Friday, June 22, 2012

Learning to PowerLife--Mental Attitude

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Chaka Kahn has gotten the attention of the media recently because her healthier life-style is working. In interviews she describes initially following a juice fast for several months, and then eliminating meat and dairy from her diet. She also shares what motivated her to start turning her life around from living with type-two diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure to a healthier way. Reporters quote her as saying that being responsible for rearing her granddaughter was her main motivation to change in the beginning.

Her journey toward better health is important to us for two main reasons. First, her story highlights the importance of mental attitude when working to recognize and claim your Power. Second, having a strong reason that your mind can hold on to is crucial to initial success when you are working to become free of life-long habits.

Try this simple experiment. Tomorrow as you start your day, tell yourself:
I am beautiful. Life is precious. Everyone I meet can see my positive light. These are not meant to be platitudes, so please take them seriously. Know that the three statements are true in your heart without question or exception, no matter what happens throughout the day. Later, in the evening, make an assessment to see if you notice any difference.

The first time that I did this exercise I was shocked at just how different my day seemed. People smiled more than usual. I had several short, pleasant exchanges with strangers. In addition, at the end of my day, I felt energized and relaxed rather than overwhelmed and exhausted.

I was also surprised, as I made the conscious effort to keep my positive mental attitude throughout the day, at how many negative thoughts I had in a 24 hour period. I was surprised at how many times people with negative comments or behavior got and held my attention. This is when I understood on a practical level how important having and keeping a positive mental attitude was to living a healthier, happier life.

Living your PowerLife means refocusing your mind so that you can find and hold on to the attitude that lets you see what is positive, strong, and honest within you and every interaction that you have. Once you have refocused your mind, you can then recognize when you are facing negativity, weakness, and dishonesty in yourself and the interactions that you have with others. Knowing the difference on a conscious level helps all of us adhere to the people, places, and actions that lead to success while we avoid the rest. I will share some information about myself as an example.

For years I had the mental attitude that allowed me only to see friends or foes. Everything was about me, and I quickly assessed whether people were friends or foes based on my perception of them. If I determined that they were friends, I would relax and spend less time focusing on what they did or said.

If I decided that they were foes, however, I became vigilant and focused a great deal of time and energy toward understanding or countering what they said or did. I lived by what some people, including myself at the time, called the King of the Hill mentality. With this approach to life, there was only one king atop each hill and I was determined to be at the top. Sounds crazy right? 

Well, it was crazy and that mental attitude brought more craziness and drama in my life than I could possibly handle. You see, when we look for fights behind every curtain, that's exactly what we find; fights and people who like to fight. It wasn't until I felt that the world was against me, and I became weary of the fighting and the angry people that I looked inside for guidance on how I approached life. There were several things working against me and they all came from within.

First, in my mind, everything was about me; there was no room for the possibility that events beyond me were affecting what I was experiencing.

Second, I left no room for the possibility that I might be wrong; once I made up my mind, the deal was done even when everything that I heard and saw contradicted my decision.

Third, there was no room for the possibility that some people change; in my few minutes of assessment, if I decided someone was a friend, that stuck no matter what happened later to challenge my decision.

Fourth, I left no room for the possibility that people were not always honest; because I was honest almost to a fault, I believed what other people said with little question.

Fifth, I left no room for the possibility that not everyone had my set of morals; I lived believing that if I would not behave a certain way, the people in my circle of friends, family, and colleagues would not behave that way either.

The key word in the above list is possibility. I left nothing to chance in my mind at the same time that everything was left to chance. I was naive enough to firmly believe that I knew. I knew who was my friend. I knew who was my foe. I knew who loved me. I knew whom I loved. In retrospect, I had no clue.

I had no clue about who had my back and who did not. I had no clue about what might happen if I stopped and listened to my inner guidance on this issue. Beyond my immediate family, I had no clue about who loved me and who did not. In addition, I certainly did not know the person whom I loved at the time. The result; I was blown left, right, up, down like a leaf. My life was in the hands of chance or anyone who presented well, and that was not good for me.

In the Welcome post I introduced the concept of switching your thought process from binary to triad. I wrote that part of claiming and living your Power included turning away from thinking in yes/no, right/wrong terms solely, and toward yes/no/progression. 

When we think in binary form, we see black or white, good or bad, friend or foe. There are times when binary thinking is necessary. Sometimes an action is simply wrong, and this is so because of the effects the action has on others. Many times, though, binary thinking blinds us and keeps us from bringing what is possible to life. This is why I now think mainly in yes/no/progression terms.

This means that when I am assessing my life or simply making a decision about what to eat, I first ask, is this something that I want? If the answer is yes I then consider possible effects if I follow through. In other words, will the effects of what I have decided that I want to do put me closer to where I want to go in my life? 

If the answer is still yes then I follow through. This is where possibilities that I may not experience come to fruition. Doors open. People come into my life. I experience spiritual, physical, or mental growth that I would not have otherwise.

Conversely, if I decide that the effects will not bring me closer to my goal, then I examine why I want to do something that puts me at at odds with what I want to accomplish in my life. Again, what is just possible becomes real because self-exploration on the issue brings about a deeper understanding of what motivates me to act.

A quick example: An opportunity to learn to tango comes my way. I first need to decide if this is something that I want to do. The answer is yes. Next, I need to determine if taking dance lessons will move me in the direction that I want to go which is living a healthier, fuller life. The answer is still yes. I follow through and take the lessons, and what was once only possible becomes real. I meet people that I would not have met. My body is more flexible than before. I move with even more confidence and fluidity.

If the answer is no taking lessons will not bring me closer to what I want to accomplish, I explore why I want to do something that counters obtaining my goals. I do this through meditation, and possibly dream interpretation. In the process, what is only possible becomes real. I may learn that I am very uncomfortable with one to one interaction. On exploring this about myself, perhaps I learn that I was betrayed in some way that was connected to intimacy. This is all conjecture, but I hope you can see that my yes/no/progression approach to life creates win/win choices. Either way you win because you become a better person.

Let's begin exploring your mental attitude.

Take one week to keep track of every time you have a negative thought about yourself. Forget about what you think of other people  or what they may think about you. Right now, just keep track of the times that you tell yourself that you shouldn't, can't, won't, haven't, will never, don't have, won't have, can't stop, won't stop.... Write down what you say to yourself verbatim, and briefly describe the situation you are in at the time. If you are aware of other people around you, make a note of who they are and what relationship they represent to you.

Include your feelings as well. When you look in the mirror, jot down how you feel about your looks. What emotions do you feel when you see your reflection? Do you smile? Frown? When you look at a picture of yourself, what is your reaction? At work, try to keep track of when you admonish yourself, or tell yourself that you are not good enough, or compare yourself to another.

As with all of the things that you write, keep them private. This is information about you for you that will be important to having more insight into what motivates you and what gets in your way later on.

If you find this blog helpful, I ask that you let others know by using the google and Facebook links to tell your friends. Thank you.

From my PowerLife to Yours,


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