With the glow of the Sochi Olympics fading, we recall the highlights, the winners, the exultant moments! There are too many to list, but I’m sure you have a few of your favourites in mind. I watched my share of it, which is saying a lot, since I don’t usually watch TV.
You know what struck me the most, as it does every time I watch the Olympics? The incredible composure some of those athletes have. Sure, they are in their prime physically, but I daresay, they are also masters of their mental state as well.
Speaking of masters of their mental state — and inspiring overachievers — I’m reading Col. Chris Hadfield’s book An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. I haven’t finished it yet, so don’t tell me how it ends, okay? Here’s an interesting part about attitude.
In spaceflight, “attitude” refers to orientation: which direction your vehicle is pointing relative to the Sun, Earth and other spacecraft. If you lose control of your attitude, two things happen: the vehicle starts to tumble and spin, disorienting everyone on board, and it also strays from its course, which, if you’re short on time or fuel, could mean the difference between life and death…
In my experience, something similar is true on earth. Ultimately, I don’t determine whether I arrive at the desired professional destination. Too many variables are out of my control. There’s really just one thing I can control: my attitude during the journey, which is what keeps me feeling steady and stable, and what keeps me headed in the right direction. So I consciously monitor and correct, if necessary, because losing attitude would be far worse than not achieving my goal. – Col. Chris Hadfield
So, it follows that if I keep a watch on my attitude, I will not tumble out of control, feel disoriented, or stray from my course. I will be on track, feel like I am making progress, and have more overall contentment and lightheartedness. As Chris says, it is more important to maintain attitude than achieve a goal.
A lot of goal-setting, performance-oriented, time-management, efficiency-optimization shtick came out of the late 80’s and 1990’s. This was the heyday of books like How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. I’m not saying those aren’t good books, but I feel like the collective personal development mindset focused on achieving goals and nothing was said about attitude. And yet your attitude is the key! You can be happy even when you haven’t met all your goals, and you can look at life as an adventure rather than an obstacle course to conquer.
So let’s start a new wave where attitude is everything! I often lay in bed for a few minutes before getting up, just to check my attitude. I would rather go about my day cheerful and grateful, wouldn’t you? The world needs less grumpy people! As Chris Hadfield says, “losing attitude is far worse than not achieving my goal.” Would the world stop spinning if we all just tossed our goals out a window — or put them on the back burner — and started enjoying life? I think not. :)
Normally, I get along really well with those around me. Throughout my life, I have learned how to communicate with different kinds of people, although I have to admit, it comes pretty naturally. Even from a young age, my family would call me the peacemaker — because I was always liaising between my two sisters, because I could naturally see both sides and communicate to both. My dad once told me that he thought it was neat how I could talk to anyone about anything. :)
Lately, though, I’ve had occasion to not see eye-to-eye with one man who comes in to my workplace periodically. I’m not the only one to not get along with this fella — he has a chip on his shoulder, that’s for sure. I’ve caught myself thinking about the next time I have to interact with him. What will he say? What will I say?
Last time, I had to strongly defend a friend of mine whom he started to put down. That’s not something I have to do very often. It was a slightly heart-pounding experience; it was a conflict-creating move for someone whose nature is much more about conflict-avoidance. Although I learned to deal with conflict in my first marriage, it still makes my heart thump a little harder.
So what’s the deal with this guy? Why is he so obstinate? I was thinking that in our next conversation, perhaps I should try to be more understanding, try to see his side. And then I recalled something he said that really struck me. He said “people are always keeping information from me, so that I can’t do my job properly.” At the time, I proceeded to tell him more about how his job interfaces with mine, explaining things that might have been “kept from him.” Later I thought, buddy, it’s your responsibility to find out whatever you need to in order to do your job. In future conversations, perhaps I could try and explain that if he could do away with that victim-stance, and the chip on his shoulder, he’d do better. His air is so confrontational, perhaps he could try a co-operative mode instead.
But I don’t think he can do it. It’s too far from his modus-operandi. It’s too big a stretch. I don’t think he knows how to co-operate. I honestly don’t think he’s learned how to work co-operatively with others… which is too bad, because the pattern for his life isn’t likely to change otherwise.
Of course, I always like to turn the tables, look in the mirror and see how this applies to me. Is there something that I don’t know how to do, which affects the direction my life is taking? Is there something that I would benefit from learning?
Hmmm… does accounting count? That’s certainly not one of my strengths! But hot damn, I’ve been learning! :) How about you? If you could step outside yourself, what advice would you give yourself? What might another person — a wise, helpful person — suggest you try doing?
I also have to ask myself, am I part of the problem? Wouldn’t this man’s experience be different without me here? Kind of turns it upside down doesn’t it? He and I wouldn’t be having this conflict-filled experience if I weren’t here, or if I were different… So, I must have some conflict in me, which isn’t a bad thing or a mortal flaw. I simply must have been sending out some fightin’ vibes the day he talked bad about my friend. I haven’t had any run-ins since then, which I take as evidence that I’m feeling better about life now!
As usual, I just enjoy giving you some things to think about! :)
Hi everyone! You are my best supporters, my blog readers! So, I wanted to let you know that I am unveiling two presentations about my paddling experiences this summer. If you know of an event looking for a speaker, please have the organizer contact me using the comments form below. Comments are not published until I approve them, so I will not publish any requests. As for everyone else… What do you think of my idea? Would you like to hear about my trips? Would you find it interesting? Leave comments!
800 Kilometers on the River — Insights from my Summer of Wilderness Paddling
Join outdoor enthusiast and owner of Flow North Paddling Company, Teresa Griffith as she shares the challenges and triumphs of canoeing and kayaking over 800 km on the beautiful Peace River. In total, she paddled for nineteen days — ten days solo, nine days with a canoe partner — steeped in the beauty of the wilderness river. She overcame shoulder trouble, thunderstorms, shallow water, strong wind and waves throughout her journey. She spent seven continuous days alone on the water, with only herself and her kayak, and she wasn’t the same when she finished. She shares inspiration which came to her on that portion of the trip, when time stood still and every paddle stroke was a meditation.
800 Kilometers on the River — Lessons in Independence
Join outdoor enthusiast and owner of Flow North Paddling Company, Teresa Griffith as she shares the challenges and triumphs of canoeing and kayaking over 800 km on the beautiful Peace River. In total, she paddled for nineteen days — ten days solo, nine days with a canoe partner — steeped in the beauty of the wilderness river. She overcame shoulder trouble, thunderstorms, shallow water, strong wind and waves throughout her journey. She spent seven continuous days alone on the water, with only herself and her kayak, and she wasn’t the same when she finished.
A dynamic speaker, Teresa gives an outline of her past experiences which led her to make this journey. She reviews her trip preparation and practical aspects of the journey. She also shares inspiration and insight which came to her on the solo portion of the trip, when time stood still and every paddle stroke was a meditation. Sitting out a severe thunderstorm on the river’s muddy bank, nowhere to hide, wisdom and poetry surfaced from somewhere deep within. You’ll be encouraged, uplifted, and inspired to stretch yourself beyond what you thought possible.
My husband is a morning person. I am not. After careful observations of his strange habits and energy levels, I have made several conclusions.
He isn’t perky, alert and annoying first thing in the morning on purpose, it’s just the way he is. :) And, we make a great partnership because
1. We agree that 3 pm should be nap time, and
2. When going on road trips, he drives the first part and I take over later on (when I’m fully awake)!
So I’m trying to be kind to him in the evening when he’s sleepy, remembering how I feel when I’m a zombie in the morning. :P
Recently, I’ve realized and read some really big truths. Or rather, I’ve realized some really big lies that many of us believe without even realizing it.
1 – The lie: Outside things control us. The full quotation from The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes says
We have thought that outside things controlled us, when all the time we have had that within which could have changed everything and given us freedom from bondage. – Holmes
Although we may think that our external environment controls what we do or how we live, it simply isn’t true. You never give up your control over your actions and thoughts. In tough times, you can choose to think positively. When someone is rude to you, you can choose to be polite. We have complete, utter sovereignty over our thoughts and therefore our lives.
2 – The lie: Things create more things. You might think, “no, people create things.” That’s not exactly true either. When it comes to creating anything in our lives, attitudes create things. And when I say “things,” I mean physical objects, circumstances, etc. You have probably experienced the frustration of trying to do something and just none of it will go right — your attitude, or thoughts, have made that thing hard to do, or they’ve made you want to do them when it isn’t the right time yet. If you get into an A-type personality mode, you can often push hard to do something that just isn’t needed/ready/the best thing to do. So your attitude creates a difficult time.
But getting back to the idea that attitudes create things, just realize that anything, good or bad, is in your life because you brought it there through a conscious or subconscious attitude and only you can remove it or change it. That is the foundation, but I don’t want to make it sound like it’s just “snap your fingers and voilà, it’s done.” It’s quite a bit of work to start being aware of what you’re thinking and how that’s affecting your life, and then learning to change it!
3 – The lie: Women need make-up. Why? To be attractive, of course. But make no mistake — you don’t attract people by how you look. Society feeds us the lie that women need make-up (and hair products, and skin lotions…) and popular media tries to tell us that our worth is tied to our looks, but that is so wrong! We attract people by who we are. We each have our own way of being, which includes our body language (like how we talk, move, look people in the eye, etc) and personality, but it also includes that “je ne sais quoi” — that special something, a person’s spirit. Sometimes, when you meet someone new, you can just tell you’re going to be friends with them. Or you might get a funny vibe not to trust them. In either case, it doesn’t have much to do with how they look, and we must stop believing the lie that we need to BUY THINGS to change the way we look to be more attractive. It’s just NOT TRUE! Authenticity should guide us instead. [Dove Evolution video]
4 – The lie: Men attract women by what they do. For the most part, men are told they have to do something cool, interesting, money-making, etc, to be successful and attract women. Or that they have to be clever/witty or romantic to say the right thing to get the girl.
Not true. You are not what you do. You attract by who you are. You don’t need a sexy job like race car driver to get the girls! Your attitude/spirit will attract them. Be the kind of person you want to attract — if you want a fun-loving, honest girl, be that. If you want a positive, easy-going partner, be that. Trust me, girls aren’t saying “I want a paramedic boyfriend” or “I want a guy who works at the Ford dealership!” It doesn’t matter what you do, it matters who you are. Think about who you would attract by who you are.
I think that the standard stereotypes are starting to be reversed, too. Men are now much more concerned about how they look, and products are now being pushed on them too (such as shave-gel, cologne, hair products). I’m guessing the products and marketing came first and then men started developing concern for their appearance. And women are now becoming more concerned with what they do, too.
I leave you with this last thought: You are not who you think you are… no one is. With no distractions, when you are truly alone with yourself, who are you? If you have no idea, but wish you did, go away by yourself with no distractions (TV, books, hobbies) and no mirror for 4+ days and I think you’ll find out! I certainly did when I went on my long kayak trip. It was wonderful!
The Spirit within me does not long for anything. It is free, safe, and satisfied. There is no sense of insecurity or of inferiority. I am not seeking to avoid anything. I am conscious of my ability to meet every situation. There is neither depression nor discouragement in my mental outlook on life. I do not look to anything outside myself to give me pleasure, comfort or certainty. I do not long for anything and I am not afraid of anything. My whole inner being is conscious of its unity with God, of its oneness with Spirit. There is no pleasure in intemperance, nor can it offer any suggestion of happiness to me…”
Wow. I wonder how I would treat people I encounter if I said that to myself every morning? Differently, I think. I had a challenging day today, and I wish I had read this in the morning… might have changed the outcome a little (although I was still quite positive and level-headed, despite some schtuff that happened. :) )
Remember I mentioned that this really spoke to me? Well, the paragraph is about intemperance, which I thought meant having a bad temper. But I wasn’t sure, so I thought I’d better look it up, just to be sure. I was wrong — intemperance is an expression for “immoderate indulgence of bodily appetites, specifically, drinking of alcoholic liquors.” Hmmm. A blurb about alcoholism spoke to me? I’m far from being an alcoholic (and not in denial, don’t worry), so what’s going on? Well, I might have other addictions, so… hmmm…
This is the second part of the paragraph — a-ha, it is all about habits!
I now see this habit for exactly what it is, an illusion, which seeks to force me to believe that there is some power outside myself which can give me either pleasure or pain. I do not anticipate such pleasure, nor is there any suggestive power in this habit which can cause me to believe that it has ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, given me pleasure. I am forever free from this thought, and from its effects. I do not will myself free from this habit, rather I perceive this habit is neither person, place nor thing. Having no law to operate, it cannot function. Having no intelligence of its own, it cannot suggest. Having no mind, it cannot will. I am now forever free from the mistaken belief that it was ever a thing of itself. I see it as forever separated from my real self, forever divorced from my imagination, thought and conviction. I am free now.”
That would be powerful against alcoholism! It will work on chocoholism, too, I think.
The paragraph above is actually a prayer treatment. A prayer treatment (or affirmative prayer) is something that you say, out loud, somewhat like a regular prayer, except it is more affirmative and “treats” you for a specific set of false-thinking you are stuck in. It’s a little like self-hypnosis, something you tell yourself so that you can change how you think, but affirmative prayer also lets God/Spirit help you in that area.
This prayer treatment comes from Ernest Holmes’ book The Science of Mind. Now maybe you think this is just too close to scientology or (what you feel are) other “quack” religions, not what you choose to believe. I hope you can see the wisdom in the words even if you don’t quite understand or agree with the source. For a little more info, click here. I will not try to convince or convert you, ever. Believe whatever you want to believe, but be aware that what you choose to believe and think shapes your reality! Aaah, this reminds me of my book! I am essentially finished writing it, although I need a cover design and some artwork done, then I really need to work on publishing it! Next year! :) Seriously, I’ll work on it in January when I have more time.