Tag Archives: CHANGE

Growing in Self-Control / Shared Wisdom from Walter Mischel

A couple of months ago I shared a study I had done on 2 Peter chapter 1 in regards to being effective and productive in the use of the knowledge of God (which in turn allows us to experience the blessings and fulfilled promises of God (otherwise categorized as “life to the full”, “abundant” and or eternal” life). Namely, the continual growth in 7 specific things. You can go through that study by visiting the following link, https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/2-peter-1-growth-chart/
In my personal life I have developed a sort of system of consistent growth (akin to the style of Benjamin Franklin). What I do is, every couple weeks I pick a new growth trait from 2 Peter chapter 1 and challenge myself in to grow in that area. Many times this results in gaining shared knowledge from a book or teaching and prayerfully adding some new principles to my life. Again, as the Scripture emphasizes, these things need to be “ yours and increasing”.

So for the past 8 weeks or so (August), I focused on “self-control”. This led me to reading a book by one who is said to be an expert on the topic, Walter Mischel. The book is titled the Marshmallow Test, which details a test that was done on children and then followed through their lives, and through studies of this test, produced facts about self-control.
“The ability to delay gratification and resist temptation has been a fundamental challenge since the dawn of civilization”. What we believe is that, “….the ability to delay immediate gratification for the sake of future consequences is an acquirable cognitive skill”. Therefore, it is not that surprising to find that in studying through the lives of these students, we can analyze “…how they did or did not manage to delay gratification, unexpectedly turned out to predict much about their future lives”. “The Marshmallow Test became a tool for studying how people go from a choice to delay gratification to actually managing to wait and resist the temptation”. Therefore, in studying this principle we realize, “If the conditions that facilitate self-control, and those that undermine it, could be identified, perhaps they could be harnessed to teach people who have trouble waiting to be better at it”.

What was revealed through the study were various techniques that worked for these students in displaying self-control. Mischel remarks that, “Successful delayers created all sorts of ways to distract themselves and to cool the conflict and stress they were experiencing”. This is all so important because ultimately, What we do, and how well we control our attention in the service of our goals, becomes a part of our environment that we help create and that in turn influences us”.

Mischel goes on to explain the “Executive Function”, which is the part of our brain that which drives self-control. He notes the importance of this function aiding us in developing and keeping in mind a chosen goal, continue with goal -oriented thoughts which is a temptation reducing technique (otherwise known as “psychological distancing”). Furthermore, we must inhibit impulsive responses by what are known as “If-Then” behavior signatures (something like, if I become distracted and desire to watch tv but know I don’t want to be dumbed down by it, I will then grab a book and read outside instead).

Something that was rather encouraging to the work I do with youth, and reminded me of many of the great people I know who work with youth, was how self-control helps in developing a positive and productive youth (otherwise known my me and my co-laborers – an “eXtrmely Different youth”). Mischel notes, “…how the ability to voluntarily exercise self-restraint in pursuit of a hot goal early in life provides children with a powerful advantage that can help them succeed and maximize their potential throughout their lives”. He also noted how important the provoking, developing, and encouraging an “I think I can” mindset in the youth truly is. He noted how by use self-control and rewards, “Students who had been induced into a happy mood formed much higher expectations for their future performance, re-called more of their successful experiences, and made more self-descriptions”. I know I am planning to read a book he recommends in this regard by Carol Dweek called “Mindset”.

In conclusion, I want to end on the rewards factor. Let’s face it, when we consider using self-control it really boils down to whether or not we believe the reward for whatever it is we are exercising self-control in opposition to are attainable, possible, and worth it. As Mischel noted,“…trust is a factor in the willingness to delay gratification”. Consider this, “The emotional brains predisposition over to overvalue immediate rewards and to greatly discount the value of delayed rewards points to what we need to do if we want to take control: we have to reverse the process by cooling the present and heating the future”.
Placing emphasis on “cooling the present and heating the future” should lead us to the challenge of our goals. “Self-control skills are essential for pursuing our goals successfully, but it is the goals themselves that give us direction and motivation”. What do you desire, and what must become of you to attain that desire, is the key. Developing that vision and manifesting that reality are interlocked (sorry to sound so cliché, ha ha). Mischel says it like this, “…if we feel greater continuity with who we will become, we might also be willing to sacrifice more of our own pleasant pleasures for the sake of that future self”.

Recently I was encouraged to create a vision board. This was and has been one of the most encouraging techniques I developed to have that “greater continuity with who” I will become as I grow in the grace and knowledge of God. Prayerfully, through this blog I have encouraged you to consider some of these things and implement some new growth strategies into your life and maybe some new books to read. 😊

To God be the glory!
– Pastor Michael Miano


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Ensuring “Completeness” in 2O14 – RESOLUTIONS

  Each year, except for last year, I try to publicly proclaim my “resolutions” in an effort to “be accountable”. I have found this to be a fruitful exercise which has enabled to me since 2OO6 to accomplish much: wrote a book, began an internet radio program, developed a personal ministry {The Freaked Out Movement}, developed and enhanced my personal understanding of Scripture, and ultimately began my pastorate at Blue Point Bible Church (planting and working in other pastoral positions along the way). 

  So as I prayerfully enter 2O14, I want to share some of my thoughts and goals pertaining to the year. As many of you may already know, I have developed a sort of “motto” for the year – “Beginning with the end, the the ends of the earth”. Basically, as I have come to understand “covenant eschatology” and what the “good news of Jesus” truly is, I have the desire to help others “see” and “hear” it as well. “The Power of Preterism” conference happening at The Blue Point Bible Church (http://www.blupointbiblechurch.org) is dedicated to the very purpose. In light of what has been accomplished in and through Jesus Christ (i.e., the New Covenant) let us therefore understand how we shall live. Matter of fact, this morning in my devotionals (there is a resolution beginning strongly right there), I detailed this a bit:

 “If through one man’s life there is little more love and kindness, a little more light and truth in the world, then he will not have lived in vain”. – Alfred Delp

    Read 1 John 4:7-1O; 1 John 5:14-21

 Imagine if we truly begin to live as “the people of God” and allow LOVE to be the defining factor of all that we do. 

 So it’s with that in mind that I begin detailing my “resolutions”.

  RESOLUTION ONE- BECOME MORE DEVOTIONAL IN AM AND EVENING READINGS AS WELL AS PRAYER (which in turn should help focus on living a complete and satisfying New Covenant life – “life to the full”. 

 Upfront I must admit, I like to detail “bucket list accomplishments” at the beginning of the year and add new ones to the list, but herein is the issue- one of my “resolutions” is to organize my paperwork (have not quite gotten back into the “swing of things” since my move to New York), so on this blog I will not be able to detail the “bucket list” info. 


   I am looking to grow into my “pastorate” this year and truly lead with purpose and conviction and therefore have set some goals in doing so. 


            1. Get comfortable with my office and begin having meetings there (coffee, juice, soda, etc.. all on hand)   2. Organize rooms and paperwork in each room (make use of the file cabinets!!!)  2. Create a membership file book to be able to know more, help them grow more, and keep in touch better (Thank’s Robin for the awesome idea!)  3. Start utilizing “days before” to get ready for Sunday and clean church often   4. Develop a “new comers packet” 5. Launch *new* website  6. Programs such as Alpha, an open class at the college of high school, “Generations” Youth Program etc.  6. Prison Ministry?!?!  7. Organize and develop our “Prayer Room”  8. Hospital Chaplain or at least ministry for 6 months (develop a schedule)  8. In light of LI’s NBT, connect with other pastors and ministries

  As far as personal ministry goes, I am looking to develop a more “missional evangelism” and life in light of AD 7o for the Freaked Out Movement (http://www.freakedoutmovement.com). I currently have some ideas for marketing and maintaining the lifestyle of a “Jesus Freak” and will be developing and sharing them more as the year goes on. Also, keep an eye out for “The Freaked Out Book Club” as an incentive program for people of all ages to keep on reading! Miano Gone Wild Radio Program hasn’t been as organized as I would have liked this year so I will be looking to organize it- obviously bringing brother Derek Lambert onboard with “Truth Be Told” has been a blessing as well. Look for more to come…


  As far as some learning exercises for the year, I have some good ones. I want to begin journalizing the Scriptures– which basically means handwriting the Scriptures into notebooks. This is great for reading comprehension and memorization. I have to thank Jen Fishburne for bringing this awesome idea to my attention- what she calls the “King’s Assignment”. In Deuteronomy 17:15-2O we read:

    “…you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves…..Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the levitical priests. It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or to the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel (Paraphrased a bit)”. 

  So, I will begin this effort in February. Please let me know if you decide you might want to do this effort. There is a website dedicated to helping with this effort if you choose to order the books through them to use (I am fine with a regular bunch of notebooks). http://www.graceandtruthbooks.com/category/the-journibles


 Also, I am looking to complete classes and so forth over at Fulfilled Covenant Christian Leaders Institute and help Allyn Morton develop the idea for the school a bit more. To be upfront and honest, I am aiming to ask Allyn if I may take a position of authority with the school and develop a full and complete curriculum to train and ordain pastors.        


   Also, looking to revise and republish my book- Freaked Out by the New Covenant


 and last but not least, as far as personal study and development I am looking to get through the writings of Josephus, go through Jewish writings such as Mishnah, Talmud, etc.. available at http://www.sacred-texts.com  , and surely learn and teach more pertaining to “hell”. Maybe, I will see you at the Rethinking Hell Conference in Houston, Texas in July. http://www.rethinkinghellconference.com/2014/


 Well, I am sure I will develop more “resolutions” within the year, but I believe this is a good and busy start. Hopefully I have inspired you to begin a list of your own. If you hold me accountable I will surely hold you accountable as well. 

  Blessings in Christ, 

     Pastor Michael Miano

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