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Dr ANGELOS RODAFINOS             Author of Prince to frog and… vice versa!                 IDIOTS ARE                 INVI...
Translation: Klio PanourgiasCartoons-Comics: Kostas Tsakonas, Lambros Lazouras,Anna Konkouri, Kostas Papantoniou,http://me...
Kind wordsIn all honesty, your books have been monumental readings to me(George Kyriakides, ΜΒΑ, PMP, CTP, Training Direct...
Table of contentsThe end                                                 Borrow some bitsPART I: A little theory          ...
Note for the e-version of the bookIf some books can change your life, I am confinent that this isone of them. I guarantee ...
SAMPLE CHAPTERS             VII
The end                               “The most unfair thing about life                                is the way it ends....
THE… END? An unusual way to start a book. Probablybecause this is an unusual book. I hope it will be an importantaid for t...
HOW ARE YOU DOING?So, how are you doing?A common reply I receive from participants in my seminars is:“Blah, I’m constantly...
Q.: “Are there some ‘lucky individuals’ who were born withsuperior resistance to stress? Is it possible to be completely‘i...
follow the advice of quacks3. On the contrary, when we sufferfrom excessive stress or an overall dissatisfaction with our ...
parents were champions too! Besides, despite popular belief,Greeks have a great National worrying team:“Do this, don’t do ...
Some of you may well wonder:Q.: “Can we really improve our psychological state so as tofeel better when things are not the...
finished reading the theoretical section and is, therefore, aproud graduate of the ‘Ro’ method, attempts to apply thetheor...
You are entitled to your own opinion.4 Think, question, andcross-check the information.I have always been impressed by sce...
category, you may choose to go straight to the third part, whichpresents everyday applications of the theory that is descr...
Personal development efforts, such as health education      (nutrition, exercise, and smoking cessation), training in     ...
CHAPTER 8The ‘Ro’ Method          He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will                                ...
At first, this appears to be a simplistic approach. On thecontrary, the serenity prayer is the basis for a very effectivep...
CHAPTER 8 – The Ro Method          There are t wo kinds of worries – those          you can do something about and those  ...
Challenge (problem):…………………………………………………………………(Use the space above to write the problem that concerns you)Options          ...
CHAPTER 8 – The Ro Method  we will work as a team: you, me, and your good friends, if  you wish. Do not sweat; this will n...
CHAPTER 9Scenario A: I can do something about it         A rooster is chasing a hen. The hen, while running, is   thinking...
[Pages not available in the free version]                               92
CHAPTER 10Scenario B: Nothing I can do right now                  The perception of the event IS the event itself!        ...
Chapter 10: Nothing I can doThe greatest discovery of the century is not the microchip orthe advent of DNA sequencing. It ...
Cognitive methods aim to alter our perception and reduce theeffects of stressors. They usually consist of a conscious effo...
Chapter 10: Nothing I can doQuestion: Can we control our emotions? 13            We cannot always adj ust situations to   ...
respond to the offence of the traditional Greek mountza or anequivalent offence.“Do you know who I am?” they boast and ret...
Chapter 10: Nothing I can do   Now, you too can throw ‘mountzas’ easily, quickly, and accurately by using the new MNTZ-16 ...
[Pages not available in the free version]                               99
CHAPTER 11From theory to practice        The road to learning by precept is long, but by example                          ...
Chapter 11: From theory to practice         In theory, there is no difference between           theory and practice. But, ...
cursing the usual suspects: the municipality, the system, thegovernment, and take it on my wife, the kids, the dog, evenEl...
Chapter 11: From theory to practice           But, is it simple to practice theory?                         – A. BoilyOpti...
a solution anyway. On the contrary, such behaviour can createadditional problems: damage my relationships with myemployees...
Chapter 11: From theory to practiceYour turn now!The time – or rather the… page – has come for us to worktogether on deali...
(A) What can I do? (brainstorming, evaluation of ideas)…………………………………………………………………6. What more can I learn about the issue?…...
In the Third and final part we will explore specific applicationsof the ‘Ro’ method at home, when commuting, when dealingw...
End of the free part…As folk wisdom has is, all good things come to anend. You have reached the end of the FREE part ofthe...
Special thanks 14… to the dear readers who literally embraced the Greekversion and shared their experiences with me online...
This page ...unintentionally left blank                               113
Idiots are invincible…and they always manage to ruin our day.                               Psychological applications for...
Idiotic thinking. Time to also realise that, all too often, we arethe ‘idiots’ for ourselves! Irrational thoughts and beli...
-What can happen to me, if I continue acting in a state of frenzy or   remain depressed?   -How long can my body endure in...
A number of applied psychological techniques, combined withexamples and exercises assist the reader to make positivechange...
With passion and sincere interest for the reader, the writerpresents real life examples, practical exercises andmanoeuvres...
Prince to frog… and vice versa!Subtitle Applied psychologicaltechniques to improve yourself –or others.Theme Psychology, C...
examine their lives, let their imagination dream of desiredlives, design and evaluate courses of action to achieve thesego...
describes goal setting and behaviour modification techniquesthat have been applied effectively in educational settings,fit...
TABLE OF CONTENTSIntroductionPART I: Choices1. Whose fault did you say it is?         The Past: Factors that have affected...
23. Changing in Action: Examples       Example A: To do’s       Example B: Lose weight       Example C: Increase your sale...
About the author (self-praise…)                   Angelo (Kaissidis-) Rodafinos began his                   studies in the...
Guest lectures, seminars, training andcounsellingA professional speaker and consultant for organizations andindividuals, D...
Media coverageDr Rodafinos has appeared on TV and radio stations includingAnt1 TV, BEST TV, Cosmos TV, Europe-1, ERA 3, TV...
Sample list of clientsDr Rodafinos’ list of clients includes companies, educationalinstitutions, fitness and health centre...
128
Kind words from seminar ParticipantsThe worst part of the seminar was… the break! (Ν.Anthopoulos).I really believe busines...
Contact details           Angelo (Kaissidis-) Rodafinos          Program Director Social Sciences                 541 St. ...
Idiots are invincible (this is an older draft)
Idiots are invincible (this is an older draft)
Idiots are invincible (this is an older draft)
Idiots are invincible (this is an older draft)
Idiots are invincible (this is an older draft)
Idiots are invincible (this is an older draft)
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Idiots are invincible (this is an older draft)

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Who are the idiots? The others... of course! Managers, colleagues, teachers, spouses, mothers-in-law - anyone who doesn’t behave ‘properly,’ that is, the way... we would like them to!
Join the Boneheads’ Academy. Congratulations! You’ve just won free life time membership to the club, as chances are that you belong to several of the above categories. Time to realise that, if we ask others, you are the idiot in their lives!
Idiotic thinking. Time to also realise that, all too often, we are the ‘idiots’ for ourselves! Irrational thoughts and beliefs create problems for our own selves and for those around us.
There is hope. The infallible ‘Ro’ method can help you become a professional problem solver, and deal with annoying people, situations, and your own thoughts.
A day with Don Stressote. Join in the adventures of this modern-day Don Quixote de la Mancha, a ‘Ro’ method graduate. Watch Don deal effectively with other idiots (drivers, managers, colleagues, clients, friends and relatives), as well as with the most difficult person among all... - himself!
Dealing effectively with either major life events or daily stressors requires the ability to maintain composure / remain calm under pressure, take a time-out and ‘talk sense’ to oneself. Useful questions to ponder when under pressure include:
-Is there something I can do right now to solve this problem?
-Is it worth my time and energy?
-Is my behaviour helping me deal with this and accomplish my ultimate goals?
-What can happen to me, if I continue acting in a state of frenzy or remain depressed?
-How long can my body endure in this state, without sustaining any undesirable health consequences?
-How can I use this event?
-What have I learned from it?
-What good do I see in all of it?
I am confident that the present book will change, if not the conditions in your life, at least the way you think and how you see your life - for the better!
A. Rodafinos
You can’t stop the birds of worry from flying over your head - but you can stop them from building their nest on your head.

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Idiots are invincible (this is an older draft)

  1. 1. I
  2. 2. Dr ANGELOS RODAFINOS Author of Prince to frog and… vice versa! IDIOTS ARE INVINCIBLE …and they always manage to ruin our day! The fool-proof ‘Ro’ method1 to handle them, solve the problems they create, and... enjoy the process! Psychological techniques, manoeuvres, and real life examples for effective problem solving, better relationships, stress management, and a better quality of life. MELBOURNE 20131 Any similarities with the infamous ‘R-20’ problem solving method(Russian-20 year old, mail-order bride), is purely coincidental. II
  3. 3. Translation: Klio PanourgiasCartoons-Comics: Kostas Tsakonas, Lambros Lazouras,Anna Konkouri, Kostas Papantoniou,http://members.aol.com/DonnHolidays/Halloween.htmlCover page: http://zef.me/2117/funny-cat-pictures-suck (sitevisited 2-5-2012)ISBN: ...Distribution www.rodafinos.weebly.com© Copyright 2013 Angelo RodafinosAll rights reserved. No part of this publication may bereproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,electronic, mechanical, photocopy or otherwise or stored onany retrieval system of any nature without prior writtenpermission of the author. III
  4. 4. Kind wordsIn all honesty, your books have been monumental readings to me(George Kyriakides, ΜΒΑ, PMP, CTP, Training Director, HumanAsset Ltd.).You made me laugh out loud several times. I keep thinking about thecartoons and smile inside me. Congratulations for your wonderfulbook. You’ve done an amazing job! (Maria T., Lawyer).A psychologist friend recommended that I should follow a Rodafinostherapy, every morning, noon, and evening. Thank you for yourcontribution in making our life more beautiful (Vaios Anthoulakis).A book for a life time! I have thought of a few dozens of friends thatabsolutely need to read it (Christina Vovori, Technical Office).This is the first time that a text motivates me to contact the author. Itis really a great piece of work. Well organized, combines theory andpractice with a lot of humor. It can serve as a guide (Athina S.,Lecturer, Aristotle University).I wish to congratulate you for transmitting this knowledge in awonderfully unique manner (Melina Bavana, Business consultant).I really enjoy readings your books! They improve my mood. It wasexactly what I needed and have helped me in my personal andprofessional development. Keep writing in the same spirit (ElisavetT.).Incredible writing style, with so much humor that someone mayindeed consider changing his/her habits. Check it out. I do not knowthe author; I was just impressed and wish to express it (Andria’sblog).If you could cast a spell on Angelos Rodafinos, what would it do?Make him write a third book (Panos Megremis). IV
  5. 5. Table of contentsThe end Borrow some bitsPART I: A little theory from here, some bits from there, we managed to write a whole book … 1. Stress: what is it? 2. Sources of stress 3. The effects of stress 4. Stress and personalityPART II: Coping with stress 5. How you feel depends on… 6. Predicting and preventing stress 7. Responses to stress 8. The ‘Ro’ method 9. Option A: There is something I can do! 10. Option B: There is nothing I can do 11. From theory to practicePART III: A day in life 12. Morning manoeuvres 13. Manoeuvres for the Road 14. Manoeuvres for the Angry 15. Work manoeuvres 16. Manoeuvres for the way back homeThe beginning (Epilogue)References V
  6. 6. Note for the e-version of the bookIf some books can change your life, I am confinent that this isone of them. I guarantee it will change, if not the conditions inyour life, at least the way you think and how you see your life,for the better.At least this is what several hundreds of the thousands of thereaders of ‘Idiots are invincible’ who have contacted me in thepast few years claim.If what you tried so far has not produced the desired results,and if your approach is not working, then try a differentapproach: read and test into practice the ‘Ro’ method and theideas described in the following pages. All you have to lose isa little time - and perhaps several paper pages, if you choose toprint the book.On the other hand, if the above claim is valid, the immediatebenefits may include: More effective problem solving Better decisions and choices Improved interpersonal relationships Less negative emotions (e.g., tension, anxiety, worry, guilt) A stronger immune system Feeling of control Increased self esteem Healthier habits Personal development A more pleasant and satisfying lifeIf you like it, feel free to share the sample chapters with yourfriends.A. Rodafinos VI
  7. 7. SAMPLE CHAPTERS VII
  8. 8. The end “The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first; get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, and you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you goback into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating... and you finish off as an orgasm.” - G. Carlin 1
  9. 9. THE… END? An unusual way to start a book. Probablybecause this is an unusual book. I hope it will be an importantaid for the end, or at least, for the beginning of the end ofexcessive stress and the start of a happier life. Off we go! Story: “Some escape!” On a cold and rainy winter’s afternoon at an airport, a 12- year-old observed a number of passengers who were waiting for their flight. Their flight was delayed and they looked worn out, exhausted and glum. “How come those people look so tired?” the little boy asked his father. “… Perhaps because adult life is tough,” replied the father. “You mean I will also become like this when I grow up?” wondered the 12-year-old. After taking a minute to think, his father responded: “Some people manage to escape.”Who manages to escape? Is it true that some individuals doindeed manage to get away; or is it that some people justhappen to face fewer adversities in their lives? What kind ofcoping strategies do people adopt when faced with life’schallenges? These are the questions that intrigued Paul Stolts,the University of Pennsylvania professor whoshared the story above, as well as a number ofdistinguished researchers, including, of course,myself! Is this how I’ll be when I grow up? I think I’ll pass! 2
  10. 10. HOW ARE YOU DOING?So, how are you doing?A common reply I receive from participants in my seminars is:“Blah, I’m constantly running around, too much stress!” And,as the conversation starts rolling, questions on the topic startfalling:“What is stress?”“Is it normal?”“Can stress be useful?”“What are the health consequences of excessive stress?”“I don’t have a lot of stress. Is this dangerous?”To find answers to the aforementioned questions, you’ll haveto read the following chapters. They’re there; but since youinsist and I have taken a liking to you, oh well, I’ll answer justa couple, selectively, just to get you interested.Some people believe that feeling stressed day and night isharmless. Wrong! It’s actually suicide, because negativeemotions secrete hormones that affect our health and may, inthe long term, have negative effects on our bodies. Too littlestress, on the other hand, can have similar results!Q.: “Who has the most problems to deal with?”A.: “We do, of course!” 3
  11. 11. Q.: “Are there some ‘lucky individuals’ who were born withsuperior resistance to stress? Is it possible to be completely‘insensitive?’ What can one do to reduce (or increase) stress?”A.: “Yes. No. A lot.”Q.: “If I read this book, will I be able to get rid of stress forgood?”Okay, I’ll answer this one as well, for the sake of marketingthe book. I guess the answer is similar to the one for thequestion “if I take a bath will I smell nice forever?” or “if I eata lot, will I feel hungry again?” The reduction or, rather, themanagement of stress needs to be a continuous, life-longprocess.Here’s a gratis Q&A, on the house:Q.: “What’s in it for me if I reduce stress?”A.: The benefits of stress management include, among others,better interpersonal relationships, a stronger immune systemand fewer diseases, wellbeing and a more pleasant andsatisfying life, and making a significant step towards therealization of one’s full potential (if this can ever beachieved...).Isn’t it strange? When we have a headache or a stomach achewe share our problem with everyone around, visit the doctor,follow the prescription, try ‘alternative medicine’2, we even2 That is, therapies whose effectiveness has not been proven under well-planned and controlled conditions – otherwise it would have been classifiedas medicine... 4
  12. 12. follow the advice of quacks3. On the contrary, when we sufferfrom excessive stress or an overall dissatisfaction with our life,we often do nothing but complain to people who are, on thewhole, unable to help us resolve our problems.There is so much talk about stress on a daily basis... withoutanyone ever saying enough. I sincerely hope that this book willbecome a significant aid that will assist you for the rest of yourlife. In this relatively simplified manual I have tried tosummarize a series of theories and techniques alongside anumber of everyday life applications. I have, as much aspossible, avoided numerous references and academic citationsto scientific studies so that the material can understood byeveryone. I assure you however, that what you are about toread is cross-referenced, with evidence and results fromlegitimate scientific research apart, perhaps, from the folkwisdom that stems from the short tales cited; these proffer acommon knowledge that has, actually, been available throughthe ages. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.Q.: “Do you practice what you preach?”A.: Let me tell you my story. I too was a champion at 15; achampion… worrier. Unfortunately, worrying never becamean Olympic event; otherwise I would have been able, at thattime, to compete at top level. I received extensive training. My3 My links page in my web site rodafinos.weebly.com provides a veryinteresting list of pseudosciences and related web pages. 5
  13. 13. parents were champions too! Besides, despite popular belief,Greeks have a great National worrying team:“Do this, don’t do that, you haven’t eaten enough, wear this,watch out, you’ll hurt yourself, be careful, you’ll catch acold…”This lasted for years. I went through the first 24 years of myyoung life having no idea about the principles described in thefollowing chapters. I have to admit that, although my life hasimproved a lot since I’ve read and mastered the relatedpsychological theories and applications, I often neglect toapply them when under pressure. Yet, I wish I had beenexposed to them earlier, when I was in secondary or primaryschool! Story: How our mind… runs Al Oerter is a disc thrower who competed in four Olympic Games and was, therefore, in top physical condition for at least 16 years. According to Dr Dennis Waitley, Al made the following statement when he was in his 40s: “By the time I realized that success is 90% the result for how our mind runs and 10% the result of how we run, my body had already become a senior citizen! Oh, could I be young; if only I could have had this knowledge earlier in my life.”As I mentioned earlier, a single reading or a week will notsuffice to apply some of these ideas. They have to becomehabits and part of your way of life. You also need to hang outwith the right people, those who will help you stay on thestraight and narrow, when things get tough. Because, while Icannot guarantee that things will always run smooth, I cancertainly guarantee that setbacks are inevitable. 6
  14. 14. Some of you may well wonder:Q.: “Can we really improve our psychological state so as tofeel better when things are not the way we’d like them to be?”A.: I am confident that I can offer a number of valuablesuggestions. Go ahead, turn the pages, and flick through thebook for a brief preview. You’ll enjoy it.The way forwardThe book is divided into three parts. The first part is relativelytheoretical, and as such, slightly ‘heavier’ that the other two.Still, I suggest you read all parts, both easy and difficult, if youwant to better yourselves.More specifically, the first part offers a definition of stress,refers to the main sources of stress (which include ‘the idiots’),and examines whether personality traits are related to the wayindividuals perceive and experience stress. The effects ofexcessive stress on physical health are discussed next.The second part distinguishes between healthy and unhealthyresponses to stress and presents the basic principles of stressmanagement. Of course, this section also contains the world-first introduction of the celebrated ‘Ro’ method, a simple yetsophisticated problem solving procedure for dealing withannoying people and situations. It is a foolproof (!) methodthat can be applied to any sort of problem you may be facingtoday or that you may face in the future.In the third part, the writing style changes radically. Using ahumoristic approach, it describes a day in the life of DonStressote, a modern Don Quichote. The hero, who has just 7
  15. 15. finished reading the theoretical section and is, therefore, aproud graduate of the ‘Ro’ method, attempts to apply thetheory in everyday life situations. From the moment he wakesup till the evening when he returns home exhausted, armedwith courage and stoicism, Don confronts the monsters anddragons (the idiots) of the 21st century: his partner who got tothe toilet first and is now studying Rodafinos’ book insensitiveto the needs of others, the obese guy in the tiny elevator whosqueezes him into the corner, the traffic, his stupid boss, thedisgruntled client at work, and the most difficult person of all:himself and his irrational expectations.Don differs from other mere mortals thanks to his humour, hisdetermination, his commitment to his pledge “I won’t let anyidiot ruin my day, ‘cause this is MY day!”, and his carefulpreparation of an action plan on how to deal both with smallannoyances and seemingly unconquerable summits.Don’s ability to maintain the appropriate distance from everyproblem is of the utmost importance. He can put things intoperspective, offering every event the necessary attention andnothing more. All this takes place in the final part; by that timereaders, suitably assisted by the Big Black Bear, eventuallyrealize a) why they have read 300 pages of this book, b) whothey really are, and c) what they are doing on this planet; theyalso get answers to a number of other philosophical and...metaphysical questions.Tips for readersSome of the ideas that will be presented in this book, muchlike my previous one, may initially appear slightly strange.Maintain a critical view and do not accept everything you read. 8
  16. 16. You are entitled to your own opinion.4 Think, question, andcross-check the information.I have always been impressed by scepticism and the ability (orinability) of the human brain for critical thought. People arequick to believe that the sky contains 413 trillion stars withouthaving to count them, but if you tell them that a bench isfreshly painted they need to test it with their finger to verifythe truth of the statement. They are equally gullible to starsigns, coffee-grind readings, psychics5, and tarot cards without,for an instance, stopping to ponder the validity of everyridiculous and absurd theory they rush to embrace.The material in this book is aimed at readers with analyticalthinking skills who are interested in stress and want toorganize their thoughts or add more information to theirexisting knowledge.6 It is also aimed at cognitive misers, i.e.,at most of us, who wish to avoid spending a lot of time andeffort reading everything there is to read about stress. They justwant to feel better now! If you happen to belong to the latter4 You will, of course, be wrong… besides, who would be silly enough toargue with the expert? Yet, as we said, you do not need to agree with me oneverything you read.5 I’ve always wondered why we need to… book an appointment beforevisiting a psychic.6 The book does not aim to replace the advice of your psychologist,psychiatrist, or other health professional. All information contained inIdiots are invincible has been checked for accuracy and published in goodfaith. However, the author and the publisher accept no responsibility on anygrounds whatever, including liability for negligence, for the use or misuseof the information contained in this document. 9
  17. 17. category, you may choose to go straight to the third part, whichpresents everyday applications of the theory that is describedin the first two parts.Test: true or false?Before we begin, why don’t we – or, rather, why don’t you -perform a test to check your knowledge on stress. Grab penand paper7. Come on now, don’t be a party-pooper…Got pen and paper ready? Good. Now write T (True) or F(False) next to each statement – on your paper, not on thebook, don’t play dumb and don’t pretend you didn’t read theinstructions! Too many good things in a row can make you sick. Travel and traffic jams can increase your blood pressure. Stress, behaviour, and certain personality traits can increase one’s chances of becoming ill. Most headaches are caused by muscle tension. Stress can affect the course of cancer. Stress is the best substrate for the activation and multiplication of various pathogenic microorganisms, as it decreases the effectiveness of the immune system. Individuals can moderate the frequency, intensity, duration and, as a result, the consequences or effects of stress.7 I suggest you do not write on the book; John may feel jealous later andwant to do the test himself. 10
  18. 18. Personal development efforts, such as health education (nutrition, exercise, and smoking cessation), training in emotional management, and behaviour modification contribute to better physical and psychological health. A sense of humour can buffer the effects of stress. Married people live longer and have 30% higher incomes.The answers to the above statements are… somewhere in thisbook (even I don’t remember exactly where). I guess you’llhave to read on.8 And, once you’ve read it, you should buy itas a present for your friends and relatives.9 What better than auseful book, instead of cakes and drinks on birthdays and otherspecial occasions?Happy reading!8 Alright, just for the impatient readers - not for you - here are the answers.All statements are true. Read on to find out how and why!9 I’m just wishing you have a lot - I need to build my beach house soon... 11
  19. 19. CHAPTER 8The ‘Ro’ Method He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality. – A. SadatONE THING IS FOR SURE: we cannot always controlother people or external events. We can, however, control ourthoughts, regulate our emotions, and adjust our behaviour - toa large extent.10 Thus, what happens to us is nearly asimportant as how we perceive and respond to it.You have probably heard the following Alcoholic Anonymous(Α.Α.) serenity prayer11:“Give me the strength to change the things that I can change,the courage to endure the things that I cannot change, and thewisdom to know the difference between the two.”10 It may sound a little extreme and ‘robot-like-thinking,’ but please bearwith me for a couple of chapters, before you reject the idea.11 Also attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, among others. 85
  20. 20. At first, this appears to be a simplistic approach. On thecontrary, the serenity prayer is the basis for a very effectiveproblem solving method, which can be applied to all sorts ofproblems. Indeed, there are two basic choices in life: (a) toaccept conditions as they are or, (b) to accept the responsibilityto change them. As simple it may be to make things complex, it is equally as complex to simplify them.Alas, most people ‘struggle’ with the third part of the A.A.prayer. Carried away by their emotions, they do not have theclarity to take a step back and examine:1. Whether the specific problem is amenable to change.2. If its priority is high, compared to other demands.3. The plan of action that they need to follow.4. The amount of time and energy resources they are willing toinvest in order to deal with the problem (Rodafinos, 2003).In the following pages I will coach you in a simple method, anapplication of the essence of the axioms and theory offered inthe previous chapters, presented in a logical sequence ofthoughts and steps. As mentioned, the particular method can beused to deal with any kind of problem, large or small,important or not so important. Ladies and gentlemen, I presentyou the ‘Ro’ method!According to the ‘Ro’ Method, there are only two options forany type of problem life brings about: (a) we can either dosomething about it or, (b) we cannot. 86
  21. 21. CHAPTER 8 – The Ro Method There are t wo kinds of worries – those you can do something about and those you can’t. Don’t spend any time on the latter.– Duke EllingtonThe method will help you clarify in your mind the basicoptions related to each of the two cases. It will help youanswer questions such as:“What can I do if I can do something about the problem andwhat can I do in case I… cannot do something?”The diagram and the table that follow present the Ro methodschematically. Ro A. I can do something B. Nothing I can do B1. Changing appraisal A1. Problem solving B2. Emotion regulation 87
  22. 22. Challenge (problem):…………………………………………………………………(Use the space above to write the problem that concerns you)Options A B I can do something Nothing I can do Approach A1 B1 Β2 Problem solving Reappraisal Regulation of emotionsSteps: Psychological Physical or cognitive methods- Definition of problem techniques- Evaluation Massage,- Alternative plans Humour, music,- Selection of solution self talk, relaxation,- Implementation reappraisal, meditation,- Outcome assessment rational physical thinking, exercise, worst case proper nutrition scenario, searching for positive aspects, putting things into perspectiveQ Exercise: Pick a problem I now want you bring to mind one of the issues that are concerning you during this period. In order to deal with it, 88
  23. 23. CHAPTER 8 – The Ro Method we will work as a team: you, me, and your good friends, if you wish. Do not sweat; this will not be too hard. In two… pages from now we will have solved it (or you will have forgotten all about it). The clock (page count) starts now: The problem that concerns me is ……….……………………………………………………… ……….……………………………………………………… ……….……………………………………………………… ……….……………………………………………………… If you can fix the thing that worries you, then fix it; otherwise don’t waste precious time or energy on it. – Colleen GrantHave you made your choice? Off we go then, one step at atime. Stay with me. I work out, watch what I eat, never smoked a cigarette… Do I need to attend or can I go? 89
  24. 24. CHAPTER 9Scenario A: I can do something about it A rooster is chasing a hen. The hen, while running, is thinking: If I stop and succumb, they will call me ‘easy.’ If I keep running, I will miss the opportunity. I know: I will just trip over!THE FIRST and important step in confronting any problem isto make sure we have determined precisely what the problemis – and that we are not confusing it with something else, eithera related issue or a consequence of the problem. Indeed, quiteoften, although we have the impression that our problem issomething superficial, a deeper or unconscious issue may bethe underlying cause. For instance, it may be that something isbothering us at work or in our relationship and we attribute theannoyance to our colleague or our partner, while in reality we 91
  25. 25. [Pages not available in the free version] 92
  26. 26. CHAPTER 10Scenario B: Nothing I can do right now The perception of the event IS the event itself! – D. ChopraIN CASE there is nothing we can do at this stage or, if ourefforts have so far proved fruitless, there are only twosolutions: either change the way we perceive the situationand/or manage our emotions.B1. REFRAMING“Men are disturbed not by the things that happen, but by theiropinions about the things,” stated Epictetus. Centuries laterShakespeare adopted the same idea, followed by cognitivepsychologists. One of the latter, Ellis (1998), built his methodson the axiom expressed by good old Epictetus.In an attempt to become even more famous than hispredecessors, philosopher Rodafinos, 2000 years later,plagiarized... I mean paraphrased the concept in a new quote:“What you see or what you think is happening is notnecessarily what is happening. There is no stress in anysituation, unless… you think there is. Things become asimportant as you allow them.” 93
  27. 27. Chapter 10: Nothing I can doThe greatest discovery of the century is not the microchip orthe advent of DNA sequencing. It is that a human being canalter their life by altering the attitudes of their mind arguedWilliam James. It is the revelation that we can change ourentire life, without altering external conditions. If our opinionof things is more important than the things themselves, all ittakes is to change the way we view our life.In the Enchiridion and the Diatribes, Epictetus continues: “Ofthings some are in our power and others are not.” How true!We cannot always change the world outside us. Yet, we canalways change the world inside us. As we have completecontrol over our thoughts, we can alter the way we perceiveexternal events. Khalil Gibran agrees – it’s how we see it: Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to l ife. Not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.Indeed, events may affect the course of our lives. But as R.Holden added: “Circumstances and situations do colour yourlife but you have been given a mind to choose what the colourshall be.” Interesting! What colour shall we use today? Light salmon pink12 perhaps…?12 If you are having difficulties in picking the appropriate color, visithttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_colors ...to become more perplexed. 94
  28. 28. Cognitive methods aim to alter our perception and reduce theeffects of stressors. They usually consist of a conscious effortto reappraise the demands or redefine the importance of thestressful situation.Is it plausible? It is! How else could two individuals react in atotally different manner when placed in the exact samesituation, such as, for instance, a roll-a-coaster? One isexhilarated and the other needs disposable diapers. Theirphysical responses may, of course, be very similar: raised heartand breathing rate, profound sweating, muscle tension, etc.Obviously, the differences in responses are due to differencesin the appraisal of the situation. Most of what we see is only what we think about what we see.According to the cognitive approach, we are able to examineand redefine what we conceived as a threat and what not. Bychanging our perception of the situation, we are in a position toalso influence the fight or flight response; that is, our changesin our physiology, blood pressure, heart and breathing rate thatwe mentioned earlier.Our appraisal of what is threatening is linked to our previousexperiences and our beliefs and value system, and is not purelythe result of external conditions. Consequently, our previousexperiences and our value system have a considerableinfluence on the way we react to events. 95
  29. 29. Chapter 10: Nothing I can doQuestion: Can we control our emotions? 13 We cannot always adj ust situations to our desires - but we can always adapt our desires to the situations.If we accept that we do exercise a certain amount of controlover our thoughts, the answer to the question posed in theheading is positive, because our emotions stem from ourthoughts. Yet, a number of people believe that we have no orlittle control of our thoughts. This impression is normalbecause our thoughts are very often fired by external stimuli.The ‘flame’ is then strengthened by previous learning, pastexperiences, and the power of habit. Too often we fall into thetrap of replaying negative recordings and scripts that are storedin our brain’s CD player and have become model emotionalresponses to specific situations: “When such and such happens,I have to feel …this way.”A typical example is the infamous Greek ‘mountza,’ theequivalent of the middle finger gesture.According to Greek custom and tradition, when someone‘decorates’ us with the extended open-five-finger palm, theconditioned response is to get back at them. ‘Idiot’ or ‘In yourface, you jerk!’ The truth is that many have died of heartattacks in their effort to prove ‘how important they are,’ and to13 The present chapter includes extracts from chapter 15 of my book Fromprince to frog… and vice versa (Rodafinos, 2003). I have included thembecause if someone did not have the pleasure of reading the particularchapter, he/she will have difficulty understanding what it is all about. Iapologize to my loyal readers who may have to perform some repetitionwhich of course is the “mother of all learning,” right? 96
  30. 30. respond to the offence of the traditional Greek mountza or anequivalent offence.“Do you know who I am?” they boast and retort, withoutexpecting an answer, with the blood vessels on their neck allpumped up.This is a learned response that passes from father to son. Trustme, I know. My own father often used to ‘decorate’ fellowhumans with cute little or larger mountzas while driving.Observing with admiration the model of my childhood, I alsolearned to use the infamous mountza. The problem is that allGreeks have learned its use in the same traditional manner, andoften reciprocate:“In your face, Rodafinos!”Moreover, on a great number of occasions, others gladly throwa mountza in my face, anticipating my move!It surely must be a Greek custom, because to ‘barbarians’ (i.e.,non-Greeks) the mountza looks like a… salutation! Hence,they do not become offended or feel the automatic urge toreciprocate.We end up believing that we do not control our thoughtspartially because some of our responses are to a great degreeautomatic. Yet, if we do not control them, who does? Findthem and send them to me for treatment ASAP, in order to…improve your mental health! 97
  31. 31. Chapter 10: Nothing I can do Now, you too can throw ‘mountzas’ easily, quickly, and accurately by using the new MNTZ-16 moutza-shootgun. On sale now, while stocks last.We feel the way we think Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it. – ConfuciusRational emotive therapy is taught and used by a great numberof psychologists. According to Albert Ellis (1962, 1988), itsfounder, it is not the external event but rather our belief andvalue system that triggers our emotions after processing theevent. Thus, Ellis argues, if we change our way of thinking,our emotions will follow. Our values and beliefs, themoderating factors that act as our personal filters of the worldare, by and large, a result of learning – oh yes – andenvironmental influences.Quite often though, many of our beliefs are out-dated. Theymay be the result of information acquired through learning andexperience, but are not necessarily correct today. As aconsequence, our thinking and our expectations may, onoccasion, prove irrational or limiting. Hence, every now andthen, it is imperative to identify, re-examine and question ourbeliefs and either change them or adjust them according to thenew data. 98
  32. 32. [Pages not available in the free version] 99
  33. 33. CHAPTER 11From theory to practice The road to learning by precept is long, but by example short and effective. – SenecaIN THIS CHAPTER we will put the theoretical principlesand the ‘Ro’ method to the test, and present specific examplesand suggestions. As you will observe, the examples more oftenfocus on changing our appraisal rather than on changing theexternal event simply because, as I noted earlier, events are notalways under our control and amenable to change.Our first goal should probably be to resolve each problem andmodify the external conditions to our satisfaction. However,when this is not feasible, we need to re-examine ourexpectations, change our non-adaptive responses, and manageour negative emotions.The following section also includes several bonus enlightening(and sometimes confusing) famous quotes on theory andpractice, such as this one: 101
  34. 34. Chapter 11: From theory to practice In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is. – Y. BerraAPPLICATIONSAs I have already noted, the ‘Ro’ method can be applied to anyproblem. Let us put it to test on two difficult scenarios.Scenario Alpha: financial problemsAssume I have a publishing company facing financial hardship(the scenario can become very realistic if you do not urge yourfriends to buy this wonderful book).My immediate – not so conscious, if you wish – response is totransfer my negative emotions to the employees and, at thesame time, or consequently, to my debtors and suppliers.Frustrated as I am, I blame and curse the municipality, thesystem, the government, and whoever dares to appear in frontof me. I take it out on my spouse, I might even explode at thekids, kick the cat, or even hurt Elias, my best man’s littletortoise.Scenario Beta: relative with serious healthproblemsNext, let us assume that I am the caretaker of a belovedrelative who is suffering from Alzheimer or is becomingsenile. (The scenario is all mine, so I get to choose the diseaseand who will suffer…!)I am facing all the related problems, such as seeking medicalsupport, finding a house nurse, the difficulty of dealing withthe financial expenses, etc. I invest a lot of my energy in 102
  35. 35. cursing the usual suspects: the municipality, the system, thegovernment, and take it on my wife, the kids, the dog, evenElias, my best man’s tortoise.However, deep down inside a little voice is telling me thatblaming others, no matter how good I’ve become at it with allthe practice, does not do me any good; in either scenario.“So, what can you do? Apply a new tactic? Change course yetagain?”Wait a minute, didn’t you pay good money to hear – orrather… read me?“We did, indeed.”Well, then, read first, and make your comments afterwards. In theory, practice is simple. – T. ReenskaugTHE MIGHTY ‘RRRO’ METHOD … IN PRRRACTICE!The dead end I have arrived at due to my ineffective responses(blaming others) will, at some stage, force me to get my acttogether. In an attempt to keep emotions away from logic, Ithink of the two basic choices suggested by the ‘Ro’ [Ro-dafinos] method:(a) There is something I can do about the problem right now,(b) There is not much I can do (at least not at this stage).Let us re-examine the two scenarios (Alpha and Beta), alwaysbearing these two options in mind. 103
  36. 36. Chapter 11: From theory to practice But, is it simple to practice theory? – A. BoilyOption A: I can do something“Of course I can!” I resolve, with regards to scenario Alpha. Abrainstorming session with my associates produces a list withthe following possible actions: I can develop a new marketingplan for my product, come up with a more intelligentadvertising campaign, organize fanfares, trumpet blasts, andparades, offer freebies, train my staff, cut expenses, find acheaper supplier, get professional advice from a coach or amentor. Alternatively or in addition to the above, I can get agroup of friends and relatives to write letters to newspapers,ministers, everyone in charge and even those out of charge,vote for the opposition party in the next elections, put upresistance, organize teams of citizens to revolt against thestate… after all, power comes from unity!“Of course I can!” I resolve, with regards to scenario Beta aswell. I can attend training and educational seminars on thenature and demands of caring for Alzheimer patients and howto deal with these, I can contact and learn from others facingsimilar situations, I can join the related association.Alternatively or in addition to the above, I can organizedonations and events to sensitize and motivate my fellowcitizens and the state, write letters to newspapers etc.Right! Now, there is a chance that my efforts will produce thedesirable results, but there is also a chance that the outcomewill not be the desired one. At this point, I may very wellchoose to try nothing more and give up. Yet, I have tounderstand that getting upset and overwhelming withcomplaints people who have nothing to do with my problem orthose who cannot do something about it, does not help me find 104
  37. 37. a solution anyway. On the contrary, such behaviour can createadditional problems: damage my relationships with myemployees, suppliers, customers, my family, or the person whoabsolutely needs my support and positive attitude…Allow me to repeat that learning to distinguish between thesituations over which we can exert control and those we cannotis of utmost importance. At the same time, we need to developthe ability to examine whether we are really willing to allocatetime and invest energy in order to change the situation we areconfronted with.Option B: not much I can do right nowIf the answer to the question “is there something I can do?” isnegative, we are better off, I repeat for the Nth time (is it clearyet, or should I go about beating you over the head?),accepting the fact that we cannot always control what happensoutside us. On the contrary we have a lot of control –particularly after continuous and persistent training – to whathappens inside us, i.e., our thoughts, emotions, and responses.Again, the problem here is that most of us try to changesituations that, at least at this stage, are not amenable tochange. As a result, we pointlessly waste time and energy thatcould more efficiently be channelled into something else, moreimportant. For example, we could try to acquire furtherinformation and knowledge about the problem studying thosewho solved it effectively, work on and strengthen ourrelationships with other members of our family, relatives orgood friends, ask for help from our social support network,improve our skills and enrich our repertory of copingstrategies. 105
  38. 38. Chapter 11: From theory to practiceYour turn now!The time – or rather the… page – has come for us to worktogether on dealing with the problem you selected a while – orrather a few… pages – ago. Men advance better when practicing the theory. – I. StobaeusP‘Ro’blem-solving form1. Problem title (use your own words)…………………………………………………………………2. Description of the problem (draw it, if you have to)…………………………………………………………………3. Who is to blame – usual suspects (individuals ororganizations) My parents  My teachers  Genes  The stars The company  The system  God  Other.....4. Does blaming help? No  No (Please tick one box only)5. Can I do something to change the situation? Yes. Go to section A below. No. Skip section A and go to B. 106
  39. 39. (A) What can I do? (brainstorming, evaluation of ideas)…………………………………………………………………6. What more can I learn about the issue?…………………………………………………………………7.[Pages not available in the free version] 107
  40. 40. In the Third and final part we will explore specific applicationsof the ‘Ro’ method at home, when commuting, when dealingwith people who upset us, and at work. Our hero, DonStressote, will serve as the model, altruistically putting himselfto the test in order to provide specific real life examples foryou! 109
  41. 41. End of the free part…As folk wisdom has is, all good things come to anend. You have reached the end of the FREE part ofthe book ‘Idiots are invincible.’Yet, this does not really have to be the end. DrRodafinos, the president of the Boneheads Academy(AKA Idiots Club), invites you to a) join the club andtell us your personal stories in the related Idiot’s blog,and b) continue reading by purchasing the printed orthe electronic version.A gift with a MEANING!There is no need to stop after buying your personalcopy. You are allowed to order two or more copies,on the side for gifts - rather than aimlessly wonderingaround, searching for a last minute present for afriend’s anniversary, birthday, a dinner invitation etc.You may also wish to visit the author’s site to find outabout future events, watch video presentations,download free lecture material, articles, podcasts, andsend your feedback.The PresidentAngelo Rodafinos 111
  42. 42. Special thanks 14… to the dear readers who literally embraced the Greekversion and shared their experiences with me online and byphone; some introduce themselves in person on the street, inshops, at the cinema, and joyfully describe the changes theyaccomplished in their lives.… to the most loyal ‘fans,’ who read extracts every morning,applying generous splashes of Eau de ‘Ro’ to get them throughthe day. I am flattered and will probably become slightlyarrogant, but don’t worry, carry on. I can take it!... to friends and colleagues who have proofread drafts andsuggested corrections.... to Kostas Tsakonas, Lambros Lazouras, and Anna Konkouriwho illustrated the text with their sketches.14 Note: I have made every effort to acknowledge the original authors ofshort tales, quotes, and texts and to ensure their content is as accurate aspossible. Wherever this was feasible their names are noted in accordancewith ethics and copyright law requirements. However, on certain occasions,these are either attributed to more than one source, or are orphan (i.e., ofunknown origin; you know, the ones we tend to call ‘Chinese proverb’),and I have not been able to identify the copyright owner. If you know thesource, kindly email me the information, so that the necessary correctionscan be made in future editions. 112
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  44. 44. Idiots are invincible…and they always manage to ruin our day. Psychological applications for effective problem solving, improved relationships, stress management, and better quality of life. Theme Psychology, Stress, Self-development ISBN: ... Size 17 Χ 25cm, Pbk, 90gr velvet, cover 4 colours, matt, plastic.Sales rodafinos.weebly.comSUMMARYWho are the idiots? This is one of the few questions in theworld that most people agree on its answer: The others... ofcourse! Managers, colleagues, teachers, spouses, mothers-in-law - anyone who doesn’t behave ‘properly,’ that is, the way...we would like them to!Join the Boneheads’ Academy. Congratulations! You’ve justwon free life time membership to the club, as chances are thatyou belong to several of the above categories. Time to realisethat, if we ask others, you are the idiot in their lives! 114
  45. 45. Idiotic thinking. Time to also realise that, all too often, we arethe ‘idiots’ for ourselves! Irrational thoughts and beliefs createproblems for our own selves and for those around us.There is hope. The infallible ‘Ro’ method can help youbecome a professional problem solver, and deal with annoyingpeople, situations, and your own thoughts.A day with Don Stressote. Join in the adventures of thismodern-day Don Quixote Quichote de la Mancha, a ‘Ro’method graduate. Watch Don deal effectively with other idiots(drivers, managers, colleagues, clients, friends and relatives),as well as with the most difficult person among all... - himself!A ‘normal’ life is not always a ‘happy’ life.“… grant me the courage to change the things that I canchange, the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change,and the wisdom to know the difference between the two”, is apopular motto by Alcoholics Anonymous. Most of us fail inthe third part, as we hopelessly try to change things that eitherare not amenable to change or unworthy of our time andenergy.Dealing effectively with either major life events or dailystressors requires the ability to maintain composure / remaincalm under pressure, take a time-out and ‘talk sense’ tooneself. Useful questions to ponder when under pressureinclude: -Is there something I can do right now to solve this problem? -Is it worth my time and energy? -Is my behaviour helping me deal with this and accomplish my ultimate goals? 115
  46. 46. -What can happen to me, if I continue acting in a state of frenzy or remain depressed? -How long can my body endure in this state, without sustaining any undesirable health consequences? -How can I use this event? -What have I learned from it? -What good do I see in all of it? You can’t stop the birds of worry from flying over your head - but you can stop them from building their nest on your head.The book aims to inspire, as well as to educate. In the first partthe author discusses stress, its sources and its effects, followedby the ‘Ro’ Method, a simple but complete problem solvingprocess, and a number of examples and real life applications.Then, using a light, humorous and innovative style, the authordescribes the day of ‘Don Stressote,’ a modern Don Quichotede la Mancha and ‘Ro’ Method graduate, who attempts toapply the theory in everyday life situations. Armed withcourage and stoicism, Don deals with the monsters and thedragons (the idiots) of the 21st century: his partner who enteredthe toilette first and is reading the newspaper insensible to theneeds of others, the obese fellow in the elevator, the trafficjam, his stupid boss, the thick-skinned client, as well as themost difficult person among all – his own self and hisirrational expectations…Don’s positive state of mind, and his determination and focuson his pledge “I won’t let any idiot ruin my day, ‘cause this ismy day!” together with a careful plan of action on how to dealwith little annoyances and seemingly unsurpassable obstacles,is what distinguishes our hero from the average/normal citizen. 116
  47. 47. A number of applied psychological techniques, combined withexamples and exercises assist the reader to make positivechanges towards a) either solving problems or b) altering theway s/he sees the situations. Specifically, the author offerssimple tips and street-smart ideas and remedies for those whowant to: -Understand stress, its sources and its effects. -Learn to control negative thoughts, in order to manage stress on demand, and to be able to assist others to cope with it. -Deal with everyday problems and life events more effectively. -Stop getting upset with others and with themselves. -Become an elite performer and a model for their children, and significant others. -Enjoy more happy and pleasant moments.WRITING STYLEThis is not the typical psychology book. Modern, enjoyable,relaxing yet exciting, ‘tutti frutti!’ (to use an expressionsuggested by the author). Forget the dark, obscure, andcomplicated theories of 19th century psychology. One canteach or write about the same things with or without humour.Which approach is more likely to attract the attention of theaudience or the reader? You guessed it.This is a reader friendly and easy to comprehend book. Yet, itscontent is deadly serious… especially for the reader who takesit lightly and continues to run his/her life under excessivestress and negative emotions. 117
  48. 48. With passion and sincere interest for the reader, the writerpresents real life examples, practical exercises andmanoeuvres, and offers some of the most precious educationallessons one might learn in their lives. The text is blended withcartoons, hilarious stories including self-sarcasm andanecdotes. Inside, the reader will find important tools forproblem-solving (e.g., the ‘Ro’ method), every day stressmanagement tips and exercises (e.g., the Stress-Visa, therubber bands for self-punishment), tips for dealing with angerand angry people (e.g., the manoeuvres ‘a lá Bart Simpson’),and the confrontation of the idiots (e.g., the Insults-cannon).WHO SHOULD BUY THE BOOK?…everyone. Those who want to reduce stress and learn to dealsuccessfully with any kind of problem (challenge). Those whowant to improve their lives in certain areas, following A.Robin’s motto: ‘Constant and Never-ending Improvement.’ Itis hoped that the book will be read by the younger generation,who can apply its ideas in order to live more healthy andhappy years than we did.TELL A FRIEND!So, what will you buy for a present to the loved ones, thefriends that you will visit? Cakes? Or a book? A book can be aprecious gift for the ones you love and wish to help improvethe quality of their lives, changing either the conditionsthemselves or their attitude! 118
  49. 49. Prince to frog… and vice versa!Subtitle Applied psychologicaltechniques to improve yourself –or others.Theme Psychology, Change,Self-developmentSales rodafinos.weebly.comISBN 960-92105-0-3DESCRIPTIONWe are all born beautiful babies,adorned by parents and friends, with potential to become realprinces. However, at some stage, around 30 - for some later,for others even earlier- most of us, instead of “would-beprinces,” we become “frogs,” as a result of the bad habits (poornutrition, maladaptive thinking, bad companies, etc.) that weadopt along the way… and so on. How can one revert to beinga prince once again? One solution is to wait for the kiss of theprincess. The other is to read Dr Rodafinos’ book.The book is a manual for the accomplishment of changes inour behaviour and our lives. Using a light and humoristicapproach, Dr Rodafinos presents applied cognitive andbehaviour modification techniques for those who want to quitsmoking, lose weight, change their thinking and reduce stress,overcome a past relationship, change jobs, study more, stopbiting their nails, get up on time… Readers will learn aboutbasic psychological principles and theories, and then get theirhands on behavioural modification techniques. They will 119
  50. 50. examine their lives, let their imagination dream of desiredlives, design and evaluate courses of action to achieve thesegoals, identify potential obstacles, and sign contracts of theactions that they will take to achieve their goals. -Would you like to stop smoking or drinking? -Do you have a weight problem, would you like to improve your diet? -Do you find it difficult to adhere to your exercise/fitness schedule? -Do you wish to get over a past relationship? -Do you bite your fingernails? -Do you watch too much Electronic Income Reducer (TV)? -Do you wish you could study more? Complete your assignments on time? -Are you constantly late to work, school, or appointments? -Would you like to be able to get up on time?If you answered yes to one or more of the above statements,then you are facing the challenge of self-control. Most peoplewould like to change one or more things in their lives: Get abetter job, have less stress, more friends, etc. In fact, whenexamining their lives, very few individuals have difficultyfinding an area they would like to improve. ‘It is very simple,all it takes is a little self-control,’ someone may advise. Yet,what is self-control and how can it be acquired?The book describes specific techniques to change an unwantedbehaviour (e.g., smoking) or to increase the occurrence of adesired behaviour (e.g., exercise). Based on the theories oflearning and cognitive-behavioural psychology, the author 120
  51. 51. describes goal setting and behaviour modification techniquesthat have been applied effectively in educational settings,fitness centres, business organizations, hospitals, mental healthinstitutions, and prisons. The book may serve as a manual forindividuals who want to change something in their lives or inthe lives of people around them.If you are not happy with yourself or with the conditions inyour life, do not lose hope, because you can change – as longas you follow certain steps. But if you do not change yourdirection, you’re going to end up where you’re heading. “If you keep on doing what you’ve been doing, you’re gonna keep on getting what you’ve been getting” (Zig Ziglar).THE BOOK IS ADDRESSED TOthose interested in behaviour and life changes (that is...everyone without exception). General audience, independent of their professional or academic level and education Parents who wish to find effective ways and ideas in order to provide positive guidelines and inspire their children Educators, who, by profession, lead and inspire a great number of individuals Employees in the private and public sector. Employers or business managers who aim for changes in their organization and the people around them Those who would like some degree of success, because they have never felt any, and those who would like some more of the success they are already enjoying. 121
  52. 52. TABLE OF CONTENTSIntroductionPART I: Choices1. Whose fault did you say it is? The Past: Factors that have affected our lives2. The effect of significant others3. Responsibility and choices Three interesting choicesPART II: A little theory4. Theories of learning5. I have a few habits6. Why don’t people change? Cognitive dissonance theory: applications7. When do people change? Stages of change8. Our everyday mood depends on two factors …9. Change your vocabulary - change your thoughts10. Cognitive techniques: “You may be right, I may be crazy”11. Change the way you think: Rational Emotive Therapy12. Other cognitive techniques13. Imagery and Mental training14. Yes, but …PART III: Steps to effective change15. Goals and elite performance Theory and research on goal setting16. Self-awareness: Examine your life, discover your dreams17. Step 1: Choose a goal18. Step 2: Gather the basic facts; determine the antecedents ofthe behaviour19. Step 3: What could stop me, what do I need to learn, whocan help me. Potential obstacles, Necessary knowledge, “Witha little help from my friends”20. Step 4: Designing and implementing the program21. Desire and persistence22. If you invest, invest on this … 122
  53. 53. 23. Changing in Action: Examples Example A: To do’s Example B: Lose weight Example C: Increase your sales Exercise: Decrease your expenses Ten small changes24. Epilogue: Can YOU do it?References 123
  54. 54. About the author (self-praise…) Angelo (Kaissidis-) Rodafinos began his studies in the Athens Metchovion School of Marine Engineering because… he was a top student. Being a keen basketball player who loved sports he changed major and, despite several people’s expectations, went on to study Physical Education and Sport Sciences (Aristotle University ofThessaloniki). He holds an MSc in Sports Psychology andTeaching (Ithaca College, New York), and a PhD inPsychology (University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia).An academic for nearly 20 years, Angelo taught applied, socialand work psychology in various Universities, and has been theHead of the Department of Psychology at City College,International Faculty of the University of Sheffield, UK fornearly a decade. He has published more than 40 articles inacademic journals, a manual for managing small-mediumenterprises, and a number of articles in popular magazines. Hisfirst book Princes to frogs… and vice versa! Appliedpsychological techniques for the accomplishment of changes inour lives (in Greek) has become a popular reading guide forpeople from all ages and backgrounds for more than a decade.His second book The Idiots are invincible deals with stress andproblem solving.Today he is Program Director for Social Sciences atSwinburne Online Learning, Melbourne. 124
  55. 55. Guest lectures, seminars, training andcounsellingA professional speaker and consultant for organizations andindividuals, Dr Rodafinos presents numerous seminars andworkshops on topics related to change, stress and timemanagement, motivation, communication, persuasion andnegotiation, management, team building and cohesion, publicrelations, success and happiness, exercise and nutrition, etc.If you are interested in organizing a book show, a lecture or aseminar for a high school, company, club, association, etc., toview Dr Ro’s schedule, download free eBooks andpresentations, visit www.rodafinos.weebly.com 125
  56. 56. Media coverageDr Rodafinos has appeared on TV and radio stations includingAnt1 TV, BEST TV, Cosmos TV, Europe-1, ERA 3, TV 100,Vergina TV, Alpha 103, Egnatia TV, Makedonia TV, Planetradio, TRT Larisa, Hrima FM, Radio Global Australia etc.,while his articles have been published in magazines such asPrevention, Auto-Triti, Close-up, Super-fitness, Exodos-Club,Super Fitness, Quality of life, FanZein etc. 126
  57. 57. Sample list of clientsDr Rodafinos’ list of clients includes companies, educationalinstitutions, fitness and health centres etc. (See below) 127
  58. 58. 128
  59. 59. Kind words from seminar ParticipantsThe worst part of the seminar was… the break! (Ν.Anthopoulos).I really believe business around the world need to hear a voiceof calm, positive and realistic opportunities during tougheconomic times. I was most impressed with your positive andenthusiastic presentation style (Bill Lewis, President ExtensionManagement Inc.).Congratulations for the presentation you delivered in SheratonSofia on Wednesday! It was exact, having in mind theaudience, with humor, positive and easy-to-get message(Draga Paskova, Human Resources Manager at Interamerican,part of Eureka Group).Today I thanked God for giving me the courage to get up andcome to your seminar. I want to thank you as well forreminding us of the simple but basic truths in life (ChrisVovori, Psychologist).I regret that you are not in Sydney, because if you were here,maybe I could attend some of your lectures. They were one ofthe most interesting during the whole ExecMBA program ofCity College, Sheffield (Marietta Kostadinova, MBA).A very good presentation. We wish there was more than 6-hours! I was not tired at all. It was interesting with lots ofvariety (Panos Rogaris, Managing Director, HellenicTelecommunication Insurance Co.). 129
  60. 60. Contact details Angelo (Kaissidis-) Rodafinos Program Director Social Sciences 541 St. Kilda Rd., 3004 Melbourne, Victoria, AUSTRALIA Phone: +61 (0)3 8525 5688 E-mail: arodafinos (at) gmail.com SKYPE: rodafinos 130

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