DW's Blog

Flexibility of the Will

by DW Green — August 4, 2021

It’s not weak to change and adapt.

When you set your mind to a task, do you always follow through? It’s an impressive feat if you do. But don’t let yourself become a prisoner of that kind of determination. That asset might become a liability someday.Conditions change. New facts come in. Circumstances arise. If you can’t adapt to them—if you simply proceed onward, unable to adjust according to this additional information—you are no better than a robot. The point is not to have an iron will, but an adaptable will—a will that makes full use of reason to clarify perception, impulse, and judgment to act effectively for the right purpose. It’s not weak to change and adapt. Flexibility is its own kind of strength. In fact, this flexibility combined with strength is what will make us resilient and unstoppable.

Read More – Character

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Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

by DW Green — July 29, 2021

The things we fear pale in comparison to the damage we do to ourselves and others when we unthinkingly scramble to avoid them.

In the early days of what would become known as the Great Depression, a new president named Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sworn in and gave his first inaugural address. As the last president to hold office before the Twentieth Amendment was ratified, FDR wasn’t able to take office until March—meaning that the country had been without strong leadership for months. Panic was in the air, banks were failing, and people were scared.You’ve probably heard the “nothing to fear but fear itself” sound bite that FDR gave in that famous speech, but the full line is worth reading because it applies to many different things we face in life:“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”The things we fear pale in comparison to the damage we do to ourselves and others when we unthinkingly scramble to avoid them. An economic depressi...
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by DW Green — July 20, 2021

Courage does not mean absence of fear…

First, a thought about thoughts. A thought in itself is neither good nor bad, pleasant or unpleasant. It’s simply a thought, a spontaneous, self-arising thought.Courage does not mean absence of fear, but the willingness to surmount it—which when accomplished, reveals hidden strength and the capacity for fortitude. Fear of failure is diminished by realizing that one is responsible for the intention and effort but not the result, which is dependent on many other conditions and factors that are nonpersonal. And outside of our control.

Read More – Obsession

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Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

by DW Green — July 14, 2021

“If you give things more time and energy than they deserve, they’re no longer lesser things.”

In 1997, a psychotherapist named Richard Carlson published a book called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff. It quickly became one of the fastest-selling books of all time and spent years on the bestseller lists, ultimately selling millions of copies in many languages.Whether you read the book or not, Carlson’s pity articulation of this timeless idea is worth remembering. Don’t spend your time (the most valuable and least renewable of all your resources) on the things that don’t matter. What about the things that don’t matter but you’re absolutely obligated to do? Well, spend as little time and worry on them as possible.If you give things more time and energy than they deserve, they’re no longer lesser things. You’ve made them important by the life you’ve spent on them. And sadly, you’ve made the important things—your family, your...
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Don’t Be Miserable In Advance

by DW Green — July 7, 2021

“What better use could you make of that time?”

The way we nervously worry about some looming bad new is strange if you think about it. By definition, the waiting means it hasn’t happened yet, so feeling bad in advance is totally voluntary. But that’s what we do: chewing our nails, feeling sick to our stomach, rudely brushing aside the people around us. Why? Because something bad might occur soon.The pragmatist, the person of action, is too busy to waste time on such silliness. The pragmatist can’t worry about every possible outcome in advance. Think about it. Best case scenario—if the news turns out better than expected, all this tie was wasted with needless fear. Worst case scenario—we were miserable for extra time, by choice.And what better use could you make of that time? A day that could be your last—you want to spend it in worry? In what other area could you make some progress while others might be sitting on the edges of their seat, passively awaiting some fate?Let the news come when it does. ...
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Only Fools Rush In

by DW Green — June 29, 2021

Some people think that “choosing your battles” is weak and calculating.

One of the most fundamental principles of martial arts is that strength should not go against strength. That is: don’t try to beat your opponent where they are strongest. But that’s exactly what we do when we try to undertake some impossible task we haven’t bothered to think through. Or we let someone put us on the spot. Or we say yes to everything that comes our way. Some people think that “choosing your battles” is weak and calculating. How could reducing the amount of times we fail or minimizing the number of needless injuries inflicted upon us be weak? How is that a bad thing? As the saying goes, discretion is the better part of valor. It’s called a reasoned choice. That means be reasonable! Think hard before choosing, and make yourself unbeatable. 

Read More – What Makes The Grass Greener?

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Anything Can Be An Advantage

by DW Green — June 22, 2021

“What things have been holding you back?”

So, we’re in the throes of the NBA Championship. Since I Iive in Arizona, I’m rooting for the Phoenix Suns. They’ve never won an NBA Championship. They were in two Finals before, losing in 1976 and 1993.At five feet three inches tall, Muggsy Bogues was the shortest player ever to play professional basketball. (By comparison in this year’s playoffs, Atlanta Hawks star player Trae Young is 6 feet 1, and very small by NBA standards). Throughout his career, Muggsy was snickered at, underestimated, and counted out.But Bogues succeeded by turning his height into the very thing that made him nationally known. Some people looked at his size as a curse, but he saw it as a blessing. He found the advantages contained within it. In fact, on the court small size has many advantages: speed and quickness, the ability to steal the ball from unsuspecting (and significantly taller) players, to say nothing of the fact that players just plain underestimated him.Could this approach not be useful in your life? What things do you think have been holding you back that,...
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Perfection Is The Enemy of Action

by DW Green — June 16, 2021

“Perfectionism rarely begets perfection—only disappointment.”

Psychologists speak of cognitive distortions—exaggerated thinking patterns that have a destructive impact on the life of the patient. One of the most common is known as all-or-nothing thinking (also referred to as splitting). Examples of this include thoughts like:
  • If you’re not with me, you’re against me.
  • So and so is all good/bad.
  • Because this wasn’t a complete success, it is a total failure.
This sort of extreme thinking is associated with depression and frustration. How could it not be? Perfectionism rarely begets perfection—only disappointment.Pragmatism has no such hang-ups. It’ll take what it can get. We’re never going to be perfect—if there is even such a thing. We’re human, after all. Our pursuits should be aimed at progress, however little that it’s possible for us to make.

Read More – I know, I know….nothing!...
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Start With Where The World Is

by DW Green — June 9, 2021

“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough”

Have you heard the expression “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough”? The idea is not to settle or compromise your standards, but rather not to become trapped by idealism.The community organizer Saul Alinsky opens his book Rules for Radicals with a pragmatic but inspiring articulation of that idea:“As an organizer I start from where the world is, as it is, not as I would like it to be. That we accept the world as it is does not in any sense weaken our desire to change it into what we believe it should be—it is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going to change it to what we think it should be.”There is plenty you can do right now, today, that would make the world a better place. There are plenty of small steps that, were you to take them, would help move things forward. Don’t excuse yourself from doing them because the conditions aren’t right or because a better opportunity might come along soon. Do what you can, now. And whe...
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Pragmatic And Principled

by DW Green — June 2, 2021

“Principles and pragmatism are not at odds.”

William Lee Miller, in his unique “ethical biography” of Abraham Lincoln, makes an important point about this famous president: our deification of the man makes a point to pretend he wasn’t a politician. We focus on his humble beginnings, his self-education, his beautiful speeches. But we gloss over his job, which was politics. That misses what was so truly impressive about him: Lincoln was all the things he was—compassionate, deliberate, fair, open-minded, and purposeful—while being a politician. He was what we admire in a profession we believe to be filled exclusively with the opposite of that type of person.Principles and pragmatism are not at odds. Whether you live in the snake pit of Washington, D.C., work among the materialism of Wall Street, or grew up in a closed-minded small town, you can live well. Plenty of others have.

Read More – Family Strong

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