The Achievement Habit – By Bernard Roth

Here are my notes:

Achievement can be learned. It is a muscle, and once you learn to flex it, there’s no end to what you can accomplish in life.

 

Most of the time we simply stop ourselves. (self-sabotage)

 

Demonstration author did in a class:

Hold water bottle, ask volunteer: ”please try to take it away from me”

-> not succeeding

”please take the bottle from me.”

-> not succeeding

Then framing the situation: ”image that i’m your younger sibling or cousin teasing you, no parents around and situation has gotten very annoying.”

”Now, take the bottle from me.”

Participants who get what I’m driving at simply whisk the object out of my hand, leaving me no time to resist. I am overpowered by their intention to take the object. they have manifested a dynamic, elegant flow of intention to do, which is in sharp contrast to their previous static, tentative attempt at doing. Even better, in taking the object they usually actually exert less force than they did before.

 

The classic model (and popular wisdom) says that we think things through first and then act on our thoughts. Interestingly, this does not hold up in clinical testing.

 

By decoding local patterns of MRI signals in various brain regions, clinicians have shown that the brain can send motor signals of actions before the brain consciously forms the actual thoughts that account for the actions.

You do what you do, and then you make up the reason for doing it.

Most of our action is more the result of habit than reasoning.

 

The mind is trickier than we think and is always working with our egos to sabotage our best intentions. That’s the human condition. What we have going for us is that, if we choose to, we can be mindful about controlling our intentions to create habits that make our lives better.

 

[on a story about a yellow eyed cat]

Encountering a different breed of cat forever changed a small piece of this child’s worldview. In the same way, we don’t realize how many of our fixed views of the world are based on limited samples of reality.

[On meaning]

Nothing is what you think is it.

We give meaning to everything

For example, experiencing failure in an endeavor may initially be painful, but it is rarely catastrophic unless you give it that meaning.

Once you understand that you can choose what meaning and importance to place on something, you can also understand that it is you, not external circumstances, who determine the quality of your life.

There is no permanent record.

In life, typically, the only one keeping a scorecard of your successes and failures is you, and there are ample opportunities to learn the lessons you need to learn, even If you didn’t get it right the first – or fifth – time.

On reasons:

The problem with reasons is that they’re just excuses prettied up.

 

[on being late]

I realized there were other people in that room facing the same traffic and the same ”life happens” stuff that I was, yet they managed to be there before me because they cared enough to do so.

 

Our society loves reasons. Perhaps the illusion that there is a single known reason for each thing we do is comforting. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way.

 

Many factors contribute to a given behavior, so the entire concept of emphasizing one particular reason for something becomes muddled. In assigning relative importance to our reasons, we introduce a lie into our analysis – we add a high weighting factor to the reasons that most support our version of the story or our self-image.

Sometimes people hide behind heart-wrenching reasons. It is important to understand that this doesn’t make them any more useful.

 

Studies have shown that people are selective when it comes to recording what really happens to and around them.

 

To complicate matters further, sometimes we are actively dishonest about the reasons for our behavior.

[example: japanese professor working too much]

Clearly he had made a choice, and being too busy at work was, of course, bullshit as a reason.

 

Things happen; we do things, and others do things. if you like what happens, keep doing what you are doing and hope it keeps working well. If you do not like what happens, do it differently next time. Reasons get in the way of this simple pragmatic approach.

 

A twofold approach to the problem: one for the external persona, and one for the internal self. Externally you use reasons in everyday conversation when you need to, and thus appear to be perfectly normal and reasonable. Internally you look at the reasons your external self offers, and question each of them.

The internal self also looks at the reasons given by the people you are interacting with. Simply by noticing how reasons are used, you can gain insight into your own behavior and your relationships with others.

This approach works well to change your own actions. It can’t be used to changed others, however! (unless they’re seeking for your advice)

The best way to fix the world is to fix yourself.

 

Make a pact with yourself to not use reasons unless you have to. This is actually an incredibly empowering position to come from. Be confident enough in your actions not to need to explain yourself. Trust yourself and act.

 

 

In truth, it is difficult to think of a goooood reason I could not work around if I really wanted to.

 

Have you heard the expression ”He dot protest too much”?

Often, if someone goes to great lengths to tell you that he is not a liar, a crook, a troublemaker, or green with envy, he probably is those things.

 

 

Realize that your mind is trickier than you think, and is always working with your ego to make you believe you are doing better than you really are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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