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epictetus-books

“Don’t just say you have read books.
Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person.
Books are the training weights of the mind.
They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.”

— Epictetus, The Art of Living

How to Say No, Better

Another James Clear pick today.

How do you make it easier on yourself to say no?
To stick to that diet?
To stop goofing off and buckle down and study or work?

Because,

The ability to overcome temptation and effectively say no is critical not only to your physical health, but also to maintaining a sense of well–being and control in your mental health.

We do this, by assertion rather than denying ourselves day in and day out.
Not that I can’t do this. Just that I don’t. I am a person who eats good food. So I don’t eat junk food.
I am a person who wants to be a programmer. So I don’t browse the web aimlessly all day.
I am a person who wants his mind in his control all the time. So I don’t drink.

When you decide ‘who’ you want to be, it becomes easier to decide, ‘what’ you don’t want to do.

Here’s an anecdote, James shares,

Group 1 was told that anytime they felt tempted to lapse on their goals they should “just say no.” This group was the control group because they were given no specific strategy.

Group 2 was told that anytime they felt tempted to lapse on their goals, they should implement the “can't” strategy. For example, “I can't miss my workout today.”

Group 3 was told that anytime they felt tempted to lapse on their goals, they should implement the “don't” strategy. For example, “I don't miss workouts.”

For the next 10 days, each woman received an email asking to report her progress. They were specifically told, “During the 10–day window you will receive emails to remind you to use the strategy and to report instances in which it worked or did not work. If the strategy is not working for you, just drop us a line and say so and you can stop responding to the emails.”

Here's what the results looked like 10 days later…

  • Group 1 (the “just say no” group) had 3 out of 10 members who persisted with their goals for the entire 10 days.
  • Group 2 (the “can't” group) had 1 out of 10 members who persisted with her goal for the entire 10 days.
  • Group 3 (the “don't” group) had an incredible 8 out of 10 members who persisted with their goals for the entire 10 days.

The words that you use not only help you to make better choices on an individual basis, but also make it easier to stay on track with your long–term goals.

So, say, I don’t, and you’ll say no more effectively :)

Why does this work better than I can’t?
How do I apply this to my life?
Read James’ article to find out.

P.S. And, go subscribe to the newsletter, if you are reading this on the web :)


Books I’ve Read, June Edition

’Twas a good month for reading :)

June

  • The Song of the Bird, Anthony de Mello
    (absolutely read. buy and give people copies.
    this book for me, goes beyond a quake book.
    it has shaped my life, and thoughts, since boyhood, subconsciously then and with intent now.)

  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Poirot #1), Agatha Christie
    (re-reading my way through the Poirot canon.
    these books take me to the age I think I belong to, the late 1800s, early 1900s absolutely delightful)

  • Epigrams on Men, Women and Love, Honoré de Balzac
    (beautiful set of quotes)

  • Mother American Night, John Perry Barlow
    (a man who lived life. founder of the EFF and the FSF.
    and more importantly (to me), lyricist for the Grateful Dead)

  • Word by Word, Anne Lamott
    (must listen (it’s an old audiobook.)
    excellent companion to Bird by Bird.
    imagine Anne teaching you how to write using BbB as a text book.
    she’s awesome.
    the book’s awesome.)

  • Indian Love Poems, Peter Pauper Press
    (absolutely loved it)

  • Love Poems and Love Letters for All the Year, Peter Pauper Press

  • Flower Thoughts, Peter Pauper Press

  • Thoughts for a Good Life, Peter Pauper Press

  • Epigrams by Oscar Wilde, Peter Pauper Press

  • Murder on the Links (Poirot #2), Agatha Christie
    (need i say, you ought to read it :))

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Happy Birthday Abbygail

Click the pic for a larger one


Love looks pretty on you.
Makes you soft, tender, proud.
Makes you sit up and take notice.
Gives you a home to set down your things.


What a blessing it is, to have music and dancing and poetry.
What a gift it is, to look at someone and say,
I’m so happy to have found you
at last, at last, at long, long last
you’re here.

Lang Leav

It has also been a blessing to walk by your side, sharing our lives.
It’s hard to think of me, without you anymore.
Like Leav writes, “Every time I see my name, I hear it in your voice.”
Happy Birthday, my heart!
I love you.


What Makes the Desert Beautiful …

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“The stars are beautiful, because of a flower that cannot be seen.”

I replied, “Yes, that is so.’
And, without saying anything more, I looked across the ridges of sand that were stretched out before us in the moonlight.

“The desert is beautiful,” the little prince added.

“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well …”

— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

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