Jean F Moroney
Happiness is the Fuel of Achievement

Happiness is the Fuel of Achievement

Happiness is not a prize you get sometime in the future, after you achieve a goal, or pass a test, or become worthy. If you believe that it is a prize you have to wait for, I guarantee that you are struggling to achieve your goals. You are sabotaging your own...

The Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique

By far, the primary influence on my work is Ayn Rand. Her philosophy infuses my entire approach and underlies all my conclusions. One important secondary influence is F.M. Alexander, the inventor of the Alexander Technique. The Alexander Technique is training in...

You Can Break the Vicious Cycle of Unproductive Emotions

You Can Break the Vicious Cycle of Unproductive Emotions

I've become a fan of Brooke Castillo's "Self-Coaching Scholars" program. I find her methods to be a valuable complement to the ones I have already developed. She's helped me speed up how I deal with distracting, unproductive emotions, while still maintaining the...

How to Analyze Old Baggage to Lighten the Load

How to Analyze Old Baggage to Lighten the Load

I use "old baggage" as a generic term to refer to any recurring motivation that gets in the way of pursuing your goals in the present. For example, writer's block is caused by old baggage. So is fear of conflict, which stops you from having the conversations you know...

Start the Day with a Thought Download

Start the Day with a Thought Download

I recommend "thinking on paper" * every day, on whatever issue seems important. But what do you do if you aren't sure what to think about? Start with a "thought download." ** A "thought download" is a page of thoughts--your thoughts. The page could be filled with...

Adopting the Priorities Mindset

Adopting the Priorities Mindset

One of my top life lessons learned is: if you want to create your dream life, you must stay ruthlessly committed to identifying and pursuing your top priority at each choice-point during the day. I call this "The Priorities Mindset." It took me years to truly learn...

Using a Proportional Response to Improve Quality

Using a Proportional Response to Improve Quality

Improving the quality of your own performance, or that of an organization, can be a complex and long-term endeavor. In his book The Lean Startup, Eric Reis explains a doable method for making incremental adjustments that can dramatically improve performance in...

What to Do When You’re Waffling

What to Do When You’re Waffling

Way back in 1998, when I wrote my first article on what to do when you get stuck on a difficult thinking problem, I offered one general piece of advice: Identify the problem. As Louis Sullivan said, "the problem contains and suggests its own solution." Although I now...

Blocked by the Same Old Bad Feeling? Release Its Hold

Blocked by the Same Old Bad Feeling? Release Its Hold

Sometimes when you feel blocked, the situation has a deep, painful, familiar feel to it. You say to yourself with a sinking feeling, “I’ve been here before.” When you recognize that old bad feeling, try this somewhat bizarre procedure from P. J. Eby to release its...

Use a Tickler File to Reduce the Size of Your Lists

Use a Tickler File to Reduce the Size of Your Lists

A member of the Thinking Lab asked me to clarify how I reduce the size of my lists: "I was struck by your lists never having more than 7 things on them. This seems self-evident and also incomprehensible to me. What about stuff that you're not sure about that you don't...

Evolving a Weekly Planning Process

Evolving a Weekly Planning Process

Weekly planning is critical if you want to make progress on longer-term goals. On the positive side, a weekly planning session helps you clarify your top values. It gives you a chance to celebrate your successes for the week. It is the time when you set meaningful...

Go by Reason

Go by Reason

As most of you know, I'm a thinker. I like to understand issues thoroughly before I act. I am happy to consider possibilities, work out consequences, and introspect my emotional reactions before jumping into action. However, I have learned the hard way that if I want...

The Alternative to “Get a Grip”

The Alternative to “Get a Grip”

I encourage members of the Thinking Lab to send me their "thinking on paper" so I can help them sort out any problems they are having. It is amazing how easily you can diagnose thinking problems in another person if you see the thinking written out. As with...

Book Recommendation: Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Book Recommendation: Essentialism
by Greg McKeown

I recently read Greg McKeown's book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. This is a good book, which I recommend. I agree with 98% of what he says, and I have on my agenda to re-read it. My goal will be milk a little more of the wisdom out of it. I was...

What’s So Hard About Planning Projects?

What’s So Hard About Planning Projects?

When you make a marketing plan, or a 5-year strategic plan, or even just a plan to complete a complex project, you sometimes don't know much. You know what you wish would happen. You know some things you need to do so you can make that happen. Everything else is...

What’s So Hard About Managing Time?

What’s So Hard About Managing Time?

It's simple. "I need to manage my time" is a euphemism for "I am choosing not to spend time on important stuff." Sometimes the "important stuff" is work. Sometimes it's rest or recreation or relationships. But if you're dissatisfied with how you spend your time, your...

How to Warm Up Your Mental Circuits on Demand

How to Warm Up Your Mental Circuits on Demand

A friend of mine once told me that she hated doing housecleaning. Rather than make herself clean on a schedule, she would clean only when she felt disgusted by something dirty. That would give her the motivation to clean up that area. This method worked for her for...

How do you know what matters most?

How do you know what matters most?

In order to do what matters most right now, you need to first know what matters most. That is not always obvious. I use a simple test to see if I've got it. I ask, are "should" and "want" and "can" aligned for this action? If they are, this is clearly a valuable step...

Taking Words Seriously Can Help You Get Things Done

Taking Words Seriously Can Help You Get Things Done

"I need more time." That is what a client told me was the solution to his grueling work schedule. We say such things without thinking about it, but it's worth pausing for a moment to focus on the thought. How could the solution possibly be more time? There is no such...

Stuck in a Pattern? Break Out with an Experiment

Stuck in a Pattern? Break Out with an Experiment

It's easy to fall into a counterproductive pattern. Perhaps you often check email before settling down to work--and then reading the email wipes out your morning work time. Or three days in a row you put off an important call until the afternoon--then forget to make...

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