Use Negative Swing to Create Positive Momentum

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Power of perspectives is so powerful, you can literally turn anything upside down and build upon the momentum. This applies in good and in bad. Usually people would rather have more of the good and less of the bad.

It’s completely within our power to decide how each event will serve us: is it a lesson or a burden. Masters find the lesson in everything and everyone. It’s sure to be there, if you look deep enough.

Then use those lessons to create habits.

Use those habits to create combinations of habits that shape your days.

Use those days to make your dreams reality.

Finding the Positive in the Negative

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A reflective post about acquiring new, more constructive and positive thoughts.

Often by default we do not have the optimum thoughts, no matter how smart we think we are. We are our own programmers, so we write our own destiny, even though much of what we have running inside us is also adopted from the environment and upbringing for example.

However what would happen, if something went wrong or will go wrong along the way? Unless we learn the skill of unlearning bad thinking patterns, and replacing them with more skillful ones we are likely going to end up suffering a lot.

One such thinking pattern that I’ve had to confront in my life recently has to do with abundance.

About a year ago I read this book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. Yet now as I’ve listened thoughts about the book through podcasts, I’ve understood that I remember quite a little from the book. I revisited my notes and I got excited: I have to read this book again. So what I did yesterday on Sunday was to purchase Audible edition, put the speed on 1.7X and listened almost the whole book in one sitting and made meticulous notes as the author himself was reading the book for me. This was absolutely brilliant way to spend my time, because on this time I picked up very much different things than on the first reading.

On the first time I read the book about a year ago there was literally too much to handle at a one time. We can only process one thought at a time anyway, so it wouldn’t make much sense to do more. On this time thought I was able to focus more on the content and how to apply it than during the first time.

Especially interesting concept are the upper limit problems, the kind of subconscious thinking through which we (our own ego) starts sabotaging us. This is also outlined in the book: Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday and widely in psychology as well. Idea is that, we are rather in familiar hell than unknown heaven. Our ego is afraid, and that’s why we would sabotage ourselves.

This is also the reason why Winston Churchill said that courage is the primary virtue, because nothing would happen if we would stay crippled by fear. In the book Hendricks quotes Fitz Perls that fear is excitement without breath and suggests that cure for fear is simply start breathing.

I picked up the success / abundance / love mantra that was introduced in the book, however what I found particularly useful was the thought that whenever something perhaps undesired happens, is to view it as just so that something wonderful must be happening. This is based on the idea that we are sabotaging ourselves, because we have reached an upper limit where we cannot ourselves to enjoy the good fortune. Therefore right place to shift the attention is to wonder what kind of wonderful things are going to happen next.

Positive Beliefs: Life is a Wonderful Adventure

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When you allow more positive beliefs to your life and reduce the limiting beliefs to your life, your daily experience will not be the same, ever.

Yesterday as I listened the Awaken the Giant Within abridged edition (to my disappointment). I did pick up quite a few useful thoughts from there. Mainly there was this idea about beliefs as tables and then there are these stories that either give the table more legs or take them away.

With limiting beliefs, we ought to question them and take some legs away.

With positive beliefs, we ought to strengthen them and add more legs to the table (reasons to believe). The stronger the references, the stronger we will believe them.

Positive beliefs allow us to live more fully, we are not limited by the unseen any longer. We allow us to be something we can be.

It’s an incredible realization to see that what you believe supports your reality. I am suggesting you to become a bit positive lunatic, not completely though.

Optimism is in itself about having positive illusions about life. This makes life worth living, even if this is partially true. Optimism in itself can be dangerous too as I’ve written before.

Martin Seligman, one of the founders of the positive psychology field and also a person who has developed something he calls “learned optimism” – which can be helped to cure people who have what he calls ‘learned helplessness’. It’s very interesting concept, where he also warns of the dangers.

Stock market crashes and too overly optimism is not a good thing. Then our decisions are not based on the reality at all, but to our illusions.

With the positive beliefs, I believe we can though questioning find right mix of realism and joy of life. Life has more to offer to us than we think and we have more to offer to the life than we can imagine. That’s why we need optimism and positive beliefs.

Questions are a good tool to sharpen the thinking, and with this we can test if the reasons and references for our beliefs are true or not. By doing this the questioning exercise often enough, we quickly notice that the negative beliefs are not worth it. Positive beliefs combined with actual gratefulness makes life really joyful.

List your positive beliefs about yourself and the world.

Then make another list about the negative beliefs.

I did this exercise yesterday and  I noticed that most of the negative beliefs that popped up didn’t make much sense. I started writing right away reasons that these are actually causing more pain than any good to me and I started to distance myself to these thoughts.

At the same time, I started seeking more positive beliefs. In fact since my imagination was only limited, I could come up with a few good ones, yet I felt lacking something. Then I tried googling and right away for example this list of 100 positive beliefs comes handy, you can take a belief or two from there that really resonate with you and make it your own.

Life is a wonderful adventure,

Janne

Virtue is the Purpose of Life

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Doing good, doing the right thing in whatever position you are in life is the purpose of life according to the Stoics. Take responsibility of your soul, of what you can do, because that’s all you can do.

Do not judge, writes Marcus Aurelius.

Do not judge, always seek to praise were Abraham Lincolns words according to Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Virtue is doing the right thing when we have the freedom to choose otherwise. Marcus Aurelius is fascinating example of this, because he was the emperor of the known world, ruler with absolute power. Yet he was living in virtue.

Trying to put this to the scope of personal life: should I discard all my desires I ask myself again? Then I remember the difference between a desire, lust and a positive desire.

What causes us to be virtuous? What causes positive desires?

Sigmund Freud suggests that it may be sublimation. Something negative we have done earlier in life may cause to turn into something major positive later in life.

Reflecting on my own past, I certainly feel that the reason I contemplate so much on the virtues, what is right and best for everyone is because I feel that when I was younger I wasn’t very good example. Due to that earlier experience I certainly want to go to the opposite direction as fast as I can, which is a very positive.

We want to progress and above all we want to be something more than we were before. As stoics put it, at least we should try to be better than animals. And the way to do that is through civilizing ourselves and taking responsibility of our souls. By putting our values to work and working from where we are now.

 

Further info

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius on Wikipedia

Marcus Aurelius Lecture on Stoicism

Freud on: Sublimation

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Strikethrough the Unwanted and Ask How Instead

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Words reflect our thinking. If we rephrase our words, we also reprogram our thinking.

Some examples:

  • Limiting “best known result” – If we too much limit our thinking by setting the best possibility that ever has existed in our reality, we may not be able to think broadly and imaginatively. We hamper our own and the growth of others.
  • Impossibilities “It can’t be done”, “I can’t afford it” – easy trap to fall into is to say something can’t be done. It has never been about it can be done. Much more productive is to ask how it can be done?
  • Negatives – swear words and in general anything that evokes the negative feelings. It can also be the tone of voice, i.e. yelling or screaming.
  • Distractions “I’ll do this later…” – effective way to decide is to ask yourself, when is this?

To practice these, notice the thoughts, write the thought down, strikethrough and replace it with smarter way to say it.

Janne

Enthusiasm and Bouncebackability are Ingredients for Greatness

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Enthusiastic person will be successful. The trick is to stay enthusiastic with everything life throws at us. Anyone with daring goals is going to face something unexpected that may be even called failure, although I dislike the word, because failure is only failure if you fail to learn and seize doing anything afterwards.

Winston Churchill said wisely: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Emotions are contagious. So while we may be enthusiastic, someone or something may offset an another, even stronger emotion usually due to a mistake or something unexpected. When we finally meet this emotion we are often struck with either negative or confused emotions: our enthusiasm will be tested.

Not so cool anymore huh? Today I had exactly such scenario. In the morning I was rather tired, yet I was also rather enthusiastic about new work week and possibilities. Eventually on my commute I decided to start reading Frank Bettger’s book “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling” which I had been excited to peek on quite a while. I didn’t get very far, but on the first pages the book discussed about enthusiasm – one of my favorite topics.

Because emotions are contagious, we need to tune into positive emotions. I like the idea that since we are working we can do the work with excellent attitude and enthusiasm. So with these thoughts I started the day and everything went rather well until afternoon, an unexpected error happened and it left me a bit dazed and confused.

Because it was at the end of the work day, I couldn’t quite put my finger on to it. I understood that the ability to recover from setback is crucial and all in all I handled it all okay, yet the feeling wasn’t the same after all.

Something lacked, but I couldn’t quite put my finger to there and then. Now I know: enthusiasm.

Therefore bouncebackability it’s not only about doing what is necessary, it also means finding the enthusiasm quickly 🙂

Enthusiasm is found the way it is always found in the beginning of the day, the same routine we just may need to stop and restart. It’s mostly about directing focus: to the positive and to the things we can control.

There will be always setbacks, it’s up to us to face them with smile.

Life is What We Think

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Life is what we think it is: it’s the sensory input and then however we interpret that.

Much of our suffering is caused by ourselves, because if we would have thinking skills we would focus to what is best at each present moment, instead of thinking too much of the past or worrying about the future.

Our life is a construct of our thoughts and these feelings that follow. And yes through conscious thought intervention (called stopping and thinking) we can actually affect how we feel in the long term. Actions lead to results, which come back to us as feedback which causes feelings.

What is in our control is our attitude towards life.

If we think like is cool, then it is cool. What we focus on grows stronger and we will find the strength to live.

If on the other hand we do not see life as an opportunity, then we the negative begins to strengthen and grow, which then in turn causes more negative intended and unintended consequences.

What we focus on, grows and determines how our life is. We have the choice.

Two Superpowers: Accepting the Circumstances and Focusing to What is in Your Control

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I was writing my life story today morning and I realized a pattern emerge: Whenever I’ve accepted present, taken responsibility and focused to do my best in the given circumstances I’ve ended up well.

Sometimes grass is greener other times. Other times it isn’t. You yourself have a hunch, are you just escaping the responsibilities of the present, or is the present influence negative to you. You have to search inside your heart for these answers. Once you know, you probably know if the present actually could be improved significantly just by assuming massive responsibility of the situation.

I’ve been in such situations often and I still end up being. As example, last spring there was a project I felt completely miserable with. When I noticed that something is wrong, I am focusing my effort to things that are not under my control. Then I decided to refocus my attention to what I can do. With this my thoughts clicked, and I began to do my best in what is under my control. The sense of control was restored and I began to feel better.

Sometimes our attention wanders off to wrong things, or we get caught off guard with something which we need to process: accept what is and find our circle of control where to focus to.

I have been in so lucky in life, that I’ve learned to recognize the negative influences to my life and find good influences. In environment of good influences, it is merely I that needs to grow into acceptance, responsibility and focus.

Only once we accept our circumstances we can begin to improve those. We should only focus to what is in our control, otherwise we gonna burn out or get depressed.

Positive Emotional Spiral

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We are not our emotions. We’ve little control over our emotions they occur, however what we can control is our response to those emotions. Our response dictates our emotional life, how we respond creates either positive or negative spirals.

Thought -> Emotion -> Action

However, that cycle works also other way around action -> emotions -> thoughts. In a way our actions can bring us joyful emotions.

Happiness as a feeling may not be easy, but it’s a choice as well.

John Wooden said it well:  “True happiness comes from the things that cannot be taken away from you. Making the full effort to do the right thing can never be taken away from you.”

We can put our full effort into things, then we do not really have any other choice but to feel satisfied and happy. Because nothing else could’ve been done any better, we gave our best.

We Start with False Realities

 

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Our minds are incredibly good in coming up with all kinds of bullshit and stories. For some they maybe more right than others…

Personally they’ve not done much good. I realized when I started what I first called project reality: to test my guesses about reality, right away I would’ve be proven wrong time after time. It turns out I wasn’t so right after all.

Thereafter I chose to test my sense of reality more often.

We start with these false realities and during our lifetimes, we may either work to get more accurate sense of the reality… Or not.

Yesterday when I started to meditate, I noticed a lot of thoughts. Then I started out of whim to recognize these thoughts and the core feeling they tried to convey. After doing it a while, I noticed that many of what I were feeling, were rather “negative.”

After I had been done with the meditation, I still continued the practice through the evening and even today. Recognizing thoughts, acknowledging emotions create the insight: where I am now, what I am feeling now. I am not my thoughts, emotions or feelings, but this is what I am experiencing.

Everything good starts to happen, once we have this insight about ourselves, and have the courage to talk about them. Then the world allies to help.