Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dump the Victim Mentality

Success finds its way to positive people. Plain and simple that’s just the way it works. In order to attract positive energy you have to radiate positive energy. And you simply cannot begin to radiate positive energy if you have a “victim mentality”. 

What’s a “victim mentality” you ask. If you blame the world around you for problems that you are facing, that’s victim mentality. If you give power to “them” or “they” in your thoughts you are suffering from victim mentality. Where you are right now is the sum of all the decisions and responses to your life’s events that you have made up to this point. Let’s be painfully honest here – shitty things happen. You can choose to let them effect you in a negative way (be the victim) or you can choose to think, plan and respond to them in a productive way which moves you forward.

You will never attract success if you will not take responsibility for where you are right here and now. One of the miracles in each our lives is that each and every day dawns with possibility; we have the ability to change how we are going to interact with the world around us. Now I know some of you reading this are saying, wait a second, there are things outside of my control; things that I cannot change and that I have to live with. That I won’t deny, but I am also not going to let you off the hook that easy. You see you can choose to react to life events/situations or you can choose to respond. 
Reacting is quick, emotional and generally ineffective. Reacting at best leaves you in the same place and at worst actually pushes you farther from your goals. Responding on the other hand requires you to think about what actions you could take and what the ramifications of each action would be. Responding is the slower method but the more intellectual and mature way to deal with whatever situations arise.

Reactionary people live in the world of the victim. They are quick to blame anyone but themselves. They react emotionally (and generally negatively). They take little to no real responsibility for where they are in life. They are generally quick to get angry, quick to complain and quick to point out all the “things” working against them. 

Responsive people on the other hand live in a world of possibility. They think about what has happened but even more importantly they think about what their best course of action would be. They are forward thinkers; not focused just on the here and now but on the next day, week, and month ahead. They plan things out and then work their plan. Things may not always work out as intended but they will make adjustments that they see are needed as they continually move forward.

There is an old saying that luck happens when opportunity meets preparation. People who have a victim mentality are never prepared and opportunities pass them right by. They are not even looking for them since they are too focused on assigning blame for the negative things they encounter in life.

And just so you don’t read this thinking that I couldn’t possibly understand your situation or that I haven’t had to deal with things outside my control  let me share just few things from my life. I have been fired from 2 jobs and my position was eliminated at a third (that’s right, I have been unemployed three times). I had to watch my wife fade away over an almost two year period while she battled and lost her battle with cancer. As I said earlier – shitty things happen. But I have never been a victim. I have always had the choice on how to respond to every event in my life.  Were there tough times? Of course. But that didn’t mean I was going to simply roll over and let life’s events control me. 

Life’s events do not need to control you either. Take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror. Admit to yourself that you are responsible for where you are at right now. Stop blaming other people, things or events for your lot in life. Make a commitment to yourself to start moving forward. Your life will not change immediately but it will change. Erase the word victim from your vocabulary and remember that you always have choices on how you will respond to any situation or event. Think things through and move forward. Keep doing that and positivity will start to move through your veins. Once you experience that feeling you’ll never want to be a victim again, and you will begin to attract more and more success into your life.

Think I’m nuts? I’ll respond with this: What do you have to lose? And think about what you’ll have to gain.     

Friday, October 7, 2016

You Can't Grow by Saying No

Personal growth comes from new experiences. If every day was the same as the one before life would get one-dimensional pretty quickly and you would become one-dimensional as well (boring!!). You have to experience new ideas, new tastes, new people, new music, new activities and new challenges in order to grow as a person. And isn’t that what life is all about after all - to grow into the best version of yourself as possible. The more you grow as a person the more you have to draw on, the more you have to share and the more you will be able to assist those around you. 

But here’s the thing. You can’t grow if you say no to new experiences or challenges when they come along (and they come along all the time!) How often do you say no? More times than you think. It’s just easier to stay in your comfort zone. But that comfort zone is holding you back. That comfort zone keeps you from fully developing into the awesome person you are. Sure it feels safer to say no but what are the real risks to saying yes. Are you afraid you’ll fail? Are you afraid you’ll be embarrassed? Are you afraid you won’t like it? Sure, any of those things might happen. But then again, they may not. That’s the paradox. You cannot know the outcome before you step forward. And the more you try to figure out the outcomes the more you’ll just play it safe and stay in your comfort zone.

Try this instead. The next time you are asked to do or try something and your gut reaction is no, stop and think about it. Why are you saying no? If it’s fear of the unknown or fear of failure I encourage you to be courageous and go ahead with a YES. Now I am not saying you say yes to everything no matter what. I am not asking you to be foolhardy. If you are asked to pick up a flaming log out of the campfire then obviously you’re going to say no (and if I am wrong about that you may want to seek psychiatric advice).  

But seriously, if there is not an obvious bodily threat why not try a yes. One at a time and see what happens. Some of the best experiences in my life have come from saying yes when I otherwise would have said no. Okay, so my knees were knocking sometimes (like right before giving a keynote address at a national sales conference) or I felt more than a bit uncomfortable (like going to party where I knew only a couple of the people attending). But in each of those instances, and many others, I ended up having a great time, meeting some interesting people and experiencing personal growth.

If the idea of saying yes seems overwhelming, try something small. The next time someone asks if you want to try a certain food or drink – try it. A small taste will not hurt you. If you don’t like it just thank the person for letting you try it but be honest and say you did not care for it. You grew as a person because you tried. You don’t have to like everything, that’s not the point. The point is to work on being open to whatever life has to offer and not being afraid to say yes.

Every new experience, every new book, every new person, every new idea that you come in contact with helps you grow into a more rounded person. You grow as an individual from contact with the ideas of others and the shared experiences with the world around you. You owe it to yourself and those who you know and love (now and in the future) to become the absolute best version of you possible. Saying YES helps make that happen.