. Unfortunately, it will never reach its intended audience. . People often believe they have no choice or have to do something because some loud part of them insists it's so. In the midst of such racket, quiet intuitive feelings from the center are easily overlooked. But with practice, one can learn to listen to the subtle messages from inside and see possible choices in situations that seemed hopeless. When you center yourself in that quiet place, you can establish an internal congress. You can listen in turn to each different self within you - the noisy, the quiet, the brave, the fearful - and you can give each a chance to be heard in open debate. Instead of trying not to think or feel certain things, you can look for your hidden feelings and give yourself permission to think anything at all. Rather than rule yourself by terrorism, you can establish an internal democracy. Different philosophies and psychologies have chosen different concepts for this focal point of one's being. Some see it as part of ego, the I that tries to compromise with the forces inside and out. Others use the religious concept of soul, or see the center of one's being as pure consciousness. we just follow the plan. And the net result is we're not being depleted as quickly. Alan Mulally must have known this intuitively with his highly structured Thursday BPR meetings. High-achieving, headstrong executives have many behavioral choices in a meeting: What they say, whom they challenge or interrupt, in what terms they report progress, what they omit, how much cooperation or surliness they want to display. The choices, even in a meeting with familiar colleagues, are mind-numbing. Alan's structure took all of those choices off the table - and in doing so protected the Ford team from themselves. The BPR meetings started at 8 a.

m. and often lasted several hours. If executives had been allowed to freewheel for so much time, their collective depletion in the last hour would have been palpable. I remember wondering why he didn't have his glasses on. (He'd broken them when he'd fallen in the hospital, during the heart attack that had killed him. He'd raised his arms, to take off his shirt, the doctor later told me, and the attack hit. He fell over, dead. He could not be revived. ) I touched John's hand. It was cold. He was dressed in Eucharistic vestments, and his hands were placed around the stem of a silver communion cup. They looked awkward and unreal. [My wife] wouldn't crack the cover, and got angry with me for reading it). As a long-form version of the sputtering diatribes on the internet, his opus shares an obliviousness of the human effect of criticism, blame, and personal attack. Daryl, a thirty-eight-year-old mechanical engineer, began to complain at every opportunity and shared with Jeana that he was very dissatisfied with the way she had begun to look. . He began to feel that no matter how much he complained or shared his feelings with Jeana, she was not going to lose weight. Since when, exactly, did complaining about how another person manages her body result in cooperative responsiveness? The issue is further confused by the pervasive cultural misconception that obesity is due to lack of willpower, and solvable by diet and exercise alone.

Even the more tempered of those commenting on the internet tend to misconstrue their partners' failure to lose weight as a stubborn refusal to respond to their wishes, completely overlooking the empirical evidence that self-help is often insufficient. Buried in this inflammatory debate is a real dilemma on which people genuinely disagree: What, if any, is the appropriate way to bring up concern about one's spouse's body? If you are living with another person 24-7, you are going to have feelings about his or her body, negative and positive. Oriental meditation techniques are essentially exercises for strengthening this compassionate observer self. Regardless of what definition you choose, there is a practical fact that you either ignore conflicting selves within you, and let the noisiest rule, or choose to listen to each in turn, with the final decisions always coming from the center. If you try to excommunicate your unpleasant or ugly selves - the ones who embarrass you or you wish weren't there - you lose much of who you are. You lose energy wasted in burying the unwanted selves. You lose your sense of being whole. You lose the opportunity to caution others against your negative selves and to channel these selves in more positive directions. You lose the secrets of self-respect, fulfillment and peace. Worst of all, you lose the power to choose your own direction, an awful price to pay for temporary comfort. Long-term dissatisfaction is the usual result. Your selves are part of you, and they cant just go away. Being handcuffed by Alan's rules minimized the depletion, kept them fresh and at their best with a full tank - and they didn't even know it. If we provide ourselves with enough structure, we don't need discipline. The structure provides it for us. We can't structure everything obviously - no environment is that cooperative - but all of us rely on structure in small ways some of the time. For example, the seven-day pillbox is a structural godsend for the millions of Americans who take daily prescription medication. It solves a major challenge in the doctor-patient relationship: patient compliance. We wake up on a Thursday, ingest the contents of the Th slot, and achieve compliance with little effort.

We regard the pillbox as a convenience but on another level, it's a structural surrogate for self-discipline. We don't have to remember to take our pills. The pillbox does the remembering for us. John was dead. I could not believe my eyes. When you're barely in your thirties, you do not fully realize how rare true friendship is. How rare it is for someone to get you. To recognize you. To see you so fully. And for you to get them. Indeed, I now know now that to be recognized only happens a few times in life--if you're lucky. If you have such a relationship, use it to the fullest. Use it. I don't believe that bodies are a special, off-limits case, but rather are just one of the whole range of sensitive topics that couples need to become skilled at discussing. I also believe that putting off such discussions doesn't help. People avoid talking because they are afraid of hurting feelings, and because they are afraid nothing will change. But waiting is likely to make both problems worse: your reactions will have built up covertly and will therefore hurt more when they are confessed. The problem will also have become a more entrenched part of the relationship. It is harder to come back from there, and you will be less able to deliver your message with compassion. So how do people successfully approach these sensitive topics?

No single approach works for everyone, but I favor a combination of strong support and honesty. The challenge is to balance truth with tact. Incrementalism is your friend. If you look closely, you'll discover that your ugly selves are really your painful selves, the hurting child within you. Deny that vulnerable self within you and you lose your chance for joy, carefree play and intimacy. The usual pattern is never openly to acknowledge the contradictory parts of oneself. Most people talk to themselves, but how many admit it? (The popular attitude: talking to yourself is like masturbation, only worse. Believe that and you'll stay stuck. ) When you exile your unpleasant parts, claiming one self as the legitimate government, you invite revolution. The examples are endless: denying your anger to deprive someone of the satisfaction of knowing you're mad (the excuse: What good is getting upset? ); denying the feeling that a transaction you're making is unfair (the excuse: a wise business decision); We're probably not aware of how much depletion-fighting structure we've injected into our lives. When we follow an unshakable wake-up routine, or write down an agenda for our meetings, or stop at the same coffee shop before work, or clear our messy desk before opening up the laptop to write, we're surrendering to our routine, and burning up less energy trying to be disciplined. Our routine has taken care of that. I can't have enough structure in my day. I only wear khaki pants and green polo shirts to work (to add discipline to my shaky fashion sense). I pay a woman to call me with my Daily Questions (to discipline my self-awareness). I delegate all travel decisions to an assistant and never question her choices (to discipline my time).