There are lots of crazy things I do from day to day. Often when going into a public restroom I never think to make sure I locked the door until after I am indisposed. Forgetting to make sure there is toilet paper is quite another. Still, one of the worst habits any of us can get into is talking about our problems. For many of us it has become an addiction. Like any addiction it can be extremely hard to break. Why is it important to break this habit? We are going to look at two very good reasons why we should switch from being addicted to discussing our problems to being addicted to discussing our dreams and joys.
First, there is the obvious reason – it feels terrible. Talking about and thinking about your problems can be exhausting phyisically, mentally and emotionally. The goal in our lives should be to live where we feel fulfilled in all of these areas of our lives. Talking about our problems ad nausem will not leave us feeling fulfilled in any way. When we feel down and drained emotionally and spiritually, our energy levels and immune system usually follow closely behind. This can not only make our existing problems worse, but add additional problems of sickness and lack of prodcutivity. Not only do they leave us feeling this way, but they can also bring down those we are talking to. Would you enjoy being around someone who is endlessly discussing everything that is wrong in their lives? I know I wouldn’t. Thus, you may find yourself starting to be very unpopular.
A second reason is slightly more metaphysical. Anyone who knows the slightlest thing about the law of attraction knows the saying “Where focus goes, energy flows”. In other words, what you focus on becomes more a part of your world. This has much to do with a part of your brain called the reticular activating system. This is discussed in more detail in my upcoming book, Living the Dream. As an example, have you ever bought a new car or even a new outfit and started to see it everywhere? Do you think many of the people in the world just started buying the same thing you did? Of course not. What happened was it became something of consequence to your brain. The RAS acts as a filter of sorts. It brings to our attention and into our realm things that we focus on and that our important to us. If you are focused on your goals and what makes you happy, you will tend to see opportunities and reasons for joy. If we are constantly talking about and focused on our problems we will not only notice more of them, we will receive more of them.
The reason talking about problems can be an addiction is because a lot of people tend to do it. Stop and listen to a conversation at work. Read posts on social media. Watch the nightly news. They are a constant stream of problems, problems, problems. If you hear someone start to say things like, “Why does this always happen to me?” or “I always have the worst luck.” You might want to consider walking in the other direction. Get into the habit of discussing your joys. What makes you happy? This may seem difficult or even awkward at first, but stick with it and notice how much better you feel. After you become a ‘joy discussion expert’ you will notice people will want to talk with you. Maybe even new social opportuinites will present themselves to you. As a bonus, you will feel better and begin to attact even more of what makes you joyful! Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.
It never ceases to amaze me when people say things that do nothing but make all affected parties feel negative in some way. I always think to myself, and sometimes out loud, “Why on earth would you say that?” Why would anyone want to be the source of pain, sadness, anger or a host of other terrible emotions? Why would we want to spread anything other than joy?
The statue above can be a great reminder of that for us. I suggest obtaining one to remind us if what we are about to put forth is not joyous that we should reconsider. The world has enough sources of negativity that we do not need to add more. Let us not only limit and eliminate our negative communications, but work on increasing out positive ones as well.
Building on our last post, this is another way of looking at how negative people can affect your life. When someone spends time gossiping or complaining to us that is like the $10 that was wasted. When we spend time upset or thinking about what they said, that is like throwing the other $86,390 away.
Time, in fact, is worth far more than money. We can always find a way to earn more money but time, once it is gone, is gone forever. We never know when we will breath our last breath or something may happen to dramatically alter our lives. Is losing even more of our precious time here worth someone else’s negativity? That is like good money after bad as they say.
When some of your time is wasted do not waste even more by being upset about it. Learn from it, use it and then move on.
Here is something that takes strength to do, but can transform your life! Not being a bad person because of bad people. This is again a reminder that is is crucial that we be selective with who we surround ourselves with. It is a lot easier to not have to guard against the effect of bad people when there are no bad people around. Of course inevitably we will come across that one individual that may be so unhappy with themselves and their own life that they wish to spread that feeling to others.
You know the type, you hold the door for them to be kind and helpful and they take it as an insult that they can’t do it themselves. I have actually witnessed someone at a coffee shop screaming at the employee because they thought their coffee was 3 degrees to hot. I am not sure if they carried a thermometer in their pocket or had some super power that allowed their tongue to take accurate temperature readings to 3 degrees, but either way is that worth treating someone so harshly? I think not. I am just generally happy there is coffee that someone else made for me.
The sad part is when you hear the employee utter something about how terrible working with the public is. It is true there are a lot of sunshine-challenged people in this world, but let us not let them hold more weight than the amazing people we meet everyday. In the case of holding the door, I have been tempted to let the door shut on my ungrateful worldly neighbor at times. What would this accomplish? Adding another unpleasant person to the world is not what is needed in that situation.
I know it can be difficult to maintain a smile when it seems the world is doing its best to wipe it off your face. I do my best to remember if I respond in kind to their unpleasant treatment of me, or worse allow it to bring down my positivity, than I am letting their negativity win. That will not only prove them right in their negative thinking, thus reinforcing it, but also bring down our emotional well-being as well. Considering a negative emotional state can lead to a suppressed immune system as well as heart and digestive issues is this really worth while? Let us be a ray of light to their darkness. Never let anyone take that away from you.
Working in the bar scene as a DJ has some benefits. I get to meet people of many diverse backgrounds, I get to learn a lot about music, and engage in a lot of interesting conversation. As with any job working with the public there is also a fair share of conversation of the negative variety. This includes people who constantly complain. Those who seem to have their eyes on everyone’s business but their own. Together the aggregate of these conversations and many others can fall under one title – drama. I do my best to stay clear of all of this. I do not care what that person said about this person, or what this person may or may not be doing with that other person. It just doesn’t interest me.
Regardless, people continue to share this information with me. For me it is relatively harmless. For others it can become almost addicting. While discussing this with a good friend of mine he captured why this is quite well. “I fell like I am in season 5 episode 6 and I just have to see how this ends.” This is how I imagine people become addicted to soap operas. My question has always been why? I do not know about you, but I certainly have enough going on in my life that I have no time to worry about what others are doing in theirs.
How do we not become addicted or invested in other people’s drama? The first step was alluded to earlier. Busy yourself so much with improving your own life that you have no time to worry about other people’s drama. That is not to say you shouldn’t care about other people’s lives, just do not invest in their drama. For example, relationships. This is probably the most drama-filled category there is. If I hear gossip, I would say it is 75% about relationships. I just chuckle. Working on creating the best relationship with Margie I can is a full-time job. I am constantly creating and thinking of new and wonderful ways to both show her I love her and keep our relationship fresh. If I had time to worry about another relationship to me that would be a sign that I was not working hard enough on my own.
One of my favorite ways to eliminate the possibility of becoming addicted to drama is to do your best to find the good in everyone and everything. This can be challenging and is certainly a full-time job in itself, but is a lot more productive and will help you feel a lot better than spending your time on drama or belittling someone else. My favorite way to approach this is to turn it into a game. When someone says something negative about someone, especially someone not there to defend themselves, try countering with a positive statement about that person. The interesting thing is in the course of that conversation the one speaking positive will walk away feeling better, while the one speaking negative gossip will walk away feeling negative. After a while gossipers do not realize the negative effect their gossip has on their own well-being. You will notice that most people who gossip negatively about others tend to be unhappy with their own lives. Meanwhile, people who spread positive gossip, although they are a lot fewer, tend to be more positive individuals.
Do this for a week yourself. Once a day say something nice about someone who is not around to hear it. Start to spread positive gossip. Do so once a day for at least 7 days. Notice how you feel. During this period if you hear some negative gossip, counter with at least one positive thing. You will notice your sense of inner peace as well as your sense of joy will increase. As a side-effect you will start earning a reputation as someone who speaks positively about people. As a result I would not be surprised if the amount of people wanting to be around you increases as well. You can start by sharing something positive about someone in the comments below.
A great quote from our friend Darren Hardy. I think everything in our life falls in one of these two categories. The great thing about approaching life this way is that you always learn. When you seem to make mistakes it may just be a warning that you are heading in the wrong direction. When we see someone who seems to have it all we can often feel tempted to be jealous. If we use that person’s success as an example of what is possible we can win that way too.
Begin to think of the people in your life. Which category do they fall in? Here is the important part, both roles are necessary. Those who are an example can teach us quite a bit. When I speak with people such as my friend Kyle I always walk away feeling upbeat and inspired. Then I remember to try harder to do that for others. Kyle serves as a great example of a positive conversationalist. I can learn from him and my conversations with others will be more positive and inspiring going forward.
What about those who are not so positive? How can they serve us? We often need a reminder of what could happen if we continue to be in a negative state of mind by being forced to spend what may seem like an eternity with someone who suffers from being ‘sunshine challenged’. I know this holds true for me. Have you ever been in conversation with someone who is so negative you want to go home and take a shower just to get the negative vibes off of you? I know I have. Having that feeling motivates me to watch my own conversation when talking to others. I do not want them to feel that way when they leave my company. Thinking this way I end up with thoughts of gratitude for our friend who resembles Eeyore from the Winne-the-Pooh stories. Not only have I traded feeling negative and frustrated for feeling grateful, which is a win. I have also had a great reminder and therefore my conversations with others will be better and more positive going forward.
As you can see, everyone in your life can be a positive motivating factor, even those who are not so positive. By learning from both you can help yourself become more of an example than a warning. What happens when we make a mistake or become a warning to others? There is an opportunity there as well. How we face a challenge or even a seeming failure can serve as an example to others facing challenges. When we view life as an opportunity to grow there are only chances to learn and grow and life becomes much more positive and…amazing!
Last post we looked at ways to limit our exposure to negative people in our lives. Today we are going to look at the more difficult chore of dealing with the negative people we cannot escape. How do you deal with a negative coworker? A boss that is demeaning? A family member who is full of drama? Sometimes limiting exposure is not an option. How can you protect yourself from the influence on every Debby Downer or Negative Nancy in your life?
Before we begin with our idea here, let us make mention it would be worth your time and effort to search for as many possible options to protect yourself against those who drain your energy. Why is avoiding negativity such an important issue? While you are in a negative state you are certainly less likely to try new things, to stay motivated to accomplish those things you are currently working on and to successfully deal with the challenges of life. According to a recent study, 80% of visits to a primary care physician are stress-related. This affects not only your health but your pocketbook as well. Are you beginning to see how important keeping your mood up is?
Here is our idea to employ in our defense against emotional vampires – make it a game. Dealing with this people can be stressful enough, so let us make the solution a little fun. I suggest keeping the fact you are doing this inside your own head. The game is simple, match each negative action and statement with a positive one of your own. If you have a friend or coworker who likes to gossip about other coworkers, match their statements with positive things about that coworker. Do you have a boss that is constantly putting everyone down? Try being the one to lift everyone up. You may wish to do this in such a fashion where it does not seem to be in direct conflict with your boss. Do you have a family member who likes to discuss all of the political problems of the day, or perhaps graphic descriptions of their recent medical procedure? Then for each one of them, you share a story of inspiration or love and peace between people.
This game will accomplish two important things. First, it will give you an amusing and on occasion comical way to deal with their negativity. Making it a game will keep your stress at bay and may even add some positivity as a byproduct. The second thing this game will accomplish is it will begin to annoy the people bringing negativity into your life. Before you start feeling bad, let me assure you that in reality what will be annoying them is the fact that you are not feeding into or reacting to their negativity. This will accomplish one of two things. It will either cause them to limit their negativity around you or limit their time and conversation with you. Either way your life has just become more positive.
I encourage you to try this game and give me your feedback as to how well it has worked in your own life. Feel free to share your ideas for dealing with negative people with our readers in the comments below.
I am not much for April fools day. Today, however, we are going to be discussing fools. The people in your life that bring drama, negativity and many unpleasant emotions. We are going to look at not only why it is so important to keep from being affected by these sunshine-challenged folks, but more importantly, how to do that.
The first course of action is to limit your exposure to these individuals. Are there people you spend time with out of feelings of guilt or obligation? Realize your primary obligation is to live your life in the most positive and rewarding fashion possible. It is by doing this that you can bring the best to others. If you have people in your life that seem to be draining the joy from your life like an emotional vampire, it is time to level with them.
I advocate doing this with compassion and a desire to invoke a positive change. Let them know what it is you want. This can be done without directly assigning blame or pointing out their actions. Letting them know you prefer conversations that are positive and solution oriented instead of those that consist of rehashing the problems of the world and life with no focus on fixing them. Let them know you have no desire to discuss the lives of others or engage in negative gossip and instead would like to focus on how to improve your own life and focus on the success others have. You may even have to do this mid conversation. If they start to get angry or defensive, just remind them you are letting them know what you would like, they are free to engage in behavior they enjoy.
Sometimes, they may either not get the point or have no desire to adjust their negative behavior. We must understand this is their right. We have no authority to tell others how to live their lives no more than others should tell us how to live ours. What we do not have to do is continue to be a part of theirs, at least as often. When the person notices that you are around less they may ask why. Again, you can be honest without being hurtful. Tell them you decided to take a day to focus on being positive. Or you wanted to focus on some healthy personal growth.
Once you notice someone draining you the time to do something about it is now. If your attempts are met with failure or indifference, and remember that is their right, then it is time to move on. We are only granted one life. It is our responsibility to make the most of it.
What about those we can’t avoid? Perhaps coworkers or even a negative boss or family member? We will take a closer look at positive steps to address those next post, so please come back tomorrow. If you have suggestions for dealing with negative people in your life, feel free to share them in the comments below.
Today is Halloween so I will share a scary story with you. As most of you know, I have a day job at the United States Postal Service. In addition to the monetary aspect, it also allows me to practice many of the tools I put forth here. I always strive to be a source of positivity and help my coworkers foster a sense of gratitude and joy. As a matter of course, I always welcome the mail carriers back when they return from their routes. I also routinely ask my coworkers if they are having a good day or having fun at the moment. A gentle reminder that while doing our best to get our jobs done, we can still focus on having fun. Most of the time this is met with some jocularity and on occasion, some comments of encouragement of their own.
There is one young lady, however, that seems quite sunshine challenged. When I inquired if she was having a good day she informed me in no uncertain terms that I should never ask her that as long as she is at work because the answer will always be ‘no’. After 21 years of working there, I am no stranger that the Post Office can supply some challenging situations, as can any job. There are days that are tough, and days that are not. I could not imagine going to some place every day where you know with certainty that you will have a bad day, and doing so voluntarily.
This young lady is a carrier on what they call a ‘rural route’. This means she seldom has to leave her truck and drives up to the mailbox to put the mail in. I think on a nice spring or fall day driving around in a rural setting listening to your favorite music all while getting paid a good wage could sound nice to some people. Sure, there are days when it is raining, or here in Wisconsin snowing, that I can imagine driving for several hours could be a drag, but not every day. How could this be?
The answer was supplied to me last Saturday. This young lady called me over to her case where she sorts her mail. She handed me the scanner all carriers use and said in a rather angry tone, “This is the f*&king sh*t I have to deal with!” I glanced at the scanner. On it was a warning to pay attention to the signs of heat stroke. On this day we were experiencing an early October snow storm. Ironic? For sure. Funny? I thought so. As far as something she had to put up with, I found a message that could easily be deleted and even laughed at to be not that big of a deal. Her perception was that everything was against her and that this was a large obstacle. When viewed through a filter of that nature any job will seem terrible.
This brings to mind a great reminder. We have the option to how we see things. We can find the humor, or we can find the frustration. We can find the gratitude, or the lack. We can find the joy, or we can find the pain. It is all up to us. When we look for the good in things it can transform our days and jobs into things we enjoy, or certainly do not dread.
A thermstat verses a thermometer, which one are you? Obviously I am not speaking literally. Both of those devices are inanimate objects and could not be reading this article. In a more figurative sense, each one of us is either a thermostat or a thermometer. Usually we are a little bit of both. In order to better understand what I mean let us look at each device and the service they perform.
We will start with a thermometer. What is the function of a thermometer? It matters little difference if it is used for meat or medicine. The main purpose of a thermometer is to measure the temperature of its surroundings and read accordingly. It is what we would call a reactionary device. If the temperature is hot the thermometer will read accordingly. If the temperature is cold it will show that. The thermometer has little effect, if any, on what is is measuring. We all know people like this, don’t we? If they find themselves in a room full of people who are productive and happy, they will be productive and happy. If they are in a room full of people who would rather stand around and gossip than work, that is what they will tend to do. These people, much like a thermometer, have little or any impact on their surroundings. If you are looking for a leader you would not want a thermometer. If you are looking to be productive you would not wat to rely on a thermometer.
This is not to say there are not times when adapting your behavior to the situation is appropriate. You certainly would not want to wear a tuxedo to the corner tavern any more than you would want to show up at the opera in ripped jeans and a flannel shirt. There is a big difference between adjusting to the current social situation and changing the very essence of who you are. Let us look at our above example of being in a room filled with individuals more content to discuss the actions of others than to take any action themselves. In this case it would not be a good idea to adopt the current culture. What should we do if we find ourselves in just such a situation? That will bring us to our next point.
A thermostat. That funny shaped device on the wall that regulates our inner enviroment. How does a thermostat work? Simply put, if we set a desired temperature it will utilze the heating and cooling systems to acheive that temperature. Should the room drop to far below the set temperature the thermostat will engage the heating systems to warm the room to the desired condition. Should the temperature rise too far above the set number it will utilize the air-conditioning to bring it back down. The thermostat not only has a great impact on its enviroment, it actually sets the enviroment.
We all know people like this too, don’t we? There are people who can light up a room as soon as they walk in. There are also people who can bring everyone down with a simple conversation. In other words these people set their enviroments. I know a person who never seems to have a bad day. I asked him his secret and he told me quite simply, “I just decide to have a good day.” Much like the thermostat, he adjusts as the day goes along. If things start to go bad he kicks in his ‘heating system’ to bring the level of joy up. If he finds himself getting upset over traffic, the acts of a rude cowoker or anything else he turns on his ‘air-conditioning’ to relax and cool himself down. Thermostat people are action people. If they see a situation that does not suite them, they take actions to change the situation.
Ask yourself today if you are a thermostat controling your enviroment, or are you a thermometer just reacting to whatever the world is handing you. If the sun is out and traffic is great you are happy. If it is raining and the car won’t start you are unhappy. Why put control of your emotional well-being in the hands of other people and things. Be like my friend and decide to have a good day. If challenges do come up as they always will, ask yourself two very important questions, “What else can this mean?” and “How can I use this?” These two questions will allow you to be in control of your enviroment.