Power of Altering Perspectives: Expanding on the Notion of Optimism

stock-illustration-5342490-glass-is-half-fullNegative thoughts beget negative attitudes and positive thoughts beget positive attitudes. This is a simple proposition everyone should agree with. It’s very simplistic and most of the times it’s taken out of context with positive thinking junkies. Instead of taking out of context, let’s build on it and see if we can reach a wider understanding of optimism. In doing so, hopefully we can reevaluate certain attitudes when concerning causality.

When we initially learn about optimism, we are given the example of the half-filled or half-empty cup of water. We learn that there are two ways in which we can describe this scenario. The choice here will often dictate if we are optimists or pessimists. In turn, it will dictate if we view the scenario in a negative light or a positive light. This is all accurate, but when someone learns about optimism this way they may keep a narrow view of the concept.

Optimism and pessimism aren’t only for objects. Here is standard definition for optimism: “Hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.” As we see here, optimism is associated with our views of the future. Do we hope for the best? Or do we immediately see the obstacles?

iwanttobelieveel4Let’s expand optimism to more concepts. How about causality? When we are imagining the cause of certain outcomes there are those who may attribute the outcome to negative causes. An example are the wacky conspiracy theorists who attribute a lot of complexity and malice towards certain outcomes they see in the world. On the other hand, imagine thinking about the most powerful people of the world and attributing their actions to love, family, and loyalty instead of deceit, greed, hate and selfishness.

Finally, think about the small things that cause extreme frustration in our daily lives. Think about the small ways people may wrong us. Maybe we are cut-off during our morning commute, someone takes our lunch from the communal refrigerator, or anything where our response is, “why would someone do that?” There are two ways we can imagine the cause of those actions. We can think these things happened because the other person is just a jerk or evil person who is very selfish. Or we can think that something horrible happened in their lives that made them lose focus at that moment. We all have done “jerk” things, but for us it’s always unintentional right?

Let us reevaluate our beliefs and attitudes during these situations because in the end we are all human and no one is perfect. We will all do things that may piss off someone. Remember negative thoughts beget negative attitudes and positive thoughts beget positive attitudes.

Cultural Immersion: The Benefits of Traveling

Flight to MoscowTraveling across the world to a foreign land can be extremely intimidating. First there is the language barrier. This is an obvious obstacle, but then there are the hidden cultural obstacles. People do not act entirely the same everywhere. Imagine how maybe even a smile can be misinterpreted in some cultures. It is a simple fact that people act differently in different parts of the world. What people deem acceptable varies. Just approaching a shop and purchasing a bottle of water can be a stressful experience.

All this being said, every person in the world must travel and experience different cultures through full immersion! Travelling will build a stronger character and shape a better understanding of humanity. It will make you a stronger person by pushing your boundaries of comfort. You will learn that people live in different ways and that the lifestyles of your own culture are a small spectrum of humanities different lifestyles.

You will learn how to communicate in different ways and will meet interesting people while doing so. You are bound to meet interesting people who will act as unofficial ambassadors. This is by far the best part. In doing so, you will realize that when you peel back the layers of culture, people are inherently the same. You will see that there are happy and unhappy people no matter their social class or living condition.

Finally, even if you are not happy with the experience then you will learn to appreciate your own culture that much more when you come back home. It’s definitely a growing experience.

Gain Experiences: Best investment is in yourself

One of the most fascinating things in life is the process of gaining experience. It’s such a simple concept. We are constantly experiencing something through our senses. And no matter what we are doing we really can’t mess it up. Experiences just cannot be wrong or incorrect. We just do them.

Gaining meaningful experiences isn’t all that different. To gain meaningful experiences one has to apply a little more effort. If we are seeking meaningful experiences, we cannot become lazy and enjoy the comforts of complacency. It takes a certain amount of energy to leave the house, to learn new things, to say yes to those around us offering events, dates, or random outings.

The easiest way we can invest in ourselves is to seek out new experiences. Nobody can take it away from us. It will be very unique to us and when we parlay it with other experiences it becomes even more unique. And once we build enough experience, then imagine how this unique set of skills and beliefs can turn into something special. Something that others might pay you for.

At last when we focus our experiences like a magnifying glass on a certain subject over a long period of time, well that’s when we become professionals. Combined with other experiences a focused specialty will always be unique. Think of the lawyer turned into a Hollywood writer.

We will leave you with this awesome quote:

Effort

Just do things!

Learn to Conquer Stress

Lion RoarStress comes directly from our flight or fight response mechanism deep in our brain. It’s not a bad thing because it’s there to protect us from imminent danger. The interesting part is when our brain uses the flight or fight response to situations where we are not necessarily in imminent danger.

So what can we do to control stress?

There are two ways to respond when trying to control stress. The first is to learn to embrace it. Many people enjoy the challenge and so when they feel that flight or fight response coming on they smile and think bring it on.

meditation-6Second, we can dismiss it. It takes a strong will, but it’s possible. The idea is that in the modern day many of those stress inducing moments are not life threatening. There is no immediate danger to us, and so the goal is to remind ourselves of this. If work or school is overwhelming us, we can take a step away from the project and just think about life and how this isn’t our impending doom.

Stress can be healthy, but either way we can mellow out the effects. Don’t fall victim to over thinking those situations developing ulcers worrying so much. Cowering is never going to be an option so either fight the fight or learn to dismiss it.

Create Powerful Visions

to-do-listTask lists are tedious, boring, horrible things that only annoy us when all we want to do is to enjoy life and do whatever we want. The longer the list is, the worse off we are. We draw lines and mark checks and convince ourselves we are doing great things, but deep down inside we know all this sucks and we rather be traveling or lounging beach side.

Do not worry though because there is a mental hack to overcome this dread. The key to any to-do list, or in other words, the key to any task is to ask ourselves why is it that we want to do any of these things. To what purpose does this list serve?

Obviously we have some reason want to do the things we list out, but it doesn’t help when our reasons are so buried in our brains. Therefore it is extremely helpful to write out “the why” of your tasks. Again, what is the purpose of doing these things? Here are the details.

Take your list and organize it so they are all for something larger. Usually we have task lists for projects, goals, or some ideal we want to uphold like our cleanliness or fitness. Now that your tasks are all aimed at a certain goal, again ask yourself why do you want to achieve this goal. It could be to create stability for your family, to look and feel healthier, to gain significance, etc.

Molecular ThoughtsWhatever your reasons are, don’t stop at just listing them. Take your vision and make them impressive and desirable. Create strong mental pictures and make them brighter and larger so that you can taste, feel, touch, all that you imagine.

Once you do this, then now your task list has some meaning. You have some fire deep in your belly and it will be your pleasure to tackle it. Each task that you complete takes you one step closer to that vision. Task list is hacked. So long tedious, boring, horrible list!

Life Pro Tip: Don’t Think When Hungry

Taking time to think about life and all its glory is essential to our mental health, but don’t do it when you are hungry or cold. It seems obvious, but sometimes we can bare coldness or hunger for long periods of time and during this time most likely our eyebrows are furrowed and we look pained. If we can imagine any decision made at this point will not be a positive one.

beautiful-blue-cold-snow-touch-Favim.com-140741

Research today suggests that most of our decisions about life are made in the deepest recesses of our brain. Our consciousness does not reside here nor does our faculty for language. If you can imagine then, decisions are processed in a murky, dark place where our consciousness has very little impact. When we do eventually come to think about this decision in our conscious mind, we are merely justifying the choice we have already made.

lava_tube_cave_lava_beds_national_monument-normal

It is in this deeper area of our brain where our basest emotions originate; emotions, such as love, fear, hunger, and lust. Now imagine when we are cold or hungry. Our brain knows we are uncomfortable and that something needs to be done. Unpleasant feelings are stirred deep down in our brain to get us off our butt.

Sometimes our consciousness can become preoccupied, and most of the time it’s during some sort of introspection. If this is the case then our rational mind will take these feelings and intertwine it with our conscious introspection. Our internal dialogue will unfortunately revolve around our unpleasant feelings laying blame everywhere! It can’t be pleasant.

“Why am I feeling like crap? I really hate work /school / life! I have to do something about it!”

Sometimes you just need to eat or put on a sweater on and you will feel better, and work / school / life will not feel so bad. It sounds silly, but it is guaranteed that someone out there has fallen prey to this before. So remember, eat or stay warm during introspection or we will incorrectly correlate our frustrations with some aspect of our life and then we will think it true.

Four Short Term Exercises for Success

Actions define who we are. Think about the smallest unit of time and think about the smallest unit that can be used to measure actions. Moment by moment, we take singular actions. In its entirety, the group of actions directed at one vision will create something larger than life.

Next, align the things we value with the actions we make, take, or choose. To be true to ourselves and consistent in our actions. In other words, “walking the talk.”

Now think about these momentary sets of actions and how they define who we are. Now imagine becoming selfless in all our actions and doing things innocently or for others over the long run.

Here are the small momentary selfless actions, that when focused over a long period of time, will lead to great things.

Introspection

imagesSelfless thoughts will lead you to success.

Your day-by-day introspection should come in peaceful walks, little distractions, during prayer or meditation. Practice aligning your hopes, dreams and value with your actions.  Place yourself outside the center of the universe. Don’t be pushy and over exert it.

If you are hard on yourself or over exert then you are of the mindset that you have 100% control. Believing that you have 100% control will set you up for emotional pain and douchebagery. The goal is to let go of this feeling.

Have faith and certainty because…

If you are doing it right then you will find peace in all the chatter. You will notice that success will not get to your head. Failures will not be debilitating. Others’ opinions will have little effect on you. You will find an ease of mind that can be a generally state of happiness everyone seeks.

Relations

couple pictureSelfless listening will lead to success.

Your day-by-day example is to truly listen with intent. Hear beyond words: listen to emotion and actions. Listen to understand and leave it there. Don’t be pushy and over exert it.

If you are pushy and over exert, people will wall up. It is selfish to push your knowledge and experiences on others when they are not ready or if they have simply not asked.

Have faith and certainty because…

If you are doing it right, you will know when the time comes provide assistance for the things you discovered.

Fitness

jumping-jacks-group-fitness-story-topSelfless consumption equals success.

Your day-by-day is to be conscious of what you put in your body. Find 3-5 hours a week to exert some energy by either lifting something heavy or moving around quickly. Don’t be pushy and over exert it.

If you are pushy and over exert then you will exhaust your will, your muscles, or other aspects of your life. You will never feel happy with how your body looks.

Have faith and certainty because…

If you are doing it right your body and you energy levels will change. You will feel exponentially better about yourself.

Business

Absorbed pensive mature businessmanSelfless creation equals success.

Your day-by-day: Learn something new; learn unique combinations of things. Tell other people about the things you know. Find ways to be better at learning or creating or combining or nurturing some hobby. Don’t be pushy and over exert it.

If you are pushy and over exert than you become the sleazy used car salesmen.

Have faith and certainty because…

If you are doing it right. People will be naturally interested in what you have to offer. They will pay you for your tools or services. In other words creating value for others until they are happy to pay you =)

Limiting Beliefs

Dark_nightWe have all heard these sayings in our youth “Never say never”, “No such thing as can’t”, or “There is nothing you cannot achieve as long as you put your mind to it,” and we understood their meanings just fine. Yet we were we riddled with limiting beliefs. The notion that we can’t have certain things, that we don’t deserve certain things; that we are not beautiful enough, smart enough, tall enough, strong enough, etc.

We are told we have right or left brains, and we buy into this. We are told that people are born with genius or natural talent. We believe certain people are lucky. They have had certain advantages that we never had.

Are these not the excuses for those who do not want to work for what they want?

How much of our lives can we control? Can we control the things that annoy us or frustrate us? Can we break bad habits and learn new ones? If we are slobs can we turn into highly organized people? If we are night owls can we switch our lifestyle to become a morning person?

The answer is yes, and the only way you will know this is to prove it to yourself. The next question is how bad do you want it? If you ask us there are unlimited creative solutions to any problem. Have you overcome a limiting belief?

Prioritizing the Important Things

Time, energy, and care are a finite resource. There is a set amount, and it’s up to us to figure out how to divvy it up. Therefore it’s really important to understand how we are naturally divvying up our time, energy, and care throughout a typical day, a year, a decade or lifetime. The best way to take charge is to really assess what it is that we truly care about because more often than not, our actions do not coincide with what we believe we care about.

Here are some things we would normally consider as the most important things in our lives:

  • Family
  • Spirituality
  • Work
  • School
  • Community
  • Friends
  • Fitness
  • Charities
  • Nation
  • Ideological Causes
  • Hobbies
  • The Arts
  • Relaxing
  • Travel
  • People
  • Seeking pleasurable experiences

As we can see, this is a long list and it’s safe to assume that we cannot spend equally significant time, energy, and care for each area of our lives.

A healthy exercise is to write out a personalized list which is ranked by importance. A simple list like this can be the backbone of every decision we make in life. It will help us prioritize our time for the future, and it will help us recognize situations where are doing things that contradict the order of importance.

The beautiful thing here is that there are no right lists. People are free to put importance on any facet of their lives. The importance lies in aligning our list with our actions. This next part is even more beautiful. If there are any inconsistencies, then all we have to do is either rearrange our list or change our actions.

The key in all this is to avoid contradictions. We have heard many people say how they may sabotage their own happiness. It happens when our lists are not aligned with our actions.

Making decisions with certainty allows for us to live without regrets, and the easiest way to reach this is to assess the things that are truly important to us. So when we hear things like, “Be true to yourself” or “Walk the talk”, both these phrases are talking about the same thing: living life without hypocrisy. And both these things

Dealing with Past Pains

We all think about our past, present and future constantly. We “live” in the present in our more hedonistic moments, we live in the future when we are studying diligently for a college exam, and we live in the past when we think about impactful moments in our lives. Sometimes past events are so powerful they dictate our present and interfere with our future. As if they are open wounds which may be prodded with the littlest prick.

No Regrets

We must all remember that we can’t change the past. The past has happened and it has marked itself on our life. We lived it and it is now a part of us whether we like it or not. Once this is realized we can do everything in our power to convince ourselves to cope with any pain that exists. We must convince ourselves that we live with no regrets. Let’s figure out how.

Fickle Memory

You can’t change the past, but we can alter the way we remember it. We already do this subconsciously. When we think about the good ole days we tend to pick out and think about the times we enjoyed and completely blank out the negative moments. After a break up, depending on the circumstances, we tend to remember only the good or the bad moments.

Empowering

If we are already doing it subconsciously, well let’s practice doing it consciously. We must become PR professionals and political spin artists. These professionals are good at exactly one thing and that is to find the positive from any story imaginable. No matter how bad the story people can find something positive. For example, many tragic experiences can also be a tremendous growing and maturing experiences. If we subconsciously can avoid the negative effects of an experience by focusing on the “good ole times” then we can consciously do the same thing with any memory. Latch on to the positive, spin with extreme focus and let it become empowering.

Forgiving Ourselves

All this is moot if we can’t forgive ourselves. In business it was once believe that self confidence was the most important characteristic for success, but it is not. It is the ability to forgive ourselves. With every failure there is the shame and pain of past experiences, and only when we can forgive ourselves and understand that perfection does not exist, it ‘s then that we can shape our recollection and embrace the learning experience of every bad memory.