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Willpower

Is Your Life One of Passive Diffusion or Active Transport?

I was a biology and history major in college so I took a ton of science classes both in undergrad and later in dental school. One of the basic principles of biology is based around how molecules move in and out of cells in our body. There are number of different ways this happens but the two I want to focus on are called “passive diffusion” and “active transport”.

Diffusion happens without any real effort. The basic principle is this: If there is more of one kind of molecule in one area and less in another, the molecules will spread themselves out until there is an even balance. It happens without any energy being used up and really no energy is produced. It would be like pouring a glass of water into a large pan.… Read the rest!

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Disaster, Determination and a World Record

The little country schoolhouse was heated by an old-fashioned, pot-bellied coal stove. A little boy named Glenn had the job of coming to school early each day to start the fire and warm the room before his teacher and his classmates arrived.

One morning they arrived to find the schoolhouse engulfed in flames. They dragged the unconscious little boy out of the flaming building more dead than alive. He had major burns over the lower half of his body and was taken to a nearby county hospital.

From his bed the dreadfully burned, semi-conscious little boy faintly heard the doctor talking to his mother. The doctor told his mother that her son would surely die – which was for the best, really – for the terrible fire had devastated the lower half of his body.… Read the rest!

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The Toothpaste Principle of Perseverance

Picture  This morning before brushing my teeth I once again entered into a daily routine. Rolling up the toothpaste tube from the bottom, I meticulously kept a tight roll so as to keep any paste from remaining in the tube. Once the tight roll reached the top, I put the opening between my middle and index fingers and then squeezed from the bottom with my thumb. Amazingly, a small line of toothpaste came out of the “empty” tube and onto the bristles of my brush…just like it had for past 13 days!

Every morning this ritual is repeated and I think to myself that there is no way any more toothpaste could be in that wrinkled up tube. And yet, when crunch time comes, it digs deep and produces yet another small amount of breath-freshening goodness.… Read the rest!

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Do it Scared!

Picture A story shared by one of my mentors, Rory Vaden. Enjoy!

I once heard a true story of a woman who was trapped in a burning building on the 80th floor. She had an intensive fear of heights and also an intense fear of closed in spaces. So when the fire alarm went off she absolutely refused to follow her colleagues into the stairwell to evacuate to safety.

She could not handle the thought of going down the stairs being able to look down in the middle all the way to the bottom. And the thought of being trapped inside the enclosed stairwell was just too much to endure and so instead she made a conscious choice to hide under her desk and wait to die.… Read the rest!

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Could You Change If You Wanted To?

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    Is change good or bad? When you think about it, life is all about making changes. Self-improvement is nothing more than a string of small changes for the better. Self-destruction is a string of increasingly bad changes leading to our demise. Yet if we do nothing or are unwilling to change at all, we become stagnant and start moving backwards. So, to improve our lives we need to consistently change positions and take another step forward. We need to change.

Almost everybody that I coach tells me the same thing, “I know I need to make some changes but I don’t know if I can do it.” Businesses commonly tell me, “We want to achieve ______ but we’re not sure if that can work in our business.”

Today I want to talk about a theory introduced by psychologists Prochaska and DiClemente in the 1970’s as they studied methods that helped some smokers to be able to quit while others were unable.Read the rest!

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Increase Your Willpower!

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Editor’s note: This is a great post I found from Ian Newby-Clark of My Bad Habits.

“Control yourself!” We all say it, mostly to ourselves. We say it when we ‘indulge’ in behaviors that cause short-term gain for long-term pain…and guilt. I cite many of the usual suspects: eating the wrong things, being lazy, staying up too late, indulging in destructive behaviors. There are others, of course. Why do we do such things? After all, aren’t we entirely in control of ourselves all of the time?

Nope.

Research tells us that willpower is a limited resource. Each of us only has so much of it. The studies demonstrating this are rather ingenious. I will share one of my favorites with you, though there are many more.

Read the rest!

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Entropy: The Silent Killer of Your Success

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Okay, okay, I know that nobody wants to read about Thermodynamics on a Monday but bear with me for a second because it applies to all of us and our struggle to improve our lives.

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics basically says: The universe is constantly getting more disorderly. Things have a tendency to move from structure and order into disorder and chaos.

The name for this is entropy. More disorder = more entropy.

So everything in the Universe will always try to change from a very neat and orderly state into one of chaos and disorder.


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I know this is getting slow but stay with me for a second as we look at some examples:

1. An ice cube sitting on a counter-top will change from nice orderly water molecules, into flowing and disorganized water molecules.… Read the rest!

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“Future You” – The Reason We Order Big Macs

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A few years ago McDonald’s introduced it’s health-conscious menu with salads and fruit included. Amazingly, Big Mac and french fry sales jumped by 22% almost overnight! How does that make any sense? The answer lies in this little-known fact: there are 2 of you!Did you know that there are 2 of you? There is the current “You” and then there is “Future You” or maybe “You 2.0”. How are they different? Let’s find out:

“You” is the person you are today. You have good qualities and bad qualities, sometimes you are pro-active and sometimes you procrastinate. You may feel too tired to put energy into some activities. You may act on impulses or hate to exercise. You probably really dislike doing the laundry or yard work.

Read the rest!

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“Why Did I Do That?” – Beware of Ego-Depletion

Lately I have been reading a lot of books about willpower and habit formation. I have been fascinated by some of the new studies suggesting that willpower is a finite resource. These studies show, in various ways, that we may only have so much willpower to utilize on any given day. If we make a lot of tough decisions early in the day, we are more likely to give in to a temptation later that evening. This phenomena has been termed “ego-depletion.”
Below is a great blog post from Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. This was posted on Tim Ferris’ blog earlier today:

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From your own experience, are you more likely to finish half a pizza by yourself on a) Friday night after a long work week or b) Sunday evening after a restful weekend?… Read the rest!

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