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.

Want to Overcome the 10,000 hour rule to be a Great Runner, Writer… ? Be Inspired By this Story

Daily Quote: ” The thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it. And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.”  Malcolm Gladwell 

We all know about the 10,000 hour theory to mastery that Malcolm Gladwell made recently popular his book Outliers: The Story of Success. In brief the 10,000 hour rule states: that to become an expert or high performer in any field of endeavor, it merely takes 10.000 hours of deliberative practice and focus on the topic you are interested in mastering. Roughly calculated this means about 20 hours a week for 10 years. For most of us this news is not motivating, so I went looking for other secrets or examples Gladwell may have missed.  Of course to master something takes time, energy and experience. But what if we challenged all the assumptions that went into training regiments by figuring out better ways to learn and train. For example what can we learn from the Tarahumara Indians to help us run more efficiently and longer periods of time?

Don’t miss this youtube documentary on this amazing culture of runners in Mexico.

The Tarahumara – A Hidden Tribe of Superathletes Born to Run

Part 2: How to get a handle on our Negativity Bias?

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ~Victor Frankl

The process of change begins with a moral grounding and solid reflection on who we are and what we are trying to do in making a difference in life. The ability to look in the mirror and see what we want to see must change to seeing the things in the mirror that are less obvious, like an undesired wrinkle or skin blemish.

It is this craving for meaning that I hear so loud and clear in many people . Despite all your doubts and fears be true to yourself. The searching you are doing is painful but necessary. It is a step on your path of self-discovery and a sign of growth.  It is also a great investment of positive energy. The seeker must learn to accept and live a life of authenticity. Remember–Victor Frankl’s words– “The only lost cause is the one we give up on before we enter the struggle.”

Reflection: When will the time come when we do more than just speak these words but actually implement them in action? Maybe we all need to just start with ourselves. I mean in all situations try to think first about others, be kind , respectful, tolerant, non-judgmental  and accepting of differences. These small interpersonal changes might get the ball rolling to “ the civil state” most of us want and need to live healthy and productive lives.

Quote for the Day–What does it mean to be LUCKY in Life?

Quote of the Day:

I am a great believer in LUCK, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it (luck).”   Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the US (1801-1809)

Reflection: This quote is more about perseverance and hard work than luck. To me it says that we make and earn our own luck than simply getting lucky. A fitting point of view supporting the “rugged individualism ” of America. Our past President missed the idea that who and what family you are born into is a matter of luck or mis-fortunate deeping on your parents and circumstances.  Jefferson also discounts the link and power of genetics. I have seen some people work awful hard and never seem to overcome the genetic barriers they are born with. I know others who say their journey to material success had been a series of lucky events. and yet never seem fulfilled with their life accomplishments because of a struggle with their own spirituality. Others say fortunate and success came at a terrible cost. So where do I come down on this issue –I believe that life fulfillment is a balance between knowing and using your gifts, doing work that is meaningful and inspiring, preparation through education and experience, hard work and the ability to acquire knowledge about others and things that matter. And in the final analysis it is being observant and aware in living life to spot opportunities and unplanned good fortunate that all of us call LUCK.