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Is Your Frog Boiling? Outline

Updated on January 23, 2013

Is Your Frog Boiling?

Legend has it that if you drop a frog into a boiling pot of water, it will immediately jump out. However, if you place the frog into a similar container of room temperature water and slowly raise the heat, the frog will stay put. Gradually, degree by degree, it will be imperceptibly lulled into a boiling hot death.

Many people begin to feel like this frog; in a pot of water that is slowly getting hotter. This book talks about the symptoms of this "Boiling Frog Syndrome" and also goes into the fixing and prevention of this syndrome.

Following, I have outlined and summarized Dr. Richard H. Madow's book. All quotes and information comes from the book. This outline/summary is not intended to replace the book ... only to enhance your reading experience by providing a guideline of key points.


Symptom #1


Spiralosis - Overwhelming, negative or stressful thoughts that cannot be controlled.

  • A minor problem gets escalated into a full blown conspiracy. Road rage is a form of spiralosis.

Action Plan

  • Thought Replacemeent Therapy -- Instead of allowing negative thoughts to spiral out of control, change your thought process.
    • Nighttime Spiralosis - Keep a pad of paper and pen on your nightstand. if you are paralyzed by thoughts of tomorrow's tasks, write them down in list form. If you wake up in the middle of the night with a troublesome thought, write it down. In this way you are transferring ownership of that thought to tomorrow - when you can better tackle it without worry
    • Daytime Spiralosis - Notice the type of thoughts that snowball. Tackle the individual thought before allowing yourself to move to the next thought.
  • Focus - You cannot think both a positive and negative thought at the same time. Therefore, you should replace a negative thought (when you realize you are thinking one) with a positive one.

Combat Spiralosis

  1. Stop what you are doing and focus on something enjoyable.
  2. Write down on a list what is bothering you and refer to it when you are better equipped to handle it.
  3. Practice "Thought Replacement Therapy."
  4. Embrace your faults and switch to positive thinking.


Symptom #2


Blameopathy - Accusing others for causing one's siuation or problem; refusing to accept responsibility for one's actions leading to an event or development.

  • The only way you can take control of a situation and move ahead is to stop blaming others and accept responsibility.
  • If you can relate to a few of the following, you have most likely experienced a few bouts of blameopathy.
  1. You almost always believe that you are never wrong.
  2. You dwell on the past instead of looking forward to the future.
  3. You use other people's poor behaviour to justify your behavior and choices.
  4. You rarely apologize, seeing it as a sign of weakness.
  5. You believe you have been dealt a "bad hand" in life.
  6. You view negative occurrences/relationships in your life as being out of your control.
  7. You don't think you can change anything in your life for the better.
  8. You believe life is unfair and often feel sorry for yourself.

One of the most destructive forms of blameopathy is the grudge.

Action Plan

  • Instead of passing blame ... take responsibility
  • It is up to you to end a grudge match. Be the bigger person if necessary and be persistent.

Banish Blameopathy

  1. Instead of blaming others, take responsibility.
  2. Decide how you will change the circumstance.
  3. Admit your own faults and move on.
  4. Unconditionally decide to put an end to a "grudge match".


Symptom #3

E-S-P-N Fever

E-S-P-N Fever - A tendency to think negatively about your future; projecting negative thoughts instead of thinking positively. (Extra Sensory Perception + Negativity)

  • Takes the idea of ESP - thinking ahead - and adds an additional element - Negativity.
  • When you have an attack of ESPN fever, the only thing you can see is the worst possible outcome; even if it only has a minute chance of occurring.

Action Plan

  • Best Case - Worst Case Scenario
    • First, recognize the problem and say to yourself "I'm having an attack of ESPN fever."
    • Next, ask yourself the following:
  1. Have I previously made an incorrect prediction?
  2. What is the best thing that could happen, the worst that could happen, and the most likely to happen?
  3. Wouldn't it be great if the very best thing happened?
  4. Could I survive if the worst possible thing happened?

Eliminate ESPN Fever

  1. Recognize when you are having an attack.
  2. Figure out the best, worst, and probable outcomes.
  3. Write down the answers for extra positive reinforcement.
  4. Use your answers to influence the outcome.


Symptom #4


Flockulitis - Socializing with others who share similar values, motives, philosophies; having friends and associates who may or may not bring positive energy into your life. ("Birds of a feather flock together" ... "Like attracts like")

  • Good if you are spending time with positive people; bad if you are flocking with "turkeys".
    • Prisoners often brag about their endeavors, and share tricks of the trade with fellow prisoners.
    • Sometimes the "Negative Nellies" are friends or relatives.
  • Misery loves company - and so does negativity, guilt, and blame.

Action Plan

  • Take a look at the friends you surround yourself with. Consider where they are and ask yourself, "is this where I want to be in 10 years?"
  • Become inspired. Read books or watch movies about people who overcame great odds to accomplish what others could have never predicted.
  • Seek positive energy. As you start meeting new people who have a more positive outlook, you will discover that they gravitate toward the good things that life has to offer.

Fix Flockulitis

  1. Get inspired by others who have achieved greatness
  2. Take a close and honest look at your relationships.
  3. Make the necessary changes to seek out positive energy


Symptom #5

Irritable Now Syndrome

Irritable Now Syndrome - Reacting in words before thinking about what is said; frequently leads to overblown reactions with detrimental results.

  • Lack of restraint when steamed, pissed, annoyed, at the end of your rope, etc, can lead to this.
  • This severe reaction is hardwired into our bodies ... called "fight or flight" response.
  • To determine if your fight or flight response has morphed into irritable now syndrome, take this quick test::
    1. Do you alienate friends with comments?
  • Are you constantly apologizing for what you have said, either in person, via email, or well intended apology notes?
  • Are you hard to please, constantly demanding more?

Action Plan

  • Take control - be like a duck with an oily coat; listen to the "goop" people are saying, then let it slide right off and go on with your life.
  • Often, feelings and words need to be expressed. Put them in writing and then reread, review and revise - make it so your feelings are expressed exactly. Now that the beautiful letter is written and ready to be sent ... DON'T send it! Careful expression of your hostile feelings, even if only read or heard by you, can help you get beyond a situation that was doing you harm.

Banish Irritable Now Syndrome

  1. Take control of your emotions.
  2. Let your feelings out by writing them down.
  3. Instead of criticizing others, laugh at yourself.


Symptom #6


Perfectonia - Trying to do everything absolutely perfectly, even when that goal is unrealistic or unproductive.

  • Trying to perform everything right may seem like a good goal, but it's impossible. Hence, the only possible outcome is failure.
  • In its pure form, perfectonia can cause both extreme procastination and total avoidance due to fear of failure.
  • According to the counseling center at the University of Illinois, the symptoms and dangers of perfectionism (perfectonia) include the following:
    • Fear of failure
    • Fear of making mistakes
    • Fear of disapproval
    • All-or-none thinking
    • Overemphasizing "shoulds"
    • Believing that others are easily successful
  • "If you want something done right, do it yourself!" is often the mantra of one with Perfectonia.
  • Perfectonia often strikes those who are intelligent but lack confidence.
  • Perfectionists often miss out on:
    • Free time
    • Self-love
    • Connection with others
    • Valuable life lessons

Action Plan

  • It's important to realize that often decisions must be made, and sometimes they will not be the right ones. Make the decision and move on. Learn from the wrong ones, and build from the right ones.
  • Ask yourself: "What is the worst that could happen?" It probably won't. Keep it in perspective.
  • It is important to realize that being yourself is much healthier than being perfect

Squash Perfectonia

  1. Strive for excellence, but realize when things are good enough
  2. Make your goal enjoyment, not perfection.
  3. Try your best knowing that mistakes will happen.
  4. Celebrate your uniqueness -- flaws and all!


Symptom #7


Super-Extra-Crazy-Busy-I-Can't-Do-It-Docious - Hyper-busy activity that may not result in significant work accomplished.

  • Is busyness a standard of how great one's life is? Claiming to be so busy that you can't get anything doneis nothing to brag about - ever.
  • Is your life like that of an emergency room physician - constantly running and rushing to complete a life-saving task?
  • Action Plan
  1. Realize that not everything in your life needs to be completed or worked on at once.
  2. Stop seeing "busyness" as a status symbol.
  3. Make time in your day for leisure activities and exercise.
  4. When you start feeling overwhelmed, prioritize your "to do" list.
  5. Develop the ability to let things "mentally marinate."

Wipe out Super-Extra-Crazy-Busy-I-Can't-Do-It-Docius

  1. Realize that all tasks do not need to be completed immediately.
  2. Don't see being busy as a status symbol.
  3. Make time for hobbies and leisure activities.
  4. Prioritize to get truly important things completed.


Symptom #8


Comparalysis - Aiming to do or have what others accomplish or have; ignoring one's own qualities and envying others.

  • It's all too easy to set standards and desires based upon what others have achieved, possess or look like. Trying to be something we're not can cause distress, anxiety and a whole host of joy-sucking maladies.
  • Signs of comparalysis:
  1. Someone else's success or accomplishments secretly pisses you off.
  2. You agree that sometimes "the ends justify the means" -- or it is okay to achieve something through dishonest or dubious methods.
  3. Deep inside you wish for others to fail.
  4. Your values or likes are carved out by the opinions of others.
  5. Winning or accomplishing something gives you a quick burst of happiness followed by a period of anxiety.
  6. You think people are talking about you behind your back.

Action Plan

  • It's all about being satisfied with who you are and where you are. You should always strive to achieve your dreams - just make sure they are your dreams and not what someone else says is the right thing to be or do.
  • The goal, always, is to remain true to yourself.

Paralyze Comparalysis

  1. Realize your own unique qualities.
  2. Strive to achieve your dreams - not someone else's.
  3. Let your values reflect your own personal goals.
  4. When the time is right - splurge!


Symptom #9

Rhyme Disease

Rhyme Disease - Coulda, woulda, shoulda -- done it differently.

  • This trio of ingredients can actually prevent us from accomplishing all that we have talent and ability to do.
  • Many times this is caused when we take the "safe road" or go in the direction we believe others want us to travel.
  • Rhyme disease begins with simple excuses to skip or avoid people, places, or activities we would like to do.
  • Rhyme disease blazes a path toward apathy and lack of fulfillment.
  • Rhyme disease equals lost opportunity.

Action Plan

  • Instead of the words "could, would, should," power up with better words: Shall. Can. Will.

Reverse Rhyme Disease

  1. Replace "could, would and should" with "can, will and shall."
  2. Get rid of the "but" - say "and" instead.
  3. Don't make excuses - create solutions.


Symptom #10


What-If-ication - When a "what if" scenario stops you from taking the next step.

  • This is one of the biggest barriers to change in life
  • What-If-ication could possibly be the most dangerous symptom of Boiling Frog Syndrome. No matter how many of the symptoms you understand and how many changes you want to make, everything can be undermined when a big bowl of "what if" gets served.
  • There is no easy cure for What-If-ication, but it can be overcome with practice. It's important and easier to start small.

Destroy What-If-ication

  1. Say "why not?" instead of "what if?"
  2. Start small.
  3. Celebrate your changes as you go.
  4. Don't let opportunity slip away.

Please let me know if you have frogs boiling by leaving me a comment!

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    • GmaSoup profile image


      8 years ago

      I like how you presented the problem and then added action steps for help, good lens


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