Copyright 2001 by Keith L. Kendrick
"Pain is the great teacher of mankind;
beneath its breath souls develop."
Maria von Ebner Eschenbach
"Happiness is not a reward, it is a
Robert G. Ingersoll
DEVELOPING BASIC PRACTICES
On a sailing voyage specific practices are
fundamental for dealing with the problems that will
inevitably arise in using the power of the wind.
Likewise, to create a fulfilling life certain
practices are necessary for effectively dealing with
the difficulties that we will encounter. For those
who want to use the concepts of TA, it's the role of
the Adult ego state to learn or refine these
practices. However, if a person doesn't care for
those concepts, the need to apply the practices is
still the same.
Fortunately, we can learn them just as we can
learn other skills. But unlike some skills that
benefit from the agility and reflexes of youth, the
ability to learn these practices is enhanced by the
experience and traits of adulthood. The bad news is
that as in developing any skill or ability, we need
to thoroughly understand the fundamentals, and then
we need to regularly apply them.
In addition, these basic practices are so
interrelated that when we apply one of them, we do it
in relation to the others. They can't be adequately
developed on an independent basis as we could
separately learn carpentry, writing, and football.
Just as a ship needs accurate charts and
bearings if it's to have a successful and relatively
enjoyable voyage, we need sound information about
ourselves and the world in order to achieve our
potential. So the first practice is what I call the
open-minded search for reality. The effect of this is
a process I call "becoming real."
Many people would say that reality is hard to
define, and furthermore, that nobody can know for
sure what it is. Yet to have a productive discussion
about it, we need a common ground on which to discuss
it. Therefore, let's define reality as: the quality
or state of being true and real in life; actually
happening or in fact (based on Webster's Dictionary).
More practically put, reality is what actually is,
not what may be ideal or what we wish it to be.
In this practice are two characteristics:
openness and seeking. The distinction is important
because it's easy to use one and disregard the other.
We can be open to reality and yet have a very limited
perception of it if we don't seek it. We can also
seek reality and yet not accept it because our minds
are too closed--it may make us uncomfortable or
threaten us. Thus our growth is more effectively
enhanced by simultaneously being open-minded and in
search of what is real.
A major difficulty with reality, though, is that
it isn't always absolutely identifiable and testable.
Nevertheless, there are two good ways of evaluating a
reputed reality: how well it has endured over time,
and whether or not it has been effective at producing
consistent, positive results. The latter was referred
to by Jesus in his metaphor, "By their fruits, you
shall know them," and history has shown well that the
long term result that something produces is a good
indication of its true nature.
From these two ways of evaluating reality we can
conclude that a universal reality is always
surrounding us: all people, regardless of their
circumstances, encounter throughout their lives a
multitude of problems and pains. These will vary
depending upon the situation, but the basic human
problems of loneliness and belonging, security and
freedom, of creating meaning in our lives, and
ultimately our mortality, face every person.
Many people cling to the notion that life
shouldn't be so difficult and unfair, and this
misconception inhibits there ability to live
optimally. The quicker we accept the fact that life
is inherently full of unfairness, dilemmas, and
discomfort, the sooner we can begin to deal with
these problems in more productive ways. As we develop
our abilities to deal with problems, we can also
realize that it is primarily because of these
problems that we grow spiritually. In developing this
approach to life though, we will greatly speed our
progress by understanding a tendency that causes our
misconceptions to continue.
The basic inaccuracies and fallacies that we
frequently acquire have been described in earlier
chapters. However, what causes these misconceptions
to persist comes from a tendency we all naturally
have to some extent. In psychology this tendency is
known as selective perception--and it's common in all
people because it is related to the basic drive for
self-preservation. To overcome this tendency, we
need to know how it works and then become aware of
when it prevents us from gaining a deeper
Selective perception is the way we mentally try
to protect our current patterns of thinking,
believing, and acting. It often can be seen when we
select information about most things, but especially
with information regarding religion, politics, and
specific lifestyles. We have the tendency to select
information with which we already agree, which
reinforces our existing beliefs and actions, and to
reject information that conflicts with what we
currently know and/or causes us to be uncomfortable.
This tendency is a form of basic
self-preservation because with it we try to preserve
ourselves as we currently exist. But unfortunately,
in addition to limiting our understanding, it also
reinforces the negative and counter-productive
aspects of ourselves. We all probably have known
people who seem to see mostly the negative and others
who see mostly the positive. The excessively negative
view is frequently manifested in self-defeating
beliefs and actions, and these are retained because
the people select perceptions that lock them into
seeing only this aspect. But being too positive can
also interfere with handling problems; perceptions
may be selected which deny the need to deal with the
problems, or even that they exist. Even in more
subtle instances, though, selective perception can
cause people to remain stuck in their patterns that
lead to unhappiness.
At times the tendency to select our perceptions
can distort the way we see things even more. An
example of this is when we view a situation and
"project" qualities onto it, and these qualities are
based more on our history of personal problems than
on the objective facts of the situation. Rather than
just perceiving selectively, we may unconsciously
look for things that relate to our programming that
began in childhood. Because we look for these things,
we are more apt to see them, even if they're
insignificant or don't really exist, except in our
Selective perception occurs in several forms.
One is by making overgeneralized conclusions which
are reflected in the way we think: everything is seen
in distinct terms of black and white with little
in-between, and a single or occasional occurrence is
misconstrued as a continuous pattern. If we or others
make a mistake, we label ourselves or them as
inadequate, and anyone who experiences failure,
including ourselves, is viewed as an overall failure.
We either make mountains out of molehills or try to
deny that the mountains exist. Furthermore, problems
and their solutions tend to be viewed in simplistic,
sweeping terms. With such generalizations our
perception of reality is distorted to fit our
existing beliefs, and we reject contradictory
information by insisting, often for some vague
reason, that it doesn't matter.
Another way we perceive selectively is through
personalizing: external incidents are taken too
personally by accepting what our emotions tell us as
being the way things actually are--because we feel
something, then it must be true. Someone does
something that offends me, and then I take it
personally by feeling, and thus perceiving, that it
was actually done to offend me. This type of thinking
disregards the fact that the person doesn't know me
and was probably just meeting his or her own needs
with little consideration for my existence.
In another instance, we may feel that an event
we had some connection to was caused by us, even
though another cause was mainly responsible. We may
have played a small part in it, but we magnify our
part and take on unwarranted responsibility for the
event. In both instances our feelings are accepted as
reality, and although they are real, our feelings
cloud the truth.
PERSONAL PSYCHIC READINGS
Along with personalizing is our psychic
readings, in which we predict how things are going to
turn out for us or think we know what another person
is thinking and why he or she is doing something--as
if we could see into the future and read minds. But
with these dubious interpretations we also usually
act to fulfill our prediction (the self-fulfilling
prophecy), and we are less open to what the other
person is really thinking and to other reasons for
his or her actions.
Such psychic readings can be particularly
detrimental when we predict that our future is going
to be predominantly negative, or we incorrectly think
that another person doesn't care about us or is
trying to hurt us. Again our view of reality is
distorted by selecting information that reinforces
our beliefs as they currently exist, while we exclude
information that may be more accurate.
INJUNCTIONS AND ATTRIBUTES
We also select our perceptions by using the
injunction and attribute statements referred to in
the last chapter. These are the "I must or must not,
I should or shouldn't" statements, and the "I am or
am not, I can or can't" statements that we acquired
long ago and still feel compelled to carry out. We
acquired these during childhood from the authority
figures in our lives, which frequently reflected the
main trends in society at the time. However, as
children we can't evaluate these statements
intelligently enough to reject those that are
counter-productive, and adults frequently don't
extend the effort to evaluate them sufficiently.
We habitually make such statements to ourselves
on a mental basis, and usually without being aware
that we are doing it. But we also act in accord with
the statements, regardless of their validity, and
consequently we often unwittingly put unhelpful
limitations on ourselves.
These statements can be useful in limiting
antisocial behavior and instilling a sense of ethics,
and positive "I am" and "I can" statements can lead
people to develop their potential. Yet because the
personal attribute and injunction statements of most
people are too negative or restrictive, they seldom
promote constructive change. When directed inward,
such statements often promote useless guilt or
self-contempt that interferes with making positive
changes. If directed toward others, they can cause
anger and conflict--people will frequently react
unfavorably when someone tells them they must,
shouldn't, or can't do something. But in using these
statements, our view of what is really possible or
acceptable is limited to fit our existing beliefs.
SOLUTION: COURAGEOUS AWARENESS
We begin to overcome the problem of selective
perception by putting effort into discovering how we
use it. First we need to let go of our belief that
what we know about ourselves and the world is
completely accurate, and then be open to everything
that can increase our understanding of what is true.
Such openness requires courage because we will be
venturing into the unknown and giving up the security
of believing we're right.
Next, we need to examine ourselves in a more
objective way to see how we have selected our
perceptions to reinforce our beliefs and behaviors.
The knowledge gained from this self-examination is
invaluable for knowing ourselves better and
increasing our ability to love.
This examination also needs to be used to see
how we select our perceptions moment by moment. By
doing this we spontaneously expand our awareness; we
change from being completely immersed in our
perceptions to being more observant of how we
perceive. Just as we get out of a trance by "waking
up" and becoming more aware, we overcome selective
perception by increasing our awareness. Through
observing ourselves and becoming more aware of how we
perceive, we automatically change the process of
LIVING IN GOOD FAITH
Another aspect of becoming real is learning to
live in harmony with our true abilities. This is in
contrast to when people hide their abilities and
refrain from doing things they are capable of doing
because they're afraid of losing someone's approval.
It is also the opposite of when people pretend to be
more than they are in order to gain favor.
If we hide our abilities or pretend to be more
than we are, we become impostors who are actually
rejecting our real selves. The French philosopher
Jean-Paul Sartre (1956) called this "living in bad
faith." Others can often sense when someone is
rejecting his or her real self, and consequently they
are more likely to reject that person too. When this
rejection by others occurs, the person may be
surprised by it and unable to understand why.
When we live in harmony with our true selves, we
won't feel like we have to hide our abilities or our
happiness. This doesn't mean that we should show off
or brag about ourselves, but that we feel good about
who we are and can express this feeling in the way we
Since real people are more open, their energy is
also more apparent to others. When those who haven't
learned to be real sense this energy, they sometimes
will be annoyed or threatened by it. This negative
response can be a price we pay for becoming real, but
we shouldn't let it stop us; it's actually a small
price to pay for the benefits of a hearty and
Overcoming our selective perceptions and knowing
ourselves better require courage and commitment.
There is always the risk that some of the truth we
discover will be distressing. To find that for a long
time we have been wrong about something, or acting
inappropriately or harmfully, can cause us to
experience regret or even anguish. The process
requires commitment because of the ongoing effort
that is needed. It isn't something that happens and
then continues without effort.
Yet becoming real is worth the risk and effort;
not only do the benefits include increased love and
fulfillment, but the alternative of basing our lives
on facades and self-deceptions ultimately causes more
difficulty. In addition, we can gain the courage and
motivation to pursue this course by understanding
that it is the best route to being truly successful.
The next practice will result from performing
the first: if we seek reality with an open mind, we
will realize the necessity of accepting appropriate
responsibility--a process by which we gain maximum
control of our lives. The opposite of this practice
is rejecting responsibility for ourselves and trying
to give it to others--and in doing so we give them
greater control over us. Similarly, if we hold the
past as being responsible for our circumstances, we
surrender our control to the confining dictates of
the past. Only by accepting responsibility for
ourselves can we develop the potential that lies
dormant inside us.
People who reject responsibility for themselves
more frequently feel that life is unfair, and that
their lives are controlled by luck and other people.
Actually their feelings reflect the reality of their
situation; they are more controlled by others because
they have given away control of their lives to other
people, and they probably experience more unfairness
because they depend more on others. And in
surrendering the direction of their lives to luck,
they let chance control their lives, not realizing
that luck is largely of one's own creation due to
prudent, repeated effort.
Most people who achieve success assume
responsibility for themselves, including their
mistakes and failures. They realize that to be
successful they have to keep trying, and that making
mistakes and encountering failure are inherent
elements of striving. But they also use such setbacks
as valuable lessons for learning what to do
We primarily create our own good luck, as well
as our fate, by continuing in our efforts to succeed,
and by using our mistakes to learn better approaches.
Being aware of how we contribute to our success will
also help us be more alert for opportunities--a large
part of success is recognizing and taking advantage
of opportunity. When we accept responsibility for
ourselves, we are more apt to be aware of
opportunities and use them better. Thus we continue
to create what some people would interpret as "good
The responsibility that we accept also needs to
be appropriate. When we take on responsibility that
actually belongs to someone else, we burden ourselves
with unnecessary duties which divert us from what we
really need to do. At the same time we can hinder
others by not allowing them to assume responsibility
for problems they need to deal with in order to grow.
However, these drawbacks shouldn't be used as a
reason to exclude ourselves entirely from helping
people. Rather than being a justification for living
an isolated, selfish life, this examination is just
to clarify the difficulty in practicing healthy
responsibility. Most mental health professionals
would agree that the basis for the majority of
psychological problems is either not accepting enough
responsibility or accepting too much.
Determining what is the proper amount of
responsibility to accept is an ongoing problem.
Throughout our lives we need to decide what to be
responsible for and what not to be responsible for,
and in this continuing process we won't always make
the best decisions. Yet making these mistakes doesn't
mean we are inadequate; it means we have risked
trying and have gained an opportunity to learn.
In accepting responsibility for others we run
the risks of taking on unhealthy burdens while
hampering their growth. Why then should we try to
help others? Because in doing so we can learn about
ourselves and others, and build bonds between our
community and ourselves that make us feel we have a
more meaningful place in life. Through reaching out
to others in appropriate ways, we enrich ourselves
and the world.
In contrast, by excessively rejecting
responsibility for others we restrict our
understanding and increase our isolation. This often
leads to a feeling of "it's me against the world," or
"I don't fit in or belong anywhere." Sometimes this
lack of understanding and the feeling of isolation
can lead to a life aimed towards self-destruction.
Sometimes it motivates people to join a social circle
or club which reduces their isolation and the feeling
of not belonging. Occasionally it causes people to
join a group which also reduces their feelings of
powerlessness--and sometimes because of the distorted
reasoning and fear in the group, they discriminate
harshly and unjustly against other groups; extreme
examples are again the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis.
As we struggle with the continuing issue of what
our responsibility is and isn't, we will encounter
many dilemmas and frustrations. But by assuming
responsibility that is appropriate, personally and in
our community, we can reach the fulfillment that we
are truly capable of.
EXPERIENCING NECESSARY DISCOMFORT
This practice is actually an extension of the
previous one, but the distinction can be important;
we can claim responsibility, and yet not do what is
needed. A basic, innate tendency we all acquire as
children is the avoidance of pain, which is
instrumental in protecting us from injury. Yet this
tendency naturally leads us to avoid discomfort, even
when such avoidance isn't in our best overall
interests. Consequently, this inclination to avoid
what is uncomfortable is a major underlying factor in
the continuation of most of our problems.
To assume responsibility fully, we must
experience the discomfort inherent to dealing with
problems. When faced with problems we can choose
either to put the necessary effort into resolving
them, or we can try to avoid dealing with them by
running away or just doing nothing. If we avoid
making a choice, we are still choosing the course of
trying to evade the discomfort of dealing with the
Following this practice also implies reducing
the discomfort that isn't necessary. Some of the
discomfort people experience is avoidable, because it
often results from rejecting the initial effort
required for resolving problems--and the problems and
the anxiety associated with them linger, adding to
the amount of overall discomfort. Furthermore, when
problems are not dealt with they frequently get
worse, causing additional anxiety and work. We can
best reduce the total amount of discomfort in our
lives by choosing to experience that discomfort which
is part of resolving our problems.
Whether it's handling issues in our
relationships, learning the requirements for a job,
or changing our behavior, the situation is similar;
in trying to avoid the discomfort associated with
resolving a problem, we usually allow the problem to
continue. Not only does it continue, but we also have
to endure the nagging knowledge and accompanying
feelings that the problem is still waiting for us. So
in trying to avoid the discomfort involved in dealing
with problems, we actually compound it with the
anxiety caused by knowing our effort is still needed.
Worse yet is avoiding a problem and wishing that
it would just go away, and instead the problem grows
because we ignored it. This situation is like
avoiding the work needed to maintain a roof, and then
developing a leaky roof that damages the interior,
thus creating even more work to repair the damage.
Some people may even go so far as to still avoid the
work needed to fix the roof and interior, and then
the whole house begins to decay.
The consequences of avoiding uncomfortable
situations is especially relevant to relationships
when the inevitable conflicts occur and need to be
worked out. If we try to avoid the discomfort in
working to resolve these conflicts, frequently the
problems will build up and reduce the richness of the
relationship--like coffee that is kept hot for too
long becomes bitter, or a pot that suddenly boils
over and creates a big mess.
Sometimes when we don't deal with a relationship
problem in the hope that it will resolve itself, it
will get better. But if this approach to handling
problems is used very much, the many times when the
problems just linger unresolved will gradually hurt
the relationship. Often this approach has an eventual
effect similar to not repairing a leaky roof,
ultimately ending in damage that is beyond repair.
Choosing to experience necessary discomfort
often has an unexpected positive side to it. Many
times the discomfort we experience in dealing with a
problem is actually less than we had anticipated. How
many times have we dreaded the impending effort that
was expected in dealing with a problem, then to our
pleasant surprise found that when we dealt with it,
the discomfort wasn't as bad as we had thought?
Sometimes we may postpone working on a problem
because it appears so large and the required effort
seems so great that we have difficulty even
beginning. This type of procrastination stems from
viewing an entire task or problem as a whole which
needs to be dealt with in its entirety. We can help
ourselves overcome such procrastination by altering
our perception of the problem: by breaking the
problem down into individual steps and seeing it as a
set of small tasks to be handled one at a time, they
won't look as formidable as they do all together.
At times, getting started on a task can seem to
be the hardest part. But whenever we have trouble
beginning something because it seems so difficult, we
can ask ourselves what small thing we are willing to
do now in relation to the task. We can begin with
what we see as easily achievable. If we need to build
a fence, we can start with buying the materials. Then
we can take another step and try putting in the
posts. After that putting up the fence boards won't
seem so imposing. If we want to write a book, we can
begin with its basic idea and create the title, and
then we can work on the chapter names. After that we
can outline one chapter and then move on to another.
If a small start doesn't work, we can learn from
it and try an even smaller one. Sometimes we may
learn that some jobs aren't for us and that we need
to alter our goal or how we achieve it. Learning to
alter goals is a valuable lesson, but it can only be
learned when we actually try doing something.
When we begin to work on just one small part of
a task or problem, we make that important beginning.
After starting on it, we may even accomplish more
than we had anticipated doing. It's also important
that we acknowledge each small success and reward
ourselves for our efforts. The reward doesn't need to
be big or dramatic; an excellent reward is
consciously enjoying the positive feeling of
accomplishment. But with this reward we encourage
ourselves to choose another small step and continue
the process one step at a time.
This way of experimenting with a series of small
steps one after another, and learning from our
mistakes and rewarding ourselves for our efforts, is
actually the way we become real people. And the most
effective way to pursue this process is through
accepting appropriate responsibility and choosing to
experience that discomfort which is inherent to
resolving problems. Yet when we deal with a problem,
the timing and amount of effort needs to be properly
managed for the most benefit to occur. The next
practice is central to such management.
In Greece, where the city of Delphi once
existed, there is an ancient temple which has the
maxim "Know Thyself" inscribed above the entrance.
Across from it is another temple, and inscribed over
its entrance is the motto "Nothing To Excess." Yet in
a far different culture five hundred years before the
birth of Jesus, Confucius said "The key . . . is
moderation in all things." Thus, the practice of
moderation has long been considered in a wide range
of cultures to be an important practice to living
Anything, whether it's a thought, feeling,
action, or physical substance, if taken to too great
of an excess will turn from being healthy and
life-promoting to being detrimental. Furthermore,
there are limits to our resources and how far we can
spread them; with every endeavor there is some point
at which gaining a small, additional benefit will
excessively drain our resources and result in
disharmony. Because of this reality, every aspect of
our lives can benefit from using moderation.
A contemporary interpretation of this practice
is the rule of diminishing returns, which deals with
the ratio of the benefit gained to the amount of
resources used (resources can be any physical or
nonmaterial asset we have; time or energy, money and
other capital, the planet's natural resources, etc.).
To illustrate this rule, let's look at three
different ratios of benefit gained compared to
resources used. The first occurs when we gain a large
benefit as a result of using a small portion of our
resources. The second is when we significantly
increase our expenditure of resources, but gain a
smaller benefit in comparison to the amount of
resources used. With the third ratio there is very
little additional benefit gained, even though there
is an immense increase in the amount of resources
One example is entering the world of electronic
entertainment by purchasing a small radio for $50. On
this first level, as a result of a modest expenditure
of our resources we usually would gain the benefit of
a large range of music, news, and talk shows. The
impact on our lives is considerable compared to the
small amount of our resources we have used.
On the next level, we upgrade our system by
adding a compact disc player, a more powerful
amplifier and tuner, and larger speakers, which cost
us $700. Our expenditure is many times that of the
first level, yet we have gained the benefit of
listening to a much better sound and being able to
choose a much greater variety of music. The benefit
gained is substantial for our increased expenditure
of resources, yet the overall impact on our lives in
comparison to the amount of resources used is not as
great as in the first level. The proportion of
benefits we get in return for our increased
investment has diminished somewhat.
On the third level we buy top-of-the-line
equipment, which doesn't increase our range of music
but does produce a small improvement in sound, for a
cost of $3,000. Yet the effect on our lives of the
small additional benefit compared to the huge
expenditure of our resources is much less than with
the previous levels. The proportion of benefits
returned on our vast expenditure of resources has
diminished to the point where we should consider if
the large cost is worth what we get in return.
Some people might call making such comparisons a
value judgment, which would be accurate--and that is
also the point: ultimately everything in life comes
down to a value judgment. Making such judgments is
how we manage our lives; when we avoid making these
evaluations, we are choosing to let others control
our values, and consequently our lives.
To promote harmony between the different aspects
of our lives, we must use our resources wisely.
Therefore, moderation is a key element in juggling
the various facets that add to a well-rounded,
By keeping in mind the rule of diminishing
returns when we make choices, we can more effectively
use our time and energy, as well as our finances and
other material assets. Opportunities for this occur
in choosing all aspects of our lives: transportation
and housing, entertainment and hobbies, and how much
time and effort to put into work and personal
relationships. If we invest too much time and energy
into any of these areas, then the benefit returned
for the time and energy spent will diminish
correspondingly, and other areas of our lives will
then suffer. Therefore, learning to apply such
discretion is necessary for developing our potential.
The ratio of expenditure to benefits is also
relevant to the spiritual facet of our lives. If we
focus too much on the material aspects of life, this
will cause us to neglect the spiritual aspect.
Likewise, concentrating too much on the spiritual can
cause us to miss out on physical aspects that can add
much to life. Although either excess can lead to
problems, the more frequent tendency is for the
pursuit of the material world to override the
spiritual aspect. In our culture, pursuing too many
material things usually causes far more problems than
concentrating too much on the spiritual.
Moderation also needs to be applied to the
timing of our endeavors. A problem sometimes occurs
when a situation arises that needs to be dealt with,
but the immediate time is unfavorable for dealing
with it. Instead of waiting for a better time, some
people think that whenever something needs to be
done, it should be taken care of immediately. This is
taking on responsibility, but without the necessary
blend of discretion and restraint.
Not always should the discomfort of dealing with
a problem be attempted as soon as the problem
presents itself. The likelihood of success under the
existing circumstances needs to be an important
consideration in our timing. Putting off dealing with
problems can be a hindrance to solving them if it's
done to avoid the discomfort that is inherent to the
solution. But selecting the proper time for dealing
with problems is actually part of the responsibility
needed for most effectively solving them.
To regularly juggle the different aspects of
living is a great challenge, and the problem is
heightened as we deal with a world that continues to
rapidly become more complex. It's comparable to
juggling several balls while standing on a base that
seems to get shakier and shakier, with the further
challenge of having balls sporadically added without
our consent. This increasing complexity makes the
need to develop these basic practices even more
Yet when we try to love wisely and practice the
most effective ways of living, we still learn largely
through the trial and error process of continuing our
efforts after making mistakes. Whether the concern is
a personal relationship, our job, or the more mundane
aspects of everyday living, we have to first risk
trying something. If that doesn't work, then we need
to try something else. But we can greatly improve
this trial and error process by honestly examining
how we have either avoided the reality of our
responsibility or done something too excessively.
By practicing the open-minded search for
reality, the acceptance of appropriate responsibility
and the accompanying discomfort, and moderation, we
can reduce many problems and deal most effectively
with those which are inescapable.
Questions we can ask ourselves:
1. How earnestly do I try to find what is really
true? When I discover something that may be true,
but makes me uncomfortable, do I still try to
be open to it? When do I refrain from expressing
my positive aspects?
2. Do I usually accept the responsibility for
improving my situation, and then do what I need
to do, even though it may be difficult? When do
I blame my situation on others, on luck, or on
my background, and then furnish myself with an
excuse for not changing my situation?
3. Do I usually deal with my problems promptly
when the time is relatively favorable? When
do I postpone dealing with problems in an
effort to avoid the associated discomfort?
When could I deal with a problem more
effectively by choosing a more appropriate time?
4. What problems in my life have been the result of
some kind of excess in some area? How much time
and energy do I spend on relatively insignificant
issues vs. truly important ones? What new
responses (tapes) could I create to take the
place of my excessiveness?
Suggestions for further reading;
"Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway"
by Susan Jeffers
"When Smart People Fail"
by Carole Hyatt & Linda Gottleib
"Even in Summer the Ice Doesn't Melt: Constructive
Living Through Morita and Maikan Therapies"
by David K. Reynolds
"Do It! Let's Get Off Our Buts"
by John-Roger and Peter McWilliams