Discussion on physicology of success

you will complete Activity 37
For this assignment you will complete Activity 37 put the answers on the formYou are doing A and B but you are only answering and uploading C to me.Page 301 -302the activity and book is attached

ACTIVITY 37: Are Your Needs Being Met?

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You need to do A and B, but you only have to turn in your aDiscussion on phsicology of successnswer to C.

  1. Which of these needs are being satisfied in your life and which are not? What circumstances in your life do you think account for this?


Seventh Edition
Denis Waitley
Maximizing Fulfillment in Your Career and Life
Psychology of Success
Maximizing Fulfillment in Your Career and Life
seventh edition
Denis Waitley, Ph.D.
Published by McGraw-Hill Education, 2 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10121. Copyright ©2020 by
McGraw-Hill Education. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Previous editions
©2016, 2010, and 1990. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by
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Education, including, but not limited to, in any network or other electronic storage or transmission, or
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Some ancillaries, including electronic and print components, may not be available to customers outside
the United States.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
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MHID 1-259-92496-3 (bound edition)
ISBN 978-1-260-16503-6 (loose-leaf edition)
MHID 1-260-16503-5 (loose-leaf edition)
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All credits appearing on page or at the end of the book are considered to be an extension of the copyright
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Waitley, Denis, author.
Title: Psychology of success : maximizing fulfillment in your career and life / Denis
Waitley, Ph.D.
Description: Seventh Edition. | Dubuque : McGraw-Hill Education, [2020] |
Revised edition of the author’s Psychology of success, 2016. | Includes
bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2018042881| ISBN 9781259924965 (alk. paper) | ISBN
1259924963 (alk. paper)
Subjects: LCSH: Success–Psychological aspects. | Self-esteem. |
Classification: LCC BF637.S8 W269 2020 | DDC 158.1–dc23 LC record available at
The Internet addresses listed in the text were accurate at the time of publication. The inclusion of a
website does not indicate an endorsement by the authors or McGraw-Hill Education, and McGraw-Hill
Education does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented at these sites.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Brief Contents iii
Brief Contents
Introduction xii
CHAPTER 1 Psychology and Success 2
CHAPTER 2 Self-Awareness 48
CHAPTER 3 Goals and Obstacles 96
CHAPTER 4 Self-Esteem 136
CHAPTER 5 Positive Thinking 192
CHAPTER 6 Self-Discipline 236
CHAPTER 7 Self-Motivation 286
CHAPTER 8 Managing Your Resources 322
CHAPTER 9 Communication and Relationships 360
Glossary 406
Key Points 417
Further Reading 422
Index 425
iv About the Author Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Denis Waitley is a world-renowned expert and motivational speaker on human performance and
potential. Best known as the author/narrator of The Psychology of Winning, he has helped millions of
people throughout the world in their quest for personal excellence. He is the author of several bestselling books, including Seeds of Greatness, The Winner’s Edge, Being the Best, and Empires of the
Mind. His newest book, The Dragon and The Eagle, compares the challenges facing both China and
America in education and business as they attempt to survive and thrive together in a rapidly changing world.
Long recognized as an authority on high-level achievement, Dr. Waitley has counseled leaders in
every field, from CEOs to Super Bowl champions. He has lent his understanding and expertise to
American astronauts and POWs. Dr. Waitley has also served as Chairman of Psychology on the U.S.
Olympic Committee’s Sports Medicine Council, dedicated to the performance enhancement of
Olympic athletes.
One of the country’s most sought-after speakers, Denis Waitley was named Outstanding Platform
Speaker of the Year by his peers and elected to the International Speakers’ Hall of Fame. He is a
graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and holds a doctorate in human behavior.
Dr. Waitley was a founding director of the National Association for Self-Esteem and has been a consultant to the President’s Council on Vocational Education and the International Parenting
About the Author
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Contents v
CHAPTER 1 Psychology and Success 2
Real-Life Success Story “Am I Doing the Right Thing?” 2
SECTION 1.1 Understanding Success 4
What Is Success? 4
Activity 1: What Success Means to You 5
Personal Journal 1.1 Ingredients of Success 9
Activity 2: Your Role Model 11
Activity 3: Self-Awareness Checklist 14
Understanding Psychology 17
Personal Journal 1.2 Your Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions 24
SECTION 1.2 Understanding Yourself 27
Your Inner Self 27
Personal Journal 1.3 How Do You See Yourself? 32
You and Your Social World 33
Activity 4: Wheel of Life 34
Activity 5: Sides of Yourself 37
Activity 6: Identity Profile 40
Chapter Review and Activities 45
Real-Life Success Story “Am I Doing the Right Thing?” 47
CHAPTER 2 Self-Awareness 48
Real-Life Success Story “What Do I Really Want?” 48
SECTION 2.1 Finding Your Direction 50
Developing Self-Awareness 50
Personal Journal 2.1 How Well Do You Know Yourself? 51
Activity 7: Private Self-Awareness Checklist 53
Defining Your Dreams 54
Getting in Touch with Your Values 57
Personal Journal 2.2 What Are Your Dreams? 58
Activity 8: Values Inventory 61
SECTION 2.2 Discovering Your Strengths 64
Personality and Individuality 64
Activity 9: Personality Self-Portrait 66
Activity 10: Discover Your Multiple Intelligences 73
Exploring Your Skills and Interests 77
Activity 11: Skills Assessment 78
vi Contents Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Personal Journal 2.3 Exploring Your Interests 82
Putting It All Together: Self-Awareness and Career 84
Activity 12: Interest Survey 90
Chapter Review and Activities 93
Real-Life Success Story “What Do I Really Want?” 95
CHAPTER 3 Goals and Obstacles 96
Real-Life Success Story “Where Do I Go From Here?” 96
SECTION 3.1 Setting and Achieving Goals 98
What Are Your Goals? 98
Activity 13: Setting SMART Goals 102
Activity 14: Generating Short-Term Goals 104
Personal Journal 3.1 Goal Cards 107
Overcoming Obstacles 108
Activity 15: Anticipating Obstacles 112
SECTION 3.2 Handling Stress and Anger 116
Stress and Stressors 116
Activity 16: How Stressed Are You? 119
Coping with Anger 124
Personal Journal 3.2 Stress Management Techniques 124
Activity 17: Personal Stressors and Relievers 125
Personal Journal 3.3 Stress Relief Reminders 127
Personal Journal 3.4 Anger Triggers 131
Chapter Review and Activities 133
Real-Life Success Story “Where Do I Go From Here?” 135
CHAPTER 4 Self-Esteem 136
Real-Life Success Story “Do I Have What It Takes?” 136
SECTION 4.1 Understanding Self-Esteem 138
The Power of Self-Esteem 138
Activity 18: Test Your Self-Esteem 141
Activity 19: Social Support and Self-Esteem 152
Self-Expectancy and Self-Esteem 154
Personal Journal 4.1 Examine Your Self-Expectancy 156
Activity 20: Accomplishment Inventory 158
Personal Journal 4.2 Learning to Cope 161
Copyright ©2010 The McGraw-Hill Companies
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Contents vii
SECTION 4.2 Learning to Like Yourself 162
Self-Acceptance and Self-Esteem 162
Activity 21: Personal Inventory 165
Personal Journal 4.3 Social Comparison Log 170
Personal Journal 4.4 Your Ideal Self 171
Using Positive Self-Talk 172
Activity 22: Negative Self-Talk Log 174
Criticism and Self-Esteem 179
Activity 23: Handling Criticism 185
Chapter Review and Activities 188
Real-Life Success Story “Do I Have What It Takes?” 190
CHAPTER 5 Positive Thinking 192
Real-Life Success Story “Will Things Go My Way?” 192
SECTION 5.1 Becoming a Positive Thinker 194
Positive Thinking and Optimism 194
Adopting Positive Habits 199
Activity 24: Are You a Positive Thinker? 200
Personal Journal 5.1 Focusing on the Good 202
Activity 25: Banishing Worry 206
Thinking Style and Health 208
Personal Journal 5.2 Depression Self-Check 210
Activity 26: What’s Your Health Attitude? 212
SECTION 5.2 Conquering Negative Thoughts 216
Overcoming Self-Defeating Attitudes 216
Recognizing Distorted Thoughts 218
Activity 27: Challenging Self-Defeating Attitudes 219
Personal Journal 5.3 From Irrational to Rational 226
Changing Your Negative Thoughts 226
Activity 28: Disputing Negative Thoughts 230
Chapter Review and Activities 232
Real-Life Success Story “Will Things Go My Way?” 234
CHAPTER 6 Self-Discipline 236
Real-Life Success Story “Should I Make a Change?” 236
SECTION 6.1 Taking Control of Your Life 238
What Is Self-Discipline? 238
viii Contents Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Personal Journal 6.1 Going Against the Odds 241
Controlling Impulses 243
Activity 29: Do You Control Your Life? 244
Embracing Change 246
Personal Journal 6.2 Thinking Long Term 247
Activity 30: Making Positive Changes 249
Conquering Bad Habits 251
Activity 31: Overcoming Resistance to Change 252
Activity 32: Getting to Know Your Bad Habits 256
Personal Journal 6.3 Habit Change Chart 259
SECTION 6.2 Disciplining Your Thinking 261
Learning to Think Critically 261
Activity 33: How Critical Is Your Thinking? 263
Becoming a Better Decision Maker 269
Activity 34: Developing Your Critical Thinking 270
Activity 35: Using the Decision-Making Process 274
Personal Journal 6.4 Pros and Cons 279
Chapter Review and Activities 282
Real-Life Success Story “Should I Make a Change?” 284
CHAPTER 7 Self-Motivation 286
Real-Life Success Story “How Can I Succeed?” 286
SECTION 7.1 Understanding Motivation 288
The Power of Motivation 288
Personal Journal 7.1 Generating Positive Motivation 290
Activity 36: What Motivates You? 292
Needs and Motivation 295
Activity 37: Are Your Needs Being Met? 301
SECTION 7.2 Recharging Your Motivation 303
Motivation and Emotion 303
Overcoming Fear of Failure 305
Overcoming Fear of Success 307
Activity 38: Expanding Your Comfort Zone 308
Visualization 311
Personal Journal 7.2 Confronting Fear of Success 312
Activity 39: Visualizing Success 316
Chapter Review and Activities 318
Real-Life Success Story “How Can I Succeed?” 320
Copyright ©2010 The McGraw-Hill Companies
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Contents ix
CHAPTER 8 Managing Your Resources 322
Real-Life Success Story “Will I Ever Be Able to Enjoy Some
‘Free’ Time?” 322
SECTION 8.1 Time Management 324
Taking Control of Your Time 324
Activity 40: Time-Demand Survey 326
Personal Journal 8.1 Prioritizing Your Life 329
Activity 41: Examining Your Priorities 331
Activity 42: Time-Management Practice 334
Personal Journal 8.2 What’s Your Prime
Time? 336
Tackling Procrastination 336
Activity 43: Do You Procrastinate? 338
SECTION 8.2 Money Management 341
Money Matters 341
Personal Journal 8.3 How Do You See Money? 342
Managing Your Finances 343
Activity 44: Expense Log 345
Stretching Your Resources 349
Activity 45: Budget Worksheet 350
Personal Journal 8.4 Look Before You Leap 354
Chapter Review and Activities 357
Real-Life Success Story “Will I Ever Be Able to Enjoy Some
‘Free’ Time?” 359
CHAPTER 9 Communication and Relationships 360
Real-Life Success Story “How Do I Stand Up for Myself?” 360
SECTION 9.1 Effective Communication 362
A Look at Communication 362
Activity 46: How Much Do You Know About
Communication? 363
Nonverbal Communication 368
Activity 47: Analyzing Communication 369
Improving Your Communication Skills 374
Activity 48: Body Language Log 375
Personal Journal 9.1 “I” Statements 378
Activity 49: Giving Feedback 380
x Contents Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
SECTION 9.2 Healthy Relationships 387
A Look at Relationships 387
Personal Journal 9.2 Understanding Diversity 390
Personal Journal 9.3 Circles of Yourself 392
Interpersonal Relationships 394
Activity 50: Your Close Relationships 396
Personal Journal 9.4 Dealing with Conflict 401
Chapter Review and Activities 403
Real-Life Success Story “How Do I Stand Up for Myself?” 405
Glossary 406
Key Points 417
Further Reading 422
Index 425
FIGURES Table of Figures
FIGURE 1.1 Positive and Negative Emotions 25
FIGURE 2.1 Feeling Words 55
FIGURE 2.2 Expanding Your Intelligences 76
FIGURE 3.1 SMART Goals 100
FIGURE 3.2 The ABC Model 116
FIGURE 4.1 Childhood Origins of Self-Esteem 150
FIGURE 4.2 You and Your Ideal 170
FIGURE 4.3 Responding to Constructive Criticism 181
FIGURE 4.4 Responding to Destructive Criticism 183
FIGURE 5.1 The Power of Positive Thoughts 196
FIGURE 5.2 Self-Defeating Attitudes: A Vicious Cycle 217
FIGURE 5.3 The ABCDE Method 228
FIGURE 6.1 Ingredients of Self-Discipline 239
FIGURE 7.1 Positive and Negative Motivation 289
FIGURE 7.2 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 297
FIGURE 7.3 Expanding the Comfort Zone 306
FIGURE 8.1 Where the Money Goes 347
FIGURE 9.1 Elements of Communication 365
FIGURE 9.2 Influences on Nonverbal Communication 373
FIGURE 9.3 The Johari Window 399
Copyright ©2010 The McGraw-Hill Companies
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Contents xi
FEATURES professional development )))
Internal Career Motivation 7
Career Fufillment 88
Job Stress 122
Positive Image at Work/First Impressions Matter 163
Positive Thinking in Action at Work 204
Wanted: Problem Solvers 273
What Motivates Employees? 304
Time-Management Tips 340
Investing in Your Future 348
Your Cover Letter—The Competitive Edge 383
Applying Psychology*
Lead by Example 59
Technology and Stress 117
Culture and Body Image 168
Aging with an Attitude 195
A Little Guilt Can Be Good for You 245
Six Types of Achievement Motivation 299
The “Mind” of Spending or Saving 349
Emotional Intelligence 373
internet action
Virtual Therapy 18
Online Personality Profiles 65
Surfing the Day Away 110
Your Social Network 154
Building and Tracking Your Optimum Health Plan 215
Artificial Intelligence versus Human Intelligence 262
Staying Motivated with E-Learning 298
Managing Your Online Identity 395
xii Introduction Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Author’s Overview
This seventh edition of Psychology of Success:
Maximizing Fulfillment in Your Career and Life is
perhaps more detailed and meaningful than
previous versions in that it combines leading-edge
scientific research with timeless knowledge to
substantiate how important it is to understand how
and why we behave the way we do in our careers
and personal lives. It has been said through the ages,
“It is not so much what happens to us that matters
most, but how we take it and what we make of it!”
This new edition is designed to help you
identify what authentic success means to you
and train your brain to make success more of a
habit, just like Olympians, astronauts, and gifted
performers excel as a result of knowledge, skills,
and practice.
During the past decade, neuroscientists have
learned more about human brain function than
research had provided during the previous fifty
years. As neuroscience researchers work to
unravel the inner workings of the brain, we know
more than ever about the mysteries, of where
emotions originate in the brain and the connections among instinct, intelligence, and emotion.
This work is yielding fascinating insights that we
can use to understand how we react to situations
and people. The brain, which is a much more
flexible organ than previously thought, can be
consciously rewired to be more emotionally
trainable, understanding, and sensitive.
Recently, the convergence of behavioral psychology and neuroscience has become highly
sophisticated with major corporations hiring
neural research companies to understand
employee and customer behavior from a new
perspective. Just as yesterday’s world records are
today’s entry-level requirements, so too has a
new tipping point been reached in understanding
the secrets to motivating and communicating
effectively with the emerging leaders in our professional and personal lives.
We live in a fast-forward world with more
changes in one of our days than in a decade of our
grandparents’ lives. Every five minutes a new scientific research study is published involving some
new technological or biotechnology discovery.
Unfortunately, some of our most incredible technology wonders, including virtual reality, artificial
intelligence, robotics, and instant networking
bombard our senses 24/7. The average brain has
around 50,000 thoughts per day and seventy
percent of them are believed to be negative.
We learn by observation, imitation, and repetition. We seize upon role models, observe their
actions, imitate, then become what we see, hear,
read, feel, and touch. No single realization is as
important as this in understanding and dealing
with our brains and minds. “Why do we do what
we do, when we know what we know? We know
better than to fall into the trap of substance
abuse, internalize unhealthy habits, procrastinate,
alienate, prevaricate, yell and lose composure
over trifles, and, on occasion, engage in road
rage. So why do we do what we do, when we
know what we know? Because we don’t always do
what we know. We do what we have learned!
Much of our learning takes place by unconscious modeling. Observation, Imitation, Repetition = Internalization. This edition of Psychology
of Success is designed to make your definition of
success easier to actualize in your own life. Our
hope is that it will give you a clearer path as to:
• How to view your mind as your internal “software” program—containing attitudes, beliefs,
and habits that can be overwritten to produce
desired results.
• How to treat your brain and central nervous
system as your physiological “mission control
center” consisting of pre-programmed genetic
data, as well as data based on past and present
life experiences that prevent you from or propel you toward completing your aspirations.
Copyright ©2010 The McGraw-Hill Companies
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Introduction xiii
• Provide real-life useful daily examples and action steps on how to lead yourself and others
to more effective interpersonal and intrapersonal communications, increased focus on
primary priorities, a healthier, more optimistic view of the future, and how to handle setbacks, challenges, and difficult situations with
resiliency and emotional intelligence.
Denis Waitley
Welcome to Psychology of Success. Success is a
lifetime of personal fulfillment that comes from
creating a sense of meaning in all aspects of life.
To succeed in this way, students must take an
active role in discovering and pursuing their personal definition of success, and use the psychological and fundamental strategies in this course to
achieve their goals. This book introduces you to
the fundamental psychological principles of
success—principles applicable to everyone regardless of age, background, or specialty.
Unlike many psychology books, Psychology of
Success doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach.
Instead, it asks you to take an active role in defining what is right for you as an individual. Psychology of Success calls on you to use self-awareness
and critical thinking strategies to examine your
dreams, values, interests, skills, needs, identity,
self-esteem, and relationships. This will help you
set and achieve goals that are in harmony with
your personal vision of success.
Psychology of Success presents the principles
of success in a logical order. First you will
assess who you are and what special qualities
you possess, which will help you develop selfawareness and clarify your goals. Next you will
learn about the importance of self-esteem and
positive thinking to a satisfying life. You’ll also
learn about self-discipline and self-motivation,
which are the tools you’ll need to keep yourself
on track toward your goals. Once you have mastered these psychological tools, you’ll learn the
fundamentals of time and money management,
communication, and positive relationships.
Because each chapter refers to concepts
introduced in previous chapters, you’ll derive
maximum benefit from working through the
book chapter by chapter. If your time is limited,
however, you may choose to concentrate on the
topics of greatest interest to you.
The features of Psychology of Success are
designed to help you understand and remember
the psychological principles introduced in each
chapter. They are also intended to provoke
thought and discussion and to help you make the
material relevant to your life.
Real-Life Success Story Begin each
chapter by reading the Real-Life Success Story, a
vignette about an ordinary person struggling with
the problems and challenges addressed in the
chapter. Use the question following the story to
put yourself in that person’s shoes and take stock
of what you already know about the topic of the
coming chapter. At the end of the chapter,
revisit the Real-Life Success Story and use the
concepts you’ve learned to create a successful
resolution to the character’s situation.
Chapter Introduction and Learning
Objectives In each chapter, a short introduction previews the major topics that will be
covered, and a list of objectives lays out the skills
and information you can expect to have mastered after reading the text and completing the
Opening Quote The opening quote relates to
the ideas discussed in the chapter and serves as
food for thought. Take a moment to think about
xiv Introduction Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
what the author of the quote is trying to say. Do
you agree with the author? Why or why not?
Key Terms Key terms appear in bold in the
text and are defined in the margin for easy
review. Key terms, along with italicized terms,
are also defined in the Glossary.
Success Secret Important lessons presented in the chapter are summarized in the
Success Secret feature. These notes can be used
to preview and review the chapter, as well as to
remind yourself to apply these important principles of success in your daily life.
Applying Psychology This feature focuses
on thought-provoking issues such as culture and
body image, impulse control, and the psychology
of aging. It links one or more topics in the chapter to cutting-edge issues in psychology.
Professional Development The Professional Development feature makes chapter concepts relevant to the world of work, providing
information on topics such as job stress, problem
solving, and résumé writing.
Internet Action This technology feature discusses how to use computers, the Internet, and
e-mail efficiently and effectively. It also illustrates the link between technology and psychology in areas such as artificial intelligence and
online collaborative learning.
Activities Each chapter has numerous activities that form an integral part of the material. The
activities allow you to apply newly learned concepts to your own life through self-assessment,
real-world observation, and critical thinking.
Personal Journals Each chapter also has
several Personal Journals, short notebook-style
activities that let you pause to offer personal
reflections on the material.
McGraw-Hill Connect® Connect offers a
number of powerful tools and features to make
managing assignments easier, so faculty can
spend more time teaching. With Connect, students can engage with their coursework anytime
and anywhere, making the learning process more
accessible and efficient. From Connect, instructors can also access chapter-by-chapter notes,
test bank questions, a PowerPoint presentation,
and additional resources. Student features
include practice quizzes, assessment activities,
links to related materials for research projects
and helpful online tools, job hunting resources,
and much more. References to specific Web site
materials are provided throughout the text.
LearnSmart Students want to make the best
use of their study time. The LearnSmart adaptive
self-study technology within Connect® provides
students with a seamless combination of practice, assessment, and the remediation for every
concept in the textbook. LearnSmart’s intelligent
software adapts to every student response and
automatically delivers concepts that advance the
student’s understanding while reducing time
devoted to the concepts already mastered. The
result for every student is the fastest path of mastery of chapter concepts. LearnSmart:
• Adapts automatically to each student, so
students spend less time on the topics they
understand and practice more those they have
yet to master.
• Provides continual reinforcement and remediation, but gives only as much guidance as
students need.
• Integrates diagnostics as part of the learning
• Enables you to assess which concepts students have efficiently learned on their own,
thus freeing class time for more applications
and discussions.
Copyright ©2010 The McGraw-Hill Companies
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Introduction xv
Getting Started
Psychology of Success is a workbook as well as a
textbook. Take notes, highlight important concepts, and flag passages that you want to explore
further. Take time to do each Activity and Personal Journal thoroughly before moving on to
the next—they will help you understand the material on a personal level. Don’t worry, however,
about finding the “right” answers—the only right
answers are ones that are honest, true to yourself, and supported by reflection and critical
thinking. When you complete Psychology of Success, you will have a valuable record of your
goals and where you want the future to take you.
What’s New
• NEW overview
Chapter 1
• NEW material about female role models
• NEW material on Explaining Human Behavior
• NEW material on Your Self Image
Chapter 2
• NEW material on Putting It All Together:
Self-Awareness and Career
• NEW material on Work Is Unpleasant or Is It?
• Updated material on Myths About Work.
Chapter 3
• NEW material on What Are Your Goals?
• Updated material on Staying On Track
• NEW material on Resisting Change
• NEW material on Five Powers of Effective
Goal Setting
Chapter 4
• Updated material on The Power of
• NEW material on Controlling Your Internal
Chapter 5
• Updated material on Thinking Style and
• Updated material on Good Attitude, Good
Chapter 6
• Updated material on What Is Self-Discipline?
• NEW material on Conquering Bad Habits
Chapter 7
• NEW material on Visualization and Success
• NEW material on Steps to Visualization
Chapter 8
• NEW Professional Development Activity
Chapter 9
• NEW material on Becoming an Empowering
xvi Acknowledgments Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
McGraw-Hill would like to offer our sincerest gratitude and deepest appreciation to our valuable
reviewers whose feedback was instrumental in successfully compiling this text. We could not have
done this without you! Thank you!
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Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Acknowledgments xvii
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M. Sheileen Godwin King’s College–Wilkes-Barre, PA sheileengodwin@kings.edu
Anastasia Bollinger GMC abollinger@gmc.cc.ga.us
Kerry Fitts Delgado Community College kfitts@dcc.edu
Dennis Watts Robeson Community College–
Lumberton, NC
Cindy Burgess Dickinson State University cindy.burgess@dickinsonstate.edu
Stephanie Foote Kennesaw State University sfoote@kennesaw.edu
Michelle Detering Lansing Community College Deteringm@gmail.com
Kevin Ploeger University of Cincinnati kevin.ploeger@uc.edu
Judi Walgenbach Amundsen Educational Center judi@aecak.org
D. Mills Salt Lake Community College dmills5@brunmail.slcc.edu
Ruth Williams Southern Technical College rwilliams@southerntech.edu
Barbara Sherry Northeastern Illinois University B-Sherry@neiu.edu
Christi Boren San Jacinto College christi.boren@sjcd.edu
Nicki Michalski Lamar University nicki.michalski@lamar.edu
Pamela Moss Midwestern State University pam.moss@mwsu.edu
Walter Huber Muskingum University whuber@muskingum.edu
Pamela Bilton Beard Houston Community College–
Laura Jean Bhadra Northern Virginia Community
Bonnie Kaczmarek MSTC bonnie.kaczmarek@mstc.edu
xviii Acknowledgments Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Jessica Hasson CSUCI jessica.hasson@csuci.edu
Julieta Garcia MDC Jgarci29@mdc.edu
Joan M. Valichnac Northland Pioneer College jvalichnac@npc.edu
Kitty Spires Midlands Technical College spiresk@midlandstech.edu
Catherine Griffith Argosy University thegriffithsok@aol.com
Keith Ramsdell Lourdes University keith.ramsdell@lourdes.edu
Juli Soden El Camino College jsoden@elcamino.edu
Elisa Velasquez Sonoma State University elisa.velasquez@sonoma.edu
Toni Woolfork-Barnes Western Michigan University toni.woolfork-barnes@wmich.edu
Katy Luallen Butte College Katyal74@yahoo.com
Paulette Clapp Public pegc133@yahoo.com
Cy Samuels Palm Beach State College samuelss@palmbeachstate.edu
Mark A. Dowell Randolph Community College madowell@randolph.edu
Kim Jameson Oklahoma City Community College kjameson@occc.edu
Gail Malone South Plains College gmalone@southplainscollege.edu
Patricia Riely Moberly Area Community College patricit@macc.edu
Cari Kenner St. Cloud State University cmkenner@stcloudstate.edu
Todd Butler Jackson College butlertodda@jccmi.edu
Sterling Wall UWSP swall@uwsp.edu
Valamere Mikler University of Phoenix vmikler@email.phoenix.edu
Valamere Mikler Miami Dade College–Kendall Campus vmikler@hotmail.com
Gretchen Wrobel Bethel University g-wrobel@bethel.edu
Darla Rocha San Jacinto College darla.rocha@sjcd.edu
LuAnn Walton San Juan College waltonl@sanjuancollege.edu
Gary R. Lewis Southern Technical College–Fort Myers glewis@southerntech.edu
Deana Guido Nash Community College dguido@nashcc.edu
Christopher Lau Hutchinson Community College LauC@hutchcc.edu
Deborah Kindy Sonoma State University deb.kindy@sonoma.edu
Psychology of Success
Success Story
Looking Ahead
Bill Santos, a freelance film production assistant in
Los Angeles, was offered a full-time job as an assistant producer. Everyone congratulated him on the
salary raise and more impressive title. Bill, however,
wasn’t completely happy about the prospect of the
new job. The promotion would mean longer hours
and more responsibility. Plus, now that he thought of
it, he didn’t even like the shows he had helped make.
Why was he doing this?
Looking Within
Bill’s dream had been to write for a living. Being a
production assistant wasn’t his dream job, but he
was good at it, and there were a lot of extra benefits. Recently, Bill had started writing for a start-up
magazine. Although the pay was low, it reminded
him why he had wanted to be a writer in the first
place. If he took the new job he wouldn’t be able to
spend time writing. Bill knew it would be sensible
to take the job, but he couldn’t get enthusiastic
about it.
What Do You Think? Do you think Bill would be
more successful if he took the production job or if he
spent more time writing? Why?
“Am I Doing the Right Thing?”
and Success 1 Chapter
learning objectives
After you complete this chapter,
you should be able to:
• Define success.
• List several personal qualities
that help people to be happy.
• Define psychology and cite its
four major goals.
• Explain the relationship among
thoughts, feelings, and actions.
• Define self, self-image, and
• Describe the components
of identity.
What lies behind us and what lies
before us are small matters compared
to what lies within us.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Philosopher
The first step on the road to success is to define what
success means to you. In Section 1.1 you’ll clarify your
vision of success and begin to think about how you can
make it a reality. You’ll also consider the personal qualities that will help you reach success and discover how
studying psychology can help you understand yourself
and your world. In Section 1.2 you’ll begin thinking
about your identity and self-image. You’ll consider how
you see yourself and what it means to be you.

4 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
SECTION 1.1 Understanding Success
Success has a personal definition for each of us. About ninety-five percent
of the human beings on earth are poor; the majority of them desperately
Success to any member of such a family is to have some land to till, any
job that pays, and a way to earn enough to provide nourishment for the
children to grow in decent health into adulthood.
Success in our culture and in many of the industrialized nations is
usually associated with material wealth and fame. The images of lifestyles
of the rich and famous bombard our senses and we are seduced into
equating skin-deep values with authentic fulfillment. A more meaningful
definition of success was penned by Earl Nightingale—a 20th-century
philosopher—in his classic audio recording The Strangest Secret: “Success
is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” It means that when we
are working or moving toward something we want to accomplish, especially when that something brings us respect and dignity as members of
the human race, we are succeeding. It has nothing to do with talent, IQ,
age, gender, ethnicity, or birthright. It does not mean being a celebrity,
icon, or tycoon.
So what is success? In this book, success means a lifetime of personal
fulfillment. Personal fulfillment comes from creating a sense of meaning in
your work and life. This kind of success is not given by anyone else and
cannot be taken away by anyone else. It requires taking risks, overcoming
challenges, and using your best resource—you—to its fullest potential.
Success is a journey, not a destination. Success is a process, not a status.
You don’t arrive at success. You engage in living successfully on a daily basis.
It involves looking inward, considering what you value, and navigating the
life path that is most meaningful for you. Begin to think about what success
means to you in Activity 1. As you work through this text, you may wish to
return to this exercise to clarify your vision of success.
Ingredients of Success
Lifelong success has several important ingredients, all of which you will
learn about in this book. These ingredients, shown in Personal Journal 1.1,
are positive habits of thought and action that you can integrate into your
life. The first important ingredient is self-awareness. Closely tied to selfawareness are self-direction, self-esteem, self-discipline, and self-motivation,
which are the tools to keep you moving in the direction of your goals
and dreams. Your attitude is an important ingredient of success, too;
positive thinking can help you put things in perspective and make it
success Lifetime
fulfillment that comes from
creating a sense of meaning
in your work and personal
success secret
Money and fame don’t
equal success.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Success 5
ACTIVITY 1: What Success Means to You
A Take at least three or four minutes to brainstorm every word or phrase that comes to mind when you
think of “success.” Write these in the box below.
B Look at everything you wrote. What do these words or phrases tell you about your vision of success?
C Now put your definition of success down in writing.
To me, success means
continued . . .
6 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
D Does your definition of success differ from the definition of success presented in this text? If so, how?
E Do you think you will become successful according to your own definition of success? Why or why not?
F Describe two people you know who have achieved success the way you define it.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Success 7
professional development )))
through the tough times. Finally, no real success is possible without positive relationships with others. Let’s look at each of these key ingredients of
Self-Awareness Self-awareness involves identifying and appreciating
your individual values, personal qualities, skills, and interests. Without selfawareness, it’s hard to figure out what you really want out of life. Successful
people use self-awareness to build confidence in themselves and find the
courage to go after their dreams. They also use self-awareness to understand
their thoughts, feelings, and actions and to relate better to others.
Self-Direction Successful people set themselves apart from the rest by
developing an important trait: self-direction. Self-direction is the ability to set a
well-defined goal and work toward it. Successful people can tell you where
they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing
their adventure with them. They have a game plan for life. They set goals and
get what they want. They direct themselves along the road to success.
Self-Esteem Self-esteem, a respect for oneself as a valuable, unique
individual, is another foundation for success. Self-esteem helps people work
toward their dreams and goals and keep going when other people criticize
them or get in their way. It also helps them believe that they are worthy of
success in the first place.
success secret
Success is a journey, not a
self-direction The
ability to set a well-defined
goal and work toward it.
Internal Career Motivation
Knowledge of your attributes, abilities, interests, strengths, weaknesses, and traits is essential to becoming proactive in career choice and career change. It is important to draw a distinction between external and
internal criteria in these crucial matters. The overwhelming majority of job-hunters and career-changers
react to purely external pressures and circumstances—above all, to money. Their ideas about what careers
pay well are likely to be outdated because many of today’s job descriptions didn’t exist a decade ago; and
even if you choose a career that is lucrative, but makes you miserable, you may well end up viewing “your
work” as a necessary interruption between weekends.
Huge life decisions often turn on “starting salary and benefits” instead of on the homework to identify one’s
passions and talents. After money, the second external factor is ignorant advice, much of which is well-meaning
but some of which is narrow-minded and prejudiced. The third external is family or social pressure: donning the
old school tie to follow in Dad’s or Mom’s footsteps. The fourth is the perception of the job market as presented
by nothing more substantial than recent advertisements or media spin. The fifth is leaving it all to luck.
Most people, locked in a strangely passive attitude, simply fall into their jobs, often with unsatisfactory
results. We all must deal with external pressures and circumstances, but starting with them instead of the
internal factors—our own minds and hearts—is a kind of mad reversal of priorities. Take the time to become
fully engaged and honest with the exercises and assessments in this chapter. Look in the mirror before you
walk through that office door seeking your first or next job opportunity.
8 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Positive Thinking Everyone goes through good and bad experiences. Instead of dwelling on the bad ones, successful people learn to focus
on future possibilities. They also use setbacks as opportunities to take stock
and try again. Not every successful person is a born optimist, but successful
people learn to use the power of positive thinking to propel themselves
toward their goals.
Self-Discipline Success doesn’t just happen—it requires effort. No
matter how well you plan, you’ll need self-discipline to put your plans into
action. Successful people take charge of their lives. They take responsibility
when things go wrong, but they also take credit when things go well. They
learn how to make necessary changes and break free of bad habits. Habits
are replaced, over time, by consistent training and practice, requiring
focused self-discipline. They also learn to think critically, to make good
decisions, and to use these skills to manage their time and money.
Self-Motivation To get and stay motivated, successful people set
goals for themselves that are both challenging and inspiring. They focus on
goals that have personal meaning for them, rather than goals that society or
other people say they should have. They understand their needs and wants
and are able to keep themselves moving forward despite their fears.
Positive Relationships Healthy and diverse relationships are
essential for a successful life. Even in a society like ours that values individual achievement, no one ever succeeds without the help, ideas, and emotional support of others. The happiest and most fulfilled people are usually
those who make time for other people in their lives instead of focusing all
their energy on piling up accomplishments.
Which of the ingredients of success do you already possess? Which do
you need to develop? Record your thoughts in Personal Journal 1.1.
Who Is a Success?
Successful people get what they want out of life. They set and achieve goals
that benefit others as well as themselves. They don’t have to get lucky to
succeed at life, and they don’t have to gain success at the expense of others.
They achieve success by taking the potential they were born with and have
developed and using it toward a purpose that makes them feel worthwhile
according to their own standards.
In our society, it is not always obvious who the truly successful people
are. The media, for example, often glamorize people who have a great deal
of money, fame, or power, but these people are not always the most successful. In fact, large amounts of money, fame, or power can sometimes
lead to a feeling of aimlessness.
Just as we each have our own vision of success, we each have our
own idea of who is successful. Who is successful in your eyes? Powerful
businesspeople? Movie stars? Nobel prize–winning scientists? Caring
success secret
Use positive thinking to
reach your goals.
success secret
Always make time for
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Success 9
Self-Discipline Positive Thinking
teachers? Dedicated craftspeople? Nurturing parents? To many of us, the
most successful people are those who are special to us, such as a parent,
relative, teacher, or friend. Often, we appreciate the successes of people
who are close to us because they have made a difference in our lives and
because we know how many obstacles they overcame to achieve their goals.
Role Models If you think back to early childhood, you may remember having a role model. A role model is a person who has the qualities you
would like to have.
role model A person
who has the qualities you
would like to have.
Personal Journal 1.1
Ingredients of Success
On the lines in each oval, write one way you think this action or quality could help you become the person
you want to be.
10 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Children need role models, but adults need them too. Our role models often represent what we would like to become as we get older. James,
a student in information technology, takes inspiration from Michael Dell,
founder and CEO of Dell Inc. When James learned that Dell had started
his company at age 19 with only $1,000 and a good idea, he decided to
learn more. James read about Dell on the Internet and chose him as a
role model for his ethics, technical and business skill, and positive attitude. Now James is working on starting his own computer business.
Oprah Winfrey credits Mary Tyler Moore as the role model who
inspired her to pursue a media career, and Donna Karan says that working
as an apprentice for Anne Klein set the stage for her own career as a fashion designer. Role models can be well-known figures from history or littleknown coaches and teachers who have been a positive influence. You don’t
have to know someone personally for him or her to be your role model; the
person may be from a different part of the world or even from a different
century. Your role models may vary widely—some may have special skills or
accomplishments, while others may possess personal virtues such as courage, generosity, or honor. You may have one role model or several. Use
Activity 2 to select a role model and learn more about that person.
Success and Happiness
An important benefit of true success is happiness. Happiness is a state of
well-being that comes from having a positive evaluation of your life. It is
an overall good feeling about who you are, what you are doing, and the
relationships you have with other people. When you are interested in your
daily activities, enthusiastic about the way things are going, and optimistic
about your future, you are happy. How happy are you right now? Complete
Activity 3 to find out.
What Causes Happiness?
Happiness is the natural experience of winning your self-respect and the
respect of others. Happiness should not be confused with indulging yourself, escaping something, or seeking pleasure. You cannot inhale, drink, or
smoke happiness. You cannot buy it, wear it, drive it, swallow it, inject it,
or travel to it. Happiness is not a result. It involves making the best out of
whatever happens and remaining optimistic.
Did you know that outside factors, such as wealth, youth, physical health,
marital status, physical attractiveness, educational level, and social status,
have little effect on happiness? Corporate presidents who drive luxury cars
are no happier, in general, than day laborers who take the bus. What if you
woke up tomorrow looking like a movie star and with a winning lottery ticket
in your pocket? You would probably be happier—but only for a while. In a
year, life might not be so different for you after all. Studies show that a year
or so after big changes like this, your happiness level is likely to return to
success secret
Adults need role models,
happiness A state of
well-being that comes from
having a positive evaluation
of your life.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Success 11
ACTIVITY 2: Your Role Model
A Select one person whom you admire and would like to imitate in some way. Research this person’s life
and fill out the profile below.
Role Model Profile
1. Name
2. Date and place of birth
3. Special accomplishments
4. Obstacle(s) he or she overcame
5. Ways he or she overcame these obstacle(s)
6. Special personal qualities
continued . . .
12 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
7. Ways he or she shows or showed these special qualities
8. Ways he or she acquired these qualities
9. Things you and your role model have in common (personal qualities, experiences, interests,
10. Areas in which you would like to become more like your role model
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Success 13
B Of all the people you could have chosen, why did you choose this person as your role model? What do
you think your choice says about you?
C Look at your answer to item 10 in your role model profile. What are some specific actions you could take
to become more like your role model in these areas?
14 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 3: Self-Awareness Checklist
A Happiness seems to be a way of viewing ourselves and the world around us in terms of being part of the
solution, rather than part of the problem. It is being aware of the limitations we place on ourselves and
opening ourselves up to the potential around us for positive change. To determine your own level of
self-awareness, place a check mark in the box you think describes how often you feel this way.
I’m eager to learn.
My work is exciting.
I’m willing to listen with an open mind.
I have new insights.
I constantly network with people who have expertise in
something I don’t.
I try to look at the world through the eyes of the other person.
I focus on what I can control.
When someone is talking to me, I really listen.
I’m honest with myself and others.
I’ve thought about my own strengths and weaknesses.
I continually challenge my own assumptions.
I recognize that others may think that I’m strange or odd in
some ways.
I adapt easily to the current environment and situation.
B Hopefully, most of your check marks were in the FREQUENTLY box. It would be rare, indeed, for all
check marks to land in the ALWAYS box. Each of us is unique, with different views about ourselves and
the world. And no one is perfect. If some of your check marks were in the SOMETIMES box, what actions
can you take to make your positive self-awareness more frequent in those areas?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Success 15
C Do you feel that happiness is the result of what happens to you in life, or more how you deal with what
happens to you? Why?
D What actions or events in your personal and professional do you feel have the greatest influence on
your happiness?
E Two years from now, do you think you will be happier than you are today? Why?
16 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
where it was the previous year. In other words, most people experience a
fairly stable level of happiness despite life’s ups and downs.
Does this mean that you can’t raise your level of happiness? No. You
can always seek out opportunities to create happiness, such as:
• creating a sense of purpose in your life
• building deep connections with others
• improving skills, learning, and being productive
• playing games and enjoying yourself
• getting to know yourself better
• striving to become more like people you admire
• actively looking forward to things in the future
• enjoying the beauty in your environment
• pursuing curiosity for its own sake
Happy people don’t sit back waiting for happiness to appear. Instead,
they create opportunities for happiness to enter their lives.
Positive Qualities Another way to boost your happiness is to
develop personal qualities that will help you enjoy life and cope with challenges. Psychologists who have researched success and happiness have
found several of these qualities. Among the most important are:
• Ability to love—the ability to feel, express, and receive love, affection,
warmth, and compassion and to act in a giving way
• Vocation—the ability to feel interest and excitement in something and to
turn this into your life’s work
• Courage—the ability to take risks and challenge yourself
• Trust—confidence in other people and their motives
• Optimism—hope that things will turn out for the best
• Future-mindedness—a focus on the possibilities of the future, rather than
on the mistakes or disappointments of the past
• Social skill—the ability to understand others, get along with others, and
build fulfilling relationships
• Aesthetic sensibility—the ability to appreciate and delight in the beauty of
art, music, and nature
• Work ethic—commitment to honoring obligations, being dependable and
responsible, getting things done, and being productive
• Honesty—thinking, speaking, and acting in a forthright way with yourself
and others
• Emotional awareness—the ability to experience and express a wide range
of emotions
• Persistence—the ability to persevere in the face of setbacks and adversity,
to keep on track toward goals, and to handle stress
• Forgiveness—generosity of spirit, and the ability to avoid grudges and
• Creative thinking—the willingness to consider new beliefs and points of
view and to try out new ways of thinking and doing
success secret
Create your own opportunities for happiness.
success secret
Try new ways of thinking
and doing.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Success 17
• Spirituality—the search for a greater good, purpose, or meaning to human
• Self-esteem—a positive feeling of your own value, which includes selfrespect as well as respect for the rights, feelings, and wishes of others
• Wisdom—the ability to use your knowledge and experience to make
sound decisions
Building these qualities will help you to be physically healthy, enjoy strong
friendships and family relationships, derive satisfaction from a committed
romantic relationship, be an effective and loving parent, find satisfaction in
work, and feel good about yourself.
To have a clear vision of what you want out of life, you need to understand yourself first. Who am I? What are my wants and needs? Why
do I think, feel, and act the way I do? These questions are at the beginning of the journey to success. These questions are also some of the
important ones addressed by psychology. Psychology is the scientific
study of human behavior. The word psychology comes from two Greek
words: psyche, meaning “mind” or “self,” and logos, meaning “science” or
The focus of psychology is human behavior. Behavior is anything
we think, feel, or do, including:
• acting
• reacting
• speaking
• perceiving
• sensing
• imagining
• wanting
• remembering
• sleeping
• dreaming
Psychologists learn about people by observing their behavior. Although
psychologists cannot directly measure what people think or how they feel,
they can observe their actions, listen to their words, and try to understand
their experiences.
Why Study Psychology?
Psychology tackles basic questions about what it means to be human.
Psychologists ask questions such as:
• Why and how are people different from one another?
• What needs do all people have in common?
psychology The
scientific study of human
behavior Anything that
people think, feel, or do.
success secret
Psychology helps you
understand yourself
and others.
18 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
• Where do emotions come from? What function do they serve?
• Where do attitudes come from? How do they change?
• What is the difference between the body and the mind?
By providing insights into questions like these, psychology helps us
understand ourselves and others. Learning about psychologists’ discoveries and theories, therefore, can help you better understand yourself
and your world.
Goals of Psychology
Psychology has four major goals: to describe, predict, explain, and (in some
cases) change human behavior.
Because human behavior is so complex, many psychologists focus on
just one or two of these goals. For example, some psychologists focus
on observing how people think and act in very specific situations. They
then use their observations to create models of human thought and behavior in these situations. For example, psychologists who study marital
relationships might investigate the factors that influence people’s selection
of a marriage partner or the ways marriage relationships tend to change
over time.
More and more psychologists are taking their services online. Many now offer consultations via e-mail,
instant messaging, chat rooms, and even two-way
videoconferencing. Online therapy is not appropriate
for people dealing with serious crises, such as suicidal
thoughts or mental illness. However, it can reach out
to people who are geographically isolated, socially
anxious, or physically disabled. People can also use
the Internet to find virtual support groups, information
on screening and treatment, and listings of counselors and psychologists in their area. But what’s the
downside to online mental health services? Critics say
online therapy just doesn’t work. Successful therapy
is based on a human connection. Can two people
really create a deep human bond on a computer
screen? Critics also worry that people will fall victim
to bogus therapists and that personal information is
unsafe online.
Think About It
What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of online therapy? Would you try it? Why or why
not? Bring your ideas to class for a group discussion.
To learn more about online psychotherapy, go to a
search engine or go to one of the following websites:
A site that explores aspects of online psychology and
provides a list of resources


The home page of an organization that promotes the use of
technology and the Internet in mental health treatment
A Web page set up by the American Psychological Association to help individuals find a psychologist and read articles
about mental health
A Web service for checking the credentials of online
internet action
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Success 19
Other psychologists are interested in describing how individuals and
groups think and act in order to predict how they are likely to think and act
in the future. For example, psychologists who study children may try to
predict which children will be at risk for problems such as depression and
low self-esteem.
Many psychologists focus on the fourth goal of psychology, changing
human behavior. Clinical psychologists, for example, help people change the
undesirable behaviors associated with psychological illness. A clinical psychologist who works with people who fear social situations might help
these people confront their fear and take positive steps to overcome it.
Clinical psychologists have that designation because they, like physicians,
can aid their patients with prescription medicine.
Explaining Human Behavior
Why do people think, feel, and act the way they do? Until only a few centuries
ago, people believed that human behavior was controlled by external forces
that existed outside the body. In ancient times, people believed that psychological problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression were caused by evil spirits.
Because psychology is concerned with observable behavior, today few psychologists focus on investigating the spiritual side of existence. Instead, most
psychologists begin by trying to understand the biological basis of behavior.
Neuroscience: The New Frontier
Neuroscience is generally described as study that advances the understanding
of human thought, emotion, and behavior. The brain is extremely complex.
All human inventions, including the computer, spacecraft, smartphones,
drones, self-driving vehicles, and medical devices are toys in comparison.
Biologist Lyall Watson concisely summed it up: “If the brain were so simple
that we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn’t!”
We are only just beginning to discover the virtually limitless capacities
of the brain, and we’ve learned more about how the brain functions during
the past decade than in much of the past century. Just as our bodies react
to our own memories—as well as images from the external world—they also
react to our own imagined experiences or rehearsals.
American physiologist Edmund Jacobsen conducted studies showing
that when a person imagines running, small but measurable amounts of
contraction actually take place in the leg muscles. In the same way, when
you create a vivid, frightening image in your mind, your body responds with
a quickened pulse, elevated blood pressure, sweating, goosebumps, and dryness of the mouth. Conversely, when you hold a strong, positive, relaxing
image in your mind, your body responds with a lowered heart rate and
decreased blood pressure, and all your muscles tend to relax. These functions take place automatically, unconsciously. You’re seldom aware of their
cause. You think they “just happened.”
neuroscience The
science that advances the
understanding of human
thought, emotion, and
20 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Until recently, we have underestimated the resilience and regenerative
capacity in the human brain. People recovering from strokes and other
brain injuries have demonstrated the remarkable capacity of the brain to
regenerate. When parts of the brain have been destroyed or damaged,
remaining parts can “come to the rescue” and learn how to take over functions that were lost. For example, when an injury occurs to the left hemisphere, which controls our language and speech, “mirror neurons” located
on the right side of the brain can become involved in those functions.
Recovering patients who can’t speak, but can still hum a song, can
learn to associate words and phrases with melodies, helping them with
communication. Cognitive or mental rehabilitation for post-stroke patients,
involving speech and physical therapy, as well as memory aids, assist the
brain’s reorganization of the basic impaired functions. When a patient
relearns to carry out basic tasks, neurogenesis occurs. The goal is to stimulate the brain to re-form lost pathways and circuits. While it’s true that
brain cells can regenerate, they also can deteriorate if not being used. So,
when it comes to using your limbs or memory, the familiar phrase applies:
“Unless you use it, you’ll lose it.” For instance, if you don’t use your right
arm, the corresponding part of your brain will deteriorate.1
Mental practice is the term given to rehearsing activities and movements
in the mind, and it is known to facilitate peak performance in world class
athletes. Recent studies have shown it can also be used, along with other
cognitive treatments, on stroke patients and others, including our returning
service men and women who have been severely injured in battle, using
mental imagery to visualize motor movements that stimulates neuroplasticity processes, improving motor functions, especially arm movement.
Neurofeedback has progressed well beyond the biofeedback clinics of the
past twenty years, with sophisticated readouts that display how different parts
of the brain are reacting to video images, sounds, colors, thoughts, and simulations. By observing PET scans of people either watching or imagining various
scenes, brain researchers know that the brain doesn’t know the difference
between real, watched, or imagined experiences. Neuropsychology today
offers definitive proof that repeated, vivid, mental rehearsal over time can create an infrastructure in the brain that can convert virtual reality into reality.
New research has proven that our brains develop neural pathways from frequently used chemical-messaging patterns and thus build synaptic connections
that support habitual trains of thought. Neuroscience is at the forefront in
understanding how and why we act and react to real and perceived inputs.
Neuroscience and Psychology Recently, the melding of
behavioral psychology and neuroscience has become highly sophisticated
with major corporations hiring neural research companies to understand
employee and customer behavior from a new perspective. At whatever
point you are on your career path to maximize your fulfillment in your
work and life, basic knowledge of how your brain responds to the thousands
1 Elizabeth Landau, (May 5, 2011). “The Brain’s Amazing Potential for Recovery,” CNN.com.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Success 21
of messages it receives every day will help you sort out the myths from the
truths, and the positive influences from the negative distractions.
Neuroscience has helped identify and measure brain activity related to
consumer buying decisions and how to persuade others to buy into our
concepts and ideas. It is being utilized by major industries, institutions, and
organizations to help employees interact more effectively with one another
and their customers.
We have learned what behavior patterns influence people to say “Yes” to
what we’re trying to sell them, whether it’s a product, service, or lifestyle. For
example, people want a good deal, which equates to the most value for the
lowest investment. However, people think high price means more value,
which, of course, isn’t necessarily true. But people pay more because they
think they’re getting more. People buy into celebrity endorsements, somehow
equating star status to expertise. People respond favorably to common peer
group endorsements, believing that “if he or she can do it, so can I.” One of
the keys to getting buy-in is to understand that most people say “yes” to others they know and like, especially if they deem those others to be trustworthy.
And, of course, there are many more obvious fixed-action behaviors: Scarcity and time deadlines drive decisions; reciprocity means that people feel obligated to repay a favor; people bargain for needs and splurge on wants, which
is why reward motivation and inspiration are much more effective than fear
motivation and intimidation; people don’t respond favorably, especially today,
to coercion and “hard sell closing techniques.” They want to feel they are making their choices without outside pressure. With so much competition today,
with so many distractions and so many options, the idea of closing a sale is
obsolete, and the concept of nurturing a long-term relationship is the secret to
a winning team, customer retention, and innovation. And, finally, we know
that when it comes to sales, quotas, and goal setting, incremental steps work
best because a minimum purchase leads to escalating commitments, just as a
small success leads to increased confidence and risk taking.2
There are many false assumptions concerning how our brains and
minds function. We now have a truth for nearly every myth that has been
passed on to us. Here are just a few.
Myth: People make buy-in decisions in a rational, linear manner.
Truth: People’s decisions are first influenced by emotional triggers, and
then by logic. Emotions dominate the decision-making process.
Myth: People can readily explain their thinking and behavior.
Truth: People have far less access to their own mental activities than perceived.
About ninety-five percent of thinking is an unconscious, habitual process.
Myth: People’s memories accurately represent their experiences.
Truth: People’s memories are constantly changing without their awareness.
Instead of a Facebook photo album, memory is more like a constantly
edited music video, full of fragments, real and imagined.
2 Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. (2006). “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” Harper Business.
22 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
As you are remembering something, your brain is in the process of “rewiring” the connections between neurons, which is actually changing the structure of your brain. Rather than video playback, your memory is more like
video editing. Every time you remember something you are changing, recreating, or re-memorizing. A memory is subject to change every time you remember it. Hence the term used by an aging athlete “The older I get, the better
I was!” And the fisherman who remembers that the fish was as big as the boat!
Myth: People’s talents are received at conception as “natural gifts.”
Truth: Although talents are inherited, new talents and abilities can be
learned by re-training the brain. This means that our potential for success
in life is less limited by our inborn traits than previously thought.
Myth: We are born with a finite number (100 billion) of brain cells, and
when one dies, a new one cannot grow. The ability to generate new neural
pathways begins to decrease sharply around age twenty.
Truth: Neuroscientists are learning more about neural “plasticity,” which
is the ability of the brain to generate new neural cells and reorganize to
form new neural pathways, to adapt as needed. Neurogenesis, or the generation of new neurons, can continue throughout our life span, even into
old age. The creation of new neural pathways does take focused effort
over time; however, the ability to rewire your brain to generate success
and health-related pathways is at the forefront of individual and team
peak performance.
Myth: People think in words.
Truth: Two-thirds of all brain stimuli are visual. Neural activities (thoughts)
precede their expression as words or language. Words and other senses can
trigger thoughts, but thoughts are not “words.”
Here are the take-away concepts from the previous discussion:
We must consider the emotional triggers that motivate immediate, positive responses to communications. We must motivate without perceived
coercion. Our communications and training should be interactive to personalize the relationship and lead to loyalty and retention. We should focus
on desired outcomes, not penalties of failures. We have the ability to edit
and reprogram our bad memories—so they don’t hold us back. We have the
ability to edit, reprogram, splice-in, and spruce-up our good memories—so
they propel and launch us forward.
Our brain cells are constantly “talking” to one another through chemical messaging. More than 100,000 chemical reactions take place in your
brain every second. As we learn something new, our cells become more and
more efficient about sending and receiving information about the task. The
more we focus and practice, new neural connections are formed in the
brain (synapses that don’t usually fire together, but now do), which helps
us sharpen our new skill. Once this new neural pathway is firmly established
and strong, we don’t need to focus our attention as much—new learning has
become automatic, a part of us.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Success 23
As we will discover in the pages that follow, we can engage in instant
replay of positive memories, with the ability to select and magnify our
positive experiences, to make us more resilient in trying times. We also can
engage in instant pre-play of our goals and desires, and create new neural
pathways to channel our imaginations toward successful outcomes, realizing that our brains cannot distinguish between real experience and vividly
imagined, emotional passions, internalized through constant practice.
Humans are biological beings, with a complex nervous system that
regulates thoughts, feelings, and actions. The nervous system is a vast
network of neurons (nerve cells) that carry messages to and from the
brain. Neurons communicate with one another using chemical and electrical signals. They tell our glands and muscles what to do and relay signals
to the brain from our sense organs. Millions of nerve impulses move
throughout our bodies all the time, even when we are resting or sleeping.
Consciousness The nervous system is responsible for more than
just monitoring our bodily functions. It is also responsible for consciousness,
our awareness of the sensations, thoughts, and feelings we are experiencing
at a given moment. Consciousness can take the form of extreme alertness,
such as when we are taking a test or looking for a parking space on a
crowded street. It can also take the form of reduced alertness, such as when
we are daydreaming or driving a familiar route without having to think
about what we are doing.
Conscious activities are controlled by the conscious mind, the part of
the brain that controls the mental processes of which we are aware. The
conscious mind collects information from our environment, stores it in our
memory, and helps us make logical decisions. The conscious mind is not
the whole story, however. We also have a subconscious mind, which stores
the emotions and sensations that we are not quite aware of, the feelings
that are just under the surface. Our subconscious mind also helps us solve
problems. Have you ever tried in vain to solve a difficult problem, only to
have the solution pop into your head later when you were thinking about
something else? This is the power of the subconscious mind. It came up
with the solution while your conscious mind was busy with something else.
Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions
Do people act based on thoughts or on feelings? Do feelings cause
thoughts, or do thoughts cause feelings? Actually, thoughts, feelings, and
actions are all connected. Each influences the other in a continuous cycle.
Our thoughts about people, objects, events, and situations have a strong
influence on our feelings about them. For example, if we believe that a certain event will turn out in our favor and it does not, we will probably experience a feeling of disappointment. On the other hand, if we believe that a
certain event will not turn out in our favor and yet it does, we will probably
experience a feeling of relief.
nervous system
A system of nerve cells
that regulates behavior by
transmitting messages back
and forth between the brain
and the other parts of the
conscious mind The
part of the brain that controls
the mental processes of
which we are aware.
subconscious mind
The part of the brain
that controls the mental
processes of which we are
not actively aware.
success secret
Thoughts, feelings,
and actions are all
24 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
By the same token, our feelings about the world have a strong influence
on our beliefs and thoughts about it. If we have positive thoughts and feelings
about a certain situation, we will seek out that situation again. If we have
negative thoughts and feelings about a situation, we will avoid that situation
in the future.
The way we act also influences our thoughts and feelings. For example,
acting responsibly at work makes us feel good about ourselves, while acting
irresponsibly produces the opposite result.
Use Personal Journal 1.2 to continue thinking about how your
thoughts, feelings, and actions are related.
Cognition and Emotion
What exactly are thoughts and feelings? Thought, known in psychology as
cognition, refers to the functions of processing information. This information
may be in the form of words, images, or sounds. We think every time we
talk to ourselves, daydream, replay a scene from the past, hear a tune in our
heads, or see a picture in our minds. Cognition includes activities such as:
• Perceiving—giving meaning to sensory information
• Recognizing—identifying whether you have, or have not, experienced a
certain person, thing, idea, or situation before
• Remembering—storing and retrieving information
• Reasoning—using information to reach conclusions
cognition Mental
processing of information
in any form.
Personal Journal 1.2
Your Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions
Think of a recent situation that provoked a strong emotion. In the circles below, write down how you
thought, felt, and acted in that situation.
Thoughts Feelings
How did your thoughts, feelings, and actions influence one another?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Success 25
• Making decisions—evaluating and choosing among various options or
courses of action
• Solving problems—generating and evaluating ways to overcome obstacles
that stand between you and your goals
• Forming concepts—grouping objects, events, or people based on shared
• Visualizing—creating detailed mental pictures of behaviors you want to
carry out
Cognition is closely tied to emotion. Emotion refers to subjective feelings
that are accompanied by physical and behavioral changes, such as facial expressions and gestures. Although there is no such thing as a “bad” or “good” emotion,
some emotions are more pleasant than others. Joy, interest, and surprise, for
example, are more pleasant than fear, anger, and guilt. In addition to being
positive or negative, emotions can also be more or less intense, as shown in
Figure 1.1. For example, liking is a less intense emotion than love, which is less
intense than passion. Emotions come from countless sources—sights, sounds,
smells, memories, ideas, or interactions with others. In fact, we are always feeling something, even when we are washing the dishes or driving to work.
Positive emotions help us learn, solve problems, make decisions, relate
to others, and relate to ourselves. Pleasant emotions include:
• Joy—a feeling of happiness following achievement of a goal
• Love—a feeling of affection, devotion, or attachment
emotion A subjective
feeling that is accompanied
by physical and behavioral
FIGURE 1.1 Positive and Negative Emotions
The Range of Emotions Emotions can be extremely negative, such as guilt
and despair, or extremely positive, such as happiness and joy. They can also
be more neutral, such as boredom and surprise. Describe an experience that
provoked an intense feeling of joy.
Shame Distaste Timidity Hostility
Negative Positive
Interest Like Happiness
Contentment Desire
Fear Contempt Anger Enthusiasm Rhapsody Love Joy
Hatred Rage Surprise Excitement Ecstasy Passion
26 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
• Interest—a state of curiosity, concern, or attention
• Pride—a positive feeling about yourself that you experience when you
achieve a personal success
Unlike positive emotions, negative emotions encourage us to focus our
attention on the specific thing that is troubling us. If we feel fear, for example, we will focus all our energy on getting away from the object of that
fear. Because negative emotions take up so much energy, they make it hard
to do productive things such as learning or working toward our goals.
Negative emotions include:
• Embarrassment—an unpleasant feeling about yourself that you experience
when you believe that others have found a flaw in you
• Guilt—a negative feeling about yourself that you experience when you
believe that your actions have harmed someone else
• Shame—a negative feeling about yourself that you experience following a
personal failure
• Despair—an unpleasant feeling of hopelessness and defeat
• Fear—an unpleasant feeling of anxiety and anticipation of danger
• Anger—a strong feeling of displeasure, resentment, or hostility
• Disgust—a negative feeling of aversion or repulsion
• Sadness—a somber emotion of sorrow over a loss
Being aware of the range of human emotions helps you understand
what is happening inside you and why. Learn to occasionally stop and
observe your thoughts, feelings, and actions the way a psychologist might.
This will help you understand your behavior, which is the first step to
making the positive changes that will lead you down the road to success.
Self Check
1. What is a role model? (p. 9)
2. What are the benefits of studying psychology? (p. 17)
3. What is the nervous system? (p. 23)
success secret
Pay attention to what is
happening inside you
and why.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Yourself 27
SECTION 1.2 Understanding Yourself
We are not born with a sense of self. It develops—as do many of our
attitudes—over time, based on repeated inputs from our environment. The
sum total of our past experiences—our successes and failures, our humiliations and triumphs, and the way we have interacted with those around us
and who love us—gives us a subjective sense of the sort of person we are.
But there is an important catch. All of our experiences are pieces of input
that are colored by our perceptions, and, because our perceptions are not
necessarily the same as reality, our sense of who we are may miss the mark
by a wide margin. Unfortunately, once an idea becomes a belief, it becomes
a “truth” as far as we are concerned.
Most of our understanding of the world is filtered through our understanding of self. We decide what is right and wrong, what is appealing and
unappealing, what is pleasurable and painful based on the way we see ourselves and our relationship with the outside world. Having a firm sense of
self helps us make plans and predictions. It gives us an emotional investment in what we are doing. It motivates us to achieve our goals and to
improve ourselves. Having a firm sense of self also helps us build and maintain relationships with others.
Your Self-Image
A picture tells a thousand words. Have you ever noticed how easily information can be conveyed in a picture or an image that would otherwise take
pages of writing or minutes or hours of speaking? Your self-image is how
you see yourself, which determines what you do, how you behave, how well
you perform, and what kind of effort or attention you put into something.
In fact, your self-image tells more than a thousand words because it sets the
template or “thermostat” on your performance and what you do.
When you understand how your self-image works, you are able to address
and then change it, if you want to. You can change the performance standards upon which you operate and your view of your abilities to perform at a
higher level in the future. Many people are not aware of their “self-image”
and how they see themselves in their own mind’s eye; therefore, they are not
aware of the enormous impact a poor or limited self-image can have on who
they think they are and their potential for peak performance.
Many Self-Images When we look in the internal mirror of our
minds, we can see many self-images such as those that relate to ourselves as a
daughter/son, a trusted friend, a business person, a mother/father, a partner,
healthy, wealthy, flexible, or humorous. We can never totally erase experiences from our memories. If they were negative, our self-images may be set at
self Your sense of being a
unique, conscious being.
self-image All the
beliefs you have about
success secret
A sense of self helps
you understand the
world and make plans
and decisions.
28 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
low-performance or even no-win. But we can reset our self-images. We can
pre-program our future success more effectively by becoming aware, addressing and changing the self-image, or projections, of the kind of person we
believe we can become.
Future Projections Define Boundaries The aspect of our
self-image we want to work with is a future projection of our sense of self. It
defines the boundaries or possibility of our identity and what we believe to be
possible. It sets the thermostat on our range of behavior and standard of performance. If we set an image of ourselves that is higher than current performance levels, we will be motivated to gather the resources within ourselves,
and from our environment, to make our new self-image a reality and not just
a figment of our imagination. The creation of new self-images does take
focused effort over time; however, the ability to rewire our brain activity
through visualization and repetition to create new, neural pathways is at the
forefront of individual and team peak performance. That is why the more
vivid and specific our dreams and goals are, the more likely we are to achieve
them, which we will discuss in Chapter 3.
Whatever occurs within our lives is colored by our perceptions. And
because our perceptions are not necessarily the same as reality, our sense of
who we are may miss the mark by a wide margin. Unfortunately, once an
idea or belief becomes a perception, it becomes a truth for our self-image.
Each link we add to the growing chain of self-images may either expand or
limit our lives more tightly.
The Brain’s Gatekeeper The more neuroscientists learn about
brain function, the more we are able to influence changes in our beliefs and
our behaviors that lead to maximizing our fulfillment in our careers and
personal lives.
Radiating upward from your brain stem is a small network of cells, about
four inches in length, called the reticular activating system. It is just about the
size and shape of a quarter of an apple, and is one of the most important
parts of your brain to understand and utilize to reach your goals. The reticular core of the brain dominates your behavior patterns, which include your
eating habits, exercise habits, and the way you choose to live your life. It is
perfectly placed to monitor all of the nerves connecting the brain and the
body, and it “knows” what is going on better than any other single part of the
brain. It can override activity in the spinal cord. It regulates the signals from
the eyes, ears, and other sense organs and is clearly linked to the display and
feeling of emotions.
The reticular activating system performs the unique function of filtering
incoming stimuli, such as sight, sound, and touch, and deciding what information is going to become part of your experience. It decides what is important information and what is to be ignored. For example, if you live along a
busy street, the reticular activating system quickly allows you to tune out the
sound of cars rushing by so you can sleep peacefully at night.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Yourself 29
Once you have made a decision that a certain value, thought, feeling,
sound, or picture is significant to you, your reticular activating system is
alerted and it immediately transmits to your consciousness any information it
receives regarding that item. So when you buy a new car, for example, it is
this network that suddenly causes you to notice all the cars of the same
make—or even the same color—on the highway.
The beautiful feature about the reticular activating system is that you can
program it to be on the alert for success-related inputs. It will wake you up in
the morning without an alarm clock. If it knows you’re looking forward to
another eventful day, it will get you right out of bed. If it knows that you’re
looking for values and qualities in other individuals, it will home in on those
values and qualities. If you’re seeking more financial rewards, it will be
extremely sensitive to any financially oriented data that could help you. The
reticular activating system explains accident-prone people as it conversely
explains success-prone people. It explains why some people see a problem in
every solution and why others see a solution for every problem.
During every moment of our lives we program (or we allow others to program) our brains to work for us, or against us. Because the reticular activating system has no judging function, it strives to meet the attitudes and beliefs
we set for it, regardless of whether they are positive or negative, true or false,
right or wrong, safe or dangerous. Its only function is to follow our previous
instructions implicitly, like a personal computer playing back what is stored—
responding automatically. While the reticular activating system is a physical
part of the brain, the corresponding self-image is an abstract part of the
brain’s consciousness, a function of the mind. And your self-image is the
“psychological thermostat” that sets the limits and the ceiling on your
performance in your world.
Limits are physical, in that genetic and other health factors, age, and
skills do impose certain restrictions on performance. However, these limits—
for most of us—will never be fully tested because of the limitations caused by
our beliefs. Limitations are psychological. Over time we all learn to raise or
lower our expectations of ourselves because of our experiences. Disappointments become solid barriers. Successes give us confidence. As we get older,
we don’t simply move past these limitations we have internalized. Some of
them stay with us throughout our lives. Successful individuals are constantly
seeking growth and high performance and, incrementally, keep raising the
bar on these invisible barriers.
A former sports’ psychologist tells a true story that illustrates this point,
which he observed when he was working with a world-class high-jumper preparing for the Summer Games. The athlete could clear the high-jump bar in
practice and in competition at 7 feet, 5 inches; but no higher, regardless of
the technique or practice. When he wasn’t paying close attention one day,
the coach raised the bar an inch, to 7 feet, 6 inches. Thinking it was still at
the lower setting, the athlete cleared it. When his coach told him what he
had done, he looked at his coach in disbelief, almost agitated. “But I can’t
jump that high,” he exclaimed. “You just did,” the coach smiled. “You just
30 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
conquered your own four-minute mile barrier, just as Roger Bannister did so
many years ago.” Once Bannister proved that it was possible to run a mile in
under four minutes, on May 6th, 1954, suddenly more and more track stars
were able to do it—proving an important lesson: once you stop believing something is impossible, it becomes possible.
Many individuals don’t understand and believe that they, to a large
extent, can control their outcomes in life. They feel like thermometers,
reflecting that they are who they are because of what’s happening to them in
relation to the outside world. A thermometer rises or falls to meet the external environment. Most self-images are greatly influenced by what the media
and our role models bombard our senses with on a daily basis. However, we
do have control of our current thoughts. We can reset our self-image like an
internal thermostat from average performance to peak performance, and
expand our comfort zones over time.
Each of us has a number of comfort zones that we have developed
throughout our lives that dictate the amount of discomfort we are willing to
suffer before making adjustments. Reflect, for a moment, on just how many
of your behaviors are set into motion when you move out of these comfort
zones. “Too much” can motivate as strongly as “too little.” On the level of
conscious thought, there are any number of examples: how much time we
feel comfortable in spending with those around us; how much effort we feel
comfortable in expending on our daily priorities at the office or at home; how
much money we feel comfortable in spending on our lifestyles, as well as
how much money we feel comfortable in earning.
The self-image can definitely be compared to a type of thermostat, keeping
us in a psychological comfort zone. With a low self-image many people’s psychological thermostats are set correspondingly low. Not believing they are
capable of much or worth much, the low self-image individuals are comfortable
with mediocrity and being spectators. When challenged to venture out on the
high side or take a chance to change the status quo, they pull back. “I’m not
capable of that; that’s beyond my meager abilities. It’s not worth the effort.
Why bother?” goes the negative self-talk. They have discovered that their
imaginations serve as a life-governing device—that if your self-image can’t possibly see yourself doing something or achieving something, you literally cannot
do it. “It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.”
Our “set point” for success is arrived at over time, based on belief in ourselves, our abilities, and our worth practiced on a daily basis. With a strong and
healthy belief in ourselves and what we are capable of, we can go out and survive the stress of day-to-day living and reaching worthy goals. When our selfimage thermostats move into the higher ranges, we believe we can handle pretty
much whatever is thrown at us. We become comfortable with peak performance. And we become uncomfortable with lower performance. However, we
all have good and bad days. So it becomes important for us to respond effectively to setbacks. If our efforts to win fall below our comfort zones, we feed
back to our self-image some positive reinforcement and self-talk: “Next time, I’ll
do better”; “I can do that.” “More knowledge, training, and better concentration
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Yourself 31
will win me that prize.” This will be discussed in detail in Chapter 4, concerning
how positive self-talk impacts our self-esteem.
Creativity is seeing, in advance, an idea that can become a solution to a
major problem or need. And holding on to that idea until it works or until a
better idea is implemented. Creativity is holding on to your dreams even
when others laugh at you. Creativity comes from having mentors and
coaches who are interested in your success; coaches who’ll listen unconditionally, who praise often and criticize constructively the behavior that is
undesirable, while not directly criticizing the individual. Creativity is having
curious leaders who are open to new ideas and to better ways of doing
things and who are not so set in their ways that they prejudge everything in
advance. Unimaginative and unproductive people say, “It may be possible,
but it’s too difficult.” Creative individuals say, “It may be difficult, but it’s
always possible.”
When we look in a mirror, there are three reflections: the child of our
past, the person we are today, and the person we will become. With the right
role models and the right inputs into our brain’s software program, we can
change the perceptions that have twisted and colored our image of who we
really are. Understanding this secret of the power of the imagined experience
is fundamental to understanding high-performance human achievement.
What is your dominant self-image? Do you see yourself as creative,
friendly, funny, and intelligent, or do you have a low view of yourself?
Enter your thoughts in Personal Journal 1.3.
Building a Healthy Self-Image
A healthy self-image is positive but realistic. People with a realistic selfimage aren’t bothered by their weaknesses, however, because they know
that their strengths outweigh them. Instead of worrying about the things
they can’t do well, they make the very best of all the things they can do
well. Sarah, for example, knows that she is a whiz at math and computers
but is a pretty ordinary artist. Emmett takes pride in being a good writer
and musician, but knows that he tends to stumble when making oral presentations. They both have healthy, realistic self-images.
People with unrealistic, negative self-images, by contrast, overestimate
their weaknesses and suffer from low self-esteem. (You’ll learn more about
the connection between self-image and self-esteem in Chapter 4.) People
with unrealistic, positive self-images have high self-esteem, but they overestimate their strengths and don’t put in the effort required to succeed. They
also have trouble getting along with other people because they usually seem
hostile and arrogant.
Besides being realistic, a healthy self-image is also based on who you are
right now. Who you are today does not limit who you will be next week,
next month, or next year. Your potential, your interests, and your abilities
are developing every day and will continue to develop. You are being influenced by the world around you, and you are influencing the world, too.
success secret
A healthy self-image is
positive but realistic.
32 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Personal Journal 1.3
How Do You See Yourself?
On the scales following each statement, circle one or more numbers between 1 and 10 according to how
strongly you agree with it. The number 1 represents total disagreement, and the number 10 represents
total agreement. You may select a single number or a range of numbers.
1. I have high intellectual ability.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
7. I am competent on the job.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
2. I am good at sports.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
8. I am competent at school.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
3. I am creative.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
9. I am romantically appealing to others.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
4. I have good relationships with my close friends.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
10. I am physically attractive.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
5. I have a good sense of humor.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11. I am a moral person.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
6. I am popular with others.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
12. I have a good relationship with my parents.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Identify the three areas to which you gave the highest ratings. What are you particularly proud of in these
areas? Now look at the areas to which you gave low ratings. Is it possible that you are being overly critical of yourself?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Yourself 33
Complexity and Self-Image A healthy self-image is also complex. Having a complex self-image means having a variety of positive ways
of seeing yourself. People who have a complex self-image are less likely to
suffer from psychological troubles such as stress, anxiety, and depression.
When they suffer a setback or difficulty in one area of their lives, they can
fall back on one of the many other positive roles they play in life. Ladonna,
for example, has a complex self-image: She sees herself as a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and an environmentalist. When things get
tough at work, she has many other positive aspects of herself to take pride in.
Jared, on the other hand, has a rather simple self-image: He sees himself
mainly as an A student. When he occasionally does poorly on a test, he
feels like a failure.
The key to a complex self-image is to strike a balance among the various important areas of your life, such as relationships, school, work and
career, community, health, hobbies and leisure, and spirituality. When you
devote time and energy to each important area of your life, you build a
strong foundation for feeling good about yourself. How balanced is your
life? Take a look in Activity 4.
If you wrote down a detailed description of your innermost self and then
asked your best friend to write a description of you, how similar do you
think the descriptions would be? What if you asked a sibling? A parent?
What about a new acquaintance? Chances are, none of their descriptions
would be very similar to yours. That’s because no one sees you the way you
see yourself. It’s also because you probably act slightly differently with each
of these people.
Have you noticed that people change their behavior depending on the
social setting? Ginny, for example, is responsible and managerial at work, shy
and quiet in the classroom, and sociable and outgoing with friends. Is she acting falsely in some situations? Is she unsure of who she is? Not necessarily.
Ginny’s behavior shows the power of social roles. A social role is a set of
norms (standards of behavior) that define how we are supposed to behave in a
social position or setting. Like Ginny, each of us is subject to many social
roles: partner, friend, parent, citizen, son or daughter, student, employee.
We act according to social roles because we desire social acceptance.
Sometimes this desire motivates us to act in ways that don’t represent our
true selves. Altering our behavior to make a good impression on others is
known as self-presentation. Trina, for example, acts falsely modest after
receiving a compliment because she is afraid of seeming stuck up.
All of us use self-presentation, sometimes without being aware of it. We
might act friendly and upbeat at a party to make a good impression, for
example, even if we’re feeling tired and grouchy inside. How do you behave
around different people? Do you engage in self-presentation? Write your
thoughts in Activity 5.
success secret
It’s healthy to find balance
in your life.
success secret
No one sees you the way
you see yourself.
social role A set of
norms that define how you
are supposed to behave in
a given social position or
Altering your behavior to
make a good impression on
34 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 4: Wheel of Life
A Read each of the statements below. Decide how true each statement is for you, then write in a number
between 1 (not at all true) and 10 (totally true).
Rating (1–10)
1. I go to movies, restaurants, and so on, with friends.
2. I spend time thinking about the meaning of life.
3. I exercise regularly.
4. I enjoy time with my romantic partner.
5. I have goals for earning and spending money.
6. I am satisfied with my career choice and my career progress so far.
7. I am involved in community affairs.
8. I enjoy reading books or magazines.
9. I belong to a club or social group.
10. I set time aside for meditation, prayer, worship, or other spiritual practice.
11. I eat healthful foods.
12. I write or call friends and family members from whom I am separated.
13. I earn the income I want.
14. I am involved in creative work on the job, at school, or elsewhere.
15. I belong to a community association.
16. I attend workshops or special courses to increase my knowledge or skills.
17. I like to meet new people and socialize.
18. I think about how I can make my life serve a greater purpose.
19. I try to maintain a healthy weight.
20. I have coworkers or fellow students who are also friends.
21. I have a plan for saving money.
22. I have reached some, but not all, of my professional goals.
23. I volunteer for community or charitable projects.
24. I watch or listen to educational programs.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Yourself 35
B Scoring: For each of the 24 items on the list, write the rating you gave it (1–10) on the line below.
Item 4
Item 12
Item 20
Work and Career
Item 6
Item 14
Item 22
Item 7
Item 15
Item 23
Learning and School
Item 8
Item 16
Item 24
Health and Fitness
Item 3
Item 11
Item 19
Hobbies and Leisure
Item 1
Item 9
Item 17
Item 2
Item 10
Item 18
Item 5
Item 13
Item 21
C Record the total for each area on the wheel below by drawing a curved line in each section of the circle.
Hobbies and
Health and
Work and
Learning and
Wheel of Life
30 20 10 10 20 30
continued . . .
36 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
D Ideally, your completed diagram should resemble a circle. However, most of us have different priorities at
different stages of our lives. Were you surprised by your imbalance? Explain why or why not.
E In which area(s) of your life do you want or need to spend more time? Explain.
F Name specific things you could give up in one or two areas in order to make more time for the
neglected area(s).
G Are any of the eight life areas covered in this exercise particularly important to you? Explain.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Yourself 37
ACTIVITY 5: Sides of Yourself
A On the figure below, write five adjectives to describe how you think, feel, or act when you are with each
of the people named.
Close Friend
B Are you more “yourself” with one of the individuals on the figure, or do you think, feel, and act fairly
consistently with all of them? Explain.
C We all use self-presentation strategies from time to time. When do you use self-presentation? Explain.
38 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
How we choose to define ourselves to the world makes up our identity. Our
identity is our public self. An identity is complex and comes together, piece
by piece, over a lifetime. Your identity can change over time as you encounter new people, places, ideas, and challenges.
Although each individual’s identity is complex, most psychologists
agree that it is made up of three major elements: individual identity, relational identity, and collective identity. Your identity takes shape over time
as you integrate your individual, relational, and collective identities into a
meaningful whole.
Individual Identity Your individual identity is made up of the personal characteristics that distinguish you from other people. These characteristics are both physical, such as your appearance and possessions, and
psychological, such as your personality and talents. Important components
of individual identity are:
• name (given name, nicknames)
• age
• sex
• physical characteristics (tall, short, fit, red-haired, etc.)
• possessions (home, car, clothing, etc.)
• ways of interacting with others (shy, outgoing, nice, etc.)
• talents and personal qualities (intelligent, creative, athletic, etc.)
• likes and preferences (food, music, hobbies, etc.)
• emotions (happy, sad, moody, stable, excitable, etc.)
• beliefs and ideologies (environmentalist, conservative, etc.)
• intellectual interests (literature, science, etc.)
• artistic activities (painting, singing, dance, etc.)
Relational Identity Relational identity refers to how we identify
ourselves in relation to the important people in our lives, such as our parents, siblings, close friends, children, and romantic partner. These significant others are so important to our sense of self that we often take pride in
their achievements as if they were our own. Important elements of relational identity are:
• kinship/family role (mother, father, son, daughter, etc.)
• romantic/sexual role
• professional role (boss, employee, etc.)
• friendship role (coworker, best friend, acquaintance, etc.)
Collective Identity Our collective identity is the sum of all the
social roles we play and the social groups to which we belong. Human
beings are social creatures, and each of us is a member of many groups,
such as a cultural group, an ethnic group, and a religious group. Culture
and ethnicity are particularly powerful influences on identity. Think about
identity How you choose
to define yourself to the
individual identity
The physical and
psychological characteristics
that distinguish you.
relational identity
How you identify yourself in
relation to important others.
collective identity
The sum of the social roles
you play and the social
groups to which you belong.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Yourself 39
how different you would be today if you had grown up in another country
or been born with a different ethnicity. Would you still be “you”?
Consider how the following elements of your collective identity make
you who you are:
• race/ethnicity
• religion
• culture (European, Asian, etc.)
• social class or status (middle class, working class, etc.)
• occupation
• citizenship/territoriality (American, Californian, etc.)
• group membership (member of student orchestra, etc.)
• political affiliation (Democrat, Republican, Green, etc.)
Each of us values these aspects of identity differently. Some people, for
example, may see their religion as a major component of who they are,
while others may place much more importance on their profession.
What are the elements of your identity, and which ones are the most central to how you see yourself? Activity 6 will help you find out.
Culture and Identity
Culture has a powerful impact on identity. Culture consists of the behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large social group and
transmitted from one generation to the next. Each culture has different
values, ethics, beliefs, lifestyles, and standards of acceptable and unacceptable behavior, such as ways of dressing, expressing ourselves, and relating
to others. Culture influences all aspects of life, from education to career
to family.
Western cultures usually promote individualism. This means that people
value individual goals over group goals and define their identity in terms of
personal rather than group attributes. In individualist cultures, people place
emphasis on competing with others and standing out from those around
them. For that reason, people from countries such as the United States and
Canada often value their individual identity over their collective or relational identity. Other values that are important to people in individualist
cultures include:
• pleasure
• creativity and imagination
• a varied life filled with challenge, novelty, and change
• being daring, seeking adventure and risk
• freedom of thought and action
• independence, self-reliance, and choosing one’s own goals
Unlike Western cultures, many Eastern cultures promote collectivism.
This means that people value group goals over individual goals and define
their identity in terms of group identifications rather than personal
culture The behaviors,
ideas, attitudes, and
traditions shared by a large
social group and transmitted
from one generation to the
40 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 6: Identity Profile
A Fill out the lines below for each aspect of your individual identity.
Individual Identity
My full name is
I am years old
My sex is
Physical characteristics that distinguish me from other people are
My most important possessions are
When I am with other people, I usually act
My special traits/talents include
I like
I often feel the emotions of
I strongly believe in
I am very interested in
Relational Identity
I am the son/daughter of
I am the close friend of
I am the spouse/partner of
I am the mother/father of
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Yourself 41
Achievements or qualities of my close friends or relations that I am proud of include
Collective Identity
My race or ethnicity is
My cultural background is
My religious beliefs are
By profession, I am (or will be) a(n)
I was born in
I live in
Social groups I belong to include
My political orientation is
B How well do you think the information above sums up your identity? Explain.
C If someone who had never met you before was given this list, how well do you think that person would
know you? Explain.
continued . . .
42 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
D Now consider how important each aspect of your identity is to you by filling out the following questionnaire. Assign each statement a number between 1 and 5, with 1 being not important at all to your sense
of who you are and 5 being extremely important to your sense of who you are.
Score (1–5)
1. My dreams and goals
2. My closest friend(s)
3. My relatives and close family
4. My cognitions and emotions
5. My life partner
6. My race or ethnicity
7. My self-image
8. My occupation and economic status
9. My religion
10. My ethics and values
11. My group of friends and acquaintances
12. My sense of belonging to my community
E Scoring: To determine your individual identity score, add up the number of points you assigned to
items 1, 4, 7, and 10. To determine your relational identity score, add up the number of points you
assigned to items 2, 3, 5, and 11. To determine your collective identity score, add up the number of
points you assigned to items 6, 8, 9, and 12. What are your totals?
Individual Identity Relational Identity Collective Identity
Which component of your identity is most important to you?
F Which four or five individual aspects of your identity (from any of the three major components) do you
value the most? Why?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Yourself 43
attributes. In collectivist Asian cultures, such as Japan, India, and China,
for example, people value cooperation and harmonious interpersonal
relationships more than being special or standing out from the crowd.
Other values that are emphasized in collectivist cultures include:
• honoring and showing respect for parents and elders
• social order and stability in society
• national security and protection from enemies
• self-discipline and resisting temptation
• politeness, courtesy, and good manners
• obedience, fulfilling duties, and meeting obligations
Because of this emphasis on relationships and social order, people from
collectivist cultures tend to value their relational and collective identities
more than their individual identity.
Gender and Identity
One particular aspect of culture—gender—has a particularly strong impact
on our identity. Gender is the set of characteristics used to define male and
female. Unlike sex, which is biological, gender is cultural. As children grow
up and develop an identity, they are powerfully affected by gender roles.
A gender role is a set of norms that define how males and females are
supposed to behave.
Gender roles vary widely from culture to culture. In Western societies,
men have traditionally been expected to be assertive, independent, and
competitive, while women have traditionally been expected to be helpful,
expressive, and gentle. Gender roles like these are reinforced by the different ways that boys and girls are treated in school and at home. Girls, for
example, are more likely to be punished for aggressive behavior than boys,
because this kind of behavior is considered more appropriate for boys than
for girls. Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to be punished for crying
and to be told that “boys don’t cry.”
Even the toys given to girls and boys reinforce gender roles. Girls are
often given dolls, dollhouses, and play makeup, while boys are often given
toy trucks and trains, action figures, and even toy guns. A boy who is interested in dolls, or a girl who is interested in trucks, might face criticism and
rejection from parents, teachers, and peers.
Gender roles are rapidly changing in the United States. More women
graduate from high school than do men and our total workforce is nearly
equally divided between men and women. There are more women enrolled
in colleges than men, and women have passed men in gaining advanced
degrees as well as bachelor’s degrees, part of a trend that is helping redefine
who goes off to work and who stays home with the kids. About one of
every five stay-at-home parents is a father. More than one-fourth of all businesses are owned by women and more than half of all new, small business
are being created by women.
gender role A set of
norms that define how males
and females are supposed to
44 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Unfortunately, even with great strides in our society to appreciate and
reward competent employees whose skills, talents, and accomplishments
meet or exceed expectations, gender bias (when someone is treated differently or unfairly due to one’s gender) has not totally been eliminated.
Women (and even men) may face a “maternal wall” bias, which assumes
their commitment to family outweighs their commitment to career, and
that the latter will suffer as a result. Or women who are perceived as “too
assertive” may falsely be labeled as “too difficult” or “too ambitious,” while
their male counterparts may be rewarded for like behavior.
Also, most research indicates that women still earn less than men in the
workplace, which in part can be attributed to gender bias. This is also due
to the fact that women have often chosen lesser paying jobs within a career
field. For example, a female math major is more likely to go into teaching,
which has been a lower paying profession, than a male math major is. Also,
women haven’t been encouraged to negotiate for—but rather to accept—
salaries or minimal pay increases, while men have been more inclined to
negotiate (and be rewarded) higher rates. However, these are skills that
anyone can learn and master.
Defining Your Role Many researchers suggest that it is healthiest
to have a combination of both stereotypically masculine and stereotypically
feminine qualities. People with a combination of traits can be forceful and
logical when they need to, and emotional and sensitive when this is the best
response. Women who possess traditionally masculine qualities such as logical reasoning, independence, and daring are better able to assert themselves in the workplace, for example, than women who are passive and
submissive. Also, men who possess traditionally feminine qualities, such as
gentleness, sensitivity, and compassion, are able to enjoy closer and more
harmonious relationships than men who feel they must remain detached
and unemotional.
We are all born with the capacity to feel and express the whole range of
human thoughts and emotions. Viewing personal qualities as human, rather
than as good or bad, strong or weak, or male or female, gives us the freedom to define our identities and our personal aspirations. As we will discuss later in this text, career selection should not hinge on your gender or
cultural notions of “what is acceptable.” It will be based on a number of
personal factors, especially your interests and values.
Self Check
1. Define self-image. (p. 27)
2. What is a social role? (p. 33)
3. List the three components of identity. (p. 38)
gender bias When
one is treated differently or
unfairly due to one’s gender.
success secret
Don’t put limits on what
you can become.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Review and Activities 45
success (p. 4)
self-direction (p. 7)
role model (p. 9)
happiness (p. 10)
psychology (p. 17)
behavior (p. 17)
neuroscience (p. 19)
nervous system (p. 23)
conscious mind (p. 23)
subconscious mind (p. 23)
cognition (p. 24)
emotion (p. 25)
self (p. 26)
self-image (p. 26)
social role (p. 33)
self-presentation (p. 33)
identity (p. 38)
individual identity (p. 38)
relational identity (p. 38)
collective identity (p. 38)
culture (p. 39)
gender role (p. 43)
gender bias (p. 44)
Key Terms
Summary by Learning Objectives
• Define success. Success is lifetime fulfillment that comes from creating a sense of meaning
in your work and personal life and from feeling satisfaction with yourself and your achievements.
• List several personal qualities that help people to be happy. Personal qualities that
foster a happy outlook on life include ability to love, vocation, courage, trust, optimism, futuremindedness, social skill, esthetic sensibility, work ethic, honesty, emotional awareness, persistence, forgiveness, creative thinking, spirituality, self-esteem, and wisdom.
• Define psychology and cite its four major goals. Psychology is the scientific study of
human behavior. Its four major goals are to describe, predict, explain, and (in some cases)
change human behavior.
• Explain the relationship among thoughts, feelings, and actions. Thoughts,
feelings, and actions are all interrelated: each affects the other. Our beliefs about ourselves,
for example, affect the way we feel about ourselves and the way we act.
• Define self, self-image, and identity. Self is an individual’s sense of being a unique, conscious being. Self-image is all the beliefs a person has about himself or herself. Identity is how a
person chooses to define himself or herself to the world.
• Describe the components of identity. Identity has three components: individual identity,
relational identity, and collective identity. Individual identity is the physical and psychological
characteristics that distinguish an individual. Relational identity is how an individual identifies
himself or herself in relation to important others. Collective identity is the sum of the social
roles an individual plays and the social groups to which he or she belongs.
Chapter 1 Review and Activities
46 Chapter 1 | Psychology and Success Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Review Questions
1. According to the text, what makes a person successful?
2. Explain the relationship among thoughts, feelings, and actions.
3. Why do negative emotions make it hard to learn or work toward a goal?
4. What is collectivism, and how is it different from individualism?
5. If you say, “I am Catholic,” which part of your identity are you revealing?
6. Compare social roles with gender roles.
Critical Thinking
7. Happiness Many psychologists believe that each individual has a happiness “set point,” a
general level of happiness to which he or she usually returns. This suggests that some people
are simply happier than others. If this is the case, do you think trying to become happier is
worth the effort? Why or why not?
8. Identity Imagine that you had grown up in a different culture, either here or abroad. Do
you think your identity would be the same as it is now—would you still be “you”? What if you
had been adopted into a different family? Explain.
9. Gender Roles Gender roles are reinforced through the toys given to girls and boys. Visit a
local toy store or a local bookstore and look at the toys or books that are designed for boys
and girls ages six through twelve. (If you are unable to visit a toy or bookstore, visit the Web
site of a large toy or book retailer.) Compare and contrast the girls’ toys or books with the
boys’ toys or books. What percentage of the toys or books reinforce traditional gender roles?
10. Life Balance Survey two people about the balance in their life. Explain that you would like
to interview them about the eight areas of their life shown in the Wheel of Life: relationships,
learning and school, work and career, community, health, hobbies and leisure, money, and
spirituality. Administer Activity 4 to each interviewee. Add up each interviewee’s score. Are
your interviewees’ lives in balance? Do they want more balance in their lives? Which of the
eight areas of the Wheel of Life are most important to them? Compare and contrast their
responses with your own.
Review and Activities
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Review and Activities 47
Internet Activities
11. Perspectives on Success Go to www.incomediary.com/50-great-thoughts-on-success,
which is a Web site that offers ten definitions, quotes, formulas, misconceptions, and principles concerning success. Select two from each of the ten statements (in each of the five
categories). Write them down. Then, write a one- to two-page summary on why your
selections meant the most to you personally.
12. Role Model Article In Activity 2 earlier in this chapter, you selected a role model who has
had a positive impact on your life. Your instructor can provide the author’s “Role Model”
article for you to read. Pick a role model from history who inspires you, and write a one-page
description of why and how this individual influences you.
Review and Activities
Look back at your response to the question in the Real-Life
Success Story on page 2. Think about how you would answer
the question now that you have completed the chapter.
Complete the Story Write a paragraph continuing Bill’s story,
showing how he can use his own definition of success to help
him decide on the right career path.
Real-Life “Am I Doing the Right Thing?”
Success Story
Searching for Work
Mariah Campione had worked for her family’s fabric
business for twelve years. She was officially the
receptionist, but she had gradually taken on a variety
of key responsibilities, from sales to accounting to
staffing. Everything changed when Mariah’s father
fell ill. The family was forced to close the company
and Mariah faced a difficult job search. After several
months she was offered a temp-to-hire job as an
office manager.
Searching Within
Mariah’s family and friends encouraged her to
take the new job, but Mariah doubted her ability to
succeed. “I’m just a receptionist—what skills do I
have?” Mariah remembered that a friend had offered
her a telemarketing job, but she didn’t know if that
would interest her. She realized that she had never
taken the time to think about who she was and what
she wanted.
What Do You Think? What could Mariah do to
become more aware of her skills and interests?
“What Do I Really Want?”
Success Story
Self-Awareness 2 Chapter
learning objectives
After you complete this chapter,
you should be able to:
• Define self-awareness and cite
its benefits.
• Explain the factors that influence people’s values.
• Define personality and list the
“big five” personality traits.
• Compare and contrast skills,
knowledge, and interests.
• Explain how personality, skills,
and interests relate to career
We do not need magic to change the
world, we carry all the power we need
inside ourselves already; we have the
power to imagine better.”
J.K. Rowling, Author
Before you can get what you want out of life, you must
know who you are and where you want to go. In this
chapter, you’ll gain self-knowledge through the process
of self-awareness. In Section 2.1 you’ll learn how selfawareness helps you find your direction. You’ll look at
your dreams for the future and define the values that
will guide your choices. In Section 2.2 you’ll look at several sides of yourself—your personality, your skills and
intelligences, and your interests. You’ll then put all this
information together to consider the careers that might
be right for you.

50 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
SECTION 2.1 Finding Your Direction
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what you want out of life? Whether
you are heading in the right direction? To answer these important questions, you need to develop self-awareness. Self-awareness is the process of
paying attention to yourself—your thoughts, feelings, attitudes, motivations,
and actions. Self-awareness comes from stepping back and taking a good
honest look at yourself and how you relate to the world around you.
Self-awareness has many benefits. It helps you identify what you are
really feeling and thinking inside. It helps you act in accordance with your
personal values, rather than be swayed by what other people say or do. It
helps you appreciate your unique personality, skills, and interests. When
you are self-aware, you can make the choices that are right for you.
The Importance of Self-Honesty
Self-awareness is important, but it can sometimes be so difficult. True selfawareness requires self-honesty, the ability to see your strengths and weaknesses
clearly and realistically. Self-honesty is the foundation of self-knowledge. In
order to improve yourself, it is important to be able to see yourself accurately,
without being too harsh or too generous. Ask yourself, “Am I seeing myself as I
really am? Am I overconfident, or am I selling myself short?” “Do my actions
match my core values?” “Am I easily influenced by peers?”
Self-honesty requires effort. It involves telling the truth about yourself,
both to yourself and to others. Telling the truth about yourself means
admitting that you are human and therefore imperfect. Being honest can be
challenging because it involves admitting to thoughts and feelings that we
might dislike and that might not fit with our self-image. Self-honesty entails
confronting aspects of your past and present that are unpleasant or even
painful. It might even involve confronting painful feelings such as sadness,
grief, anger, fear, shame, or guilt.
Benefits of Self-Honesty Fortunately, the benefits of self-honesty
far outweigh the effort it requires. With self-honesty, you can see both what
you have to offer and what you need to do to become the person you want
to be. When you are honest with yourself, you are able to get in touch with
your dreams, values, and interests. You are able to take pride in your progress
because you know that you have set meaningful goals and invested the effort
necessary to reach them. Who you are, what you think, and how you feel
are all in harmony.
To become more self-honest, try to look at yourself like an astronomer viewing the universe through the lens of an orbiting telescope and
discovering a new planet or star. An astronomer doesn’t judge what he or
she finds, but tries to understand it. In the same way, don’t look for what
self-awareness The
process of paying attention
to yourself.
self-honesty The ability
to see your strengths and
weaknesses clearly.
success secret
Self-honesty helps you get
in touch with your dreams,
values, and interests.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
“should” be—look for what is. Take inventory of everything you find—the
precious treasures of current and future potential and joy, as well as
the impacts of past events in your life that have shaped your beliefs.
Each element is a vital part of what makes you unique. Use Personal
Journal 2.1 to start getting to know yourself.
None of us is born self-aware; we learn to become more and more aware of
ourselves as we grow into adolescence and adulthood. The tendency to
frequently reflect on oneself is often referred to as self-consciousness. This is
The tendency to frequently
think about and observe
Personal Journal 2.1
How Well Do You Know Yourself?
Finish each of the following statements about yourself.
The person who knows me best is
One of my dreams in life is to
Three adjectives that describe me well are
What I like most about myself is
What I like least about myself is
I am good at
I am not very good at
I enjoy
I don’t enjoy
Three careers that interest me are
My purpose in life is
Did you have trouble completing any of these statements, especially the last one? If so, you will benefit
from taking a closer look at yourself and what you want out of life.
Finding Your Direction 51
52 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
exemplified as both private self-awareness and public self-awareness. Private
self-awareness is the tendency to be aware of the private, inward aspects of
yourself. Public self-awareness is the tendency to be aware of the aspects of
yourself that are on display in social situations.
Private self-awareness helps us understand ourselves. Privately selfaware people usually have a realistic and complex self-image. They tend to
reveal the private sides of themselves in intimate relationships, which
strengthens human bonds and alleviates feelings of loneliness. They are
also less likely to suffer from the physical ill effects of stress. (You’ll learn
more about stress in Chapter 3.)
Like private self-awareness, public self-awareness has benefits. It
helps us see how our behavior affects others, and it helps us adapt to
our different social and professional roles. A high level of public selfawareness can be harmful, however, if it leads to anxiety in social situations. For example, some people become constantly worried about how
they look and what other people think of them. This is commonly
referred to as being overly self-conscious by comparisons that we make
of our own appearance and achievements with those of others and by
criticisms we receive from others; not always constructive and not
always accurate.
We all are subject to adhering to certain standards in our business and
social lives. Cultural and ethical norms exist in virtually all of our interactions with people where we work and where we live. However, many people
don’t step back from their daily routines to take time to do some sincere
introspection on their private, inner self-awareness. By completing Activity 7
honestly, you can reflect on your own time-grown views of how you feel
about yourself on the inside.
Emotional Awareness
Another crucial part of self-awareness is emotional awareness. Emotional
awareness is the process of recognizing, identifying, and accepting your
emotions. It involves observing yourself, recognizing a feeling as it happens,
and seeing the link among your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Being emotionally aware helps you handle your emotions in positive ways and use
them to make good choices.
It is usually pretty easy to be emotionally aware when things are going
well. If you get an A on an important exam, you will probably be aware of
feeling happy, confident, proud, and capable. If you are enjoying a longawaited vacation, you will probably delight in feelings of relaxation, freedom,
and fulfillment.
It is much harder to be emotionally aware when things aren’t going so
well. In these situations, we may avoid looking at our emotions. In order to
avoid facing painful feelings, we may tell ourselves that we don’t care or
don’t feel anything. Other times, we may be aware that we are feeling
something, but not know exactly what.
private selfawareness The
tendency to be aware of the
private, inward aspects of
public selfawareness The
tendency to be aware of the
outward, social aspects of
success secret
Too much selfconsciousness can
produce anxiety.
awareness The process
of recognizing, identifying,
and accepting your emotions.
success secret
Develop the courage to
face painful emotions.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Finding Your Direction 53
ACTIVITY 7: Private Self-Awareness Checklist
A To determine your own level of private self-awareness, read the items below and place a check mark in
the blank that you think describes how often you feel this way.
1. I’m eager to learn.
2. My work is exciting.
3. I’m willing to listen with an
open mind.
4. I have new insights.
5. I like taking direction from
people who know something
I don’t.
6. I try to look at the world
through the eyes of the other
7. I believe each person is
8. When someone is talking to
me, I really listen.
9. I’m honest with myself and
10. I’ve thought about my own
strengths and weaknesses.
11. I continually challenge my
own assumptions.
12. I recognize that others may
think that I’m strange or odd
in some ways.
13. I adapt easily to the
environment and situation.
B Scoring: There are no right or wrong answers. This is not a comparison exercise. Review and think
about where you placed your check marks for each of the questions. Dedicate yourself to seeking
authentic role models, mentors and friends, who are truly interested in your growth and success.
Review your positive attributes more often and seek to move your responses to those questions with as
many “often” check marks as possible.
54 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Identifying Your Emotions As a first clue to identifying what
emotions you are experiencing, pay attention to how your body feels.
Tense? Relaxed? Excited? Agitated? Tired? Because emotions have a physical as well as a psychological component, being attuned to your body’s
reactions can help you identify your emotions.
As another clue to your emotional state, look at what occurred right
before the emotion started. Did something happen? Did a certain thought
go through your mind? After receiving criticism, for example, you might
feel hurt or insulted. If you tripped and fell in front of someone you were
trying to impress, you might feel embarrassed, silly, or inadequate. If you
aren’t sure of what situation led to the feeling, ask yourself where your feeling is directed. Are you feeling an emotion toward yourself, toward someone else, or toward no one in particular?
It also helps to look for the precise word to express the emotion you are
experiencing. Let’s say you are feeling “down” or “bad” but can’t figure out
exactly how. Ask yourself what adjective best expresses your current state.
Are you feeling discouraged? Bitter? Lonely? Rejected? Developing a large
vocabulary of feeling words can help you get in touch with your emotions.
Figure 2.1 lists a wide variety of feeling words that can help you pinpoint
your emotions. Once you have found the right word, you may immediately
feel a sense of empowerment. The simple act of naming your emotion lets
you know what you’re up against and how you might go about handling it.
Identifying your feelings also helps you feel at peace with them.
Your dreams are a large component of who you are and what makes you
special. A dream is an aspiration, a hope, or a vision of the future. Having
dreams gives our lives meaning, helps us make choices, and helps us persevere in the face of obstacles or hardship. Living without a dream, by contrast, can leave us feeling adrift and unmotivated.
The most successful people are those who began with a dream. A
dream is a powerful desire for you to hold on to and one day make a reality.
Dreams give our lives purpose, a reason for existing. You, and only you,
have the power to make your dream a reality. In order to make your dream
a reality, you must have self-awareness and a strong desire to finish what
you start.
The Importance of Purpose
Sometimes, having a purpose can mean the difference between life and
death. Dr. Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist in Vienna, Austria, in the 1930s
and became a prisoner in Nazi prison camps during World War II. He
experienced three years of horror at Dachau and Auschwitz, narrowly
escaping the gas chamber and death several times. In his book Man’s
success secret
Look for the exact word to
express what you feel.
dream An aspiration,
hope, or vision of the future
that gives your life purpose.
success secret
Dreams give your life purpose.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Finding Your Direction 55
Search for Meaning, Frankl used his experience and observations in the
camps to write about human behavior under extreme conditions. Movies
such as Schindler’s List, The Pianist, and The Book Thief remind us of this
human suffering. Seeing himself and others stripped of everything—their
families, jobs, clothing, possessions, health, dignity—Frankl studied the
FIGURE 2.1 Feeling Words
Emotional Awareness To become more emotionally aware, practice asking
yourself these three questions: How is my body feeling? What happened right
before I started to experience this emotion? Can I put a specific name to this
emotion? Why would developing a vocabulary of feeling words help you
become more aware of your emotions?
I Feel Comfortable
I Feel Uncomfortable
out of control
put down
56 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
behavior of the captives. He wrote down the facts without letting his emotions interfere. He noticed that the prisoners in the concentration camps,
who faced the possibility of death every day, were able to survive starvation
and torture if they felt they had a purpose for living. Those who felt they
had no reason for staying alive died quickly and easily. Of the ones who
lived through the death camps, nearly all had a fierce determination to see a
loved one or do something important in their lives.
More than any other authority on human behavior, Frankl based his
knowledge on firsthand experience. His observations are very different
from Sigmund Freud’s. Freud said that people may look different, but if
they were all deprived of food, they would all behave the same. He felt they
would all descend to their basic animal-like instincts.
When Frankl witnessed two people faced with the identical situation
in a concentration camp, he saw one crumble and give up while the other
stayed strong and hopeful. He saw that people react in very different ways
to the same situation, depending on their inner drives and motivations.
Many prisoners told Frankl that they no longer expected anything of life.
Frankl pointed out that they had it backward. He said, “Life was expecting
something of them. Life asks of every individual to discover what it should
be.” Purpose is what enables each of us to face difficult times and tragedies
in our lives.
What Should a Dream Be?
No dream is better than any other. No dream is too big to achieve, and
no dream is too small to count. It doesn’t matter what the contents of
your dreams are, as long as they represent what you find meaningful
and fulfilling. You might have dreams for your personal life, such as to
raise a family or travel the world. You might dream of working with
animals, or children, or plants. You might have dreams of recognition
and accomplishment, such as to obtain a certain job or complete a certain degree. You might dream of living in a cottage in the countryside,
or in a condominium high above New York City. You may have one
guiding dream, or several dreams that add up to a picture of life satisfaction for you.
Knowing your dreams is a part of being self-aware. When you ask yourself what your dreams are, you are really asking: What do I want out of life?
Reclaiming Your Dreams All children have dreams. As we
grow up, however, our dreams often get lost, buried, or set aside. We
become busy with the business of day-to-day existence. We begin to
worry about what other people will think. Often, parents, relatives, and
other significant adults in our lives damage our dreams by conveying
messages of disapproval. Some parents want their children to follow in
their footsteps. Other parents want their children to achieve things that
they did not. For many of us, it is easier to go along with what other
success secret
Life asks something of
success secret
A dream can be anything
you want it to be.
success secret
Aim to satisfy yourself,
not someone else.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Finding Your Direction 57
people want than to figure out what we want for ourselves. But if you
make plans to merely satisfy parents, partners, or peers, your success
will make you feel empty—you will not be fulfilling your dream, but
someone else’s. That’s why having and following your own dream is vital
to achieving personal and career success.
If you are not sure what your dreams are, try thinking back to your
early childhood, before you learned to criticize yourself or worry about
what other people might think. What did you want to be when you grew
up? What exciting vision did you have of the future? What subjects fascinated you? What did you want to accomplish before someone told you it
was impossible, silly, or a bad idea? To begin getting in touch with your
dreams, complete Personal Journal 2.2.
The next step in becoming more self-aware is exploring your values. Values
are the beliefs and principles you choose to live by. Values include moral
and religious beliefs, but they cover all other areas of your life, too. Your
values help define who you are. They shape your attitudes and help you
identify your priorities. If you have not defined your values, you will have
difficulty laying out goals for the future.
Values are closely intertwined with ethics, the principles you use to
define acceptable behavior and decide what is right and wrong. However,
there is no such thing as a “right” or “wrong” value. Your values reflect
what matters to you as a unique individual.
Everyone has a different set of values. Author Rita Baltus tells the story
of a missionary who had gone to a poverty-stricken nation to help people in
need. Two tourists visiting the country saw the missionary cleaning a man
who had leprosy, a disease that creates skin lesions. One tourist turned to
the other and said, “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars.” The missionary looked up and replied, “Neither would I.” Clearly the missionary valued
something other than money.
Examining Your Values Do you know which values are most
important to you? Although everyone lives by different principles and
beliefs, many people value at least some of the following:
• Adventure—exploring the world; seeking new experiences
• Commitment—dedicating yourself to a goal
• Community—feeling a connection to a neighborhood or group
• Compassion—having sympathy for suffering and working to reduce it
• Competition—testing yourself through rivalry and challenge
• Courage—taking risks; showing strength against fear, danger, and
• Creativity—experimenting; expressing yourself; trying new ideas
• Environmentalism—preserving the natural environment
values The beliefs and
principles you choose to
live by.
ethics The principles you
use to define acceptable
behavior and decide what is
right and wrong.
success secret
It’s important to determine
your own values.
58 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Personal Journal 2.2
What Are Your Dreams?
Complete the following sentences. Write down your first thoughts without judging yourself.
I’ve always wanted to
If I were to receive an award, I would want it to be for
The things that make life worth living are
The best thing that could possibly happen to me is
If I were nearing the end of my life, I would regret not having
Look at what you wrote above. Do you see any common words, images, or subjects? Write down four
or five dreams that you have right now. These dreams may be any size, take any amount of time,
and belong to any area of your life, such as education, career, relationships, lifestyle, appearance,
health, travel, or spirituality.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Finding Your Direction 59
• Fairness—treating others in a just and impartial way
• Financial security—being free from worries about money
• Fun—enjoying yourself and having a good time in life
• Generosity—treating others in a giving way
• Hard work—giving your full effort on the job and at home
• Health—feeling fit; enjoying physical and mental well-being
• Honesty—thinking, speaking, and acting in a forthright way
• Independence—making your own decisions; having options
• Integrity—doing the right thing; acting ethically
• Kindness—behaving in a caring and helpful way toward others
• Knowledge—seeking truth and understanding
• Learning—pursuing education; growing as a person
• Loyalty—remaining faithful and devoted to a person or cause
• Physical appearance—looking attractive, groomed, and healthy
• Power—having influence over people and situations
• Recognition—receiving acknowledgement for your efforts
• Relationships—enjoying affection and belonging
• Responsibility—honoring obligations; being reliable
• Security—being free from anxiety; having your needs met
• Social responsibility—contributing to the welfare of society and to the
solution of social problems
• Solitude—enjoying time alone for rest and renewal
Applying Psychology
Lead by Example
When it comes to ethics on the job, management’s actions definitely speak more
loudly than words. According to research conducted by the Ethics Resource Center, employees are more likely to comply with standards of ethics if their managers
clearly set a good example, keep promises and commitments, and openly support
those who do the same. The research showed that these actions were much more
effective than formal company training programs. In essence, employees want to
see their managers “walk the talk.”
According to the study, formal training of junior employees should focus on preparing them to handle
specific situations of misconduct. Training for upper management should instruct them how to demonstrate
to others their personal commitment to ethical standards. Obviously, these actions should be genuine—not
phony or forced.
Most major companies have a written code of ethics that all employees are expected to adhere to (and
in many cases must sign). These usually include the basics of employee behavior as well as specific issues
related to the type of business (such as confidentiality).
Critical Thinking If you were running a business, what are some of the important behaviors and values
you might write into your “code of ethics”?
©Hero Images/Getty Images
60 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
• Spirituality—searching for a greater good, purpose, or meaning to human
• Tolerance—accepting other people, cultures, and ideas
• Wealth—having enough money to support an affluent lifestyle
Before you commit to a set of values, it’s important to consider the factors
that may influence your choice.
Like other aspects of ourselves, our values are greatly influenced by our
family, religious beliefs, teachers, friends, and personal experiences. Our
values are also influenced by the society in which we live. Values that are
frequently promoted in democratic societies (such as the United States and
Canada) include independence, freedom, responsibility, security, and tolerance. Sometimes, however, our society’s values can be confusing. Although
most of us are taught to respect hard work and generosity, for example, we
are exposed to some media images that glamorize the idea of instant fame
and riches.
We can also become confused about our values when we adopt other
people’s values as our own. Let’s say your parents greatly value financial
security, but you are willing to sacrifice financial security for adventure.
Will you adopt your parents’ values, perhaps following their career and lifestyle suggestions, or will you become your own person? Deep down, you
may feel that your values are “wrong” and that your parents’ values are
“right.” Remember, however, that values are personal beliefs about what is
important, not absolutes of right and wrong. If you aren’t sure whether or
not you are really committed to a value, ask yourself:
• Did I choose this value, or did I copy it from someone else?
• Does this value make me feel good about myself?
• Will other people benefit if I act according to this value?
• Will something truly bad happen if I don’t follow this value?
• Is this value flexible enough to allow me to pursue my needs and goals?
Now it’s time to take a look at your values. Review the list of values above
and on the previous pages, then complete Activity 8.
Your Values at Work
Values have a large influence on the choices we make in our lives. One of
the most important of these choices is that of a career. If you value adventure, you can be sure you will be happier as a police officer or a flight attendant than as an accountant. If you value creativity, you will thrive in a job
where you have the chance to express yourself and come up with new ideas.
If you value knowledge, you might enjoy a career in teaching, research, science, or journalism.
Of course, no job can suit all of your values perfectly. One job might
give you ample independence and adventure, for example, but offer little
security. Another might reward you financially and creatively, but provide
success secret
Values are beliefs, not
success secret
Values guide your choices
in life.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Finding Your Direction 61
ACTIVITY 8: Values Inventory
A Choose ten values that matter the most to you. Choose from the values listed on pages 57, 59, and 60,
or use another source if you feel that something is missing from that list. Write the name of each value in
the left-hand column below.
Value Ranking Comments
B Now rank these values in order of their importance to you. In the ranking column, write in the numbers 1
(lowest) through 10 (highest) to represent each value’s importance. In the Comments column at right,
briefly explain why you rated each item as you did.
C Write down your top three values. For each one, explain why it is important to you and one way you use
it, or plan to use it, to guide your choices in life.
#1 Value
#2 Value
#3 Value
62 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
D Who or what do you think have been the greatest influences on your values? Explain.
E What values do you feel are most important for your friends and romantic partners to have? Are they the
same as your top-ranked values? Explain.
F Think of an area of your life in which you are not following one of your values. For example, you may
value honesty but be withholding important information from a friend or family member for some reason. Describe the situation and explain whether or not you feel you are doing the right thing.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Finding Your Direction 63
fewer opportunities than you would like to help others. That’s why it is
important to find a balance between fulfillment in work and fulfillment in
life. That’s also why it is important to decide which of your values you want
to be foremost in your work.
Look at the ten values you identified as most important in Activity 8.
Which of these are most crucial to you in your work? Which would you be
willing to sacrifice? For example, would you be willing to sacrifice some
pay for a job that allows you to help others? Would you be willing to take a
job that is high in independence even if it meant less time for family?
Also ask yourself how you could create more opportunities for yourself
to express your values. What action could you take at work to better
express your values? If you value solitude, could you schedule blocks of
time when you could work alone and undisturbed? If you value learning,
could you volunteer for a new project?
You can also create opportunities to express your values outside of
work. If you value generosity, you might volunteer at a homeless shelter or
deliver food to the needy. If you value relationships, you might make a start
by reviving old friendships and strengthening your family bonds. Activities
such as community service, independent study, artistic expression, and spiritual practice can all provide opportunities to express your values and fulfill
your purpose in life.
Self Check
1. What is self-awareness? (p. 51)
2. Why is it important to have a dream? (p. 54)
3. What are values? (p. 57)
success secret
Look for opportunities to
express your values in a
positive way.
64 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
SECTION 2.2 Discovering Your Strengths
You should now know some important information about yourself—what
you want out of life and what you value. Now it’s time to look at the personal qualities and talents that make you unique.
There are close to eight billion people on our planet, but no two are
alike. People are just as different from one another in their behavior, such
as the way they react to situations or the kinds of emotions they tend to
feel, as they are in their appearance, such as their hair color or body shape.
To make sense of the many ways in which people differ from one
another, psychologists use the concept of personality. In everyday language,
the word personality usually refers to a person’s likability and popularity. In
psychology, however, personality is the relatively stable pattern of behavior
that distinguishes one person from all other people. In other words, a personality is an individual’s pattern of emotions (feelings), cognitions
(thoughts), and actions.
People’s personalities can be described as collections of traits. A trait
is a disposition to behave in a certain way regardless of the situation. For
example, if optimism is one of your traits, you are likely to be optimistic in
most situations. If friendliness is one of your traits, you are likely to be
friendly to most people. Traits give consistency to our behavior. They make
it possible for us to say that John is outgoing, or Gabriela is funny, or Joselyn
is talkative.
Are some personality traits “better” than others? No, although some
traits may help us succeed in a particular setting or profession. A sociable,
talkative person would do better in a sales career, for example, than someone who is more reserved and quiet. An inquisitive, unconventional student
might have trouble relating to a teacher who is closed-minded. Other traits,
such as self-discipline, persistence, and self-motivation, are useful to everyone because they help us achieve our goals.
Where Do Traits Come From?
Our traits are shaped by our genes, but also by our upbringing and experiences. Psychologists continue to debate which influence is more important,
heredity (“nature”) or environment (“nurture”). Evidence can be found for
both sides. Identical twins, for example, tend to have similar personality
traits whether they are raised together or apart. This suggests that we
inherit a large portion of our personalities from our parents. Yet adopted
children tend to share traits with their adoptive parents. This suggests the
opposite conclusion—that the environment we grow up in has a decisive
effect on our behavior. In short, heredity and environment both have an
personality The
relatively stable pattern of
behavior that distinguishes
you from all other people.
trait A disposition to
behave in a certain way
regardless of the situation.
success secret
Use your personality traits
to help you succeed.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Discovering Your Strengths 65
influence on our personality, but neither one controls the way we think,
feel, or act.
Have you ever considered your personality traits? What do people tell
you about your personality? What do you feel is true about you? Use the
adjective checklist in Activity 9 to construct a personality self-portrait.
How Many Traits Are There?
How many different personality traits are there? A hundred? A thousand?
Nearly 150 traits are listed in Activity 9. You could probably come up with
dozens of adjectives to describe your friends’ personalities. Honest. Smart.
Responsible. Lighthearted. Sensitive. Psychologists who examined Webster’s
Dictionary found 18,000 terms to describe people’s personalities!
The “Big Five” Personality Traits
Which five traits did you pick to describe yourself in Activity 9? They are
probably different from the five traits your classmates picked to describe
themselves. But what if everyone could be described with the same five traits?
Sound impossible? Recent research in personality has shown that people’s
personalities can, in fact, be fairly accurately described using only five traits.
This model of personality uses the following “big five” personality traits:
• Openness—imaginativeness; openness to new people, ideas, and
• Conscientiousness—self-discipline and desire to achieve
success secret
Find a variety of ways to
describe yourself.
Do you like to spend your leisure time alone, or are
you more at home in a crowd? Are you a risk-taker, or
do you prefer to play it safe? Today, dozens of Web
sites offer personality tests that can help you answer
these questions—and more. Online tests range from
highly researched tools, such as the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, to light-hearted quizzes that interpret
your personality based on your choice of color or dog
breed. Taking a personality test can be an eye-opening
experience. Which of these tests have real value?
Some personality tests on the Web are backed by science, but most are really for entertainment, not serious
self-exploration. How do you know which is which,
especially when many Web sites don’t make it clear?
Trustworthy Web sites generally provide information on
the psychological research behind their tests. You are
really the ultimate judge. If you think the results of an
online test don’t seem accurate, they probably aren’t!
Think About It
Use the Internet to research personality tests. What
kinds of tests exist? How do they differ from one
another? Try a couple of the personality tests at the
links below.
Big Five Personality Test
Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test
Keirsey Temperament Sorter
Three Sides of You Profiler
internet action
66 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 9: Personality Self-Portrait
A Consider all the personality traits listed below. Put a check mark in the box next to each trait that you
feel describes you most or all of the time. (If you are unsure about the meaning of any word, consult a
dictionary.) Remember that no trait is better than any other trait.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Discovering Your Strengths 67
B If you had to pick the five traits that describe you best, which would they be?
68 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
C Of which one or two specific personality traits are you proudest? Why?
D How is your personality different from the personalities of your family members? How is it similar?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Discovering Your Strengths 69
• Extroversion—assertiveness, sociability, and interest in excitement
and activity
• Agreeableness—trustworthiness, warmth, and cooperativeness
• Emotional stability—resistance to negative emotions such as anxiety,
anger, and depression
Each person shows each of these traits to a different degree. One person,
for example, might show a very high degree of openness, another might
show little or no openness, and a third might fall somewhere between these
two extremes. These five traits have been tested in various countries, from
China to Israel to Spain, with similar results.
Natural Aptitudes (Talents),
Multiple Intelligences
Early in the 20th-century, Johnson O’Connor, a Harvard graduate in
philosophy, realized that happy, productive, achieving, pace-setting
leaders, professionals, craftsmen, and artists were generally engaged in
work for which they had natural ability. This prompted O’Connor to
devise a battery of tests for measuring innate ability—a battery still used
by the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation and, in a slightly modified form, by the Ball Foundation, both of which are nonprofit, scientific research organizations in the United States. Landmark studies by
Harvard’s Dr. Howard Gardner confirmed O’Connor’s discovery that
intelligence is multiple and varied, not unitary and homogeneous—and
that a variety of natural talents should be tested. Johnson O’Connor
and his colleagues identified nineteen of these traits, and no doubt there
are more.
The tests are broken down into categories:
Personality determines if a person is objective—best suited for working
with others—or subjective and more suited for specialized individual
Graphoria identifies clerical ability and ability to deal with figures and
symbols—abilities necessary for performing bookkeeping, editing, and
secretarial tasks at high levels of speed and efficiency. Graphoria is
usually also a good indicator of how well a person will do in school.
Ideaphoria measures creative imagination and the ability to express
ideas, which is needed in fields such as sales, advertising, teaching,
public relations, and journalism.
Structural visualization tests the ability to visualize solids and think in
three dimensions. This aptitude, often possessed by concrete thinkers
who do less well with abstract thinking, is critical for engineers,
mechanics, and architects.
70 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Inductive reasoning, which helps form logical conclusions from
fragmented facts, is important for lawyers, researchers, diagnostic
physicians, writers, and critics—all of whom must be able to move
quickly from the particular to the general, perceiving patterns—and
the big picture—from a collection of details.
Analytical reasoning is necessary for writers, editors, computer programmers, and others who must organize concepts and ideas into classifications and/or sequences.
Finger dexterity is needed for all forms of manual or mechanical work,
including computing and word processing. Also important for creative
arts such as sculpting and piano playing.
Tweezers dexterity is the skill in handling small tools with precision,
which is vital for professions such as surgery, watchmaking, and
assembling microchips. Surprisingly, there is little correlation between
this skill and finger dexterity.
Observation, the ability to take careful notice, is tested by showing
examinees a photograph of a number of objects, then asking them to
identify the slight changes in ten more photos of the same objects.
Valuable for artists and painters, keen powers of observation are
especially useful for researchers and investigators of all kinds, as
in the study of microscopic slides.
Design memory, the ability to remember designs of all kinds, is
extremely helpful for everyone who works with plans or blueprints as
well as in art.
Tonal memory is the ability to remember and reproduce sounds. Pitch
discrimination differentiates musical tones. Rhythm memory measures
rhythm timing.
Timbre discrimination measures the ability to distinguish sounds of the
same pitch and volume.
Number memory, the ability to store many things in the mind at
the same time, is useful in professions such as the law, medicine,
and scholarship that require summoning quantities of facts and
information on which to base judgments, diagnoses, or
Numerical reasoning, an aptitude for identifying relationships among
sets of numbers, is most helpful in bookkeeping, accounting, computer
programming, and actuarial work.
Silograms measure the ability to learn unfamiliar words and languages. Vital for translators, this skill is also important for speech
teachers, language teachers, and persons doing written translation
Foresight is the ability to keep the mind on a distant goal and visualize
paths and obstacles. Market research analysts, sales forecasters,
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Discovering Your Strengths 71
political scientists, diplomats, politicians, and corporate leaders are
among the many who need foresight.
Color perception, the ability to distinguish colors, is obviously essential
for fashion designing, multimedia graphic artists, painting, interior
decorating, and advertising—and for all professions and crafts involving art and layout functions.
Most people tested by the Johnson O’Connor and the Ball Foundations
have three to five strong aptitudes; few have more than seven. In some of
his earliest tests, Johnson O’Connor found a distinct correlation between
vocabulary and career success. O’Connor consultants now stress the continuing importance of vocabulary. As we become more dependent on texting and tweeting on mobile devices as our communication methods of
choice, vocabulary test scores have plummeted at the high school and
college level in recent decades. Aptitudes, skills, and interests point
which direction a person should go, and the vocabulary level helps predict how far a person probably will go in his or her chosen career.
Another way to say this is that limited vocabulary and a lesser ability to
communicate keep many people with excellent abilities of other kinds
from developing them and profiting from them. The good news is that
vocabulary, far more than any of the basic, natural aptitudes, can be
improved with effort and discipline. Increased reading of both fiction and
nonfiction works can be richly rewarding. Knowledge is gained, imagination
is stimulated, and communication skills are enhanced.
Although the aptitude tests have been given to children as young as
nine, they are probably most effective at age sixteen to eighteen, when
high school students are making college or career choices. They are also
important to anyone considering a career or industry shift. The earlier you
can discover your natural gifts the better—but it’s never too late. Identifying natural ability is also important for avoiding disappointment, frustration, and anger in career choices. One young son of a surgeon couldn’t
follow in his famous father’s footsteps because he hesitated too much during simple surgical procedures. His father branded this as cowardice. In
fact, it was a lack of tweezer dexterity. Structural visualization, another
prerequisite for good surgeons, is not passed on from father to son, only
from mother to son. Because daughters can inherit structural visualization
from both parents, surgeons might better look more to their girls to carry
on the family tradition.
It would be irresponsible to suggest that aptitude tests alone
should determine career choice. Natural abilities, intelligences,
acquired skills, interests, imitation of role models, youthful
experience—all those factors are involved, together, of course, with
circumstance. Our major decisions often hinge heavily on family
considerations, particularly financial realities, at pivotal ages. Still,
it’s hard to be rational or wise about developing our lives without
72 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
taking conscious steps to discover our natural abilities—and as early as
possible. Even if we decide to pursue our gifts as hobbies and diversions, that promises less futility than if we ignore them entirely. Many
of our frustrations lie deep within us. We can’t explain them even to our
loved ones; we can only say, “I don’t know why I feel I’m wasting my
life, but I do.” Exhaustive testing demonstrates again and again that we
all have talents. How much more satisfied and fulfilled we feel when
we’re able to express them creatively and regularly!
Another useful way to understand traits and abilities is to see them as
ways of using intelligence. What does intelligence have to do with developing your innate talents into skills—isn’t intelligence about having a high
score on an IQ test? Not at all. In fact, IQ scores have almost no relationship to real-world intelligence. IQ tests measure verbal and mathematical
ability, which you need to excel in traditional academic subjects. They
don’t measure your ability to choreograph a dance, navigate a ship, weave a
basket, observe nature, or console an upset friend. All of these abilities represent intelligence, too. These different kinds of intelligence are known as
multiple intelligences.
Researchers who study multiple intelligences define intelligence as a set
of abilities that enables you to solve certain types of real-world problems.
They have identified eight distinct kinds of intelligence:
• Verbal/linguistic intelligence—ability to use words and language, memorize information, and create imaginary worlds
• Logical/mathematical intelligence—ability in complex thinking and reasoning, using numbers, and recognizing abstract patterns
• Visual/spatial intelligence—ability to visualize objects and spatial dimensions and create mental images
• Bodily/kinesthetic intelligence—ability to understand and use the body
and to control its motion in activities such as sports, dancing, acting,
and crafts
• Musical intelligence—ability to recognize rhythms, beats, and sounds,
remember melodies, and distinguish background sounds
• Interpersonal intelligence—ability in person-to-person communication,
leadership, and conflict resolution
• Intrapersonal intelligence—ability to be self-aware and self-reflective,
pursue interests, and set goals
• Naturalistic intelligence—ability to recognize patterns and make
connections in nature, assemble collections, and identify plants and
Each of us has all of these eight intelligences, but each of us is stronger in
one or two particular intelligences than the others. Which intelligences are
your greatest strengths? The self-assessment in Activity 10 will help you
pinpoint your strongest intelligences.
intelligence A set of
abilities that enables you to
solve certain types of realworld problems.
success secret
Pinpointing your strongest
intelligences helps you
discover what you do
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Discovering Your Strengths 73
ACTIVITY 10: Discover Your Multiple Intelligences
A Put a check mark next to each statement that you feel accurately describes you. If you do not identify
with a statement, leave it blank.
Section 1
I like writing and reading almost anything. I enjoy word games.
I enjoy public speaking. I am good at expressing myself in speech
and writing.
Foreign languages interest me. I like to keep a journal or write letters to
Section 2
I am quick to solve problems. I am good at finding and understanding
I can easily remember formulas. I am able to follow complex lines of reasoning.
Disorganized people frustrate me. I can perform quick calculations in my head.
Section 3
I like to build, design, and create things. I learn best by visualizing.
I have a good sense of direction and
read maps easily.
I have a vivid imagination.
Rearranging a room is fun for me. I like music videos and multimedia art.
Section 4
I can remember songs and rhymes easily. Musical instruments interest me.
I like to make up tunes and melodies. I notice rhythms and can easily pick up sounds.
I prefer musicals to dramatic plays. I have trouble studying if the television or
radio is on.
Section 5
I am good at sports and am physically
I tend to use a lot of body language when
I talk.
I like to demonstrate to others how to do
I like to invent things, put things together,
and take them apart.
I have trouble sitting still for a long time. I live an active lifestyle.
74 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Section 6
I am good at listening and communicating
with others.
I am sensitive to the moods and feelings of
I am a good team player. I am able to figure out the motives and intentions of others.
I’d rather work in a group than by myself. I enjoy talk shows and interviews.
Section 7
I am very curious. I am very independent.
I am able to express my inner feelings. I like to work alone and pursue my own
I tend to be quiet and self-reflective. I am always asking questions.
Section 8
I learn best by identifying and categorizing
I notice patterns easily.
I like to collect items from nature and
study them.
I like being outdoors and observing nature.
I am good at picking up on subtleties. Environmental issues are important to me.
B Scoring: Add up the number of check marks you placed in each section.
Section 1 total   reflects your verbal/linguistic intelligence.
Section 2 total   reflects your logical/mathematical intelligence.
Section 3 total   reflects your visual/spatial intelligence.
Section 4 total   reflects your musical/rhythmic intelligence.
Section 5 total   reflects your bodily/kinesthetic intelligence.
Section 6 total   reflects your interpersonal intelligence.
Section 7 total   reflects your intrapersonal intelligence.
Section 8 total   reflects your naturalistic intelligence.
Which intelligence(s) are you strongest in?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Discovering Your Strengths 75
C How do you use your strongest intelligence(s) at work or school? Give examples.
D Describe a situation in which you used your strongest intelligence(s) to solve a problem or accomplish a goal.
E Which one or two intelligences would you most like to develop further? Why?
76 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
FIGURE 2.2 Expanding Your Intelligences
Intelligence Strategies
Verbal/Linguistic • Join a book club or take a writing course.
• Read anything and everything.
• Use a new word in your conversation every day.
Logical/Mathematical • Work on puzzles and brain teasers.
• Visit a science center, planetarium, or aquarium.
• Practice calculating problems in your head.
Visual/Spatial • Work on jigsaw puzzles or visual puzzles.
• Visit art museums and galleries.
• Take a class in visual arts, such as photography.
Bodily/Kinesthetic • Join a gym or a sports team.
• Learn dance, yoga, t’ai chi, or martial arts.
• Enroll in an aerobics or weight-training class.
Musical • Attend concerts and musicals.
• Take a class in music appreciation or performance.
• Explore unfamiliar styles of music.
Interpersonal • Join a volunteer or service group.
• Learn about body language and communication.
• Introduce yourself to new people often.
Intrapersonal • Develop a meditative hobby, such as gardening.
• Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings.
• Consult a counselor or therapist.
Naturalistic • Explore the flora and fauna of your region.
• Look for patterns in nature or architecture.
• Start a collection of objects.
Learning + Practice = Progress Exploring new activities and meeting new
people help you build your intelligences and discover new interests. Select the
intelligence you would most like to develop, and describe three specific
actions you could take to do this.
Developing Your Intelligences You can strengthen your
intelligences through learning and practice. To expand your interpersonal
intelligence, for example, you might read a book about communication
skills, then experiment with the strategies suggested in the book. To build
your naturalistic intelligence, you might learn about plants and then try
your hand at gardening. Strategies for developing all eight intelligences are
listed in Figure 2.2.
success secret
You can strengthen your
intelligences through
learning and practice.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Discovering Your Strengths 77
Your personality and values are the foundation of who you are and where
you will go in the future. They represent the core of who you are as a
unique person. In addition to our personal qualities, however, each of us
has a unique collection of skills that we can use to get where we want to go.
A skill is the ability to do something specific as a result of learning and
practice. Skills are often expressed as verbs, such as negotiating, speaking,
memorizing, drawing, healing, photographing, or sewing.
Where do skills come from? No one is born knowing how to drive a car or
do a crossword puzzle. Instead, skills are the result of knowledge combined
with experience. Knowledge is an understanding of facts or principles in a
particular subject area. For example, you might have knowledge of computers,
Spanish, football, botany, cats, history, American literature, or interior design.
Knowledge alone is valuable, but it isn’t a skill until it is combined with
real-world experience. To perform surgery, you need more than knowledge
of anatomy. You also need hands-on practice with a scalpel. So it is with
any skill. To write well, for example, you need knowledge of grammar,
style, and the subject you are writing about. You also need practice in organizing your ideas and expressing yourself clearly.
Types of Skills
There are two basic types of skills, transferable skills and job-specific skills.
A transferable skill is an ability that you can use in a variety of tasks and
jobs. Working with your hands, organizing information, writing, and making decisions are all transferable skills. A job-specific skill is the ability to
do a specific task or job. Setting a broken bone, using a table saw, and programming a computer are all job-specific skills.
It’s easy to think that job-specific skills are more important than transferable skills. After all, when you hire a plumber to fix your leaky toilet, you want
someone who knows how to fix pipes. However, transferable skills are the
foundation of specific skills. How would the plumber be able to solve plumbing problems if he or she wasn’t too good at reasoning? How would he or she
be able to run a business without skills in math and organizing information?
Building transferable skills helps you attain your goals, manage time and
stress, and communicate well. From time to time, it is helpful to evaluate your
skill strengths and weaknesses to see how far you have come and where you now
want to go. If you aren’t sure what your skills are, ask yourself these questions:
• What do I have experience doing?
• What areas of knowledge do I have?
• What projects have I completed at home, work, or school?
• What problems have I solved? What skills did that show?
• What do I enjoy doing? What kinds of skills does this require?
Consider the skills you currently have and examine those you want to
develop in Activity 11.
skill The ability to do
something specific as a result
of learning and practice.
knowledge An
understanding of facts or
principles in a particular
subject area.
success secret
Transferable skills are the
foundation of job-specific
78 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 11: Skills Assessment
A You may think you don’t have many transferable skills, but you may be surprised by how many you do
have and exhibit every day. Think of anything and everything that you know how to do and write it down
in 1. For example, are you good at speaking to children, friends, or groups of people? Repairing cars,
machines, or tools? For help describing your skills, look at the words in 2 for examples of verbs. See 3
for examples of potential nouns to use.
1. My skills:
Example: editing documents
2. Verbs
3. Nouns
groups of people
listening (to)
speaking (to)
setting up
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Discovering Your Strengths 79
B Look over all the skills you wrote down and select the three that you are proudest of. For each one,
describe a situation in which you used that skill to accomplish something that mattered to you. For
example, you may have helped someone, solved a difficult problem, or built or repaired something.
Skill #1
Skill #2
Skill #3
80 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
C Now list three skills you would like to improve. For each one, think of some specific things you could do
to improve it. (Remember that skills are a combination of knowledge and experience.)
Skill #1
Skill #2
Skill #3
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Discovering Your Strengths 81
Discovering Your Interests
Over the last pages, you have created a portrait of your skills and intelligences. Now you will complete the picture by looking at a closely related
area—your interests. Interests are personal preferences for specific topics
and activities. The better you know your interests, the easier it will be for
you to plan your academic and career path.
What do you like and enjoy? If you’re not sure what your interests are,
it’s never too late to begin your search. Get started by asking yourself the
questions in Personal Journal 2.3.
As you consider your interests, think of all of them—don’t omit any out
of fear that they aren’t important or special enough. It doesn’t matter how
many or how few people share a particular interest, as long as the interest is
genuine. If you follow your interests, you will enjoy your work and hobbies
more. People who ignore their interests often end up in careers they don’t
enjoy or care much about. Lynn, for example, enjoyed theater but decided
to major in business because she thought that acting wasn’t a “real” career.
Gregg thought of his interest in carpentry as “just a hobby,” and missed out
on the chance to build it into an enjoyable and rewarding career.
Skills and Interests Chances are, your interests and skills lie in
the same areas. That’s because people are usually skilled at the things they
are interested in, and interested in the things they are skilled at. Why is
this? For one thing, all of us are motivated to build skills at the things we
like to do. Imagine two students in a piano class. One is interested in music
and enjoys practicing. The other couldn’t care less about music and does
everything possible to avoid practicing. Which student is going to develop
skill at playing the piano?
Another reason that skills and interests tend to go together is that having skill at something makes doing it more fun and interesting. If you have
skill at playing soccer, for example, you’re likely to be much more interested in the sport than someone who has no ability at the game. Look back
at the multiple intelligences you identified in Activity 10. Notice that each
section of the questionnaire asked you not only what you are good at but
also what you like to do. If you have a high musical intelligence, for example, you probably enjoy music in addition to being good at it.
When you engage in activities you enjoy and are skilled at, you are
more likely to experience what psychologists call flow. Flow is a state of
exhilaration and intense productivity that occurs when you are absorbed in
an activity that makes full use of your skills.
Finding Your Passion
Of all the interests, passion offers us the deepest fulfillment in life. Passion
can be viewed as an interest in its most intense form. Passion involves deep
desire, intense drive, and strong feelings of enthusiasm and excitement.
interests Personal
preferences for specific
topics or activities.
success secret
Skills and interests go
hand in hand.
82 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Now examine your answers. Does any subject, theme, or key word appear more than once? These are
probably your strongest interests.
What activities make you feel energized and alive?
If you were at a library, bookstore, or newsstand, which subject area(s) would you enjoy browsing?
What course(s) or subject(s) have you enjoyed the most in school?
What subject(s) could you talk about endlessly?
What were you enthusiastic about as a child?
Exploring Your Interests
Personal Journal 2.3
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Discovering Your Strengths 83
It leads to the strongest devotion and commitment, which are crucial to
overcome the many challenges on the way to realize a dream.
There are several differences between passion and general interests.
First, a general interest involves only moderate emotions. They can be
expressed as “I like it” or “I enjoy it.” But a passion is intensely emotional
and involves strong enthusiasm, excitement, and drive. It can be expressed
as “I love it” or “I must do it.”
Second, a general interest touches only certain aspects of our lives,
but a passion is something fundamental to one’s fulfillment and something you don’t want to live without. You constantly think about it and
want to do it, be it, and have it. Third, a general interest may change
from time to time, but a passion lasts a long time and most likely a lifetime. Passion may lead to a calling that you would like to pursue for all
your life.
If you are not clear about your passion, knowledge of your temperament,
natural talents, values, goals, and preferred activities may point you to a
unique and satisfying direction. Some of the organizations that specialize in
temperament and aptitude research also offer tools to aid the discovery of
interests, which you can use to further identify your passion. You may also
start by asking yourself the following questions:
What are your temperament, natural talents, and values? See next chapter
for more information on values.
What did you enjoy most in elementary school, middle school, high school,
and college?
What activities excite you most after school, on weekends, and during
What topics do you like to talk about in conversations?
What kind of friends do you like to hang out with?
What kinds of books, magazines, Web sites, and TV shows do you like to
read, browse, and watch?
What would you like to do if you had enough time and money and did not
have to make a living?
What are some of your peak moments in life? What are the elements that
make your peak moments?
As a meaningful exercise in finding your passion, it is suggested that you
dust off your childhood memories. A series of remarkable studies by British
behavioral scientists over a twenty-eight-year period is very relevant here.
The object of this exercise was to track childhood attitudes into adulthood.
In the first study, released several decades ago, a collection of seven-yearold children were interviewed in depth about their likes and dislikes, their
outlooks and opinions, their vision of their personal futures. What did they
most like doing? What did they want to do as grown-ups? The interviews
were filmed and shown on the BBC as a TV documentary.
84 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
That first study was entitled “Seven-Up.” Seven years later, a documentary of new interviews with the same children—now adolescents—was called
“14-Up.” This was followed by “21-Up,” “28-Up,” and, later, “35-Up,” when
the subjects were well into adulthood. This extensive study confirmed that
what we love and do well as children continues to manifest itself as we
become adults. Surprisingly, all the subjects eventually engaged in a profession or pursuit related to the interests they had had when they were age
seven to fourteen. Although most had strayed from those interests during
adolescence and early adulthood—in some cases, going in entirely different
directions—virtually all found their way back toward their childhood
impulses, even if only in their hobbies, by the age of thirty-five.
An excellent exercise is to spend a weekend with family members or
friends and dust off your childhood memories. Let yourself go. Remember
what you really wanted to do as a child. You can enrich this process by
checking the biographies of well-known adults whose passions began as
As a child in England, he spent hours and hours creating cardboard
sets and elaborate staging for the puppet shows and miniature stage shows
he would produce to entertain his family. Later in life, Andrew Lloyd Webber entertained the world with musicals including Evita, Cats, and Phantom
of the Opera, to name a few. At fourteen, she pondered a career in lawmaking while visiting state capitols during summer vacation. Sandra Day
O’Connor became the first woman justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ever since he was twelve, he dreamed of doing something important in
aviation; Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon.
An awkward, nondescript girl in New York was totally obsessed with
becoming a professional entertainer. She grew into Barbra Streisand.
As a child, he loved woodworking and violin music. Antonio Stradivari
became the world’s most acclaimed violin maker.
Regardless of where each of us is in our quest for fulfillment, we should
never let our first job determine our life from there after. Nor should we let
our parents, teachers, colleagues, friends, or money dominate our longrange decisions. We must take the first step toward a life strategy by being
true to ourselves.
We are living in a fluid, fast forward, and technology-driven world, a world
where careers and lifestyles will be constantly redefined. Across many
industries, robots, artificial intelligence, and other new technologies have
been and will be changing the landscape of human careers.
Robots in manufacturing, medical, and a variety of office or home service
fields are eliminating the need for many skilled and unskilled workers
because of the precision, reliability, and economy offered. In Dubai, flying
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Discovering Your Strengths 85
drone taxis already are in regular operation from the airport to solve the
prime-time driving traffic gridlock. Also in Dubai, there are functioning
“robocops”—robotic police officers on patrol. By 2030, Dubai is planning
to have twenty-five percent of its police force manned by “robocops.”
Computers, equipped with artificial intelligence, are now capable of
offering a wide range of sophisticated services, from translation to legal and
medical consultation, with a higher quality and at a lower cost. In a test
against three expert human radiologists, a technology-based medical diagnostic solution was fifty percent better in classifying malignant tumors with
a false negative rate of zero, compared with a false negative rate of seven
percent for the human doctors.
The list is endless especially in the emerging industry of virtual reality,
as well as in applications of 3D and 4D printing. Two Oxford researchers,
Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A Osborn, analyzed the skills required for
more than 700 occupations and concluded that machines are likely to take
over forty-seven percent of today’s jobs in a few decades.1
As old careers fade and new careers are created in what seems to be the
blink of an eye, we can no longer think of “career” or “job” as having one
steady profession or one secure position. If you “Google” the word Job, you
will see two definitions. The first is “a paid position of regular employment.”
The second is “a task or piece of work, especially one that is paid.” Although
most people still view a job as the first definition, future jobs will most
likely fit better into the second definition.
According to an article on Fortune.com, more than eighty-three percent
of executives said that they plan on increasing their use of contingent, parttime, or flexible workers in the next few years. Those with in-demand skills
will be hired to accomplish one specific project, rather than given a fulltime position.2
It may be wise to look at the upside as well as the downside caused by
these changes, as offered in a Chinese proverb: “In every crisis, there is
opportunity.” Technologies are liberating people from repetitive, programmable work, and creating new, exciting career possibilities. The future
careers are likely to be more creative, more fun, more flexible, and more
human-oriented. Work and life, office and home, personal time and work
time may blend and overlap. Freelancing, home-based businesses, and multiple sources of income are likely to become increasingly popular.
The future is about differentiation and personalization. During college
marketing classes about ten years ago, we were talking about market segmentation or how to differentiate products, services, and information to
tailor them to the needs and interests of a segmented group. Now we talk
about personalization or differentiating everything to a point that it is
tailored to the needs and interests of each individual. We are rapidly
moving from “mass marketing” to “me marketing.”
1 Dr. Michael A. Osberne and Dr. Carl Benedikt Frey, “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to
Computerisation?” University of Oxford, School of Engineering (2013) 9-17.
2 K. Willyard and B. Mistick, (February 20, 2016). “These Seven Trends Will Shape Your Professional Future.” Fortune.com.
86 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
The same trend applies to marketing or “branding” ourselves in the
workplace. In a world where we have to compete with robots and computers, it is no longer enough to offer some generic, easy-to-duplicate skills. We
need to offer a much stronger value to whomever we serve—clients, employers, audiences—through differentiating ourselves with our unique, authentic,
hard-to-duplicate competencies.
Most of us will spend about 80,000 hours of our lives at work. The
work we do, therefore, has an enormous impact on our success and happiness. Now that you know more about yourself, you can use this information
to explore career fields that might be right for you. While friends, teachers,
and family members often offer helpful suggestions for potential careers,
you are ultimately in charge of making your own decisions. This is true
whether you are a high school student or a longtime veteran of the working
world. No matter where you are on your career path, you will benefit from
considering the careers that would take full advantage of your skills and
Why Work Matters
As a first step, it is worthwhile to stop and consider your ideas about work.
What does work mean to you? A 9-to-5 job? A nameplate on a desk? When
you have a positive attitude toward work, it becomes much more than this.
Work brings many rewards, including:
• Satisfaction—We gain a sense of satisfaction and self-worth from a job
well done. We also earn the respect and appreciation of others.
• Relationships—Work is a chance to meet and learn from other people
who share our interests.
• Meaning—Through work, we can express our values, work toward our life
goals, and fulfill our personal purpose in life.
With self-awareness and planning, work can help you expand your skills,
express your values and interests, and challenge yourself to grow.
What if you find yourself in a job or career that’s not right for you?
Less than a generation ago, workers often stayed with a single company for
life. Today, however, job mobility is the norm. In fact, the average American changes jobs six times by the age of thirty. While workers have less job
security than they once did, they also have more freedom to explore different jobs and careers. Today it is common for people to switch jobs and
even careers as they explore their interests and skills. If you change your
mind, you haven’t lost out. You’ve gained greater self-awareness and
developed valuable transferable skills.
Work Is Unpleasant or Is It?
Obviously, work has a tremendous impact on our happiness. However,
based on global research conducted by Gallup, with national representatives
from more than 140 countries, only thirteen percent of people worldwide
success secret
Let your skills and interests guide your career
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Discovering Your Strengths 87
actually like going to work, and are “engaged” in their work. Sixty-three percent of people are “not engaged” or simply unmotivated. The remaining
twenty-four percent are “actively disengaged” or truly unhappy. Looking at
this depressing data, it’s no surprise why it is such a commonly held notion
that “work is by nature not pleasant,” or, “I have to do things I don’t enjoy
to make a living.”
Myths About Work Many people see work as a daily grind—just a
way to pay the bills. Consider the following common misconceptions about
work and careers. Do any of them ring true for you?
1. By nature, work is unpleasant.
2. If I do what I enjoy, I won’t make any money.
3. If I don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life, there must be
something wrong with me.
4. I’m the only one who doesn’t have a fixed occupational goal.
5. There is one, and only one, perfect career for me.
6. Somewhere, there is an expert or a test that will tell me exactly what I
should do for the rest of my life.
7. A “real” job is 9 to 5, five days a week, working for someone else.
8. What I do at work defines who I am as a person.
9. Once I choose a career, I should stick with it no matter what.
10. You have to suffer to get ahead.
These myths spring from a negative attitude toward work. In reality, work
can and should be something you enjoy. Your career is an important part
of your identity, but it does not limit who you are as a person.
There are also many myths about the “right” way to pursue a career.
In reality, each person’s career path is different. Some people have very
specific career goals from a young age, while others need time to explore
career possibilities. There is no such thing as the one perfect career for
you, either. You have a wide range of skills and interests, making it possible for you to thrive in a variety of careers. The key is to identify these
careers, do research, and find out which path appeals to you the most
right now.
Ideally, we all want to spend our working lives engaged in our core passions. There are many scientists, artists, care-givers, and musicians who
earn their livelihood and say that other than perfecting their skills, “they
have never worked a day in their lives.” When one high school music
teacher was asked by her students why she decided to become a music
teacher, her reply was simple and straightforward: “It was because I love
children and I love music. To me, work is play. What can be happier than
every day coming to work for play?”
While many of us will find as much joy in our family lives, personal
activities, and hobbies as we will experience in our careers, it is important
to note that behavioral scientists have found that independent desire for
success secret
Work can and should be
something you enjoy.
88 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
excellence is the most telling predictor of significant achievement. In other
words, the success of our efforts depends less on the efforts themselves
than on our motives. The most successful men and women, in almost all
fields, have achieved their greatness out of a desire to express what they felt
had to be expressed. Often it was a desire to use their talents and skills to
the utmost to solve a problem. This is not to say that many of them did not
also reap financial rewards. Many of them have. But far more than thoughts
of profit, the key to their success was inspiration and the flame of passion
burning within.
Personality Types and Work
We’ve seen that skills and interests are closely related to each other and to
career choice. Personality is an important part of the mix, too. People who
have similar personalities are often interested and good at the same kinds
of activities. Because of this, they often tend to enjoy and excel at similar
kinds of careers.
How do you know which careers might be right for you? One way is to
see what your values, personality, talents, skills, and interests have in common. According to career researcher John Holland, people’s work personalities fall into six basic types. While everyone has some aspect of all the
types, each individual tends to be strongest in one or two types. People who
success secret
Consider your personality
when choosing a career.
professional development )))
Career Fulfillment
There is an old saying, “Find a job you love and you will never work another day in your life.” Finding a
career that is fulfilling is one of our greatest achievements and pleasures. Most people spend approximately
twenty-five percent of their entire adult lives working. If your job does not match your talents, skills, and
interests, you are likely to experience physical and mental stress, as well as frustration and boredom. If
finding the right career is so important, why do so many people stay in jobs they dislike? There are many
reasons, including financial need, fear of change or unemployment, and a lack of aptitudes and skills that
match their interests. Finding the best career requires self-awareness and self-knowledge. It is never too
early, or too late, to assess your values, personality traits, innate talents, skills, and interests that lead to
a career that will bring out the best in you. There are many careers that can provide you with personal
satisfaction as well as financial stability.
Earlier in this chapter, you learned about natural aptitudes (talents) and multiple intelligences. The
non-profit Johnson O’Connor Foundation offers hands-on tests to discover nineteen natural talents. Select
four of those aptitudes listed that you feel describe your major talents. Write the description of each talent
and what possible career fields match those talents to your current skills and interests. For more resources
on making career choices, ask your instructor to give you the additional Professional Development materials
for this chapter, or try the Princeton Review Career Quiz here: http://www.princetonreview.com/cte/quiz/
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Discovering Your Strengths 89
choose careers that match their dominant type are more enthusiastic about
their work, are more comfortable in their work environment, and get along
better with their coworkers. The six types are:
• Realistic—Realistic people are doers who prefer hands-on activities to
activities involving words or relationships.
• Investigative—Investigative people are thinkers who like to investigate
and solve problems.
• Artistic—Artistic people are creators who value self-expression and dislike
• Social—Social people are helpers who value relationships more than
intellectual or physical activity.
• Enterprising—Enterprising people are persuaders who enjoy using their
verbal skills.
• Conventional—Conventional people are organizers who thrive in situations with rules and structure.
Can you tell which type is most “you”? Activity 12 will help you evaluate
your personality traits, skills, and interests and link them to a variety of
career fields.
Next Steps You have learned a lot about yourself in this chapter.
Your self-awareness will continue to grow throughout your lifetime as you
gain experience and knowledge. One way to learn more about yourself is
simply to observe the world around you. What kinds of careers do you find
interesting? What jobs do you want to know more about? Take every opportunity to ask questions and explore the many possibilities open to you.
Self Check
1. What are the “big five” personality traits? (p. 65)
2. What are the eight types of intelligence? (p. 72)
3. Once you have chosen a career, should you stick with it no matter what?
(p. 86)
90 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 12: Interest Survey
A In each of the following six categories, check the items that describe you.
I am: I can: I enjoy:
fix broken things
figure out how things work
pitch a tent
play a sport
read a blueprint
work on cars
tinkering with machines
working outdoors
being physically active
using my hands
building things
working with animals
I am: I can: I enjoy:
think abstractly
solve math problems
understand scientific theories
do complex calculations
use a microscope
analyze words and numbers
exploring ideas
using computers
working on my own
performing experiments
reading scientific or technical magazines
testing theories
I am: I can: I enjoy:
sketch, draw, or paint
play a musical instrument
write stories, poetry, or music
design fashions or interiors
sing, act, or dance
solve problems creatively
attending concerts, plays, or exhibits
reading fiction, plays, or poetry
working on crafts
taking photographs
expressing myself
thinking about ideas
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Discovering Your Strengths 91
Continue checking the items that describe you.
I am: I can: I enjoy:
teach or train others
express myself clearly
lead a group discussion
mediate conflicts
plan and supervise an activity
cooperate well with others
working in groups
helping people with problems
participating in meetings
doing volunteer service
working with young people
nursing or giving first aid
I am: I can: I enjoy:
change people’s opinions
convince people to do things my way
sell things
give talks or speeches
organize activities and events
lead a group
making decisions affecting others
being elected to an office
winning a leadership or sales award
starting my own political campaign
meeting important people
being in charge
I am: I can: I enjoy:
work well within a system
do a lot of paperwork in a short time
keep accurate records
use a computer
write business letters
work with numbers
following clearly defined procedures
using a computer or calculator
working with numbers
typing, organizing, or filing
handling details
succeeding in business
92 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
B Scoring: Add up the total number of items you checked in each of the six categories.
Realistic  ______ Investigative  ______ Artistic  ______
Social  ______ Enterprising  ______ Conventional  ______
C The following lists of career areas represent fields that people of each personality type often enjoy and
excel in. Read the career areas that correspond to your first-, second-, and third-highest personality types.
R—construction, engineering, transportation, law enforcement, farming, mining, armed forces
I—science, medicine, dentistry, information technology, math, postsecondary education
A—music, dance, theater, design, fine art, architecture, photography, journalism, creative writing
S—education, religion, counseling, psychology, therapy, social work, child care
E—sales, management, business, law, politics, marketing, finance, urban planning, television or movie
production, sports promotion
C—accounting, court reporting, financial analysis, banking, tax preparation, office management
Select one career area for your personality type that interests you but that you don’t know very much
about yet. How could you figure out whether it might be a good match for you?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Review and Activities 93
Chapter 2 Review and Activities
self-awareness (p. 50)
self-honesty (p. 50)
self-consciousness (p. 51)
private self-awareness (p. 52)
public self-awareness (p. 52)
emotional awareness (p. 52)
dream (p. 54)
values (p. 57)
ethics (p. 57)
personality (p. 64)
trait (p. 64)
intelligence (p. 72)
skill (p. 77)
knowledge (p. 77)
interests (p. 81)
Key Terms
Summary by Learning Objectives
• Define self-awareness and cite its benefits. Self-awareness is about taking an honest look
at yourself—your thoughts, feelings, attitudes, motivations, and actions. Self-awareness helps
you identify what you are really feeling and thinking inside; it helps you act in accordance with
your personal values, rather than be swayed by what other people say or do; and it helps you
appreciate your unique personality, skills, and interests. When you are self-aware, you can make
the choices that are right for you.
• Explain the factors that influence people’s values. Your values reflect what is most
important to you. Your values are greatly influenced by your family, religious beliefs, teachers,
friends, and personal experiences, as well as by the values of the society in which you live.
• Define personality and list the “big five” personality traits. Personality is the relatively
stable pattern of behavior that distinguishes one person from another. The “big five” personality
traits are openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability.
• Compare and contrast skills, knowledge, and interests. Skills consist of the ability to do
something specific as a result of learning and practice. Skills are the result of knowledge combined with experience. Knowledge is an understanding of facts and principles in a particular
subject area. Interests are personal preferences for specific topics and activities. People’s skills
and interests often overlap.
• Explain how personality, skills, and interests relate to career choice. People who have
similar personalities are often interested and good at the same types of activities. They therefore
tend to enjoy and excel at similar careers. It is important to consider your personality type,
innate talents, skills, and interests as you plan your career. When you are using your natural
talents, developing them into skills, following your interests, and expressing your personality
at work, you feel more satisfied with your life.
94 Chapter 2 | Self-Awareness Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Review and Activities
Review Questions
1. What is the difference between private and public self-consciousness?
2. What are three questions you can ask yourself to help identify the emotions you are experiencing?
3. What influences people’s choice of values?
4. How do people develop skills?
5. Compare and contrast intrapersonal intelligence and interpersonal intelligence.
6. What are the six personality types in John Holland’s career theory?
Critical Thinking
7. Self-Honesty Do you think that most people (or most people you know) are self-honest
and self-aware? Why or why not? What do you think prevents people from becoming more
self-honest and self-aware? Why?
8. Value Conflict What do you do when values conflict? Imagine that you value generosity
and spend a great deal of time and energy volunteering and giving to others. However, you
also value financial security, which means that you need to work hard to support yourself and
save money for your future. How might these two values come into conflict? How could you
resolve this conflict in a way that benefits others as well as yourself?
9. Emotion Log Monitor your feelings by keeping a log with you for one week. Make a note
each time you experience a moderate or strong emotion, and immediately answer these three
questions about it: How does my body feel? What happened right before I started to experience this emotion? What specific name can I put to this emotion? At the end of the week,
explain whether or not the log helped you to become more emotionally aware, and why.
10. Personality Collage Using a large piece of paper, create a collage of pictures to represent
your personality. The pictures can come from any source and can represent any person,
thing, scene, or event that you feel represents your personality in some meaningful way.
Prepare to present your collage to the class.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Review and Activities 95
Internet Activities
11. Personality Assessment Search online for a reputable Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and
find an article about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and personality types. Your instructor
may provide you with an article. What is your personality type? What are its characteristics?
Take a quiz to determine your personality type, then write a page describing the personality
type you were assigned and explaining whether or not you feel the quiz gave you accurate
12. Talent and Interest Survey Go to www.jocrf.org and www.ballfoundation.org, which are
the Web sites for Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation and the Ball Foundation. After
reviewing those sites, do you feel you have a better understanding of why self-awareness of
your natural aptitudes is a first step? Are you confident that your talents, skills, and interests are aligned? Why or why not? You also should find a link to a Web site that lets you
evaluate your interests and then match them to careers. Select three careers that relate to
your interests and learn more about them. Write a brief description for each career, then
rank the careers from most interesting to least interesting. Prepare to discuss your career
selections in class.
Review and Activities
Look back at your response to the question in the Real-Life
Success Story on page 48. Think about how you would answer
the question now that you have completed the chapter.
Complete the Story Write a paragraph continuing Mariah’s
story, explaining some specific ways she can increase her selfawareness and take inventory of her skills and interests.
Real-Life “What Do I Really Want?”
Success Story
©Jacob Lund/Shutterstock
A New Direction
Trinh Hong was twenty-five years old and had been
working for the past seven years as an assistant at a
small accounting firm in San Francisco. Although she
liked her job, she didn’t see any chance for advancement. It seemed as if the past seven years had just
flown by without much success. Trinh had never really
thought about her goals for the future. Increasingly,
however, she realized that she needed a direction.
New Goals, New Challenges
Trinh decided to go back to school to earn a degree
in accounting. As she sat in her first class, though,
she began to question her decision. How was she
supposed to accomplish such a huge goal? Would
she really be able to balance school and work? What
if she didn’t finish and then had to repay student
loans on her current salary? Her heart began to beat
faster, and her palms got sweaty. She asked herself
whether she was in over her head.
What Do You Think? What could Trinh do to
make her long-term goal seem more attainable?
Success Story
“Where Do I Go From Here?”
learning objectives
After you complete this chapter,
you should be able to:
• Explain the importance of setting goals.
• List the characteristics of wellset goals.
• Distinguish between short-term
and long-term goals.
• Cite common obstacles to
reaching your goals.
• Recognize the causes and
symptoms of stress.
• Describe several strategies for
relieving stress.
• Explain ways to deal with anger
Whoever wants to reach a distant
goal must take small steps.”
Saul Bellow, Novelist
Setting goals is an important step toward achieving
what you want out of life. Goals help you focus your
effort on the things that are most important to you.
In Section 3.1 you’ll learn how to set attainable goals
for yourself and how to break them down into small
steps that you can begin working on right now. You’ll
also learn how to anticipate and overcome common
obstacles to reaching your goals. In Section 3.2 you’ll
explore the causes and symptoms of stress and anger.
By developing constructive strategies to deal with life’s
setbacks and frustrations, you’ll be able to stay on track
toward your goals.
Goals and
Obstacles 3 Chapter

98 Chapter 3 | Goals and Obstacles Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
SECTION 3.1 Setting and Achieving Goals
After completing Chapter 2, you should have a better idea of your dreams,
values, personality traits, skills, and interests. Where do goals fit in? Goals
are tools for translating dreams into reality. A goal represents an outcome
that you want and toward which you direct your effort. A goal is a signpost
to the future, telling you which way to go. It translates your dreams into
plans, and directs your abilities in the service of what you want most.
Goals help us manage our priorities, so that we don’t waste our precious, finite time. We all lament the lack of enough time, even though each
of has 168 hours per week to spend. More than a time-management problem, we really have a focus problem. We spend too much energy worrying
about the things we want to do but can’t, instead of concentrating on doing
the things we can do but don’t. Dreams are the creative visions of our lives
in the future. Dreams are what we would like our lives to become. Goals,
on the other hand, are the specific events that we intend to make happen.
Goals should be just beyond our present reach, but never out of sight.
Think of your goals as previews of coming attractions of an epic, real-life
movie in which you are the screenwriter, producer, and star performer.
Goals are our method of concentrating energy. By defining what needs to
be done within reasonable time limits, we have a way of measuring success.
Laser technology and effective goal achievement are based upon the same
scientific principles. When light waves are concentrated and in step they produce a beam of pure light with awesome power. When goals are kept in focus
and are approached in orderly progression, they ignite the human mind’s awesome creativity and powers of accomplishment. Concentrate your attention
on where you want to go, not away from where you don’t want to be. You will
always move in the direction of your currently dominant thoughts.
What kinds of goals are you committed to? Because we become what
we think about most, we unconsciously move toward the achievement of
the thoughts we have right now. Negative thoughts create negative goals;
positive thoughts create positive goals.
You have the potential and the opportunity for success in your life. It
can take just as much energy for an unfulfilling life as for a rewarding one.
Many people lead unhappy, aimless lives, simply existing from day to day
and year to year. You can set yourself free from this by actively deciding
what to do with your life, by making goals happen.
Many people resist goal setting because they assume it leads to a
formula-driven, highly uncreative life. Actually, the exact opposite is true.
People who passively assume that everything will somehow work out in the
end can hardly be termed creative. They’re not creating their lives, they’re
just hoping that something good will happen to them somehow, and they’ll
arrive at some magical port of call on a fantasy island called “Someday I’ll.”
goal An outcome you want
to achieve and toward which
you direct your effort.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Setting and Achieving Goals 99
Setting worthwhile goals is a much more imaginative approach. It’s fashioning and molding the life of your choice.
Rather than being like a ship without a rudder, drifting until we end up
on the rocks, we can discipline ourselves to decide where we want to go. We
can chart a course and sail straight and far, reaching one port after another.
We can accomplish more in just a few years than some people accomplish in
a lifetime. We do this by setting and visualizing our goals. Think of a long
ocean voyage halfway around the world. Even though the captain of the ship
cannot see her destination for most of the journey, she knows what it is,
where it is, and that she will reach it if she keeps following the right course.
Setting Goals
For a goal to be vivid, meaningful, and have any real pulling power at all, it
must be very specific. The human mind cannot focus and act upon nebulous,
general thoughts. The more specific the input into your mind, the more
detailed and defined the image creating the motivational force for achievement. One of the most highly regarded scientists who has studied goal
setting has been Professor Edwin Locke of the University of Maryland. In
one study, he found that ninety-six percent of test subjects did better if they
were given specific and challenging goals than if they were simply instructed
to do their best. Numerous other studies have confirmed this.
It is very common today to try to motivate students and employees by telling them to do the best they can. The problem is that children and most adults
really don’t know what their best is and therefore don’t have a good idea of
what they’re aiming for. A disturbing result discovered by these studies was that
in society today, while most people are trying to “do their best,” only about four
percent of the population actually do perform near the top of their abilities.
This is why it is so important to be motivated by your core passions—out of love
and belief in what you are doing—and then to arm yourself with knowledge
gained from other achievers showing what actions to take every step of the way.
Reaching a goal can be likened to programing the GPS device in your car to
reach a desired address. Put in the data from your starting point and your ultimate destination, and your mind becomes like a global positioning satellite;
only it would be better labeled as a “goal positioning system.”
Specific goals are much stronger because they are more thoroughly
imagined and more tangible. Telling basketball players to concentrate on
pulling in ten rebounds per game paints a much clearer target than telling
them to go out on the court and do their best. The best coaches focus on
developing and improving specific skills of their players for the special
roles they will play as members of a winning team.
A well-set goal has five important characteristics: It is specific,
measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-related (SMART), as shown
in Figure 3.1. Let’s look at each of these elements.
• S—Specific Is it clear what your plan of action should be to achieve this
goal? Or is the goal so vague that you don’t know how to get started?
success secret
Be proactive about your
goals—only you can make
them happen.
100 Chapter 3 | Goals and Obstacles Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Look Before You Leap The more time and thought you invest in formulating
your goals, the more likely you’ll be to achieve them. Why do you think that
many experts advise putting goals down in writing?
Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-Related
• M—Measurable How will you know whether you’ve achieved your goal?
Does the goal give you something concrete to measure—amount of money
to be saved, number of books to be read, total miles to be jogged?
• A—Achievable Is it doable? Can you actually succeed at this goal, or are
you dooming yourself to failure?
• R—Realistic Is this goal possible and desirable given your values, skills,
and interests? The way you act? Does it fit with your schedule and financial situation? Your personality? Your other goals?
• T—Time-Related Does the goal include a time frame for evaluating
whether you have achieved it? Does it motivate you to get started right
away, or is it off somewhere in the future?
Each of these SMART elements should be present for a goal to be well set.
Let’s say, for example, that your goal is to lose weight. This goal is achievable and probably realistic, but it isn’t specific, measurable, or time-related.
How much weight do you want to lose and in what amount of time? Instead
try, “I will lose one pound a week for the next fifteen weeks by watching my
diet and walking for a half hour every day.” This goal is specific, realistic,
and time-related. It is certainly measurable—fifteen pounds over a fifteenweek period—and it is achievable because a reasonable target has been set.
It is now a well-set goal.
A common mistake is to set goals in negative terms. Even though we
have just illustrated that losing one pound per week for fifteen weeks meets
the criteria as a SMART goal, it is more of an example of a sub-goal. Keep
in mind that a goal should be a desired result. The real goal is to stabilize
your body weight at a certain target weight and maintain that, not to dwell
on the dominant thought of being overweight and needing to continually
“lose weight.” What is your ideal weight for a healthy body image? That’s
the ultimate goal.
For example, whether you are trying not to be late for appointments or
not get so upset when things go wrong, you need to stay away from
“negative,” or “reverse” goal setting. The mind can’t focus on the reverse of
success secret
Be specific when setting
your goals.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Setting and Achieving Goals 101
a concept, so the negative idea of trying to stop doing something destructive
reinforces what’s wrong. Even though you may be trying hard “not to be
late,” stating it in that way reminds you of the problem, not the solution.
There will be specific examples of affirming your goals with positive self-talk
in the next chapter.
For more practice at setting SMART goals, complete Activity 13.
Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
Now let’s look at the two main types of goals: short-term goals and longterm goals. A short-term goal has a short time frame for accomplishment.
Short-term goals are the things you are working on today, tomorrow, next
week. They are usually goals that can be accomplished in a year.
A long-term goal is a goal that is further in the future. Long-term goals
represent things you want to accomplish in one, two, or several years.
Long-term goals are the major targets in your life. Long-term goals often
include things like continuing your education, buying a house, raising a
family, or changing careers. Long-term goals can require a lot of patience,
but they are worth it in the end. Ask yourself at the end of every day what
you have done to bring yourself closer to your long-term goals. If you find
that your day-to-day life is not bringing you closer to your long-term goals, it
is probably time for a change.
It is easy to think of long-term goals as more important than short-term
goals, but short-term and long-term goals are equally important. In fact, you
can’t achieve long-term goals without first achieving a series of short-term
goals. For instance, let’s say your long-term goal is to complete your degree
in fine arts. Your short-term goals for the semester might be to maintain a
B average, sketch for at least one hour each day, and improve your skill in a
certain medium, such as acrylics or oils. Success at each of these short-term
goals brings you one step closer to reaching your long-term goal.
Tying Your Goals Together
How do you make sure that your short-term goals will lead you to your longterm goals? The easiest way is to work backward in time, first formulating your
long-term goals and then thinking of all the steps necessary to achieve each
goal. Each step will represent a short-term goal. By always keeping your longterm goals in mind, you make sure that your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly
plans reflect the big picture in your life plan. For example, if your long-term
goal is to become and remain healthy and physically fit, with a balanced diet
and healthy weight, your short-term goal for the month might be to plan and
begin a program of aerobic exercise. Your weekly plan might be to exercise for
five days, and your daily plan might be to take a thirty-minute walk at work or
on campus. Your daily, weekly, and monthly goals then all relate directly to
your larger life goal. Try this strategy in Activity 14, which is designed to help
you break your goals down into doable steps.
short-term goal A
goal with a specific plan of
action to accomplish within
the coming year.
long-term goal A goal
you plan to achieve in the
more distant future.
success secret
Short-term goals and longterm goals are equally
102 Chapter 3 | Goals and Obstacles Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 13: Setting SMART Goals
A Are the following SMART goals? If not, what is missing? Write S (specific), M (measurable), A (achievable), R (realistic), and/or T (time-related) in the middle column for each missing element. Write OK if all
the SMART factors are present.
Goal Missing Factor(s)? SMART Goal
Buy a used car for under $7,000.
S,T Buy a reliable, two-door used compact car for
under $7,000 within six months.
1. Complete my certificate
or degree.
2. Give more time or money
to charity.
3. Find out in next two weeks
how to get financial aid.
4. Pay off my credit cards by
the end of this month.
5. Eat healthfully three times
a day.
6. Work out in gym for an
hour three times a week.
7. Spend more time with my
family and friends.
8. Find something to do for fun.
9. Read more.
10. Join a volunteer program.
11. Raise GPA to 3.8 by end
of semester.
12. Set aside $10 each week in
a savings account.
13. Get physical exam.
14. Update my résumé.
15. Watch less TV.
B Using the right-hand column above, rewrite any flawed goals so that they are SMART goals.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Setting and Achieving Goals 103
C Think back to the dreams you formulated in Chapter 2. Translate each of your dreams into one or two
SMART goals. If your dream is to travel, for example, your SMART goal might be to save $1,500 for a
two-week trip to Europe next summer.
Goal SMART Goal
D Will you be able to work on all of these goals at the same time? If so, explain how. If not, how will you
choose which goals to work on first?
104 Chapter 3 | Goals and Obstacles Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 14: Generating Short-Term Goals
A List three long-term goals you’d like to accomplish in the next five years.
Goal #1 Goal #2 Goal #3
B Now list several smaller goals that you’ll need to accomplish in order to reach these long-term goals.
For example, if you want to buy a house, you’ll need to look at houses in your price range, save money
for a down payment, get information on qualifying for a mortgage, and so on. Write these goals in any
Short-Term Goals Short-Term Goals Short-Term Goals
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Setting and Achieving Goals 105
C Pick one of the long-term goals you listed on the previous page and examine your list of related shortterm goals. Rewrite these short-term goals in the order that you’ll need to complete them. For example,
you’ll need to save money before you begin looking at houses. Then assign each short-term goal a realistic time frame—today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year, and so on.
D Choose one short-term goal that you could take action on immediately. Circle it. What can you do over
the next twenty-four hours to accomplish (or begin to accomplish) this goal?
To accomplish one of my goals, I can
E Now make a promise to yourself to take this action toward your goal.
To accomplish one of my goals, I will
Signed (your name)
106 Chapter 3 | Goals and Obstacles Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Staying on Track
Once you have set your goals, make a commitment to reach them. Write
your goals down and dwell on them morning and night as if you had
already achieved them. Assemble support materials—articles, blogs, books,
YouTube audio and video clips, downloaded images—anything that can
help you see your goals. Consider filling a collage or bulletin board with
pictures that represent your goals. These might represent your dream
career, satisfying relationships, or a series of landscapes that inspire you.
Tell people in your life about your goals—it will inspire you to keep up your
effort to achieve them. Review your goals with people who have accomplished what you want to and who are genuinely willing to help you. Ask
your instructor or advisor for advice on pursuing your goals.
Put Them in Writing Commit your goals to writing, whether on
paper, laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Attorneys know the wisdom of a written contract. It requires that a commitment be put in very clear, concise
terms, with all conditions, dollar amounts, responsibilities, and time frames
carefully detailed. Make a contract with yourself, and you will enter into a
successful relationship with yourself. Ideally, you should keep your goal journal or wallet-size cards in front of you for daily access, so you can review and
add to them continually. Goals are not set in concrete and should be flexible
enough to modify as you stair-step your way to achievement.
• Set a time for achieving your goal.
• Make sure your decision about your goal is right.
• Give your goal all your effort and never stop trying.
• Be a positive thinker.
• Once you have achieved one goal, go on to the next.
In addition to keeping a paper or electronic goal journal, many goal-setting
coaches suggest writing each of your goals on a small card and carrying all
your goals in your wallet. Every time you think of another goal, write it down
on a card and add it to the others in your wallet. When you achieve one goal,
remove the card. Take the cards out periodically—at least every week—and
read them to remind yourself of the successes you are working toward. A
more popular method of goal reminders is to list your goals in the appointment calendar of your phone, and then set an alarm to review them at certain
times throughout the day. Another good practice is to have a message repeat
every hour or so each day: “Is what I’m doing right now goal achieving or
tension relieving?” Your phone is an excellent tool to receive messages from
yourself, not just others.
Try this strategy yourself in Personal Journal 3.1. Write down four of
the short-term goals you listed in Activity 14. Set a reasonable deadline
for accomplishing each goal. Once you have filled out your goal cards,
review them as often as possible to keep yourself motivated and to
remind yourself to stay focused. You can even photocopy them and keep
them in your wallet.
success secret
Keep reminding yourself
to stick to your goals.
success secret
Once you have achieved
one goal, move on to the
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Setting and Achieving Goals 107
Personal Journal 3.1
Goal Cards
Write down four goals that you want to achieve over the next few months. Review them as often as possible to keep yourself motivated and to remind yourself to stay focused. Photocopy them or cut them out
and keep them in your wallet for reference.
Goal Card Goal Card
I will
I plan to accomplish this goal by
I will
I plan to accomplish this goal by
Goal Card
I will
I plan to accomplish this goal by
Goal Card
I will
I plan to accomplish this goal by
Adjusting Goals as You Go
Remember that you have the freedom to adjust your goals as you go. Look
over your goals periodically and reassess them. If one of them no longer
inspires you, modify it. Changing your goals is normal. Your interests will
change; your abilities will develop; and your potential will grow. Likewise,
changes in technology, culture, and society will open doors to new possibilities. Don’t be afraid to keep raising your personal stakes and keep reaching
into the unknown.
In his autobiography, Rapper Chuck D says that when he started out as
a college-radio disk jockey he just wanted to release a record. Soon his
group, Public Enemy, gained prominence on the airwaves and club scene,
and he decided to add socially conscious lyrics and messages to his music. As
his career developed, he developed new goals, including gaining exposure to
non–hip hop audiences. U2 singer Bono publicly supported Chuck D, saying
that although some people would criticize Public Enemy for daring to
change, this shouldn’t stop him from developing new and more ambitious
108 Chapter 3 | Goals and Obstacles Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
goals. It is common for people to be criticized for making changes. Change,
even if it is positive, is usually stressful because it ushers in the unknown.
Not adjusting your goals as you gain experience and self-knowledge can
stunt your growth. Some people know what they want out of life from the
time they are very young, but most people need time to develop a direction.
What you want out of life when you are eighteen is often different from
what you want when you’re thirty. A fifty-year-old rarely has the same goals
as a twenty-year-old.
Achieving goals is rewarding, but it isn’t always smooth sailing. Obstacles
often come along to roil the waters. An obstacle is any barrier that hinders
us from achieving our goals. There are two main kinds of obstacles—internal
and external. An internal obstacle is a barrier that comes from within
ourselves or from within the goal itself—such as a goal that lacks all five
SMART elements. An external obstacle is a barrier that a situation or
another person puts in your path. Often, internal and external obstacles go
hand in hand. For example, an external obstacle might be criticism or lack
of support from people around you. This external obstacle can become an
internal obstacle if you start to believe that your goal is wrong or stupid, or
that you shouldn’t reach for your goals if others don’t approve.
What obstacles stand in the way of achieving your goals? Consider
which of these common obstacles might apply to you and how you might
overcome them.
Trying to Please Someone Else
It is sometimes easy to confuse what we want for ourselves with what
other people want from us. It is important to remember, however, that
we must choose our goals to please ourselves, not others. No goal set for
you by others will ever be sought with the same passion, effort, and time
commitment as one you have set for yourself. Ask yourself whether the
goal you are working toward really inspires you. Are you using valuable
time and energy that you could be applying to a more motivating goal? Are
you doing something just because you think you “should” be doing it? Are
you building up resentment by trying to please someone else? If you try to
please everyone, you are likely to please no one at all, including yourself.
If you feel pressured by someone important in your life, such as a parent
or partner, to strive toward a goal that doesn’t inspire you, open the lines
of communication. Tell the person that you respect his or her opinion but
have the responsibility to yourself to do what is best for you.
Not Really Wanting It
Every goal requires effort. Is the satisfaction of achieving your goal
worth the effort you’ll need to apply? For example, let’s say that your
obstacle Any barrier that
prevents you from achieving
your goals.
success secret
Choose your goals to
please yourself, not
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Setting and Achieving Goals 109
goal is to play competitive sports or to win a music competition. Are you
willing to put in the intense training that will be necessary to achieve
this end? Are you willing to give up other goals or opportunities to focus
on this goal? More importantly, will you enjoy the process of working
toward your goal? If not, ask yourself whether you really want this goal.
If you don’t want it, get rid of it and begin focusing on what you really
do want.
Being a Perfectionist
It’s easy to get discouraged and give up when your efforts don’t succeed
immediately. If you often criticize yourself for failing to make progress,
ask yourself whether you are a victim of perfectionism. Perfectionism
means believing that you are worthy as a person only if you do everything
perfectly. Perfectionists would rather give up on a goal than take the
risk of failing to achieve it. Despite their lofty standards, perfectionists
are usually less successful in life than nonperfectionists. Do you set
unreasonable standards for yourself? Is your energy being drained by
fear of failure? Do you interpret mistakes as evidence that you’re just not
good enough? If so, work to become more aware of your self-sabotaging
thoughts. Try to see the situation from an outside point of view—if a good
friend were in your place, would you consider him or her a “failure”?
Celebrate reaching smaller goals that lead to the larger ones. Look at
setbacks as lessons, not failures.
Trying to Go It Alone
Your goals are your own, but you can’t accomplish them without moral
and emotional support. Tell friends and loved ones about your goals and
ask for advice and support when you need it. Seek out advisors, coaches,
and role models who can offer tips and encouragement. Consider writing
to someone you admire to ask for advice. Accept good-faith offers to assist
you with your responsibilities so that you can focus on your goal. Enlist
a friend as an exercise buddy to keep you to your exercise schedule. Also
remember to give thanks to the people in your work and life who support
and believe in you.
When you do ask for feedback, be sure it is from people who are truly
interested in seeing you succeed. Don’t seek feedback from fair-weather
friends, competitive peers, or any person who doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Neutral doesn’t count. Get feedback from someone who is on
your side but will still be objective and honest with you.
Pay attention to feedback only from those who have similar goals or
who are working actively alongside you to achieve goals of their own.
Motives and fears run deep. Study them in others. The sympathetic fairweather friend who supports you and comforts you when you’re down, may
like you best when you are in just that state: down and dependent.
perfectionism The
belief that you are worthwhile
only if you are perfect.
success secret
Don’t hesitate to ask for
support when you need it.
success secret
You will need to adapt
to change throughout
your life.
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Resisting Change
Depending on how you look at it, change can be disruptive and threatening, or exhilarating and full of opportunity. Change is a fact of life, and
resisting it can drain your energy. Many factors in life are outside your control, but if you concentrate on the big picture—your long-term goals—you’ll
be able to fine-tune your short-term goals as you go.
You must risk looking and feeling foolish in the eyes of others when
you move out of your comfort zone. There never was a success, in any field,
who was not also a beginner, at some point in time. When we pursue the
unfamiliar, and begin anything new, we appear as awkward, unsure novices.
These feelings of inadequacy and insecurity are primary reasons why so few
people go “all in” to fulfill their highest aspirations.
Ultimately, pursuing our goals is about giving up our old reality and
replacing it with a new reality. As exciting as it sounds, the decision doesn’t
always come easily because the pain of giving up the old is too powerful
compared to the pleasure of expecting a fresh, new direction that may
result in major life fulfillment.
Every decision we make in life involves tradeoffs and risks. “Loss aversion” is also known as “risk aversion.” That’s why many people forever live
in a structured life that feels safe and comfortable. The structure has a solid
floor, which equates to a stable job, a nice house, and reliable income.
However, this structured existence also has walls and, most importantly, a
ceiling that limits the heights of our goals and ambitions. By seeking
security and avoiding risk, we may toil in jobs without passion, zest, and
joy. Goals are suffocated because the thought of losing the solid floor and
walls is too painful.
When you are working toward your goals, it’s easy
to become sidetracked by time-wasters like excessive surfing of the Internet. It only takes a few clicks
to go from completing a simple task, like checking
your bank balance, to shopping online, participating
in a chat room, or researching some offbeat topic,
like bungee jumping. If you find yourself spending too
much time online, ask yourself:
■ Am I surfing to avoid a more difficult or unpleasant task?
■ Am I surfing to avoid feelings of loneliness,
stress, or anger?
■ Do I make impulse purchases during my surfing
■ Would I be a more effective student if I spent less
time online?
■ Is my Facebook, Twitter, and texting activity
more tension-relieving or goal achieving?
Think About It
How do you think the Internet can be most useful?
Least useful? What are some of the best Web sites
you’ve visited? Some of the worst? Prepare your
answers for a class discussion. For resources on using
the Internet effectively, go to the links below:
internet action
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Setting and Achieving Goals 111
The key to turning unexpected change into opportunity is to learn the
skill of adapting. Adapting means being flexible and open to change. Even if
you stay in one neighborhood throughout your life, you will need to adapt
to change—new technologies, new cultural phenomena, new people, and
new personal interests, tastes, and goals.
What obstacles might you face as you make progress toward your
goals? Activity 15 will help you anticipate obstacles and find ways to overcome them before they sidetrack your efforts.
Opportunity Knocks As you gain practice setting and achieving
your goals, remember that sometimes obstacles are really opportunities in
disguise. If you remain flexible and try new ways of thinking and doing,
you’ll often find that setbacks are sources of new ideas. Look at every side
of a new situation before deciding that it really is an obstacle. This will help
you find new ways to achieve your goals.
Five Powers of Effective Goal Setting
Here are five “powers” that will help you create more focused goals to
achieve your dreams:
The Power of the Positive. Your goals should be framed in positive terms.
In other words, instead of focusing on “not being late,” “not being fat,” “not
being in debt,” or “not working in my regular job,” you want to concentrate
on images of achievement, such as “I’m an on-time person,” “I am lean and
am in great shape,” “I am creating financial success in my business.”
Remember that your mind cannot concentrate on the reverse of an idea,
so keep your goals framed in the positive. (We will cover how to create
positive self-statements to support your goals in the Positive Self-Talk
section of Chapter 4.)
The Power of the Present. Your character goals, such as being a good
leader, parent, or being healthy, on-time, enthusiastic, for example, should
be framed as images of achievement in the present tense. Your long-term
memory stores information in real time, that is critically important to you.
The reason your memory stores information in the present tense is obvious.
Can you imagine what would happen if your mind had to remind your
heart to beat tomorrow? Or what if it put the command for breathing, eating, or calorie burning on next month’s agenda? So any goal that involves
your health, behavior, or self-leadership should be framed as if you are
already that person. Some examples might include: “I spend quality time
with my loved ones.” “I am always on time for meetings.” “I am feeling
more healthy every day.” “I have healthy habits that add years to my life
and life to my years.” “I am relaxed and in control.” “I encourage input and
ideas from the employees I lead.”
The Power of the Personal. Your images of achievement must be yours.
They should not just be your boss’s goals, your teacher’s goals, or your
adapting Being flexible
to change.
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ACTIVITY 15: Anticipating Obstacles
A List three long-term goals you’d like to accomplish in the next five years. Use the goals you listed in
Activity 14, or choose new ones.
Goal #1 Goal #2 Goal #3
B Consider what obstacles you are likely to face as you make progress toward these goals. Think of as
many internal and external obstacles as you can to each goal. After you’re done, circle the two obstacles that you believe will be the most difficult to overcome.
Possible Obstacles Possible Obstacles Possible Obstacles
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Setting and Achieving Goals 113
C Now, working alone or with a classmate, brainstorm several ways that you could overcome these obstacles or keep them from getting in your way.
Obstacle #1
Obstacle #2
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friend’s goals. No goal set for you by others will ever be sought with the
same passion, effort, commitment, or motivation as the one you set for
yourself. Remember, personal goals, the ones you want, are those you’ll be
more likely to achieve. And when you do set personal, meaningful goals,
keep them to yourself. Or share them only with others who will take the
time to give you positive feedback and input. Remember, misery is always
looking for a place to become company. Never share a dream with someone who’s likely to rain on your parade.
The Power of Precision. Make your images of achievement specific and precise. Remember when you talk about goals in generalities, you will very
rarely succeed. But when you talk about your goals with specificity, you will
very rarely fail. A good way for you to determine if your images of achievement are focused enough is to simply ask yourself, “Can this goal be timed,
checked, or measured?” If you cannot time, check, or measure your performance, your goals are not specific enough. Your brain is more marvelous
than any computer that will ever be invented. Think of your brain and central nervous system as the hardware, and your mind as the software program. The mind does not compute ideas like “doing your best,” “doing
better,” “getting rich,” “being happy,” or “having enough.” It deals only
with specificity, not vague ideas. What are your income needs for next
year? What is your desired weight? What amount of cash asset do you need
to save that will give you enough income to enjoy your life in the future,
after taxes, without depending upon employment? At what age do you plan
to be financially secure? The brain and mind respond to specifics, like
spending seven-tenths of your take-home pay on current living expenses.
Spending two-tenths of your take-home pay on reducing your debts. And
putting at least one-tenth of your take-home pay in a mutual fund, or
interest-bearing savings vehicle to finance your future. Make it your
mission to focus on specific achievements.
The Power of the Possible. A formula that works well is that your goals
should be just out of reach but not out of sight. Another way to state that is
that your goals should be realistic, but not achievable by ordinary means.
Your goals should also be broken down into small, incremental action
steps. Remember the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. So
set challenging, realistic goals with small, doable action steps. It’s always
useful to clarify long-range goals, the ones that have been stimulating future
benefits that are worth the wait and the work. Long-range goals, however,
don’t offer you the step-by-step reinforcement and feedback you need for
continued motivation. So, if possible, break your long-range goals into
many short-range ones where you can know the thrill of victory on a
smaller scale. Then you can thrive on the many smaller wins, spaced closer
together, which will give you a winning pattern that will strengthen you for
the long haul toward the bigger long-range goals.
The idea is to set short-term goals that are just beyond your current
range of skills. And when you miss one of these short-term increments, you
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Setting and Achieving Goals 115
review, revise, and retry. When you hit your incremental goal, you reinforce
yourself with a positive reward or ceremony. Face the challenge, meet it, or
learn from your mistakes and then move up to the next higher goal. The
point is, we all need to win and win again to develop the winning reflex.
Setting step-by-step goals that can be reached, revised, retried, and reinforced
really works.
It seems to be an irrevocable part of nature that we work harder toward
our goals as our deadlines approach. A material goal is not a goal unless it
has a deadline. That’s why we have quotas, due dates, quarterly reports, and
dates for exams and term papers in school. We humans work best when we
have a target date for arrival and the best goals are in writing that we can
review on a daily basis.
And, finally, do your goals pass the win–win test? To be truly successful
in life we must consider the impact of reaching our goals on other people.
Once a goal is defined as to its integrity and merit for our own success, we
must ask ourselves the key question before we embark on an action course.
What affect will the realization of my goal have on the others involved?
And the answer should be: beneficial. One of the most critical aspects of
goal setting is that we seldom succeed in isolation without the support of
others. When our own goals match the aspirations of those with whom we
come in frequent contact and they in turn identify with us, a chain reaction
is formed and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Synergy is
achieved when a team is striving for the same outcome.
Self Check
1. What is a goal? (p. 98)
2. What does SMART stand for? (p. 99)
3. What is one good way to make sure that your long-term and short-term
goals are in sync? (p. 101)
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SECTION 3.2 Handling Stress and Anger
Focusing on your goals can at times become challenging, especially when
you are sidetracked by obstacles. However, how you react and respond to
life’s setbacks—both big and small—is key to achieving your goals.
Stress is a natural part of life. Stress is a person’s physical and psychological reaction to the demands in his or her life. Stress can be positive or negative. Eustress, or good stress, is the kind of pleasant, desirable
stress you might feel when playing a sport or going on a date. Distress, or
bad stress, is the kind of stress you might feel during an illness or a
drastic life change.
Psychologist Albert Ellis believes that we cause distress for ourselves
because we hold irrational beliefs. For example, we may become stressed
when we see people whispering at a party because we irrationally assume
that they are making fun of us. Ellis’s ABC model, illustrated in Figure 3.2,
shows how distress is the result of our beliefs about events rather than of
the events themselves. An activating event (A) triggers people to form
an irrational or negative belief (B) about it, which in turn shapes the
consequences (C) of the event.
Stress is in the eye of the beholder. Each person has his or her own
stressors. A stressor is anything that causes stress. Have you ever noticed
how different people can react to the same event in different ways? You may
feel excited about going on a long trip, while your friend might feel nervous
and tense. Dr. Hans Selye, one of the first people to study stress, divides
people into two categories: racehorses and turtles. A racehorse loves to run
and will die from exhaustion if it is corralled or confined in a small space. A
turtle will die from exhaustion if it is forced to run on a treadmill, moving
too fast for its slow nature. We each have to find our own healthy stress
level, somewhere between that of the racehorse and the turtle.
stress Your physical and
psychological reaction to the
demands in your life.
stressor Anything that
causes stress.
success secret
It’s normal to feel stress
when faced with change.
FIGURE 3.2 The ABC Model
Taking Control The ABC formula demonstrates how negative, irrational
beliefs can create stress and lead to unwanted consequences. How can
becoming more aware of your personal stressors help you control stress?
any stresscausing situation
how we evaluate
the situation
+ = outcome
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Handling Stress and Anger 117
Whether you are a racehorse or a turtle, you are likely to feel stress
when facing situations that require you to change old ways of doing or
thinking. It is normal to experience stress when faced with:
• greater demands at school or work
• changes in family relationships
• new financial responsibilities
• changes in your social life
• exposure to new people, ideas, and situations
• uncertainty or shame about sexual identity
• internally generated demands, such as perfectionism, negative self-talk,
or chronic worry and anxiety
Big changes usually bring on more stress than little ones, but a lot of
small changes or challenges at one time can add up, too. It is normal to
experience stress when faced with hassles, the small stressors of everyday
life. Hassles include losing your car keys, getting a flat tire, and other everyday annoyances. Like major stressors, hassles can weaken the body’s
immune system. The good news is that small, positive events, known as
uplifts, can have the opposite effect, boosting your body’s defense mechanisms and protecting your health.
Symptoms of Stress
What happens when we experience stress? Stressors trigger a response from
the autonomic nervous system (ANS), the part of the nervous system that
sends impulses to the heart, muscles, and glands. The ANS controls a number
of bodily functions, including heart and breathing rate and digestion.
success secret
Look for uplifts to offset
the stresses of life.
autonomic nervous
system (ANS) The
part of the nervous system
that monitors and controls
most involuntary functions,
including heartbeat and
Applying Psychology
Technology and Stress
Research from The University of Gothenburg in Switzerland has
revealed that intensive use of mobile phones and computers can
be linked to stress, sleep disorders, and depressive symptoms,
especially in young people. Heavy mobile phone use is linked to an
increase in sleeping problems in men and an increase in depressive
symptoms in both men and women. “Regularly using a computer
late at night is associated not only with sleep disorders, but also
with stress and depressive symptoms in both men and women,”
according to lead researcher Sara Thomẻe. A combination of both
heavy computer use and heavy mobile use makes the association even stronger. “This means taking breaks,
taking time to recover after intensive use, and putting limits on your availability,” Thomẻe explains. Good
advice: Don’t surf the Web, chat, text, and then try to sleep. Take a time-out, relax before bedtime, and don’t
be tethered to your phone, tablet, or laptop. Are you a techno-addict or are you in control?
©E. Audras/PhotoAlto
118 Chapter 3 | Goals and Obstacles Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Within the ANS, there are two subsystems, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. In dangerous or stressful situations, the sympathetic nervous system speeds up your heartbeat and
breathing rate and slows down the digestion of food. In relaxing situations,
the parasympathetic nervous system slows your heartbeat and breathing
rate and stimulates the digestion of food.
The ANS reacts to stressors by going through three physiological
stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. In the alarm stage, the body is
confronted with a stressor and mobilizes to meet the threat. For example,
suppose that you are lying in bed when you suddenly remember that you
have a test tomorrow. Your ANS reacts with alarm.
In the resistance stage, the body works to resist the stressor, releasing
adrenaline to give itself energy. The stressor may remain, but the symptoms
that appeared in the alarm stage disappear. You get up, turn on the light,
and start to make a plan of action.
In the exhaustion stage, which occurs after an extended period of stress,
the body may not be able to resist stressors any longer. If the body reaches
the exhaustion stage, the immune system is weakened, and the body
becomes vulnerable to diseases, which Selye called diseases of adaptation.
These can include ulcers, high blood pressure, coronary disease, and cancer.
How do you know if you are experiencing too much stress? People who
are under a lot of stress become impatient, angry, and tired more quickly
than they ordinarily would, and they experience physical symptoms, such
as muscle tension, insomnia, and loss of appetite. To assess your own stress
level, complete Activity 16.
Escape Responses
When faced with a stressful situation, it is tempting to indulge in an escape
response rather than to confront the problem head-on. An escape response
is a behavior, such as a thought or an action, that helps you get your mind
off your troubles.
Some escape responses are positive. A positive escape response might be
to go for a walk or talk with a friend. A positive escape response makes you
feel better for a while, in a constructive way. You act in a way that does not
harm you or add to the problem.
A negative escape response, by contrast, is an escape response that makes
you feel better for a while, but actually increases your stress levels. Negative
escape responses include overeating, drinking, and avoiding responsibilities.
Extreme responses include alcoholism and drug abuse. A common negative
escape response is denial—a way to reduce anxiety by ridding your mind of
painful thoughts and feelings. When your troubles seem too difficult to manage, it is tempting to just forget about everything. Instead of fleeing your feelings, however, it is healthier to get in touch with them. It is normal to react
to an unpleasant situation with stress, sadness, or anger. If you can, share
your feelings with a trusted family member, friend, instructor, or advisor.
success secret
Fatigue and irritability
can be signs of stress
escape response A
behavior that helps you get
your mind off your troubles.
denial Refusing to face
painful thoughts and feelings.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Handling Stress and Anger 119
ACTIVITY 16: How Stressed Are You?
A For each statement, check whether it applies to you Never, Seldom, Sometimes, or Often.
Never Seldom Sometimes Often
1. I lose my appetite or eat when I am not hungry.
2. My decisions tend to be hasty rather than planned;
I change my mind frequently.
3. The muscles of my neck, back, or stomach get tense.
4. Thoughts and feelings about my problems run through
my mind.
5. I have a hard time getting to sleep; I wake up during the
night or I feel tired in the morning.
6. I feel the urge to cry to get away from my problems.
7. I let anger build up and then explode.
8. I have nervous habits.
9. I feel tired, even when I have not been doing hard work.
10. I have physical problems, such as headaches, intestinal
disorders, or nausea.
11. I cannot do what I or others expect because the
expectations are unrealistic.
12. I lose interest in physical intimacy.
13. I get angry easily and quickly.
14. I have bad dreams or nightmares.
15. I worry a lot.
16. I use coffee, tobacco, alcohol, and/or drugs.
17. I feel uneasy, without any reason that I can name.
18. When I talk, my words come out weak, fast, broken,
or tense.
19. I am short-tempered and testy or cross with people.
20. Delays of any kind make me extremely impatient.
B Scoring: Assign yourself one point for every time you checked Never; two points for every time you
checked Seldom; three points for every time you checked Sometimes; and four points for every time you
checked Often.
What is your total?
20–40 Low level of stress
41–60 Moderate level of stress
61–80 High level of stress
120 Chapter 3 | Goals and Obstacles Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
C Does your score reflect the level of stress you feel? Explain.
D Change is a part of life, but it is also a cause of stress. What are some changes in your life right now that
might be causing stress for you?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Handling Stress and Anger 121
Living with less stress does not mean that you will never feel anxious,
worried, or tense. Everybody feels this way sometimes. To be successful, you
need to balance the amount of tension in your life. Pay attention to your
body and mind and learn to recognize your personal stressors. Once you
know what situations cause you stress, you are one step closer to managing
them and reacting to them with positive thoughts and actions.
Stress Management
In stressful or anger-causing situations, you have a lot more control than you
might think. You may not have control over all the sources of your stress,
but you can control your reaction to them. How? By developing coping skills,
behaviors that help you deal with stress and other unpleasant situations.
Stress researchers have uncovered three core characteristics of people
who cope with stress effectively. First, these people see problems not as
catastrophes, but as challenges. Second, they have a sense of mission or
purpose in life that helps them put setbacks in perspective. Third, they have
a feeling of control over their lives.
No matter what your problems are, you can work on them in a way that
is healthy and constructive. You can choose the method that best fits your
personality and lifestyle.
Relaxation A good way to deal with stress is through simple relaxation
or meditation. Try sitting in a comfortable position in a quiet room. Focus
your mind on a single calming word or phrase. Close your eyes; breathe
deeply and slowly. “Breathe” from your stomach, not your chest. Feel your
muscles relax. Assume this calm attitude for about 20 minutes. Make time for
relaxation every day, and you’ll feel better both mentally and physically.
Listening to music is another good way to relax. Slow music is more
soothing than fast music, and instrumental music is more soothing than
vocals. If you are very stressed, you may want to start with fast, loud music
to match your mood and then gradually shift to more mellow sounds. Pick
the musical genre of your choice, from classical to jazz to reggae to electronic, or try recordings of nature. Some people relax to the sound of the
ocean’s surf, rain or thunderstorms, or birds and insects in a meadow.
Watching nature can be even more relaxing than listening to nature.
If you can’t make it to a park, trail, lake, or beach, try sitting in front of a
fireplace or fish tank and losing yourself in watching the movement.
Another way to reduce tension is to practice progressive muscle
relaxation, the brief tightening and release of muscles throughout the body.
Massage is another effective relaxation technique.
Exercise Exercise can be a powerful stress reducer. Exercise includes
walking, running, aerobics, yoga, and any other physical activity that helps
you release tension. Exercise increases your heart rate and improves your
circulation. Flexing muscles creates a massage effect and helps work out
tension. Exercise also helps to burn off adrenaline in the bloodstream.
success secret
Learn to recognize
situations that cause
you stress.
coping skills Behaviors
that help you deal with
stress and other unpleasant
success secret
Make time for relaxation
every day.
success secret
Regular exercise keeps
your body and mind fit.
122 Chapter 3 | Goals and Obstacles Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Ideally, participate in some kind of cardiovascular fitness activity that
requires exertion to the point of perspiration for 20 to 30 minutes five or
more times a week. Steady, rhythmic aerobic activity is best, such as swimming, walking, jogging, or cycling.
Nutrition Eat a regular, balanced diet that is high in fiber and low in
saturated fat, and drink plenty of water daily. Take time to eat slowly and
enjoy your meals. Minimize salt, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol intake.
Respect your body and be cautious of fad diets, high-energy foods, and
other quick-fix alternatives to good nutrition.
Sleep Regularly get at least seven hours of complete rest. Develop a
ritual or regular procedure in preparing for sleep. Read or reflect on peaceful thoughts or interesting ideas, then take them with you into sleep.
Resolve arguments before going to sleep so that you do not lose sleep
because of them. Take a break after intensive mobile phone or computer
use before bedtime.
Mental Discipline Practice a technique for developing concentration, clearing the mind of distracting or intrusive thoughts, and focusing
your attention. These can be done in conjunction with physical relaxation
techniques such as meditation, biofeedback, and self-hypnosis. Other techniques for developing concentration include martial arts, advanced yoga,
t’ai chi, ballet, swimming, and other rhythmic activity.
success secret
Practice a technique for
clearing your mind of
worries and distracting
professional development )))
Job Stress
Dealing with heavy workloads, impossible deadlines, competing priorities, and workplace politics contribute
to stress on the job. Besides maintaining a healthy work/life balance, getting enough sleep, exercise, and
nutrients, here are some important tips for overcoming stress during your workday. Here are seven quick
and easy activities you can incorporate on the job:
1. Breathe—Take ten deep breaths to help you relax.
2. Stretch/Move—Stretch your body or take a quick walk down the hall.
3. Healthy Snack—Avoid caffeine and sugar, which spike your stress hormones.
4. Music Break—Listen to your favorite “calming” music on a break.
5. Visual Anchor—Have a favorite photo nearby to trigger positive emotions.
6. Specific Communication Times—Set aside certain times for inbound and outbound e-mails and phone calls.
7. See the Humor in Situations—Don’t take challenges and setbacks too seriously.
What’s Your Opinion?
What are some ways to achieve a balance between work and life? For more resources on stress management, go to http://health.discovery.com/centers/stress/stress.html or ask your instructor for additional links.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Handling Stress and Anger 123
Self-Esteem Develop your self-esteem so that you can put setbacks in
perspective. Feeling good about yourself helps you keep a positive attitude in
the face of life’s challenges. Find ways of appreciating and rewarding your
personal qualities and efforts. Personal compliments on a job well done,
positive self-talk, and reflecting on your accomplishments can boost your
self-esteem. You’ll learn more about these techniques in Chapter 4.
Relationships Establish a clear, confidential, reliable, and trustworthy network of people as a support network. They can provide direct,
honest, and accurate feedback, as well as care and concern, encouragement
and enthusiasm, and understanding and acceptance.
Time Management Based on your values and goals, set priorities
and schedule your time to accomplish what you want and need to do. Build
in protected time for relaxation training and meditation or reflection,
family and social time, and slack time for unexpected events. Identify and
reduce time wasters. Find out what events prevent you from making the
time necessary to implement effective stress management techniques.
Mental Stimulation Keep learning! Read about and discuss ideas
that excite you, preferably from a variety of fields. Use your creativity to
view a problem from different perspectives, develop your intuition, and
learn to redefine problems as opportunities. Also work on developing your
environmental awareness. Look for beauty around you—in a sunrise or sunset, trees and flowers budding in the spring, leaves turning color in the fall,
or the interesting curve of an arch. Take time to pay attention to the world
around you.
Recreation Engage in hobbies, sports, and leisure time activities that
provide a change of pace from your usual work. These should be refreshing
or entertaining in themselves, not just more work. They may include photography, painting, languages, travel, gardening, inventing, woodworking,
puzzles, music, or athletics.
Spirituality Reaffirm the values that underlie your daily living.
Through meditation, prayer, contemplation, or reflection, consider the
meaning of your life and work. Consider writing a journal entry at the end
of the day to record your reflections. Read some of the great spiritual or
philosophical literature from different cultures. Celebrate holidays and
special events with true meaning.
Reality Check When stress hits, stop for a moment and try to step
outside the situation. Ask yourself, “Am I overreacting?” How would you
view the situation if it were happening to someone else? How do you think
others might view your reaction? Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing
that could happen?” Often you will realize that the situation isn’t as bad as
you first thought. This new, adjusted outlook might ease both your tension
and your stress.
success secret
Establish a support
success secret
Make time for refreshing,
entertaining activities.
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Laugh It Off Keep your sense of humor. Remember that no one is
perfect and that you probably learn more from your mistakes than from
your successes. Look for the light side of your situation. If the situation
doesn’t seem to have a light side, read or watch something you find funny.
Laughter affects the body in the same way that aerobic exercise does: It
raises the blood pressure, increases heart rate, and tenses the muscles.
Afterwards, a general relaxation takes place.
Clarity Periodically review your dreams and goals and remind yourself
why you are doing what you are doing. Seek commitment, challenge, and
control in school and work. Set SMART goals and create step-by-step plans
to reach them.
Obviously, no one can practice all of these techniques perfectly. The key
to resisting stress is to practice healthy, positive thought patterns and to select
coping strategies that work for you. First use Personal Journal 3.2 to review
the stress management techniques just discussed. Then turn to Activity 17 to
begin taking action on the major stressors in your life.
Uncontrolled stress is a major obstacle to achieving our goals—and so is
uncontrolled anger. Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure, resentment,
or hostility that results from frustration. Anger, one of the most basic
success secret
Remember to keep your
sense of humor.
anger A strong feeling
of displeasure, resentment,
or hostility.
Personal Journal 3.2
Stress Management Techniques
The best stress management techniques for you are those that you will enjoy and be able to do consistently.
Fill in the concept map below with the five stress relief strategies that you think would work best for you.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Handling Stress and Anger 125
ACTIVITY 17: Personal Stressors and Relievers
A In the left-hand column, list situations in your life right now that are stressful. In the right-hand column,
brainstorm several ways to relieve the stress. Working alone or with a classmate, list every constructive
strategy that comes to mind, even if a given strategy might not be practical right now.
Stressor Stress Relievers
Example Too much homework, too little time. I can get more sleep so I have more energy.
I can do some homework on weekends.
I can take the bus so I have more time to read.
I can drop one of my classes.
I can stop watching TV on Sunday night.
I can do homework at the library, where it’s quiet.
Stressor Stress Relievers
I can
I can
I can
I can
126 Chapter 3 | Goals and Obstacles Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Stressor Stress Relievers
I can
I can
I can
I can
B Draw a circle around the stressor that is bothering you most right now. Then look at the “I can” statements you wrote for this stressor. Write a promise to yourself:
To relieve some of my stress, by the end of this week I will
Signed (your name)
C Fill out the reminders in Personal Journal 3.3 on the next page. Also remind yourself to come back
to this page in a few days and write “I will” statements for the other stressors you listed.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Handling Stress and Anger 127
Personal Journal 3.3
Stress Relief Reminders
Once you’ve identified strategies to reduce stress, remind yourself often to take action on them. Fill out
the reminders below, then photocopy them or cut them out and post them where you will see them often.
To reduce the stress caused by
I will
To reduce the stress caused by
I will
To reduce the stress caused by
I will
human emotions, is a normal response to aggravating situations. Most
of the time, though, anger doesn’t really help us. It steals our energy and
sidetracks us from achieving our goals. When we are angry, we feel helpless
and even more frustrated.
You can’t control every situation that causes you to feel angry. You can,
however, control your anger and decide how you want to respond to a situation. When you start to feel angry, make a conscious effort to use your
energy to come up with solutions to the problem that caused the anger.
Remember adrenaline? Anger is a trigger for your body to release both
adrenaline and a stress hormone called cortisol. When these two hormones
are working together in your body, your immune system becomes weakened
and less able to fight off disease. Redford Williams, M.D., a Duke University internist, says, “Every time you get angry it hurts your health.”
When your blood pressure jumps, heart rate quickens, and adrenaline
pumps, strive to control your anger. Remember that not every annoying situation is a life-threatening struggle for survival. Instead of taking your anger
out on other people, examine the source of your negative feelings and transform them into constructive words and actions.
success secret
Anger harms your physical
and mental health.
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When you feel angry or upset, you can also do something that will
relieve your negative feelings in a healthy way, such as jogging around the
block or listening to some soothing music. Self-awareness is an important
part of the victory over anger. The more self-aware you are, the better you
will be able to recognize the real causes of your anger and cope with the
ups and downs of everyday life.
Responses to Anger
Anger is an emotion, not an action. However, people often express their
anger through self-defeating actions: They yell, throw tantrums, even strike
someone. After such an outburst, though, do they feel better? No. People
who have frequent fits of rage usually feel bad about themselves. They are
panicky and out of control, and the problems they are angry about still
remain after they vent their rage.
People usually express anger in one of two ways. Sometimes we turn
anger outward, and sometimes we turn it inward. Anger that we direct outward is often said to be “healthy” anger because we are openly expressing
it. It is not healthy, however, if it does physical or mental harm. Outward
anger often manifests itself as aggression, behavior intended to harm or
injure a person (including you, the angry person) or an object. People who
are aggressive harm both themselves and others. Aggressive people often
express anger through:
• yelling, name calling, or other verbal abuse
• physical abuse
• irrational demands
• controlling behavior
• criticism and judgment of others
• hostile disagreement with others
• revenge fantasies
Anger that is expressed inwardly seems safer. But is it? It can often do
just as much long-term damage to our relationships and our physical and
mental health. Inward anger often manifests itself as:
• sarcasm or cynicism
• avoidance or withdrawal
• the “silent treatment”
• annoyance
• pervasive distrust of others
• feelings of victimization
• jealousy or envy
• fatigue and anxiety
• depression
Anger that we keep inside can make us resent people. It can also make us
resent ourselves, leading to guilt and depression.
aggression Behavior
intended to harm or injure
a person or object.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Handling Stress and Anger 129
Passive-Aggression Anger that is repeatedly suppressed and
directed inside can be dangerous. This suppressed anger can lead to
passive-aggression, a way of dealing with emotional conflict or stressors
by indirectly and unassertively expressing aggression toward others.
Passive-aggression is a disguised form of aggression. It is a way of
avoiding unpleasant feelings and events, such as anger and disagreement.
Passive-aggressive people often:
• tell people what they want to hear, even if they have to lie to do so
• refuse to acknowledge their inner feelings
• fear letting their feelings show
• complain of being misunderstood or unappreciated
• blame failures or setbacks on others
• avoid conflict at all cost by giving in to others, and then secretly
manipulate others to get their own way
• become angry but are afraid to show their anger, so quietly take revenge
by undermining others
• put people down in a humorous-seeming way
Passive-aggression is based on unhealthy thoughts that make people feel
afraid and victimized, yet also angry. These thoughts include:
• “I never win, so why try?”
• “Everyone else is more powerful than I am.”
• “It’s bad to get angry.”
• “No one cares how I feel.”
• “My problems are much worse than other people’s.”
• “I’m a loser and a failure.”
• “What I feel is the opposite of what other people want me to feel.”
• “I have to make sure people like and accept me.”
• “People will never know I’m angry and that I disagree with them.”
• “I’d rather lie than get into an argument with someone.”
Most of us have felt these things at some time or another. Passive-aggressive
people, however, think this way most or all of the time. To reduce these
distressing and unhealthy thoughts, it is important to find the courage to
express your emotions calmly and with reason, and to allow other people to
do the same. Instead of seeing every situation as a win–lose situation, learn
to accept and work toward compromises. Also work to make sure that your
words and actions are consistent with your feelings.
Handling Anger Constructively
Instead of repressing anger, expressing it through aggression, or letting it
emerge as passive-aggression, it is much healthier to use it to further your
self-awareness. Dealing with anger constructively means understanding
what causes it, staying calm, taking positive action, and using assertive
communication to improve the situation.
Indirect, disguised
aggression toward others.
success secret
Figure out what makes
you angry—and why.
130 Chapter 3 | Goals and Obstacles Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Why Am I Angry? The first step to conquering anger is to figure
out what makes you angry—and why. According to Sandy Livingstone,
author of Dealing With Anger, anger arises when we perceive that something
might happen to:
• frighten us
• hurt us
• threaten us
• make us feel powerless
Often, the hurt or powerlessness we fear is not physical, but emotional.
Take Sara’s example: With a new baby, a part-time job, and night courses
in management, Sara was having trouble keeping her stress level in
check. Before the baby was born, she and her husband, Chuck, had
agreed to share parenting duties equally. One evening Sara returned
home to find that Chuck had neither bathed the baby nor made any
preparations for dinner. Sara, who often became irritable when she was
hungry and tired, suddenly exploded. Chuck became angry as well, saying that Sara was overreacting. This only made Sara angrier, because it
made her feel emotionally powerless—Chuck was not taking her feelings
seriously. Chuck’s anger with Sara came from a fear of acknowledging
that there might be problems in the relationship. For both of them, the
constructive solution to this problem was to express their feelings and
then work out a solution together.
Just as it is important to recognize your personal stressors, it is important to know your personal anger triggers. Triggers are the people, situations, or events that provoke anger. What are your anger triggers? Enter
them in Personal Journal 3.4.
Stay Calm When you feel yourself getting angry, focus on staying
calm. For example, if after being put to bed, the two-year-old you are babysitting comes walking out to see you while you’re studying, you might have
several reactions. One might be to become angry and say, “That child never
stays put!” In your anger, you might yell at the child and then remain so
upset you can’t concentrate on your studies. Another reaction might be to
think, “We both need to relax. I’ll take a break and read a soothing bedtime
story so we can spend a little time together.” After you’ve put the child
back in bed, you are still calm and in control and can go back to your
The way you choose to think about a situation often determines your
feelings about it. Instead of flying off the handle when faced with a frazzling situation, recognize that you are feeling angry and identify what
you are angry about. If another person is involved, try to understand his
or her point of view. Also try looking at the situation from outside, as a
neutral observer. Is there another way of seeing the situation that might
help you reduce your anger? Many situations can be a source of anger or
stress because you see them in an unreal or exaggerated way. When you
success secret
Focus on staying calm.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Handling Stress and Anger 131
overreact to something, you are allowing yourself to be angry when anger
isn’t really necessary.
Take Positive Action It is easy to think that other people are causing all of our problems. However, it is possible that the problem lies in the
way we are looking at others. Instead of bottling up your anger and nurturing resentments against others, learn to express your feelings—calmly. Try
to work out the current situation without bringing up past issues or other
conflicts. Also ask yourself these questions:
• Am I trying to change or control others?
• Am I prejudiced against this person? Am I too judgmental?
• Am I expecting too much from other people?
• Do I want people to be more like me?
Personal Journal 3.4
Anger Triggers
Which of these situations triggers your anger? Put a check mark next to the situations that cause you
intense annoyance or anger.
I get angry when . . .
Someone criticizes me.
Someone does something better than I do.
Someone looks better than I do.
My partner looks at another man/woman.
Things don’t work out the way I planned.
Someone doesn’t listen to what I’m saying.
My parents, friends, or partner tell me what to do.
Someone questions my judgment.
I have to wait in line.
Someone cuts in front of me in line or in traffic.
Think about the situations you identified. How do you think they make you feel frightened, hurt, threatened, or powerless? Is this fright, hurt, threat, or powerlessness physical or psychological?
132 Chapter 3 | Goals and Obstacles Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
People often get angry because they think their situation is unfair.
Things sometimes are unfair, and looking for fairness in every situation can
be a fruitless search. It is important that we learn to accept things we cannot change. We can use our energy instead to change the things we can.
How can you put this idea into action? Let’s say you have to study for
an exam on Monday and your home is always noisy on the weekend. Look
at the situation in a realistic, practical way. If it is unlikely that you can find
a quiet corner of your home in which to study, make plans to study at the
library. That is much easier than getting upset over the fact that your home
is a lively, noisy one. You can choose not to create a stressful situation for
Try Assertiveness Instead of resorting to aggression or passiveaggression, strive to develop assertiveness. Assertiveness is the ability to
express your thoughts and feelings without violating the rights of others. It
means recognizing that your thoughts and feelings are valid and that you
have a right to express them. To be more assertive in your dealings with
others, try the following:
• Deal with minor irritations before they become anger-triggering
• Ask for help when you need it.
• Say “no” to unreasonable requests.
• Speak up if you are not being treated the way you want to be treated.
• Work toward a solution that benefits everyone involved.
• Be open to positive, constructive criticism and suggestions.
• Accept compliments with a simple “thank you,” not by diminishing
• Use calm body language and maintain good eye contact.
• Practice active listening: showing a desire to listen, being attentive to the
other person’s words and body language, and reflecting back their words
to let them know you have heard what they said.
As you learn to control your responses to anger, you will also be learning to control the frequency of your anger. For example, sometimes we feel
angry because people criticize us or disagree with us. As we learn to slow
down and take an inventory of our anger, we come to see that our anger is
not caused by others’ words—it is caused by our own silent fear that they
may be correct. As we build a repertoire of healthy responses to anger, we
build up our resilience and self-esteem, too.
Self Check
1. How does the body react to stress? (p. 116)
2. What is an escape response? (p. 118)
3. Define assertiveness. (p. 132)
success secret
Change what you can,
and accept what you
Standing up for your rights
without threatening the selfesteem of the other person.
success secret
Your thoughts and feelings are valid, and you
have a right to assert
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Review and Activities 133
Chapter 3 Review and Activities
goal (p. 98)
short-term goal (p. 101)
long-term goal (p. 101)
obstacle (p. 108)
perfectionism (p. 109)
adapting (p. 111)
stress (p. 116)
stressor (p. 116)
autonomic nervous system
(ANS) (p. 117)
escape response (p. 118)
denial (p. 118)
coping skills (p. 121)
anger (p. 124)
aggression (p. 128)
passive-aggression (p. 129)
assertiveness (p. 132)
Key Terms
Summary by Learning Objectives
• Explain the importance of setting goals. Goals are tools for translating dreams into reality.
Goals give our lives direction and channel our energy toward achieving success on our personal
• List the characteristics of well-set goals. Well-set goals have five characteristics, known by
the acronym SMART: They are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-related.
• Distinguish between short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals can be accomplished within a year. Long-term goals can be accomplished in a longer period of time. Shortterm goals are stepping stones to long-term goals.
• Cite common obstacles to reaching your goals. Common obstacles to reaching your goals
include striving for someone else’s goals; not being willing to put in the effort required; demanding perfection; lacking support; resisting change; and giving in to stress and anger.
• Recognize the causes and symptoms of stress. Stress is caused by the demands of daily
life, as well as by situations that require you to change old ways of doing or thinking. Symptoms
of stress include accelerated heartbeat and breathing rate. Symptoms of prolonged stress
include muscle aches, a weakened immune system, and disease.
• Describe several strategies for relieving stress. Powerful strategies for coping with
stress include relaxation, exercise, a healthy diet and sleep schedule, a supportive network of
relationships, mental exercises, hobbies, spirituality, humor, and focusing on the big picture in
your life.
• Explain ways to deal with anger constructively. To handle anger constructively, figure out
what makes you angry, and why. When you feel yourself getting angry, try to stay calm and view
the situation rationally. Express your thoughts and feelings, but also try to understand the other
person’s point of view.
134 Chapter 3 | Goals and Obstacles Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Review and Activities
Review Questions
1. Explain this statement: “Goals are dreams with deadlines.”
2. Why should goals be specific and measurable?
3. Give an example of a long-term goal and three related short-term goals.
4. When is stress positive? Give examples.
5. What is the difference between aggression and passive-aggression?
6. How can assertiveness help you cope with anger?
Critical Thinking
7. Anger Consider this statement by Buddha: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal
with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” What do
you think this statement means? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?
8. Assertiveness Review the assertiveness tips presented in the chapter, then recall a situation in which you had, or still have, difficulty being assertive. Describe the situation and
examine what feelings the situation created in you. Why did you find it difficult to be assertive? What will you do the next time you are in a similar situation to be more assertive?
9. Goal Survey Interview five friends or family members about their goals. Ask them to name
their long-term goals and their related short-term goals. Why did they pick these goals? What
deadline do they have for accomplishing the goals? What obstacles have they faced, and how
have they overcome them? After you complete your interviews, write a one-page summary.
What were your interviewees’ goals? Were they SMART goals? How much thought had the
interviewees given to their life direction? Did you learn anything that you can apply to
your life?
10. Stress Log Keep a “stress log” for one week. Monitor your stress level and write down the
stressors (and hassles) in your life. Then pick a calm moment to evaluate your list. Are there
any stressors or hassles to which you may have overreacted? How could you prepare yourself
for these situations in the future in order to minimize your level of stress?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Review and Activities 135
Internet Activities
11. Online Goal Management Go to https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/goal-settingquiz.htm. Take the quiz to learn how good you are at goal-setting, and receive tips for setting
and achieving your goals.
12. Anger Management Strategies Go to the Web site www.apa.org and type “Controlling
anger before it controls you” in the search box. Go through the strategies recommended for
coping with anger and select those that you have used effectively to control your own anger.
What method or methods have worked best for you? Are there others in the strategies mentioned that you feel can help you remain calm and even more in control? Write a one-page
report on how you best deal with anger and how other techniques offered can help.
Review and Activities
Look back at your response to the question in the Real-Life
Success Story on page 96. Think about how you would answer
the question now that you have completed the chapter.
Complete the Story Write a paragraph continuing Trinh’s
story, showing how she can use goal setting and stress management strategies to help her reach her goal.
Real-Life “Where Do I Go From Here?”
Success Story
©Jacob Lund/Shutterstock
Success Story
A Step Forward
Paul DuPre had always loved animals. Although he
had once dreamed of being a veterinarian, he gave
up that dream in high school. His family could not
afford to send him to college, and his grades weren’t
high enough to earn a scholarship. Neither of Paul’s
parents had gone to college, and they didn’t believe
that he should either. Paul, however, was able to earn
enough money to enroll in a veterinary technician
A Step Backward
Paul worried that he didn’t have the smarts to
complete the program. His sister, Sarah, agreed.
She often made fun of him, saying that no amount
of studying would make him any smarter. Why pay
a school just to learn how to clean kennels? Paul
was unsure of himself and overwhelmed with all
the coursework. After getting low grades on two
quizzes, he began to wonder if his sister was right.
He thought he probably wasn’t smart enough and
shouldn’t keep wasting his time.
What Do You Think? What could Paul do to
raise his self-esteem and do better in school?
“Do I Have What It Takes?”
©ColorBlind Images/Blend Images LLC
learning objectives
After you complete this chapter,
you should be able to:
• Define self-esteem and explain
its importance.
• Describe how childhood experiences affect self-esteem.
• Define self-expectancy and
explain two ways to boost it.
• Explain why self-acceptance is
important for high self-esteem.
• Explain how to change negative
self-talk into positive self-talk.
• Explain how to handle criticism
No one can make you feel inferior
without your consent.”
Eleanor Roosevelt
Self-esteem allows you to make the most of your
potential. In Section 4.1 you’ll learn what self-esteem is,
where it comes from, and why it helps you achieve your
goals. You’ll also explore ways to build your confidence
in your ability to attain your goals. In Section 4.2
you’ll learn why self-acceptance is important to selfesteem and discover tactics to accept yourself and see
the many qualities you already possess. You’ll also learn
how to handle negative criticism effectively without
letting it erode your self-esteem.
Self-Esteem 4 Chapter

138 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
SECTION 4.1 Understanding Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is one of the most important basic qualities of a successful
human being. Self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves overall, as being
worthy of success and fulfillment. Self-image is how we see ourselves in
the many different roles and performance areas of our lives. Beliefs
define the rules that control and determine our actions and quality of
life. Self-confidence is proof of our value through our actions. To esteem
someone means to appreciate his or her value or worth. When you
esteem yourself, therefore, you appreciate your value or worth as a person. You are confident in your ability to cope with life’s challenges, and
you believe that you are worthy of success and happiness. You don’t
need to be a top achiever or “Number 1” to have healthy self-esteem.
You feel you have untapped potential and are eager to invest in and test
that potential. This motivates you to work hard and succeed. People with
healthy self-esteem can honestly say to themselves, “I really do like
myself. I’m glad I’m me. I’d rather be me than anyone else living now or
at any other time in history.”
Healthy self-esteem is a deep-down, inside belief in your own worth,
regardless of your age, looks, ethnicity, gender, religion, background, or
status. It encompasses the idea that you have potential for success and
fulfillment, and that you are worth investing in, learning, gaining skills,
and performing a valuable service to society in your own, unique way.
It allows you to feel deserving of a new, healthier environment or lifestyle, instead of being a mirror or victim of your early or current circumstances. It is one of the most important roots in the healthy growth of every
human being. Self-esteem gives you permission to believe you can improve
and better yourself, and becomes your passport, allowing you the freedom
to journey as far as you dare, to seek a destiny worthy of your highest
aspirations. It embraces where you want to go, rather than where you are
coming from.
Parents and children in today’s global society sometimes have a confused concept of self-esteem. The messages from all forms of media suggest
that self-esteem is having a big ego and being able to assert ourselves as
important in a celebrity-oriented, materialistic culture. Many people
wrongly assume that self-esteem is the way we look, how much money we
have, and how popular we are. In other words, the essence of self-esteem is
lost and mixed up with self-indulgence and self-absorption. Instead of
nonmaterial, inner value, the concept of self-esteem has become more
narcissistic, more hedonistic, and more associated with external “lifestyle”
rather than feeling worthy of happiness and fulfillment.
self-esteem Confidence
in and respect for yourself.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Self-Esteem 139
Healthy self-esteem is not the same as egotism, arrogance, conceitedness, narcissism, or a sense of superiority. In fact, people who demonstrate
these traits are sometimes trying to cover up their low self-esteem. When
you have healthy self-esteem, you appreciate your worth and importance,
but you also realize that no one is any more or less worthy or important
than you are.
People with low self-esteem, on the other hand, are afraid to take risks,
are not confident of success, and are likely to view problems and setbacks
as failures. This leads to a cycle of reduced effort, perceived failure, and
lowered self-esteem.
Effects of High Self-Esteem
People with high self-esteem are confident. They know they are important,
valuable individuals. They enjoy a deep-down, inside-the-skin feeling of
their own worth, which frees them to achieve their goals for success and
happiness. When you have high self-esteem, you are willing to take risks,
are confident of success, and are able to use setbacks as motivation to
redouble your efforts. Self-esteem lets you take pride in your accomplishments. This, in turn, energizes you to strive toward further successes.
High self-esteem has other benefits as well. When you enjoy high selfesteem, you can:
• accept your strengths and weaknesses
• express your true thoughts and feelings
• establish emotional connections to other people
• give and receive compliments
• give and receive affection
• try out new ideas and experiences
• express your creativity
• stand up for yourself
• handle stress and anger calmly
• see the future with optimism
Studies have shown that people with high self-esteem go after their goals.
They are not roadblocked by people or circumstances. They tend to seek more
challenging jobs that require them to work hard. They also have the confidence
to pursue relationships with the people who interest them. People with high
self-esteem don’t let fear of rejection prevent them from reaching out to others.
High self-esteem can also help you make opportunities for yourself.
Let’s say you are interested in exploring a new career or major. Feeling
good about yourself can encourage you to push ahead and take on the
challenge of trying something new. Even if you decide it is not right for
you, you are still secure in your sense of self-worth. You also know more
about yourself and what you do like.
success secret
Self-esteem motivates
you to work hard and
success secret
When you feel good about
yourself, you have the
confidence to try new
140 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Effects of Low Self-Esteem
Many people suffer from low self-esteem. Low self-esteem creates a feeling that says, “I can’t do anything.” People with low self-esteem believe
that they are worthless, that their lives have little meaning, and that they
will always be unhappy. They lack confidence in their skills and have
trouble acknowledging even their greatest accomplishments. This feeling
of inferiority can lead to depression, anxiety, or social phobia.
People with low self-esteem are easily hurt by the words and actions
of others. In fact, people with low self-esteem value others’ opinions and
judgments more than they value their own. When these judgments are
negative, people with low self-esteem often become extremely hurt and
upset. They feel undeserving, doubt their own abilities, and lower their
opinion of themselves even further.
In addition, people with low self-esteem often:
• mistrust other people
• have difficulty developing intimate relationships
• fear mistakes and have trouble making decisions
• criticize themselves relentlessly, but have difficulty handling criticism
from others
• anticipate problems, crises, and failure
• ignore their own needs
• give in to unreasonable requests
• dislike being the center of attention
• withhold their true thoughts and feelings from others
• live in fear of rejection and disapproval
• worry about being a burden on others
• feel they lack control of their lives
• miss out on the joy of life
People with low self-esteem expect themselves to fail; they see failure as an
integral part of their lives. This breeds anxiety, a generalized feeling of worry
and nervousness that does not have any specific cause. It’s normal to feel
some anxiety when coping with difficult situations. For example, people often
feel anxious when they are lost in an unfamiliar city or when a family member
is ill. This anxiety keeps them alert and helps them deal with the situation.
Anxiety is harmful, however, when it persists after the problem is
resolved. When you suffer from anxiety, it becomes difficult to complete
the necessary tasks to reach your goals, whether that is studying for a test,
preparing for a job interview, or making a doctor’s appointment. This
lowers your self-esteem even further.
Now is a good time for you to measure your level of self-esteem. Activity 18
is designed to do just that. This exercise is not a measure of your value as a
human being, but an indicator of how much you value yourself. There is no
such thing as a right or wrong answer, and no score is better or worse than
any other.
anxiety A generalized
feeling of worry and
nervousness that does not
have any specific cause.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Self-Esteem 141
ACTIVITY 18: Test Your Self-Esteem
A For each item, circle the letter (a, b, or c) of the statement that best describes you.
1. a. I don’t care if people say bad things about me. Sometimes, I even like it when someone is
bothered by what I do or say.
b. My feelings are hurt if someone disapproves of me or of what I do or say.
c. When someone criticizes me, it increases my caring about or understanding of that person.
2. a. I feel I’m able to control what people do or how they feel. I seem to need that control.
b. Too often, I feel out of control or powerless, or I feel manipulated.
c. I am in control of myself. No one can control me, and I don’t want to control anyone else.
3. a. I think of myself as being better than other people.
b. I think of myself as being less important than other people.
c. I’m no better or less important than anyone else.
4. a. How I look is very important to me. I always want to look my best and be in fashion.
b. I don’t care much about the way I look as long as I’m comfortable.
c. How I look is important because it shows how I feel about myself. I keep myself in good
5. a. I don’t mind a good argument. It helps to clear the air and makes life more interesting.
b. I dislike fighting or arguing, and I’ll do whatever I possibly can to avoid it.
c. I don’t try to avoid arguments; they’re all right with me. Still, I don’t try to win them at the
other person’s expense.
6. a. I don’t really care about helping other people. I easily turn down most requests for help.
b. It’s almost impossible for me to turn down a request for help.
c. I help others but not if it means harming myself. I may turn people down when they ask for
7. a. I believe, or others tell me, that I’m a perfectionist. I’m not likely to be satisfied until things
are done and done well.
b. Often, I don’t care if everything gets done or how well it’s done. It just isn’t important to me.
c. Just about everything I do is done well. If not, I’m rarely bothered by it for very long.
142 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
8. a. I dislike making mistakes and avoid them whenever possible.
b. Too often, my life seems to be filled with mistakes. I don’t seem to be able to avoid them for long.
c. I don’t try to make mistakes, but when I do make them, I’m not bothered much or for very long.
9. a. I try not to ask for help. I feel I should be able to do without it.
b. I don’t mind asking for help, but often I don’t get the help I really need.
c. I usually know when I need help, and I’ll ask for it until I get what I need.
10. a. I regularly criticize other people and situations. It makes me feel better to let out my
b. I was taught it isn’t right to criticize, so I avoid criticism as much as I can.
c. I’m rarely critical. My mind simply doesn’t work that way.
11. a. If someone disagrees with me, I think she or he has a different opinion. That’s all right
with me.
b. If someone challenges what I believe is true, I’m likely to assume I’m wrong.
c. If someone challenges what I believe is true, I usually think she or he is wrong, and I want to
persuade her or him to think my way.
12. a. I’m comfortable with praise, but I don’t require it to feel good about myself and what I do.
b. I need the recognition of praise for what I’ve accomplished.
c. I don’t really care if I get praised or not. In fact, praise often makes me feel uncomfortable.
13. a. I don’t usually pay attention to who does or doesn’t like me or how many friends I have.
b. Few people like me. The ones who do like me are not people I care about.
c. Maintaining friendship is very important to me.
14. a. Material wealth or professional success comes to me as a result of living my life happily.
b. I don’t much care about getting ahead in life. It would just mean having more to keep up
with and worry about.
c. Getting ahead in life—achieving success or owning valuable things—is important to me, and
I’m working hard for it.
15. a. I’m normally too busy enjoying or learning from what’s going on to think or talk about past
b. I don’t have much to be proud of. Even when I do, I keep it to myself because a person
shouldn’t brag.
c. I tell others about my successes and the good things that happen to me. I’m not shy about
singing my own praises.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Self-Esteem 143
16. a. I’m entirely responsible for what happens in my life. Blaming other people or circumstances
doesn’t make any more sense than feeling bad about the past.
b. Many of the bad things that happen in my life are my fault. I tend to feel guilty about or
regret such mistakes.
c. If something goes wrong, it usually isn’t my fault. Other people or circumstances are more
often to blame.
17. a. I have a positive sense of direction that comes more from my worth as a person than from
the goals I set and attain.
b. My life lacks direction. I have trouble imagining my situation getting better.
c. I set goals and evaluate my progress in attaining them. When life gets tough, I think how
good it will be someday.
18. a. I’m usually happy. When necessary, I speak up for myself without being harsh.
b. I’m usually reserved. I always try to be considerate, even if it means my needs go unmet.
I don’t like to confront people.
c. I’m outspoken and sometimes come across to others as aggressive. I have a manner that
could be described as blunt or brusque.
19. a. People do what is in their interest whether it’s fair or not. That’s not wrong; it’s just how people are.
b. Most people look out for themselves and do whatever they can get away with. It’s not right,
but it’s how people are.
c. I have definite beliefs about what is and isn’t fair. I’m upset when I am or other people are
treated unfairly.
20. a. I know that what others say will not hurt me—only what I say can hurt me.
b. I try to be careful about what I say because I might hurt someone’s feelings.
c. I try to be careful about what I say because someone else might use it to hurt me.
Source: Adapted from the Web site www.truth-for-healthy-living.org, version 2003. Copyright © 1990–2013 Richard Terry Lovelace, MSW, Ph.D. (www.truth-for-healthy-living.org).
Reprinted by permission of the author. Originally published inSELF magazine and then by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., in Stress Master.
B Scoring: First, go back to number 11. Beginning with this item and continuing through number 20,
change each A you circled to a C; change each C to an A. Now add up the total number of A’s, B’s, and
C’s you selected:
A’s________________ B’s________________ C’s________________
Your number of C’s reflects your level of self-esteem.
11 or more C’s suggest that you honestly like yourself.
0–10 C’s suggest that your self-esteem may need attention.
If you have low self-esteem (0–10 C answers), your number of A’s and B’s reflects the way you deal with
this problem.
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8 or more A’s: You have an aggressive behavior pattern. You tend to be pushy, critical, arrogant, hostile,
or perfectionistic. You may not realize that you have low self-esteem.
7 or more B’s: You have a passive behavior pattern. You tend to be self-critical and to feel sad, hurt, or
fearful. You rarely speak up for yourself.
Near equal number of A’s and B’s: You would benefit from working on your self-esteem, although
you’re neither very aggressive nor very passive.
C What does your score say about your level of self-esteem? Is it high or low?
D If your self-esteem is low, do you show aggressive behavior, passive behavior, or a mix? Explain and
give examples of your behavior.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Self-Esteem 145
E Look back at the effects of high and low self-esteem described in the chapter. Which of the behaviors
do you exhibit? Give examples.
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Remember that no scale or inventory can reveal all the facts. Look at your
results as possibilities for you to consider, not as the absolute truth. Use the
results if they make sense to you and are helpful. If they don’t, ignore them.
Avoid making significant changes in your life based on your score; instead, use
what you learn combined with appropriate professional support.
Origins of Self-Esteem
Where does self-esteem come from? Why do some people have more of it
than others? Some people have a lot going for them from the start. An
ancient Chinese proverb tells us, “A child’s life is like a piece of paper on
which every passerby leaves a mark.” We cannot teach our children selfesteem. We can only help them discover it within themselves by adding
positive marks and strokes on their slates. All positive motivation is rooted
in self-esteem—the development of which, just as with other skills, takes
practice. Think of self-esteem as a four-legged chair or table.
A Sense of Belonging
The first leg of self-esteem is a sense of belonging. We all have a deepseated need to feel we’re part of something larger than ourselves. This need,
which psychologists call an affiliation drive, encompasses people, places,
and possessions. Our instinct for belonging—for being wanted, accepted,
enjoyed, and loved by close ones—is extremely powerful. It explains the
bond of an extended family, friends, and teammates. It also explains why
some adolescents join gangs. They want to belong, even if it’s wrong.
Children should be proud of their family heritage in a home where they
feel safe, loved, and welcome. Home also should be a place where children
want to bring their friends, rather than a place they want to leave as soon as
Sense of Belonging
Sense of Individual Identity
Sense of Worthiness
Sense of Control and Competence
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Self-Esteem 147
A Sense of Individual Identity
The second leg, which complements the sense of belonging, is a sense of
individual identity. No human being is exactly like another, not even an
identical twin. We are all unique combinations of talents and traits that
never existed before and will never exist again in quite the same package.
(This explains why most parents believe their children came from different
Children should be observed as they grow and play: their learning styles,
what they love to do in their free time, and discovery of their unique positive
talents—so these can be nurtured into skills. Report cards don’t necessarily
measure talents. They often are a measure only of discipline, memory, and
attention span, as well as the presence of an effective teacher.
A Sense of Worthiness
The third leg of self-esteem is a sense of worthiness, the feeling that I’m
glad I’m me, with my genes and background, my body, my unique thoughts.
Without our own approval, we have little to offer. If we don’t feel worth
loving, it’s hard to believe that others love us; instead, we tend to see others
as appraisers or judges of our value.
This is why children, especially, need to experience unconditional love and
to learn to carefully separate the doer from the deed, and the performer from
the performance. The message: “I love you no matter what happens, and I’m
always there for you” is one of most important concepts in building a feeling of
worthiness or intrinsic value in children. After every reprimand they need to
know parents love them. Before they go to sleep at night, they need reassurance
that, regardless of what happened that day, they are loved unconditionally.
A healthy sense of belonging, identity, and worthiness can be rooted
only in intrinsic core values as opposed to outer, often material, motivation. Without them, we depend on others constantly to fill our leaking
reserves of self-esteem—but also tend to suspect others of ulterior motives.
Unable to accept or reject others’ opinions for what they’re worth, we are
defensive about criticism and paranoid about praise—and no amount of
praise can replace the missing qualities.
A healthy sense of belonging, identity, and worthiness is also essential
to belief in your dreams. It is most essential during difficult times, when you
have only a dream to hang on to.
A Sense of Control and Competence
There are many reasons why few individuals currently in high school and
college believe they were born to win. The supportive extended family—in
many cases, even the nuclear family—is disappearing. Role models are
increasingly unhealthy. The commercial media bombards young senses ever
more insistently with crime, violence, hedonism, and other unhealthy forms
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of escape. But whatever the explanation, constructive citizens and leaders
in society cannot emerge and develop without the creative imagination that
serves them like fuel—which is why the apprehension, frustration, and hesitation we frequently see and hear in many individuals is cause for concern.
Without more emphasis on opportunity, rather than world problems, the
future they imagine will help drive neither happiness nor success.
The chair’s fourth leg is a sense of control and competence, which is
self-efficacy, a functional belief in your ability to control what happens to
you in a changing, uncertain world. A sense of worthiness may give you the
emotional means to venture, but you need self-efficacy, the sense of competence and control, to believe you can succeed. That’s why it is so important
to assign responsibility for small tasks to children as early as possible so they
can learn that their choices, efforts, and study habits result in consequences
and successes. The more success they experience, the stronger their confidence grows—and the more responsibility they want to assume.
Children growing up, regardless of parents’ income, should be given specific
household chores and duties they can accomplish and be proud of. Each of us
needs to learn that problems and setbacks are just temporary inconveniences
and learning experiences. The idea that setbacks are not failures, but course
corrections, needs to be constantly reinforced.
Armed with a view of failure as a learning experience, children can
develop an early eagerness for new challenges and will be less afraid to try
new skills. Although they appreciate compliments, they benefit most from
their own belief that they are making a valuable contribution to life, according to their own internal standards. In an increasingly competitive global
marketplace, each new, young member of the workforce simply must
believe that he or she is a team leader, a self-empowered, quality individual
who expresses that quality in excellent production and service. With
increasing pressures on profit and the need to do more with fewer workers
because of e-commerce and changing technology, it is essential that parents
and business leaders help raise the value of their children’s and employees’
stock in themselves.
Obviously, none of us was raised in a perfect environment. Most parents rely on their own beliefs and experiences and pass those on to the next
generation. Regardless of your early upbringing, it is important to know
some of the fundamental roots of self-esteem, so that as you mature into
leaders and parents, you can offer the most fertile growing ground for success and happiness in those who look to you for guidance. Many children
are encouraged by nurturing parents, outstanding teachers, coaches, and
friends who gave them early feelings of self-esteem. This is probably the
most important quality of a good parent or leader: giving positive encouragement to help others develop positive self-worth. Low self-esteem, on the
other hand, is often a product of abusive or neglectful relationships,
repeated rejection, family dysfunction, a physical or mental disability, or
intense criticism from others. Self-esteem may also have a genetic component. Some people who are raised in an ideal environment with much
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Self-Esteem 149
praise and love may grow into insecure adults who are unhappy with their
lives. Others, who grow up in the worst conditions, mature and find high
self-esteem and success.
It is often said that success leads to high self-esteem, while failure leads
to low self-esteem. This is not always the case, however. Many talented,
accomplished people are plagued by feelings of worthlessness. Take Joan’s
example. Joan has an MBA and is a successful sales executive for a major
record company. Even though she is well respected, highly accomplished,
and highly paid, Joan feels insignificant and has low self-esteem. No matter
what she achieves, she always falls short of her impossible standards.
While some people suffer from low self-esteem even though they seem
to “have it all,” many people of modest accomplishments feel great about
themselves. Ron, for example, has been an administrative assistant at a computer manufacturer for five years. He doesn’t have a fancy title or make a lot
of money, but he feels great about what he contributes to his company. He
enjoys his friends and family and has confidence about his future. Because
he has healthy self-esteem, he feels good about himself and his accomplishments, no matter how big or small they may seem to others.
Conditional and Unconditional Regard The foundations of
self-esteem are laid in the first three or four years of life. When we are
young children, we need to feel accepted and valued by our parents or
other caregivers. Parental approval is extremely important to a child—
parents represent safety and security, as well as physical and mental comfort to a developing mind. If our parents demonstrate love, nurturance,
acceptance, encouragement, and support, we usually come to accept
ourselves and develop positive self-esteem.
The way parents demonstrate love and acceptance also has an important influence on our developing self-esteem. Children and adolescents
need to receive unconditional positive regard—love and acceptance regardless of their particular behavior. Children and adolescents who receive
unconditional positive regard usually develop healthy self-esteem, as shown
in Figure 4.1.
In some families, children do not receive unconditional positive regard.
Instead, they are given the message that they must act in a certain way to
earn acceptance and love. Some parents, for example, demand that their
children earn perfect grades in school or excel in sports. These parents are
giving their children conditional positive regard—love and acceptance on the
condition that they behave in a certain way. Children from such families
generally develop low self-esteem. Instead of accepting themselves for who
they are, they accept themselves only for what they do and how well they
do it. They are satisfied with themselves only when they perform at a certain level. As adults, these people feel that their worth is dependent on specific achievements or outcomes, such as earning a certain salary, looking a
certain way, or having certain possessions. If they fail to live up to their
impossible standards, they feel bad about themselves.
success secret
Having healthy selfesteem lets you feel good
about your accomplishments, big or small.
positive regard
Love and acceptance of a
person, particularly a child,
regardless of his or her
particular behavior.
conditional positive
regard Love and
acceptance of a person,
particularly a child, on the
condition that he or she
behave in a certain way.
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Support and Loneliness The need for acceptance and love does
not disappear when we reach adulthood. No matter what our age, we all
need to feel that we are noticed, appreciated, and valued in our social circle. All the words and actions from others that help us feel valued, cared
for, and connected to a community are known as social support. Social
support is a self-esteem boost.
Social support comes in two basic forms: emotional support and instrumental support. Emotional support is the giving of trust, empathy, caring,
love, concern, and unconditional approval. Instrumental support is the
giving of resources such as money, labor, time, advice, and information. A
person who gives you emotional support will listen to your thoughts and
feelings, encourage you, hug you, and remind you of your worth. A person
who gives you instrumental support will help you out if you need advice, a
job lead, a loan, a ride to the doctor, or another good turn.
People who don’t receive enough social support suffer from low selfesteem and loneliness. Loneliness isn’t the same thing as simply being
alone. Most people enjoy being alone occasionally, or even frequently. Real
loneliness is sadness about being alone. All of us battle loneliness from time
to time. Many adolescents and young adults face loneliness as they struggle
to find their place in the world.
social support Words
and actions from other
people that help you feel
valued, cared for, and
connected to a community.
loneliness Sadness
about being alone.
FIGURE 4.1 Childhood Origins of Self-Esteem
Positive Regard Your self-esteem is developed and established early on in your life. Studies show that parents’
style of child-rearing during the first three or four years greatly affects children’s self-esteem. Besides parents,
what other important adults might influence a child’s self-esteem?
Positive Regard Healthy
= =
Parent Child
Positive Regard
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Self-Esteem 151
Shyness and Self-Esteem
Those who suffer from shyness tend to feel lonely particularly often.
Shyness is anxiety in social situations that comes from worrying about what
others think of us. Extreme shyness can lead to such anxiety that it
becomes difficult just to say hello to others or make eye contact. People
with low self-esteem often suffer from shyness. They don’t feel comfortable
with themselves, which makes it difficult for them to feel comfortable
around others. They may even avoid or withdraw from everyday social situations to avoid exposure or criticism. Challenging or awkward situations
can make them feel even more misunderstood and isolated.
Both loneliness and shyness can be damaging to self-esteem. They are
most damaging when you blame yourself for feeling lonely or socially anxious. If you lack confidence in your social skills, it becomes even harder for
you to reach out. It is important to remind yourself that there are people
who love and appreciate you. Use Activity 19 to gauge your level of social
support and loneliness. This will help you decide whether you need to
expand your social support network.
Overcoming Loneliness Overcoming loneliness requires building
and strengthening your social support network. The first step is to reach
out—instead of waiting for others to take an interest in you, show an active
interest in them. For example, learn more about the interests or pastimes of
a friend, acquaintance, or family member. Ask to participate in activities
that interest you. Take the initiative in providing social support to others. If
a fellow student is at home sick one day, for example, give him or her a
copy of your notes.
Also consider using your time alone to explore your individual interests,
perhaps joining a school group, neighborhood club, or volunteer project
where you can build a sense of community. Also work on your communication and relationship skills, such as empathy and active listening; this will
give you greater confidence in your ability to interact with others. If you
have a large social network but still feel lonely often, examine the quality of
your relationships. Do you maintain friendships or romantic relationships
that do not feel nurturing? Do you still feel lonely when you are with your
friends? If so, you may want to explore new friendships.
Raising Your Self-Esteem
We’ve seen how important positive childhood experiences are to healthy
self-esteem, but what if you are an adult with low self-esteem—can you do
anything about it? Yes! The good news about self-esteem is that we can
get more of it. No matter what kind of environment we come from or
what genetic makeup we have, we can learn to value ourselves. Not everyone receives the gift of self-esteem from their parents. To attain success,
many people have to earn their own esteem. As adults, regardless of our
success secret
Remind yourself that there
are people who love and
appreciate you.
success secret
Supportive, nurturing relationships help guard
against loneliness and low
success secret
No matter what your age,
you can learn to value
152 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 19: Social Support and Self-Esteem
A For each statement, check whether it applies to you Never, Seldom, Sometimes, Often, or Always.
Never Seldom Sometimes Often Always
1. I have someone to take me to the doctor if I need it.
2. I have someone who listens to me.
3. I have someone to share my most private worries with.
4. I have someone who understands my feelings.
5. I have someone who loves me and makes me
feel wanted.
6. I have someone to help with daily chores if I get sick.
7. I have someone to hug me.
8. I have someone to confide in.
9. I have someone to relax with.
10. I have someone to get together with for fun.
11. I have someone to give me good advice about
my problems.
12. I have someone who understands and appreciates me.
B Scoring: Assign yourself one point for every time you checked Never; two points for every time you
checked Seldom; three points for every time you checked Sometimes; four points for every time you
checked Often; and five points for every time you checked Always.
What is your total?
48–60 You enjoy a healthy level of social support.
31–47 You have only a moderate level of social support and may sometimes suffer from loneliness.
12–30 You lack adequate social support and probably suffer from loneliness.
C Describe how often you feel lonely, and what situations bring on the feeling.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Self-Esteem 153
D Create a list of your social support network. In the first column, write the name of a person whom you
can always or almost always rely on for support. In the second column, write the name of a person
whom you can sometimes rely on for support.
I can always rely on: I can sometimes rely on:
E Do you feel that you have emotional and instrumental support whenever you need it? If not, what could
you do to build your social support network?
154 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
childhood experiences, we have the opportunity to create the positive
self-esteem we wish to have.
Not all successful people grew up feeling good about themselves. Often,
they had to learn to like themselves through practice. Author Daylle Deanna
Schwartz, for example, struggled with low self-esteem from childhood into
her adult life. When she started an independent record label, she often met
with resistance from her male colleagues, who didn’t believe a woman was
suited to the competitive environment of the music industry. Schwartz had
doubts about herself, too. Because of her determination to shatter industry
stereotypes, however, her label became a great success. She began speaking
at music industry seminars, and she launched another successful career as
an author, helping people to boost their self-esteem. She learned to like
herself by following her dreams and overcoming challenges.
The way you are treated by your family, friends, and acquaintances has a
large effect on your self-esteem. But the way you are treated by an even
more important person—yourself—has an even greater effect. The things we
say to ourselves have an enormous effect on our self-esteem. People with
low self-esteem tell themselves, “I’m nobody, and I can’t do anything.”
success secret
It’s not what you can’t
do that holds you back—
it’s what you think you
can’t do.
The Internet provides unlimited opportunities to connect with people in your community and around the
world who have similar interests. Whether you’re
into woodworking, researching your family tree, or
dealing with an illness, there are message boards,
chat rooms, and online forums for you to connect
with others, ask for and offer advice, share ideas and
tips, debate issues and topics, learn new techniques
and skills, or simply share experiences, stories, and
There are obviously risks to interacting on the
Internet. It’s easy for a person to portray himself or
herself as someone else and prey on you emotionally, financially, and sexually. You can also be at risk
for identity theft if you make public your personal
information. Thus, never post your address, phone
number, birthdate, birthplace, or other specific
Popular social networking sites such as Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn allow users to create
and share profiles, which can be accessed by select
members (or by anyone). These sites provide opportunities to keep in touch with family and friends and connect with people you otherwise may never meet.
However, more and more employers are using these
sites to research information on job candidates. Thus,
never post embarrassing or inappropriate photos or
comments—even to your selected members—as they
may hurt your opportunities down the road.
Think About It
How might participating in an online chat room or forum
help combat loneliness and build your social network?
To learn more about using the Internet to safely
expand your social network, go to http://www.
safesocialnetworking.com/ or ask your instructor for
additional links.
internet action
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Self-Esteem 155
People with high self-esteem tell themselves, “I am somebody, and I can do
whatever I put my mind to.”
This self-confidence comes from a sense of self-expectancy.
Self-expectancy is the belief that you are able to achieve what you want in
life. It is the expectation that you will achieve your goals. Everyone tends to
receive what he or she expects in the long run. You may or may not get
what you deserve, but you will nearly always get what you expect. Whatever
you spend the most energy thinking about is what will come to pass,
whether it is something you fear or something you desire. People with low
self-esteem expect to fail, be in financial peril, suffer poor health, and have
troubled relationships; and this is usually what comes true for them. People
with high self-esteem expect to succeed, have financial security, enjoy good
health, and have happy relationships; and this is what usually comes true
for them, too.
This is the power of self-expectancy. If you believe you will be successful at something, you probably will. If you believe you will fail, your mind is
likely to trick you into failing.
Self-expectancy is not the same thing as skill or ability. Instead, it is
your belief in what you can do with the skills and abilities you already have.
In other words, it’s not about what you really can accomplish but what you
think you can accomplish. Our sense of self-expectancy influences which
goals we select, how hard we try to reach these goals, and how we cope
with obstacles along the way. If we believe we can achieve our goals, then
we will be motivated to persevere in the face of difficulties. If, however, we
believe that our goals are beyond our reach, we are likely to give up as soon
as the going gets rough. Use Personal Journal 4.1 to find out if you have a
healthy sense of self-expectancy.
Building Your Self-Expectancy
Most of us have settled on a level of expectancy much lower than our
potential and our innermost desires. It’s as if we were waiting for someone
to come along and confirm that we’re worthy of greater challenges, when,
in fact, no one can do that except ourselves.
There is a true story that illustrates this point nicely. It was a stormy
night many years ago when an elderly couple entered the hotel lobby and
asked for a room. “I’m very sorry,” responded the night clerk. “We are completely full with a convention group. Normally, I would send you to another
hotel that we use for our overflow in situations like this, but I couldn’t
imagine sending you out into the storm again. Why don’t you stay in my
room?” The young man offered this with a smile. “It may not be a luxury
suite, but it’s clean. I can finish up some bookkeeping here in the office
since the night auditor won’t be coming in.”
The distinguished-looking man and woman seemed uncomfortable in
inconveniencing the clerk, but they graciously accepted his offer. When the
gentleman arrived to pay the bill in the morning, the clerk was still at his
self-expectancy The
belief that you are able to
achieve what you want in life.
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desk and said, “Oh, I live here full time so there’s no charge for the room.”
The older man nodded and said, “You’re the kind of person that every
hotel owner dreams about having as an employee. Maybe someday I’ll build
a hotel for you.” The hotel clerk was flattered, but the idea sounded so outrageous that he was sure the old man was joking.
A few years passed, and the hotel clerk was still at the same job.
One day he received a registered letter from the elderly man. The letter
expressed his vivid recollections of that stormy night, along with an
invitation and a round-trip ticket for the clerk to visit him in New York.
Arriving a few days later in Manhattan, the clerk met the gentleman at
the corner of Fifth Avenue and Thirty-Fourth Street, where a magnificent
new building stood.
“That,” exclaimed the old man, “is the hotel I have built for you to run!
The clerk was stunned. “What’s the catch? Why me? Who are you anyway?”
“My name is William Waldorf-Astor, and there is no catch. You are
the person I want.” The hotel was the original Waldorf Astoria and the
name of the young clerk who accepted the first managerial position was
George C. Boldt.
Personal Journal 4.1
Examine Your Self-Expectancy
Put a check mark in the box next to the statements with which you agree.
I know I can accomplish my goals.
When something unexpected comes my way, I find resourceful ways to handle it.
I can solve almost any problem if I try hard enough.
Stress and anger aren’t a problem for me because I have good coping skills.
I can handle whatever comes my way.
If someone else can do something, then I can probably do it, too.
If I don’t succeed the first time, I try again.
I am proud of what I can accomplish.
I am capable of success.
The more statements you checked, the higher your self-expectancy. Look back at the long-term goals you
set for yourself in Chapter 3. How confident are you that you will accomplish these particular goals? Explain.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Self-Esteem 157
There’s a personal message in this true story for each of us. It’s not
that, if we’re good people, a millionaire is going to come along and make all
of our dreams come true, although that would be pretty cool. The message
is in the form of a question: Why should a benefactor arrive to make us
believe in our dreams? How is it that an outsider can see more potential in
us than we can sometimes see in ourselves? By keeping a realistic eye on
our expectations and where we are in relation to their achievement, we can
succeed on our own without prompting from anyone else.
Self-expectancy comes from confidence in your ability to succeed and
reach your goals. One excellent way to build this confidence is to take a
good look at your past goals and successes. This helps remind you of how
many skills and achievements you already have.
Are you worried that you don’t have much to be proud of? This is a
trick of your low self-esteem. If you have low self-esteem, you probably find
it difficult to recognize your accomplishments. An accomplishment is anything that you have completed through effort, skill, or persistence. An
accomplishment doesn’t have to be something that was rewarded with a
certificate or a trophy. No one else may even know of your biggest accomplishments. They may be significant to you alone. For example, learning to
use a computer, recovering from an illness, going back to school, or
rebounding from a personal loss are all accomplishments. The point is that
you put in effort, demonstrated skill, and persisted to complete something
that was important to you.
Creating Successful Experiences Another excellent way to
increase your self-expectancy is to set and accomplish a series of increasingly challenging goals. This gives you the feeling that you can do whatever
you set out to do. As you set your goals, it’s best to focus on a specific area
where you can obtain measurable results. For example, let’s say you are
afraid of speaking in front of groups of people. Instead of setting a vague
goal such as “develop public speaking skills,” you might set a series of
increasingly challenging SMART goals for yourself, such as:
1. Join in psychology class discussion once per week.
2. Join in psychology class discussion three times per week.
3. Join in psychology class discussion daily.
4. Participate in semester-end group presentation in psychology class.
5. Give a solo presentation at club meeting next quarter.
6. Give a speech at school meeting at the end of school year.
As you move from goal to goal, your confidence in your abilities will
increase. Once you build self-expectancy in this one area of your life, you
can move to another area and then another. Use Activity 20 to take an
inventory of your accomplishments and set yourself a series of goals that
will lead to new successes.
Anything completed through
effort, skill, or persistence.
success secret
To boost your selfexpectancy, work to
accomplish a series of
increasingly difficult goals.
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ACTIVITY 20: Accomplishment Inventory
A Remember the times in your life, either recently or long ago, during which you felt a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Perhaps you helped someone, learned a skill, completed a project, or accomplished an important goal. Select four accomplishments. Briefly describe each one in a box below and
explain why it is meaningful to you.
Accomplishment #1 Accomplishment #2
Accomplishment #3 Accomplishment #4
B Now write down the skills (such as developing software applications or creative writing) and personal
qualities (such as determination or generosity) that these accomplishments demonstrate. If you aren’t
sure what to write, imagine that someone you like and admire had accomplished the same things you
did. What skills and personal qualities would you see in that person?
Skills Personal Qualities
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Self-Esteem 159
C Now focus on the future. What skills would you like to develop over the coming years? For example,
would you like to learn to play a musical instrument or a sport, design a Web site, speak another
language, write poetry? List at least five skills you would like to acquire.
How confident are you in your ability to acquire these skills? Explain.
D Pick one of the skills you listed above. Formulate a series of five or six increasingly challenging SMART
goals that will help you acquire these skills.
Goal #1
Goal #2
Goal #3
Goal #4
Goal #5
Goal #6
E How confident are you that you can achieve the first goal on your list? What about the last goal on the
list? Explain.
160 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Coping and Avoidance As you build confidence in yourself and
your skills, you will gain the courage to face tougher and tougher challenges. One of the biggest of life’s challenges is coping with painful problems. Coping means facing up to threatening or uncomfortable situations.
A threatening situation may be a problem in a relationship, a bad habit, a
difficulty at work or school, or anything else that is unpleasant or painful.
Any time we cope with something—regardless of the outcome—our selfesteem rises.
The opposite of coping is avoidance. Avoidance is an unwillingness to
face uncomfortable situations or psychological realities. Whenever we
avoid something we need to face, our self-esteem goes down. The longer we
avoid it, the more damage it does to our self-esteem. Common avoidance
behaviors include:
• self-criticism
• making jokes about the situation
• becoming obsessed with work to avoid thinking about the problem
• escaping through activities such as shopping, watching TV, or sleeping
• venting unpleasant feelings without taking action
• abusing alcohol or other drugs
Avoidance reduces short-term discomfort, but leaves you with the feeling that you are incapable of dealing with the situation. Do you ever feel
powerless to resolve a difficult situation? Take a look at what you might be
avoiding in Personal Journal 4.2.
Avoidance not only lowers self-esteem, but also turns small problems
into big ones. Take Maia’s example. Maia was struck by terror every time a
credit card bill arrived in the mail. She immediately stuffed it in a drawer
and told herself not to think about it. When bill collectors began calling,
Maia stopped answering her phone and turned off her answering machine.
The more Maia avoided paying her bills, however, the worse she felt about
herself. Why was Maia so intent on avoiding this problem? As is often the
case, it was to avoid a bigger underlying problem: She didn’t want to face
the fact that she was in debt and had out-of-control spending habits. When
she finally found the courage to admit there was a problem, her self-esteem
went up. This, in turn, gave her the confidence to begin coping with the
loneliness that motivated her spending.
As this example shows, the first step in coping with a problem is to
admit that it exists. Once you’ve done this, you can work step by step to
improve the situation and build your self-expectancy.
coping Facing up to
threatening situations.
avoidance An
unwillingness to face
uncomfortable situations or
psychological realities.
success secret
When you face your problems head-on, your selfesteem grows.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Success 161
Personal Journal 4.2
Learning to Cope
In the center below, briefly describe one specific, ongoing problem in your life that you often avoid. Close
your eyes and relive a situation in which you avoided the problem. In the boxes on the left side of the diagram, write three adjectives that describe how you feel about yourself. Now close your eyes and picture
yourself dealing confidently, fearlessly, and expertly with the problem. In the boxes on the right side of
the diagram, write three adjectives that describe how you feel about yourself now.
When I avoid When I cope
Compare the two sets of adjectives. Did the feeling of coping with the problem make you feel better
about yourself? What is one action you could take today to start coping with this problem?
Self Check
1. Why is self-esteem important for success? (pp. 138–139)
2. Define unconditional positive regard. (p. 149)
3. What does avoidance do to self-esteem? (p. 160)
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SECTION 4.2 Learning to Like Yourself
In the previous section, we looked at the origins of self-esteem and the role
of self-expectancy in raising or lowering your self-esteem. Now we’ll focus
on self-acceptance. Self-acceptance means recognizing and accepting what is
true about yourself. Self-acceptance allows you to stop criticizing yourself
for falling short of your or other people’s impossible standards. It allows you
to discover and express who you really are inside. When you enjoy selfacceptance, you recognize that you are good enough just the way you are.
So what if you still have areas you could improve? So what if you sometimes
procrastinate or lose your temper or drive too fast? You are still worthy of
respect, love, and success. That’s why influential psychologist Alfred Adler
called self-acceptance “the courage to be imperfect.”
You, Flaws and All
Your self-image mirrors your level of self-acceptance. When we have a
healthy self-image, we see and accept both our strengths and weaknesses.
When we have an unhealthy self-image, we focus too much on our weaknesses and end up rejecting ourselves.
The difference between people who accept themselves and people who
reject themselves isn’t the number of weaknesses they have, it’s the way
they look at them. People with a positive self-image realize that they have
many more strengths than weaknesses. They accept the weaknesses they do
have but choose not to be bothered by them. They know that they are a
unique gift of creation, with skills and personal qualities in a combination
that no one else has.
How healthy is your self-image? Look back at your responses to Personal
Journal 1.3. (If you haven’t completed this activity, now would be a good time
to do so.) Did you give yourself mostly positive ratings or mostly negative
ones? If you assigned yourself a five or less in three or more areas, you may
have a negative self-image and low self-esteem. Also look at how wide a range
of numbers you assigned yourself. Were you clear on your strengths and weaknesses, or did you circle a wide range of numbers? If you selected a wide range,
you may need to work on your self-awareness.
How you feel about your “flaws” also has an impact on your selfesteem. If you feel shame or guilt about your weaknesses—even if you are
proud of your strengths in other areas—your self-esteem will suffer. Take
Gary’s example. Gary knows he is an excellent student and worker and that
he is popular with his classmates. However, he is ashamed about being
overweight. This sense of shame poisons his entire self-image. When he
thinks about himself, he can focus only on being overweight. To him, his
successes seem insignificant by comparison.
Recognition and acceptance
of what is true about yourself.
success secret
Your skills and personal
qualities are unlike
anyone else’s.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Learning to Like Yourself 163
professional development )))
Ashleigh has a similar problem. She is confident about her appearance,
athletic ability, and social skills but has nagging doubts about her intelligence. In fact, she often feels downright stupid. She lets her self-acceptance
be weakened even more by comments from authority figures that she’s “not
using her brain” and “not living up to expectations.”
Gary and Ashleigh are having difficulty separating their feelings from
reality. Because they feel inadequate, they assume that everyone else must
see them that way, too.
Mending a Negative Self-Image
If you have a negative self-image, how do you change it? First, you need to
accept that it is distorted. This isn’t always easy. Once our self-image is
implanted in our brains, we see it as being completely true. We don’t ask
ourselves whether it is false. Unfortunately, if you have a negative selfimage, the truth you feel about yourself is really a figment of your imagination. You see yourself as far less worthy than you really are. You may also
believe that other people see you the same way as you do. In reality,
though, no one is as cruel to you as you are to yourself.
If a negative self-image is holding you back, it’s time to take a new
look at yourself—objectively—and reassess your strengths and weaknesses.
Having an accurate view of your strengths helps you set challenging goals,
overcome obstacles, and take advantage of opportunities. Knowing your
weaknesses helps you see that they aren’t as bad as you thought. Look at
them objectively: Are you really “ugly,” or do you have a nose that you
wish was a little smaller? Are you really a “slob,” or do you just dislike
doing housework?
success secret
For self-acceptance, you
need an accurate view of
your strengths and weaknesses.
Positive Image at Work/First Impressions Matter
First impressions are extremely important to job and career success. Therefore, your attire, grooming,
and behavior impact how others perceive you. Every company has its own standards and policies for
what is expected or considered acceptable in its employees. Studies show that job applicants who dress
professionally and are well groomed are hired more often and perceived to be more competent.
Make sure you project a positive and professional self-image in your work environment, especially if you
want to advance in your company and career. It’s not about wearing “designer” clothing, it’s about looking
your best. Some companies offer mentoring programs, where “image-coaching” could be a valuable component. Seek out a mentor, colleague, peer, or someone you trust who can provide you with honest feedback and suggestions on how you can improve your professional image.
To learn more about the importance of first impressions and professional image, go to the following:
164 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Another benefit to knowing your weaknesses is that it helps you to pick
activities and situations where your weaknesses won’t be a problem. If you
know you aren’t particularly good at math, for example, you might decide
to major in a field where this won’t hold you back. If you are a night person
who can’t seem to make it to morning classes on time, you can choose
classes that meet later in the day. When you know your weaknesses, you
can find creative ways to work around them.
Take a Personal Inventory Get to know your strengths—and
weaknesses—by creating a personal inventory. A personal inventory is a list
of your plusses and minuses in the key areas of your life, such as appearance, intimate relationships, social skills, school performance, work performance, and thinking skills. By putting all your strengths and weaknesses
down on paper, you can get a better view of your strengths, as well as a
more accurate and compassionate view of your flaws. Use Activity 21 to
create your own personal inventory. After completing the inventory, you
should have a much fairer and more accurate assessment of yourself. Keep
your self-inventory with you and go over it every day for a month, or more
often if you’re feeling low. Sometimes reading it out loud can increase its
effectiveness. It is sometimes difficult to overcome patterns of negative selfthought, but using this new inventory will help you teach your mind to
accept your flaws, affirm your positive qualities, and move on.
Accepting Your Physical Self How did you describe your
physical appearance in the last exercise? If you’re like most people, you
were extremely critical of many of your physical features. Unfortunately,
it’s almost impossible to have high self-esteem when we feel physically unattractive. In fact, studies have shown that how we feel about our physical
appearance is the number-one indicator of our overall self-esteem. This is
not surprising because most of us are constantly bombarded with media
images portraying physically “perfect” people. Trying to live up to these
unrealistic images can lead to problems with body image, how you think
and feel about your body and appearance. People with a poor body image
see their bodies in distorted ways. Although they look just fine to others,
they become convinced that they are unattractive.
Studies have shown how important appearance is in life. When people are well groomed and dressed in clean clothes, they are treated better
by their classmates and teachers. They feel attractive and therefore project a better image. Like it or not, we leave a lasting impression with our
Obviously, we cannot choose what looks we inherit from our parents.
We can, however, choose how we take care of our health and appearance.
We behave according to the way we think we look rather than the way we
actually look. If we think we look good, then others will think the same.
People who accept themselves are attractive to others. Their healthy selfesteem comes through from the inside out.
body image How you
think and feel about your
body and appearance.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Learning to Like Yourself 165
ACTIVITY 21: Personal Inventory
A In each box below, write down what you see as your good points and bad points in that area of your life.
Include both things you like and don’t like about how you look, act, think, or feel. Examples are provided.
Appearance Romantic Relationships/Sexuality Social Skills/Popularity
“I look good in black.”
“My nose is too big.”
“I have a great partner who
respects my opinion.”
“I talk too much about my old
“I’m always asked first to head
“I never know what to say when
I meet someone new.”
Thinking Skills/Intelligence School Work
“Every day I create a to-do list and
stick to it.”
“I can never seem to balance my
“My history professor thinks I ask
good questions.”
“I can never read my notes.”
“I’m often asked to train new
“I’m always five minutes late to
continued . . .
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B Look over what you wrote about yourself, circling all the negative items. Rewrite each negative item
according to the following rules:
• Be objective. Remove all negative, critical language. An entry like “ugly feet” could be
changed to “larger feet than I would like.”
• Be accurate. Don’t exaggerate—stick to the facts. Instead of writing “terrible student,”
you might write “2.3 GPA.”
• Be specific. Avoid extreme words like “always,” “never,” “totally.” An entry like “always
late to everything” might be changed to “often late to morning appointments.”
• Look for strengths. Look for strengths that make up for your areas of weakness. An entry
like “forgetful” might be changed to “often forgetful, although I have a great memory for
Use the boxes below to rewrite your negatives according to these guidelines.
Appearance Romantic Relationships/Sexuality Social Skills/Popularity
Thinking Skills/Intelligence School Work
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Learning to Like Yourself 167
C Now use your positives and rewritten negatives to write a letter or e-mail introducing and describing
yourself to a person you have never met. You cannot enclose or attach a photograph, so you will have
to use words to paint a picture of yourself, both physically and mentally. Write an honest description of
yourself, but stress your strengths and be as realistic and specific as possible about your weaknesses.
Dear ,
168 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Whether you are a man or a woman, accepting yourself means seeing
advertising images for what they are: a select few people paid to be photographed under the best possible conditions. Instead of being your body’s
enemy, learn to think of yourself as its supporter. Appreciate not only how
your body looks but also what it can do. Remind yourself that you are not
just a body but a whole person—a spirit, soul, and mind contained in a physical body. Ask yourself how you want to spend your energy—pursuing the
perfect body or enjoying family, friends, school, work, and life?
You’re Okay The better we can accept our human imperfections, the
more we will accept and value ourselves. But what about self-improvement?
Shouldn’t we look for ways to fix our weaknesses? Only within reason. It’s
great to want to improve yourself, to be that special person you want to be.
The real key to self-esteem, though, is to like and value yourself as you are
now. You are valuable for who you are—not for what you have, how you look,
or what you do. You can’t change your genetics or go back in time and grow
up in a different environment. Why beat yourself up about things you can’t
change? Accept yourself as you are at this moment with whatever weaknesses
you have. Remember that the perfect human being has not yet been discovered. Accept and celebrate yourself as you are, flaws and all.
Kick the Comparing Habit
Another way to foster self-acceptance is to become aware of the way you compare yourself to other people. Many of us are addicted to social comparison,
comparing our traits and accomplishments with those of other people.
success secret
Think of yourself as your
body’s friend, not its
social comparison
The practice of comparing your
traits and accomplishments
with those of others.
Applying Psychology
Culture and Body Image
We see them on magazine covers, on roadside billboards, and in television commercials: thin, beautiful people enjoying the good life. Are these real people? Not
exactly. In North America, models are much taller and thinner than the average person. The average female model, for example, stands 5′10″ and weighs 110 pounds,
while the average woman is 5′4″ and weighs 140 pounds. What about in other
cultures? Tall and thin may be the ideal in the West, but most non-Western cultures
have different ideas about beauty. Many traditional Asian-Pacific and African cultures, for example, equate a
rounded physique with beauty. Today, however, this is changing. With greater exposure to Western media,
more and more people in cultures across the world are dieting, falling victim to eating disorders, and striving
to live up to an almost impossible ideal of beauty. Body image problems have a large impact on self-esteem,
particularly among women. In one study, women who spent only three minutes looking at models in a fashion magazine felt depressed, guilty, and ashamed of their own bodies.
Critical Thinking How do you feel when you see media images portraying “perfect” people?
©Lars A. Niki
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Learning to Like Yourself 169
There are two types of social comparison: downward comparison and
upward comparison. When we use downward comparison, we compare ourselves to people “below” us, such as fellow students who are earning lower
grades or coworkers who have received fewer promotions. When we use
upward comparison, we compare ourselves to people “above” us, such as
students who are earning higher grades or coworkers who have been
promoted above us. People who suffer from low self-esteem often use
downward comparison to try to make themselves feel better. They tell
themselves, “See, I’m not doing so badly. Look at him.” Unfortunately,
downward comparison makes us feel better only for a short time.
Self-esteem comes from inside, not from knowing that someone else is
People with low self-esteem sometimes use upward comparison to make
themselves feel worse—to reinforce their negative ideas about themselves. If
we look at someone who is at the top of our field, for example, we might
tell ourselves that we are unsuccessful and our accomplishments are insignificant. “Look how well she’s doing! I’ll never reach that level.” This is
equally unhealthy because it means measuring your progress according to
someone else’s standards.
Everyone is interested in how they measure up to others, and everyone
uses social comparison from time to time. Comparing ourselves to others
too often, however, can damage our self-esteem. Do you use social comparison to evaluate yourself? Complete Personal Journal 4.3 to find out if you
have the comparing habit.
Real or Ideal?
Comparing ourselves to other people and to media images can take a huge
toll on our self-esteem. Comparing ourselves to our ideals can do the same
thing. Each of us has an ideal self, a vision or idea of the kind of person we
want or ought to be. Your ideal self is you without flaws—the perfect you.
Everyone’s ideal self, of course, is a fantasy. Mitch, a struggling actor,
dreams of hitting it big in Hollywood. His ideal self is an Oscar-winning
movie star who pulls in $20 million per film. Diane, a college student,
dreams of winning the Nobel Prize in chemistry.
All of us have fantasies about our perfect lives and our perfect selves.
The difference between our real and our ideal selves motivates us to keep
improving ourselves. If our real and ideal selves are very different, however,
it can erode our self-esteem, as shown in Figure 4.2. We may start to feel
guilty or ashamed about who we are because we aren’t who we think we
ought to be.
Possible Selves Instead of focusing on a fantasy about an ideal that
no one can ever attain, it’s healthier to think about what you really want to
be and achieve. Think about your possible selves, the person(s) you think
you might realistically become in the future.
success secret
Measure your progress
according to your goals,
not someone else’s.
ideal self The person we
want to be or feel we ought
to be.
possible selves The
person or persons you might
realistically become in the
170 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Personal Journal 4.3
Social Comparison Log
Over the course of one full day, pay attention to how many times you compare yourself to other people.
Make a note in the following log each time it happens. Describe the comparison you made and how it
affected your self-esteem.
Comparison I Made How It Made Me Feel About Myself
Now look at all the comparisons you made. Were most of these comparisons in a specific area (such as
academic performance, appearance, or clothing)? Did your comparisons make you feel better or worse
about yourself?
FIGURE 4.2 You and Your Ideal
Striving for Perfection The further away our ideal self is from our real self, the more our self-esteem suffers.
How can you control the gap between your real and ideal self?
Real Self
Low Self-Esteem High Self-Esteem
Ideal Self Real Self Ideal Self
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Learning to Like Yourself 171
Our possible selves help guide our behavior by giving us positive images
to inspire us. Mitch, the struggling actor, sees himself becoming a wellrespected stage actor in local productions, or perhaps a character actor in
films. These visions of himself aren’t as glamorous as his dream of being a
movie star, but it helps him to set specific goals. Diane, the college student,
sees herself becoming a researcher at a pharmaceutical company. Instead
of worrying about winning the Nobel Prize, she focuses on what she can do
every day to get one step closer to her realistic goal.
To transform your ideal self into one or more possible selves, consider
how many aspects of your ideal self are important to you. You might fantasize
about being rich, for example, but do you need to be rich to be happy? Are
you willing to put in the time and effort to make it happen? Do you really
want this for yourself, or is this someone else’s dream (society’s, perhaps, or
your parents’ or friends’)? Instead of wishing you had great riches, focus on
working toward an attainable goal, such as achieving financial security.
Use Personal Journal 4.4 to consider your ideal self and your possible
selves. Then make a resolution: You will never criticize yourself for not
having something that you don’t really want anyway.
success secret
Remember the difference
between fantasy and
Personal Journal 4.4
Your Ideal Self
In the box below, write down how you would like to look, act, and feel and what you would like to be,
achieve, and own in an ideal world. Don’t edit yourself—write everything that comes to mind when you
think of the perfect you.
The perfect me
Now cross out every item that represents either an unrealistic fantasy or something that you don’t truly
want or need. The remaining items make up your possible selves—the different selves that you can
choose to become in the future.
172 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
So far, so good: You’ve taken a close look at yourself and made a commitment to accept yourself. This conscious commitment is important, but it’s
not the end of the journey. You now need to convince your subconscious
mind that you are valuable and worthwhile.
You are constantly talking—either to others or to yourself. What you say
to yourself about yourself, silently or out loud, is known as self-talk. When
you have negative thoughts and feelings about yourself, they often come
across in the form of negative self-talk. You may use negative self-talk and
not even realize it.
You can hurt your self-esteem with negative self-talk, but you can build
your self-esteem with positive self-talk—giving yourself praise and encouragement. By changing the way you talk to yourself, you can change the way
you feel about yourself, too.
Words have a powerful effect on our bodies as well as our minds.
Thoughts can raise and lower body temperature, relax muscles and nerves,
raise and lower pulse rate, and more. Self-talk is so powerful because it
works on our subconscious mind, the part of our mind that stores many of
the experiences, feelings, and thoughts that control our behavior. Many of
the thoughts and attitudes that damage our self-esteem are subconscious
ones. Positive self-talk works by turning these negative thoughts and attitudes into more positive ones.
Negative Self-Talk: Your Inner Critic
Unfortunately, many of us spend our days telling ourselves negative things:
“I’m a loser.” “I can’t believe how lazy I am.” “I blew it again.” The critical
voice that bombards you with constant negative self-talk is known as your
inner critic. This inner critic might speak in your own voice or in the voice
of someone from your past, such as a critical parent, sibling, or teacher. To
develop self-esteem, you must drown out your inner critic with positive
self-talk. This means telling yourself over and over again that you are a
worthwhile, valuable person.
Origin of the Critic When we were growing up, many of us were
made to feel bad about ourselves through repeated criticism. This early
criticism has an extremely damaging effect. When children are given
negative messages, they may conclude that they are fundamentally bad, or
lazy, or ugly, or incompetent. This is especially common when parents send
the message that the child, rather than the child’s behavior, is bad. Often, a
parent accompanies scolding with the withdrawal of love or attention. This
sends the message, “I don’t love you because you don’t deserve it.”
When we grow up, these internalized messages become the voice of our
inner critic. When we berate ourselves for making a mistake, messages
come sailing at us from the past: “I’m a screw-up. I can’t handle anything.”
This self-critical voice can devastate our self-esteem.
self-talk What you say
or think to yourself about
inner critic The critical
voice that bombards you with
constant negative self-talk.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Learning to Like Yourself 173
Role of the Critic Why do we allow ourselves to have these
thoughts, even if we know they’re not in our best interest? Ironically, we
use our inner critic to protect us against the fear of rejection and failure. By
telling ourselves that we are failures before anyone else has a chance to do
the same, we feel that we are prepared for any attacks that may come. We
may even use the critic to protect us from taking any action at all. By telling
ourselves that we will fail, we have a handy excuse for not trying.
We also use the inner critic as a kind of psychological safeguard against
uncertainty. When things go wrong, we feel an instinctive need for comfort
and security. People with high self-esteem respond to that need by coping
with problems directly, by finding solutions instead of worrying. They
achieve a feeling of security by getting rid of the thing that is threatening it.
As we saw, however, people with low self-esteem don’t feel confident in
their ability to cope. Instead, they rely on the inner critic. The critical selftalk originated from our parents, with whom we once associated the same
comfort and security.
Labels Labels are a particularly damaging form of self-talk. A label is a
simplistic statement that we use to define who we are. As we are growing
up, other people may give us labels such as “pretty” or “ugly,” “smart” or
“dumb,” “popular” or “unpopular.” These labels, formed early, often stay
with us. The problem with labels is that they can be very limiting, and often
are not even true. Labels tend to be negative. Yet people become so
attached to the labels they have given themselves (or other people) that
they can’t let go of them. If you can’t let go of labels, you can’t begin to
improve your self-esteem.
We undermine our own self-esteem by labeling ourselves and by accepting the labels that other people give to us. How often have you heard yourself or others say things like the following:
• “I look terrible no matter what I do.”
• “I’m a lousy cook; I can’t even boil an egg.”
• “I can’t dance.”
• “I’m all thumbs.”
• “I have no sense of humor.”
• “I have a terrible memory.”
• “I’m never on time.”
• “I have bad luck.”
• “I have no sense of style.”
The more times we tell ourselves these negative things, the worse we
feel about ourselves. Complete Activity 22 to monitor your negative self-talk
and convert your negative self-statements into positive ones.
Stop Those Thoughts! Try to catch yourself whenever you engage
in negative self-talk. Get in the habit of stopping your thoughts whenever
you hear yourself thinking negatively. You can even tell your inner critic,
success secret
Your inner critic hurts your
self-esteem by repeating
negative messages from
your past.
label A simplistic
statement that people use to
define who they are.
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ACTIVITY 22: Negative Self-Talk Log
A Monitor your self-talk throughout the course of an entire day. Try to catch at least ten negative selfstatements. Each time you hear yourself thinking something negative about yourself, note the following:
1. Time of day
2. Statement you made to yourself
3. How much of the statement was true, and how much was false
1. Time 2. Self-Statement 3. True or False
6:45 am
“I’m late again as usual.
Why am I so lazy?”
“I sometimes leave late for work,
but this doesn’t mean I’m lazy.”
B Do you see a pattern to any of your negative self-talk? For example, did you criticize yourself repeatedly
in one area, such as your appearance or intelligence? Explain.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Learning to Like Yourself 175
C Pick out the three most painful and damaging self-statements you recorded in your log. Analyze their
origins. Did you receive repeated criticism in this area in the past? When? Explain.
Negative Self-Statement:
Possible Origin:
Negative Self-Statement:
Possible Origin:
Negative Self-Statement:
Possible Origin:
D Now turn each of these negative self-statements into an affirmation. (See page 178 for guidelines.)
176 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
“stop!” or “be quiet!” Some people see a specific image in their minds, such
as a big red stop sign. Pause and really think about your attitude toward
yourself. Are you beating up on yourself? Are you dwelling on the past?
Are you blaming yourself for things that aren’t your fault?
You may not be able to control everything that happens to you, but you
can control the words you say to yourself. Changing negative self-talk isn’t
easy—it takes a conscious effort, applied over days, weeks, and even years.
It takes discipline and dedication to boost your self-esteem from the inside
out, but it’s worth it.
Controlling Your Internal Conversations
We’re all talking to ourselves every moment of our lives, except during
certain portions of our sleeping cycle. It comes automatically. We’re
seldom even aware that we’re doing it. We all have a running commentary
going on in our heads on events and our reactions to them. Because most
of the negative kinds of feelings, beliefs, and attitudes we have about
ourselves are stored, through habitual repetition, we need to start relaxing
and using self-talk that is constructive and complimentary, instead of
destructive and derogatory.
Current neurological and psychological research confirms the incredible
ability of the mind to drive the body to achieve the individual’s immediate
dominant thought by instructing the body to carry out the vivid images of
performance as if they had been achieved before and are merely being
repeated. With pre-play simulation (or feedforward), you can engrave in
your mind the verbal, visual, and emotional conditions associated with
high performance, good health, and long life. This process greatly influences your daily habit patterns and acts as a steering program toward your
goals. With replay simulation (or feedback), you can replay your successes
during quiet times or off days to reinforce your self-confidence in stressful
times. The feedback also allows you to enter new, positive, corrective data
into your thoughts so that you can reset your aim on goals that were
previously missed.
It’s interesting to observe that children don’t learn how to pre-play failure until their parents, peers, and other role models repeatedly show them
how. And, also, it’s sad to see children and adults who have been taught to
dwell on past mistakes instead of using them as learning experiences to
reinforce their blessings and accomplishments.
When your mind talks, your body listens and acts accordingly. Research
has shown that our thoughts can raise and lower body temperature, secrete
hormones, relax muscles and nerve endings, dilate and constrict arteries,
and raise and lower pulse rate. With this evidence, it is obvious that we need
to control the language we use on ourselves. Consistently successful individuals rarely put themselves down in words before or after a performance:
they use positive feedforward self-talk and positive feedback self-talk as part
of their training programs until it becomes a force of habit.
success secret
Learn to stop the inner
critic in its tracks.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Learning to Like Yourself 177
They say “I can. . . . I will. . . . Next time I’ll get it right. . . . I’m feeling
better. . . . I’m ready. . . . Thank you.” Unsuccessful people fall into the
trap of saying: “I can’t. . . . I’m a klutz. . . . I can’t stay in shape. . . .
I wish. . . . If only. . . . I should have. . . . Yeah, but . . .”
You are your most important critic. There is no opinion as vitally
important to your success, fitness, and well-being as the opinion you have
of yourself. The most important meetings, briefings, coaching sessions, and
conversations you’ll ever have are the conversations you will have with
yourself. As you read this you’re talking to yourself: “Let’s see if I understand what they mean by that. . . . How does that compare with my own
experiences. . . . I already knew that. . . . I think I’ll try that.”
We believe that this self-talk, this psycholinguistics or language of the
mind, is critical to our success and can be controlled to work for us in
achieving our goals of health, performance, and longevity. World-class
athletes call this technique the “self-statement” or “image of achievement.” Psychologists and psychiatrists call it cognitive reconstruction,
or the practice of reframing by internalizing positive thoughts and
desired outcomes.
Andre Agassi, former World #1 tennis player and eight-time Grand
Slam champion has related how mental practice before a match has helped
him throughout his career. Tennis is one of the most solitary of all sports.
The player is alone in his or her head, without the benefit of a coach, caddie, or corner man, for an average of three and a half hours. Agassi reports
to using a twenty-two-minute afternoon shower to work on his self-talk, saying things to himself, over and over, until he believes them. He says, “I’ve
won 869 matches in my career, 5th on the all-time list and many of them
were won during the afternoon shower!”
There are three basic types of self-statements:
1. General self-talk. These are affirmative statements that can be used at
any time and place for a feeling of general well-being. Examples: “I
like myself.” “I’m glad I’m me.” “I’m relaxing now. I am at peace.”
“I’m in control of my body.” “I feel that my body is more healthy
now.” “I give the best of me in everything.” “I am strong and full of
energy.” “I respect and appreciate myself.” “I’m a winner.”
2. Specific self-talk. These statements are used to project and reframe, as
well as reaffirm, our specific skills, goals, and attributes. Examples: “I
am a team player.” “I create value in everything I do.” For a woman, it
could be: “I weigh 125 pounds and feel trim in my bathing suit.” For a
man, it might be. “I feel healthy at my best weight of 175.” “I drink a
glass of water with every meal.” “I arrive for appointments on time.”
“I am calm and confident when I take an exam.” “I appreciate others’
opinions.” “I eat fish or poultry to get my lean protein.” “I speak with
authority in front of a group.”
3. Process self-talk. These are one-word or two-word self-statements that
can be used as “trigger” ideas at mealtime, during an exercise workout,
178 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
or during the performance of professional, sporting, or other demanding
skills. Examples: “Concentrate.” “Focus.” “Backhand follow-through.”
“Easy.” “Push-off.” “Relax.” “Let’s go.”
Your self-talk before a performance will pre-play a positive self-image about
specific activities in your life. Your performance will improve because of
your elevated self-image, and sometimes your performance will exceed your
expectations. Your feedback self-talk will say “Good for me, now we’re
getting somewhere.” On occasion your performance will fall short of your
expectations. Your feedback self-talk will say “Next time we’ll do better.
Let’s make a target correction to help get it right.”
One of the secrets of success is that our responses to our performances—in
words, images, and feelings—are just as important as our self-images or simulations of ourselves before we ever attempt to perform in the first place. The
vicious cycle is created by negative anticipation, and a negative response to
what happens in your daily life. The victor’s circle is created by positive anticipation to what is going to happen in your daily life, and a positive reaction no
matter what happens. It’s not what happens that means the most. It is how
you take it and what you make of it, so that next time it will be better.
Using Affirmations
Affirmations are positive self-statements that help you think of yourself in a
positive, caring, and accepting way. Affirmations are a powerful tool for
rejecting the labels we have accepted for ourselves and replacing them with
new visions of ourselves as competent and worthy.
One way to write affirmations is to take your negative self-statements
and turn them into positive ones. Instead of telling yourself, “I’m always
late,” say, “I am becoming more and more organized and punctual” or “I
have the power to be on time.” Instead of saying, “I’m fat,” say, “I am
attractive and healthy” or “I have a strong, fit body.”
Another way to write affirmations is to portray yourself as the successful
person you want to be. Use language that is as specific and positive as possible.
• “I am a self-confident, compassionate person.”
• “I can do whatever I set out to do.”
• “I am a courageous, gentle, lovable person.”
• “I am focused and persistent.”
• “I am an attractive, loving person.”
• “I am an intelligent and powerful person capable of attaining all
of my goals.”
• “I always do the best I can.”
• “I am honest with myself and others.”
• “I am a helpful, caring individual.”
• “I create a positive environment for myself and those around me.”
• “My vision of my future is clear and focused.”
• “I have the strength to handle any situation.”
affirmation A positive
self-statement that helps you
think of yourself in a positive,
caring, and accepting way.
success secret
Turn your negative selfstatements into positive
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Learning to Like Yourself 179
It might take a while for you to become comfortable using affirmations.
The more you repeat them to yourself, however, the more these positive
statements will feel right. You’ll replace the habit of negative self-talk with a
new habit of positive self-talk.
Focus on the Positive When learning to use positive self-talk,
remember that the subconscious mind doesn’t react well to being told not
to think or do something. We have all seen how a child, when told not to
do something, suddenly develops an overwhelming urge to do it. Follow
this same logic with your self-talk. Instead of saying, “I don’t feel tired,” say,
“I feel rested and awake.” Instead of saying, “I shouldn’t use the car to
travel short distances,” tell yourself, “I will walk and ride my bike more.”
Make sure to focus on what you will do, not on what you won’t do.
Concentrate on one good thought at a time. Instead of saying, “I can’t”
or “I wish,” say:
• “I can.”
• “Next time I’ll get it right.”
• “I have to take risks to get rewards.”
• “I can learn from this mistake.”
• “I will remain positive about this.”
• “I look forward to . . .”
• “I’m feeling better about . . .”
• “Things will get better when I . . .”
These positive self-statements help us develop the coping skills we need to
persevere and feel good about ourselves.
All of us receive criticism from ourselves in the form of negative self-talk.
From time to time, we receive criticism from others as well. Criticism is any
remark that contains a judgment, evaluation, or statement of fault. People
with low self-esteem are particularly vulnerable to criticism, especially when
this criticism echoes the attacks of their inner critic.
For healthy self-esteem, we all need the love, support, and assistance of
others. Encouragement from friends and family, instructors, coworkers,
and fellow students can help to strengthen our self-esteem; but how do we
continue to accept ourselves if we are criticized instead of loved and supported? We need to learn to ignore opinions that might hurt our selfesteem. For example, if your classmate makes a critical comment about
your low test grade, does that make you a poor student? No! You are still
the same hardworking student you were when you walked into the room.
People’s opinions don’t change who you are. No matter what you do or
say, or don’t do or don’t say, you will receive criticism at some point.
Learn to respond to criticism effectively without allowing it to damage
your self-esteem.
criticism Any remark
that contains a judgment,
evaluation, or statement of
180 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
The key to handling criticism well is to realize that everyone sees a situation in his or her own unique way. Therefore, just because someone criticizes your appearance or driving or work habits doesn’t mean that there is
anything wrong with them. It’s possible that you are dealing with a simple
difference of opinion. It’s also possible that your critic is motivated by personal difficulties. Perhaps he is having trouble accepting his own appearance. Maybe she is struggling with the very work habits for which she is
criticizing you. Then again, perhaps your critic is simply in a bad mood and
snapping at the first person to come by. Whatever the case, simply note that
something other than you is motivating the person to be critical. This allows
you to handle the situation more objectively, without letting it threaten your
self-esteem. Once you take your self-esteem out of the equation, you are
more open to receiving or rejecting a critic’s message.
Destructive and Constructive Criticism
Not all criticism is created equal. Some criticism is constructive, designed
to help us improve ourselves. Other criticism is destructive and can cripple
our self-esteem.
What is the difference between the two kinds of criticism? Destructive
criticism is often general, addressing your attitude or some aspect of yourself rather than focusing on specific behavior. It is also usually entirely negative, without any helpful suggestion about how to do things differently.
Consider these examples:
• “The writing in this report is junk.”
• “You’re totally out of shape.”
• “That color doesn’t suit you at all.”
• “You really screwed up on this project.”
• “Your academic performance this term has been a real disappointment.”
Constructive criticism, by contrast, addresses specific behavior and does
not attack you as a person. It also usually makes mention of your positive
points and offers helpful suggestions for improvement. Compare these
constructive criticisms with the destructive ones above:
• “You did a great job researching this report. I think it would be even
better if you used a more concise writing style.”
• “I’m concerned about your health. What if we went speed-walking
together a few times a week?”
• “That shirt looks great. I bet a blue one would look even better.”
• “Let’s talk about what we can do to make the next project work for
both of us.”
• “Let’s think about how you can improve your grades next semester.”
Which criticisms would you rather receive? Destructive criticism is
delivered without empathy or compassion. It assumes that the person has
done something wrong. Constructive criticism conveys caring and concern.
success secret
Criticism often stems from
a simple difference of
success secret
Constructive criticism
helps you improve
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Learning to Like Yourself 181
It not only offers suggestions but also shows a willingness to help out with
fixing the problem.
Handling Constructive Criticism
There are three major steps to handling positive, helpful criticism. First, listen. Make sure you understand exactly what is being said. If you don’t, ask.
It isn’t easy to listen openly to criticism—even constructive criticism. However, it gets easier with practice. Second, restate the criticism. By summarizing the critic’s message, you show that you are interested and not on the
defensive. Third and finally, if the critic hasn’t provided a suggestion, ask
for suggestions on how to improve. Make a note of this information so you
can use it to improve yourself. The three basic steps in handling constructive criticism are summarized in Figure 4.3.
Handling Destructive Criticism
Handling destructive criticism is more difficult. Destructive criticism can
make us feel hurt, attacked, and defensive. There are many different ways
of reacting to destructive criticism. Some are highly ineffective, however,
because they invite further criticism. These faulty reaction styles are:
• Aggressive style—Aggressive reactors directly confront the critic, often
with angry attacks similar to the ones they received.
Critic: “You painted that? It looks like a three-year-old did it.”
You: “You just can’t keep your mouth shut, can you?”
success secret
Listen to constructive criticism, restate it, and then
ask for suggestions.
FIGURE 4.3 Responding to Constructive Criticism
To Your Advantage Constructive criticism is a source of valuable information. Asking for suggestions helps you find creative solutions to the problem
behind the criticism. If you were a manager, would you feel comfortable giving your employees constructive criticism? Why or why not?
Constructive Criticism
Listen carefully.
Check for understanding.
Restate the criticism.
Ask for suggestions.
182 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
• Passive style—A passive reactor acknowledges that the criticism is true,
then apologizes. Although this usually prevents further criticism, reacting
passively is very damaging to your self-esteem.
Critic: “You did a terrible job on this report.”
You: “You’re right. I’m sorry I let you down.”
• Passive-aggressive style—This style combines the worst of both the passive and the aggressive styles. Passive aggressors pretend to acknowledge
the criticism, but later consciously or unconsciously get even with the
critic somehow.
Critic: “You look like you’ve put on weight.”
You: “I know. You’re probably embarrassed to be seen in public with
me.” (“Accidentally” spills coffee on critic’s shirt.)
These response styles generate negative feelings and give the critic even
more to criticize. A better way to handle destructive criticism is to acknowledge it and then put a stop to it in a rational, mature way. First, find something
to acknowledge in the criticism, either a fact or a feeling that is motivating
the critic. Second, assert yourself by correcting the part of the criticism that
you believe to be mistaken, unfair, or insulting. Figure 4.4 shows the process
of handling criticism in a useful, self-esteem–boosting way.
• Acknowledge facts. Agree with the specific part of the criticism that you
can honestly acknowledge to be true. This puts a stop to the criticism
and saves your self-esteem.
Critic: “You’re so lazy. You spend all weekend watching TV.”
You: “You’re right, I spend a lot of time watching TV on the weekends,
but that doesn’t mean I’m lazy.”
• Acknowledge feelings. If you truly cannot find anything to agree with in
the criticism, show the critic that you recognize the feelings that are
motivating the criticism. This pacifies the critic and ends the criticism.
Critic: “You’re a slob. Just look at that sink overflowing with dishes.”
You: “I know you hate to leave dirty dishes in the sink. However, I like
to let them pile up and then do them all at once.”
By finding something—anything—to acknowledge in a piece of criticism,
you let your critic know that he or she has been heard. By speaking up for
yourself and refusing to be the victim of a personal attack, you boost your
Probing What if the destructive criticism is vague and general? What
if someone calls you lazy or overbearing? For general criticisms, a technique known as probing often has the best results. Probing involves asking
the critic for specifics. Probing has the dual effect of reducing the argument
down to more reasonable specifics, and disarming the critic with the notion
that you are taking an interest in the criticism. Conversations involving
probing might look like this:
Critic: “I don’t know how you get through life being so lazy.”
You: “Can you give me an example of my laziness?”
success secret
Acknowledge destructive
criticism, then correct any
probing Asking for
specifics from a person who
has given a general or vague
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Learning to Like Yourself 183
FIGURE 4.4 Responding to Destructive Criticism
Putting It in Perspective Criticism can be difficult to face. By focusing on the
content of the message and using effective response techniques, however,
you can diffuse criticism before it damages your self-esteem. Do you think that
some criticism doesn’t deserve any response at all? Explain.
Destructive Criticism
Listen carefully.
Check for understanding.
Is the criticism specific?
Yes No
Can you honestly agree with part or all
of the criticism?
Acknowledge facts.
Assert yourself.
Correct errors.
Acknowledge feelings.
184 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Critic: “For one thing, you spend all weekend watching TV.”
Critic: “You messed up all the files when you reorganized the office.”
You: “How exactly did I mess up the files?”
Critic: “Nothing is in alphabetical order anymore.”
Critic: “You’re a slob.”
You: “What makes you think of me as a slob?”
Critic: “Just look at that sink overflowing with dishes.”
Continue probing until you have reduced the criticism from personal
accusations to specific examples. Then you can evaluate whether the critic
has anything useful to say.
Practice responding to constructive and destructive criticism in
Activity 23.
Assertiveness and Self-Esteem
Handling criticism well requires assertiveness, the ability to stand up for
your rights without threatening the self-esteem of the other person.
People with low self-esteem often react to criticism passively or passiveaggressively. They hope they will avoid confrontation if they don’t reveal
their thoughts. They don’t stand up for themselves because they fear rejection and further criticism. It is true that others may dislike what you say or
even dislike you. However, trying to achieve acceptance by withholding
your real thoughts and feelings damages your self-esteem. It is better to risk
rejection by showing your real self than to disrespect yourself by hiding
your thoughts and feelings.
People with low self-esteem often let the fear of criticism and rejection
stop them from asserting themselves in everyday situations. What happened the last time someone cut in front of you in line? Did you stand up
for yourself and politely point out the end of the line, or did you stay silent
to avoid a fuss? What about when you received a wrong order at a restaurant? Did you calmly call attention to the mix-up, or did you pretend everything was fine and eat it anyway?
Assertiveness can be difficult because it involves showing your real self. It
requires self-awareness, self-expectancy, and self-acceptance. Instead of silently
tolerating words or actions that hurt you, you are standing up for your value as
a human being. You are saying, “I have a right to exist and be treated with
respect. My thoughts and feelings are just as important as everyone else’s, and
I deserve to have my voice heard.” When you make assertiveness a habit, you
increase others’ esteem for you and your esteem for yourself.
Self Check
1. Define self-acceptance. (p. 160)
2. What are the benefits of using positive self-talk? (p. 172)
3. Give an example of a constructive criticism and an example of a
destructive criticism. (p. 180)
success secret
You have the right to be
treated with respect.
success secret
Before you respond to a
vague criticism, probe for
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Learning to Like Yourself 185
ACTIVITY 23: Handling Criticism
A Practice responding to constructive criticism. Imagine that the people below are giving you accurate
feedback. Write a response to each constructive criticism that (1) restates the criticism and (2) asks for
specific suggestions for improvement.
Your writing is good, but you have used some terms incorrectly here.
Restate: Yes, vocabulary is my weak point.
Ask for suggestions: What are some ways I could work on this?
Instructor: “You always have interesting things to say in your homework. It’s disappointing that you
don’t speak up more in class.”
Ask for suggestions:
Roommate: “I love the color you chose for the living room walls. It might be even better if the paint
was a little more even.”
Ask for suggestions:
Boss: “I see how much effort you’ve put into this spreadsheet, but the small type makes it hard for
me to read.”
Ask for suggestions:
Parent: “You forgot Michael’s birthday last week, and his feelings were hurt. It’s important to
remember family occasions.”
Ask for suggestions:
186 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
B Now practice responding to destructive criticism by acknowledging facts or feelings. Imagine that you
receive criticisms similar to those on the previous page, but that they are worded in a destructive way.
Write a response to each destructive criticism that (1) acknowledges the facts and (2) asserts yourself by
correcting the part of the criticism that is mistaken, unfair, or insulting.
You ruined your paper by using all these terms incorrectly.
Acknowledge: I see that I misused a few technical terms.
Assert yourself: However, I provided a lot of good information in this paper.
Instructor: “You never have anything to contribute in class.”
Assert yourself:
Roommate: “You did a terrible job painting the living room walls.”
Assert yourself:
Boss: “I practically need a microscope to read this spreadsheet. Please make it look like a professional did it.”
Assert yourself:
Parent: “You forgot Michael’s birthday again. I hope you’re proud of yourself.”
Assert yourself:
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Learning to Like Yourself 187
C Think back to the last time you received constructive criticism. How did you respond? Were you able to
make use of the constructive criticism? Why or why not?
D Now think back to the last time you received destructive criticism. Describe how it made you feel and
how you responded.
E The next time you receive criticism, what can you say to yourself to keep your self-esteem from being hurt?
188 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Chapter 4 Review and Activities
self-esteem (p. 138)
anxiety (p. 140)
unconditional positive regard
(p. 149)
conditional positive regard
(p. 149)
social support (p. 150)
loneliness (p. 150)
self-expectancy (p. 155)
accomplishment (p. 157)
coping (p. 160)
avoidance (p. 160)
self-acceptance (p. 162)
body image (p. 164)
social comparison (p. 168)
ideal self (p. 169)
possible selves (p. 169)
self-talk (p. 172)
inner critic (p. 172)
label (p. 173)
affirmation (p. 178)
criticism (p. 179)
probing (p. 182)
Key Terms
Summary by Learning Objectives
• Define self-esteem and explain its importance. Self-esteem is having confidence in and
respect for yourself. When you esteem yourself, you are confident in your ability to cope with
life’s challenges, and you believe that you are worthy of success and happiness. This motivates
you to work hard, succeed, try new things, take chances, and build positive relationships.
• Describe how childhood experiences affect self-esteem. The foundations of self-esteem
are laid in the first three or four years of life. If our parents or other primary caregivers demonstrate love, nurturance, acceptance, encouragement, and support, we usually come to accept
ourselves and develop positive self-esteem.
• Define self-expectancy and explain two ways to boost it. Self-expectancy is the belief
that you are able to achieve what you want in life. One way to build this confidence is to take
pride in your past successes. Another way is to set and accomplish a series of increasingly
challenging goals.
• Explain why self-acceptance is important for high self-esteem. Self-acceptance means
recognizing and accepting what is true about yourself. It allows you to stop criticizing yourself
for falling short of your or other people’s impossible standards. It allows you to discover and
express who you really are inside. When you enjoy self-acceptance, you recognize that you are
good enough just the way you are.
• Explain how to change negative self-talk into positive self-talk. To change negative selftalk into positive self-talk, stop your negative thoughts whenever they occur and replace them
with affirmations.
• Explain how to handle criticism well. An effective way to handle constructive criticism is
to restate the criticism and ask for suggestions. An effective way to handle destructive criticism
is to acknowledge the truth of the criticism (if any) and assert yourself.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Review and Activities 189
Review and Activities
Review Questions
1. Name five effects of high self-esteem and five effects of low self-esteem.
2. How do childhood experiences affect self-esteem?
3. Explain the statement: “You may or may not get what you deserve, but you will nearly always
get what you expect.”
4. What are some ways to change a negative self-image into a positive one?
5. Give an example of upward comparison and an example of downward comparison.
6. Explain the three steps in handling constructive criticism.
Critical Thinking
7. Self-Acceptance and Avoidance For healthy self-esteem, it’s important to know your
weaknesses so that you can find creative ways to work around them. However, it’s also
important to cope with your problems rather than avoid them. Is this a contradiction?
Why or why not?
8. Criticism When someone is very critical of others, it is often said that the person has low
self-esteem. Think of someone you know who often criticizes or makes fun of others. Do you
think this person has low self-esteem? What do you think motivates him or her to criticize
others? What relationship do you think exists between self-acceptance and acceptance of
9. Self-Esteem Journal Over the course of a week, keep a journal monitoring your level of
self-esteem. Note the times you experience low self-esteem and high self-esteem. What situations make you feel good about yourself? Why? How can you create more of them? What
situations damage your self-esteem? Why? How can you change this?
10. Accomplishment and Self-Expectancy Interview two people. Ask them to describe the
two accomplishments of which they are proudest; explain why they are proudest of these;
and explain how confident they were beforehand in their ability to complete these accomplishments. Write up your findings, comparing and contrasting the interviewees’ responses to
the responses you gave in Activity 20. What did this experience teach you about accomplishment and self-expectancy?
190 Chapter 4 | Self-Esteem Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Internet Activities
11. Affirmations Your instructor may provide you with an article on “The Power of Self-Talk.”
Read the article. Write three “I am” affirmations using the guidelines in this article.
12. Shyness and Self-Esteem Go to the following links:

Shyness Self-Help How-To

These will provide you with information on shyness and its relationship to self-esteem. Ask
yourself the following questions: Are there different types of shyness? How do you think shyness is related to self-esteem? Does shyness have positive aspects?
Review and Activities
Look back at your response to the question in the Real-Life
Success Story on page 136. Think about how you would answer
the question now that you have completed the chapter.
Complete the Story Write a paragraph continuing Paul’s
story, describing specific techniques he uses to overcome his negative self-talk and respond to his sister’s destructive criticism.
Real-Life “Do I Have What It Takes?”
Success Story
©ColorBlind Images/Blend Images LLC

Success Story
Hopes and Worries
Jessica Jimenez dreamed of a career in hotel management. On the morning of her interview for a clerk
job at a luxury hotel, however, she woke up feeling
nervous and unprepared. Jessica was bilingual, had
great people skills, and had earned top grades in her
hospitality program. Doing well in a job interview,
however, was another story. Jessica reminded herself that she never did well when she was put on the
spot. Why would today be any different?
A Self-Defeating Attitude
When Jessica arrived at the hotel for her interview,
she noticed a coffee stain on her blouse and began
to panic. “This interview is going to be a disaster,”
she thought. As she watched the hotel employees at
work, she began to feel even more negative. “What’s
the point of this job? I’ll never be able to keep up
with the fast pace. The pay is lousy, and with my luck
I’ll never be promoted.” By the time Jessica was
called for the interview, she told herself she didn’t
even want the job anymore.
What Do You Think? How was Jessica’s negative attitude likely to stand in the way of her getting
the job?
“Will Things Go My Way?”
©Colin Anderson/Blend Images LLC
Whether you think you can or think
you can’t, either way you’re right.”
Henry Ford, automaker
In this chapter, you’ll find out how to become a more
positive thinker. In Section 5.1 you’ll explore the
habits associated with positive thinking and learn how
your attitude can influence your mental and physical
health. In Section 5.2 you’ll learn why having positive
expectations for yourself makes a huge difference in
getting what you want out of life. You’ll also investigate
several types of negative thinking and learn techniques
for transforming unpleasant thoughts and feelings into
positive ones.
learning objectives
After you complete this chapter,
you should be able to:
• Define positive thinking
and cite its benefits.
• List six habits that can help you
become a more positive thinker.
• Explain the link between positive thinking and good health.
• Describe how self-defeating
attitudes create a vicious cycle.
• Define cognitive distortions and
irrational beliefs and give an
example of each.
• Summarize the ABCDE method
for overcoming irrational
Positive Thinking5 Chapter

194 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
SECTION 5.1 Becoming a Positive Thinker
We’ve all heard of positive thinking, but what is it and why does it matter?
Positive thinking means focusing on what is good about ourselves, other
people, and the world around us. When we think positively about ourselves,
we have the confidence to work toward our goals and overcome obstacles.
When we think positively about others, we have the confidence to trust
people and ask for what we need and want.
Positive thinking goes hand in hand with optimism. Optimism is the tendency to expect the best possible outcome. Optimists focus their energy on
making their goals happen, rather than on bracing for the worst. Optimists
don’t fool themselves into thinking that the world is perfect and that everything always goes perfectly. Instead, optimists simply choose to focus on
what’s going right.
Why Positive Thinking Matters
Positive thinking helps you enjoy work, school, friends, family, and free
time. Positive thinking gives you the drive to work hard to make good
things happen. Positive thinking does not promise success, but there is no
success without it. To attain success, you should actively expect success in
all parts of your life.
Feeling positive or optimistic is a trait of virtually all successful people.
The best leaders, for example, are able to inspire positive feelings in the people
they lead. They possess energy and a vision of the future that inspires a positive outlook in those around them. Think of how Martin Luther King, Jr.,
mobilized millions with his “I have a dream” speech, which painted an inspiring picture of a better future. His optimistic vision made him a great leader.
One of the most desirable attitudes of a prospective employee, leader,
or manager is an ability to see challenges as opportunities and setbacks as
temporary inconveniences. This positive attitude also welcomes change as
friendly, and is not upset by surprises, even negative surprises. How we
approach challenges and problems is a crucial aspect of our decisionmaking process, whether in business or in our personal lives.
In the 1920s, when Ernest Hemingway was working hard to perfect his
craft, he lost a suitcase containing all his manuscripts—many stories he’d
laboriously polished to jewel-like perfection—which he’d been planning to
publish as a book. The devastated Hemingway couldn’t conceive of redoing
his work. He could think only of the months he’d devoted to his arduous
writing—and for nothing, he was now convinced. But when he lamented his
loss to the poet Ezra Pound, Pound called it a stroke of good luck. Pound
assured Hemingway that when he rewrote the stories, he would forget the
weak parts; only the best material would reappear. Instead of framing the
positive thinking
Focusing on what is good
about yourself, other people,
and the world around you.
optimism The tendency
to expect the best possible
success secret
Positive thinking gives you
the drive to make good
things happen for yourself.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Becoming a Positive Thinker 195
event in disappointment, Pound cast it in the light of opportunity. Hemingway did rewrite the stories—and the rest, as they say, is history: He became
one of the major figures in American literature.
Cartoonist Cathy Guisewite has her mother to thank for teaching her the
importance of positive thinking. “When my mother first suggested I submit
some scribbles to a syndicate, I told her I knew nothing about comic strips.
Mom said, ‘So what? You’ll learn.’ When I pointed out that I didn’t know how
to draw, she said, ‘So what? You’ll learn.’  ” Without that encouragement and
confidence, Guisewite might never have turned those scribbles into the popular comic strip Cathy, which was syndicated in more than 1,400 newspapers
and collected into more than twenty books, along with several national TV
specials. The comic strip endured for thirty-four years as a national favorite.
Like Guisewite, when we worry that we don’t know how or we might
fail, we can tell ourselves, “So what? Other people have tried it before and
made bigger fools of themselves. Other people have started out with nothing and built their success brick by brick. Other people have overcome bigger hurdles and still survived. Other people have failed, picked themselves
up, and done it again. I can do the same thing.”
Thinking and Attitude
Positive thinking is really an attitude toward life. An attitude is a belief or
opinion that predisposes us to act in a certain way. Attitudes have a powerful effect on the way we see the world. Although you may not realize it, you
have attitudes about practically everything. You have attitudes toward
attitude A belief or
opinion that predisposes you
to act in a certain way.
Applying Psychology
Aging with an Attitude
One hundred years ago, most North Americans died by age 48. Today most of us
can expect to live to about 78. Instead of welcoming the prospect of a longer life,
however, more and more people are worrying about growing old. Aging is a natural
process, so why do we fear it? In our youth-obsessed culture, growing older is associated with social isolation and physical and mental decline rather than with growth,
wisdom, and freedom. Antique furniture and classic cars may be all the rage, but people in their 60s, 70s,
and beyond are often seen as dependent, disabled, and unattractive. In an attempt to stay young, consumers
spend billions of dollars every year on anti-aging weapons such as plastic surgery and pricey beauty creams.
The real key to successful aging, however, is a positive attitude. Researchers have uncovered evidence that
people who have a positive view of aging age better and live longer than those who fear it. According to
their findings, a healthy attitude toward aging has a more positive effect on health than exercising, lowering
cholesterol, or even quitting smoking. Positive thinking reduces stress on the heart and arteries, and motivates people to stay mentally and physically fit. In one study, people who had a positive attitude toward
aging lived seven and a half years longer on average than those with a negative attitude toward aging.
Critical Thinking Make a list of ten things you fear about getting older, and why.
©Ariel Skelley/Getty Images
196 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
particular individuals (including yourself) and toward people who are a certain age or do a certain job. You have attitudes toward particular objects,
such as smartphones, music, cars, and clothing, as well as toward ideas
about the environment, education, and careers.
Positive and Negative Attitudes Attitudes can be positive,
negative, or both, combining both positive and negative elements. For example, depending on your experience, you might believe that doctors are intelligent and noble, or that they are impersonal and condescending, or that they
show all of these features. You might believe that welfare is a good program
because it helps needy people, or that it is unfair because it promotes dependency and uses taxpayers’ money, or that it has both plusses and minuses.
There’s nothing wrong with having negative attitudes about some things.
People who have mostly negative attitudes, however, have trouble feeling
good or taking positive actions. People with positive attitudes embrace life. They
make a conscious effort to think positive thoughts and take positive actions.
We’ve seen that the way we think influences the way we feel and act.
Positive thoughts are the foundation of positive feelings and positive
actions. By thinking positive thoughts, we inspire ourselves to have positive
feelings and take positive actions, as shown in Figure 5.1.
Negative Thinking and Pessimism Now let’s contrast positive
thinking with negative thinking. Negative thinking means focusing on the
success secret
Positive thoughts lead to
positive feelings and
positive actions.
negative thinking
Focusing on the flaws and
problems in yourself, other
people, and the world
around you.
FIGURE 5.1 The Power of Positive Thoughts
On Target Thoughts, feelings, and actions go hand in hand. When you have
positive thoughts, you experience positive feelings and have the energy and
drive to take positive actions. Do you believe that you can change your way of
thinking by choosing to do so? Why or why not?
ive A
e Feel
Pos ings
itive Th
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Becoming a Positive Thinker 197
flaws and problems in ourselves, other people, and the world around us.
Negative thinking dampens our mood and blocks us from taking risks, making changes, and expressing our real selves. Negative thinking can also
make us unpleasant to be around. When we think negatively, we often
spend more time complaining and blaming others than we do taking action
to solve our problems.
Negative thinking goes hand in hand with pessimism. Pessimism is the
tendency to expect the worst possible outcome. Pessimists find signs of failure and disaster everywhere they go. Pessimists are often motivated by
intense fear of failure, loss, or rejection. They hope to protect themselves
from disappointment by constantly preparing themselves for the worst.
Novelist Thomas Hardy once wrote, “pessimism is the only view of life in
which you can never be disappointed.” Pessimists expect nothing from
themselves and nothing from others, and that’s what they usually get.
Failure Avoidance
In organizations, institutions, and environments in which criticism, pessimism, cynicism, and motivation by fear prevail, a condition develops that
we see all too often in business and the professions. Fear of failure leads to
avoiding failure at all costs. The trouble with failure avoidance is that it’s
simultaneously avoidance of success, which depends on taking risks. Innovation and creativity are impossible when employees are afraid because
they’re penalized for failure.
Early experience usually teaches that failure is to be avoided at all costs.
This begins in childhood, when we encounter the first “No!” It grows like a
weed when we are criticized by our parents and other family members, by
our teachers, and by our peers. It leads to associating ourselves with our mistakes, to a self-image of clumsiness and awkwardness. Our world of putdowns does little to relieve this—a world in which the media magnifies
problems and celebrity status, but where entrepreneurial success is often
viewed as the product of manipulative selfishness. Many people seek security
from that noise by going along quietly with the system, not rocking the boat.
Despite biographies, documentaries, and other programs about rags-to-riches
success and courageous public service, most people, unable to imagine it for
themselves, develop a habit of looking back at past problems—which is failure reinforcement—and of imagining similar performances in the future,
which is failure forecasting. They either set their sights too high, reinforcing
their fears and ensuring failure, or low enough to avoid failure with a sure
thing. Their inner dialogue usually falls within the two extremes. “Stand by.
Things are going too well, something will spoil it.” Or, “I knew this was too
good to be true. With my luck, it was bound to go sour.”
Fear of failure can become a built-in motivation. Leaders like to succeed and feel good about themselves; fearful people, focused on failure
avoidance so as not to feel worse about themselves, refuse to try. External
factors can also boost fear of failure. If, for example, half a division must be
pessimism The
tendency to expect the worst
possible outcome.
198 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
laid off, factory or office workers who have long performed well may be
seized by the diminishing, damaging fear.
A large division of a well-known American company manufacturing
integrated circuit boards in competition with the Japanese called an
employee productivity meeting. The huge facility’s general manager
mounted the stage and gave his two thousand workers what he thought was
a parting motivational message. “What we must have from all of you is a
seventeen percent increase in quality production in six months, or we’re
faced with closing down the plant. Have a good weekend.”
His words had the predictable effect. The leaders and optimists
increased their performance by about twenty percent. But many pessimists
found more secure jobs and quit within weeks—and the plant did shut down
after about six months. This was more confirmation that genuine leaders
focus on the benefits of success, while those chiefly motivated by fear concentrate on failure’s painful consequences. Some bosses and managers
argue that employees motivated by fear work as hard or even harder than
those with positive motivations. They are deluding themselves. Fear motivation, though still practiced in some companies and cultures, is as obsolete as the concept of declaring “Firings will continue until morale
improves.” Anxiety about failure doesn’t merely diminish performance.
It also stifles the motivation to succeed in the first place.
Learned Helplessness
Learned helplessness is a belief that we’re at the mercy of external forces
and no longer in control of what is happening to us. Behaviorists emphasize that this feeling is indeed learned. Martin Seligman, a psychologist at
the University of Pennsylvania and author of the best-selling Learned Optimism, has made a very detailed study of learned helplessness—and confirms
it’s a trait we acquire, not inherit at birth. Although we are born with specific personality traits, we learn to be optimists or pessimists by the way we
handle obstacles and setbacks. There’s a saying: “It’s not what happens to
you that counts. It’s how you take it and what you make of it.” This distinction between negative and positive attitudes is referred to by psychologists
as “explanatory style.” More specifically, a person’s explanatory style is the
way he or she understands and explains the bad things that happen in life.
Dr. Seligman found specific evidence for the practical effects of explanatory style in a study of collegiate swimmers. At the outset of the study, the
athletes were given a psychological test to determine their levels of optimism and pessimism. Following the test, they were timed in some practice
laps, but when the times were told to the swimmers, they were deliberately
reported as being a second or two slower than they actually were. Because
one second can mean the difference between winning or coming in last in a
competition, all the athletes took the disappointing news very seriously.
But they also responded in very different ways. When the pessimists were
timed again, they were consistently slower than their usual performances.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Becoming a Positive Thinker 199
It was as if they somehow felt they had to confirm the negative results
they’d received earlier. The optimistic athletes, however, either maintained
the level of their times or in some cases got even faster. When general optimism about life is internalized, it leads to very tangible, positive results.
Take a moment to look at your thinking. Are you a positive or negative
thinker? Activity 24 is designed to help you assess your thinking style and
begin making positive improvements. As always, strive to be honest as you
complete the exercise. Go with your first instinct; don’t be false to yourself
in an attempt to find the “right” answer. Being a negative thinker doesn’t
make you a bad person. Negative thinking is a habit that drains your energy
and makes you feel bad about yourself, but like any habit it can be changed.
No matter how positive or negative your thoughts are right now, you can
become a more positive thinker. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Over
decades of study, psychologists have discovered that people can significantly improve their lives by consciously choosing to think positively.
Everyone can cultivate habits of thought and action that help them think
positively. Habits are like submarines. They run silent and deep. Most of
what we do on a daily basis is habitual. We seldom even realize we are
engaging in subconscious reflexes. Habits are more easily replaced than
broken. That is why it is so important to focus on practicing new positive
thoughts and actions on a daily basis. It takes time and effort to override
unhealthy habit patterns that have been ingrained since childhood. Six
important positive habits of thought and action are described next.
Look for the Good
It’s easy to take the good things for granted and dwell on the bad things.
It’s important to make an active effort to look for the good in events,
situations, and people, including yourself. If things look 100 percent terrible, you are sure to have overlooked something. Sometimes you may have
to look hard, but your search is always rewarded. Are you taking a class
you find boring? Look for one positive thing about it. Soon you will find
another and another.
Cultivate the habit of gratitude for everything you have and are working
toward. Give yourself time each evening to look for the good in the day’s
events. Did you accomplish a goal at work? Did someone give you a kind
word? Did you enjoy playing with your cat?
Work alone, with a friend, or with a family member to provide mutual
encouragement and suggestions. Make sure to use positive language and to
focus on what went right, rather than on what didn’t go wrong. Instead of
saying, “I didn’t get in a car accident,” for example, say, “I stayed healthy
and safe.” Use the space in Personal Journal 5.1 to write down three things
that you are grateful for in your life, three good things that happened to you
success secret
Look for things to be
grateful for.
200 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 24: Are You a Positive Thinker?
A Read each statement below. For each one, decide whether you Agree Totally, Agree Slightly, Disagree
Slightly, or Disagree Totally.
1. People who have a positive attitude are kidding themselves.
2. You can try to change your way of thinking, but it won’t work.
3. I often worry about the same problems again and again.
4. Many of my problems are actually someone else’s fault.
5. Criticizing other people helps to keep them on their toes.
6. Let’s face it: Every opportunity has at least one hidden difficulty.
7. I often complain about people and situations that are getting me down.
8. Before I help other people, I make sure they’re not using me.
9. My friends are mostly positive thinkers.
10. I compliment others often and express my appreciation for them.
11. Most of my comments to other people are positive.
12. I rarely criticize myself.
13. When I talk to myself, I use encouraging, helpful words.
14. Good things usually happen to me.
15. I always look for the good in people and situations.
16. I have a genuine interest in other people.
B Scoring: For statements 1 through 8, give yourself zero points for Agree Totally, one point for Agree
Slightly, two points for Disagree Slightly, and three points for Disagree Totally.
Total for this section:
For statements 9 through 16, give yourself three points for Agree Totally, two points for Agree Slightly,
one point for Disagree Slightly, and zero points for Disagree Totally.
Total for this section:
Add the two scores:
41–48 You think positively almost all the time; you’re on the right track.
31–40 You think positively most of the time, but you will benefit from making a more consistent effort to think positively.
17–30 You have a mix of positive and negative attitudes. You need to pay attention to your
negative thoughts and work hard to replace them with positive ones.
0–16 You think negatively almost all of the time. You need to adopt new habits of thinking.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Becoming a Positive Thinker 201
C Are you a positive thinker or a negative thinker? Explain.
D All of us tend to think more positively about some things than about others. Which events, situations,
people, or aspects of yourself do you think positively about? Which do you think negatively about? Why?
202 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
over the course of the day, and three good things that you have to look forward to in the future.
Choose Your Words
Analyze your language. How often do you use negative words such as can’t,
won’t, impossible, or horrible? How often do you exaggerate the terrible consequences of events? Our words influence our thoughts and our moods.
Make a note of negative expressions you may overuse and train yourself to
replace the negative words with positive ones. Also make a habit of speaking positively to other people. Give thanks, appreciation, and praise to the
people who are kind to you. Giving a compliment or a kind word generates
goodwill and makes you feel good about yourself, too.
success secret
Use positive words and
choose positive friends.
Personal Journal 5.1
Focusing on the Good
Develop the habit of looking for the good by taking stock of each day’s positive events. What do you feel
good about today?
Today I’m grateful for:
Three good things that happened to me today:
Three good things that I have to look forward to in the future:
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Becoming a Positive Thinker 203
Surround Yourself with Positive People
The enthusiasm of optimistic people is contagious; you can “catch” a healthy
attitude by being around someone who is upbeat. The people with whom we
associate have a big impact on our attitude. At work and school, seek the company of positive-minded people who enjoy sharing ideas, helping others, and
taking constructive action. Choose not to spend your time with people who
make a habit of complaining, gossiping, whining, criticizing, or blaming others.
Accept, Don’t Judge
Be on the lookout for one of the most common negative habits: judgmentalism. Judgmentalism is the habit of condemning people or things because
they are not the way you think they should be. Judgments are easy to make,
but they are hurtful. Have you ever shared your feelings with someone only
to be told, “you’re overreacting” or “you brought this on yourself  ”? Have
you ever received a harsh and critical comment for no apparent reason?
If so, you know how painful judgmentalism can be.
When you find yourself about to make a judgmental comment, stop and
examine what is going on inside you. Are you jumping to negative conclusions without all the facts? Are you spending more time finding fault than
looking for the good? Are you judging others to make yourself feel (falsely)
superior? People who find fault with others usually find fault with themselves, too. It’s painful to be judged. Try not to do it to others or yourself.
Instead, strive to accept the world and other people as they are without
comparing them to an unfair ideal.
Limit Complaints
There is nothing wrong with occasional complaining. A complaint is simply
the sharing of distress, discomfort, or worry with another person. Sharing
feelings and frustrations can help you deepen friendships and cope with the
stresses of everyday life. However, complaining can easily become a habit.
Some people use the complaining habit to get sympathy and attention or to
reinforce a “poor me” image.
There is a fine line between complaining and blaming. Are you taking
responsibility for your situation, or are you blaming someone else for your
feelings? When you speak poorly of others, you’re likely to feel poorly
about yourself, too.
Remember, too, that every minute you spend complaining is a minute
that you aren’t working on a solution. Consider keeping a “complaint log”
in which you note every time you complain and for how long. Set a time
limit for your complaints—perhaps three or four minutes. When the time is
up, resolve to stop complaining and start acting.
We saw in Chapter 4 that coping actively with your problems is a big
boost to your self-esteem. In a similar way, taking action on problems can
boost your positive outlook on life. Instead of grumbling that no one is doing
anything, for example, ask yourself, “What can I do?” Even the act of writing
judgmentalism The
habit of condemning people
or things because they are
not the way you think they
should be.
complaint The sharing
of distress, discomfort, or
worry with another person.
success secret
Taking constructive action
feels better than complaining.
204 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
down possible solutions to difficult problems can relieve some of the distress
that caused the complaints in the first place.
Don’t Worry
Worry is a major barrier to positive thinking. Worry is distress and anxiety
caused by contemplating worst-case scenarios. How can you focus on the
positive when you are always bracing for the worst?
It’s natural to have worries about serious problems such as crime, ill
health, or paying bills. Common subjects of worry include:
• money
• health
• school
• career and job security
• relationships and children
• crime, terrorism, and war
No matter what you have to worry about, however, frequent worry harms
your health by keeping you focused on the negative side of life.
worry Distress and anxiety
caused by contemplating
worst-case scenarios.
professional development )))
Positive Thinking in Action at Work
Being a positive thinker not only benefits your own productivity at work, it can also impact your work environment. The more positive you are, the more positive those around you will feel and then behave. A positive attitude is contagious! Whether you’re an employee, team member, or manager, you always have the
ability to improve your workplace, and the responsibility starts with you!
Here are some strategies for maintaining a positive attitude at work, and creating a positive environment for others:
• Find enjoyment in your work, no matter how tedious, boring, or stressful it may be.
• See the value you bring to your job, and understand how your role contributes to the overall mission
and vision of the company.
• View work problems as opportunities to challenge yourself, focusing on improvement ideas and solutions.
• Foster positive peer camaraderie by being a good team player, sharing ideas with others and offering
praise and encouragement whenever possible.
• Learn as much as you can about your job, company, and field to stay motivated.
• See the value you bring to your job, and understand how your role contributes to the overall mission
and vision of the company.
What’s Your Opinion?
Brainstorm a list of actions you could take to help create a more positive environment at your workplace or
school. To explore the topic of positive thinking in the work environment further, visit http://career.careesma
.in/8-tips-to-make-a-positive-work-environment or ask your instructor for additional links.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Becoming a Positive Thinker 205
Consider these myths and realities about worry:
Myth: “Worrying helps me prepare for action.”
Reality: Worrying drains your energy.
Myth: “Worrying helps me deal with my problems.”
Reality:  Worrying is a substitute for dealing with your problems.
Myth:  “The more I worry about something, the less likely it is to happen.”
Reality: This is known as magical thinking. Thoughts don’t influence what
happens—actions do.
Myth: “Worrying means I care.”
Reality: Caring and worrying are not the same.
Often, people worry because they feel they need to do something about
a problem but aren’t sure what. You can always do something about a problem. Get the facts. Ask for advice or help. Brainstorm ideas with a friend.
When faced with worry, try these strategies:
• Focus on solutions, not worst-case scenarios. This helps you feel that you
can deal with whatever happens.
• Cope, don’t avoid. Take action! Facing the situation head-on not only
helps make things right, but also boosts your self-esteem.
• Share your worries. Get another perspective. Research shows that worry
gets worse when you do it alone.
• If you really can’t do anything about the situation, try to let the worry go.
Make a conscious decision not to worry. This is difficult at first but gets
easier with practice.
• Drown out the worry with positive affirmations. Tell yourself, “I am capable of handling whatever comes my way” or “I accept that some things
are out of my control.”
• Channel your nervous energy into physical activity. Try exercise, gardening, dance, yoga, housecleaning, or sports.
Some experts recommend writing each of your worries down on a small
slip of paper and stashing them in a worry jar or box. This process helps
you separate yourself from your worries. (Make your own worry slips at the
end of Activity 25.) Take the slips out of the jar once a week and read them,
and you will probably find that your worries don’t seem as bad as they did
at first. Instead of putting your worry slips in a jar or box, you can shred
them and recycle them to indicate that you are letting go of them.
Get Realistic Above all, the key to banishing worry is to stop thinking of worst-case scenarios and learn to think in terms of realistic outcomes.
Imagine that you want to ask someone out on a date, but you worry that
the person will say no. Your worries deepen even further when you imagine
the worst possible outcome: The person rejects and humiliates you in front
of everyone. Although this worst-case scenario is unlikely to occur, the
possibility that it might happen can’t stop you from worrying about it.
success secret
Focus on finding solutions, not bracing for the
206 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 25: Banishing Worry
A Describe the biggest worry you have right now.
B Describe the worst-case scenario. What would happen if all of your worst fears came true in this situation?
C How likely is it that the worst-case scenario will come true?
D What is the most likely realistic outcome?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Becoming a Positive Thinker 207
E Write down six things you are worried about right now. When you’re done, photocopy or cut out these
worry slips and place them in your own personal worry jar or box.
208 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Unfortunately, worrying about things that might happen prevents you from
taking important risks, making you miserable as the opportunities slip away.
Instead of being overwhelmed by worries, learn to distinguish between
worst-case scenarios and realistic, probable outcomes. Let’s say that you
have asked someone out on a date and are now planning your outing
together. Immediately you find yourself bracing for the worst possible
outcome—your date can’t stand you, everything goes wrong, and you both
have a terrible time. Stop yourself and ask how realistic this scenario is.
Sure, it might happen, but how probable is it? Not very. Instead, think
about a realistic outcome. If you pick a fun activity, you will probably have
a good time and enjoy getting to know each other, even if you decide that
you aren’t meant to be a couple.
Because our thoughts are so powerful, they have a big influence on our
health and well-being. Negative thinking makes us vulnerable to stress and
illness, and it shortens our life span. Positive thinking helps us cope with
stress, avoid illness, and live longer. Studies have even shown that adopting
a positive attitude can add more years to your life than quitting smoking or
practicing regular physical exercise.
We all seem to have an overall attitude about life; it’s always one kind
or another—optimism or pessimism. Much has been written for centuries
about the self-fulfilling prophecy. A self-fulfilling prophecy is a statement
that is neither true nor false but that may become true if believed. For
example, when our fears and worries turn into anxiety, we suffer distress.
Distress activates our endocrine system, changing the production of hormones and antibodies. Our immune system becomes less active; our resistance levels are lowered; we become more vulnerable to bacteria, viruses,
and other ever-present hazards. Positive thoughts and feelings stimulate the
production of morphinelike proteins called endorphins that reduce the
feeling of pain and cause us to feel better.
You probably are familiar with the placebo effect. (Placebo literally
means “I shall please.”) Placebos are inert substances given to some volunteers in a given study while other volunteers are treated with experimental
drugs—whose effect is tested by measuring the difference in response to the
powerless placebo and to the drug. Some volunteers who had just had their
wisdom teeth extracted were given morphine to alleviate their pain; the others swallowed a placebo they believed to be morphine. Many of the placebo
recipients said they experienced dramatic relief from their pain. However,
when a drug that blocks the effects of the endorphin was given them, the
pain returned almost immediately.
The test confirmed something very important: When a patient believes
he or she has been given a pain reliever, the brain releases chemicals to
substantiate that belief. In some cases, the brain produces chemicals
success secret
Worrying prevents you
from taking risks.
placebo effect
A beneficial effect, produced
by a placebo drug or
treatment, that cannot be
attributed to the properties
of the placebo itself, and
must therefore be due to
the patient’s belief in that
success secret
Thinking well can make
you well.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Becoming a Positive Thinker 209
previously inhibited or impaired in individuals with certain diseases.
Parkinson’s disease patients were given a placebo they were told was an
anti-Parkinson’s drug. As a result, their ability to move increased. Brain
scans revealed that their brains became activated in the areas that control
movement and that dopamine was being produced naturally by the brain’s
own pharmacy. Recent double-blind tests have shown that the placebo
effect influences outcomes including knee surgery and in treating patients
with chronic depression.
For many years, the placebo effect was considered to be no more than
a nuisance variable that needed to be controlled in clinical trials. Only
recently have researchers redefined it as a key to understanding the healing
that arises from medical ritual, the context of treatment, the patient–
provider relationship, and the power of imagination, trust, and hope. The
Program in Placebo Studies at Harvard Medical School is the first research
center to pursue placebo studies through interdisciplinary, translational
research initiatives that bridge the basic, clinical, and social sciences, as
well as the humanities.
The use of guided imagery or visualization as a process to consciously
direct the imagination in therapeutic settings has become widespread. Its
effectiveness has been documented as an effective intervention and adjunct
therapy for patients dealing with chronic pain, cancer, cardiac and stroke
recovery, immune disorders, PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
What you visualize and internalize can materialize. Research done by
the Yale School of Public Health and the National Institute on Aging found
that young people who had positive perceptions about aging were less likely
to have a heart attack or stroke when they grew older. And another study
confirmed that middle-aged and elderly people lived an average of seven
years longer if they had a positive perception of aging. (A more comprehensive discussion on visualization appears in Chapter 7.)1
Another reason that positive thinkers are healthier than negative thinkers is that they are more likely to practice positive health behaviors.
Because they see a bright future for themselves, they want to make sure that
they are healthy to make the most of it. They also accept responsibility for
their own health. When you are healthy and fit, you also feel better about
yourself, which in turn leads to even greater feelings of optimism.
Negative Thinking and Mental Health
Positive thinking can make us mentally and physically healthy, while negative thinking can delay healing and cause us to neglect our health. But
negative thinking also does more—it damages our psychological health by
providing an invitation to depression. Depression is an illness characterized by profound feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness.
1 B. R. Levy, M. D. Slade, S. R. Kunkel, and S. V. Kasi, “Longevity Increased by Positive Self Perception of Aging.” Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology. 83, (2002): 261–270.
depression An illness
characterized by profound
feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness.
210 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Depression affects twenty million people each year in the United States
and Canada.
Although the causes of depression are complex and not fully understood, psychologists believe that negative thinking makes people more vulnerable to the disease. In studies involving college students before and after
exams, for example, researchers found that students who had a pessimistic
attitude and received a failing grade ended up feeling depressed. In a study
of prison inmates, people who had the most negative attitudes became the
most depressed about their imprisonment. Of course, no one wants to fail
an exam or go to prison. The difference is that optimistic people are able to
bounce back from negative experiences. They have normal feelings of disappointment, sadness, or frustration, but they find ways to make the best of
the situation and make plans to improve their lives. When pessimistic people suffer setbacks, on the other hand, they feel like failures, lose hope for
the future, and simply give up. To screen yourself for symptoms of depression, complete Personal Journal 5.2.
Personal Journal 5.2
Depression Self-Check
Negative thinking is not only a cause of depression but also one of its symptoms. Do you think negatively?
Are you worried that this might be a symptom of depression? Put a check mark next to each statement
that is true for you most or all of the time.
I feel low in energy, or slowed down.
I blame myself for things.
I have poor appetite, or I overeat.
I sleep too little or too much.
I feel hopeless about the future.
I feel down, or blue.
I don’t have much interest in anything.
I feel like a pretty worthless person.
I have thoughts of suicide.
I have difficulty concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions.
If you have experienced five or more of these symptoms for two weeks or more, you may be suffering
from depression; you should contact your doctor or mental health professional immediately.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Becoming a Positive Thinker 211
Getting Healthy
An important part of positive thinking, as well as self-esteem, is caring
enough about yourself to make healthy choices. Our bodies are machines
whose performance depends on good health. We must each treat our body
as our one and only transportation vehicle for life. We must care for it with
the fuel of good nutrition, activity, and health care. We can’t trade in our
bodies for new models.
Your attitude toward your health makes a big difference: The more
responsibility you take for your well-being, the more motivated you will be to
treat yourself right. Don’t try to nag yourself into changing; you’ll resent the
inner critic and rebel. Instead, see a healthy lifestyle as something positive you
can do for yourself. Activity 26 will help you examine your health attitude.
Eat Right A healthy diet is essential to good health. Following a
healthy diet means not only eating nutritious foods, but also limiting foods
that can have negative effects, particularly foods high in fat, sugar, and salt.
The most healthful foods are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nonfat dairy
products, and lean protein sources, such as white meat, chicken, fish, and
tofu. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and other drugs, which sap your energy and
can become addictive. Consider these tips as well:
• Don’t eat for emotional reasons. Eat when you are hungry, eat slowly,
and stop when you are beginning to feel full.
• Take time out for meals—don’t eat while doing something else.
• Shop with a list—you’ll buy more nutritious foods.
• Try a variety of foods to make it easier to eat healthfully.
• Learn to read and understand nutrition labels.
Above all, cultivate a positive attitude toward food. Enjoy eating and make
food choices for health and energy.
Get Moving Exercise is just as important as good eating to a healthy
lifestyle. Even in moderate amounts, exercise gives you more energy and
boosts your mood. Regular exercise also lowers the risk of major diseases
such as heart disease and diabetes.
Make sure to get both types of exercise—aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
Aerobic exercise is sustained, rhythmic physical activity that strengthens the
heart and lungs, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and relieves stress.
It includes activities such as basketball, brisk walking, and swimming.
Anaerobic exercise is higher intensity exercise that strengthens muscles and
involves short bursts of intense exertion. Anaerobic exercise includes pushups, stomach crunches, pull-ups, and weight training. Aim for a healthy
attitude toward exercise. Try these strategies:
• Try to be physically active for at least twenty minutes each day.
• Vary your activities so you don’t get bored.
• Don’t overdo it. Take time to warm up, cool down, and stretch.
success secret
Following a healthy lifestyle is one of the most
positive things you can do
for yourself.
success secret
Eat for health and
success secret
Look at exercise as a fun
time for you, not as a
212 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 26: What’s Your Health Attitude?
A Read each statement below. For each one, decide whether you Agree Totally, Agree Slightly,
Disagree Slightly, or Disagree Totally.
Section 1
1. Good health and good life habits (e.g., regular physical activity, healthy
diet, stress management) are interrelated.
2. Committing the effort to change my habits is how I would get better from
an illness or disease.
3. If I get sick, it’s usually because I have not maintained a healthy diet.
4. Recovering from an illness or disease is due to my efforts, not my physicians’.
5. Taking personal responsibility for my health is essential to avoiding illness.
Section 2
6. Having a competent physician is the key to improving my health and
recovering from illness.
7. I believe that what my physician says about my health is always correct.
8. I rely on my physician to take care of me so I do not get sick.
9. The right medication is essential to improving and maintaining my health.
10. There are toxins in the air that we can’t do anything about.
Section 3
11. What happens to me in life is due to fate and luck.
12. I consider myself lucky if I avoid getting sick.
13. If I get sick, it was meant to happen.
14. If I get the flu, I must have picked it up from someone else during the day.
15. Dying from an illness is fate because no one really has control over
getting sick.
Source: Modified from Phillip C. McGraw, The Self Matters Companion (New York: The Free Press, 2002).
B Scoring: Score each section separately. For each section, give yourself eight points for every statement you checked Agree Totally, four points for every statement you checked Agree Slightly, two points
for every statement you checked Disagree Slightly, and one point for every statement you checked
Disagree Totally.
Total for Section 1:
Total for Section 2:
Total for Section 3:
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Becoming a Positive Thinker 213
Section 1 measures how much you think that your health depends on your own behavior. The higher
your score, the more responsibility you take for your own health. If you scored 33 or above, you understand and act on the fact that most major health issues can be influenced by what you do or don’t do.
You have retained power over your health choices.
Section 2 measures how much you think your health depends on external sources, such as medicine
and the actions of doctors. The higher your score, the less active you are about managing your health. If
you scored 22 or above on this section, you are highly dependent on powers outside yourself, whether
they are people or things. You are probably too passive about your health management.
Section 3 measures how much you think your health is a matter of chance. The higher your score, the less
in control you feel of your own health. If you scored 26 or above on this section, you consider yourself at the
mercy of random factors, which probably makes you very passive about the management of your health.
C Do you have an active, positive attitude or a passive, negative attitude toward taking care of your
health? Explain and give examples.
D Why is it more positive to believe that you have the power to get and stay healthy than to believe that
doctors and medicines have the power to make you healthy?
214 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
E Think back to the last time you were sick. Did you “make an effort to get well”? Explain.
F List five things you can do to have a healthier lifestyle and improve your physical health.
I can make time for breakfast at home instead of grabbing something from the vending machine.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Becoming a Positive Thinker 215
• Set SMART exercise goals for yourself. If you get off track, just
start again.
• Motivate yourself by learning about health and fitness.
• Exercise for strength and energy, not to look a certain way.
Choose to look at exercise as a fun time, not as a chore. Do what you
like to do—if you hate going to the gym, for example, try dancing,
yoga, hiking, or gardening. Be creative—even housework can get your
heart pumping. The better you feel physically, the better you’ll feel
emotionally, too.
Self Check
1. Define positive thinking and negative thinking. (pp. 194–196)
2. Why is it a good idea to avoid being judgmental? (p. 203)
3. Describe the two main types of exercise. (p. 211)
Because there are many Internet Web sites providing
us with the latest information and recommendations
on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle, there also continues to be an explosion of apps designed to ensure
we get results! Covering the areas of fitness and
strength, tracking and analytics, food and nutrition,
weight management, and even the mind and brain,
these apps can offer us the support we need to
reach our wellness goals . . . and most of them
are free!
MyFitnessPal, a popular calorie tracker, boasts of
a substantial food database with more than three
million foods, allowing you to keep tabs on your daily
nutritional eating habits. Fitocracy provides its users
with a powerful social community of fitness enthusiasts, including fitness coaches and nutrition experts.
You can enter strength training and cardio and nutrition challenges to gain points and track your progress toward your ultimate goal of optimal health.
Argus is an app that tracks “everything,” and produces detailed charts with numerous bio-feedback
data points to achieve your health goals and boost
your overall wellbeing. You are able to uncover
important personal health habit trends that you
didn’t realize existed. The app, Carrot, even serves
as your personal “motivational” coach, spouting out
negative quips when you don’t reach your goals, and
sharing new workout tips for every pound you drop.
In today’s world, there are numerous support
tools at your fingertips. Of course, it’s still up to you
to eat the right foods and stay physically active.
Combined with a positive mental attitude, your
excuses for not living a healthy lifestyle should fall
by the wayside.
To view a more detailed description of some of the
top Health and Fitness apps, go to http://greatist.com/
fitness/best-health-fitness-apps. Conduct your own
Internet searches on a regular basis to ensure you are
obtaining the most current information.
internet action
216 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
As we move through life, all of us experience ups and downs. It’s not hard
to think positively during the ups—but what about the downs? It can be
tough to think positively when we are facing a tough challenge or a bitter
disappointment. However, these are the times when we need the power of
positive thinking the most.
Negative thinkers usually have negative attitudes toward themselves.
A negative attitude about ourselves that dooms us to failure is known as a
self-defeating attitude. People with a negative self-image develop a selfdefeating attitude in which they see themselves failing before they even try.
They reinforce this self-defeating attitude through negative self-talk: “I’ll
probably flunk this test” or “I know I won’t be invited to go out with
everyone after work.”
The Power of Attitude
Self-defeating attitudes make it hard to succeed. The student who sees herself
as a “D” student will often receive that grade. Why should she put in any
effort to improve? She thinks she’ll never get a better grade. Self-defeating
attitudes can make it hard to succeed socially, too. The new employee who
has an image of himself as unpopular may find it hard to make friends. Why
should he try? He doesn’t think there is anything he can do to change his circumstances. Unfortunately, this type of negative thinking can invite rejection.
We have all noticed people at a social gathering who look uncomfortable,
self-conscious, or maybe a little hostile. Why would anyone want to approach
such people? Even though they may want to attract people, they really are
driving everyone away. Negative thinkers need to encourage themselves to
put on friendly smiles and introduce themselves to others.
Like all types of negative thinking, self-defeating attitudes seem logical
enough on the surface. Consider the following example. A teacher once
conducted an experiment on the students in her class, with their parents’
consent. The teacher told the class that scientists had found that people
with blue eyes have greater natural learning abilities than people with
brown eyes. She then divided the class into two groups, those with blue
eyes and those with brown eyes. She had them wear signs that said “blue
eyes” or “brown eyes.” After a week, the grades of the brown-eyed students
fell significantly, while the grades of the blue-eyed students improved. The
teacher then made a startling announcement to the class. She had made a
mistake: Brown-eyed students are actually smarter than blue-eyed students.
Up went the grades of the brown-eyed students, and down went the grades
of the blue-eyed students. The students’ performance depended less on
attitude A negative
attitude about yourself that
dooms you to failure.
success secret
Self-defeating attitudes
trick you into believing
you can’t succeed.
SECTION 5.2 Conquering Negative Thoughts
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Conquering Negative Thoughts 217
their abilities than on their attitudes toward themselves. Self-defeating attitudes seem logical on the surface, but they are based on negative, distorted
perceptions of ourselves and the world.
A Vicious Cycle
How do self-defeating attitudes do their damage? Let’s say you are convinced that you are no good at sports. This belief leads you to avoid athletic
activities for fear of looking incompetent. The less you practice sports, however, the fewer opportunities you have to improve your athletic skills. When
you do participate in sports, you are so worried about your performance
that you can’t concentrate on the game, fumbling and stumbling as you miss
key plays. Finally, you give up, convinced more than ever that you can’t play
sports. Self-defeating attitudes like this one create a vicious cycle, a chain of
events in which one negative event causes another negative event. The selfdefeating attitude leads to self-defeating behavior. The self-defeating behavior leads to a negative outcome. The negative outcome strengthens the
self-defeating attitude. This cycle is shown in Figure 5.2.
As an example, let’s say you are assigned to coordinate a big project at
work. You immediately adopt a self-defeating attitude, telling yourself, “No
one will help me on this project.” This self-defeating attitude leads to selfdefeating behavior: You don’t ask anyone for help, and you even turn down
offers of help. What is the outcome? No one helps. This negative outcome
reinforces your self-defeating attitude: “See, I knew I couldn’t count on
success secret
Negative attitudes produce negative results.
vicious cycle A chain of
events in which one negative
event causes another
negative event.
FIGURE 5.2 Self-Defeating Attitudes: A Vicious Cycle
Stop the Cycle When we have negative attitudes, we tend to act in ways that
make our negative predictions about events come true. How can you break
this vicious cycle?
218 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
anyone.” As another example, let’s say you want to ask a friend out on a
date. Your self-defeating attitude, however, causes you to tell yourself,
“Someone like that would never go out with me.” Self-defeating behavior
follows: You never ask your friend to go out with you. The predictable outcome? Your friend never goes out with you.
Changing Your Attitude
We can overcome self-defeating attitudes in the same way that we can overcome the inner critic that destroys our self-esteem—through self-awareness
and positive self-talk. The first step is to realize what our self-defeating attitudes are doing to us. The second step is to replace our negative attitudes
with positive self-statements.
Consider the following example: You have agreed to go to a big end-ofsemester party. Instead of looking forward to it, though, you tell yourself,
“I’m going to have a terrible time.” You have what seems like pretty good
reasons for this self-defeating attitude—you have had a terrible time at parties in the past because you aren’t confident in your social skills. However,
you need to realize that your attitude is making it impossible for you to
have fun and meet new people. If you let this self-defeating attitude go
unchallenged, you really will have a terrible time at the party.
What should you do now? You need to make an effort to replace your
negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Every time you hear yourself thinking,
“I’m going to have a terrible time,” immediately say to yourself, “I’m going to
have a great time at this party.” Make an effort to stop dwelling on everything
that could go wrong and to start focusing on ways you could have a good time.
All of us have self-defeating attitudes from time to time, especially when
facing a situation that we are afraid we won’t be able to handle well. The
key is to recognize the self-defeating attitudes and stop them in their tracks
before they lead to a vicious cycle. Get up close and personal with your
own self-defeating attitudes in Activity 27.
We’ve seen that self-defeating attitudes undermine our expectations and trick
us into failing and feeling bad about ourselves. Now let’s take a look at a variety of distorted ways of thinking, known as cognitive distortions, that get in
the way of positive thinking. A cognitive distortion is a self-critical, illogical
pattern of thought. Cognitive distortions are often described as automatic
thoughts because they occur to us automatically, before we think a situation
through. Consider the following statements that contain cognitive distortions:
• “I didn’t get an A on that exam. I’m a failure.”
• “Four people I invited to my party didn’t come. I feel like such a loser!”
• “My girlfriend broke up with me. Well, there goes my last chance at
cognitive distortion
A self-critical, illogical pattern
of thought.
success secret
Learn to recognize your
self-defeating attitudes
and turn them around with
positive self-talk.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Conquering Negative Thoughts 219
ACTIVITY 27: Challenging Self-Defeating Attitudes
A In numbers 1 through 3 below, imagine what self-defeating behavior would likely result from the selfdefeating attitude described, and what negative outcome would result from this self-defeating behavior. In numbers 4 through 6, construct similar scenarios using self-defeating attitudes that you have
experienced in your own life.
1. Self-Defeating Attitude: “I’m no good at making friends.”
Self-Defeating Behavior: “I don’t say hello to anyone in class because I don’t know what to say
after that.”
Negative Outcome: “I didn’t meet any new friends in class.”
2. Self-Defeating Attitude: “I’m going to make a fool of myself at this dance class.”
Self-Defeating Behavior:
Negative Outcome:
3. Self-Defeating Attitude: “This date is going to be a disaster.”
Self-Defeating Behavior:
Negative Outcome:
4. Self-Defeating Attitude:
Self-Defeating Behavior:
Negative Outcome:
5. Self-Defeating Attitude:
Self-Defeating Behavior:
Negative Outcome:
220 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
6. Self-Defeating Attitude:
Self-Defeating Behavior:
Negative Outcome:
B Now use positive self-talk to turn around these self-defeating attitudes. Think of three positive selfstatements that you could use to drown out these self-defeating attitudes and replace them with more
positive ones. Then think of the positive behaviors and outcomes that would result from the new positive attitudes. (For numbers 4 through 6, use the self-defeating attitudes you described previously.)
1. Self-Defeating Attitude: “I’m no good at making friends.”
Positive Self-Talk: “I may be shy, but my instructors tell me I ask intelligent questions. I’ll think
of four or five good questions that will help start the conversation.”
Positive Behavior: “After class, I asked the student next to me if she works part-time too and
what course topics she thought were difficult.”
Positive Outcome: “I found out we both have Mondays off and we set a time to meet for coffee
and go over notes together.”
2. Self-Defeating Attitude: “I’m going to make a fool of myself at this dance class.”
Positive Self-Talk:
Positive Behavior:
Positive Outcome:
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Conquering Negative Thoughts 221
3. Self-Defeating Attitude: “This date is going to be a disaster.”
Positive Self-Talk:
Positive Behavior:
Positive Outcome:
4. Self-Defeating Attitude:
Positive Self-Talk:
Positive Behavior:
Positive Outcome:
5. Self-Defeating Attitude:
Positive Self-Talk:
222 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Positive Behavior:
Positive Outcome:
6. Self-Defeating Attitude:
Positive Self-Talk:
Positive Behavior:
Positive Outcome:
C Look over the positive self-statements you wrote above and on the previous page. Pick your three
favorite statements and copy them below in large handwriting.
Read these three statements out loud. Whenever you find yourself thinking negatively, return to this page
and read these statements out loud again. You may even want to photocopy them or cut them out and
carry them with you.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Conquering Negative Thoughts 223
These statements are obviously distorted and exaggerated. Where is it written that not getting an A makes you a failure? Why are you a loser because
four people couldn’t make it to your party? Who says your happiness is
controlled by a single person?
The way we look at the problems and obstacles in our lives has a powerful effect on our happiness and our potential for success. How do you react
to life’s frustrations and disappointments? Do you blame yourself, blame
other people, or decide that life is out to get you? Or do you chalk it up to
circumstance and hope for better luck next time?
Psychologist Aaron Beck, a founder of cognitive therapy, identified several types of cognitive distortions that people use to make themselves
miserable. As you read about the following types of cognitive distortions,
consider whether any of them might apply to you.
All-or-Nothing Thinking All-or-nothing thinking causes you to view
issues as black or white, with no shades of gray in between. For example,
Elesha sees people as law-abiding citizens or crooks. When she discovers
that a coworker registers her car at her mother’s address to save money on
insurance, she views her coworker as a criminal.
Overgeneralizing Overgeneralizing is drawing broad negative
conclusions based on limited evidence. If one bad thing happens, you
conclude that only bad things will happen to you for the rest of your
life. Overgeneralizers get a lot of mileage out of the words always and
never. Jason’s girlfriend breaks up with him to date someone else. On
the basis of this one event, Jason assumes that every woman he dates
will leave him.
Filtering Filtering is a mental habit of blocking positive inputs and
focusing on negative ones. When you filter, you focus so intensely on the
negative that it takes over your entire field of vision. Your good qualities
don’t count; your achievements mean nothing. Jamaal walks away
depressed from a meeting with his instructor because of one small criticism, even though he received many compliments. Keiko, an A student,
gets a D in a difficult science class. She immediately forgets her string of
successes and tells herself she is a terrible student.
Helpless Thinking Helpless thinking is the irrational belief that
your life is not under your own control—that someone else is pulling the
strings. Diane leaves projects unfinished, lets bills go unpaid, and allows
relationships to fizzle because she feels that nothing she does will make any
difference anyway. As we discovered earlier in this chapter, helpless thinking is “learned,” and can be changed into “learned optimism” over time.
Self-Blame Self-blame is the habit of blaming everything on yourself,
regardless of the real cause. Self-blamers apologize whenever something
goes wrong. Sheila, an executive assistant, apologizes profusely when her
success secret
Life’s setbacks and frustrations can’t defeat you,
but a negative attitude
toward them can.
Drawing broad negative
conclusions based on limited
success secret
Examine your thinking
for distortions and exaggerations.
224 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
boss’s plane is delayed due to fog. She is convinced that she is to blame
somehow for the bad weather.
Personalizing Personalizing is assuming that everything has to do
with you somehow. Personalizing is sometimes known as egocentric (selfcentered) thinking. Leslie hears a group of students laughing and assumes
they are laughing at the way she looks. In fact, they were laughing at a
harmless joke. Jahi receives a group e-mail from his boss asking people to
limit their personal phone calls. He immediately assumes that his boss is
angry at him personally and that the message is really intended just for him.
Mind Reading Mind reading means assuming that other people
think the same way you do: When you think bad thoughts about yourself,
you assume that everyone else is doing the same. Dwight assumes that his
girlfriend is constantly angry with him because she often comes home from
work in a bad mood. The fact is, his girlfriend is unhappy with her job.
Emotional Reasoning Emotional reasoning involves assuming that
your negative emotions reflect the way things really are: You feel it, so it
must be true. Jorge asks a friend out on a date, and she declines. Jorge feels
rejected and unattractive, so he concludes that he is an unattractive reject.
Catastrophizing Catastrophizing means dramatically exaggerating
the negative consequences of any minor event. Catastrophizers don’t just
worry about real problems—they also worry about imaginary problems. Catastrophizers are constantly worrying, “What if . . .?” Onida’s instructor tells
her that she can raise her grade by expanding her research paper. Onida
immediately catastrophizes, worrying, “What if I make the paper worse?
What if I fail the class?”
Do any of these ways of thinking sound familiar? They are closely
related, and if you have done one of them, you have probably done the
others at one time or another, too. They all have one important thing in
common: a pessimistic outlook that transforms the frustrations and
disappointments of everyday life into earth-shattering disasters.
Irrational Beliefs
Why do people think in distorted, negative ways? According to Albert
Ellis, founder of rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), each of us
has a variety of underlying ideas and assumptions that interfere with
our thinking. Ellis calls these distorted, self-destructive assumptions
irrational beliefs. Irrational beliefs are harsh rules about how the world
should work and how we and other people should act. Like most rules,
they are rigid and absolute, containing words such as always, never,
Assuming that everything has
to do with you somehow.
Dramatically exaggerating
the negative consequences
of any minor event.
irrational belief A
distorted, self-destructive
idea or assumption that
interferes with your thinking.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Conquering Negative Thoughts 225
totally, must, and have to. Ellis identified several common irrational
beliefs, including:
• I must succeed at everything.
• I must be loved by everyone.
• If doesn’t love me, I’m worthless.
• I should never make mistakes.
• I should be kind, generous, competent, and loving at all times.
• I should worry about every bad thing that could possibly happen.
• I should be very upset about other people’s problems.
• I should always put other people’s needs first.
• I can’t do anything about my feelings.
• I can’t do anything about my bad habits—they’re stronger than me.
• My past is the cause of all my problems.
• If I don’t get what I want, it’s terrible, and I can’t stand it.
• If people do something I don’t like, they must be punished.
• I should never feel angry, anxious, inadequate, jealous, or vulnerable.
• If I’m alone, then I have to feel miserable and unfulfilled.
• People should be the way I expect them to be.
According to Ellis, these irrational beliefs all boil down to three faulty
1. I must do well. (If I don’t, I’m worthless.)
2. You must treat me well. (If you don’t, you must be punished.)
3. The world must be easy. (If it isn’t, it’s intolerable.)
These beliefs are irrational because they have no basis in fact. They are
based on the way we think things ought to be, not the way things really are.
Why must I always do well? Why must everyone treat me the way I want?
Why should life be easy all the time?
Irrational beliefs get in the way of attaining our goals, and they produce conflict with others. They lead to negative thought patterns and to
negative emotional reactions such as guilt, anger, and sadness. Take
Annike’s example. Her husband Jaime has told her he wants a divorce.
Annike is in emotional pain. However, she makes the situation even more
painful for herself through irrational beliefs: “Jaime left me, so every man
will leave me.” “Jaime doesn’t love me, so no man will ever love me.”
“Jaime abandoned me, so I deserve to be abandoned.” “Jaime doesn’t love
me, so I’m worthless.”
To make these irrational beliefs more rational, we need to learn to say,
“I would like,” “It would be nice if,” or “I would rather” instead of, “I must”
or, “I should.” For example, consider the irrational belief, “I must be loved
by everyone.” This belief is setting you up for failure and emotional pain. It is
healtheir to tell yourself, “Sure, it would be nice to be loved by everyone, but
that just isn’t possible or realistic. I can’t realistically expect everyone to love
me. After all, no one can please everyone all the time.” Try rewriting your
irrational beliefs in a similar way in Personal Journal 5.3.
success secret
Try to think in realistic
terms, not absolutes.
success secret
Negative thoughts lead to
unpleasant emotions
and self-defeating actions.
226 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
As we saw in Chapter 3, much of our distress is caused by the way we view
events, not by the events themselves. Ellis’s theory, known as the ABC
model, describes how negative consequences such as stress, unhappiness,
Personal Journal 5.3
From Irrational to Rational
Reread the list of irrational beliefs on page 225. Choose four that resonate with you, then rewrite them
to be more realistic. Remember to remove all extreme words such as must, should, can’t, have to, never,
and always.
Irrational Belief:
Rational Belief:
Irrational Belief:
Rational Belief:
Irrational Belief:
Rational Belief:
Irrational Belief:
Rational Belief:
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Conquering Negative Thoughts 227
guilt, and anger result from a combination of an event and our belief about
the event:
• A—activating event
• B—belief
• C—consequences
To see how the ABC model works, imagine the following situation.
You spend two weeks preparing for a big oral report in your biology
class. On the day of the presentation, however, nothing goes right. You’re
nervous; you forget some of your notes; and the class isn’t paying attention. When you get your evaluation, you find that you’ve received a full
grade lower than you had hoped. This is A, the activating event. Now
comes B, your irrational belief. Deep down, you believe that you have to
do everything perfectly; if you don’t, you’re a failure. You tell yourself,
“I’m a zero. I might as well forget about a career in science.” What are
the consequences, C? You feel depressed and worthless. Perhaps you even
drop the class or change majors.
Learning Your ABCDEs
To keep negative consequences from getting in our way, we need to change
our irrational beliefs. We can change our beliefs by adding two more steps,
D and E, to the ABC model:
• D—Dispute
• E—Exchange
This revised model, known as the ABCDE method and depicted in
Figure 5.3, describes how we can alter our irrational beliefs and produce
better, more positive emotional and behavioral consequences for ourselves.
D stands for dispute. To dispute our irrational beliefs means to confront
them with the facts of the situation. We must remain vigilant about negative thoughts and, when they occur, dispute them vigorously. When you
have a negative, irrational, exaggerated thought, ask yourself:
• Why? Who says so?
• Where is it written that this is true?
• Am I jumping to conclusions?
• Am I exaggerating?
• Am I demanding the impossible?
• What evidence is there for this thought?
• Is it really as bad as it seems?
• Is there another explanation that would work as well or better?
• What if the worst happens—so what?
• What other interpretations are possible?
• Do I have all the facts?
• Am I looking at things all in extremes?
ABCDE method An
approach to coping with
negative thoughts and
feelings by disputing
irrational beliefs.
dispute To confront
irrational beliefs with the
reality of the situation.
228 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
• Am I taking one example and assuming it is a pattern?
• Am I focusing on the negative and ignoring the positive?
• Am I exaggerating the negative consequences of the situation?
• Am I assuming that something is going to happen because I’m afraid
it will?
• Am I using emotional words that trigger negative feelings?
• Is this thought producing feelings I want to have?
To be an effective disputer, try to separate your emotional reaction
from the reality of the situation. Are you really being objective? For
instance, in the example on page 227, when you begin having negative
thoughts about your biology presentation, you can stop yourself and think,
“OK, wait. I’m exaggerating. Does getting a so-so grade on one oral report
mean I’m a total failure? No. I’m also ignoring the positive. I almost forgot
that the instructor said she enjoyed having me in the class.” This dispute is
based on rational thinking and evidence.
The fifth and last element of the ABCDE method is E, exchange.
Exchange stands for the new, positive outcome that you want to substitute,
or exchange, for the negative one. In this case, E means forgiving yourself
and focusing on the future. Now you can tell yourself, “No one’s perfect.
I’ll make a point of being more organized next time.”
The ABCDE method is easy to use in your daily life. When you find
yourself jumping to distorted negative conclusions, stop and consider what
irrational beliefs might be motivating them. Dispute the negative thoughts
success secret
Separate your emotional
reaction from the reality
of your situation.
FIGURE 5.3 The ABCDE Method
Turning Beliefs Around Once we are aware of the irrational beliefs that are
distorting our thinking and making us unhappy, we can use effective disputes
to create healthier, more positive outcomes for ourselves. What are some
questions you can ask yourself to help dispute an irrational belief?
challenge we
make to our
irrational belief
positive new
+ = outcome
any stresscausing situation
how we evaluate
the situation
+ + outcome
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Conquering Negative Thoughts 229
and feelings with the facts of the situation. Try your hand at using the
ABCDE method in Activity 28. After tackling some hypothetical scenarios,
you’ll be ready to apply the method to a problem in your life.
Practice Makes Perfect Irrational beliefs, like negative self-talk,
can be changed through practice. When you begin to use the ABCDE
method, you will probably catch yourself thinking the same irrational
thoughts. This is normal. After all, negative thinking can be a strong habit.
Instead of criticizing yourself for having irrational beliefs, dispute the
beliefs calmly and rationally. You will soon train yourself to banish negative thoughts and focus on positive possibilities.
Self Check
1. What are self-defeating attitudes? (p. 216)
2. According to Albert Ellis, what three faulty assumptions drive irrational
beliefs? (p. 225)
3. What does ABCDE stand for? (p. 227)
230 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 28: Disputing Negative Thoughts
A Consider the following situations. Given the activating events and the beliefs that follow, identify the
likely negative consequences (thoughts, feelings, and actions).
1. Activating Event: Your boss snaps at you when you ask how he’s doing.
Belief: “He must be unhappy with my work.”
Consequences: “I’m sure I’m going to get a bad review next week. Instead of working late on
this project tonight I should probably start updating my résumé.”
Dispute: “All my reports have been thorough and on time and our sales are on target. I must
have just walked by at a bad time.”
Exchange: “I’ll stay focused on my work and continue with the project goals I’ve set.”
2. Activating Event: A friend throws a party, but she doesn’t invite you.
Belief: “I guess I’m not cool enough for her.”
3. Activating Event: You and your best friend have planned to meet for lunch, but she fails to
show up.
Belief: “It’s totally unfair of her to stand me up.”
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Conquering Negative Thoughts 231
4. Activating Event: You don’t get a new job you were hoping for.
Belief: “I’m a failure.”
5. Activating Event: You’re looking forward to a relaxing weekend, when a friend asks you to
spend the next two days helping him move into a new apartment.
Belief: “I should always put other people’s needs first.”
B Use the following space to record one of your own experiences with the ABCDE method. What upsetting
event, A, led you to have a negative, distorted thought, B, and what were the consequences, C? Fill in
disputes, D, you made to your negative beliefs and describe the positive outcome that you exchanged,
E, for the old one. If you didn’t think of an effective dispute at the time the event occurred, think of one
now and describe what might have happened differently if you had used this dispute at the time.
232 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Chapter 5 Review and Activities
positive thinking (p. 194)
optimism (p. 194)
attitude (p. 195)
negative thinking (p. 196)
pessimism (p. 197)
judgmentalism (p. 203)
complaint (p. 203)
worry (p. 204)
placebo effect (p. 208)
depression (p. 209)
self-defeating attitude (p. 216)
vicious cycle (p. 217)
cognitive distortion (p. 218)
overgeneralizing (p. 223)
personalizing (p. 224)
catastrophizing (p. 224)
irrational belief (p. 224)
ABCDE method (p. 227)
dispute (p. 227)
Key Terms
Summary by Learning Objectives
• Define positive thinking and cite its benefits. Positive thinking means focusing on what
is good about ourselves, other people, and the world around us. Positive thinking can help you
achieve your goals, overcome obstacles, boost your mood, improve your relationships, and
maintain a healthy lifestyle.
• List six habits that can help you become a more positive thinker. Six positive habits
that can help boost your positive attitude toward life are: (1) look for the good; (2) choose positive words; (3) surround yourself with positive people; (4) accept people and things for what
they are; (5) limit complaints; (6) focus on realistic outcomes.
• Explain the link between positive thinking and good health. Positive thinking speeds
healing and motivates you to eat right, exercise, and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Feeling fit and
healthy, in turn, helps you think positively.
• Describe how self-defeating attitudes create a vicious cycle. Self-defeating attitudes
create a vicious cycle by leading to self-defeating behaviors, which in turn lead to negative outcomes. These negative outcomes “prove” that the self-defeating attitude was correct, which
causes the cycle to repeat itself again and again.
• Define cognitive distortions and irrational beliefs and give an example of each.
Cognitive distortions are self-critical, illogical patterns of thought that people use to make themselves miserable. One common cognitive distortion is catastrophizing, dramatically
exaggerating the negative consequences of any minor event. Irrational beliefs are distorted, selfdestructive assumptions such as “I should never make mistakes.”
• Summarize the ABCDE method for overcoming irrational beliefs. In the ABCDE
method, A stands for the activating event that triggers B, an irrational belief. C stands for the
negative consequences of the belief. D stands for dispute, which means analyzing the logic of
the irrational belief. D leads to E, exchange, a more desirable outcome.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Review and Activities 233
Review and Activities
Review Questions
1. Why does having positive expectations of success help you attain it?
2. What is the relationship between negative thinking and depression?
3. Name three healthy eating habits and three healthy exercise habits.
4. Give an example of a self-defeating attitude and the vicious cycle it creates.
5. Which cognitive distortion involves the false belief that you are not in control of your life?
6. Explain how to dispute irrational beliefs.
Critical Thinking
7. Worry William James, a pioneering 19th-century psychologist, once said this: “If you believe
that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, you are residing on
another planet with a different reality system.” Explain what this statement means and
whether you agree with it. Could worrying ever change a future event? Why or why not?
8. Optimism and Academic Success A study was conducted on a large group of college
freshmen in Pennsylvania to investigate the relationship between optimism and academic
performance. The results? The optimistic students dramatically outperformed the pessimistic
students. They even outperformed pessimistic students who had much higher standardized
test scores and high school GPAs. What do the results of this study show? Why do you think
optimism would be so closely linked to success in college?
9. Negative and Positive News The majority of news programs begin their broadcast with
the most negative stories of the day to create “shock appeal” for viewers and audience ratings
for their sponsors. Watch thirty minutes of your daily local or national news. Note each of
the stories covered (such as crimes, political, world, celebrity news). How many of the stories
are negative? How many are positive? Why do you think negative stories capture viewers’
attention? What stories were you attracted to most, and why?
10. Spreading Positive Energy Whether you’re feeling positive or not, making an effort to
engage others in a positive manner, if only for a brief encounter, will do wonders to boost
your mood and, most likely, theirs. Practice this experiment for one day: Try interacting with
everyone you meet with a positive greeting, statement, or even just a smile. Whether it’s a grocery
store cashier or someone you pass on the street, try offering up something positive: eye contact, a smile, a greeting (hello, how are you today?), a compliment (I really like your shirt), or
just an observation (great weather today, isn’t it?). Describe what you did and how people
responded to you. How did it make them feel? Did it boost your positive attitude?
234 Chapter 5 | Positive Thinking Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Internet Activities
11. Optimist’s Creed Read “The Optimist’s Creed” (https://www.optimist.org/Documents/
1. Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
2. Talk health, happiness, and prosperity to everyone you meet.
3. Make your friends feel there is something good in them.
4. Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
5. Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best.
6. Be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
7. Forget the mistakes of the past and move on to the greater achievements of the future.
8. Wear a cheerful face at all times and give everyone you meet a smile.
9. Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
10. Be too large to worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to look for trouble.
For each of the ten points in the creed, write down an action you could take to incorporate it into
your life. Then write an eleventh point of your own choosing that could be added to the creed.
12. This I Believe Go to http://thisibelieve.org/ and read or listen to some of the essays. Write
a This I Believe of your own and share it with a classmate. See below for an example.
  (personal creed of an unknown community college freshman woman, age 19) I believe in
myself. I believe that all people have the equal right to become all they are willing and able to
become. I believe that I am as good as anyone in the world. Although I may never be on the
cover of Time magazine, I still have time to make a really positive difference in my life.
I believe that although I may not be the best looking in the group, I’ll always be looking my
best in every group. I believe in this and the next generation, and believe we’ll build a better
nation. I believe good health means more than wealth. I believe in caring and sharing, rather
than comparing. I believe of all the people I see, still I’d rather be me.
Review your answer to the question in the Real-Life Success
Story on page 192. Think about how you would answer the
question now that you have completed the chapter.
Complete the Story Pretend that you are a friend of Jessica’s
and are waiting with her for her interviewer to arrive. Write a
dialogue between Jessica and yourself in which you explain why
her self-defeating attitude will lead to a vicious cycle. Also give
her tips to use positive self-talk to turn her attitude around.
Real-Life “Will Things Go My Way?”
Success Story
Review and Activities
©Colin Anderson/Blend Images LLC

Success Story
Big Dreams, Big Fears
Jeannette Slawson, a legal secretary, found herself
thumbing through her local university’s catalog of
prelaw courses. She had thought many times about
becoming a lawyer, but it always seemed like an
impossible dream. She would have to complete
several prelaw courses even before going to three
years of law school—four years if she took night
classes. She wondered if she really had the selfdiscipline to see her plans through. She pictured
herself handling the tough schedule for a year or
two, then dropping out.
Big Changes
Deep down, Jeannette knew that no one was
stopping her from changing but herself. For every
obstacle she could imagine, she could think of a
workable solution; but every time she thought about
taking action, she became nervous. She didn’t hate
her job, and she had a comfortable routine. It was
easier to accept her life as it was than to force herself
to make a change.
What Do You Think? Should Jeannette follow
through on her plan to become a lawyer? Why or
why not?
“Should I Make a Change?”
©Westend61/Getty Images
Self-Discipline 6 Chapter
learning objectives
After you complete this chapter,
you should be able to:
• Define self-discipline and cite
its benefits.
• Explain how to control impulses.
• Describe the process of replacing bad habits with good ones.
• Define critical thinking and list
its seven standards.
• List the steps in the decisionmaking process.
The most difficult thing is the decision
to act; the rest is merely tenacity.”
Amelia Earhart, American aviator
This chapter introduces self-discipline—what it is, why
it’s important, and how to practice it. In Section 6.1
you’ll explore the benefits of self-discipline and learn
about the key concepts of self-determination and persistence. You’ll also learn how to control your impulses
by considering the long-term consequences of your
actions. Then you’ll look at how self-discipline can help
you make difficult changes, including changing bad
habits into better ones. In Section 6.2 you’ll learn about
self-disciplined thinking by exploring the elements of
critical thinking and learning how to make logical,
step-by-step decisions.

238 Chapter 6 | Self-Discipline Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
SECTION 6.1 Taking Control of Your Life
No matter how motivated you are, how many skills you have, and how
self-confident you are, you will need self-discipline to achieve your goals.
Self-discipline is the process of teaching yourself to do what is necessary
to reach your goals, without becoming sidetracked by bad habits. Selfdiscipline can be hard, but it’s worth it. It gives you a feeling of self-expectancy and control over your life.
Many people have defined self-discipline as sacrificing or doing
without. A better definition of self-discipline is doing within while
you’re doing without. Self-discipline is taking responsibility for outcomes, and then having the determination and perseverance to take
daily actions that will override current information stored in the subconscious memory bank. Through relentless training, trial and error,
and adjustments the result is internalization of new, positive habits.
Practice makes permanent.
In earlier chapters, you considered what you want out of life and how
your goals can help you get there. To achieve your goals, you need to keep
yourself on track and move forward. Self-discipline helps you do this by
strengthening your ability to:
• control your destiny
• persist in the face of setbacks
• weigh the long-term consequences of your actions
• make positive changes
• replace bad habits with healthy habits
• think critically
• make effective decisions
Self-discipline helps you in countless areas of your life. You rely on selfdiscipline to stick to your study schedule when you would rather go to the
movies, to push yourself away from the table instead of eating a second
piece of pie, and to get up when the alarm rings in the morning.
All successful people rely on self-discipline. A time comes when the
small daily gains that come from being disciplined add up to extraordinary success. Take rock musician Suzanne Vega. She started out playing
in coffeehouses and developing a small following. Then she made her
own mailing list and sent out flyers to advertise her shows. She kept a
notebook recording the details of every show: the songs she sang, what
the audience response was, even how she did her hair. Each time she
performed, she tried to outdo herself, to make her music better. Her selfdiscipline helped her achieve her goal of becoming an outstanding
songwriter and performer.
self-discipline The
process of teaching yourself
to do what is necessary to
reach your goals, without
becoming sidetracked by
bad habits.
success secret
All successful people rely
on self-discipline.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Taking Control of Your Life 239
Elements of Self-Discipline
The word discipline comes from the Latin verb meaning “to teach.” To
build strong self-discipline, we teach ourselves to act in positive ways, even
when we are tired, bored, frustrated, or feeling down. This requires two key
abilities, as shown in Figure 6.1:
• Persistence—Persistence allows you to put in effort, again and again,
until you reach your goal. You need persistence to keep going instead of
giving up.
• Self-determination—With self-determination, you are the master of your
life. Instead of sitting back and waiting for something to happen, you
take action.
Both of these elements are equally important. Without persistence, you
can’t rely on yourself to see your plans through and do what it takes to succeed. Without self-determination, you can’t take control of your decisions
and actions.
The Power of Persistence
The first half of self-discipline is persistence—the ability to go on despite
opposition, setbacks, and occasional doubts. Persistence is a never-say-die
attitude—a determination to succeed.
History is full of people who have used persistence to make it against
all the odds. Helen Keller (1880–1968) was blind and deaf from infancy,
yet with the help of a dedicated teacher, she learned to speak and read. A
determined teacher in France, Louis Braille (1809–1852), blind from age
persistence The ability
to go on despite opposition,
setbacks, and occasional
FIGURE 6.1 Ingredients of Self-Discipline
Taking Charge Self-discipline lets you control your life and make your plans
and dreams a reality. How could practicing self-discipline raise your self-esteem?
SelfPersistence Discipline
240 Chapter 6 | Self-Discipline Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
three, invented a system in 1829 to help sightless people read. Millions of
people still use the Braille system today.
Author James Michener once said, “Character consists of what you do
on the third and fourth tries.” In other words, keep working toward your goal
even if you don’t have success on the first or second try. Don’t give up.
Comedian Jay Leno didn’t succeed on his first try. Told early on that
he had a face that would “scare children,” Leno didn’t give up on his dream
of becoming a professional comedian. When a college admissions officer
told Leno he wasn’t college material, Leno didn’t give up either. He sat outside the officer’s desk twelve hours a day until the man agreed to give him a
chance. Later, Leno performed almost every day of the year on the comedy
circuit to improve his act, finally landing the host’s job on The Tonight
Show and becoming one of the most recognizable personalities on television. “I’m an example of success through persistence,” he says.
Another great example of persistence against all odds is J. K. Rowling, the
wealthiest and most successful author in the world, thanks to her incredible
Harry Potter collection. Did you know that her parents were very disappointed
that she was born female and that most of her early years through adulthood
were filled with fears, insecurity, failure, and depression? She wrote her first
Harry Potter book, in longhand, in a café in Scotland, while on welfare. She
remarked, “Failure was a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was. I began to direct all
my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. It is impossible to
live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might
as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default. I think you’re
working and learning until you die. I can, with my hand on my heart, say I will
never write for any reason other than I burningly wanted to write the book.”
Imagine what persistence could do for you in Personal Journal 6.1.
The second part of self-discipline is self-determination. Self-determination
means determining the path your life travels.
Some people believe that fate, luck, or some other force outside their
control shapes the outcome of their lives. People who feel that life is determined by chance circumstances or by being in the right place at the right
time are more likely to doubt and fear their future than people who know
they are in control. People who feel that they do not control what happens
to them believe they are victims of circumstance. They simply float along
wherever the current of life takes them.
No matter who you are, you are in charge of where you are right now
and where you go from here. Ask yourself, “Am I steering my own ship, or
am I a victim of fate?” Are you doing things in life because you want to do
them or because you feel they have been forced upon you? If you allow
yourself to be pressured into doing things that you would rather not do, you
may be giving up control of your life to other people.
success secret
Success doesn’t always
come on the first or
second try.
Determining the path your
life travels.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Taking Control of Your Life 241
Taking Responsibility People who are in control of their lives display responsibility, the ability to make independent, proactive decisions and
to accept the consequences of those choices.
We are given a set of characteristics at birth, but we make the decisions
that determine our success in life. We have to ask ourselves who we are and
responsibility The
ability to make independent,
proactive decisions and to
accept the consequences of
those choices.
Personal Journal 6.1
Going Against the Odds
Imagine that your dream is to write and publish a novel about your life. Listed in the left-hand box below
are some obstacles that you might face. Think of one way that you could use persistence to overcome
each obstacle.
Obstacle To overcome this obstacle:
Not enough free time for writing
Don’t know how to start novel
Life isn’t interesting enough
Writer’s block
Accidentally delete first five chapters
from computer
Rejected by publisher
Rejected by publisher again
How could you use persistence to overcome obstacles standing between you and your dream?
242 Chapter 6 | Self-Discipline Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
how we got where we are. The 18th-century French writer Voltaire compared life to a game of cards. Each player is dealt a certain hand. This hand
is the genetics and environment that are given to us. We as players, however, are responsible for how we play that hand, what to keep and what to
toss out. We make the decisions that determine our success in life. We
decide how to shape our lives.
In his book Taking Responsibility: Self-Reliance and the Accountable Life,
Nathaniel Branden speaks of responsibility as “the practice of making oneself the cause of the effects one wants, as contrasted with a policy of hoping
or demanding that someone else do something while one’s own contribution is to wait and suffer.” Are you waiting, perhaps without even realizing
it, for someone to “do something”? Make that person be you!
Although many things in life are beyond anyone’s control, you do have
a great deal of control—more than most of us are willing to acknowledge—
over many circumstances and conditions.
• You can control what you do with most of your free time during the day
and evening. Instead of watching other people making money enjoying
their professions on prime time TV, turn off the TV and your online
devices and start living in Prime Time. Read, interact with family, go out
to ethnic restaurants, attend artistic and artisan shows. Get up from the
chair and explore the great outdoors!
• You can control how much energy you exert and effort you give to each
task you undertake. Prioritize your projects. Balance personal and professional goals. Finish what you start. Learn what times of day your energy
levels are the highest. Do important work during those peak periods.
• You can control your thoughts and imagination, and channel them.
Limit your TV news viewing to events immediately impacting your personal and professional life. Avoid violent entertainment. Read more
inspirational biographies of people who have overcome enormous
obstacles to become successful.
• You can control your attitude. Hang out and network with optimists on a
regular basis.
• You can control your tongue. You can choose to remain silent or choose
to speak. If you choose to speak, you can choose your words, body language, and tone of voice. When you meet someone new, ask more questions and don’t try to impress him or her with your exploits. The less you
try to impress, the more impressive you will be. Say to yourself, “I’ll
make them glad they talked to me.” And hope that they will be thinking,
“I like me best when I’m with you.”
• You can control your choice of role models. The best role model is not
necessarily a celebrity or expert. It is more likely someone you can get to
know personally and closely—preferably someone with a background or
career path similar to yours; someone who has been where you are now.
For personal role models and mentors, seek those who have not only
achieved external success but whose whole lives, including their personal
success secret
Don’t wait for someone
else to do something—
take action!
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Taking Control of Your Life 243
conduct, merit emulation. Career success can rarely be separated from
character; one facet of a person’s life invariably affects the other facets.
• You can control your commitments, the things you absolutely promise
yourself and others that you’ll do. Don’t overcommit; in that way you
won’t have to make excuses when deadlines are missed. Break your commitments into stair-step priorities and goals, ones that are reasonably
easy to hit and easy to correct if missed.
• You can control the causes to which you give your time and emotion.
Focus more on positive programs with socially redeeming benefits.
Instead of a protestor, become a producer and protector.
• You can control your memberships. Congregate with people having similar goals or those who are overcoming similar challenges with knowledge, attitude, skills, and habits.
• You can control your concerns and worries. Find a relaxation and exercise program that helps you release tension. A quiet place, a garden, the
sea, and soft music can do wonders for the soul. So can interaction with
wildlife, as well as interaction with domestic animals.
• You can control your response to difficult times and people. One of the
best ways to overcome depression is to become active in helping other
people in need.
Do you feel in control of your life? Do you see yourself as responsible
for your success, or are you sitting on the sidelines of your life? To test your
attitude, complete Activity 29.
One excellent way to increase your self-discipline is to learn and practice
impulse control. An impulse is a sudden wish or feeling that can lead to
unplanned and unwise actions.
We all do things on impulse. We might buy a magazine, go to the
movies, or take a day trip just because we suddenly feel like it. Acting on
impulse once in a while is relatively harmless. When impulses guide our
behavior too often, however, we lose the ability to plan for the future. If
we get in the habit of following our impulses, we can even do selfdestructive things that we will regret later. Take Richard’s example.
Stressed and overworked, Richard got annoyed with his boss one day
and quit his job on impulse. Unfortunately, it took Richard several
months to find a new job. He lost the good recommendation of his former employer and had to sell some of his belongings to make ends meet.
Even if we don’t make such big mistakes, acting on impulse can cost us.
It can cause us to spend too much money, waste time, overeat, overreact,
and do other things that are not good for us or others, such as:
• yelling
• making comments we wish we could take back later
• drinking alcohol or smoking
impulse A sudden wish
or feeling that can lead
to unplanned and unwise
244 Chapter 6 | Self-Discipline Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 29: Do You Control Your Life?
A Indicate with a check mark whether you Agree or Disagree with each statement below.
Agree Disagree
1. Success is a matter of hard work.
2. My life seems like a series of random events.
3. Marriage is pretty much a gamble for most people.
4. Persistence and hard work usually lead to success.
5. If I don’t get something I want, that means it’s just not meant to be.
6. Many tests are so unfair that studying is practically useless.
7. Successful leaders are the ones who work hard.
8. It’s hard to know whether anyone really likes you.
9. People either respect you or they don’t.
10. Voters are ultimately responsible for bad government.
11. Success at work is a matter of knowing the right people.
12. If I don’t succeed on a task, I tend to give up.
B Scoring: Assign yourself one point for each of the following statements that you agreed with: 2, 3, 5, 6,
8, 9, 11, and 12. Also, assign yourself one point for each of the following statements that you disagreed
with: 1, 4, 7, and 10. The higher your score, the stronger your belief that outside forces control your life.
The lower your score, the stronger your belief that you control your life.
What is your total?
1–4 You feel in control of your life, and you are willing to work hard for success.
5–8 You feel that some things are under your control but not others. You will benefit from developing a more positive, can-do attitude toward your life.
9–12 You don’t feel in control of your life or your success, and you probably give up easily. You need
to analyze your self-defeating attitudes and replace them with more positive ones.
C What are some specific steps you can take to feel more in control of your life?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Taking Control of Your Life 245
Applying Psychology
A Little Guilt Can Be Good for You
Considering fifty-nine percent of Americans have credit card debt, chances are
impulse buying has played a major role. According to a survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America, thirty-seven percent of respondents cited impulse buying—
making purchases that aren’t preplanned—as a major obstacle to saving money.
Think of how many times you’ve gone into Walmart or Target for a few items—and
come out with a full cart. And think of how many online shopping carts you’ve filled on
Amazon.com, eBay.com, or on any of the thirty million e-commerce sites.
After the “rush” you may feel from your had-to-have purchase is gone, now comes
the credit card bill to pay for the unplanned items, and often anxiety over figuring out how
to pay for it all. Research indicates that how you cope with a poor spending experience
can determine how you shop in the future. According to a study conducted by the University of Guelph, feeling
some guilt after an impulse purchase may actually cause you to take positive steps the next time, such as cutting
back on other expenses, refraining from window shopping and mall trekking, and creating a shopping list before
heading out or logging in. Thus, you’ve learned from your mistake and are taking steps to avoid doing it again.
However, those who experience shame (negative feelings related to self-worth) from impulse purchases
may end up digging a deeper hole for themselves by hiding their purchases from others, ignoring credit card
bills, and becoming defensive and isolated. If this is your reaction, you should seek help to determine if
there are underlying emotional reasons for your impulse buying and how you can work to overcome them.
Critical Thinking How does one’s self-esteem play a role in impulse shopping or how one copes after an
impulse purchase?
• disregarding obligations and letting people down
• driving dangerously
Poor impulse control contributes to major problems such as gambling, drug
addiction, and compulsive spending.
Thinking Long Term
Acting on impulse is appealing because it offers instant gratification
(reward). Buying that new outfit or cutting off an inconsiderate driver in
traffic is a lot more satisfying than saving money for college or driving
quietly and politely. That’s why impulses can be so hard to resist—they’re
tempting! Unfortunately, when the credit card payment is due or when we
find ourselves in a traffic accident, we wish we could go back in time and
do things differently. How do we stop this from happening? Instead of living day to day or moment to moment, we need to examine how our choices
will affect our long-term goals.
To do this, we need to think about consequences, the logical effects of our
actions. Consequences can be negative or positive, short term or long term.
consequences The
logical effects of an action.
246 Chapter 6 | Self-Discipline Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Short-term consequences, the immediate results of an action, are usually fairly
obvious and easy to predict. Long-term consequences, the further off results of
an action, aren’t always obvious or easy to predict, but they can be major.
They can have a big impact on your ability to reach your goals.
Small Choices, Big Results It’s easy to trick yourself into
believing that small, impulsive actions don’t have any long-term consequences. But over time, the small things add up. Spending those few extra
minutes reviewing class notes before an exam or passing up that second
handful of potato chips can make the difference between achieving and not
achieving a goal.
Delaying gratification doesn’t mean punishing yourself. Instead, it means
choosing a later, bigger reward over a more immediate, smaller one. Focusing
on the bigger reward—your goal—helps you put things in perspective.
When you feel an impulse coming on, stop yourself, think, and make a
measured decision:
1. Stop. Realize that you are about to act impulsively.
2. Think. What will I gain in the short term by acting on this impulse?
What will I lose in the long term by acting on this impulse?
3. Decide. Given the short-term and long-term consequences, is it worth it?
Let’s say you are studying for a test when a friend calls with a tempting
invitation to go to that movie you have been wanting to see. Before you say
yes, stop and ask yourself what you are about to do. This gives you a
moment to think. What are the short-term consequences of going out to
the movie? You’re sure to have fun, and you haven’t seen your friend in a
while. Maybe this movie is just the study break you need. (When you are
really tempted to do something, it’s amazing how many good excuses you
can think up!) Before you rush for the door, however, ask yourself about
the long-term consequences. Because you won’t have as much time to
study, your grade in this course may suffer. If your grade suffers, you might
not get that scholarship you are counting on. The reality is that there just
isn’t room in your life tonight for an outing. Looking at the long-term consequences of your actions helps you pick the path that is best for you.
Of course, controlling your impulses doesn’t mean eliminating fun from
your life. Instead of a movie, a half-hour study break might give you a
chance to relax while still being productive. Use long-term thinking to
tackle one of your impulses in Personal Journal 6.2.
Impulse control, like any other kind of self-improvement, requires a willingness to change. In fact, being open to changing negative things about yourself and your life circumstances is the first step toward improving them.
Change is easier if we start small, identifying small improvements we would
like to make and working on them one by one. As we prove to ourselves
success secret
Before you act on
impulse, stop, think,
and decide.
success secret
requires the willingness
to change.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Taking Control of Your Life 247
Personal Journal 6.2
Thinking Long Term
It’s important to look at the consequences of your actions. Select one impulse, such as spending, eating,
or cutting people off in traffic, that is a problem for you.
1. What are the satisfying or pleasurable short-term consequences of giving in to this impulse?
2. What are the possible negative long-term consequences for you, your goals, or the people you
care about?
3. Do the positive short-term consequences outweigh the negative long-term consequences? Explain.
How can you remind yourself to use the stop-think-decide approach the next time you are facing a situation like this?
that we can make constructive plans and stick to them, we gain the confidence and self-discipline to make bigger and better changes.
Do You Resist Change?
Change isn’t easy, especially when it involves controlling impulses, replacing
bad habits, taking risks, or altering our ways of thinking. Change can also be
scary. As we saw in Chapter 3, change is a major cause of stress. Most of us
248 Chapter 6 | Self-Discipline Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
fear change because of the uncertainty involved. Some people have trouble
changing because they fear that they will make the wrong choices or expose
themselves to failure and ridicule. They may know they have the potential to
control their own lives, but they do not take a firm stand or risk breaking out
of the mold. They have not persuaded themselves that they should be in control of their choices and decisions. People who think this way have difficulty
setting goals, reaching their goals, and fulfilling their ambitions.
Sometimes people resist change so strongly that they literally put their
lives in danger. Consider the following story. Members of a village were
dying of an unknown cause. Scientists went to the village and discovered
that an insect living inside the clay walls of the villagers’ homes was biting,
poisoning, and killing them. The scientists told the villagers that they
should consider killing the insects, tearing down the homes and building
new ones, or moving to a new location. The villagers said they would not
move; they would stay in their deadly, insect-infested homes and take their
chances. They continued to die off one by one. The villagers were so used
to their way of life that they preferred to die than to make a change. They
hoped that something would come along to save them, but nothing came.
Like the villagers, most of us will put up with practically anything to
avoid changing. Even if we aren’t satisfied with our lives, it’s easier to do
things the old way than to take a chance on something better. Take a look
at some changes you might make in Activity 30. By planning for change
ahead of time rather than having it forced on you in a moment of crisis,
you can take greater control of your life.
What’s Holding You Back?
Often, when we think of changes we’d like to make in our lives, it’s easy to
find a reason to put them off. “I really would,” we tell ourselves, “but now
isn’t a good time . . . I’m tired . . . I don’t have enough time . . . I don’t have
the money.”
If you find yourself making excuses, use positive self-talk to help get
yourself going. Remind yourself how much better you will feel once you
take action. Think about the specific benefits of making the change. If
you’re “too tired,” just do a little bit before you go to bed. Too busy? You’ll
be amazed how much you can get done in only ten minutes a day. Overwhelmed by the whole idea? You need to take only one action to get started
and make yourself feel better.
Hidden Resistance Sometimes what holds us back from making
positive changes isn’t fatigue or laziness but a hidden psychological resistance
to change. Often we are unwilling to change because we do not want to give
up the rewards we get from staying the way we are. What hidden rewards
could there be in not making positive changes? One reward is that you don’t
have to face your problems or stressors and admit that they are real. Another
reward is that you don’t have to take action, risk failure, or make an effort.
success secret
It takes courage to try
something new.
success secret
Your self-esteem rises
when you make positive
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Taking Control of Your Life 249
ACTIVITY 30: Making Positive Changes
A On the lines below, list three changes you would like to make in each area of your life. List only changes
that you think you can really make. (Some changes may be desirable but not possible right now. Omit
such changes from your list.) Your changes can be small or big, short term or long term.
School: class attendance, commuting, study/homework, and so on.
Attend all class meetings unless a real emergency arises.
Leave for class ten minutes earlier to plan for possible traffic jams.
Set aside one extra hour a week to review my class notes.
1. School: class attendance, commuting, study/homework, and so on.
2. Household: housekeeping, shopping, meal planning and preparation, money management,
and so on.
3. Relationships: friendships, parenting, family ties, romantic relationships, and so on.
4. Job: commuting, gaining new knowledge or skills, relating to supervisor and coworkers,
and so on.
250 Chapter 6 | Self-Discipline Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
5. Leisure: hobbies, reading, blogging, television, Internet, sporting events, concerts, and so on.
6. Personal fitness: exercise, hygiene/grooming, eating, sleeping, and so on.
7. Community: volunteer work, political campaigns, religious participation, neighborhood
events, and so on.
B Review all your possible changes. Select the three that you believe would make the biggest difference
in your life. Copy them below.
C What is one specific thing you can do to get started on these important changes?
D When will you do this? Schedule a specific day and time for this week.
Day: Time:
Signed (your name):
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Taking Control of Your Life 251
You may also get comfort from staying the way you are. If you are stuck in
a job you dislike, for example, it might be easier to remain in that job and
think of yourself as a victim than to make the effort to improve your circumstances. What hidden rewards are you getting from not changing? Activity 31
is designed to help you think about your hidden resistance to change. Try to
be honest with yourself without being self-critical.
Do you recognize this autobiography?
“You may know me. I’m your constant companion. I’m your greatest
helper. I’m your heaviest burden. I’ll push you onward, or drag you down to
failure. I’m at your command. Half the tasks you do might as well be turned
over to me. I’m able to do them quickly, and I’m able to do them the same
every time, if that’s what you want. I’m easily managed. All you’ve got to do is
be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want it done, and after a few lessons, I’ll do it automatically. I’m the servant of all great men and women, and
of course, the servant of all the failures, as well. I’ve made all the great winners
who’ve ever been great, and I’ve made all the losers, too. But I work with all
the precision of a marvelous computer with the intelligence of a human being.
You may run me for profit, or you may run me to ruin. It makes no difference
to me. Take me! Be easy with me, and I’ll destroy you. Be firm with me, and
I’ll put the world at your feet. Who am I? Why, I’m Habit.”1
Self-discipline is an important tool for making any kind of important
change. Nowhere is self-discipline more necessary than in making one of
the hardest changes of all—changing a bad habit. A habit is a behavior that
has become automatic through repetition. If we give in to a certain impulse
often enough, for example, we may soon find that this behavior has become
a habit. A habit can also be an attitude, a way of looking at things that soon
becomes second nature. Habits start off weak but soon grow strong, so
strong that we hardly even notice them anymore. For this reason, habits
can be very difficult to replace.
We all first make our habits; then our habits make us. It happens so
subtly over time, imperceptibly, quietly, beneath the notice of anyone. The
chains of our habits are usually too small to be recognized until they’re too
strong to be broken. When we allow unhealthy habits to be our guide and
counsel, we give up control of our actions. Instead, like comfortable beds,
they are easy to fall into, but hard to get out of. Habits become second
nature like brushing our teeth or driving our cars. Advertising executives
on Madison Avenue bet their entire careers, and their clients’ enormous
budgets, on the fact that repeated messages cause subconscious decisions.
Every Saturday morning, they teach kids which brands of cereal they
should eat, what kinds of shoes are cool, and which video games, cell
phones, software, and toys they should get their parents to buy.
habit A behavior that has
become automatic through
1 Denis Waitley, “The Double Win,” Fleming H. Revell Company, N. J. (1985) 125.
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ACTIVITY 31: Overcoming Resistance to Change
A Think of one life change that you would like to make but that you have been avoiding. This change may
be from any area of your life, such as career, education, relationships, spirituality, hobbies, health, and
so on. What is that change?
B Why do you think you have been avoiding making this change? Think about the risks that would be
involved in making this change. For example, would you be risking failure or rejection or making a
wrong decision? Would you be giving up your self-image as a victim?
C Do you ever pretend to yourself that you don’t need to change and that things are just fine the way they
are? Explain.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Taking Control of Your Life 253
D Now think about the drawbacks of staying the way you are and the benefits of changing.
Drawbacks of Staying the Same Benefits of Changing
Which benefit is most important to you and why?
E Describe the specific actions you would need to take to make this change. Which of them would be
most difficult for you?
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Think of your brain as a complex series of highways, overpasses and
side streets. When you drive to and from school or work, or from your
home to the store, you take the same route over and over again. It becomes
second nature. The recent breakthroughs in neuroscience have shown that
you can build new freeways and short-cuts in your brain to take you to new
destinations that you may never have considered before. The unfamiliar
becomes familiar. The roadblocks become overpasses. The dead ends
become freeways. New, healthy habits can override the habits. The secret is
Just about everything in life is a choice. You don’t have to work, go to
school, eat, or even get up in the morning. You decide to do things because
they are good for you. Often, we are victims of habit: We do things only
because we have been doing them. As children, we look to adults to give us
cues for behavior. When we mature and become adults, we must make decisions and be responsible for ourselves.
Habits can have negative consequences. They can make us feel bad
about ourselves. They can hurt other people and get in the way of close
relationships. They can even damage our physical and emotional health.
Common habits in this category include cigarette smoking, drinking too
much coffee or alcohol, procrastinating, being late, overspending, overeating, and gossiping.
All of us have indulged in these behaviors at some time or another.
Overeating at Thanksgiving isn’t a problem, but eating a family-size bag of
potato chips for a snack is. Drinking coffee with your morning muffin isn’t
a problem, but drinking coffee all day to stay awake is.
How do you know whether bad habits are causing you problems? Ask
yourself whether any of your habits:
• make you unhappy or feel bad about yourself
• drain your energy or stand in the way of your goals
• get you into trouble at work or school
• hurt or seriously inconvenience others
When a habit causes you to do any of these things, it’s time to change. Lasting
change doesn’t happen overnight. Changing habits involves three major steps:
Step 1: Wanting to change the habit
Step 2: Understanding the habit
Step 3: Replacing the bad habit with a good habit
Let’s go through each of these steps.
Step 1: Wanting to Change
Before you can break a bad habit, you must want to change from within,
not because of someone else’s criticism or advice. You must commit to
changing and accept that lasting change takes time and effort.
brain rewiring The
creation of new neural
pathways in the brain by
repetition of certain thoughts
to facilitate healing and
formation of healthy habits.
success secret
Almost everything in life is
a choice.
success secret
When your habits have
negative consequences,
it’s time to change them.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Taking Control of Your Life 255
By studying people who are trying to kick bad health habits, such as
drinking or smoking, psychologists have identified three mental stages that
people go through before they even begin to take action.
These three stages are the precontemplation stage, the contemplation
stage, and the preparation stage. In the precontemplation stage, you still
have no intention of changing. You may not even see a need to change
because you may not recognize the negative effects of a behavior. In the
contemplation stage, you begin thinking about changing a behavior. In this
stage, you evaluate the pros and cons of a certain habit and explore the different ways you could make a change. In the preparation stage, you edge
closer to making serious efforts to change. This is the stage you are in if you
have attempted to change before but did not have all the necessary skills to
successfully carry it through.
As you can see, it takes time and mental effort to commit to change.
Think about the little things in your life that may be affected by your habit
change, and resolve in advance not to beat yourself up if you relapse. Ask
for advice from someone who has made a similar change, and talk with the
people close to you about how they can help you.
Step 2: Understanding the Habit
Step 2 is to know your bad habit. To change any behavior, you first need
to understand it. What reward do you get from it? When, where, and with
whom does it occur? Why has it become a habit? Ask yourself:
• When do I give in to my bad habit?
• Where do I give in to my bad habit?
• Who is present when I give in to my bad habit?
• How do I feel just before I give in to my bad habit?
• How do I feel just after I give in to my bad habit?
The first three questions help you understand the circumstances in which
the habit occurs. For example, you might find yourself gossiping while in
the company of certain friends, smoking at the same time every afternoon,
or drinking sugary sodas during a certain class.
The last two questions help you understand why you fall into your
habit. What feelings drive you to eat that pint of rocky road ice cream?
Stress, anger, self-doubt, or boredom? What reward do you get from having
that cigarette? Relaxation, satisfaction, or a break from work?
It is important to pinpoint the emotions that are feeding your habit. We
are most vulnerable to bad habits when we are troubled by painful or
unpleasant emotions. We use our old behavior patterns to comfort us and
take our minds off the unpleasant feeling. Take a good look at your worst
habit in Activity 32.
success secret
It takes effort to commit to
success secret
Before you can change a
habit, you need to understand it.
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ACTIVITY 32: Getting to Know Your Bad Habits
A What do you see as your worst habit? In other words, what habit is interfering with your life the most
right now?
B What negative effects is this habit having on your life? Why?
C What negative effects is this habit having on people you care about? Worry, irritation, hurt feelings? If
you aren’t sure, ask.
D Spend a few days carefully observing the circumstances surrounding the habit you want to change.
Then answer the following questions.
1. When does the habit most often occur (in the morning, on the weekend, etc.)? How often
does it occur?
2. Where does the habit occur (at home, at school, in the car, etc.)?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Taking Control of Your Life 257
3. When or where is it easier to not give in?
4. Who is usually present when this habit occurs (a certain acquaintance, family members,
strangers, peers, etc.)?
5. What unpleasant feelings do you experience just before you give in to your bad habit?
6. What emotional relief or reward do you get from the bad habit?
E Look for a pattern to your habit. What times, places, people, and emotions are associated with your
habit? How do they interact with one another?
F What are some more positive ways you could deal with the unpleasant or painful feelings that are
behind your habit?
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Step 3: Replacing the Habit
Now that you know your habit and why it occurs, you can take action.
Step 3 involves replacing the bad habit with a positive habit. Replacing
a bad habit is easier than simply getting rid of it altogether. Habits are a
natural reaction to certain situations, stressors, and emotions. Therefore,
you need to find a new, healthy way to release the emotions and nervous
energy that are driving your habit. Let’s say you want to break the habit of
eating chocolate bars to keep yourself going in the late afternoon. The habit
is bad for your health, and all that sugar and caffeine makes you dead tired
by early evening. You’re more likely to break your habit successfully if you
switch to a healthy snack, such as vegetables or fruit, than if you simply try
to ignore your habit.
Once you choose a replacement for your old ways of thinking and
acting, you’ll need to repeat the new habit many, many times. Because
we’ve repeated our bad habits so many times, we have to repeat our
attempts to break them many times, too. Your bad habits may be quite
stubborn, but you can be more so. It’s often helpful to use a chart, as in
Personal Journal 6.3, to record your progress. This helps you figure out
when and where you tend to relapse. Seeing results on paper also boosts
your confidence by reminding you of all the times you’ve already succeeded at resisting the old habit.
Relapse Is Normal It’s normal to revert to a bad habit, especially
when we think we’ve almost beaten it. Suppose you try ten times to break
a bad habit, and not until the tenth attempt do you succeed. Does that
mean you failed nine times? Does it mean you had no self-discipline? No,
it means that with each attempt, your goal got closer and your selfdiscipline got stronger until you beat the habit. As Mark Twain once said,
“Habit is not to be flung out of the window, but coaxed downstairs a step
at a time.”
Once you successfully replace a habit, you need to maintain it, working
continuously to practice your new, positive behavior. You need to develop
your new skills and prevent yourself from falling back into your old habits.
This effort can last a lifetime.
Use Positive Self-Talk As you work to change a habit, make sure
to support yourself with positive self-talk. Many familiar bad habits—
procrastinating, smoking, overeating, oversleeping, and being late—can all
be helped with positive self-talk. Positive self-talk helps you paint a new picture of yourself acting in a positive way, creating a new habit pattern to
replace the old one.
As you learned in Chapter 4, self-talk has a powerful effect on your subconscious mind. To become more self-disciplined, you need to replace the
information you have already stored in your subconscious mind with new
thoughts. By constantly repeating these new thoughts through positive
success secret
Are your habits stubborn?
Be more stubborn!
success secret
Use positive self-talk to
create a mental image of
the new you.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Taking Control of Your Life 259
Personal Journal 6.3
Habit Change Chart
Use this chart to track your progress as you substitute a good habit for a bad one.
+ Carried out new habit
0 Carried out neither old nor new habit
− Carried out old habit
Instead of . . . I will . . . M T W Th F Sa Su Description of Experience
Instead of drinking
sugary soda, I will
drink water.
+ + 0 − + + 0 At first I felt deprived without my usual
sugar “fix.” When I relapsed, I felt guilty
but realized that the sugar high from the
soda actually made me feel tired later.
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self-talk, you will cause them to take root in your subconscious. The result
is a new, positive habit, goal, or self-image.
If you try to change something about yourself only at the conscious
level, using willpower, the change usually will be only temporary. Let’s say
you have been a pack-a-day smoker for many years and decide to give it up.
You tell your conscious mind that you are quitting smoking. Then your subconscious mind remembers all the times you have tried to quit in the past
and whispers to you that you will fall back into the habit one day soon.
To use self-talk to change a habit, you need to persuade your subconscious mind that the change has already taken place. Instead of saying, “I
will stop smoking,” say, “I am a nonsmoker.” Instead of saying, “I will stop
being late,” say, “I arrive on time.” By thinking of yourself as someone who
is on time or a nonsmoker, you will start to see yourself this way. If you say
that you will start being on time in the future, you are implying that you are
still being late. As long as you see yourself in the present moment as having
a bad habit, you will continue to act as if you do.
For habit change, positive self-talk can begin with single sentences:
• I arrive on time for all my classes.
• I am proud of myself for arriving on time.
• Being on time shows respect for the instructor and for the rest of the
• Arriving on time shows that I am a responsible person.
The more you use positive self-talk, the more your new self-image and
new behavior will become part of you. Soon you will have really kicked the
bad habit and replaced it with something more positive.
Self Check
1. Define self-discipline. (p. 238)
2. Why is persistence important? (pp. 239–240)
3. What are the three steps to changing bad habits? (p. 254)
success secret
Positive self-talk helps you
change for good.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Disciplining Your Thinking 261
SECTION 6.2 Disciplining Your Thinking
Self-discipline helps us accomplish what we need to do in order to succeed,
but it also helps us to do something more—to think.
Our thinking determines much of what we do. Yet few of us stop to consider how we think. Do we think logically, questioning the world around us
and coming to our own conclusions? Or do we passively accept what parents, teachers, friends, politicians, advertisers, and “experts” tell us?
Active, self-reflective thinking is known as critical thinking. It involves
both thinking skills and the self-discipline to consistently apply those skills.
Critical thinking requires asking questions and searching for answers.
Critical thinkers are able to think objectively about their own and others’
opinions. They can look at an issue from all sides before coming to a conclusion. Critical thinkers demand evidence before they believe something
that someone else says is true. They are not satisfied with looking at the
surface of things. Critical thinkers ask, “Is this true? Is this important? Is
this fair?” Passive thinkers ask, “Is this going to be on the test?”
Benefits of Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is necessary for making important decisions that will affect
your life: deciding on a major, choosing or changing a career, going back
to school, getting married, having children. As a critical thinker, you need
to understand the problem or issue at hand, look at all the different angles,
consider the various options, and arrive at the best possible decision.
As a critical thinker, you are also a problem solver. This means that you
know how to use tools to reach the best possible solution to any problem.
In Chapter 3, you looked at how to overcome obstacles and reach your
goals. Critical thinking is essential to overcoming obstacles. It helps you
clarify the problem and come up with creative solutions.
In addition to helping with decision making and problem solving, critical thinking helps you develop many other skills and personal qualities that
are central to success, including self-awareness, self-honesty, self-motivation,
open-mindedness, and empathy.
Are You a Critical Thinker?
Critical thinking doesn’t come easily. By nature, humans are often irrational. We often view and react to events in a self-serving way, without
bothering to think things through. We have a tendency to believe that our
ideas, our ways of doing things, and the groups we belong to are better than
other people’s. For example, many of us are raised to look down on the
ways of other families or cultures, such as their child-rearing practices or
their religious beliefs. Studies have even shown that we prefer the letter our
critical thinking
Active, self-reflective
success secret
Critical thinking helps you
solve problems and overcome obstacles.
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Will there come a day when computers surpass human
intelligence? Many believe it’s not a question of “if,”
but “when.” With the rapid advancements in artificial
intelligence (AI), computers are already taking over
jobs meant for humans. Robots have replaced factory
workers, surgeons, pilots, and astronauts, as they tend
to work faster, don’t get easily fatigued, and have
exceptional job-task accuracy. Oxford researchers are
concluding that forty-five percent of U.S. occupations
will be at risk for computerization within twenty years.
Some experts believe that by the end of the century,
intelligent robots may actually “overtake” humans.
IBM’s super computer, “Watson,” beat out the
world’s best contestants on the quiz show, “Jeopardy.”
The Pentagon’s mad-science research arm, DARPA, is
looking into humanoid robots capable of working in
disaster areas too dangerous for humans, while Momentum Machines is boasting about a robotic burger flipper.
Human beings are able to solve problems by using
fast, intuitive judgments, can think unexpectedly when
faced with peculiar situations, can think of original ideas,
and can plan about the future and foresee potential outcomes of this plan. The psychology field expands human
intelligence to include social and emotional components
as well. Whether computers and robots can be programmed to match or exceed the sophistication, flexibility, and creativity of the human mind remains to be seen.
Think About It
In what ways will society benefit from computers that
are able to think like humans? What are some possible
negative repercussions? Why do you think it is important to continue to develop your own critical thinking
skills? To learn more about artificial intelligence, go
to http://www.livescience.com/29379-intelligent
-robots-will-overtake-humans.html or conduct
your own search using the keywords “artificial
internet action
names begin with to other letters of the alphabet! This kind of selfcentered thinking is a major obstacle to critical thinking. Do you let
laziness and self-centeredness get in the way of your thinking? Complete
Activity 33 to evaluate your critical thinking skills.
Standards of Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is a learned skill; no one is born a critical thinker. The key
to thinking critically is to hold yourself to high standards. The Foundation
for Critical Thinking specifies seven important standards for excellent critical thinking:
1. Clarity
2. Precision
3. Accuracy
4. Relevance
5. Depth
6. Breadth
7. Logic
Whenever we think, speak, or write, we should try to follow each of these
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Disciplining Your Thinking 263
ACTIVITY 33: How Critical Is Your Thinking?
A Read each statement below. For each one, decide whether you Disagree Totally, Disagree Slightly,
Agree Slightly, or Agree Totally.
1. When making an important decision, I am willing to take my time.
2. I don’t feel the need to be right about everything.
3. I examine my own beliefs as critically as I examine the beliefs of
4. I am more concerned with being fair and accurate than with
appearing to be fair and accurate.
5. I am willing to criticize a popular belief if it is the right thing to do.
6. When I don’t know something, I don’t mind admitting it.
7. I make sure that my beliefs are based on factual evidence.
8. When I learn material in school, I really try to make sense of it
instead of just memorizing it.
9. I would say that my point of view is a combination of truth and
10. It’s more important to be fair and accurate than to be loyal to
11. I make sure I fully understand something before I judge it.
12. Just because something is my point of view doesn’t mean it’s the
absolute truth.
13. I see things in shades of gray rather than in black and white.
14. I give consideration to facts that contradict my beliefs.
15. When I encounter a generalization, I immediately look for exceptions.
16. Before I accept someone’s point of view, I evaluate how well they
are in a position to know what they are talking about.
17. I would rather find a solution that benefits everyone than get my
own way.
18. I demand evidence before I will believe something.
19. I’m willing to try any good idea, even if it’s unpopular.
20. I know exactly why I believe or don’t believe certain things.
21. Before I accept a fact as evidence for a certain statement, I make
sure that the fact is relevant to the issue.
22. An idea can “feel right” but still be wrong.
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B Scoring: Give yourself three points for every Agree Totally, two points for every Agree Slightly, one
point for every Disagree Slightly, and zero points for every Disagree Totally.
What is your total?
57–66 You are already an accomplished critical thinker. Look back at the statements with which you
didn’t agree fully and think about how you could integrate them into your thinking.
45–56 You have critical thinking skills, but you are probably too quick to make judgments without
thinking things through. Slow down and take time to think systematically.
23–44 You understand some of the basics of critical thinking. You will benefit from investing more
time and effort to analyze others’ thinking and your own.
0–22 You tend to accept things at face value without questioning. You probably don’t analyze your
beliefs and have been more concerned with fitting in than with finding the truth.
C All the statements in the questionnaire on the previous page represent habits and attitudes of critical
thinkers. Reread the questionnaire and pick the six habits that you believe are most important to fair,
impartial, logical thinking. Rewrite them in the format shown below. Then, below each statement,
describe how you can apply this habit or attitude in your life.
Critical thinkers make sure they fully understand something before they judge it.
Application: Instead of criticizing every comment I hear in class, I will give all comments fair consideration.
1. Critical thinkers
2. Critical thinkers
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Disciplining Your Thinking 265
3. Critical thinkers
4. Critical thinkers
5. Critical thinkers
6. Critical thinkers
D Look at the different applications you wrote above. What kinds of global changes do you need to make
to be a more critical thinker?
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1. Clarity Clarity is the foundation of critical thinking. A thought or
statement is clear if it is plainly worded and easily understood. When a
thought or statement is muddled and unclear, it is impossible to know
whether it is true or false, fact or opinion. Do you think and communicate
clearly? Or do you use complicated language to appear more intelligent and
sophisticated? Consider the difference between these clear and unclear
Unclear: Students need to indicate which classes on the sign-up sheet
they would like to take due to the fact that the December 13 deadline is
Why It’s Unclear: This sentence is too wordy and long-winded. It makes a
simple statement into a complicated mess. Economize your thoughts; be
Clear: Students need to sign up for classes before December 13.
Unclear: Many items are discounted up to fifty percent and more.
Why It’s Unclear: This statement is deliberately misleading: We don’t
know which items are discounted, and we don’t know whether the discounts are less or more than fifty percent. “Many” could be 20, 200, or
Clear: All men’s clothing is discounted twenty-five to fifty-five percent.
2. Precision Precision means exactness. Being precise is the opposite of being vague and general. Vague and general statements are sometimes true, but they usually don’t say very much. Ask yourself:
• Is this statement specific enough to be meaningful?
• Do I need more detail here?
Imprecise: Too much TV makes kids more violent.
Why It’s Imprecise: This statement does not specify what kinds of
programs make children more violent.
Precise: Children who are exposed to gratuitous violence on TV are more
inclined to become aggressive.
Imprecise: Smoking is harmful.
Why It’s Imprecise: This statement is true but doesn’t provide any useful
or memorable specifics.
Precise: Smoking is the number-one preventable cause of death in the
United States.
3. Accuracy Accuracy means factual truth. A statement is accurate if
it is supported by facts. A statement is inaccurate if it is an error, a guess,
success secret
Think and communicate
with a clear purpose.
precision Exactness.
accuracy Factual truth.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Disciplining Your Thinking 267
or an opinion pretending to be a fact. If something is based on fact, it can
be checked and verified. Ask yourself:
• Is this really true?
• Is it possible to check whether this is true? (If not, the statement is
probably not accurate.)
• What is this based on?
• How reliable is the source of this information?
Inaccurate: Lupita Nyong’o is the most beautiful person in the world.
Why It’s Inaccurate: Beauty is subjective, so it’s impossible to prove or disprove this statement.
Accurate: In 2014, editors of People magazine chose Oscar winner, Lupita
Nyong’o, for the cover of their “most beautiful people” issue.
Inaccurate: Our universe started with the “Big Bang.”
Why It’s Inaccurate: This is a theory, not a fact. It is impossible to check
and verify the creation of the universe.
Accurate: No one is really sure how the universe began, but most scientists
support the “Big Bang” theory.
4. Relevance A fact or idea is relevant if it has a direct connection
to the subject being discussed. A fact or idea is irrelevant if it has nothing
to do with the subject. Ask yourself:
• Is this connected to the issue?
• Is this being introduced to change the subject, criticize others, or shift
the blame?
Irrelevant: Martin is getting a divorce, so he wouldn’t be a good choice for
vice president.
Why It’s Irrelevant: Martin’s personal life doesn’t have anything to do with
his work performance.
Relevant: Martin shows a lack of focus at work, so he wouldn’t be a good
choice for vice president.
Irrelevant: Juanita once was a vegetarian and shouldn’t be elected president of the local meat packers council.
Why It’s Irrelevant: Juanita’s prior eating habits have nothing to do with
the duties she would perform as council president.
Relevant: Juanita does not have a full grasp of her responsibilities as council president and evades direct questions about her previous employment.
She should not be elected to the council.
5. Depth A thought has depth if it digs below the surface to consider
the substance of the issue. A shallow argument scratches only the surface,
while a deep argument examines all sides of the issue. Ask yourself:
success secret
Learn to distinguish facts
from opinions.
success secret
Learn to separate the relevant from the irrelevant.
268 Chapter 6 | Self-Discipline Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
• Am I just skimming over the problem?
• Am I going along with what someone else says without thinking things
• Is this issue more complex than it seems?
Shallow: Building more prisons will solve our drug problem.
Why It’s Shallow: This is a superficial solution to a difficult problem.
Deep: Building more prisons will allow more drug dealers to be imprisoned, but it won’t address the causes of drug addiction.
Shallow: This smartphone is the latest model, so it must be the best.
Why It’s Shallow: Just because something is the newest doesn’t mean it’s
the best.
Deep: This CD player has lots of new features, but it doesn’t have better
sound quality than older models.
6. Breadth Breadth is the degree to which a statement considers
other arguments and points of view. To think broadly, you need to detect
and analyze the biases that affect other people’s judgments, as well as your
own. Ask yourself:
• Is there another way to look at this?
• How are my own experiences and values coloring my thinking?
• Am I seeing things from a narrow point of view?
• How would this look from a different point of view?
Narrow: Environmentalists think owls are more important than people.
Why It’s Narrow: This statement deliberately distorts environmentalists’
point of view. Job losses occur when land formerly used for logging
becomes protected habitat for endangered species. This doesn’t mean that
environmentalists are anti-human.
Broad: Environmentalists want to preserve wildlife habitat by reducing logging on public lands.
Narrow: I don’t know why people like Mike’s guitar playing—it’s terrible.
Why It’s Narrow: This statement assumes that there is only one correct
point of view on Mike’s guitar playing.
Broad: Mike’s guitar playing appeals to jazz fans, but it doesn’t appeal
to me.
7. Logic Logic is the process of reasoning correctly and drawing the
correct conclusions from the facts. Being logical also involves providing
valid explanations for your conclusions. Instead of taking ideas for granted,
make sure solid evidence supports them. To determine whether your reasoning is logical, ask yourself:
• Do I have evidence for this statement?
• Is there any evidence that contradicts this statement?
success secret
Remember that your point
of view is only one of
logic The process of
reasoning correctly and
drawing the correct
conclusions from the facts.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Disciplining Your Thinking 269
• Is this really true, or am I just taking it for granted?
• Is there any other possible conclusion?
• Do any of my ideas contradict one another?
Illogical: Women cry more often than men. They are obviously more
Why It’s Illogical: Crying doesn’t prove that women are more emotional. It
proves that they show emotions differently.
Logical: Women cry more often than men. They display emotions differently than men do.
Illogical: All of our students are above average.
Why It’s Illogical: It is statistically impossible for a majority of people to
be above average when compared to one another.
Logical: All of our students have special talent in a certain area.
Critical thinking is important but not always easy. It is a learning process,
requiring time and practice. Following specific guidelines, such as the
seven standards described previously, is an excellent way to become a more
effective critical thinker. Do you follow these seven standards of critical
thinking in your thought, speech, and writing? Can you recognize when one
or more of these standards is missing? Resolve to work hard to overcome
the thinking pitfalls that are particularly challenging for you. Try your hand
at correcting flawed thinking in Activity 34.
Important decisions can affect your life for years to come. For this reason,
intelligent decision making is one of the most important benefits of effective critical thinking.
A decision is a reasoned choice among several options, or possible
courses of action. We make minor decisions all day long—what to wear,
what to eat, what route to take to school—without thinking much about the
process. When it comes to major decisions, however, we need to rely on a
step-by-step decision-making process.
Why Good Decisions Matter
We all face many important decisions over the course of our lives—
academic decisions, career decisions, relationship decisions, and other
personal decisions. Although it’s easy to feel like we don’t have to make
a decision until we are faced with a problem, no positive change happens
without making decisions. To turn our dreams into reality, we have to take
concerted action, and this action requires making decisions.
success secret
Look at critical thinking as
a learning process.
decision A reasoned
choice among several
options, or possible courses
of action.
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ACTIVITY 34: Developing Your Critical Thinking
A Below are seven statements, one for each of the seven standards of critical thinking. Each statement
fails to meet the standard in some way. Explain what is wrong with each statement, then rewrite each
one to correct the flaw.
1. Clarity
Unclear: All are invited to partake in refreshments in the parking lot after the festivities of the football game have reached their conclusion.
Why It’s Unclear:
2. Precision
Imprecise: Internet companies are out to scam people.
Why It’s Imprecise:
3. Accuracy
Inaccurate: Drug testing doesn’t work.
Why It’s Inaccurate:
4. Relevance
Irrelevant: Steve is not well liked; that’s why he’s flunking all his classes.
Why It’s Irrelevant:
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Disciplining Your Thinking 271
5. Depth
Shallow: Our government passes only good laws.
Why It’s Shallow:
6. Breadth
Narrow: The painting looks like chickens ran across it. No one could like such a thing.
Why It’s Narrow:
7. Logic
Illogical: Jane, who lives in a rundown neighborhood, steals from her friends. All people who live in
rundown areas steal from others.
Why It’s Illogical:
B Few people follow all seven of these critical thinking standards all the time. What flaws do you see most
often in your thinking? In others’ thinking? Explain.
C Politicians are sometimes accused of ignoring the standards of critical thinking—especially breadth and
depth—in their speeches and campaign statements. Why might a politician deliberately do this?
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Decisions are important opportunities to take control of your life.
When you make a decision, you are intervening in the flow of your life. You
are creating a new future for yourself. For example, let’s say that you decide
to move to a new city instead of remaining in your hometown. By making
this important decision, you are creating an entirely new set of circumstances for yourself. You are creating a future that will be entirely different
from the future that you would otherwise have.
Handling Mistakes
When we look back at decisions we have made in the past, we can see that
some brought us closer to our goals, while some sidetracked us. Some decisions were consistent with our values, and some were not. Some boosted
our self-esteem, and some lowered it. The more aware we become of which
decisions were right for us and which were not, the better equipped we will
be to make good decisions in the future.
Because no one can accurately predict the future, everyone makes
mistakes. A mistake is anything you did in the past that you now wish you
had done differently. At the time, given the limited information you had,
your decision seemed like the best possible one. It is only later, after you
live the consequences, that you label your action (or inaction) a mistake.
Mistakes can actually be valuable tools for you to learn, and can help you
on the path to success as long as you view them in a healthy light. People
who fear mistakes have trouble making decisions for fear of doing the
wrong thing. Perhaps this means staying in a dead-end job for fear of new
responsibilities or avoiding social situations for fear of suffering rejection.
Instead of fearing mistakes, accept them as part of being human and view
them as learning experiences.
Steps in the Decision-Making Process
People often make important decisions on impulse or based on inaccurate
information or wishful thinking. The best way to make important decisions,
however, is to follow a decision-making process, a logical series of steps to
identify and evaluate possibilities and to arrive at a good choice. A good
decision-making process has seven logical steps:
Step 1: Define the decision you need to make.
Step 2: List all possible options.
Step 3: Gather information on the consequences of each option.
Step 4: Assess the consequences of each option relative to your values
and goals.
Step 5: Choose one of the possible options.
Step 6: Act.
Step 7: Evaluate your progress, changing course if necessary.
success secret
When you make a major
decision, you are creating
a new future for yourself.
mistake Anything you did
in the past that you now wish
you had done differently.
process A logical series
of steps to identify and
evaluate options and to arrive
at a good choice.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Disciplining Your Thinking 273
professional development )))
Let’s look at each step carefully, considering how to recognize and
overcome errors that can creep into the process. Once you have thoroughly
explored each step, you will try your hand at making a hypothetical decision in Activity 35.
Step 1: Define the Decision The first step in the decisionmaking process is to define what needs to be decided and why. This
sounds obvious, but sometimes you need to go below the surface to find
out exactly what question or problem you’re facing. This is a good time
to be creative in your thinking, perhaps turning what seems to be a problem into an opportunity. For example, deciding how to deal with an
increased workload may seem like a problem, but showing your boss that
you can work under pressure could be an opportunity for a pay raise or a
As you define what you need to decide, be aware that the way a decision, question, or problem is worded biases the way you decide it. This psychological process is known as the framing effect. As an example, imagine
that you have been offered a new job but aren’t sure whether you should
framing effect The
decision-making bias that
results from the way a
decision, question, or
problem is worded.
Wanted: Problem Solvers
As the job market becomes more competitive, particularly for college graduates, companies are looking for
candidates with more than work experience and technical expertise. According to Forbes magazine, a survey by CareerBuilder identified the ten most in-demand skills for top jobs of 2013, with the following being
at the top of the list: (1) critical thinking, (2) complex problem solving, and (3) judgment and decision making.
Much of what you will do on the job involves seeking solutions, weighting alternatives, conferring with others, evaluating your decisions, and determining if the same course of action makes sense the next time.
A national survey of business and nonprofit leaders conducted by the Association of American Colleges
and Universities (AAC&U) found that nearly all employers surveyed (ninety-three percent) say that “a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than
a candidate’s undergraduate major.”
And once you’re hired, continuing to develop these skills will contribute to your advancement and
earning potential. The majority of Fortune 500 companies include problem solving, critical thinking, and
decision making as core competencies for leadership excellence.
What’s Your Opinion?
What are some examples you could give a potential employer of how you’ve used your problem-solving and
decision-making skills in school and how that relates to future performance on the job? To learn more about
problem-solving decision making, go to one of the following sites:
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ACTIVITY 35: Using the Decision-Making Process
A Define the Decision. Consider the following scenario. You have taken a new job downtown that
will require a lengthy commute from your apartment in the suburbs. Your car is more than ten years
old and has been in the shop several times during the past year. Now it needs a transmission overhaul,
too. Your new job starts this coming Monday. What do you need to decide? Write down several different ways of defining the decision you have to make, then put a check mark next to the one that best
expresses the decision facing you.
B List Options. Two options immediately come to mind: buy a new car or get the old car repaired. Are
there any other options? Generate four more.
1. Buy a new car.
2. Get the old car repaired.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Disciplining Your Thinking 275
C Gather Information. Assemble information on each option you thought of in B. Consider all the
relevant factors—time, money, safety, convenience, lifestyle, and so on. Consulting people with
experience is a good way to gather information about the possible consequences of a decision.
For this decision, whom could you consult?
D Assess. Now that you know more about each option, assess how well each one fits with your values
and goals.
1. PROS: Will give me sense of safety and security; promotes my value of independence
CONS: Will sidetrack my savings goals for a few years
2. PROS: Will help me save for future and conserve resources
CONS: Car may require future repairs, damaging my financial security
3. PROS:
4. PROS:
5. PROS:
6. PROS:
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E Choose. Which option is the most attractive, given the information you have right now?
Now that you have made your decision, actively discard the other options.
Focus on the positive aspects of your decision. Sign here to indicate your commitment to your decision:
(If you feel uncomfortable with your decision, go back over steps A–E.)
F Take Action. Get started! What are three things you could do right away—today—to implement
your decision?
G Evaluate. Monitor how well the decision is working for you. If you decide that the decision you made
is not ideal, what are five things you could do to make it better?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Disciplining Your Thinking 277
accept it. Think how the following different ways of framing the decision
might affect the choice you make:
• Should I accept this new job?
• Should I settle for this new job?
• Should I reject this new job?
• Should I continue my job search?
• Should I remain unemployed?
Sometimes we unconsciously frame a decision in a certain way because
we already know how we really want to decide. When you are faced with a
decision, take care to frame the decision in different ways so that you don’t
exclude any possible options.
Step 2: List All Possible Options Step 2 is to generate
options. Write down every idea, even if it seems silly to you. Even a silly
idea might lead to a good option once your creative juices get flowing.
Don’t be satisfied with one or two options; brainstorm until you have a
wide range of possible courses of action from which to choose. Also,
consult other people—they can often suggest options you might not have
thought of, especially if they have different experiences and points
of view.
As you make your list, analyze your expectations about the
situation—they may limit your options. For example, people usually
choose the very first option that comes to mind, even if it isn’t the best
one. They also tend to block out information that might make them
change their minds. You can avoid this pitfall by generating as many
options as possible, seeking the advice of people who have ideas that
are different from yours, and allowing yourself plenty of time to
generate many options.
Step 3: Gather Information The more information you can
gather about your decision, the easier it will be to generate options and
then evaluate them. This is most obvious in a financial decision, such as
buying car insurance, where you’ll need to gather information on your
needs and options. You also need to gather information when making
important personal decisions. For example, if you are trying to decide
between two different majors at school, you’ll want to consider the cost,
length, and difficulty of the two programs; the career opportunities in the
two fields; and how well your values, interests, and abilities fit with
each one.
The Internet can be a wonderful resource for gathering facts and information. Friends or coworkers who have experience in the area you are
researching can also be a valuable resource. An informed decision will go a
long way toward helping you accomplish your goals.
success secret
Consider every possible
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Step 4: Assess the Consequences Step 4 is to look into the
future and try to gauge the possible outcomes of each course of action.
What will the positive consequences of a certain option be? What will the
negative consequences be? One good way to organize this information is to
make a list of pros and cons for each option you are considering. For example, let’s say you are deciding whether to return to school for a degree. The
pros of going back to school might include intellectual stimulation and
greater career mobility, while the cons might include less free time and
more stress.
As you organize your pros and cons, use your values and goals as standards to judge each course of action. Does the option harmonize with your
core values? Does it get you closer to your goals? Is it what you believe,
deep down, you should do? Try this approach to organizing your options in
Personal Journal 6.4. Committing this information to paper is a good way
of safeguarding the decision-making process from interference by forgetfulness, old habits, and changing moods. The process of writing also helps you
generate ideas.
As you consider the pros and cons of each option, remember that you
will always be faced with some uncertainty. You can never fully predict all
the consequences of every option. Uncertainty means not knowing what the
consequences of a decision will be for yourself and others. Uncertainty
about the future can lead to paralyzing indecision. However, uncertainty is
an unavoidable part of decision making. Doing research can help you predict many of the consequences of your decisions, but you can never be
entirely sure what the future will bring.
Step 5: Choose One Option It’s the moment of truth. You have
acceptance letters from two colleges. Your mouse cursor is hovering over
the send button to e-mail your decision to your boss. Feelings of hesitation
and self-questioning are normal at a time like this. Sometimes it’s hard to
figure out which option is the best one. In this situation, you experience
conflict. In a decision-making context, conflict occurs when no option is significantly more attractive than the others. When we are in conflict, we
might be tempted to make no decision at all, holding out for some imaginary solution that will have no negative consequences. We can help ourselves deal with the inherent conflict of decision making by focusing on one
central value or goal.
Once you’ve made your choice, remember that you’ve done
everything in your power to choose the right course. Whether or not
the outcome is favorable, you can be confident that your decision was
a good one.
success secret
Use your values and goals
to guide your choices.
uncertainty Not knowing
what the consequences of a
decision will be for yourself
and others.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Personal Journal 6.4
Pros and Cons
Think of a major decision you are now facing or are likely to face in the near future. Choose two possible courses of action and write down which goal(s) and value(s) each option would support and which it
would go against.
Action Goal(s) it would support Value(s) it would support
Option 1.
Option 2.
Action Goal(s) it would contradict Value(s) it would contradict
Option 1.
Option 2.
Based on this information, which option would you choose?
Disciplining Your Thinking 279
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Step 6: Act A decision has value only if you act on it. This is why a
choice is sometimes described as a “course of action.” Without action, a
decision is an empty gesture.
Try to avoid the pitfall of coming to a mental conclusion to solve a
problem, then resting on the feeling of commitment rather than the act of
commitment. Indecision creates a kind of mental tension. This tension
begins to ease as soon as we make a choice. Taking action on that choice,
however, is even more satisfying and will help you become a better decision
After making any kind of significant decision, it is common to feel
regret. Regret is the feeling of wishing you had decided something differently. You are less likely to suffer from regret if you make decisive,
informed choices. If you take action—even the wrong action—you will suffer
fewer pangs of regret than if you simply do nothing at all. Don’t let fear of
regret scare you away from making a decision.
Abraham Lincoln made this phrase famous: “Never change horses midstream.” In other words, once you have made a choice, commit to it. If you
feel like going back on your decision, make sure you are acting on an
impartial evaluation of the situation rather than on an impulse based on
fear or regret.
Step 7: Evaluate Your Progress To make decisions effectively, you need to learn from experience. Therefore, evaluating your progress is an important part of the decision-making process. Evaluate how well
the decision is working for you, remembering that every major decision
leads to other decisions down the road. Keeping a journal of your progress
can be helpful. As you monitor your results, ask yourself:
• Did I overlook any information that would be helpful in the future?
• Would another approach to the decision have worked better?
• Did I allow myself adequate time to generate options?
• What can I learn from the experience to help me make a better decision
the next time around?
Often, decisions that seem like disasters provide the best lessons of all.
They can help you learn more about yourself and your thinking style.
It’s Up to You Using the decision-making process helps you build
self-determination and critical thinking skills. As you develop the ability
to gather reliable information, to think of creative options, and to make
choices based on your goals and values, you will feel more and more in
control of your life. If you avoid making decisions, on the other hand,
your life will start to pass you by. Physical and mental self-discipline
will help you overcome indecision and do what you need to do to reach
your goals.
regret The feeling of
wishing you had decided
something differently.
success secret
The results of your decisions can teach you a
great deal.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Disciplining Your Thinking 281
Learning to make good decisions takes time and practice. Once you
have mastered the ability to make decisions confidently and accept the consequences without self-blame, you will be well on your way to success.
Self Check
1. Define critical thinking. (p. 261)
2. What are some of the benefits of being a critical thinker? (p. 261)
3. What is regret? (p. 280)
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Chapter 6 Review and Activities
Key Terms
self-discipline (p. 238)
persistence (p. 239)
self-determination (p. 240)
responsibility (p. 241)
impulse (p. 243)
consequences (p. 245)
habit (p. 251)
brain rewiring (p. 254)
critical thinking (p. 261)
precision (p. 266)
accuracy (p. 266)
logic (p. 268)
decision (p. 269)
mistake (p. 272)
decision-making process (p. 272)
framing effect (p. 273)
uncertainty (p. 278)
regret (p. 280)
Summary by Learning Objectives
• Define self-discipline and cite its benefits. Self-discipline is the process of teaching ourselves to do what is necessary to achieve our goals. Self-discipline strengthens our ability to control our destiny, persist in the face of setbacks, weigh the long-term consequences of our
actions, make positive changes, break bad habits, think critically, and make effective decisions.
• Explain how to control impulses. We can control impulses in three steps: (1) stop;
(2) think about the pleasant short-term consequences and the unpleasant long-term consequences of the action; and (3) decide whether the pleasant short-term consequences are worth
the negative long-term ones.
• Describe the process of replacing bad habits with good ones. Changing our bad habits
involves three major steps: (1) wanting to change; (2) understanding the bad habit; and
(3) replacing the bad habit with a new, healthy habit.
• Define critical thinking and list its seven standards. Critical thinking is active, reflective
thinking that involves both thinking skills and the self-discipline to apply those skills. The seven
standards for excellent critical thinking are clarity, precision, accuracy, relevance, depth,
breadth, and logic.
• List the steps in the decision-making process. A good decision-making process follows
a logical series of steps to identify and evaluate possibilities and make the best decision. The
process involves seven steps: (1) defining the decision that needs to be made; (2) listing all
possible options; (3) gathering information on the consequences of each option; (4) assessing
the consequences of each option relative to your values and goals; (5) choosing one option;
(6) acting on the decision; and (7) evaluating your progress.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Review and Activities 283
Review and Activities
Review Questions
1. What is the difference between persistence and self-determination?
2. Why do some people resist change?
3. What three stages do people go through before they begin to take action to break a habit?
4. How can positive self-talk help you change a bad habit?
5. Describe the framing effect and how it might affect the decision-making process.
6. Why do people sometimes regret the decisions they make?
Critical Thinking
7. Adapting to Change Imagine that you are chronically late to work, and one day your boss
announces that employees who come late will be fired. This forces you to begin arriving on
time. Now imagine that you are chronically late, but you decide of your own free will to begin
arriving on time. In both cases, you need to make the same behavioral change: arriving on
time for work. Would this change be easier for you in the first or in the second scenario?
Why? What does this tell you about your self-discipline?
8. Self-Discipline Parents help their children develop self-discipline by setting clear, reasonable limits, or guidelines, for acceptable and unacceptable behavior. For example, parents of
toddlers often set limits such as “share toys with playmates” and “do not bite.” Why would a
child who is given no limits have difficulty developing self-discipline later in life? Why would
a child who is given too many limits also have difficulty developing self-discipline?
9. Habit Survey Interview three people who have changed a bad habit into a healthy habit.
How did they achieve their success? How long did it take? Did they ever have a relapse? If
so, what did they learn from each relapse? What behaviors from these interviews would you
like to adopt and use in your own life?
10. Decision Making Describe one or two major decisions you have made in your life. How
did you go about making your decision? What were your challenges? What were the consequences? What did you learn to help you in making future decisions?
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Internet Activities
11. Critical Thinking Quiz Visit https://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/topic/critical-thinking
for some fun and challenging quizzes to test your ability to think critically and creatively.
12. Habits of Mind Visit http://www.habitsofmind.org/content/managing-impulsivity to
read an online article about habits of mind, specifically, managing impulsivity. Think
about how some of your own impulsive behaviors have hurt you in the past. Determine
steps you can take to develop your self-discipline, delay gratification, and more effectively
manage impulsivity.
Review your answer to the question in the Real-Life Success
Story on page 236. Think about how you would answer the
question now that you have learned more about self-discipline
and the process of change.
Complete the Story Write a note to Jeannette describing the
factors that could be holding her back from making her desired
change. Then give her advice on overcoming her fear of change
and using self-discipline to reach her goal.
Real-Life “Should I Make a Change?”
Success Story
©Westend61/Getty Images
Review and Activities

Running Late
Elijah Wells, a salesman, had gone back to college
to earn his business degree and get a better
paying job. Elijah always did the first half of his
assignments, but he could never seem to complete them. He often felt too discouraged to go
to class, especially on test days. Elijah blamed his
difficulties on his instructors’ impossibly high
standards. He was taken aback when his advisor
suggested that his real problem was himself—he
was making himself fail because he was afraid of
Running Scared
It sounded crazy at first, but Elijah began to realize
that his self-defeating behavior really did come from
a fear of success. Deep down, he thought he wasn’t
college material. How could he hold his own with the
other, younger students? What if his friends deserted
him once he got a degree and a promotion? Instead
of focusing on success, he was letting fear lead him
straight to failure.
What Do You Think? Why would someone fear
“How Can I Succeed?”
Success Story
©Caiaimage/Glow Images
Self-Motivation 7 Chapter
learning objectives
After you complete this chapter,
you should be able to:
• Contrast intrinsic motivation
with extrinsic motivation.
• Describe how to distinguish
needs from wants.
• Explain why needs motivate
our behavior.
• Cite ways to overcome fear
of failure.
• Cite ways to overcome fear
of success.
• Describe visualization and how
it can boost motivation.
Nothing can dim the light which
shines from within.”
Maya Angelou, Author
Motivation drives us to reach our goals and realize our
full potential. In Section 7.1 you’ll explore the different
types of motivation and learn why internal motivation
is the most lasting form of motivation. You’ll also
learn how your needs and wants drive your behavior.
In Section 7.2 you’ll work on overcoming the fears that
can drain your motivation and make you afraid to take
risks. You’ll also learn to use visualization to boost
your motivation and self-expectancy.

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SECTION 7.1 Understanding Motivation
Everything we do is the result of motivation. Motivation is the inner force
that compels behavior; that moves us to action, giving us energy, direction,
and persistence. Motivation moves us toward the goals we have set. Even in
the face of mistakes, discouragement, and setbacks, our positive inner drive
keeps us moving ahead.
To be successful, you must depend on yourself for motivation. Instead
of waiting for something or someone to jump-start you into action, you
need to actively look for ways to motivate yourself. When you are selfmotivated, you can rely on your own strength and drive to take you where
you want to go.
High achievers have high self-motivation; the power to move them to
action comes from inside themselves. Sometimes just a little more motivation than usual can lead to incredible results. Think about the difference
between simple boiling water and powerful steam. When water is heated to
211 degrees Fahrenheit, it is simply boiling water. Yet when the temperature reaches 212 degrees, only one degree higher, the water becomes steam,
which is powerful enough to launch a Navy jet from an aircraft carrier at a
speed of 120 miles an hour in only five seconds.
Positive and Negative Motivation
We may be driven toward a situation or away from it, depending on how
we feel inside. When we are driven toward success, we experience positive
motivation. When we are driven away from failure, we experience negative
motivation. These two forces are shown in Figure 7.1.
Positive motivation is the drive to do something we want to do because
it will move us toward a goal or because we associate it with positive
thoughts and feelings. We might be positively motivated to work hard on
learning a skill or writing a term paper, for example, because it gives us a
feeling of accomplishment or because we have a natural curiosity about the
topic. Positive motivation boosts our feelings of optimism and self-esteem.
Negative motivation, by contrast, is the drive to do something we
have to do in order to avoid punishment or other negative consequences.
If we are negatively motivated, we might work hard on a term paper
because we are afraid of getting a low grade or disappointing the teacher.
Negative motivation isn’t necessarily bad. When our positive motivation is low, it can help us do the things we need to do. Let’s say you
are afraid of being called on in a certain class. You’re tired and can’t
summon the positive motivation to study. However, the fear of being
unprepared or giving the wrong answer might motivate you to study
extra hard.
motivation The force
that moves you to action.
success secret
Look for ways to motivate
positive motivation
The drive to do something
because it will move you
toward a goal.
negative motivation
The drive to do something
in order to avoid negative
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Motivation 289
When we are positively motivated, we engage in activities that bring us
closer to our goals and that give us a sense of pride and accomplishment.
When we are negatively motivated, we are driven by unpleasant thoughts
and feelings, such as fear, worry, and self-doubt.
We’ve seen that whatever we spend the most energy thinking about is
what will come to pass, whether it is something we fear or something we
desire. Positive motivation makes us feel that we are achieving success,
rather than simply avoiding failure. If you are experiencing negative
motivation, try to consciously switch your thoughts from what you need
to avoid to what you want to achieve. Instead of worrying about giving
the wrong answer in class, for example, you can choose to focus on why
you are in school, what you are gaining from this class, and how you are
moving closer to your goals. Work on changing negatives into positives
in Personal Journal 7.1.
Sources of Motivation
Motivation can come from two sources: outside and inside. Motivation that
comes from outside is known as extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic means external.
Motivation that comes from inside is known as intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic
means internal. Intrinsic motivation is the source of all true motivation.
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are very different. Intrinsic motivation
is positive motivation that fuels your interests and passions. It drives you to
do things that you enjoy and that allow you to grow as a person, such as:
• seeking excellence and independence
• feeling good about yourself
• understanding your world
• staying true to your inner values
• determining the course of your life
success secret
Positive motivation brings
you closer to your goals.
extrinsic motivation
Motivation that comes from
intrinsic motivation
Motivation that comes from
FIGURE 7.1 Positive and Negative Motivation
In the Right Direction Positive motivation harnesses the power of positive
thoughts and feelings to move you closer to your goal. Why do you think
negative motivation is associated with low self-esteem?
Positive Motivation Negative Motivation
Desire to
Fear of
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Personal Journal 7.1
Generating Positive Motivation
Imagine that you are searching for a full-time job in your career field. The job search involves many steps,
including perfecting your résumé, gathering references, and contacting potential employers. Will you be
negatively motivated or positively motivated? Transform each negative motivation listed below into a
positive motivation.
I have to get this job to avoid defaulting on my student loans.
Getting this job will be a big step toward reaching my financial goals.
I have to work hard on my résumé, or else I won’t get any interviews.
I’m gathering references because no one will hire me without them.
I’m applying for lots of jobs because I don’t want to feel like I missed an opportunity.
I need to practice interview techniques so I don’t bungle it on the big day.
I have to follow up on the interview, or else they’ll think I don’t want the job.
Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is more like a quick fix. You
do things not because you really want to, but because they are a means to
an end, such as:
• looking good
• fitting in socially
• pleasing others
success secret
Lasting motivation comes
from inside.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Motivation 291
• earning a material reward
• feeling superior to others
• avoiding trouble or punishment
Extrinsic motivation represents positive motivation when it moves you
toward a desired goal such as financial independence, professional achievement, or social acceptance. It represents negative motivation, however,
when it is based on gaining status, fame, and power or when it is based on
fear and avoidance. Extrinsic motivation can provide encouragement or
inspiration to act, but it only lasts for a while and is a poor substitute for
more lasting and satisfying intrinsic goals. Lasting motivation only exists
when you feel it inside. You must really want something for yourself to be
motivated to attain it.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Goals People tend to have different
goals depending on what kind of motivation they have. Those who have
intrinsic motivation aim for intrinsic goals, such as building relationships,
giving to others, growing as individuals, and making the most of their potential. People with extrinsic motivation, by contrast, usually aim for extrinsic
goals, such as acquiring possessions, wealth, fame, beauty, or a glamorous
image. It’s not wrong or bad to have extrinsic goals, but most people who
have a strong drive for money, fame, or a glamorous image live in fear that
these desires will never be fulfilled or that they may not last. Even people
who do attain these goals often suffer negative symptoms such as anxiety
and depression. No matter how much they have, it never seems like enough.
Emphasis on intrinsic goals, such as relationships, community involvement,
and health, on the other hand, goes hand in hand with greater well-being.
Often, people who have extrinsic goals are trying to fulfill an emotional
need with a material object. Jerry’s need for an Italian sports car, for example, stems from his feelings of low self-esteem. He is hoping that a glamorous possession will give him a sense of self-worth.
Where does your motivation come from? What drives you to do what
you do? What do your goals look like? Use Activity 36 to assess your intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Understanding Incentives
As we have seen, people who are extrinsically motivated are concerned
with looking good, avoiding punishment, or earning some kind of reward.
A reward offered in order to motivate a person to do something is known
as an incentive. Have you ever won a contest or received an award where
you were recognized by family, friends, teachers, or peers? If so, you have
felt the pull and satisfaction of incentives.
Most schools and companies use incentives to motivate people. Schools
hand out rankings, special awards, praise from instructors, and prizes and
scholarships. Companies use benefits, bonuses, exotic travel trips, pay
raises, and improvements to the work environment.
success secret
Aim for inner fulfillment,
not outward
incentive A reward
offered in order to motivate
a person to do something.
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ACTIVITY 36: What Motivates You?
A For each item, circle the letter (a, b, or c) of the statement that describes your most likely reaction to the
situation described.
1. You have been offered a new position in a company where you have worked for some time. The
first thought that likely comes to mind is:
a. I wonder if the new work will be interesting.
b. What if I can’t live up to the new responsibility?
c. Will I make more money at this position?
2. You have a school-age daughter. On parents’ night, the teacher tells you that your daughter is
doing poorly and doesn’t seem involved in the work. You are likely to:
a. Talk it over with your daughter to understand further what the problem is.
b. Scold her and hope she does better.
c. Make sure she does the assignments because she should be working harder.
3. You had a job interview several weeks ago. In the mail you receive a form letter that states that
the position has been filled. It is likely that you might think:
a. Somehow they didn’t see my qualifications as matching their needs.
b. I’m probably not good enough for the job.
c. It’s not what you know, but who you know.
4. You are a plant supervisor and have been charged with the task of allotting coffee breaks to three
workers who cannot all break at once. You would likely handle this by:
a. Telling the three workers the situation and having them work with you on the schedule.
b. Finding out from someone in authority what to do, or doing what was done in the past.
c. Simply assigning times that each can break.
5. A close friend of yours has been moody lately. On a few occasions, this person has become very
angry with you over “nothing.” You might:
a. Share your observations with him or her and try to find out what is going on.
b. Ignore it because there’s not much you can do about it anyway.
c. Tell your friend that you’re willing to spend time together only if he or she makes more
effort at self-control.
6. You have just received the results of a test you took, and you have discovered that you did very
poorly. Your initial reaction will probably be to:
a. Feel disappointed and wonder how you did so poorly.
b. Feel sad and blame yourself for not being able to do anything right.
c. Feel angry because that stupid test doesn’t show anything.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Motivation 293
7. You have been invited to a large party where you know very few people. As you look forward to
the evening, you would likely expect that:
a. You’ll try to fit in with whatever is happening in order to have a good time and not look bad.
b. You’ll probably feel somewhat isolated and unnoticed.
c. You’ll find some people to whom you can relate.
8. You are asked to plan a picnic for yourself and your fellow employees. Your style for approaching this project could most likely be characterized as:
a. Taking charge: You would make most of the major decisions yourself.
b. Following precedent: You’re not really up to the task, so you’d do it the way it’s been done
c. Seeking participation: You would get input from others before you make the final plans.
9. Recently a position opened up at your workplace that could have meant a promotion for you.
However, a person you work with was offered the job rather than you. In evaluating the situation,
you’re likely to think:
a. The other person probably “did the right things” politically to get the job.
b. You didn’t really expect the job; you frequently get passed over.
c. You should probably take a look at factors in your own performance that led you to be
passed over.
10. You are embarking on a new career. The most important consideration is likely to be:
a. Whether there are good possibilities for advancement.
b. Whether you can do the work without getting in over your head.
c. How interested you are in that kind of work.
11. A woman who works for you has generally done an adequate job. However, for the past two
weeks her work has not been up to par, and she appears to be less actively interested in her
work. Your reaction will probably be to:
a.   Tell her that her work is below what is expected and that she should start working harder.
b.   Hesitate; it’s hard to know what to do to get her straightened out.
c.   Ask her about the problem and let her know you are available to help work it out.
12. Your company has promoted you to a position in another city. As you think about the move, you
would probably:
a.   Feel excited about the higher status and salary that is involved.
b.   Feel stressed and anxious about the upcoming changes.
c.   Feel interested in the new challenge and a little nervous at the same time.
Source: Adapted from Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, “The General Causality Orientations Scale: Self-Determination in Personality,” Journal of Research in Personality 19
(1985); 109–134.
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B Scoring: First, go back to number 7. Beginning with this item and continuing through number 12,
change each A you circled to a C; change each C to an A. Now add up the total number of A’s, B’s, and
C’s you selected, and use the information below to interpret your results.
A’s ________________ B’s ________________ C’s ________________
Mostly A’s: You are high in intrinsic motivation. You tend to choose situations that stimulate your internal motivation and provide you with opportunities to improve yourself. You probably show initiative,
select activities that are interesting and challenging, and take responsibility for your own behavior.
Mostly B’s: You lack motivation because you believe that success and achievement are matters of luck
or fate, not of effort on your part. You probably feel that you are unable to make a difference or cope
with demands or changes, and you may often feel anxious and ineffective.
Mostly C’s: You are high in extrinsic motivation. You tend to be motivated by factors such as rewards,
deadlines, structures, and the directives of others. In fact, you may be more attuned to what others
demand than to what you want for yourself. You probably place extreme importance on wealth, fame,
image, and other outward factors.
C According to the questionnaire, what motivates you? Do you agree or disagree? Explain.
D Why would someone who is intrinsically motivated be more likely to seek interesting and challenging
activities than someone who is extrinsically motivated?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Motivation 295
Why Incentives Fail There is nothing inherently wrong with incentives. However, incentives are usually effective only if they reinforce motivation
that comes from inside. Let’s say that your boss offers you a cash bonus if you
improve your job performance by a certain amount. Initially, the offer of money
might inspire you to work harder. Unless you are truly interested in being a better employee, however, your motivation is likely to fizzle out fairly quickly. The
bonus will motivate you only if you are motivated to improve yourself.
Relying solely on extrinsic rewards as motivation can also be self-defeating
because we can confuse the reward with the goal. For example, a child who is
bribed into doing schoolwork by the promise of praise, gold stars, or money
may develop the belief that these rewards, not the learning that leads to them,
are goals in themselves. An addiction to rewards may discourage us from
trying new things for fear of losing other people’s approval.
An even bigger problem with incentives is that they usually represent
someone else’s attempts to control our behavior. Think about the parents
who promised their teenage son a large allowance in exchange for earning
better grades. This reward was really an attempt to get him to do what they
wanted him to do. The reward did nothing to increase his interest in learning.
We’ve seen that achieving extrinsic goals such as wealth, fame, or image is less
satisfying than achieving intrinsic goals such as relationships and selfdetermination. But why? According to many psychologists, it’s because intrinsic
achievements, such as relationships and self-determination, meet fundamental
human needs. A need represents something we must have to survive and thrive.
All of us have both physical and psychological needs. We need not only
clothing and a roof over our heads, for example, but also a sense that we
are secure and loved by others. We need not only food to sustain our body
but also self-esteem to sustain our spirit.
Needs motivate much of our conscious behavior. We work to build
social and romantic relationships, for example, because we need acceptance and love from others. We strive to reach our goals because we need
to experience self-esteem and a sense of competence.
Needs motivate much of our unconscious behavior as well. For example, we all have a natural tendency to imitate the behaviors, postures, and
mannerisms of the people around us. We do this unconsciously to create a
climate of empathy and mutual acceptance.
Needs and Wants
How can we tell needs from wants? A need represents something we must
have in order to function. A want, on the other hand, represents something
we can survive and thrive without.
Wants often take the form of material goods beyond the basics necessary for survival. We all need healthful food, suitable clothing, and secure
success secret
The motivation for selfimprovement comes from
need Something you must
have in order to survive and
success secret
Needs motivate much of
human behavior.
want Something you can
survive and thrive without.
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shelter, for example, but we don’t really need gourmet coffee, designer
labels, or a four-car garage. Wants like these are perfectly normal, but they
are unlikely to provide long-lasting satisfaction. Material extras can be fun,
but they don’t fulfill our needs. If you are having trouble deciding whether
something is a want or a need, ask yourself:
• Will I be satisfied after I get this, or will I want something more?
• Am I hoping that this will boost my self-esteem?
• Am I hoping that this will take away a painful feeling, such as loneliness,
sadness, rejection, loss, or emptiness?
If something does not truly satisfy you physically or psychologically, it is
probably a want, not a need.
A Hierarchy of Needs
How many essential human needs are there? Two? Fifty? Three hundred?
According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, human needs fall into five
categories. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, shown in Figure 7.2, is a diagram
of these five central human needs arranged from the most basic (at the
bottom) to the most complex (at the top). The five levels of needs are:
• physical needs
• security needs
• social needs
• esteem needs
• self-actualization needs
Maslow’s model assumes that we must meet our basic needs before we
can turn our attention to the more complex ones. In other words, we seek
to fulfill higher, more complex psychological needs, such as the need for
esteem, only after our more basic survival needs have been met. Let’s look
at each level of the hierarchy of needs.
Physical Needs
Physical needs are the basic needs that support our biological health and
survival. Physical needs, the most basic and important of all human needs,
• fresh air
• clean water
• nutritious food
• shelter from the elements
• sanitary living conditions
• proper clothing
• basic medical care
• sexual intimacy
Think for a moment about how much of your life is devoted to satisfying your physical needs. You work to pay for food, shelter, clothing, and
hierarchy of needs
A diagram of the five central
human needs arranged from
the most basic to the most
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Motivation 297
medical care. You do housework and laundry to keep your surroundings
clean and sanitary. You go to the doctor and dentist to keep healthy. The
more time, money, and energy you must spend to meet your physical
needs, the less time, money, and energy you have to spend on meeting
higher level needs, such as education or social acceptance. If you have to
hold down two jobs to pay the bills, you will be less motivated to pursue an
advanced education or devote yourself to serving the community.
Security Needs
Once our physical needs are met, security and safety become our next
logical concerns. Our needs for safety and security include:
• freedom from physical harm
• a stable environment
• confidence that we can depend on others
• protection from abuse
success secret
Satisfying basic survival
needs requires hard work.
FIGURE 7.2 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Needs as Motivators Needs motivate much of our behavior. If we are hungry, we seek food; if we are lonely, we seek companionship; if we are bored,
we seek stimulation. When might someone ignore a lower level need in order
to fulfill a higher level need?
Esteem Needs
Social Needs
Security Needs
Physical Needs
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• freedom from fear, anxiety, and chaos
• structure, order, law, and limits
Before we can seek the fulfillment of higher personal needs, such as
self-esteem and social acceptance, we must first have a basic sense of safety
and security. Those who constantly worry about their safety will have trouble experiencing happiness, fulfillment, or a sense of belonging.
Social Needs
Human beings are social creatures, with an essential need for others. We all
have a need to feel that important others in our lives acknowledge, appreciate, and love us for who we truly are. We also have a need to reciprocate by
acknowledging, appreciating, and loving others. This need for fulfilling relationships with others is known as belongingness. The need for belongingness can be satisfied through the intimacy of romance or friendship, the
security of family ties, or the camaraderie at school or the workplace.
Without a sense of belonging, a person can fall victim to the kinds of
feelings associated with depression and low self-esteem: loneliness, unwantedness, or unworthiness. No matter how secure we are physically and
psychologically, we always need others.
Esteem Needs
To be happy and successful, people need to feel that they are valuable and
worthwhile and that others see them as valuable and worthwhile, too.
success secret
We all need to feel secure
in our environment.
Fulfilling relationships with
success secret
Low self-esteem can crush
Over the past five years, the number of college students enrolled in an online course has nearly doubled,
increasing from twenty-three percent to forty-five
percent. As technology options continue to grow exponentially, e-learning will someday soon be considered
the “traditional” mode of learning. The greatest challenge students face is motivation. Without physical
classrooms and face-to-face interactions with fellow
classmates, students can often feel isolated and disconnected. They can easily lose interest in the material and
become distracted and unmotivated. Students lacking
in motivation will most likely not successfully complete
their programs.
It is critical that online students find ways to stay
motivated. Being able to share ideas and discuss opinions with others through online study groups, chat
rooms, forums, and virtual meetings will help you feel
connected. Practicing good time-management skills
and setting goals for yourself will help you stay on track
and keep you from falling behind and getting discouraged. Look for innovative ways to enhance your learning by reading additional articles and viewing videos
online. Your success with e-learning is what you make
it! It can be very rewarding, fulfilling, and fun!
Think About It
What do you like most about online learning? How do
you stay motivated in your classes and ensure you
complete your work? To learn more about motivation
and e-learning, go to http://www.educationcorner.com
/online-education-motivation.html or conduct your own
online search using the keywords “online learning,”
“motivation,” and “e-learning.”
internet action
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Motivation 299
Esteem from others and self-esteem are closely related. We all need to feel
important, useful, successful, and respected, and we all need for others to
recognize our talents and potential.
Low self-esteem can crush our motivation to achieve goals and grow as
individuals. To be psychologically healthy, we need to be able to pat ourselves on the back now and then—to celebrate achievements and keep ourselves motivated and to offset those disappointing times when things don’t
go so well.
Competence The ability to reach our goals and cope with the challenges of life is key to self-esteem. Because of this, we all have a deep need to
feel a sense of competence in the important areas of our lives. Competence is
the ability to do something well. Being competent means knowing how to do
a job well and being able to perform it effectively. We take basic satisfaction
in knowing that we have done something well, from making an omelet to
writing a book. Once we achieve a goal or build a skill, we are rewarded with
the good feeling of knowing that we can accomplish new goals and build
new skills. Our self-esteem continues to grow as we set new goals and strive
to attain them.
Self-Actualization Needs
Self-actualization is the highest level of the hierarchy of needs. Self-actualization
means reaching one’s full potential and achieving long-term personal growth.
competence The ability
to do something well.
Reaching your full potential
and achieving long-term
personal growth.
Applying Psychology
Six Types of Achievement Motivation
(1) The first type of achievement motivation is Status with the Experts—in other words, gaining recognition as a
leader in your field. (2) The second type of achievement motivation is Acquisitiveness—which is the desire to
acquire something tangible such as a fixed sum of money, a sports car, or a boat. Many people live for the things
they love, and they also hate to lose those things. (3) The third type of achievement motivation is Achievement
via Independence, which is the desire to achieve on your own skills and merits. This could involve going through
demanding academic training to become a surgeon, scientist, or any other profession where you are sought
after for your ability. (4) The fourth type of achievement motivation is Status with Peers. This is different from
Status with the Experts because, to put it bluntly, your peers may not be the experts. Many of us are motivated
by how we are regarded by our friends or our fellow employees at work. (5) The fifth type of achievement motivation is Competitiveness, something we all know about. NBC founder David Sarnoff said, “Competition brings
out the best in products and, often, the worst in people.” How important is winning at all costs to you? (6) The
sixth type of achievement motivation is Concern for Excellence. Concern for Excellence means that you are
motivated every day to be the best you can possibly be in whatever you do. Of the six motivation types, only
two—Achievement via Independence and Concern for Excellence—are true intrinsic motivations.
The majority of history’s greatest achievers were common men and women with a desire to express
something within themselves to solve a problem. Many earned financial security and prestige, but that was
only a by-product of their efforts, not a primary motivation. Which of the above motivate you the most? Why?
300 Chapter 7 Self-Motivation Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
The need for self-actualization is the need for personal fulfillment—in other
words, for success.
Like success, self-actualization is a journey, not a destination. At no
point can we sit back and say to ourselves, “There! I’ve done everything I
need to become self-actualized.” We are at our best when we’re in a state of
constant growth—open to new ideas and quick to make use of new knowledge, even knowledge gained from our mistakes.
Autonomy We all need autonomy to achieve self-actualization.
Autonomy means freedom of choice, independence, and the chance to exercise independent judgment. It means having control over our lives, choosing our own activities, and determining our own values.
Autonomy has a powerful effect on our motivation and performance.
When we lack autonomy, we feel like powerless participants in a game controlled by others. Our motivation fades quickly. When we have autonomy,
however, we are motivated to reach success at both school and work. Students who are free to choose their own educational path, for example, are
much more motivated than students who are controlled by their parents.
Employees who are given control over their own work are much more motivated than employees who are micromanaged by their supervisors. Have
you ever had a job where your supervisor hovered over your shoulder, worried that you might make a mistake? Being controlled in this way robs you
of your autonomy and dampens your motivation.
It’s time to take a look at your needs. Use Activity 37 to evaluate how well
the three higher level needs are being satisfied in your daily life.
Meeting Your Needs Imagine that you drew up a list of the things
you want most in your life. What would be on the list? Chances are, the
things you want the most are the things you need. Let’s say you want a successful career and a nurturing relationship. The longing for professional
success is related to the need for esteem and self-actualization. The desire
for a loving life partner comes from the need for love, acceptance, and
belonging. Deep down, we all want and need the same basic things—to feel
good about ourselves, have a sense of purpose, be physically and financially
secure, grow intellectually, enjoy physical and emotional intimacy with others, and receive compassion and recognition. Think carefully about your
wants and needs. This will help you focus on the things that will bring you
true success and happiness.
Self Check
1. What is intrinsic motivation? (p. 289)
2. What is the difference between needs and wants? (p. 295)
3. Name the different levels of the hierarchy of needs. (p. 296)
autonomy Freedom of
choice, independence, and
the chance to exercise
independent judgment.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Understanding Motivation 301
ACTIVITY 37: Are Your Needs Being Met?
A Read each statement below and indicate whether you Disagree, Disagree Slightly, Agree Slightly, or Agree.
Slightly Agree
1. I get along well with other people.
2. People are friendly toward me.
3. People in my life care about me.
4. I like the people I work and go to school with.
5. I have satisfying close relationships.
6. I feel a sense of achievement at school and work.
7. People I know tell me I am good at what I do.
8. At work and school, I am learning interesting new skills.
9. Most days, I feel a sense of accomplishment from what I do
and who I am.
10. I frequently have the opportunity to show how capable I am.
11. I decide for myself how to live my life.
12. I don’t feel pressured to do, say, or think things that aren’t “me.”
13. I rarely am forced to do what other people tell me to do.
14. I feel free to express my ideas and opinions.
15. I feel like I can pretty much be myself.
Source: Adapted from Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, “Basic Need Satisfaction in Life Scale.” Self-Determination Theory: An Approach to Human Motivation and Personality,
May 2002. University of Rochester.
B Scoring: Give yourself one point for every Disagree, two points for every Disagree Slightly, three points
for every Agree Slightly, and four points for every Agree. Add up the number of points you assigned to
statements 1–5. These statements refer to the need for belongingness. If your total is 15 or lower, this
need is not being fully satisfied in your life.
Belongingness total:
Add up the number of points you assigned to statements 6–10. These statements refer to the need for
competence. If your total is 15 or lower, this need is not being fully satisfied in your life.
Competence total:
Add up the number of points you assigned to statements 11–15. These statements refer to the need for
autonomy. If your total is 15 or lower, this need is not being fully satisfied in your life.
Autonomy total:
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C Which of these needs are being satisfied in your life and which are not? What circumstances in your life
do you think account for this?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Recharging Your Motivation 303
Motivation and emotion are closely related. In fact, both words come from
the same Latin verb meaning to move. We move toward things that we associate with pleasant feelings, such as joy, love, and excitement, and we move
away from things that we associate with unpleasant feelings, such as fear,
sadness, and guilt.
In particular, two strong emotions that are opposites of each other are
part of motivation: fear and desire. Fear is an unpleasant feeling of anxiety
caused by the anticipation of danger. Fear is one of the most powerful emotions that can affect motivation. Fear makes you panic, often needlessly,
and it can defeat goals.
The opposite emotion, desire, is like a strong, positive magnet. Desire is
a conscious drive to attain a satisfying goal. It attracts and encourages plans
and effort. Desire is the emotional state between where you are and where
you want to be. To attain success, you need to have desire. You need to
want to change for the better.
Fear and desire lead to opposite destinies. Fear looks to the past.
Desire looks to the future. Fear remembers past pain, disappointment,
failure, and unpleasantness and reminds us that these experiences can be
repeated. Desire triggers memories of pleasure and success and excites the
need to create new successful experiences. The fearful person says, “I have
to,” “I can’t,” “I see risk,” and “I wish.” The person with desire says, “I
want to,” “I can,” “I see opportunity,” and “I will.”
The Importance of Desire
Success is not only for the privileged; you don’t have to be born rich, talented,
or strong. Success depends on desire, focus, and persistence. The secret of
success is to make the extra effort, try another approach, and concentrate on
the desired outcome. Out of desire comes the energy and will to succeed. To
be effective, however, desire has to be accompanied by self-discipline. You
might desire to fly to the moon—you might even imagine yourself on the
moon—but in reality, you will never even get near the launching pad without
Most basketball fans will never forget the singular play of Michael
Jordan, who led the NBA Chicago Bulls to a spectacular run of world
titles. Many consider him to be the greatest professional basketball player
who has ever played the game. Few younger fans today know that he was
cut from his high school basketball team as not being talented enough.
What if he had thrown in the towel at that early age and given up on the
sport he loved? His early rejection motivated him to practice more and
increased his determination to succeed. After a three-season career at the
fear An unpleasant feeling
of anxiety caused by the
anticipation of danger.
desire A conscious drive
to attain a satisfying goal.
success secret
Desire and self-discipline
keep you going along the
tough road to your goals.
SECTION 7.2 Recharging Your Motivation
©Daniel Lippitt/AFP/Getty Images
304 Chapter 7 Self-Motivation Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a member of the
Tar Heels’ national championship team in 1982, Jordan joined the NBA’s
Chicago Bulls in 1984. In 1991, he won his first NBA championship, and
followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a “threepeat.” After a brief try at professional baseball, Jordan rejoined the Bulls in
1995 and led them to three additional championships in 1996, 1997, and
1998, as well as an NBA-record seventy-two regular-season wins in the
1995–1996 season.
What does Michael Jordan have to say about the early disappointment
that motivated him to play in the NBA? He says: “I have missed more than
9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions
I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have
failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Like Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey overcame rejection with selfdiscipline and perseverance to become one of the wealthiest and most
powerful women in broadcasting and media. Here’s what Oprah has to
say: “If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever
have enough. Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what
you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo
breaks down. I don’t think of myself as a poor, deprived, ghetto girl who
made good. I think of myself as somebody who from an early age knew
I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good. I still have my feet
on the ground, I just wear better shoes.”
professional development )))
What Motivates Employees?
According to recent Gallup surveys, seventy percent of U.S. workers are either “not engaged” or are “actively
disengaged” in their jobs. This means managers must understand how to continually foster an environment
of motivated and productive employees. As you learned earlier in this chapter, extrinsic rewards such as pay
and benefits are not as powerful as intrinsic rewards. Recognition for a job well done, even a simple “thank
you” or pat on the back, will do far more to engage employees than a pay raise or bonus.
Leaders and managers who develop a strong team environment of open communication, recognition,
feedback, coaching, and autonomy will gain higher productivity and engagement. People want to feel valued by their bosses, their company, and their peers. They want to be part of something “bigger” than themselves. As employees are treated with respect and encouraged to share their opinions, they are intrinsically
motivated to give more to their job and their company.
What’s Your Opinion?
Think about your current place of work or a previous job you have held. What motivates or motivated you to
do a good job? What did your boss or company do to make you feel valued? What motivates you when you
think about working in your ideal job or for a great company? To learn more about motivation on the job, go
to http://humanresources.about.com/od/glossarye/g/employee-motivation.htm or conduct an online search
using the keywords “employee motivation.”
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
The only limits to what you can achieve are the limits you put on yourself.
Low self-expectancy and lack of commitment can severely limit your ability to
achieve your goals. So can one of the most powerful fears—the fear of failure.
In some cases, fear of failure can generate a kind of negative motivation that works in your favor. This happens when you give your best effort
to avoid failure. If you haven’t been studying and recently failed several
tests, you might be anxious about passing the course; this fear could motivate you to get your study habits back on track. However, most of the time,
fear of failure drains your energy and motivation. Fear of failure diminishes your motivation by focusing your attention on the negative possibilities in taking action or making a change.
Fear of failure is often based on irrational beliefs about the terrible consequences that will result if you do (or don’t do) certain things. For example,
fear of failure may be based on fear of the unknown, of rejection, of disapproval or humiliation, or of looking stupid or awkward. Underneath many of
these fears is often an even deeper fear: the fear of being inadequate.
Accept Your Fear
To overcome fear of failure, you first need to accept your fear. Realize that
everyone fears failure. Even highly successful people fear failure. Successful people, however, are able to accept their fear and go on anyway.
Consider the following story. A famous actor once suffered a nervous
breakdown before he went on stage. He was ordered to rest and repair
his damaged nervous system. He was afraid and had lost all confidence
in himself. After a while, his doctor suggested that he perform before a
small group in his town. When the actor said he was terrified of failing,
the doctor answered that he was using fear as an excuse, and fear was
not a good reason to quit. He told the actor that successful people admit
fear and go on in spite of it. The actor accepted his fear and went on to
perform in front of the little group. His performance was a great success,
and afterward he realized that he had admitted his fear but had not let it
stop him. After that night, he pushed himself to perform in front of
larger audiences all over the world, knowing that he could overcome the
fear and not let it end his acting career. He knew the fear might always
be there, but being frightened would never make him give up again.
Expand Your Comfort Zone
Once you’ve accepted your fear, you can work on expanding your comfort
zone. Your comfort zone is the place in your mind where you feel safe and
know you can succeed.
Most goals require that you move a bit outside your comfort zone. To
go after a goal is to move into new areas and to try new things, and doing
success secret
Fear of failure drains
positive motivation.
comfort zone The
place in your mind where you
feel safe and know you can
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this can be quite stressful. Because you don’t want to become so stressed
that you give up your goal, the best course of action is to move outside your
comfort zone bit by bit—taking slow, small steps that are challenging but
not uncomfortable. Think of the comfort zone as a circle surrounding you,
as in Figure 7.3. Each time you accept a new challenge, you expand the
circle, gaining more and more freedom of movement.
Rethink Failure
Another way to overcome fear of failure is to rethink what failure means.
Failure is simply an unwanted outcome. Failure is an event, not a destiny.
In fact, failure is a tool for you to use. It is feedback that lets you know
where you need to work to improve. View failure as a learning experience
that requires a target correction. Failure is a detour, not a dead end. Ask
yourself, which is more painful in the long run: failing or missing out on
opportunity after opportunity to pursue your dreams? Picture yourself
twenty years in the future. How will you feel when you look back on this
time and remember the risks you didn’t take? Will you be filled with
thoughts of what might have been?
failure An unwanted
FIGURE 7.3 Expanding the Comfort Zone
Step by Step Every time you try something new, you expand your comfort
zone. Why is it better to expand your comfort zone with small steps than with
giant leaps?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Failure Is Part of Success
Failure is a part of life. Every time we do something new, we risk failure.
For example, when you learned to drive a car, you didn’t know if you would
be successful until you tried. Sometimes it takes a lot of trying to achieve
success, but when we finally do, we feel confident. We learn that we can
succeed at something new.
Actor Jim Carrey was heckled in his first try at comedy and didn’t try
again for two years. He says, “I have no idea what motivated me to try again.
I just felt like giving it a shot. Failure isn’t the end unless you give up.”
Often, setbacks and hardships strengthen us. Earl Nightingale, a wellknown motivational speaker, tells the story of a trip he took to the Great
Barrier Reef. He noticed that the coral growing on the sheltered side of the
reef, where the sea was peaceful and quiet, looked pale and lifeless. The
coral that was constantly beaten by the powerful waves, however, looked
healthy and vibrant. Earl asked the guide why this was so. “It is very
simple,” came the reply. “The coral on the lagoon side dies rapidly with no
challenge for growth and survival, while the coral facing the open sea
thrives and multiplies because it is challenged and tested every day.” So it is
with all living things on Earth. If we never challenge ourselves, we never
have the opportunity to succeed. We can choose to stay where we are, or
we can use the failures and setbacks in our lives to strengthen ourselves and
help us make progress toward our goals.
Strive to focus on your past successes and forget past failures. Learn
from your mistakes, and then erase them from memory. It doesn’t matter
how many times you have failed in the past. It only matters that you are
willing to try again. Use Activity 38 to assess your view of failure and how
you might expand your comfort zone.
It is not just fear of failure that can hold us back. It is also fear of success.
Low self-esteem is the major reason we fear success and the risks involved
in reaching success. If you cannot see your potential and what you can do,
you are defeated from the start. You make the excuse, “It is not worth it to
succeed.” What you are really saying is, “I am not worth the effort.” Successful people, however, see themselves as worthy of success. They know
they are worth the effort to succeed. This sense of self-worth keeps the
hope of achievement alive.
Fear of success defeats any goals you set and causes you to resist change.
Consider Joyce’s example. Joyce wanted to go to community college to earn
an associate degree. She set the goal and made lists of tasks to make it happen, but three years later, she is still “thinking about it.” Joyce wants an education, but deep down she’s afraid that getting it will change the way friends or
members of her family, who have not attended college, relate to her. They
may view a college-educated Joyce as different, maybe even conceited.
success secret
You may fail, but you are
never a failure.
success secret
Fear of success defeats
your goals.
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ACTIVITY 38: Expanding Your Comfort Zone
A What five things would you want to do or try if you could be absolutely, positively sure there was no possibility of failure? (Select things that you really, truly want to do for yourself, not to impress someone else.)
Run for president of the student council
Audition for an a capella singing group
B In the real world, failure—an unwanted outcome—is always a possibility. Given this fact, how likely are
you to try these five things in your real life? Explain.
C If you tried and failed at any of these things, would you try again? Why or why not?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
D Imagine that you try and fail at one or more of these things and then give up. Picture yourself twenty
years in the future. How do you feel as you look back and remember that you let the fear of failure stop
you from pursuing what you wanted in life?
E Select one of the five things you want to do or try. Formulate a series of three increasingly challenging
goals that could help you expand your comfort zone in this area.
Goal #1
Goal #2
Goal #3
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Fighting Your Fears
To find ways around the fear of success, you need to examine the thoughts
and feelings that might be holding you back and discover ways to overcome
“Even if I succeed, I still won’t be happy.” If you fear that
success will leave you unfulfilled, it might be time to reexamine your vision of
success. Are you hoping that money, power, or the approval of other people
will make you a happy person? Remember that success and happiness come
from intrinsic goals, such as close relationships, healthy self-esteem, and a
commitment to your goals and values. Also work on different sides of yourself so that your happiness is not dependent on accomplishing a single goal.
“I won’t be able to live up to the expectations.” People
sometimes do have unrealistic expectations of those who are successful.
Ask yourself, however, if your unrealistic expectations of yourself might be
undermining your motivation. Do you feel that you’ll be a failure unless
you climb from achievement to achievement? Let other people have their
expectations—you are responsible for doing only what matters to you.
“The minute I achieve success, I’ll probably blow it.”
Success is not an accident, nor is it a possession that can be taken away.
Are you secretly worried that you’re not good enough and that someone
will “find you out”? This fear can dampen your motivation and discourage
you from taking risks. Give yourself permission to try new things, be
creative, and make mistakes.
“Once I get what I want, I won’t be motivated to do
anything.” Remember that success is a process, not an end in itself.
Each achievement builds on past achievements and lays the groundwork for
future achievements. Set several goals for yourself in several different areas
of your life, so that you will always have something to look forward to.
“The more successful you are, the more people dislike
you.” It’s natural to fear that people will be envious of your achievements. Why not turn that fear around, however, and imagine how your success might inspire others? There are many ways to use your success to the
benefit of others, such as mentoring, tutoring, teaching, and writing. Look
at your attitudes, too—many of us secretly envy people who are successful
and therefore dislike them. Turn this envy around, giving others credit,
recognition, and support. Then expect this treatment in return.
“Everyone will think I’m stuck up.” It is possible that people
will find something to criticize. Remember, however, that the person who is
most critical of you is you. If you are worried about how the changes you are
making will affect the important people in your life, give them permission to
success secret
Having unrealistic expectations of yourself can
drain your motivation.
success secret
Give yourself permission
to make mistakes.
success secret
Use your success to
inspire others.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
give you honest, open, candid feedback if they see you acting differently or
deviating from your values. Build a personal support network of people who
appreciate and love you for who you are, not what you accomplish.
“I don’t want to step all over people to get ahead.”
True success does not require exploiting others. You can, and should,
succeed by acting in harmony with your values and with respect for others.
Trust that it is possible to achieve your own dreams without robbing other
people of the chance to achieve theirs.
When you fear success, even the biggest achievements can be sources
of anxiety. If you are promoted at work, for example, you might start worrying about letting your boss down, or alienating your coworkers, or making a
wrong decision. Even though you’ve reached an important goal, you can’t
enjoy it. Use Personal Journal 7.2 to imagine the positive and negative
feelings you might have in situations of success.
We have seen how fear—both fear of failure and fear of success—can make
us stumble on the path toward achieving our goals. Although it is helpful to
accept our fears and rethink what failure means, we must also visualize ourselves being successful. When this happens, our motivation will become the
fuel for action. Visualization is the process of creating detailed mental pictures of behaviors you wish to carry out. Visualization, like positive selftalk, harnesses the power of the subconscious mind. When you visualize,
you see things in your mind’s eye by organizing and processing information
through pictures and symbols. You imagine yourself behaving in certain
ways, helping that behavior to become real.
With visualization, you focus on the image of what you want until
you achieve what you have been visualizing. You might imagine yourself
getting a new job, passing a test, or improving your memory and learning
ability. If you want to get in shape, you could picture yourself enjoying
life as a fit and healthy person. This helps motivate you to exercise and
eat healthfully.
Many studies have measured the effects of visualization on athletic performance. In one study, one group of basketball players physically practiced
free throws while another group “mentally” practiced free throws by using
visualization. Both groups had the same rate of improvement. Combining
both physical and mental practice of a sport—or any other skill—helps
improve performance even more.
Visualization and Success
Visualization, or mental simulation, is not a new concept. We all have fantasized and acted out our “life scripts”— virtual reality shows or magnificent
epic movies—at some point in our lives. Olympians train up to 1,200 days
visualization The
process of creating detailed
mental pictures of the behaviors you wish to carry out.
success secret
Use visualization to
harness the power of the
subconscious mind.
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Personal Journal 7.2
Confronting Fear of Success
Write down three positive feelings and three negative feelings that you might experience in each of the
following situations.
Your instructor recognizes you in front of your classmates for outstanding work on a research project.
You are asked to present your paper to the class on Monday.
You and two friends take an advanced course. You are the only student who receives an A.
You submit several humorous articles to a local newspaper. The editor likes your writing and offers
you a small weekly column.
What could you say to yourself in these situations to reduce your negative feelings?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
for a few moments of competition and much of their rehearsals take place
in their minds outside of the arenas.
According to Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time,
his success stems from first visualizing each race before he even steps into
the pool. Phelps says he’s been visualizing since he was seven years old,
watching what he calls his video of the perfect swim in his mind each night
before going to sleep, mentally mapping out his ideal swim for the next day.
Renowned Olympic gold medalist and World Cup skiing champion Lindsey Vonn says her mental practice gives her a competitive advantage on the
course. She says, “I always visualize the run before I do it. By the time I get
to the start gate, I’ve skied that race 100 times already in my head, picturing how I’ll take the turns.” Not only does Lindsey pre-play visual images in
her mind, she also simulates the path by shifting her weight back and forth
as if she were on her skis, while practicing the specific breathing patterns
she’ll use during the race.
When asked about athletic skills versus mental skills, Michael Jordan,
one of the greatest NBA basketball players of all time, said: “The mental
part is the hardest part, and I think that’s the part that separates the good
players from the great players.” In using mental imagery, Jordan said, “I
visualized where I wanted to be, what kind of player I wanted to become.
I knew exactly where I wanted to go, and I focused on getting there.” And,
retired NFL legendary quarterback Peyton Manning put it simply this
way: “Some guys need to see things on a grease board . . . I like when you
can see it in your mind!”
In every sport, visualization is in the spotlight, whether it is golf champion Imbee Park picturing the winning shots in advance, or Carli Lloyd,
member of the U.S. Women’s World Cup soccer championship team, and
the first player to ever score three goals in a World Cup final, reflecting how
she takes time before each game to visualize positive scenarios between
herself and the soccer ball.
Visualization is not reserved only for athletes. Sales executives, scientists, Navy Seals, dancers, musicians, actors, parents, teachers, and students
do it every day. It is so powerful that doctors sometimes have their patients
use guided imagery as part of their treatment for diseases such as cancer
and AIDS. These patients are encouraged to imagine their bodies fighting
the disease.
During the past decade, the techniques involved in visual imagery and
mental rehearsal have grown from the oversimplified concepts of positive
thinking to more scientific approaches that incorporate high-speed cinematography, digitized computer readouts, stop-action video replay, neurofeedback techniques, and simulation technology. Certain kinds of music, colors,
images, and sensory environments can evoke different brain wave and emotional responses. Virtual reality technology, which many people associate
with video games, has many beneficial applications.
Visualization works because the mind reacts automatically to the information we feed it in the form of words, pictures, and emotions. And, as we
success secret
Visualize yourself
succeeding, and you
will succeed.
virtual reality An artificial environment that is created with software and
presented to the user in such
a way that the user suspends
belief and accepts it as a real
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have discussed, the brain’s neural pathways can be reshaped and redirected.
Basically there are two types of visualization, receptive and programmed.
Receptive visualization is used to help answer a question or find a solution
to a problem. In this type of visualization, the question is formulated or the
problem posed. First the issue is analyzed logically for better understanding; then a mental picture of a blank screen is formed, and the answer or
solution is allowed to appear on the screen in its own time. This technique
is especially helpful in recalling information that appears to have been forgotten or lost.
Programmed visualization is used to get what we want in life. We picture what we want repeatedly and the brain sends signals to the body that
cause us to take action to bring about the desired results. Make sure you
really want what you are visualizing; never picture a condition or event you
don’t want to occur.
Steps to Visualization
Here are some specific steps for visualizing successfully:
1. When you visualize yourself doing something, make it an action scene
in which there’s movement. In sports psychology, this is referred to as
Visual Motor Behavior Rehearsal (VMBR), and the object is to create
a neurological pathway enabling your muscles to “remember” the
sequence of movements that make up an action. Therefore, no still
pictures please.
2. Visualize both the successful outcome and the steps leading up to it.
Olympic athletes mentally run through what they want to do and
how they want to do it well before they arrive at the arena. They
imagine the sights, sounds, temperatures, spectators, and the other
competitors—and then they focus on their own performances. Some
even include a clock or stopwatch in their imagery to ensure that the
timing and pacing in their minds are exact. To your brain, a dress
rehearsal is the opening night performance.
3. Visualize conditions and things that are consistent with your principles and moral values. If there’s a conflict, you’ll be less likely to get
your mind and body working in concert.
4. Most importantly, when you visualize yourself, see yourself in the
present, as if you are already accomplishing your goal. Make certain
your visual image is as you would see it through your own eyes, not
watching through the eyes of a spectator. If you’re a skier, your
imagery would appear in your mind as if an invisible TV camera
were mounted on your shoulder looking exactly where your eyes are
focused during a ski run, and feeling the same sensations. If you
need to give a speech, you should imagine how the audience will
look sitting in front of you.
success secret
Visualize yourself as the
person you want to be.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
To strengthen your visualization capability, start making mental notes
about your environment. Take in as many sights, sounds, smells, textures,
and tastes as you can. Recreate in your mind the beauty of a sunrise or sunset. Feel the wet sand of a beach between your toes. As you become more
curious, observant, and in tune with your surroundings, you’ll find your
powers of visualization improving greatly. And the more often you see the
winner’s circle in your mind’s eye, the sooner you’ll arrive there in person.
Be more curious about everything around you. Use visual images more in
your everyday conversation. As you listen to someone talk, try to form a
mental image of the situation he or she describes. Allow the words to form
images, feelings, and sensations. By linking feelings and images, you will be
able to recall both better.
When you talk to others, use words that are rich in visual imagery; word
pictures, analogies, stories, metaphors, and similes create vivid mental pictures. You will enjoy a side benefit of becoming a better conversationalist
and public speaker if you do.
Focus on the Positive Remember that self-talk has a powerful
effect on your subconscious mind. As you visualize, notice and dispute
negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Don’t focus on doubts; think
about the self-image of the person that you would like to become. If you
keep experiencing anxiety and find yourself repeatedly going back over the
same steps, don’t be discouraged. Eventually, you will create a clear picture
of yourself as you will be when you achieve your goal. Tell yourself over
and over again that you are winning each personal victory now. For example, to achieve the positive self-image you want, visualize yourself as the
person you want to be. It is important to do this every day. Visualize yourself making the changes you want to make—right now. Visualize yourself
becoming the person you want to be—right now.
Visualization and Positive Thinking People respond to our
thoughts, feelings, and behavior and react accordingly. If you have a positive outlook, you are more likely to attract positive results. You are also
more likely to attract positive people who can help you reach your goals.
Visualization helps you stay positive by allowing you to create a mental
image of yourself achieving your goals. It helps you to stay motivated as
you focus on accomplishing your objective—success. Use Activity 39 to help
you visualize success.
Self Check
1. Why is desire important for success? (p. 303)
2. Define failure. (p. 306)
3. How does visualization work? (p. 311)
success secret
Use positive self-talk
again and again.
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ACTIVITY 39: Visualizing Success
A Describe a situation in which you found it difficult to speak up for yourself or your beliefs. Perhaps you
didn’t voice an opinion in class, or didn’t defend yourself against a destructive criticism, or weren’t
assertive with a salesperson.
B Now use visualization to practice speaking up for yourself. Visualize the same situation or a similar one.
This time, however, you speak up for yourself in a polite but assertive way. On the lines below, map out
all aspects of the scene, including the setting (time and place), the people present, the action that
occurs (including the words spoken), and how you feel during the new, positive scene.
C Eyes closed, visualize this situation in full detail at least three times. Do you feel more confident in your
ability to speak up for yourself the next time you are in a similar situation? Explain.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
D Now use visualization to enter the future. Picture yourself ten years from now. You have accomplished
several of your long-term goals and become the person you want to be. How and where do you picture
What goals have you accomplished?
What important relationships have you nurtured?
What have you done for others that you feel most happy about?
E Does this positive vision of your future self boost your motivation to achieve your goals? Explain.
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Chapter 7 Review and Activities
motivation (p. 288)
positive motivation (p. 288)
negative motivation (p. 288)
extrinsic motivation (p. 289)
intrinsic motivation (p. 289)
incentive (p. 291)
need (p. 295)
want (p. 295)
hierarchy of needs (p. 296)
belongingness (p. 298)
competence (p. 299)
self-actualization (p. 299)
autonomy (p. 300)
fear (p. 303)
desire (p. 303)
comfort zone (p. 305)
failure (p. 306)
visualization (p. 311)
virtual reality (p. 313)
Key Terms
Summary by Learning Objectives
• Contrast intrinsic motivation with extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation comes from
inside. It drives you to do things that you enjoy and feel good about. Intrinsic motivation is
associated with goals such as building relationships, giving to others, and growing as a person.
Extrinsic motivation comes from outside. It drives you to do things that make you look good to
other people. Extrinsic motivation is associated with goals such as attaining wealth, fame, or
• Describe how to distinguish needs from wants. A need represents something we must
have to survive and thrive, while a want represents something we can do without. If something
does not satisfy us physically or psychologically, it is probably a want, not a need.
• Explain why needs motivate our behavior. The quest to fulfill our needs drives much of
our conscious and unconscious behavior. For example, the need for belongingness drives us to
spend time building family bonds, friendships, and romantic relationships. If we do not fulfill
our basic needs, we grow ill and die. If we do not fulfill our higher needs, we fail to make the
most of our potential.
• Cite ways to overcome fear of failure. When you fear failure, you fear making changes
and taking risks. You therefore need to accept your fears and then take small steps to expand
your comfort zone.
• Cite ways to overcome fear of success. Fear of success stems from low self-esteem. You
can overcome this fear by disputing the self-destructive thoughts and feelings that are causing
you to fear success.
• Describe visualization and how it can boost motivation. Visualization allows you to create detailed mental images of behaviors you want to carry out. When you see yourself accomplishing your goals, step by step, you become more motivated to take action and gain
confidence in your ability to succeed.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Review and Activities 319
Review and Activities
Review Questions
1. Contrast positive motivation with negative motivation.
2. Why is intrinsic motivation healthier than extrinsic motivation?
3. Sketch and label the hierarchy of needs.
4. Define belongingness, competence, and autonomy.
5. Why would a person fear success?
6. Explain the benefits of visualization.
Critical Thinking
7. Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Every year, hundreds of thousands of people compete to be selected for reality television shows such as Survivor, American Idol, America’s
Got Talent, Top Model, Top Chef, Amazing Race, and Project Runway. In exchange for being
filmed and performing under stressful circumstances, participants have the opportunity to
win prize money and achieve fame. Why do you think so many people want to appear on
TV shows like these? Do you think that reality show contestants are intrinsically motivated,
extrinsically motivated, or both? Explain.
8. Confronting Fear Describe a situation in your life where fear held you back from taking a
risk or pursuing something important to you. What caused your fear? Did you experience any
fear of success or failure? How did you handle it then? What do you do differently now to
overcome your fears?
9. Needs Journal Review Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and create a chart for yourself with a
row for each of the five needs. Think about the activities you do each week and what motivates you to satisfy your needs in each category. For example, you are probably motivated by
physical needs to eat meals and go grocery shopping; and you are probably motivated by
social needs to interact with friends and family. Write down your top motivators for each
need. You may find that an important activity, like attending school, for example, motivates
you on multiple levels, such as social, esteem, and self-actualization.
10. Visualization Ask a close friend or family member if there is anything that might be holding
him/her back from achieving a goal. Help him/her identify the obstacles, challenges, or fears.
Now ask him/her to visualize, in vivid detail, the goal being attained. Discuss the positive
images, feelings, and self-talk, and map out a plan for action.
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Internet Activities
11. Self-Motivation Visit http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_57.htm to take a
short quiz to determine how self-motivated you are. You will receive an overall score, and
then a separate score in four areas considered necessary to build the strongest levels of selfmotivation.
12. Hierarchy of Needs Visit www.pammargetson.ca/quizzes_needs.asp to determine the status of your current need fulfillment based on all five levels of Maslow’s hierarchy.
Review and Activities
Look back at your response to the question in the Real-Life Success Story on page 286. Think about how you would answer the
question now that you have completed the chapter.
Complete the Story Taking the role of Elijah’s advisor,
explain how fear of success is related to low self-esteem. Then
give him suggestions for using positive self-talk to help him cope
with his self-doubt.
Real-Life “How Can I Succeed?”
Success Story
©Caiaimage/Glow Images

Joining the Crowd
Anna Costas is on the way up in her career as a sales
rep for an Internet business. One Friday, her coworkers
asked her to join them for a night out. Anna needed to
prepare for a client presentation on Monday, but she
decided to go, thinking: “I’ll just pull it together over
the weekend. Plus, it’s Friday and I need a break.” She
arranged for a babysitter and joined the group at the
restaurant. The rest of the weekend went by in a blur
of soccer games, grocery shopping, house cleaning,
and laundry.
Working Overtime
Suddenly, it was Monday morning. Running late
after getting the kids off to school, Anna had to
rush straight to the conference room to deliver her
presentation. When she got back to her office, she
found an urgent e-mail informing her of a change
in her company’s advertising rates. “Oh no! This
changes everything!” she thought. Anna had made
some major errors and gave inaccurate information during the presentation. Now she would need
to schedule another meeting, putting her a week
What Do You Think? How could better time
management have kept Anna out of this situation?
“Will I Ever Be Able to Enjoy Some ‘Free’ Time?”
Success Story
©Corbis Super RF/Alamy
Managing Your
Resources 8 Chapter
learning objectives
After you complete this chapter,
you should be able to:
• Outline the three steps in time
management and in money
• Describe the three categories
of time and the three categories of expenses.
• Explain how to make a to-do list
and a schedule.
• Define procrastination and
explain its causes.
• Describe the criteria for an
effective budget.
• Cite ways to reduce excess
Many people take no care of their
money till they come nearly to the end
of it, and others do just the same with
their time.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Author
Time and money are valuable—but limited—resources.
In order to reach your personal goals, you need to manage your time and money efficiently. In Section 8.1
you’ll examine how to make the most of your time. By
learning to plan ahead, you’ll be able to accomplish
more and focus on your priorities. In Section 8.2 you’ll
learn how to make money work for you. You’ll examine
your spending habits, learn to make a budget, and
develop a plan to align your finances with your goals
and values.

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SECTION 8.1 Time Management
We all juggle many responsibilities—school, work, family, social life, leisure
activities. How do we find time to do it all? The answer is time management. Time management is the planned, effective, and efficient use of time.
Time management isn’t just about schedules and lists; it’s about making the
most of your life. Because time never takes a break, time management
really means priority management in the time we have available.
Throughout this book, you have been taking a close look at the priorities
that are important to you. Time management helps you structure your time
and your life around those priorities. When you manage your time well, you
can make progress on your long-term goals while still making room for relaxation, friendships, hobbies, and the other activities that are important to you.
Our most precious resources, time and health, usually are taken for
granted until they are depleted. As with health, time is the raw material of
life. We can bide our time, but we can’t save it for another day. We can
waste and kill time, but we are also mortally wounding our opportunities.
Time is the ultimate equal opportunity employer. Each human being, while
alive, has exactly 168 hours a week to spend. Think about it! Scientists can’t
invent more minutes. Super rich people can’t buy more hours. Queen Elizabeth I of England—the richest, most powerful woman on Earth of her era—
whispered these final words on her deathbed: “All of my possessions for
another moment of time!” We worry about things we want to do but can’t,
instead of doing the things we can do but don’t. It is not the experience of
today that causes us the greatest stress. It is the regret for something we did
or didn’t do yesterday, and the apprehension of what tomorrow may bring.
Steps to Time Management
How do you view time—as a never-ending series of deadlines, or as a series
of opportunities? No matter who you are or what you do, you need to work
toward your goals one day at a time. To use time most effectively and efficiently, you’ll need to look at it as a resource that allows you to achieve
what is most important to you. A resource is something that is ready for
your use and can be drawn upon as needed.
Basic time management doesn’t have to be complicated. Managing your
time involves three basic steps: figuring out where your time goes, determining where you want it to go, and creating a plan to make that happen:
Step 1: Analyze how you use your time.
Step 2: Prioritize your activities.
Step 3: Create a plan for your time.
Let’s go step by step.
time management
The planned, efficient use
of time.
success secret
Plan ahead to spend your
time doing what you
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Time Management 325
Step 1: Analyze How You Use Your Time
The first step in managing your time is to take a good look at how you spend
your time. Do you know where your time really goes? When you pay attention
to how you spend the hours of your day, you may be surprised by what you find.
We perform dozens of activities each day, from getting dressed to
checking e-mail. One practical way to analyze your time is to assign each of
your activities to one of three different categories of time:
• Committed time—Committed time is the time you devote to school, work,
family, volunteering, and other activities that relate to your short-term
and long-term goals. These activities usually take up a fixed amount of
time in your schedule.
• Maintenance time—Maintenance time is the time you spend maintaining,
or taking care of, yourself and your surroundings. You need to spend
time each week sleeping and tending to your health and fitness, as well
as doing chores such as cleaning your home or apartment, maintaining
your car, and caring for your pets. Maintenance time is a bit more flexible than committed time.
• Discretionary time—Discretionary time is time that you can use to do
whatever you wish. You might hang out with friends, pursue a hobby,
surf the Web, or read a book during your discretionary time. Discretionary time is the most flexible type of time.
How much does each type of time take up in a 168-hour week? Take the
example of Letisha, who works full-time and goes to school in the evening to
earn her MBA. Letisha works eight hours a day Monday through Friday, volunteers four hours a week, and has three hours of class per week. This adds
up to 47 hours of committed time, leaving her 121 hours to do whatever she
wants. Or does it? Letisha takes the train to and from work and drives to
school, which takes up another two hours a day. She also has to buy textbooks and supplies, do homework, and read articles that relate to her job.
This adds another thirty-eight hours to her committed time, leaving her
with eighty-three hours. Add eight hours of sleep a night, two hours a day
for cooking, eating, dressing, and chores, an hour to walk her dog, and
she’s left with only six hours of discretionary time per week.
Are you like Letisha, with too much to do and not enough time to do
it? To measure the demands on your time, complete Activity 40. To get
accurate results, you’ll need to do this exercise over the span of a week,
carefully monitoring how you use your time on each day. Don’t guess—
make sure to note how you actually spend each hour of the day.
Step 2: Prioritize Your Activities
Once you’ve figured out how you actually spend your time, you are ready for
step 2, prioritizing your activities. Time, like all resources, is limited. You therefore need to figure out which of your activities deserve the biggest share. You do
this by prioritizing—arranging your tasks and activities in order of importance.
success secret
It’s important to know
where your time goes.
success secret
Make time for activities
that relate to your goals.
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ACTIVITY 40: Time-Demand Survey
A Use the chart below to record the length of time (rounded to the nearest quarter hour) you spend on
each activity over the course of a week.
Committed Time Hours
1. Class attendance
2. Study (homework, library time, etc.)
3. Commuting to and from school/work
4. Job/internship
5. Volunteering/extracurricular activities
6. Family responsibilities
7. Religious activities
8. (Other—specify)
Maintenance Time Hours
9. Eating (meals and snacks)
10. Housekeeping (laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.)
11. Personal hygiene/grooming
12. Car maintenance/repair
13. Physical exercise
14. Sleep
15. Pet care
16. (Other—specify)
Discretionary Time Hours
17. Social activities (building/maintaining friendships, group activities/events, etc.)
18. Leisure activities pursued alone (hobbies, reading, television, etc.)
19. (Other—specify)
20. (Other—specify)
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B Add up the total number of hours on your chart. A week contains 168 hours. If your total is greater than
168, you are overcommitted. If your total is less than 168, you are letting hours get away from you. Are
you overcommitted or undercommitted? If so, by how much?
C Add up how many hours you spent on each time category. Then divide each total by 168. The result represents the percentage of your total weekly hours that you spent on that category.
Total committed time: Percent of total:
Total maintenance time: Percent of total:
Total discretionary time: Percent of total:
Sketch a pie chart of your time using the percentages you calculated above. Label each pie slice with the
relevant category. The slices on the pie chart below represent ten percent increments.
D Are you satisfied with the way you spend your time? Explain.
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Take a look at your work, school, family, and social obligations and
activities. Which ones are most relevant to your goals and values? Refer
to the values you selected in Chapter 2 and the goals you set for yourself
in Chapter 3. Is there anything you would like to spend more time
doing? For example, do you have next to no time to keep up with current
events, exercise, or read for pleasure? Is there anything you feel you
spend too much time doing? If you are committed to completing your
degree, for example, could you eliminate some of the time you spend on
housework? On shopping or television? Generally, it is discretionary
time that can be cut first if you have too much to do and too little time.
This makes more time for activities that are directly relevant to your
goals. However, don’t eliminate fun and relaxation from your life in
order to get more done. If you don’t allow time to recharge, your energy
and enthusiasm will suffer.
Don’t Forget Sleep If you are like most people, your magic solution to getting everything done is to cut back on sleep. Unfortunately, this
is both inefficient and unhealthful. Depriving yourself of sleep makes you
less productive during the day, so you have to work harder and longer to
get the same amount done. This cuts into your sleep time even more. When
you’re tired, you just don’t make good use of time. You have trouble thinking creatively and making decisions. You’re also likely to work more slowly,
make mistakes, and forget information.
How do you know if you are getting enough sleep? Most researchers
recommend at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night; some people may
need nine or more hours to feel rested. If you tend to get drowsy after
lunch, while reading, or while riding in a bus or car, you are probably not
getting enough sleep.
Another cause of sleep deprivation is poor-quality sleep. Here are several
ways to improve the quality of your sleep:
• Exercise. You’ll get to sleep faster and stay asleep better if you are physically tired. For best results, allow five or six hours between your workout
time and bedtime. This allows your body temperature and activity level
to return to normal.
• Avoid naps. Taking short (twenty to thirty minutes) naps during the day
can make you more alert, but it can make it harder to get to sleep at
• Say no to caffeine. Avoid caffeine, especially in the afternoon and evening. Caffeinated beverages and foods, like cola and chocolate, can
affect your body for up to twelve hours.
• Don’t work in bed. Use your bed primarily for sleep. If you study, work,
or watch TV in bed, you may begin to associate your sleep space with
alertness instead of rest.
• Choose a bedtime. Stick to the same bedtime every night, even on weekends (if possible). Your body’s internal clock will benefit from maintaining a regular schedule.
success secret
Allow yourself at least
seven hours of sleep.
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Personal Journal 8.1
Prioritizing Your Life
Imagine that you want to complete the following tasks over the coming week. Decide how important and/
or urgent each of these items is to you, then enter each one in the relevant box below.
do grocery shopping • see a movie • file old papers and bills • do laundry •
start looking for a summer job • drop off the dry cleaning • study for Friday’s exam •
return a call from my best friend • fix a flat tire on the car • pay an overdue credit card bill
Urgent Not Urgent
Not Important Important
• Relax. Establish a relaxing bedtime ritual to calm your nerves and tell
your body that it’s time to head for bed. You might try a cup of herbal
tea or a glass of warm milk at bedtime; milk contains an amino acid with
a mild sedative effect.
Important or Urgent? As you prioritize, it also helps to analyze your
activities for their urgency and importance. Something is urgent if it calls for
immediate action, but it is important only if it relates to one or more of your
goals. Your end-of-semester project may be your most important task, but
because it’s not due for another two months, it’s not urgent. The ringing telephone is urgent, but the call might or might not be important. Aim to spend
most of your time on things that are both urgent and important. One convenient way to separate essential activities from nonessential activities is to use
a chart like the one in Personal Journal 8.1. This chart contains four sections
for the four different kinds of activities: important and urgent; important but
not urgent; urgent but not important; and not important and not urgent.
success secret
Spend most of your time
on things that are both
urgent and important.
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Getting More from Your Time Do you ever feel like you spend
much of your day dealing with trivial details that don’t amount to much? If so,
consider the 80/20 rule (the Pareto Principle). This rule states that the relationship between input and output, or effort and results, is not balanced. For
example, most people spend 80 percent of their time on activities that produce 20 percent of their progress, and 20 percent of their time on activities
that produce 80 percent of their progress. In other words, we get 80 percent of
our work done during 20 percent of our working hours. This also means that
we spend 80 percent of our time on activities that aren’t relevant to our goals.
To avoid falling into this trap, plan to spend 80 percent of your time
and energy on your top priorities and the remaining 20 percent on your
lower priorities. This way, you’ll achieve more results in the same amount
of time. Activities that should be low priority for everyone include:
• time spent with people who don’t make you feel good about yourself
• distractions, like reading every Facebook post, tweet, or instagram or
watching whatever is on television
• tasks you don’t enjoy or do very well and that you could eliminate, delegate, or even hire someone else to do
• tasks that save a little bit of money but consume large amounts of time, such
as washing your car yourself or clipping coupons for food you don’t buy
• activities that you feel you “should” be doing but that don’t really matter
to you, such as certain household chores
• activities that are urgent but have no long-term importance
Think about the 80/20 rule as you complete Activity 41. Which activities
don’t really matter to you? Which do you do only because you think you
should? By cutting these unwelcome activities, you can make room for
more important ones.
Step 3: Create a Plan for Your Time
Now you should have a better handle on your time and a better idea of how
you can use it to your advantage. You’re ready for the third and most important step in managing time: making an overall plan for how you will use your
time. The most efficient way to do this is to draw up a to-do list and a schedule.
Make a To-Do List A to-do list is a personal checklist of tasks and
activities you need to complete over the course of a certain period, such as
a week. When you group all of your activities together, you can easily see
which are most urgent and important. You can also see which ones can be
tackled at the same time. If you need to pay several bills, for example, handling them all at one sitting will help you finish them faster and reduce
interruptions. Perhaps you could go to the post office, dry cleaner, shopping mall, and market all in one trip.
Refer to your to-do list throughout each day and make every effort to stick
to it. As you complete each task, put a large check mark next to it. Get in the
habit of rewarding yourself with something you enjoy when you complete a big
task. This will be a good incentive for you to finish your projects on schedule.
success secret
Spend 80 percent of your
time and energy on your
top priorities.
success secret
Make a to-do list, then
stick to it.
to-do list A personal
checklist of tasks and activities that need to be completed
over the course of a certain
period, such as a week.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Time Management 331
ACTIVITY 41: Examining Your Priorities
A Review the time-demand chart you completed in Activity 40. Select two or three specific areas of your
life on which you want to spend less time. On the lines below, write down each of these areas. Then list
specific things in those areas that you are willing to eliminate, or changes you could make to reduce the
amount of time you need to spend in these areas. Remember that small, achievable changes are better
than large ones that will never happen. (It may be helpful to look back at Activity 30 on pages 249–250.)
Housekeeping Put laundry away as soon as it is washed.
Learn to live with a little more clutter.
Vacuum biweekly instead of weekly.
B Why did you select these specific activities to cut?
332 Chapter 8 Managing Your Resources Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
C Now select two or three areas on which you want to spend more time. On the lines below, write down
each of these areas. Then list specific things in those areas that you would do if you could find the time.
Eating Prepare more healthful meals.
Bring lunch instead of eating fast food.
Eat with family once a week.
D Why did you select these specific activities to add?
E Describe one or two new activities you can begin this week and one or two old activities you can eliminate. Make sure that the time you cut and the time you add are about equal.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Time Management 333
There are several advantages to using to-do lists, which you will discover as you begin to make a habit of using them:
• Recording your tasks on paper keeps you from worrying about forgetting
a task or getting sidetracked.
• Keeping a list helps you separate things that matter from things that
don’t matter (remember the 80/20 rule).
• Putting your tasks down in writing motivates you to get started and complete your assignments on time.
• Checking off a finished task gives you a sense of productivity and
achievement. A check mark also serves as a visual reminder that you are
ready to go on to the next task.
To-do lists are not about “staying busy.” They are about using your time for
things that have long-term importance to you.
Make a Schedule Once your to-do list is complete, you can create
a schedule, a chart showing dates and times when tasks must be completed.
Using a schedule to organize your time offers several advantages. First, by
scheduling your time in advance, you can build in leisure time and still
complete the items on your to-do list. Daily, weekly, and even monthly
planning helps you pace yourself. Second, planning helps you avoid wasted
time. Each time you finish a task without knowing what you should be
doing next, you lose time. Third, a schedule prevents you from setting yourself up for failure by trying to do more than can be done in a day or a week.
Fourth, writing all your activities and “do-by” dates on a schedule provides
a graphical reminder of what you have coming up over the following week.
To make an effective schedule, you’ll need a realistic idea of how long
each task on your to-do list will take. It’s easy to underestimate how long a job
will take, especially if it depends on the contribution of others. If you don’t
know how long something will take, ask someone who has done it before.
Your schedule can be in any format as long as it works for you. Many
people use their smart phones or tablets for their daily and weekly schedules, as well as a monthly or yearly wall calendar to keep up with their longterm goals. Whatever format you choose, make a point to look over your
schedule daily to prepare for projects or events. If you have an oral presentation due in a few weeks, for example, record the due date on your calendar
and then schedule research time, writing time, and so on. Don’t wait until
the last minute. Activity 42 will help you make a to-do list and a schedule.
Don’t worry about making it perfect; use the exercise as a way to get started.
Identify Your Prime Time As you schedule your tasks, it is helpful to plan your most important and demanding tasks for your prime time.
This is your high-energy time—the hours of the day in which your mental
and physical capacity is at its peak. Everyone functions best at a different
time of day. Most people are at their peak in the morning hours, while a
few people feel their best in the late evening. Personal Journal 8.2 can help
you determine your prime time.
schedule A chart showing dates and times when
tasks must be completed.
success secret
Make sure you know how
long each task will take.
success secret
Look over your schedule
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ACTIVITY 42: Time-Management Practice
A In the Task column of the to-do list below, write down all the tasks and activities you must do in the next
week. Omit the obvious things that you do every day, such as eating, going to work, and sleeping. Do,
however, include tasks such as grocery shopping. In the Do-By Date column, give each task or activity a
do-by date.
To-Do List for the Week of , 20
Task Do-By Date Importance
B Now prioritize your tasks and activities. In the Importance column above, assign a number between
1 and 3 to each task listed, with 1 representing very important, 2 representing important, and 3 representing somewhat important.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Time Management 335
C Use your to-do list to make a schedule for the coming week. First schedule the tasks you rated as very
important. Draw a star next to these. (You may wish to break up any larger tasks into smaller ones,
assigning a separate do-by date to each.) Then schedule the tasks you rated as important and, if there is
still time, schedule the tasks you rated as somewhat important. Use this schedule over the coming week.
Schedule for the Week of , 20
Day Activities
D Did this schedule help you organize your time? Explain.
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One of the biggest plusses of time management is that it helps you overcome
procrastination. Procrastination is the habit of putting off tasks until the last
minute. Procrastination can have minor consequences, such as having to pay a
late fine for an overdue library book, or major consequences, such as failing a
course or losing a job. It’s normal to procrastinate from time to time. When
procrastination becomes a habit, however, it can erode your self-determination
and self-expectancy. The more you procrastinate, the harder it is to stop.
Procrastination has an enormous effect on success. Consider the key difference between A students and C students. Is it intelligence? Knowledge?
Study skills? According to researchers, the real difference between A students and B or C students is that A students get started early. They buy their
books on time, come to class prepared, and get started quickly on assignments. They don’t procrastinate.
Why We Procrastinate
Everyone procrastinates sometimes on unpleasant tasks, but why do some people seem to procrastinate so often? Many people use procrastination in order to
procrastination The
habit of putting off tasks until
the last minute.
success secret
The longer you procrastinate, the larger a problem
Personal Journal 8.2
What’s Your Prime Time?
Answer each question by circling Yes or No.
1. Do you like to get an early start to your day, even on weekends? Yes No
2. Do you prefer to schedule your classes in the morning? Yes No
3. Do you feel sluggish in the morning until you have been up for an hour or so? Yes No
4. Do you try to schedule your classes later in the day so you can sleep in? Yes No
5. Do you have little trouble staying up past midnight? Yes No
6. Do you start to feel tired around 5 pm, but feel recharged after 8 pm? Yes No
7. Do you find it difficult to fall asleep if you go to bed before 10 pm? Yes No
8. Are you at your best around 8 or 9 am? Yes No
9. Do you usually feel alert when you wake up in the morning? Yes No
If you answered Yes to questions 3, 4, 5, and 6, you are probably a night person. If you answered Yes to
questions 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9, you are probably a morning person. Use this information to fine-tune your
schedule and make yourself more productive.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Time Management 337
avoid taking charge of their lives. They tell themselves, “I only had fifteen minutes to study for that test—getting a C wasn’t too bad!” This is known as selfhandicapping—creating obstacles to your success in order to have an easy
excuse for doing poorly. By putting obstacles in their own path, self-handicappers make themselves immune to failure. They can point to their “handicap”—
lack of time, lack of sleep, forgetting to study, having a cold—as the real culprit.
Other people procrastinate because they are perfectionists. They want
so badly to do something perfectly that they consider themselves failures if
they do merely a good job. So they procrastinate and then fly into a panic
at the last minute.
Still other people believe that they should wait to start a project until
they are “in the mood.” Unfortunately, the more they procrastinate, the less
likely they are to be in the mood. What was originally a small hassle, such
as paying a bill, builds up until it becomes an overwhelming project—paying
late fees, dealing with creditors, and so on. You can find out if you have the
habit of procrastination by completing Activity 43.
Get Started! The best way to stop procrastinating is to do
something—anything—toward your goal. Divide your project into small steps
and complete just one step. For example, tell yourself that you will spend
just fifteen minutes making an outline for that essay, or cleaning the kitchen
counters, or choosing a layout for your résumé. When you divide a project
into small segments, you will find that it is much less overwhelming. You
may even find that you are enjoying the work despite yourself.
Also, get in the habit of planning ahead. Don’t delay working on a project; start early. You may want to start with an easy task and then work your
way up to the harder ones, or you might prefer to jump right into the hard
tasks in order to get them out of the way. Taking action helps keep you
motivated and helps to prevent procrastination. Remember this simple
truth: The sooner you begin a project, the sooner you’ll finish it. You’ll also
have more time for other activities, which you can enjoy without the stress
of the unfinished project hanging over you.
A System That Works To avoid procrastination and make the
best use of your time, you’ll need to research and experiment with different
time-management tools and strategies to find the one that best suits your personality. If you like to be spontaneous, for example, don’t try to make yourself
follow a rigid schedule. Instead, create a schedule that fits you and that helps
you stay focused on what you want and value. Set aside specific times to do
things that make you feel good, whether that is vacuuming your bedroom or
spending time with family. This will help you create the life you want.
Self Check
1. What are the three categories of time? (p. 325)
2. What are the benefits of making a to-do list? (p. 333)
3. What is procrastination? (p. 336)
success secret
Divide your project into
segments, then tackle
just one.
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ACTIVITY 43: Do You Procrastinate?
A Read the statements below and indicate the extent to which each one is true for you by making a check
mark in the appropriate column.
1. I invent reasons to avoid acting on a problem.
2. It takes pressure to get me going on difficult projects.
3. I accumulate piles of mail, newspapers, unpaid bills, broken items,
or clothing to be mended.
4. If I don’t want to do a certain project, I put it out of sight so I won’t
be reminded of it.
5. I sometimes hope that if I delay long enough, a problem will just go
away by itself.
6. I start studying for tests too late to do as well as I know I could.
7. I often turn in assignments late because I need extra time to make
them perfect.
8. I start new tasks before I finish old ones.
9. When working in groups, I try to get other people to finish what
I don’t.
10. If I am uninterested in something, I just can’t make myself do it.
11. When I’m working or studying, I often find myself daydreaming.
12. If I have work to do but my room is a mess, I start cleaning the
room instead of working.
B Scoring: Assign yourself one point for every Disagree Totally, two points for every Disagree Slightly,
three points for every Agree Slightly, and four points for every Agree Totally.
What is your total?
0–20 You are not a chronic procrastinator and probably have only an occasional problem.
21–30 You have a moderate problem with procrastination. Work on planning ahead and getting
started before projects reach the crisis stage.
31–40 You procrastinate often and cause needless stress for yourself. You will benefit greatly from
breaking the procrastination habit.
41–48 You are a master procrastinator. Free yourself from this habit by confronting the fears
behind it.
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C Describe the tasks you tend to put off. Why do you think you procrastinate on these?
D What is one action you could take today to catch up on something you’ve been putting off?
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professional development )))
Time-Management Tips
Here is a check-off list, adapted from the teachings of Lyle Sussman while he was professor of management
at the University of Louisville.
1. Record on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone all the people and projects you manage. Record names,
e-mail addresses, phone numbers. Back-up this information on a separate “cloud” platform. This
includes all your passwords as well.
2. Write down every commitment you make at the time you make it, and then transfer that commitment
to the reminder date in your smartphone calendar.
3. Plan each week the week before, and plan each day the day before. Spend forty minutes at the beginning of each week and fifteen to twenty minutes the night before or at the beginning of each day
planning your priorities. Keep your “to do” list on the screen saver of your smart phone or tablet. Ask
yourself, “What will I accomplish this week and this new day?”
4. Stop wasting the first hour of your workday. Those personal texts, Facebook posts, and socializing are
three opening rituals that can lower productivity.
5. Although all of us must multi-task, do one thing at a time and do it well. It takes time to start and stop
work on each activity.
6. Establish time limits for meetings in advance. Your smartphone alarm can signal when it’s time to
bring the conversation to a close.
7. Schedule incoming and outgoing phone calls at the most opportune times for both parties.
8. Try to handle each piece of paper once—including letters, memos, and reports—and never more than
twice. Don’t set anything aside without taking some action.
9. Don’t open unimportant junk mail or e-mails. At least twenty-five percent can be trashed, and you
don’t want to be phished, hacked, or scammed.
10. Recognize when your peak energy occurs during the day. Allocate the most challenging projects to
that period. Work on easy projects at low-energy times.
11. When you feel your energy level is dropping, take a break. For many people, this occurs around three
in the afternoon. For some it is in the early morning or right after lunch.
12. Get enough rest, nutrients, and exercise. If you don’t feel well, you can’t do well.
13. Set aside personal relaxation time during the day. Don’t work during lunch. It’s neither noble nor
nutritional to skip important energy input and stress-relieving times.
14. Take mini-vacations more often. The harder you work, the more you need to balance your exercise
and leisure time.
15. Throughout the day, ask yourself, “What’s the best use of my time right now?” As the day grows short,
focus on projects you can least afford to leave undone.
What’s Your Opinion?
How realistic is it for you to implement some, or all, of these activities into your daily or weekly routine?
Does this list seem overwhelming? If so, prioritize key activities and tackle the easy ones first. Consider
what obstacles might get in the way of managing your time more effectively.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Money Management 341
Managing money, like managing time, is a skill. In fact, money management
is one of the most important skills you will ever learn. Money management
is the intelligent use of money to achieve your goals. Learning about money
will help you enjoy greater control over your life and increase your confidence about the future.
In school, we all learn English, math, history, and science, but few
of us are taught how to function in a money-based society. Many young
adults enter the working world with only a vague idea of how much
money they will need to pay for the necessities of daily life. We learn as
we spend, often gaining unhealthy spending habits and accruing credit
card debt. If you manage your money wisely, you can avoid these financial setbacks and make sure that you have the financial freedom to
pursue your dreams.
Wealth and Well-Being
So what is money exactly? Money is simply a convenient medium of
exchange that we use to pay for goods and services. It is not a guarantee of
happiness. In fact, once our basic needs are met, more riches can’t bring us
more contentment. The wealthy are not necessarily happy, and the poor are
not necessarily unhappy.
Think about the people, activities, and things that bring you pleasure
and contentment. Do they require money? Or do you find pleasure in taking walks on the beach, reading a good book, spending time with your
friends and family? Remember that although money does allow for certain
luxuries, it does not eliminate life’s challenges.
Your Money and You
We all have feelings about money. Unfortunately, people who have strong
feelings about money often have trouble handling it rationally. Some people, for example, view money as a security blanket and are afraid to spend
a single penny. Others equate it with personal worth and devote themselves to acquiring expensive possessions. Still others fear money and do
their best to avoid thinking about it at all. People who avoid thinking
about money tend to live for today, spending their paychecks as they
come and devoting little thought to financial plans and goals. What is
your attitude toward money? Enter your thoughts in Personal Journal 8.3.
Early Lessons About Money Our attitudes toward money are
strongly influenced by the example our parents set for us. How was money
money management
The intelligent use of money
to achieve your goals.
success secret
Money helps us meet our
basic needs, but it doesn’t
buy happiness.
SECTION 8.2 Money Management
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used in your home when you were growing up? Was it a source of stress
and arguments? Did your parents juggle credit cards? Were bills always
paid late or at the last minute? Was money used as a bribe or reward for
doing well in school? Did you understand where your family’s money came
from and how it was saved and spent? Did you have an allowance and a
budget of your own? You may have inherited irrational and self-defeating
thoughts and feelings about money. If this is the case, it’s important to face
them head-on and dispute them with the ABCDE method you learned in
Chapter 5.
Personal Journal 8.3
How Do You See Money?
To me, money is
My financial goals are
If I had a $100 bill in my wallet, I
When I think about paying bills, I feel
One thing I don’t understand about money is
To me, planning for retirement is
I worry about having enough money for
Money helps me enjoy
I don’t need money to enjoy
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Money Is a Tool The most useful attitude toward money is a
practical one. Look at money as a tool. We need this tool to take care of
our basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. We also
need it to achieve important goals. Many important steps in life—getting
an education, buying a car, renting or owning a home, raising children,
starting a business, traveling, retiring—all require money. In a capitalist
society, money is also a powerful tool for expressing our values. We can
buy products from companies that follow business practices we support,
and we can refuse to buy products from companies that follow business
practices we oppose. We can also support charities, such as schools,
environmental groups, and human service organizations, that do work
we value.
When playing a game like Monopoly, it’s easy to manage your finances—
your monetary resources. It’s not difficult to make strategic decisions when
your money, property, and options are spread out right there in front of you.
In real life, managing money is more complex. Credit cards allow you
to spend money that you don’t have. Taxes, insurance, and other bills
seem to arrive all at once. Debit cards that withdraw money directly from
your bank account can be accessed at ATMs, supermarkets, gas stations,
and other stores—how can anyone keep up with their checkbooks with so
much action?
While it can be difficult to track your finances down to the penny, you
need to know how much money you have and how you want to use it, now
and in the future. Many Americans are as little as one paycheck away from
homelessness—even multimillion-dollar professional athletes seem to go
into debt in the blink of an eye. Having a financial strategy will help you
take care of your needs and pursue your dreams without being sidetracked
by worry. This does not mean that you can’t ever have fun with money, but
it does mean that you can make sure you have enough of it to pay the bills
and save for the future.
The basic recipe for financial fitness is simple: spend less than you earn.
This sounds obvious enough, but it requires planning and self-discipline. To
manage your money well, follow these three steps:
Step 1: Analyze how you use your money.
Step 2: Prioritize your expenses.
Step 3: Create a plan for your money.
Recognize these steps? They are the same ones you learned for managing
your time: analyze, prioritize, and plan.
success secret
Look at money as a tool to
achieve your goals, not as
a goal in itself.
finances Monetary
success secret
Financial planning helps
you achieve peace of
success secret
The basic recipe for financial fitness is to spend less
than you earn.
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Step 1: Analyze How You Use Your Money
The first step in improving your money-management skills is to figure out
how you handle your money. Do you know where it all goes? One practical
way to analyze your spending is to assign each of your expenses to one of
three different categories:
• Fixed committed expenses—Fixed committed expenses are necessary
expenses that are the same from month to month, such as rent, car
payments, and loan payments.
• Variable committed expenses—Variable committed expenses are necessary
expenses that vary from month to month, such as food and laundry bills,
school tuition and books, insurance premiums, auto repairs and registration, vacation expenses, and gifts for birthdays and holidays.
• Discretionary expenses—Discretionary expenses are lifestyle expenses that
are rewarding but not strictly necessary. Common discretionary expenses
include entertainment, meals out, movies, magazines, cable television
service, and snacks.
Fixed and variable expenses are most people’s biggest obligations, but discretionary expenses can add up surprisingly fast. Do you eat out? Do you
go to sports events or movies? Do you hunt for bargains, even on things
you don’t need? There is nothing wrong with discretionary spending, but by
the time you’re done spending money on things you want, you may not
have enough to pay for what you need.
For this reason, one of the most important money-management skills is
the ability to distinguish between committed expenses and discretionary
expenses. Every time you make a purchase, ask yourself: Is this a necessary
expense or a lifestyle expense? Food is a necessary expense, but what about
fancy imported jam when the store brand will do? What about cappuccino
at a café instead of coffee at home?
The best way to get a handle on your spending is to keep a log of your
expenses. This shows you how you deal with money on a day-by-day basis
and reveals any negative spending habits.
Some people discover that they spend astounding amounts on small
things. Hoyen, for example, kept an expense log and figured out that he
spends $148.85 each month on his morning coffee break. Jenna calculated
that she lays out $615.00 on birthday presents every year.
Making an expense log requires some diligent work, but it is the best
way to get a handle on your money. Use Activity 44 to create an expense log.
Step 2: Prioritize Your Expenses
Step 2 is to prioritize, to figure out which expenses are important and
which are not. Use your values and goals as standards to decide how you
will use your money. Do you want to travel abroad? Buy a house or car?
Contribute to a cause you find important? You may be passionately
dedicated to world peace, but if your closet is bursting with shoes or sports
success secret
Lifestyle expenses add up
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ACTIVITY 44: Expense Log
A For one week, write down exactly how you spend your money. Carry a small notebook and record the
date, type of expense, and amount of every purchase you make. Make sure to include small purchases,
such as vending-machine purchases. After the week is done, transfer your information to the chart
below and assign each expense to a category: fixed committed, variable committed, or discretionary.
Date Expense Cost Category
Aug. 26 Dry cleaning $12.34 Variable committed
Aug. 26 Cappuccino $2.55 Discretionary
Date Expense Cost Category
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B Add up how much you spent in each of the three categories. Then divide the expenses in each category
by the grand total of all your expenses for the week. This is the percentage of your total that you spent
in that category.
Total fixed committed expenses: Percent of total:
Total variable committed expenses: Percent of total:
Total discretionary expenses: Percent of total:
Sketch a pie chart of your expenses using the percentages you calculated above. Label each pie slice
with the relevant spending category. The slices on the pie chart below represent ten percent increments.
C Are you satisfied with the way you spend your money? Explain.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
equipment, you may be spending your money on the wrong things. You’ll
need to do some financial planning to make sure that your spending is in
line with your values and goals.
As you plan, also think about how much money you will need to devote
to the basics such as housing, transportation, food, and health care. Do you
want your own place, or would you be willing to live with a roommate? Do
you need a car, or could you carpool or use public transportation? Are you
planning to eat out once a week, twice a week, or every day? As shown in
Figure 8.1, most Americans spend more than three-fourths of their income
on housing, transportation, food, and health care. After paying for insurance, entertainment, and other expenses such as education, there is often
very little left for other things.
Don’t Forget Savings Make sure to work savings into your
financial plan, too. Most Americans save less than a penny for every ten
dollars they earn. Most financial experts, however, recommend saving
at least ten percent of your annual income. Having money set aside
allows you to handle unexpected expenses and provides you with peace
of mind.
Saving money also helps you reach your goals. Before you make a
spending plan, you need to think about how much you will need to set
aside in order to achieve your most valued life goals. Obviously, many
intrinsic goals, such as building relationships and contributing time to the
community, don’t cost a cent, but some intrinsic goals do require at least
some money. Furthering your education, for example, will probably require
money. Raising a child will require money. Donating to charitable causes
success secret
Don’t spend money on
things that don’t really
matter to you.
success secret
Aim to save ten percent of
your income.
FIGURE 8.1 Where the Money Goes
Spending by Category Housing and transportation are Americans’ biggest
expenses. If you live in an area that lacks affordable housing, you may have to
set aside forty percent of your income to pay the rent or mortgage. Why do
you think that Americans’ transportation costs are so high?
Health Care 5.7%
Entertainment 5.0%
Other 10.5%
Insurance 11.0%
Housing 33.3%
Clothing 4.0%
Food 12.7%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2006.
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professional development )))
Investing in Your Future
As you plan for your future, it is worth the time to consider a number of factors in determining your next job,
ideal job, or desired career path. Out of financial necessity, most people must take the first job they find in
order to pay their bills. Rarely do they proactively map out a long-term strategy for attaining their personal,
professional, and financial goals. Without such a plan, you may find yourself stuck in a job that is not
rewarding or has nothing to do with why you chose to further your education. It is wise to conduct as much
research as possible in your field to determine current and future employment options. Determine which
areas of the country (or world) offer the most opportunities in your field. Target specific companies that hire
for the positions in which you are interested. Research costs of living and salary ranges in various cities, and
develop goals and an action plan that includes a projected budget. The better prepared you are in laying
the foundation for your future, the greater your chances are for achieving success.
What’s Your Opinion?
Do you have a plan with short-term and long-term goals for what you want to do for a living, where you
want to live, and how much you want to earn? For more information to assist you in making these decisions,
go to one of the following sites:

100 Best Lifehack Lists for Recent College Grads

will require money. Try to see savings as a basic necessity, not a luxury.
Even if you are in debt, try to set aside a small amount of money each week
for emergencies.
Step 3: Create a Plan for Your Money
The third and final step in money management is to make a budget to ensure
that you use every dollar with a purpose. A budget is a money-management
plan that specifies how you will spend your money during a particular period.
When making a budget, most people look at a month because this is how
often credit cards, telephone services, and rent or mortgage are billed.
A budget shows both your income and your expenses. Your income is
all the money you receive during a fixed period of time. This includes your
salary and any other payments, such as tips, loan payments, interest, and
even allowance. Your expenses include all your monthly committed and
discretionary expenses.
Take time making a budget. A hastily drawn up budget can be worse
than no budget at all—it can lure you into thinking you have far fewer
expenses than you really do. An effective budget meets these criteria:
• It is realistic and accurate, taking into account all the expenses you will
face over the month.
• It is balanced, with expenses equal to or less than income.
budget A moneymanagement plan that
specifies how you will
spend your money during a
particular period.
income All the money
you receive during a fixed
period of time.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
• It centers around your goals and values.
• It provides for savings.
• It can be modified if necessary.
Keep these guidelines in mind while using Activity 45 to make a practice budget.
As we’ve seen, the basic recipe for financial fitness is to spend less than
you earn. This is true whether you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 business
or a starving student. If, like many people, you spend more than you earn,
you have only three realistic possibilities: earn more, spend less, or both.
It’s usually not easy to get a raise, find a higher paying job, or take a second (or third) job. Cutting costs, however, is within everyone’s reach.
When people try to reduce their expenses, they often become discouraged before they even start. Who wants to eat macaroni and cheese every
night or wear the same clothes every day? Cost cutting, however, doesn’t
have to mean sacrificing every luxury. Approach the cost-cutting task like an
analyst examining the finances of a stranger. What areas are money drains?
Where can cuts be made? Generate as many creative ideas as you can.
success secret
Resist the temptation to
Applying Psychology
The “Mind” of Spending or Saving
Why do some people find it difficult to resist the lure of advertising and therefore succumb to shopping sprees, while others prefer to build their savings accounts? Are you
a frugal saver or a compulsive shopaholic? Common sense tells us that we probably
develop our financial habits from our parents and early conditioning. Yet, you will find
spenders and savers within the same family—those who grew up in poverty, yet created great wealth, and those who squandered their family fortune. Are some people
actually “born to shop”?
New research is showing that brain chemistry plays a significant role in our
financial habits. According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer
Research, an area in the brain called the insula is stimulated when people experience unpleasant things. People with more insula activity in their brains are less likely
to be big spenders. It could be thought of as our emotional “braking system” for our
buying behavior. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the nucleus accumbens
identified as the reward center of the brain—“lights up” when people think about something pleasant and
serves as the “gas pedal” for our buying behavior. If the nucleus accumbens drives impulse purchases, the
insula is what triggers buyer’s remorse. To what extent consumer marketers will utilize advances in neurological scanning to find the “magic buying button” remains to be seen!
Critical Thinking What are your thoughts about this new research? Consider and discuss the implications
for futuristic consumer marketing technologies.
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ACTIVITY 45: Budget Worksheet
A Use this chart to plan your income and expenses for an average month. To figure out your monthly variable committed expenses, calculate your annual total and then divide by 12. For example, if your car
insurance costs $900 per year, then you need to set aside $75 per month for this expense. Record your
projected (planned) amounts in the second column, then check your projections by recording the actual
amounts in the third column.
Item Projected Amount Actual Amount
Item Projected Amount Actual Amount
Savings/Emergency Fund
Emergency fund
Savings for goal (specify)
Savings for goal (specify)
Total Savings
Fixed Committed Expenses
Housing (rent or mortgage payment)
Car payments
Child care/child support
Credit card payments
Student loan payments
Home insurance
Car insurance
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Health insurance
Total Fixed Committed Expenses
Variable Committed Expenses
Food (groceries, lunches)
Utilities (electricity, water)
Pet expenses
Car repair
Car registration
Internet service
Dental care
Dry cleaning
Transportation (gas, bus fare, taxi fare)
Personal care items
Hair cut/style
Household repairs and supplies
Health care (doctor’s visits, medication)
Total Variable Committed Expenses
Discretionary Expenses
Eating out
Entertainment (movies, plays, outings)
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Cable TV
Books and educational materials
Magazines and newspapers
Health club dues
Vacation fund
Home improvement (furniture, décor)
Charitable contributions
Total Discretionary Expenses
B Are your budgeted expenses less than your income, equal to your income, or more than your income? If
they are more than your income, how do you plan to make up the difference?
C Did you set aside money for savings? If so, how much and for what? If not, why not?
D How do the projected amounts in your budget compare to the actual amounts? Explain.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Spend, Spend, Spend
Not so long ago, limiting spending was easy. You made a weekly trip to the
bank to deposit your paycheck and withdraw enough cash for the upcoming week. No more cash, no more spending.
Today it is easy to spend, spend, and spend some more. Almost every
student has access to one or more credit cards and the buying power that
goes along with them. But overspending puts you into debt and keeps you
from reaching your goals. The average American household has a stack of
credit cards and more than $8,000 in credit card debt. This is one reason
why more and more individuals are filing for bankruptcy.
Drop the Shopping Habit
Many people overspend because they engage in impulse buying and recreational shopping. As mentioned in Chapter 6, impulse buying means spending money because you see something and suddenly want it, not because
you planned to buy it beforehand. Grocery stores make impulse buying
easy by placing appealing items, such as candy and magazines, right next to
checkout stands. Even online retailers such as Amazon.com cash in on
impulse buying by making personalized suggestions for products that shoppers might like to add to their carts.
Recreational shopping means using shopping, whether in malls or
online, as a form of entertainment. Recreational shopping is common in
our society, and the easiest way to avoid or limit it is simply to stop using
shopping as a diversion. Plan outings that are low-cost or free, such as hiking, playing sports, or making dinner at a friend’s house. Find creative and
fun hobbies you can share with others.
To avoid impulse buying and recreational shopping, remind yourself
again and again to shop only for things that you really need and have
planned to buy. Do you really need that fireproof wallet or electronic
spatula? Before you buy, ask yourself the following questions:
• Do I really need this item?
• Is there something else I need more?
• What other bills do I have to pay?
• Have I allowed for this item in my budget?
• Is this item worth the time I spent to earn the money to pay for it?
• Do I own something similar already?
• Can I borrow a similar item instead?
• Is there something else less expensive that would be just as good?
• Is this the best time to buy?
• Have I comparison shopped for price and quality?
• Do I want to put in the energy required to use, maintain, clean, store,
repair, and dispose of this item?
• Am I buying this in an attempt to satisfy a psychological need?
impulse buying
Spending money on the spur
of the moment, without
success secret
Shopping is an expensive
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Stopping to ask yourself these questions before you buy can help you limit
your spending and become more self-aware. You can also become more
self-aware by looking at your past spending mistakes, which you can do in
Personal Journal 8.4.
Using Credit Wisely
Another important way to take control of your finances is to use credit
wisely. Credit is a sum of money a person can use before having to pay
back the lender. When you use credit, you are really taking out a loan.
Credit transactions can be as simple as using a credit card to buy gas or as
complex as taking out a $200,000 mortgage to buy a house.
credit A sum of money
you can use before having to
pay back the lender.
Personal Journal 8.4
Look Before You Leap
Think of four purchases you have made over the past year or two that you now wish you hadn’t. These
might be products, such as clothing or housewares, or services, such as entertainment or travel. For
ideas, look around your living space or review past credit card statements. On the chart below, describe
each purchase, the reason for the purchase at the time, and why you think you shouldn’t have spent the
Purchase Why You Made Purchase Why You Wish You Hadn’t
What could you do the next time you are tempted to make a similar purchase?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Credit is useful because it allows you to receive a product or service
now and pay for it over time. If you buy a car on credit, for example, you
can pay a fixed installment every month until the car is paid for. This
makes budgeting easy. Using credit cards is safer than carrying cash and
easier than writing checks, and a credit card bill provides a useful record of
your purchases.
The Perils of Credit Unfortunately, credit cards make it easy to
accumulate debt. It’s easy to lose track of how much you are spending and
to engage in impulse buying. Practically every large chain store now offers a
credit card, and it is common for consumers to have five or even ten credit
cards in their wallets.
It’s hard to keep track of credit card bills, especially when each bill is
due on a different date. Late fees are steep, often running $29.00 or more.
In addition, if you don’t pay off your credit card bill every month, you will
owe not only the amount of your purchases, but also finance charges.
Finance charges add up amazingly quickly. Let’s say you charge a $2,000
vacation on your credit card. If you only pay the minimum monthly payment, it will take you eleven years to pay off that vacation. Along the way,
you’ll also pay nearly $2,000 in finance charges, doubling the cost of your
vacation. Are you one of the millions who overuse credit? Ask yourself
whether you would use credit:
• to pay overdue bills, especially on other credit cards
• to buy an item that costs $5.00 or less
• to pay for a vacation
• to pay for a large purchase you hadn’t saved for
• even if you could pay cash
If you answered yes to these questions, you are relying on credit cards to
pay for things that you can’t really afford.
If you are already in debt, spend as little as you can and devote every
penny (after savings) to paying off the debt. If you have multiple credit
cards, consolidate your debt to the one with the smallest interest rate. You
can also call your creditors or consult a consumer credit counseling service
to work out a payment arrangement.
Your Credit Record The way you use credit affects your financial
situation not only today, but also in the future. That’s because your credit
situation goes into an electronic file, known as a credit record, that employers, landlords, and others can access at any time. A credit record is a log of
the financial habits of a person who buys on credit.
Several corporations, known as credit bureaus, are in the business of
selling the information on your credit record. When you apply for a new
credit card or a loan at a bank, the bank will ask one or more of these
companies for a report on how much you’ve borrowed, how much you’ve
paid back, and whether you’ve had problems paying on time.
success secret
Devote every penny you
can to paying off debt.
credit record A log of
the financial habits of a person who buys on credit.
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Having a good credit record is essential if you want to buy a house,
lease or buy a car, or rent an apartment. Some employers even check
potential employees’ credit records. To establish good credit, pay all bills
promptly, avoid large debts, and do not bounce checks. To improve a bad
credit record, open a small line of credit, such as a credit account at a local
store, and make regular payments. This shows potential lenders, employers,
and landlords that you are trustworthy.
Keep It in Perspective
Economist John Maynard Keynes once said, “The importance of money
flows from it being a link between the present and the future.” When you
are in debt, you spend most of your time scrambling to make up for the
past rather than planning for the future. If you don’t keep track of what you
spend, you can waste a lot of money without even realizing it. You work
hard for your money, and you should use it for the things that mean the
most to you. Spending and saving wisely gives you the freedom to plan for
the future.
Self Check
1. What is a budget? (p. 348)
2. What is impulse buying? (p. 353)
3. What are the pros and cons of using credit? (p. 355)
success secret
Money is a link between
the present and the future.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Chapter 8 Review and Activities
time management (p. 324)
to-do list (p. 330)
schedule (p. 333)
procrastination (p. 336)
money management (p. 341)
finances (p. 343)
budget (p. 348)
income (p. 348)
impulse buying (p. 353)
credit (p. 354)
credit record (p. 355)
Key Terms
Summary by Learning Objectives
• Outline the three steps in time management and in money management. The three
steps in time management are: (1) analyze how you use your time; (2) prioritize your activities;
and (3) create a plan (to-do list and schedule) for your time. The three steps in money management are: (1) analyze how you use your money; (2) prioritize your expenses; and (3) create a
plan (budget) for your money.
• Describe the three categories of time and the three categories of expenses. The
three categories of time are: (1) committed time, the time you devote to goal-related activities;
(2) maintenance time, the time you spend taking care of yourself; and (3) discretionary time,
the time you use to do whatever you wish. The three categories of expenses are: (1) fixed committed expenses, necessary expenses that are the same each month; (2) variable committed
expenses, necessary expenses that vary from month to month; and (3) discretionary expenses,
lifestyle expenses that are not strictly necessary.
• Explain how to make a to-do list and a schedule. To make a to-do list, write down all the
tasks and activities you need to complete over the course of a certain period, such as a week. As
you accomplish each one, check it off the list. Make a schedule by noting tasks and activities
and do-by dates.
• Define procrastination and explain its causes. Procrastination is the habit of putting off
tasks until the last minute. Procrastination can stem from self-handicapping, perfectionism, or a
lack of self-motivation.
• Describe the criteria for an effective budget. An effective budget meets the following
criteria: it is realistic and accurate, taking into account all the expenses you will face over the
month; it is balanced, with expenses equal to or less than income; it centers around your goals
and values; it provides for savings; and it can be modified if necessary.
• Cite ways to reduce excess spending. Ways to reduce excess spending include using
credit wisely; checking impulse buying by stopping to analyze each purchase; and choosing
recreational activities other than shopping.
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Review and Activities
Review Questions
1. What is the difference between committed time and discretionary time?
2. List three benefits of using a to-do list.
3. Why is it important to prioritize your tasks and activities?
4. How do emotions affect people’s relationship with money?
5. Why is it important to analyze your spending habits?
6. What are the pros and cons of credit?
Critical Thinking
7. Time Management Making to-do lists and schedules saves time, but it also takes time. Do
you create to-do lists for yourself? If so, how are they working for you? Are they saving you
time? If you aren’t using to-do lists for yourself, how do you get things done? Think about the
pros and cons of using to-do lists and schedules.
8. Voluntary Simplicity Voluntary simplicity is an approach to living that focuses on frugal
consumption, ecological awareness, and personal and relationship growth rather than on
material wealth and showy accomplishments. People who believe in voluntary simplicity
often change their lifestyles to work (and earn) less, want less, and spend less. Does this
approach to life and spending appeal to you? Why or why not? In what ways would this lifestyle be challenging for you? What might you miss from the “material world”? What might
you gain from living this way?
9. Money-Management Mentors Identify two or three people you know who are financially
“successful.” Set up some time to interview them on their approach to managing money.
How closely do they track their spending? What percentage of their income do they save?
What tips can they offer you for adhering to a budget? Summarize your findings. How might
you be able to adopt any of their habits into your own life? Consider asking if any of these
people would be willing to meet with you again to review your progress, and perhaps offer
you some ongoing “money mentoring.”
10. Busting Procrastination Make a list of important tasks you’ve been putting off, or projects
you have yet to complete. You could include tasks such as simply doing laundry, sending out
your rèsumè, following up on a job interview, or paying a monthly bill. Choose the task you’re
resisting the most, first. Either today or tomorrow, set aside fifteen minutes to work on this
task. Assemble whatever materials you need and set a timer for fifteen minutes. When the
timer goes off, stop. How much did you get done? Was the task easier than you thought? Are
you motivated to continue working? Did you find you wanted to move on to your next task
immediately? Continue this habit on a daily basis, perhaps extending your timer for thirty
minutes. You will be surprised how much you actually accomplish in a week’s time!
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Review and Activities
Internet Activities
11. Managing College Life College life for students, no matter what age or educational pursuit, can be quite challenging to manage. Besides taking classes, both on-campus and online,
students may also be working in part-time or full-time jobs while juggling social activities, family obligations, fitness goals, and financial management. Fortunately, there are a multitude of
apps available to help students manage a full range of activities from organizing lecture notes,
outlines, and projects, and keeping track of assignments to tracking spending, meeting savings
goals, and managing social life. Go online and search for apps that work for you and your
own situation. To get you started, visit the following sites:
12. Managing Student Loan Debt It has become increasingly difficult to keep up with the
very loans students took out to ensure their future success. The student loan debt has
increased by 300 percent over the past eight years, with more than 37 million Americans in
debt because of their education. What precautions should you take when applying for, and
repaying, student loans? How can you safeguard your future? Conduct an online search for
current information about student loan debt, and resources to help manage it. You can start
with the following sites:
Look back at your response to the question in the Real-Life
Success Story on page 322. Think about how you would answer
the question now that you have completed the chapter.
Complete the Story Write a short note to Anna. In it, suggest
that she use a to-do list and schedule and explain how doing this
could help her stay on track at work and still make time for fun.
Real-Life “Will I Ever Be Able to Enjoy Some ‘Free’ Time?”
Success Story
©Corbis Super RF/Alamy
Review and Activities 359
Climbing the Ladder
Joe was on his way. He had completed his associate
degree in accounting and been accepted for transfer
to a four-year university. Before continuing his studies, he decided to take a six-month internship at one
of the best-known accounting firms in the country.
The internship paid only minimum wage, but Joe was
excited about getting real-world experience and
solid professional references.
Suffering in Silence
It wasn’t long before Joe ran into problems. His supervisor, Mr. Douridas, was never around to answer
questions, but he almost always found time to criticize Joe’s work. Joe double- and triple-checked his
figures, but Mr. Douridas always found something to
nitpick. Joe suspected that his boss didn’t realize the
effect of his harsh words, and he wished he could say
something to improve the situation—but what? He
asked for advice from his coworkers, but they recommended that he keep his mouth shut. Joe became so
discouraged that he considered quitting rather than
face work one more day.
What Do You Think? How could Joe handle his
conflict with his supervisor?
“How Do I Stand Up for Myself?”
Success Story
©Ingram Publishing
and Relationships9 Chapter
learning objectives
After you complete this chapter,
you should be able to:
• Describe the six elements of
• Summarize the forms and
functions of nonverbal
• List several skills necessary for
effective speaking and active
• Explain the relationship among
stereotypes, prejudice, and
• Define intimacy and explain how
to develop it in a relationship.
• Cite the characteristics of satisfying intimate relationships.
• Explain how to handle conflict
Truly remarkable leadership is not just
about motivating others to follow, it’s
about inspiring them to become leaders themselves and setting the stage
for even greater opportunities for
future generations.”
Condoleezza Rice,
Former United States Secretary of State
Over the course of this book you’ve looked at all sides
of yourself and considered what you want out of life. In
this final chapter you’ll learn about making connections
with others. In Section 9.1 you’ll focus on interpersonal
communication. You’ll explore the communication process, learn how to become an effective speaker and an
active listener, and examine how you can use your communication skills to resolve conflicts with others. In
Section 9.2 you’ll explore the nature of relationships,
learning how they form and develop and what skills you
can use to strengthen them.

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SECTION 9.1 Effective Communication
What exactly is communication? Communication is the process of giving or
exchanging messages. A message is an expression of thought or feeling.
Messages can take the form of words, but they can also take the form of
sounds, gestures, actions, or facial expressions. A raised eyebrow, a sigh, or
a scream, for example, is a message. Messages can even be conveyed
through music, dance, visual art, acting, or any other expressive form.
People communicate for many reasons: to convey facts and ideas, share
feelings, give orders, persuade, entertain, and even deceive. The most
important function of communication, however, is to create and maintain
bonds between people. You get to know people through communication,
whether in person, by phone, or via a number of online social media platforms. You also maintain your existing relationships through communication. When people avoid talking to each other or feel they have nothing left
to say, it is a sure sign that their relationship is in trouble.
People with excellent communication skills enjoy the happiest relationships. They have stronger friendships, romantic relationships, and family
relationships, and they get along better with coworkers. Having excellent
communication skills also makes you a sought-after employee. Employers
are always searching for candidates who have excellent communication
skills, as well as skills that depend on good communication, such as teamwork skills, leadership skills, and people skills.
Interpersonal Communication
There are four basic communication skills: writing, reading, speaking, and
listening. In this chapter we’ll focus on speaking and listening, which are
the skills most often used in interpersonal communication. Interpersonal
communication is one-on-one, usually face-to-face communication. Interpersonal communication is usually spontaneous and informal. This makes it
very different from other forms of communication such as written communication, public speaking, and mass (media) communication.
Every time you interact with another person, you engage in interpersonal communication. Even if you don’t use words, your body language
says a great deal about what you are thinking and feeling. In fact, your body
language sends messages even if you aren’t aware of it.
Most of us spend a large part of our day talking and hearing other
people talk. This doesn’t mean that we are great communicators, however.
Communicating well requires many skills—self-awareness, cultural awareness, honesty, respect and compassion for others, and openness to other
points of view. Take a moment to assess how much you know about communication by completing Activity 46.
The process of giving or
exchanging messages.
communication Oneon-one, usually face-to-face
success secret
Good communicators are
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Effective Communication 363
ACTIVITY 46: How Much Do You Know About
A Read the following statements about communication and indicate whether each one is True or False by
checking the appropriate box.
True False
1. Making eye contact with a speaker shows that you are interested in what he
or she is saying.
2. Facial expressions can help you get your message across.
3. Time and place have a large effect on communication.
4. Showing respect for others is part of good communication.
5. Leaning slightly toward a person who is speaking shows that you are interested
in what he or she is saying.
6. Communicating well is a skill that can be learned.
7. Observing body language is part of listening.
8. It’s important to be able to disagree without getting angry or abusive.
9. Being silent is one way of encouraging someone to continue speaking.
10. If someone is telling you about a personal problem, giving advice can make him
or her feel that you’re not really listening.
11. A speaker’s body language can reveal whether he or she is lying or covering
something up.
12. When someone is struggling for words, it’s important not to interrupt to “help.”
13. Part of good listening is trying to understand the other person’s point of view.
14. Emotional self-awareness helps prevent a breakdown in communication.
15. Listening is a psychological process.
16. The medium in which a message is conveyed influences the way it is interpreted.
17. Wordless signals such as body language can convey up to ninety percent
of a message.
18. People are sometimes unaware of the message their body language is sending.
19. Each person uses body language differently.
20. Good communicators take responsibility for their own feelings.
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B Scoring: All of these statements about communication are true. The more times you checked True, the
more you know about good communication. How many times did you check True?
Are you surprised that all of these statements about communication are true? Explain.
C Why would showing respect for others be a part of good communication?
D Do you consider yourself a good communicator? Why or why not?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Effective Communication 365
Elements of Communication
Communication is a process, a back-and-forth exchange of thoughts and
feelings. This process is more complex than most of us realize. Every
exchange has six different elements: sender, message, channel, receiver,
feedback, and context. Let’s examine each one. (See Figure 9.1.)
Sender The sender is the person who translates a thought or feeling
into a message and then sends this message to another person. The sender
could be a writer, a speaker, or a person who sends a nonverbal (wordless)
message with physical movement.
Message The message is the sender’s expression of a thought or feeling. It can be written, spoken, or nonverbal. Let’s say that you and a friend
are at a party, and you’re ready to leave. You could send this message in
several ways: by saying words such as “let’s go,” by sending a brief text on
your smartphone, by gesturing toward the exit, or even by pushing your
friend out the door.
Channel The channel is the medium in which a message is delivered.
The channel has a large effect on the way the message comes across. Let’s
say your boss leaves you a voicemail asking you to come to her office to
channel The medium in
which a message is delivered.
FIGURE 9.1 Elements of Communication
Sending and Receiving Every communication requires a sender, a message,
a channel, a receiver, feedback, and a context. Which channels of communication make it impossible for the receiver to provide feedback immediately?
Sender Channel
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discuss a project. Think of how differently this message would come across
if she drafted it in a formal memo or hired a singing telegram to surprise
you with it at your home.
Context Context is the time and place of communication. Context, like
channel, has a large effect on the communication process. Let’s say you are
in your instructor’s office discussing a possible grade change. How would the
conversation be different if it took place at a crowded party, at a funeral
reception, or in class with all your fellow students listening? Would you say
the same things? Would you get the same responses? Being aware of context
can help you choose the right words and predict the other person’s reactions.
Communication Breakdown
The goal of communication is to have the receiver interpret the message
the way the sender intended. This goal sounds simple enough, but it isn’t
always easy to achieve. The communication process is complex, and misunderstandings can arise easily. Have you ever heard a “yes” when the other
person was trying to say “no”? Have you ever made a harmless comment
and had someone take it the wrong way?
Each of us has different experiences, goals, expectations, ideas, perceptions, feelings, and moods, and these can create barriers to good communication. Communication breaks down when physical, emotional, or cultural
barriers get in the way of understanding.
Physical Barriers Physical barriers are the most obvious roadblocks
to good communication. Background noise or poor acoustics, for example,
can make it difficult for you to hear a speaker. You may have trouble taking
in what you are hearing or reading if you are physically uncomfortable or if
the speaker is using an unpleasant tone of voice. The appearance of the
speaker can be a physical barrier, too. Imagine how difficult it would be to
concentrate if your teacher came to class one day dressed in a clown suit.
Some physical barriers, such as deafening background noise, are impossible
to overcome. Others, such as trying to have two conversations at once, can
be changed or reduced through self-awareness. Analyze what is bothering
you and try to correct the problem.
Emotional Barriers Communication is a psychological process as
well as a physical one. Barriers, therefore, can be emotional as well as physical. Emotions such as sadness, excitement, boredom, or anxiety can make
it hard to pay attention to what someone else is saying. Imagine learning
that you have just won the lottery or lost a friend in a car accident—how
well would you be able to concentrate during your next class?
Receiver The receiver is the person who takes in, or receives, the
sender’s message. The way the receiver interprets the message depends
on his or her personality, past experiences, interest level, emotional state,
context The time and
place of communication.
success secret
Good communication
requires effort.
success secret
Emotional awareness
helps you communicate
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Effective Communication 367
and knowledge of the subject. The relationship between the sender and
the receiver also affects the way the receiver interprets the message. For
example, you probably wouldn’t think twice if your boss instructed you to
drop what you were doing and work on her expense report. However, how
would you react if your roommate ordered you to drop what you were
doing and finish her math homework?
Feedback Feedback is the receiver’s response to a message. Senders
rely on feedback to figure out how the receiver is interpreting their message. Feedback can take many forms—agreement, disagreement, questions,
confusion, anger, delight. It can consist of words (“I see”), expressions
(“uh huh”), or actions (nodding, smiling, running away).
Conflicting emotions can take a toll on communication, too. Our words
are expressions of our thoughts, so confused thoughts will produce confused
(and confusing) messages. If you have conflicting feelings about a person,
for example, you won’t be able to convey a clear message. You might find
yourself stammering, hesitating, or saying something you don’t really mean.
Speakers and listeners bring their emotions to every conversation,
which can lead to misunderstandings on both sides. If you are extremely
angry at your best friend, for example, you may find it difficult to choose
the right words or construct coherent sentences. You may interpret her
words in a distorted way or engage in selective listening, choosing what you
want to hear and ignoring the rest. People often use selective listening to
block out the part of the message that is threatening their self-esteem.
Overcoming emotional barriers requires emotional awareness. When
you recognize and accept what you are feeling, you become aware of how
your emotions affect your ability to communicate.
Language and Cultural Barriers For two people to communicate, they should ideally speak the same language. But just because people
share a common language doesn’t mean they share a common cultural
background. It can be difficult to communicate with people from different
cultural groups or geographic areas who use words and concepts that are
unfamiliar to you. Each culture also has its own conventions about verbal
and nonverbal communication, many of which can be baffling to outsiders.
In Bulgaria, for example, nodding your head up and down means “no” and
shaking your head side to side means “yes.” The thumbs-up gesture is positive in most of the world, but in Australia it is an insult.
Cultural taboos, or prohibitions, can make it particularly difficult to get a
message across. Let’s say you ask your new British acquaintance what he
does for a living in an attempt to show interest and get to know him better.
Unfortunately, in England this question is considered rude because it is interpreted as a question about a person’s income. You can avoid such misunderstandings by developing cultural awareness, the ability to recognize the ways
cultures differ and how these differences affect cross-cultural interactions.
Becuase we function in a global village, it is important for us to learn about
success secret
Everyone interprets messages differently.
success secret
Words are expressions
of thoughts—to speak
clearly, think clearly.
success secret
Cultural differences affect
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communication norms in countries we plan to visit, as well as in individuals
from other cultures with whom we interact on a daily basis. Being culturally
aware also means being aware of how your culture influences your behavior.
Now it’s time to apply what you’ve learned about communication to
real-world situations. In Activity 47 you’ll observe the elements of communication in action.
Think of how many ways you can express how you feel without saying a
single word. You can use gestures, facial expressions, body movements,
even sounds. Think about the last time you were bored with a lecture. Did
you keep glancing at your watch? Did you yawn? Sigh?
These wordless signals, or cues, are examples of nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication is the process of giving or exchanging information without words. It is “speaking” without words. Did you know that
you can even communicate nonverbally in a telephone conversation? A
smile affects the tone of your voice.
Nonverbal cues can reveal more about us than the words we speak.
They help us get an idea of the person we are talking to—who they are, what
they think, what they feel. If someone has crossed arms, he or she may feel
defensive. Hands on hips may show aggressiveness. A person who looks
down or away from you may feel self-conscious or guilty. Eyes can show
surprise or anger.
The most important nonverbal message is self-confidence. A smile, good eye
contact, upright posture, and a firm handshake all project your self-assurance.
A smile is the universal language that opens doors. It is the light in your
window that tells others there is a caring and sharing person inside. When
you put out your hand to shake another’s, you show that you value that person. This tradition began in ancient times as a double-handed clasp to show
that a weapon was not concealed. Anyone who would not shake hands was
looked at with suspicion. Think about handshakes you have received from
others. Which do you react positively to? A firm handshake (not a tight grip,
not a limp hand) conveys the impression of a confident person.
Functions of Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal communication has many functions. We use it to maintain
human bonds, convey facts and ideas, share feelings, give orders, persuade,
entertain, or even deceive other people. The most frequent functions of
nonverbal communication fall into three categories: managing conversations, providing feedback, and clarifying verbal messages.
Managing Conversations Managing conversations means starting conversations, helping them flow smoothly, and ending them. People
use gestures and facial expressions to signal that they have something to
The process of giving or
exchanging messages without
success secret
Nonverbal signals often
tell more than words.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Effective Communication 369
ACTIVITY 47: Analyzing Communication
A Observe a conversation between two people you’ve never met. Note all six elements of communication:
the identity or role of the sender, the content of the message, the channel of the message, the identity
or role of the receiver, the content of the feedback, and the context of the conversation.
Could you figure out the relationship between the sender and the receiver? If so, how? If not, why not?
(Consider both verbal and nonverbal information.)
Did any physical, emotional, or cultural barriers affect the conversation? Explain.
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B Now describe the same elements for a conversation in which you were involved.
What was the relationship between you and the other person, and how do you think it influenced the
conversation? For example, how did it affect the words you chose, your tone of voice, and so on?
Did any physical, emotional, or cultural barriers affect the conversation? Explain.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Effective Communication 371
say or that they want to keep the floor. If you begin talking when someone
hasn’t finished, for example, he or she might talk louder or make a hand
gesture indicating “wait.” Nonverbal cues can end conversations, too. If
you stand up, fidget, and look at your watch while someone is chatting with
you, it’s obvious that you’re ready for the conversation to end.
Providing Feedback The second function of nonverbal communication is to provide feedback. Nonverbal feedback tells you a lot about
what the other person is thinking and feeling. Let’s say you are a store manager considering two candidates, Patrick and Dayla, for a sales job. During
his interview, Patrick smiles and leans forward attentively as you explain
the specifics of the job. This says, “I’m really interested in what you’re saying” and “I’ve got a positive attitude.” Dayla, on the other hand, smirks and
sits back with her arms folded. This sends the message, “I couldn’t care less
what you’re saying” and “I’m too good for this job.” Which candidate
would you hire?
Clarifying Messages The third function of communication is to
clarify verbal messages. Nonverbal cues such as tone of voice and body language can often convey far more information than words. Let’s say your
roommate tells you the dishes are dirty. If she says this in an apologetic
tone with downcast eyes, you will probably figure that she is repenting for
leaving dirty dishes in the sink again. But what if she says the same thing in
a hostile tone, pointing an accusing finger at you? This same sentence is
now sending an entirely different message.
Nonverbal cues can also be a dead giveaway that a speaker feels something different from what he or she is saying. Your company president might
say that there won’t be any layoffs this year, but if he is shuffling his feet and
avoiding eye contact, you might think he knows something he’s not saying.
Forms of Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal communication is versatile in form as well as function. It can
incorporate any or all of the five senses—sight, sound, touch, even smell,
and taste. A caress can show love, a whistle can mean “look over here!”
and a nod can convey agreement. A person might apply cologne or perfume for a date in order to send the message, “I am desirable.” A used
car dealer might spray his merchandise with new car smell to convince
buyers that the cars are just like new. What would you think if your
spouse surprised you with a delicious home-cooked meal? What if he or
she poured a cup of salt into your coffee? All of these actions send powerful messages.
The three most common and important forms of nonverbal communication are voice, personal distance, and body language. Voice involves sound,
personal distance involves sight, touch, and smell, and body language
involves sight.
success secret
Nonverbal cues often suggest what a person is
thinking and feeling.
success secret
Pay attention to nonverbal
cues in all five senses.
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Voice Your voice is a powerful instrument. You can vary the sound of
your voice by speed (fast or slow), pitch (high or low), volume (loud or
quiet), and tone (empathetic, sarcastic, whining, etc.). Each of these factors
influences your message. Speaking loudly, for example, can make you seem
agitated or hostile. Speaking quickly conveys the impression of anxiety, excitement, or urgency. Depending on what tone of voice you use, your message
can come across as heartfelt, ironic, angry, or in practically any other way.
Personal Distance Personal distance refers to the amount of space
between you and the people with whom you are communicating. When
talking with a stranger or casual acquaintance, the average North American
usually stands at least four feet away from the other person. For conversations with friends, family, and coworkers, most of us maintain a distance of
18 inches to four feet. We reserve the space below 18 inches for our most
intimate relationships, such as friends and partners. The amount of physical space you keep between yourself and another person, therefore, can say
a lot about your relationship.
Body Language Body language refers to facial expressions, posture,
and gestures. Facial expressions involve movements of the mouth, the eyebrows and forehead, and the eyes. Facial expressions are the main nonverbal
cues to a person’s emotions. Raised eyebrows, for example, indicate surprise
or fear; a furrowed brow signals tension, worry, or deep thought; and a distant
stare can suggest boredom. Facial expressions are such a basic part of human
psychology that it takes a great deal of effort to suppress or fake them.
Gestures are movements of the arms, hands, legs, and feet. They are
used to display emotion, illustrate a point, move a conversation in a certain
direction, or even signify membership in a social group (think of secret
handshakes used by certain clubs).
Posture, the way we carry ourselves when sitting or standing, also says a
lot about who we are. An upright posture is associated with confidence and
authority, while a lowered head and slumped shoulders indicate inferior status or emotional burden, as in the phrase “to shoulder a burden.” Leaning
forward shows eagerness and interest in the other person, whereas leaning
back can send the message that something is wrong. Changing our posture
can make us change the way we feel about ourselves, too; sitting or standing up straight can give us a boost of self-confidence.
Interpreting Nonverbal Cues
Interpreting nonverbal cues is not always easy. For one thing, almost all
nonverbal cues have multiple meanings. Depending on the context, for
example, laughter can mean many different things. If you laugh at the punch
line of a joke, you are probably saying, “I find that funny.” But laughter can
also signify nervousness, sarcasm, or ridicule, and it can be a way to relieve
stress and to boost the mood of people around you.
body language Facial
expressions, posture, and
success secret
Our voices and bodies are
powerful communication
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Effective Communication 373
Applying Psychology
Emotional Intelligence
Because our world is changing so rapidly, particularly in areas of social networking, our IQ, or mental intelligence, is not enough to help us live a successful and fulfilling life. We must learn to develop our EQ—emotional intelligence,
which is the ability to understand and discriminate and monitor our own feelings, as well as those of others. Although both IQ and EQ are important in
determining our success, researchers believe that IQ counts for roughly ten
percent (at best twenty-five percent), and the rest involves EQ. Emotional intelligence addresses the following categories of behavior: self-awareness, selfmanagement or regulation, motivation, empathy, and relationship
management or interpersonal/social skills. Having a high level of emotional intelligence can also help you
manage stress by your ability to adapt to change and demonstrate resiliency in the face of challenges. Many
of the leading organizations recognize the value of emotionally intelligent leaders, and are implementing
training and coaching programs to raise the EQ level of their workforce.
What’s Your Opinion?
Why do you think emotional intelligence is so important? In what situations might your EQ better serve you
than your IQ? How will society benefit from people developing their EQs, compared to their IQs? Should EQ
be taught and tested in schools?
©AMV Photo/Getty Images
Nonverbal signals are also influenced by interlocking cultural, gender,
and individual differences, as shown in Figure 9.2.
Each culture has different rules about where, when, and with whom the
expression of emotion is allowed. In addition, gestures, touch, personal
FIGURE 9.2 Influences on Nonverbal Communication
Putting It in Context Nonverbal signals are used in different ways by different
cultural groups, by men and women, and by individuals. What do you think
explains the fact that women use submissive nonverbal signals more often
than men do?
Cultural Dierences
Gender Dierences
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distance, and other nonverbal signals are used in different ways from
culture to culture. In Arab cultures, for example, intense and prolonged
eye contact is much more frequent than in North American and European
cultures, where such eye contact is regarded as intrusive.
Men and women also use nonverbal signals differently, even when they
are from the same culture. For example, women smile and make eye contact much more often than men. They also show more submissive nonverbal behaviors, such as lowering their eyes, moving out of other people’s
path, and allowing other people to interrupt them.
Individuals use nonverbal communication in unique ways, too. Remember the company president who talked about layoffs? You sensed he was
lying because he shuffled his feet and avoided eye contact. But when your
girlfriend uses the same body language when she tells you she loves you,
you know this means she is feeling nervous and vulnerable. That’s because
you have learned to read her unique body language.
Because of all these influences on nonverbal communication, it’s important to interpret nonverbal cues in the light of the verbal message that goes
along with them, the cultural background and gender of the sender, and the
context of the communication. Perform an experiment in decoding nonverbal communication by completing Activity 48.
Communication skills, like all other skills, are developed through learning
and practice. Now that you’ve learned more about the different aspects of
communication, you can put this knowledge into practice to improve your
communication skills.
Becoming an Effective Speaker
Picture someone who you think is a good speaker. What sets that person
apart from others? Chances are, they do the following:
• speak clearly
• use a large and expressive vocabulary
• use positive body language
• tell the truth
• welcome feedback
• pay attention to listeners’ nonverbal signals
• show respect for other people’s feelings and points of view
Let’s examine several strategies you can use to develop these skills.
Build Your Vocabulary To speak effectively, you need to be
able to express what you think and feel in words. English has more than
1,000,000 words, yet the average person can use only 50,000 of them.
success secret
Men and women communicate differently.
success secret
Look for role models who
are effective speakers.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Effective Communication 375
ACTIVITY 48: Body Language Log
A Pay attention to the gestures, facial expressions, and postures that a roommate, close friend, or family
member often uses. For example, does he or she often roll his or her eyes to signal irritation, or dance
to show happiness? List a few of his or her body language habits and what you think they mean.
Body Language Meaning
B Review your list with the person you observed. Is he or she surprised by any of your observations? Does
he or she agree or disagree with the meanings you wrote in the second column? Explain.
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C Now pay attention to the gestures, facial expressions, and postures you often use. Make a list of your
body language habits and what they mean. Ask a family member or good friend to help you if you find it
difficult to observe yourself objectively.
Body Language Meaning
D Did any of your observations surprise you? For example, did you become aware of any habits you didn’t
know you had? Explain.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Effective Communication 377
Building your vocabulary helps you find the right words to express yourself. Because we do much of our thinking in words, expanding your
vocabulary also means expanding your tools of thought.
Work on developing your vocabulary by reading widely on the subjects
that interest you. Stop when you find an unfamiliar word, guess its meaning
from the context, then look the word up in a dictionary to check your guess.
Be Direct and Honest Effective communicators are honest and
sincere, not phony. Being false or manipulative can undermine your credibility, your listener’s interest, and his or her trust in you. Honesty, by contrast,
creates a positive communication climate. Making eye contact is a good way
to create rapport and project honesty. Also make sure to avoid conflicting
messages, such as saying that everything is going fine when your body language says otherwise. Have you ever told a white lie to spare a person’s feelings, only to have it snowball into a bigger and bigger lie? Avoid this
damaging situation by being honest, but tactful, from the start.
Welcome Feedback Effective speaking also means welcoming
feedback, not just talking to hear the sound of your voice. Try to stay open
to all kinds of feedback, even if it isn’t what you want to hear. Pay special
attention to nonverbal feedback, which can help you detect what the other
person is feeling. If you see that what you are saying is creating negative
feelings, you can try to convey your message in a different way. If you realize you have made a mistake, said something confusing, or hurt a person’s
feelings, acknowledge the issue and apologize. This helps build trust and
prevent conflict.
Show Respect Respecting others builds trust and goodwill, which
are essential for good communication. Make a conscious effort to understand and respect other people’s points of view, even if you don’t agree
with them. This is especially important when you interact with people from
other backgrounds and cultures. Approach every conversation as a chance
for open, honest communication. This will make the other person feel more
at ease, enabling a real exchange of ideas.
Another important way to show respect for others is to take responsibility for your feelings. Do you ever find yourself saying things like, “you make
me so mad” or “you’re driving me crazy”? Emotional messages like these
that begin with the word “you” are known as “you” statements. They express
a belief about the other person, often blaming him or her for your problems
or negative feelings. Instead of beginning with the word “you,” try starting
with the word “I” or the words “I feel”: “I feel angry when you don’t say
goodbye in the morning.” “I get worried when you come home late without
calling.” Shifting the focus from “you” to “I” shows that you are taking
responsibility for your feelings. Adding an explanation of your feelings is a
good idea as well, because it helps the other person understand your point
of view: “I feel angry when you don’t say goodbye in the morning because
I wonder if you still love me.” “I get worried when you come home late
success secret
Stay open to feedback
of all kinds.
success secret
Take responsibility for
your feelings.
378 Chapter 9 Communication and Relationships Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
without calling because I start imagining that you’ve been in a car accident.”
Practice using “I” statements in Personal Journal 9.1.
Becoming an Active Listener
Communication is a two-way street. When one person is speaking, the
other needs to be listening—actively. Active listening means listening with
understanding and paying close attention to what is being said. Unlike
hearing, which is a physical process, active listening is a psychological
process. Active listening requires three skills, which make up the acronym
EAR—encouraging, attending, and responding.
active listening
Listening with understanding
and paying close attention to
what is being said.
Personal Journal 9.1
“I” Statements
Change each of the following “you” statements into an “I” statement. Use the format “I feel . . . about . . .
because . . .” or “I feel . . . when you . . . because . . . .”
You never do what you promise.
I feel disappointed when you don’t keep a promise because I think that you don’t value our
You always interrupt when I’m talking.
You just have to criticize, don’t you?
You’re late again, as usual.
You need to help out more around the house.
You get on my nerves when you act so babyish.
How does it feel to begin these statements with the word “I”?
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Effective Communication 379
Encouraging Encouraging others means showing a desire to listen.
You can do this by using open questions, which allow for a broad range of
responses. These are more effective at eliciting information than closed
questions, which ask for a one- or two-word answer. “What careers are you
interested in?” is an open question, while “Have you chosen a career yet?”
is a closed question.
During a conversation, you can encourage the speaker to continue his
or her thoughts in different ways, such as:
• directly asking the person to continue talking (“go on,” “you were saying . . .”)
• using brief words, sounds, or gestures to let the person know you are listening (“mmm hmm,” “really!,” “I see,” nodding, smiling)
• remaining silent to give the speaker room to continue
• using positive body language such as eye contact and a slightly leaning
posture to indicate interest
Resist the urge to interrupt, finish the other person’s sentences, or “help”
him or her express the message. Use questions infrequently, because questions shift the focus away from the listener and back to you.
Attending The second component of active listening is paying attention, or attending—being focused, alert, and open to receiving information.
Attending can be difficult, especially if you are tired or bored. To boost
your interest in the topic of discussion, try to relate it to something in your
own experience. Also beware of the habit of planning what you are going
to say next while the other person is still talking. Because people think
many times faster than they can talk, it’s easy to let your mind race ahead
of the speaker. If you are buried in your own thoughts, however, you won’t
be able to pay attention to anyone else. Think of how you feel when you
realize that someone isn’t really listening to you. Have you ever had a
phone conversation with someone who continually puts you on hold in
order to take other calls? If you don’t pay attention, the other person may
feel hurt or annoyed.
Responding The third component of active listening is responding, or
giving constructive feedback. Avoid the temptation to pass judgment or give
advice, criticize or minimize the speaker’s emotions, or try to change the
topic to yourself. We all know what it’s like to receive an insensitive response
such as, “What’s the big deal?” or “That reminds me of the time I. . . .”
Instead of dismissing the speaker’s concerns with comments like these,
use the techniques of paraphrasing and reflecting. Paraphrasing is restating
the factual content of the message. Reflecting is restating the emotional content of the message. Paraphrasing and reflecting show that you have listened
and that you accept and value the other person. You can combine paraphrasing and reflecting in a single statement such as, “It sounds like you feel (emotional content of the message) because (factual content of the message).”
Try this technique in Activity 49.
success secret
Resist the urge to interrupt.
attending Being
focused, alert, and open to
receiving information.
paraphrasing Restating the factual content of the
reflecting Restating the
emotional content of the
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ACTIVITY 49: Giving Feedback
A Change each of the following ineffective responses to an active listening response that paraphrases and
reflects the message.
“I’ve worked here for five years, and Mr. Havivi still hovers over me while I’m doing the receipts,
like he’s expecting me to take cash from the till. I can’t stand it anymore!”
Ineffective Response: “Don’t worry about it, he’s just like that.”
Active Listening Response: “It sounds like you feel frustrated because you think his hovering
means he doesn’t trust you.”
“My boyfriend is driving me crazy. He spends all his time playing computer games while I’m out
working and wondering how we are going to pay the rent. I don’t know what to do!”
Ineffective Response: “Mine is worse. Sometimes you just have to take the good with the bad.”
Active Listening Response:
“I’m really upset about the grade I got on the math test. I studied all semester, but still only
got a C.”
Ineffective Response: “At least you didn’t get a D.”
Active Listening Response:
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Effective Communication 381
“My dog got hit by a car last night when the sitter let her out by accident. I’m so devastated; I
don’t think I can come in to work.”
Ineffective Response: “Don’t take it so hard. It was only a dog. At least it wasn’t a person.”
Active Listening Response:
“I got this great job working for the mayor. I can’t believe they chose me when they must have
had so many qualified applicants! I’m nervous but excited for my first day of work.”
Ineffective Response: “I’m sure you’ll be fine. Can you get me a job there, too?”
Active Listening Response:
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Listening and Leadership
Even the most enlightened concept of leadership can’t work without constructive communication—but how to achieve that? Not by technique alone.
We must constantly ask ourselves if we are operating with the old win–lose
approach of position power rather than the new win–win approach of relationship power. Is our interest in others only for what they can do for us?
Are we in this or that relationship primarily to satisfy our needs? Do we
give as little as possible in return for a reward we envision?
The best communication techniques in the world won’t fool most people for very long. Still, if your understanding of the substance of relationships is solid, learning new techniques for management communications
can make a very significant difference. Empowered teams require a new
communication style. In a traditional work group, you want compliance.
In an empowered team, you want initiative. Directional communication
(announcing decisions, issuing orders) inhibits team input. If the team
leader or supervisor is still using “boss” language, the team gets the message that they’re being told what to do. Managers of empowered teams
need to learn to ask open-ended questions and develop the skill of truly
listening to the answers.
Listening is a lost art, which must be rediscovered. Few people really
listen to others, usually because they’re too busy thinking about what
they want to say next. In business transactions, clear communication is
often colored by power plays, one-upmanship, and attempts to impress
rather than to express. In our work, as well as our personal lives, how we
listen is at least as important as how we talk. Genuine listening to what
others want would allow more sales to be made, more deals to be closed,
and greater productivity to be gained. Although it’s not always necessary
or possible to satisfy those wants, understanding them is the glue of a
Not paying value by listening is a way of saying, “You’re not important
to me.” The results are reduced productivity (I don’t count here, so why
should I even try?), employee turnover (Who wants to work in a place
where I don’t feel valued?), absenteeism (I’m just a cog in the wheel, only
noticed when I make a mistake), retaliation (They listen only when the
griping gets loud enough), lost sales (They don’t seem to understand what
I need), and dangling deals (I can’t get through to them; it’s like talking to a
brick wall). Genuine listening can cure a remarkable range of supposedly
intractable problems.
Even if you have excellent presentation skills and have an authoritative
and persuasive ability to speak to those you lead, make a conscious effort to
convert your team meetings into creative dialogue where you ask openended questions and solicit feedback and input from all those present.
Everyone can be a source of useful ideas. The people closest to the problem
usually have the best ideas. Learning flows up as well as down in the organization. Nothing is sacred except the governing vision and values. The
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Effective Communication 383
professional development )))
Your Cover Letter—The Competitive Edge
Many job seekers wonder if it is still necessary or encouraged to include a cover letter when sending the
rèsumè to a prospective employer. In fact, the cover letter is often treated as an afterthought or unimportant attachment by job seekers. This is a mistake and you could be missing out on an opportunity to cut
through initial screenings and land an interview. In today’s world, even though the job application process is
primarily online, the importance of a cover letter is still significant. According to research conducted by a
top consulting and search firm, ninety-one percent of executives polled said that cover letters are valuable
when evaluating job candidates.
The cover letter is actually a personal marketing letter for yourself and provides a brief introduction and
enticing “rationale” as to why you are the top candidate for the job. Some important tips for creating a successful cover letter include:
• Be brief and concise—Keep it to one, clearly written page, with a few paragraphs.
• Identify yourself—Let the reader know who you are immediately.
• Customize it—Establish reference/connection points with the job and company.
• Connect your qualifications and skills to the job requirements.
• Give examples of why you would be a great addition to the team.
• Make it personal—Create excitement about your interest in the job and company.
Remember . . . if you don’t create and submit a cover letter, someone else will be taking the initiative.
What’s Your Opinion?
In what ways can the cover letter be just as effective as a rèsumè in landing you a job interview?
For more tips and tools for creating a powerful cover letter, along with examples and sample templates,
go to http://jobsearch.about.com/od/coverlettertips/fl/cover-letter-tips-2014.htm.
process of open dialogue improves performance. The more information
people can access, the better.
Most importantly, don’t view any suggestion or comment from the
group as silly or irrelevant. Appearing foolish in front of one’s peers is a
major embarrassment and stifles any future desires to offer ideas that
might be considered “off the wall.” The most common mistake in communicating is saying what you want to say, rather than what they need to
hear and then listening to what they have to offer. It’s rightly been said
that you can get more people to vote for you in twenty minutes by showing interest in them, than you can in twenty weeks by showing how interesting you are.
Becoming an Empowering Leader/Coach
Leaders empower others and build trusting relationships. They project
their best selves every day in the way they look, walk, talk, listen, and
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react. They specialize in truly effective communications, taking one hundred percent of the responsibility not only for sending information or telling, but also for receiving information or listening for the real meaning
from every person they contact. Leaders are aware that first impressions
are powerful, and that interpersonal relationships can be won or lost in
about the first four minutes of conversation. Successful coaches say, “I’ll
make them glad they talked with me.” Nothing marks an effective leader
so clearly as a relaxed smile and a warm face, who volunteers his or her
own name, while extending a hand to yours, looking directly in your eyes,
and showing interest in you by asking questions about your life that are
important to you. Leaders know that paying value to others is the greatest
communication skill of all.
A good way to think of leadership is the process of freeing your team
members to do the best work they possibly can. Today’s business team
members say they want, more than anything else, the autonomy to do their
jobs without the boss’s interference. In this fast-forward world, it’s already
clear that the best-run companies believe that the more power leaders have,
the less they should use.
The key to authentic leadership is to listen to your team members, and
then open the door for them to lead themselves. The secret is empowerment. The main incentive is genuine caring and recognition.
The five most important words a leader can speak are: “I am proud of you.”
The four most important are: “What is your opinion?”
The three most important are: “How are you?”
The two most important are: “Thank you.”
And the most important single word of all is: “You!”
In any of our relationships—as leaders, managers, peers, colleagues, friends,
parents, and significant others—positive messaging will help facilitate
greater emotional buy-in. When we give others negative feedback in a nonpositive manner, either verbally or nonverbally, we are actually reinforcing
the negative pathways in their brains that cause negative behaviors in the
first place.1
When people are empowered to solve their own problems, their brains
release a rush of neurotransmitters such as endorphins and adrenaline
that create positive energy. So a leader who “asks” rather than “tells,” and
who guides and supports rather than scolding and correcting, will be more
effective. People learn best when they can go through a process of making
their own connections and gaining their own insight. They will be more
open to change and will welcome it if it is incremental and interactive
over time. This is why studies show that while training programs, alone,
may increase productivity by twenty-eight percent, adding follow-up
coaching can increase productivity up to eighty-eight percent. Managers
1R. Boyatzis, (2012, January). “Neuroscience and the Link Between Inspirational Leadership and Resonant Relationships.”
Retrieved from Ivey Business Journal.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Effective Communication 385
today function more as motivating coaches than they formerly did as
supervisors and bosses.2
When you think back in your life to the people you love and respect
most, they have been the ones who have been there for you, in person,
day in and day out, no matter what. By actually considering your team as
your own “performance review” scorekeepers, you will spend the time
and effort required to earn their respect by respecting them and keeping
them informed of both the good and bad news ahead for the organization. Often those lowest on the pay or hierarchy scale are closest to the
customer and therefore most aware of problems in delivering quality
goods and services as advertised. Having an active suggestion system in
place that pays attention to and rewards innovation in making the organization more effective and efficient is crucial to success in a volatile,
competitive economy.
David Ogilvy, founder of the giant advertising agency, Ogilvy and
Mather, used to give each new manager a Russian doll that contained
five progressively smaller dolls inside. A message inside the smallest one
read: “If each of us hires people we consider smaller than ourselves, we
shall become a company of dwarves. But if each of us hires people who
are bigger than we are, we will become a company of giants.” Instead of
a numbers game, business today is truly a “motivate the team” game. In
a global marketplace where the playing field is anything but level and
where there is no job security because of slimmer profit margins due to
outsourcing of manufacturing and service functions, it is imperative to
maximize the return on investment in the “human capital” already on
the payroll.
Here are ten tips for empowering team members:
1. Document their accomplishments so they can’t pretend they don’t
exist. Never allow team members to lose sight of their accomplishments and their potential for success.
2. Show them how to find opportunity in adversity. Every outcome, no
matter how negative, presents options that were not previously available.
3. Assign them tasks that will display their talents. By transferring important responsibility to team members, you demonstrate your confidence
in them and give them the chance to succeed in increasingly challenging assignments.
4. Teach them how to get what they want from other people. Teach your
people to be assertive rather than too aggressive or too passive.
5. Show them the awesome power of listening, an active strategy for
achieving personal success. When your subordinates become better
listeners and begin reaping the benefits, they will feel better about
2G. Olivero, K. Denise Bane, R. Kopelman, “Executive Coaching as a Transfer of Training Tool: Effects on Productivity in a
Public Agency.” Public Personnel Management, Winter, 126,4, (1997) 461–469.
386 Chapter 9 Communication and Relationships Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
6. Tell them exactly what you expect of them and find out what they
expect of you. The reason most subordinates and team members give
for not satisfying their management is not knowing what management
7. Criticize performance but not people. The spirit of criticism should
be, “I don’t like what you did in this case, but I do like you.”
8. Praise not only them but also their performance. You don’t want
merely to keep your people happy; you want them to know what they
did right so they can repeat it.
9. Keep them in ongoing training programs. This gives them a vote of
confidence, and carefully chosen training will further contribute to
their effectiveness.
10. Encouraging and complimenting team members on a daily basis seems
to be more critical for promoting loyalty than financial incentives and
As accomplishments mount, self-confidence and ability grow in other
areas as well. The more we accomplish, the larger our view of our enormous capacity for creative growth. It has been said that there are no business problems that aren’t really “people” problems that impact business
decisions and outcomes. Solicit feedback from the bottom up, rather than
make edicts and policies from the top down. To become a giant in the eyes
of others, and to succeed in this fast-forward global marketplace, look up
to those beneath you! Total success is the continuing involvement in the
pursuit of a worthy ideal that is being realized for the benefit of others,
rather than at their expense. And success is the process of learning and
sharing and growing.
Self Check
1. Name three barriers to good communications. (pp. 366–368)
2. What does EAR stand for? (p. 378)
3. What communication skills should a good leader have? (pp. 374–385)
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education Healthy Relationships 387
No one reaches success alone. No matter who you are, where you go to
school, and what you do for a living, you will always need to deal with
other people. The more respect and compassion you have for other
people’s thoughts, feelings, and needs, the more they will have for yours.
Understanding and getting along with other people, therefore, is crucial to
your success.
For physical and psychological health, we all need relationships, meaningful connections with other human beings. Healthy relationships not only
satisfy our need for relatedness but also boost our self-esteem and provide a
source of understanding and support. Healthy relationships don’t just
happen—they require self-awareness, empathy, and good communication. In
this section you’ll look at the skills you’ll need to build and maintain positive relationships with friends, partners, coworkers, acquaintances, peers,
and others.
Group Relationships
Let’s look first at groups. A group is a set of people (usually three or more)
who influence one another and share common goals. We are all members
of at least one group, such as a family group, a school or student body, an
ethnic group, or a religious group. People need groups for many reasons.
Central among these are:
• Groups satisfy our basic need to belong.
• Group membership can give us prestige and recognition.
• Group members offer us support during difficult times.
• Group members provide us with companionship.
• Group members can encourage us and help us accomplish our goals.
• Group members can share knowledge, skills, feelings, and experiences.
• Membership in groups helps us shape our collective identity.
We choose some, but not all, of our groups. We may choose to join a
club, school, or company, but we don’t choose our family, our age group,
or our ethnic group. Some groups are also more cohesive (functional and
united) than others. Very large groups, such as racial groups, are usually
less cohesive than smaller groups. Groups that face a great deal of internal conflict, such as some political parties, can become so disunited that
they break apart.
Group Norms All groups have norms, or standards, that guide the
behavior of their members. These norms may be formal or informal. Most
schools and companies have formal norms, or codes of conduct, that
relationship A meaningful connection with
another human being.
group A set of people
(usually three or more) who
influence one another.
SECTION 9.2 Healthy Relationships
388 Chapter 9 Communication and Relationships Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
specify things such as what kinds of clothing are and are not acceptable.
Within an individual office or classroom, there may also be informal norms
about things like taking breaks or raising your hand before speaking. Family
groups have norms, too, often based on the status of each person in the
group. Most families have norms regarding privacy, appropriate language in
the home, and the division of household chores. Some family norms are
related to cultural or religious tradition. For example, many families have
rules regarding dress, social activities, and religious observances.
People behave differently in groups than they do when they are alone or
with one other person. One common example of this is conformity.
Conformity is a change in behavior caused by a desire to follow the norms
of a group. When we conform, we change some aspect of our real selves in
order to gain group acceptance. For example, we may fail to speak up in
class if most of our classmates have a different opinion from ours.
Conformity is not always negative. We conform every time we follow
common social conventions such as waiting patiently in line or staying quiet
during a movie. These social conventions help to keep order and create an
atmosphere of fairness and mutual respect.
Unfortunately, people often conform on more important matters, compromising their beliefs or values in order to gain acceptance from others.
People with low self-esteem tend to conform more quickly than people with
high self-esteem because they are afraid that others will not like them as
they really are. At the extreme, conformity can lead to deindividuation, a
state of reduced inhibition and self-awareness that can lead people to do
things they would never do alone, such as rioting or physically attacking
another person.
Groupthink One common type of conformity is groupthink. Groupthink is a type of simplistic thinking used by group members who are more
concerned with maintaining a clubby atmosphere than with thinking critically. Groupthink often happens when a group has to make a decision
quickly or under pressure, or when a group is composed of similar people
who don’t want to consider diverse points of view.
One of the most famous examples of groupthink is the poor decision
to launch the space shuttle Challenger, which exploded just after takeoff in
1986. Although many people at NASA warned that a critical part of the
shuttle was unsafe, decision makers were more concerned with pushing
the launch forward than with looking at all the information. Similar warnings about dangerous parts preceded the explosion of the space shuttle
Columbia in 2003.
Groupthink doesn’t just happen when lives are at stake. Imagine that
you’re part of a team in charge of improving career counseling at your
school. Instead of tackling the tough problems, however, the members of
success secret
Think about how group
norms affect your
conformity A change in
behavior caused by a desire
to follow the norms of a
success secret
When you are anxious to
conform, you lose your
real self.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
the team are concerned with maintaining a pleasant social atmosphere. No
one wants to rock the boat by suggesting a creative idea. People with differing opinions keep quiet and eventually change their minds to go along with
the leader’s pet idea. In the end your team comes up with an impractical
plan that has no chance of success.
To avoid groupthink, group members and leaders need to value diversity and encourage differing opinions. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone in
a group to agree, but it is realistic to aim for consensus—agreement by most
(but not all) members of the group.
The flip side of conformity is diversity. Diversity means variety. It is present
everywhere, in every group and in every aspect of humanity. Diversity
occurs at the personal level through individual differences in areas such as
values, religious beliefs and practices, political attitudes, sexual orientation,
and physical and mental disabilities. Diversity occurs at the social level, too,
through group differences in areas such as race, culture, national origin, and
Diversity is a major source of strength for any group—a company, a
school, a sports team, a society. However, personal and social differences
among people can cause conflict. It’s easy to get along with people who are
similar to you, especially if they share your values and goals. It can be much
harder to remain open-minded toward people who are different from you.
Do you interact with people who are different from you? Take an honest
inventory in Personal Journal 9.2.
Rejecting Stereotypes and Prejudice
How can you learn to enjoy all the different and unusual things that you
come across in life, as well as to enjoy your own sense of being individual and
unique? The key is to reject stereotypes and prejudices. A stereotype is a set
of oversimplified beliefs about the attributes of a group of people. Stereotypes
are often about different racial groups, but they can also be about people of a
different age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, weight, or appearance from
our own. Stereotypes very often lead to prejudice, a negative feeling or attitude toward a group and its members. We use stereotypes to make quick
conclusions about other people without having to do a lot of thinking.
Unfortunately, this prevents us from appreciating individual differences.
Stereotypes and prejudices are usually based on fear and misunderstanding. An older person, for example, might see television news reports
about gangs and decide that all young people are potential delinquents.
A teenager might have a fear of growing older and therefore develop a
prejudice against the elderly. We may also adopt the stereotypes held by
our parents or friends, simply because we have never taken the time to
examine them.
success secret
Welcome diverse
diversity Variety.
stereotype A set of
oversimplified beliefs about
the attributes of a group and
its members.
prejudice A negative
feeling or attitude toward a
group that results from oversimplified beliefs about that
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Personal Journal 9.2
Understanding Diversity
How diverse is your social world? Fill in the lines below.
People I interact with who are of a different race than mine:
People I interact with who are of a different sexual orientation than mine:
People I interact with who are of a different national origin than mine:
People I interact with who are of a different cultural heritage than mine:
People I interact with who hold religious beliefs different from mine:
People I interact with who have different physical or mental disabilities than I have:
People I interact with who have different political beliefs than mine:
Are you comfortable interacting with people who differ from you? Explain.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
People have an unconscious motivation to believe that the groups they
belong to are better than other, similar groups. If we are young, or heterosexual, or Christian, or brunette, we will tend to see ourselves as better than
people who are older, or homosexual, or Muslim, or blond—no matter how
worthy these people may be as individuals.
Discrimination is the act of treating a person or group differently based
on a characteristic. It is the actual behavior that results from prejudice. I
can be positive toward someone (such as hiring an employee simply because
of his ethnic background) or against someone (not hiring someone simply
because of his ethnic background). Both forms of prejudicial treatment are
destructive and don’t focus on positive merits and contributions.
Positive Stereotypes What about so-called positive stereotypes,
such as “African Americans are good at sports” or “Asian Americans are
good at math”—those can’t be harmful, can they? Yes, they can. Positive
stereotypes like these put pressure on members of those groups to fit that
stereotype. If they can’t or don’t want to conform, they often face criticism
and develop low self-esteem.
Positive stereotypes may also mask negative feelings about a group. Consider a recent survey of American attitudes toward Chinese Americans. A
large majority of the respondents praised Chinese Americans for their strong
family ties, said they were honest businesspeople, and admired their commitment to education. However, one-quarter of the people surveyed, including
many who had articulated very positive attitudes toward Chinese Americans,
admitted that they didn’t approve of marriage between Asian Americans and
Caucasian Americans and that they wouldn’t vote for an Asian American
presidential candidate. This shows that positive attitudes in one area can
accompany negative attitudes in another.
Stereotypes and You Stereotypes block critical thinking and limit
our views of others. They also limit our views of ourselves, our identities, and
our own potential. As individuals, we have the right to determine our own
identities and challenge the stereotypes that some people might hold about us.
What stereotypes might apply to you? Challenge them in Personal Journal 9.3.
Developing Empathy
We can combat stereotypes and prejudice and keep an open mind toward
other people by developing empathy. Empathy means awareness of and sensitivity to the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of others. It means seeing
life through other people’s eyes—experiencing their pain, curiosity, hopes,
and fears. It means watching a marathon runner at the twenty-mile mark
and feeling your own legs ache.
You can feel empathy for anyone—whether that person is of a different
generation, a citizen of another country, or simply someone with a different
point of view. Instead of being quick to criticize or judge others, try to see
success secret
Don’t assume that the
groups you belong to are
better than other groups.
discrimination The act
of treating a person or group
differently based on a characteristic.
success secret
Positive stereotypes often
mask negative feelings.
empathy Awareness of
and sensitivity to the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of others.
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Personal Journal 9.3
Circles of Yourself
Write your name in the center circle below. Then, in each of the four surrounding circles, write the name
of a group you identify with.
Think of stereotypes that are associated with each of these groups but that don’t represent who
you are. For each group, write a sentence in the following format:
“I am a(n) . . . , but I am/do NOT . . . . ”
I am a vegetarian, but I do NOT eat sticks and twigs.
I am a(n) , but I am/do NOT
I am a(n) , but I am/do NOT
I am a(n) , but I am/do NOT
I am a(n) , but I am/do NOT
the situation through their eyes. How do they feel? What are they afraid of?
What concerns them most? Their answers may be surprisingly similar to
yours. By seeing through other people’s eyes and feeling their emotions, we
are able to modify our attitudes, responses, and actions so that we don’t
hurt other people’s feelings.
You will have many roles in your life: student, employee, partner, parent, relative, friend. In each of these roles, it helps to feel empathy for others. For instance, suppose another student in your class isn’t learning the
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
course material as quickly as you are. How do you respond? Someone without empathy might say, “Bill’s so slow and doesn’t get anything. What a
loser.” However, when you empathize with someone, you can say, “I can
understand how Bill could have felt confused by that last lecture. I hope
he’ll ask the instructor for extra help.” If you were having problems, how
would you want others to respond?
Empathy can help you look beyond yourself for meaning and honesty
in your relationships with others and with the world. Concern for others is
an essential skill when working in groups, living with a partner or roommate, or simply being a good friend, relative, or member of society. Every
so often, perform an empathy checkup on yourself to see where you can
improve. Ask yourself:
If I were my partner, how would I feel about sharing my life with me?
Would I think I was supportive? Independent? Interesting? Understanding? An equal partner?
If I were my child, how would I feel about having a parent like me? Would I
think I was patient? Encouraging? Positive? Supportive? Nonjudgmental?
If I were my instructor, how would I feel about having a student like me?
Would I think I showed a lot of effort? A lot of interest? Curiosity?
Discipline? Concern for others in class?
If I were my boss, how would I feel about having an employee like me?
Would I think I was a good worker? Productive? Reliable? Responsible?
Nice to work with?
How would I feel if I were an immigrant who had just arrived in America?
Would I feel isolated? Frightened? Unsure of whom to trust? Challenged?
Optimistic? Hopeful?
How would the world appear to me if I were a child? Big? Confusing?
Exciting? Scary? Hard to understand? Fun?
Empathy and Self-Awareness Empathy is founded on awareness of yourself and your relationship with the world. When you see yourself as part of a larger whole, you have respect for the people and things
around you. Personal success is founded both on self-respect and on respect
for the people and things that surround you. Philosopher Alan Watts, who
wrote about ideas from India, China, and Japan, believed that we should
not think of ourselves as separate beings trying to control the outside world.
Instead, we should see ourselves as part of the world and the people that
share it.
Successful people realize that they do not, and cannot, know everything
about their world. They realize that their heredity, environment, and personality affect how they perceive the world and how they think. Have you
ever heard someone say, “We don’t relate” or, “You wouldn’t understand”?
This translates to, “You don’t think as I do” or, “I don’t understand why
you think the way you do.” It is easy to see why there is so much misunderstanding and fighting in the world, within families, and among nations.
Everyone sees life through a different lens and marches to a different beat.
success secret
Be quick to empathize
and slow to criticize.
success secret
Perform an empathy
checkup on yourself.
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Does it trouble you that many people are different from you? Do you
ever worry that you seem strange or different to other people? Everyone is
different because everyone is unique. We will come across many different
people, places, and experiences in our lifetimes. A lot of those people,
places, and experiences will seem very strange and unfamiliar to us. Sometimes, we will seem strange and different to other people as well. We can
enjoy all the different and unusual things that we come across in life while
also enjoying our own sense of being individual and unique. With advances
in transportation and technology, the globe is becoming smaller. People
from all around the world are being brought together, and events on one
continent affect those on all the others. Being conscious of the world
around you and understanding your relationship to it will contribute to
your overall sense of well-being.
Our group relationships are the core of our collective identity. Our interpersonal relationships, by contrast, are the core of our relational identity. Just
as interpersonal communication is communication between two people, an
interpersonal relationship is a relationship between two people. Building
healthy interpersonal relationships is essential to a successful personal and
professional life. People with healthy interpersonal relationships are happier and suffer less stress and illness than people who have destructive
relationships or who suffer loneliness.
We all have a variety of interpersonal relationships—family relationships,
romantic relationships, friendships, school and work relationships, and
acquaintanceships. The most important of these are our intimate relationships, those characterized by intimacy. Intimacy is a sense of closeness,
caring, and mutual acceptance that comes from sharing your true inner
self. Intimacy doesn’t always involve sexuality. Friendships can be highly
intimate, for example, and sexual relationships can lack intimacy.
Intimate relationships differ from casual relationships in several major
ways. In intimate relationships, people:
• know a great deal of private information about one another
• feel more affection for one another than for most other people
• influence one another’s lives often, and in a meaningful way
• think of themselves as a unit, as “us”
• trust one another
• hope and expect that the relationship will be permanent
Although we see many of the same people every day, such as coworkers,
fellow students, neighbors, and instructors, we become intimate with very
few. In fact, most people have only a few intimate relationships at any one
success secret
Everyone is different
because everyone is
relationship A
relationship between two
intimacy A sense of
closeness, caring, and acceptance that comes from sharing your true inner self.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
time. Intimacy takes time to develop. It goes beyond simply knowing the
facts about someone’s life. We may know a great deal about someone, such
as a roommate, but not be intimate with him or her. For intimacy to
develop in a relationship, both people must be open about their thoughts
and feelings. In healthy, intimate relationships, this openness is combined
with mutual respect for one another’s goals and boundaries.
Breadth and Depth Another characteristic of intimate relationships is that they have both breadth and depth. When a relationship has
breadth, the participants talk about a wide range of topics. When a relationship has depth, the participants talk about topics that directly concern their
inner self. Successful intimate relationships usually have a great deal of
breadth and depth—people discuss many subjects and reveal many of their
inner thoughts and feelings. Casual relationships lack depth, although they
may have breadth. Take the relationship of coworkers Mandy and Gerardo.
The two chat in the lunchroom most days, talking about everything from
their weekend plans to their boss’s taste in jewelry. However, their conversations steer away from subjects such as their romantic lives and their hopes
and dreams for the future. Although the two spend a considerable amount
of time together, their relationship has very little intimacy.
Looking at the breadth and depth of your relationships is a good way to
assess their level of intimacy. Use the chart in Activity 50 to examine your
close relationships.
success secret
Intimacy requires time,
trust, and emotional
With the multitude of communication mechanisms and
sites available at our fingertips, it is critical that we
exercise some caution and discrimination. Our sharing
of personal opinions and activities with “friends” may
quickly go viral and global. There may be personal
information about you that could cause a dent in your
professional image, perhaps jeopardizing an important job or career opportunity. It is easy to be misunderstood or misrepresented when messaging is quick,
sometimes emotional, and may include pictures. For
instance, on Facebook, it can be especially challenging to control the arrival of tagged photos that you
may or may not have sanctioned.
It is important to consider the personal image or
“brand” we want to present to world. With hundreds
upon hundreds of social networking sites, we should
pick and choose which ones will be most beneficial
and productive in enhancing our success. Joining
specific online networking sites can certainly boost
our exposure to potential job and career opportunities. Consider conducting periodic searches for your
name to monitor what information and images of
you are currently on the Internet. Familiarize yourself with the latest tools and techniques for creating
a positive online identity and marketing yourself
Think About It
Have you thought about a personal online networking
strategy for yourself? In what ways do you think this
would be beneficial? Go online and research “building
your social network.” Here are a couple of links to get
you started:
internet action
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ACTIVITY 50: Your Close Relationships
A Write down the names of up to six people with whom you have close relationships, and describe their
relationship to you (e.g., wife, father, friend). Then describe what important thoughts and feelings you
share with one another and what important thoughts and feelings you don’t share (or haven’t yet shared)
with one another.
Name/Relationship We Share We Don’t Share
B Are you satisfied with the level of intimacy in your relationships? Why or why not?
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C Would you like to share more with any of the people on your list? If so, what would you want to share
and why? If not, why not?
D Very few people reveal everything of themselves to another person. Are there any private thoughts or
feelings that you would never share with anyone? Explain.
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How does intimacy develop in a relationship? The primary way to build
intimacy is self-disclosure. Self-disclosure is communicating your real
thoughts, desires, and feelings. When people say that someone is “real”
or “genuine,” they usually mean that the person is good at self-disclosure.
Self-disclosure means letting other people see the real you. By demonstrating emotional openness, you show the other person that you care
about the relationship.
Successful people reveal their true selves to others, not just what feels
comfortable. Often, we build a wall around us, revealing only what we think
others should see. We are too afraid to take the risk of being vulnerable.
However, this can prevent us from realizing our full potential, and it can be a
barrier to fulfilling relationships. Self-disclosure becomes easier with practice.
When you show yourself as you truly are, you gain self-respect and the
respect of others. This encourages you to self-disclose even further.
How much do other people know about you? According to a model
known as the Johari window, shown in Figure 9.3, all the information about
you falls into one of four categories:
• The open self represents the things that you know about yourself and that
you have no reason to hide from other people.
• The hidden self represents the things that you know about yourself but
that you hide from other people.
• The blind self represents the things that other people can see about you,
but that you cannot see about yourself.
• The unknown self represents the things that no one can see about you,
such as your unknown talents, abilities, and attitudes, as well as forgotten
and repressed experiences and emotions.
This communication model is especially effective in improving understanding among individuals within a team or group or among groups. By disclosing information, individuals build trust among themselves (expanding the
open self quadrant vertically). By receiving constructive feedback, they can
also learn more about and how to better themselves (expanding the open
self quadrant horizontally).
It is healthy to expand your open self. You can do this by self-disclosing
and increasing your self-awareness.
Successful Intimate Relationships
Intimate relationships are such a fundamental part of our lives that we often
take them for granted. Yet our identities, our day-to-day lives, and our emotional states are all deeply dependent on these relationships. For this reason,
you owe it to yourself to invest time and effort in your relationships.
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for good relationships. However, to
be emotionally rewarding, an intimate relationship needs to have all three
of the following characteristics:
Communicating your real
thoughts, desires, and
success secret
To build intimate relationships, you need to reveal
your true self.
success secret
Self-awareness is crucial
in relationships.
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
• sharing
• sociability
• emotional support
Sharing means self-disclosing as well as having things in common, such as
interests and activities. It also means providing instrumental support when
it is needed. Being sociable means having fun together and enjoying one
another’s company. Providing emotional support means caring about the
other person’s thoughts and feelings, showing appreciation and affection,
and providing encouragement. This is the emotional core of a relationship.
To provide emotional support to a friend or partner and to increase the
amount of support you receive in return, strive to:
• be self-aware and emotionally aware
• show, and truly feel, empathy
• practice active listening
• consider the other person’s motivations and needs
• display concern, caring, and genuine interest
• provide encouragement and emotional support
• avoid hurtful behaviors such as dishonesty, selfishness, dependency,
attempts at control, and physical or psychological abuse
success secret
The more you invest in a
relationship, the more you
get back.
FIGURE 9.3 The Johari Window
To Disclose or Not to Disclose The Johari window shows how we understand ourselves and how we interact with others. Which of these four selves
do you think contains the most information about you? Explain.
Source: Adapted from Joseph Luft, Group Processes: An Introduction to Group Dynamics (Palo Alto, CA: National Press, 1970).
Tell: Self-Discipline
not known to others
known to others
known to self
unknown to self
Ask: Solicit Feedback
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Being a supportive friend or partner takes effort and commitment, but the
rewards dramatically outweigh the investment.
Self-Esteem and Successful Relationships Another way
to ensure healthy relationships with others is to work on building your selfesteem. Why? The more confident, happy, and comfortable you feel with
yourself, the more you’ll be able to trust your partner or good friend,
believe in his or her good intentions, and believe in your ability to maintain
a healthy, mutually beneficial long-term relationship.
People with low self-esteem often live in terror of being rejected by the
other person in the relationship. People who expect rejection are always
anxious that the other person secretly wants to leave the relationship.
Faced with such anxieties, people tend to become hostile and withdrawn or
jealous and controlling. They can also do the opposite, letting people walk
all over them and abuse them. All of this undermines the quality of the relationship, making actual rejection more likely. People who are confident in
their ability to sustain a relationship, by contrast, enjoy their relationships
more—which makes them stronger.
Handling Relationship Conflict
Every relationship, no matter how harmonious, occasionally faces conflict.
Conflict is disagreement that occurs when individuals or groups clash over
needs, values, emotions, or power. Conflict can take the form of an argument with a friend, a dispute with a coworker, or a quarrel with a spouse.
Conflict often occurs when people differ in one of the following areas:
• Needs—Each of us is constantly striving to meet our needs. Conflicts can
arise when our attempts to meet our needs are unsuccessful, and we perceive that someone else is to blame. Conflict can also arise when we
ignore or dismiss our own or others’ needs.
• Values—Serious conflicts can arise when people hold opposing values,
especially when people confuse their individual values with absolutes of
right and wrong.
• Emotions—Conflicts often occur when people differ on an emotionally
charged issue such as politics, education, or religion. Conflict can also
occur when people ignore or dismiss their own or others’ emotions.
• Power—Conflicts often happen when people try to exercise power, for
example by demanding that other people do things their way. Conflict
can also occur when one person or group senses that another person or
group is trying to control them.
Irritation, frustration, and anger often accompany conflict. As unpleasant
as these emotions can be, however, conflict is a natural and normal part of
human interaction. In fact, conflict can actually be healthy. It can lead to
growth, innovation, and new ways of thinking. It can provide a chance to
discuss important thoughts and feelings. How have you handled conflict in
the past? Record your personal experiences in Personal Journal 9.4.
conflict Disagreement
that occurs when individuals
or groups clash over needs,
values, emotions, or power.
success secret
Conflict can strengthen a
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Personal Journal 9.4
Dealing with Conflict
Describe three interpersonal or group conflicts that you have been involved in over the last year: one at
work, one at school, and one at home. What caused them, and how did you handle them—or not handle
Are you proud of the way you handled these conflicts? If so, why? If not, what could you do better next
time? Remember to use the ABCDE method to work through difficult situations.
How You Handled It:
How You Handled It:
How You Handled It:
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Resolving Conflict Effective communication is the key to resolving conflicts. Good communication helps you resolve conflicts in a positive
way, while poor communication prevents conflicts from being resolved and
often makes them worse. When faced with conflict, it is important to:
• Move away from confrontation. Accept that there is a problem, then
focus on the facts, not on blame.
• Listen actively. Try to understand the other person’s point of view. Pay
full attention and withhold judgment.
• State your needs. Be open about your needs and remember that you and
the other person have an equal right to have your needs met.
• Generate options for resolving the conflict. Brainstorm possible solutions
to the conflict, then discuss how well each one would work.
• Commit to a solution. Once you choose a solution, follow through and do
what you promised. This shows that you respect the other person’s needs
and are serious about resolving the conflict.
By employing these strategies with openness and mutual respect, both parties can “win” by having at least some of their needs met. Good conflict resolution can not only solve the problem at hand but can also lead to deeper
understanding in the relationship.
Respect and Success
Good relationships, like good communication, depend on respect for others as well as yourself. Every human being is unique, with the right to fulfill
his or her potential in life. People who are successful in sports, business,
education, or any other activity in life accept their uniqueness. They feel
comfortable with themselves and are willing to have others know and
accept them just as they are. They know that skin color, religion, birthplace, or financial status do not determine a person’s worth. People who
are positive and empathetic naturally attract friends and supporters. They
seldom have to stand alone.
Self Check
1. Define conformity. (p. 388)
2. What is the difference between stereotypes and prejudice? (p. 389)
3. List four sources of conflict. (p. 400)
success secret
Focus on solutions, not
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
communication (p. 362)
interpersonal communication
(p. 362)
channel (p. 365)
context (p. 366)
nonverbal communication
(p. 368)
body language (p. 372)
active listening (p. 378)
attending (p. 379)
paraphrasing (p. 379)
reflecting (p. 379)
relationship (p. 387)
group (p. 387)
conformity (p. 388)
diversity (p. 389)
stereotype (p. 389)
prejudice (p. 389)
discrimination (p. 391)
empathy (p. 391)
interpersonal relationship
(p. 394)
intimacy (p. 394)
self-disclosure (p. 398)
conflict (p. 400)
Key Terms
Summary by Learning Objectives
• Describe the six elements of communication. The six elements are: (1) sender, the person
who sends a message; (2) message, a thought or feeling; (3) channel, the medium; (4) receiver,
the person who takes in the message; (5) feedback, the receiver’s response; and (6) context, the
time and place.
• Summarize the forms and functions of nonverbal communication. The most important
nonverbal cues are personal distance, voice, and body language. They function to manage conversations, provide feedback, and clarify messages.
• List several skills necessary for effective speaking and active listening. Skills necessary for effective speaking include using an expressive vocabulary, being clear and honest,
welcoming feedback, and showing respect. Skills necessary for active listening are encouraging,
attending, and responding (EAR).
• Explain the relationship among stereotypes, prejudice, and empathy. Stereotypes, oversimplified beliefs about a group, often lead to prejudice, a negative feeling toward that group.
Empathy helps us overcome stereotypes and prejudice.
• Define intimacy and explain how to develop it in a relationship. Intimacy is a sense of
closeness, caring, and mutual acceptance that comes from sharing your true inner self. Intimacy
is built through self-disclosure.
• Cite the characteristics of satisfying intimate relationships. The three core characteristics
of satisfying intimate relationships are sharing, being sociable, and providing emotional support.
• Explain how to handle conflict effectively. To handle conflict, focus on facts, brainstorm
possible solutions, and discuss how well each one meets both your needs. Commit to a solution
and follow through on it.
Chapter 9 Review and Activities
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404 Chapter 9 Communication and Relationships Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Review Questions
1. How can emotions cause communication breakdown?
2. What is cultural awareness?
3. Give three examples of nonverbal communication and explain what they mean.
4. Define paraphrasing and reflecting.
5. Why are positive stereotypes harmful?
6. What is self-disclosure, and why is it important?
Critical Thinking
7. Rapport Building Rapport is about making a two-way connection with other people and is
the foundation for any relationship. The ability to build rapport comes naturally to some people, while others really need to work at it. It requires having empathy, using good listening
skills, and paying attention to body language. Think about your relationships; how easy was/is
it for you to build rapport? How did you do it? What are some ways you can become more
effective in building rapport with new people you meet?
8. Vocabulary Building People who read extensively and have large vocabularies are generally considered to be more intelligent, and usually have higher career success. What do you
think explains this? In what ways could the high-tech world of sound bites and texting have a
detrimental impact on vocabulary building? What impact could the pervasive use of the short
acronyms from “text language” have on our ability to think, write, and speak intelligently?
9. Nonverbal Communication Take thirty minutes out of your day to observe people in a
public place, like a mall or park. What do you notice about their nonverbal communication?
Make a list of their different facial expressions and gestures and what you think they mean.
Now find and watch a short video clip of a professional speaker. Notice the nonverbal gestures while giving a presentation. Write down your observations. How did the gestures
enhance the communication of the message?
10. Relationship Qualities Ask five women and five men to complete the following two statements: “A true friend .” and “My ideal romantic partner .” Ask all
of the respondents to explain why they completed the sentences the way they did. Compare
your results with a classmate’s. Did you receive similar responses? Did women and men
answer the questions differently? Prepare your notes for a discussion.
Review and Activities
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Internet Activities
11. Multigenerational Communication At this point in time, we have four major generations
living, working, and interacting with one another. This creates challenges not only in familial
relationships but also in our work environments. Even our personal relationships can be
impacted by the differences in values, beliefs, and behaviors, which make communication
challenging. Conduct some online research to identify the various generations and obtain an
understanding of their characteristics. What communication challenges have you experienced
in your own life as a result of generational differences? What strategies do you think would be
helpful in improving communication and collaboration between the generations? Conduct an
online search for information on generational differences. Here are some readings to help
you get started:

The Multigenerational Workforce: How Communication Styles Impact Office Culture

12. Your Communication Style and Skills Each of us is born with certain personality traits,
many of which play a major role in the way we communicate. We are also influenced by our
childhood upbringing and experiences, which determine certain communication behaviors.
Each of us has developed a communication style that we may choose to enhance or change.
As you’ve learned in this course, there are specific skills you can develop to significantly
improve your communications. Visit the following sites to take some quizzes that will give
you insight on your specific communication style and skills:
Review and Activities
Review your answer to the question in the Real-Life Success Story
on page 360. Think about how you would answer the question
now that you have learned more about respectful communication
and managing conflict.
Complete the Story Taking the place of a helpful coworker,
write an e-mail to Joe explaining how he can use assertive communication, “I” statements, and conflict-resolution strategies to
improve his relationship with his boss.
Real-Life “How Do I Stand Up for Myself?”
Success Story
©Ingram Publishing
Review and Activities 405
406 Glossary Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
ABC model A model of human behavior in
which an activating event (A) triggers an irrational belief (B), which then triggers negative
behavioral consequences (C).
ABCDE method An approach to coping with
negative thoughts and feelings by disputing irrational beliefs.
accomplishment Anything completed through
effort, skill, or persistence.
accuracy Factual truth.
activating event In the ABC model, a
negative event that triggers an irrational,
self-destructive belief.
active listening Listening with understanding
and paying close attention to what is being said.
adapting Being flexible to change.
aerobic exercise Sustained, rhythmic physical
activity that causes a temporary increase in heart
and breathing rate.
affirmation A positive self-statement that helps
a person think of himself or herself in a positive,
caring, and accepting way.
aggression Behavior intended to harm or injure
a person or object.
all-or-nothing thinking A cognitive distortion in
which people view issues as black or white, with
no shades of gray in between.
anaerobic exercise High-intensity exercise that
strengthens muscles and involves short bursts of
intense exertion.
anger A strong feeling of displeasure, resentment, or hostility.
antibodies Proteins produced by the immune
system to fight disease.
anxiety A generalized feeling of worry and nervousness that does not have any specific cause.
assertiveness Standing up for one’s rights without threatening the self-esteem of the other
attending Being focused, alert, and open to
receiving information.
attitude A belief or opinion that predisposes
people to act in a certain way.
autonomic nervous system (ANS) The part of
the nervous system that monitors and controls
most involuntary functions, including heartbeat
and sweating.
autonomy Freedom of choice, independence,
and the chance to exercise independent
avoidance An unwillingness to face uncomfortable situations or psychological realities.
behavior Anything that people think, feel,
or do.
belongingness Fulfilling relationships with
biofeedback A treatment technique that uses
electronic instruments to measure and display
information about a patient’s bodily processes
(such as heartbeat) in order to help the patient
gain greater control over them.
blind self In the Johari window, information
that other people can see about a person, but
that the person cannot see about him- or
Glossary 407
Copyright ©2010 The McGraw-Hill Companies
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
body image How a person thinks and feels
about his or her body and appearance.
body language Facial expressions, posture,
and gestures.
brain computer interface (BCI) The linking of
the human brain to computers and smart devices
to perform certain functions by thoughts.
brain rewiring The creation of new neural pathways in the brain by repetition of certain thoughts
to facilitate healing and formation of healthy habits.
breadth 1. In critical thinking, the degree to
which a statement considers other arguments
and points of view. 2. In relationships, the number of topics one discusses with another person.
budget A money-management plan that specifies how a person will spend his or her money
during a particular period.
catastrophizing Dramatically exaggerating the
negative consequences of any minor event.
channel The medium in which a message is
clinical psychologist A psychologist who diagnoses
and treats individuals with emotional disturbances.
closed question A question worded in a way
that elicits only a one- or two-word answer.
cognition Mental processing of information in
any form.
cognitive distortion A self-critical, illogical pattern of thought.
cognitive therapy A technique of psychotherapy
based on the idea that the way we think affects
how we feel.
collective identity The sum of the social roles
an individual plays and the social groups to
which he or she belongs.
collectivism A philosophy that values group
goals over individual goals and defines a
person’s identity more through group identifications than through personal attributes.
comfort zone The place in the mind where a person feels safe and knows that he or she can succeed.
committed time Time devoted to school, work,
family, volunteering, and other activities that
relate to short-term and long-term goals.
communication The process of giving or
exchanging messages.
competence The ability to do something well.
complaint The sharing of distress, discomfort,
or worry with another person.
conditional positive regard Love and acceptance of a person, particularly a child, on the
condition that he or she behave in a certain way.
conflict Disagreement that occurs when individuals or groups clash over needs, values, emotions, or power.
conformity A change in behavior caused by a
desire to follow the norms of a group.
conscious mind The part of the brain that controls the mental processes of which one is aware.
consciousness Awareness of the sensations,
thoughts, and feelings one is experiencing at a
given moment.
consensus Agreement by most, but not all,
members of a group.
408 Glossary Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
consequences The logical effects of an action.
constructive criticism Criticism that focuses on
specific behavior and that usually mentions
positive points and offers suggestions for
context The time and place of communication.
coping Facing up to threatening situations.
coping skills Behaviors that help a person deal
with stress and other unpleasant situations.
cortisol A steroid hormone that regulates
metabolism and blood pressure and that is
released into the bloodstream during times
of stress.
credit A sum of money a person can use before
having to pay back the lender.
credit record A log of the financial habits of a
person who buys on credit.
critical thinking Active, self-reflective thinking.
criticism Any remark that contains a
judgment, evaluation, or statement of fault.
cultural awareness Ability to recognize the
ways in which cultures differ and how these
differences affect cross-cultural interactions.
culture The behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large social group and transmitted from one generation to the next.
debit card A plastic bank card that can be used
both as an ATM card and as a credit card.
debt 1. Money owed to a lender. 2. The state of
owing money to a lender.
decision A reasoned choice among several
options, or possible courses of action.
decision-making process A logical series of
steps to identify and evaluate options and arrive
at a good choice.
deindividuation A state of reduced inhibition
and self-awareness that can lead group members
to do things they would never do alone.
denial Refusing to face painful thoughts and
depression An illness characterized by profound feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and
depth 1. In critical thinking, the degree to
which a statement digs below the surface to consider the substance of the issue. 2. In relationships, the importance and self-relevance of the
topics one discusses with another person.
desire A conscious drive to attain a satisfying
despair An unpleasant feeling of hopelessness
and defeat.
destructive criticism Criticism that addresses a
person’s attitude or some other aspect of him- or
herself instead of focusing on specific behavior.
discretionary expenses Lifestyle expenses that
are rewarding but not strictly necessary.
discretionary time Time that can be used however one wishes.
discrimination The act of treating a person
or group differently based on a characteristic.
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disgust A negative feeling of aversion or repulsion toward someone or something.
dispute To confront irrational beliefs with the
reality of the situation.
distress Stress caused by negative events that
produces negative physical and emotional effects.
diversity Variety.
downward comparison A type of social comparison that involves comparing oneself to people
who are less successful in a certain area.
dream An aspiration, hope, or vision of the
future that gives one’s life direction.
80/20 rule The theory that the relationship
between input and output, or effort and results,
is not balanced.
embarrassment An unpleasant feeling that
occurs when a person believes that others have
found a flaw in him or her.
emotion A subjective feeling that is accompanied by physical and behavioral changes.
emotional awareness The process of recognizing, identifying, and accepting one’s emotions.
emotional reasoning A cognitive distortion in
which people believe that whatever they feel is
true must really be true.
emotional support The giving of trust, empathy,
care, love, concern, and unconditional approval.
empathy Awareness of and sensitivity to the
feelings, thoughts, and experiences of others.
encouraging An active listening skill that
involves showing a desire to listen.
endorphins Proteins in the brain that act as natural painkillers.
escape response A behavior that helps you get
your mind off your troubles.
esteem 1. (v.) To appreciate the value or worth
of a person or thing. 2. (n.) Appreciation and
high regard.
ethics The principles one uses to define acceptable behavior and decide what is right and
eustress Stress caused by positive events that
provides a surge of energy.
external obstacle A barrier caused by factors in
the outside world, such as a person or an event.
extrinsic External.
extrinsic goals Goals related to looking good to
others, earning a reward, or avoiding negative
extrinsic motivation Motivation that comes
from outside.
facial expressions A type of body language
involving movements of the mouth, the eyebrows
and forehead, and the eyes.
failure An unwanted outcome.
fear An unpleasant feeling of anxiety caused by
the anticipation of danger.
feedback In communication, the receiver’s
response to the sender’s message.
filtering A cognitive distortion in which
people block positive inputs and focus on
negative ones.
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finance charges Fees that are charged by lenders, usually based on the amount of money owed.
finances Monetary resources.
fixed committed expenses Necessary expenses
that are the same from month to month.
framing effect The decision-making bias that
results from the way a decision, question, or
problem is worded.
gender The set of characteristics used to define
male and female.
gender bias When someone is treated differently or unfairly due to one’s gender.
gender role A set of norms that define how
males and females are supposed to behave.
gestures A type of body language involving
movements of the arms, hands, legs, and feet.
goal An outcome that a person wants to
achieve and toward which he or she directs
focused effort.
group A set of people (usually three or more)
who influence one another.
groupthink A type of simplistic thinking used
by group members when they are more concerned with maintaining a clubby atmosphere
than with thinking critically.
guilt A negative feeling that occurs when a person believes that his or her actions have harmed
someone else.
habit A behavior that has become automatic
through repetition.
happiness A state of well-being that comes
from having a positive evaluation of one’s life.
hassles Small, stress-causing annoyances of
everyday life.
helpless thinking A cognitive distortion in
which people believe that their lives are not
under their control.
hidden self In the Johari window, information
that a person knows about him- or herself but
that he or she hides from other people.
hierarchy of needs A diagram of the five central
human needs arranged from the most basic to
the most complex.
“I” statement A statement about a problem
that begins with the word I and that communicates feelings without blaming the other person
for the problem.
ideal self The person one wants to be or feels
he or she ought to be.
identity How a person chooses to define himor herself to the world.
important Relating to one’s personal or work
impulse A sudden wish or feeling that can lead
to unplanned and unwise actions.
impulse buying Spending money on the spur of
the moment, without planning.
incentive A reward offered in order to
motivate a person to do something.
income All the money a person receives
during a fixed period of time.
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individual identity The physical and psychological characteristics that distinguish an
individualism A philosophy that values individual goals over group goals and defines identity
more through personal attributes than through
group identifications.
inner critic The critical voice that bombards
people with constant negative self-talk.
instrumental support The giving of resources
such as money, labor, time, advice, and
intelligence A set of abilities that enables a person to solve certain types of real-world problems.
interests Personal preferences for specific topics or activities.
internal obstacle A barrier caused by factors
within oneself, such as perfectionism or low
interpersonal communication One-on-one,
usually face-to-face communication.
interpersonal relationship A relationship
between two people.
intimacy A sense of closeness, caring, and
mutual acceptance that comes from sharing
one’s true inner self.
intrinsic Internal.
intrinsic goals Goals related to things that a
person enjoys and that will help him or her grow
as a person.
intrinsic motivation Motivation that comes
from inside.
irrational belief A distorted, self-destructive
idea or assumption that interferes with one’s
job-specific skill The ability to do a specific task
or job.
Johari window A model of self-awareness and
self-disclosure that shows the proportion of information about a person that he or she is aware of
and that other people are aware of.
joy A feeling of happiness one experiences
following achievement of a goal.
judgmentalism The habit of condemning people or things because they are not the way one
thinks they should be.
knowledge An understanding of facts or principles in a particular subject area.
label A simplistic statement that people use to
define who they are.
life coach A professional motivator who helps
clients identify their goals and make the changes
necessary to lead a more rewarding life.
logic The process of reasoning correctly and
drawing the correct conclusions from the facts.
logos Science, study; one of the two Greek
roots of the word psychology.
loneliness Sadness about being alone.
long-term consequences The distant, often
unpredictable results of an action.
long-term goal A goal one plans to achieve in
the more distant future.
love A feeling of affection, devotion, or attachment toward someone.
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magical thinking Believing that one’s thoughts
control events.
maintenance time Time devoted to maintaining,
or taking care of, oneself and one’s surroundings.
meditation The practice of calming and emptying the mind by focusing on one particular element, such as a sound, a word, an image, or
one’s breathing.
message An expression of thought or feeling;
the content of communication.
mind reading A cognitive distortion in which
people think bad thoughts about themselves and
therefore assume that everyone else is doing the
mistake Anything a person did in the past
that he or she now wishes he or she had done
money A convenient medium of exchange used
to pay for goods and services.
money management The intelligent use of
money to achieve one’s goals.
motivation The force that moves a person
to action.
need Something a person must have in order
to survive and thrive.
negative escape response An escape response
that makes a person feel better temporarily but
that eventually makes the problem worse.
negative motivation The drive to do something
in order to avoid negative consequences.
negative thinking Focusing on the flaws and
problems in oneself, other people, and the world.
nervous system A system of nerve cells that regulates behavior by transmitting messages back
and forth between the brain and the other parts
of the body.
neurons Cells in the nervous system that transmit messages via chemical and electric signals.
neuroscience The science that advances the
understanding of human thought, emotion, and
nonverbal communication The process of giving
or exchanging messages without words.
norms Standards or rules that define appropriate and inappropriate behavior in specific social
positions and settings.
obstacle Any barrier that prevents a person
from achieving his or her goals.
open question A question worded in a way that
allows a broad range of responses.
open self In the Johari window, information that
a person knows about him- or herself and that he
or she has no reason to hide from other people.
optimism The tendency to expect the best possible outcome.
overgeneralizing Drawing broad negative conclusions based on limited evidence.
paraphrasing Restating the factual content of
the message.
parasympathetic nervous system The part of the
autonomic nervous system that calms the body
after a stressful emergency situation.
passive-aggression Indirect, disguised aggression toward others.
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perfectionism The belief that a person is worthwhile only if he or she is perfect.
persistence The ability to go on despite opposition, setbacks, and occasional doubts.
personal digital assistant (PDA) A small wireless electronic device that provides basic recordkeeping tools, such as a to-do list and schedule.
personality The relatively stable pattern of
behavior that distinguishes one person from all
other people.
personalizing Assuming that everything has to
do with oneself somehow.
pessimism The tendency to expect the worst
possible outcome.
placebo effect A beneficial effect, produced by a placebo drug or treatment, that cannot be attributed to
the properties of the placebo itself, and must therefore be due to the patient’s belief in that treatment.
positive escape response An escape response
that makes a person feel better and does not
make the problem worse.
positive motivation The drive to do something
because it will move you toward a goal.
positive stereotype Positive but oversimplified
beliefs about the attributes of a group and its
positive thinking Focusing on what is good
about oneself, other people, and the world.
possible selves The person or persons we might
realistically become in the future.
posture A type of body language that involves
the way a person carries him- or herself when
sitting or standing.
precision Exactness.
prejudice A negative feeling or attitude toward
a group that is based on oversimplified beliefs
about that group.
pride A positive feeling that occurs when a person achieves a personal success.
prioritize To arrange in order of importance.
private self-awareness  The tendency to be
aware of the private, inward aspects of yourself.
private self-consciousness The tendency to be
aware of the private, inward aspects of oneself.
probing Asking for specifics from a person who
has given a general or vague criticism.
procrastination The habit of putting off tasks
until the last minute.
progressive muscle relaxation A stress-relief
technique that involves tensing and relaxing
muscle groups in sequence in order to reduce
psyche Mind; one of the two Greek roots of the
word psychology.
psychologist A person who studies human
behavior with the goal of describing, predicting,
explaining, and (in some cases) changing it.
psychology The scientific study of human
public self-awareness The tendency to be aware
of the outward, social aspects of yourself.
public self-consciousness The tendency to be
aware of the aspects of oneself that are on
display in social situations.
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rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)  An
approach to coping with problems that focuses on
uncovering people’s irrational beliefs and transforming them into rational, helpful ones.
receiver In communication, the person who
takes in, or receives, a message.
recreational shopping The use of shopping,
especially in malls, as a form of entertainment.
reflecting Restating the emotional content
of the message.
regret The feeling of wishing one had decided
something differently.
relational identity How an individual identifies
him- or herself in relation to important others.
relationship A meaningful connection with
another human being.
resource Something that is ready for use and
can be drawn upon as needed.
responding An active listening skill that
involves giving constructive feedback.
responsibility The ability to make independent,
proactive decisions and to accept the consequences of them.
Reticular Activating System The RAS is the part
of your brain that serves as a filter between your
conscious mind and your subconscious mind.
role model A person who has the qualities one
would like to have.
sadness A somber emotion of sorrow over a loss.
schedule A chart showing dates and times by
which tasks must be completed.
selective listening The process of choosing
what one wants to hear and ignoring the rest.
self The sense of being a unique, conscious being.
self-acceptance Recognition and acceptance of
what is true about oneself.
self-actualization Reaching one’s full potential
and achieving long-term personal growth.
self-awareness The process of paying attention
to oneself.
self-blame A cognitive distortion in which
people blame everything on themselves,
regardless of the real cause.
self-consciousness The tendency to frequently
think about and observe oneself.
self-defeating attitude A negative attitude about
oneself that leads to failure.
self-determination Determining the path one’s
life travels.
self-direction The ability to set a well-defined
goal and work toward it.
self-discipline The process of teaching oneself
to do what is necessary to reach important goals,
without becoming sidetracked by bad habits.
self-disclosure Communicating one’s real
thoughts, desires, and feelings.
self-esteem Confidence in and respect for oneself.
self-expectancy A person’s belief that he or she
is able to achieve what he or she wants in life.
self-handicapping Creating obstacles to one’s
own success in order to have a handy excuse for
doing poorly.
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self-honesty The ability to see one’s own
strengths and weaknesses clearly.
self-hypnosis The practice of entering a state of
reduced consciousness in order to make the subconscious mind receptive to positive messages.
self-image All the beliefs a person has about
him- or herself.
self-presentation Altering one’s behavior to
make a good impression on others.
self-talk What people say or think to themselves about themselves.
sender In communication, the person who
translates a thought or feeling into a message
and then sends that message to another person.
sex The biological category of male or female.
shame A negative feeling that occurs following
a personal failure.
short-term consequences The immediate, often
predictable results of an action.
short-term goal A goal with a specific plan of
action to accomplish within the coming year.
shyness Anxiety in social situations that comes
from worrying about what others will think of
skill The ability to do something specific as a
result of learning and practice.
social comparison The practice of comparing one’s
traits and accomplishments with those of others.
social role A set of norms that defines how
people are supposed to behave in a given social
position or setting.
social support Words and actions from other
people that help a person feel valued, cared for,
and connected to a community.
stereotype A set of oversimplified beliefs about
the attributes of a group and its members.
stress A physical and psychological reaction
to the demands of life.
stressor Anything that causes stress.
subconscious mind The part of the brain that
controls the mental processes of which one is
not actively aware.
success Lifetime fulfillment that comes from
creating a sense of meaning in one’s work and
personal life.
sympathetic nervous system The part of the
autonomic nervous system that prepares the
body for stressful emergency situations.
t’ai chi An ancient Chinese martial art that
increases balance and concentration through
gentle, flowing movements and deep breathing
taboo A cultural prohibition on saying, touching, or doing a certain thing.
time management The planned, efficient use
of time.
to-do list A personal checklist of tasks and
activities that need to be completed over the
course of a certain period, such as a week.
trait A disposition to behave in a certain way,
regardless of the situation.
transferable skill An ability that can be used in
a variety of tasks and jobs.
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trigger A person or situation that provokes
uncertainty Not knowing what the consequences of a decision will be for oneself and
unconditional positive regard Love and acceptance of a person, particularly a child, regardless
of his or her particular behavior.
unknown self In the Johari window, information that no one can see about a person, such as
his or her unknown talents, abilities, and attitudes, as well as forgotten and repressed experiences and emotions.
uplifts Small, positive moments and activities
of everyday life that help relieve stress.
upward comparison A type of social comparison that involves comparing oneself to people
who are more successful in a certain area.
urgent Calling for immediate action.
values The beliefs and principles that one
chooses to live by.
variable committed expenses Necessary
expenses that vary from month to month.
vicious cycle A chain of events in which one
negative event causes another negative event.
virtual reality An artificial environment that is
created with software and presented to the user
in such a way that the user suspends belief and
accepts it as a real environment.
visualization The process of creating detailed
mental pictures of the behaviors one wishes to
carry out.
want Something a person can survive and
thrive without.
worry Distress and anxiety caused by contemplating worst-case scenarios.
yoga A spiritual and physical practice that
involves stretches, breathing exercises, relaxation, and sometimes meditation.
“you” statement A statement about a problem
that begins with the word you and accuses the
other person of causing the problem.
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Author’s Key Points Summary
The psychology of success means something different for each individual. The common denominator
seems to be rooted more in positive beliefs and attitudes than in material achievements, although
both are important. There is an old saying that is still true today: “Things turn out best for the people
who make the best of the way things turn out.” How we cope with adversity and the roller coaster of
daily challenges is a critical factor in our fulfillment.
What a person really needs in life is not a tension-free state, but rather the striving and struggling for a goal that is worthy of him or her. Successful individuals have learned how to concentrate on the desired results, rather than possible problems; and also to dwell on the rewards of
success, instead of the penalties of failure. Making good use of our minds, skills, and talents will
bring positive rewards in our outer lives. Assuming the personal responsibility to make the best
use of our talents and time will result in an enormous gain in happiness, success, health, and
financial security. This is true of everyone. The truly successful leaders, those who have achieved
financial independence, time freedom, or accomplished great deeds for society, are those who
have taken personal responsibility to heart and to soul. In the end, we ourselves—far more than
any outsider—are the people with the greatest ability to steal our own time, talents, and
Years of study and some painful personal experiences have convinced us that fear of the costs of
success are among the reasons people resist change. For success does have its price, including:
Taking responsibility for giving up bad habits and invalid assumptions.
Taking responsibility for setting an example in our own lives. Distancing ourselves from a peer group
that isn’t helping us succeed, which tends to hold us back.
Leading ourselves and others down a new and unfamiliar path. Working more to reach a goal and
being willing to delay gratifications along the way.
Being willing to face criticism and jealousy from people who would like to keep us stuck in place
with them.
These are among the perceived costs of success that prompt people to escape from the present by
occupying their minds with past memories or future expectations. Leaders, by contrast, are not dismayed by the costs of success. They get started and build positive momentum. Determined to pursue
their potential, they look forward to an endless dialogue between their talents and the claims of life.
Just as companies must dissolve their boundaries and erase their hierarchies, so must you, the individual, reinvent yourself to meet the knowledge era’s changing demands. What this means is that you
are your own chief executive officer. Start thinking of yourself as a service company with a single
employee. Act as your own CEO who must have the vision to set your goals and allocate your
resources. Because your primary concern is ensuring your viability in the marketplace, you must
think strategically in every decision. This mindset of being responsible for your own future used to
be crucial only to the self-employed, but it has become essential for us all. For today’s typical workers are no longer one-career people. Most will have several careers in their lifetimes.
Although you must become your own life’s CEO and always act as if you were a company of
one, being a team leader is equally important for your future. It’s no longer possible to achieve alone
in our world of accelerating change, where the new global village has become the local neighborhood. Rather than become dependent on others, however, we should become interdependent,
418 Key Points Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
treating everyone we meet as a potential customer, someone with whom we may develop a strategic
alliance in the future. Leaders empower others and build trusting relationships. They specialize in
truly effective communications, taking one hundred percent of the responsibility not only for sending information or telling, but also for receiving information or listening for the real meaning from
every person they contact. Leaders know that paying value to others is the greatest communication
skill of all.
Although many things in life are beyond our control, you and I do have a great deal of control—
more than most of us are willing to acknowledge—over many circumstances and conditions.
To achieve emotional security, each of us must develop two critical abilities: the ability to live
with change and uncertainty, and the ability to delay immediate gratification for the sake of longrange goals. We can make more appropriate choices in life by practicing the simple urgings in these
famous words from philosopher Rheinhold Niebuhr: “Please grant me the serenity to accept the
things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This means that I Accept the Unchangeable, which is everything that has already happened.
That is history and cannot be changed. So I harbor my pleasant memories and gain perspective from
the problems in my past. My only control is to Change the Changeable, which is my response to what
has happened and my decisions in this present moment in time. The more I view mistakes as simply
learning experiences, I can control my future decisions and rewire my brain to look at failure as the
fertilizer of future success. The more I dwell on my joyful and happy experiences, I can remain grateful for all my blessings during difficult times.
To succeed in life, you must continually motivate yourself toward your goals. And you must be
willing to do this yourself. Be willing to say to yourself, “I’m on the right road. I’m doing OK. I’m
succeeding.” We too frequently become adept at identifying our flaws and failures. Become equally
adept at recognizing your achievements. What are you doing now that you weren’t doing one month
ago, six months ago, a year ago? What habits have changed? Chart your progress. Doing well once
or twice is relatively easy. Real winning is constantly moving ahead. Consistent success is tough, in
part, because it is so easy to revert to old habits and former lifestyles. Over the long run, you need to
give yourself regular feedback and monitor your performance. Reinforce yourself positively to stay
on track. Don’t wait for an award ceremony, promotion, friend, or mentor to show appreciation for
your work. Do it yourself! Do it now. Take pride in your own efforts on a daily basis.
Here are a few action reminders to keep the inner fires of desire burning intensely within:
• Carry this affirmative motto with you: My rewards in life will reflect my service and contribution.
• Set your own standards rather than comparing yourself to others. Successful people know they
must compete with themselves, not with others. They run their own races.
• Let your teammates, subordinates, and children make mistakes without fear of punishment or
rejection. Show them that mistakes are learning devices that become stepping stones to success.
• Break your daily and weekly routine. Get out of your comfortable rut. Unplug the TV for a week.
Try refraining from texts and tweets for a few days. Take a different route or different mode of
transportation to work. Have lunch with people in totally different industries and read publications in totally different fields than your current one.
• In your daily speech, make a conscious effort to replace “I can’t,” with “I can,” and “I’ll try,” with
“I will!” You’ll find that “I can,” applies to about ninety-five percent of the challenges you encoun-
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ter every day. These simple semantic changes will establish your new positive attitude, dwelling on
things you can do and will do.
• Remember: “We become what we think about.” Focus all your attention and energy on the
achievement of the objectives you are involved in right now.
• Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change of direction to set
you straight for your next success. The person interested in success has to learn to view failure as
a healthy, inevitable part of the process of getting to the top.
• So make a pact with yourself. We suggest you write an agreement with yourself. Promise that you
won’t allow a failure to be more than a learning experience that allows you to move more quickly
to the place you want to be.
• To stay self-motivated, keep your self-talk affirmative. Whether you’re at work, at home, or on the
tennis court, your subconscious is recording every word. Instead of “should have” say “will do.”
Instead of “if only” say “next time.” Instead of “Yes, but” say “Why not?” Instead of “problem”
say “opportunity.” Instead of “difficult” say “challenging.” Instead of “I’ll try” say “I will.” Instead
of “could have” say “My goal.” Instead of “Someday” say “Today.”
• Forget perfection. Accept the flaws in yourself, and consider them challenges and learning experiences. They are seeds of growth.
• Declare a moratorium on negatives—negative thoughts, negative people, negative forms of entertainment.
• Whatever you do, never allow your goals and their benefits get lost in the back of your subconscious. Bring them out in the sunlight and shine them every day—and there’s no way you can fail.
A fear is a goal in reverse. Dwell on the problem and it grows. Dwell on finding a solution and the
mind moves toward that dominant thought. Your expectation is what drives your motivation.
What you visualize and internalize, will materialize.
• Set up a dynamic daily routine. Getting into a positive routine or groove, instead of a negative
rut, will help you become more effective. Why is the subway the most energy efficient means of
transportation? Because it runs on a track. Think of the order in your day, instead of the routine. Don’t worry about sameness, neatness, or everything exactly in its place. Order is being
able to do what you really choose and not taking on more than you can manage. Order frees
you up. Get into the swing of a healthy, daily routine and discover how much more control
you’ll gain in your life.
No matter what you, personally, have been through; no matter how cynical the world view of some
people you meet, based upon all the enormous problems and calamities being experienced by all living things on this fragile planet; no matter that bad news sells and swells ratings; rather than darkness, choose to see the light. Rather than dwell on what is wrong in your family, your neighborhood,
your state, your nation, and the world, be part of the solution. Get out of the seats in the arena, out
of the grandstands, and out of the critics’ corner. Focus your thoughts on desired results, rewards of
success, and images of health and achievement. Think abundance, instead of scarcity. Your universe
dwells between your left and right ear in that unlimited source of inspiration. Your brain. Your control center.
Your perceptions are your realities. Whether you are aware of it or not, your world is actually a
virtual world based upon first- and second-hand experiences, beliefs, prejudices, misconceptions,
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facts, fads, fallacies, and timeless truth. Remember what neuroscience is teaching us. People’s decisions are first influenced by emotional triggers, and then by logic. Emotions dominate the decisionmaking process. People have far less access to their own mental activities than perceived. About
ninety-five percent of thinking is an unconscious, habitual process. People’s memories do not accurately represent their experiences. People’s memories are constantly changing without their awareness. Instead of a Facebook photo album, memory is more like a constantly edited music video, full
of fragments, real and imagined. As you are remembering something, your brain is in the process of
“rewiring” the connections between neurons, which is actually changing the structure of your brain.
The ability to rewire your brain to generate success and health-related pathways is at the forefront of
individual and team peak performance.
Neuroscience and Leadership
According to the World Economic Forum, the most in-demand skills—in 2020 and beyond—will be
complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, judgment and decision making, and cognitive
flexibility. The need for individuals to develop higher levels of “learning agility”—the ability to adapt,
adjust, learn new information, and unlearn old behaviors quickly, will be crucial for organizational
competitiveness, progress, and survival.
The field of neuroscience is making its way into the curricula of top business schools. MIT’s
Sloan School of Management offers a two-day Neuroscience for Leadership course, and Columbia
Business School’s enrollment in its three-day “Neuroleadership” executive course has increased by
fifty percent over the past two years.
University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of business is offering a new Executive Education
program, “Leveraging Neuroscience for Business Impact,” covering the latest research in engagement, motivation, creativity, decision making, consumer preferences, leadership, and team building.
It is grounded in the “cutting-edge work of the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative” and is based on
Wharton’s Introduction to Brain Science for Business MBA course.
The NeuroLeadership Institute, a leading global research organization and pioneer in the neuroscience of leadership, has been working with several organizations, including Microsoft, Cigna, and
Eli Lilly, to help “reinvent” their performance management systems, using the latest thinking in
Neuroscience in Health and the Future
We are at the dawn of a new era in neuroscience as it applies to our health and well-being. Much has
been discussed about the potential for virtual reality to transform the economy by revitalizing consumer entertainment, social media, shopping, education, and travel. As you read this message, thousands of scientists and professionals are securing new patents, and sifting through existing ones, to
uncover the most innovative brain health and brain enhancement systems, likely to go mainstream in
the next few years.
Very soon you will become aware of how virtual reality and neuroscience are making incredible
strides in pain management, physical rehabilitation, and treatment of anxiety disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and phobias, such as fear of flying, fear of spiders, fear of heights,
Key Points 421
Copyright ©2010 The McGraw-Hill Companies
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
fear of needles, fear of public speaking, and fear of small spaces. A number of companies are
engaged in the field of real-time neuro-monitoring, developing systems to monitor brain activity and
respond in real-time with preemptive treatments. Do you understand the potential? With a monitoring or a wearable device, it will become possible to anticipate a seizure, a possible stroke, and, at
some point, a possible heart attack in advance of the event. In other words, prevention is on the near
And, yes, science fiction has become science fact, in the emerging field of brain computer interfaces (BCI’s) that link the commands of our thoughts to many electronic devices including, but not
limited to, smart phones, home appliances, biofeedback equipment, and security systems. Futurists
have believed that thoughts would not just create material things, such as ships, aircraft, spacecraft,
buildings, computers, smartphones, global communications, robots, drones, and self-driving vehicles.
They knew that thoughts would be able to guide and control our material inventions for the benefit
of all living things.
Einstein was right. Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited to
all we now know and understand, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever
will be to know and understand.
When imagination is focused on the creation of life-enhancing thoughts, dreams, emotions, and
goals, it becomes The Psychology of Success.
Thank you for sharing.
Denis Waitley
422 Further Reading Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Further Reading
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Altman, Kerry Paul. The Wisdom of the Five Messengers: Learning to Follow the Guidance of Feelings.
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Begley, S. “The Brain: How the Brain Rewires Itself.” New York: Time, January 19, 2007.
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Further Reading 423
Copyright ©2010 The McGraw-Hill Companies
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
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424 Further Reading Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
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Index 425
ABC model, 116, 226–227
ABCDE method, 227–229
Ability, measurement of, 69–76
Accomplishment, 157, 158–159
Accuracy, 266–267
Achievement versus independence, 299
Acquisitiveness, 299
Actions, thoughts, feelings and, 23–24
Activating event, 116
Active listening, 378–379
Adapting, 111
Advertising, 349
Aerobic exercise, 211
Aesthetic sensibility, success and, 16
Affiliation drive, 146
Affirmations, 178–179
Aggression, 128, 181–182
Aging, 195
Agreeableness, 69
Alertness, 23
All-or-nothing thinking, 223
Anaerobic exercise, 211
Analytical reasoning, 70
Angelou, Maya, 287
control of, 127–128
coping with, 124
defined, 26, 124
handling constructively, 129–132
inward, 128
responses to, 128–129
triggers, 130, 131
Antibodies, 208
Anxiety. See also Stress
defined, 140
shyness and, 151
Aptitude tests, 69–76
Armstrong, Neil, 84
Artificial intelligence, 262
Assertiveness, 132, 184
Attending, 379
changing, 218
culture and, 39
defined, 195
positive and negative, 196
positive thinking and, 195–197, 204,
power of, 216–217
self-defeating, 216–218, 219–222
success and, 4
tied to health, 208–215
towards aging, 195
towards money, 341–342
work and, 86–87
Autonomic nervous system (ANS),
Autonomy, 300
Avoidance, 160–161
Bad habits, 251, 254–260
Balance, life, 63, 122
Baltus, Rita, 57
Bane, K. Denise, 385
Bankruptcy, 353
Beck, Aaron, 223
categories of, 373
culture and, 39
defined, 17
gender and, 43–44
group norms and, 387–388
human, 19
motivation and, 288, 295
observable, 19
self-awareness and, 64
self-discipline and, 251, 254–255
stress and (See Stress)
culture and, 39
defined, 138
irrational, 224–226
self-awareness and, 57, 59–63
Bellow, Saul, 97
Belongingness, 146, 298
Bias, gender, 44
Big Five Personality Test, 65
Biofeedback, 122
Blind self, 398
Bodily/kinesthetic intelligence, 72
Body image, 164, 168
Body language, 372, 375–376
Boyatzis, R., 384n
Braden, Nathaniel, 242
Braille, Louis, 239
Brain rewiring, 254
Breadth, 268, 395
Breakdown in communication, 366–368.
See also Communication
Budget, 348–349, 350–352. See also
Money management
Campione, Mariah, 48
Career, 60, 84–92
Carrey, Jim, 307
Cash, 353
Casual relationships, 394–395
Catastrophizing, 224
resistance to, 110, 247–248, 252–253
self-discipline and, 246–251
stress and, 108
Channel, 365–366
Choices, self-discipline and, 246
Chuck D., 107
Cialdini, Robert B., 21n
Clarity, 124, 266
Clinical psychologists, 19
Closed questions, 379
Coaching, 383–386
Cognition, 24–26
Cognitive distortion, 218, 223
Cognitive therapy, 223
Collective identity, 38–39
Collectivism, 39
Color perception, 71
Comfort zone, 30, 305–306, 308–309
Committed time, 325
Communication, 361–386
barriers to effective, 366–368
defined, 362
elements of, 365–366
empowerment, 383–386
improving skills, 374, 377–378
interpersonal, 362
leadership and, 382–383
listening, 367, 378–379, 382–383
nonverbal, 368, 371–374
Comparison, social, 168–169, 170
Competence, 147–150, 299
Competitiveness, 299
Complaints, 203–204
Complex self-image, 33. See also
Concepts, forming, 25
Concern for excellence, 299
Conditional positive regard, 149–150
decision making and, 278
defined, 400
in relationships, 400–402
Conformity, 388–389
Conscientiousness, 65
Conscious mind, 23
Consciousness, 23
Consensus, 389
Consequences, 116, 245–246, 247, 278
Constrictive criticism, 180–181
Constructive feedback, 379
Consumer Federation of America, 245
Context, 366
Control, 147–150
Coping, 121, 160–161
Cortisol, 127
Costas, Anna, 322, 359
Courage, success and, 16
Cover letter, 383
Creative thinking, 16
Creativity, 31
Credit, 354
Credit card debt, 245, 353–356
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
426 Index
Credit record, 355–356
Critic, 172–173
Critical thinking, 261–269, 270–271
Criticism, 179–187
Cultural awareness, 367
Cultural barriers, 367–368
body image and, 168
defined, 39
identity and, 39, 43
Dealing With Anger, 130
Debit cards, 353
Debt, 245, 353–356
Deci, Edward, 293, 301
Decision, 269
Decision-making process, 25, 269,
Deindividuation, 388
Delayed gratification, 246
Dell, Michael, 10
Dell Inc., 10
Denial, 118
anger and, 128
defined, 209
human behavior and, 19
self-check, 210
of a relationship, 395
of thoughts, 267–268
Design memory, 70
Desire, 303–304
Despair, 26
Destructive criticism, 180, 181–184
Diet, 211
Directional communication, 382
Discipline, 122. See also Self-discipline
Discretionary expenses, 344
Discretionary time, 325
Discrimination, 391
Diseases of adaptation, 118
Disgust, 26
Dispute, 227–228
Distorted thoughts, 218, 223–226
Distortion, cognitive, 218, 223
Distress, 116
Diversity, 389, 390
Do-by dates, 333
Downward comparison, 169
Dreams, 54–57, 58
DuPre, Paul, 136, 190
EAR, 378
Earhart, Amelia, 237
80/20, 330
E-learning, 298
Ellis, Albert, 116, 224–225
Embarrassment, 26
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 3
Emotional awareness
communication and, 366, 367
defined, 52, 54
success and, 16
Emotional intelligence, 373
Emotional reasoning, 224
Emotional stability, 69
Emotional support, 150, 399
anger and (See Anger)
cognition, 24–26
conflict and, 400
defined, 25
identifying, 54
motivation and, 303–304
negative, 25–26
positive, 25–26
self-awareness and, 52, 54
self-discipline and, 255
Empathy, 261, 391–394
Empowerment, 383–386
Encouraging, 379
Endorphins, 208
Energy, emotions and, 26
Escape response, to stress, 118, 121
Esteem needs, 298–299
Ethics, 57, 59
Ethics Resource Center, 59
Eustress, 116
to reduce stress, 121–122
sleep and, 328
types of, 211, 215
Expenses, 344–346
External obstacle, 108
Extrinsic goals, 291
Extrinsic motivation, 289–291
Extroversion, 69
Eye contact, 377
Facebook, 154, 395
Facial expressions, 25, 372
avoidance of, 196–197
defined, 306
overcoming fear of, 305–307
self-esteem and, 140
defined, 26, 303
of failure, 305–307
of success, 307, 310–311, 312
communication and, 367, 371, 377,
goal setting and, 109
Feedforward, 176
Feelings, 23–24, 55
Filtering, 223
Finance charges, 355
Finances, 343
Financial security, 341–356
Finger dexterity, 70
First impressions, 163
Fitocracy, 215
Fixed committed expenses, 344
Ford, Henry, 193
Foresight, 70–71
Forgiveness, success and, 16
Forming, 25
Foundation of Critical Thinking, 262
Framing effect, 273, 277
Frankl, Viktor, 54–56
Freud, Sigmund, 56
Frey, Carl Benedikt, 85n
Future-mindedness, success and, 16
Gardner, Howard, 69
Gender bias, 44
Gender role, 43–44
General self-talk, 177
Gestures, 372
Goals, 96–135
adjusting, 107–108
anger and (See Anger)
defined, 98
extrinsic, 291
financial, 347–348
group, 39
individual, 39
intrinsic, 291
long-term, 101, 104–105
overcoming obstacles, 108–115
powers of effective, 111,
of psychology, 18–19
self-discipline and, 238
self-esteem and, 139, 155, 157
setting/achieving, 99–101
short-term, 101, 104–105
SMART, 99–101, 102–103, 157
staying on track, 106
stress/stressors, 116–124
tying together, 101
values and (See Values)
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 323
Good, focusing on, 199, 202
Graphoria, 69
Gratitude, habit of, 199
Group goals, 39
Group norms, 387–388
Groups, 387–388
Groupthink, 388–389
Guided imagery, 209
Guilt, 26, 128
Guisewite, Cathy, 195
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Index 427
Habits, 199–208, 251, 254–260
Happiness, 10, 14–17, 86–87
Hardy, Thomas, 197
Hassles, 117
Health, positive thinking and, 208–215
Helpless thinking, 223
Helplessness, learned, 198–199
Hemingway, Ernest, 194–195
Heredity, 64
Hidden self, 398
Hierarchy of needs, 296–299
High self-esteem, 139. See also
Holland, John, 88
communication and, 377
self, 50–51
work ethic and, 16
Hong, Trinh, 96, 135
Human behavior, 19. See also Behavior
Humanmetrics Jung Typology Test, 65
Humor, as a stress reliever, 124
Hypnosis, 122
“I” statements, 378
IBM, 262
Ideal self, 169–171
Ideaphoria, 69
Ideas, culture and, 39
collective, 38–39
culture and, 39, 43
defined, 38
gender and, 43–44
individual, 38, 40–42, 147
management of, 395
relational, 38
Identity profile, 40–42
Image, self, 27–33, 138, 162–168, 260
Impulse buying, 353–354
Impulses, 243–246
Incentives, used to motivate, 291–295
Income, 348. See also Money
Independence versus achievement, 299
Individual differences, 373
Individual goals, 39
Individual identity, 38, 40–42, 147
Individualism, 39
Individuality, 64–69
Inductive reasoning, 70
Information gathering, 277
Inner critic, 172–173
Inner self, 27–33. See also Self-image
Instagram, 154
Instant gratification, 245
Instrumental support, 150
Intelligence, 69–76, 88, 262
Interests, 26, 81–82, 90–92
Internal obstacle, 108
e-learning, 298
identity management, 395
information gathering, 277
personality profiles, 65
social networking and, 154, 395
tracking health using, 215
wasting time using, 110
Interpersonal communication, 362.
See also Communication
Interpersonal intelligence, 72
Interpersonal relationships, 394–402.
See also Relationships
Intimacy, 394–397
Intrapersonal intelligence, 72
Intrinsic goals, 291
Intrinsic motivation, 289
Inward anger, 128
IQ, 373
Irrational beliefs, 224–226
Jacobsen, Edmund, 19
Jimenez, Jessica, 192, 234
Job mobility, 86
Job stress, 122. See also Stress
Job-specific skills, 77
Johari window,
Jordan, Michael, 303–304, 313
Journal of Consumer Research, 349
Joy, 25
Judgmentalism, 203
Karan, Donna, 10
Kasi, S. V., 209n
Keirsey Temperament Sorter, 65
Keller, Helen, 239
Keynes, John Maynard, 356
King, Martin Luther, Jr., 194
Klein, Anna, 10
Knowledge, 77
Kopelman, R., 385
Kunkel, S. R., 209n
Labels, 173
Landau, Elizabeth, 20n
barriers, 367–368
body, 372, 375–376
choice of, 202
Laughter, to reduce stress, 124
Lead by example, 59
empowerment and, 383–386
listening and, 382–383
Learned helplessness, 198–199
Learned Optimism, 198
Leno, Jay, 240
Levy, B. R., 209n
Life balance, 63, 122
LinkedIn, 154
active, 378–379
leadership and, 382–383
selective, 367
Livingstone, Sandy, 130
Lloyd, Carli, 313
Locke, Edwin, 99
Logic, 268–269
Logical/mathematical intelligence, 72
Logos, 17
Loneliness, 150–151, 394
Long-term consequences, 246, 247
Long-term goals, 101, 104–105
Love, 16, 25
Low self-esteem, 140, 148–149, 298–299,
400. See also Self-esteem
Low self-image, 30
Maintenance time, 325
Manning, Peyton, 313
Man’s Search for Meaning, 54–55
Maslow, Abraham, 296
Massage, stress and, 121
Meditation, 121, 122
Memory, consciousness and, 23
communication and, 374
gender identity and, 43–44
Mental discipline, 122
Mental health, 209–210
Mental practice, 20
Mental simulation, 311
Mental stimulation, 123
Message, 365, 371
Michener, James, 240
Mind, 23
Mind reading, 224
Mistakes, 272
Mistick, B., 85n
Money management, 341–356
analyze use, 344
budget, 348–349, 350–352
credit cards and, 245, 353–356
defined, 341
expenses, 344–346
plan creation, 348–349
shopping habits, 353–354
stretching of resources, 349, 353–356
Mood, time management and, 337
Moore, Mary Tyler, 10
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
428 Index
Motivation, 286–321
achievement, 299
defined, 288
e-learning and, 298
emotion, 303–304
extrinsic, 289–291
failure and, 305–307
incentives, 291–295
intrinsic, 289
needs and, 295–302
positive and negative, 288–289, 290
power of, 288–295
self, 8
sources of, 289–291
success and, 300, 307, 310–311
visualization, 25, 28, 209, 311,
Multiple intelligences, 72, 73–75, 88
Musical intelligence, 72
MyFitnessPal, 215
National Institute on Aging, 209
Natural aptitudes, 69–76
Naturalistic intelligence, 72
Nature or nurture, 64–65
conflict and, 400
defined, 295
esteem, 298–299
hierarchy of, 296–299
meeting of, 300–302
physical, 296–297
security, 297–298
self-actualization, 299–300
social, 298
versus wants, 295–296
Negative attitude, 196
Negative emotions, 25–26
Negative escape response, 118
Negative motivation, 288–289, 290
Negative self-image, 31. See also
Negative self-talk, 172–176
Negative thinking, 196–197, 209–210,
Nervous system, 23
Network, social, 154, 395
Neurofeedback, 20
Neurons, 23
Neuroscience, 19–23
Nightengale, Earl, 4, 307
Nonverbal communication, 368, 371–374.
See also Communication
defined, 33
group, 387–388
Number memory, 70
Numerical reasoning, 70
Nutrition, stress and, 122
Observable behavior, 19
Observation, 70
Obstacles. See also Stress
anticipating, 112–113
defined, 108
external, 108
internal, 108
success and, 9
O’Connor, Johnson, 69, 71
O’Connor, Sandra Day, 84
Ogilvy, David, 385
Ogilvy and Mather, 385
Olivero, G., 385
Online identity, 395
Online therapy, 18
Open-ended questions, 379
Open self, 398
Open-mindedness, 261
Openness, 65
Opportunity, goals and, 98, 111
Optimism, 16, 194–199
Osborne, Michael A., 85n
Overgeneralizing, 223
Paraphrasing, 379
Parasympathetic nervous system, 118
Pareto Principle, 330
Park, Imbee, 313
Passion, 81–84
Passive-aggression, 129, 181–182
Perceiving, 24
Perceptions, 27
Perfectionism, 109
Persistence, 16, 239–240
Personal distance, 372
Personal fulfillment, 4. See also Success
defined, 64
tests for, 65, 69
traits of, 64–69
types of, 88–89
Personalizing, 224
Pessimism, 196–197
Phelps, Michael, 313
Physical barriers to communication, 366
Physical needs, 296–297
Physical self, 164, 168
Pitch discrimination, 70
Placebo effect, 208–209
Positive attitude, 196. See also Attitude
Positive emotions, 25–26
Positive escape response, 118
Positive motivation, 288–289, 290
Positive regard, 149–150
Positive relationships, 8
Positive self-image, 31. See also
Positive self-talk, 111, 178–179,
258, 260
Positive stereotypes, 391
Positive thinking, 192–235
attitude and, 195–197, 204,
changing negative thoughts,
defined, 194
distorted thoughts and, 218, 223–226
failure avoidance, 196–197
habits and, 199–208, 251, 254–260
health and, 208–215
importance of, 8, 194–195
learned helplessness, 198–199
optimism and, 16, 194–199
power of, 196
visualization and, 25, 28, 209, 311,
Possible selves, 169, 171
Posture, 372
Pound, Ezra, 194–195
attitude and, 216–217
conflict and, 400
of effective goals, 111, 114–115
of motivation, 288–295
of positive thinking, 196
of self-esteem, 138–139
Precision, 266
Prejudices, 389, 391
Pride, 26
Prime time, 333, 336
of expenses, 344–346
of time (See Time management)
Private self-awareness, 52, 53
Probing, 182, 184
Problem solving, 25, 273. See also
Decision-making process
Process self-talk, 177–178
Procrastination, 336–339. See also Time
Programmed visualization, 314
Progressive muscle relaxation, 121
Prohibitions, 367
Psyche, 17
defined, 17
goals of, 18–19
human behavior and, 19
neuroscience and, 19–23
reasons to study, 17–18
of spending, 349
understanding, 17–26
Public self-awareness, 52
Purpose, importance of, 54–56
Questions, 379
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
Index 429
Rational emotive behavior therapy
(REBT), 224
Reading, 377
Reality check, 123
defined, 24
emotional, 224
inductive, 70
numerical, 70
Receiver, 366–367
Receptive visualization, 314
Recognizing, 24
Recreation, to reduce stress, 123
Recreational shopping, 353
Reflecting, 379
Regret, 280
Relational identity, 38
casual, 394–395
conflict in, 400–402
conformity, 388–389
defined, 387
diversity, 389, 390
empathy, 261, 391–394
group, 387–388
interpersonal, 394–402
intimacy, 394–397
positive, 8
respect and, 377–378, 402
self-disclosure, 398
stereotypes/prejudices, 389, 391
stress and, 123
success of, 398–400
Relaxation, stress and, 121
Relevance, 267
Remembering, 24
Resilience, anger and, 132
Resistance, to change, 110, 247–248,
Respect, 377–378, 402
Responding, 379
Responsibility, 241–243
Resume, 383
Reticular activating system, 28–29
Rewards, used to motivate, 291–295
Rhythm memory, 70
Rice, Condoleezza, 361
Role models, 9–10, 11–13
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 137
Rowling, J. K., 49, 240
Ryan, Richard M., 293, 301
Sadness, 26
Santos, Bill, 2
Sarnoff, David, 299
Savings, 347–348. See also Money
Schedule, 333
Schwartz, Daylle Deanna, 154
Security needs, 297–298
Selective listening, 367
Self-acceptance, 162–171
Self-actualization needs, 299–300
Self-awareness, 48–95
benefits, 50
checklist, 14–15
defined, 7, 50
developing, 50–54
dreams and, 54–57, 58
emotional awareness, 16, 52,
54, 366, 367
empathy and, 261, 393–394
individuality and, 64–69
intelligence and, 69–76, 88, 262
passion and, 81–84
personality traits and, 64–69, 88–89
purpose and, 54–56
self-consciousness, 51–52
self-discipline and (See Self-discipline)
self-esteem and (See Self-esteem)
self-honesty and, 50–51
skills and interests, 77–84, 90–92
values and, 57, 59–63
work and, 84–92
Self-blame, 223–224
Self-confidence, 138, 368
Self-consciousness, 51–52
Self-defeating attitudes, overcoming,
216–218, 219–222
Self-determination, 239, 240–241
Self-direction, 7
Self-discipline, 237–285
bad habits, 251, 254–260
change and, 246–251
control of impulses, 243–246
critical thinking, 261–269, 270–271
decision making, 25, 269, 272–280
defined, 8, 238
desire and, 303–304
elements of, 239
goals, 238
persistence and, 16, 239–240
self-determination and, 239, 240–241
Self-disclosure, 398
Self-efficacy, 148
Self-esteem, 136–191
assertiveness, 132, 184
children and, 146–149
control and competence, 147–150
criticism and, 179–187
defined, 7, 138
high, 139
individual identity and, 38, 40–42, 147
low, 140, 148–149, 298–299, 400
origins of, 146
raising, 151, 154
relationship success and, 400
self-acceptance and, 162–171
self-expectancy, 154–161, 238
self-image and, 27–32, 138,
162–168, 260
self-talk, 111, 172–179, 258, 260
sense of belonging, 146
shyness and, 151
social support, 150, 152–153
stress and, 123
success and, 17
testing of, 141–145
worthiness and, 147
Self-expectancy, 154–161, 238
Self-fulfilling prophecy, 208
Self-handicapping, 337
Self-honesty, 50–51
Self-hypnosis, 122
Self-image, 27–33, 138, 162–168, 260
Self-motivation, 8. See also Motivation
Self-presentation, 33
Self-respect, 10
defined, 27
ideal, 169–171
inner, 27–33
physical, 164, 168
possible, 169, 171
Self-statements, 177
Self-talk, 111, 172–179, 258, 260
Seligman, Martin, 198
Selye, Hans, 116, 118
Sender, 365
Sex, 43
Shame, 26
Sharing, 399
Shopping, 353–354
Short-term goals, 101, 104–105
Short-term consequences, 246
Shyness, self-esteem and, 151
Silograms, 70
assessment of, 78–80
defined, 77
improving communication, 374,
interests and, 77–84
transferable, 77, 86
types of, 77
Slade, M. D., 209n
Slawson, Jeanette, 236, 284
improving quality of, 328–329
stress and, 122
SMART goals, 99–101, 102–103, 157
Sociability, 399
Social comparison, 168–169, 170
Social needs, 298
Social networking, 154, 395
Social role, 33
Social skill, success and, 16
Social support, 150, 152–153
Social world, 33–44
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education
430 Index
Speaking, 374, 377
Specific self-talk, 177
Spending, analysis of. See Money
stress and, 123
success and, 17
Status with peers, 299
Status with the experts, 299
Stereotypes, 389, 391
Stimulation, mental, 123
Stradivari, Antonio, 84
The Strangest Secret, 4
Streisand, Barbra, 84
anger and, 124, 127–132
change and, 108
defined, 116
human behavior and, 19
job, 122
management of, 121–124
responses to, 118, 121
symptoms of, 117–118
technology and, 117
test for, 119–120
Stressors, 116–124, 125–126
Structural visualization tests, 69
Subconscious mind, 23
defined, 4
failure and, 307
fear of, 307, 310–311, 312
happiness and, 10, 14–17
ingredients of, 4, 7–9
inner self, 27–33
motivation and, 300, 307, 310–311
procrastination and, 336
of relationships, 398–400
respect and, 402
role models, 9–10, 11–13
social world, 33–44
work and, 86
Support, social, 150, 152–153
Sussman, Lyle, 340
Sympathetic nervous system, 118
Taboos, 367
Taking Responsibility: Self Reliance and the
Accountable Life, 242
Talents, measurement of, 69–76
Target, 245
Technology, stress and, 117
for aptitude, 69–76
for personality, 65, 69
Therapy, cognitive, 223
Therapy, virtual, 18
Thinking style, 199
all-or-nothing, 223
creative, 16
critical, 261–269, 270–271
distorted, 218, 223–226
feelings, and actions, 23–24, 55
helpless, 223
negative, 196–197, 209–210,
positive (See Positive thinking)
Thomèe, Sara, 117
Three Sides of You Profiler, 65
Timbre discrimination, 70
Time management, 322–340
analysis of, 325, 326–327
defined, 324
plan creation, 330–336
procrastination, 336–339
steps to, 123, 324–336
tips for, 340
To-do list, 330, 334–335
Tonal memory, 70
Traditions, 39
Traits, personality, 64–69
Transferable skills, 77, 86
Triggers, of anger, 130, 131
Trust, success and, 16
Twain, Mark, 258
Tweezers dexterity, 70
Twitter, 154
Uncertainty, 278
Unconditional positive regard,
Unknown self, 398
Uplifts, 117
Upward comparison, 169
conflict and, 400
culture and, 39, 43
defined, 57
self-awareness and, 57, 59–63
work and, 60, 63
Variable committed expenses, 344
Vega, Suzanne, 238
Verbal/linguistic intelligence, 72
Vicious cycle, 217–218
Virtual reality, 313
Virtual therapy, 18
Visual Motor Behavior Rehearsal
(VMBR), 314
Visualization, 25, 28, 209, 311, 313–317
Visual/spatial intelligence, 72
Vocabulary building, 374, 377
Vocation, success and, 16
Voice, 372
Voltaire, 242
Vonn, Lindsey, 313
Waitley, Denis, 251n
Walmart, 245
Wants, 295–296
Watts, Alan, 393
Wealth, 341. See also Money management
Weber, Andrew Lloyd, 84
Well-being, money and, 341
Wells, Elijah, 286, 320
Wheel of life, 34–36
Williams, Redford, 127
Willyard, K., 85n
Winfrey, Oprah, 10, 304
Wisdom, success and, 17
gender identity and, 43–44
nonverbal communication and, 374
happiness and, 86–87
myths about, 87–88
personality types and, 88–89
positive thinking at, 204
rewards received from, 86
self-awareness and, 84–92
stress and (See Stress)
values and, 60, 63
Work ethic, 16
Worry, 204–208
Worthiness, 147
“You” statements, 377
Copyright ©2020 McGraw-Hill Education





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