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Upward spirals

One of the more powerful lessons from Aristotle's teachings is that of upward spirals, although I don't think he called it that.

He says, "If we abstain from pleasure, that makes us more temperate. And the more temperate we are, the more we can abstain from pleasure." Similarly, "If we stand up for something, that makes us more firm. And when we are more firm, the easier we find it to stand up for something." 

However, this has a flip side to it that goes unmentioned.

If we attempt to abstain from pleasure and fail, that makes us less temperate and we find it even harder to abstain from pleasure the next time. And if we try to stand up for something and fail, then it makes us even more cowardly in the future as the experience simply reinforces some prior held beliefs. 

So, where there are upward spirals, there are also downward spirals. 

We need to engineer the right upward spirals for us so that we don't stretch ourselves too far, fail and then hit a downward spiral. We went to stretch ourselves just right to still be on an upward spiral. 

And this is where the role of a coach, a mentor, a teacher comes in.

To help us identify the right level to aim for that will create the upward spiral.

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