While we often associate Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions with meditation and contemplation, there’s another side to this wisdom that centers on action and can help us move through depression, anxiety, fear, and just general malaise.
My guest today is the author of a book about this action-oriented philosophy. His name is Gregg Krech, he’s the co-founder of the ToDo Institute, and his book is The Art of Taking Action: Lessons from Japanese Psychology.
Today on the show, Gregg and I discuss a Japanese psychological technique called Morita therapy, which concentrates on accepting instead of fixing one’s thoughts and feelings, and acting in spite of them. We discuss how action can be a powerful antidote to depression, anxiety, and interpersonal conflicts, how to act when you don’t feel like it, how to stay motivated when the initial rush of a new project or relationship has worn off, and why it’s better to have a purpose-driven rather than a feelings-driven life. We end our conversation unpacking the idea that busyness is not the same thing as purposeful action, and why we need self-reflection to tell the difference between the two.
- What is Morita therapy? How does it compare to Western psychology?
- The action-oriented nature of Eastern philosophy
- Gandhi, man of action
- How does Morita define action? What does taking action really mean?
- The skill of using your attention effectively
- What playing some blues at a nightclub taught Gregg about anxiety
- How do you take action when you can’t get yourself to do anything?
- Why you’re only depressed when you notice you’re depressed
- Why do we put off taking action?
- How we tend to let feelings determine our actions
- Moving from feeling-oriented to purpose-oriented
- The role of kaizen in Morita therapy
- How Morita can help people who may be good at starting things, but can’t finish them
- Is there such a thing as too much action?
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- Morita Therapy
- The Updside of Your Dark Side
- AoM series on male depression
- Meditations on the Wisdom of Action
- Why Action is the Answer
- How to Deal With Anxiety
- How to Find Your Life’s Purpose
- The Kaizen Method: Get 1% Better Every Day (and the podcast on that topic)
Connect With Gregg
Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
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Recorded with ClearCast.io.
Read the Transcript
(via The Art of Manliness)