Making a Change for Good: A Guide to Compassionate Self-Discipline

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Multiple times. For years, I obsessed with achieving the Uberman Sleep Schedule. And for years, I continually failed at it. You have probably pulled an all-nighter before. Not sleeping for one night is not that difficult. Extreme sleep deprivation is a crash course on how fragile our mind actually is. By day three, you will start falling asleep standing up.

You will doze while walking down the street in broad daylight. I used to walk in circles around my living room for an hour, just to keep myself awake. When nap time came, I would crash, falling unconscious instantaneously, and proceed to have intense, fucked up dreams that seemed like they lasted for five hours. In the end, I could never make it through the fourth day. Each time I failed, I felt intense disappointment at my own lack of willpower. I believed this was something I should be able to do. I felt like it meant there was something wrong with me.

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Get your shit together! So I tortured myself. And the more I tortured myself, the more unrealistic my expectations for myself became. And chances are, you also failed miserably. This is what happens most of the time.

About the Book :

Most people think of self-discipline in terms of willpower. In fact, it backfires. And, as anyone who has ever tried to go on a diet will tell you, it usually only makes it worse. The problem is that willpower works like a muscle, if you work it too hard, it becomes fatigued and gives out. The first week committing to a new diet, or a new workout regimen, or a new morning routine, things go great. To have a chance of success, your willpower must be trained steadily over a long period of time.

But this leaves us in a conundrum: if we view self-discipline in terms of willpower, it creates a chicken-or-the-egg situation: To build willpower, we need self-discipline over a long period of time; but to have self-discipline, we need massive amounts of willpower. So, which came first? What should we do? How do we start? Our behaviors are not based on logic or ideas.

Logic and ideas can influence our decisions , but ultimately, our feelings determine what we do.

Book Review: Making A Change For Good by Cheri Huber

We do what feels good and avoid what feels bad. Throughout history, virtue was seen in terms of this sort of self-denial and self-negation. To be a good person, you had to not only deny yourself any pleasure, but you also had to show your willingness to hurt yourself. You had monks hitting themselves and locking themselves in rooms for days and not eating or even speaking for years on end. You had armies of men throwing themselves into battle for little or no reason. You had people abstaining from sex until marriage, or even for life.

Shit was not fun. You want that taco? The classical approach fused the concept of willpower—i. Someone who can say no to the taco is a good person. It recognized correctly that, when left to our own instinctive desires, we all become narcissistic assholes.


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If we could get away with it, we would eat, fuck, or kill pretty much anything or anyone within a ten-meter vicinity. So the great religious leaders and philosophers and kings throughout history preached a concept of virtue that involved suppressing our feelings in favor of rationality and denying our impulses in favor of developing willpower. And the classic approach works! Well, okay, while it makes a more stable society, it also totally fucks us up individually.

The classic approach has the paradoxical effect of training us to feel bad about all the things that make us feel good. It basically seeks to teach us self-discipline through shaming us—by making us hate ourselves for simply being who we are. Disciplining people through shame works for a while, but in the long-run, it backfires.


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The brain likes sex. Pretty self-explanatory.

You were punished for wanting it, and therefore, have a lot of conflicted feelings around sex: it sounds amazing but is also scary; it feels right but also somehow so, so wrong. As a result, you still want sex, but you also drag around a lot of guilt and anxiety and doubt about yourself.

This mixture of feelings generates an unpleasant tension within a person. And as time goes on, that tension grows. Because the desire for sex never goes away. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Braving the Wilderness. Molecules of Emotion. Candace B. Practicing the Jhanas. Stephen Snyder. Writing Down Your Soul. Janet Conner. Waking Up. Sam Harris. Big Magic. Elizabeth Gilbert. How Things Exist: Teachings on Emptiness.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Iain McGilchrist. Ego, Attachment and Liberation. Lama Yeshe. What Makes You Not a Buddhist. Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse. Main Street Vegan. Victoria Moran. You Are Not Your Brain. Jeffrey Schwartz. Pagan Portals - Hedge Riding. Harmonia Saille.

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Dare to Lead. Meditation For Dummies, Mini Edition. Stephan Bodian. The High Mountains of Portugal. Yann Martel.