Category Archives: De-mentalize This

EO and Priority (I Am Sorry)

MIA Apologies

 Sandy Koufax (credit: Wikipedia)
Sandy Koufax (credit: Wikipedia)


I have been slow with far and a few on my posts; low EO and a little uncertainty mix with lack of routine did me in. Get out of the funk I must. And yes, I have to catch up with some posts, some silly weird cards, and fix some posts (for whatever reason some of the photos of our newly minted BCBAs just won’t show…. anyone can help? Please?)

How about we start with some atonement? Since Yom Kippur started sun down last evening last Friday… (EO I lack to finish this post last week… and yes some of you might already hear the story that I dropped out of a course on Motivation back in grad school, so this isn’t my first EO deprived episode. So, chill!)

I assume that since you are reading this, you have heard of Establishing Operation somewhere. If not, I hope the White book is handy, or you can click on one of the links on the right-hand side. Yes, those guys are S-M-A-R-T! And you’d learn more from them, just be sure to give me credits for guiding you to the right place 😛

Back to what I was talking about, Yom Kippur, also known as a Day of Atonement, is one of the holiest holiday in the Jewish culture. I am not going to ruin it, so I will let Wiki do the job (click here to learn more).  And when I think of Yom Kippur, it always comes to Sandy Koufax.

For those who are not big on baseball, Sandy Koufax was a ultra-dominant left-handed pitcher for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1955 to 1966. He was the youngest person voted into the baseball hall of fame. Once again, here’s Mr. Koufax’s Wiki link (here). Oh, did I mention he’s Jewish and he observes Yom Kippur? Why is this so important? The game 1 of the 1965 World Series was scheduled on Yom Kippur, and Sandy Koufax declined to pitch. The best pitcher (he won the Cy Yong that year) refused to do what he did best on the biggest stage in the game when his team needed him most. Imagine the social consequences Koufax received after his decision!  Yet he did what he needed for his priority: his tradition (yea… we will de-mentalize this some other day).

Who’s on First? (What is Priority?)

I looked up the dictionary and let me paraphrase: priority simply means “right to take precedence over others” and let me do a little “de-mentalize this” here… in behavioral terms, I would say that priority is related to reinforcement: differential reinforcement, delay of reinforcement, magnitude of reinforcement, reinforcement preferences, etc. In Sandy Koufax’s case, I say that pitching (and winning) in the first game of the World Series was deemed less reinforcing than observing his cultural tradition on Yom Kippur. Let me go a bit further, World Series, at least at that moment, was not “worth it” compared to being true to his roots! My guess is that pitching on the very day would make Koufax regret (I already did it here). What’s your take?

World Series and Steak

I am a meat person but I do what a call “Veggie Day” twice a month (going by the Chinese calendar). On those days, I go by the lacto-vegetarian way (milk, cheese, and diary products but no eggs, or egg products… and NO, fish is meat!). I can tell you that we can go to a steak house on those days and I’d be okay. It was MY choice to only consume such diet and I found keeping true to myself (and such diet) would be more reinforcing than a piece of meat (albeit, a sizzling, tasty, juicy one). I can handle it. I can guess that is sorta how Koufax felt then.

Do not underestimate the power of Establishing Operation! Yes, for those who are studying for the board exam, work that EO!!!

And yes, the Dodgers lost that game but they battled back and the series went to Game 7. Who was pitching for the Dodgers? None other than Sandy Koufax.  He went the distance and pitched a 3-hit shutout and the Dodgers won the World Series that year!

So what is your priority? How are you going to work that EO to your advantage and get closer to your goal?

Once again, I apologize for my delay. I just think keeping a VR schedule would keep y’all comin’ back more, no?

May the desired consequence be with you!

P.S. This post is dedicated to the loving memory of my other Grandma, Lai-Ching Ng Chang, who recently passed away.

Regrets in ABA

What is Regret?

Black Square
(Photo credit: Johannes P Osterhoff)

The dictionary defines it as “to feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment, etc.” and “to think of with a sense of loss” (

The behavioral term has something to do with thinking (a private event). Thinking that you could have or should have done something (i.e. eating another slice of pizza, saying hi to that girl or guy, watching The Empire Strikes Back, the Godfather, or Pride and Prejudice for the 17th time…) and you just keep thinking and thinking and thinking about it. (DRO, anyone?) I am here to make my private event public now.

My Lost Opportunity

Years ago, I met Tina, my next-door neighbor, when I moved into a new neighborhood.  Since she was about my mother’s age, she joked that she was my other mom and she did exactly that: she would feed me, asked about my day and yes… give my roommate and me a drink or two when we ran out of beverages. Though everyone moved out of that neighborhood, we kept in touch. She called me every holiday and birthday. And when I had my own family, she would always ask about them. Tina even remembered my son’s birthday! Yes, that “grandson” she never met!

Awhile back, she told me that she had been diagnosed with cancer and she was going through chemo and treatments… “I am keeping it positive,” she told me and I truly believed that she would pull through.

I called her on Mother’s Day.

She texted me on Father’s Day. And I should have called.

Then came July 3rd, the exam results were in. I passed. I was ecstatic!!! I made it! I told everyone. No, I thought I told everyone.

A few days later, the party was over. I realized I didn’t tell everyone…. Tina! And I thought to myself, “she’ll call in a few days and I’ll tell her then. That would cheer her up!”

I did not get that chance. I received a text from my old roommate one night last week: Tina passed away earlier that day. I missed my chance.

Now What?

I hope her family will find comfort and keep her memories alive. I will do the same.

Yes, I will miss you. And no, I will no longer have any excuses not to do anything.

Farewell, mama.

What is your regret? And what are you going to do about that?

This post is dedicated to the loving memory of Mrs. Tina C., my other mother.

Special thanks and shout-out to Dr. Josh Pritchard (see his stuff here) and Sorah Cheryl Eyrich-Stein (see her and her gang here)… and I also extend my thanks to Dr. Rick Kubina for term definition.