When presented with a treadmill they might have the persistence to run that little bit further, but where is that determination coming from? That is where the idea for this study came from. Can we question people straight after they have completed an unpleasant task and ask them how they did it?
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Having established a list of the 19 most commonly reported strategies for coping with unpleasant tasks, from motivating self-talk to reducing distractions, the researchers collected responses from people in real-life situations. These ranged from mental challenges including work and research as well as taxing daily duties including commuting, cooking and cleaning.
Focussing on the positive consequences was the most commonly reported strategy, followed by thinking of the end of the task, task enrichment — making the task better by listening to music — and checking goal progress. But among the strategies that produced the best results, and that people with the highest levels of persistence relied on most, task enrichment fell to the bottom of the list.
Hennecke relied on the participants to report their own success rates after each task. Focussing on the bigger picture — the positive or negative consequences — was more effective.
Hennecke says previous research had suggested trying to find enjoyment in the task itself was key, but she points out that some tasks are unenjoyable no matter how hard you try. Successful people in her study focussed on the goal. Similar to the Harvard Grant treadmill test, one of the most famous studies of self-control teaches us little about how we remain focussed in a natural environment. First, the marshmallow test is unnatural.
We are not troubled by things, but by the opinions we have about things. Stand still. The trees before you and the bushes beside you are not lost. Wherever you are is a place called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. It answers, I have made this place around you, If you leave it you may come back again saying Here. No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, You are surely lost.
The forest knows Where you are. You must let it find you. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Buckminster Fuller himself was fond of stating that what seems to be happening at the moment is never the full story of what is really going on.
He liked to point out that for the honey bee, it is the honey that is important. But the bee is at the same time nature's vehicle for carrying out cross-pollination of the flowers.
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Interconnectedness is a fundamental principle of nature. Nothing is isolated. Each event connects with others. I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, most of which never happened - anonymous sometimes attributed to Mark Twain -. We see things not as they are, but as we are. Tomlinson -. The birds have vanished into the sky, and now the last cloud drains away. We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains. Ram Dass tells of a student who went to a Zen master. Not a dead Zen master.
As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
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The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. First I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work. And then I was dying to retire. And now, I am dying And suddenly realize I forgot to live.
I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. You must not lose faith in humanity.
Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. In my walks, I would fain return to my senses.
What business have I in the woods if I am thinking of something out of the woods? Our bodies know they belong, It's our minds that make our lives so homeless. Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.
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Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. Could we have no agenda when we walk into a room with another person, not know what to say, not make that person wrong or right? Could we see, hear, feel other people as they really are? But true communication can happen only in that open space. Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary. There are burning bushes all around you. Every tree is full of angels. Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb. Every part of our personality that we do not love will become hostile to us. If you have embarked on this journey of self-reflection, you may be at a place that everyone, sooner or later, experiences on the spiritual path.
You have a choice whether to open or close, whether to hold on or let go, whether to harden or soften, whether to hold your seat or strike out. That choice is presented to you again and again and again. I sought my soul, But my soul I could not see. I sought my God, But my God eluded me. I sought my brother, And found all three. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is.
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In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace. Is there anything I can do to make myself Enlightened? As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.
Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe? To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.
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There is nothing you can do to improve your soul. There is nothing you can do to stain your soul. I believe that the only true religion consists of having a good heart. The further I wake into this life, the more I realize that God is everywhere and the extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that is ordinary.
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