tba, very rough draft
ZONES OF EFFECTIVENESS:  Where will you invest your time and energy?

If you take your car in for maintenance and repairs, you would hope that the mechanic has learned alot about cars and that he has tools that he knows how to use.   In life, you're the mechanic and you're the one that has to have your "life car" running and running well.  That's part of the Super-High Payoff Effectiveness Zone.

You'll also have to know what has a high payoff in terms of actions and strategies.
You'll have to not believe in stuff that the amateurs taught you or you devised on your own before you knew much.  For instance, in life you'll have to know that there are a whole bunch of things that we get all excited about because we anticipate great things.  Unfortunately, we tend to not examine whether they actually pay off.  We are poor predictors of what will make us happy, even selecting items that end up increasing our unhappiness or suffering.  See The Happiness Producers and The Unhappiness Producers as examples.

As a child, we had a huge stake in "out there" - "out there" had to work or we'd die.  We needed to be fed by others so we were dependent plus powerless.  As an adult, we learn that there is no big threat "out there", though many of us seem to hold onto a partial illusion that the threat is still out there:  we seek approval, try to look good, try to be 'right', make others wrong - all trapping us in a manipulation game that doesn't work. 

We actually persist in trying to control what isn't controllable or is less controllable, thinking somehow we'll get something out of this strategy that has to have low results.  Power is exerting our energy into something where we can direct and control it to produce a result.  Less control, less results, in general.  Of course, if it is a really big thing, less control but some influence could produce a pretty big result, but with a low chance. 

If we learn life to a greater degree, we learn that we have comparatively little control "out there" and that it is non-sensical to try to get what we want from something we don't control if we have an alternative of doing something we can actually control.

And then, the irony of all ironies, we seek items that are very low payoff in terms of real lasting value.  We think "love" is the answer, we get excited about the potential of finally being accepted unconditionally (yeah, right!) and then we seek that ghost, which we hope will somehow come upon us and think we are the neatest thing since sliced bread.    Little control, dubious payoff - doesn't seem like much of a wise payoff.  But we do it.  And occasionally we get a payoff, what is called an intermittent reward that keeps us hooked. 

We buy into false enticements despite "knowing better", with the promise of excitement overcoming our common sense.  We see "red flags" and we still proceed forward with a relationship, as we "need" the excitement (of being approved of and accepted unconditionally...) - and then, inevitably, the fall comes.  However, if we are not a hungry customer, we won't be scarfing up all the desserts and bad stuff in the grocery store.  And the way not to be a hungry customer is to feed ourselves fully.   But a word to the unwise does no good, as they will simply repeat the same error over and over, proving that rats are smarter than people.  (See The Love Quest, Let The Chemicals Reign - Or Play To Win?  and the subsection Are rats smarter than people?  in Seeing Reality Clearly.)  

As adults we still seem to hold onto the idea that, since there was cheese down a particular tunnel in childhood, the cheese must or might still be there - and we keep repeating it, often with no reward, perhaps some extra suffering, and some minimal payoffs, at great costs (the latter is called a "racket").  In the high effectiveness zone is obviously learning which tunnels have the cheese and are worth going down.  Please don't neglect this!  It is simple and obvious, so many people pass over it as if it were trivial, but it is life determing!

Sticking to that area for a moment, it seems obvious to anybody who has studied this area much that there is high control and a very high payoff in learning to love oneself, to be one's own provider such that one fills oneself and becomes self-sufficient - not depending on the beneficence of another nor on the approval of another, seeing those as only bonuses which do occur as part of the process of life. 

But I am reminded here of the book "Men Are Just The Dessert", where the author cautioned women against trying to make the man the main course, as they would never, ever, ever rely fill all the idealized behaviors we wanted - especially where they would be "real men" but as sensitive and sweet as a woman.  If the woman considers whatever she gets, when she gets, which may be sporadically, as a bonus it is a sweet dessert - and she needn't be unhappy about his not being substantial enough to be the main course. 

Analogically speaking, we are responsible for creating the main course and consuming it, being filled up with it and satisfied. 

And the lessons we should have learned is:

Don't depend on "out there", especially where there is low or no control and reliability of results.

Invest in the high effectiveness zone (and don't stop until you've gotten the results, as most people stop too soon).  This zone includess:

Mastering oneself

    to produce a greater skill in getting desired results.
    to manage one's mind so that it has virtually no negatives or toxics and so that it
        has positive, effective, fulfilling thoughts, goals, and actions
    to manage one's behavior so it contributes to getting the results desired.

    Learning what it takes to master oneself, by knowing how the body and brain
        work and then doing those things that work, not fooling ourselves with false
         rewards or escapes.

Loving oneself  (It is only a cultural myth that others loving us is more valuable than our own love of ourselves.)

    Accepting oneself
    Supporting one's own higher aspirations
    Doing what will help attain those higher aspirations
    Encouraging, cheer leading, appreciating oneself
    Soothing and nurturing oneself 

Accepting reality and not resisting it

Learning occurs at several levels.  Most people only do level I or II.   Level I is the level of a baby - they see a "bright shiny object".  Level II is a child or teenager adding more meaning and defining it more.  Level III is learning more and being able to make things happen from that knowledge.  Level IV and above is attaining finer distinctions, refining one's sight and knowing until one can see deeper and understand more wiself - and get the higher level, more fulfilling results that one desires.  See Authentic Learning and use it to create the greatest life.

One of the seemingly logical but with failure to discriminate is the argument that "it is normal, therefore it is:   ok, just the way it is, something I'm stuck with, ....

We stop early, if we haven't arrived yet.

Know also The 80/20 Principle, where the most important 20% produces 80% of the results....

                                                       0 - 1 X
                                           LOW RELEVANCE ZONE

                                                         5 X
                                               RELEVANT ZONE
100 X


Central to everything working