Self-concepts

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Key Claims[edit]

  • Anxiety is not a trait.
  • Threat labels are always modifiable.
  • Threat labels are only modifiable at the moment they are triggered: you can retrain your amygdala only when the alarm is sounding.
  • You are distractible during a task when there is something else you would rather do.
  • Every distraction is an attempt to decrease the effort required of you at that moment.
  • We are less aware of the avoidance element of distractions than of the approach element (toward what “is distracting us”).
  • This makes us see distractions as something we passively experience rather than do to ourselves.
  • Commitment to a task allows us to be ready to notice urges to avoid it that arise.
  • With anxiety the central challenge is maintaining a positive appraisal of adrenaline.
  • With distractions, the central challenge is the effort required by the task at hand.
  • The deepest obstacle to growth is the avoidance of challenge itself.
  • You only grow when you challenge yourself according to ideals. Then challenge = growth.
  • Avoiding challenges, perceived as external, leads to vicious cycles.
  • Approaching externalized challenges triggers self-concepts.
  • Actively challenging yourself according to an ideal does not trigger self-concepts.
  • Externalizing challenges produces the perception of drained energy / no motivation.
  • Internalized challenges produce the energy we call motivation.
  • Motivation only describes whether the challenge is being passively experienced or actively embraced.
  • Actively challenging yourself requires strategies that produce steps for engagement.
  • The habituation of strategies for engaging challenges is called mastery.
  • Mastery ensures that challenges continually lead to growth.
  • Giving up in the midst of a challenge leads to the forming and sensitizing of self-concepts.
  • Self-concepts raise the challenge level for the next encounter with that challenge.
  • Self-concepts are like threat labels.
  • Self-concepts generalize (e.g., I’m not good at fractions… at math… at school…)
  • Self-concepts are organized into schemas, forming a network — like a tree with twigs, branches, boughs, and a trunk.
  • Self-concepts are essential to having a fixed mindset
  • The fixed mindset leads toward passivity in the face of challenge, which externalizes the challenge
  • Strategies are necessary for engaging challenge, leading to a within-encounter decrease in the difficulty of the challenge.
  • The difficulty of a challenge is partly actual and partly perceived. (Same as threats: real risk vs perceived risk; latter is habituated by exposure exercises)
  • The perceived challenge is a function of the self-concept.
  • In the next counter, the challenge level would peak at a lower level; this is a between-encounter decrease in the perceived difficulty of the challenge, representing a habituation of the self-concept (perceived challenge) and also a habituation of the strategy (actual challenge; = mastery).
  • No self-concepts are formed when one masters a challenge. The lasting effect is the strategy itself.