It is known that homeschooled children perform 15-30% better on the ACT/SAT exams, and lack nothing, yea even excel in peer competence including leadership abilities and community service (see https://www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/). The following link shows the research to support these claims:
What a great joy for father and mother to school their children in their own home rather than loaning them to the state for 40 hours a week! Oh, how the mind would expand, how the truth would be understood, how the academic excellence would accelerate! How a desire to serve the human race could be taught!
Notes by Nate Richardson
-the focus on curriculum waters us down; we need to focus on becoming like our Father in Heaven, and we do this via celestial education.
-1860’s 1870’s in Utah, prior to this the Kirtland temple was used as a school, the parents would go there and learn academic subjects flavored with Mormonism, then they would be responsible to take those things back to their homes and teach their children; this shows who is responsible for teaching the children.
-Alvin R Dyer wrote “the refiners fire” book talking about Missouri and the promises of Missouri in the latter-days. Monnett asked him ‘how would you like to teach in the temple?’ he said, ‘if you teach in the temple, you will be able to teach the curriculum to parents’ he felt that all Millennium education would be home education, home schooling. The plot map of Zion is a 24 temple complex, there were 12 Melchizedek priesthood temples, he said probably the Aaronic temples would be used for teaching parents how to teach the youth, what to take home and teach the youth.
-in the 1870’s people could come to the small towns in Utah and the school boards were of Bishoprics and others with educational expertise, and they could teach things in their own local schools as they thought they should be taught, some was academic, but they taught things of the church, scripture classes, things of the prophets, all of those would weave in academia with this celestial learning which should take place. In the 1880’s they lost this since there were people who came to Utah who felt they could come convert the Mormons back to Christianity. They had given up on the adults but thought they could teach the children, and thus destroy Mormonism. They had academic degrees from everywhere and looked pretty good. They formed their own schooling. Mormons like education and it sounded good to go to schools by people who had high-fluting-degrees. The early saints however rejected the idea of a degree being what qualifies someone to teach.
-Brigham Young spoke of the issue of children being sent to gentile teachers: in effect he said if they can get a man who looks good, they will hire him as a teacher because of his smooth shift and a ring on his hand. But the stalwart man who chops wood, though he knows 5x more than the other teacher, they will not have as teacher. Get your brains right side up!
-there is an order of things; teach the spiritual foundation right, then teach the secular
-20 years ago, it was rare for someone to educate their children at home, not its almost mainstream.
-the child sits at home with its parents asking them questions; this is better than a child sitting with a teacher who is not interested in their life, and who asks predetermined questions with often predetermined answers.
-in public school they try a one size fits all class, that doesn’t work
-a parent can confess not knowing the answer to a child’s question, but the teacher with a degree feels they are supposed to already know, so they’ll often bluff.
-sitting in front of computer with someone else’s curriculum, that’s insufficient, have things you feel are important. And don’t use computer as babysitter.
-they took their child to China for a year, not focusing so much on schedules of curriculum, but the general education.
-one boy was on a 2nd grade reading level and wanted to be in homeschool, his mom watched soap operas all day, he said can’t we do something else? She said, ‘sure go read a book’. He did and brought himself to an 11th grade reading level that year.
-homeschooling you can read with your child and pause with them when they have a question and find the answer with them.
-In Oregon a woman homeschooled her granddaughter starting at age 8. By age 13, they went to a community college and asked if she could attend. They said no, she could not pass the entrance exams. So, she took the entrance exams, and scored higher than anyone, so they had no choice but to let her in. By age 14, she was ready to enter a 4-year university.
-homeschooled students are the most self-disciplined
-homeschooled students are often ready for college at age 14. BYU won’t let people in at that age, it’s a marriage institution for getting people married and into a job.
Notes by Nate Richardson
See also her book
Summary by Nate Richardson
-we don’t hate on public ed teachers, they are often very dedicated wonderful contributors
-printing press, people got bible, main purpose of school was to study the bible. Libraries had sermons.
-school was a very family centered thing
-Joseph Smith was not as prone to perusal of books his mother said; if he was required to be in school he would have been in biology class instead of the sacred grove.
-The D&C directed them to write specific books with the gospel oriented ed for the saints; the school books despite the fact that they then had good stuff with bible stuff and McGuffey readers, but the Lord saw even that as insufficient
-almost all early church leaders were against public school
-BY didn’t endorse school by taxation, free/government school
-John Taylor: we don’t want people to teach the children who aren’t church members
-compulsory attendance, national testing, mandatory kindergarten, teachers using government curriculum; Horace Man father of US ed brought the Prussian education ways as listed here. US had highest literacy, this wasn’t to fight illiteracy. Horace was not Christian and brought this to take away the religious aspect of education which was going on in the Catholic schools etc.
-John Dewey a humanist saying that religion causes all the world’s problems; like worshiping the creation rather than the creator. Dewey says we must resist the idea of dualism (that there is a body and a spirit, and you must fight against evil) and he taught evolution instead.
-those in favor of public education are in favor of creating a new society. The Communist Manifesto point 10 says need free education for all children in public schools; Karl Marx spoke of mandatory free education for all children as soon as they could get along without mom.
-communists speak of the need to remove children from the family
-founders of US public education included the school room to be the church where humanism was taught. Quote cited in lecture.
-we are being told that we don’t have the constitutional right to teach truth at schools
-6-10-year old’s in Palmdale were surveyed asking how often they think about having sex and touching other peoples’ private parts, and other even worse questions; judges ruled that since it’s not in the bill of rights, parents don’t have the right to
-SLC county library has many homosexual books on the approved reading list for kindergarteners
-we and our children now pay the price for the disobedience of our grandfathers when they rejected prophet’s council on schooling
-Some say, “ah Brigham Young, John Taylor, those prophets were speaking for the people 100 years ago!” But Alma 12:9-10 says prophets can only give the portion of God’s word which the people are willing to heed, who hardens their heart gets the lesser portion of God’s word, “9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him. 10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.” Just like how Moses had to get the lesser law when the people rejected the higher. Also, when the Israelites wanted kings but were told no but begged for them, the Lord allowed it, and they paid heavily. We aren’t fully accountable for keeping these things, but the blessings are not available for not doing them. D&C 88:33 ‘what good doth it if a gift is bestowed upon a man and he receive not that gift?’ Tax funded schools are the arm of flesh, the tradition of our fathers. D&C 93:39-40 says “39 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.
40 But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.”
-are tax funded schools serving God or man? Moroni 7:15-17 says things which don’t persuade to believe in Christ and God are of the devil, “15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. 16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for everything which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. 17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.”
-1 Nephi 1 the first verse in the Book of Mormon says his parents are the ones who taught them, he doesn’t thank the state for free schools. “1 I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father”
-God punishes rejection of his word 4 generations, that’s about how long it has been since the prophets gave council to not use tax funded schools. This means we can now break free of this yoke of our forefathers’ disobedience. Numbers 14:18 says “18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.”
-If you knew that you and your children would be called on to lead a Zion people who voluntarily live Gods laws, would this change the way you teach your children?
-The saints had to leave Missouri because of their disobedience. D&C 105:1-14 says “1 Verily I say unto you who have assembled yourselves together that you may learn my will concerning the redemption of mine afflicted people— 2 Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now. 3 But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them; 4 And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom; 5 And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself. 6 And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer. 7 I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people, who are the first elders of my church, for they are not all under this condemnation;
8 But I speak concerning my churches abroad—there are many who will say: Where is their God? Behold, he will deliver them in time of trouble, otherwise we will not go up unto Zion, and will keep our moneys.
9 Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion— 10 That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands. 11 And this cannot be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high. 12 For behold, I have prepared a great endowment and blessing to be poured out upon them, inasmuch as they are faithful and continue in humility before me. 13 Therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion. 14 For behold, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfil—I will fight your battles.”
-Can we seriously think that daily scripture study and prayer is enough to teach our children all they need to know?
-if we teach our children for a telestial world they will live like telestial people.
-people list the reason for having their children in school being so they can get a job and have financial success in the world. Helaman 7:21 speaks of this, “But behold, it is to get gain, to be praised of men, yea, and that ye might get gold and silver. And ye have set your hearts upon the riches and the vain things of this world, for the which ye do murder, and plunder, and steal, and bear false witness against your neighbor, and do all manner of iniquity.”
-people say “my children have great things happening at school and great teachers!” well yes the Telestial is a kingdom of light, that of a star, but there is a greater light.
-forced attendance, “no child left behind”, forcing them all to salvation, this is Satan’s plan! Straight out of the scripture! None will excel, none will fall behind…
-public school involves shame, competition, force, fear, entertainment
-the model of the temple should be how we pattern our schools
-memorizing a little trivia now and then is not being educated; we focus on getting good grades instead of getting an education
-they always seek entertaining ways to entertain. This makes the materials fluffy, like feeding a child junk food so you can check off the box for having fed them.
-job training and education are not the same thing
-earth day, pride day, these indoctrinations for society are in our schools
-false pride comes when children get good grades, thinking themselves competent and as better than others with worse grades; they think accomplishments are their worth; the schools teach some children that they are great and others that they are not. Many people’s self-esteem is destroyed at public schools.
-materialism greed lust are common themes of these schools.
-sensitivity can’t exist in the public schools, existing there day after day you will be desensitized
-dishonesty often comes in public schools because of the exceeding pressure to compete, the children start cheating, and often unknown to the parents.
-we should teach that everything is one unified purpose of God, not compartmentalizing them; they think now is school now is church seeing them as different; they cheat in school and then pass the sacrament, the compartmentalization kills the conscience, eradicating the guilt.
-public education is Telestial education. Its experts coming up with curriculum, teachers who teach, and if my child fails, I’ll call a big meeting to get other people to start ‘doing their jobs’
-our kids get a little religion on the side of their telestial education, but that is not sufficient.
-Terrestrial education is education great and honorable but lacking in the doctrine of Christ. That is how scriptures describe terrestrial programs. Terrestrial education purpose is great education, understanding, not just memorizing and passing off tests, good methods of non-force, inspiring learning, great models held up for them, challenging them not just playing down to them, the great philosophies of men mingled with scripture; we read the great philosophers and think, ‘if only they had the gospel, oh what they could have done!’
-John Taylor, one great reason why many stumble in their research of philosophical truth is that they glory in their own intelligence rather than seeking the king of the universe, they see themselves as the inventor of their ideas instead of giving the glory to God; we hold up these philosophers as the role models of education, but that is not the fullness of what God has in store for us. 2 Nephi 9:28-29, 42 speaks of this, “28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God. …42 And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.”
-God has almost always come to uneducated persons, with whom he doesn’t have to get around false notions. Consider Joseph Smith.
-some terrestrial education involves parents seeking good schools and footing the bill for their kids to go to those
-get a copy of the Book of Mormon and highlight everything it says about education, do this with D&C too.
-Celestial education is education in the context of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
-D&C 88:78-80 “78 Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand; 79 Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms— 80 That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.”
-D&C 130:18-19 “18 Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. 19 And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.”
-D&C 68:25-28 “25 And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents. 26 For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized. 27 And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands. 28 And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.”
-D&C 109:7 “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith;”
-the scriptures aren’t written in “step 1 step 2 step 3” but rather in the language of the spirit where we liken them to ourselves and find out what to do; God would have us learn this way. D&C 29:34 says all things are spiritual, no such things as temporal education, there is only Gods truth, and Satan’s deception. We can’t teach spiritual on the side; all teaching is spiritual, either spiritual for good or spiritual for evil.
– “Teach the Children” by Neil Flanders is a great book on this topic. It says education begins where creation leaves off. We educate to prepare our children to live a celestial life in a telestial world, to be a light on a hill, to be the leaders for God, to be able to abide celestial law, a very high standard.
-part of the mission for the young men is to learn to provide for their families, we aren’t debating celestial vs telestial education; the light of the sun swallows up all the light the star had; it’s a fullness, and includes the needed financial aspects. Jacob 2:18-19 says “18 But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. 19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.” Providing temporally doesn’t mean giving them everything they want, huge houses, elaborate vacations, it means making sure they have shoes for their feet and things like that.
-2 Ne. 28:30 says God gives us a little at a time “30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” D&C 50:24 says “24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”
-John Taylor prophesied we will be brilliant, but this would be hard if we stay with the platforms schools give saying ‘all 6 year old should know this, 7 that, etc.’ (John said something like this: you mark my word, LDS will lead in every field of knowledge as much as they lead in religion; Zion will be as far ahead of the outside world. Let us live so angels can minister to us and the holy ghost dwell with us)
-2 Ne. 25:26 refers to teaching of Christ all the time not just weekly and for daily ritual: “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”
-we don’t check things off then move on
-Satan can’t tempt children under 8, they are a greatest gift to parents to have them to themselves and fill them full of gospel principles; though Satan can’t tempt them, he can influence them if we let him by putting them in bad environments. So, we protect them from Satan’s influence. Children in this age are very malleable, they believe whatever they are told. John Dewey etc. speak of needing to get children earlier and earlier to better indoctrinate them. Children need education straight and clear. The mother is the Holy Ghost for her child until they are 8 and get the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We even whisper in their ear what to say as they pray. We teach them truth. The scripture says God will gently guide those who are with young, like an extra free line of inspiration to know what to do with their children in Isaiah 40:11, “11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”
-Method 1: With Mom. The children need to be with mom. The moms dropping off their 5-year olds at school in tears, they sit they and weep ‘I just didn’t want to let them go!’ An older mother said, ‘I felt that way with my first child, and it gets easier with each child, and with my youngest child it was so easy, and I actually got to go shopping on my own!’ this is a case of ignoring the promptings of the Holy Ghost until they cease. The Holy Ghost is teaching you that children are too little to send away at that age!
-Method 2: Example. This is the main way we teach. We can only teach what we are. We as parents must be pursuing celestial education in our own lives.
-Other Methods: Loving kindness, dependability, FHE, church, prophets’ teachings
-teach every lesson in an eternal context; if we don’t know how it fits, we don’t teach it; don’t just teach letters because they are that age, but for the purpose of the prophets having commanded them to read the word of God. The children will then say, ‘I am getting bigger, can I read the scriptures yet?’ If you don’t know how something fits, take it to the Lord, ask him, if it is important to him, he will teach you how it fits so you can teach them.
– ages 8-12 are spiritual years, the goal is spiritual fluency. These children have been given the most valuable gift that exists on this earth, more valuable than all the treasures of the earth, The Holy Ghost. Do we treat them the same, leaving the gift unopened? They can now get confirmation from the spirit and know for themselves rather than leaning on your knowledge. They are also able to be tempted and are accountable for their sins. Never send your kids off to a school outside of your home before the age of 8. Some say kids need to be in worldly places to not be naive. The scriptures don’t say “be in wicked settings so you can learn to be strong”, that is a tradition of our fathers, the scriptures actually say “stand in holy places and be not moved”; developing spiritual muscle doesn’t happen in a place devoid of the spirit; it would be like a weightlifter taking in a little poison every day; the building doesn’t come by poison, but exercise. If the goal is spiritual fluency, that can only be learned in an environment where the spirit is. We have so many adults in the church who grow up in the church to be spiritually illiterate thinking ‘was that the spirit or just me?’ or ‘how am I supposed to have meaningful scripture study?’ we don’t want our kids to wait until the Missionary Training Center to learn how to use the gift of the Holy Ghost which they were given at age 8. They need to learn how to study by the spirit, where they seek answers by the spirit. If a mother prays she will be given answers of what to teach her child, namely to learn about the Holy Ghost and how it operates. Learn in Gods method of parables and symbols and the spirit. Object lessons are powerful. Those over 8 need personal scripture study in addition to family scripture study, they are accountable for obeying this, the prophet’s council. Have this be the first subject they study. They need a journal for recording their spiritual impressions, this is one of the main reasons we learn to write. The Liahona is the great model for studying how the Holy Ghost operates. Teach them that if a good thought comes in their head to do it right away, that it is like tuning a radio, and that each time obeyed it gets stronger, and each time ignored it gets weaker. When they know all of this, they are ready for learning more of the things of Gods world.
-never use force; contention of requiring them to finish homework etc. drives away the spirit, it is the telestial method.
-develop an inspired education plan lead by their interests. Ensure they know math reading and writing so they can use the spirit. It’s all for the purpose of training them to learn by the spirit.
-when they don’t learn, don’t get upset or just do it for them;
-give kids a topic have them write all they know on the topic, then have them say a prayer and write whatever else comes to mind on the subject; this teaches them that the spirit comes and expands and reminds us of things.
-use symbols, like Elder Bednar teaching about a cucumber becoming a pickle.
-age 12-18 is specific mission preparation, preparing them for adulthood, a mission is the full capacity of a life dedicated to the service of God; we were foreordained before coming to earth; we know ordination means hands placed on the head and reception of needed blessings and challenges needed to accomplish. God trusts these children as seen by their receiving the priesthood and being allowed to enter the temple. They are blessed with the most sacred powers of procreation going through puberty; these children are intensely seeking truth, they question, and if they have the spiritual foundation, they can build upon that. Children in this age are often seen as selfish, but God designed them to be stewards over themselves, they don’t have duty to oversee others so much at this time. Give them everything all the truth now, this is the adult preparation time, don’t wait to teach them until they are parents themselves. Teenagers are treated like little kids, told that they can go play and be paid for, keeping them busy with activities so they supposedly stay out of trouble, but at this age they need time to ponder. They also need much peer interaction whom can give them things they need which parents can’t give. They are also extremely vulnerable to Satan’s lives currently. Their decisions here effect the rest of their lives. They discover who they are eternally, they get patriarchal blessings, they discover pieces of who they were before earth and who they are at and after earth, and they must prepare like crazy. This is the age of Joseph Smith in the sacred grove, and young Nephi. They have capacity to learn and do great things here if they are given what they need. The churches mission is the redeem the dead perfect the saints and preach the gospel, so part of their curriculum needs to be how to do these lifelong callings of missionary work and temple work and seeking their ancestors. Use the missionary materials, missions aren’t 1.5 to 2-year things, they are lifelong things. So those are the critical things, in addition, teach them what they need for their life’s work. CS Lewis said when he applied to college, if math was a requirement, he would not have got in; we would have lost this great mind. This doesn’t mean be mediocre in subjects of less interest, but it means focus on what they are interested in. This is a great time to overcome weaknesses, so they won’t slow them down as adults. Add intensive seeking praying fasting scripture studying pondering time in the temple, the intensification of spiritual education; all of this takes time, you can’t overschedule them with requirements of the telestial world so much that they don’t have time for spiritual training. Council with the children, but also know that you have stewardship over them so don’t just let them do what they want. Some say, ‘we don’t have time to teach all these spiritual things or we won’t get in all the other things!’ but it’s not a choice of either or, rather, the spiritual enlightens everything. Don’t trap them in state curriculum but let them learn in the ways that God is inspiring them. Everything they learn, we measure against the word of God. For example, schools say man is a mammal from hair milk etc.; but the scriptures say that animals and humans were 2 entirely separate creations. We are not mammals under the animal kingdom, we are of an entirely different kingdom, so the kingdom we belong to is the ‘free agency kingdom’, that is what separates us, it’s the kingdom with God, man, angels, resurrected beings, demons, and devils. We have the capacity for being good or evil. Satan tried to take away our agency in premortality, making us like animals. He failed, so he came to earth, and continues to try and teach that we are animals! For peers, help them establish wonderful peer groups. They can be in groups where they speak of spiritual things to each other, an electric amazing environment, we can create this for our children in the celestial schools, they will give each other guidance and council and help each other discover their missions. Our children can be friends with other kids of people, but they must experience the great peer groups and recognize that in the other groups they are leaders and not to follow the crowd. For curriculum, they need to be able to pass the ACT/SAT for entrance to college, and yes, we teach them those things, but we are not preoccupied about which season those happen in.
-service is a critical part of our curriculum
-when God councils us to do something, he prepares the way for them to accomplish it. (1 Ne. 3:7). If we think this is daunting to be our children’s’ teacher, remember Nephi who built a ship and put his families’ lives at risk by putting them into it, but he trusted the Lord’s instruction concerning the ship.
-responsibility: in telestial the responsibility is someone else’s, in terrestrial we take the responsibility upon ourselves, in celestial we recognize the accountability to God of these duties, that it is not just teaching for our own reasons, but for God’s reasons.
-stage 4 the years of service, adulthood: in this stage, we continue to learn, serve God and man, build Gods kingdom, and endure to the end. This is when we build the kingdom in the most meaningful ways. We know and teach our children that our lives are not our own, but that we are bought and paid for with a price. So, our purpose isn’t to build a very large house. A problem with capitalists is they want freedom to perform their own ends; we need to be consecrationalists, who seek to serve the poor and build God’s kingdom.
-many say they like the separation of church and state, not wanting the schools to teach religion because it is the job of the parents; well, we are living in the days where, as Nephi said, good is called evil, and evil is called good. The constitution says there will be no laws infringing or influencing religion. They wanted religion free from the arm of government, but they very much depended on religion to influence government. Tocqueville commented on how many churches there were in America. We should be free to follow our prophet and educate our children the way we want to. The separation of church and state has been flipped backward. We must use the Book of Mormon as a reader, a tool to teach how to read. Some want to fight illiteracy. Thomas Jefferson said we “shock the common feelings by a forcible transportation and education of the infant against the will of his father” (note: along these lines, Thomas Jefferson said, “If it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by the governor and council or any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward, it is a belief against all experience.”)
-for the parents who think their children are doing great in public schools, doing family scripture study, being the leaders in these telestial schools; consider Alma 23 with the Rameumptum, the poor were kicked out of the synagogue, the rich prayed saying ‘thank you for making us so much better than anyone else’; the poor were forced to be humble, they were kicked out, so they got to hear the prophets’ teachings. Many are forced out of public schools because their children are not thriving there, they were forced to be humble; this lead them to having access to light truth and knowledge, and later they counted being forced to be humble as their greatest blessing; but it says those who are not forced to be humble yet chose the higher way are so much more blessed as they take their talents here without having to be destroyed first. Parents spend most of their time trying to repair what has happened in school, but if we can instead spend our time teaching. Do we let our children climb up the Rameumptum and say ‘thank you God for making me so much better than others’?
-more about separation of church and state, schools not teaching religion, but Mosiah 23:14-15, 17, 20 & Mosiah 24:1 speaks of the schools Alma established for the saints. “14 And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments. 15 Thus did Alma teach his people, that every man should love his neighbor as himself, that there should be no contention among them 17 And it came to pass that none received authority to preach or to teach except it were by him from God. Therefore he consecrated all their priests and all their teachers; and none were consecrated except they were just men. 20 And it came to pass that they did multiply and prosper exceedingly in the land of Helam; and they built a city, which they called the city of Helam. 1 And it came to pass that Amulon did gain favor in the eyes of the king of the Lamanites; therefore, the king of the Lamanites granted unto him and his brethren that they should be appointed teachers over his people, yea, even over the people who were in the land of Shemlon, and in the land of Shilom, and in the land of Amulon.” The teachers can’t be influenced by the Holy Ghost unless they are righteous, hence the need for people of God to be the teachers. Further, they didn’t just study about religion, else they would have remained poor, but it says they ‘prospered exceedingly in the land’. NOW COMPARE this to the school of the Lamanites, where they prospered but were wicked learning the worlds ways and eventually persecuted God’s people, in Mosiah 24:5-8 “5 And they were a people friendly one with another; nevertheless they knew not God; neither did the brethren of Amulon teach them anything concerning the Lord their God, neither the law of Moses; nor did they teach them the words of Abinadi; 6 But they taught them that they should keep their record, and that they might write one to another. 7 And thus the Lamanites began to increase in riches, and began to trade one with another and wax great, and began to be a cunning and a wise people, as to the wisdom of the world, yea, a very cunning people, delighting in all manner of wickedness and plunder, except it were among their own brethren. 8 And now it came to pass that Amulon began to exercise authority over Alma and his brethren, and began to persecute him, and cause that his children should persecute their children.”
-is your motivation in schooling your children for them to be wise, to be rich, or is it for them to be the children of God?
-in telestial education, remote politicians without the gospel truth nor the Holy Ghost make the decisions for the children. In terrestrial education they rely on the brightest minds they can find. In celestial education we look to God.
-letting go of the traditions of our fathers is very painful.
-telestial ed is “this is what’s on the test say it and get an A”, terrestrial ed is “think for yourself, search and test things”, celestial ed is “seek all truth, ask Gods guidance and confirmation as fundamental guide”
-kids learn multiplication in a class, but the environment is the real teacher; they learn that the world is not safe, that they have to do well, to prove their right to be here; if they struggle in school the lesson they learn is I’m stupid; if they are smart they learn they are good because they know all the answers; we can wait to teach until a student is ready to learn, it’s a positive environment. The temple is non-competitive, you really can’t do better than someone else at the temple, there is no contention, challenges are taken to the Lord. “let’s see what God says about why this is hard for you: “God gives weaknesses that they may be humble” so God is giving you an opportunity!” they can study why there is the challenge, family prayer can be operated to help them in their challenge
-developing talents: telestial ed is ‘everyone is the same, do what we tell you to; use your talents to serve yourself’ terrestrial ed is ‘develop your talents good job you are wonderful look what you can do!’; celestial ed is ‘look at what you can do, God could have given that talent to anyone but he gave it to you, your Heavenly Father must trust you so much to give this talent to you, he must have a great work for you to do, I’m very thankful to be your parent and your teacher’; the celestial ed version brings humility not pride.
-discipline: telestial ed, ‘might is right. Force. Bribery. Punishment, inconsistency. I’m bigger and more powerful and I said so’ but eventually you’re not bigger anymore and kids say, ‘so make me’ and rebellion comes. In terrestrial ed, ‘rule of law, regular consequences’; celestial ‘based in love, common obedience to God, parent needs obey also’. Ask your child what you can do to teach them to be kind and loving to each other as King Benjamin taught we need to do. Celestial education doesn’t mean we have perfect children. The law of suffering is upon us as we labor to teach them. Just like God, our children don’t need to be perfect for us to be perfect parents.
-if you didn’t raise your children in these ways and didn’t know about this, you weren’t accountable; if you feel you messed them up beyond repair this is not so because even in the next life there is progress, and our children will be ours if we are obedient to God.
-teachings: how to: we don’t break down the subjects like we do in telestial because all learning is the gospel.
-Teaching reading in telestial is ‘sit and do this because you have to, now now now, it must be done by age 6, maybe earlier but never later! Read because reading is needed, and you need to go to the next grade!’ Rather, teach them to love reading. It’s better to teach a 7-year-old to love reading than teaching a 6-year-old to read if he hates it. If you ever let contention in, you know immediately it is telestial. Your children are different do not hold them to the same standard on reading, do not enforce out outward expectations on them, God made them; we don’t want one to think it is better or worse than another, they are all created in Gods image and are smart and wonderful.
-teaching writing: telestial is ‘know how to write for writings sake’ in terrestrial, ‘writing is important because it helps you think and learn’; in celestial ed ‘writing enables you to keep a journal, to write letters, etc.’ the goal is to write celestial truth.
-teaching history: telesital is ‘memorize names dates places to answer on test’ which says this is dumb boring and not applicable to me; terrestrial is ‘learn of great historical figures, the course of mankind to not repeat our mistakes, how to be like a great person, how to influence human affairs’, this can be used diabolically, for power. Celestial is ‘eternal context of history, what events did in God’s plan, how did they do in their stewardships did they obey God, will their choices bring them eternal joy?’ the celestial lesson is that talents opportunities and challenges are all from God, and God used them. Then they think ‘what has God given me how will he use me?’ wanting to be themselves not wanting to be someone else.
-work: telestial says ‘hire someone to do it, be successful so you can hire it out, seek the easy and most dollar’; terrestrial says ‘the American dream, you can build a kingdom for yourself, you can be the US President, start a company, invent something, be great, accomplish my goals’; celestial says ‘God created this world for work.’ God cursed the land for Adam and Eve’s sake, for their wellbeing. Work can accomplish wonderful things, building temples and settling places look at what that accomplishes. Work is the method of contribution in the law of consecration.
-teaching math: telestial, ‘follow these steps a b c plug the steps show all work so I know you followed all steps’ this results in ‘when will I ever use this I hate this I need a calculator’; terrestrial is ‘true understanding of math concepts, thinking mathematically, understanding process and usefulness’; celestial is ‘numbers are our way of understanding Gods creation, there is a system, they are mathematically, maybe God will teach us more math someday, without math we don’t understand order, we need this to become like God, God has meanings for numbers which enlivens scriptures’ just never let this be a point of contention
-teach health, science, behavioral science, money management, etc.
-outcomes of celestial ed: service vs earning; kids who value service, not worried about how to provide for a family but how to contribute to the world in a way only you can; kids with gospel foundation, who can seek truth, who have spent time and energy preparing for their mission, these adults will be very prepared to provide for their families. School college job doesn’t work anymore, many college graduates can’t provide; getting stuck in a job you don’t enjoy doesn’t have to happen so much if the kid prepares for this stuff; Joseph Smith wasn’t very good at providing exceedingly well they were often quite poor, but this shows us that the role of providing isn’t everything. It’s essential, but we take it too far so often. Other celestial ed outcomes are humility and sharing, not seeking to put others down to get up, its cooperative; we don’t want our kids to put others down but to wish for others’ success as much has their own. Another outcome is charity vs greed, we don’t want nicer cars vacations and houses we want to serve the poor; another outcome is compassion vs judgement, not thinking we are smarter than others via grade and team rankings. Kids in homeschool can think they are different since the norm is public school, we teach them it is a gift to use to help people not to think ourselves better. Another outcome is faith over fear; we don’t fear that we can’t do celestial ed or that our kids won’t fit in, we have faith that God has not led us astray in his councils. If we decide via fear it’s from Satan; know that you have power to act on promptings, that you’ll become powerful as you obey him; God can make you a brilliant teacher who can teach your children everything they need to know, so you can watch them soar beyond our wildest expectations. Another outcome is love and sacrifice: we face our insecurities, we give up our time and means to provide this education, we love God enough to raise up unto him an obedient generation. Another outcome is a sound mind, knowing that we are in an awful situation and that public school is not the will of God, we do not need to let our minds be darkened because of disobedience because of the traditions of our fathers, we don’t have to follow the masses. We can raise the leaders of a generation dedicated to God. Make a righteous people the Savior will come to in Zion. We are raising a generation prepared to live in the Millennium.
Topics: Sandra Scar, Bill Clinton, effect of mothers working outside the home, etc.
by Nate Richardson
Dr. of Marriage and Family Studies Jason Carroll told me about something called “heterodox academy” http://heterodoxacademy.org which shows that the social sciences are increasingly bias toward liberal views… not publishing conservative stuff, etc. It was 1/3 in the field were conservative, now much less. The uphill battle in that field is becoming a vertical wall we can’t pass over.
One example: he said the APA said there’s no diff between homo parented children and bio hetero parented children, but the samples they used were ALL from hetero divorced parents! They thought this would be fair since most homo parent kids went through a parents’ divorce… But no one dares compare bio hetero parented kids vs homo parented kids, the benefits are so massive toward the bio hetero parenting.
The new thing they are saying is “oh that’s just because of stigma. If we get rid of stigma against homo parenting, all will be the same.” Well that’s scientific! (not!)
Another example: When it became politically popular for women to work outside of the home, scholarly journals pushed back any research articles which showed that children develop better when a parent is at home with them.
What is the situation? Babylon vs Zion. Science is always trying to catch up with the prophets. And corruption in politics slows down the progress of science even further.
I would also point out this narrative of sister Sandra Scarr – for 6 years she had the final say on what would get put in the scholarly journals of human development. It had to go through her first. One of her main views of hers is the value of having child care, that child care is necessary for modern life. She allowed a few articles against this to be published, but those who were against her view in this had to go through much more scrutiny before they got published. Much more scrutiny than those who believed what she believed. Another one of her views was that women who trust in men are unwise, and that the only way to ensure your happenings is the ensure it yourself, and that women must have a professional career. Editors decide what will be assumed true, and what needs substantially more evidence! For example, 97% of articles submitted to the Journal of Science are rejected from publication. The articles must pass the BORE analysis which says, “ah this is interesting!” it doesn’t deal with quality just popularity; then it must pass more revisions, then those remaining 7% get published.
I would point out the voted “innocence” of Bill Clinton, which also is tied into this topic of real truth vs. debated truth: Was president Clinton guilty of violating his oath of office? Charged with obstruction of justice and perjury, but not convicted because although 50 voted on the obstruction of justice charge and 45 voted on the perjury charge, a 2/3 vote (67 senators) was required to remove him from office. So, he was guilty, but according to votes he was not guilty… Yikes! Of course, later he admits to the whole sex scandal after point-blank denial…
Dr. of Marriage and Family Studies Jason Carroll told me about something called “heterodox academy” http://heterodoxacademy.org which shows that the social sciences are increasingly bias toward liberal views… not publishing conservative stuff, etc. It was 1/3 in the field were conservative, now much less. The uphill battle in that field is becoming a vertical wall we can’t pass over.
One example: he said the APA said there’s no diff between homo parented children and bio hetero parented children, but the samples they used were ALL from hetero divorced parents! They thought this would be fair since most homo parent kids went through a parents’ divorce… But no one dares compare bio hetero parented kids vs homo parented kids, the benefits are so massive toward the bio hetero parenting.
The new thing they are saying is “oh that’s just because of stigma. If we get rid of stigma against homo parenting, all will be the same.” Well that’s scientific! (not!)
Another example: When it became politically popular for women to work outside of the home, scholarly journals pushed back any research articles which showed that children develop better when a parent is at home with them.
What is the situation? Babylon vs Zion. Science is always trying to catch up with the prophets. And corruption in politics slows down the progress of science even further.
I would also point out this narrative of sister Sandra Scarr – for 6 years she had the final say on what would get put in the scholarly journals of human development. It had to go through her first. One of her main views of hers is the value of having child care, that child care is necessary for modern life. She allowed a few articles against this to be published, but those who were against her view in this had to go through much more scrutiny before they got published. Much more scrutiny than those who believed what she believed. Another one of her views was that women who trust in men are unwise, and that the only way to ensure your happenings is the ensure it yourself, and that women must have a professional career. Editors decide what will be assumed true, and what needs substantially more evidence! For example, 97% of articles submitted to the Journal of Science are rejected from publication. The articles must pass the Bore analysis which says, “ah this is interesting!” it doesn’t deal with quality just popularity; then it must pass more revisions, then those remaining 7% get published.
I would point out the voted “innocence” of Bill Clinton, which also is tied into this topic of real truth vs. debated truth: Was president Clinton guilty of violating his oath of office? Charged with obstruction of justice and perjury, but not convicted because although 50 voted on the obstruction of justice charge and 45 voted on the perjury charge, a 2/3 vote (67 senators) was required to remove him from office. So, he was guilty, but according to votes he was not guilty… Yikes! Of course, later he admits to the whole sex scandal after point-blank denial…
Sex education is best done by parents because parents can preach religion, and one cannot understand the full grounds for premarital abstinence in a non-religious context. True children need to have sex education when they are mature enough to receive it, and when taught the divine role of sexuality in marriage, they can understand why waiting for marriage is appropriate, and why they should live in keeping with the proper use of sexual relations.
We’ve heard cases of American schools, namely in California, teaching children that they are “purple penguins” until they decide which gender to be; or that pedophilia is a lifestyle choice, one among many. Some schools are pushing detailed surveys on regular and irregular sex practices in middle schools. Not only are the schools teaching sex without morality, they’re teaching perverse sex.
There is much equalization going on among their peers, forcing all students without parental consent to learn about these things can be like the “bean up the nose” thing; I child may not have even thought of putting a bean up his nose until you told him not to do it; then the child does it out of curiosity (killed the cat you see).
Some children have been avoiding these conversations on the irregular sex; (like bestiality, homosexuality, masturbation, etc., then you force them to study it; like running from a serpent only to being caged with one, chained while bitten.
It boils down to socialism; if the school (i.e. the government which funds and dictates what the school do) chooses what is moral for your children, it supplants the parent.
Next thing you know you’ve got FEMA reeducation camps, and children taken away from their parents at birth. Read the book 1984. Read the book Brave New World.
by Nate Richardson of RichardsonStudies.com 7-17-18
-1 room schoolhouse: teach the same lesson to all ages, let them grow unto understanding as they are ready.
-Teach adults not children: teach the same curriculum, don’t dumb it down for people with less understanding. Include symbolism to further this method.
-Gender segregation: separate the males and females onto different sides of the room so learning will not be distracted
-Repetition: teach the core curriculum time and again so students memorize it and learn insights into it. Don’t soften it down.
-Dress Code: Strict dress codes in clean, non-form revealing non-tight clothing. One uniform for all men, and one uniform for all women.
-Strictest modesty, no ‘sexy’ clothing. On the modesty-sexy continuum, go all the way to the right to the modesty side. Don’t allow one person to stand out more than another person from their dress, don’t let dress be a distraction from learning in any way, not in sexuality, not in status symbols or various fads.
-Big Picture: Rather than teaching isolated events and laws, teach the entire narrative of why we have laws. Paint the past to understand the present and foresee the future.
-Require good behavior: anyone being disrupted is promptly excused from the classroom. Quiet reverence and order prevail.
-Light music: light music in the background often stimulates the mind into thinking deeply and curtails distracting and mindless thinking.
-No distracting gadgets: no electronics are allowed in the classroom as utmost focus on the presentation is required.
-Scripture focus: Scriptures are considered the best literature and are to be given highest priority in academic pursuit of truth and reason.
-Priesthood leadership: Organize via the priesthood. Let your teachers be appointed to their stations. Choose righteous teachers who possess the spirit and power of God.
-Teach the creation – explain where we came from, what has brought us to this point, our heritage, and the historic battles between good and evil
-Teach the fall – illustrate in specific and general terms what our society is doing which is not in keeping with Gods commandments
-Teach redemption – illustrate the potential of the human race as they apply gospel principles, especially including faith in Jesus Christ.
-Arm with truth: use truth to prepare students for wars of words and opinions which they will face in life. Cover all controversial and all basic concepts with logic and revelation.
-Set standards of conduct: affirm standards which the students should adhere to be morally intelligent citizens
-Teach chastity: create an environment of respect for bodies, and reverence for the creative potential of bodies, and the proper union of male and female in creative family units to satisfy human soul and the plan of God.
-Teach service: teach students to give all their best efforts to building God’s kingdom above personal selfish pursuits. Teach students to live within the bounds the Lord has set.
-Teach the eternal nature of family relationships: teach students that family is the central unit of society, and the key area of focus in life. Teach them that family relationships are enduring beyond the grave. Teach the resurrection and the joy of mankind in family units. Emphasize the special role of children and child bearing as key priorities above economic and academic pursuits.
By Nate Richardson, firstname.lastname@example.org
The following link is to a summary recent educational research supporting my claim of the minimally helpful or even hindering role graded homework can play is found here https://www.alfiekohn.org/homework-improve-learning/
Note though graded homework can be negative, feedback on assignments is still critical. Assignments aren’t tests, they are about learning, and thus ought not to be graded. This doesn’t mean we don’t tell them which ones they got wrong and work through that with them. Homework should not contribute to the final grade as a reflection of their worth/intelligence/value but should rather be a safe place to make mistakes to learn and grow. A wise teacher named David Rockwood once said, “feedback is the secret to progress.”
This video also supports the theory of altering how we grade students https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl9TVbAal5s&t=0s&index=4&list=PLrNsYvUl_bJ6-yVAGiXxklFrx-0vXlsfO
In the following exhibits we will discuss the ability of a person to become an independent thinker, and thus become like God himself. We will show that GPA is used as a threat and must be eliminated for ideal learning. We will show that the natural consequences of procrastination are enough to motivate a student to not do so. We will show that a loving supportive environment will motivate the unmotivated student faster than the threat/force based traditional method of schooling. We will show how giving practice homework and drills can support learning more than graded homework and graded drills. We will focus the core of an educational system on what a student walks away as in the end, rather than what he can throw into the treasury in the various stages of his existence. We will treat the delicate nature of the individual soul and show that more persons can find success if appropriate new methods of training are employed. We will show how a benevolent teacher/parent/student can turn the pupil/child/self into a self-contained genius if operating on principles of faith rather than fear. We will not only set up a majestic view of the future for the pupil as other teachers do, but we will, rather than threatening to take that future away via bad grades, walk with them to their destination, where they will learn to fly in their own way and time. We will be these methods, get more people/souls flying than traditional fear-based education systems. We will tie this into the gospel and show not only how to pass the test of life, but what the final exam of life is really about, and how it is scored.
-as stated in a general conference address (I think 2018), let the students redo an exam as many times as they wish. The exams will be different, but they will help the student learn each time. The teacher is on the side of the student. This resembles the Lord who gives us opportunities to repent and get our lives in order, even if we don’t deserve it.
-have no graded homework. This detracts from showing what they really understand as measured on the final exam. This also saves the teacher much unneeded hassle. There can be optional assignments which automatically are graded for practice to see where you stand, but up until the final, it’s up to you to learn knowledge. You aren’t seeking to score points to buffer your ignorance on the final exam. The student at the beginning of the semester is a very different person than the student at the end of the semester. The student at the end of the semester, we hope, has become someone who loves his subject, and sacrifices for it in repeated passionate devotion, and the reflection of that is beautiful work. But the young student, his work is sloppy, and he, though include to the topic, is not yet fully committed. Tis a shame to count those early days against him by having graded homework. Graded homework leads the student to naturally perform poorly at first, then that poor performance remains on his record, slowing down his future opportunity, so he throws in the towel on the whole business, quenching the little sparks and flames which the professor was trying to create in him to develop a passion for the subject.
-assigning homework builds an unsafe environment, as the student is terrified that if they don’t perform with perfection, they will be limited in their academic and vocational career. I often do my homework quickly to get it out of the way, so I can actually start learning. I would have had more time to learn if I didn’t have to worry about getting a pesky grade from an assignment in the first place, the homework assignment being a thing which is written in the mind of the teacher, not necessarily in the mind of the student. Since the brain of the student and the brain of the teacher are different, the teacher should not grade homework which has the potential to destroy the future of the child but use homework as learning experiences. And if you think making a grade on homework which threatens their future is what will get kids to work, you are using force, and forced learning really isn’t learning at all, but is rather a short-term memorization of facts or the professors’ thinking patterns on which they will be tested. A teacher can give homework if that means something to think about and work on, but if the homework is used as a threat against their GPA, it turns into a fear factor rather than a laboratory of genius. God forbid that we grow up learning to merely go around doing what others ask of us, never really learning how to be ourselves, never really learning our own learning style, never really learning that we in and of ourselves are important, not just forever looking up to the professors. If a professor gives someone an A for jumping through their hoops, what does it benefit the student? Nothing. The student may gain a degree, but put him in the work place, and you must tell him at every turn what to do, for he never learned to do anything but what his head leader commanded him. He never learned to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause” of his free will and choice, he was always laboring under the burden of fear that everything could be taken from him. Let us rather be loving teachers and parents and assure our children that we are their mentors rather than their tormentors. Real learning occurs when the student can focus on the material, not the critics, not the numbers they’ll give for his performance. The student must be allowed to, within a general and broad timeframe, be allowed to go at their own pace. Yes there is a final exam, but the duration of time between the beginning of the class and the final exam is a time of deep thought, and working the mechanics of the brain, and the brain being a very unique organ, some work deep, some work wide, some fast, some slow, some multi-task, some focus, yes, there are many beautiful variations which must be allowed for. The duration of the semester can be a busy but happy and self-paced time. Some brains need the body to frequently pause for physical activity to function, others to pause for social time, time working independent projects of fascination etc., to be at the Hight of their function. So, must we do for life, and rearing children in life.
-it may be feasible to offer a midterm exam in addition to the final exam to help the students pace themselves, but even this should be for practice, not graded, just to help the students see if they are on track. It’s up to the students to keep themselves on track, or, if need be, to repent and get on track. Like life itself, the longer you postpone repentance the harder it is to repent and the less desire and hope you have for repentance. You have until the final exam to get it right, like how you have until death to get your life right, but life like a college course has a series of things we should learn which really can’t be learned if you wait until last minute, or even if you wait until half time to start playing. Fortunately, God is merciful, and will help even the late bloomers to have access to the gospel blessings, but those who seek the Lord early, how great is their reward! Like Alma warned, don’t procrastinate the day of your repentance until that night of darkness cometh wherein no labor can be performed, wherein it is “everlastingly too late”. This life is the time to prepare to meet God, as Alma said, and similarly, the duration of the semester is the time to prepare for the final exam. Some of the mid-term exam-like opportunities we have in life are taking the sacrament and attending the temple. Therein we gain a feeling (discernment) for what our standing is before God, and an idea (revelation) of what we must do to more fully align ourselves with his will (to ace the final exam).
-The final exam of life is us presenting ourselves before God in a 1 on 1 interview, the son standing before the father, comparing one another side by side, to see if the creation has risen to the stature of the creator. All our thoughts, actions, choices, feelings, etc., will shine through our bodies like the morning rays of sun shine over the mountainside, and by our bodies will the Lord God pass judgement upon us, our bodies being the key to our souls, the tablet on which we have written our exams. The final isn’t so much about who you chose to marry, but how you loved who you chose. Not so much about what you did for a career, but how you performed in your career to make an honest quality product. Not so much about the amount of service you gave, but about how much you truly wanted to give it.
As the great teacher Hugh Nibley had his students do at BYU, we essentially attend the course without being bothered by graded assignments along the way which allows unique and deep growth, and at the end write an essay reflecting our knowledge (shows our character) which shows if we get it, or if we missed the point entirely. The great professor allows the student to choose all the way through and doesn’t threaten the future of / discourage the at first wayward student by pinning him down to “GPA” mistakes he earned in his “youth”. Everyone can succeed in the class, it is certainly not graded on a curve of all things! We are tutors and coaches more than judges. We aren’t spending our time measuring people but stretching them. Then when judgement day finally does come, as we all must pass the SAT/ACT/GRE/judgement bar of God etc. to move on to the next phase, everyone has a good shot at success, not just those who seemed gifted from the beginning. We are all gifted from the beginning, and just need the chance to tap into those gifts in our own time and way. Blessed be the Lord, the giver of all gifts, the master creator of all people!
-the blessing of not procrastinating for the final exam is having the time to understand the concepts without the heavy burden of anxiety looming over your head, whispering into your ear all manner of doubts which could greatly if not completely hinder your progress. In other words, don’t give the Devil opportunity to enter your life and slow your progress, rather, seek to do what is right all the way through, making minor course corrections as you go instead of thinking that you can handle major course corrections. Those who don’t procrastinate know the secret joy of school: Learning is one of the most thrilling things you can do, it’s one of the pillars of human joy! Like eating a relaxed gourmet meal in the company of friends rather than shoving cold tasteless leftovers down your throat alone, so is the life of the saint more rewarding than the life of the sinner.
-Tuition in college isn’t cheap, and neither is tuition for this life. It costed us all our devotion in pre-mortality to get this far, and it would be such a pity to waste our investment on “this class” called life. Our pre-mortal efforts are forever rewarded by gaining a body which will, after the resurrection, remain with us to our joy forever, but the investments made in pre-mortality go far beyond that, namely in their potential to make us like unto God himself, especially in that we could have an eternal spouse and eternally increasing offspring to rule over.
-If we fail this class called life, we won’t necessarily suffer forever, we just won’t know the joys of graduation and moving on to bigger and better things. Things which are exponentially and infinitely bigger and better. In one sense, knowing that we could have qualified for bigger and better yet did not will be a source of torment in and of itself. Failing means that we never learned how to be independent, how to tap into our own brains, our own will, our own ability to solve complex problems one independent step at a time.
An Interesting Conversation Illustrating a Learning Based Not Grades Based Education
Just saying I would be twice as smart by the time graduation comes around if they just didn’t assign any homework whatsoever and I had more time to learn in a way meaningful to me.
The fellow said:
Given the nature of a school, I’m almost positive that they have a purpose behind assignments. Maybe something along the lines of applicability and competency? Repetition and knowledge retention makes better nurses, not freelance attempts at knowledge acquisition. If responsibility peeves you so much, why go to school? Why try to be a nurse?
Besides that, with the exceptions of papers or care plans, no assignment has ever taken me longer than 45 minutes or so to finish, so there’s plenty of time to seek whatever information you want.
hm well I guess I have a different view of school. I got a bachelor’s degree before coming to this school and the homework was quite different. Also, many rigorous classes at universities, such as organic chemistry, don’t have any homework at all, just exams. We could get into philosophy on education, learning styles, etc. I have a friend with a doctorate in education who says the studies are showing graded homework is less effective than non-graded guided practice followed by examinations to check understanding. To associate a different philosophy with a lack of responsibility is in my opinion short sited. Again, this conversation could go on and on, but I appreciate your thoughts.
This fellow said:
Then seek your education elsewhere? Healthcare education operates differently from organic chemistry or education. If you don’t master a topic in other educational mediums, you google it or ask a peer, or shunt it under the rug entirely. In healthcare, if you don’t understand your responsibilities and processes, your patient dies. Healthcare education as a whole requires constant competency testing, and if you’re left to your own devices, you become incompetent. Hope you’re not too taken aback by the repetitive in-service classes and assignments you’ll have throughout your career as a nurse. Basic assignments never stop in healthcare.
And again, if you’re so swamped on the basic assignments we have, you’re doing them wrong
could be true about me doing assignments wrong. I’ve had to take short cuts more than I’d like to admit due to various extra-curricular time constraints. And I must say I admire your intellectual ability to be able to perform notoriously fast on exams, etc. You work hard at this and it shows. I agree that some types of knowledge are obtained in different ways than others, yet I still think there are alternate educational philosophies other than those we operate on here which would result in students becoming excellent healthcare providers. Regarding ‘brushing things under the rug in other topics’, I sense that sometimes people in healthcare think other professions aren’t as critical or worthwhile as their own, and therefore require less rigorous training. Each of us has a personal bias regarding which field of work will best benefit society and demand our greatest efforts and precision. One could make an argument that healthcare is not the only science which largely contributes to life or death. One could also make an argument that there are more important things than life and death. Alright I’m done. Peace bro
This is a response to a letter from a friend. I had sent him several of my compositions on gospel and social issues and theories (including information on the dangers of the CSE (Comprehensive Sex Ed program), and some resources on how to combat it with a better/appropriate method.). The friend seemed concerned that I encouraged people to read my writings rather than merely pointing them to the writings of the prophets. He said he doesn’t feel inclined to read what I write because I’m not a General Authority in the Church with direct Priesthood office stewardship over him. He further expressed that my topics should not go beyond the scope of basic gospel principles as taught in General Conference.
I will illustrate how it is an act of compassion to try and help someone understand religious principles in the lens of logic and reason, in a way that they can understand. We hope, we pray, we study, we think long painful hours, about ways to help others find a connection to God, even if it is a roundabout way; we are meeting them where they are, and walking forward with them, because it’s never up to us to say someone is beyond hope, it is our duty to help others, and all judgement of salvation is left to God. Never give up on anyone. Therefore, I write my website. It is to help people. Yes, the church official materials are the core and the key, but writing spelling things out, explaining things in ways that the spirit of the Lord has shown to us for the welfare of ourselves and others, these are divine things.
Yes, the prophets are our leaders.
Are you suggesting we shouldn’t read anything unless a prophet wrote it?
As a family science student, the subject of pornography and sex ed in school is something I deal with in studies, and which I deal with more as a therapist.
The things I find in my research are materials which I think would help parents in their efforts to raise strong oriented children. You may find it interesting that I have disassociated myself with many theorizers and postulators whose ideas step beyond the bounds of church councils. I’ve used caution with the “Two Churches Only” books; vol 1 was great, vol 2 was mostly apostate. I threw out the apostate material. Many “last day” obsessors get too carried away and put too much stock in theories. All topics need to be studied with carefulness.) Same thing with music, I can teach my children that pop music is ok so long as they don’t have music with vulgar lyrics or suggestive tones and words etc. etc. We can help people be happy in their own way, and learn in their own way, so long as it’s within the bounds of the prophet’s councils. Joseph Smith said that there are many superstitions, and that he would pull them down. Monson is a good example of this with his motorbike billboards advertising a biker guy in the I’m a Mormon campaign. Many thought that this type of person should not be advertised as the billboard Mormon, I might have even been one who would think such a thing strange, but as soon as the church officially began to do it in their official billboards, I embraced it full heartedly, and the church teaches me about tolerance, love and appropriate boundaries. I love the church and wouldn’t leave it for anything. When I go on official priesthood duty like home teaching, I’m very careful to load them full of pure doctrine and to not theorize. That pure doctrine strengthens them in the appointed way of course.
When I study the gospel my favorite source materials are the official (and current) manuals of the church. You can’t go wrong with those. If an idea in an old church manual is removed from a current church manual, then I focus on promoting the current not the old idea. Of course, the current prophet trumps old prophets. the current one is the living mouthpiece for Christ whom can clarify his teachings to us in a way that we can understand.
President Lee I think it was called searching the scriptures good clean fun. My study of scripture and words of prophets and topics related thereto like social sciences which can help families is good clean fun you might say.
Further I do not study or promote research which has teachings contrary to the messages of the prophets. If you’ve found a teaching of mine which is against the prophets, let me know and I’ll eradicate it. The Book of Mormon which Monson just urged us to read says that those who receive will get more, and those who won’t receive, what they have will be taken from them until they have nothing. The prophets teach the doctrine and set the bounds, and so long as we keep our passions within the bounds the Lord has set via his prophets, we are free and even encouraged to do much good of our free will, not being commanded in all things like slothful servants. One of the bounds Elder Cook reminded us about this conference was extremism, and to an extent it’s up to each of us to decide what that means. Occasionally I venture to postulate on doctrinal theories. When I do that, I note to the audience that the ideas are mine alone. Sometimes it’s appropriate to share your ideas. Other times it’s not, and I try very hard to be guided by the spirit in the separation of those two types of thoughts. When a certain train of thoughts occur to me and fill me with great joy, how can I help but share those thoughts? Like Lehi at the tree, he sought that this family (and perhaps his associates whom he deemed brothers and sisters) should also partake. What was the fruit? Christ. And at the end of the day, Christ is the center of the messages I share on my website and in emails. Appendages to messages of Christ which I teach deal with things which help us follow Christ. Elder Maxwell also taught that gospel scholarship is a type of worship of God. That is a quote on the wall in the Maxwell Institute building on campus if you’re interested.
If you are disinterested in a scientific study of the effects of modern sex ed on our children (and other pressing social issues, that being the one of our current discussion), I’m fine with that, but for those who do want to study it, feeling called by the spirit to help society in that realm, good for them too. Certainly, you don’t need to feel duty bound to read things I send, unlike how you are duty bound to read what the prophets send. Many a time have modern prophets condemned pornography and homosexuality and underage out of wedlock sex, Hinckley even rebuked the public-school sex ed obsessive system. We’re encouraged to be civically engaged, and in the public square, to change policy we often need an armory of facts/scientific studies to show that our case is valid. That’s what we’re working at here.
Another thing to think about is that while the Book of Mormon says make sure your teachers are men of God, we also see the life of Joseph Smith. He hired a non-LDS Rabbi to teach him and others Hebrew language. We can learn from people who have expertise in their field even if they don’t have a priesthood calling over us. There’s also a D&C passage which tells us to study geography politics foreign affairs biology etc. etc. implying a need to study all things important to the wellbeing of man.
Once (as related to me by a social science professor of mine) Elder L Tom Perry was teaching a group of BYU teachers and asked them if they had any issues with his messages. One social science person raised his hand and said ‘stop telling couples to never go to bed upset. Some issues need a night’s rest to resolve where we can sort things out with a revived mind in the morning.’ Perry said, ‘oh well I guess I better stop saying that then.’ Now Porter I would never say such a thing to a prophet, that was I think man was out of place in saying that (though science supports what he said to a degree, although we know science is often fragmented while revelations of Christ are more pure), but the fact that Perry asked this question to the faculty, and the fact that he responded in that way does illustrate that prophets value the opinions of people whom have expertise in their field. The role of a prophet is to declare the word of God, not to study theories of men, but still there is something to all this. Prophets quote people like Shakespeare and C S Lewis at conference etc. C S Lewis often wrote about gospel theory, probably not too different than I do, though I’m not claiming to be as talented a writer as he. Even though Lewis is not a prophet, apparently several (Lewis is I think the most quoted non-LDS author in General Conference) prophets find his writings as interesting and uplifting. Those who don’t want to read Lewis don’t have to, but those who do might be blessed with little jewels, beautiful jewels of light and truth from the spirit of God as impressed upon that man. Perhaps my writings will share some jewels with interested persons. My writings are focused on sharing with others things which I wish were shared with me. I’ve sought out these things, people haven’t so much approached me about it. But if they did approach me about them, all the more joy I would have, both to have a friend interested in them, and to have found the knowledge they shared! I have several people whom have communicated to me that they indeed benefit from time to time with the things I compile etc. etc.
Apparently, we see things a little differently, and that’s ok. Elder Joseph Worthlin said a man filled with the love of God isn’t satisfied seeking to save those around him, he seeks to bless and save the whole world. We each have our different ways of accomplishing that.
The studies I do which focus on core gospel doctrines are the most important, the others I still think important though less so. Upon returning from my mission my Stake President told me to study the gospel by topic instead of just reading cover to cover. That continues to be a very sweet experience. Study cover to cover is also good (prophets have told us to do it etc.) but by topic to me at least brings extra power to preach the gospel etc. Every member a missionary, right? Also, Elder McConkie had a practice of compiling discourses on certain topics in case called upon at church to speak thereon. I think this was before he had any position in the church. One of my favorite documents I’ve compiled is called Scripture Study, and it compiles quotes of prophets teaching how to study the scriptures. I like to make doctrinal quote summary documents, and book summaries, etc. I put them on a blog, mainly so I don’t lose them and can review them, and secondarily so that a few others might benefit from it. Same with the audio files I make of those; I review them myself! My memory is so bad (everyone’s is) that I can listen to a document I wrote and learn from it later. In a way it’s like how the prophets have counseled us to keep a journal and review it from time to time. I also believe the prophets have encouraged the saints to gather together in independent groups and have discussions about the gospel. I’m thrilled when I get the chance to do that, but with living far apart and busy families, it’s often only possible to share documents and news articles etc. with each other.
My ideas about changes from the status quo that will take place in that day:
-Homeschool is the standard for all children under the age of 12. At the age of 12, the person becomes an adult (as the Jews have long done: The Bar Mitzvah at age 12 indicated the full adult status of the person). With adult status comes more opportunity to branch out into other areas of study without the same parental overseeing as was had during childhood.
-Core and introduction in all education is of religion, namely showing God made all.
-The first principals and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ is another foundation core curriculum course.
-History courses are taught in perspective of how societies arose or fell based on how they treated God, God’s message, and God’s messengers.
-Sciences are taught in a pure scientific setting, false ideas are no longer taught. Students learn that God uses these tools. Darwinism is not taught.
-Those who will to move faster may do so, teachers on each level are offered. Those who struggle and need more time can do so without harsh punishments. The student chooses what to make of their education, and persons can be enrolled in the college indefinitely.
-The teacher will not be esteemed above the learner.
-Students are instructed that they will have to work for every penny they earn in life, and respect for others, and they will help other students in the learning process, teacher or no, because of their charity for all men.
-Social sciences are only based upon ideals that will yield righteousness. Norms are not focused on, rather the ideal is focused on.
-See Jewish schools for reference.
-Parents preach the gospel to their children.
-Teachers are primarily faithful Latter-day Saints, for such have the blessing of rulership in all fields because of their sacrifices to obey God.
-Graduation yields no temporal benefit, only opportunity to serve in more capacities. Temporal advantages are not to be had; the Lord has said that inasmuch as some have more than others, the world lieth in sin.
-Knowledge of all fields is not only pursued for children, but through college all are encouraged to study each topic in depth to develop all their brains.
-The students as well as the teachers employ much time in the evenings etc. working to build houses and take care of farms and ranches.
-The people dress similarly, not drawing attention to themselves.
-The spirit of revelation is taught and used in each hour of class, and the reception of visions is taught. The skills they apply unto are all prayed for earnestly in class and out of class.
-Holiness to The Lord is written on virtually everything, even the bells of the horses to keep our minds focused on obedience to God.
-All people learn the Adamic language to open communication of all persons between each other.
-Poetry and art have greater emphasis than marketing and economics. The economics of heaven are far different than the economics we are accustomed to.
-There is no unnecessary advertisement, only what is needed is sold.
-School advisors have an eye single to the glory of God. The board of directors of the school are holy men ordained unto that purpose. Each teacher is ordained by men of Priesthood to teach in their subject, or in all subjects.
-Students care for school grounds, make their own meals, pay for their own school supplies and books.
-Books are shorter only containing essential information as the authors do not get paid on how long or fancy their books are. Political correctness is also obsolete, as are lobbyists and political parties.
-Books are reviewed by High Priests before publishing to ensure all content is congruent with the spirit and mind of the Lord when it comes to attending the university of the Lord, where it’s proven that students learn 1000 times more material in 1000 times less time. Other schools are allowed but this is something special for those who believe and come and partake freely so long as they commit to obey the standards of the school.
-Much more temple attendance will go along with study, and holy books studied in the temple, and much teaching in the temple.
-Spiritual knowledge is priority all through the schooling, it quickens all things.
-No class is ever too full for you to enroll in it.
-Class sizes are small, and more and more classes are organized according to demand.
-No restrictions are made on the size of the school, as the students are the ones who volunteer to help build it.
-Jehovah speaks at the forums of the Lord’s university, namely the temple, and like edifices.
-Just as currently it’s important that our teachers are people of faith, so will all the teachers be men and women of God.
-Children will not be left to babysitters, but their parents will take full care of them. Children will be trained to behave in public, and public places will better accommodate the presence of children accompanying their parents. Children will also learn more obedience to parents, making the children less of a burden upon the parents, and more self-reliant. Older siblings will help the family by helping take care of younger siblings. Parents will be able to have a vast number of children and yet not be overwhelmed by them because of a society structured favoring children.
-There are many options for homeschooling not only for young people but for all ages.
-Personal tutors comprising your parents etc. help you to progress with speed and comprehension.
-Studies are not only a few hours a day but are the focus of the entire day.
-Dancing every night.
-Only 2-3 hours a day will be spent on working, the rest of the day will be spent learning. This is what Brigham Young has prophecies will be the case when everyone is doing their part.
-Books are only the price of printing cost
-All sorts of classes are offered all the time any time- it’s a huge school; a global school.
-There is no night, and you have more energy and psychological stability to study for longer hours.
-Brains work better since all live God’s law of physical health and care to their body as well as their minds.
-Since there will be no pride, there will be no competition. All who qualify for something will attain it. There is no limit in availability.
-All will study primarily what they like. Learning all things is the end goal of all, and they will “eat as they are hungry”, coming for more knowledge as they desire it. It will be an open table. Pausing to serve others will be alright, for when we are done with the service or the building of our family home or crop, we can go back to school, pick up with a class that is right where we left off.
-The use of Urim and Thumim to who qualify will be core to “learning 1000 times as much material in 1000th of the time”, as Brigham Young taught (See Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young) With some rough figures, one can conclude that the material of a rigorous college chemistry text book can be understood in approximately 30 minutes rather than 3 months. Well did Brigham Young say, “there is no other one item that will so much astound you, when your eyes are opened in eternity, as to think that you were so stupid in the body” (Journal of Discourses, 8:30).
-The Holy Ghost as our constant companion will be a mighty tutor. Further, because of the righteousness of the people, Satan will have no power. This will be a season of learning without the distractions of vice so common to our time. Further, marriage will not be prolonged to unnaturally old age as is common in our society, so students will be able to focus on their schooling rather than trying to show off to the opposite sex constantly.
-Everyone is expected to teach. In God’s kingdom, you are always teaching, no matter the level, you always teach. Teaching is a core aspect of charity, and all who abide on the earth in that day must have charity. The rest are burned as stubble and are in hell suffering for their sins during the Millennium.
(these notes cover Ch’s 1&2 of the text)
–carry the tools to study better *i.e. notecards notepad always a book etc.
-all may be genius, it’s a matter of investment
-watching TV decreases intelligence, and hence we can do things to increase our intelligence.
-3 foundations for super learning: preparation, memory, concentration; pg. 8
-train different intelligence categories as athlete trains aerobic muscle and flexibility; namely these excursive each a different part: math, history, chemistry, music, art; pg9
-in becoming educated, education on mere skill training is a waste of time pg9
-takes a month to begin seeing much results with this
-earlier centuries it’s been about muscle strength, now it’s about brain strength in the workforce.
-learning is natural and fun, ask any infant.
-false is the notion that as you get older your ability to learn new things and to learn them as fast decreases.
-brain is a supercomputer that did not come with an instruction manual
-repetition is mother of skill, how things get into long term memory.
–sing math formulas to memorize equations
-we use only 2-10 % of the capacity of our brain for higher thought; pg. 17
-lower the stress the better for studying; p17 for why
-brain size and capacity not vary much between individuals; the real difference is the number of connections between neurons which we make; p19
-p 19 on losing intelligence by not continually learning and practicing.
-p21 problem of left sided brain dominance from our society’s emphasis on those type characteristics.
-our energy and focus are fragmented as we try to deal with thousands of things competing for our attention. p21; *so don’t listen to music while studying.
-regular meditation after study enhances memory storage and focus p22 on why and Zen meditation.
-doing then hearing then seeing are the order in which we learn best; but in school they reward and punish to the opposite order. p 24
-can’t learn with radio or TV or at place other than designed study place where you only study
-attention is key to learning
-play like a child
-info + emotion = long term memory
-we’re emotional not logical, because we’re biological not logical
-start with state; all learning is state dependent; emotional state you feel when learning gets anchored to learning
-boredom is 0 on a scale of 1 to 10, 0 x anything is 0, hence not remember
-the ability to learn quickly is a key advantage in the 21st century, because there’s so many distractions
-7th key to effective people by Covey is sharpen the saw; this means learn how to learn.
-playing more creates neurogenesis and neuroplasticity
-the theta brain wave state of creativity is the relaxed state, i.e. when in the shower; Einstein put himself in this often
-over info fatigue and digital distraction, become unable to focus and be present and get things done
-as you take on more responsibility you get more power
-procrastinators are in a state of procrastination, that’s the feeling
-as your body moves, your brain grooves
-common since is not often common practice
-learning isn’t a spectator sport
-you control how you feel; you’re a thermostat not a thermometer, you act not acted upon; you raise the temperature and the environment responds to accommodate it.
-Henry Ford “if you believe you can or if you believe you can’t, you’re right”. point your arm and rotate far as you can, the close your eyes and consider yourself going much further and how it would feel, then rotate again and you can go further because your belief has changed. You can also go more than you thought you could in your business, your body, etc.
-all behavior is belief driven
-energy, focus, memory, are not things you have, they are things you DO. You have control over it. It’s a strategy. There’s no such thing as a good or bad memory, only a trained memory, and an untrained memory.
-you can learn a strategy and it won’t help you unless your belief has changed
-your brain is like a super computer, and your self-talk is the program you will run. If you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them. Your mind is always eves dropping on your self-talk. Monitor your self-talk.
-Being ‘too busy’ is seen as a badge of honor, it’s not.
-the worst thing you could do in the first hour of your day is touch your phone. Beta brain wave state is most alert. Then Theta (relaxed, creative), then Delta (asleep). Between Theta and Beta is Alpha, being a state for meditating, TV, entrancement, not filtering just taking it all it. Alpha is a good state to learn language, facts, etc.
-he was told 20 numbers and he repeated them back in order, and in reverse order.
-it was believed a 4-minute mile would kill you, but one person envisioned himself crossing the finish line at 3:59 and was able to do it. All behavior is belief driven. After he did it, though no one had before, now dozens of people were doing it.
-some waiters recall an entire order without writing it down.
– ‘the same level of thinking that’s created the problem won’t solve the problem’ -Einstein
-‘there is no learning without remembering’ -Socrates
-BE FAST: 6: Believe, Exercise, Forget (preconceived notions, prior knowledge; brain is like parachute, only works with open), Active (learning isn’t a spectator sport; you must create; get out what you put in), State (never learn in a bored state), Teach (learn with intension to teach it to someone else; when teach, you learn it twice)
-you have an inner child which is genius and can learn
-if you forget someone’s name it communicates to them that they are not important to you
-what would you tell your past self? What would your future self tell your present self?
-like a hatching egg, you must break it yourself or you won’t survive; the best ideas come from within
Video Notes: 10 Morning Habits Geniuses Use to Jump Start the Brain by Jim Kwik
Notes by Nate Richardson
Win the morning, and you’ll win the rest of the day.
This is the order of what Jim Kwik does each day:
-recall your dreams
-make your bed
-brush your teeth with your opposite hand
-deep breathing exercise to get oxygen in your body
-make a drink with helpful ingredients
-journal, plan your day, gratitude (via counting what you have that money can’t buy). Da Vinci, Einstein, many geniuses write in journals, perhaps it is making them genius
-3-4 min of high intensity workout; whatever is good for your heart is usually good for your head, it gives more oxygen to your brain
-brain power smoothie
-read 30 minutes. 1 book per week. A CEO reads 4-5 books a month
Ch. 1: I will, I won’t, I want: What willpower is and why it matters –p4
Ch. 2: The willpower instinct: Your body was born to resist cheesecake –p7
Ch. 3: Too tired to resist: Why self-control is like a muscle –p12
Ch. 4: License to sin: Why being good gives us permission to be bad –p17
Ch. 5: The brain’s big lie: Why we mistake wanting for happiness –p24
Ch. 6: What the heck: How feeling bad leads to giving in –p31
Ch. 7: Putting the future on sale: The economics of instant gratification –p36
Ch. 8: Infected! Why willpower is contagious –p42
Ch. 9: Don’t read this chapter: The limits of “I won’t” power –p49
Ch. 10: Final thoughts –p55
Toolbox Summary –p56
New Current Research –p59
“The intelligent want self-control; children want candy.” –Rumi (pg. i)
(*The asterisk (*) symbol in parenthesis will indicate my insights and are not part of the text)
-APA says Americans’ lack of willpower is the main reason they don’t meet their goals. P1
-The two ways to choose are impulsively and consciously. P1
-Incorrect willpower beliefs cause unneeded stress. P2
-To have self-control you must know how you fail. P3
-People who think they have the most willpower are the most likely to lose control when tempted. Those who think they are the best at multitasking are the most distractible. This is the Dunning-Kruger effect, overestimating abilities. It’s most prominent in people who have the least skill; those with a test score in the 12th percentile would on average estimate themselves to be in the 62nd percentile. P4
– “Your craving for chocolate is not so different from a smoker’s craving for a cigarette, or a shopaholic’s craving to spend. How you talk yourself out of exercising is not so different from how someone else justifies not opening the past-due bills, and another person puts off studying for one more night.” P7
Ch. 1: I will, I won’t, I want: What willpower is and why it matters
-Willpower isn’t just about what you will and won’t do, but about remembering what you really want. These may be termed “will power”, “won’t power”, and “want power”. These are what separate humans from animals. P10
-3 core human instincts to beware of are appetite, aggression, and sex. P11
-The more you control your attention, emotions, and actions, the more health, happiness, long lasting satisfying relationships, money, stress coping, conflict coping, career advancement, and adversity coping ability you will have. P12
-Self-control is a better predictor of academic success than intelligence; a better predictor of leadership than charisma, a better predictor of marital longevity than empathy. P12
-The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain which does self-control. Proportionately compared to other species, humans have the largest prefrontal cortex. P12-13
-The right side of the brain is associated with “won’t power”, the left side is associated with “will power”, the front is associated with “want power” p13
-The prefrontal cortex is the bias pushing us to do the harder things. P13
-The more rapidly your cells fire in the “want power” zone of the brain, the stronger your self-control. P14
-Phineas Gage lost his prefrontal cortex of the brain in an accident, and though he was known for being an outstanding citizen before, he became a debase and profane man after the accident, and unable to follow through on goals. P14-15
-Being drunk, sleep deprived, or distracted, all inhibit the prefrontal cortex and have similar negative effects. P16
-Anciently people needed extra fat to ensure survival, hence our tongues crave sugar, but in our abundant society this has now become a hindrance to beware. P17
-An inner section of our brain deals with impulsiveness. Name your impulsive self to help you recognize when it, rather than the self-control section of your brain, is taking over. Names for this impulsive brain could be “the procrastinator” or “the critic” or “the cookie monster” etc. p18
-You need the inner “impulsive” brain. One person had that area injured, and they lost the ability to feel fear and disgust. This resulted in them frequently over-eating and being sexually promiscuous, much more than prior to the injury. P19 (*This is not to suggest that persons with brain injury should always not be unaccountable for their actions.)
-The brain can treat a high price tag on an item which we otherwise would have loved like a punch in the stomach. This helps us survive. P20
-To have willpower, we must be aware of what we are doing and why we are doing it. Otherwise, the brain reverts to what is easiest. Recognize the first sign of craving, and what that will lead you to do. Consider how that if you give in today you’re more likely to give in tomorrow. Most of our choices are made on autopilot, so we must go out of our way to remember the consequences of our actions. P20
-When asked to guess how many food related choices people made in a day, most people guessed 14. But when they carefully tracked their food related choices, the average was 227. This shows that most of our decision making is unconscious. P21
-People who are distracted are more likely to give in to temptations, acting on impulse instead of goals. Students trying to remember a telephone number are 50 percent more likely to choose chocolate cake over fruit at a snack cart. Distracted shoppers are more likely to buy things not on their shopping lists. P21
-Beware of distractions keeping you away from your goal. For example, if you plan to go to the gym after work, plan so things are in order for you to accomplish your goal, like packing your bag in advance, timing dinner to not get in the way, etc. Imagine yourself making excuses for not doing your goal and plan your day so those high-risk situations happen less. P21-22
-One person had addiction to being on her cell phone to look at emails. She set a goal to only look at her phone once an hour. She would subconsciously get her phone out often without realizing it. She learned she looked at her phone to relieve tension more so than to get information. She also learned that looking at her phone wasn’t a lasting solution for relieving her tension. When she learned to catch herself when reaching into her pocket, she made progress. P22-23
-Consider a challenging situation and problems likely to occur (thoughts or feelings which could trigger you into a ‘willpower failure’). Notice how you talk yourself into giving in in those situations. P23
-Contrary to the theory of the brain only being able to deteriorate over time, when you work at a brain power, it improves. Work on concentration, math, etc. daily, and the brain gets better at those things. This also works for negative things, like becoming an increasingly worrying person. P23-24
-The brain remodels itself based on what you ask it to do. Those who juggle develop more gray matter in regions of the brain that track moving objects. P24
-Areas of the brain can grow more connected to each other so they can share information more quickly. People who play memory games 25 minutes per day develop more connectivity between brain regions important for attention and memory. P24
-The brain can increase in willpower. You might try practicing resistance by planting temptations around your home like candy jars. P24
-Meditation improves self-control, attention, focus, stress management, impulse control, and self-awareness. Do this regularly and your brain will develop more gray matter in the prefrontal cortex. P24
-3 hours of meditation leads to more self-control and attention. 11 hours or 8 weeks of daily practice shows brain improvement. These strengthen brain connections between areas of focus and controlling impulses. P25
-Meditation increases blood flow to the brain the same way that exercise increases blood flow to muscles. The brain is a muscle which can grow when trained. P25
(*Is increased blood to brain unique to meditation or does the same hold true for any strain on the brain like academics?)
-Focus on your breath for 5 minutes and stress decreases, and power to do our goals increases. P25
-3 steps for focusing on breathing: 1. Sit still and stay put 2. Turn your attention to breath 3. Notice how it feels to breathe and notice how the mind wanders P26
-During breath meditation, saying inhale exhale increases self-awareness, as does thinking about the various parts of your body. P26
-During breath meditation, refocusing on breath when the mind wanders empowers the prefrontal cortex and quiets the stress and craving areas of the brain. P26
-During meditation, sit with crossed legs or feet flat on floor p26
– Meditation makes willpower stronger because you feel urges to move yet you remain still. P26
-It’s better to do a little daily than a lot in the future. Try meditation 5 minutes a day, then jump to 10 a day, and go back to 5 if 10 is too hard. P26-27
-If you can’t clear your mind and totally focus during meditation it’s ok because the point is to practice refocusing, so that during the day you’ll refocus more. P27
-Some things are hard for you. Ask yourself what makes them hard. P28
-Compare your two selves to each other (the impulsive self vs the in-control self). See what each want. P28
-Try keeping track for a day the decisions you made regarding your willpower struggle. P29
Ch. 2: The willpower instinct: Your body was born to resist cheesecake
-When tempted, we think we will break down if we don’t give in. p30
-Sometimes the correct question isn’t “what was I thinking?” but “what was my body doing?” because self-control involves physiology, not just psychology. P31
-Learn to control your physiology so your psychology can have a chance at winning the willpower battle. You can train the body to stay in this resistant calm state. P31
-When threatened, your body sees danger then sends that information to the amygdala which is the alarm system. This is in the middle of the brain as a central location, so it can send alerts to other areas effectively. Brain signals trigger the “fight or flight” response (an energy-management instinct). Stress hormones are released from adrenal glands. Energy (fat and sugar) is released to the blood stream from the liver. Lungs pump more to circulate more oxygen. The heart beats faster to send the energy in the blood to the muscles so they can fight or run. While the body is doing this, the brain refocuses your attention on the threat to ensure your safety via limiting the prefrontal cortex by a chemical change. The override of prefrontal cortex gives a person courage to fight, and a simple fast plan of escape. P32-33
-When we see a reward, the brain releases dopamine which influences your attention and action. P34
-When we see a sugar or fat food, our blood sugar drops to avoid an overdose of sugar. This makes us shaky and irritated which further heightens our craving. P34
-We used to run from external enemies, now the battle is within ourselves, choosing not to enter dangerous situations rather than being compelled to escape danger. When tempted, turn your attention inward. P35 (* But sometimes running from things still works.)
-Suzanne Segerstrom shows that there is a “pause and plan” instinct, the opposite of the “fight or flight” instinct. P35-36
-The “pause and plan” instinct starts when we notice an internal conflict (unlike “fight or flight”, which is triggered by external threat) p36
-Internal conflict makes the brain and body slow down to help you control your impulses. P36
-The “pause and plan” instinct redirects energy from our body to our mind (again, opposite of fight or flight). You breathe deeply instead of hyperventilating, you relax instead of tensing. This doesn’t paralyze but allows time for thought so we are in control. P37
-Heart variability is a sign of good health. Inhaling increases heartrate (preparing for action from sympathetic nervous system), exhaling decreases heartrate (relaxing and healing from parasympathetic nervous system). When angry or anxious, our heart rate increases and stays that way (the variability decreases). When calm, the rate lowers, and the variability increases. P38
-Heart variability increases when we resist temptation. P38
-Those with higher heart rate variability are less likely to give in to temptation, better focused, delay gratification better, are less likely to give up even when they receive critical feedback, and cope with stress better. P39
-Alcoholics whose heart rate variability increases when they drink are more likely to stay sober; those whose decreases when they drink have greater risk of relapse. P39
-Plant based unprocessed foods, spiritual practice, quality time with friends, sleep, and meditation help, increase heart variability. Junk food, poor air quality, chronic pain and illness all decrease it. p39
-Anxiety, anger, depression, and loneliness are associated with low heartrate variability. P39
-Slowing breathing increases heart rate variability and activates the prefrontal cortex. P40
-Try slowing your breath to 4 to 6 breaths per minute (15 seconds/breath). A few minutes of this and you’ll have calmer and more ability to confront cravings or challenges. P40
-It’s better to slow your breathing before you encounter a challenge. P40
-Don’t hold your breath that increases stress. Slowing the exhale down is where most people are comfortable in decreasing their breathing rate. Pursing the lips can be helpful. P40
-Heart rate variability steadily increases as breathing rate drops below 12/minute. P40
-A study showed that a daily 20-minute practice of slowed breathing increased heart rate variability and reduced cravings and depression among adults recovering from substance abuse and posttraumatic stress disorder. It’s also shown to de-stress cops, customer service operators, and stock traders. p40
-This phone app helps to slow breathing: “Breath Pacer”
-This state-of-the-art heart rate variability monitor will help to slow breathing: “EM Wave Personal Stress Reliever”. P40
-Slowed breathing can help you get through when you’ve not had enough sleep. P41
-Willpower benefits of physical exercise are immediate. P42
-A group of people who didn’t do physical exercise were given 2-month free gym passes. Over these two months, they went to the gym once a week for the first month, and up to 3 times per week for the second month. Without being asked to, they used less caffeine, less alcohol, had better attention span, more ability to ignore distractions, ate less junk food, ate more healthy food, spend less time watching TV, more time studying, less impulsive purchases, saved more money, procrastinated less, and weren’t late to appointments as much. P42
-15 minutes on a treadmill reduces cravings for chocolate, cigarettes, etc. p42
-Long term exercise is as powerful of an antidepressant as Prozac. P42-43
-Exercise increases heart variability. P43
-The brains of new exercisers show more brain cells (gray matter) and more communication between brain cells (white matter insulation). P43
-Exercise and meditation make the brain bigger and faster. P43
-When you ask, “how much exercise do I need to do?” We respond, “How much are you willing to do?” The point is to do all you can, setting a realistic goal you can achieve. P43
-Exercise can include anything you reasonably enjoy (gardening, walking, dancing, yoga, team sports, swimming, playing with kids or pets, enthusiastic housecleaning, window shopping (Doing at least some exercise is better than no exercise)), but you must answer no to these questions: 1. Are you sitting, standing still, or lying down? 2. Are you eating junk food while you do it? p43
-Only 11% of Americans currently meet the recommended guidelines for physical exercise. P43
-Scientists are calling exercising outside “green exercise”. 5 minutes outside will decrease stress, improve mood, enhance focus, and boost self-control. When it comes to green exercise, shorter bursts have a more powerful effect on mood than longer workouts. Low intensity exercise has better immediate benefits than high intensity exercise. You might try stretching outside, running with kids outside, walking around the block listening to music you enjoy, working in the garden, etc. p44
-One man found motivation to use his treadmill by taping a “Willpower” label over the calorie counter. He didn’t care about calories; he just knew that exercise increases willpower! He used to think exercise was a waste of time, but found it gave back more than he put into it, enabling him to handle difficult meetings and long hours. P45
-Exercise is something that restores, not drains, your energy and willpower. P45
-If you’re going on less than 6 hours of sleep each night, you probably don’t remember what it’s like to have your full willpower. P45
-Being mildly but chronically sleep deprived makes you more susceptible to stress, cravings, loss of emotional control, loss of attention focus, loss of goal-oriented energy, and temptation. P45
-Sleep deprivation makes absorbing glucose into cells more difficult, thus you’re under fueled and exhausted. This means even when people turn to sweets and caffeine to help them stay awake, it doesn’t work well because even that can’t be absorbed well in the sleep deprived state. P46
-When you have little energy from being sleep deprived, your body will use what energy it has on your biological needs. This means there may not be any left for your higher functioning of self-control. P46
-Sleep researchers call being sleep deprived “mild prefrontal dysfunction”. P46
-The effects of sleep deprivation to the brain are like being intoxicated. P46
-A single night of sleep deprivation can leave the areas of brain for willpower and the areas for basic needs disconnected from each other, resulting in overreaction to everyday stress. The body gets stuck in fight or flight, which means high stress hormones and decreased heart variability. P46
-Sleep deprivation is reversible. Catch up on sleep, and your brain will be normal again (no more prefrontal cortex impairment). P46
-5 minutes of breath-focus meditation a day helped recovering addicts fall asleep. This added an hour to their night’s sleep which significantly reduced the risk of relapse into drug use. P47
-A single good night’s sleep restores brain function to an optimal level. P47
-Getting enough sleep early in the week can build a reserve that counteracts sleep deprivation later in the week. P47
-it’s the number of consecutive hours you spend awake that matters most. So, taking a short nap can restore focus and self-control even when you didn’t get much sleep the night before. P47
-Some people don’t get enough sleep because they stay up late. When it’s late, things can seem more urgent than they really are. They become hooked on doing “one more thing” before sleep. Focus on not doing distractive things rather than focusing on sleeping. This is a “won’t power” challenge, not a “willpower” challenge. Consider what you are saying “yes” to instead of sleep. This applies in other areas, if you can’t find the time for something important, look at what you can eliminate rather than trying to squeeze everything in and failing at the higher priority tasks. P48
-Too much self-control takes away needed energy for digestion, reproduction, healing injuries, and fighting off illness. Too much self-control can thus lead to infertility, heart disease, diabetes, chronic back pain, and increases susceptibility to flu and cold. Being in control of everything is too big a burden for our biology. We need time to recover from the exertion of self-control. Choose your willpower battles since you can’t win them all. P49
-Relaxing daily even a few minutes increases heart variability, causes repair, increases mental focus, increases pain endurance, reduces stress hormones, and reduces oxidative damage to bodies (caused by intensive workouts). P50
-When we say relax, we’re not referring to TV, alcohol, or excessive eating. We speak of physical and mental rest which induces “physiological relaxation response” of slowing breath and heart rate and lowering of blood pressure and release of muscle tension. P50
-Use this to recover from chronic stress: Lie on your back with a pillow under the knees or some other comfortable position; if you feel tension in a certain part of your body, clench that part, if hands make a fist then let go, or if face, scrunch face then relax it; lay there for 10 minutes enjoying how you have nothing to do except breath. Set an alarm if you’re afraid of falling asleep. P50
-Willpower isn’t a unique gift, but something everyone can access. P51
-Stress drains willpower. We think stress helps; thus, we do things like putting something off until last minute, or excessive self-criticism; this may work short term, but long term it only burns you out. p51
-American adults get 2 hours less sleep per night than the average in 1960. This is one reason for soaring obesity. Obesity is much higher among those who sleep less than 6 hours per night. The lack of sleep disrupts how the brain and body use energy which creates obesity. P52-53
-Sleep deprivation leads to issues mimicking ADHD attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Children’s’ sleep patterns usually mirror their parents’, despite their need for more sleep than their parents. This is contributing greatly to the rising amount of diagnosis of ADHD. P53
Ch. 3: Too tired to resist: Why self-control is like a muscle
-You only have so much willpower; those who resist in one area are more likely to give in in other areas. P56
-A concentration task doesn’t just lead to worse attention over time; it depletes physical strength. P57
(*Similarly, Joseph Smith taught that spiritual experiences are physically exhausting. Once Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were receiving a vision which is now D&C 76, Sidney Rigdon looked worn out and slumped in his chair during the vision, Joseph was full of energy; Joseph said “Sidney is not as used to it as I am.” For more info about this experience, see https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/joseph-smith-prophet-and-seer/joseph-smith-and-vision-1832 )
-Because every act of willpower depletes willpower, using self-control can lead to losing control. P57
-if your brain and body need to pause to plan, you’re flexing your willpower muscle. Since you only have so much willpower, failing can be good since it shows us we have been making positive choices in lots of other areas of life, but it is also bad because we don’t want to always seek gratification whenever we start doing lots of good things. P58
(*Too much good becomes bad; in other words, part of being “good” is having balance.)
-Limit temptations at times you know you’ll be the most depleted. P58
-If you never seem to have enough time for your willpower challenge, schedule it for when you have the most strength, often in the mornings. P59
-One woman worked long days and never had time do so something she felt was important, so she put that thing to be first in the mornings before work. P59
-One experiment showed that lack of willpower can be from a tired brain. The study gave participants sugar or no sugar, those with sugar did better on willpower. Specifically, the more blood sugar dropped after a self-control task, the worse his performance on the next self-control task. This is like a runner whose legs get tired. P60 (*we need steady build-up to grow in power!)
-The amount of energy used up during acts of mental self-control is less than half a Tic Tac per minute. P61
-When the brain detects a drop in available energy, it saves what resources it has; it won’t approach using all available energy to have it there for emergency; the first things to go are those energy expensive mental tasks: resisting temptation, maintaining focus, controlling emotions. P62
-People who had a sugary drink made better choices than the people with a non-sugary drink when asked to get a small reward now or a large reward later. P63
-Diet soda contributes to hunger, overeating, and weight gain. This is because the sweet taste tricks the body into taking up glucose from the bloodstream in anticipation of a blood sugar spike. You’re left with less energy and less self-control, while your body and brain wonder what happened to the sugar rush they were promised. P63
-When we are very hungry, the brain shifts to a more risk-taking state to bring more chance of survival, to get us to go seek the food at greater peril than we would otherwise be willing to endure. P64
-Hungry people are more likely to make riskier investments, perhaps historically like starving people instinctively taking greater risks to get food; and more likely to cheat on their spouse, perhaps historically similar to an instinctive need to increase the population when there aren’t many people left, or a chance of mass starvation deaths of the current generation. P65 (*Obviously we can’t say “sorry I had no control I was hungry” and obviously despite instinct or history, we are still accountable to God for our choices, as were them of old.)
-A dose of sugar can give short term willpower boost in emergency, but long term of this (highly processed, high-fat, high-sugar) food leads to willpower crash, because in the long term, these sugar spikes and crashes can interfere with the body’s and brain’s ability to use sugar, which results in type 2 diabetes (high blood sugar but low energy; essentially the same thing as chronically low blood sugar, since it’s there but not being used). P65
-One reason that people with uncontrolled diabetes problems have lower self-control and deficits in prefrontal cortex function is the lack of sugar to the brain. P65
-When you think you don’t have time or money for healthy food, consider the difference it will make in your willpower and self-control. These differences will enable you to more than get back what you invested. P66
-Though exercising self-control is tiring, it builds that metaphorical muscle, which grows indeed. Your willpower can increase in capacity as you regularly use it. Even small willpower tasks help train this muscle, because it’s the habit of noticing what you are about to do and choosing to do the more difficult thing. P66-67
-Breakup your goal into chunks, like week 1: look at my closet; week 2: put clothes from the floor into a basket; week 3 put shirts on hangers and pants in drawer etc. etc.
-Those who breakup their goal into chunks and make progress on them will improve in other areas of their lives not related to their original goal. This is evidence that the muscle of willpower is getting strengthened and is thus naturally manifesting its new strength in other tasks seemingly unconsciously. P66
-Some small tasks which will increase overall willpower are improving posture, squeezing a handgrip daily to exhaustion, cutting back on sweets, saying yes instead of yeah, using your non-dominant hand to open doors and brush teeth, and keeping track of your spending. Once you’re making efforts in these areas, more important areas will be helped, such as taking care of our health, resisting temptation, feeling more control over our emotions, avoiding jealousy, avoiding aggression, etc. P66-67
-Sometimes an unimportant willpower challenge (like non-dominant hand activity) can help develop willpower when other methods don’t work, because it’s void of the internal conflict of good and evil which we associate with our challenges (and thus training without such a guilt cycle). This can be a crutch for us to become stronger as we take on more meaningful things. This is the muscle model of self-control, that even small or unrelated exercises can help the power grow for when its needed in related and large areas. P68-69
-To help you track your activities and improvements, looking at what you may not notice about your daily choices, see www.quantifiedself.com p68
-Leaving out a candy jar in a public place which you routinely resist can improve your self-control. Persist and it becomes easier. You will see that this doesn’t exhaust your willpower but energizes it. This doesn’t mean you can never eat candy, it only means you can NEVER take candy from that jar! Seeing the jar helps you remember your goal and drives you to exercise more often. Also, the feeling of resisting what’s in the jar can give you a sense of accomplishment. P69
-Obtain success in small willpower goals. This will set you up to take on the bigger things. P69
-Athletes can push beyond what seems to be their limit. Noakes studied what happens to endurance athletes under extreme conditions. They found no evidence for physiological failure happening within the muscles; instead, it appeared that the brain was telling the muscles to stop. The brain sees increased heartrate and rapidly depleting energy supply, and literally puts brakes on the body. The brain creates an overwhelming feeling of fatigue that has little to do with the muscles’ capacity to keep working. He says, “Fatigue should no longer be considered a physical event but rather a sensation or emotion.” Fatigue is only an early warning system. Extreme athletes routinely push past it when they have enough motivation. Scientists now say that willpower is like the muscles, that it can be pushed further than we think. Our beliefs of what we are capable of can determine whether we continue or stop. Don’t believe the mental fatigue. P70-72
– “The widely observed scientific finding that self-control is limited may reflect people’s beliefs about willpower, not their true physical and mental limits.” P72
-It is possible to over train; beware that you don’t run into REAL exhaustion. P73
-With the right incentives, the impossible becomes possible. Imagine for example a large amount of cash being offered you to do something you thought was impossible, like not eating a cookie.
-People also excel above the normal when they believe their acts are to go towards curing a disease or something. P73
-The promise that practice will make you better at something can give the needed motivation to do something. P74
-The misery of quitting a bad habit is only temporary. For example, quitting smoking is miserable for the first few days, but later it becomes our nature to say no to smoking. No one would quit smoking if they thought it was going to be as hard to not smoke a year from quitting as it is a day from quitting. Knowing that things will get easier with time gives the motivation to endure the temporary pain. P74
-To replenish willpower, answer these 3 “want-power” questions: 1. How will you benefit from succeeding at this (personal payoff)? 2. Who else will benefit? 3. Imagine that this will get easier if you’re willing to do what is difficult now. How will you feel about yourself if you succeed? Is some discomfort worth it if you know it’s only temporary? P74
-When you are most severely tempted, recall your biggest “want power”, the thing that gives you most strength. Match the level of temptation with level of resistance. Perhaps this motivator for you is a dream of a better future, or a fear of a terrible fate. P75
-Mothers want to be a better parent, but when they think of this they get more frustrated. A greater motivation they have is to enjoy being a parent! Yelling at kids out of frustration is to rebuke the kids, but also a rebuke of themselves as they feel like inadequate parents, and unwittingly take that frustration out on their kids. Reminding themselves they aren’t perfect parents doesn’t help their self-control. Staying calm will benefit the parent as much as the child. You must cope with the gap between the real and the ideal. Stop, breathe, enjoy your children, feel good about what you have given up to be a stay at home mother. When you don’t yell at your children, you in turn don’t yell at yourself. P75-76
(*I warn here that I’m not confident about the philosophy that reaction to anger in children means there is deep seated anger issues in ourselves which need therapy, or that to cope with our deep problems we need to bring up anger issues from decades ago. Such is a common theory among child behavior scientists today which is perhaps alluded to here. If we call a parent who gets angry at a child for severe disobedience or some anger expressed by the child a parent with unresolved anger problems, then we may as well blame God of the same, for we have read of the wrath of God. Since God becomes angry with his children at times and is perfect, then a parent whom is angry at his child at times isn’t necessarily dealing with unresolved issues which require therapy. The parent could merely be disciplining his child. This is not to suggest that parents have the right to be loose cannons with their children, this is to suggest that sometimes severe behaviors require severe chastisement. Even the Lord has said that there are times in which we must reprove with sharpness, but the Lord quickly reminds us that this must be followed by an increased outpouring of love, so that they know you are truly acting for the welfare of the child, rather than venting personal problems onto the child (D&C 121: 43-44). In a similar vein, I would warn that not all behaviors of children with a history of trauma are to be blamed on that trauma. Some think it enough to tell a tempering child, “I know you are acting this way because of your stress, but don’t worry, you are safe here.” This I think will rarely help the child. The child must learn that he is safe and must see from experience that his parents are not severe or over reacting to his misbehaviors, but we also recognize that the trauma does not define the child, and that each human is a son or daughter of God, with power to make correct choices, and power to recover from abuse. Sometimes professors of this field want to bring up the trauma of the child over and over making it something bigger than it was. Their trauma isn’t to be taken lightly, and the child needs much love and attachment, but all things are to be done in wisdom and order. We can and should expect good behavior from our children. This all fits within the ideal parenting of a traumatized child, but some go to one extreme or the other. When dealing with extremes, the Devil is usually the author. All this being said, let us certainly remember that the life of Jesus Christ was one of suffering rather than one of reviling (1 Ne 19:9). One of kindness and love more than one of revenge and un-tempered rigidity. We see in the Christ the image of a gentle shepherd (Isa. 40:11). Surely he came to save, not to condemn (John 3:17), and we are to follow the example of Jesus Christ (Matt. 4:19 reads “come follow me”; and as usual, the Book of Mormon comes in with an unmatched clarity of the words of Christ, reading “follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do”; this flies in the face of a popular protestant belief that the commandments are not meant to be kept! Yes, we fall short and need the help of Christ, but oh, how we must repent, and keep the commandments or our soul shall not be saved!).)
-Sometimes rather than wanting to simply “be better”, try looking deeper at what you really want most, and go for that. This will lead to the better you which you seek. P76
-We must foresee our exhausted selves, and set up a way to best support them, not expecting our most ideal selves to always be the ones running the show. P79
Ch. 4: License to sin: Why being good gives us permission to be bad
-Often, we see people who look great that turn out to be some of the worse people. P81
– “Not every lapse of self-control reflects an actual loss of control. Sometimes we make a conscious choice to give in to temptation.” P82
-Studies show that if you say you’re in favor of high morals, you’re more likely to not have high morals in your actions. In other words, people feel good when they talk about how high their morals are to the point that they don’t really care about what they do. We can feel so good about rejecting bad things that we are not as vigilant when it comes time to do or not do a bad thing. P83-84
-Most of us are not striving for moral perfection, but are seeking to feel good enough, which then gives permission to do whatever is wanted after having reached the good enough bar. P83
– “When you do something good, you feel good about yourself. This means you’re more likely to trust your impulses- which often means giving yourself permission to do something bad.” One dangerously trusts their instinct without considering particularly the choice which is before them. P83-84
– “People who first remember a time when they acted generously give 60 percent less money to a charitable request than people who have not just recalled a past good deed.” P84
– “Managers of a manufacturing plant are less likely to take costly measures to reduce the plant’s pollution if they have recently recalled a time when they acted ethically.” P84
-Some people’s positions are a constant reminder to them about how virtuous they are, and this comfort leaves them more liable to fall, more prone to fall into err. They must be extra vigilant to not allow this good feeling from virtue allow them to get sloppy in their performance. The preacher must beware large moral misdeeds; the police man (*and the parent) must beware use of excessive force. P84
-Willpower is a struggle between virtue and vice. Moral licensing is when we tell ourselves that we deserve a little bad since we have been doing so much good. P84
-If you call yourself good when exercising and bad when not, you’re more likely to skip the gym tomorrow if you went today; call yourself good for working on a project in the morning and you’re less likely to work on it any more later that day. P85
-People often don’t have guilt when they do moral licensing. They tell themselves that it is deserved indulgence. We view self-indulgence as the best reward for virtue, so we forget our real goals. P85
-Moral licensing is rarely logical; the bad treat we give ourselves usually has nothing to do with the good thing we did. P85
-Someone who buys smart food is more likely to eat unhealthy food once they get home. P85 (*This is not to say, “don’t buy smart”, it’s to say that we feel reward for doing a good thing, and think we need to congratulate ourselves with indulgence.)
-When we think about doing something good, we are more likely to indulge in bad. For example, people were asked if they would rather teach children in a homeless center or improve the environment. After being posed this question, they were more likely to buy expensive clothing, even though they didn’t sign up for any service. Also, people who merely think about giving money to charity are more likely to spend money on themselves at the mall. P85
-We give ourselves credit for what we could have done but didn’t, like saying “I could have eaten the whole thing, but I only had 3 pieces!” This is lunacy. p85
-There is no careful accountant in our brain keeping control of how much good we have done and how much indulgence we have earned; rather, we trust the general feeling that we are good, so we go indulge. We look only for a gut response. We are not very careful about things. P86
-Psychologists studying moral reasoning say we make most judgments of right or wrong by having a gut response, and we only look to logic if we are forced to explain our feelings. P86
(*But sometimes the wisdom of God is foolishness unto man (1 Cor. 3:19; 2:14; 2 Ne. 33:2); and we act on the promptings of the Holy Ghost which come via thoughts and feelings (D&C 8). However, we are also instructed to take thought on matters rather than merely asking for things (D&C 9:7).)
-When you feel like a saint, the idea of self-indulgence doesn’t feel wrong, it feels right, and earned. P86
(* “He that exalted himself shall be abased, and he that abaseth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:14). This concurs with the scientist that pride leads to destruction. The only way to be accepted before God is to continually rely on God, never taking a day off from being a servant of Christ, and never thinking yourself worthy of indulgence, for you never are. This is not to say that we should not have wholesome recreation.)
-If the only thing motivating your self-control is the desire to be a good enough person, you’re going to give in whenever you’re already feeling good about yourself. P86
-Moral licensing tricks us into acting against our best interests, convincing us that self-sabotage is a “treat”. This is lunacy. It excuses us for turning our “wants” into “should’s”. P86
-Some think we are motivated by guilt and shame, but really, we are motivated by getting what we want and avoiding what we don’t want. P86
-There is a side of our nature that resists being told what to do, so when we moralize everything like saying exercising is the right thing to do, we will do it less often. Rather, view the positive behavior (like exercising) as something that will help you meet your goals. So, separating moral dilemmas from things which are merely difficult will help us avoid the moral licensing trap. Don’t label yourself as good or bad based on whether you stick to a certain diet or wake at a certain hour, or other trivial things. These small things don’t carry the weight of sin or virtue, so demoralize them and rather focus on how they are merely tools to help us arrive where we want to be. P87
(*I suppose that if you root the rebellion out of your soul, the moralizing can work to your benefit, as we see later in this document, knowing that God has commanded a thing is a strong motivator.)
(*I think the small things can be more than mere tools; Elder Bednar said in notes to a conference address that we should pray for more commandments so we can get more blessings; some of God’s laws seem small, but none the less they are laws. Disobeying laws of God is the definition of sin. But it’s true that we can be less hard on ourselves at times and be benefitted by keeping the bigger picture in mind.)
-If you wish to reward yourself for doing something good, make the reward a harmless thing which is not going to sabotage your larger goals. P87
-One woman went to the gym three times a week to lose weight, but she knew how many calories she was burning, and translated those into more foods she could eat. She gained weight. “By thinking about exercising as earning food, Cheryl was undermining her goal to lose weight. To get out of this licensing trap, she needed to see exercise as a necessary step to achieving her goal, and healthier eating as a second, independent step she also had to take. They weren’t interchangeable “good” behaviors and succeeding at one didn’t license her to take it easier on the other.” P88
– “Don’t mistake a goal-supportive action for the goal itself. You aren’t off the hook just because you did one thing consistent with your goal. Notice if giving yourself credit for positive action makes you forget what your actual goal is.” P88
-Most people think that making progress on our goals leads us to more success, but it can easily lead to us reverting to self-sabotaging acts, thinking that we are better than we are. When we get a step forward, we take 2 steps back. Our progress temporarily satisfies, and thus silences, the higher self, so the lower self comes into action. P89
-A group of dieters was told they are doing well, another was told they aren’t doing well. Those who received positive compliment had 85% choosing a reward of chocolate, but those who weren’t given the positive compliment only 58% chose the chocolate reward instead of an apple reward. Similarly, students whom were made to feel good about the amount of time they had been studying were more likely to relax that evening. P89
-Making a to do list is satisfying, and we mistake those feelings for actual work, then slack off. P90
-Progress can tempt us to relax if we heed our feelings instead of remembering our goals. Progress is motivating if we look at it as evidence that we are committed to our goal, and willing to finish it. When people say, “How much progress have you made on your goal?” we slip backwards; but when people say, “how committed are you to your goal?” we go forwards with the goal. This shift of perspective allows us to say, “I did that because I wanted to,” not “I did that, great, now I can do what I really want!” p190-191
-A group was asked to remember the last time they resisted temptation. Then 70% of them took the next chance to indulge. But when they were asked why they resisted temptation, 69% resisted temptation. The memory of doing a good thing made people chose a “reward” of a bad thing. But pointing to the “why” of the good behavior was positive motivation. P91
-Just like how we use past righteousness to excuse current laziness/indulgences, we use future predicted goodness similarly. If you think you’ll go to the gym tomorrow, you’re more likely to overeat today. P91
-Healthy items on a restaurant menu can make you more likely to order unhealthy food. When McDonalds introduced a healthy item onto their menu, BigMac sales skyrocketed. P92
-Our mind gets excited about the opportunity to act of a goal, and mistakes that excitement with the excitement that comes from actually acting on a goal. P93
-People who thought they were in control of their food choices were more likely to order a very unhealthy thing when there was a healthy thing on the menu. P93
-We expect to make different choices tomorrow than we do today, seeing tomorrow as another opportunity to succeed at what we fail at today. P93
(*” Never let a day pass that you will have cause to say, I will do better tomorrow”. -Brigham Young)
-If people thought they would return to the restaurant next week, they would choose a bad food today, and plan on choosing a good food next time. People who were told they would get a treat today and next week were 83% likely to choose the cookie, but among those whom were told there would be no future treat just the treat today, only 57% of them chose the cookie. P94
-Students were told they would have another chance on something the following week, and 67% said they would do better next week, but only 36% did anything different the following week from what they did today. P94
-We live with a “borrowing credit” attitude about life! We sin/ignore our goals today, confident that we can repent tomorrow. There are more types of debt than financial! P94
-We wrongly predict that we will have much more time tomorrow than we do today. P94
-90% of exercise equipment people buy doesn’t get used. P94
-One group was asked “how many times will you exercise next month?” The other group was asked “In an ideal world, how many times will you exercise next month?” The two responses were the same. We have a hard time confessing our actual behavior rather than our ideal. Our view of the future fails to see the challenges of today. We put things off, confident that our future behavior will make up for it. P95
-Trying to get more realistic predictions, a group was asked “Please predict your realistic, not idealistic, amount of times you’ll go to the gym these next 2 weeks.” Predictions came in even higher than groups not asked to be clear about reality. The people came back 2 weeks later and reported doing less than they predicted. They were then asked to predict how much they would do in the following 2 weeks. They predicted that they would do even better than their first predictions. It’s as if they wanted to make up for the losses of their first unrealistic goal with an extra-unrealistic second goal, making up for an “unusually poor” first performance. P95-96
-Goals are pointless when we justify future as a reason for slacking today. P96
-Reduce variability in your behavior. Change the variability rather than changing the behavior. For example, smokers who must smoke the same amount each day gradually reduce more so than those who try and reduce today. Then they see the weight of 1 cigarette on their health, it being a cigarette that happens over and over and over. Instead of asking, “Do I want to eat this candy bar now?” ask “Do I want the consequences of eating a candy bar every afternoon for the next year?”; instead of asking “Would I rather do this today or tomorrow?” ask “Do I really want the consequences of always putting this off?” p96
-We tell ourselves it’s a good day or bad day based on what we have for breakfast. If we have a bad breakfast, we give ourselves permission to eat bad the rest of the day, saying that tomorrow will be a good day. P97
-One man who wanted to cut back on meat tried the good day bad day routine but failed. Then he tried a different thing: he was a vegetarian before dinner. He could eat meat for dinner, but not before then! So, he couldn’t justify a meat lunch from having a meatless breakfast, nor could he eat a lunch of meats while promising to have a dinner of broccoli. This ended his internal debate about when to do what. P97
-if you break your goal today, force yourself to break it for the next 7 days. This increases the weight of your choice and makes you less likely to cave in today. It highlights a truth that we are not stronger tomorrow than we are today, that the time to act is now. P98
-We have a deep desire to convince ourselves that what we want isn’t bad. We give the temptation moral-credentials, which allows us to indulge guilt free. P98
-The halo effect is when we see sides which make the main look good, like an attractive advertiser, or lettuce with our burger. We look for reasons to indulge, to justify. People who order a healthy main dish order less healthy sides and drinks and finish the meal with more calories than those who ordered the unhealthy main dish. P99
-People who see a plate of food with a burger on it, and another plate of food with a burger and lettuce on it, will estimate that the plate with the lettuce has 100 less calories. As if the lettuce magically made calories disappear! Those on diets are worst at this, though they should be the best at such estimations. The lettuce makes a glow/halo over the rest of the plate! P99
-Shoppers who buy chocolate for charity will justify themselves in eating more chocolate. P99
-We accept the designation of “healthy” on an entrée even if it has more calories than the other items. On average, the “healthy” labeled menu items have more calories. P99
(*Though let us note that there are other aspects of health than calorie count)
-We feel so good about saving money on groceries that we buy more than we need. P100
-There are magic words which get us to indulge like “fat-free” (when it has tons of sugar, etc.), “buy 1 get 1 free”, “all natural”, “organic”, “light”, “fair trade”, “for a good cause”, etc. Those who love the environment the most are the quickest to justify eating organic Oreo cookies since it’s not just healthier, it’s what the planet needs! When we love a certain cause, we are prone to be blind to these types of pitfalls. Rather than going by magic words, go by your goals. P101
-When we do something like “going green” (making environment friendly shopping decisions), we think we are wonderful, and justify doing bad in other areas. It can reduce guilt in this small area and lead us to justifying thing in large areas. It makes us think “I’ve done my part, now I can stop thinking about the problem.” P102-103
-Penalty policies like charging a tax for something leads a person to indulge freely now that the tax is paid and over with. They get rid of guilt by the payment. One example is a daycare center that charged money for picking up kids late. This option caused late pickups to increase. P103
(*Another example is the Catholic Church’s history of charging money to indulge in sins)
-When people pay extra money to help a cause there is no moral licensing effect. They see themselves as helpful and seek more ways to be helpful. Paying more to replace a harmful act is what we are talking about here. One example is paying 10% more each month on energy bills to use better sources of energy. P103-104
(*Another example is driving farther to shop at a store which is closed on Sunday’s to vote for God’s law with our dollars, and not be a part of people working on Sunday any more than we must. This book focuses on willpower challenges of physical health, personal finance, and environment, but there are many important areas not considered in the text which are applicable. The author doesn’t dare suggesting that we find ways to spend more time reading sacred texts, or more time feeding the poor. Most of the willpower challenges presented in this book are self-centered. Granted, if you become better at taking care of yourself, it can help you reach outward, but some more training in reaching outward could do worlds of good. To give the author some credit, she does touch on not yelling at your children, though mostly in the light of it being for your personal health. She also touches on paying towards good causes which is good, though when she says good causes, she is usually referring to the environment.)
– “We need to feel like the kind of person who wants to do the right thing. Moral licensing turns out to be, at its core, an identity crisis. We only reward ourselves for good behavior if we believe that who we really are is the self that wants to be bad. From this point of view, every act of self-control is a punishment, and only self-indulgence is a reward. But why must we see ourselves this way? Moving beyond the traps of moral licensing requires knowing that who we are is the self that wants the best for us and the self that wants to live in line with our core values. When this happens, we will no longer view the impulsive, lazy, or easily tempted self as the “real” us. We will no longer act like someone who must be bribed, tricked, or forced to pursue our goals, and then rewarded for making any effort at all.” P104
(*This must be a key to teaching children how to improve behaviors as well: making it about positive identity.)
– “Do you identify more with your impulses and desires, or with your long-term goals and values? When you think about your willpower challenge, do you feel like the kind of person who can succeed- or do you feel like you need to fundamentally suppress, improve, or change who you are?” p104
(*In other words, have you been born again yet? Have you changed who you are, or are you still the bad/wasteful/careless/unthoughtful/uncharitable creature? Are you dedicated to holiness, or still wavering with one foot in Babylon?)
– “Thinking in terms of “right” and “wrong” instead of remembering what we really want will trigger competing impulses and license self-sabotaging behavior. For change to stick, we need to identify with the goal itself, not the halo glow we get from being good.” P105
-Think about why you were good, not a about whether you deserve a reward. P106
Ch. 5: The Brain’s Big Lie: Why We Mistake Wanting for Happiness
-Experimenters got a rat to seek getting electrified. They put a chip in its brain in what is called “the reward system”. That part of the brain which was being shocked said “something good is about to happen”. They aren’t experiencing bliss, but mere hope/promise of bliss. So, the rats learned what they needed to do to get shocked, and they did it repeatedly. For example, the shock was delivered when the rat went in a desired direction, and another shock when it went further in that direction, so the experimenters could steer the rat like a joystick, having it go wherever they wanted. Another time, the rat was starved for 24 hours, then put in the middle of a tube with food on both ends, but before it got to the food, it was given the shock, and it stayed in place in hope of another shock rather than going to the food. In another example, the rats were placed on an electric grid which would burn their feet to walk on. Sensors were put on both ends of the grid, and the shock could be had at one end, then the other. So, the rats would run from end to end to get the shocks until their feet were so charred that they literally could go no further. When this was tried on humans, they likewise resisted food to continue with the shocks, and when the shocks were turned off, they continued to push the button which formerly delivered shocks 200 times before the experimenter insisted that they stop. They were showing signs of addiction and compulsion. This part of the brain is also triggered with TV ads, restaurant menus, catalogs, lottery tickets, etc. The brain becomes obsessed with “I want” to the point that it gets harder to say, “I won’t”. p107-111
(*Reminds me of the scripture promising that we can enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life itself in the world to come (Moses 5:69))
-Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with anticipation (not pleasure). When we see opportunity for reward, the dopamine centers of the brain light up, and it motivates us to act to obtain the reward. Once we obtain the reward, the dopamine calms down, and other areas of the brain experience the joy of the reward. Examples of this include how Pavlov’s dogs would salivate when a bell rang even when they couldn’t see food for he taught them to associate the bell with the food. Another example is that they annihilated the entire dopamine system in a rat’s brain and it still grins when fed sugar, but doesn’t seek sugar, it won’t work for the treat. It likes the treat but doesn’t want it before it has it. The role of dopamine being gone, it doesn’t want things. So, the brain motivates us by the promise of reward. P112-113
-Dopamine comes flooding in when we encounter by sight, smell, or taste of high-fat or high-sugar food. This is to protect us from starving to death, but today being obese is more of an issue than that. P113
-Food companies specifically engineer their foods to trigger as much dopamine as possible. P113
-For much of human history, you weren’t going to see a naked person posing seductively for you unless the opportunity for mating was real. Now we have internet porn where the instinct to pursue every one of these sexual “opportunities” is how people end up addicted to X-rated websites, and victims of campaigns to sell products, like deodorant and pants, based on sexual advertising. P113-114 (*We recall an official Obama campaign add with a suggestive female appealing to the first-time voters in a seductive voice saying that the first person you vote for should be someone special, an obvious allusion to sex, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6G3nwhPuR4&feature=share )
-Today we have texts emails and social media which are the equivalent to the shocked rats experiment of the 60’s. We can’t wait to look at our phones again and again in anticipation that someone might be seeking to communicate with or about us. We salivate when we hear the notifications that someone has messaged us, or that someone we know has messaged something. P114
– “[Technology] has a direct line into our brains, giving us constant jolts of dopamine. There are few things ever dreamed of, smoked, or injected that have as addictive an effect on our brains as technology.” P114
-Computer and video game designers intentionally manipulate the reward system to keep players hooked. Promise of the next level or big win could happen any time. P114
-Video game playing leads to a dopamine increase equivalent to amphetamine use; the dopamine rush is what makes both so addictive. Unpredictability of scoring or advancing keeps you glued in your seat. Some see this as incredible entertainment, others see it as exploiting. P115
-A 28-year-old died of heart failure after playing video games for 50 hours straight, refusing to eat or sleep. P115
-Video gaming can be as addicting as any drug p115
-You can tell what your dopamine triggers are by what gets you salivating, what captures your attention, what promise of reward compels you to seek satisfaction. P115
-Parkinson’s disease is caused by loss of dopamine-producing brain cells, causing slow movement, depression, and catatonia. They treat it with a drug L-dopa, which stimulates dopamine receptors to mimic dopamine. Patients with this drug easily get into obsessive behaviors from the flood of “dopamine” they haven’t seen in a long time, though they resolve in all cases as soon as they stop using the drug. Examples of what was happening are a 52-year-old developed a gambling habit who stayed at casinos 36 hours straight wasting his life savings whom also would use his leaf blower up to 6 hours at a time. Another person age 54 developed a sudden powerful craving for cookies crackers and pasta which kept her up late into the night binge-eating. One aged 49 had a sudden increased appetite for alcohol, food, and sex, which required his wife calling cops to get him to leave her alone. Again, all these issues resolved when they stopped using the drug. P116
-Erotic images make men more willing to spend money. P117
-Fantasizing about winning the lottery leads people to overeat. P117
-Big food companies use just the right combination of sugar, salt, and fat to drive our dopamine neurons. p117
-Lottery commercials show you how you could spend 1 million dollars. P117
-Grocery stores place the most tempting merchandise front and center, like free samples, which studies have shown to make shoppers hungrier and thirstier and put them into a reward seeking state of mind. When 21 food and nutrition experts were asked to predict what would happen with food samples in stores, 81% of them thought the customers would be less hungry, thirsty, and less reward seeking! This shows that even experts don’t know about this trick. P117-118
-Despite ability to increase the lure of many items at stores via samples etc., utilitarian items like oatmeal, soap, and paper, they were unable to alter perception of those things. P118
-Sampling things with sugar made people more interested in purchases which had nothing to do with what they ate, like travel, romantic films, spas, etc. Hence marketers give sweets at their sales pitches. P118
-Most people believe they are immune to advertisements. P118
-TV ads for snack foods make you more likely to go to the fridge, especially if you’re on a diet trying to have fewer snacks. P118
-The reward system of the brain responds to novelty and variety, being less responsive to familiar rewards, even ones you really enjoy. Many restaurants and clothing stores constantly create small variations to their products for this reason. P118 (*This is part of why people in a marriage need to continue to go on dates after marriage, to recreate the romance on a regular basis.)
-One price trick commonly used by Amazon and others is suggesting a ridiculously high retail price compared to the “low” price of their own. P119
-Time pressure and scarcity cues make the buyer much more inclined to purchase. P119
-Businesses manufacture smells to create desire. Smell is one of the fastest ways to trigger the promise of reward. As soon as we smell something, we start looking for its source. People walking by stores think what they smell is the product inside the store, but it’s a scent of enhanced chemicals designed to maximize the firing of dopamine neurons funneled onto the street via special vents.
-One leading company selling scents for stores is Scent Air at scentair.com. They have scents Fresh Linen, Birthday Cake, Mistletoe, Skunk, Dinosaur Breath, and Burning Rubber. This company brags about how its lured visitors into an ice cream parlor on the lower level of a hotel with a strategically placed aroma-delivery system flowing sugar cookie scent to the top of the stairs and waffle cone scent to the bottom, thus bringing them to an ice cream parlor on the 1st floor of the hotel. P120
-Unilever developed a motion-detecting ice cream vending machine which called out to people walking past encouraging them to eat the ice cream. P120
-Bloomingdale’s store used Baby Powder scent in the maternity department, Coconut scent in the swimsuit department, and lilac in the intimate apparel department. P120
-You may not consciously notice the scents released in stores, but they can influence you subconsciously in your shopping purchases. P120
-A hospital reduced its last-minute appointment cancelations by introducing Coconut Beach and Ocean fragrances into the waiting areas. P120
-A little promise of reward can be a powerful antidote to anxiety, and help people approach things they would rather avoid. P120
-A drug recovery program used a “fish bowl” lottery to encourage the addicts to pass drug tests. This worked better than guaranteed rates of pay for passing drug tests. People would rather have a chance at winning something big than a guarantee of winning something small. The drug recovery fish bowl worked like this: if they pass the drug test, they get to draw a slip out of a fish bowl. Half of the slips simply say, “good work, keep trying!” The other half have cash rewards from $1 to $100. 1 slip had the $100. The others with cash had from 1-20 dollars. 83% of who had access to the fishbowl passed all their drug tests, compared with 40% of the standard treatment group. When the intervention was over, the group which had access to the fish bowl was less likely to relapse than patients of the standard treatment even though there was no more fish bowl, no more continued promise of potential reward. P123
-The preference to possible large win over secure small win is also seen in people’s preference to playing the lottery over earning a guaranteed 2% interest in a savings account, and why lowest employees should be promised the opportunity to become CEO. P123
-For things you’ve been putting off because of their unpleasantness, associate them with a reward which creates the dopamine. P124
-One person dreaded cleaning a junk room and put on Christmas music scents and candles to remind her of the greatest reward of a Christmas morning. She then enjoyed working on the project in small bursts. P124
-Dopamine uses 2 methods to motivate, the carrot and the stick. AKA, the promise of reward, and the threat of what would happen if we choose not to act. When chocolate cravers see chocolate for example, they feel both pleasure and stress, and a sense of not being in control. They attribute the pleasure to the object, and the stress to not having it, but both come from the object. P125-126
-Most of us pay far more attention to the promise of feeling good than the actual feeling bad that accompanies dopamine-drive desire. If you give in to temptation, do you feel like you are responding to the promise of reward, or are you trying to relieve the anxiety? P126
-Think about how a so-called reward makes you feel, and you may be less likely to give in. Some things cause us to feel remorse after giving in. p127
-One lady shopped to feel good; she felt good on the way to the mall (the carrot), and she was happy while window shopping, but being inside the mall stores buying things caused anxiety (the stick). Making the purchase was more about RELIEVING STRESS than it was about being HAPPY! Of course, the stress could have been avoided all together since it started once inside the store, and she could have been finding real happiness! Then the drive home she was never as happy as the drive there. The dopamine used both the carrot and the stick to get her to seek the reward; used the carrot when she needed little persuasion and the stick when things got intense to ensure she would follow through. When she learned to not bring credit cards to avoid overspending and to focus on window shopping instead of buying, she was happier. P127
(*This seems to be why D&C 121 reads that there is a time and a place for “reproving betimes with sharpness”. Of course, it’s followed with increased love, but sometimes things are so critical that leaving it up to mere reward if you act isn’t enough, there needs to be threat of punishment. Positive reinforcement has shown to be more effective than a poor behavior punishment system, but it has its exceptions. We also wonder why God has at times communicated and used severe punishment for not obeying his laws. This is because of the weight of the seriousness of disobeying Him; He knows how hard it will become when we leave his ways, including natural results of mass suffering and tragedy. He wants us to avoid this, especially when it gets into weightier matters. Another scripture says that things which seem small to the understanding of men are large things to God and have massive effects (Alma 37:6). For example, we could view slight immodesty or other seemingly small violations of God’s standards as small and trivial, but God, having a more perfect knowledge of human psychology and real history, knows how these things can act like a small helm which leads a great ship to turn its course. We mistake things as unimportant when they are helms to our ships! The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Ps. 111:10). God’s ways are higher than our ways, and thus at times hard to understand based on our simple and carnal reasoning (Isa. 55:8-9). Everything in the laws of God is important. God doesn’t give commandments regarding trivial things. We can trust that if God has commanded or counseled us on a subject, that it is sufficiently important to heed his warning. President Ezra Benson put it this way, “When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.”. It’s also possible that more of the human brain is activated today than was active in days of old. The enlightenment, renaissance, etc., seem to manifest a flipping of a cultural switch in how we understood the world. The human brain is not fully activated, and I think it not strange to consider that God has endowed humans of different ages with different abilities and different challenges based on the circumstances of the times, and based on the portion of obedience among the people, etc. These are possible explanations for why God seemed harsher in days of old. Another explanation is that we are on the cusp of another outpouring of God’s wrath, which indeed we are! God is an unchangeable being (Moro. 8:18; D&C 20:17), Mormon 9:9-10; 3 Ne. 24:6; and the more perfect our knowledge of past present and future becomes, the more we will confess this truth.)
-We mistake the promise of reward for happiness itself. We experience intense focus, consistent seeking, willingness to work and suffer, all as evidence that we believe we pursue will make us happy. Promise of reward can even be powerful enough to get us to pursue things that don’t make us happy, and to consume things that bring us more misery than satisfaction. Because the pursuit of reward is dopamine’s main goal, it is never going to give you a “stop” signal, even when the experience does not live up to the promise! P127-128 (*Therefore Satan focuses so much on marketing his products, because even though they don’t bring happiness, they bring dopamine of pursuit! The pursuit however is vain! Like Isaiah says, they are like a thirsty man who dreams of drinking, then awakens to find he yet thirsts (Isa. 29:8)! Truly as the prophet said, “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10)! This is also the cycle of addiction he uses to manipulate us.)
-A movie theatre sold 14-day old stale soggy popcorn to customers per arrangement of dopamine researcher Wansink. People still bought and ate it instead of demanding their money back. They ate 60% the amount that people eat when it’s normal popcorn. They were following the dopamine telling them “theatre popcorn is always delicious” rather than listening to their taste buds telling them the contrary. P128
-Your biggest “I won’t” power challenge is likely something you think makes you happy, or would make you happy, if you could just get enough of it. Giving in to this at best will take away the anxiety that the promise of reward produces to make you want it more. But ultimately, you’re left frustrated, unsatisfied, disappointed, ashamed, tired, sick, or simply no happier than when you started. P128 (*the definition of “damned” is an inability to progress. We see the devil has cunning tools to damn us.)
– “When people pay close attention to the experience of their false rewards, the magical spell wears off. If you force your brain to reconcile what it expects from a reward- happiness, bliss, satisfaction, an end to sadness or stress- with what it experiences, your brain will eventually adjust its expectations.” P128
-“When overeaters slow down and really experience a food that usually triggers cravings and bingeing, they typically notice that the food looks and smells better than it tastes; even with the mouth and stomach full, the brain begs for more; their feelings of anxiety only increase as they eat more; sometimes they don’t even taste the food when they’re bingeing, because they’re eating so fast; and they feel worse physically and emotionally afterward than they did before…they had really believed that food was a source of happiness…people who practice this mindful-eating exercise develop greater self-control around food and have fewer episodes of binge-eating. Over time, they not only lose weight, but they also experience less stress, anxiety, and depression.” P1298-129
– “When we free ourselves from the false promise of reward, we often find that the thing we were seeking happiness from was the main source of our misery.” P129
-If you allow yourself to give in to a “treat” indulgence, do so slowly, seeing how it makes you feel. Most say they either have no satisfaction from it, or that they needed much less of the stuff than they usually use to reach their satisfaction. P129
-One might think of using a drug to eliminate dopamine, but though this would eliminate our wants, it would not be a worthwhile life. One man used lots of drugs for many years and one experience where his brain didn’t get oxygen left him without desire for drugs or anything else. Nothing was hopeful for him, nothing promised pleasure, and he was very depressed despite being sober. P129-131
-A person can be hooked on marijuana. P131
– “We live in a world of technology, advertisements, and 24-hour opportunities that leave us always wanting and rarely satisfied. If we are to have any self-control, we need to separate the real rewards that give our lives meaning from the false rewards that keep us distracted and addicted. Learning to make this distinction may be the best we can do.” P132
-The summary of the chapter is this: “Our brains mistake the promise of reward for a guarantee of happiness, so we chase satisfaction from things that do not deliver.” P132
Ch. 6: What the Heck: How Feeling Bad Leads to Giving In
(*Parents need to be careful which things they label as bad to their children because if something is merely a fun thing and not a bad thing, the child might find the fun thing, use it, then feel guilt, which triggers the “what the heck” syndrome, wherein they do bigger and worse thing which really are bad, in the name of giving up because they already “blew it.”)
-When sad, we look to the biggest dopamine releasers to feel better. P134
-We want to feel better and this is a healthy thing, but where we turn to feel better is important. P134
-The APA (American Psychological Association) found with a national survey that the most commonly used strategies to deal with stress are ineffective. 16% of who eat to reduce stress say it helps. Women craving chocolate report more guilt after eating it. The APA says the most effective strategies are exercising, playing sports, praying, attending a religious service, reading, listening to music, spending time with friends or family, getting a massage, going outside for a walk, meditating, doing yoga, spending time with a creative hobby. The least effective are gambling, shopping, smoking, drinking, eating, playing video games, surfing the internet, and watching TV or movies for more than 2 hours. P134-137
-Stress can cause you to give in to temptation. Frightening warnings about cigarettes make smokers want to smoke. Economic crisis can make people want to shop. Watching the news can make you fat. Smokers thinking about the dentist have extreme cravings to smoke. Binge-eaters crave sweets and fatty foods before giving a public speech. P135
-Stress and negative emotions of anger, sorrow, self-doubt, and anxiety, shift the brain into a reward seeking state. You crave whatever your brain associates with reward. Drug addicts turn to drugs, etc. Stress hormones from fight or flight also increase dopamine neuron excitability. Thus, when stressed, temptations become more tempting. P136
(*We become better or worse; the good get better, the bad get worse, this is the cycle; for those on the bad track it’s hard but they must break the cycle, for light cleaves to light, virtue to virtue, charity to charity, etc. These seek their own. D&C 88:40 reads “For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things.”. The religious man learns to get his fulfilment from God and turns to Him in times of crisis. The irreligious man turns to carnal things to get his “fulfilment” (or the hope of fulfillment), and thus farther from God. What we have learned to use as coping mechanisms is how we explain the phenomenon of people going through the same situation yet reacting very differently for better or worse.)
-Feeling bad made people want to eat cake more; even people who don’t like cake! P136
-Stress and dopamine lead us to revert to what the primitive brain sees as the gateway to bliss, those coping strategies which don’t work. People want to feel better NOW more than they want to resolve their problems with self-control! People worried about finances cope via shopping. Binge eaters ashamed of their weight eat more. Procrastinators procrastinate more. P136-137
– “The main difference between the strategies that work and the strategies that don’t [are that] rather than releasing dopamine and relying on the promise of reward, the real stress relievers boost mood-enhancing brain chemicals like serotonin and GABA, as well as the feel-good hormone oxytocin. They also help shut down the brain’s stress response, reduce stress hormones in the body, and induce the healing relaxation response. Because they aren’t exciting like the dopamine releasers, we tend to underestimate how good they will make us feel. And so, we forget about these strategies not because they don’t work but because when we’re stressed, our brains persistently mis-predict what will make us happy. This means that we’ll often talk ourselves out of doing the very thing that will actually make us feel better.” P138
-One woman made a voice recording to herself to play when she was tempted to give in to temptation. She made this recording after doing the right thing and seeing how good it felt. She used to go to yoga, but then got a more stressful job and just went home to drink wine and look at expensive houses for sale on the internet. She went back to yoga and wondered how she had talked herself out of going for 3 years. After the class, she made the recording to herself to play back, to remind herself how good it felt to do the right thing! P138-139 (*The right thing is more satisfying than the temptation; sometimes we think, “ah if only I could sin without getting in trouble.” When in reality, the natural consequence of sin is sorrow; it leaves us emptier than when we came!)
-On the news we hear about death every 30 seconds, which reminds us of our own mortality, subconsciously traumatizes us, and leaves us needing to heal the trauma right away. Therefore, companies sell their products on news channels which report on murder and terrorism non-stop. People thinking of their death will make longer shopping lists, be more willing to spend money on comfort foods, buy Rolex watches and luxury cars to feel strong and in control, etc. P139-140
(*One thing I noticed today was that I had to break from studies because I was listening to sad music, and I needed a break. it put me down so much that I had to totally change what I was doing instead of continuing studies with a mere change in music. It’s not that the sad music was bad; it was just sad, and hard to keep working on with such. I didn’t realize I had the need to rebuild to recover from the sad songs, but then when faced with the chance to watch some comedic films for a while; I jumped right on it without a second thought. This subconscious seeking of healing came from the trauma of the sad emotion. My soul recognized it even if my alert self didn’t see it coming.)
-(*On page 140, the author says people got mad at Obama for telling a truth that we cling to guns and religion when hard times come. The author is missing the point: the reason we were mad at Obama for saying this was not because we disagree that human nature increases its defense mechanisms when under stress, but we were mad because Obama was trying to bring down the first and second amendment, namely he was downplaying religion and the right to bear arms, making them seem like they’re out of date and unintelligent. Later the author says people also cling to credit cards cupcakes and cigarettes when hard times come, but Obama doesn’t care about that. Those behaviors are fine to him, the former (religion and firearms) are not. Obama is making religion and firearms into the same category as credit cards cupcakes and cigarettes, making them seem like trash. No one can doubt that this clever rhetorician has an anti-God anti-freedom anti-family agenda. So, author, you’ve in this instance, entirely missed the point, and condoned the enemy in your logical fallacy. How could you have possible failed to see this for what it is? This isn’t about whether someone is pro-Obama or not, this is about whether someone is pro-freedom and pro-God or not. Though its true people turn to guns and religion in hard times, the way he said it suggests that these things are irrational and overrated. In a similar way, the Devil often quotes scriptures (truth) in ways which lead people to sin. It’s also how a true statistic can be used manipulatively.)
-Even people acting out death triggers/traumatizes us, putting us in the reward seeking mode; one group of people watched a murder scene in a film, and the other group watched a movie scene about nature. Both groups were then given an opportunity to buy an insulated water bottle (useless). The group who watched the murder scene was 3x more likely to buy an insulated water bottle than the group who watched the nature scene. P140-141
-A 2009 study found that death warnings trigger stress and fear in smokers. This anxiety then triggers smokers’ default stress-relief strategy: smoking. This only makes sense when we understand how the brain works, the stress triggers cravings and makes dopamine neurons even more excited by any temptation in sight. When the smoker reads, “WARNING: Cigarettes cause cancer.” His brain says “oh no I could die! But don’t worry, have a smoke, that will help you feel better.” P141
-We don’t know yet if the terrorizing warnings on cigarettes will help people stop smoking. One thing in their favor is that these can help people not want to start smoking and can help smokers increase their intention to quit. P141
-If you continue to forget to do something you may be avoiding vulnerability it would bring. Do you fear this? If so, recognize it, because it’s easier to deal with motivations you’re aware of than those you aren’t aware of. P142
-The worse a person felt about how much they drank the night before, the more they would drink the next night. P144 (*Perhaps therefore they say, ‘the taller they stand the further they fall.’ It seems that a very good person is very depressed about doing a bad thing, and it consumes them, the thoughts that they, even they, could fall for such a thing. Then they question if what they had stood for so long, namely goodness, is really a possibility at all for them. They compromise at an exponential rate once this initial major disappointment sets in, unless there is an intervention which brings them back on course. Which shows them that they can overcome all things.)
-We feel so bad about a small lapse in our goals that we throw in the towel and say things like “What the heck, I already blew it, I might as well go all the way and really enjoy myself.” P144-145
-Dieters were set up to go on a scale rigged to be 5lbs over, and they reacted to being heavier than they thought by eating more. P144 (*Perhaps they said “I really AM fat! I guess it’s ok for me to act like a fat person.”)
-The most guilt inducing foods are 1. Candy and ice cream 2. Potato chips 3. Cake 4. Pastries 5. Fast food.
-Self-forgiveness can be the best way to improve. Dieters in a study had to eat a donut; half of them were given notes saying “don’t worry about it, everyone indulges sometimes, don’t be too hard on yourself”; the other half got no such note. Then they were to taste test candy. Those who had the self-forgiveness message ate half as much candy in the taste test phase. Many think that forgiving yourself leads to more indulgence, but it leads to more good choices. P146-147
-Some think that if they’re not hard on themselves they’ll never get anything done; they have the inner critic whom is very harsh on them; they recall their parents used commands and punishment, and they carry this on but more intense to themselves. It’s ok for parents to use command and punishment because the kids don’t have a fully developed prefrontal cortex and thus need more help to make choices than an adult. But adults should not treat themselves like children, and especially not like an abused child, over criticized by its parents. We should not say things like these to ourselves, “you’re so lazy! You can’t be trusted to keep your word! What’s the matter with you?” P147
– “Study after study shows that self-criticism is consistently associated with less motivation and worse self-control. It is also one of the single biggest predictors of depression, which drains both “I will” power and “I want” power. In contrast, self-compassion- being supportive and kind to yourself, especially in the face of stress and failure- is associated with more motivation and better self-control.” P148
-Students who forgave themselves for procrastinating for the first exam were less likely to procrastinate studying for the following exams. The less forgiveness, the longer the procrastination. P148
-The self-hating leaves us with the most urgent goal being to soothe those feelings, rather than having the urgent goal to be learning from your experience and learning from that mistake. So, the self-hating leads to comfort coping, often with negative methods. If you don’t use guilt and self-criticism, there’s nothing to escape. “Without the guilt and self-criticism, there’s nothing to escape. This means it’s easier to reflect on how the failure happened, and less tempting to repeat it.” P148-149
-Self-forgiveness, not self-guilt, increases our accountability, keeping us in check. Having self-compassion makes us more prone to take personal responsibility for the failure, makes us more open to feedback and advice from others, and makes us more likely to learn from the experience. P148
-Sometimes feeling guilt can be what leads us to make positive change in our lives. When we are at our lowest can be when we turn around.
-We don’t have to believe that we are the person who made the mistake, we can become a completely different person. P152
-Setting a resolution gives immediate relief and control, but if the resolution is unrealistic, it’s setting us up to fail, and won’t satisfy us. It’s like the reward seeking, the dopamine encouraging us even for unrealistic/non-working things. P152
-We make resolutions large enough to feel good, break them, and make them again when we again feel out of control and in need of hope. This strategy for change fails, it’s a strategy for feeling better, not change! P152
-Changing is harder than resolving to change, hence many people keep going in a cycle of resolutions without ever changing. Imagining ourselves changing is a drug we use to avoid real change. We use this imagining to fix our feelings, when what we really need to do is fix our behaviors. This cycle of imagining is like the rat who pressed the shock lever triggering his dopamine receptors over and over, thinking maybe this time the promised reward will finally come. You need hope and faith, but you also need action! P153 (*See book of James chapter 2 which says that “faith without works is dead”. James 2:18 JST is even more specific: “Therefore wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead and cannot save you?”)
-A little pessimism, call it “optimistic pessimism”, can help you succeed. People who predict how and when they might be tempted to break their vow increases the chances that they will keep a resolution. P154
-Discover what REALLY makes you feel better and give yourself permission to do those things. P154
Ch. 7: Putting the Future on Sale: The Economics of Instant Gratification
-The way humans foresee the future makes them find excuses for instant gratification. We tell ourselves that in the future there will be opportunities a plenty, so we take what’s available right now and use it. In a study, chimps would wait longer for a bigger treat than humans; the humans ate the immediate offer, the chimps waited for the larger later offer; 72% of the time, chimps waited for the larger reward, and only 19% of the time the humans waited for the longer reward. When humans are trying their best, they are much more patient than any animal, but when it comes to these types of things, the human uses its powerful intellect to persuade itself that its ok to indulge now. Humans are said to be the only creature with a serious understanding of the future, but we see the future unclearly, which causes our immediate choices to often be skewed. P157-158
-Delay discounting means a thing is worth less the longer we must wait for it. Even small delays can dramatically lower the perceived value. We trade “peace” today for panic tomorrow. P158
-Ask yourself, “what future rewards do you put on sale each time you give in to temptation or procrastination?” “what is the immediate payoff for giving in?” “what is the long-term cost for giving in?” “is this a fair trade?” “what are you thinking and feeling that lets you put the future on sale?” p159
-Needing to wait 2 minutes to triple the size of a small treat, 80% had the smaller treat now instead of the delayed triple treat. This is “bounded rationality”. We’re rational in theory, but when real temptation comes, the brain shifts into reward-seeking mode to ensure we don’t “miss out” on the “opportunity”. Most people want to do the right thing but lose control in the face of temptation. P159
-Longstanding scarcity has trained us to accept whatever is immediately available so we survive. Today’s society has 20-year goals, etc., a thing perhaps quite different than what humans have been accustomed to when it comes to things like temporal resources historically. P160
-The immediate reward triggers the reward system of the brain which is dopamine induced. Future rewards trigger the prefrontal cortex. To delay gratification, the prefrontal cortex must cool off the promise of reward, which is difficult; we see its difficulty when we recall the rats searing their feet for dopamine, the man wasting his life’s savings on gambling for dopamine. Fortunately, temptation has a narrow window of opportunity; for temptation to overwhelm the prefrontal cortex, the reward must be available now, and for max effect, you need to see it. When you distance yourself from the temptation, the brain shifts back to the self-control system. For example, when people are told of a small reward now vs a big reward later, they chose the big reward later 3x as often when the small reward isn’t put right in front of them. When they saw the reward they acted on feelings, when it was more abstract, they acted on calculations. Also, people who put a candy bar inside a desk rather than on the desk are much less likely to eat it, it being easily accessed in both cases, but not constantly stimulating when inside the desk out of view. P160-161
-Wait 10 minutes before giving in to an immediate reward instead of a future reward. If in 10 minutes, you still think the immediate is better than the future, go ahead and have the immediate. But by the time you’ve waited 10 minutes, you may have changed your mind, because the brain calls a thing you must wait 10 minutes for as a future reward, not immediate. The brain then treats it differently, and the biology changes, giving you more power. P161
-Some studies say that quitting smoking could reverse damage to a smoker’s heart and lungs even in smokers who maintained a pack a day for decades. P162
-One man used the 10-minute delay rule to progress toward quitting smoking. He had smoked a pack a day for decades but made himself wait 10 minutes before smoking when he felt the urge to smoke. Once the 10 minutes had passed, he would allow himself to smoke. In the 10 minutes he would forget about smoking, or call his wife for support, or try to get inside a place he couldn’t smoke like an office or a store to make it harder to smoke. Sometimes he gave in and smoked after 10 minutes, but even saying “ok I’ll smoke but in 10 minutes” reduced much of the stress and panic which occurred at the flat-out “no”. He also eventually extended it to double, that if in 10 minutes he still wanted to smoke, he had to wait another 10 minutes before he could. Eventually this helped him cut down to ½ a pack a day, which helped him believe that he could quit. He was strengthening his self-control. P162-163
-People have different discount rates; different rates of how less worthwhile something is the farther out in the future it is; how long you’ll wait for something relates to long term health, popularity, GPA, SAT, chances of smoking gambling drug use and other addictions, likelihood to save for retirement, likelihood to wear a watch, procrastination, drunk driving, stress management, social life, academics, and prefrontal cortex function. P163-164
-People who learn to look away from temptation or put temptation out of their reach are the ones who successfully resist temptation. Those who stare at it give in. This was seen in the children marshmallow resistance test, seeing if they would choose 1 now or 2 in 15 minutes. P163
-People usually keep the first reward they are offered. If you give a check for 100$ which is good in 90 days, but then offer them a 50$ check that is good today, they keep the first. But the opposite is true, if you give them a 50$ check that is good today, then offer them a 100$ check that is good in 90 days, they choose the first. P165
-We don’t like to lose what we already have. Losing 50$ makes us more unhappy than winning 50$ makes us happy. P165
-We count delayed gratification as a loss, therefore we are willing to accept smaller rewards now instead of larger ones later. P165
-We tell these excuses to ourselves to choose immediate over future reward: “I can really use the money.” “Who knows if the future reward will still exist by then.” P165
-Things we can tell ourselves to help us choose the future reward are like this: “That will buy twice as many groceries.” “I will need the money then just as much as I need it now.” P165
-Future reward discounting drops dramatically when people consider the future reward first. P165
-When you feel like giving in to an immediate reward at the detriment to your future goals, imagine yourself as already having the best future reward, and ask yourself if you would be willing to give up that lifestyle for this current fleeting thing. P165
-One person photoshopped a picture of themselves onto a person in the position they sought; it was to remind them how much they wanted that position, and to make it more real. This picture was referred to in difficult times. P166
-In 1519, Hernan Cortez de Monroy y Pizarro went to Mexico to steal gold. They would fight the Aztecs there. The enemy was intimidating and strong. Cortez ordered his officers to burn their ships (the ships of Cortez) so they would have no option to retreat. He gave them no choice but to go forward. P167
-A nation who pre-commits itself by a policy of immediate and escalated retaliation makes its threats more credible than a nation that expresses reluctance to retaliate. P167
-The rational self and the tempted self are in a war, each with very different goals. Rational self sets a course, tempted self seeks to leave it last minute. Tempted self should be viewed as an unpredictable and unreliable enemy, and we must take steps to predict and constrain that self as if it were another person. We must see their weaknesses and find a way to bind them. (say behavioral economists George Ainslie and Thomas Schelling). P167
(*Ainslie has 3 books, “Thinking about Addiction: Hyperbolic Discounting and Responsible Agency” 2001, “Breakdown of Will” 2009, “Picoeconomics” 1992; Schelling also has several books on human behavior and war strategy)
-One person avoided distraction by destroying the internet capacity on his computer and deleting all irrelevant programs thereon. P168
– “Freedom” (macfreedom.com) is a program which allows you to turn your computer’s internet access off for a predetermined period. P168
-“Anti-Social” (anti-social.cc) is a program which will selectively keep you off social networks and email. P168
– “ProcrasDonate” (procrasdonate.com) is a program which bills you for every hour you spend on time-wasting websites and donates the money to charity. P168
-CapturedDiscipline is a vault safe of solid-steel which can be locked for anywhere from 2 minutes to 99 hours. You could put sweets or credit cards in them etc. p168
-Some gyms can charge you more money for days you don’t show up than for regular attendance. P168
– Stickk.com is a website where you can take bets on whether you’ll gain weight, donate money to a charity if you don’t meet your predetermined goals, add a tax to the immediate reward (perhaps to an organization you don’t support to make failure more painful). P169
-Make yourself a healthy lunch to bring to work before you find yourself salivating in front of a fast food restaurant. P169
-Don’t carry credit cards with you when shopping, and only bring as much cash as you intend to spend. P169
-Set your alarm clock across the room so you must get out of bed to turn it off. P169
– (*There are many books about the downside of caffeine and how to stop using it and energize in healthy ways.)
-One of the biggest challenges for recovering drug addicts is holding on to their money. Many of them don’t have bank accounts. P170
-Have someone to be accountable to. Meet with them or phone to evaluate and encourage each other. This might become even more effective if more than 2 persons are involved. P171
(*while it may be hard to meet with someone, perhaps communicate by texts with a message saying “yes” or “no” at the end of the day which tells the other person if you did your goal as planned that day. Each participant sends the other an outline of the week based on their plan.)
-Recovering addicts can enroll in a program called ATM (Advisor-Teller Money Manager Intervention) wherein a manager has control of their finances, helps them make a budget, and only gives them their money for planned purchases. For unplanned purchases which aren’t in line with the goals, the client must fill out a formal request, and the manager can put a 48 hour hold on the client receiving his money. The manager may also put a 48 hour hold on finances if he suspects the client to be intoxicated or high. The client can be rewarded with more of their money as they stake steps toward recovery like looking for a job, attending rehabilitation meetings, and passing weekly drug tests. This program not only helps addicts with money, but with substance abuse, because they learn to see time and rewards in a different way, and they lower their future reward discount rate. P170-171
-A predictable human error is that we see our future self as a different person from our present self. The future self gets pushed back further and further, and we find our same selves making decisions today as yesterday. We burden our future selves with present selves’ decisions. P171-173
-Students were asked to do an unpleasant thing in the name of science. Some were told it had to be done immediately, others were told it had to be done next semester. Those who had to do it immediately did half as much as they assigned their future selves to do. Students asked to assign amounts of time others should spend in the project gave their peers even more time than they assigned their future selves. P173
-A “deus ex machina” is a Greek tragedy plot device wherein a god descends from above and solves the unsolvable problem at hand. Often, we think of our future selves in this way, and put off what we must do, thinking that they (or someone else) will show up and save us. P173-174
(*Indeed, Christ will come and save us, but from things we can’t save ourselves from. The rest is up to us! “But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire…” (Malachi 3:2). We must ourselves BECOME Saviors on Mount Zion (Obadiah 1:21)!)
-If we put something off because we are afraid of it, it will become a worse situation. If we are to take on the scary thing which we have been putting off, we must admit that there is no future version of ourselves whom will feel differently about this than our present selves. P174
-We feel different about the future because when we think of our future selves, we use the same areas of the brain as we would to think of a different person. We see ourselves in future events, it’s as though we are imagining not ourselves, but another person. The less active the brain’s self-reflection system when we think of our future selves, the more likely we are to not care about our future selves, and give in to immediate gratification. P175-176
-One person used the future-self bias to raise money. They asked donors to increase their monthly donation, but not starting until 3 months from now. When people were asked to increase in this way, they did so 32% more so than the group which was asked to increase monthly donations starting today. P176
-People are living longer but retiring at the same age, not financially prepared for the extra years. 2/3 of baby boomers have not saved enough money to maintain their standard of living in retirement. A 2010 survey found that 34% of Americans had no retirement savings including 53% of those under age 33, and 22% of those 65 and older. P177
(*This not saving for retirement is especially true when you consider that no one is having any children these days (new average in developed nations being 1.9 children per family). Your children were seen as who would take care of you when you couldn’t any longer take care of yourself, but now no one even has that. It can also be expressed in other venues than financial: a person lives for today and forgets about tomorrow in other ways too; like neglecting to worship God until a crisis occurs, or neglecting time with your spouse and children until crisis occurs, or neglecting the pursuit of knowledge, considering it a thing of naught so long as it brings you no financial reward; I stress this, that we are an economically brained society, whom insists that the solutions for all of life’s problems are financial. We have forgotten the lessons of history which teach otherwise! Industry is good and divine, but not at the cost of other higher priorities.)
-One reason people don’t save for retirement is they see it as putting away money for a stranger. P177
-The more people associate their present selves with their 20 year from now selves, the more money they save for retirement, and the less credit card debt they accrue. P177
-Students whom looked at images of what they would look like in the future were twice as likely to hypothetically budget money toward retirement. P178
-When you know your future self, you’re most likely to be your best self now. P178
-Persons who have low “future self continuity” (not associating their current selves with their future selves), seem to ignore the consequences of their actions. P179
-Imagining the future helps delay gratification. Your brain takes the consequences for present actions more seriously when you think about your future self, even a few weeks ahead. You don’t even need to think about the future rewards of delaying gratification, just think of the future, this itself works. P179
-at FutureMe.org, you can write an email to yourself which will be delivered to your email at a set future time. What would your future self thank you for committing to today? What do you think the future you will be like? Even briefly contemplating such a letter will make you feel more connected to your future self. P180
-In a study, lazy people were measured by imagining their future selves. One group of people were asked to imagine their hoped-for future selves, another group was asked to imagine the future selves facing the health consequences of their present choices, and a 3rd group was not asked to imagine any future self at all. The two groups who imagined the future both became more physically active. The 3rd group who didn’t imagine the future didn’t change. P180
-We often think of the benefits of putting off immediate gratification to save for the future, but some people are obsessed with putting off pleasure in the name of work, virtue, or future happiness. This leads to disappointment and unhappiness in the long run, just like too much instant gratification would. These people can change by looking at the present celebration as an investment, a needed thing to restore themselves for work. They might also consider the regret they would have in the future for not celebrating. P181
Ch. 8: Infected! Why willpower is contagious
-A 2010 report showed that poor fitness spread through the U.S. Air Force Academy like a disease. 3,487 cadets were tracked from high school to the academy. The least fit cadet brought down fitness levels of the others. The best way to predict the future health of a cadet was not his pre-academy fitness scores, but the fitness of the least fit cadet present. P184-185
-Both willpower failure and willpower success are contagious. P185
(*Therefore we want Zion, our own community of faithfulness, where the Savior may come, and the Devil cannot. We want to leave Babylon, and let her drink the fruits of her own labors!)
-The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention track obesity rates (among other things).
In 1990, no state had obesity above 15%.
In 1999, 18 states had an obesity rate between 20-24%, none reached 25%.
In 2009, only DC and Colorado had a rate lower than 20%, and 33 states had over 25%. P185
-People of Framingham have had their data tracked by the University of California, San Diego. They’ve tracked over 12,000 people, including their weight changes, social connections, etc. They found that obesity and other things like drug use, sleep deprivation, depression, and smoking, and quitting smoking, are contagious. When a friend became obese, their own risk for becoming obese increased by 171%. A woman whose sister became obese became 67% more likely to become obese. A man whose brother became obese, their chances were 45% more likely to become obese. These seem to spread (for better or worse) like germs, no one being totally immune. P186
-Mirror neurons in our brain oversee keeping track of what other people are thinking feeling and doing. They are located throughout the brain to help us understand the full range of other people’s experiences. If you pick something up with your right hand, mirror neurons in my right hand will activate, making a representation of what you are doing to try and figure out how and why you’re doing what you’re doing, and to predict what might happen next. If you cut your finger, mirror neurons in the pain regions of my brain will respond, and I will wince and immediately know what you are feeling. The experience of pain I would feel from your injury is so real to the brain that nerves in my spinal cord will attempt to suppress incoming pain signals from my own right hand, just as if I had cut my hand. If I see you eat candy, the mirror neurons in the reward system of my brain will be activated, even if I don’t like the candy myself, because I know it’s something which you find pleasure in. When our neurons see promise of reward in others, they want promise of reward in us. P187-188
(*This brings one to consider, oh the importance of having righteous friends! We see a person do something we don’t agree with and we feel their joy, and this eats away at our defenses until we start to do what they do!)
(*This also brings to consider the wonder of the Atonement of Christ, his knowing the pain of all mankind; perhaps this science is giving us a preview to how the Atonement of Christ was accomplished, perhaps Christ being a God had much greater mirror neurons, among other things, which allow him to know all, including experiences like childbearing, divorce, losing children, and other devastating things of life which he did not experience in day-to-day mortality. We know he suffered the pain of those things during the Atonement, and that there is nothing which we experience which he does not understand, which he has not experienced. We don’t know how this is, but we know it is.)
-Because of mirror neurons which detect movement in others and mimic them in ourselves, we subconsciously copy physical gestures and actions of others like one person crossing their arms then you do, or copying someone as they lean back, etc. This creates connection with each other. P188
-When smokers see someone on a film smoking, the subconsciously move their hands in the motion as though they were about the light a cigarette. P188
-Mirror neurons will mimic pain and emotion, one person’s mood can become your own quickly. TV sitcoms include laugh tracks to get you to laugh. You eat more when you’re in company. You buy more when in company. You gamble higher when you’ve watched someone else win. P189
-Some people get into smoking because people at work do it, and they want to be sociable, so they do it too. At first, they never do it on their own, but since the most convenient thing to do at work is to smoke, it becomes a habit, until they, like their coworkers, pitifully LIVE for their smoke breaks. P189-190
-We are natural mind readers, ever decoding social cues and actions. P190
-Students who read a story about another student who worked over spring break worked harder and faster to earn money in a laboratory task. P190-191
-Thinking about a friend who smokes marijuana makes you want to smoke it and thinking about a friend who doesn’t smoke it decreases one’s interest in smoking it. P191
(*seeing both sides of this shows that we are influencing others, like it or not. There are no neutral people. Your actions or lack thereof scream volumes about your beliefs.)
-You can’t catch someone else’s goal the same way as a flu virus; a non-smoker will not get nicotine craving when a friend smokes. But another person’s behavior can activate a goal in your mind that was not currently in charge of your choices. P191
-If the person you are with makes a bad choice, it can weigh in on you, and cancel out your desire to make a good choice. We have competing selves, the self who wants to do good, and the self who wants to do bad. So, the person you are with can tip the scale either way, overpowering the other part of you. P191
(*I would not suggest that this means that we are bound to fail if we are surrounded by wicked people, I would suggest agency always remains, but that those who choose to be in negative circles are much more likely to become negative, etc. Perhaps you at least subconsciously want to have a life like your friend, even though you technically disapprove of many of their behaviors; being around them lets you feel rebellious without having to feel personal guilt; then one day you give in, and you are your friend. This is not to say we don’t spend time with and befriend those who believe and act differently than ourselves, it’s to say that we must be aware of what we want at core, and be committed to principle, and never flirt with sin. Christ is the perfect example, he was meek (in control) among all types of persons, yet he affirmed to all his company time and again that His kingdom was not of this world! He enjoyed the solitude of the mountaintops where he could commune with God, His Father. There was no hypocrisy or deceit on His lips! He longed for the Kingdom of God, not for the pleasures of Babylon! His friendships were based on love and bringing others to the light, not based on brushing shoulders with sin for a second-hand smoke buzz, or to find reasons why it might be ok to switch to the dark side at least a little, even if only for the sake of “tolerance”. No, He was the Savior. His mission was to save.)
-If you are deeply committed to your goal, seeing someone else break that goal can be repulsive to you, and set your brain on high alert. Thus, in a way it strengthens your self-control, reminding you of how that behavior takes you away from where you want to be. This response being like an immune system reacting to things which threaten you. Daily spend time reflecting on your goals in the beginning of your day to remind yourself that you don’t want to trade your goals for the goals of others. P192
-When you see other people breaking rules, it makes you want to break rules, related and unrelated to the rule you saw being broken. For example, when a study set up people chaining their bikes to a fence near a no bikes sign, people were more likely to put their bikes next to it and were more likely to trespass at the fence. Another example: When people saw others put carts in spaces they weren’t designed to, they did likewise, and were more likely to litter. P192-193
-The 3 rules of how to get high ratings on reality television are drinking too much, picking a fight, and having sex with someone else’s boyfriend. P193
-We don’t need to see someone misbehave for it to affect us; like a lingering germ after a sick person has passed through, even seeing evidence of disobedience can influence us to misbehave. P193
-Thinking about someone with good self-control can increase your self-control. This can be more effective as you think of someone with good self-control whom is a family member or friend. P193
-A virus can spread from one contact with any carrier, but behavior is more so spread with friends, the relationship matters. Even the friend of a friend has more influence on you than someone whom you see daily whom you don’t like. P194
-The immune system attacks things which are foreign, which are “not us.” It doesn’t attack its own cells. This could explain why we get behaviors from people we know, or whom we associate as “with us”. When we see people we don’t associate with, we reject their ways, or attack those viruses not allowing them to be a part of us; but we see those whom are “with us”, and we don’t fight against them. P194
-We think about ourselves and those we love with the same part of the brain. Thinking of self and of mother are almost identical in the brain. This shows that who we are includes who we care about. In many ways we only know who we are through thinking about other people. This makes us very susceptive to tolerating choices of our friends / loved ones. And of course, tolerance leads to adoption. P194-195
-When people were asked why they conserve energy and help the environment, they said it was because they love the planet and want a better world for their grandkids and to save money. They said what others do about these things doesn’t influence their behaviors. But the only consistent predictor of someone’s actions in this was what they thought their neighbors were doing. P195-196
-Social proof is when we see the rest of our tribe doing something, which then convinces us that it’s a smart thing to do. This may be a survival tactic, like when a whole tribe would head east, we had better too, or we would starve alone, etc. p196
-One study put messages on people’s doors about the need to conserve energy and help the environment. Some of the door messages had encouragements like “help the earth” or “help your grandchildren” etc. But the only door messages which made a difference in people’s electricity bills were the ones which said “99% of people in your community reported turning off unnecessary lights to save energy.” P196
-Everyone thinks they are independent leaders, but most are followers. P197
-When you show people that God wants them to be healthy, as seen in Proverbs 23:20 (NIV) “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat.” and 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV) “Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”, it’s a more powerful motivation than a doctor’s order. Churches should thus teach their congregations of good health. P197-198 (*Mormons are probably the best at this when it comes to preaching physical health as a critical part of religion)
-Some college students were given information on how excessive drinking could damage the ability to think abstractly for 30 days, and other students were given illustrations of a loser who drinks with a warning that you could become like them. Those from the group whom were given the loser handout reported using 50% less alcohol in an anonymous survey taken 2 weeks later. Thus, we see that to discourage an unhealthy behavior, show them it is the habit of a group of people they never want to become. If you want them to do something good, show them it will get them into the best of societies. P198-199
-40% of Americans never exercise p200
-11% of Americans engage in vigorous exercise 5 times per week (that is the standard recommendation for health and weight loss). P200
-14% of adults eat the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. P200
-The average adult eats 100 pounds of sugar a year. P200
-Hearing statistics about how most people make bad choices leads you to say, “what a relief, I’m not the only one / oh I’m normal” rather than “I must change.” P200
-37% of clinically obese people don’t consider themselves obese and consider themselves at low lifetime risk for becoming obese. Now that so many are gaining weight, our internal standard of what is obese is changing, even though the medical standards remain the same. P200
(*I’ve fallen into a similar pitfall, I visited a doctor who told me I was 15 pounds overweight, and thus at increased risk for certain serious medical problems. In my head I merely said “so what, you’re 50 pounds overweight. It must not be so bad.” Of course, this line of logic won’t put me any less at risk for medical problems! What foolishness! We also consider this line of thinking: namely that God would not deny the majority from going to His place of dwelling after this life; while it’s true that all, be they good or evil, will see their creator upon dying (Alma 40:11), it is also true that the path to the highest heaven is a narrow one, whereas the path to other locations is wide and popular (Matt. 7:13). So, what then should we think of God, as a cruel person? No, for all will be blessed, but the highest blessings are not attainable by merely being in the majority or average, except in cases like the City of Enoch when everyone involved was very righteous, but even they had to be removed from most of the society! They were not a super-majority. Let it also be said that being in the mainstream of the Church leads to salvation, as Elder McConkie etc. have noted. We do not say to excuse sin, but to follow the simple instructions of the prophet.)
-If a person is better than average, and learns that, he will slouch toward the center, pooling himself back into the middle. For example, a person shown that they have a cheaper electric bill than most of his community started leaving more lights on, started turning up the thermostat, etc. p200
(*Therefore we must, sooner or later, physically move out of Babylon (D&C 133: 10-12, 14), or none of us will be saved! Therefore, Christ says his coming must be quickened lest even the very elect be lost! (Matt. 24:22; Mark 13:20) This is also why we aren’t to see ourselves as “good” (Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19). Rather, we are to see ourselves in a humble light, otherwise we will be abased (Luke 14:11).)
-The best predictor of weather a student will cheat is the amount he thinks others will cheat. Factors of how hard it is to cheat and weather he will be caught are secondary when compared to this. P200
-Most people overestimate the amount of cheating that goes on in filing tax returns, and the more they think this the more they cheat. When shown statistics of how more are honest with this than they thought, they improve themselves. P200-201
– “Do you ever tell yourself that your willpower challenge is no big deal, because it’s the norm? Do you remind yourself of all the people you know who share the habit? If so, you may want to challenge this perception. The best way to do this is to find the folks who share the behavior you aspire to. Look for a new “tribe” you could join. It could be a support group, a class, a local club, an online community, or even subscribing to a magazine that supports your goals. Surrounding yourself with people who share your commitment to your goals will make it feel like the norm.” p201
-When we see ourselves as being examined by others, it increases our diligence and success. Consider how people will be proud of you or ashamed of you. Social emotions are more powerful direct and quick motivators than rational arguments about long-term costs and benefits. P201-202
-We often see self-control as the triumph of reason over emotion; but what really is going on more often with self-control is the triumph of good emotion over bad emotion. Emotion is very motivating and has much to do with social status. P202
-In one place in Manhattan if you’re caught shoplifting from a grocery store you may be forced to pose for a photo with the item you tried to steal. It will be hung on a wall of shame near the store’s cash register, bearing your name address, and the description “Big Thief” p202
-The threat of being publicly known for the crime of purchasing sex was a bigger motivator to perpetrators to get them to stop than the threat of jail time, having their driver’s license suspended, or having a fine upwards of $1,000. P202
-Shame demotivates us, but the fear of shame does motivate us. This only goes so far. It can keep you from seeking a scandalous thing, but when faced with a scandalous thing, the bad feeling makes you more likely to give in. But have people consider how proud they would be of resisting temptation, and this will not only keep them from seeking scandalous things, but greatly improve their chances of resisting scandalous things they are faced with. p203
-One reason pride helps more than shame is because it takes your mind off the temptation. You think of the joy of righteousness rather than the pain of wickedness. When considering the wickedness, you think of the temptation, and allow it to have power by allowing it to be more present in your thoughts. P203-204
-Guilt decreases heart rate variability and decreases willpower reserve. Pride increases and sustains willpower reserve. P203
(*Pride here might be defined not as thinking you are better than others but thinking that you want to be an honest person, and want to be respectable in society, and that you care about what God and others think about your character. It is the pride which thinks of being better, so you can better serve others, not the pride that thinks of putting others down. Perhaps pride isn’t even the word that we should be using for this trait.)
-For pride to work we need to believe that others are watching and rooting for you and that we will have the opportunity to report our success to others. P204
-People are more likely to buy environment friendly products in public than online, since part of the reason they do it is for social status. P204
-We all need human approval, so put that to good use by thinking of someone who you respect whom would be happy about your good choice. Consider telling them. P204
-People who fail cause us to assume they are weak lazy stupid or selfish, and we justify ourselves in shaming and excluding them. But shame is both cruel and not a good way to motivate people. If shame were a good motivator, there would be no fat people. P205
-After people are socially excluded, they are less likely to resist temptation of fresh cookies, they give up sooner on a challenging assignment, and they become more easily distracted on a concentration task. P206
-When racial minorities are exposed to prejudice they have less self-control. Even merely bringing up discrimination will do this. Anytime we feel excluded or oppressed we feel more like giving in. p206
(*Is it a stretch to believe that this issue can be hyped up by persons with ulterior motives who don’t really care about racial equality to make people become aggressive? No.)
-One weight intervention program required a person to sign up with a friend or family member. They were required to do “support homework” which required having a healthy meal with that person once a week or calling that person on the phone to see how they are doing and encourage them. Among those who entered with another person, 66% maintained weight loss in a ten-month follow-up survey, compared to only 24% whom joined alone. P206
-To have a partner in your willpower goal, they don’t need to have the same goal as you. Just check in with each other. P206
-Get a group of people and compete together on a willpower challenge, who can be the first to finish a procrastinated task, who can save the most money in a month, etc. p206
-Have a person who can email you saying, “Did you do the thing you said you were going to do?” You don’t even have to know the person. Do this with them until the task becomes your nature and you don’t need the messages anymore. P207
-Everything you do is either a temptation or an inspiration to others. P207
Ch. 9: Don’t read this chapter: The limits of “I won’t” power
-When asked to not think of something, it’s hard to not think of it, even if it’s a trivial thing. P209
-Leo Tolstoy was told by his brother when a child to sit in a corner until he could stop thinking about white bears. The brother returned much later to find him still sitting there. P209-210
-One man reported that at a Catholic seminary, they were warned to never ever think about sex, so they were constantly warning each other not to think about it, and thus they thought about it more while at the seminary than they would have out of it. p211
-Suppressing thoughts about someone you like while awake makes you more likely to dream about them at night, more so than intentionally thinking about them does. P211
-Romeo and Juliet are case in point of how forbidden love can become very strong. P211
-Wegner claims that the person trying hardest to not do a thing is the person most likely to do that thing. P211 (*But perhaps this is because they are predisposed to weakness in that area, which explains their increased attempts to avoid said behavior. I wonder if these studies were as random as they need to be to test the supposed claim; you would need to assign people things to try not to do rather than letting them pick themselves.)
-Part of the brain focuses on what you need to do (call it the operator), another part focuses on warning you of danger (call it the monitor). When we don’t have enough energy for the operator to do his part, the monitor will cause us to focus on the bad, and like a Shakespearian tragedy, by trying to prevent your downfall, you’re led straight to it. The monitor doesn’t run out of energy, it is constant. Neuroscientists have shown that the brain is constantly processing the forbidden content just outside of conscious awareness. P213
-When we repress a thought and thus it recurs, the recurrence leads us to believe that it must be an urgent, true message. This illustrates that thought suppression is not the best technique, or at least that it is insufficient alone. P213
-People are more likely to think of plane crashes as they are boarding a plane (especially if they have a fear of flying). Plane crash death probability is 1/14,000,000. Other diseases like nephritis or septicemia, 2 of the top 10 causes of death in the US, are not paid much attention to. P213
-One person had recurring suicidal thoughts. She learned that thoughts we try to get rid of can tend to do this, and this helped her see that she didn’t really want to die, which helped her progress. P214
-Give the monitor the job of monitoring the monitor; be aware of how you suppress things. P214
-The solution to ironic rebound (when the thought you tried to suppress keeps coming back) is to give in, let yourself express a thought you were trying to suppress, and thus it will be less likely to intrude into conscious awareness. Permission to think a thought decreases the likelihood of thinking it. Be willing to think what you think and feel what you feel, without necessarily believing it is true, and without feeling compelled to act on it. This helps anxiety, depression, food cravings, and addictions.
(*I don’t believe that this suggests that we let our thoughts dwell on non-working behaviors. Like President Boyd K. Packer put it, the bird may land on your head, but don’t let it make a nest there. Or like Elder Jeffrey R Holland put it, when a bad thought comes, don’t invite it to stay for tea. Perhaps this allowing yourself to think and feel has to do with recognizing what you are experiencing, identifying the thought or feeling as non-congruent with your beliefs, and tipping your hat to it as it walks by, instead of tripping all over it. Perhaps we could say to ourselves “yes a part of me would quite like that thing. But I can find even greater happiness in the path I’m on. Praise God for pleasure, and for leading me to the only path where it’s to be found in cups over flowing!” We might also praise God for the gift of bodies, and recall the reality of good and evil, and the embodiments thereof, Jesus Christ in the one hand and Satan on the other. That these are both real beings seeking to influence us with all the power they’re allowed to exercise upon us. We recall that God creates, and Satan imitates. After all, Jesus Christ has a body, but Satan has no body. Satan can’t have the joy of a body (the prophets have taught that this is the punishment he has received for all the bad he has done), so he tries to minimize our corporal joy by persuading us to do inappropriate things with our bodies, which are contrary to the laws of nature, which in turn bring the negative consequences of nature.)
-Thought suppression can negatively affect the body even if we think we are getting away with it. It can lead to increased heartrate, depression, and heighten symptoms of PTSD and OCD. P216
-When a person with extreme social anxiety is asked to think of something other than what they are anxious about, the system of attention control in the brain is under activated. It’s as though their operator portion of the brain is worn out, and they can’t help but rely on the monitor part of the brain. Thus, these persons are worse at controlling their thoughts than the average person. They have less power to push away their fears. P217
– “Traditional therapy for social anxiety disorder focuses on challenging thoughts like “There’s something wrong with me” to get rid of the anxiety. This only makes sense if you believe that trying not to think something works. Goldin takes a very different approach. He teaches social anxiety sufferers to observe and accept their thoughts and feelings- even the scary ones. The goal is not to get rid of the anxiety and self-doubt, but to develop a trust that they can handle these difficult thoughts and feelings.” When worries come, notice what you’re thinking, feel the worry in the body, then turn attention to breathing, etc. If worry persists, imagine those thoughts and feelings dissolving with the breath. Don’t fight with the worry, and it will naturally run its course. This technique has shown (based on fMRI brain scans) to decrease stress when compared to the former technique. P217-218
(*The author suggests on page 218 that we obtain freedom from getting rid of guilt, but we must not go too far with this. For example, when prophets cry repentance, we must not condemn their words in the name of living beneath our privileges (Alma 30:28).)
-When a thought comes up over and over, that is a sign that it is not a true thought. Shift your thinking to what you feel in your body; see if your breath rate has changed, or if your heartrate has changed, or if you feel different in your stomach, chest, throat, etc. Then shift your thinking to breathing feelings of exhaling and inhaling. If this doesn’t make the bad thoughts and feelings leave, consider those bad thoughts and feelings as clouds which your breath pushes away easily. “You don’t need to make the thought go away; just stay with the feeling of your breath. Notice that this technique is not the same thing as believing or ruminating over a thought. The opposite of thought suppression is accepting the presence of the thought- not believing it. You’re accepting that thoughts come and go, and that you can’t always control what thoughts come to mind. You don’t have to automatically accept the content of the thought.” Say, ‘Oh well, there’s that thought again- worries happen. That’s just the way the mind works, and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything.’ Don’t say ‘ah the thought again, it must be true, I’m terrible/hopeless/guilty/angry/jealous.’ P219-220
(*But just because bad thoughts happen, doesn’t mean we get complacent with them. We don’t just lounge around thinking about bad thoughts because ‘that’s the way the mind works.’ There are those whom have mastered their thoughts. These techniques seem to be for the novice as he trains unto the higher ways. The master doesn’t though suppress, he is in total control of interpretations, and sees through deceptions, and thus he experiences less cravings for evil. Ex-Smokers can get to where they aren’t triggered by being around other smokers. There is such a thing as healing, even from the deadliest things. And for those who struggle long term and are righteous but still plagued with some bad thoughts, they will finish their fight victorious in the resurrection, wherein all enemies shall be put under their feet, and they overcome all their foes.)
(*We don’t ignore evil, we fight it! We don’t fight evil by ignoring it, but only by facing it!)
(*But the idea that a recurring thought is not true, that could contradict the scripture saying that a revelation from God is a recurring thought, and the thing which is not true we will forget (D&C 8); perhaps the application of this principle from the author is to be considered thus: that there is a difference between a recurring thought, and a nagging thought which frustrates us and makes us angry. Surely no such thought would be of God. Surely the Devil is the author of pestering. God does not nag. God’s influence will send repeated messages to you, but they come when you are under the influence of the Spirit of God; that Spirit brings peace, not anxiety.)
-Rather than indulging in a bad thing to get rid of bad feelings/thoughts, let yourself grieve for your situation. Don’t just push the grief away, there is room for it. Beware trying to get rid of your feelings. Rather, it’s how you react to your feelings that counts. P221
(*This is not to suggest that we tolerate/welcome evil feelings, but that we deal with them in a way which will disable them, and enable us to conquer evil, for righteousness in thought word and deed are the highest goals (Mosiah 4:30).)
-One study showed that thought suppression (being told not to think about a certain thing) made people have only 9 thoughts about something compared to a group whom were told to freely think of the thing whom had 52 thoughts of it (they were all told to think out loud, and such was recorded). This made thought suppression seem great, but then the test of the item being in front of them came (opposed to the metaphysical exercise about the item preceding it), those who had done thought suppression indulged double the amount as those who had freely thought of it. The subject of this test was chocolate. For details on how the experiment was designed to be legitimate, see text. P222-223
-Dieters suppress thoughts about food more than non-dieters, and this makes dieters experience more food cravings than non-dieters, and more likely to binge-eat. P223
-A 2007 review of diets involving food-restriction or calorie-restriction said that there is little to no evidence for weight loss or health benefits of such dieting, and growing evidence of harmful effects of such. P223
-People who go on diets gain more weight overtime than people who start at the same weight but never diet. P224
-Yo-yo dieting raises blood pressure, raises unhealthy cholesterol levels, suppresses the immune system, and increases the risk of heart attack stroke and diabetes. P223
-Restricting food automatically increases cravings for it. P224
-Women not allowed to have chocolate for a given time ate double the amount of sweets in a test. P224
-When we crave foods, it’s not because our bodies crave the nutrients in them. If cravings were like this, we would crave fresh fruits and vegetables. But, as we see, people rather usually crave sweets, etc. Thus, we see that cravings are psychological want more than physiological need. p224
-People were given an assignment to carry but not eat chocolate for 2 days. There were 2 groups: one was told to, when tempted, to say “Let us debate this matter of weather I shall eat. I am not allowed to eat the chocolates, I don’t need one.” This was arguing with self or trying to distract one’s self. These people did poorer than the group whom was instructed to act thus to temptation, to say “I’m having cravings right now! This feels bad. But I don’t have to act on these thoughts and feelings.” This latter group performed perfectly. The former group had more cravings and stress. P225
-4 steps to resist temptation: 1. Notice that you are thinking about your temptation or feeling a craving. 2. Accept the thought or feeling without trying to immediately distract yourself or argue with it. Remind yourself of the thought rebound effect (that things we suppress rather than deal with can be increasingly hard to get rid of, becoming amplified). 3. Step back by realizing that thoughts and feelings aren’t always under your control, but you can choose whether to act on them. 4. Remember your goal. Remind yourself of whatever your commitment is. P226
-A very successful diet is a sort of non-diet; it involves the pursuit of health more so than a list of what you can’t have or do. Focus on what you should eat. Food can bring health and pleasure. Think of things you can do to improve your health like exercise. Rather than focusing on “I won’t”, focus on “I will”. With this type of diet, 2/3 of participants showed in a 16-month survey to have kept the weight off. P227
-The average dieter takes only 16 days to get back to where he was when he started his diet. P227
-Being flexible as to which foods you can have will give you more control and weight loss. P228
-Get the focus off your “I won’t” behavior by getting a new healthier habit to replace it, because most habits are to meet a need. P228
-Considering what you could be doing with your time rather than the bad thing you are tempted to do can be more motivating than merely avoiding the bad idea. Plan what you’ll do with your time, (* & meals, snacks, friends, dating, children, spouse, homework, etc.) P228
-Redefine your “I won’t” into an “I will”. This is more successful. For example, rather than say “I won’t be late” say “I will be early.” p228
– “Surf the urge” technique means to pay close attention to the urge, without trying to change it or get rid of it. Pay attention to what the craving makes you feel and think. Like a wave, it will increase in intensity, but will ultimately crash and dissolve. Ride the wave without fighting it or giving in to it. Many have found success with this. Those who used this technique to deal with smoking cravings, in addition to charting the number of times they smoked and how they felt, had 37% less than what they started with by the end of a week compared to a group whom didn’t use this technique. This technique helps people to deal with their feelings and thoughts in ways other than negative indulgence when they feel bad or stressed. P230-231
-Those who learn mindfulness, surfing the urge, and stress management techniques seem to do better with not using drugs than those from traditional substance-abuse recovery programs, as a 4-month follow-up showed. P231
-Surf the urge technique results in fewer cravings. P231
-Surf the urge technique is a skill which takes time to develop. Its essence is to feel something and not automatically give in. P232
(*This reminds me of what President Henry B Eyring has said, “I can’t be a perfect servant every hour, but I can try to give more effort than I thought I could. With that habit formed early on, I will be prepared for trials later.” (Preparation in the Priesthood: “I need your help”, Oct. 2011 Conf. Report))
-We think that cravings to do something need to be pursued lest they swell up inside of us and we burst like a volcano, but, these will pass, and you’ll be better off not having acted on them. P233
(*This is like the masturbation claim that it’s necessary because of semen “build-up”, but, when not in active use, the semen doesn’t build up, the body stop creating as much. The “let it go regularly or it will negatively affect you” argument is debunked!)
Ch. 10: Final thoughts
-We are multiple selves: the self who wants immediate gratification, and the self with a higher purpose. P237
-We were born to be tempted and born to resist. P237
-While it’s human to feel stressed scared and out of control, it’s also equally human to find the strength to be calm and in charge of our choices. P237
-Self-control is about understanding yourself more than about fundamentally changing yourself. Learn how to deal with the part of you that wants immediate gratification. P237
-The great secret of self-control is paying attention; train the mind to recognize when it’s making a choice instead of running on autopilot. Notice how you give yourself permission to procrastinate, or how you use good behavior to justify indulgence. P237
-The future you isn’t flawless and isn’t so different than the present you. P237
-Look for what influences around you shape your behavior. P237
-Notice when a craving comes! Recognize it, and remember what you really want, what really makes you feel better. P237
-Exercise (immediately improves all areas of life like a wonder drug powerful as Prozac, increases willpower).
-Think about people who have strong will.
-Think about willpower experiments from this text, etc. (yes, this itself does improve willpower).
-Photoshop a picture of yourself onto a person in a position you wish to be in.
-Imagine yourself as already being what you want to become, then consider weather what you’re about to do is consistent with WHO YOU ARE.
– Wait 10 minutes before giving in to an immediate reward instead of a future reward. If in 10 minutes, you still think the immediate is better than the future, go ahead and have the immediate.
-Spend a few minutes at the beginning of the day thinking of your goals (helps you resist temptation).
-Put the tempting thing out of sight (it will lessen the brains attraction); distance yourself from it any way possible.
-Sign up for a weight loss program with a friend, and check in with them regularly for analysis and support.
-The best exercise plan is the one you’ll actually do.
-Relax (not TV staring or overeating, rather something that truly rests you as evidenced by drop of blood pressure and heart rate).
-When you think you can’t go further / hold out any longer, you can. Your brain tricks you.
-Not yelling at your kids is not yelling at yourself, and benefits everyone.
-Beware stores are trying to manipulate you.
-Beware thinking you’re awesome after some success or you’ll fall soon thereafter.
-When you want to reward yourself for good behavior, do so in a productive way, not in a way which self-sabotages. The real you is virtuous, not vile.
-Tomorrow won’t be easier than today, so start your goals now.
-Don’t let a side of salad allow you to forget your main course is unhealthy.
-Exercise is anything that you can say no to the following questions: 1. Are you sitting, standing still, or lying down? 2. Are you eating junk food while you do it?
– “Rewards”/splurges you think will leave you happier will usually leave you sadder.
-Leave credit cards at home when shopping.
-In your mind, separate the desire for something for the result of having that thing. To help, consider how you feel after participating in the thing you’re looking forward to. You’ll find often the pursuit is more thrilling than receiving what you pursue.
-There are 2 versions of you; label the bad/impulsive/wild/mean one (the one operating off the primitive brain instead of the prefrontal cortex); naming this part of you can help stop it from taking over. Some possible names could be “the procrastinator”, “the cookie monster”, “the critic”, etc.
-Mindful-eating (eat slowly and see how the food really tastes and how it makes you feel afterward).
-Candy bowl in the open to practice resistance.
-Consider each failure as one you must repeat every day for the next week.
-“Dopamize” your dull tasks with a reward or music or scents.
-Beware of ‘magic words’ trying to sell you things.
-See yourself as the good you whose goals are a way of life not the bad you who wants to be rewarded with vice every time they have a successful episode in virtue.
-Beware dopamine triggers will make things more appealing than they are.
-Adequate sleep (under 6 hours is sleep deprived).
-Get sleep recently (it might not be how much sleep you get but how long since you had some sleep that makes the biggest difference).
-Preload sleep (sleep extra before an event which will require you to not get much sleep).
-Catch-up-sleep (can restore you back to normal).
-No cell phone light an hour before bed.
-Try thinking about breathing.
-Limit the amount of times you’ll look at phone notifications in a day.
-Stop and think for a few minutes before you make a choice which you could regret. If in 10 minutes you still think it’s a good idea, go for it.
-Catching yourself when your mind drifts (this helps you throughout the day to catch yourself when your mind is drifting from important topics).
-Avoid being distracted when you go shopping or you’ll buy extra stuff.
-Avoid distractions when eating or you’ll eat extra stuff.
-All temptations are intensified when you don’t have adequate sleep.
-You’ll improve in what you persist in, despite of age.
-Beware late nights which is when the brain often overemphasizes unimportant things as being more important than they are.
-Play memory games for 25 minutes a day (better memory and attention).
-Hold still while meditating (so as to learn you don’t need to follow every impulse).
-Live where there is clean air (to improve your heart rate variability).
-Breathe slowly, 10-15 seconds per breath, 6 breathes per minute.
-If you break your goal today, force yourself to break it for the next 7 days. This increases the weight of your choice and makes you less likely to cave in today. It highlights a truth that we are not stronger tomorrow than we are today, that the time to act is now.
-When you notice a craving, acknowledge it without immediately acting on it. “Alas, I’m craving this. That doesn’t mean I’m bad, and doesn’t mean I will do it, this just happens sometimes. This will pass soon. I will be happier from pursuing my goals than I would be in giving in to this thing. This craving is not in accordance with my true self. I’m feeling pain in my body which might be relieved from giving in to this craving, but that’s not true, I will just feel worse if I give in. There are other more truly pleasurable and lasting ways to satiate my real needs.”
-Consider each inhale and exhale of breath as wind which easily pushes away clouds of negative feelings and negative thoughts.
New Current Research
Compiled by Nate Richardson, June 2017
– In one study, people who worked out at 7 a.m. slept longer and had deeper sleep cycles than those who exercised at 1 p.m. or 7 p.m. (Effects of exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure in prehypertensive patients. Fairbrother, K., Cartner, B., Alley, J., et al. Vascular Health and Risk Management, 2014; 10: 691–698.)
-red fitness clothes; red increases excitement, energy levels, and circulation (Perception of the color red enhances the force and velocity of motor output. Elliot AJ, Aarts H. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 2011, Aug.;11(2):1931-1516.)
The following is an excerpt from the World Affairs Brief by Joel Skousen dated 4-27-18
The entire world of both military and educational standards are falling as both public institutions succumb to political correctness and fail to support good judgment and discipline that are the key to success in every aspect of real life. I’ve covered in the briefs the problems in the various branches of the military as they force normal soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines to accept women, gays and transgenders into the combat ranks, where trust in equal competency and unit cohesion is essential. Despite service denials, standards have been lowered to accommodate women; if not outright, then by overlooking sub par performance or forcing stronger males to carry the load. Worse, all forms of dissent against these policies has been suppressed.
This week, Walter Williams documented how the public education system, including public universities have become a fraud upon the taxpayers—as curricula is dumbed-down, and teachers teach the test in a vain attempt to show progress when there is only increasing failure for a large sector of students. Part of the blame goes to social notions like falsely declaring “everyone a winner.”
Earlier this month, the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka The Nation’s Report Card, was released. It’s not a pretty story. Only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading, and only 25 percent did so in math. Among black students, only 17 percent tested proficient or better in reading, and just 7 percent reached at least a proficient level in math.
The atrocious NAEP performance is only a fraction of the bad news. Nationally, our high school graduation rate is over 80 percent. That means high school diplomas, which attest that these students can read and compute at a 12th-grade level, are conferred when 63 percent are not proficient in reading and 75 percent are not proficient in math. For blacks, the news is worse. Roughly 75 percent of black students received high school diplomas attesting that they could read and compute at the 12th-grade level. However, 83 percent could not read at that level, and 93 percent could not do math at that level. It’s grossly dishonest for the education establishment and politicians to boast about unprecedented graduation rates when the high school diplomas, for the most part, do not represent academic achievement. At best, they certify attendance.
Fraudulent high school diplomas aren’t the worst part of the fraud. Some of the greatest fraud occurs at the higher education levels — colleges and universities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of white high school graduates in 2016 enrolled in college, and 58 percent of black high school graduates enrolled in college. Here are my questions to you: If only 37 percent of white high school graduates test as college-ready, how come colleges are admitting 70 percent of them? And if roughly 17 percent of black high school graduates test as college-ready, how come colleges are admitting 58 percent of them?
It’s inconceivable that college administrators are unaware that they are admitting students who are ill-prepared and cannot perform at the college level. Colleges cope with ill-prepared students in several ways. They provide remedial courses. One study suggests that more than two-thirds of community college students take at least one remedial course, as do 40 percent of four-year college students. College professors dumb down their courses so that ill-prepared students can get passing grades. Colleges also set up majors with little analytical demands so as to accommodate students with analytical deficits. Such majors often include the term “studies,” such as ethnic studies, cultural studies, gender studies and American studies. The major for the most ill-prepared students, sadly enough, is education. When students’ SAT scores are ranked by intended major, education majors place 26th on a list of 38 (https://tinyurl.com/pjmga9y).
The bottom line is that colleges are admitting youngsters who have not mastered what used to be considered a ninth-grade level of proficiency in reading, writing and arithmetic. Very often, when they graduate from college, they still can’t master even a 12th-grade level of academic proficiency. The problem is worse in college sports. During a recent University of North Carolina scandal, a learning specialist hired to help athletes found that during the period from 2004 to 2012, 60 percent of the 183 members of the football and basketball teams read between fourth- and eighth-grade levels. About 10 percent read below a third-grade level. Keep in mind that all of these athletes both graduated from high school and were admitted to college.
How necessary is college anyway? One estimate is that 1 in 3 college graduates have a job historically performed by those with a high school diploma. According to Richard Vedder, distinguished emeritus professor of economics at Ohio University and the director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, in 2012 there were 115,000 janitors, 16,000 parking lot attendants, 83,000 bartenders and about 35,000 taxi drivers with a bachelor’s degree.
I’ve long believed that we push too many student toward college, instead of acknowledging the value of the trade schools. I felt most of my college education was a waste. I’ve learned numerous professions and skills on my own since I was freed from the busywork of getting a degree filled with social garbage.