Riding the Waves in Style

When life throws you big waves make sure you surf to the top in style.  We all are challenged by the pressures in life and getting through those hard times can be more than we could think we could handle.  If we steady ourselves and think of how we could manage every dip, turn, and surprise that is given us one tiny step at a time we will survive.

Think of a time when life was at an all time low for you.  What did you do and who did you turn to?  This is important to remember because we need to know who we could rely on to help us get steady and strong on our feet.

Next think about how you got through that nasty time in your life.  Did you rush through it to forget about it as soon as possible?  Did you plan the steps involved ahead of time to prepare yourself for each stage of the challenge?  Did you drag every last detail of the incident out with everyone you know.  Whatever your style it’s important to realize that what worked for you may not w0rk for another and that is okay.  It’s also important to recognize that you survived.

As you reflectt on your success of survival, what did you do right and what did you do wrong?  Also, think about what could you do differently the next time life throws you a rocky wave.  If we keep rolling into the waves the same way we will continually be hit with the same wave; some bigger than others.

Ultimatly, it’s all about learning a style that works for us to survive.  We identify those who helps us get steady and stand on our feet.  At every turn, twist, and roll we should be reflecting on what worked and what didn’t work.  Once we approach the problem with a better plan of action we equip ourselves to surf to the top in style.

Say Goodbye to Guilt

At times we feel guilty for asking someone to help us out because we don’t want to put anyone out or we don’t want to be asking too much from someone.  Other times we feel guilty for taking a break from something that seems too overwhelming for us.  Sometimes we tell ourselves that we shouldn’t have asked for help or we shouldn’t have taken that day off from work.  When we think or say such things to ourselves we are telling ourselves that we’re not worth it and we don’t deserve it.  These thoughts and words feed the guilt monster. STOP feeding the guilt monster!

When we feed the guilt monster we feed into the negativity and this creates a bigger problem.  When you ask someone for help and that person agrees to help you then allow them to help you.  Making a big deal out of it may seem like you are trying to show your appreciation but in the end the person may begin to think that you don’t think they are capable of doing the favor.  Thus, creating a bigger problem.

When we feed the guilt monster we feed into the negativity and this creates more pressure on ourselves causing more harm than good.  You took a day off of work because (fill in the blank).  It doesn’t matter why and who cares.  Life goes on.  You deserve a break and somewhere in the cosmos someone is trying to tell you that you need a break.  Ease up on yourself.  After all, you’re human not a robot.  If you don’t take a break you will become overwhelmed, tired, moody, and more inclined to make mistakes.  The pressure of it all will boil over and when the proverbial milk spills (because sometimes it does) we snap.  This will cause bigger problems with all involved in the ‘milk spilling incident’.

Now that we know the negative consequences of feeding into the guilt monster how do we stop feeling so guilty?  The feeling of guilt stems from judgement.  Harsh judgement of ourselves.  STOP that negative ticker from talking to you!

We ask for help then feel guilty about asking because deep down inside we are telling ourselves that we are not worthy enough to be helped.  Why not?  Are we perfect?  Are we computerized machines?  Even machines need help from time to time (i.e. reboot, reprogram, updated hardware, etc.)  Some of the great thinkers of our time would not have done it without a little help.  Watson helped Bell, Hammer helped Edison, and Talmud helped Einstein, to name a few.  It is okay to ask for help and some will want you to ask for their help because they want to show that they care about the job and they want to show that they care about you.  At the very least, they want to help because they know that you are not a robot.  Tell yourself that you’re worth it and it’s okay to ask for help because even geniuses needed help from time to time.

We take a day off and feel guilty about taking the day off because deep down inside we are telling ourselves that we don’t deserve a break.  In reality, everyone deserves a break from the monotony.  It’s healthy and natural to take a break.  Lack of rest causes many mistakes.  Would you want to be known as the person who got the job done right or the person who got the job all wrong?  Take a break, re-group yourself when you need it, re-charge your batteries when your body says it’s time.  Taking breaks foster creativity, prevents burn out, reduces stress, and allows time for the most important things in life such as yourself, family, and friends.  Instead of feeling guilty for taking a break, focus on all of the positive benefits of why you should take a break.

Stop feeding the guilt monster.  You are worthy of a second hand, you deserve to lay down and rest.  After all, it’s far better to allow others to help you out and give you a break so when it’s their turn you will be well rested and better ready to help them and give them a break.  Life is recyclable like that if we allow it to be.

Move Forward

Move Forward

Move forward from your past and from all your yesterdays.  The pain of the past is just that, in the past.  Live in the present moment, embrace right now because right now is all you have.   Keep going and push forward to the next present moment.  You are the reason you made it this far.  You are the reason you deserve to go further.  Believe in yourself.  Keep going  to move forward.  It doesn’t matter what was said about you, what was done against you, or what you did wrong.  All of that is in the past and you can’t change the past.  Move forward to gain momentum.  Move forward to be resilient.  Move forward to achieve the impossible.

Tiny Steps towards Big Achievements

Every step counts!

We want to lose those extra pounds.  We want a better job.  We want to have better relationships.  We want to learn a foreign language.  All of those are achievable if the steps we take to get there are tiny and realistic.  We can’t place the giant pressure on ourselves to lose 20 pounds in 1 week.  That’s unhealthy and unnatural.  The best way to surely reach our goals is to follow the path of the turtle (slow and steady wins the race).

Let’s use the “I want to quit smoking” example.  For the purpose of this example I will share some side information about me on this.  I smoked for 15 years and it took me 8 years (on and off) to finally quit.  Once I finally commited myself to cut down on the bad habit I was able to reach my smoke-free goal.  Proudly, I have been smoke-free for about 8 years with no relapse.

How did I quit smoking and joined the ranks of those non-smokers?  In small, realistic steps.  I told myself I want to cut down (not quit) smoking.  I started to smoke one less cigarette a day (sometimes it took 2 or 3 days to get to one less).  I didn’t add pressure on myself by stating that I would quit smoking by an imaginary such and such date.  I just told myself to cut down on smoking.  By giving myself free reign of my choice with no added pressure (time line) I was allowing myself to slowly, gradually change my habit.  Some days were better than others.  But I promised myself that I was cutting down on the habit.

Once I cut down to 1 or 2 a day I realistically asked myself, “Do I really need this anymore?”  It seemed a bit silly to go so many hours without having a cigarette to only have 1 or 2.  That is when I made the choice to cut the number down to zero.  Once I made that decision I felt like a achieved the impossible, especially at the time I was often surrounded by smokers.

The main point here is with small, tiny, realistic steps you could achieve anything.  Aiming to lose weight?  Tell yourself to eat something healthy once a week.  Notice the statement did not mention anything about losing X amount of pounds.  Once you add that fruit or vegetable once a week then tell yourself to eat something healthy twice a week.  Achieve that and you could tell yourself to eat something healthy 3 times a week, etc. I’m sure you get the idea.  You could also add in some light exercise along the way too.  Again, make it tiny and realistic.

Good luck and stay committed one tiny step at a time. You could do it!

The World is Not Enough

Oftentimes, we focus on what isn’t working for us.  We hone in on all the situations that went bad and all the elements of those situations that were supposed to go right, but didn’t for some reason or another.  When things start going bad, sometimes it feels like life is purposely picking on us.  We may contract the ‘Why me?’ attitude and blame everything and anything on others.  Maybe we won’t blame it on others but will just come to a conclusion that, “Life sucks.”

After a bit of contemplation, we could realize that we don’t have to stick with the, ‘Why me?’ attitude and we don’t have to sum up our recent misfortunes to the clustered synopsis that, “Life sucks”.  We don’t have to blame the mishaps and faults on others either.  If we focus on what we could do to manage the downside of life and pin point possible solutions to ease the load then maybe, just maybe we could deal with life a little differently.

It’s up to us to solve the problems that come our way.  How those annoying bumps in the road occur is not our business.  How we get over or around them is.  Relying on others to get us through those bumps is okay but to ride the roughness on our own is much more rewarding.  In the end the world is not enough for us to get by.  We need to learn to rely just on ourselves.

The Great Expectation of No Expectations

We often set expectations on others and ourselves.  Most expectations are set high and when they are not met we get disappointed.  What if we decide to have no expectations?  What would happen if you didn’t expect anything at all?  Imagine going on a trip to some far off land you have never been to before.  There are no brochures, no maps, and no one else to tell you about this place.  Already you have no expectations because no opinion was given to you.  Once you arrive you discover that the place is the most amazing place you have ever been to.  The smells, the views, and every sound is perfect as anything could be.  After spending several fabulous days throughout this beautiful and magnificent place you have to return from where you came from.  On the way out you turn back to get one final glance of the most glorious setting you’ve ever experienced.  While getting the final look around you notice a sign and it says, “The worse place on earth.”  But how could that be?  You think to yourself; I was there.  I know it was the complete opposite.  You go home and tell all your friends about this place and all the experiences you enjoyed in this far off land.  One of your friends tell you that they know what place you are talking about and they begin to tell you about some awful story about this place.  You still wonder, ‘How could that be?  I thought it was great.’

The following year you go back to the same wonderful place and you remember the awful story your friend told you.  As you walk through all the same spots you visited before you revel in delight because you experienced them before.  Continuing on, you keep hearing the words of your friend and the awful story about the place.  As you keep thinking about what your friend said you start to notice little awful things about the place that you never noticed before.  You begin to look around and notice more and more the not so magnificent things about this place.   Even the things you thought were magnificent are now looking not so magnificent.  What happened?

Your expectations were set high because of the wonderful experience you had the first time.  Then you heard the awful story about this place from your friend.  Expectations were lowered and you noticed them.  The whole idea here is that setting expectations gives us limitations, bad or good in our experiences.  If we have no expectations we will experience what is and we won’t be disappointed.  If we have no expectations and something good happens that’s great.  If we have no expectations and something bad happens we deal with it but we can’t be disappointed because we weren’t expecting anything.  We are more capable to ‘roll with the punches’ when we don’t expect anything.

Challenge yourself today and remind yourself, ‘I will not expect anything today.’  See what happens.  It might just be.

What to change first

Once you have identified things you would like to change, which are most likely things that bring you discomfort you will need to determine what is the the first thing you would like to change.  The best way to start is to create a list and out of that list identify what is the most discomforting item.  Be careful you don’t put things on the list that are out of your control.  To determine this ask yourself the question, “Is this something I have personal control over?  Could I actually change this?”

Once you’ve identified the first thing you need to change the next step is to believe you could succeed.  You need to be confident in knowing that you are capable of doing anything you set your mind to.  You must be ready for whatever you may face along the road of change.  Believe in yourself to have the power to change and believe in yourself that you control whatever it is you desire.  You can and you will!

When you find the power within yourself to believe you must stick to the change process.  Oftentimes we want to change and once the change is actually happening we revert back to our old ways of doing and our old ways of thinking because that is what we are most comfortable with.  When change actually happens it’s usually awkward initially because it’s not what we are used to.  This feeling is normal and natural.  Even though we want the change to occur and we worked through the steps to get us there its weird and sometimes a bit unnatural when we finally get there.  Believe that this is what is meant to be because you worked towards this moment and you deserve this.

Identify what you need to change.  Believe that you have the power to change anything you desire.  Stick to the process of the change and you will succeed.

Why change?

We often want to change some things in our lives.  Be it our hair, our body, our job, where we live, how we spend our money, what we wear, how we eat, what we do with our time, etc.  But why do we want to change?  Perhaps to better ourselves and our surroundings.  Maybe to be happier or to look brighter or to just makes things a little more different than before.  Our reasons for wanting to change could be of many but the ultimate reason is to be comfortable.  We have a constant need to find comfort in our lives.  We need to be comfortable with ourselves to do what we do everyday.  We need to be comfortable with the people we interact with on a regular basis.  We need to be comfortable within our surroundings where ever we go in order to be the best we could be.  If we’re not comfortable we want to change something to make us comfortable.  Uncomfortability is the catalyst for change.

So next time you feel like changing something ask yourself what are you uncomfortable with?  On the other side of the coin, if you are uncomfortable with something maybe you need to change.

It’s all about the attitude

When things aren’t going your way think of your attitude before you react.  Our attitude, positive or negative, determines how the situation plays out.  Oftentimes we act on impulse and afterwards we wonder why or how things got worse.  It’s all about the attitude.

When things are getting heated they seem to get even hotter when tempers flare and sometimes violence ensues.  Imagine that person who has road rage.  They drive even faster; swerving around other cars, cursing and snarling at the wheel because someone else cut them off on the highway.  What they don’t realize is they are putting themselves and everyone else at risk because of their attitude.  Sure it wasn’t right that someone cut them off but driving angrily about it doesn’t make the situation better.

A negative attitude is contagious like gasoline.  One little drop can start a fire if it’s not contained properly.  Ever hear the phrase, “It takes one to know one”?  Negative attracts negative and likewise positive diffuses the negative and if continued enough will eventually attract the positive.

Of course, you are allowed to be angry, upset, and hurt but reacting to these feelings in a more positive approach will make the situation less abrasive.  When life appears beyond your control don’t give up hope or give in easily.  Instead, take up a positive attitude and take in a better perspective which will lead you to a better way of reacting to the situation at hand.

Attitude plays a role in your overall health too.  Some studies, like University of Utah’s Dr. Lisa G. Aspinwall’s 2005 research, Taking positive changes seriously suggest that terminally ill patients who suffer from cancer, AIDS, and other life threatening ailments manage their health problems better and have a higher sense of resilience when they approach it with a positive attitude.  Look at the health stricken celebrities if you don’t believe this.  Famous people like Michael J. Fox, Montel Williams, and Lance Armstrong are shining examples of taking something negative and turning it into a positive.  Following their lead on coping with the negative should help you understand the impact attitude has on your life.  Remember, it’s all about the attitude.

Resource: Aspinwall, L. G. and MacNamara, A. (2005), Taking positive changes seriously. Cancer, 104: 2549–2556. doi: 10.1002/cncr.21244 found at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.21244/full