Monday, March 19, 2012

Just Enough Fear

I just watched a Dr. Oz program about girls with anorexia. It is so sad to see these girls get so desperately skinny that they are literally wasting away and can't eat and put weight on. It makes me want to eat a banana split on their behalf just like finishing my food because of the starving children in Africa. You know, kind of average things out. Seriously though, I realize this is no laughing matter and I have to say there have been times when I have over eaten and after feeling regretful, had the fleeting thought that I should just throw it back up. Because I have seen and read enough about eating disorders, I have enough fear that if I even tried it once, I could be hooked and not be able to stop. That is what a little fear does for me. I recently heard someone say that a little worry is good because it keeps us from doing something stupid. Because I have what I think is enough fear and worry then I avoid doing things even once that might hold me hostage. Like everything, though, it is a balancing act. I don't want to have too much fear that it keeps me from progressing, but I want to have enough to protect me.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hope is Going Around Excuses

I have let excuses get in my way and have to admit that I probably want to subconsciously find an excuse to keep me from doing something that might be risky. The interesting thing is that even positive change in my life can seem like a risk because change can be difficult, even when a change can provide a better life. There can be a sort of comfort in what I am use to and so I resist change. It seems to be a natural thing for us all.

I do think that life should be about progression and I know there will always be a force that fights again that kind of growth. Sometimes that force comes from someone or something else, but oftentimes it comes from inside of me. It is always good for me to look inside and honestly access what it is that is holding me back. Do I believe in myself? Do I really believe I deserve it? Am I afraid of too much success? Am I afraid I might get too full of ego if I succeed at something wonderful? Am I afraid of failure? Do I believe that I can't succeed or that I really won't finish the goals I've set so why even start? Am I afraid of the unknown? Let's face it, sometimes finding and making excuses is easier than change or doing something hard, but going around those excuses can give hope for something better.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Check List

As a continuation of yesterday's post, I wanted to mention what can happen after finishing school if we have become indoctrinated to base our happiness and idea of success on outward measures or that extrinsic motivation. We can take that drive for grades and turn it into a drive for money and material things as our measure of success. And just like we didn't learn to enjoy the experience of learning for learning sake, we could also be at risk for not enjoying our work experience and instead just depend on the pay or what we buy with our earnings as a measure of satisfaction.

Since I don't work for money (when people ask me where I work; I just tell them I don't work, I just lay around eating bon bons), I have come up with my own kind of extrinsic reward system--it's called the check list. In the same way that people that actually work for money use pay checks or material things as their measure (I guess I do this with shopping), I use the check list. I can be guilty of not enjoying what I am doing and depend on checking an item off of my list as my only moment of accomplishment and reward. I am working at getting better at enjoying the process. Now when I clean a toilet, I just relish the moment and because I am thus sufficiently fulfilled, I don't even have to check it off my list. And if you believe that, then go ahead and give me your phone number, I call you to have you donate to Donald Trump's campaign for President.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Outside Motivation

One of the interesting things that I have learned is how our society is built upon what is called extrinsic motivation. Those of us with limited vocabulary would say that means we are trained to believe we can only be motivated to learn by either outside punishment or reward. Exactly the reason I mentioned the other day as being the reason I am going back to school in the first place, so I am guilty of being dependent on something else to motivate me.

I admit I have become too dependent on the external reward or punishment system so now my goal for when I do finish up my master's degree is that I can break out on my own (be a big girl now!) and not have an assignment due date or threat of a bad grade being the only reason I can accomplish something. When I get that figured out (maybe in the next life), then I want to somehow influence our education system to focus more on intrinsic motivation so that students come away with a passion for learning and doing something significant with what they have learned to influence the world, instead of just the focus of high test scores and grades that research has found a high percentage of students are cheating to obtain.

I have found it interesting that the more we tend to take away that intrinsic love of learning and internal motivation, the more rewards and punishments we have to tack on to get students to jump through the hoops. Thus we train students not to really learn to enjoy the experience but only depend on the final grade and someone else as their means of motivation and measure for success.

As I also study positive psychology, it becomes more and more important that we are present in the moment and truly enjoy the experience. Unfortunately with the focus on proving ourselves to get external measures based on the final results of our efforts, the less we can enjoy what we are doing and thus settle for the boredom or stress that external focus seem to promote.

Okay, I will step off my soapbox.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Some people give me too much credit for what they think is ambition for going to school. The real reason is not only that I have a lot to learn but that I need a deadline. (I'm still trying not to admit that I'm also a nerd) I sometimes lack the ability to focus and complete things I want to accomplish and so I need the incentive that a deadline gives me. I do love to make goals but unless I have that threat of a missed assignment or bad grade hovering over me, I can get so easily sidetracked and unproductive. School is a great discipline for me to study and write in a more challenged way. Instead of just coasting, I have to stretch.

I know that all the time that I had young children that I had built-in deadlines and reasons to stay focused and productive. Every mother knows that life is easier with children when we are one step ahead of the game rather than lagging behind all day, and so I had to be focused and ambitious or chaos would break out (it did anyway). Now that they are grown up and on their own, most of those built-in deadlines are gone and to keep me from just dragging mindlessly with no focus or ambition, I go to school. I guess some people do that with a job, but with Taco Time as the pinnacle of my work experience, getting accepted back in school was easier. Besides, I need to look busy enough so I won't be required to do all my own cleaning. So please, don't be too impressed.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mistakes Are Okay

It is okay to make mistakes. Sometimes that is the best way to learn. Sometimes that is the ONLY way to learn. Take for example the statistics class I am currently taking. When I get a problem wrong on the online quiz, I realize I have to go back and restudy it to get more clarity and then I do get to retake the quiz and correct that which I got wrong the first time based on what I learned from my mistake. I realize that I learn more when I do make a mistake. I know that if I would have accidentally guessed right on some of the questions and not gotten them wrong, I would have missed the chance to go back over the material and understand it at a deeper level. Sometimes it really is the mistake that makes me learn more rather than getting it right the first time.

Life is like that. I am given the chance to make mistakes, but because of the Atonement my mistakes don't have to define me or determine the final outcome. I can repent for my mistakes and then learn from them. Instead of being ashamed, I can even be grateful for my mistakes because they are the means by which I learn more and ultimately realize my dependence and appreciation for my Savior and His atonement.

Knowing this is true, I can relax a little and know that I don't have to be perfect. I can also go forward with more faith and confidence knowing that I don't have to always do it right. I can take a little more risk. I can do something bold and daring knowing that even if it is a mistake, I can still learn from it and do differently next time. This is not to say that I will plan to do things wrong--I don't have to, I will just naturally do it (call it a gift). I just won't worry and be so afraid of doing something wrong because that worry can ultimately keep me from doing something great. I just have to settle for a few mistakes along the way so I can learn. That's what first children are for.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Prove or Express Myself

I found this incredible poem and thought from Melody Ross' blog. I have long realized how stressful it can be thinking I have to prove myself. It feels so much more effortless and natural when I have faith in God and faith in myself because He created me, and let my efforts just be an expression of my gratitude for all He has blessed me with.

I Made You
(a poem by melody ross)
I took a stroll and then a walk
A thought at first and then a talk
I said ‘just look how fast I go”
If you watch someday you’ll know.
I walked with blisters, couldn’t quit
No rest, no strength but not there yet
I knew there was so much to learn
So much to do, His love to earn.
I picked up speed and started to run,
I raised my eyes and spoke at the sun,
You see! I’m worth it, look at me!
If I do enough, someday you’ll see.
Look, I said, I’m climbing now!
I’ll keep it up and prove somehow,
That I’m a good one, you will see,
Someday you’ll be so proud of me.
I got so tired but couldn’t stop
I had to race right to the top,
It couldn’t be so far, I knew
I had to show what I could do
Things so bleak, a trail so rough
Wanting to prove that I was enough
Beaten down and cold and shot
But, what if I waste this chance I’ve got?
I climbed, then crawled when I couldn’t walk
A thought at first and then a talk
I’ll climb until I reach the top
When I get there can I finally stop?

Who told you that you had to climb?
Who told you that you weren’t just fine?
Who told you that it must be earned?
There’s so much that you need to learn.
I loved you when you strolled and thought
You’ve always had the things you’ve sought
There’s nothing that you have to do
To prove to Me…for I Made You.
I know what you can do, you see
Just do your best and breathe and be
And stop the proving just to show
For these are things I already know.
Walk if you want and run if you choose
Climb if you must, you’ve got nothing to lose
But do it for joy , rest along the way
If you need answers, just kneel and pray
Do your best and know what’s real
Stop climbing when you can not feel
And turn and look into the sky
And watch the birds and how they fly
And know that every part of you
Was created with all that’s good and true
There’s nothing that you have to do,
To prove to Me, for I Made You.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sufficient for my Needs

Well, at least I am not quite that bad, but honestly I have to remind myself when enough is enough. It is so easy to carried away and buy more than I need. One of my new mantras is to say to myself, "I have sufficient for my needs." Actually I have even more than I need. I have realized that shopping can be like any drug. It is only a high for a short time and then it becomes a burden. Honestly with this many shoes, more time would be spent dusting than actually wearing them.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Natural Exercise

There are mornings when I get up to exercise and discover it has snowed, and my first thought is "Oh shoot, I have to shovel but I wanted to exercise!" Duh! Kind of like this picture. I often pass up real exercise to go and create exercise. I am going to be more aware of ways I can exercise while I am experiencing life and be grateful that mother nature provides some natural exercise. I still prefer Zumba but maybe I just put on headphones and boogie while I shovel. Just know that might be happening if you drive by and see me acting crazy in the driveway. Might not be the first time.