On Myth Busting–Warren Buffett’s Optimistic view of America’s Economy

Open Letter from Berkshire’s Chairman Warren Buffett – Insightful and uplifting perspective on the State of America’s economy.

Optimistic view of America from Warren Buffet “Correcting the myth that our children will not live as well as they themselves do”.

In his 2016 letter to shareholders, Warren Buffett ( Net worth as of 3/16/2016 $62 B ranked second only to Bill Gates) displayed cheery optimism for America’s future, writing that the crop of presidential candidates’ “negative drumbeat” about the nation’s prospects is “dead wrong.”  Below I am taking the liberty to share his comments from his  140 page Annual Report to shareholders. Buffett’s comments about the state of American business is certainly refreshing from the “gloom and doom” nightly news. This needs to be a must read for all Presidential candidates.  

“It’s an election year, and candidates can’t stop speaking about our country’s problems (which, of course, only they can solve). As a result of this negative outlook and drumbeat, many Americans now believe that their children will not live as well as they themselves do. That view is dead wrong: The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history. American GDP per capita is now about $56,000. As I mentioned last year that – in real terms – is a staggering six times the amount in 1930, the year I was born, a leap far beyond the wildest dreams of my parents or their contemporaries. U.S. citizens are not intrinsically more intelligent today, nor do they work harder than did Americans in 1930. Rather, they work far more efficiently and thereby produce far more. This all-powerful trend is certain to continue: America’s economic magic remains alive and well. Some commentators bemoan our current 2% per year growth in real GDP – and, yes, we would all like to see a higher rate. But let’s do some simple math using the much-lamented 2% figure. That rate, we will see, delivers astounding gains. 7 America’s population is growing about .8% per year (.5% from births minus deaths and .3% from net migration). Thus 2% of overall growth produces about 1.2% of per capita growth. That may not sound impressive. But in a single generation of, say, 25 years, that rate of growth leads to a gain of 34.4% in real GDP per capita. (Compounding’s effects produce the excess over the percentage that would result by simply multiplying 25 x 1.2%.) In turn, that 34.4% gain will produce a staggering $19,000 increase in real GDP per capita for the next generation. Were that to be distributed equally, the gain would be $76,000 annually for a family of four. Today’s politicians need not shed tears for tomorrow’s children. Indeed, most of today’s children are doing well. All families in my upper middle-class neighborhood regularly enjoy a living standard better than that achieved by John D. Rockefeller Sr. at the time of my birth. His unparalleled fortune couldn’t buy what we now take for granted, whether the field is – to name just a few – transportation, entertainment, communication or medical services. Rockefeller certainly had power and fame; he could not, however, live as well as my neighbors now do. Though the pie to be shared by the next generation will be far larger than today’s, how it will be divided will remain fiercely contentious. Just as is now the case, there will be struggles for the increased output of goods and services between those people in their productive years and retirees, between the healthy and the infirm, between the inheritors and the Horatio Algers, between investors and workers and, in particular, between those with talents that are valued highly by the marketplace and the equally decent hard-working Americans who lack the skills the market prizes. Clashes of that sort have forever been with us – and will forever continue. Congress will be the battlefield; money and votes will be the weapons. Lobbying will remain a growth industry. The good news, however, is that even members of the “losing” sides will almost certainly enjoy – as they should – far more goods and services in the future than they have in the past. The quality of their increased bounty will also dramatically improve. Nothing rivals the market system in producing what people want – nor, even more so, in delivering what people don’t yet know they want. My parents, when young, could not envision a television set, nor did I, in my 50s, think I needed a personal computer. Both products, once people saw what they could do, quickly revolutionized their lives. I now spend ten hours a week playing bridge online. And, as I write this letter, “search” is invaluable to me. (I’m not ready for Tinder, however.) For 240 years it’s been a terrible mistake to bet against America, and now is no time to start. America’s golden goose of commerce and innovation will continue to lay more and larger eggs. America’s social security promises will be honored and perhaps made more generous. And, yes, America’s kids will live far better than their parents did”.

Note: please pass-on this blog on to all your friends who are down on America and inclined to believe the “doom and gloom” message of the news media and Presidential candidates.

http://www.rrdezproxy.com/~webdrop/ezproxy/201603/2015%20Annual%20Report.pdf

 

Daily Quote and Self-Coaching Challenge: Coping with Life Difficulties and Losses

A Self-Coaching “Smart-Step” approach to Coping with anxiety and difficult times

Daily Quote: ” When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”.–Viktor Frankl 

Through out life we will encounter good and bad times. With the rapid pace of living  we all experience change as a way of life. Some of us learn to roll with the punches and find ways to get through our daily ups and downs. Others get “stuck” and have a difficult time functioning at an acceptable level. And still others find themselves anxious or increasingly depressed over a problem, concern, or worry for a long time. So we all react differently to change and try to find individual ways to cope. In my experience with clients, I have found some ways that are more effective than others to cope and push try to relief. Below I will provide two Self-Coaching tools that provide a practical framework and a mental set for dealing with these personal obstacles to live a life of constructive action. I suggest you write them down in your personal journal or on a 3x 5 index card so that when you find yourself on the edge or overwhelmed with worry and  insecure thinking, you read these tips to get you through the difficult situations you find yourself in. If necessary, read them over and over again, mantra like.

1.) I will let life be what it is. I won’t “make stuff up” too upset my balance and positive outlook. Sure there are obstacles and inconveniences but no awfulness and shoulds’ in life. Try using positive self-talk like the following: This too shall pass…it could have been much worst…this is inconvenient and unexpected so consciously  STOP. Take a deep BREATH. SMILE and Move ON. 
Sometimes, when the phone rings and the voice or message at the other end knocks you for a loop, you may feel shock, out of control or overwhelmed with what life has just delivered you. And yet you need to keep going on because sometimes there are no solutions or answers to life’s difficulties. Rather than reading these events as “awful” and “unsolvable”, a more constructive approach to terrible news is to notice and accept how you are feeling, if sad, be sad; if you start to cry just cry; if angry; be angry and then redirect your attention to something more useful. For example, find a tissue to wipe your tears, if you are standing sit-down, go for a long slow walk etc. Redirection physically can be a powerful constructive act.  Just remember this event as just a moment in life–not good or bad, just life.  Mentally reject the inner voice that tells you this is awful and you can’ go on. Don’t fight the fear or focus on it;  just notice it and accept it. Acknowledge these events are real, unwanted and  inconvenient obstacles that just need to be handled the best way you know how. With heighten emotions and unclear thinking about loss and fear driven thinking your insecurity and confusion will rise and you may find yourself slowed downed–but this is event is not the end of life or awful! What feels to be hopeless and overwhelming is only an emotional flooding created by this unexpected circumstance. Keep in mind your tool to STOP. Breath. Smile. Keep Moving and trust yourself to handle this situation.

2. Not every problem has a solution, and sometimes you have to just keep going and accept that maybe or maybe not an answer or understanding will appear. 
In time, some problems can be solved or understood. On the other hand, some problems will never be solved and you need to learn to live with this uncertainty and ambiguity of not knowing. Unfortunately, this is not easy to do, but begins with clear and positive thinking (3-1 rule of positivity) not with doubts, fears and negative thoughts. It is your irrational demand for answers and certainty in dealing with life’s problems and ambiguities that generate irrational thoughts, fretting behavior and other unhealthy symptoms such as nervousness, losing control, anxiety and feeling sick.

As you practice these new mental sets,  it helps to remind yourself of the countless problems and worries that have come and gone in your life. How many problems have you solved? One thousand? Ten thousand? or Hundred thousand? Many times you have faced problems and figured-out, how to survive these difficulties  by re-framing, re-strategizing, or over just letting time take its course. Right? Trust yourself and be more gentle and self compassionate because life difficulties eventually become part of your biography and you move on. Remember you have more fuel in the tank than you think you do.

Poem: Living in the NOW. Now. Now.

 Poem: Living in the NOW. Now. Now. MW Hardwick

Listen for understanding.

Stop. Reflect. Act.

Explore other people’s point of view

Take an imaginative trip into their world.

Withhold judgments.

Be thankful for there willingness to share.

Try be more accepting.

Catch them when they are falling.

Embrace change.

Trust in yourself and others.

Do what you love.

Follow your own drummer.

Dance to your own music.

Be caring and thoughtful.

Let go of control.

Embrace the unknown and ambiguous.

Say thank you more often.

Be open-minded and flexible.

Be the change you wish to be.

Make peace with your enemies.

Play with a 5 year old.

Break the rules once in while.

Live and Life of No Regrets.

Do Random Acts of Kindness.

Forgive and let go even when it’s hard.

Compliment others.

Live a balanced life—time for work, for family and yourself.

Be creative –paint a picture, write a poem or throw a pot.

Don’t count the minutes enjoy the “here and now”.

Laugh, cry and smile more.

Be grateful for all you have.

Help others rediscovery there brighter side.

Enjoy being creative and playful.

Conquer your fears by “leaning-in”.

Learn to pick yourself up after failing or falling down.

Clean up your messes.

Take your first step to living your dreams—Now. Now. Now…

Exploring the Luck Factor in Life–6 Principles for Increasing Your Luck

Daily Quote: Being relaxed and open allows lucky people to see what’s around them and to maximize what’s around them. Richard Wiseman, author of The Luck Factor: Changing Your Luck, Changing Your Life: The Four Essential Principles (Miramax, 2003), …Lucky people look at events differently than others. They are more observant and typically have a different mindset than unlucky folks”.  

Dr. Tom Peter’s once said: Luck was the main reason for selling over 5 million books called in Search of Excellence. Most business books of genre   generally 5,000 copies. When I heard this from Peters in one of his lectures I was amazed and stunted. I thought how could I bottle this thing called luck for selling the next breakthrough management book or the “pet rock” phenomena. I searched the internet and now can share with you that according to some researchers there are specific reasons why some people are lucky and others are not.

“It’s better to be lucky than smart.” “You make your own luck in life.” “Some folks are just born lucky.” In an environment marked by rising

Dr. Richard Wiseman, is head of a psychology research department at the University of Hertfordshire in England.  He thinks most of us  could use a little luck — at our companies, in our careers, with our investments. Richard Wiseman thinks that he can help you find and create more luck in your life. For the past eight years, he and his colleagues have studied what makes some people lucky and others not. After conducting thousands of interviews and hundreds of experiments, Wiseman says he has cracked the LUCK CODE.  In an article in Fast Company he hypothesis that luck is not due to kismet, karma, or coincidence, he says. Instead, lucky folks — without even knowing it — think and behave in ways that create good fortune in their lives. In his new book,The Luck Factor: Changing Your Luck, Changing Your Life: The Four Essential Principles (Miramax, 2003), Wiseman reveals four approaches to life that turn certain people into luck magnets. Wiseman’s research has uncovered four principles to create more good fortune in your life and career. And I have added a few more ideas from my reading on the subject of LUCK.

1. MAXIMIZE CHANCE OPPORTUNITIES

Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing, and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, which include building and maintaining a strong network, adopting a relaxed attitude to life, and being open to new experiences.

2. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT AND LISTEN TO LUCKY HUNCHES

Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. They also take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities — for example, by meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.

3. POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS ABOUT LIFE AND THE FUTURE

Lucky people are certain that the future will be bright. Over time, that expectation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because it helps lucky people persist in the face of failure and positively shapes their interactions with other people.

4. TURN BAD LUCK INTO GOOD. LEMONADE STORY.

Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, they don’t dwell on the ill fortune, and they take control of the situation.

5. Resilience, not luck, is the signature of greatness.  

Nietzsche wrote, “What does not kill me, makes me stronger.” We all get bad luck. The question is how to use it to turn it into “one of the best things that ever happened,” to not let it become a psychological prison.

6. Luck favors the persistent, but you can persist only if you survive. If you stay in the game long enough, good luck tends to return, but if you get knocked out, you’ll never have the chance to be lucky again. Luck favors the persistent, but you can persist only if you survive.

Daily Quote and Reflections: Just Thinking and Musing about Self–Renewal and Meaning in Life…John Gardner

Extended excerpt from a speech presented to the respected and renown consulting firm of McKinsey in 1990. Don’t miss the closing remarks on living a meaningful life because this is a great example of how to  use story telling to connect with an audience in a memorable way.

“Personal Renewal”
Delivered to McKinsey & Company, Phoenix, AZ
November 10, 1990 

” Nothing is ever finally safe. Every important battle is fought and re-fought. We need to develop a resilient, indomitable morale that enables us to face those realities and still strive with every ounce of energy to prevail. You may wonder if such a struggle — endless and of uncertain outcome — isn’t more than humans can bear. But all of history suggests that the human spirit is well fitted to cope with just that kind of world.

Remember I mentioned earlier the myth that learning is for young people. I want to give you some examples, In a piece I wrote for Reader’s Digest not long ago, I gave what seemed to me a particularly interesting true example of renewal. The man in question was 53 years old. Most of his adult life had been a losing struggle against debt and misfortune. In military service he received a battlefield injury that denied him the use of his left arm. And he was seized and held in captivity for five years. Later he held two government jobs, succeeding at neither. At 53 he was in prison — and not for the first time. There in prison, he decided to write a book, driven by Heaven knows what motive — boredom, the hope of gain, emotional release, creative impulse, who can say? And the book turned out to be one of the greatest ever written, a book that has enthralled the world for ever 350 years. The prisoner was Cervantes; the book: Don Quixote.

Another example was Pope John XXIII, a serious man who found a lot to laugh about. The son of peasant farmers, he once said “In Italy there are three roads to poverty — drinking, gambling and fanning. My family chose the slowest of the three.” When someone asked him how many people worked in the Vatican he said “Oh, about half.” He was 76 years old when he was elected Pope. Through a lifetime in the bureaucracy, the spark of spirit and imagination had remained undimmed, and when he reached the top he launched the most vigorous renewal that the Church has known in this century.

Still another example is Winston Churchill. At age 25, as a correspondent in the Boer War he became a prisoner of war and his dramatic escape made him a national hero. Elected to Parliament at 26, he performed brilliantly, held high cabinet posts with distinction and at 37 became First Lord of the Admiralty. Then he was discredited, unjustly, I believe, by the Dardanelles expedition — the defeat at Gallipoli– and lost his admiralty post. There followed 24 years of ups and downs. All too often the verdict on him was “Brilliant but erratic…not steady, not dependable.” He had only himself to blame. A friend described him as a man who jaywalked through life. He was 66 before his moment of flowering came. Someone said “It’s all right to be a late bloomer if you don’t miss the flower show.” Churchill didn’t miss it.

Well, I won’t give you any more examples. From those I’ve given I hope it’s clear to you that the door of opportunity doesn’t really close as long as you’re reasonably healthy. And I don’t just mean opportunity for high status, but opportunity to grow and enrich your life in every dimension. You just don’t know what’s ahead for you. And remember the words on the bronze plaque “Some men and women make the world better just by being the kind of people they are.” To be that kind of person would be worth all the years of living and learning. 

Many years ago I concluded a speech with a paragraph on the meaning in life. The speech was reprinted over the years, and 15 years later that final paragraph came back to me in a rather dramatic way, really a heartbreaking way. ”

A man wrote to me from Colorado saying that his 20 year-old daughter had been killed in an auto accident some weeks before and that she was carrying in her billfold a paragraph from a speech of mine. He said he was grateful because the paragraph — and the fact that she kept it close to her — told him something he might not otherwise have known about her values and concerns. I can’t imagine where or how she came across the paragraph, but here it is:

“Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.” 

Part II: Change Your thoughts change your Life — Positive Self Talk

When negative events and thoughts happen, use positivity habits and words to find ways out of the negative in order to help you to control thoughts, do better, and move forward. The practice of positive self-talk is often the process that allows you to discover hidden strengths and build a “tougher mental attitude” by choosing “positivity” or negativity in any given situation.

Here are a few positivity quotes and ideas for you to use the next time you face strong negative self-talk

  1. Stop.. Breathe. Observe. Say—No! No! I can handle this and I will do the best I can.
  2. These negative thoughts won’t kill me; so confronting them makes me stronger.
  3. Reach for the moon if you miss you will still hit the stars.
  4. Don’t believe negative thoughts from the past just be the best you can be now in this moment.
  5. Your past does not have to be your future.
  6. It’s not what negative talk says to you that counts the most, it’s how you think and react to them that is really most important.
  7. Better to do something imperfectly than to sit there and do nothing.
  8. Within you is the capacity to actualize all that you need or desire.
  9. There would be nothing to frighten you if you refused to be afraid.
  10. Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
  11. Don’t be pushed by your negative thoughts. Be led by your purpose and dreams.
  12. Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.
  13. Life is beautiful because of you.
  14. The hardest thing in this world is to live in it, be courageous and keep moving forward
  15. We shall draw from positivity itself the means of control and inspiration.

Part I: Learn to Overcome your Demons and Negative Self-talk

Daily Quote: “First your negative talk controls and ignores your positivity, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win… Remember your past does not determine your future.” MWH 

Each of us has a set of internal messages that play like a tape recorder over and over in our minds. These internal messages can be either negative or positive. This dialogue frames our reaction to different people and circumstances in our life.

One of the ways to recognize, promote, and sustain optimism, is to observe and intentionally fill our thoughts with positive self-talk.

Too often the pattern of self-talk developed through life experiences is negative. We remember the negative things we were told as children by parents, siblings, or teachers. For some reason this negative commentary has more power than positive messages. Most of the research shows that it takes 3-5 positive messages to override negative ones.(Fredrickson and Gottman). Over the years these negative self-talk messages have replayed again and again in our minds, fueling our thoughts of frustration, shame, fear, guilt, and hopelessness.

Overriding these negative patterns takes willpower and sustain practice to change our brain. If people learned as children that they were worthless, we show them how truly special they are. If while growing up you learned to expect bad reactions, or unlucky events, you need to rewire these patterns and find better ways to react and create a more positive future.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Try the following reflection and re-wiring exercise.

1) Write down some of the negative messages that replay in your mind, ones that undermine your ability to feel comfortable and in control of events and circumstances in your life. Be specific whenever possible, and include anyone you remember who contributed to that message.

2) Now take a moment to focus on how to override these negative messages with positive experiences by remembering events where you triumphed in spite of negativity or changed negative self-talk to positive messages. Don’t give up if you don’t find them quickly. For every negative message there is a positive truth that will override and counter balance the power of the negativity.

You may have a negative message that replays in your head every time you make a mistake. As a child you may have been told “you’ll never amount to anything,” or “you can’t do anything right.” When you make a mistake — and you will, because we all do — you can choose to overwrite that message with a positive one, such as “I choose to accept my responsibility and grow from my mistake,” or “ When I find the lesson in making mistakes I now have the opportunity to thinking and behave in a more effective way. As I learn from my mistakes, I’m becoming a more functioning person.”

During this exercise, mistakes become opportunities to replace negative views of yourself with positive options for personal worth and growth. In addition, every time your over-ride a negative thought you form new paths for succeeding in the future.

 Positive Self-talk is Mental Toughness. Positive self-talk is  mental toughness in action. It is looking at circumstances with eyes that see the reality and truth of what is happening. Positive self-talk is about reaffirming your strength and worth. One of the fundamental truths is that life is difficult. To expect perfection in yourself is unrealistic. To expect no difficulties in life, whether through your own actions or sheer circumstance, is also unrealistic.

Daily Quote: The Mindset and Four critical skills of Mentally Tough people

Daily Quote: ” In terms of instilling the values of mental toughness and self-confidence focus, will power, good habits and perseverance are the skills that will sustain you through tough times and temporary discouragement. Mark W. Hardwick 

1.  MT people accept the past and learn from their mistakes

Mentally strong people don’t waste time ruminating on the past and wishing things could be different. They accept their past and learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad incidents or experiences. They don’t fantasize about the good old days. They focus on living in the “here and now” and making realistic and specific  plans for the future.

2. MT people are  life long learners. They accept responsibility for their choices and control what they can control. (short memories) Being MT means not dwelling on mistakes or bad decisions they just try not to repeat same mistake by moving on and doing better the next time a similar situation presents itself. They are life long learners.

3. MT people are change agents. They embrace change and uncertainty.  When doing things they remain open and flexible to changing their position or action at any moment to succeed at what they are doing. They don’t shy away from taking calculated risks.

Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

4. MT people have a reality and optimistic Mind Set. They don’t waste time on energy on things they can’t control. They also have the ability to have a short memory when things go wrong. You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over line calls by opponents or fretting traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.

New Poem : Relevance of Giving and Thanks by MW Hardwick

Relevance of …Giving and Thanks by MW Hardwick

 

This This is the day of giving thanks for all we have…

 Not material blessings but more soft things like the beautiful color of the Fall leaves

But what about those less fortunate, stumbling, and hungry .

Yet our blurred screen of reality leads to inaction–self-absorption

This leaves a hole in our soul…

This is the time for courage and vulnerability.

People need help not more rhetoric

No job, hunger and nowhere to turn

One  good deed is  the life-line for hope
and more satisfaction for the giver

not just for one but thousands who watch

… and are inspired to act…inspired to act…inspires others–the ripple effect

Many times giving is more about gratitude and the ability to give …

Do what you can? Do what you can?

For that is the power of giving…

The gift that keeps on giving…

Relationships and family are–most-important thing many say

And then we do nothing to sustain them–

So are we bull shitting ourselves

STOP the Bullshit–and give the source of life

Loving and Caring…this works 100%

Joyfully give and encourage small caring acts of kindness this day…

Remember to give of your self… this promotes happiness

Be courageous and vulnerable on this day of giving…

giving, giving and giving…

Stop Being a Wimp–Develop Mental Toughness and Mindfulness Mindset

Quote: ” Positive thinking and action for mindfulness —everywhere—all the time.” Dr. Brantley, Duke Integrative Medicine,
 

To be mentally tough is the ability to maintain clear focus, patience and determination to do your best in the face of challenging situations, stress, pressure and possible failure. It requires a person to have a clear vision of their goals and a plan to accomplish them. Generally, Mental Toughness (MT) is developed from experiencing adversity, disappointment and failure. Then learning to snapped back and try something different. When bad things happen you have the opportunity to reflect about the situation and choose what is most important to do “right now”.  Self-directed learning helps the learner to see and act on lessons that will make them stronger in the future.

Psychologists report that almost everyone can benefit from strengthening these snap back or resiliency skills , even those people we might consider paragons of mental toughness: army drill sergeants. The U.S. military is now implementing a resilience-building program, designed by a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, intended to make soldiers as rugged in mind as they are in body. This effort—one of the largest psychological interventions ever attempted—holds lessons for anyone who wants to strengthen their mental muscles.

Drill sergeants were chosen to receive the training because they’re in a position to teach the service members under their command, promoting a trickle down of psychological resilience. The program’s key message: Mental toughness comes from thinking like an optimist. “People who don’t give up have a habit of interpreting setbacks as temporary, local and changeable,” Penn positive psychology and happiness professor Martin Seligman, describing the intervention in a recent journal article. When such individuals encounter adversity, they think to themselves: “It’s going away quickly; it’s just this one situation, and I can do something about it.” Sergeants learn to analyze their beliefs and emotions about failure, and to avoid describing failure as permanent, pervasive and out of their control — all characterizations that undermine mental toughness.  Dr. Martin Seligman, whose work on “positive psychology” influenced Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, explains his stance that soldiers can enhance their mental toughness through optimistic thinking. By seeing situations as temporary—“It will go away soon”—or specific—“It’s just this once”—or changeable—“I can do something about it”—you can make it through adversity and perform optimally. The training also emphasizes how resisting negative thoughts such as “Maybe I don’t have what it takes to be a soldier” while expressing gratitude— “I made it farther than I did last time”—are part of the puzzle to building resilience and becoming mentally tough.

George Washington Carver wrote, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.

Another pillar of psychological fortitude is the ability to resist “catastrophic thinking” — the tendency to assume the worst. Seligman’s program offers examples drawn from army life: a sergeant stationed abroad doesn’t hear from his wife back home and concludes that she’s left him; a sergeant receives a negative performance evaluation from his commending officer and immediately thinks, “I won’t be recommended for promotion, and I don’t have what it takes to stay in the army.” Participants learn to fight back against such negative thoughts, challenging their accuracy and searching for a more positive spin — while also making sure to reflect and act on genuine concerns and problems.

Lastly, the drill sergeants in Seligman’s program are taught two capacities that might seem at odds with mental toughness: gratitude and generosity. Participants learn how to “hunt for the good stuff” — to look for and appreciate the ways in which they are fortunate. And they learn not to judge too hastily subordinates who themselves seem to lack grit. The participants are offered this scenario: “A soldier in your unit struggles to keep up during physical training and is dragging the rest of the day. His uniform looks sloppy and he makes a couple of mistakes during artillery practice. You think to yourself, ‘He’s a soup sandwich! He doesn’t have the stuff of a soldier.’” The sergeants are warned against over-generalizing about others based on a few pieces of information, and encouraged to cultivate strength in junior soldiers instead of rejecting those who don’t make the grade right away.

While evidence of the program’s effectiveness for soldiers heading into combat is still being gathered, it is hoped that enhancing resilience will help reduce the incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide among service members and veterans, which has soared to record levels during the United States’ military engagement in and Afghanistan. The 10-day training session, which also focuses on building personal strengths and fostering positive relationships, can’t address every psychological issue that soldiers may face. But sergeants who graduate from the program return to drill practice with a new kind of mental set: a keen understanding of how to toughen the mind for the daily battle against adversity.

Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2012/04/19/can-you-instill-mental-toughness/#ixzz2QLs4R7Ze

In any job and profession you need to be motivated and prepared on many levels. People who need to be motivated typically may crumble when in training. It is the self-directed and  motivated who rise to the occasion when the days get long, and the nights get cold and wet.

The most important ability to have when serving your country or community is self motivation. To be honest with self motivation and determination, you can graduate any program and not be the fastest runner or swimmer, or the strongest and best athlete. However, if you do not have a foundation of fitness, even the most motivated can fail due to physical injury.

Implications for Daily Living

It is not any one’s job but yours to realize that your fitness level and your ability to perform under stress will one day be the difference between you or a loved one from living or dying.  If that does not motivate you to workout, then maybe you should consider a different occupation. Not being motivated to exercise happens in all of us. But turning that around and working out anyway is a daily dose of overcoming quitting and building mental toughness. Besides we all know that you will always feel better later in the day having exercised rather than skipping a workout.

Your whole life has to be built around these near daily experiences of waking up early and running or swimming before dawn in any weather or putting on a sweaty /​ nasty pair of football, hockey, or lacrosse pads for a second time during two a day practices. These experiences build mental toughness and you can tap into this NEVER QUIT attitude by remembering those days when you succeeded and performed at a high level.

Self-Coaching Challenge:

What are you committed to do become more mentally tough and hardy in your daily life. When will you start to life a more hardy life?

Self-Coaching Exercise–Reflect on these Challenging Questions

Self-Coaching Exercise: Reflecting on questions that could change your life. Pick one of these questions for the next 16 weeks and lay out a plan for changing them.

Are you living your LIFE ON PURPOSE — or still searching?

What’s the WORST THING IN YOUR LIFE WOULD YOU LIKE TO CHANGE?

How do you CELEBRATE your victories?                                       

Do you ever act on your dreams?

Do you think everyone has the capacity to be a LEADER or are they just born to be one?

How would yourself– starter, a finisher, searcher or implementer?

Do you have any habits you want to change?

Have you ever dramatically changed a habit, or gotten yourself out of a rut? How’d you do it?

Are you compassionate with yourself?

What’s one mistake you keep repeating (and repeating) and would like to change?

What irrational thoughts and fears would you like to conquer ?

What one thing do you want that could change your life forever?

If you were to die three months from now, what would you regret most?

What’s your formula for “snapping back” from disappointment or failure?

What are your special talents or strengths? Are using them on job and home?

What is the most important thing to do right now to improve your outlook and happiness?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to be less Pessimistic or Negative? Try the Self-Coaching Method of Thought Disputation

Pessimism could be at the heart of you feeling “stuck” or unhappy with your life.

Negative thoughts drain you of energy and keep you from enjoying life. The more you give in to your negative thoughts, the stronger they become and the more they become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Like the  story of a someone making a snow ball and climbing to tall hill and letting the ball and gravity take its natural course. The small snow ball rolling down hill, starts to roll and becomes bigger and faster the farther it goes down, until it crashes into something at the bottom.

That’s what one small negative thought can turn into: a huge, speeding ball of  pessimism. On the contrary, a small positive thought can have the same effect of producing a positive climate for discussions and problem solving. If you any proof of this ,just reflect on some of the recent staff meetings you have had.  I’d like to share with you a cognitive  development technique  that can you turn around this pattern of pessimistic thinking.

Using Thought Disputation (ABCDE Method)to overcome negative thinking.

Coping via thought disputation is a specific technique derived from cognitive therapy for negativity and pessimistic thinking that can lead to frustration and feeling in a rut. The method urges us to challenge our own pessimistic thoughts. The technique can be done in a variety of ways. It can be done informally in a discussion with someone else, written down, or simply done in your head. The guidelines developed by Dr.Albert Ellis are condense below and offer a framework for approaching your problem with negative and irrational thinking.

1)  A–Write down nature of the adversity or problem that you are facing.

2) B--Identify any negative beliefs triggered by this problem.

3) C--Record the consequences of the problem, how is it impacting your relationships and your ability to find positive energy to function in a more effective and effect ways in  living.

4) D-Dispute the negative belief, challenging it, thinking of other possible reasons for the problem and ways to overcome its impact on your quality of life..

5) E--Consider the more optimistic explanations of your problem to Energize you and lift your spirits, so that you become less anxious and more hopeful.

To be sure, the hardest part is disputation and to challenge your own negative thoughts. The act of disputing is taking the role of “devils advocate” and looking for evidence to disprove your own negative thinking. Disputing negative thoughts and being gentle on yourself leads to new patterns of thinking and increases your self-compassion.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Here are some additional tips for getting started:

-What specific evidence do I have for this negative belief?

-Even if my belief is true, what are the implications? Put another way, what is the worst possible thing that could happen?

-What alternative explanations are there for your recent behavior?

-What is the best possible thing that could happen and how can I make that happen ?

-On a 1-10 scale how committed are you to change your situation?

-What do I honestly think is the most likely outcome?

-In what ways is this negative belief pattern or playing victim useful to you?

-What payoffs do I get from continuing to support these negative thoughts ?

-What do I plan to do to address the Problem?

Daily Quote and Reflection: Discovering your own Vision and Awake to Joy

Daily Quote: “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”  Carl Jung

Reflection: How much time do you spend reflecting on your experiences? If you are like most people , you may resist and be reluctant to plan or reflect on your life. Many think this type of approach to living lacks the spontaneity and natural feeling of just letting life happen. Planning or reflecting seem to be too structured, controlled or artificial. Yet, I believe that assessing what worked or didn’t and what you would do differently in the future provides invaluable learning you can use to handle future events and situations. Reflecting on past experiences can help identify areas for improvement, overcome fears of change,  deal with bad habits and inadequacies.

Self- Coaching Challenge: Few people receive the  education in the conscious applications of clear thinking for solving problems and creating a more positive outlook in life. Most of our learning in this type of reflective thought is by “trial and error”.  My challenge to you is to discover and realize the power of  your own thinking in determining  your behavior. So over the weekend I want you to choose enthusiasm for living rather than just loafing around. I want you to try this experiment, so as to increase your understanding and establishing more effective ways to identify your own ability to use optimism and positive thinking that may lay dormant within you. Start Saturday and Sunday right — Most of the research on developing more energy and enthusiasm says that in the first 15 minutes of thought and activity can determine whether you have a good or bad. Use Smart-steps to get going on the right path

1. Take a deep breath and think of all the good things you have in your life.

2. Then awake to see all the good people, good things and opportunities for fun.

3. Go out and get breakfast or donuts for everyone

4. Then do activity that others want to do.

5. Let the joy of the day flow to you.

6. Capture in your journal 5 joys of the day.

Daily quote: Creating Your Legacy–Are You More Optimistic or Pessimistic?

Daily :Quote: “You can add up your blessings or add up your troubles. Either way, you’ll find you have an abundance.”  ― Richelle E. Goodrich

Reflection: Which are you more like?  Why?

Action Challenge:

Start today to be more observant of whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. Stop and at 9:00 am. 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm and record on a 1-10 scale what yo have experienced in the last three hours. 1-very pessimistic.  5.-so-so and 10 very optimistic and counting your “blessings and happiness.  This exercise will break your cycle of just coasting or sleep walking through life.

Daily Quote and Reflection: The Game of Winning from Within

Daily Quote: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look FEAR in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Reflection: Game of Life—“Winning from Within”

 Rule # 1 : Allow Yourself to face fears and use that energy to fuel positive action 

Some people become afraid or anxious, and they find it overwhelming. When that happens, reach out to family, friends, or colleagues. for support. Do not run away from problems they only get bigger and more complicated. Fear can be a real or made-up so be clear on the reality and source of your fear. Take a deep breath and think of past times when you have overcome fear and realize it is okay to be afraid because it is the first step to overcoming it. Learn to push through the fear with positive self-talk.

 Self-Coaching Challenge: Identify a fear you have like public speaking and over the next week find ways to overcome this fear. You might want to investigate new research on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that has proven to be very effective with reducing anxiety and fears for many people.   

Self Coaching Module #4: Create A Daily Reflection Section in your Self-Development Journal

Life can only be understand backwards – but we have to live it forwards” A B Elliot

Buy a journal or notebook, or make an entry in your “everynotes” app and start a Daily Reflection Section:

So what is Reflection?

These are each pretty big topics, so I’ll explain how to use self-reflection now, and review the best questionnaires to use in a future article.

By “self-reflection”, I don’t just mean sitting and gazing at your navel or just sitting and waiting for something important to bubble up from your brain “Hmmm….what is important to think or reflect about or spend time on right now…”  Research has uncovered patterns in how people discover knowledge about themselves , and this gives you areas in which to focus your self-reflection.  Start with feedback from others or themes from your life where you get stuck.

The advantage of self-reflection is that you’re not limited to a fixed set of potential answers like you find by taking the Gallop Strength Finders questionnaire.  Reflection is harder work, but gives you more insight and doesn’t pigeon-hole you into a framework.  You can discover your strengths by reflecting on the following five areas :

1) Impulsive or Intuitive Reactions

If it is true that strengths are your brain’s efficient processes, you’ll probably use them as a kind of default response to various situations.  When a problem comes up, do you analyse the situation or jump straight in?  If you go to a party, is your spontaneous reaction to woo those people you don’t know, or spend time relating to people you do?  Looking for common and sometimes impulsive reactions over a variety of situations can give you clues to who you are and what you do when problems come at you in life. To counteract this type of immediate reaction it is important to STOP-TAKE A BREATH –THINK AND THE REACT. This focus allows your thoughtful part of your brain to override your primitive and emotional first impulses. Find a positive trigger to help yourself re-center and get control of negative thoughts and impulsive decisions.

2.) Energy

You’re more likely to draw energy from activities that use your strengths than those that don’t.  This is why it’s so hard to go against the grain of your strengths long-term – these activities are draining rather than energizing.  Ask yourself where you get your energy from.  What activities give you a buzz when you’re doing them?  If you can think of some, they probably involve your strengths.

3.) Dreams and fantasies

For whatever reasons, each of us is drawn to some activities but not to others.  There are some activities that turn us off, and some we get excited about.  This is partly because we get more satisfaction from activities involving our strengths, and it’s easier for us to get into a state of flow when we’re using them.

For example, a dream of becoming a professional golfer because of the fame and money, not for the joy of competing and winning.  The way to fulfill a realistic dream is to assess your strengths, set concrete and measurable goals, set deliberate practice structures in place, get feedback and never give-up. Don’t focus on the end result but on actions that will get you to your goals. This type of change process makes your goals from the inside-out not outside-in. If you’re unsure, it can help to interview someone already in the role you striving to become. This will help you to realistically see what it’s really like.

4.) Payoffs 

As positive psychologists have discovered, using your strengths makes you happier.  Reasoning backwards, we find that the things that make us happy may involve our strengths.  Of course, not everything that makes us happy can involve a strength, otherwise you’d come up with a rather silly list, maybe including “being surprised”, “drinking beer”, and “buying a carpet”.  Obviously, these are not strengths.  You have to use common sense and maybe look at activities that are challenging to some degree, activities that you’d like to do again.

In it you can record any good luck, “coincidences” and fortunate events be sure and share them with us..

Your Reflection Section will be as much as you choose to make it. I have kept one for 10 years and when ever I become confused or have doubts about my journey in life, or disappointments or feel stress and sadness with friends, colleagues or family members or my life journey , I read, observe and write about my success and what I should be grateful  in life.