Conditioning – What Are You Preparing For?

I live in middle Georgia. The land of “moist heat.” I live in THE balmy summer capital of the world. I haven’t always lived here. I grew up in east Tennessee and I have lived all over the world with my military husband.

Yesterday, our local forecast changed to exhibit the possibility of snow this week. SNOW! For those of you who live in the northern regions of the world, or in high altitudes, your immediate reaction is “big whoopdie doo” I’m sure. However, the people down here are freaking out. Now, where I grew up, snow was kind of rare. But, after moving to Cheyenne, Wyoming, for my husband’s career, snow became a regular part of life; not just snow, but SNOW. We’re talking, crazy deep, fire hydrants had to have markers, survival kit in your car, sub-arctic, I can’t feel my face, wind off the Rockies S.N.O.W. I became conditioned to the weather there. It took a while, it took exposure. It took being in the wind on a daily basis to condition my body to what true cold actually feels like. We just THOUGHT it got cold in Tennessee, and I’m sure people all over the country who are suffering temperatures of -30 degrees or colder would call our Georgia winters “warm.”

Now, when my mom or my friends say things like, “it’s freezing outside,” I often think, “it’s not THAT bad.” I can go without a jacket far more easily than I could have 12 years ago, before I ever left Tennessee.

So where am I going with all this?

Conditioning is in everything we do. We adapt to our surroundings whether we realize it or not. We adjust our ways of life to accommodate the inevitable parts of living, like the weather. We start out suffering, but over time, we get stronger – we become tough – no matter how hard the icy

wind blows. Sometimes conditioning is forced on us by the inevitable and sometimes we CHOOSE conditioning (think marathon running, or T-25 [this is my workout of choice and believe me, the wind was mighty icy when I started, but now, it’s not so bad]).

My question is this – are you preparing for the worst or for the best in your life?  Are you becoming conditioned for GOOD or for BAD?

Here’s what I mean; just go with it – keep an open mind, because I’m about to make a sharp turn:

If you position yourself around Godly, successful, positive people. If you live your life in places and around people who can help you GROW, you’ll condition yourself for success.

But  if you live your life under a continuous negative cloud and everything you do or say is doom and gloom, if you spend time with people who drag you down but never build you up, if you live with fear and expect failure, you’ll be conditioned for mediocrity.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should dump everyone you know so you can hobnob with the rich and famous — NOT AT ALL, and if you get that out of this post then you’ve got problems — or I’m just that bad as a writer.

There’s a reason we are called to let our lights shine. There is a REASON an anointing has been placed on living your life among like-minded people.  You have the power to influence people and situations just as people and situations have the power to influence you. Make sure you’re putting yourself in a position to be conditioned for GOOD. Your attitude is powerful.

Your circumstances will change. Harsh winds may blow. But – if  you’ve built a life for yourself on solid rock and you’ve spent time conditioning yourself for success DESPITE your circumstances, harsh winds will seem “not that bad” before you know it.


Willpower: Is It Learned Or Innate

I’ve been doing lots of reading lately, for work and education mostly (Though, who am I kidding? I’ve always done a lot of reading, and probably always will). Recently I started spending more time researching human potential. For the most part, I want to know why some people excel where  others fail. Setting aside talent, resources and support systems, I learned that those who excel possess an incredible will to succeed. By this I mean that group of people is disciplined, dedicated and will stop at nothing in the pursuit of their goals. This glaring difference made me wonder, “are we born with will power, or do we have to learn it?”

Here’s and interesting fact: In one study I found, conducted to deduct whether or not hyper-talented musicians were “born” or “made,” researchers discovered that talent plays a far lesser role in success than we’ve always been led to believe. Sure, some people have a propensity toward certain things, but according to the study, the only difference between the exceptional musicians and the average musicians was the time invested in practice. The exceptional group practiced nearly 4 times as much as the average students and twice as much as the students who were considered ‘very good.’ In other words, the study suggests that success has less to do with talent, and more to do with effort and drive.

So what did the exceptional group have that set them apart? Willpower. The drive and will to practice more than required and the will to put in thousands of hours of time toward the accomplishment of their goals. The study suggests that the ‘very good’ group had more will than the ‘average’ group but less than the exceptional group.

So does this mean that with the right amount of practice, we can become exceptional at anything we try? Does this mean that most any of us can be standouts in nearly any area as long as we’re willing to put in those thousands of hours of preparation?  The study seems to suggest so. I, for one, find it comforting to think that I COULD potentially be great at anything I choose to do — as long as I have the will to go above and beyond (to the tune of 10,000 + hours) in preparation.

But that doesn’t answer the question. Do we HAVE willpower when we’re born, or is it a learned characteristic?

I used to think some people had a greater propensity for willpower than others right from birth. In infants, we call it “stubbornness.” Yet, in adults (at least to a degree) we consider it a trait to be admired, “Oh, he has amazing willpower. His drive is impressive… blah blah blah.”

In my research, I learned that yes, all babies are born with a propensity toward accomplishment of goals – willpower – and that propensity is either cultivated or snuffed out. Certain life experiences (our upbringings, our parent’s behavior and beliefs, etc.) can impact the willpower we may have been born with from a very early age. But I also learned that anything “unlearned” can be “re-learned.”

Isn’t it comforting to know that we weren’t BORN lazy?

So, how do we “learn” willpower?  How do we reactivate our drive to succeed?

It’s all in the mind. (Yes, I know – I know). You’re thinking, “here she goes again with that ‘taking thoughts captive’ stuff.”

But, you’ll be happy to know that today I have some PRACTICAL APPLICATION for you:

Leadership and organizational consultant Hal Resnick says that willpower is like a muscle. In fact, about a year ago Resnick wrote about the “locus of control,” a viewpoint that describes people as being on a continuum (or a long line, like a timeline) that puts “internality” on one end and “externality” on the other.

This concept was developed in 1954 by psychologist Julian Rotter.

Resnick says willpower can be learned AND we can make it a habit — Okay, great. But to make something a habit, doesn’t that mean you have to actually HAVE it, or at least be doing it to begin with. Habits don’t just form out of thin air.  So what if we don’t have much willpower now? How do we get it? 

Resnick says this:

Developing willpower
It can be simple to develop willpower, according to Resnick.
First, like all habits, the first step is to learn how to do it.
“Learning how to do it means planning and practicing the response. The most successful approach to developing a habit calls for a detailed implementation plan,” he wrote.
An unsuccessful habit might be the decision to go to the gym three times a week. A successful habit would include the specific days, times and a pre-planned workout routine.
It also would include keeping a record of the results, with the satisfaction of seeing the progress being made, he wrote.
“Set the cues and prepare the response. Make sure the cue is defined – such as automatically flossing as part of the ritual of getting ready for bed. Then be sure the reward – feeling that everything is done – is part of the process,” he wrote.
For example, parents who teach their children to come home from school, have a snack and then immediately complete their homework before they are allowed to play are developing a very positive habit, including the delay of gratification to do their schoolwork before playing.
“Establishing the willpower that there is no play until all the homework is done builds a keystone habit. The reward is multifold: the satisfaction of knowing the schoolwork is done; feeling fully prepared for school the next day; perhaps hopefully recognition from parents; and now the ability to play without interruptions or worry about homework that is not yet done,” Resnick wrote.
The next step in developing willpower is consistent practice.
“Willpower, like any other muscle, must be practiced to get stronger,” he wrote.
Inconsistent practice or application will not work. Consistency is not perfection because everyone slips up now and then, but immediately resuming the program reinforces the development of the habit.

Believing in willpower

Resnick wrote there is one last factor that must be incorporated into the willpower equation, the “fundamental belief that we can control our behaviors.”
For a habit to become successfully ingrained, there must be a belief the habit will generate the desired reward,” he wrote.
“Belief is the final and essential component of developing willpower, that staying the course will create the desired results,” he wrote.
“Developing the willpower to stay the course even in the midst of crisis … is the hallmark of the truly successful person and organization.

So there you have it. Scientifically, we CAN learn to control our behaviors. We CAN learn to have willpower. Ironically, we need the WILL to learn WILL.

I’m definitely going for it. I hope you’re going for it too — after all, we’re all in this thing together.

And one FINAL thought – the above is another instance of science backing a lesson that scripture has been teaching us all along.

Love in Him,


Stress In Business – The Someday Syndrome

I typically write a post that is geared toward business here at the Virtue Marketing site, and on the same day, I write one that’s a little more personal and more “life applicable” on TylieEaves.com.

However, today the post I wrote for TylieEaves.com is 100% applicable here at the VM location. You see, the Someday Syndrome is alive and well in business; whether you work in an office or you work from home.

I invite you to read the post on by clicking the excerpt below.  Hopefully it will help you as you get your awesome 2014 underway!

For example, many people get stressed out by traffic. They KNOW they can’t do anything about it, they know they can’t control the comings and goings of every person on the road, yet they become all white-knuckle, squinty-eyed crazy when they hit the highway.

Work Life vs. Home Life – The Epic Struggle

There’s a common misconception all over the United States, and very likely the world, that business life and personal or home life must compete for balance. We constantly struggle to find “balance” between our two worlds as though they’re home to two different people. It is likely true that each “world” has varied characteristics and responsibilities, but the meat of the matter lies in the fact that we each have only ONE life.

In my opinion, people everywhere would find lots more peace if they would just ACCEPT the fact that we are each more than “just” our work, or “just” our duties at home. We are each so much more than “just” anything and everything. Never, ever use the word “just” do describe yourself. By its very definition “just” is an adjective that means “merely.” You are MERELY nothing, you are SO MUCH MORE THAN MERELY and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Let me put it to you this way:

You only have ONE life, and you only have so much time to make that one life all it can be. No matter how hard you try, you cannot compartmentalize your one life. The more you try, the more stressed out you’ll become trying to find balance that doesn’t really exist. No matter how hard you try, your work will come home with you on some level, or vice versa — and rightly so. After all, most people (if they work outside the home) will spend more time with coworkers than they will with family throughout the course of their lives. I’m sure you know this, but some people don’t LOVE their work – how miserable would those people be if thoughts of their families, friends, hobbies, et. cetera, didn’t accompany them at work?

Over and again I’ve heard the phrases “it’s just business, nothing personal.” I’ve read it in books, heard it in movies, I’ve heard it in real life – but believe you me, for the person on the receiving end of said exchange, things are VERY personal.

YOU ONLY HAVE ONE LIFE, your business, your family, your hobbies, and hopefully your faith are all part of that ONE life.

Stop trying to separate one from the other. Stop ignoring the fact that business is personal for someone… for everyone. Stop telling yourself that there’s something wrong with overlapping the points of your life. STOP TAKING THE HUMANITY OUT OF BUSINESS.

I firmly believe that if we all started living our ONE life to the fullest, and dumped every “compartment” of our existence into the ONE life we have, we’d see more success, more happiness at home and at work, more peace and even more money. Yes that’s right, more money.

Such a change is totally possible, and it’s entirely up to you – because this kind of change starts within each of US. Accepting the wholeness of our lives starts in our own minds and migrates to our hearts and our bodies. You don’t have to change the way you behave at work or at home, you just have to change the way you THINK about those two parts of the whole. Give yourself a break. Don’t feel guilty for loving what you do, who you are and where you’re going.