Posts Tagged ‘Life Change’

Willpower and MotivationPhoto license

Willpower is doing whatever it takes to reach your long term goals. It is also avoiding what you should not do. It is both achievement and abstinence.

Self-discipline has been found to be a key factor in success. You can succeed without it, of course. Maybe you’ll luck out on a good job or have a nice lotto win. Joking and luck aside, you are more likely to achieve what you want when you have strong willpower.

Steps in using willpower:

1. Decide why you want to change, your motivation, and set clear goals.

2. Monitor your actions as you move toward those goals.

3. Exercise your willpower to keep on track.

Willpower is cognitive, not emotional. Don’t let your emotions take over. If you’re guided by what you feel like doing, you’ll go off track. What is your goal? What must you do to achieve it? It doesn’t matter how you feel about the task right now. It’s how you will feel when you succeed. Let logic win.



Too Much EducationPhoto license

Are we getting too much education today or is it the same education as in the past drawn out over a longer period of time so that everyone passes?

My grandfather had a grade five education, started out with his own business, later went into government where he set up medicare for an entire province among other things, and eventually became a mayor.

My father had a high school diploma, went in for manual labor and factory work, and retired with a pension.

I have a university degree and will need to work until I die.

Untangling Education versus Pay

Part of the change over the generations described above is due to recessions or depressions appearing about every ten years. Those have kept wages down while raising the cost of living.

The result has been that more and more education is needed to get a job that just pays the bills. Thanks to student loans, it can be a long time before those better paying jobs make a difference in your bank account. Many choose to stop at high school and get by on minimum wage or enter the welfare system.

But that’s a separate problem. Let’s stick with the value of education.

We Were Taught More in the Past

In 1917, my then 12 year old grandmother moved to Canada from Scotland with her family. She had been in grade 9 studying calculus and algebra, among other subjects appropriate for the grade level.

When she enrolled in school in Canada she was told, “Grade 9 is too far ahead for a 12 year old. We’re putting you in grade 6.” She was disappointed to say the least. For the rest of her public education, she was at the top of her class and went on to take a one year teacher’s degree. When she went to work as a teacher, she could have been a principal but was passed over for a less qualified male teacher because, “It wouldn’t be right for a woman to be a man’s supervisor.” Yeah. It was a different world in a lot of ways.

That’s Just Scotland

Is it just Scotland? Did they start kids in school three years earlier than Canada? I think it was Europe versus North America. Maybe it still is.

Any readers from Europe who would like to comment on what grade, age, and year they found themselves studying calculus and algebra? Scottish comments could be especially revealing.

Location is not the point either. It’s how much education and how soon.

Triumph of the Unintelligent?

When I went to school in the 1960s and 70s, a 60% was required or you repeated the grade. I passed every grade with little effort. A pass was all the school and my parents demanded. Why this matters will make sense shortly.

Heidegger's Search for the Meaning of Being

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This is a paper I wrote for myself at the end of university. It gives an overview of Martin Heidegger’s positive existential philosophy. This version has been very lightly edited. No attempt has been made to add to the explanations of the concepts. If you find yourself lost on a point, feel free to ask in the comments.

Heidegger’s Search for the Meaning of Being

Heidegger says the central question for the human being is the question of Being. Our inquiry into Being has been absent for such a long time that we now suffer from a loss of meaning, as evidenced by the growth of nihilism. All meaning derives from the Meaning of Being and it is a return to the question of Being that is the only way to get this back.


How to Realize Your Dream Job

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If you’re like the majority of people, you take whatever job you can find to pay the bills. If a better paying job becomes available, you switch to that. As far as what you’d really like to do for a living, it’s a hobby or a dream you’re not living. Maybe you’ve taken some courses or read some books, but your job is not related to what you want to do.

I’ve described the process of following your dreams more fully before. This is the first time I present the simple process that follows. Simple. Not easy.


Not really. There never will be a zombie apocalypse. Even if some mad scientists were to create a bio-weapon that created a hunger for human flesh, the infected would eat each other. The uninfected would then kill off the zombie winners and the plague would be over. Since there’s been a bit of hype about the zombie apocalypse being imminent, I thought I might give my take on the possibilities.

The Fictional Zombie Apocalypse

The original movie zombies were long-dead corpses that arose from their graves and shambled through the jungle to eat the living. Decades of movies had slow zombies overpowering the living with surprise attacks and sheer numbers. Then, the excitement picked up with fast zombies. There have been a few other variations, such as zombies with guns.

Where zombie movie logic always fails is in the living dead angle. To move, they must eat. Either they eat their victims and fail to multiply or they only infect their victims and starve to death.

Could there be some lesser equivalent of zombies in the real world?


Why Psychotherapy Works

Posted: August 6, 2011 in Psychology
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Why Psychotherapy Works

For someone who has studied nothing about psychology, there’s no mystery about how it works. They have no interest in the question. As far as they know, if someone has emotional problems they go to a psychologist or psychiatrist, receive therapy or medication and get better. A sunny idealized view, but one that is occasionally true.

The reality is that sometimes therapy and medication have no effect or even make the patient’s problems worse. But, this article isn’t about how psychology fails. The question is, why does it often succeed?


Counting Lives

Posted: July 30, 2011 in Psychology

Counting Lives

Hermann Hesse wrote books about people who lived more than one life in a single lifetime. The last one was published in 1943. Since then, few writers have made transitioning to a new life part of their novels. The requirement that the protagonist of a novel needs to resolve some deep personal conflict is usually handled with a new job similar to their old one, patching a failing relationship or finding a new lover.

Nonfiction books on careers do a little better job dealing with this. Most of what they write requires that your first career pays well enough that you have savings that can be used to get a degree that launches a new career. That is a transition between lives, but it’s rich people’s lives. It’s not what the average working person experiences.