Archive for October, 2011

Troll Day

October 21, 2011

This was a day for trolls. I seemed to encounter many angry and mean spirited people, so I’m wondering if today was some kind of a Celebrate Your Anger day.  I witnessed two parking lot show-downs, an exchange of…um….”harsh”words between a husband and wife who apparently disagreed about whether to purchase a washer/dryer combo,  several “one-fingered salutes” in traffic, and a man who actually told a woman who was taking too long in the grocery checkout line that judging from the way her jeans fit, she really didn’t need all of the junk food in her cart. Yikes!

Trolls are scary and you don’t want to get close to them. It’s as if they have imaginary pointy spikes sticking out of them and they pose a threat to anyone who crosses their path! They are angry and venomous and even their hair is tense! They are miserable and therefore, they feel that everyone else must pay the price for their misery.

You cannot fix trolls, because trolldom is an attitude and therefore, a choice. You must guard against trolls and above all; never allow them to determine your mood or define your feeling of self-worth. If possible, stay away from them.  However, if you work with one or possibly have married or given birth to a troll, you are in a tough position. You can’t change them (unless they are in diapers) but you can change how you allow their foul mood to affect you.

Fortunately, we don’t have to carry responsibility for other people’s happiness or lack of good cheer.  But we will occasionally encounter people who are looking for a fight. Your best defense is to gird yourself against angry trolls before you leave your house and go out into the world. Unfortunately, there is no spray like Troll Begone to use as a repellant, but I have come to learn that a positive attitude and a personal resolve to refuse to succomb to a troll’s venom can be very effective. Stay strong. Stay positive. Stay away from trolls.

 

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Three Habits of Highly Self-Defeating People

October 14, 2011

Most of us have read books informing us of the habits of  highly successful people. We know that in order to be successful, we must  program our minds for success and we also know that particular mindset doesn’t  always come easily. I think it is equally important to know the habits we  should NOT embrace. I call these the habits of highly self-defeating people.

1. Always compare yourself to others.  This is a great way to feel lousy about yourself! If you measure your  every accomplishment against someone else, you will probably always be  successful in finding some shortcoming in your own performance.  This is because you are NOT someone else and  someone else is NOT you!  Every one of us  has a unique personality, style and talent. Modeling a successful person whose  accomplishments you respect is one thing but it is important to realize that  you cannot live anyone else’s life because they are already living it, so blaze  your own trail!     

 2. Always expect the worst and you will never be disappointed…and make sure  you always panic.  These are trying times and everyone  loves to talk about how we’re going down for the count! Watching the news will  straighten your hair if it’s curly and curl your hair if it’s straight! You  can’t pick up a magazine without seeing a headline about impending doom and it  is getting tougher to muster up any optimism.  Now is the time to just say “no” to despair! Panic doesn’t help anything  and it makes you look like a deranged squirrel. We attract what we most often  think about so if we expect failure and angst to come knocking at the door, we  will probably find it on our front porch. Maintaining an optimistic attitude  doesn’t mean believing that everything will be rosy; it means entertaining  alternate possibilities, fostering creative ways to meet challenges and being  proactive in your own success!   

  3.  Keep old feelings of past failure, guilt, fear and other bad things alive  and in the frontal lobe of your brain at all times….and don’t forget the  negative self-talk!  To maintain that fearful feeling of  never being good enough, be sure to constantly conjure up and nurture your past  woes. Right? WRONG!  You cannot move ahead while looking backward. Don’t allow  your mistakes to define your worth or dictate your future.  Fight the urge to relive the past. Get off of  the hamster wheel that keeps you on the same track and take a different path  with a different attitude! Refrain from reminding yourself daily that you do  not deserve any good things and treat yourself with respect.  Deal with the situations at hand, glean the good “stuff” from your past failures, do the best  you can and don’t rent your brain cells out to negativity! Above all….don’t be  your worst enemy! You may as well like yourself because wherever you go…there  you are!

What Do You Expect?

October 3, 2011

It is said that our thoughts are like boomerangs. What we send out; we get back.  We are also like magnets, in that we attract certain things in the universe. I believe that I am a magnet because I am  constantly drawn to my refrigerator.  But that’s not quite as inspirational as the motivational implication behind the original phrase.

The truth is that if you are constantly in a negative frame of mind and expect failure and disaster, you probably shouldn’t be surprised if you don’t find much joy floating your way.  Even if you were to encounter a potential joy opportunity, you might not recognize it because the cloud of negativity and angst surrounding you might impede your view. It’s hard to see through the muck and mire of misery!

On the other hand, it you can somehow manage to choose your battles and avoid falling into the pit of despair, many wonderful possibilities will appear and you will be prepared to recognize and be receptive to them.  Like so many others, I have sometimes wallowed in woe and expected the worst. I’ve also had times of choosing hope over despair and I’ve pulled myself out of the pit long enough to entertain a positive thought. Both cases resulted in self-fulfilling prophecy; sometimes with a positive and sometimes with a negative outcome. In other words, I got back what I sent out.

Whenever I am planning a pity party featuring me as the guest of honor; it doesn’t take me long to figure out that not many people will attend because they know I will be serving “whine.” The only thing I attract when I’m in that condition is more negativity. I get caught up in a whirlpool of hopelessness and self-pity which ends up with me circling the emotional drain. It becomes almost impossible to see the opportunities in anything.

If I am somehow able to switch my mental channel to “positive,” my chances for happiness and success increase by a huge margin because I am focusing on possibilities rather than doom. Our thoughts form little connections in our brains and pretty soon, those connections become patterns. There are official sounding medical words to describe this phenomenon, but I prefer to think of the process as mental trail-blazing.  We can either blaze positive or negative trails; and personally, if I’m going to blaze, I’d rather blaze a path toward joy and away from woe.  Our thoughts become our habits and those
habits influence our destiny. Does this mean that if we think happy thoughts, we will constantly be showered with good fortune? Not necessarily; but our chances for finding joy greatly improve when we look for it.

It can be tough to keep motivated and truly expect good things to happen, especially when we begin to feel as if we are losing control. Sometimes, in order to find a solution to a problem, we need to take a totally new approach to the way we think about it. Einstein said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.” In other words, you have to get rid of “stinkin’ thinkin’ and you need to shift mental gears. I call this the “Etch-a-Sketch” theory. Imagine the benefits of being able to shake your head to dislodge the confusing or negative thoughts and clear the slate…then start all over again. Home decorating shows and magazines always show us how to completely change the look of a picture by simply reframing it. By putting a new frame around an old picture, you’re seeing it in a different way and giving it new life. If it works for Martha Stewart, it ought to work for us! But, how does one reframe a situation? I think it has to do with opening our minds, being creative in our thinking and being aware of possibilities. It means keeping an attitude of altitude and it means training our brains to expect success.

Most of us are in some sort of leadership position. It may be on a large scale; as in a corporate setting, or perhaps on a smaller stage, in a more intimate scenario; like a family.  No matter who we are or what we do, there are people whose lives we touch and influence on some level.  To me, that is an exciting and powerful challenge which motivates me to strive to be the best I can be, personally and professionally. That means I must always be aware of the thoughts I’m inviting into my brain, so I try not to rent mental space to self-defeating images. I have learned that I can’t help others if I’m not helping myself to stay on a positive track.

It is helpful to remember that optimism is not necessarily thinking that everything will always work out the way we want; it is the ability to recognize that there are options and different ways to achieve desired results. It is about reframing self-defeating thoughts and attracting healthy energy.

Life is full of obstacles but it is also full of options. Take a look at this group of letters and decide how it is to be read:

OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE

Do you see it as OPPORTUNITY IS NOWHERE OR OPPORTUNITY IS NOW HERE? Choose a mindset and send out those “good vibrations.” Remember the attractor factor and consider that what you seek, you shall find!