No Rules Say We Have To Start There

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Reading time: 1 min.

Most of us know the leverage of feeling good before getting into action. Feeling good makes everything flow so much better. But it is often difficult or impossible to feel good about a topic that is important to us. For example, most of us will find it hard to feel good about an upcoming encounter with a challenging colleague. Try as we might, it’s just too tough some days to find good-feeling thoughts about this. Luckily, we don’t have to.

There are no rules that say we must feel good about the topic-at-hand. Well, not immediately, at least. Intead of trying to feel good about our colleague and the upcoming conversation, we can achieve a great buzz level by starting with good-feeling thoughts about anything else. Puppies. Strawberries. The freshness of the air outside. Anything.

Once we reach a good-feeling place, we can return our attention to the topic-at-hand and much more easily find and benefit from good-feeling thoughts about it.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: brianarn Universe Closed via photopin (license)

So, You Say You Want Better Results

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

Okay. Maybe we are convinced that jumping into action to get desired results is problematic. Perhaps there is something useful in raising our buzz–that is, to feeling good–then acting as inspired to generate better results. But why does raising our buzz seem so difficult?

Mostly, it’s because we are fighting age-old, inherited habits. We are so used to (1) reacting to outside influences and (2) thinking that we have to figure things out and get into action to handle those outside influences. Any attempt we make to raise our buzz (that is, feeling good despite the outside influences) presses against those two habits. It is hard to do. But here’s the thing: saying it’s hard makes it harder. (See?)

So we need a way to gently, lightly move ourselves away from reacting to outside influences and toward an inner-generated, high-buzz perspective.

What works is starting with small, daily practice. Being playful about it also helps. It is especially useful to do this practice as we are going to bed and as we wake up. It takes just a few minutes each time. Within a few days, we will notice a difference. And inside a month, whoa!

Keep going.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Arya Ziai September 13, 2013 at 09:58PM via photopin (license)

It’s Very Hard Work

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

We talk about approaching our piles of tasks with ease. We note how jumping into action when feeling tense, angry, or otherwise bad about stuff is counterproductive. And we at least suspect that taking the time to first feel good then act is a smart way to go.

Yet many people complain that we advocate being lazy, not getting stuff done, or ignoring what’s important. They insist that success comes primarily from hard work.

And there, they are right.

It takes lots of hard work–focus, concentration, discernment, and organization–to replace our habit of jumping into action with a habit of doing whatever it takes to first feel good, then act as inspired. When we do, though, wow!

Gotta do the right hard work.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Amanda Slater from Coventry, England (Suffolk Horses Ploughing) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

re: Never Mind the Pile

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Reading time: 1 min.

A large pile of tasks can make us feel anxious, annoyed, or apoplectic. We think that these feelings are a reaction to the pile–a call to buckle down, push harder, and make stuff happen.

Nope.

That feeling is the wiser part of us sending us a memo: “Never mind the pile. You’re fine. You’re just thinking about it the wrong way. There’s an easier, more fulfilling way. That pile isn’t a threat. Nor are the stories you make up about what would happen if you don’t do them correctly, on time, or to someone else’s satisfaction. What you fear is baseless. Action taken when buzzing low is always counterproductive. Be easy about it all. Things always work out. You will never get through the pile; you’re always adding more. Think of it as a “could do” pile, not a “to do” pile. Breathe. Get perspective. Enjoy the process. You’ve done this before. You’ve got this now. Yes. Feel good, raise your buzz, then act from the ensuing inspiration. Repeat. And enjoy the results.”

Better?

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: The stronger the feeling, the more imperative the memo.

Today’s photo credit: Allysse Riordan Piling up via photopin (license)

The First Law of Emotion

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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