies what we mean when we speak of having a high IQ or EQ. When we develop the skill of a “Growth Mindset” we actually change the physical structure of the brain. This revelation is based on one of the most exciting scientific discoveries of the last twenty years: How we focus our attention shapes the structure of the brain. Neuroscience has also definitively shown that we can grow these new connections throughout our lives, not just in childhood.

Want to learn how to change personal habits and reach your goals for change even in difficult and painful circumstances?

Everywhere man is confronted with reality of fate, with the chance of achieving something through the challenge of conquering difficult situations and his own suffering. The solution for finding this “inner strength” to overcome present pain and suffering is to focus on better times in the future. For example, when  working as a psychiatrist to the inmates of concentration camps during WWII, Victor Frankl found that the single most important factor in cultivating the kind of “inner hold” that allowed men to survive was teaching them to “hold in the mind’s grip some future goal”. He cites Nietzsche’s, who wrote that “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how,” and admonishes against generalization:

“ Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost. The typical reply with which such a man rejected all encouraging arguments was, “I have nothing to expect from life any more.” What sort of answer can one give to that”?

What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned and challenged by life — daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual from moment to moment in life.”

These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus, it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way. Questions about the meaning of life can never be answered by sweeping statements. “Life” does not mean something vague, but something very real and concrete, just as life’s tasks are also very real and concrete. They form man’s destiny, which is different and unique for each individual. No man and no destiny can be compared with any other man or any other destiny. No situation repeats itself, and each situation calls for a different response. Sometimes the situation in which a man finds himself may require him to shape his own fate by action. At other times it is more advantageous for him to make use of an opportunity for contemplation (reflection) and to realize assets in this way. Sometimes man may be required simply to accept fate, to bear his cross. Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, and there is always only one right answer to the problem posed by the situation at hand.

Modern Day Research Support:

One modern way to learn how to handle the situation at hand is to understand and use the future planning tool “IF…Then” thinking and planning.

Well over hundred studies on achieving goals reviewed by  Gollwitzer and Paschal Sheeran research (file:///C:/Users/mark/Downloads/HP_Sheeran&Orbell(2000).pdf demonstrate how effective and efficient “if..then” plans are in facing  life challenges and overcoming tough decisions, obstacles of fear  and improving performance to keep on keeping on in the face of difficult situations like pain and suffering.

In a meta-analysis the researchers look at studies on preventative health screening, exercise, eating healthy and dieting, to negotiating and setting other life goals. They found that a person’s positive intention to perform a behavior is the key predictor for changing actual behavior and performance”.  The key elements of success were found to be –setting in advance (intentions) using IF…Then goals for taking specific actions to reach your goal. Remarkably they discovered that the use of “IF… Then” plans and focused intention can triple your chances for successful completion of personal change goals. The aim of the study was to look at the gap between setting intentions ( concept of implementation intentions) and actual behavior of woman coming for cancer screening. For example, they stated their goal of the study was address this problem using Gollwitzer’s (1993;Gollwitzer & Brandstatter, 1997) concept of implementation intentions. In particular, we examine whether intentions to attend for cervical screening that have been supplemented by implementation intentions specifying when, where, and how the appointment will be made improves the likelihood of attendance.

Self- Coaching Challenge: Try using the IF…Then intervention when trying to change habits or reach personal goals

 

Daily Quote and Self-Coaching Challenge: Think Straight and Develop Your Grit

Daily Quote: What you are thinking, what shapes your mind is in, is what makes the biggest difference of all.   Willie Mays

 Reflection:  

Your toughness and grit is made up of equal parts belief, persistence and deliberative practice and experience. The toughest opponent of all is the negativity and skeptic or sarcastic one inside your head.  Below see the  4 tips for overcoming negativity and build grit into your character and daily actions:

1. Believe it or not, passions grow out of your values. Make early, wise choices to value what (and who) is good, trustworthy, and praiseworthy.

2.Think straight, talk straight and do the straight or right thing to grow your character

3. Find a passion. Pick a hobby, own it: running, photography, juggling, tennis, writing, art and whatever. Get your 10,000 hours of perfect practice in early and change your life.

4.Don’t bother comparing yourself to others—this only leads to heartbreak, anger, and disappointment.

Self-Coaching Challenge: What’s the one thing you would do right now if you had more confidence? What are you going to do to gain more self-confidence?

 

Power of Self-Coaching: Frank Shorter’s Theory and Tips for Running

Frank Shorter, winner of the gold medal in the Olympic marathon in the 1972 Munich games and a silver medal in the Montreal games in 1976, put running on the map in the U.S. This great long-distance runner of all time discusses is theory of self-coaching. Here are a few comments from Shorter on how self-motivation and discipline are keys to success not just in running, but generally in living a more productive and fulfilling life style.

Frank Shorter shares his viewpoint and tips on the power of  self-coaching: ” My simple, basic theory involves running very easily—at what I call conversational pace—75-90 percent of the time. Integrate short, fast interval training at 5K race pace if you want to run faster. If you want to run a marathon, add a long run once a week working up to at least two hours (20 miles if you’re very serious). A clear outline of these training theories can be found in my book, Running for Peak Performance...I have coached myself.  I do not think of myself as that unusual. To me, it shows how we have lost sight of just how individual and independent athletic success ( or other successes) can be with just a little self-motivated focus. In a way, relying on yourself is a lost art…In a way I think of myself as a “sandlot” runner”.

Self- Coaching  Challenge: What in your life provides the passion, energy and focus that Frank Shorter found in running?

Daily Quote and Reflection: Learning Self- Control and Self-Mastery to Live a Life On Purpose

Daily Quote: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started”. Mark Twain

Reflection: All the “stars are aligned” and at that moment someone ask you this question–If you could get paid for something you really love and are skilled at doing it (master). What would you do? What is holding you back? How do you want to get started? What is your commitment level on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high)? What do you need to see or what has to happen for you to turn love and dream into action?

If you want to be really good at something, it’s going to involve relentlessly pushing past your comfort zone and a significant amount of practice and dedication, usually 10,000 hours, of practicing the right things known and accepting self-doubts and potentially bad things that happen in living a self-directed life. This is true as long as you want to continue to improve, or even maintain a high level of excellence. The reward is that being really good at something, called mastery, is earned through hard work and still can be immensely satisfying once accomplished. Watch this video on self-control which impacts the ability to mastery and personal  changes.

Here, then, are the seven keys to achieving mastery found to be most effective:

  1. Pursue what you love. Passion and conviction” are incredible motivators. They fuel dreams, focus, resilience, and perseverance.
  2. Do the hardest work first. We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That’s when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.
  3. Deliberative Practice.    Without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break. Ninety minutes appear to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day.
  4. Seek expert coaching and feedback, in small steps and small doses. The clearer and more concise and focused the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments to your thinking and behavior . Too much feedback, given continuously can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, loss of confidence and interference with constructive learning.
  5. Take regular renewal breaks. Relaxing after intense practice not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also helps to embed concepts, behaviors and overall acceleration of learning. It’s also during rest that the right-side of the brain becomes more effective and dominate, which can lead to long-term memory gains and behavioral or creative breakthroughs.
  6. Establish practice leading to new behaviors and habits. Self-discipline and will power are difficult to access without training and practice.ResearcherRoy Baumeister has found, none of us have very much of the right amount and kind of will power sustain dramatic personal change. The best way to insure you’ll take on new learning challenges and difficult tasks is to build rituals and new habits — specific, times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to waste energy thinking about them or forcing yourself to do things.
  7. Learn to accept life’s uncertainty, develop mental toughness, be resilient and learn to utilize relax and release techniques. In doing these actions you can access the right focus to live your life on purpose and with meaning.

Self-Challenge: What  are going to do so that you can do the thing you love to do in life? What does your plan look like? When are you going to start? How can the keys to self-mastery help you get where you want to go?

Daily Quote: The Mindset and Four critical skills of Mentally Tough people

Daily Quote: ” In terms of instilling the values of mental toughness and self-confidence focus, will power, good habits and perseverance are the skills that will sustain you through tough times and temporary discouragement. Mark W. Hardwick 

1.  MT people accept the past and learn from their mistakes

Mentally strong people don’t waste time ruminating on the past and wishing things could be different. They accept their past and learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad incidents or experiences. They don’t fantasize about the good old days. They focus on living in the “here and now” and making realistic and specific  plans for the future.

2. MT people are  life long learners. They accept responsibility for their choices and control what they can control. (short memories) Being MT means not dwelling on mistakes or bad decisions they just try not to repeat same mistake by moving on and doing better the next time a similar situation presents itself. They are life long learners.

3. MT people are change agents. They embrace change and uncertainty.  When doing things they remain open and flexible to changing their position or action at any moment to succeed at what they are doing. They don’t shy away from taking calculated risks.

Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

4. MT people have a reality and optimistic Mind Set. They don’t waste time on energy on things they can’t control. They also have the ability to have a short memory when things go wrong. You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over line calls by opponents or fretting traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.

Daily Quote, Reflection and Self-Coaching Challenge: Begin With the End In Mind…

Daily Quote: You must begin to think of yourself as the person you want to be. Dr. David Viscott

Reflection: Once I heard someone say the most powerful thing about accomplishing goals. This wise person who I became friends with when training for the Dallas Marathon said ” When it comes to finishing the race I mean the last 5 miles of the 26,2 mile challenge–Whether you think you can or think you can’t … Your Right”. I must say he was right. I found the last 10 miles one of the biggest achievements in my athletic life. There were so many times I wanted to stop  that I stopped counting. Both physically and mentally I keep running into barriers, like the 16th mile hill that seem like a mountain. As I walked up the hill I told a friend that I was going to finish this race if it was the last “fucking” thing I did. She laughed and that laugh remained a joyful motivator for the rest of the race. The one lesson I learned in fulfilling this running goal was to trust myself. I realized that my body (a knee I could barely stand on for the last 2 miles)and mind would let me know if I needed to quit. I now use this past success when facing difficult challenges and use what I learned about perseverance, practice and mental toughness to help achieve any new challenges or targets in my life. I learned the 5 C’s of trust. Commitment to a goal, Consistency and need for Practice, Camaraderie, Competitiveness with self and Caring.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Identify what you want to achieve in the area of your personal fitness? Be specific about what and how you will go about achieving your goal. Identify the end result you want to achieve. Focus on what past win can you use to motivate you to get going and stick with your plan even during times that are difficult. Good Luck and Keep Us posted on your goal and achievements. If you need help let me know. Coach Mark

Note ” Begin with the end in mind” from-Steven Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Successful People

Daily Quote and Reflection: Eliminating “Inner Kill” on Your Journey to Personal Growth

Daily Quote: “The art of dying and not knowing it. Inner Kill is not growing. Giving up on yourself. It’s taking the safe way. Always covering yourself instead of taking risks.It’s reacting. Not thinking. It’s giving up control of your life to whatever or whoever is around you. Inner Kill is the death of self-respect”. Dr. Richard Leider 

Reflection: Dr.Leider, CEO and Founder of the Inventure Group, in this essay and exercise on the Purpose Check-up challenges us to explore the concept of living on purpose and of “playing to win” in life. Dr. Leider wants us to stay attuned to and engaged in life. He challenges us to conduct a Purpose of Life Check-up just as we do a physical check-up. He calls this approach to giving-up on self-respect and your worth–Inner Kill. In living a life of Inner Kill we abandon any sense of worth and trying to figure out  who we really are or want to be. I believe our search for our identity is a way of staying engaged in life. We search out our inner demons and hopefully accept them along with our strengths and then make ourselves open to and visible in the external world. We do this by being conscious, courageous, truthful and vulnerable in our daily comings and goings in life. 

Self-Coaching Challenge: Dr. Leider has provided an excellent and insightful exercise for gaining more self-understanding of our own personal development in the Outer, Inner and spiritual aspects of our life called: the Purpose Check-up. I would recommend taking this check-up as you start to taking inventory of  how you have lived your life in 2013. This  challenge becomes our individual quest and individual journey. The essence of this new discovery is that the true self would much rather fail at its own life than succeed at someone else’s. Don’t risk living a lie it is to risky and really unsatisfying. Most of our personal growth is a journey of self-awareness. Don’t let live pass you by. Stop sleep walking and start living a Purposeful and Meaningful life.