The Thinking Life by P.M. Forni

June 23, 2020

 

Introduction:

  • “It is bizarre how many of us have been time-profligate engaging in frivolous searches or retooling our images on social media, all the while neglecting to set aside even a few minutes to do some serious thinking.  True, insight can travel by Twitter, but there is no substitute for uninterrupted reflection and introspection – not if we want to discover who we really are, check if we are true to our own values, learn from our mistakes, and plan our future.”
  • “…we must rediscover the very wise notion that communication is only as good as what is being communicated.  We must acquire the habit of consciously separating what’s important from what is not and allocate our time accordingly.  Norman Cousins said, “We in America have everything we need except the most important thing of all – time to think and the habit of thought.”
  • “The good life is nurtured by a healthy sense of self-worth, brightened by a positive outlook, warmed by a loving family and loyal friends, grounded in congenial and challenging work, and made meaningful by an involvement in something larger than ourselves.”
  • When you choose the thinking life, you:
    • Think first.  Before saying or doing anything, you stop and think about the best ways at your disposal and about the likely consequences of your actions.
    • Make paying attention your default mode of being in the world.
    • Reduce substantially the time you devote to trivial distractions.
    • Invest time in serious, uninterrupted introspection and reflection

 

Chapter 1 – Why You Don’t Think and Why You Should:

  • “The Stoics maintained that temperance in all things human and benevolence toward all people are part of the natural and rational order of things.  Conforming to this order entails living a life of virtue, which is the only kind leading to happiness.  We are the ones who make our own lives good or bad through the workings of our own thoughts.”
  • “Is it not better to simply do what is necessary and no more, to limit yourself to what reason demands of a social animal and precisely in the manner reason dictates?  This adds to the happiness of doing a few things to satisfaction of having done them well.  Most of what we say and do is unnecessary anyway; subtract all that lot, and look at the time and contentment you’ll gain.  On each occasion, therefore, a man should ask himself, “Do I really need to say or to do this?” In this way, he will remove not only unnecessary actions, but also the superfluous ideas that inspire needless acts.”
  • “By making us want to learn, humility keeps us willing to think.  Unfortunately, in times like ours that condone and even encourage inflated self-opinion and reckless overconfidence, humility is in short supply.  When we feel we know it all, we are not inclined to spend a lot of time reflecting, let alone second-guessing ourselves.  A further disincentive to think is the perception that the problems we are confronting are just too daunting.”
  • “The daily need to take action on short-term goals makes it difficult to reflect on the big picture of work.  Much to the frustration to the best brains among us, work is increasingly for doing, not thinking.  We are logging in a growing number of extra working hours that we scavenge in the rubble of what used to be leisure time.”
  • “Overscheduled is a recurring definition of today’s family life, when fourth-graders need appointment calendars and unstructured child play is becoming a thing of the past.  Very often it is difficult to set aside some thinking time at home as it is at work.  Good thinking requires time, and we believe we don’t have it; it requires energy, and we are fatigued; it requires the conviction that it is good for us, and we have become indifferent to it; it requires concentration, and we have embraced entertainment.  Ill at ease with the rare moments of true quiet still gracing our days, we fail to turn opportunities to assess who we are, where we have been, and what awaits us.”
  • “A dubious accomplishment of the often misguided age in which we live is its unparalleled perfecting of the art of distraction.”
  • On problem with our communication-saturated environment is that in it the actual value of what gets exchanged can become almost an afterthought.  As the line separating the seriously consequential from the mostly entertaining keeps blurring, shallowness is enriching itself as a part of the human condition.”
  • “The first, basic responsibility we have towards ourselves and others is choosing to think.  In the age of distraction, that is also our challenge.”

 

Chapter 2 – Finding Time to Think

  • “I have no time,” we say, but we always do.  What we lack is the will or wisdom to commit our time to goals that would be smart of us to pursue.”
  • “We all need to find the resolve – to do fewer things and do them more effectively so that we can think more.”
  • How you find more leisure time:
    • Learn to say no
    • Delegate
    • Do things right the first time
    • Be a conscientious manager
    • Save time with one-third solution
    • Think for lunch and commute thoughtfully
    • Schedule your daily think time
    • Think with partners
    • Turn “waiting time” into “thinking time”
  • “When you feel guilty about saying no, repeat to yourself that your time is exactly that, yours, and you are not wronging anybody by exercising your privilege to employ it as you wish.”
  • “The best gift you can give yourself is to leave the office every day at lunchtime and make sure you do not return before fifty minutes have elapsed.”

 

Chapter 3 – Attention: Awareness and Much More

  • “Everyone,’ William James wrote, “knows what attention is.  It is the taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought.  Focalization, concentration, of consciousness are of its essence.”
  • ‘Rediscovering the importance of attention in our everyday lives is where our rediscovery of thinking must begin.”
  • “Comprising our faculties of awareness and focus, attention is the very bedrock of thinking.  By constantly making us aware of our surroundings, it is crucial to our safety and well-being.”
  • “When we are alert to our environment, we spot problems in their early stages before they become more difficult to manage.”
  • “The good functioning of our attention skills depends on the good maintenance of our psychophysiological system.  Do not skimp on sleep, maintain a balanced diet, keep yourself hydrated, and eat healthful snacks if you need an energy boost.  Avoid stress whenever possible, and exercise regularly.”
  • “Membership in the human club comes with the expectation that we will pay some degree of benevolent attention to the other humans.  What we tend to flourishes, what we neglect withers.”
  • “For increasing numbers of people, attention is a tool of choice for seeking relief from the turbulence and busyness of the world.  By slowing down and paying attention to what lies in the folds of the moment, today’s legions of the mindful receive peace of mind in reward…Focus on and do justice to whatever you are doing, no matter how mundane it may seem.”
  • “Attention allows you to take full advantage of the innumerable opportunities you brush up against in any given day.”
  • “The more aware you are, the more likely you are to notice, the more you reflect, and the more you are prepared to make the best decisions.”
  • “The more urgent problem now is not how to balance work and life, but rather how to erase in our minds the line of demarcation that sets up the work/life dichotomy in the first place.  Work is a part of life, and it precisely when we do not treat it as such that tension, disaffection, and alienation arise.”
  • In sum, this is what attention does:
    • It keeps you safe by alerting you to dangers
    • It allows you to concentrate on and decide what you are required to do in any given situation.
    • It allows you to attune to people.
    • It helps you achieve your goal when applied to a given task.
    • It lets you focus on the present moment, allowing you to make the most of it.
    • It increases your enjoyment in life.
    • It helps make you a good listener.
    • It makes other people feel validated.
    • It produces insights.
    • It makes you more productive.
    • It enables you to collect information that you can use later in unexpected ways.
    • It has healing powers.
  • ‘Human attention has distraction built into its very operating mode.”
  • “The remarkable relationship between the mind and the world we call attention is one of the factors contributing to the quality of our lives that are under our control.  It is too bad that so many of us are making use of it in a lackluster way.  The good news is that although attention is not just a skill, it is certainly something that can be practiced.”
  • “The good life is a conscious life.  The more you value life, the more you engage with it.  The more you engage with it, the more you think your way through it.  The more you think your way through it, the more effective you are as its trustee.  It is then that you finally live out the elemental truth that in life there are no rehearsals and you only play for keeps.”

 

Chapter 4 – Reflection: The Art of Going Over Your Life

  • “Because we seldom set aside time to reflect, we are often unprepared for the important decisions upon which our future well-being depends.”
  • “Reflection is the stuff of which decisions should be made. ‘Reflecting’ is often used as a synonym for ‘thinking,’ but in fact, it is not just any kind of thinking. When you reflect, you mull over, and you ponder. It is thinking made serious by its content, intensity, and duration.”
  • “You reflect to review the past, take stock of the present, and build a better future.”
  • ’A smart man learns by his mistakes; a wise man learns by the mistakes of others,’
  • “as Douglas Adams reminded us: ‘Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so’”
  • “To learn from the mistakes of others, you need to be motivated to focus on the other person’s behavior, which will allow you to have a clear picture of what the mistake was and why it was one.”
  • “We often approach our dialogues within a monologue frame of mind. We are so eager to tell our story, convey our opinion, or give our advice – whether it is being solicited or not – that we completely forget we are engaged in a give-and-take transaction.”
  • “Think of your verbal exchanges as conversational partnerships. Reflect upon what you hear. You will be doing justice to your partner’s words and make your contribution more valuable.”

 

Chapter 5 – Introspection: Self-Knowledge for Success

  • “Part of introspection is asking difficult questions that may entail uncomfortable answers.”
  • “It is through introspection that we obtain self-knowledge allowing us to bring positive changes to our lives. By engaging in it, you will be able to see when it is not the world that needs to reform, but rather yourself.”
  • “six virtually ubiquitous virtues. They were wisdom and knowledge, courage, love and humanity, justice, temperance, and spirituality and transcendence.”
  • “Seligman went on to list the routes – which he ends up calling ‘strengths’ – that we can take to these virtues. Among them are the love of learning, open-mindedness, social intelligence, bravery, perseverance, honesty, leadership, self-control, and prudence.”
  • “Spending time in introspection, we build our identities and discover our values. Once we have given a good amount of thought to the important things in life, we have at our disposal a baseline for living. This means that when in everyday life we must decide how to act, we are not compelled to start from zero.”
  • “Ask yourself whether your eagerness to be liked is within the norm or not. If it is substantially above the norm, you want to know why that is the case. This is the time to account for that feeling of inadequacy that more than anything else seems to define who you are.”
  • “Lack of self-esteem has been called the problem behind all problems. That may be an exaggeration, but rare indeed are the instances of self-inflicted misery that are not connected in one way or another to an insufficient appreciation of our personal worth.”
  • “Many life-sustaining relationships are hurt – sometimes beyond repair- by complications arising from a poor self-image. The insecurity that makes us reluctant to assert ourselves can also make us diffident, defensive, and even hostile. A healthy self-image is arguably the most precious of our earthly possessions.”
  • “All humans tend to function either more like weather vanes or more like clocks. Some people’s life experience is largely driven by the external world. They see themselves the way others see them, and their moods are dictated primarily by external circumstances. Their mode of operating is reactive. The wind blows, the weather vane responds. They live outside-in. Their low levels of self-worth are often responsible for who they are. Then there are the people who habitually rely on an internal solid core of self-worth and firmly held convictions. They are the clocks.”

 

Chapter 6 – Exercising Self-Control

  • “Studies of teenagers have found that self-discipline is a much better predictor of academic performance than IQ.”
  • “Greek thinkers of antiquity saw the good person as someone able to choose rationally and therefore moderately among the options of moral consequence that life presents us with all the time.”
  • “Temperance was for Plato a major virtue. Aristotle conceived of virtue as a repudiation of extremes. Courage, for instance, occupied a median space between cowardice and foolhardiness. This middle was the Greeks called mesotes, but they also coined the word sophrosyne, which, while still carrying the meaning of moderation, pointed to an excellence of a higher order.”
  • “Sheer elementary prudence suggests that we collect facts and consider consequences before we act. To behave ethically, we need to slow down, notice others, feel empathy, and evaluate our options.”
  • “In an age that worships the altar of the I, when self-expression’s intrinsic value is almost an article of faith and self-promotion may of life, it is not surprising that restraint has not fared particularly well.”
  • “Neo-hedonism notwithstanding, it remains self-evident that no society could survive if its members did not choose – frequently and predictably – restraint over impulse. It is also self-evident that refraining from intemperate action is a primary factor in the quest for a happy life.”
  • “since our actions have consequences for other people – intended or unintended – we must accept that there are limits to our freedom to act.”
  • “Some limits are prescribed by the law, others are not but are important as well. Both kinds require restraint, the willingness and ability to curb our needs and desires for the sake of effective relating and connecting at our best with other people.”
  • “Self-control is a building block of good character.”
  • “self-control always entails forgoing an appealing yet lesser gratification for the sake of a less appealing yet greater one. It requires the ability to tell one from the other and the will to choose accordingly.”
  • “The best way to rediscover self-control is to rediscover Immanuel Kant’s principle of respect for persons and make it part of our way of being in the world. A foundation of moral thinking, the principle states that we ought to look at others as ends in themselves rather than merely as a means for reaching our goals and fulfilling our desires. This implies that we all have equal dignity as persons and that to disregard other’s happiness as we pursue our own is reckless and wrong.”
  • “Life doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. If you can help others to reach their goals, disinterestedly and whenever you can, you will be surprised by the handsome rewards awaiting you.”
  • Keeping appetites in check, then, is a condition for the survival of both order and freedom. No effort to impose lawful regulation upon members of society can succeed in the absence of self-regulation.”
  • “’…the three great domains of human action.’ First, there are things we do because the laws of the land compel us to. Lord Moulton called this the domain of positive law. Then there are others we do with unrestricted freedom, which Moulton called the domain of free choice. Positive laws and free choice do cover a wide range of human actions. But between these two domains, Moulton saw a third, and vast, one. He called this the domain of obedience to the unenforceable, and thought it was of paramount importance in the lives of societies.”
  • ‘The real greatness of a nation… its true civilization is measured by the extent to which the nation trusts its citizens, and its existence and area testify to the way they behave in response to that trust.’
  • “Patience may not be glamorous, but it is a virtue and a skill we rely on almost as often as we do on self-control.”
  • “you are patient when you stop resenting reality for not conforming to your desires, which is to say when your mind is set to accept what you can’t change.”
  • “Patience is the ability to relax, having realized and truly internalized that disruption, disappointment, nuisance, uncertainty, sickness, hardship, and adversity are not tears in the fabric of reality, but the fabric itself.”
  • “Our ticket to success in life is the ability to make others feel good about themselves.”
  • “’I’ve learned,’ said Dr. Angelou, ‘that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’”
  • “The staggering amount of misery we bring upon ourselves in life depends to a large extent on our clumsy conflating in our minds of fun and happiness. Fun is what you get from an amusement park ride, happiness is what you get from a life well-lived. Fun is eminently transitory, happiness can last an entire season of life – or an entire life, for that matter.”

Chapter 7: Embracing the Positive

  • “most of what goes into making a meeting or a day go well is dependent not on luck at all, but rather the result of your own doing. Your day will not have a chance to become successful without the input of your attitude and skills. The thoughts we carry around in our heads make us the people we are and give shape to the lives we live.”
  • “Epictetus observed with utter clarity two thousand years ago, it is not things in themselves that disturb us, but rather what we think of them.”
  • “To paraphrase Henry David Thoreau, you just want to affect the quality of your day. To relate to your day at your best, look at it with interest rather than judgment.”
  • “Asking not whether your day is going to be good, but rather in what ways is it going to be good is Positivity 101.”
  • “Positivity comprises gratitude for the past, acceptance of the present, and anticipation of a fulfilling future. It comes with a reasonable amount of self-appreciation and a feeling that one’s goals in life are meaningful.”
  • “Being a positive thinker does not mean going through life in a Pollyanna-ish state of mind, unwilling to face its harsh realities. Positive thinking is about acceptance rather than denial.”
  • “How we think about work determines how we feel about it. No matter what you do, work is sure to produce problems. In fact, work is about problems, and problems are work.”
  • “any problem coming your way at work is both a puzzle to solve and an opportunity to learn. When you give yourself over to solving the problem, you’ll want to find out what the problem can do for you.”
  • “Central to Marcus Aurelius philosophy is the notion that our lives are what our thoughts make them. In other words, the attitude with which we will negotiate our daily encounters with life is going to be the top factor in determining its quality.”
  • “in good thinking, a healthy sense of self-worth, a rational analysis of situations, and a good intuition lead to plausible conclusions and positive actions.”
  • “Serious worrying feeds on cognitive distortions.”
  • “Force yourself to pay less attention to how you are feeling and more to what you are doing. Try to remain absorbed in your work for as long as you can. Experiencing the state of flow does marvels for your overall well-being. Since worrying is about the future, it makes sense to minimize its impact by being fully present. Meditation can help.”
  • “Responding positively to something negative is one of the greatest gifts of the human condition.”
  • “We live among others, we depend on others, and we seek comfort in others. Our very identity, sanity, and health are shaped by the presence of others around us. If life is relational, then the quality of our lives must depend on the quality of our relationships.”
  • “When adversity strikes, by all means, look inside yourself for answers. Practice your positive attitude – think good thoughts to the extent that you can. But also seek shelter within your circle of love and support made available to you by family, friends, and acquaintances.”
  • “Although neither attitude nor relationships alone will be enough to guarantee a happy life, together they are a realistic prescription for coping and thriving.”
  • “When we strip attitude and relationships to their bare essentials, we discover that we are just talking about ourselves and other people. And that is ultimately what we have in life: ourselves and one another.”

 

Chapter 8: Being Proactive

  • “Proactivity is both a dynamic and a wise way of being in the world, often supported by a positive attitude. You are proactive when you are predisposed to intervene as early as possible in any given set of circumstances so that you have the best chances to make them work in your favor.”
  • “One of the outstanding skills you want to become good at is being proactive when it comes to assessing the character of those you encounter in the journey of your life.”
  • “Mistakes are bad choices we make when we are not ready to make good ones.”
  • “Keep in mind that reading is not the same as studying. Whereas the effects of the former can be ephemeral, those of the latter are meant to stay with us. Studying is reflecting upon what we are reading to understand and retain.”
  • “You want to pay attention at meetings because meetings pay attention to you.”
  • “At the meeting, your posture and eye contact show the presenter and anybody who intervenes that they have your undivided attention. This and taking thoughtful notes will help you fend off the temptation of distraction.
  • “Preventative medicine is a proactive practice. Eat organic and low-fat food, get plenty of rest, see your doctor regularly, exercise, keep your levels of stress down, and look at life as optimistically as you can. You will be alive longer for those close to you.”

 

Chapter 9: Making Wise Decisions

  • “Life tests us all the time. Many tests are of small importance, but a few are crucial. Not failing the latter is the secret of the good life.”
  • “The school of searing regrets is tough but also enlightening if you are willing to listen and reflect.”
  • ‘Smart people learn from their mistakes. Very smart people learn from other people’s mistakes.”
  • “There is essentially only one way to get into trouble in life, and that is to arrive unprepared at the moments when we must make important decisions. By making the right choices in everyday minor incidents, you prepare for when you find yourself at the significant crossroads of life with major decisions to make.”
  • “The quality of our lives depends upon the quality of our decision making, and the quality of our decision making depends upon the quality of our thinking.”
  • “it is the wisdom of our choices that determines the quality of our days.”
  • “Being smart does not necessarily mean improvising a solution to a difficult situation on the spur of the moment. It also means anticipating that that situation might occur and therefore facing it with a well-thought-out plan. The following suggestions will offer you substantial help with all the decisions of consequence you will ever make.”
    •  “Make your decisions conscious.”
    • “Gather as much information as you can.”
    • “Make a list of possible options.”
    • “Pick one of two options.”
    • “Put in place an implementation plan.”
    • “Think rationally. Do not make important decisions unless you are calm, collected, and ready to evaluate the evidence pro and con.”
    • “Think ethically.”
    • “Think critically.”
    • “Think creatively.”
  • “Whenever you are dealing with a difficult decision, review the benefits that your decision will bring to you and others and the negative consequences of not going with it.”
  • “Remember that dreading and stalling are ultimately toxic.”
  • “The easier choice is seldom the right one. Since it is likely to be the path of greater resistance that will lead you to the greater good, plan to rely on your strength of character to stick with your choice.”
  • “Energy is lazy, ‘energy moves where it is easiest for it to go,’”
  • “when facing two options, humans will always be inclined to choose the one that saves them as much energy as possible and provides them with immediate gratification. Something in us loves a shortcut.”
  • “It is our penchant for choosing the path of lesser resistance that makes us such good players at procrastination.”
  • “An ironic development of choosing the easiest way is that it turns out to be not so easy after all. Escaping the task ignites the dreading, which could be eliminated only by doing, which we are trying so hard to avoid.”
  • “To deliver yourself from misery, it is not enough to acknowledge that misery has you in its clutches; you also need to see yourself as worth being rescued.”

 

Chapter 10: Nurturing Outstanding Thinking: Insight, Discovery, and Creativity

  • “Accounts of discovery often focus on the exciting moment of insight and almost ignore the hard work of the mind that preceded it. We flatten mercilessly what in reality is a lengthy and complex process.”
  • “Where does discovery come from? More often than not, discovery is a flash of intuition made possible by previously untold amounts of reflective thinking.”
  • “To come up with a brilliant alternative, one must stop being conditioned by tunnel-vision allegiance to the ostensible task at hand. A willingness to stray in essential.”
  • “Most of us – perhaps all of us – are potentially capable of outstanding thinking. Not many of us, however, are prepared for it. We have not been trained for it, we are intimidated by it, and sometimes we are not even aware that it is an option.”

 

Chapter 11: Managing Adversity

  • “Prepare for adversity by becoming aware of the misfortunes of others.”
  • “What you demystify and learn to expect will be easier to withstand.”
  • “The Stoics believed that there is a divine design to the universe and that what takes place in it – including the vicissitudes of our own lives – depends on fate. All the things that happen to us, and that we look at as either good or bad, cannot ‘not happen.’”
  • “Epictetus would point out that what others say about you is not in your control. What you do have control over is how to respond to what happened, and the wise way to do that is with as much detachment as you can muster.”
  • “These things just happen, and we have no control over the fact that they do. Why fight what has already defeated you? It is by accepting defeat that you come up a winner.”
  • “Adversity allows you to rediscover the importance of what is priceless, such as family, friends, and health. It can even teach you that most difficult of arts: being present in the moment.”
  • “Flexibility, acceptance, optimism, patience, and your commitment to causes larger than your own self-interest are the foundations upon which to build your response to adversity.”
  • “The great Stoic thinkers remind us that we should accept suffering because it is a part of the human condition. We have not completely matured until we have gone through all that comes with adversity. Suffering is always a test. It is a test of our fortitude and resilience when we are the ones who suffer and a test of our compassion when it is others who do.”

 

Chapter 12: Choosing to Be Thoughtful

  • “With its two distinct but dovetailing meanings, ‘thoughtful’ is one of the great words of the English language. You are thoughtful if you are a thinker, but you are also thoughtful if you are considerate. To be considerate, you need, first of all, to pay attention to other people and care for them – in other words, you need to think about them and their well-being.”
  • “Anybody who happens to be in a relatively good frame of mind will on occasion be nice to someone else. You don’t have to be a bona fide humanitarian to agree to trade seats on a plane so that a family can sit together. But it does take a special person to act intentionally and habitually in ways that are beneficial to others, and to do so without waiting to be asked.”
  • “Helping without wounding the pride of those being helped can be the most challenging part of thoughtfulness, requiring a surplus of reflection and benevolent imagination.”
  • “People can’t help liking those who validate them, and they want to make them part of their lives. This strengthens their platform of social support, a crucial quality-of-life factor.”
  • “Often, taking only a couple of seconds to think over what you are going to say is one of your best investments of time.”
  • “Remaining calm and in control is crucial to your ability to choose your best words. Contrast is your mind what you are instinctively inclined to say with what you know you should say, and choose the latter.”
  • “Anger, lack of time, lack of self-respect, lack of respect for our interlocutors, excitement, carelessness, fatigue, laziness, and feeling the need to fill the awkward moments of silence in conversations: These are the more frequent factors that contribute to our speaking impulsively. Vanity and narcissism are poor counselors as well.”
  • “We all bring to our way of speaking our identity and our personal history.”
  • “Although it is certainly honorable to consider the effects that our words have upon others, we should not ignore the effects they have upon ourselves. So many of us are such accomplished spinners of critical self-talk!”
  • “When a system of management based on authority breaks down, one based on communication must take its place.”
  • “The leader of today is less of an enforcer and more of a first among equals – someone who lets you know why something needs to be done and asks for your input as to how to do it.”

 

Conclusion – We Are What We Think:

  • Insufficient and shallow thinking:
    • Causes you to botch your relationships with the most important people in your life.
    • Negatively impacts your effectiveness at work, thus hindering your prospects.
    • Prevents you from arriving prepared at the crossroads of life, where the decisions you make decide the quality of your future.
    • Leaves you at the mercy of adversity, without a proven coping strategy.
    • Can endanger your well-being or your very life by keeping you from contemplating the consequences of your actions.
    • Makes you unable to understand and cultivate your strengths and therefore interferes with your ability to achieve happiness.

 

  • Truly effective thinking:
    • Makes you aware of other people’s needs, which is necessary to having harmonious relationships with them.  Empathy is a form of thinking.
    • Make you more productive at work. Great teamwork, sustained focus, creativity, and good leadership are all made possible by outstanding thinking.
    • Allows you to be more in charge of your future than you would otherwise be.  Being proactive is the decisive factor here.
    • Allows you to soften the blow of adverse events large and small.  The mental preparation you did in good times will pay off handsomely.
    • Keeps you from suffering the negative consequences of impulsive decisions.
    • Enables you to know your weaknesses and how to compensate for them, and your strengths and how to capitalize on them.