Daily Quote and Reflection: Using Perseverance to Overcome Obstacles and Negative Thinking

Daily Quote: “Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it”.  Ella Wheeler Wilcox

                                                                                                       Another one by Michael Jordan

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give-up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it”.

Reflection: Perseverance is not an innate skill you are born with, it is learned and nurtured through life experiences. You can learn to challenge yourself by accepting the notion that sometimes you will make bad choices, take the wrong road or fail at a task or goal you are trying to achieve. The lesson to learn is that you never have to accept these things as enevitable. You have tomorrow to try a new way or learn a skill or task anew.  This called perseverance or resilience. I think it is in the willingness to keep trying that you learn to grow and develop all your potentials. If an activity is to easy there is no growth because you become bored or disinterested. On the other hand if you can find the “learning spot” where an activity pushes you to do more the challenge increases your motivation and energy to push ahead.

It is a habit of the brain. The Perseverance Factor is a practical way for overcoming unexpected failures, challenges, and unlucky setbacks in life. Remember your brain is driven by plasticity and you can increase perseverance and resilience by changing the way you think about problems and difficult obstacles in life. Perseverance or the resilience habit challenges your negative self-talk and basic beliefs that cause us to give-up and quit trying to accomplish our goals. Perseverance has been examined in many research studies in cognitive psychology, particularly the work of Aaron Beck, Father of  Cognitive Behavior Therapy  and Martin Seligman, the Founder of Positive Psychology movement.

Self-Coaching Challenge: How to create “flexible optimism”

Commit to challenge self-criticisms and negative thoughts by using positive self-talk. Try the 5 step cognitive tool of:

STOP-Deep Breathing–Challenge Thinking- Reframe- Act. This is not a feel good quick fix or psycho babble cliché. It works and you need to be patient and persevere when using this CBT tool.

Now think back to an actual situation where your  thoughts  upset you and you end choosing to self-limiting and self-sabotaging behavior and don’t do what you wanted to do. For example: ‘You are on your daily run and see the police ahead involved with some situation and you say yourself this is going to be awful, I’m going to be stopped by them and that worries me…’- (and then you turn and run another way to avoid them. Here is a better way to handle this troubling situation by using what cognitive psychologist call “Thought Stopping”

1. As you notice yourself saying these negative automatic thoughts, you can stop them mid-stream by saying to yourself “STOP”.

2. You might also wear a rubber band around your wrist, giving it a little pull each time you notice you are allowing negative thinking to take over or flood your mind. It will make you more aware of how often, and in what situation, you are having the negative thoughts.

3. Challenge the negative thought: Challenge the thoughts, examine them to see if they’re valid. Ask –‘Where’s the evidence for negative thought? Is there another way to look at it?’. Example: ‘Actually, it’s just the police doing their job, I don’t actually know what’s going to happen, all I can do is be who I am and this is going to be okay because they are protecting our neighborhood

4. Reframe situation and thoughts. For example, say I can cope with this situation if  they stop me and want to talk that is okay. I will be safe.  Don’t torture yourself with negative thoughts just be yourself and say this is okay I seen police do their job before and it doesn’t involve me.

5. Act-Calmly go about your business, Say I can do this I have done it before… 

Summary: STOP–Take a Deep Breath  –Challenge Thinking– Reframe Thinking Using Positive thoughts and then Act. 

Good Luck and let us know how this new approach worked for you.

Single Most Important Factor For Happiness–Unique Connections

Unique Connect—Seek to understand and show interest before telling your story

“When we’re with other people, we feel more positive emotions, which leads to greater happiness. When we’re happier, we have better relationships. This in turn leads to more positive emotions…and being on an “upward spiral” of well-being and happiness. Connecting with others is the single most important thing we can do for happiness”… the cerebral virtues—curiosity, love of learning—are less strongly tied to happiness than interpersonal virtues like kindness, gratitude, and capacity for love.” Martin Seligman  

When you first meet someone, are you attuned and focused on them or are you more interested in telling them your story? Showing interest and learning about the other person 1st is key to establishing a good first impression and establishing a “unique connect” Learning about them and their interests is a powerful connector. This is a secret that too many people have never learned because they like being the center of attention. When done well it builds a strong foundation for building a long-term relationship based on memorable first impression that demonstrates in a concrete way your core values of caring and interest.

If you do the unique connect well the following will occur:

  1. You will enjoy the conversation more because you invested in someone else.
  2. They will like you more and the interaction is more engaging.
  3. You will be perceived as an interesting person.
  4. They will normally begin to ask you questions and thus become interested in you.
  5. They will perceive you as a great resource and worthy person, which will impact you in the future.

The “unique connect” is powerful because the shift that focuses on someone else makes them feel better and accepted. The “unique connect” helps keep your ego in check and good reminder that it is not about us but the people we serve – that we influence people all the time, whether you realize it or not, and that there is always more to learn and new ways to grow. When you are interested in someone and they begin to trust you, then your influence increases and impact occurs. And by the way they may complete the circle by asking about you and your story.

Self-Coaching challenge: Here two ways to increase your connections with others. In the next 24 hours pick one and try it out. Then reflect on how it makes you feel. The Emotional Life Series on happiness recommends these two techniques:

” 1. Connect every day. Find a way to connect with someone else every day. Make it a priority to have a relaxed phone conversation, take a short walk together, share a meal, or exchange letters or emails with someone you enjoy.

2. Fake it to You Make it– Act “as if.” Even if you’re not a very outgoing person, act as if you are when you are around other people. Researchers find that if you push yourself to be more outgoing when you are with other people, you’ll feel more positive emotions from the social interaction”.

Positive Psychology Update: 2 Interventions for Personal Change.

“That which is unigue and worthwhile in us makes itself felt only in flashes…catch and savior these flashes, for more growth and exhilaration.” Eric Hoffer

The major question being examined in Happiness research is how can modern psychology help us become happier? One of the areas for research is to identify in a scientific way what interventions can promote more constructive and positive life habits.

We focus the rest of this article on the efficacy of positive interventions and exercises to increase individual happiness, in many ways the bottom line of work in positive psychology. Continue reading “Positive Psychology Update: 2 Interventions for Personal Change.”

How can Positive Psychology increase Happiness?

I am exploring the whole question of meaning in life and happiness. I think the following talk by Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology– as a field of study is compelling and very insightful. As it moves beyond a focus on disease, to ask how can modern psychology help us become happier?  What interventions can teach us to build more happiness? “How can happiness be reliably increased?”

According to researchers happy people are healthier, more successful, and more socially engaged. Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky and Ken Sheldon in their recent and exciting  research on cognitive and emotional strategies of happy people shows that happy individuals experience and react to events and circumstances in relatively more positive and more adaptive ways than unhappy people.  The causal efficacy of happiness has focused our research group on one practical matter: interventions that build happiness

Checkout the following at TED to get a feel for this exciting development in personal growth and happiness research.