Posts tagged ‘belief’

July 7, 2012

Locus Of Control

In 1954, Julian B. Rotter created the personality psychology theory of Locus of control. This concept referred to the extent individuals believes they can control their life circumstances. The term “locus” is derived from the Latin word for “place”.

As with many of our discussions about either/or concepts, one’s internal locus of control is not absolute. Some may adopt an internal locus of control for some situations and an external locus of control

If one has an “internal locus of control”, that person believes that they have the ability to control their lives since their life events are a direct result of their behaviors and actions.

If one has an “external locus of control”, that person believes that the causes of their life circumstances are a result of external factors such as other the actions of others, the environment, luck, fate, or a higher power.

Some reported benefits of an internal locus of control include better control of one’s behavior, more attempts to influence other’s behavior, assumption that actions will be successful, and actively seeking information (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locus_of_control). According to About.com, (http://stress.about.com/od/psychologicalconditions/ht/locus.htm) research has shown that those with an internal locus of control-tend to be happier, less depressed, and less stressed.

I feel that it is reasonable to extrapolate that people with a greater internal locus of control will assume more responsibility for their beliefs, thoughts feelings and actions. I feel that it is very important for someone with a strong internal locus of control to  adopt an appreciative view of the world and commit to positive self talk. If we believe that we are responsible, do poorly on a task and then deride ourselves on the outcome of the task, we would surely be depressed.

There are also some benefits of an external locus of control. For example, if there were a situation that you cannot control directly, it would be beneficial to emotionally “let go” of the situation and “give it up to fate”. For example, we working on an academic paper it is valuable to adopt and internal locus of control of all the steps that you need to perform in the data collection and writing process. Since you cannot control the results of your experiment, you need to let go of your exceptions. It is also beneficial to “let go” when you send the article for peer review since you cannot control the opinion of others.

There are many tests of “Locus of Control” online. Psychology Today has such a test at http://psychologytoday.tests.psychtests.com/take_test.php?idRegTest=1317

Like most things, one’s “Locus of Control” is not black and white. There are times where we feel we have a much greater control of our destiny and other times where we may feel blown around by the winds of fate.

It is my belief that it is best to have a strong internal locus of control for all of those elements that can only be controlled by ourselves including thoughts, habits, beliefs, actions, attitudes and chosen responses to our life events. There are many elements of life, from the weather to the stock market, that we can not control. However, we can do our best to own our responses to our outlook on life as well as our responses to live events.

May 21, 2012

What’s Your Story?

Most of us do not realize the power of our own internal story telling. We assume that our identity if fixed and we are just experience life as it comes to us. What we may not realize is the fact that how we choose to experience our life is influenced by many unconscious assumptions related to how we are “writing” our own story. Once we realize that we are authors of our own story, we are better able to guide the narrative of our lives.

Setting:
The setting is really just where you are in the moment. It is your specific location in time and place. The setting is just part of our story. It can have an influence on us, and our actions. Our current setting does not define us. Just because you may have lived in the same location for your entire life does not mean that that will always be the case. You can change your setting is you so desire. If you do not like a particular setting such as living with someone who gives you more frustration that affection, then you have the ability to leave. Our setting has an influence on us, but it does not control us.
Character:
You have control over the elements of your character. Your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, habits and attitudes guide your actions. How you frame your role in different situations will affect your response and possible outcomes to these events. The role of your character may change depending on the setting, how you view your involvement in the current “plot line” and in relation to the others around you. You may perceive your role as:
– the victim
– the hero
– the complex misunderstood character
– the comic foil
– the central character
– the social observer
– etc.
Remember, you are the one constructing the narrative in your own mind. How do you want to see yourself?
Plot:
We are in control of the perceiving meaning that we discern from our life’s events. However, we do not have control over many things that happen to us. Based on our beliefs of our role in our lives settings and routines, we will distill meaning from what happens to us.
If we see ourselves as the unfortunate victim of life events, the coffee that we accidentally spilled on ourselves on the way to that important job interview will be construed as a tragic element in a series of unfortunate events. We may proceed even further with our internal plot line by acting in some unfortunate subconscious way that leads to a nervous unflattering job interview that leads to losing the prospective new job.
When we see ourselves as the fortunate protagonist, the coffee spilled on our dress shirt will just be a minor obstacle to conquer. Our plucky character will find a napkin and soda water to clean the stain or even would use the incident as a humorous anecdote to start the job interview. Even if this perceived “champion” does not get the job, our internal dialogue will weave the story as just one step of many in the quest for optimal employment.
How we “write” our plot will control how will remember the event. When we tell stories about our lives at the end of the day, it is clear to the plot lines that we see ourselves in and the role our character plays.

In closing, I realize there is so much more to say about this topic. I want to give a shout out to Lem at  The Identity Specialist  (http://identityspecialist.net) and Karen Wan at Writing your destiny (http://writingyourdestiny.com) since they thing about these concepts as well.

Now go write yourself a good story!

May 11, 2012

Don’t Be a “Grouch”!

 

There are people in our lives that appear to go out of their way to conversationally invalidate everything we say. When we discuss how to solve a complex problem with them, they will state the obstacle to every possible solution. When you remark on a sunny day, they will inform you of the harmful effects of UV radiation. When you remark on how the cloudy day is a perfect day to work outside without getting too hot, they will complain about the “gray gloom”. When you start to talk about a major problem in your life, instead of validating how you feel or see if there is anything to do to help you, this person will pat you on the back and tell you it will all be OK. When conversing with a constant contrarian, you will likely leave the interaction frustrated and depleted.

I have to acknowledge that I have my own inner “grouch”. This is the voice inside my head that can derail forward progress. My internal contrarian gives me a reason to stay in bed when I plan to wake up early and exercise. This subconscious naysayer provides me with ample reasons to downplay the compliments of others. It takes vigilance to keep this voice in check. I am glad that I have practiced the habit of reviewing my thoughts before they are spoken. Some times this inner curmudgeon presents its’ input during ordinary conversation. For example, a friend of mine informed me of the fun he had discovering an outstanding Mexican marketplace where you could find excellent traditional Mexican food at great prices. My inner killjoy wanted to inform him of the fact that my does not eat a lot Mexican food and that this place, that gave him a sense of satisfaction and pride, just wouldn’t work for me. Luckily my pre-frontal cortex kicked in and allowed me to evaluate my response. What value would I be adding to the conversation by dismissing the value of this new Market? My friend wanted to be validated for his excitement. He did not want to speak with a proverbial “wet blanket”.

One of the benefits of meditation or quiet reflection is that we can evaluate our inner dialogue in a detached manner. We can observe our thought patterns and notice the general feeling of our thoughts. When we realize that our thoughts are just a part of our identity and do not compromise the totality of our identity, we understand that we can control what we think and what we say. We know from experience that is annoying to speak with a constant contrarian. There is no benefit from being a contrarian ourselves.

April 29, 2012

Responding to Life Events

One of the most influential equations that I have learned in my life has been:
E + R = O
For this equation;

  • E = Events
  • R = Your chosen response to an Event
  • O = The overall outcome

In the model, the “Event” is neutral. It is not “good” or “bad”, it is just a life circumstance. It is our Response to an event that will shape how we label or perceive the event in our minds. How we choose to respond to an event directly affects the overall outcome.

For example, imagine you are a school-aged kid being called a name by one of your classmates. You choose to respond by calling the other kid a worse name. The outcome is that the other kid hits you.

Imagine this scenario with a different response. You are a school-aged kid being called a name by one of your classmates. You ignore the other kid and move to the other side of the playground to be with a group of your friends. The outcome is that you have moved on with your day without conflict.

Let us look at this equation from an “Influence versus Control” perspective

  • E = Events – These are things that you typically can’t control. You may be able to influence factors leading up to events, but the event would have happened without you. Life events can be the small events such as being cut off in traffic or misplacing your house keys to major life events such as your house burning down or losing a family member.
  • R = Response – This is where you have some control. You can choose your response. When a life event happens, you can remember that there are multiple ways to respond to any situation and you can practice taking the time needed to evaluate your response. Since your response has a strong influence on the outcome, it is important to take personal responsibility for your responses to all life events.
  • O = Outcomes- This is an areas where we have influence. If we react “positively” to a situation, we are more likely to experience a “positive” outcome.

One Saturday, I experienced an opportunity to reflect on my responses to a common life situation. While playing with my children at the beach, I noticed that I no longer had my car keys. I could not use my phone to call my wife since my phone was locked in my car. My kids had just come out of the water and they were cold. There was a storm coming and rain was just minutes away.

In the past, this situation would have freaked me out. I would have become extremely frustrated and my blood pressure would have risen. Most likely, I would have started using expletives at an increasingly frequent level.

When I reflected on the fact that the only thing that I could control in this situation was my response to this situation, I was in a much better place for problem solving. I knew that there were just a limited amount of possible actions. First I unpacked all of our stuff to look for the key. Then I backtracked everywhere that we had been at the beach that day. Once I felt that I had just about exhausted all my options. I asked a fellow beach goer to barrow their cell phone. I called my wife to see if she could come pick us up. My wife’s phone went straight to voicemail, so the option of being “rescued” appeared off the table. While the kids played on a play structure, I went back to an area of the play area  that we had been playing before the key was lost and I started a grid search of the sand area looking for the key. After a while of searching,I found the key.

In this scenario, if had chosen to respond with anger, I could have “ruined” the day for my children and myself. By remaining calm, our family fun day continued on without incident. The next time “life happens”, remember you have the ability evaluate your response before you take action. When we chose to remain calm in a problematic situation, we are more likely to consider all of our options and problem solve effectively.

April 26, 2012

Right Mind-ed-ness

Our left hemisphere is all about the past and the future and serves as the voice inside of our head. Our right hemisphere is all about the NOW and overall perception of being. 

One strategy of “getting into our right minds” is meditation. Meditation is the practice of detaching from one’s thoughts. Many people think that to engage in meditative practice, you have to absolutely free of conscious thoughts. In “Meditation in a New York Minute”,  Mark Thornton reviews many types of meditative practice. The one teaching that was the most valuable for me is that the initial focus of meditation is to detach from your thoughts. When meditating, you can still have your internal dialogue, but the goal is to detach and observe your thoughts as if they are just words floating by. In short, we breathe deeply and try to get in our right hemisphere.

If you are a recovering cynic such as myself, the mere mention of meditation may trigger a belief system that resists this concept. This resistant vision may include pictures of hippies with headbands across their long hair sitting on a grass field making daisy chains while chanting Ohmmm. At least, that was my internal response about six years ago.

Today, I look at meditation pragmatically. I have studied the effects of meditation on myself. The results of my “single-subject research design” (with very loose qualitative data) is that when I have the habit of meditating for at least five minutes per day, I am better able to detach from my thoughts. I also noticed that once I started to observe my thoughts objectively, I was better able to control my thoughts and to change my thought patterns.

In summary, Meditation allows up to observe and evaluate our thoughts and to increase awareness that we can be separate from our stream of thoughts.

Now meditation is good for the 20% of conscious thought that we can control. What do we do about the other 80% of unconscious thoughts and belief systems?

The short answer is….Work on it! On great way to work is through positive affirmations.

Again, six years ago my cynical self groaned a “good grief” every time I heard about positive affirmations. My belief system at that time was that positive affirmations are good for those “new age folks”. I had the comedic image of Al Frankin’s Stewart Smally  –

Affirmation helps re-shape our unconscious beliefs. The more we think and affirm our new belief and the more feeling that we attach to this belief, the more this new belief will become a part of our subconscious belief system. Positive affirmations can help improve our self-concept and self-confidence. Ironically, earlier this morning I was listening to a great podcast on self-confidence on “Life Habits”. http://lifehabits.net/2009/04/24/lh32-self-confidence/

In short, meditation and positive affirmations can be effective strateiges in re-shaping our thoughts and beliefs.

Happy thinking!

April 17, 2012

Priorities

It is very challenging to get where you want to go without establishing some priorities. Without establishing priorities, everything has equal weight or equal urgency. This could result in either a) everything needs to be done NOW and you feel overwhelmed and panicked or b) everything could be done “whenever” and progress is easily procrastinated.

In my job, I have had more experience working with people who have difficulty placing everything in the “oh no it’s a crisis and everything needs to be done now” category. In my opinion, these folks are easier to help than the class of “why should I bother performing my basic job duties” or the “if I procrastinate long enough, someone else will do it” group. People in the “crisis now” category are motivated to take action; they just have more difficulty knowing what to do first. Setting priorities helps classify work tasks into “what needs to be done now” versus “I will get to this when I can”. By establishing what needs to be accomplished first, we can focus on one thing at a time and give our full attention to the present moment.

When working in an organization, it is helpful to understand that organization’s institutional priorities. In almost all jobs, there are essential tasks that absolutely must be completed. Additionally, most jobs have time sensitive projects and tasks with absolute deadlines. We can also determine what aspects are important to our supervisor. Therefore, in most job situations we can determine the job priorities just by paying attention to our work environment or by collaborating with our co-workers.

Setting life priorities help us organize all aspects of our daily routines. Priorities help us budget time, energy and finances to the things that we hold to be most important. A very important element of setting our own life’s priorities is being honest. We need to reflect on what is truly meaningful in our lives instead of following a dream that was dictated to us by our parents or by copying the lifestyle of our peer group without some level of reflection. For myself, time with my family is the highest priority. If will re-arrange my work schedule (if allowed by my supervisor) to make sure that my family is taken care of. I make sure that I spend time each day to spend with my children. There are other people that I know that do not have children and prioritize engaging in leisure activities. In this example, our life priorities are just different and it is pointless to label one’s priorities as “good” or “bad”. However, I do feel that it would be harmful to prioritize a life activity that has little meaning in our life.

Many people know Randy Pausch for his book and viral YouTube video “The Last Lecture”. However Randy Pausch also gave a great lecture on time management during the last year of his life. One of the best strategies he shared on time management was based on priorities. The first step of this exercise is to establish you basic “to do list”. Once you have everything listed, you sort each item into four categories; important, due now, unimportant due now, important, due later, unimportant, due later. Most people habitually prioritize based on due date. The crucial point of this exercise is that you prioritize based on importance! Therefore, your classification would be:

  1. Important, due now
  2. Important, due later
  3. Unimportant, due now
  4. Unimportant, due later

Once we understand what is important to us, we can allocate our resources appropriately. Since our time is described as our most valuable resource, it is best that we spend it wisely.

I hope that you are able to find the time to do the things you find most valuable in your life!

April 9, 2012

Failure Vs. Feedback

 

Most people fear failure. There are many things that I have not tried in my life since I was afraid of “failing”. Fear of failure can cause “action paralysis” where people do not even try something new or something out of their comfort zone. There are a lot of cultural references that reinforce a negative association with failure such as the common phrase  “Failure is not an option”.

I want to be careful not to overgeneralize. Of course we want people to do their best to make goods, services and infrastructure as safe as possible. No one wants airplanes to fall out of the sky or for buildings to “fail” due to poor construction.

The importance re-examining the concept of “failure” is that “failure” can be looked at as a form of feedback about our performance.  For example, if you “failed” a math test you could a) review the test answers to see which concepts you need to study or b) you can view yourself as a “failure” who is not good at math. The first option is most likely to lead to a better grade on the next exam.

When we set personal goals on where we want to achieve in our lives, it is important to be flexible in our thinking and realize that when things do not go exactly how we imagine they would, that these situations provide feedback on how we may need to adjust our plans to move forwards. When we acknowledge the feedback that life provides, we are more likely to move forward and continue to perform actions towards attaining our goals.

Our feelings about “Failure” are often connected with our internalized beliefs about ourselves. It is very important to reflect our your personal beliefs and move away from beliefs where we see ourselves as “failures”.

April 2, 2012

Acceptance (Habit Change Challenge Day 2)

Hello Beautiful Blogging World,

I was successful for day one with all of my target goals. I meditated. I exercised. I read affirmations and I journaled my gratitudes and my successes. I am going on a vacation with the family and I am very excited.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about acceptance. I plan on spending more time on “acceptance” in a later post. Today, I will just share my affirmation about “acceptance”

I accept everything element that is a part of my life.

I accept all aspects about this  moment in time.

I accept that all my previous thoughts feelings and actions have brought me to where I am in this present time and place.

I accept all forms of feedback from my environment.

I realize that when I resist all those factors that I can not control, I feel “stressed” and powerless.

When I accept all that I can not control and realize that I can always control how I react, I feel empowered.

–Have a great day!

 

March 31, 2012

A Dose of Inspiration

Hello all,
Tomorrow I am starting my own personal habit change challenge where I will: 1) List Daily Gratitudes 2) Journal Personal Successes 3) Find time to Meditate 4) Exercise! I huge “Thank You” for those who have agreed to join this challenge; Lynie L Vinyard Currie Rose , Sue,  and Lem .

To my personal challenge list, I am adding “read personal affirmations”. Daily affirmations are a great tool to work on one’s unconscious beliefs. “Affirmation Year”  already has a challenge for focusing on affirmations for the year.

Today, I am reblogging this inspirational story about Terry Fox! I hope this story motivates you to move forward towards any perceived obstacle!

Compassion Through Thoughts!

“Hope is the physician of each misery”.       Irish Proverb

The world faces pain each day.Some give in, but there are some who bear it, for others.Terry Fox is one such man of hope, whose hope blooms everyday, in the hearts of thousands, helping them stand and fight, never give up – not untill they achieve greatness, not till they soar high above, and till they achieve solitude and escape from pain!I feel so proud to share his story of ever-living hope, because for me the name “Terry Fox” means “DREAM” and “HOPE”.

“Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles”.     Alex Karras

“Disease is somatic; the suffering from it, psychic”.        Martin H. Fischer

Terry Fox was born on 28th july 1958 in Canada.He lost a leg to osteosarcoma when he was 18.He woke up one day with a dull pain…

View original post 1,418 more words

March 25, 2012

Appreciation versus Depreciation

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.
Voltaire

Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.
Alan Cohen

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. – Frederick Keonig

 

When we consider our beliefs, there is a dichotomy of how we can choose to approach the world.  We can find value in everything around us, or we can devalue our world. In “The Secrets of the Power of Intention”, Dr. Wayne Dyer discussed this in terms of appreciation and depreciation. When we are appreciative, we find more value in all things around us. Wayne Dyer used the example of the Holocaust Survivor Victor Frankl  who was able to mentally survive living in a concentration camp by finding beauty in a fish head floating in his soup.

When we look at the world appreciatively, we are creating more value to ourselves. Since our experience is essentially governed by our perception of the world around us, the more value we find, the more value we perceive. When you adopt the strategy of appreciation you are more likely to turn a challenge into an opportunity.

It is important to note that most people are not solely appreciative or completely depreciative. It would be very difficult to imagine someone appreciating the passing of a loved one or devaluing winning $1,000,000. However, the more appreciative someone is in his or her habits, thoughts and feelings it would be easier for that person to accept the passing of a loved one by focusing on memories of the good time shared with that person and of all the things they have learned from that person. If someone is commonly depreciative, they may still adopt a pattern of daily complaining even after winning $1,000,000.

When evaluating your beliefs, consider if you beliefs are creating more value for you.

Depreciate beliefs include:

  • Belief that you are unworthy of love, affection, success or material goods
  • Belief that you are superior to others (since you are depreciating others)
  • Belief that you are inferior to others (since you are depreciating yourself)
  • Belief that you would only be worthy if you had a certain amount of social status or material goods.

Appreciate beliefs include:

  • Belief that you are worthy of love, affection, success or material goods
  • Belief that all people have value
  • Belief that you have value regardless or race, status or class
  • Belief that you can learn something from all situations

I hope that you are able to find value in each and every day!

Judgment as an evaluative process is “positive” since it is helpful for us to compare differing perspectives to make a decision or to evaluate information to make a wise decision to determine the best course of action. This sense of judgment infers using sound criteria as a part of the process. It also connotes an image of fairness and justice.

However, we people are labeled as “judgmental”, we imagine a person who uses judgment to devaluate. We devalue others when we engage in the practice of discrimination and prejudice. When we devalue others, we feel in some way superior to “the other”. The process of devaluing people can be extremely dangerous. In the extreme case of genocide, the side committing the atrocities devalued the group victimized by the genocide.

When we adopt the habit of devaluing others through judgment, we know subconsciously that other people may be “judging” us. If I am judging others, it only makes sense that someone else would be judging me. Therefore, the more judgmental we become, the more afraid we may become of being judged ourselves. It also follows that the more that we have experienced being devalued by another’s judgment, the more likely we are to feel justified in judging others.

The next time you find yourself judging a quality of another person, ask yourself if you are evaluating or devaluating this person.

I feel that this is one of the many life situations where the old saying of “do onto others as you wish others to do onto you” would apply.