Course Correction
The Missing Step That Keeps You Flailing

The Missing Step That Keeps You Flailing

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...

Making an Action Plan That Shifts Subconscious Programming

Making an Action Plan That Shifts Subconscious Programming

When people think about changing their subconscious premises, they often envision therapy. Therapy is an important tool for understanding and addressing deeply-held conflicts. A therapist can help you identify such conflicts and give you emotional and practical...

Three Levels of Intervention to Get Unstuck

Three Levels of Intervention to Get Unstuck

There are only three basic cognitive obstacles that can stop your thinking in its tracks: blankness, overload, and conflict—or some combination of the three. Level 1 Intervention: The 3-Minute Solution When you first notice you're stuck, try "thinking on paper" for...

The Value of Revisiting “Settled” Issues

The Value of Revisiting “Settled” Issues

Whether you grow or stagnate as you get older depends on how and when you rethink settled issues. An issue is settled when you evaluate it in the full context of your knowledge and conclude it is true or false. Some conclusions get settled for life. Philosophical...

Three Types of Obstacles to Concentration

Three Types of Obstacles to Concentration

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...

Snap Out of It: The Mental Importance of a Physical Pause

Snap Out of It: The Mental Importance of a Physical Pause

"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...

Three Reality Checks Before You Commit

Three Reality Checks Before You Commit

Do you have trouble saying "no" to requests from others? Do you add new projects faster than you can complete them? Do you love to go above and beyond on your assignments? If so, you're like me. You tend to overcommit.  The standard advice we are given is, “Just say...

Three Principles for Releasing the Pressure of Perfectionism

Three Principles for Releasing the Pressure of Perfectionism

In my previous blog, I made the case that sometimes the logical, moral, and practical option is to do B-minus (B-) work. This can feel excruciatingly difficult if you are tempted by perfectionism. I was reminded of this recently when I tried to write an article on...

B- Work

B- Work

In a recent coaching call, one of the participants in Launch 2021 shared that he was overscheduled. He had added in an "artist's date," three hours of drawing work, to an already busy schedule. He was enjoying the drawing time, but now it seemed that every minute of...

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...

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