Cultivating Fire: How to Keep Your Motivation White Hot

>> Thursday

Feeling motivated is an especially good mood. When you feel upbeat, energetic and fully alive because you're so motivated, it is one of the best moods you can experience.

Do you think motivation is either something you have or you don't? Did you know you can do things that will cultivate your own motivation? Find out how in my new book, Cultivating Fire.

While it's true that sometimes you are naturally motivated, especially immediately after deciding on a goal, it is also true that you can take actions that nourish and encourage a feeling of motivation — or you can let the feeling of motivation do what it naturally does most of the time: fade away.

Motivation is a tremendous power. A highly motivated person can accomplish seemingly impossible things. In this tiny book, you will learn how to stoke your inner fire — how to get and keep your motivation burning white hot. This not only makes you more capable of accomplishment, but it makes life more fun.

Would you like to see what you are really capable of? Intense motivation can unleash it.


What's the Best Predictor of a Second Heart Attack?

>> Friday

When I took the "signature strengths" questionnaire at, I received an update on Martin Seligman's work. I was impressed by the following astounding finding. It is an excerpt from Seligman's book, Flourish:

In the mid-1980s, 120 men from San Francisco had their first heart attacks, and they served as the untreated control group in the massive Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial. This study disappointed many psychologists and cardiologists by ultimately finding no effect on cardiovascular disease by training to change these men’s personalities from type A (aggressive, time urgent, and hostile) to type B (easygoing).

The 120 untreated control group, however, was of great interest to Gregory Buchanan, then a graduate student at Penn, and to me because so much was known about their first heart attacks: extent of damage to the heart, blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass, and lifestyle — all the traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In addition, the men were all interviewed about their lives: family, job, and hobbies. We took every single “because” statement from each of their videotaped interviews and coded it for optimism and pessimism (determining their explanatory style).

Within eight and a half years, half the men had died of a second heart attack, and we opened the sealed envelope. Could we predict who would have a second heart attack? None of the usual risk factors predicted death — not blood pressure, not cholesterol, not even how extensive the damage from the first heart attack. Only optimism, eight and a half years earlier, predicted a second heart attack: Of the sixteen most pessimistic men, fifteen died; of the sixteen most optimistic men, only five died.

This finding has been repeatedly confirmed in larger studies of cardiovascular disease, using varied measures of optimism.

There are two important things to know about this study. First, the definitions of "optimism" and "pessimism" are very carefully defined. It has to do with "explanatory style" — that is, how you habitually explain events to yourself. Read more about that here.

And second, optimism can be learned, and it doesn't take very long (here's how). An improved explanatory style not only helps your health, it makes you feel better. It improves your mood.

Find out what your explanatory style is (so you can concentrate your efforts at fixing any specific weakness) by clicking here. Look in Questionnaires near the top of the page for "Optimism Test" and take the questionnaire. And then begin using this technique to plug the hole(s) in your bucket. It will benefit you for the rest of your life (which may be a long one).

Adam Khan is the author of Antivirus For Your Mind: How to Strengthen Your Persistence and Determination and Feel Good More Often and co-author with Klassy Evans of Viewfinder: How to Change the Way You Look at Things.



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