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Training For Adversity, Dealing With Your Inner Critic, & Using Tools To Improve Thinking

Resource: Seneca on Overcoming Fear and the Surest Strategy for Protecting Yourself from Misfortune


Be like the boxer who trained by running backwards (Zig Ziglar). Knowing that he would eventually have to take a hit, he learned how to roll with the punches.

Don’t allow the pleasures of life to soften you. Adopt some form of aescetic practice to help you increase your tolerance for enduring discomfort.

Mental toughness is the ability to experienced the denial or deferment of pleasure without breaking.


“Anyone with any degree of mental toughness ought to be able to exist without the things they like most for a few months at least.” -Georgia O’Keeffe

On preparing for trouble in times of plenty:

“Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: “Is this the condition that I feared?” It is precisely in times of immunity from care that the soul should toughen itself beforehand for occasions of greater stress, and it is while Fortune is kind that it should fortify itself against her violence. In days of peace the soldier performs maneuvers, throws up earthworks with no enemy in sight, and wearies himself by gratuitous toil, in order that he may be equal to unavoidable toil. If you would not have a man flinch when the crisis comes, train him before it comes.” -Seneca

On the power of practicing poverty:

“There is no reason, however, why you should think that you are doing anything great; for you will merely be doing what many thousands of slaves and many thousands of poor men are doing every day. But you may credit yourself with this item, — that you will not be doing it under compulsion, and that it will be as easy for you to endure it permanently as to make the experiment from time to time. Let us practice our strokes on the “dummy”; let us become intimate with poverty, so that Fortune may not catch us off our guard. We shall be rich with all the more comfort, if we once learn how far poverty is from being a burden….set apart certain days on which you shall withdraw from your business and make yourself at home with the scantiest fare. Establish business relations with poverty.” -Seneca

Resource: Facing the inner critic


The biggest critic is the inner critic.

The critic loses his power when you face him and look him in the eye.

Instead of running from your inner critic, talk with him, dance with, and have tea with him. Learn to enjoy what your inner critic has to share. It’s not the critic that hurts you, it’s your shame/fear that hurts you.


“We can use the critic as a compass, as a way to know if we’re headed in the right direction.” -Steve Chapman

“There is no battle to win, because there is no battle. The critic isn’t nearly as powerful as you are, not if you are willing to look him in the eye.” -Seth Godin

Resource: Getting Things Done
Description: Using Tools to Enhance Thinking


Good thinking generates good tools, but good tools also generate good thinking.

One of the best ways to improve your ability to focus and generate fresh insights is by working with a tool that captures and connects thoughts.


“No matter at what level project ideas show up, it’s great to have good tools always close at hand for capturing them as they occur. Once they’ve been captured, it’s useful to have access to them whenever you need to refer to them.

“One of the great secrets to getting ideas and increasing your productivity is utilizing the function-follows-form phenomenon—great tools can trigger good thinking. (I’ve come up with some of my most productive thoughts when simply exploring a new software application that created an interesting or fun way to generate and capture data.)”

“If you aren’t writing anything down, or inputting into a digital device, it’s extremely difficult to stay focused on anything for more than a few minutes, especially if you’re by yourself. But when you utilize physical tools to keep your thinking anchored and saved, you can stay engaged constructively for hours. “

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