Choosing a goal in your life fosters intellectual discipline
Since I began to live with myself, and to pay attention to the price of time, to the brevity of life, to the uselessness of the things one spends one's time with in the world, I have wondered at my former behavior: at taking extreme care of my teeth, of my hair and at neglecting my mind and my understanding. I have observed that the mind rusts more easily than iron, and that it is even more difficult to restore to its first polish. Such sensible reflections do not, however, give the soul back that flexibility it lost from lack of exercise when one is no longer in the first flush of youth.
The fakirs of the East Indies lose the use of the muscles in their arms, because those are always in the same position and are not used at all. Thus do we lose our own ideas when we neglect to cultivate them, It is a fire that dies if one does not continually give it the wood needed to maintain it. So, wishing if it is possible to make up for such a great mistake, and to make it bear the fruits that I can still look Forward to, I sought for some kind of occupation that could, in focusing my mind, give it that firmness (if I can put it that way) that can never be acquired unless one has chosen a goal for one's studies. One must conduct oneself as in everyday life; one must know what one wants to be. In the latter endeavors irresolution produces false steps, and in the life of the mind confused ideas.
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[About Angela Duckworth - American academic, psychologist - experiment]
Duckworth finds it useful to divide the mechanics of achievement into two separate dimensions: motivation and volition. Each one, she says, is necessary to achieve long-term goals, but neither is sufficient alone. Most of us are familiar with the experience of possessing motivation but lacking volition: You can be extremely motivated to lose weight, for example, but unless you have the volition— the willpower, the self-control— to put down the cherry Danish and pick up the free weights, you’re not going to succeed.
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How does it make people look to talk about a product or idea? Most people would rather look smart than dumb, rich than poor, and cool than geeky. Just like the clothes we wear and the cars we drive, what we talk about influences how others see us. It’s social currency. Knowing about cool things—like a blender that can tear through an iPhone—makes people seem sharp and in the know. So to get people talking we need to craft messages that help them achieve these desired impressions. We need to find our inner remarkability and make people feel like insiders. We need to leverage game mechanics to give people ways to achieve and provide visible symbols of status that they can show to others.