We all consider our viewpoints personal interpretations of situations. I am definitely one that will argue my point or opinion until I’m red in the face, just to make sure that you know how I feel. That’s not to say that I won’t consider the opposing side, especially as I try to find holes in the argument. In fact, my partner was just complaining that I like to argue for the sake of arguing. Despite the importance of knowing who we are and how we feel, it is equally important to take the opposing side or perspective into consideration, and not just to find the counterpoint.
Taking a look or considering the situation from the other side can allow us to view it in a different light and give us the opportunity to change how we act in the given situation. We don’t function in a vacuum. Every event, situation, or interaction is the result of an infinite amount of other situations bringing us to this specific moment. Because of this, the hundred other things that happened in the last two hours have direct influence over our moods, opinions, and perspective that we have or may have if a given action were to occur.
For example, I walked into the bank at 10:00 a.m. As I was in a great mood this morning, I greeted and thanked the security guard, who held the door for me, walked to the first available teller with a smile on my face, and then proceeded to explain what I wanted, including the use of “please” and “thank you.” As my day had transpired in a positive light, that where I had my mindset. However, the teller must not have enjoyed such a pleasurable experience. She was terse, short, and not very friendly, to say the least. As I frequent the same bank branch, I’ve interacted with her in the past. I know that she can be friendly, so I didn’t take her negative demeanor personally. If I didn’t know her though, I would have jumped to the conclusion that she was a grumpy person, and didn’t like me.
With the example of the teller, although simplified, her perspective was very different than mine. However, it is important to realize that each perspective has been influenced by previous events. It is important to not take things personally, acknowledge the possibility of temporary influence by outside factors, and continue to be positive. It would have only hurt me if I had taken her negative attitude and allowed it to affect my positive morning. Instead, I tried to be friendly, and hoped that my politeness would maybe lift up her day a little, and hopefully change her perspective for the better.
So which direction are you going to choose today? Having a positive perspective, and proliferating it, or going the other route and feeding in to negativity?
Our interactions with people not only affect our relationships with them, but also the way that others perceive our interactions. It is important to recognize this, especially when interacting in a public setting. Whether we’re consciously analyzing the situation or subconsciously passing judgment, the natural process of observation and analysis never stops. Remembering this while communicating with others could help you when you turn to have a conversations with the next person.
The last time I walked into a social event, I said hello to those I knew, whether by hugging or shaking hands, carefully glanced around the room to take in the general mood and atmosphere, assessed those who were present, without putting much thought into it, and then made mental notes of who I really wanted to chat with and who might not be that interesting. Yes, you can call me judgmental, but its going to happen even on a subconsciously. Also, it could mean that you spend the evening engaged in an intriguing conversations or lamenting about the time you spent circling the edge of the room and avoiding awkward moments.
By remembering that people around you are perceiving and analyzing your interactions with others, you can continue to promote a positive personal image. This may mean that you spend a brief but completely engaged moment with someone who may not peak your interest, and then move on to another conversation with someone in which you’ve been dying to talk. If you opted to simply dodge those you don’t know or are not interested in speaking to, then act jovial and over-friendly with those you do, what kind of image are you projecting? Would you approach someone who acted this way, or would it turn you off? Most likely you perceived this person as being somewhat unapproachable or even cliquey.
Project the positive personal image that you want all to see. People perceive interactions in different ways, and not just those in which they are involved. Being consistent with your positive actions and interactions, for that matter, will strengthen your positive image. And, in the end, at least you can say, “It was nice to meet you,” and leave the door open for a possible, future, positive relationship.
We all have chores to complete, assignments to finish, and goals to achieve; however, so much focus is placed on reaching the end that we often fail to properly and clearly outline the road to get there. This often results in slowly meandering forward or even getting lost along the way. A great example of this is New Year’s resolutions. Everyone makes them, but my the beginning of March how many people do you know that have actually stuck with it. Often times, obstacles and complications along the way cause us to make detours. Finding our way back can often be difficult, especially as time passes. The longer or further away you get, the tougher it is to get back.
Goals are easy to set, but what about achieving them? Major accomplishments are celebrated, and should be, because it takes a lot to do it. That’s where the key is. Not in the finish line, but reaching it. The process is key. Too often have I forgotten this, and the more a struggle without a clear path the more my destination shrinks into the distance. So how do we do it?
1) Set your projected goals! – This is still essential. You have to decide where to start. Moving forward is important, but if you don’t have a direction then you’re walking in circles. The important thing though is “projected” goals. This is the direction you want to head and where you want to end up, but it just may happen that it needs to be changed down the road.
2) Set your road map. – I’ve been told time and time again to start at your end goal and work backward. This will help to space out the necessary steps, so you’re not stressed and overwhelmed at the end. It is important to be REALISTIC. You know yourself; if it sounds daunting now, are you really going to want to stick with it when it gets tough?
3) Break it down even more. – If your goal is to lose 30 pounds in six months and you are going to work out three times a week to get there, fantastic! Yet, if you’re not working out at all now, how is it going to work jumping into three times a week? You’ll be exhausted before the second and thinking about quitting. Break it down, one step at a time! Start with once a week, for example, or taking a walk in the mornings.
4) Set yourself up for success! – After breaking it down, you can accomplish the easy steps with little to no problems. We’re working to create a habit for success. One step: yes! Second step: Yes! Before you know it you’re on your way.
5) Evaluate and adjust! – How are you doing? Be honest. If it’s too easy and the success is coming, then ramp it up. If it is challenging, and you’re missing steps, then scale it back even more. You’ll get there, but do it in a way that is right for you. If the end goal is too unrealistic, then change it! Maybe 20 pounds in 6 months is better, or even change the whole thing and focus on just eating healthier. It’s not a failure if you don’t succeed, it’s a cue that your process or goal needs to be adjusted and not abandoned.
6) Details are key. – If healthy eating is your goal, what EXACTLY does that mean? No fast-food, a salad a day, nothing processed. It’s your goal. You decide, but make that decision. Set the route you can follow and achieve.
7) Celebrate every success! – Seriously. One step isn’t just a step, it’s a small accomplishment towards the end result. Just as an artist can look at a painting and feel proud, even though the whole collection isn’t finished. It’s moving forward toward you end.
Place the stepping stones in front of you, instead of trying to leap all the way to the bank. The process is what is key to developing yourself and reaching the end. The achievement of your goal is merely the reward at the finish line. One step at a time, each stone is a success, and before you know it your destination is right in front of you.
“Pick your battles.”
“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Is it really that important?
We’ve all heard these and similar sayings and quips. But you usually want to rip the person’s face off when they tell you this just after you’ve had or are preparing to explode. Things affect all of us in different ways. How you interpret a situation and the way you react is completely in your control. Only you have the power to stop yourself from giving the crazy driver the finger, or snapping at the lady with the accent at customer service. Each opportunity that you allow for negative thoughts, feelings, and subsequent reactions to become a part of you is one step back towards the negative track and negative outlook on life.
How much is this one little situation going to affect your life? Would a negative reaction increase the tension and possibly cause further issues? In the majority of circumstances a negative reaction will only cause a negative result. The only exception to this rule is one the other individual is following positivity! It is important to refresh your mental awareness and knock down the small, petty feelings based in negativity. Seek the positive alternative! I’m sorry your day sucks, but it certainly doesn’t have to affect mine.
I like to look into the future to see how far along I really will care about a situation. An hour, a day, a week? Even 5 minutes could drastically change your attitude, and it usually will. Ignore it, walk away, and, if you have to, come back to the situation later. Like it is stated multiple times before assess the situation. What made you react the way you did and how can you avoid it in the future. Talk to the person it was regarding, after you’ve both had time to cool down of course. Reason will prevail!
It is not worth ruining your day, because chances are you’ll take that little, insignificant issue and blow it up to be ten times larger than it needed to be. And this was all over leaving the milk out.
With each and every observation you are learning something new. It can be something as simple as avoiding an intersection when you’re late, because that stoplight takes forever to change, or even adding an extra week of study time, because last semester you barely slept. Both of these examples are changes in behavior due to a past observation or experience. Life is all about taking in the knowledge and affecting change in future actions.
Simple, right? That’s just it. We need to be looking at each situation as a learning experience, what knowledge we can take away from it, and where we can apply that in the future to create positive change and influence in our lives.
The negative or difficult situations are often the hardest to assess in this manner, especially when they have just occurred. That’s okay! Coping with a situation and confronting the tough aspects is just one part in getting through it and moving forward. Yet, often times, we just try to forget about it and end up missing future warning signs of similar situations. I am definitely guilty of this one, and know you’re thinking of several right now. It is so important to take a look at what went wrong, assess the situation or event, decide what you want to change, and establish warning signs to prevent it in the future.
The point is key. You have to set warning signs, as you experienced the situation. It may be something as simple as writing it down in a journal to influence a future decision, or avoiding similar situations all together. Whatever you choose, just remember to take something away from it.
Albert Einstein’s classic quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” couldn’t put it any blunter. Learn from each experience, so that you aren’t caught up in a vicious, insane cycle of the same decision. Learn from every observation and move forward in a positive direction.
I can count on one hand the number of times during the week that I’m completely prepared. Like many of us, procrastination plagues me. I find myself putting in my contacts while at the stoplight, printing out homework two minutes before class, and even writing meeting agendas in the five minutes before everyone arrives, and that’s if I’m on time. What does this get me?! Really, a whole lot of nothing. The extra minutes I was spending surfing the web really didn’t amount to much.
As a Boy Scout, “Be Prepared” is pounded into your head. I always have what I need, but it’s usually a matter of still putting it together. It’s made me a master at “winging it!” Yet, that’s only exacerbating the procrastination issue.
I definitely consider myself lucky, as I’m able to pump out satisfactory if not good work under pressure. However, it really makes me think about how much better anything would be if I prepared well in advance. Not only that, but I would be drastically reducing the stress in my life. Less stress would mean a happier me, and I would have a greater capacity to be positive.
I know that my lack of preparedness hinders my work and overall productivity, so how do I change this? Sure, there are a multitude of sites that give pointers and advice, but that’s just it. I have to do it. In order to be prepared, you have to stand up, grab that calendar or to-do list, put down the remote, and BEGIN.
Starting today, I’m giving at least 30 solid minutes to sit in front of my calendar and write it out, block out deadlines, and begin what I have allowed to be my ever elusive quest to be prepared. No more excuses.
Mental awareness: what does this mean?
When attempting to make a shift towards positivity, one of the first and most important steps is recognizing your thought processes and attempting to influence them in a positive manner. Our thoughts affect every aspect of our day, from what side of the bed we get up, to our outlook on the day, and our perception of situations. Without realizing this and attempting to affect it, there is little to no hope in breaking free from a negative train of thought. It will just continue through the dismal lows day in and day out.
The way we think is habitual. And just as it is difficult to get rid of or change bad habits, it is going to be difficult to be aware of your thoughts and influence them for the better.
When a negative thought crosses your mind, sound a warning! You have to know what you’re thinking to affect it, thus, mental awareness. Next, repeat the thought again and attempt to change it. Now if you’re really upset about something, this is going to require effort. Even with a positive thought process it is difficult to deter your reaction to negative emotions. However, over time and practice becoming aware, we can all stop before we react to the negative thought that just dropped in.
By realizing the negative thoughts when they first appear, coming up with a positive alternative, and hanging on to a positive outlook, we can increase our mental awareness and begin to think in a positive manner. By no means is everything supposed to be daisies and roses. Yet, looking for the upbeat side to a negative situation will not only reduce your stress and make it easier to deal with, but you’ll walk away from the situation without so much weight and continuing negativity affecting your day. Look on the bright side, and keep looking up!
Walking along sunny State Street in Santa Barbara this weekend, I came across a sign that read, “There are no problems, just obstacles to overcome and to give thanks for.” Now it’s pretty hard to think about problems while hanging out by the beach in 80-degree weather, but the statement really hit me. I came to southern California to get away from everything back in cold, depressing Reno, and revitalize myself before winter really hit back home. Yet, all the “problems” that I thought I was escaping were really just waiting for me. In all reality, the heap of to-dos had probably grown, meaning I would have more to deal with and more stress on top. Now how does this make any sense? Yeah, I forgot everything that was confronting me, but I was really just hiding.
Can I employ positivity in this situation? That’s the solution to this dilemma. By looking at each as merely an obstacle that needed to be overcome in one way or another, I can begin focusing on the how to accomplish instead of the problem staring at me. Not to say that the stress of the situation vanished, but it certainly diminished with a positive path in mind. The situations were not problems that required immense stress and deliberation over, but rather something that I could step over or move beyond with a few quick, decisive actions.
Now comes the obscure part that we all know should come, but is often forgotten. Trust me, I fail to follow through all the time: “give thanks for.” Although the original quote might have had some religious meaning, I choose to look at it objectively. By relishing in the positive completion or handling of the obstacle at hand, not only am I satisfied and much happier than if I had just disregarded or shied away from it, but I can also reflect on the situation, how I handled it, and, hopefully in most cases, the much more positive result. It’s a learning experience, plain and simple. Next time, it will be all that easier to look at a similar hurdle and decide what can be done to move beyond it.
Give it a try. Confront the obstacle, decide how it can be overcome, move beyond it, and then reflect.
Our thought processes and consequent actions affect every aspect of our lives. A negative outlook on a situation or decision may deliver an unwanted result that could have been avoided or even eliminated as an option by simply assessing an issue from a different perspective.
Positive thinking creates positive outcomes. The more experiences and challenges that I face in my life, the more this seems to hold true. By thinking optimistically, I have found that even the largest obstacles become merely a set of choices with a series of possible results. The outcome of each choice can be influenced by a forward-thinking approach, positive mindset and focus towards the desired end. The confidence and self-esteem that I gain with each situation builds upon past successes and propels me ever forward towards the completion of my goals and achievement of my dreams. By beginning to think positively and extending those thoughts to everyday actions, we can all find more happiness in our lives.
In no way am I suggesting that we don rose-colored glasses and rule out negative possibilities. As we all know, stuff happens. Many times, that stuff is extremely difficult to handle and would be for most anyone. However, having an optimistic viewpoint and outlook on the not so difficult stuff can make it that much easier to focus on dealing with the tough situations and breeze through the run-of-the-mill issues.
My desire is to inspire and encourage positive thinking, action, and expression in others, just as it has been encouraged in my life. Through the constructive application of new-found positivity in life, especially in work, school, social interactions, and personal development, I have seen my own happiness and outlook improve, along with making others feel better. By focusing on personal development through positive and confident expression, boosting self-esteem, and improving self-image, happier living is just one smile away!
“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” – Henry Ford