Posts tagged ‘Perspective’

May 11, 2012

Choose Well!

Today, I experienced a situation that was a prime example of how choosing your response to a given situation can effect how you feel about a given situation.

This morning, I went surfing with a friend of mine at La Jolla Shores. This surfing spot is characteristically crowded and frequently has surfers of a wide range of abilities. In general, if you get up set if there is someone “in the way” every time you paddle for a wave, you will most likely have a very frustrating surf session. If you surf within your ability and are aware of where everyone is in the lineup, you will more likely enjoy yourself.

For those unfamiliar with surfing, each wave has a “peak” where the wave starts to break. A surfer can choose to surf on the right, or on the left of the peak. On one of the waves that I was planning on paddling into, I clearly pointed right indicating that I was going right and I angled my board to the right so it was clear where I was going. As I stood up on the wave, a surfer who was to my right angrily shouted, “where are you going”? At this point I could choose to respond to this person by explaining to them that I had clearly communicated my intention and that it was all surfer’s responsibility to look both ways down a wave before taking off. The option that I choose was to let it go and keep surfing. Later in my surf sessions, a surfer with less experience got in my way on the inside of the wave causing me to cut out early. This surfer apologized for getting in the way. At this point, I could have chosen to angrily shout, “What are you doing?” Instead I choose to say, “no worries, it is all good” and we chatted for a while about the characteristics of the surf spot.

At the end of the session I felt great. I caught waves consistently. The water was warm and the surf was fairly consistent. By remembering to respond to others with forgiveness and understanding, I was able to remain in a calm, positive emotional space. However, there is an alternative reality of what could have happened. If I had initially chosen to respond to the angry surfer with anger, we would have had an angry exchange in the lineup. We would have both likely “bummed out” the surfers around us and the entire experience would have been defined by that anger. I would currently be writing a story about how inconsiderate other people can by and I would likely frame my role as either the “victim” or “hero”.

Choosing our reactions to situation can be one of the most important things that we control. How we choose to respond can significantly influence the others around us.

Choose well!

Photo Credit: http://www.everyspot.com

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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 10, 2012

Real Life Inspiration

Today, I received some awesome inspiration from a couple of conversations that I stumbled upon during my daily routine.One of my co-workers has recently returned to work after a stroke and a variety of other medical complications. She always had a positive attitude before she became ill and she continues to have an ebullient disposition. We spoke for a while about how it can be easy to fall into the habit of “ruminating” on past events as well as choosing what we want to focus our thoughts on. To demonstrate the importance of choosing your outlook, she told me that when a friend of hers stated, “wow, you have really had a rough year this year”, she replied that even during the worst days of her illness, she still found moments every day where things went well. To me, this is an inspiring reminder. Even if you are recovering from a major illness, there are always positive moments to collect.

Later that day, I stated to a friend of mine “man, it would be great to win the Lottery”. He replied, “You already have won”. “Just think about where you are in this world. You could be living in a country with limited resources.” I realized immediately that he was absolutely right. Our live is already full of abundance. There are always moments to enjoy. There are always people to share good times with.

You are already a winner! Every moment has bits of joy that just need to be recognized!

 

March 26, 2012

GRATITUDE 4 the 7 X 7 Link Award!

First and foremost, I would like to show my appreciation to Marcy King at http://orples.wordpress.com/ for the nomination of the 7 X 7 Link award. Marcy has been very encouraging of “Influence Versus Control” and she always provides great comments. Marcy’s site includes great information about her children’s books as well as some cool photography.

And now, the rules for the 7 X 7 Link Award

  1. Give thanks and acknowledgements to the blogger who nominated you for this award
  2. List 7 of your previous links in the following categories. Most Helpful, Most Popular, Most Beautiful Piece, Most Controversial, Most Surprisingly Successful, Most Underrated, Most Pride Worthy)
  3. List 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for this award.

Here are my SEVEN Links:

1.) Most Helpful – Setting Personal Goals

2.) Most Popular – Personal Responsibility

3.) Most Beautiful Piece – People First!

4.) Most Controversial – Identity

5.) Most Surprisingly Successful – Being Sick

6.) Most Underrated – Find Your Passion!

7) Most Pride Worthy – Scripting For Emotional Success

SEVEN things about myself (Andrew Gilbert)

  1. The most important thing to me is being a good father. I prioritize spending time with my children as much as possible.
  2. My wife, Emily Dolton, is an inspiring member of the local community and she does much as she can to address the needs of people with special needs. She is also an amazing artist/ muralist (http://www.insideemilyshead.com/)
  3. I have a child that has “special needs”. I definitely feel that his needs do not define him and are just an attribute (see People First blog). The love that I have learned from this “little guy” and overcoming his early health obstacles have been the main inspiration for changing my overall life outlook from “totally cynical” to a “recovering cynic”.
  4. As a “recovering cynic”, I admit that I am not perfect. I have not “been to the mountain top”, but I have seen postcards. I practice every day to be more positive and collect more data to reinforce a more optimistic worldview.
  5. As a school based occupational therapist, I have collaborated on two programs that utilize movement as an instructional strategy. One of these programs was demonstrated to improve vision skills, the other was demonstrated to improve handwriting / penmanship for Kindergarten students. I feel that movement is vital for all of us and that movement is a vital instructional strategy.  (http://occupationaltherapystrategies.com/)
  6. I love to surf. It helps clear my brain and it is great exercise!
  7. When the surf is blown out  or too small, I like mountain biking.

For this award, I did my best to “spread the love around”. There are some great bloggers that I follow I want to acknowledge Jay Rondo for the Versatile Blogging nomination and “a kiss of bliss” for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”. Thanks again to Marcy King at http://orples.wordpress.com/ for the nomination of the 7 X 7 Link award!

The SEVEN nominated bloggers for the 7 X 7 Link Award are:

  1. http://davidkanigan.com/ – For positive words and art.
  2. http://positivecookieattitudes.wordpress.com – More than just positive baking advice. Consistent positive blogging action!
  3. http://identityspecialist.net/ – Total honest, in your face blogging action!
  4. http://gyatoday.wordpress.com/ – This blog reminds us that it is always better to give than receive.
  5. http://everythingvnothing.wordpress.com/ – This blog provides consistent inspiration.
  6. http://momentumofjoy.wordpress.com/ – The name says it all. This blog keeps the joy moving.
  7. http://currierose.wordpress.com/ – A wonderful spirit! I love the whimsy and honesty.

 

Thank you very much for stopping by “Influence Versus Control”. Please stop by and say “Hello” to the great bloggers listed in this award.

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.

March 10, 2012

Personal Responsibility

The first step of getting from where you are to where you want to be is to take full responsibility for everything in your life.

Of course I am not talking about taking responsibility for earthquakes, tsunamis, fires and floods and unavoidable events. I am talking about talking full responsibility of your beliefs, thoughts, your chosen emotional responses, daily habits and actions.

For example, if you are dissatisfied about your current job, it is best to evaluate all the things that you can control.

Belief: What are your current beliefs about the job? Upon reflection, are your beliefs valid? Is your job consistent with your core beliefs and values? Do you have any limiting beliefs about your potential in your profession? Do you feel that you are worthy of something better?

Thoughts: What are your recurring thoughts about your job? Are your thoughts related to what you can accomplish in your job? Are your thoughts related to solving challenges, or are you fixated on problem admiration? Can you change your thoughts about your job? If you change your thoughts about the job, would your feelings about your job change?

Feelings: How are you choosing to feel about your job? Can you change how you feel? Does your emotional outlook affect how your co-workers respond to you? If you were in a different job, would your emotional response be different?

Actions: Do you have a long term plan to find another job? Do you need additional education? Have you researched other professions that you are interested in? Are there any actions that you can take in your current job to make the job more enjoyable or more lucrative?

When you take responsibility of where you are in life, you will take full ownership of what you can control in order to move forward towards your goals.

If you do not take responsibility, you are more likely to end up complaining or blaming people or circumstances for where you are in life. You will most likely stay in the same place and engage in the same thoughts, feelings and habits that have lead to your current level of satisfaction. You will continually collect data to support the belief that you are a victim and that the world is out to get you. You will hold other people accountable for your thoughts feelings and actions.

Believe that you are worthy of having the life that you desire. Choose to focus on thoughts that lead to problem solving and creating value to others. Realize that you are in control of the majority of your emotional responses and that your emotional responses have a great influence on those around you. Take the action that is needed for you to create the life our your dreams!

February 27, 2012

Forgiveness, it is within our Control

Many people view forgiveness as something that is important for another person to do for us. Many times we may hear ourselves and others request, “please forgive me” or state, “I can’t believe she will not forgive me”. The forgiveness of others is definitely not something that we can control. Although the forgiveness of others can help heal an aspect of a relationship, we can only control our own ability to forgive.

Forgiveness is an important habit /attribute for our own sense of wellbeing. Forgiveness allows us to “clear the slate” and let go of resentment and frustration. Forgiveness allows us to stop “holing on” to a perceived insult or injury.  Some people I know have stated that they are resistant to forgiving someone since they feel the act of forgiveness will encourage the other to continue engaging in wrongdoing. But forgiveness is for our own selves. It allows us to move on from a challenging situation. It allows us to dump the negative data set that we have been collecting and to change our emotional filter of continuing to gather data to reinforce our feelings of anger, resentment and contempt. Forgiveness is not forgetfulness. If someone has harmed us repeatedly in the past, we can forgive that person and let go of our emotional baggage while making the conscious decision of not letting that person hurt us again in the same way.

For example, there is one person that has been a part of my social circle for a long time. Many years ago, that person repeatedly spread gossip and rumors about me. Then, that person started rumors about other people that were close to me. Needless to say, this situation caused me a lot of anger, frustration and resentment. When I finally decided to forgive this person, my life got better. Now, when I run into this person, I no longer have a visceral emotional response. I am able to be cordial and no one in the room feels any tension. I do not actively seek out that person for validation or socialization nor have I forgotten this person’s tendency to spread rumors. What is important is that I have healed and I have moved on.

Resentment is a feeling that can cripple a relationship. Once we have started to resent someone, we typically hold onto the justification for that resentment. Forgiveness is the panacea for moving past our past resentments. Once we have forgiven that person, we can relive ourselves from the emotional baggage from that situation. This can help us objectively evaluate the situation or the relationship to determine if it continues to be beneficial to our personal interest.

Forgiveness can be valuable in situations where we know that we are the person that has made a mistake. If we know that we have made a mistake and that we are willing to do everything possible to move towards healing, forgiving ourselves can help us move forward. In this case, we can only hope that the other person can forgive us.

February 13, 2012

Gratitude versus Entitlement

As a parent of two young children (seven and eight years old), I feel like I am constantly experiencing the struggle between gratitude and entitlement. If you have children around this age range, I am sure that you experience this dynamic as well.

Last week, we decided to go to Chuck E. Cheese. I had a bag of tokens left over from our last trip to allow for each child to have at least 90 minutes of game play. While they were playing, they were having fun and enjoying each moment. When it was time to leave, a curious thing happened (actually, not so curious if you have kids around this age). They both wanted more! They wanted ice cream. They wanted more tokens. If you listened to the tone of how their needs were being expressed to me, you may have gotten the impression that I was shirking my responsibilities for fulfilling their basic human rights.

When I started to reflect on this, I actually found the situation somewhat amazing. Here were two loving, kind and spirited human beings who were experiencing dissatisfaction since they could not have more. Both of these people entered the gaming area with something of substance. Their game tokens were free to them. There was nothing required of them beforehand to earn this fun event. It was just supposed to be a good time.

The more I thought about this, I realized that I battle with my own inner 8 year old on a regular basis. In our daily life, most of us start the day with wealth and abundance. Most of us have air to breath, shelter to stay warm, clean water to drink and adequate food to eat. For these daily necessities, we could all benefit from feeling satisfaction and gratitude. However, most of us (including myself) take these things for granted. These things are similar to my kid’s tokens, we get so use to having them that we can forget that they are special. Not only can we forget to feel gratitude for the basics, we may feel dissatisfied for not having more. We may feel frustrated that our morning coffee is cold, our car that gets us to work is too old or we did not get the exact birthday present that we expected. We may feel that we are all entitled to more than the basic necessities of life.

When we get our kids to get ready for bed, my wife and I often lay down with them for a little while to help him feel safe and secure. During these moments, we are all appreciating the basics of family life. We say “I love you”, we share hugs and we talk about all the good things that happened during the day. We experience gratitude for each other and for the moment.

The next time that you are stuck in a long line for you morning coffee, remember that you can choose to experience gratitude that you have enough money for coffee. The next time that you have a frustrating experience at work, remember that you can choose to be appreciative to have a job. The next time you feel frustrated when you kids are clamoring for ice cream at Chuck E. Cheese, you can choose to experience gratitude for the love that those children have brought into your life.

Influence:   The more grateful you are, you increase your chances of other’s appreciating your gratitude. If you are frequently grateful for what you receive at work or from your friends, there is a greater chance that those around you will continue to share their friendship, support and good ideas.

Control:   Only you can control how grateful you feel. Gratitude is a chosen response that can be developed into a habit. If you feel that it is a challenge to experience gratitude for everyday things, experiment with keeping a gratitude journal where you force yourself to list at least five things you are grateful for.

Pragmatic Explanation:   When you are grateful for another person’s generosity, you are providing that person with a social reward, which will increase the likelihood of future generosity.  Additionally, adopting a focus of gratitude encourages you to collect data of all the good that you see in the world, which can improve your overall worldview.

Metaphysical Explanation:   Gratitude elevates you energy love so you are more in alignment with the creative force of the universe. Being more in alignment will cause more good to come to you.

January 11, 2012

The End of The World, And I Feel Fine

Many say that the Mayan Calendar predicts “Doomsday” for December 21, 2012.

Joe and Moe are brothers. Each of them has heard of this ominous date. In fact, Joe and Moe discussed the Mayan calendar during a Holiday family dinner on December 21, 2011. At that dinner, Moe insisted that the Doomsday date was accurate. Joe reflected on this date and said “you could be right” and shrugged. After this dinner, Moe thought about the impending Doom constantly, while Joe never took the date seriously.

Over the next year, Moe fretted over the impending end of the world. He watched multiple documentaries on cable TV about possible scenarios on how the world was going to end. He would watch shows on earthquakes, monster storms, global warming, nuclear devices being set off by terrorists, plagues, germ warfare, global pandemics and global financial meltdowns.Each day he would watch the news fearfully as he heard of pedophiles, local murders and food that could kill you. Moe spent the majority of his free time thinking of how to protect himself. In July, he quit his job and moved to an undisclosed location where he built a bunker deep underground. His wife and family did not join Moe in his bunker. Moe’s family thought that Moe had gone crazy and they hoped that he would come to his senses, especially if the world was still around 12-21-12. For the rest of the year Moe toiled on his bunker and continued to feast on a media diet of fear. Moe’s dominant thoughts were worrisome and most of the time he experienced fear, dread and anger.

Joe had a very different year than his brother. On New Year’s Eve 1-31-11, Joe , his wife and two children celebrated in Time Square. They were not able to get right next to the main stage, but they were very grateful of the experience of sharing New Year’s with the crowd. For the Superbowl, Joe’s family hosted a party with all their neighbors and friends and everyone had a great time. Even Moe’s family came without Moe, who thought that any celebration when the world was going to end was silly. In February, the family went on a ski vacation for the four day weekend. During the spring, Joe and his family had fun going to their son’s baseball games in addition to a couple of professional baseball games and went camping together a couple of times. In July, Joe’s family took a vacation to Southern California where they went to the beach, Disneyland, Legoland, Knotts Berryfarm and the San Diego Zoo. In October, the family hosted a Halloween party with a haunted house. In November, Joe and his family went to his parent’s place and enjoyed an epic turkey dinner with all of the fixings. Joe’s dominant thoughts and feelings were of  health, happiness, and appreciation.

On December 21, 2012, a gigantic solar flare erupted at 6:01 AM. The radiation of the solar flare was so intense, it anililated every life form on earth. Even Joe could not survive in his underground bunker.

Who had the better year?