A properly trained adult elephant, despite weighing several tons, can be restrained with nothing more than a single rope. Why? The reality is they have more than enough strength to break free. However, they learned at an early age (when they were smaller and weaker) that they couldn't break free. And as an adult, they still hold onto this restrictive behavioral pattern versus embrace a new, more useful one. In short, these powerful creatures are now exhibiting learned helplessness.
As a writer, one of my biggest mental barriers is the fear of only getting one shot when tackling a particular topic or a theme. I don't know exactly when, where, or why this meme took hold in my psyche, but it's worse than writer's block. If I had to guess, it's probably due to the belief that everything on the web is permanent and I want to always put my best foot forward.
How Continuous Improvement Can Lead to Massive Long Term Results
Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it... he who doesn't... pays it. ― Albert Einstein
The recommendation to keep a personal journal is becoming fairly common in the self-help, personal development, and related communities. The beauty of this practice, as I've come to learn, is that it prompts one to focus and reflect on a particular segment of time. In today's fast-paced world, days, weeks, months, and even years can pass by so quickly that we might miss and/or forget some of those precious memories and moments that we created and wish to keep with us.
“What happens when you die?”
My friend Rob (a devout Christian) would constantly ask me this and a myriad other challenging questions about the afterlife and God in order to test my atheistic faith. I admired his tenacity, but I was somewhat of a child prodigy in mathematics and science growing up, so I could always logic my way into an irrefutable solution to keep him and the mild discomfort I felt from his questioning at bay.
Here were my goto replies:
Advice That Stuck: Professional Development
Over the month of January, I had the distinct privilege of having a one on one meeting with every member of the team to discuss their professional goals for 2014. My stated intention was to simply act as a sounding board and use the Socratic method to help each individual evaluate each goal more closely.
When I was 15 years old, my best friend and I set a goal to go sky diving at a local establishment between my hometown and Albany, NY. The only problem was, we were both underage (I recall 18 being the cutoff age) and we didn’t have the money (tandem jumps cost $200 and solo jumps cost $300+). So we postponed the goal until were a little older and a little richer.
Courage, communication, and trust: I picked these words in 2012 because I wanted to “level up” in life, and each of these words represented a key component of my plan to make that happen. Courage was necessary to make the big, bold decisions. Communication was necessary to get the most impact out of my interactions with everyone. Trust was important because my gut instincts were usually right and I needed to follow said instincts, even when I didn’t necessarily like where they were leading me.
What would your life be like if you were born in a different city? A different state? A different country?
What would your life be like if you were born into a family that was rich? A family that was poor? A family that was homeless?
What would your life be like if you were born as a different gender? As a different race? As a different religion?
What would your life be like if you lived your entire life in a rainforest? In a desert? In a city?
What were your views on the world when you were just a baby? When you became a teenager? What are they now?
Controversy abounded when the new policy was passed in my high school. Previously, teachers were merely encouraged to volunteer their time to put on after school programs and activities to help students get better grades, to help athletes perform better in their sports, and so on. The teachers who decided to participate, many of whom had families to return to, gladly helped out because of their love for what they did and derived a sense of joy out of helping out. The students benefited. The teachers benefitted. It was win-win.
And then came the policy.