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Reference Points

I just spent some time reading Thomas Schelling's "Choice and Consequences" and I heartily recommend it. Here's a Google books link to the chapter I was reading, "The Intimate Contest for Self Command."

It's fascinating, and if you like LessWrong, rationality, understanding things, decision theories, figuring people and the world out - well, then I think you'd like Schelling. Actually, you'll probably be amazed with how much of his stuff you're already familiar with - he really established a heck of a lot modern thinking on game theory.

Allow me to depart from Schelling a moment, and talk of Sam Snyder. He's a very intelligent guy who has lots of intelligent thoughts. Here's a link to his website - there's massive amounts of data and references there, so I'd recommend you just skim his site if you go visit until you find something interesting. You'll probably find something interesting pretty quickly.

I got a chance to have a conversation with him a while back, and we covered immense amounts of ground. He introduced me to a concept I've been thinking about nonstop since learning it from him - reference points.

Now, he explained it very eloquently, and I'm afraid I'm going to mangle and not do justice to his explanation. But to make a long story really short, your reference points affect your motivation a lot.

Not all exercise is physical - Try this exercise in Mindfulness

On Kicking Thoughts

In March of this year (2013), I came across an article at Harvard Business Review that has literally changed my life. It wasn't an immediate HUGE change, like some sort of life epiphany. No, it was a small change, but one that continues to work on me each day, like water smoothing out a rough stone.

The Article talked about a process called the Three Step Examen (little latin there for ya). The three steps are secondary to what the process really teaches though. It's an exercise on Mindfulness (yes, with a capitol "m"). It's about taking a few moments out of our busy lives and reflecting on the things that Matter (once again, yes, with a capitol "m").

Without further ado, I perform this mental exercise at least once a day, but typically twice.

Don't cheat yourself on these steps. Especially the first one. Be specific. Don't let gratitude fatigue set in (ex: I'm grateful for my job - what specific thing in your job are you grateful for? Come up with something new each time you do this exercise).

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