A Value Orientation
Concretizing Values 1: Values in the Objects Around You

Concretizing Values 1: Values in the Objects Around You

Many of the motivational tools I recommend involve clarifying your values. When you are fully clear on a value, you not only see logically that the value contributes to your success and well-being, but you also feel some pleasure as you contemplate it. That pleasure...

Do You Want to Add Bright Spots to Your Day?

Do You Want to Add Bright Spots to Your Day?

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...

A Rant on Creativity

A Rant on Creativity

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...

The Importance of a Value Orientation Toward Past Actions

The Importance of a Value Orientation Toward Past Actions

In my previous article, I argued that you need to motivate all action by reference to values rather than threats. I explained how you justify the goal in terms of values before you act and then stay focused on gaining values while acting. In this article you will see...

How to Maintain a Value Orientation in Action

How to Maintain a Value Orientation in Action

In previous articles on "What is a Value Hierarchy?” and "How Values Form,” I teased readers with the idea that you can strategically reprogram your value hierarchy and I promised to write more on that topic. But first, there is a foundational skill that you need to...

How Values Form

How Values Form

In a previous article, I explained that your motivation to act results from the interaction between your present awareness and your value hierarchy. A value hierarchy is a psychological structure consisting of all of your values, interrelated with one another.  Some...

FAQ: What Is a Value Hierarchy?

FAQ: What Is a Value Hierarchy?

If you want to manage your motivation, you need to understand your own value hierarchy. A value hierarchy is not a list of your top ten values or a bucket list. It is a psychological structure consisting of all of the values you have formed in relation to one another....

Five Lessons from Weathering a Storm

Five Lessons from Weathering a Storm

Now that I live in Florida, I pay a lot more attention to hurricane season than I used to. The season started early this year, which put me in mind of the lessons I learned when Superstorm Sandy hit New York City in 2012. At the time, my husband and I were living in...

Resolve Conflict with the Golf Course Analogy

Resolve Conflict with the Golf Course Analogy

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...

Should You Use “Should”?

Should You Use “Should”?

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."...

Engineer Your Life

Engineer Your Life

Engineering your life is very much like engineering a suspension bridge. You start with a goal. To achieve the goal, you need to understand the fundamental forces you will work with, how to balance them to achieve your goal, and the nature of the materials used to...

Five Ways to Make Your Goal Juicier

Five Ways to Make Your Goal Juicier

Often when you set goals, you wind up with a dry statement of something you think you should do. Goals should be juicy! They should be as appealing as a ripe peach. After all, they are your goals. They are to contribute to your life. Just as you choose food that is...

Replace Duty Motivation with Means-End Motivation

Replace Duty Motivation with Means-End Motivation

If you've been following my work, you know that I recommend you motivate yourself entirely by values, not by threats. This means throwing out "duty" as a way to get yourself to do an important but unappealing task. By a "duty," I mean an out-of-context rule or...

Celebrating Some Achievements

Celebrating Some Achievements

It's important to celebrate achievements. I'd like to take a moment to celebrate mine, my clients', and yours. First mine. I give talks, put out this newsletter, and run the Thinking Lab because I want to share the life-serving ideas that I have discovered. I have...

Case Study: A Value-Orientation and an Uh-Oh Log

Case Study: A Value-Orientation and an Uh-Oh Log

Two days ago, I got my email inbox down to zero, for the first time in at least 18 months. Several times in the last few months, I had gotten down to 40 lagging emails, but never to zero. The story of my getting to zero is a case study in how a change in attitude then...

Celebration and Mourning

Celebration and Mourning

Paradoxically, celebration and mourning* are similar processes. They involve similar steps and achieve similar purposes. And they are similarly misunderstood and neglected, despite their critical importance to a joyful life. Neither celebration nor mourning concerns...

A New Perspective on Self-Critical Thoughts

A New Perspective on Self-Critical Thoughts

Self-critical thoughts get a bad rap. You should neither reject self-critical thoughts nor treat them as revealed truths. Instead, treat them like crazy ideas from a brainstorming session. They, too, are products of your current knowledge, values, and skill. Used...

FAQ: What is empathy?

FAQ: What is empathy?

"Empathy" is a widely misunderstood concept. Understanding it properly is the first step to transforming your relationships with other people and yourself.  Empathy is not the same as sympathy.  Sympathy is a feeling you have in relation to someone else. You feel...

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