“Buffering” means doing a pleasurable activity to avoid feeling negative feelings about something else. A “buffering” activity offers instant gratification plus instant relief from unpleasantness. That can be an addictive combination, hence binge watching, binge eating, binge surfing the internet, binge Facebooking, etc. But buffering could also just be eating a donut to feel better, […]

A Launcher recently told me that her initiative was going well and she’d added another project. Then she asked, “What’s your short advice for how to be more productive, because I don’t have time for the long version.” In other words, she was now at least marginally overcommitted and didn’t have extra bandwidth to experiment with […]

Guilt is the emotion that you feel when you believe you have failed to live up to your own moral standards. It is perhaps the most enervating emotion. It makes you want to curl up in a little ball to block it out and avoid it. But that is the worst thing you can do. […]

The participants in my Launch program do a daily exercise to develop emotional resilience. They each choose a different tool to use, and some are experimenting with “Five Bright Spots.” I had explained this tool briefly in a previous article, but from helping several people troubleshoot it, I see that I need to explain it more thoroughly. “Five Bright […]

A while ago, one of the Launchers came to a coaching call with a problem. He had done fabulously creative work in analyzing some financial trends — by working through the night until 5:00 a.m. In one respect, this was progress. He had come to an earlier coaching call with the problem that he couldn’t concentrate […]

Flailing is my word for a particular pattern of unproductive effort: you try, and try, and try — harder, and harder, and harder — and you still don’t achieve your goal. Some people call this hitting your head against the wall. It sure feels like it when you’re flailing: a headache and intense frustration are the […]

An “affirmation” is a positive statement about your own knowledge, skill, or values, which you memorize in some way. Some common examples are: I am a good person. I know enough to do this job. I can take the next step. Some self-help books recommend you collect such statements and repeat them to yourself morning, […]

Courses and articles on creativity drive me crazy. None of them get at what I see as the real issue. They all focus on brainstorming quantities of ideas instead of explaining what creativity really is and how to direct it. For example, you may have participated in a well-known exercise in which your group is […]

In the last few articles, I’ve argued that a central purpose integrates your life, that it fits into a real life, that it needs to be a long-range productive goal, not something else, and how to identify your central purpose. I’ve asserted that it is important to a happy life. But how is that? Sometimes […]

Working out your central purpose is one of the most selfish things you can do. It has the biggest effect on your future and your happiness. It’s not a quick process. If you already have a general direction but need to clarify the personal significance for yourself, you may be able to sort it out […]

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