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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Whatever It Takes

How do you psych yourself for a challenge? A conflict? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 771).

To psych myself up for a challenge or conflict I do one of two diametrically opposed things – I image the encounter as closely and concretely as possible, or conversely, I focus not on the details of the encounter but, skipping over all that, I strive to feel good about the ultimate goal expressed in abstract terms that emote highly favorable connotations and feelings and that do not envision specific images. For example, if someone tells me that they gave me as a reference and that I should expect a phone call from a prospective employer, I will do my best to envision a phone call in which I specifically have things to say in the reference interview. This is the typical practice I have when I must give a speech. I practice it as much as possible visualizing myself in front of the audience. Sometimes, however, I do not envision the means concretely, but rather I indulge in fuzzy images and strong emotions. For example, when I registered to get an advanced degree, I did not envision in grueling detail late nights of study and stressful hours of research, rather I skipped over all that and anticipated the good feelings I would have in being a student and eventually graduating. Thus, to psych myself up, I do whatever is necessary – either envisioning reality in concrete detail or else abstracting it and wrapping it up in good feelings. The important thing is that I accept the challenge willfully and eagerly. The more unpleasant the task, the more necessary it is to hide concrete imagery. Another example is when I buy a new car. This activity involves both approaches. I vividly envision myself driving the shiny, brand new car; while at the same time I obfuscate the drudgery of making monthly car payments for five years – either not picturing the writing of 60 hefty checks or else basking in the generalized feeling of responsibility and reliability accepting such an obligation gives. Again, in psyching up I do whatever it takes to move forward.

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