Just imagine you’re four years old, and someone makes the following proposal: If you’ll wait until after he runs an errand, you can have two marshmallows for a treat. If you can’t wait until then, you can have only one—but you can have it right now. It is a challenge sure to try the soul of any four-year-old, a microcosm of the eternal battle between impulse and restraint, id and ego, desire and self-control, gratification and delay… There is perhaps no psychological skill more fundamental than resisting impulse. It is the root of all emotional self-control, since all emotions, by their very nature, led to one or another impulse to act.
Topics: Win, Intelligence, Nature, Soul, Desire, Sin, Try
The task of worrying is to come up with positive solutions for life’s perils by anticipating dangers before they arise. If we are preoccupied by worries, we have that must less attention to expend on figuring out the answers. Our worries become self-fulfilling prophecies, propelling us toward the very disaster they predict.
Over the last decade or so ‘wars’ have been proclaimed, in turn, on teen pregnancy, dropping out, drugs, and most recently violence. The trouble with such campaigns, though, is that they come too late, after the targeted problem has reached epidemic proportions and taken firm root in the lives of the young. They are crisis intervention, the equivalent of solving a problem by sending an ambulance to the rescue rather than giving an inoculation that would ward off the disease in the first place. Instead of more such ‘wars,’ what we need is to follow the logic of prevention, offering our children the skills for facing life that will increase their chances of avoiding any and all of these fates
The work of worrying—when it succeeds—is to rehearse what those dangers are, and reflect on ways to deal with them. But worry doesn’t work all that well. New solutions and fresh ways of seeing a problem do not typically come from worrying, especially chronic worry. Instead of coming up with solutions to these potential problems, worriers typically ruminate on the danger itself, immersing themselves in a low-key way in the dread associated with it while staying in the same rut of thought. Chronic worriers worry about a wide range of things, most of which have almost no chance of happening; they read dangers into life’s journey that others never notice.
At last, psychology gets serious about glee, fun, and happiness. Martin Seligman has given us a gift—a practical map for the perennial quest for a flourishing life.
Topics: Happiness, Wisdom, Life
For the high achievers, studying gave them the pleasing, absorbing challenge o flow 40 percent of the hours they spent at it. But for low achievers, studying produced flow only 16 percent of the time; more often that not, it yielded anxiety, with the demands outreaching their abilities
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Abraham Maslow American Psychologist
- Steven Pinker Canadian Psychologist
- B. F. Skinner American Psychologist
- Howard Gardner American Psychologist
- Albert Ellis American Psychologist
- Joyce Brothers American Psychologist
- Paul Samuelson American Economist
- Martin Seligman American Psychologist
- Ram Dass American Hindu New Age Pioneer
- Timothy Leary American Psychologist