A = Adversity (this is the price to be paid to accomplish a goal. It might be time, money, energy, sacrifice, or effort in the face of uncertainty)
B = Basic Attitudes (these are the attitudes we hold that either allow us to pay the price to accomplish our goals or cause us to quietly upset ourselves about the price to be paid)
Examples of self-defeating rigid and extreme attitudes leading to discomfort disturbance:
1. It is too hard to push myself on a daily or at least regular basis, to work at accomplishing my long term goal.
2. I cannot tolerate breaking my long term goal into small steps and keeping track of my daily efforts to tackle each step.
3. It is unbearable to spend so much time and effort at a goal when I cannot be certain my sacrifice will pay off in the end and I will achieve my goal.
4. I need certainty that if I push myself day in and day out that my efforts will yield the results I hope they yield.
C = Consequences (the consequences of your attitudes are a mix of feelings, behaviors, urges, and subsequent thinking that can often be distorted)
Feelings: Discomfort anxiety
Behaviors: quitting, inconsistent practice, excuses
Urges: to start a new goal instead of staying with one that is time consuming
Distorted Thinking: Negative predictions not founded on fact "This won't payoff in the end"
REBT urges you to question your Basic Attitudes by asking a few simple questions:
1. Is this attitude going to help me function or will it impair my functioning?
2. Is this attitude absolutely true or a myth of sorts? Is it true in terms of the data a scientist would look for to confirm or disconfirm it?
3. Is this attitude logical or is it illogical?
4. What attitude could I adopt which would help me function and achieve my goal and be consistent with empirical data and logical?
The process of disputing your beliefs is a skill which I will teach you or which you can teach yourself by reading books on REBT, reading my blog posts, or listening to my audio and video presentations found on this website. Think of disputing as an internal dialogue where you argue with yourself. The Stoic philosophers saw this process as an internal fight. We are trying to cultivate our ability to reason and to dampen down that immature, pessimistic voice that urges us to quit and stop the uncomfortable efforts required by our goals.
As you think about your attitudes and question or dispute them the goal is to formulate new attitudes. This is the new elegant philosophical attitudes REBT wants you to then adopt. For the above example these might be:
1. It is hard to push myself on a daily or at least regular basis, to work at accomplishing my long term goal but it is not unbearable. I can tolerate pushing myself and it is worth doing as I want to achieve this goal and regular effort is required to do this. I wish such regular effort came easier to me but it does not logically follow to conclude it absolutely must come easier for me.
2. It is challenging to sit down and break my long term goal into small steps and keep track of my daily efforts to tackle each step but it is not impossible for me to do, it is not unbearable. I can tolerate the struggle to keep after myself and monitor my steps towards a long term goal. The skill of self-management is worth doing and working at and I am worth doing this for because I want the long term pleasure that comes with self-discipline and goal achievement.
3. It is hard to spend so much time and effort at a goal when I cannot be certain my sacrifice will pay off in the end and I will achieve my goal but it is not too hard to expend this effort in the face of uncertainty. I can tolerate the effort expenditure in the context of uncertainty as to whether or not I will ultimately be successful. It is worth the struggle. This is the price I will pay to achieve my goal.
4. I want certainty that if I push myself day in and day out that my efforts will yield the results I hope they will they yield BUT I never NEED certainty. I can train myself to act despite uncertainty.
This process of building discomfort tolerance is not easy. Humans want to remain comfortable and not pay the price required by life to accomplish certain goals. REBT is a philosophy and a therapy that will help you identify the self-defeating attitudes you hold that keep you from sticking with your goals. REBT will help you to specifically create helpful attitudes that will bring out the best in you as you struggle with the discomfort and uncertainty that goal achievement requires. REBT will help you pay the price and experience the pleasure you desire that comes with long term goal achievement.
Homework: Take the above four rational attitudes and write each one 2x per day. This will help you internalize them. Then force yourself to act on these beliefs. Put them into action. Do that small task that you have been avoiding that will undermine your long term goal achievement. Learn to think and act differently about discomfort by pushing yourself. Push, push, push yourself! This is the secret to success.