These days it’s important to balance your perspective. For every 1 thing not going well, aren’t there usually 1000 things that ARE going well? Discover how to uplift your mood, re-energize and find peace of mind again.
1:00 – A practical tool to counteract an addiction to negativity
7:10 – How to retrain the complainers in your life
10:40 – How to access the “cloud” so you can upgrade any skill
13:15 – A life philosophy to stop feeling guilty
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This is EP 75 – WHAT’S GOING WELL? These days some people seem to feel guilty if things are going well, as if you’re not allowed to feel that way during a global pandemic. But maybe that’s helping make the world a better place. Hi, I’m Carla Rieger, and this is the MindStory Speaker Podcast.
If you are finding success, enjoyment and things to appreciate I believe you’re helping the collective mindset of humanity be healthier. The more people who are in a negative state of mind, it creates negative ripple effect on the mental, emotional and physical health of the world. We need the positive emotions right now to at least balance things out against all the negativity and to dial up in our brain capacity.
Here’s a small, quick, practical tool that I’ve been using for years with clients, that is very popular, I think because it’s so effective. This tool came about by noticing that what brought down resilience and success in a person, an organization or company was an
addiction to negative focus. You know, a habit of complaining. It’s very common and I can get sucked into it very easily, because the human mind will default to the negative unless you consciously counteract it. For example, you see someone you know quite well in person, on zoom, or work and you say, “How’s it going?” They say, “I don’t know. I didn’t sleep well last night. I’m exhausted.” Now, if you’re like me you get sucked into that and you say, “Oh really? Well I just found out, I need root canal.” Then they go, “Oh really? Well someone scratched my car in a parking lot. Didn’t leave a note.” Then I’m like, “Oh really? I don’t have a car.” Then you build this mutual bond of misery, and then you say, “Okay, see you later.” You go back to work, and you’re dealing with everyone’s problems all day long. Then you go home at the end of the day and you talk to your spouse, your family. Then they tell you all their complaints of the day, and then you watch the news. It’s very easy to think, “Wow, there’s so many bad things in my life and in the world,” which can really bring down resilience. On a brain scan you can just see that brings down the whole brain capacity of everybody.
Yet… For Every 1 Thing Not Going Well, Aren’t There 1000 Things that ARE Going Well?
If you really think about it. I remember flying across the country last year. I’m ready to get off the plane, and we’re all waiting in the aisle with our bags. Then the pilot says we can’t get off for 15 minutes because there was something wrong with the sky walk, and they just have to fix it. Now, what do you think happened on the plane? Everybody complains. I was always one of those people that would do that. I would turn to the person next to me and see if could engage them in a complaint exchange. I would spend that 15 minutes getting good and triggered. Then of course, I’d be hit with traffic, and 5 other glitches. And, in the first five years of starting my own business I had a complete burnout because that’s how I thought all the time. I was looking for the problems and letting each of them get to me. I changed that with a few simple habits of mind, like this one. Now, in those situations, I think didn’t 1000 things need to go right to get me in a hurtling metal tube across the country safely. It’s like amazing. It’s just the skywalk. I’m pretty happy about that. I’m just going to read my novel for 15 minutes. Now, I’m so much more busy than I was back then, but I don’t get that burnout.
So we’re going to give this habit a try in a moment just because I think it’s always good to try something rather than just think about it intellectually, to see if you’d use it in your everyday life. So, add something to the chat, “what’s going well, what’s good?” Now, I know some of you are thinking to yourself, “I don’t like these things.” So don’t worry – it won’t take very long. I’d like you to actually see what happens in your brain and mind when you do it. The second thing is you might be thinking to yourself, what IS good? Sometimes we set the bar too high, so it doesn’t have to be I finished my master’s thesis yesterday, it could be something like I had chocolate chip muffin for breakfast, and dang that was good or I bought these shoes the other day, very comfortable, on sale—the leaves on the trees are so beautiful lately, that kind of thing. It’s just the little things. Now if you’re completely stumped, you can cheat, that is you can just make it up. We’ll never know. Just say, “I read this diet book last night, I woke up this morning 20 pounds gone.” As long as it makes you feel good, so I just won a new Tesla, I’m going to Tahiti, whatever. As long as it makes you feel good, that’s all you need to do. So your job is to type at least one thing in the chat. Let’s see what we got….
Does it feel like your energy is a bit higher than before we did this? All right, so a number people. If it didn’t work for you, you’re a loser. Just joking. That What’s Good activity sometimes energizes people, sometimes not, it depends. But for many people it’s very energizing. It can be useful to look through your day and see, okay, what dials up on my energy, and my mood, and my focus, and what dials it down? You have a lot more control than you think, just by what you’re focusing on. Sometimes we just forget to focus on the 999 good things that are always going well. So, why do you think that energizes you? Because of what it does to your brain capacity. So, how might it look to use a simple, small practice like this. I’ll give you a home life example and work life quick example. I tried it with my father who my sister and I secretly call – the beacon of doom. He’s just like Mr. Bad News. Always looking for everything that’s wrong in the world. Every time I visit him, it’s just a big long list of how the world is falling apart, and that was before covid. One time I interrupted him, and I said, “Dad, I know taxes are going up and it’s hard to find good slippers, but what’s good? What’s going well? He says, “What’s going well? Nothing.” I say, “Come on, there’s got to be something. Your rose garden is looking good this year. Ok, the rose are doing well. Then next time I come back, ask the same question, he says, “Ok, I have two things for you,” and he listed them out—like the good accountant that he was. Next time three things, and the list started to grow. He started to scan for what was good, and he finally admitted it made him feel better, and he enjoyed practicing this little habit with me. So, my husband and I do it before sleep. We say to each other, Name one thing that’s going well, that you’re grateful for, even if it’s just…I have a warm bed to sleep in.
Of course, the other thing people do, is if you’re having a team meeting is to actually take a few minutes at the beginning and go around and say, “What’s going well in your role or department?”
Even if it’s just a two person meeting on Zoom. There is unbelievable research on how important that is. Because what are most meetings all about? What’s bad. If it’s always about what’s bad, it makes everyone problem focused. Of course we need time to problem solve, but it’s also psychologically healthy to balance it out and say, let’s just take a minute to acknowledge of the things that are going well.” I did an anonymous survey with an organization and one of their top people was going to quit because he didn’t feel there was much acknowledgment, just criticism. Then they started going around at meetings and acknowledging what was working. He said, “That alone made me stay, because I saw that my work WAS making a difference. It’s that huge and it doesn’t cost hardly any time, or money, and it’s very popular. Obviously customize these ideas to your environment.
I believe we’re always hypnotizing ourselves with our thoughts. And so if you want to develop a certain quality sometimes you have to act as if, until it becomes more default. That’s how we learn anything. For example, when I taught public speaking, I would tell people to think of someone who you think is really good at public speaking. How would they think, how would they act. Imagine you are them just as you walk on stage. So it tricks the mind, and overrides the limiting beliefs about your capacity, and all of sudden the person is speaking with confidence, remembering what they want to say, making eye contact. So, I call that a form of consciousness technology, using your own mind like an advanced computer. I believe that is available to anyone who wants to develop a new skills or re-access one that’s out of use. If you’ve ever played a sport with others who are better than you, you pick up skills by osmosis. I like to use the metaphor of the cloud. There’s your local files on your mind’s hard drive and then there’s the cloud that includes all skills available in the human story, by any human. So you’re not faking it. What you’re doing is you’re accessing the cloud. You’re like downloading an app for the job. I can be a good public speaker, or good negotiator, or a whiz at math or playing the guitar, because someone else has, and I can pick up the pattern, I can download it via osmosis. Is it instant? No, because you have to perhaps then train your vocal cords, muscles, eye-hand coordination, but it can improve your learning curve dramatically.
Some of my clients have been telling me that they feel guilty if they are finding some things to enjoy and appreciate these days, as if you’re not allowed to feel that way if others are suffering. So this is my philosophy and you may or may not agree with it. But once I bought into this philosophy, my whole life got so much easier and so I offer this to all my clients where appropriate. Everyone else around me is entitled to their reaction and I’m entitled to my reaction. And when you watch social media and the news, and everybody’s getting triggered, trying to make other people see the world like they do, they obviously don’t buy into that philosophy. But how can you truly know if someone else’s view on things is incorrect. Maybe we all only have a small piece of the puzzle. You might be familiar with this short parable. There were 6 blind men, who always wanted to know what an elephant looks like. Each man could touch a different part of the elephant, but only one part. So one man touched the tusk, others the legs, the belly, the tail, the ear and the trunk. The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe. They then compare notes and learn they are in complete disagreement about what the elephant looks like. When a sighted man walks by and sees the entire elephant all at once, he explains to them: All of you are right. You are each telling a different story because you only touched one part of the elephant. The elephant has all the features you mentioned. So everybody has their confirmation bias based on subconscious beliefs based on their particular life experiences. It causes them to look at the world through a specific lens. Also the human default is to expect that others should see things the same way as you, and heck, they just don’t. And, I know we can intellectually understand that, but really consider that they might have a piece of the puzzle that you don’t have.
So, to summarize when all is said and done with this strange transition the world is going through right now, maybe the biggest gift, the most important “what’s good” about it all is building the power to choose your own state of mind, and to have strong, wise discernment and to be open to something you weren’t open to before.
If you’d like more tools like this you can get a free copy of our book MindStory Inner Coach. Or, if you get the book on Amazon and send us the receipt, you’ll get sent the 2 free neuro-blueprints. You can see how to get the book using the link in the shownotes below. Or, just go to MindStoryAcademy.com and you’ll see it there on the home page. Its free to get the PDF download, or you’ll also see how to buy it on Amazon.
Then when you get the book you also get access to download two free guided audios that are examples of some of the leading edge tools we developed at MindStory Coaching Academy, that are called neuro-blueprints. They are form of mental rehearsal that helps you build strong habits of mind to succeed. All together, the audios and the book come to $94 but you can get them free right now.
That’s it for today. Do hit subscribe if you want to hear about other episodes coming up, which you can do on our website MindStoryAcademy.com\podcast. and you’ll see all the ways to subscribe or, if you’re listening on YouTube, just subscribe to our channel. Until next time, I’m Carla Rieger. Thank you for listening.