“The more we embrace the constant change of life, the less we get knocked over by it”
– Baron Baptiste
After Monday’s post on focusing on the positive (I think that’s what it was about anyway, I’m still a little confused, to be honest) it seemed appropriate to have a little chat/pep talk/follow-up with some action items for implementation. The concept of focusing on the positive is simple. The practice, however, is where things start to get a little trickier.
We know that your thoughts control your habits and your habits determine (or at the very least, affect) your actions, right? Agreed? So essentially, positive thoughts produce positive habits which produce positive behavior which result in happier selves. You with me so far?
The reverse is also true. Negative thoughts produce negative habits which produce negative behavior. If I think I’m fat then I will punish myself for eating things I’m not “supposed to” which will create patterns of behavior around food which creates stress and anxiety which makes me unhappy. Got it?
This is the universal law of attraction at work as well. You get what you put out there. Be careful what self fulfilling prophecy you start writing when you chose to stay in that shittitude you’ve worked yourself up into.
I’m not saying you can’t ever be in a bad mood. You can. Absolutely. In fact, I have a spotify playlist for just those moments. But, I also have a playlist to follow that, my FIX IT playlist , you’ll notice it’s longer, a whole lot longer, actually. Why? Because being in a bad mood gets me nowhere, it perpetuates negativity, breeds resentment and grows anger. Staying mad doesn’t help. Whatever happened is in the past. Let it go and move on. You can’t move forward if you keep looking behind you. Well, I mean, you can, but you might incur a whole lot more injury that way. Deal with what you need to deal with and leave drop that baggage like it’s hot, baby.
I have always been an optimist, always. I have not, however, always known a) how to articulate the concept b) how to leverage that resourceful mindset, and c) that it was a conscious decision that had become a habit as a result of repeated practice. Turns out I’d been practicing how to smile like I meant it my whole life. I smiled through every set of troubles the universe threw my way, and when I got knocked down, I rose.Thanks mom, for teaching me how to stand up, dust off my knees, and get back on that horse (or uh, bike, I suppose, as it were), even in the rain. Even in the dark. Even when I was scared.
This is what the lotus on my tattoo stands for. Thriving in the face of adversity. Constant rebirth. Growth despite the odds. Optimism.
Okay, so back patting lecture over. Input provided. Basic background information, covered. Let’s take a look at the nitty gritty details, and move past the “why” into the “how.”
The foundation of optimism is attitude, and that is easy to adjust through reframing.
What is reframing, exactly? It’s the art of bullshitting. Only, it’s bullshitting your brain until it believes it is truth. It’s faking it till you make it, it’s visualizing to materialize, it’s creating your own reality through perspective. It’s wearing rose colored glasses, even in a shitstorm.
Reframing is taking an experience or a statement, and turning it on its head into a positive thought.
As an illustration, while at CrossFit, a recent fitness interest of mine, I often find myself struggling with new skills (which, sidenote- if you are seeking some fun and humility in your life- hit up a CrossFit gym- those WOD’s are guaranteed to keep it real) I have a pretty good time laughing at myself in these moments, like when I get the jump rope caught in my hair, or the back of my neck, or my, uh, ass (that hurts, kind of, a lot, actually). It would be easy to get frustrated, quit and shut down. But I don’t. I keep it light. I let it flow. I reframe.
For example, instead of saying “I can’t do double unders. Double unders are stupid” I could say “double unders are challenging for me, but I am getting better every week.” Or, when given 60 burpees to do as a part of a WOD (uh huh, you read that right. Sixty. As a PART of a series of exercises) I could say “buck furpees,” but instead I can say “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” and knock them out, sparkling (yes, sparkling) with sweat and all.
In a non fitness example, gasp, consider being on the road. Sometimes when I’m running late to my 8a.m. lecture (like uh, today) and I’m driving the back road to the staff parking lot there are people walking, directly in the middle of the road, trailing their backpacks behind them without a care in the world or any effort whatsoever to move over. I could get upset. I could start bitching about people being inconsiderate and start rolling my eyes seeing grown adults with rolling backpacks. . . But, that is neither helpful, nor kind. It provides no benefit to me and lands harsh and unwarranted judgement on them. So instead, I take a breath and remind myself that a) it’s my fault I’m running late and b) dude, I run in the street. Like, right smack dab in the middle of it, facing oncoming traffic. . . so. . . yeah. I’m gonna put down that stone now.
So in an attempt to put this reframing concept into an action plan, in the form of a list of course (#obviously), here are some steps to help you get started on your attitude remodel:
Notice your negative thoughts. Acknowledge them. Consider the source. Then stop.
Resist the urge to build them up by inviting friends to your pity party. Be impeccable with your word. This is going to be hard, really hard, especially if you are sarcastic (like me, gulp). It’s more fun to make mockery of things than it is to let them go, and misery loves company. STOP RECRUITING FOR TEAM WHINER. Like the Red Sox, they might win a game but not a title.
Let go of your judgement (on yourself or of others)
Decide what it is you want the result to be and visualize that in your mind. See yourself doing the thing you want to do or be, and not the thing you don’t want. Where your mind goes your energy flows.
Create a new statement for the situation that:
identifies, specifically, what you want the outcome to be
is positive or at the very least, is lacking in negative connotation
creates ownership and encourages responsibility
Say the statement, to yourself or out loud, several times.
If it is helpful to you or others, share it. If it is not, don’t. I repeat, be impeccable with your word.
So as one more quick walk through example, it might look like this:
Problem: Work and time balance are considerably unbalanced, with great weight given to the former and the latter seemingly as light as a feather.
Initial thought: “I have too much work to do and not enough time to do it all. Fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck.”
- That is not helpful Michelle. CTFD.
- Do not open up Pinterest to find funny work pins to make you feel better about yourself. Do not broadcast your self imposed disaster on facebook. Shut that shit down. Stat.
- Take a breath, prioritize and identify step one.
- See myself at ease. Relax my body. See the list completed. Visualize turning in an assignment, giving a lecture, or meeting with a client.
- Create the statement “today I will continue working, to the very best of my ability, and will complete as many tasks as is reasonable to maintain a healthy balance for those affected by my effort.”
- Write down the statement, and look at my vision board, if helpful, as motivation.
- Share one positive thing out to the universe. Tweet a great quote, post an inspiring picture, send some positive energy out into the world, then get to work.
As a final note, I ran across this cool channel on YouTube, called Charisma Matrix, which has some thought provoking short videos with practical “how to” advice for shifting your paradigm. In fact, oddly enough, right after I wrote this post I watched this video, which is all about mindset, attitude, perspective and controlling your response. Um, sound familiar? Yeah. Thought so. This of course is the universe’s way of reinforcing my lessons, apparently. Team RAS scores another point.
So, good luck with your reconstruction. May the odds be ever in your favor, the force be with you and your positivity extend to infinity, and beyond. Ha!
Peace out friends.
“I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions”
– Steven Covey
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