These are just a small sample of the types of fears I come across throughout my work but there are many many more. One of my clients had Alopecia and they focussed all their anxieties around this. What if they notice my bald spot? Tony was always very protective of Gwen and referred to her as his princess. Gwen liked the fact that Tony felt that she was the most beautiful girl he'd ever met. But it also made her feel that she was valued for her beauty, not for who she was as a person. Gwen found that Tony's needs for emotional intimacy made her feel inadequate: they seemed to point out that something was lacking in her. She also experienced his affection more as a demand than as an expression of love. When they had children, Tony found the emotional warmth he had been lacking with Gwen. Although there was never any spoken agreement on the matter, Gwen handed the primary parenting role over to Tony. If the children had problems, or there were disciplinary issues, Tony handled them. Gwen supervised meals and took care of the house, but she had little real emotional involvement with the children or with her husband. Gwen was aware that over time the family had created a myth around this dynamic. So, if I wanted to memorize pi, I first had to construct a system of symbols, from 1 to 100, and the symbols should be personal, to make them easier to remember. I already knew how to translate figures into characters: 0 = S, 2 = N, 3 = M, and so on. But that was the easy part. What I had to do now was to take two consonants, and join them with vowels, making them into a memorable noun. It would become my own idiosyncratic symbol. I started with 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. Eleven became tits.

A tit should be memorable enough, and it could be made larger and smaller. Besides, I had learned from Moonwalking with Einstein that, the more bizarre and obscene a symbol, the easier it would be to recall. Sexually charged symbols were especially strong. I can't settle for one perspective on an issue or situation if I'm going to continue to grow, discover my true purpose, and access my inner resilience. It's important to note that exposure alone does not necessarily equal enlightenment and make you more resilient. It does not guarantee understanding. Rather, exposure while seeking to get the whole-picture view is what leads to insight and expanded perception. Getting the whole-picture view means you take the time to understand both that which you easily agree with and that which you don't. Instead of focusing on what is wrong, it's much more productive to focus on what's right with a community, culture, people, or organization. No one sums up the whole-picture view quite as powerfully as someone who has literally had the whole world view. Edgar Mitchell, of the Apollo 14 mission, said, You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, `Look at that, you son of a bitch. You should note these thoughts in the moment rather than overlooking them. In addition to making good observations and regularly recording them, you should also make a practice of regularly reviewing your notes to see if there are any potentially applicable insights. Many creatives I've worked with take copious notes, but they're practically useless because they're always moving on to the next urgent matter, and thus they never bother to review them. One manager I encountered had articles and articles of detailed notes on every meeting she'd attended in the past month, one-on-one meetings with her direct reports, and potential upcoming projects. She never reviewed them, however, because they weren't really useful. They consisted of only facts and memorandums but nothing truly useful in her work, such as patterns she was noticing or creative ideas that emerged in the conversation. I explained that her notes would be significantly more helpful if she would record what's truly useful, then make the time in her life to reflect on them and look for applications to her work, which she vowed to try.

Author Keith Ferrazzi told me in an interview that he spends an average of an hour each day thinking about and processing information that he's taken in the previous day. He believes that the processing of information is as critical as the information he takes in. While not all of us can spend that much time purely in processing mode, the principle certainly holds true that we are overlooking the real benefit of our experiences if we never stop to reflect on them. Stu, Raylene's cat, stares back at me with unblinking green eyes. Raylene and I are supposed to be studying for our English quiz, but neither one of us is into it. All I'm focused on at the moment is that my fastest Internet connection in weeks is currently being blocked by a cat. He loves you. Raylene lies on the floor of her bedroom, with a newspaper spread out in front of her. She is obsessed with the contest going on in the Huntsville Item to select the animal models for next year's Humane Society calendar. Every day, she checks the two-article spread of dog, cat, and bunny pictures for the current vote total. So far Stu is not in the top twelve and is, therefore, not in the running to make the calendar. That doesn't stop Raylene from calling faithfully every single day on our way home from school to enter the special dial-in code on her phone to vote for Stu. It also doesn't stop her from talking smack about all the front-runners. The question isn't at what age I want to retire, it's at what income. THE DECISIONS Retirement is more than an event with a ceremonial dinner and round of handshakes. It is better thought of as a life project that slowly unfolds, beginning well before and continuing long after the event. There's a long preretirement phase (or at least there should be) where we begin saving for retirement. The advice from one retirement planning advisor after another is to start early (at least by our early thirties) and consistently invest in our future. During preretirement, we also begin imagining what we're going to do once we stop working.

Early retirement is something many American men dream about--whether it's financially realistic or not. Most of us develop a reasonable target date for retiring, but it is a moving target. Three to five years before our target date, it is very common that many of us become hesitant about retiring, mostly because of the gap between our anticipated lifestyle in retirement and having not set aside enough money to enjoy it. What if they ask me about it? How will I feel? How will I cover my embarrassment? In social situations we usually want to make a great impression and to be liked or appreciated. This can place us under great pressure which can result in experiencing social anxiety. Seeing the Bigger Picture I have worked with people from all walks of life who struggle with social anxiety and it is more common than you might think! In just one month I have worked with an accounts clerk who avoids office parties, a teacher who struggles to talk to colleagues in the staff room, a model who feels self-conscious about her height at parties, a mum who avoids chatting with other mums at the school gates and even a managing director who fears talking to staff in the canteen. When we are anxious prior to a first date or social engagement, we rarely think about how nervous other people at the event may also be feeling. My work reminds me of this almost every day. Everybody agreed that Gwen was highly strung and sensitive and needed to be protected from noise, problems, and emotional outbursts. She did nothing to dispel this notion. Gradually it merged with her princess image, and everybody began to think of her as somehow too refined to be involved with everyday issues. The older children learned to protect Gwen from emotional issues and would admonish the younger children not to bother their mother with problems that should be taken to Daddy. When Gwen developed a number of physical ailments that doctors suggested might have an emotional origin, they reinforced her image of being too fragile to deal with the hurly-burly of family life. When the last child went off to college, Gwen at first felt greatly relieved. Tony found this very upsetting.

A few months later, Tony and Gwen's relationship began to seem very much out of balance. Tony kept trying to get Gwen involved in social activities, but she used her physical ailments to beg off. Both felt very lost. I then constructed a series of nouns in Swedish. After about six hours of intense work, I had constructed individual symbols for all the numbers, from 1 to 99. It was now time to start memorizing pi. I picked our own apartment as a memory palace and began outside our front door, memorizing the first six digits (3. On the door handle I hung a pair of knickers (trosa = 14), and inside the knickers I placed a turd (tolle = 15) and a banana (banan = 92). I could see it in my mind's eye and, yes, this was going to stick in my memory. I opened the door and carried on in this fashion, filling up the wardrobes in our hallway. As I went to bed, just before midnight, I had memorized 204 decimals. Andre, March 22 Today I did some online IQ tests. Michael Collins, an astronaut on Gemini 10 and Apollo 11, echoed that sentiment: I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of 100,000 miles their outlook could be fundamentally changed. That all-important border would be invisible, that noisy argument silenced. The tiny globe would continue to turn, serenely ignoring its subdivisions, presenting a unified facade that would cry out for unified understanding, for homogeneous treatment. The earth must become as it appears: blue and white, not capitalist or Communist; When was the last time you had a disagreement with someone that went unresolved? What was your opinion, and what was the other person's opinion? What could you have done differently to gain a better understanding of their point of view?