by Lori Deschene
“When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find ways to do it.” -Dr. David Schwartz
In 1957, Dr. Robert Merton introduced an idea known as the Galatea Effect, which suggests we tend to do what we expect we’ll do.
If you think you can run a marathon, you’re more likely to push yourself through training and eventually cross the finish line. If you expect that you’ll make friends easily, you’ll likely be relaxed enough to make people around you feel at ease.
It also works the other way around. If you believe …
“The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.” –George Bernard Shaw
As you may have noticed, I’m a huge movie buff. It’s largely because most films chronicle a hero’s journey, taking a character through all stages of transformation.
There’s recognition of the need to change, there’s fear, there’s resistance, there’s encouragement, there’s struggle, there’s redemption, and in the end, there’s rebirth, and a sense that things will keep getting better.
Recently I noticed something about the way I experience movies: I generally end a film with a strong desire to do what the main character has …
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” –Michael Altshuler
I am writing this from a plane with plans to publish it later. I decided less than 3 days ago to make the 3,000-mile trip home.
At first, my mother questioned if it was necessary—after all, my grandmother will be okay, despite her recent hospitalization. My brother said it was awesome and sort of surreal to learn I’d be visiting in just a few days—not in a matter of months, as is usually the case.
This is a big part of why I’m coming back …
“Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness.” -Bryant H. McGill
The other day, as I walking to the activities center in my apartment community to write, I saw a team of men cutting down dead tree branches using truck-mounted lifts. They were tossing them into a wood chipper which shred each one in a matter of seconds.
I’m sure this is a common practice, but it was the first time I’d ever seen this, so I decided to sit on the sidewalk and watch, even though I was on a tight schedule.
I felt mesmerized by this mass-pruning, …
“Many fine things can be done in a day if you don’t always make that day tomorrow.” -Unknown
When I was younger, an adult I was staying with told me, “The diet starts tomorrow. Let’s eat everything we can before midnight.”
So we did. We ate grilled cheeses, leftover Chinese food, Twinkies, and anything else that called to us from her cabinets.
It was then or never, that was the message, and tomorrow would be different—which of course it wasn’t.
For years, I started each morning intending to make healthy choices, and then after failing to meet my perfectionist standards, …
“Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” -Denis Waitley
The other day I was watching reruns of a show I’ve recently found and now love. In one scene, the main character talked about the “perfect moment” that never came to be—an isolated point in time when things would have worked exactly as he imagined they would, and as a result, there would only be positive consequences to his choices.
This got me thinking about my own instinct to create perfect moments according to what I’ve visualized—and also the times when I’ve been part of other …
“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs.” –James Allen
Do you believe you can do work you love? If you don’t believe it, you likely won’t try for it.
Do you believe you can be in a happy relationship? If you don’t believe, you likely won’t open up to it.
Do you believe you can adopt that healthier habit? If you don’t believe it, you likely won’t stick to it.
Do you believe you can fully release your anger toward that person who hurt you? If you don’t believe it, you …
“Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.” -Unknown
The other morning I hopped out of bed and made a beeline for the laundry room. Although it contains numerous washers and dryers, unlike the room at my old apartment complex, far more people use it.
This means I might as well camp out in from of the building a la Black Friday if I hope to get my clothes in at some point in the AM. That morning, as luck would have it, two of the washers were still empty three seconds after the …
“Make the most of yourself, because that’s all there is of you.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
I recently started yoga again after an extended period of time away from my mat. People once knew me for my flexibility and my passion for downward dog; but over the past couple of years, I somehow reduced my practice from six days per week, to four, to two, to sporadically deep breathing while touching my toes.
When I learned my new apartment community offers classes by the pool, I decided to jump back in. I felt excited to start again, but I imagined I’d …
“Life is a process of becoming. A combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” -Anais Nin
It’s a seductive image—the idea of when you “get there.” What you’ll look like when you lose the weight. How your life will change when you achieve success. How everything will improve when you’re finally happy.
I first began chasing “after pictures” when I was a chubby 12 year old kid. I was convinced that slim felt like peace, and I found …
“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” -Dalai Lama
Opportunity often hides in the most unlikely places, but it isn’t easy to see it when you’re disappointed life didn’t meet your expectations.
Michael Jordan’s high school coach cut him from the basketball team, which may have pushed him to work harder and become an NBA superstar. Soichoro Honda wanted to be an engineer at Toyota until he was rejected, inspiring him to start his own company.
You never know when a disappointment might pave the path for something great. What wonderful stroke of …
“Our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as being able to remake ourselves.” -Gandhi
This past weekend, I took a break from writing at Starbucks to visit the nearby Fall Festival, which featured a petting zoo, face painting, and food samples.
This is one of my favorite events because it encompasses many things I love, including farm animals, giddy children, and food on toothpicks (yes, that’s in my list of favorite things).
Much to my excitement, I saw there was also a large makeover event set up in the vicinity. Since I had time, …
“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.” -Walt Disney
One of my high school teachers once said that a truly intelligent person is never bored because there are always things to see, do, explore, and learn.
I’ve noticed that my creative process depends highly on my willingness to be curious. On a day when I feel as though I have nothing to share, it’s generally because I shut down in some way. I didn’t get out of my comfort zone, or out of my head, or maybe even out of my house.
When there’s no image …
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” ~Henri Nouwen
The other day I saw the movie Moneyball after originally deciding it wasn’t for me. I did the same thing with The Blind Side—I assumed I wouldn’t like it because I’m not a sports fan. I realized how wrong I was when I left the theater both laughing and crying (I’m emotionally ambidextrous).
I’ve done this many times before—made a snap judgment about whether or not I’d enjoy an experience based on assumptions and incomplete information. And not just …
“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~Proverb
Sometimes it can be challenging to operate with complete integrity in business—particularly because bigger and faster can be seductive.
Case in point: I have a strong aversion to many traditional marketing methods, as I find much of it to be psychologically manipulative.
I feel it’s wrong to sell people things by playing to their deepest fears and insecurities, and implying my book or product will be the magic bullet they’ve been waiting for all their lives.…
“Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it” -David Starr Jordan
Have you ever felt so frustrated with your inability to do something that you committed to doing nothing else until you figured it out?
I have done this many times before.
I’ve confined myself to a chair, trying to force inspiration to form into written words when it just wasn’t happening. I have sat around intellectualizing about which decision I should make—as if the act of thinking really hard for hours on end would somehow make it …
“There are always two choices. Two paths to take. One is easy. And its only reward is that it’s easy.” -Unknown
I need to constantly remind myself to not do what’s easiest.
As I’ve mentioned before, I work from home. Many days, it’s tempting to pull open my laptop the second I wake up—which means I’ll likely spend the first couple of hours working in my pajamas, only to find myself feeling somewhat disconnected from the day outside my door.
I know this happens. I know that I feel better about myself when I get ready for the day as …
“The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment.” -Pema Chodron
A while back, a reader commented that it’s easy for me to suggest tomorrow is full of possibilities, since I am relatively young. An older woman, she believed her options were far more limited, and that even if she could do the things she wanted to do, they wouldn’t count–not at her age.
My first instinct was to start a conversation about mindfulness, since no one is ever guaranteed more than the present. Even young people don’t know for certain that they have decades more …
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” -William James
Last year, someone emailed me Seth Godin’s inspiring blog post You Matter. That one act made a huge difference in my day, so I’d like to build on that now.
- When you show up for the people in your life, even though you’re having a hard day, you make a difference.
- When you share what you’re dealing with, even though it makes you feel vulnerable, and help other people through your honesty, you make a difference.
- When you practice what you preach, you make a
“If you’re going to doubt something, doubt your own limits.” -Don Ward
There’s a Saturday Night Live sketch that features Kenan Thompson as a middle school student with a broken knee. Scarlett Johansson and his other classmates repeatedly convince him to attempt walking, quoting a teacher who frequently lectures on the power of positive thinking. Despite their promises that anything is possible, he repeatedly falls flat on his face.
I loved this sketch, not because of some schadenfreude-induced need to see children crying. I love it because it reminds me of the many times I’ve seen comments on blog posts …