Jean Moroney
Activating a Context Versus Triggering a Habit

Activating a Context Versus Triggering a Habit

    Based on some comments I made in a coaching call, a Thinking Labber wrote to me as follows:   I'm fascinated by the idea that self-sacrifice is an easily activated context and not a habit. I'd love to learn more about that, but I'm not sure of the...

Raising Baseline Happiness

Raising Baseline Happiness

In preparation for a new series of classes on "The Work of Happiness" in the Thinking Lab, I have been doing some high-level thinking about how you raise your baseline happiness. As I wrote in How Do You Measure Happiness?, your "baseline happiness" is the overall...

The Active Mind

The Active Mind

There are three kinds of actions that mark a person as having an active mind. 1. You look beyond the obvious options and the obvious explanations to make sure you've got the full picture. 2. You do the introspective work to make your own values explicit, especially...

Are Patience, Humility, and/or Obsession Needed for Success?

Are Patience, Humility, and/or Obsession Needed for Success?

When you read self-help books, you can expect that you will need to analyze them carefully to separate the wheat from the chaff. Many such books can be very helpful if you look at the practical advice and rethink the validation of it for yourself. Too often, the...

The Work of Happiness

The Work of Happiness

      I derive my ideas on happiness from Ayn Rand, who wrote, among other things, "Morality...is a code of values to guide man’s choices and actions—the choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of his life." (AR, The Objectivist...

Curiosity

Curiosity

Curiosity is not just a penchant for asking a lot of questions. It is a specific kind of interest in a topic, which is critical to thinking and problem-solving. What is curiosity? Curiosity is the emotion you get when you have a sense that there is a phenomenon to...

“Helpful” Questions

“Helpful” Questions

Asking yourself questions is a critical part of thinking. But it's possible to become mentally paralyzed if you ask yourself unhelpful questions. You can easily figure out that a question is unhelpful if you do your thinking "on paper" as I recommend in the Thinking...

Emotional Presence and Self-Esteem

Emotional Presence and Self-Esteem

I was recently asked to explain the difference between "emotional presence" and "self-esteem." Emotional presence "Emotional presence" is an intense awareness of your values and their importance to you at the moment. You get it, not just from identifying your...

Gain Momentum with an Initiative

Gain Momentum with an Initiative

If you lack momentum on some project, that means your goal or the path to your goal is vague in some way. It is not enough to have a generalized idea of the outcome and the steps involved. You need clarity regarding how your steps will get you from here to there. If...

Planning for the New Year and Beyond

Planning for the New Year and Beyond

What are your long-range goals? That is, goals that will take a year or more to achieve? If you already have long-range goals, now is a good time to take stock. How will you make significant progress toward them in the weeks and months ahead? The longer-range the...

Book Recommendation: Never Finished by David Goggins

Book Recommendation: Never Finished by David Goggins

Ayn Rand said man is "a being of self-made soul." David Goggins is a man of self-designed soul. At a young age, he literally looked into a mirror and decided he didn't like what he saw. He embarked on a journey to turn himself into the kind of man he wanted to be. He...

Book Recommendation: Outlive by Peter Attia

Book Recommendation: Outlive by Peter Attia

I purchased Outlive by Peter Attia just a few weeks ago. As a result of reading it, I have already materially upgraded my diet and exercise regimes. The book gave me a new clarity about my health priorities, which created instant motivation. I recommend Outlive to...

Confidence, Certainty, and Understanding Your Own Motivation

Confidence, Certainty, and Understanding Your Own Motivation

In the previous article in this series, I said that confidence is the emotion that proceeds from the conclusion that you have sufficient skill that your current or proposed effort will result in success. But if the task is at all difficult, how can you reach such a...

Confidence versus Optimism

Confidence versus Optimism

Confidence is a crucial aspect of happiness. In this article, I will resume my series on the "Concept of Happiness” with a focus on confidence. As a reminder of the context, happiness comes from the achievement of your values. Not a value. Your values. You need to...

Stopping and Starting: Why It Can Be Hard to Make Transitions

Stopping and Starting: Why It Can Be Hard to Make Transitions

Over the years, I have written several articles on how to do a mental cleanup when you need to stop a task prematurely to get started on something else. And I've also written about warming up your mental circuits to get started from a cold start. I reviewed how to...

Defense Values, Anti-Values, and “Pseudo-Self-Esteem”

Defense Values, Anti-Values, and “Pseudo-Self-Esteem”

After my recent article on defensiveness, I coached a member of the Thinking Lab who was concerned that productiveness was a defense value for him. He realized that he had a compulsion to prioritize getting things done over every other value — relationships, health,...

FAQ: What Is Defensiveness?

FAQ: What Is Defensiveness?

If you've been reading my newsletter for a long time, you know I advocate motivating yourself by values, not threats. In the simplest cases, this just requires introspecting your obvious emotions to identify the values landscape, meaning the values around you and the...

FAQ: What is a “Deep Rational Value”?

FAQ: What is a “Deep Rational Value”?

I aim to teach people to think clearly and logically about value-laden issues. As a means to this end, I exhort my Thinking Labbers to identify "deep rational values" [Footnote 1] at stake in every confusing situation. This is critical to your short- and long-term...

The Weekly Review

The Weekly Review

The very first article I wrote for my newsletter was a book recommendation for David Allen's book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. That was 2004. Recently I realized that I had misunderstood the utility of a key tool from his system — the...

Your Reasons Matter

Your Reasons Matter

When you are committed to living by reason, contrary emotions can create all sorts of conundrums. For example, a Thinking Lab member recently reported some doubts about a decision he made to take a break and go for a walk. Based on our discussion, I would say that all...

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