Posts tagged ‘Positivity’

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!

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April 29, 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award

I am very grateful to Currie Rose and to Holistic Me for nominating “Influence Versus Control” for the Kreativ Blogger Award! Currie has been very supportive of my little corner of the blogosphere. Currie has a great blog entitled “Based on a True Story”, which brings truth, humor, and a positive spirit. Holistic Me summarizes her own blog with the Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” I definitely agree with Holistic Me’s philosophy that we “are responsible for our own health and our own well-being. “ I encourage you to stop by these blogs because they are awesome!

The Kreativ Blogger Award works in a similar way to a chain mail, in that if you are nominated, you then nominate seven other blogs for the award in order to accept.

To those I nominate (and for everyone else), here are the rules:

▪   Thank the nominating blogger and provide a link to that blog

▪   Spread the love by nominating seven other bloggers, including their links

▪   Tell your readers seven things they may not already know about you

So, here are seven things about me:

  1. I grew up in Berkeley California. The odd thing about growing up in Berkeley is that people can have a preconceived notion about what those crazy Bezerkley people. When growing up I loved all of the café’s in the Telegraph Avenue area. I also loved going to the original Peet’s coffee. Ummm, coffee.
  2. My mother was an Art History Librarian and UC Berkeley. She was in charge of the Italian collection. I know very little about art history.
  3. My father was a soil engineer. However, I did not end up being good at math.
  4. I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology at University of California at Davis. For the record, I did not get into Berkeley.
  5. After UC Davis, I spent about a year as a substitute teacher for special education classes. This experience was influential in my career decision of becoming an occupational therapist in school-based practice.
  6. I went to “The Ohio State University” for OT school. Spending a few years with actual winter makes me appreciate the weather that I currently experience in San Diego.
  7. I am in the process of writing a book. I started “Influence Versus Control” to encourage me to write on a regular basis.

And my nominees for the Kreativ Blogger Award are (in no particular order!):

  1. David Kanigan – Great thoughts, quotes and images about choosing a positive response.
  2. A leaf in springtime – Inspiring art and ideas
  3. Jay the Baker – A sweat dose of positivity daily
  4. Goss Coaching – Great advice on getting where you want to go in life.
  5. Looking at the Sky – Best described by the author: “My thought today is to keep moving forward.  Looking for new things to create.  Finding new ideas that inspire you to move forward and learn more.”
  6. Momentum of Joy – “Where spirituality meets reality”.
  7. A Kiss of Bliss – Positive art and great ideas. Well written and encouraging.

 

Thank you all!

influenceversuscontrol.com

influenceversuscontrol.wordpress.com

 

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 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 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 27, 2012

Responding to Gossip

I have wanted to write something about gossip for some time. I thought it would be easy. I thought I could just write “gossip is bad, avoid it at all costs”. Unfortunately for me, this is much more of a nuanced subject. In 2006, Jennifer Bosson published a paper demonstrating disliking a third person creates a more powerful social connection than a mutual preference for somebody. This supplies us with another example that the world is not simply “Black or White”.

When reviewing the literature on gossip, there are challenges on how to define gossip. Is gossip just a conversation about a third party without the third party present? Is it gossip only when we are talking about someone we know, or is talking about a celebrity count? Is it gossip if we are “talking smack” about someone who is in earshot (like children have been observed to do)?

In Eric K. Foster’s paper “Research on Gossip: Taxonomy, Methods, and Future Directions” (Review of General Psychology, 2004, Vol. 8, No. 2, 78–99) it is stated that a common definition of gossip for research purposes is: “In a context of congeniality, gossip is the exchange of personal information (positive or negative) in an evaluative way (positive or negative) about absent third parties.

Eric K. Foster’s paper breaks down gossip into major social functions including: information, entertainment, friendship (or intimacy), influence and evolutionary utility.

Information: Gossip can be an effective tool of distributing information. Historically, before the advent of print media, radio, television and the Internet, most information was passed through an oral tradition (gossip). In smaller social groups, gossip is how group members exchange information about each other.

Entertainment: Gossiping for entertainment’s sake does not need to be malevolent in nature. In this instance the gossiper and gossipee may just exchange information about third parties without any salacious details. However, more “sensitive” or controversial information is often seen as more entertaining gossip. In this context, the enjoyment of the gossip is considered more important than the information itself.

Friendship: “The friendship or intimacy function of gossiping refers both to dyadic interchanges and to the way in which gossip brings groups together through the sharing of norms, thereby establishing boundaries to distinguish insiders from outsiders.”

The 2006, Jennifer Bosson study on gossip fits into this category. When two “strangers” meet and find they have a mutual dislike for a third party, the gossip about the third party creates a new “in group” and the “strangers” now feel that they have something in common. Gossip for the sake of friendship can be positive in the sense that gossip can enhance the social bond between select people. The downside of this type of gossip is being on the out-group, where this type of gossip may lead to one feeling like a victim of the gossip of the in-group.

Influence: Gossip has the power of significantly influencing our behavior. Many of us fear being “caught” engaging in a behavior that our “in-group” may deem odd, eccentric or a violation of a social norm, since this violation will be likely topic of gossip. If we know that rule violations are spread quickly through our social group, our behavior is greatly influenced. This type of social functioning is “positive” if gossip is used to dissuade a group member of engaging in an activity that is harmful to a group. However, the influence function of gossip is “negative” if this social mechanism targets freedom of self-expression, religion, political affiliation etc.

Evolutionary Utility: This is the type of gossip that keeps cousins from marrying Cousins and alerts community members to the health risk of interacting with “infectious” people. In the old days, the matrimonial custom of “speak now, or forever hold your piece” was essentially a query to the local community of; “Hey folks, the word has been out for a while that these two are going to get married. Does anybody know if these two are related?”  In Malawi, a country in southeast Africa, gossiping is used to alert community members as to who has HIV and who does not (see This American Life).

As we have seen, gossip does provide some social functions. However, as many of us has experienced, there is definitely a “down-side” to gossip.

Reputation – Gossip can be used as a tool to harm someone’s reputation. During every political cycle, one party brings up a tawdry piece of gossip about the other party. This type of gossip can be based on truth, or completely fabricated.

*Response: When you hear about a piece of gossip that is obviously designed to “take someone down”, remain objective. Look to a neutral third party for verification. If this piece of gossip does not affect you ignore it. Do NOT pass it on if you have any doubts to the intent or veracity of the gossip!

Productivity – Idle gossip, though “entertaining” is unproductive. Excessive gossip at work or school lowers overall productivity. If the work environment allows any gossip that maligns the character of any employee, there is a great chance of a “toxic work environment” being created where gossip wars are fought by varying in-groups.

*Response: When you hear co-workers gossip on a continual basis, resist the urge to join the chorus. Sometimes it can be valuable to change the topic to something more positive or at least something bases on facts. Whenever possible, it is best to stay out of gossip between “warring factions” at work.

Self-Esteem: Hearing gossip about oneself can be harmful to your sense of wellbeing.

*Response:

  1. Remember that you are in control of how you choose to think, feel and react. You can always ignore gossip if you have the feeling that it is innocuous and it will just go away.
  2. Be wary of the truthfulness of all gossip. Avoid being “Iago-ed”! In Othello, Iago continued to fill Othello’s ears with lies until (SPOILER ALERT) Othello killed his wife. If someone is telling us gossip that they heard someone else say, consider their motivation. Are they trying to get you in their in-group? Are they trying to socially isolate you? Are they honestly trying to be helpful?
  3. Refrain from retaliation. Once you retaliate, you are an active participant the “gossip game” and with any game, there is a great chance you may lose. Spreading gossip makes you a target for more gossip.
  4. Set the record straight.  If someone is saying something that is untrue, make sure the truth is known. If gossip is happening at work, it is best to inform your employer. However, it is your boss that is spreading gossip about you, it may be wise to consider human resources or your union representation.
  5. Share what you want shared. Sometimes it is best to keep your private life private. If you don’t want your co-workers to think that you are an “irresponsible drunk”, don’t talk about the one time that you drank too much.

It would be easy to say, “gossip is the problem”. However, gossip has historically been a positive force of social communication. The challenge comes with how we use gossip or respond to gossip. I hope that you are able to learn to be mindful of gossip to strengthen social bonds as well as being able to respond to gossip so you can maintain high self-esteem.

All comments/ feedback are appreciated. (Rumors and innuendo are discouraged).

 

 

 

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.

February 25, 2012

You Have A Voice!

Yesterday, my wife and I were discussing the prospect of looking at ourselves on video. She stated that she finds it interesting to watch herself on video. I replied that it kind of creeps me out when I watch myself on video. My wife replied, that our reaction to our videos may be reflective on how we viewed ourselves as speakers. My wife comes from the perspective that feels that typically what she has to say is interesting and important. I appear to come from the perspective of doubt that what I have to say may be interesting to others. Therefore, my wife is a more active and fluent speaker than myself for most topics. However, when I am fully confident of the topic of which I am speaking, I feel that I do a great job at expressing myself.

I realized from this conversation that I still need to acknowledge and overcome my unconscious programming. I know that at a conscious level that I am smart, articulate and respected in my feel. To overcome my subconscious thoughts, I need to re-write my story. I have interesting things to say! I am worthy of being heard!

In the movie “The King’s Speech”, there is a great scene where the King George VI is doubting the credentials of Lionel Logue, his speech therapist. In the movie to this point, King George VI was also greatly doubting himself on his ability to be King since public speaking was such a great challenge for him. On the eve of the King’s coronation, Lionel Logue sat on the thrown while King George was lost in doubt. When the King saw Lionel on the thrown, he told him to get out. Lionel refused and indicated that the King was not a King yet and why should Lionel listen to this duke who did not feel he was worthy of being a King? The King gathered confidence and strength with his articulation and stated clearly “because I have a voice!”

Each of us has a voice. Each of us can be prone to doubt. We are all best served when we do not let irrational fears or doubts hinder our voice.

We all have important things to say!

We are all worthy of being heard!

We may not all be Kings in the official sense, but we ALL have a VOICE!

We are all “Kings” of our own Kingdoms!

Thanks to all who have read and commented!

February 6, 2012

Love is the answer, no really it is… and giving helps too.

“The love that we give away is the only love we keep” – Elbert Hubbard

Yes, I know that the title of this blog may sound trite, cliché or overused, especially to a recovering cynic (like myself) or if you are a die-hard pragmatist.

But it is true.

If you want more health and happiness in your life, you need love.

Think about it.

You cannot be happy without love. You cannot be completely healthy unless you are happy.

I believe most of us know what it is liked to beloved by another person. It is awesome! We feel safe, warm, appreciated and confident. In literature, song lyrics and popular culture, there is strong evidence that humans want to be loved.

I feel that the ironic twist of the fascination with being loved is that it misses the true origin of love. Love is a creative force. Love is giving unconditionally to others. Love is striving to create a better life for the people that we love. Love is the desire for others to have a sense of wellbeing and contentment.

“When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous.” Wayne Dyer

The giving of love is an education in itself.Eleanor Roosevelt

If you have any doubt on the importance of love and giving, just think about times that you have striving to receive something (time, attention, affection, acknowledgement, etc.) from another person. In these times, you may be dependent on that other person for your feelings of wellbeing. You may feel impatient or slightly dissatisfied. You have thoughts to the effect of “if only they….”

On the other hand, if you focus is what you can give to another person, your focus is on the other person and your aspiration that they feel loved or supported. From you loving actions, you may feel loving, kind or generous.

As an adult, my concrete example of this is the Christmas gift exchanged. I am always appreciative of the generosity that I receive from others, but I experience more joy when my children open their presents and jump up and down with joy.

Control: We can only control how loving we are. We cannot control if others love us or not. In fact, the more that we try to make others love us, the more resistant they may be to our intentions.

 

Influence:  The more loving you are, the greater positive influence you will have on others around you. If you don’t believe me, try going to the supermarket with a positive loving attitude and say hello and thank you often. I am almost sure that you will make at least one person smile. As Ghandi said “Be the change that you want to see in the world”, he challenged us all to “bring it”. If you want a more loving world, bring more love to the world.

 

The Pragmatist Explanation:  Love is just cause and effect. Love is a creative force that gives. When you give you create value for others. When you create value for others, there is a greater chance that someone would want to give back to you.

 

The New Age Explanation:  When you are loving, you vibrate at a higher frequency and the universe aligns to that higher frequency.

Whichever explanation to the importance to love that you want to choose, so be it.

If you are an incurable pessimist, I can report that I did my best to get the word out.

 

January 30, 2012

Patience, Practice and Persistence

Patience, Practice and Persistence

“Losing is just Learning to Win…” – Robert J Bautista

“Dont mistake slow progress for failure” – Mazemangriot

“There is no failure, only feedback” – Jay Rando

One of the reasons that intrinsic motivation is important for us to achieve our long-term life goals our complete a major project is that it may take a long time to achiever our goals. There are so many examples of people working for years for their “overnight success to happen.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote two different books that speak to this point. In “The Tipping Point”, we learned that for many new ideas, there is a point at which an idea goes “viral”. In “Outliers”, we learned that Bill Gates and the Beatles spent about 10,000 hours practicing the skills that made them famous.

If we love what we do, we are not dependant on success being just around the corner. If we quit, we have lost. If we practice, we learned from any feedback that we receive along the way to achieving our goals.

Success is enjoying the journey and experiencing gratitude everyday.

Practice what you love. Persist in your actions. Be patient for the possible rewards for your actions.

We can control our actions, our responses and what we choose to experience as success.