• Becoming Self Directed
  • Teaching SDL
  • Starting a School
  • Personal Development


Starting a School: Have a Good Idea?


Over the years, many people have inquired about the mechanics of starting a school that emphasizes self-directed learning. I launch programs but have never started a school.

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New Section: Personal Development

I write these to help you to live better--to be happier, to relate better to others, and to accomplish more. I want you to be successful and to feel successful. Let’s get going and let’s make it so...

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New Site Developments

How Can I Be More Intelligent?

January 01, 14

How Can I Be More Intelligent? by Maurice Gibbons Applied Intelligence Since Howard Gardner proposed his theory of multiple intelligences, our ideas about mental abilities have changed radically. I.Q. no longer rules; it no longer sorts us into groups that will succeed or fail. Now we recognize the great diversity of achievement and the diverse forms of excellence in people that produces it. And from that new perspective, we can see many ways that we can all expand our intelligence. What matters is applied intelligence. Your intelligence is not your ability to do a test; it’s your ability to get things done that matter. Sternberg describes the three basic aspects of Successful Intelligence this way: 1. Analytical thinking: the ability to figure things out, solve problems, make decisions, and judge the quality of ideas. 2. Creative thinking: the ability to see possibilities, to identify the best among them, and to develop ways of pursuing them. 3. Practical application: the ability to understand situations, to know what to do, and to get the job done. Seeking Knowledge We have many great examples of applied intelligence in our culture, and I want to use one now to illustrate the steps that you will be using to develop yourself. One of the best I know is the inspiring story of the Wright brothers’ struggle to solve the problem of powered flight. In it we see the importance of knowledge in achieving success, but in the most practical way possible. Wilbur and Orville Wright attended high school but neither of them received a diploma. Together they opened a bicycle shop but soon decided that they needed a challenging enterprise. They chose the problem of flight. Many people had tried, often to great fanfare, but all failed and in the end, the experts announced that powered flight was impossible. The Wrights decided that it could be done and that they could do it. Wilbur read everything he could find on the subject, and conferred with experts from the Smithsonian and other institutions. They decided that the three main problems to solve were lift, power, and control. Wilbur focused on control. The brothers built a wind tunnel to develop designs, especially for the shapes of the wings. They built gliders large enough to carry a person and spent weeks on the Carolina dunes testing them, improving them, and learning how to fly them. No one had flown before, so no one knew how to fly if they ever got into the air. The Wrights had to discover how. Success at the Impossible They had to learn how to turn their gliders by shifting their weight in a cradle-like seat in a movement that twisted the wings and swung the rudder. The cradle was inspired by the weight shift in turning a bicycle, and the rudder by the steering system in boats. After more than 700 flights, they had an engine built and mounted it on their glider. In 1903, at Kitty Hawk, their flyer flew—the first powered flight in human history. The bothers worked even harder after their initial flight seeking next to make a practical airplane that they could sell. By 1908 they were flying over 60 minutes at 40 miles an hour with a passenger and landing safely. They sold their planes and became world famous. Just over a hundred years later, we are planning flights to Mars. I like this story because it is a great example of analytical, creative, and practical intelligence. The Wright’s may not have been brilliant in school, but they were very brilliant when it came to getting things done—impossible things. Proof again that there are many ways to be brilliant in the world. Step One: Find a Topic That Interests You The Wrights searched for a topic with both challenge and promise. After a search they chose flight, even though the experts said it was impossible. You do not need to find an overwhelming challenge, nor do you need to change the course of human history, but it is important that you select topics that interest you and have value to you. You will have many interests, so you might start with a list in your journal of subjects that you would like to know more about. I’m interested in the stock market, sculpture, learning, golf, personal health, movies and plays, and others. From your list choose one to focus on now, one with grab and zing. I’m interested in how to run a green household, and the grab and zing of that topic is that I might develop an environmental program—“The Spirit Is Green”—and propose it to the church that I attend as a way to be practically spiritual. What Is Your Topic? What is your topic? And what is the grab and zing for you in that choice? Use your strength tracks as a guide (see “How Can I Find My Strengths”). To be smarter, you have to focus, have questions that you want to answer, and a strong shot of determination to keep going until you are satisfied with the answers you get. Once you get deeper into your area of interest, find people to talk to about it. Start thinking about how you could use what you are finding out. If this area feels good it may be your field and you will become an expert in it. Step Two: Analyze, Create, and Act Sternberg’s three parts of intelligence come together in the Wright’s creation of a flying machine. They analyzed the problem of flight by reading everything they could find that had been written about it. They solved each of the problems with creative inventions such as building models and testing them in a wind tunnel. And then they took action--they built the plane and learned to fly it. Now use the same strategies to study your interest. Find out about it. Decide what you can do with what you know. Then do it. If your interest is gambling, for example, find out about Blackjack (or any other game), then learn to play it, then get into a game. Knowing that you are going to play the game--just like knowing you are going to fly--pours energy into the other two stages. This is route #1 to greater intelligence (I will produce others). Use this approach regularly and you will become more intelligent. You will be more capable, and you will become more interested in others as they will be more interested in you. Why? Because you are on the move! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Never loose another idea! • Develop your own plans for projects • Keep track of what you learn • Meet your new companion, partner, confidant • Understand yourself • Discover your talent; watch it grow The journal is a powerful instrument that will help you to be successful with any activity that you undertake. If you decide to understand yourself and your life better, the journal is waiting to listen and to be your companion in the search.



January 27, 13

Get Started on Your Path Forward! Maurice Gibbons It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than it is to think your way into a new way of acting. Welcome. Let’s get started, and since this program is focused on taking action, let’s take action. When I was a kid, we bought “Big-little books” that were very small but very thick. What follows are Little-big activities that are very quick and easy to do, but represent very big ideas about taking charge of your life. There is a good reason for doing these Little-bigs, these Quicks. As someone said, “It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than it is to think your way into a new way of acting.” So, I’m inviting you to do these activities and act your way into a new way of thinking about yourself and the way you manage your life. Small Things All of these little activities I will ask you to do -- there are five -- represent the big ideas about taking charge that we are after. Remember, “little but big.” So as you do the activities, the important part will be thinking about the greater meaning of what you are doing and how it relates to taking charge. Here is the first Quick: Name three things you want to do today (or tomorrow, if it’s already night time), write them down on a note pad, do them, and then check them off on the notepad when they are done. The challenge - you will hear this word a lot -- is to go beyond habitual acts like getting the paper, feeding the cats, and eating lunch. Here are mine for today: 1. Call Carl (depressed)2. Buy John Selby’s Seven Masters, One Path3. Take Leslie out to dinner Nothing earth shattering, but things I don’t usually do. I wrote them down and then did them. [Please note: There is a key to the icons at the end of this article] The Big Ideas These are small things to decide and do, but doing what you decide to do is a huge idea. It is the keel of the vessel you will use for this journey. And it’s a huge idea to think about as you do your three activities. Then check them off: recording is an important motivator. They may be small things, but you choose them and you will do them intentionally and with purpose, and that is the essence of taking charge. Think for a moment if your next three decisions to act were: 1. Start my own company2. Reduce the global carbon footprint3. Eliminate homelessness in my city You may say, “But you already told us what the big idea is.” I answer that I have stated a key idea but many more ideas are represented by this activity. Here are a few: 1. I can learn important things from any experience.2. I am what I decide and do.3. In taking charge, decisions about what to do come from me not someone else.4. Decision-making and goal setting are essential skills for me to learn.5. I can become what I want to become and achieve what I want to achieve by what I decide and do. I won’t do this with the other four Quicks, but I want to make it clear that these small activities represent very significant ideas that are well worth thinking about. The key here is that you are thinking deeply about the meaning of these events. Thinking deeply--and thinking new thoughts-- is essential for all growth, progress, development, or improvement. And you are doing it. After that, consider what these mean for your life; how you can apply them. They are worth thinking and talking about, and then writing your conclusions in your journal. They are inexhaustible ideas. Where Am I Going? If life is a journey, it is important to know where you are going. You don’t want to be like the Stephen Leacock character who rushed out, leapt onto his horse, and rode off in all directions. And you don’t want to be like Mole, who lives underground and not knowing where he is going, digs even more furiously. And you certainly don’t want to be like Pi, in The Life of Pi, who is drifting in an open boat with a tiger and doesn’t know where he is or where he is headed. No, you don’t want to be scattered, working hard without purpose, or adrift, especially if there is a tiger in the boat with you. When you are adrift, there is a tiger in the room with you, and that tiger is direction -- the unanswered question, “Where are you going?” Without direction, there is no journey, only wandering, helplessness and confusion. But your direction must be self-direction, it must come from you, must be rooted in you. You must make it yours. Here is the second Quick: On a card or piece of paper, write down three interests or dreams that you have. To be useful they should be things that you want to get involved in, know about, become skilled at, or make happen. They should be written on a card or piece of paper and propped up where you will see them throughout the day. Here are my three: 1. Have a sculpture exhibition2. Get involved in volunteering3.Become skilled at tennis Make them as authentic as you can. They should be from your core, your own feelings, your own curiosity. If you draw a blank, then write down anything that comes to mind and act your way into thinking of them as your dreams and interests and enliven them with feelings of anticipation, pleasure, and possibility.Here’s what someone else wrote: 1. Become a rep for a cosmetic line2. Start a family3.Get my own home Think about these dreams and interests and what you might do to pursue them, and as you do, think about the big issue that they represent. Think about direction, passion and your life journey. Sculpture is not a new dream of mine, but I have been inactive in sculpture for too long. I am thinking about the passion for it that I once had, and the pride and pleasure I enjoyed when I was actively creating and carving. I am wondering why I stopped and what I need to renew my passion for it. As I write this, I am sitting in my workshop wondering why, and how I can get started again toward an exhibition of good work. What are you thinking about your dreams or interests? Is there one that stands out for you like sculpture does for me? And what is the big idea, or ideas, that this little activity represents? Remember, what you are thinking about is your life. Make a thoughtful entry in your journal about this activity, its meaning and significance. Moving Forward Imagine a round boulder almost as tall as you are sitting on top of a cavern in the ground, blocking the escape of someone you know and love. You are miles from help and alone. What are you going to do? If you are very strong, you might be able to rock the boulder until it rolls. Can you think of another way? You could cut a pole, put a rock behind it, and pry it away. Can you think of another way? This is important. It is important because the person moving the rock is you, and the person trapped in the cavern is you, too. And you are facing the challenge of freeing yourself. Can you think of a moral for this parable? Here’s mine: “To move forward, you have to find a way to free yourself from whatever is blocking your path.” The Challenge For many of us the boulder that blocks our path forward is our own inertia, or our own resistance to taking any initiative. So how do we move forward? We have to find a way to free ourselves from our inhibitions and feelings of limitation. We have to find a way to motivate ourselves to get moving. If we don’t, a year from now we will be thinking, “If I’d started carving (or whatever your interest is) again then, think of how much work I would have done now and how much more skilled I would be.” We want to get that work done and develop that skill, so we have to get started. To mobilize, to get going down your take-charge path, you have to believe in your potential and the wonderful possibilities around you. One thing I am certain of -- you have the resources within you to do many great things. Another thing I know for sure is that there are many possibilities available to you, and when you begin to access them, they will increase in number not decrease. I know that once I get started in sculpture, all kinds of possibilities for different ideas, materials, tools, techniques, collaborations, exhibitions and every other related feature will appear. I will show you how to find your genius and explore your possibilities later, but the point now is that opportunities await and you are equipped to take advantage of them, if… If what? If you are prepared to challenge yourself to move that rock of obstruction, clamber out of the cavern of resistance, and start moving up the pathway of achievement. Challenge is the key. You have to disturb the ordinary. You have to cast your hook into a promising future and reel yourself in. If you are in charge; if you want to enjoy competence, achievement and success; you have to regularly challenge yourself to leave the easy and familiar and take a step down an unfamiliar path to the results you seek. Here is the third Quick: So this third Quick is an invitation to challenge yourself to do something new.I can challenge you to do it, but somehow you have to make this challenging yourself. Choosing one from the list will help. Perhaps there is something you want to try because it is more challenging. Above all, remember you are doing a small thing to think about a big idea. If you find yourself picking one because it looks the easiest, you are missing the point. Challenge yourself! Choose one from the following or make one up that pushes you out of your comfort zone, and then do it. 1. Go to an arcade and play a game. 2. Visit an art gallery or bookstore. 3. Attend a play, opera, concert, game or race. 4. Buy and fly a kite. 5. Learn to send an email to someone. 6. Go to a community centre and work out, swim or play a game. 7. Find a tasteful joke and tell it to a friend. 8. Do a Sudoku or crossword puzzle in your newspaper. 9. Go to the teaching table in a casino and learn to play blackjack. 10. …………your choice…………… Remember, something new that is outside your comfort zone. Consider picking the activity that is the most challenging for you. And remember, also, this is a little activity that represents a big idea. While you are doing it, think about that big idea and write about it. If you picked something that was easy and familiar, or picked nothing, it’s very important that you write about that action, too. That needs to change. What Do I Do Now? Climbing, I realized, is the perfect metaphor for taking charge. When you begin a challenging activity, such as rock-climbing, you set a series of problems for yourself to solve. To complete your task successfully, you have to be a dedicated problem solver and be determined to never give up. Many people give up at the first sign of difficulty, obstacle, or complexity. But to be successful you have to develop grit, and be inventive, just like the rock climbers. Challenge and grit are inseparable partners in getting to where you want to go--to the top. Here is the fourth Quick: First, you need to find a problem. Any Quick that you had difficulty with points to a possible problem. What difficulty have you had? Was the difficulty in attempting the Quick or in doing it? Or was the difficulty seeing the big idea represented by the little activity. If you didn’t have any problems with the Quicks, create your own problem to solve, or solve one of the problems outlined below. 1. A friend has spread a lie about you that threatens your relationship with others in the group. How will you solve this problem? 2. You want a job as a sales representative, but don’t have the qualifications (training certificates, experience, etc.) required. What could you still do to ensure that you were chosen for the job. Find a problem to solve from above or in your life right now. When you are ready, write down the problem you have chosen from all of these possibilities as clearly as you can. State the problem as precisely as possible. This is very important; you want to solve the real problem, so you have to focus on it. Then list as many solutions or ideas for solutions as you can. For getting the job, for example, list at least ten ways. Get imaginative. Take time to ponder and imagine. Ideas often take time. Underline your best answer. Here’s my example: Problem: How to get going at sculpture: Take a course in sculpture or join a group of sculptors Stop waiting for a brilliant idea and just do something Set up an exhibition Plan a little exhibition at home for friends Make a deal with an art shop to provide a sculpture a month Do a lot of drawings and make maquettes Start sculpture provocation pages in my journal (photo montages of provocative sculptures by others) Hire a workshop assistant Learn some new skills and try some new equiptment Start experimenting directly with the wood Once you have a list, select one as the best and most workable. That is the essence of problem solving. We will take it to another level later, but you can work with this pattern in the meantime. Then consider the big idea about taking charge of you life that solving this little problem on paper represents. Getting Your Ducks in a Row The trainer said, “Ralph, you know everything about leadership but you couldn’t lead these people out of a raging inferno.” The coach said, “Jenna, you can dribble and shoot a soccer ball beautifully, but soccer is a team game not an individual game.” Margaret said, “Bob, you know everything about sex except how to make love.” What were they talking about? They were talking about alignment, about getting all your ducks in a row; they were talking about the full package : the powers you need to line up so they can drive the action that you want to occur. Bob’s, Jenna’s, and Ralph’s alignments are askew. Most programs teach techniques for special results—how to meditate, how to set goals, how to lead, how to motivate yourself, how to plan, how to be effective, how to dribble and shoot, and so on. Someone might say, “Well, you are telling us to take charge. What’s the difference?” In this program I want you to become a person who is in charge, not just a person who knows the procedure for taking charge, if the occasion arises. And that takes alignment from the core of who you are to the performance people see when you take action. Alignment determines the power and the quality of the performance. Passion→Character→Beliefs→Attitudes→Thoughts→Skill→Action Figure one shows the basic elements of alignment. There are others, but these are all you need for now. In all three of the examples, the people had learned the actions they needed and perhaps they had the skill and thinking right for those actions, but they all lacked the rest, or a major part of it. They did not have the passion, character, beliefs, and attitudes or feelings that was required to drive the activity. Ralph is in charge but is a weak person who seems confused about what to do. He does not have any solid beliefs about the product, the business, or the staff. Yet he seems aloof and acts superior, which does not fool anyone. Ralph cannot lead because his performance lacks a consistent connection among the basic elements needed for excellence. Jenna has a similar problem on the soccer field. She is skilled but cannot use her skill on the field. She seldom passes, is seldom in position. She is only concerned with her own performance and makes it clear she does not care about the other team members. If you look at the model you can see lacks everything but skill. Her parents reinforce her self-centeredness, and I wonder how and when she will learn to be aligned. Bob seems to be skilful in bed, but does not communicate any feeling for the women he has sex with, and that is just the beginning of his misalignment. A Tight Alignment So what does good alignment look like? My friend Brian is fierce about living a greener lifestyle (passion). He announced this intention to his friends knowing that his sense of integrity (character) would not allow him to easily abandon his announced purpose. He (believes) that the world is in crisis with increases in population and industry racing head on into a degenerating environment and limited capacity to fill our needs for food and water. His mantra (attitude) is, “It begins with me.” Brian did not do this lightly. From reading widely, taking courses, and attending workshops, he concluded (thought) that through his excess he was using up his grandchildren’s opportunity for a good life and he had to change. He decided to leave a much smaller carbon footprint and to turn the yard of his house into a garden to produce as much of their food as possible. He found plenty of help on the Internet, in a local marketing garden club on dedicated public land, and at a night course at a nearby college. He began with a small garden right away (action) and was soon very skilled. Brian is aligned in this enterprise. His yard is now all food garden except for a plot on the street, which may be converted this year. When we are as aligned as Brian is on this task, we significantly increase our power to get things done. Getting Aligned And that brings us to Quick # 5 I invite you to imagine following one of your interests and doing a major project in it. Remember—imagine only. Think what the project will be and outline an alignment for excellence in achieving it, including passion, character, beliefs, attitudes and feelings, thoughts, skills, and actions. Here is mine: Project: Preparing a sculpture exhibition. This is exciting for me because I have not exhibited for a long time and want to begin again. This is added later. I tried to create a model of alignment using a subject I know. 1. Character: I need to live creatively. Everything is too rational right now (I find I have a lot to say about this. I know it is important). 2. Beliefs: I believe that if I have great ideas and put my mind to it, I can create an exciting exhibition. But I have not been producing great ideas and I think I may be past it now. 3. Attitudes, feelings: I need to feel confident and determined. I need to be as unstoppable as I tell others to be. But I am afraid that I cannot match what I have already done. 4. Thoughts: I need a vision of new work; a great theme. Among all the sketches in my journal I cannot find one that excites me. 5. Skills: A new medium, a new skill set. I can learn to make carving knives from the local native West Coast carvers, and then learn to use them. 6. Action, Performance: I will clear three months and work full time on it. Maybe start by making maquettes, the small carvings for the bigger work based on them. Can you sense the power in alignment? This is imagination only, but I can see an emerging plan now that will work for me when I am ready to act on it. Using the same headings, outline an alignment for achieving an excellent result in a project based on a promising interest that you have identified. As you develop this practice in your work you will experience the power of alignment. Think of the alignment of your powers as a laser beam. Remember as you make your list, think about the big idea, or ideas, that this small activity represents. It’s a power generator that can drive you to success in the enterprises that you choose. As you move the elements we used into a drive shaft to move you into action, you increase the drive. Put It All Together So here are the basics of taking charge: 1. Decide what you are going to do and do it. 2. Search for direction by following your interests. 3. Challenge yourself to reach beyond the easy and familiar. 4. Solve the problems that stand between you and success. 5. Align all of the personal elements necessary to produce a quality result in your projects. If you have done these small activities and thought about the big ideas that they represent, you are in the zone of taking charge. We are now talking the language and working with the ideas of being in charge of your life. And you are on the move. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Never loose another idea! • Develop your own plans for projects • Keep track of what you learn • Meet your new companion, partner, confidant • Understand yourself • Discover your talent; watch it grow The journal is a powerful instrument that will help you to be successful with any activity that you undertake. If you decide to understand yourself and your life better, the journal is waiting to listen and to be your companion in the search.


Becoming Expert - More COMING SOON!

January 20, 13

Helpful Hints for Experts-to-be and for Their Helpers,PMAURICE GIBBONS Many Chapters to come! STAY TUNED! This section is designed for younger viewers, although older viewers can use it as a quick review. It is material from a book that I wrote a while ago, but I'm supplementing and updating that material for this site. I will get the pieces up--piece by piece-- as soon as i can get them done. Except for loving and being loved back, there is nothing more important then being very good at something and finding yourself in that special realm where amazing things become possible. I hope you will make the journey, but be warned that if it was easy, everyone would be an expert now. It takes work, grit, and determination. The good news is that when you find your passion and match it with your strengths, the work doesn't seem like work because you are are doing what you love, and you are making the things that you want to happen in your life happen. The secret is that life is about becoming expert. The journey is life-long. But what a journey: you at your best, at your finger-tips. My wishes are for your success. Contents Preface The Explorer Stage Chapter 1 -Introduction to Becoming an Expert Chapter 2- Probes: May the Force Be Within You The Specialist Stage Chapter 3 - Choosing a Field Chapter 4 -Launching a Project The Expert Stage Chapter 5 - Becoming an Expert Bibliography


How Do I Develop Willpower?

April 15, 12

The Importance of Self-Control... by: Maurice Gibbons Maurice Gibbons is the sole owner of this article and all rights to it and its use. Copyright 2012. Personal Power Press International. Success in SDL depends on your ability to do what you want to do. If you want to manage your learning and your life, you have to have self-control so you can decide and then act. In their current book, Willpower, Roy Baumeister and John Teirney, describe the seminal marshmallow research study conducted by Walter Mischel. In this study a group of four-year olds are each given a marshmallow and told if they keep their marshmallows uneaten for fifteen minutes, they will get another marshmallow. You can likely guess what happened: some kids couldn’t wait and ate their prize right away; others held out for a while and then gave in and devoured theirs; and a few waited patiently for their second marshmallow, which they received. Much later, accidental good-fortune struck. Mischel’s children attended the same school as the subjects of the study and he noticed that those who ate right away were getting into a lot of trouble. He decided to conduct a follow-up study to see what the subjects’ marshmallow behavior revealed. It revealed a lot, especially in follow-up studies of the benefits of self-control that Beaumeister conducted and summarized in his book Losing Control. It turns out that low self-control leads to lower SAT scores (by more than 200 points), poorer grades, lower salaries, poorer health, and a higher rate of imprisonment. The researchers concluded that “Self-regulation failure is the major social-pathology of our time.” Conversely, that self-control is the only trait that predicts success in education and in life, and therefore, “Self-control is a vital strength and key to our success.” These studies make it easy for us to see why their authors say that improving our willpower is the best way to pursue a better life. How Much Self-Control Do You Have? What is your marshmallow? Most of us watch a lot of TV or play computer games, so let’s use one of those as our temptation. Substitute something else if that doesn’t work for you. Imagine that you were offered an hour of TV or gaming today, but if you didn’t watch or play today, you could have two hours at it tomorrow. How do you think you would do at denying yourself this pleasure on the promise that you can have more of it later? Be honest with yourself. Look at your recent experience. How good are you at denying yourself something, or putting out great effort for a pleasure or valuable result that is far off in the future? Do you take courses or programs that will increase your skills (hard work now for success later)? Do you avoid impetuous buying to save for future needs (go without now to achieve goals ahead)? Do you exercise, eat well, get a good night’s sleep, and go without smoking or drinking more than a social glass (manage yourself now for health in the years ahead)? Do you have a criminal record or have you done things that you are ashamed of (acted recklessly without consideration of the effects on others or the consequences for yourself)? Give yourself a self-control rating from one to ten with ten being very capable of applying willpower to achieve valuable results, and zero being incapable of any self-discipline even to achieve what you want to achieve. The first step to greater personal control is recognizing its value, and the second step is acknowledging that you need to develop it more. What do you think about your capacity for applying willpower when you need it? Could you be stronger? (Careful now: are you going to rush on and avoid this self-examination, or stop and do the preparation necessary for moving forward? This self-regulation is live right now. This would also be a great place to stop and write in your journal about your own self-control. (I like this: exerting self-control in the examination of your own self-control). Developing Willpower If you recognize the importance of willpower, want it for yourself, and decide to develop it, what can you do to be successful? Practice exerting willpower. Research shows that by controlling small patterns of behavior you are exercising your control and your overall willpower will improve. If you decide, for example, to drink a glass of water every morning (great for the brain and the body), or to exercise for ten minutes every morning when you get up, and do so, you will find that your willpower is stronger when you apply it to other tasks. So choose a small new activity that will improve your life and get started right now. And you will have begun your story as a self-directed person. You can build on that story right away by finding a touchstone in your past, an experience in which you exerted self-control to achieve a result that was important to you or to others? I remember working in a logging camp when I was a young man to earn the money to go to university. Both the camp and the university were hard work for a distant goal, but I completed both. What is your touchstone? Go over it in your mind and remember the effort and the feelings involved, especially the pleasure of achieving the vision you had. You can take this further by remembering a number of incidents and stringing them together as your story of self-control, yourself as a person with willpower. Apparently will power is a limited resource. We start the morning with a full tank, but use it up with every application of it we make, so choose carefully what you decide to spend your powers on. Be sure also that you maintain a full tank by eating well, getting a good night’s sleep, and staying healthy. Taking the Offensive Baumeister and Tierney urge us all to take the offensive; to be determined to develop willpower. The strongest offence is developing what I call project plans. It begins with having values, thinking positively about yourself and your future, and thinking of moving forward with yourself and your life. If those thoughts are supported by religious beliefs they will be even more effective. From such a context we can begin to set goals that matter. The goals we set should be worthwhile but achievable, and they should be few in number so that our willpower is not diluted. Focus is important. I have goals set within goals: I want to maintain my two websites, and to do that I am setting goals about productivity, mainly writing, and about developing, such as doing research for new articles, and making videos to introduce each section of at least one site. Once we formulate our goals we have to get started. Procrastination immobilizes a lot of us. We have to fight it with grim determination, especially men. One method the authors of Willpower recommend is pre-commitment. When, for example, you go into the candy store--whatever that candy may be--leave your credit card at home. I like to underline my commitments by writing them down so they can never be denied. The next step in the offensive for success is to keep track. If you are going to give up desserts, for instance, keep a record of each day. Mark it on a calendar where it can be seen. By following this practice you not only record your success, you reinforce it, too, with the growing number of marks. When you see that, reward yourself. Reward yourself regularly with many little prizes and occasional big ones. Choose real treats that you normally wouldn’t have. Just Do It! The engine that drives willpower is determination. In the end you have to suck it up, get moving, and keep moving until the goal you seek has been achieved. The only temptation that Oscar Wilde could not resist was temptation itself. That was Oscar. We can do a lot better than that. Maurice Gibbons is the sole owner of this article and all rights to it and its use. Copyright 2012. Personal Power Press International. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Never loose another idea! • Develop your own plans for projects • Keep track of what you learn • Meet your new companion, partner, confidant • Understand yourself • Discover your talent; watch it grow The journal is a powerful instrument that will help you to be successful with any activity that you undertake. If you decide to understand yourself and your life better, the journal is waiting to listen and to be your companion in the search.



Welcome! This site supports teaching self-directed learning (SDL) and becoming a self-directed person. It supports home-schooling, experiential education, open schooling and life-long learning. Keeping a journal, setting goals, planning and taking action are key tools. Self-improvement, personal development and the development of character are central themes of SDL.

In self-directed learning (SDL), the individual takes the initiative and the responsibility for what occurs. Individuals select, manage, and assess their own learning activities, which can be pursued at any time, in any place, through any means, at any age. In schools, teachers can work toward SDL a stage at a time. Teaching emphasizes SDL skills, processes, and systems rather than content coverage and tests. For the individual, SDL involves initiating personal challenge activities and developing the personal qualities to pursue them successfully. This website is devoted to illuminating these principals as they apply to schooling and to life.