“Emotional resilience” is the ability to suspend action on an emotional impulse. When you have more emotional resilience, you can suspend action despite stronger emotional impulses. As a 3-year-old, I developed the basics of emotional resilience playing “Mother May I?” and “Simon Says.” Perhaps you did, too. For those who don’t know these games, let […]

To resolve conflict, you need to understand the root cause. It’s biological. We have two completely independent motivational systems. One system, traditionally called “motivation by love,” exists to motivate action toward values. A value in the psychological sense is something you desire to gain and/or keep, because you believe it promotes your life here on […]

A goal is an intention you set to achieve a particular outcome. Here, in summary, is my approach to goals. Goals on different timescales need different standards of doability, different degrees of certainty, and different depths of passion. Long-range goals can be as pie-in-the-sky as you want, as long as you don’t believe they are […]

When Thinking Lab members tell me their task is hard, I hear alarm bells in my mind. Invariably, I find they are making a difficult task harder than it has to be. A difficult task is one that requires a special mental effort to complete. It may require all your creativity. It may require you to manage your […]

When we played 20 Questions as a family, the first question was always, “Animal, vegetable, or mineral?” If you are trying to identify an object, it falls into one of those categories.  When you are mentally stopped, unable to concentrate, you should ask an analogous question: Is the problem physical, emotional, or cognitive? All three […]

“Snap out of it” is pretty useless as a piece of advice. Typically, when you tell someone to “snap out of it,” he is overreacting emotionally, or obsessing about something, or letting himself be distracted. Your advice won’t be welcome if he disagrees with your assessment. But even if he does agree, he likely already […]

In a recent article, I wrote: “Should” is a moral concept. When you say you “should” do something, you are saying it is the moral thing to do. If you, as I, ascribe to the moral code of rational egoism, “I should” means: Based on everything I know, including all of the values I hold […]

I didn’t set out to teach time management, but I sure talk about it a lot in my programs. That’s because each aspect of a time-management system takes firsthand thinking to make it work.  Consider the first basic problem in time management: keeping track of what you need to do when. You need a calendar, […]

To concentrate on a mentally demanding task, you typically need at least one full hour of free time when you can ignore everything and everyone else. At that time, you focus all of your energy on that one task. I teach many tactics for concentrating effectively during this high-quality time.  However, you can’t do highly […]

In a call on “How to Get Results Now on Your Long-Term Objective,” I was asked whether I thought “should” should be eschewed. I don’t. I think “should” should be reclaimed. However, for many people, this will involve automatizing a new meaning for the word “should.” “Should” is a moral concept. When you say you […]

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