Notes

A rundown of the fourth week of my March Challenge

“Does Vera give up on her March Challenge?”

“Maybe. She hasn’t updated any post about it since the first week of the challenge. And now it’s the end of the March!”

Yes, it’s quite embarrassing…… But I’m back! I’ve never given up!

1. Health

(1) Go to bed before 11 p.m.

I remember I sticked to it only two days. But, it’s always my goal!

(2) Stand up and relax after sitting for a while from time to time

I did a good job the first two weeks. But when I begin to read a fantastic manga and struggle with my essay… You know, I kept sitting in front of my computer.

(3) Take a walk every other day

Oh my goodness, I feel guilty about performing badly on these health challenges, including this one. I ordered takeout 14 times!

This is my guilty pleasure.

And one day I walked all the way to a canteen which is farther away from my dormitory to pig out!

2. Learning English

(1) Reading The Great Gatsby every day

Finally, I can say I did a good job! I read the book every day and I’ll finish it on April 4th.

(2) Finish an English online lesson every day

I did it almost every day. I fell behind once in a while, but I caught up.

(3) Review for 15 minutes each day
I usually review when I’m waiting in line for meals. But I guess it didn’t take as long as 15 minutes every day. Anyway, I review~

3. My essay

Complete my essay by March 20th
I had a long March because of the essay. Acutually, it’s myself to blame. I wrote down the outline on March 13th, but I didn’t begin to write until March 25th…… As I was doing other things, I couldn’t help but think of my essay. What was worse, though I was so anxious, I just didn’t want to deal with the task. It was grueling!

I always become crabby confronted with assignments, which drives my boyfriend mad. Poor guy! Perhaps I major in Procrastination and Complaining…… Fortunately, I was done with it one day before deadline! I survive!

Anyway, I really have to kick the habit! It’ll be a pathetic “war”!

4. Reading and writing

(1) Read Chinese literature for thirty minutes every day

No Chinese literature, but many papers in Chinese. And I had also been binge-reading a cute manga for about 4 days. I’m going to write a review about it!

(2) Update a post every week
I only did two short posts. Not all that good. But I’m back. I’ll keep writing!

My musings

As you can see, I performed badly these days, but I promise I won’t give up! It is due to so many goals I fail to acheive that I’ll never be boring and keep striving to improve myself!

If there was anything in this fluffy post that could motivate you, I wish it was this imagery—— a person with so many weaknesses who always fails to keep her resolutions but still keeps moving on. (Don’t be mad at me😅)

Also, here’s a hilarious story!

I set off to turn in my essay, only to find I was wearing my rabbit slippers… I looked really silly! I had no time to go upstairs, and I jumped on the bus.

On the way back, I perfectly missed the bus, watching it driving away in front of me……

So I leg it, with my silly yet adorable rabbit slippers, enjoying the beautiful views of Spring! It is sunny outside. Flowers in the campus are in full blossom. Red, pink, white, yellow…… Their beautiful colors dazzle me. Bees are buzzing around the beauties of Mother Nature. Trees and bushes are lush with loud green leaves where bright sunshine dances happily.

I started to take pictures with my cellphone, and, unfortunately, the battery died!

Below are the only two photos I took~

Thanks for reading! I wish you all the best! Happy Spring!

Vera from China

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Notes

How to turn your new behavior into a habit

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Hi! I’m Vera from China. How are you doing? This is the fifth article in the series about self-development. Today I’m going to share a tip on getting into a good habit. For starters, let me give props to Mr Chen Haixian. This article is based on his course named the Psychology of Self-development.

The principle of the environmental field

In the last article (click here), we have known it is of great significance to take the first small step. However, most of us usually give up halfway. Sticking to new behavior is far from a cinch. As we all know, the journey of improving ourselves is not smooth sailing at all.

To begin with, let me tell you something about China. As far as I know, nowadays in China, where everything is developing so fast, hundreds of thousands of people are striving to study something new, in order to catch up with the cut-throat society. We have many apps about study. We have plenty of premium courses online and we pay for them. We are so desperate to study that some people think we are living in a society filled with anxiety about knowledge.

It is a typical situation. A Chinese person, maybe a student or a commuter, finally get home and can enjoy some leisure time. He or she decides to watch TV during dinner, and then to hunker down for new knowledge or skills. But usually he or she ends up in binge-watching TV series or getting hooked on the smart phone. Then it’s time for bed. It always happens. Do you have the same experience?

That goes for me as well. It’s a terrible experience to fail to control myself every day. I’m not satisfied with what I do. Sometimes I even blame myself. But how come we can’t stop doing like this?

Mr Chen distinguishes two kinds of happiness.

One is called the happiness of consumption, like going shopping, playing video games, watching TV, playing on the smart phone, etc. During the process of consuming, we’re consuming something that other people create. It gives us sensuous comforts and our inner elephant likes it the most!

The other is called the happiness of creation, like studying, writing, working, etc. During the process of creating, we’re immersed in a sense of accomplishment, as well as a feeling of becoming a better self. It’s definitely our rational inner rider’s favourite!

The happiness of consumption is easy to get, but it’s easy to disappear too, just like a fair-weather friend. The other, on the contrary, is harder to achieve but lasts longer. It’s like a mentor. Both of them are necessary. However, because the elephant usually beats the rider, the two kinds of happiness are not in proportion.

What can we do to pursue the happiness of creation? It’s helpful to know the principle of the environmental field! (I hope the translation is OK)

The environmental field includes a lot of clues for actions. These clues will stimulate you to do something specific. For example, a study room includes books, spotless desks, stationery, bright light, quite atmosphere and other people who are studying together. In a study room, it’s easier for you to get started.

This theory can explain the typical situation we have mentioned above.

In our house, clues about entertainment, rest, study and work always mix up together. When we are having meals, taking a break, ready to go to bed, there may be something like books and papers beside that remind us of unfinished work and study. When we are trying to concentrate on our missions and assignments, perhaps there are always smart phones, video games, snacks, soft sofa around us, which create a cozy environment. It’s quite difficult for us to resist these temptations with willpower alone. We are distracted all the time.

In a nutshell, the environmental field is our assumption about what a certain space is for. Our inner elephant, as the emotional part of ourselves, is quite sensitive to the environment.

To get into a good habit, let’s start from creating the environmental field!

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How to keep an environmental field for yourself

The wonderful power of the environmental field has two sources!

One is the other people’s behavior in a certain space.

Where there are lot of people doing the same kind of things, there is always a strong atmosphere that has great influence on us. We raise the roof at a party or in a rock music concert. We keep quiet and focus on books in the library. It’s easy to understand why most of Chinese students say that it’s the three years of senior high school when we’re the most diligent!

The other is what you used to do in a certain space.

However, it’s not realistic to look for a place filled with hardworking people every time we want to be focused. In this case, why not create and keep a specific space for ourselves?

If we do the same thing in a certain space on purpose, this space will have its memory! Yes! The purer the thing we do is, the longer we do in the area, the stronger the power of the environmental field is! And it’s easier for us to reinforce our new behavior and then get into a new habit!

To create our own space, remember, be specific and keep practicing.

Be specific. If you want to create a space for study, you need to offer your inner elephants as much specific clues as possible. Make your desk spick and span. Only keep the books related to your study on the desk. No snacks next to you. Keep away from your smart phone. Some inspiring sentences on the sticky notes would be better!

Keep practicing in this space. Keep doing the same kind of things in this space. The more you do, the more likely for you to get into a habit! Gradually, one day you will find you can make it automatically in this space, without strong willpower!

The theory of environmental field can be applied to any other aspects of our life! For example, an environmental field just for sleep, an environmental field for a couple to frankly communicate with each other and all that jazz.

Create our own space and stick to it! Maybe one day it will work wonders! Now it’s high time we took the first small step!

That’s it for today! I have recommended this tip to two of my friends, and they find it very useful. By the way, I’m also trying to put it into practice, getting into a new habit I’m longing for! To have a good night’s sleep and get up early, I don’t put my phones or tablet on the bed. Now my bed is only for sleep. Yeah, it’s a small change, but it works for me. Give it a shot!

What habit do you want to get into? What are you going to do to create a specific space for it? Leave a comment down below!

Thanks for reading! If you are interested in this series about self-development, follow my blog to get more information! Best wishes!

Vera from China

Notes

Get up and get going!

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Hi, everyone! I’m Vera from China, ready to share another useful tip with you on how to make positive changes. For starters, let me give props to Mr Chen Haixian, a great Chinese psychological counselor teaching the course named the Psychology of Self-development. This article is a note based on the course.

This how-to article will give you a practical tip on how to take action.

Miracle questions: What if our dreams come true

As we all know, it’s important to break big goals down into small chunks. But in my experience, taking action——even a small step—— is a pain in the neck. There’re two parts inside myself. One is a strong elephant, representing the emotional part. The other is a rider, standing for the rational part. The rider is always trying to persuade the elephant to work hard and do something meaningful. But the emotional elephant sometimes doesn’t take the advice, and even in turn tells the rider into giving up. Though we rationally vote for the rider, we usually end up surrendering to the elephant!

It happens. So don’t label yourself lazy, inclined to be tempted or something else. With miracle questions, it will be easier to make our strong elephant step out of the comfort zone!

Yes, ask ourselves: What would it be like if our dreams came true?

This tip seems unbelievably simple, but it has been proved to be effective in psychological counselling.

To protect itself from failure as well as disappointment, the elephant tend to refuse to leave the comfort zone, and even refuse to imagine how wonderful it will be if we really attain our goals. It’s a defense mechanism. One of the examples Mr Chen mentions will explain how miracle question work.

This visitor was a college student. He had to finish four courses before graduating, otherwise he would end up as a dropout. But he indulged himself playing online games all day long, never going out.

In the small village where he grew up, He was the first college student admitted to a prestigious university. People there usually took him as a good example to encourage their children. His graduation, as well as a decent job, would mean a lot to his family. Under high pressure, he was too stressed to be focused.

He said he didn’t care about graduation. The worst consequence would be doing manual jobs, and at least he would get by. What he said was not real, it was because the inner elephant lost confidence and got cold feet due to high pressure.

One day, Mr Chen asked him: ‘ If the miracle appeared and you successfully graduated, what would happen?’

He shook his head and said he didn’t want to think of those meaningless thing. As what we mentioned before. It is a defense mechanism to avoid disappointment.

But Mr Chen insisted: ‘It doesn’t matter. Just imagine. ’

He started to think. He said he would find a job in the capital city of his home town. If he didn’t make it, he would teach in his high school. When he talked about this, there was a sparkle in the eyes.

Mr Chen continued to ask: ‘Now think, If you finally make it, reflecting on the process, what is the first step you take that leads to the success?’

He said:‘At least a regular routine, just like going to the dining hall on time, is necessary in the first place.’

Then Mr Chen asked: ‘OK, are you able to do it?’

This is what a wonder question is. How does it work? Our mind is magical. If we look forward, we tend to see the obstacles. If we look back, we tend to see methods and ways. That is the subtle difference. When we imagine that something good has happened and then we look back, we actually make a detour and avoid the defense mechanism. The inner elephant won’t think about how difficult to achieve our goals, instead, it begins to think how the success happens.

During the psychological counseling, they didn’t talk about how to study and pass the exams. These tasks would scare the elephant away. Instead, they just talked about going to the dining hall on time. This was a small change that student could do and have confidence to do.

Small changes work wonders. When we take the first small step, we gain a new experience, our mental immune system start to change a little and most often more small changes will ensue.

Bear it in mind, don’t fight with your inner elephant face to face. We need to make a detour and avoid the defense mechanism instead.

To be in the moment

But, what if we take the first step and then we fail?

In Mr Chen’s opinion, the aim of taking small steps is not to achieve success, instead, it is to get going. It is what we can do at present that matters.
If we’re unwilling to take action without the promise of ultimate success, changes will never happen. So don’t let ourselves stuck in this fixed mode of thinking.

Let’s just take a small step first. Concentrate on what we can do at the moment. We can’t control whether the outcome is good or not , so we don’t need to care about it.

Just get up and get going. Starting is half the battle!

That’s it for today! Now let me ask you a miracle question! Imagine that you have achieved your goal, when you reflect on the process, what was the first step you took? Leave a comment down below!

Thank you for reading all the way through! I’m so glad!

By the way, this article is one of the lecture notes about self-development. If you are interested in it, check out the others!

Click here to know the essence of making a change.

Click here to know what our comfort zone is.

Click here to know some useful tips on how to overcome fears!

Warm wishes!

Vera from China

Notes

Useful tips on overcoming our fears

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Hi, everyone! I’m Vera from China. This is the third article in the series of my lecture notes about self-development. And it’s a practical and actionable How-to article! To begin with, let me give props to Mr Chen Haixian, who teaches the great course named the Psychology of Self-development.

Making positive changes is a great challenge for everyone. We need to create new experiences, keep strengthening them, and get into new habits we want ( click here to check out the first article). But our comfort zones, which are in essence the familiar ways we deal with various tricky problems, have us in their clutches, giving us a sense of control and safety, as well as confining us (click here to check out the second article).

If we want to change, what are we going to do?

Maybe an X-ray of our mental immune system will help!

Taking an X-ray of our mental immune system

Like our physical immune system, our mental immune system helps keep our inner world balanced and stable. It prefers comfort zones rather than new coping styles and methods that we are unfamiliar with.

In order to find out what we are afraid of and what we are trying to avoid, our mental immune system needs a check-up! Checking our mental immune system with an X-ray will help us get to know our inner elephant (the emotional, powerful part of us).

Taking the X-ray has four procedures. Let’s get started!

First, write down our goals.

Take myself as an example. I want to sharpen my writing skills in both Chinese and English.

Second, write down our actions that prevent us achieving these goals.

Well, First I waste a lot of time on my cellphone, TV series and articles on WeChat, thus exposing myself to lots of useless information.

Second, I spend much time learning other things but I always avoid writing which actually I care about the most.

And I read a lot, but I rarely practice thinking and writing.

Third, write down the benefits of these actions.

I have to admit I’ve benefited a lot from the actions above.

First, Things like playing on my smart phone and watching TV series help relieve my anxiety.

Second, Learning other things gives me a sense of accomplishment. To some degree, It offers reasonable excuses for not writing. ‘See? I have so much to learn! I think they’re important. I have no time to write anything!’ Excuses like that.

Third, reading a lot gives me a sense of accomplishment, too. And avoiding writing not only helps me avoid serious thinking, which usually requires a lot of efforts and makes me anxious, but also protects me from negative feelings like frustration caused by possible failure.

Forth, your assumptions behind these benefits.

Why do I need those benefits?

Yes, I usually can’t help but thinking if I start writing, I will get exhausted and anxious. And If I come across difficulties during writing or I’m not satisfied with what I write, the belief that I’m good at writing (which is built up by compliments from other people) will fade away. Yes, to some degree, I try to keep an image of an intelligent student, who is good at writing, by avoiding writing. If I don’t take action, I will never fail. These are my assumptions.

Now we have taken an X-ray of our mental immune system. It helps us know ourselves better. Why not take action to check our assumptions?

Check our assumptions

However, are these assumptions true? Are they reasonable? Why not examine our assumptions?

There is no point just living in your own inner world. You need to interact with the real world and get some feedback. Then you will know yourself better, and check whether your assumptions are reasonable or not.

And also keep it in mind, It’s not realistic to change drastically all of a sudden, just take your time and take your step one at a time, make some small changes in your behavior and see what will happen.

As a psychological counselor, Mr Chen used to help a girl who wanted to express herself well but didn’t dare to speak in public. Her assumption was if she put forward her ideas, there would be an argument.

Mr Chen advised her to express herself at a meeting that was not important. She didn’t need to do that everyday, just on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On the rest of the week she just did whatever floats her boat. Then she needed to compare the new experiences with the old ones. It would be good if she gained successful experiences and found out speaking in public wouldn’t be that scary. If she failed sometimes, it didn’t matter, at least she tried,and then all she had got to do was ask herself whether it was as terrible as she assumed before, and whether it really ruined her life.

I start to take Mr Chen’s advice, too! I plan to write English article three times a week. And then I compare the experiences of writing with the old experiences I had. I found that the new experiences are good! Yes, I do come across problems when I’m writing, just like what I assumed before, but I gradually find it not that terrible. Actually, when I start to take action, I get a sense of accomplishment. Making positive changes is never simple as ABC, but we can make small changes step by step.

To sum up, firstly, we take an X-ray for our mental immune system to find out the assumptions that we have.

Secondly, we need to take an adventure, making small changes and keeping our old behavior at the same time.

Then compare the new experiences with the old ones to check whether our assumptions are true. It’s of great significance on our journey to changing ourselves.

That’s it for today! I hope you find these tips useful! What are you afraid of? What’s your assumptions behind your fear? Leave a comment down below!

As always, Thanks for reading! Warm wishes!

Vera from China

Notes

Comfort zone: Why is it so hard to make a change?

Hi, I’m Vera from China. This is the second article in the series of my lecture notes about self-development.

Have you ever heard about the concept of Comfort Zone? Nowadays it is mentioned more and more frequently in Self-help books and courses related to self-development.

In China, Reading articles on WeChat is a popular lifestyle among people. I used to follow a wide variety of WeChat Official Accounts, keeping myself informed of different opinions, views, tips and the latest hot-button issues. I thought it was meaningful.

Most of them were related to self-development. The contents were usually like this: When you’re still goofing off, others at your age have achieved success. (like have a great job, make a fortune, get offers from several prestigious universities…) If you’re afraid to step out of your comfort zone, you’ll accomplish nothing. There are ten ways you must know to……things like that. Do you feel them inspiring , frustrating or what?

Well, The more I read, the more I found that most of them were using these shocking titles to create anxiety, just to grab people’s attention. At first I thought I must make progress. Then I started to feel anxious. Finally I got annoyed and couldn’t stand them anymore.

Yes, of course I know the importance of going out of my comfort zone, just like what they told me. But, what in the world is the comfort zone?

What Mr Chen says may enlighten us!

  • How to make positive changes in behavior

  • About comfort zone

What is the comfort zone

In the last post( If you have not read it, click here to check it out.), We’ve learnt that the essence of making a change is creating new experiences, reinforcing them and then getting into new habits. But it seems quite difficult to succeed from our experience. Why? Because our old experiences have rooted themselves firmly in our mind. In order to root them up, We need to know the mental mechanism called comfort zone that accounts for this situation.

Does comfort zone mean a comfortable environment?

Not necessarily.

What I think about comfort zone is like living in a small city, getting a cushy job, which gradually weaken our willpower to challenge ourselves( you know, in China there’s a fierce debate on which is better to compete in a big city or just settle down in a small one). It isn’t all that case. Mr Chen takes Brooks in the classic movie The Shawshank Redemption as an example. After released from the prison, Brooks is so depressed that he commit suicide. Is the prison comfortable? Of course not! But Brooks is so familiar with the life there that he can’t adapt himself to the world outside the prison. He is afraid to change to embrace a brand-new life. In this case, Brooks’s comfort zone is the life in the prison. Thus, we see, comfort zone is not where we feel comfortable but where we’re familiar with.

Then, Does comfort zone refer to a familiar environment? Not necessarily either.

There’re indeed some people who change their jobs or environment make a real difference, whereas there’re also those who do the same but seem don’t change at all.

In Mr Chen’s opinion, It basically has little to do with where we are, but it has a lot to do with how we deal with or interact with the outside.

Let me explain it. Those who succeed in changing try to adapt to the new environment. They change their thoughts, methods, the way they take action and so on. If a shy girl starts to chat with others, she will find it is not that frightening. It’s a new experience that leads to a positive change. But if she still sticks to her gun, such as the thought ‘it’s scary to talk with strangers’ and the behavior pattern that staying alone forever, even foreign countries won’t make a real difference.

I agree with Mr Chen. Actually the comfort zone is the familiar ways we deal with the environment , rather than the environment itself. Getting out of our comfort zone is changing our coping styles.

The coping style is how we handle difficult things in our life. Psychology summarizes six common coping styles.

  1. solving problems
  2. blaming yourself
  3. asking for help
  4. Fancy
  5. avoid and escape
  6. make it reasonable

For us, the coping style has two meanings.

First, how we take action to cope with specific things? For example, when you have a hard assignment, which will you do? Hunker down for it or put it off?

Second, how we emotionally cope with it? For example, at sight of a lion in the zoo, some children will cry. Some say nothing but tremble. Some ask their mom if they can spit at it. They’re all scared, but the way they deal with the emotion is different.

What’s the benefit of our comfort zone?

Simply put, our comfort zone gives us a sense of control, from which our sense of safey comes. It helps reduce our anxiety. The more anxious we are, the more we desperate for the sense of control, thus sticking to our familiar coping styles.

Stepping out of the comfort zone means we need to give up our familiar methods and seek for new ones, making our inner elephant that depends so much on the old experiences too frazzled.

To avoid anxiety and get a sense of control, our powerful, poor elephant tends to go back to the old, familiar coping styles. That’s why making a change is so hard.

What surprises me the most is that we most often unconsciously use our coping styles to shape our life instead of choosing a appropriate coping style to adapt to the changeable life. After all, coping styles are tools, methods, not our goals.

All in all, Comfort zone is the coping styles that we’re familiar with. It gives us a sense of control to deal with anxiety. At the same time, it prevents us from attaining new experiences.

After learning this lesson, I start to think about what my comfort zone is. And I find them as follows.

  1. Collecting tons of learning materials but hardly learn.
  2. Desperate to study quickly instead of thinking deeply.
  3. Refusing to review and organize thoughts.
  4. Procrastinating but keeping thinking about my assignments
  5. Afraid to take action until I think everything is perfectly ready.

Those comfort zones actually help me a lot to some degree, but in a sense they stop me from gaining new experiences.

I think I’m on my way to stepping out of my comfort zone, so I spend the whole afternoon of this Saturday writing this blog! I’m happy! Seems that the new experience is fantastic. What do you think, my dear elephant?

Phew! That’s it for today! Oh my goodness, it’s even longer than before. I hope it doesn’t bother you or bore you to tears. Since it’s a note processed by me, I might not completely understand what Mr Chen means. Perhaps I even misunderstand his words… But I think it’s normal when learning a new thing. What do you think of this article? What’s your comfort zone? Let me know your thoughts in the comment down below!

Thanks a million for reading my article all the way through! Best wishes!

Vera from China

Notes

Lecture notes of the Psychology of Self-development

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Harboring feelings of frustration and anxiety, I started to take an online class called the Psychology of Self-development, which is taught by Chen Haixian, a famous psychological counselor in China.

Featuring effective methods applied in psychological counseling as well as research results of Psychology, this course, in the form of audio, is divided into five sections: how to change our behavior, how to change the way we think, how to achieve high-quality relationships, how to get through hardships and how to go through different stages of life.

I’ve been finished with the first two sections and I find them therapeutic and practical. During the process of learning, I keep thinking, taking notes and reflecting on myself. Also, impressed by this course, I write this blog to share my lecture notes and thoughts with you. I’ll constantly upgrade my blog as I learn. Since my English is not all that good, please forgive me for all the mistakes and feel free to point them out! I like to communicate with you! Now Let’s set off on the journey of self-development!

1.How to make positive changes in behavior

(1)We have the option

We all desire to get better, otherwise we won’t make New Year’s resolutions and struggle to keep them. However, making positive changes are so difficult that most of our resolutions get broken eventually.

Why is it so hard to change ourselves? There’re both external causes like the environment and internal causes like willpower. In Mr Chen’s opinion, the key to positives changes is understanding ourselves. In other words, It’s introspection that helps us develop. As Dostoevsky says, there’re something you can only tell your friends, something you can’t tell them, and something you even have no courage to tell yourself. From Mr Chen’s perspective, It’s the words that we’re afraid to tell ourselves that shape our lives and make us what we are.

Despite so many things we can’t control, we still have the option. Someone might think they have no choice. It’s probably due to their dreams about an ideal choice( I am one of the idealists). However, Choices are based on the reality. It’s about action we can take at present, not outcomes.

What’s more, most of us actually tend to avoid choices which represent possibilities, freedom and responsibility. We’ve been used to putting ourselves in a passive position and relying on someone else——perhaps your parents, your teacher and your boss,etc——to make decisions for us, which has an invisible advantage that we don’t have to take responsibility for ourselves. So, pluck up the courage to take on responsibility for our life! (I find it’s similar to Jordan Peterson’s opinion.)

In summary, there’re three points that are essential to a positive change: introspection, the awareness of having the option and the courage to be responsible for ourselves!

(2)The essence of making a change

We’ve known so many maxims but still can’t live a good life. It’s a famous saying written by a Chinese writer named Han Han, touching many people once it came out. What on earth stands in our way of putting these good theories into practice to become better?

Mr Chen introduces Jonathan Hdit’s theory to us. Jonathan finds there’re two different parts inside people. One is emotional like an elephant while the other is rational like a rider. The rider gives us direction and guidance while the elephant gives us motivation and power. It’s quite common that the rider wants to take control of the elephant but fail most of the time. We all have the experience.

In order to change, we need to know the inner wild elephant. What is it like ? Have you ever been curious about it?

As we all know, It has tremendous power, which gives us energy, as well as letting the rider down from time to time. It is easier to be inspired by emotions and feelings, rather than logos and reasons. Last but not least, it tends to believe our true experiences, not the benefits we’re longing for.

What’s the difference between the benefits of experiences and the benefits that our brain tells us? The former is concrete while the latter is abstract. The former is about the past and present while the latter is about future which is full of uncertainty. The former is what we’ve really experienced by ourselves while the latter is what we teach ourselves. No wonder our elephant inside prefers true experiences!

Do you remember Pavlov’s experiment on the dogs? Like these dogs, our behavior has been reinforced by these benefits of our experiences. There’re so many examples. High-calorie food is super tasty. Smoking helps relieve stress. Staying up late to play online games makes us happy. Sleeping in is so comfortable and all that jazz. Then we get obsessed with them! These benefits which our elephant think are to die for keep strengthening our behavior and then our behavior turns into habits. Our behavior has a lot to do with the environment. Don’t blame it all on yourself.

Yes, it’s experiences that really matter. The essence of making a change is replacing the old experiences with the new ones that we create!

That’s it for today. I find it difficult for me to write this article in English. It’s so far the longest English article I’ve written. But, my inner elephant says it’s worth it! It helps me understand what I’ve learned more deeply. So, What do you think of this article? Do you agree or disagree? What’s the positive change you want to make? How did it go when you tried to change your behavior or habit last time? Leave a comment down below!

Thank you very much for reading! Best wishes!

Vera from China