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How do you manipulate yourself - positively?

Your mind/part of it, knows that something should be done, the rest of you doesn't want to. What do you do?

I've read about intelligent procrastination. When attempting this, you deceive yourself into believing which tasks are more important than others. This stems from the conviction that you're bound to pick things to do of lesser importance, than the most important ones on your list.
In my opinion, intelligent procrastination is a way of intelligently putting your focus where you think it can make the biggest impact. E.g. you sometimes pick the easier task, of two, where the other is obviously more important, just because of the implied difficulty of the job and the quicker fulfillment of a job finished.

Another way I found to do things is doing them as they pop up in my head. I spend more time being effective overall, but I might not be doing things in the best way. E.g. you do not minimize time consumption on traveling, because the order of tasks isn't optimized. Overall I do think things through, but I feel I could be more effective and I’m looking for input.

Please look away from the mental age the above suggests and spelling errors, this is not my main language. First time posting, be kind.

If you understood the question differently, by all means describe that as well, together with your take on the question.


  • Jul 30 2012: when I feel low I will take out the pictures of the ones I love . Their pictures remind me that there is no reason why I should act negatively when they live in my world.
    • Jul 30 2012: I have made arrangements to get pictures of my loved ones for my wallet :)
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    Jul 30 2012: I like the discipline of Lean thinking, this is a business philosophy that is applicable to anything. Mainly centered around eliminating waste.

    Do what you are doing while you are doing it.

    Prioritize, to think things are equally important is kind of nuts.

    Be true to yourself. Most trouble you have starts when you are not
  • Jul 29 2012: You simply do the positive things that occur to you. It's really quite simple. "Where there is a will, there is a way." It's a matter of choice. You are in control of you. Choose positive. Do what you know to be positive. No need to complicate something that is simple. Love yourself. Respect yourself. Trust yourself. Positive words, positive acts cause positive results. You know that. Just do it.
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      Jul 29 2012: Rhona my friend, you say it simply and effectively again:>)

      Where there is a will, there is a way...matter of choice...we are in control...choose what we need to complicate something that is, respect and trust yourself...positive acts...positive results...just do it. I LOVE it my friend!!!

      In your indroduction you write..."In my opinion, intelligent procrastination is a way of intelligently putting your focus where you think it can make the biggest impact". YES, YES, YES!!!

      In each and every moment, we have the ability to CHOOSE where our focus goes....
      Where focus goes, energy flows...
      What we focus on expands...

      It is really NOT that difficult to focus our mind and heart where we want it to be in each and every moment:>)
      • Jul 30 2012: Colleen, there was no "Reply" thing in the "bully" item so I am replying to that here. Hurt people can also be jerks. Hurt people have a choice about their behavior. People who murder people are probably hurting, but their choice of how they manifest that hurt is their choice. I would use a term that is stronger than "jerk" for such people, but sometimes the focus needs to be on the choice of the person and the consequence of their choice of how they manifest that hurt. Some hurt people write a poem or paint a picture and play mellow music. I would not refer to those hurt people as jerks.
        • Jul 30 2012: Thank you for the response. Reading a few questions here on TED, I realise you're big contributors. I have made a new reply to the question, I hope you'll take a look.
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          Jul 30 2012: Hi Rhona,
          I agree that people who are hurting can act like Jerks, and that often applies to bullies. I totally agree that ALL people make choices regarding how they manifest that hurt onto others. It is often a projection of their own hurt.

          That being said, I like to show people sometimes that they have different choices. I experienced an example of this just yesterday. Some new folks moved into the house next door. I was out in the gardens, saw the man outside so went over to introduce myself. We were chatting, and his two kids (around 9-10) came out. The little boy tripped, and right away, the father said "he is so clumsy!" I said "he has flip-flops on and is walking on uneven ground...I don't believe he is clumsy". The father said..."he is clumsy....always clumsy....can't even walk without tripping...he's been clumsy since he started walking"...bla....bla.....bla...on and on!!!

          That poor little kid!!! So, I gave up on the father for a minute and started talking with the kid....."almost time for you like school...what subjects do you like, etc.". The little kids perked up a bit and started talking, and as he was talking, he was wandering a bit and tripped again. The father popped in with...."see...always clumsy".

          That father was being a jerk and a bully, in my perception, and I knew that I was not going to make any progress with him by calling him a jerk, so I just kept focusing on the kid and our conversation. As you say..."sometimes the focus needs to be on the choice of the person and the consequence of their choice".

          Rather than keeping the father in the "jerk/bully" catagory, I attempted to show him something different. They just moved in......give me time!!! LOL:>) This fits PERFECTLY in this to manipulate positivity!!!I appreciate you and your perceptions of life Rhona:>)
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          Jul 30 2012: Indeed, I totally agree!

          But to add, not all bullies or murderers do what they do because that's the manifestation of their negativity. I can definitely see some who genuinely enjoy hurting others. To me, sadistic people are ones who have a weak understanding of others. If they knew how it felt to have someone do the same thing to themselves, they'd probably be more reluctant to hurt others knowing the damage they're doing. However, if the person likes to take pleasure from pain inflicted onto themselves and thinks everyone else should feel the same, that's where I say, "These guys are messed up to the core."
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          Jul 31 2012: James,
          Did you ever hear of the terms "pecking order" or "leveling"?

          I suggest that those who seem to enjoy hurting others are sometimes trying to bring those they hurt to the same "level" of discontent.

          I agree that they "have a weak understanding of others", because they have a weak understanding of themselves. I also absolutely agree that if they knew how it felt to have someone do the same thing to themselves, they'd probably be more reluctant to hurt others..."

          Many people in our world have been wounded physically and psychologically, in all possible ways that you cannot even imagine. Many times, they have blocked out the hurt they felt from that wounding of themselves. They learned a pattern of behavior, however, that is destructive to others, just as it was, and continues to be to them.

          When we witness people who seem to like to hurt others, I believe it is often an outward manifestation of a shallow feeling (that person is having the same pain as I have) of a very deep, unacknowleged pain. Make any sense?
      • Jul 30 2012: Colleen, I am glad our admiration is mutual. I guess we have reached many of the same conclusions. The common denominator seems to be "positive." We are both willing to be positive in word and deed and thought and any way we can. I love us for being the way we are right now. Furthermore, I am certain that we are being effective at accomplishing all of our positive goals. Sounds like you will need to direct your energies towards the parent and the child. Complex. You will succeed. It amazes me how people can behave toward others and be unaware of their impact. I assume the parent has low self-esteem, has been put down and hurt probably by his mommy and/or daddy and, robotically, he passes that pain and suffering on to his child, convincing himself he is "right." It's like people who are prejudiced. They think they are stating facts, when they go out of their way to avoid facts and instead selectively build a case to support their prejudice. I hope we become increasingly efficient in accomplishing our positive goals. I want all those positive results now. Perhaps I can be patient for days or months, but I don't want decades and centuries to go by before is simply loving, kind, healthy and happy. Right on! Keep being as Colleen as you can possibly be. Thank you.
  • Aug 2 2012: The word "should" usually indicates guilt. Look into the guilt and process it by moving the fear that your are a bad or inadequate person if you "don't" do what your "should". Fear moves at the most basic biological level by screaming..
  • Aug 2 2012: HI Peter.
    I like something Mr. Gilbert said, "Do what you are doing while you are doing it." To me, that means being present, actually in the moment, the only place one can be. I might add, let go of time for it really doesn't exist. Others will attempt to trap you and will want you to become entrapped in it with them, but you don't have to do that.
    Mr. Gilbert also said, "Be true to yourself. Most trouble you have starts when you are not." Very true.

    This brings up for the idea (for me), of what do you believe in? Actually, I prefer to say what do you "know in?", for lack of a better way of expressing it, right now.
    Whatever that is, do you trust it? If the answer is, "yes," are you then going to worry?" The answer should be, "no."
    When does everything happen anyway? It all happens at the last second.

    I believe knowledge of all things is in all humans. I originally got this idea when I was a young boy and read the Bible. In it, it said that Adam & Eve had knowledge of all things, except one. According to that story, they gained that one piece of knowledge and the rest is all history based upon lies. Ahem. Anyway.

    So, it is all a matter of remembering everything we once knew but never had to go through. I have experienced this many times in my life. Remembering things I knew nothing about!

    Because of this, I don't practice positive thinking. I practice what I call, Pausative thinking. I pause, and ask for the right thought or action. If it comes immediately, I act on it because I know what it is I believe in, I trust it and I'm not going to worry about it. (as you said you have been doing and I think that is a wonderful example for me again; thank you)

    If it doesn't come right then and there, I relax and take it easy and do whatever I am doing until that changes, trusting that it will come, i.e. will be remembered by me, when? at the last second.

    I never know the Out-Come but if I trust, I will Come-Out the other side.
  • Jul 30 2012: I had my hopes up for some fancy whoop-ti-doo, like hypnotizing yourself, a special questioning/exercise system for yourself, or a special just-do-it mindset I could adapt.

    My best line of thinking currently is: You have to be able to trust in yourself no matter what, and it is something you gradually build up, by only committing to promises you can keep. That way, even if you do occasionally make a promise that is hard, you know you only make promises you can keep, thus it forces you forward. Here I would simply spend more time deciding answers such as “yes” and “no”.
    In this line of thinking, could there be any other personal skills you can build up, and how to?
    Maybe this should focus more on motivation, I'm trying to learn something new, so I'm not quite sure what I'm looking for:
    Some things that motivate me:
    - Inspirational movies where something is done that was hard, or where people live poorly, as I hope to live a life where money is a lesser concern than currently.
    - Facts about family, friends, and people in different countries. E.g. China with some insane child prodigies, studying in metro stations to practice focus with a lot of noise around.
    - Stories about others, my latest read was Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, I feel some of his traits mirror my own. His career choice was compelling for me, and it has made me question my current pursuit in economics, which I feel is more a matter of me knowing I have to pick fast, and my family giving me input, than completely my own pick, based on interests. I feel more creative than those numbers. I want to create actual value, not just loop money around in fancy ways.
    - My wish to show my ex-girlfriend, and others that I am special.
    - My wish to leave behind a legacy of some kind. Something that would make people’s lives happier.
    - The thrill I get when something succeeds.
    - Dreams.
    Maybe, if I gave this more thought, I could have it all boiled down to something I could remind myself about, and then work harder
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      Jul 30 2012: Dear Peter,
      You are not alone in hoping for some fancy whoop-ti-doo exercise system, method or practice to create a more positive life experience. There are many practices that can contribute to contentment/happiness in our lives. The most important practice for me, in the past 60+ years is to be aware, mindful, and fully engaged in each and every moment. It is many times the very simple things that have great consequences.

      I'll tell you a true story, which contributed to opening my mind and heart to the moment.
      After regaining consciousness from a near fatal head/brain injury and emergency craniotomy 22 years ago, I received hundreds of cards/letters/greetings and wishes for good health. Often, the note would start out by saying..."you probably don't remember me, but 5 years ago, you said something to me that changed my life"....or "10 years ago, you did something for me that changed my life".

      I DID indeed remember all these people, and I remembered mostly, that I didn't do anything special...simply being kind to/with them. My words and actions changed people's lives??? WOW!!! That was a pretty special message for me. It caused me to be even more mindfully aware in each and every moment.

      We can experience motivation, awareness of other people, awareness of what we are learning in each moment, awareness of our world, our environment and the people living with us side by side, and as you say, we may get information from a movie, a book, an activity, conversations with people, etc. We may be motivated by simply sitting in the gardens and pondering.....that's one of my favorites:>) The point I'm trying to make, is that our life adventure can be many small experiences rolled into one to create the meaning that we are seeking. It doesn't have to be a "fancy whoop-ti-doo", as you joyfully say:>) Make any sense?
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      Jul 30 2012: Believe me Peter, I am still hoping for a "magic bullet" a phrase in English which means an easy way to make hard things easy and if I just waited, I would have wasted a lot of time by my age. You already know how to work hard. Please finish your degree in Economics. One of my own sons just got his in that same subject (by his own choice). With this knowledge you can move on to anything you want to study. If your parents cannot fund it - you will pursue your bliss with hard work. I know it is not pretty but it will be the making of you! You are doing all the things that I would and have done for inspiration short of loving a child (unless I am unaware of that part of your life). Loving someone else madly and completely can almost be that magic bulltet.
      You want your ex to know you are special and I can certainly relate to that human longing. However, that can only happen when you know it and you will only know it when you have followed your bliss and busted your rump to make it happen for yourself because until you do there will always be an undermining voice within that says things like "but these are only numbers' or 'these are only theories" or "you could have worked harder". Until you have valid answers for your own inner questions, whatever they might be you will never see your self esteem reflected in your beloved's eyes. BELIEVE me. there will come a day when a woman so far superior to your ex will adore you that you will wonder why you missed your ex! You will make that happen for yourself -without a magic bullet!
      As to others and your studies or career - they will not believe your words - they will believe and support WHATEVER you truly believe in! With love from Canada!
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      Jul 30 2012: I agree with Debra that finishing your degree in economics does not tie you to a career in "looping money around." Economics studies the behavior of individuals and organizations, as well as the environments in which either might learn and innovate. So what you learn in the way of analytical infrastructure should have generic value as part of a tool kit to understand the world around you.
      I like your idea of showing yourself you can keep promises. It's a bit like the idea of scattering along your path doable tasks of increasing challenge as a way of encouraging yourself that you can do things you undertake, even when stretching to a level above where you are is involved.
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        Jul 30 2012: I need an extra ten thumbs for you Fritzie, well said!
      • Jul 31 2012: Thank you, your reponses matter a lot to me.
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    Jul 29 2012: The first thing that is necessary is for one to set one's mind on important tasks and urgent responsibilities. When one ponders on those things with a problem-solving attitude, one is bound to seek solutions and plan an effective action.
    There are those times when one feels like doing nothing, or when discouragement sets in. But one should not be stuck in a rut of procastination.

    It is important to divide tasks into the important and the urgent; short term goals and long term goals. When worthy examples of success have been identified, then one should follow such with discipline and courage.

    Discipline and courage are very important for anyone aiming at success and significance.
    • Jul 30 2012: Judging from your picture(read:age) there must have been times where you've been stuck in your described rut of procrastination, like relationships breaking, death in the family or the likes.

      You might be the type that works to get your mind off things in which case you might be handicapped when responding to this question:
      How do you pick yourself up?
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    Jul 29 2012: Firstly, welcome and thank you for such a great question, Peter. English might not be your first language but you have done an excellent job here!

    For me, there is so much to do in this world that comes with its own motivation and I just seem to get into situations where there is not a whole lot of choice except to move one foot ahead of the other and to do the right thing. Maybe if you just make those choices long enough they get to be automatic. As many here might already know, I had 2 clots hit my brainstem after a spinal surgery in December. I started out in a coma. I really think my recovery was jumpstarted by the investment of love from a son who saved my life, a GP miles away who hung in with me and staff who just put one foot ahead of the other doing the next right thing for me. The sfaff were not all kind or caring but even one can make the difference between life and death. I was not expected to live. A TEDster flew in to be with me on what was believed to be my deathbed - I owe a great deal of thanks.
    I threw up 10-13 times a day for more than 3 months every time I moved and the clots in my brainstem rolled around. Blood destroys brain cells but when they cut into my head to take out the clots the bleeding threatened my life again. So you throw up. You hope for someone compassionate enough to do for you what you cannot do. I have an MA in Psychology and an MBA and that knowledge did not evaporate. I looked around as soon as I could and saw all those lonely, isolated needy people and staff that was taxed to the max. What could I do with clots in my head, working to talk and walk again?I hit upon it! I could listen!

    So what made me listen to those hard and awful stories when the clots pressed on brain centers that made me want to talk incessantly? Those stories were freaking compelling, and the need to express them was so great.

    So, what makes me do what is right? How do I positvely manipulate myself? I pay attention to my surroundings and to the needs.
    • Jul 30 2012: Thank you for your response, I have made a new reply, a bit long but I hope it's worth a glance from you :)