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Chapter Summary

Using Breakthrough Discoveries in Brain Science and Psychology

Changing our lives and habits tends to be a losing struggle because we attempt to give up important pleasures without compensating our brain’s extremely powerful reward pathways. That is why 90 percent of dieters and 93 percent of smokers who try to quit, eventually fail. This book forges vital discoveries in brain science and psychology into practical tools for resolving conflict, eliminating self-defeating/destructive behavior and freeing energy for action, achievement and a richer life.


  • I can’t lose weight and keep it off. Plenty of company: 130 million American adults are overweight
  • My financial situation is far from what I’d like it to be: 1.47 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy
  • I can’t quit smoking. Of the 35 million who attempt to quit, less than 7% succeed
  • I can’t cut back on my drinking. 7.5% or 21 million abuse alcohol or are alcohol dependent
  • My love relationships never seem to work out. Average marriage lasts 7 years
  • I’m often sad and unhappy . Of the 19 million who are depressed, half aren’t doing anything about it
  • I can’t seem to realize my dream: write that book/screenplay/song, go around the world or climb Mt. Everest.

The brain’s immensely powerful reward pathways override willpower and stymie attempts to change—if we deprive them. By knowing how to accommodate them, we can take the pain out of change, and turn even mundane activities into “flow” experiences. See Chapter 5, “Turning Boredom Into Flow.”

  • Are you caught up in an exhausting, commuter-treadmill lifestyle, leaving you little time and energy to do what you want? Read Chapter 8, “Organized and In Control,” for taking command.
  • Are you sick and tired of weight loss programs that don’t work? Whoever said “No pain, no gain,” doesn’t know how the human brain functions! See Chapter 15, “Weight, Fun and Fitness,” and find out why willpower, self-deprivation and diets are prescriptions for failure. Be attractive enjoyably!
  • If you don’t get enough excitement, joy and pleasure in your life, you may be suffering from the Reward Deficiency Syndrome. Read “Quest for Excitement” and “Your Pleasure Inventory,” Chapters 4 and 6.
  • Are you stuck, with your life littered with uncompleted projects and situations. Cortical Integration is a highly effective process for resolving conflicts, achieving closures and getting unstuck.
  • To understand and cultivate lasting, nurturing relationships see “Quit Sabotaging Your Love Relationships!” Chapter 19.
  • If life has become more of an exhausting struggle than a challenging adventure, peruse “Life as an Adventure,” Chapter 13.
  • Finally, if that dream you once had is dormant — buried under an avalanche of other people’s expectations — take a hard look at “Discover Your Dream,” and “Turning Dreams Into Lifestyles,” Chapters 21 and 22.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: For the past 18 years Al Louis Ripskis researched, written, counseled and lived many lifestyles. For 13 years prior to that he was an investigative reporter whose exposés sparked congressional hearings and national media coverage. He was featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. For more details click Meet the Author. Ripskis is a crisis hotline and SBA-partnered SCORE entrepreneur counselor. See his companion book, Cutting Loose: From Rat Race to Dream Lifestyles, which was sponsored for the Pulitzer Prize.