After analyzing a recent series of experiments that were said to have found evidence of ESP, she stated, "These experiments, which looked so beautifully designed in print, were in fact open to fraud or error in several ways...the results could not be relied upon as evidence for psi."41 The fact is, decades of ESP research has not produced a single example in which an ESP phenomenon has been replicated under tightly controlled conditions. The main reason ESP is not investigated by mainstream psychology today is that it has been examined over a number of years and nothing has come of it.42 And yet, 41 percent of the people recently surveyed by Gallup believe in the power of ESP. Every day for the next week, when you awaken in the morning, roll over and write down your attitudes and expectancies for the day. Are you optimistic? Are you fearful or anxious? Are you bitter and resentful? Would it be something like this? "You're always behind the power curve. You can't get ever get on top of things. Today may very well be the day you get found out." Remember, I'm not talking about your real-time internal dialogue, which might actually include a conscious pep talk, simultaneous with a much-less-optimistic tape. You'll recall that tapes predict a specific outcome. So I'm talking about drilling down and asking yourself how you really expect the day to go. Assume that your boss sent a message to you that he or she wanted to see you at 4:00 today. (It may be that, rather than a boss, it's more appropriate to your situation to use some other important person in a position of authority over you in some way, like a landlord, minister, or the boss of a spouse.) Write down all of the thoughts you can identify that are below the level of your conscious self-talk: that is, all the thoughts that only come to mind when you start asking these questions and start trying to identify your predictions. Looking back over your tapes, do you see any similarities or patterns? Are there particular kinds of scenarios that you associate with this kind of negative self-talk? For example, do your tapes have to do with work-related encounters? Are they about particular family members or acquaintances? It may be that you more readily identified tapes when you were thinking about a particular part of the day, such as your first thoughts in the morning about the rest of the day. Maybe you were more aware of tapes in the context of a particular task, such as preparing to make a speech.

Using your journal, identify whatever those common threads or patterns are. Take some time to consider all the scripts that you have played in your life. There have probably been many: They might include friend, worker, loving parent, cheerleader, dancer, professor, athlete, spouse, invalid, the son/daughter of [parents' names], etc. Remember that a script governs what you say and do; it also imposes expectancies or roles on other people. So in thinking about your script, try first to recall roles you have played that governed your actions and which you felt at the time would directly influence your results. Try to recall those stages and circumstances in which your role influenced or determined how other people responded to or interacted with you. Your script will show evidence of some of the other internal factors we have discussed. For example, you will find a number of labels within your script, a locus of control that colors it, and tapes that provide automatic content. Use those concepts to help identify the script in detail. Once again, use your journal for this work. This phenomenon by which anybody lives up to another's expectations is called social labeling. Put simply, "People tend to live up to the positive or negative label bestowed upon them" (Toastmasters). I keep reiterating that expectations are a self-fulfilling prophecy, and this is one of the many examples of that. Evangelist Bill Glass once said, "Ninety percent of prison inmates were told by parents while growing up, 'They're going to put you in jail'" (quoted in Maxwell). In fact, in inner-city schools, standardized testing is often used to determine the space prisons will need for the future! It is so counterproductive to think this way. People can perceive the perceptions others have of them, and it has a huge effect on their ability to succeed. For example, if a manager at a retail store constantly berates an employee, only disparaging their performance but never praising positive efforts, then that employee is likely to internalize those negative judgments. In this instance, downbeat assessments lead to feelings of insecurity. Productivity plummets because the worker feels he is incapable of doing a good job, and he projects that and makes the low expectations a reality.

On the other hand, if that person has a boss or superior who motivates him, expecting better things from him paired with encouragement, then productivity and successful results increase. This is because, as the famous education advocate John Lancaster Spalding noted, "Those who believe in our ability do more than stimulate us. They create for us an atmosphere in which it becomes easier to succeed." One quote I've always appreciated is by William Shakespeare: "All the world is a stage, and all the men and women are merely players. They all have their exits and entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts." That is an excellent description of what social roles entail, because their influence is so strong. Social roles dictate customs, norms, and even laws. You can either conform or not conform to them. If you choose not to conform, then you are labeled a nonconformist. Needless to say, throughout history outliers have been largely shunned by society. But when you conform, it's part of how rules and behaviors are established. Social roles are extremely important and have a pronounced effect on each culture and country. One phenomenon that has always intrigued me, and thus led me to the construction of a new term, is collective diminished expectations, which have a great deal to do with social roles and social expectations. Today, much of our struggle with distraction is a struggle with external triggers. The more we respond to external triggers, the more we train our brain in a never-ending stimulus-response loop. We condition ourselves to respond instantly. Soon, it feels impossible to do what we've planned because we're constantly reacting to external triggers instead of attending to what's in front of us. Perhaps the answer is to simply ignore the external triggers. Maybe if we don't act on the notifications, phone calls, and interruptions, we can go about our business and quickly silence the interruptions when they happen. Not so fast. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance found that receiving a cell phone notification but not replying to it was just as distracting as responding to a message or call. Similarly, the authors of a study conducted at the University of Texas at Austin proposed that "the mere presence of one's smartphone may impose a `brain drain' as limited-capacity attentional resources are recruited to inhibit automatic attention to one's phone, and are thus unavailable for engaging with the task at hand." By having your phone in your field of view, your brain must work hard to ignore it, but if your phone isn't easily accessible or visually present, your brain is able to focus on the task at hand.

Thankfully, not all external triggers are harmful to our attention. In many ways, we can leverage them to our advantage. For example, short text messages providing words of encouragement are effective at helping smokers quit. A metastudy of interventions from ten countries found that "the evidence provides unequivocal support for the efficacy of text messaging interventions to reduce smoking behavior." The trouble is, despite the potential benefits external triggers can provide, receiving too many can wreak havoc on our productivity and happiness. How, then, can we separate the good external triggers from the bad? The secret lies in the answer to a critical question: Is this trigger serving me, or am I serving it? The success of your treatment, particularly psychotherapy, depends on building a trusting relationship with a therapist who is a good fit for you. How do you find this therapist? That answer varies among individuals. One place to start is to ask your psychiatrist or primary care doctor for a recommendation. Depending on who is available in your geographic area, he or she may refer you to a clinical psychologist, licensed therapist, or licensed clinical social worker. Try to find one who specializes in treating patients with depression. If you live near a large teaching hospital, most academic Psychiatry Departments have a specialized Depression Unit that can refer you to a staff member. Get several names and then interview each one face to face to see if you feel comfortable speaking with this person. Not everyone will be a good match for you, so keep looking until you find someone you think will work. Do not be afraid to ask questions of the people you interview. Inquire about their training and background. Find out if they can schedule your appointments around your work hours. Ask about the method of payment and whether or not your health insurance company will pay for it. Make sure that the person you choose will coordinate your care with your other doctors (psychiatrist, family doctor, etc.).

There are many different therapists, each with a particular style, personality, and training. They may also practice different types of psychotherapy. Those differences do not prevent them from delivering good quality care. What do you need to do to get the most benefit from your therapy? Show by your actions that you are interested in and committed to talk therapy. Participating in therapy is a two-way street, and you have to do a lot of the work. You also need to keep up a good professional relationship with your therapist. Helping yourself in this way provides the best chance of recovery and of staying well. Managing your depression or bipolar disorder effectively is critical to maintaining your emotional balance and stability. It can help you feel and function better. People who participate actively in their care and work to manage their illness have a better chance of recovery and of staying well. Some people find that the symptoms of depression interfere with what they must do to manage their illness. For example, the symptoms of fatigue, poor appetite and sleep, and lack of interest can interfere with your ability to get the physical exercise necessary for a healthy life. This makes managing your illness a challenge, but it can be done. And it will make a difference. What does it mean to manage your illness? It means that you learn about the illness and that you use certain methods, strategies, and skills each day to respond to the symptoms you have. These strategies are discussed in detail in this chapter. Developing the tools to deal with your illness will help you recover, prevent worsening, and avoid relapse (a return of symptoms). Managing your depression effectively requires that you pay attention to your symptoms and monitor them, challenge negative thoughts, use problem-solving techniques, make adjustments, and avoid negative behaviors (see chapter 5).