The First Law of Emotion

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Reading time: 1 min.

Newton had his Laws of Motion. We have the Laws of Emotion. Our First Law is like his first law: Our Moods Tend to Keep Going.

We can’t help but broadcast our attitudes, have them influence others, and then react to them afresh when others reflect them back to us. So when we are up, we tend to stay up. When we are down, we tend to stay down. Unless, that is, we apply a concerted force of discipline.

Why a discipline? We have been so practiced at low-buzz emotions that we all hover lower than any of us would like. This is why raising our buzz and staying there can be so difficult and discouraging. It takes some time and dedication to catch ourselves and use one of the many buzz-raising tools to get up and stay up.

But not much time. And the results are so worth it.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: aldoaldoz Sir Isaac Newton via photopin (license)

Start Anywhere Else

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Here’s the thing about trying to raise our buzz, trying to feel good so that we can perform better: it can be hard, damn hard, or well near impossible to do while focusing on what we’re feeling bad about.

Next time you want to feel better about a situation, start by feeling better about anything else. Use whatever is at hand. Notice one thing you appreciate, notice another thing, and keep going until you feel better. Then you can turn your attention back to the topic at hand.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: muha… it seems i/u need a break!! via photopin (license)

Why You Need to Heed The Signal

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Reading time: 2 min.

We’ve grown up thinking that feeling bad means that there is something wrong with us, them, or the situation and that this something wrong needs to be dealt with or avoided.

Here’s a common example: We feel tense thinking about a critically important, upcoming meeting. We tell ourselves something like, “Oh, boy. This might not go well.” We continue to dwell and play out in our heads what would happen if this meeting doesn’t go well. And now we feel even worse.

Reacting to this bad feeling, we may over prepare, underplay the importance, emotionally withdraw, get aggressive, etc. Instead of employing our talents in this meeting, we divert our energy and attention to these defensive moves. Our performance suffers whenever we use these moves.

And something like this happens every time we feel bad. Ugh.

But wait. (You knew there’d be good news, right?)

A bad feeling is just a signal. It means that our current interpretation of things is out of step with what we, deep down, know is true. Think of a bad feeling as the tool that the wiser part of us uses to get our attention.

In our example, the tense feeling before the meeting is the signal. As we start to think, “Oh, boy…” our wiser-selves know better and jump in. They want us to hear, “Relax. You got this. Be cool. Be open. You can handle whatever may happen. You’re good. You’re talented. ‘Perfect’ is so not what’s needed here; what’s needed is your care and attention. Breathe.”

If we catch the signal and ask ourselves what the better perspective is then the bad feeling evaporates, we avoid using those defensive moves, we become much more present, and we get to apply all our talents to this meeting or whatever situation is at hand. So much better, yes?

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Yes, of course you have a wiser part of you. It is the perspective shift that you notice as you do this exercise.

 

Today’s photo credit: coofdy Kadinga dongas via photopin (license)

Definite, Compelling, and Grand

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If we focus on something we don’t like (especially if we go on about what’s wrong with it and why we don’t like it) then try to fix it, we’ll struggle mightily because our focus has an odd way of preserving things. (Think about the war on drugs or trying to get teammates finally do that thing they never do. Rock. Hard place.)

Upon seeing something we don’t like, we can choose to focus on something definite and compelling that we want instead. If we then set about building that, we will have a grand time because our focus has an odd way of creating things. (Think about those famously successful neighborhood revitalizations or those companies with great cultures everyone wants to emulate. They all started with a choice.)

The only trick is making sure we aren’t focusing on what we don’t want while we set out to build what we do want. This would be very frustrating because, you guessed it, our focus has an odd way of getting us more of what we focus on.

May your 2017 be definite, compelling, and grand.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Jeff Rivers canopy via photopin (license)

Practice

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Reading time: 2 min.

Ever wonder what it will take for our ship to come in, for us to be finally more calm, for things to start working right, or for our work and our relationships to click? It won’t be some insight. Nor will it be something that someone else does for us. It is something only we can do: practice a new focus and attitude.

Our focus and attitude have a dramatic effect on results. Up to now, we practiced a focus and attitude that we thought would get results. That practice helped us build what we might call our winning ways. These ways got us here. But when we notice some desire remaining out of reach, that’s our sign to change our focus and attitude.

We are so used to our winning ways that a change in focus and attitude can be hard. To make such a change, we practice. Steady, regular, small (at first) practice of a buzz-raising focus and attitude will do the trick.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: What’s the new focus and attitude? Since most of us are extremely well practiced at a focus on what could go wrong and a fine attitude of judgment, we’d probably do very well to focus on positive expectations and an attitude of joy.

PPS: Yup; lots of practice needed. And it pays off handsomely.

 

Today’s photo credit:
pan optike
cc

Seeing the Good

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

Listen to conversations on the street, through the media, at work, and even at home. Much of what we hear is complaint. And too much complaint is bad for our health. Just being around it, our buzz drops and we become less vibrant, healthy, and effective.

We need a little complaint (from ourselves and others) so we can know what focus on next. But we’d do very well to limit exposure and spend more time plugged in, seeing the good, and offering people an antidote to all the complaint.

That’s what we need from you most, good leader.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Nicolas Raymond cc

We Are Like Our Smartphones

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

Like our smartphones, we can run on battery or plug in.

We can go for a while on battery but eventually we will start dragging. On low battery, we feel bad. We blame what must be broken things in other people, the situation, or ourselves. Our effectiveness, enjoyment, and achievements drop.

Plugged in and fully charged, we feel wonderful, take responsibility for everything, and find things getting done with ease. Life is delicious.

Plugging in means nothing more than putting our attention on what we appreciate, what feels good, what we love. Thought by thought, we feel better and better until we’re fully charged. Meditation, connection to something higher, or any of the buzz raising tools would work.

It is tempting to try to stay plugged in and fully charged. But that’s neither possible nor desirable. The worry we would feel about trying to stay plugged in is all it takes to unplug us. And running on battery is needed to experience life. Like our cell phones, we are made to wander in and wonder at the world in all its glory and all its mess. From what we see, we guide our lives. We pick new things we want to have, experience, and accomplish from the mix of good and bad we’ve noticed. We can’t do that if we’re always plugged in.

Many of us simply forget about plugging in. Instead, we struggle through our days, drained.

No need. Just plug in.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Solución Individual cc

Things You Might Enjoy Doing This (or Any) Morning

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

Notice how you feel after doing any of these things when you get out of bed in the morning.

  1. Stand like Wonder Woman or Superman for 2 minutes. Hands on hips, shoulders back, chest up, chin up.
  2. Say out loud something positive about who you are becoming. e.g. if you want to eat better, “I am someone who takes the extra couple of minutes to prepare good-tasting, fresh food.”
  3. Write down the top 4 things you want to get done today. Answer the question, “What would feel great to complete today?” keep that list with you through the day to guide and inspire.
  4. Do 4 push-ups. Or do one more than you did yesterday until you get to 10 or 15 or 50 or whatever you want to be your daily push-up number.
  5. Visualize yourself being how you want to be and having what you want to have. Sit for 4 minutes. Pick some situation or result you want. Visualize who you would be with that result. How would it feel to be that person and have that result?
  6. Drink a glass of fresh water. Does wonders for you as one of your first morning things.
  7. Do one sun salutation. Great demos on YouTube. Breathe deeply and calmly as you go. Here’s a simple one: 1. Reach up with your hands and hold it a few seconds. 2. With your arms sorta doing swan-dive, bend over at your hips, touch your toes (or at least point your fingers at your toes) and hold it a few seconds. 3. Kneel down “on all fours” then push back into a downward dog and hold it for a few seconds. 4. Now reverse it; come back to all fours, stand back into a forward bend, slowly roll up to standing with your hands above your head. How’s it feel?
  8. Make a list of things you appreciate. Anything goes. And for a real kick list things you appreciate about someone or something that is currently challenging.
  9. Smile. Just ‘cuz.

Did it feel good enough to try again tomorrow? G’day!

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Enid Martindale cc

Standard Stress Strategy Backfires

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When we fall a bit behind in our work, we deploy our standard strategy: working a bit harder. But when we are feeling overwhelmed, our standard strategy backfires. We try to work harder but, under stress, we are so much less effective. Which makes us feel more overwhelmed, stressed, behind which leads to even crappier work which leads to …

No amount of activity can ever get us out of overwhelm. But feeling good–raising our buzz–will.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Nicolas Garcia
cc