I was thinking recently about the world. The way people act, the things people say and the way people treat each other in general. Of course it is part of my career and background to identify how people see themselves. I am talking not just about areas I happen to be educated in or any special training. I am talking the basics. If you are a person who believes in God, you read the Bible then you may call it sowing and reaping. You may like to call it mind over matter, or aligning yourself with the universe, whatever the case it matters not for this topic.
I am talking about actually speaking and believing in what you have decided to pursue. For example, in my work and counsel to families over the years, I address behaviors and words, and the link between them. Whatever behavior is causing a problem had to start as a thought, right? So somewhere between the thought and the action was a decision that had to be made. In my case, I often teach parents that pointing out negative behavior all of the time to their children will never produce a change for the better. Then they usually look at me funny and ask what they should be doing. This little tiny nugget that I learned when I was a young college student has proved to change lives in a matter of days. In this scenario, the nugget is that positive reinforcement is the only way a parent will see improvement that is meaningful in their child.
What? Usually I hear something like this ” I never see them doing anything good!” So now we are at the key area that a parent will either accept, learn and change, or they will resist and continue down a failing path and become more stressed and see more problems some even resulting in health issues by now. So lets take the route to improvement right now, and say we are all parents and we all want to see a change in behavior in our kids. What would need to happen is this;
We would all need to adjust our thinking a bit to line up with what will produce good results. Staying with our scenario, we all would begin to ” catch our kids being good”- I know, it is totally against the flow, which psychology says is about 15 negative comments to every positive comment we give to our child. That is about average in an average home, and usually goes something like this ” Stop talking back!”- ” Clean your room!”- ” You better watch your mouth” and on it goes until we have racked up a dozen or so negative comments in a matter of hours. So we need to change our thinking to stop with the critical comments, and begin to train ourselves to listen and watch for what you DO want to see, and jump all over it with simple praise, such as ” Thanks for having your room clean, it looks great!” or ” Thanks for using a calm voice when we talked earlier, it really helped me understand what you were trying to say”. I think you get the idea, we want to take the 15:1 ratio and turn it around, by exchanging one type of comment for another to attain desired results. The reality is, the only way humans change behavioral patterns is by positive and consistent reinforcement of the desired behavior. That goes for us adults too by the way. Think of your workplace, or relationships; would it not be wonderful to get 10 or 15 positive comments to every 1, on an average? It really is not difficult, and it produces quick and lasting change for the better. However even parents I have shown this to, maybe 50% actually do it. The other half live in misery and complain, while the answer is in their reach.
So I use that example, although very abbreviated, and not a complete summary as a model for the topic of this post. We have got to understand that we ( to a certain extent) actually decide our own outcomes by how we decide to do 3 things.
1- How we think.
2- How we behave.
3-How we use words.
Think on things that are in line with your goals, speak in a way that lines up with your goals, and act as if you are already there. Sound too simple? It really is very easily explained. We have to address the root problem, which is how we think. If I am driving around town all day and I keep thinking about robbing a bank, I am going to end up at a dead-end road, as it is neither realistic, legal, or productive. I use this as a random example, but insert your worries, your heavy thoughts that want to repeat like a tape over and over…
Now we have to make the decision to think on something more in line with our goals. Whatever that looks like for you, think on it. Dwell on it. Purposely focus on the things that the ingredients you need to achieve your outcome. Wasted thinking, or “stinking thinking” accomplishes nothing good and is likely to cause you even more stress. Next, what we say is CRITICAL to accomplishing what we will see as outcomes. It matters not if you are alone or with friends, if you allow words to come out that contradict the thoughts you have trained yourself to think, you have to start all over. So say things like ” I am excited for what is happening!” or ” Good things are going on” instead of the traditional ” Life sucks and I am tired” or ” I think I will have a heart attack”. You may be surprise at how many people actually fulfill their own verbal commands.
Finally, make the necessary practical decisions that must occur for you to see your dream. In other words, stop doing things that are counter-productive to what you want, and purposefully do the things that you have identified as mandatory for success. Put yourself around people who already possess what you want. Stay away from those who are going the opposite direction. Believe in yourself, and do NOT believe everything you think. Only believe the thoughts that line up with your goal. Most other interference comes from the media, the radio, and our natural wanting to loathe in self-pity. Cut it out. Shut the television off. Refuse to give in to what others say about your situation. Most times, when people see that you are not out to impress or conform to their ways, they get fearful and try to pull you back down into misery with them, as we know misery LOVES company. Its lonely going the positive route, not many choose it. Get used to it. If you are worried about what others will think about you, then you have a self-confidence issue, and address it. Refuse to “need” anyone, but allow yourself to enjoy the company of those who are supportive of you and your goals. Refuse to think negative, as it only leads to talking negatively, which will bring you right to acting negatively. You are trying to leave there, remember? LOL!
Finally, I laid this foundation for everyone, so that I can take a real life example of someone who is living in success at a very young age, because he chose to go against the grain. Persevering, is falling down 19 times, and getting up again on the 20th. Ben Franklin once said ” the harder I work, the luckier I seem to get!”. Think on that statement for a minute, it is powerful.