Why Doing the Right Thing is Hard

My column on why I’m losing weight struck an unpleasant chord with some folks when I first published it. It’s common to hear stories of people trying unsuccessfully, sometimes for years, to lose weight.

Another angle on the same issue: When your income gets an unexpected and temporary boost, through a bonus at work or a project you hadn’t expected, do you bank the money, or reward yourself with a new toy or dinner out?

We experience it every single day of our lives: even though we know what’s good for us, day after day we do what’s fun, what’s easy, instead of what’s healthy and rational and good for our future self.

Do you ever stop to wonder why?

red thoughts
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When You’re All at Sea is No Time to Remember the Anchor

The first characteristic of an excellent company, according to Tom Peters and Bob Waterman (In Search of Excellence) is a bias for action. Those companies which lean toward doing something were in better shape than those which gave the appearance they were afraid of action unless it was guaranteed safe.

That’s not to say that a bias for action can’t be married to careful planning.
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The Balancing Act in Your Brain

Your brain is a battlefield. Two warring forces wage a constant struggle for dominance.

Okay, they’re more like a couple teenagers fighting over who gets the window seat on a long drive. Chances are, you keep giving the same kid the window seat.

And putting the other kid in the trunk.

balancing act
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A Second Chance for First Impressions

We all know the cliché: “You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Opinions formed during the first moments of a relationship are usually long-lasting. This leads to all sorts of social manipulation to make a good impression: dressing your best, smiling a lot, leaning forward in your chair, all that stuff the job-hunting websites write about.

Recent science teaches us that’s less effective than the advice your mom always used to give you: “Just relax and be yourself!”

Why do first impressions matter? Do we have any control over them?

surprise: not the best first impression
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