Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Right Saying at the Right Time: Pin Pricks to Change

Quotes and aphorisms: We all love them, but sometimes it can be hard to harness their practical power if we can't remember their insights at the right time.

However, have you ever tried just keeping a scant few at hand to recite at odd times of the day, to shift your perspective in the right direction? For me, saying two things has really given me perspective on my behavior, and is useful to repeat throughout a day and at night before bed.


For one, I've suddenly grown fond of the phrase, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result each time." While perhaps harsh, it makes me very feedback focused and examine my behavior in a different light, making practical responses to the feedback much easier.

For example, one problematic vice I've been dealing with is the habit of eating sweets in the morning and diluting my attention span by prolonged sessions of video watching, which hurt my concentration enough to have lasting effects for the rest of the day. (I.e., it hurts my emotional control, cognitive power, ability to keep calm under pressure, etc.) I've kept doing it because I tell myself it's okay for "one more" indulgence, and that after having had my video indulgence, I'll just use my willpower for extra exertion during concentration exercises, and I'll be able to recover from the damage and still make progress . . . which never happens. When my concentration is damaged that much that early on, it either takes an uncomfortable effort to recoup the loss, which is totally unnecessary to sustain to begin with, and most often the damage can't be recovered from.

So when I feel the itch to either persuade myself during the night or the next morning to do the same exact thing and use willpower later on, I tell myself "the definition of insanity" and get rational very quickly. The same behavior will lead to the same results; something different needs to be done for a different result, especially a better one.

The second one really isn't an exact quote, but rather a rephrasing of things. I was watching a motivational video when I was struck by the statement that we oughtn't wait for our neighbors to do things "for us." That really highlighted to me that whenever I was idle for a period of my life or day, I was "waiting" for something: For someone to give me an opportunity, or for pain to pass, or for a negative situation to go away on its own (such as doing the bare minimum motions at work so that my debt will "go away" in time).

Thus, whenever I notice myself slowing down in my action, it's a good call to speed up to note to myself to uselessness of waiting. For instance, if I'm tempted to skip my concentration exercises, a cornerstone habit for me, I mentally say, "Well, no one is going to develop good concentration for you!" and than am immediately more motivated to engage the activity, now having remember that waiting simply accomplishes nothing, ever. Waiting is wasting. Waiting is wasting life.

Like most people, there's an endless number of quotes that could help me in equal porpoertion as the ones do above, but due ot the infinite quantity of good quotes, I find that keeping myself totally restricted to the above two is enough help.

Do you have words for yourself to recite when needed?

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