The Marshmallow Test

Written by Les Dahl on January 17th, 2016. Posted in Parenting Strategies, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll

marshmallow

 

What does resisting the temptation to eat a marshmallow have to do with the ability to succeed? How important is it to teach our children self-control and the ability to delay gratification?

Some 40 years ago, a psychologist devised an unusual test of self-control. Walter Mischel set a plate with a marshmallow before preschoolers and then told them he had to leave the room for a few minutes. He gave each child a challenge.

If you wait until I return. I will give you another marshmallow. If you just can’t wait, ring this bell and someone will come immediately—but you will have only one marshmallow.

 

Two-thirds of Mischel’s subjects gave in to the excruciating temptation, rang the bell and ate the marshmallow. Only one out of three mustered enough will-power to delay gratification.

In which group would you have fallen, a mere 4 or 5 years old faced with a mouth-watering delight and no one else in the room except Jiminy Cricket whispering in your ear, “Don’t eat it!”?

Mischel revisited his ‘marshmallow subjects’ as adolescents. The teenagers who had passed ‘The Marshmallow Test’ as preschoolers scored higher on the SAT and displayed a “greater ability to plan, handle stress, respond to reason, exhibit self-control in frustrating situations and concentrate without becoming distracted.” (Source)

Mischel and several colleagues tracked down 59 of the original ‘marshmallow kids’ who were now in their 40s. Were the attributes displayed as successful, high-achieving youth still active as adults?

Amazingly, the character qualities that marked their adolescent years continued into adult life. Those preschoolers who just couldn’t resist the marshmallow “performed more poorly on the self-control task as adults.” Those who were able to delay gratification became successful, well-balanced and happy adults.

The ability to delay gratification has long-term positive consequence.

QUESTION: How can we cultivate the ability to delay gratification in our children?

Shalom!

These short videos will interest and amuse you.

(1) The Marshmallow Test <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DGAsjUa6cA>

(2) What about Hispanic children? <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7UUfrnnbb8>

(3) What about Canadian children? <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4L-n8Z7G0ic>

(4) The implications? <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPZ5R9EA968>

 

 

 

 

 

2016 — Things Must Change

Written by Les Dahl on January 4th, 2016. Posted in Prosperity, Sage's Scroll

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It is a common tradition as a new year begins to make New Year’s resolutions. According to Wiki-dictionary, these are “promises to do acts of self-improvement or something slightly nice beginning from New Years’s Day.”

I am not making any New Year’s resolution this year, I am serving notice and making a decree!

To serve notice is “to formally or clearly announcing something to someone.” I am announcing to myself and to all who are within the sound of my voice or the reach of my pen that 2016 for me will NOT be a re-run of 2015.

A decree is “an official order that has the force of law.” I am not simply announcing that 2016 for me will not be a re-run of 2015, I am ordering it! It is an official directive backed by the force of law—the law of the Universe, the dictum of heaven and the rule of action.

Audacious, you say? Read on.

 

I stake my claim

Like a prospector, I stake my claim on 2016. There is gold hidden in the hills and valleys of this coming year! With pan and sluice box, fervor and grit, I will search the streams to discover those hidden gold nuggets and dust—every blessing, treasure and good gift the Almighty, my Father and King, has ordained for me in 2016.

 

Things must change

For things to change, I must change. I must see things differently, think differently, feel differently and do things differently if I am to be different in 2016.

I am adjusting my default setting and re-programming my OS (operating system) so that the outcomes I experience in 2016 are different. That involves re-examining my core beliefs about myself.

It involves staying online with the Almighty. He is, after all, the Creator, Designer, Programmer and Webmaster of the Universe.

 

I leave nothing to chance

I am not leaving anything to chance, nor am I sitting back to let 2016 just happen to me. With due diligence—research, planning, preparation and execution—I am attacking 2016 with a series of pre-emptive strikes.

No matter what the prophets and pundits predict, like David against Goliath, I run at 2016 expecting the giant to fall at my feet, expecting to snatch my victory against whatever odds. I have my sights trained on specific targets and fully expect to score a bullseye in each.

 

No insanity here

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Insanity has no part in my 2016.

I know where I want to go in 2016 and I will figure out how to get there.

More importantly, however: What I get by reaching my destination is not nearly as important as what I become in the process.

Shalom!

Question: Are you making New Year’s Resolutions or serving notice by decree?

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

7 Morning Rituals That Set Us on Track for a Great Day

Written by Les Dahl on December 29th, 2015. Posted in Health, Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll

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Rituals. We think we can do without them but quite the opposite is true. Athletes create rituals to prepare physically and mentally for top performance. The right morning rituals set us on track for a great day, empowered to handle pressure and stress.

Why are rituals important?

We are creatures of habit. What renders our best endeavor ineffective is poor habits or lack of habits all together.

Steven Covey observed, “There are three constants in life; change, choice and principles.” His clarion call is for all who desire true success and meaning in life, “We must be principle-centered in all areas of life.”  This is theme of his best-known book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. (*)

Habits require discipline, a quality that runs contrary to human nature. Habits are cultivated with grit—diligent resolve and sustained effort. Rituals can be effective in creating habits.

A ritual is “a series of action or type of behavior followed regularly and invariably.”  Although rituals are usually thought of as religious ceremony, the idea aptly describes the kind of application required to set us on track for consistently great days.

 

7 Morning Rituals That Set Us on Track for a Great Day

Morning rituals are similar to pre-race warm ups. Their purpose is to ready our body, soul and spirit for a great day—at work and at home.

 

1. a glass of lime water

As soon after arising, drink a glass of lime water. This somewhat unusual ritual is first because its greatest benefits are derived on an empty stomach. 

 

2. prayer and meditation

Prayer is my personal conversation with my Father. Some mornings I have a topic in mind selected from a ‘menu’ of print-outs—personalized Psalms and Scriptures that express my thoughts and feelings. Other mornings I intuitively sense a topic that Father has selected for consideration.

Meditation is mindful reflection. Moments of silence while praying allow my mind to be infused with the Father’s thoughts contained in the Psalm or Scripture selected. Attentive listening allows His ‘still, small voice’ to instruct me.

This ritual is an expression of personal relationship not religious duty. It’s objective is to nurture a sense of connection with the Creator of the Universe. Thus empowered, I am ready for a great day.

 

3. physical exercise

For a working person, time is a premium, especially at the start of a day. The objective of physical exercise as a morning ritual is to awaken the muscles and blood flow. It is not intended to be a workout in the gym!

An effective, time-efficient exercise program is 10BX (10 Basic Exercises for Women) and 5BX (5 Basic Exercises for Men). These daily routines can be completed in 12 minutes with amazing results. Neither require any equipment. 

 

4. breakfast with the family

This may well be the hardest to execute of our morning rituals. To get everyone together in a happy frame of mind around the breakfast table is no easy feat. In fact, for some it is a miracle. Nevertheless, today more than ever we need to war for the unity and well-being of our family.

 

5. high-energy nutrition

Food is the fuel in our tank. Some foods, like whole foods and fruit, are high-octane energy fuel that prime us for a great day. Others, like refined carbohydrates, processed foods and added sugars, are energy-sucking sludge-producing fuels to be avoided. Choosing good food, especially at the start of our day is a vital ritual. Dr. Georgia Ede’s well-balanced approach to health and nutrition issues provides helpful guidelines. 

 

6. coffee or tea

Caffeine is a controversial issue with ‘research’ cited for and against. Moderation and common sense are the key. My morning preference is tea, but I can enjoy a good brew of coffee, too.

Organo Gold is a new coffee that my family has come to enjoy because of the added boost called ganoderma. It’s like adding ‘STP’ to the gasoline in your car. A cup of Organo Gold coffee is especially good at mid-afternoon when you need a pick-me-up. 

 

7. one for the road

Commuting to work can be ‘dead time’ or it can be a final ‘warm up’ ahead of a great day. One of my life coaching clients uses the one-hour drive to work for her private conversation with the Father.

It’s like having Him riding in the passenger seat!” she says.

She also uses the time to establish inner calm using the 5-minute Meditation”, a free app.

This young professional, whose job can be very stressful, has a lot more great days since her morning routine has become her daily ritual.

 

Question: Does your morning routine set you on track for a great day?

 

(*) Disclosure: As an affiliate of Amazon, I receive a commission from purchases made through this website.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Lessons to Create a Successful Day

Written by Les Dahl on December 21st, 2015. Posted in Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll

Usain_Bolt,_Anniversary_Games,_London_2013_Photo taken by J. Brichto_3

 

Usain Bolt has revolutionized athletics. He is personable, entertaining, and he gets the job done with record-breaking performances. Track fans love him. Promoters bank on him.

Usain’s 9.58-second record at the 2009 Olympics in Berlin was no fluke. It was the result of hard work and disciplined training. It was also the outcome of a winning frame of mind.

Bolt’s stated goal is to become a legend. Obviously, this is not achieved by winning one race. Nor does it happen by breaking one world record. A legend is made by winning consistently over a lifetime.

Ironically, Usain’s life-spanning goal can only be accomplished one race at a time. Achieving our best in our profession and in our family is accomplished by giving our best one day at a time.

 

Lesson 1: Our greatness emerges as we focus on today.

 

We have two kinds of days, ‘race days’ and ‘training days’.

On a ‘race day’ we may have a goal, assignment or project that needs to be completed, or we have an important meeting or a crucial presentation. Perhaps we have a special family event—a birthday, dinner or much-anticipated family outing. A ‘race day’ requires a winning performance. Successful ‘race days’ move us forward in our career and family relationships.

A ‘training day’ is one of those ‘just-another-day-at-the-office’ days filled with tedious routine and work. It’s one of those days when you’re behind in your housework, the kids need your help with their homework, and where’s your spouse when you need them.

The temptation on ‘training days’ is to slip into a ‘let’s-get-this-over-as quickly-and-painlessly-as-possible’ frame of mind along with miserable ‘woe-is-me’ feelings that go with it.

Don’t give into that temptation.

 

Lesson 2: Habits and attitudes forged on ‘training days’ set us up for success on ‘race days’.

 

A reporter once asked Usain, “What goes through your mind when you settle into the blocks at the start of the race?”

At the time, Bolt was struggling with bad starts.

Nothing,” was Usain’s reply. “I just keep my eyes on the finish line.”

What about getting your start right?” the reporter pressed.

We work on that in training,” Bolt answered. “On race day, I just stay relaxed and let my body do what it’s trained to do.”

That’s the secret. Skill and greatness are developed on ‘training days’.

 

Bolt doesn’t worry about the many races ahead on his journey to legendary status. He doesn’t even fret over the many winning but mediocre races of the past. Usain focuses all his attention and effort on the one next race ahead.

Likewise, we need not concern ourselves about how we will endure the many trying days ahead, nor need we beat up ourselves over the less than satisfactory days behind. Our singular focus is this present day, this present moment—on being fully present and fully engaged.

 

Lesson 3: Success demands that we be mindful of yesterday and aspire to tomorrow but our focus is today. Everything else distracts and keeps us from our best.

 

 

Reflection inevitably recalls mistakes—things we wish we hadn’t done or said. Mistakes may be regrettable but they are redeemable if we learn from them and move on.

Learning to surrender our mistakes and our regret to our Father through prayer is an empowering spiritual exercise. Rather than harbor regret, guilt and shame within where they fester like cancer cells eating away at our courage and confidence, we embrace mercy, compassion and renewal.

 

Lesson 4: Mistakes cannot hold us back unless we chain ourselves to them.

 

Feel regret but don’t wallow in self-pity. Facing our mistakes to deal with them is liberating; dwelling on them at the expense of celebrating our success is debilitating.

All things do work toward our benefit. We survive. We recover. We can finish strong. The race is not over until it’s over.

 

 

Lesson 5: The power of reflection is in recognizing that yesterday was actually filled with success. Take note and celebrate accomplishment—no matter how small and seemingly insignificant.

 

When recalling successes too often we only take notice of ‘great’ successes or ‘big’ accomplishments. This can lead to disappointment and discouragement. Most of our days are defined by ‘small’, seemingly insignificant achievements.

Begin to take notice of small but measurable success—small steps of improvement in personal and professional development, relationships, emotional awareness and control. Build on your strengths. Winning days are forged one small step at a time.

Winning days begin with winning mindsets. A winning mindset is made up of…

  • passionate desire — you have to want it, and want it badly
  • diligent training — little habits determine winning results
  • redeeming the past — mistakes are okay, we learn from them
  • celebrating achievement — success often comes in small packages
  • focusing on the present — fully present and fully engaged in the moment

 

With a winning mindset, we run our race with patience— small, steady steps, one day at a time.

 

Question: What life-changing lessons have you learned from mistakes? What strengths have you overlooked?

Coming in January, 2016 PROJECT 100 – Complimentary personal coaching sessions to help you create success in your life. For more information and to apply for your FREE session send request via Contact Us or email lesdahl@bedrocklife.com  

 

Shalom

Photo taken by J. Brichto – Usain Bolt, Anniversary Games, London 2013

HOW TO ESCAPE THE ‘CAGED-HAMSTER-ON-A-TREADMILL’ SYNDROME

Written by Les Dahl on December 14th, 2015. Posted in Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll

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Our fast-paced life demands that we go, go, go to keep up. Pressures at work and hassles at home push us to the edge. We feel like the little hamster in a cage running to exhaustion on his treadmill going no-where fast.

At the genesis of the universe, the Creator established a prototype for our day. His day begins with evening followed by morning. The concept, when understood and implemented is transformational.

 

5 TRANSFORMING OUTCOMES OF ‘EVENING’

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1. Evening signals the completion of a day.

Evening calls for deliberate intention and action. The day is done. Stop. Close off the day’s activities. The unfinished work will be there in the morning. After a relaxing evening with family and a good night’s rest we are refreshed, re-energized and ready to tackle what’s on our plate for the day with greater creativity and clarity of mind. (Read complete article)

 

2. Evening activates authentic faith.

Abraham, the ‘father of faith’, faced reality head-on. He and Sarah, his wife, were too old to have children. In the face of bleak, impossible circumstances Abraham trusted God for the son He promised. That is authentic faith.

Evening requires that we face reality—the pile of unfinished tasks demanding urgent attention, the burdensome pressure from exacting bosses and vexing co-workers.

Activating authentic faith that brings closure to the day and creates transformation:

  • Identify the precise source of your stress and release it into the hands of your Father
  • With a deliberate, decisive act of faith, entrust your work, yourself and your prosperity (the successful outcome of your efforts) to God—He takes personal interest in you.
  • Let it go, along with the worry and stress attached.
  • With gratitude for His assistance through the day, go home, relax, enjoy your family, and get a good night’s sleep.

That is shalom.

The One who capably manages the affairs of the Universe does not sit idle. He works behind the scenes even while we sleep.

We may awake to find that a particular problem from the previous day is resolved. He may give us creative ideas and solutions in our sleep.

An inspiration may come to us as we drive to work next morning. Or, we may simply awake exhilarated from a good sleep, ready to tackle giants and dragons lurking on our path.

 

3. Evening sets the stage for our day.

Evening—closing off each day, committing our unfinished tasks and pressures to our Father, relaxing with family, getting a good night’s sleep—leads to greater creativity, productivity and accomplishment.

The problems are not less, we just handle them better. Our co-workers still complain and annoy, but we better deflect their negative energy.

Unexpected twists and turns don’t throw us off as easily. We maintain focus, drive and balance through the day.

Sure, we trip up, stumble, even fall back into our old ways at times, but when evening comes, we also release our mistakes, failures and the accompanying emotions to our Father.

 

4. Evening acknowledges accomplishment.

At the end of each day, God looked at what He had accomplished. He “saw that it was good.” He approved, satisfied with the result.

Interestingly, never once did God say the day was perfect. Our Father does not expect perfect; only that we do the best we can with what we are given to work with.

Evening allows us to acknowledge that our diligent effort has accomplished good, even if no one else thinks so. Neither we nor our work is defined by the approval of others. Our Father defines us and His empowering Spirit working through us defines our work.

Evening focuses on positive effort and accomplishment. It extracts satisfaction and declares, “Today was a good day!”

When we arrive home, still basking in that positive ‘inner glow’, our first words to our kids are, “How was your day at school?” And then we stop, listen and affirm them.

Turning to our spouse we ask, “How was your day?” Again we stop, listen and affirm. If they ask about our day, we answer, “I had a good day” and share accomplishments not complaints.

Our focus is on them, not us, with the desire to acknowledge and affirm each member of our family. A positive atmosphere is created in which positive relationships are cultivated.

But,” you say, “my day was hell!”

You’ve probably heard, If you’re going through hell, don’t stop. Someone has added, “… don’t stop to take pictures!”

Hellish days are an unavoidable part of life. On such days we need to take Winston Churchill’s advice to the British people facing the formidable Nazi invasion, “Never, never, never give up.”

In sheer defiance in the face of hell we declare with songwriter John Petty, “…in a world that keeps on pushin’ me around I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down.”

Close off that day, give its hell to Father—He’s already been there and conquered it for you!— and move on.

 

5. ‘Evening’ lays the groundwork for shalom.

With practice, we become skillful at shedding stress, anxiety and every other form of emotional baggage that accumulates during our day. Shifting our focus from the negativity surrounding us to our achievements evokes satisfying, empowering feelings.

Shalom—peace, health and prosperity— is within our grasp.

The practice of evening empowers us to stop the treadmill, step out of the cage, and live a meaningful life before we are caught in the death spiral of stress.

(Death spiral: The downward, corkscrew-motion of a disabled aircraft which is irrecoverably headed for a crash.)

 

Question: What do you do to break the strangle-hold of stress?

 

Shalom!

 

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

HOW STRESS ROBS YOUR EVENING

Written by Les Dahl on December 7th, 2015. Posted in Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll

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Great sprinters like Usain Bolt spend hours in training perfecting their starts. They know that a good start propels them into position for a winning finish. A good start to your day empowers you to perform well and finish strong.

Let me ask what may seem a silly question: when does your day start?

When the dawn breaks” or “When I get up in the morning” (which for some of you night owls may be mid-morning!) are typical responses. But I have another answer for you to consider.

For years I puzzled over the creation story in the Bible. The fact that the Creator spoke the vast universe and the world with its many-faceted detail into existence is amazing. Talk about the power of words! That He accomplished this in six days is astounding—unbelievable for many! What caught my attention and bewildered me, however, was the phrase repeated after the completion of each day’s activity: “And there was evening and there was morning, the ….. day.”

Clearly, the Creator’s concept of day is quite different from what we are used to. His day begins with evening, which is followed by morning, the beginning of new activities. The Jews, to whom the Torah was entrusted, structure their days after this pattern.

The concept is significant. It describes how the Almighty thinks and there is intention, purpose and life in His thinking. We do well to align our thinking to His.

More than significant, this concept is transformational. As we begin to understand and apply its implications in our life, we are liberated of a whole lot of stress, we become much more productive at our work, and we derive greater satisfaction from our daily accomplishments.

 

‘Evening’ signals the completion of a day.

 

Evening calls for deliberate intention and action. The day is done. Stop. Close off the day’s activities. Shut down the computer. Pack up your things. Go home. It’s evening.

Most of us never close off our days. We carry the accumulated stress and burden of our work home with us. At home we find the kids are wired from their day at school. Our spouse is strung out and would appreciate a little sympathy, which we can’t give because we are looking for some sympathy ourselves. Interactions with family are strained. What is intended to be a soothing, re-vitalizing refuge of joy and peace, i.e. our family, is threatened. Like a contagious virus, unresolved stress quickly spreads as wholesome, thriving relationships are infected.

Attempts to relax produce minimal results. We are exhausted emotionally and our muscles are tight. Our mind, whether consciously or not, is still weighted down with fallout from the day’s activity.

Sleep does not come easily. When we finally drift off, neither our mind nor our body get the full benefit of sleep. Morning comes too early after a fitful night. We awake to another day of the same old grind.

This never-ending death spiral is broken by evening. It is imperative that we decisively terminate each day. Let it go. Take back our evening.

Family is a wonderful antidote against caustic bosses and negative co-workers. Evening is ours to enjoy our family.

The unfinished work will be there in the morning. After a relaxing evening with family and a good night’s rest we are refreshed, re-energized and ready to tackle what’s on our plate for the day with greater creativity and clarity of mind.

Reorganizing our day to conform to pattern established by our Creator is life-changing.

Question: How would implementing the practice of ‘evening’ transform the quality of your life?

 

Shalom!

(I observe four more ways in which evening transforms us. These I share in my next article. Meanwhile, enjoy evening, a new and empowering dimension to your day.)

Image courtesy David Castillo Dominic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net