Posts tagged ‘success’

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!

April 20, 2012

Get Back on The Horse!

On Day 18 of the “Habit Change Challenge”, life got in the way. I decided to stay up late playing “Ping Pong” with a couple of friends. When I got home, my youngest child kept me awake the remainder of the night and early morning since he had difficulty sleeping. I chose to sleep next to him so he would feel more comfortable and sleep better. Since I did not get much sleep, most of the night, I decided to sleep in to 7 AM. Therefore, I did not exercise or meditate in the morning. In the evening, my wife and I had a birthday party to go to after work. When we got home, I feel asleep with my youngest when I put him to sleep. So, I on this day I strayed from the habits of logging my gratitude, successes, meditating and exercising.

I almost made it! I hope that if you took up this challenge that you are still going. If this is a competition, I hope that you beat me.

I am not a victim of certain circumstances. I made decisions about life priorities that allowed my new habits to fall into the background. I chose to spend time with people that I do not see as much and I had a lot of fun doing so. I had a great time playing games with my friends and going to an adult birthday party without my kids. I choose to prioritize sleep over my target habits. The sleep that I got felt good! I do not feel badly about the choices that I made these last few days.

I am “jumping back on the horse”. I am not giving up on my new habits. I am starting over with the resolve of going another 21 days of being consistent exercising, meditating, listening or reading affirmations and logging my successes & gratitude. I have made progress and I choose to reflect on my “setback” as “feedback” instead of “failure”.

From this setback, I had a few thoughts about “falling off the horse”:

  • 1)   Get back on the habit as soon as possible!
  • 2)   Look at the larger goal of what you want to change
  • 3)   View the break of habit as a “blip on the screen” and start over
  • 4)   Commit to the new habit “one day at a time”
  • 5)   Avoid letting the exception become the rule! If you break a rule once, do not think that it is OK to do it again since you are already “off track”.
  • 6)   Focus on how awesome it feels to keep moving forward towards you goals instead of any possible shame of making a “mistake”
  • 7)   Analyze what happened that lead to you getting off track and use that feedback to get back on track
  • 8)   Forgive yourself!

Remember, the ultimate goal is to appreciate all the good that is a part of your life and make choices that bring more opportunities to appreciate what you have. Have fun with your own adventure!

-Andrew

 

April 19, 2012

Parental Pride

Hello all,

I was informed that my 8 year old son just one a Poetry Contest! In his honor, I have posted the first chapter of a book that he has been working on.

Enjoy!

Hillside Elementary – Chapter 1 – Room 43 (re-posted from hillsideelementary.wordpress.com)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Mrs. Anderson entered Rm. 43. Everyone was chewing gum except for one person, Jake. Mrs. Anderson walked right up to him and said,” Young Man, there is no chewing gum in class!”

“ But I’m not chewing gum at all! See?” Jake opened his mouth to show Mrs. Anderson.

“Oh My! You swallowed your gum! Go to the school nurse this instant!” yelled Mrs. Anderson..

“Yeah, Jake, have fun at the school nurse!” yelled Ron chomping on his gum.

“Yeah, have a great time!” yelled Jane.

“So, we have lots of learning to do. First, we will start with long division,” said Mrs. Anderson.

“But we haven’t even done long subtraction,” added Brian.

Mrs. Anderson let out a long sigh. “OK Brian, what is 75-41?”

“Um. Uhhhh…,” stammered Brian, “Is it 34?”

“Yes, you are correct!” said Mrs. Anderson.

“I was?” asked Brian.

“What is 86-43, James?” asked Mrs. Anderson.

Before James could answer, Jake burst into the room.

“43!” he screamed. It just so happened that Jake was coming back to class from the nurse’s office. He had been counting the rooms out loud. “39. 40. 41. 42…” Just as he got to Room 43, his classroom he screamed, “43!” and entered the classroom.

“ Although Jake is correct,” said Mrs. Anderson, “He was speaking without raising his hand. Jake, Principal’s office please!”

This type of thing went on for the rest of the day. First, the water fountain broke as he was trying to get some water, squirting Bridget with water. Then he left his retainer on his lunch tray and accidentally threw it away. He and Mr. Davis spent two hours searching the garbage for it.

He spent over half the day in the principal’s office and the rest covered in spaghetti and meatballs. By the time his mom picked him up, he was tired, smelly, and he hadn’t learned a thing.

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 13, 2012

Finding your Rhythm

When changing a habit or when adding a new activity to your lifestyle, it is helpful to find a time for this new habit/routine.  If we do not know where to place this new habit/routine into our schedule, it is very easy to forget to perform this activity. Once you habit becomes a part of your daily rhythm, it is a lot easier to maintain.

For my own “habit change challenge”, I found that that only way that I could be consistent with implementing my target habits was to find a regular place for them in my daily schedule. Since I have two young children, I found it was best to add my new activities during times of the day when my children are asleep. In the morning, I exercise, meditated and listen to positive meditation podcasts. At night, I blog, journal my successes and list the things for which I am grateful.  Having this structure in place has helped immensely. I have been waking up early and exercising for over a year. After exercising, I have just enough time to shower, get dressed, make lunch, eat breakfast, kiss the family goodbye and leave for work. I have found that I needed to meditate and perform my affirmations before my workout since it was better to have a slightly shorter workout than to miss the opportunity to perform these activities all together.

What works for you! Please share your ideas of ensuring that you have time for some positive time for yourself.

April 12, 2012

Success may come….

… when you least expect it

Sometimes progress or goal completion come to fruition in due time. There have been many moments in my life when things appear to “happen” without much effort.

For example, I will a bunch of items on my “To-Do” list and then forget to look at that specific list for a couple of weeks. The next time I look at the list, I notice that about 90% of the items have been completed. In this case, the items written on the initial list were likely incorporated into my unconscious processing. Therefore, I kept on working towards this list without much conscious thought. The thought behind the practice of looking at your goals / vision board/ mission statement / affirmations on a daily basis is that the more that we consider where we want to go, it is more likely that our unconscious thought processes will problem solve the way to our envisioned destination.

Other times, things just happen when the right conditions are in place. You may wait for years for a project or an idea to be approved. Once there has been a change of management, you find that your idea now has a lot of support.

Honestly, all I really wanted to say is that my son started riding his bike without training wheels yesterday. I am very appreciative for this accomplishment. We had been trying to get him to ride his bike a few times without training wheels with limited success. He would let the bike fall over or he would be completely resistant to the idea of riding his bike. Since he was not showing any interest in riding his bike, I did not think of asking him to ride his bike since last November. In the last few months, he has had more fun riding his kick-scooter. Yesterday, I thought we would just bring the bike to the park. At our local park, there is about a 100-yard path from the parking lot to the play structure. I thought practicing biking on the way to the play structure would be a worth attempt for the day. The first time my son started pedaling, he required some support on his seat. The 2nd through 5th attempts, he tried to pedal on his own. On his 6th attempt, he was up and running. For the rest of the day he did not need any help. He started pedaling the bike on his own and he demonstrated great balance. As we were packing up at the end of the trip, he asked to bike some more. Some things just need time.

The next time you “hit a wall” or roadblock, it may be helpful to place the project aside for a while to give yourself some breathing room. You may just find that when you come back to it, a solution to the roadblock will become apparent or the roadblock will no longer be there.

Good luck with all your endeavors.

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 29, 2012

Change Starts……Sunday

“Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!”

April fools will not be a joke if you decide to participate in a “21 day” habit change.

“Why 21 days?” Why not! The intent is that by all of us  monitoring our daily progress on a set of skills for 21 days that we will build momentum and achieve our target goals.

“Why are you posting this challenge?” There is more unity with a community! If a group of us move forward together, we can keep each other accountable.

“Didn’t you post about this yesterday?” Yes! But Lem from identityspecialist.net reminded me that I forgot to post the start time.

Considerations for Life Change

  1. Accept full responsibility of where you are in life. – It is very difficulty to take action moving forward if you feel it is someone else’s responsibility.
  2. Find you Passion! – It is easier to gain momentum to work forward if you are passionate about where you want to go.
  3. Set Clear Goals! – If you don’t know where you want to go, how could you get there?
  4. Reflect on your beliefs – Are your belief’s appreciative or depreciative? Are your unconscious beliefs holding you back?
  5. Habits – This is what this 21-day challenge is all about. Let’s build some daily habits that have evidence to leading to improving our perception of happiness.
  6. Action – Take positive daily action to work towards you goals!

Research Based Suggestions for Habit Change!!!!

– A fellow blogger “MyLifeIsASmorgasbord” posted a link to Shawn Actor’s Ted Talk. Shawn’s talk provides us all with the research for the proposed targeted habits for the “21 day habit change challenge”.

  • Gratitude – The more that you record what you are grateful for, the more you look for things to be grateful for and the more you will experience gratitude.
  • Journaling (blogging) – Journaling about the daily positives help you re-live these experiences in your brain and you increase your positive daily experiences. I suggested journaling your successes because it is important to acknowledge the progress that we make every day.
  • Exercise – There is a lot of research on the positive effects of exercise on mood and health.
  • Meditation –  The article linked here is the most comprehensive article I have read so far on meditative practice. I will speak from personal experience that when I practice meditation daily, I have a much better control of my emotional response.

So far, I only have one blogger accepting this challenge with me. Currie Rose, you Rock!

The 21 days will officially start Sunday. Every few days I will post a “feedback” blog where everyone can comment on his/her success.

To Success!

-Andrew Gilbert

 

 

 

March 28, 2012

Habit Change Challenge

 We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. ~ Aristotle

Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going.  ~Jim Ryun

A habit is something you can do without thinking – which is why most of us have so many of them.  ~Frank A. Clark

The unfortunate thing about this world is that good habits are so much easier to give up than bad ones.  ~Somerset Maugham

I have heard so much about the notion that it takes 21 days to change a habit, that I just thought of this as fact. As I was getting ready to write this, I discovered the that notion of the 21-day habit change theory only goes back to one primary source, Dr. Maxwell Maltz’s book titled, ”Psycho-Cybernetics”. One source is hardly hard science. However, committing to 21 days of working on a habit can at the very least develop a pattern.

Alcoholics Anonymous has been working on helping people change destructive habits one day at a time. When we focus on making a commitment on a daily basis, we can focus on the moment and we reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by our goal.

Whether it is 21 days in a row or just a day at a time, I had the following suggestions of some positive habits to try on:

  • –       Meditate, pray or find some quiet time for yourself for one minute or more per day.
  • –       Exercise for at least 10 minutes per day
  • –       Create a journal with at least one item of gratitude per day
  • –       Create a journal with at least one item of Success per day.

Of course these four items could be expanded. I am all for more exercise, more meditation, more success and more gratitude. In fact, you could add more habits such as getting adequate sleep and eating right. Sometimes it is good to start with sustainable habits to get the momentum going.

Want to join me for 21 days?

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).