"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

Micro-Moments of Positivity: One Secret to a Long Life

glass half full empty

All else being equal, the happier you are, the longer and healthier your life. Anger, stress, gloominess, melancholy, downheartedness, the blahs, the funk, the blues: they all impact you, weigh your body down, create reactions which reduce the effectiveness of your immune system. Fortunately, there is a cure and a relatively easy one at that. We all have the ability to manage our moods! Like any skill, directing your emotions (and the thoughts/stories we tell that generate them) may take time to develop fully but self-direction, self-motivation is a powerful tool to have in our life management toolbox.

We may not always be able to control the thoughts that come to mind but we CAN control the thoughts that stay in mind! We can choose where to focus our attention, where to direct our energies. When you make the effort to consciously look for the good, you see things for which to be grateful, small acts of kindness or goodness to appreciate and compliment, chances to smile, to laugh, to feel joy and contentment. These small moments of bliss add up quickly, generating a sense of peaceful contentment and serenity. Plus micro moments of positivity add up: the “extent to which we can generate positive emotions from even everyday activities can determine who flourishes and who doesn’t.” (NYT: Turning Negative Thinkers Into Positive Ones 4/3/17)

 Closing Quote:

“Man is made or unmade by himself;
in the armory of thought
he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself;
he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself
heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.”
– James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

Your Inner Life is Your Greatest Source of Strength

Positive vs negative thoughts

There is a voice inside your head that is constantly “on”, chattering away, talking to you. This voice has a personality, a world view, tendencies, inclinations, and biases. This chatterbox can be your best friend or your worst enemy, your choice. After all, this voice is you! The talk going on inside your head springs from some combo of your unconscious, your past experiences and role models, your fears and dreams. 

You CAN get control of this voice, use it and direct it. At first, you may have trouble directing the thoughts that come to mind but it always your choice about the thoughts that STAY in your mind. This voice can be your greatest cheerleader, your finest coach, your best friend or it can be your worst enemy, your biggest critic, an energy vampire, a slayer of dreams.

To gain control of your inner voice, first decide what you want, who you want to be, what type of person you want to grow toward being. Then write yourself short scripts that support this enhanced view of yourself, focus on the positive, on where you want to go. Negatives, if any, should be in terms of the “past” or of “releasing”: “I release all thoughts that hurt” or “That was yesterday, today is a new day and I am free to make new, better, more powerful decisions” or “My tendency does not have to be my destiny”. “I am a child of the Universe. There is great potential within me; I will develop it fully through intense focus and hard work.”

Observe your inner voice; it’s choice of topics and tone. If it heads off into “stinking thinking” use your scripts or positive affirmations to redirect your inner voice. It takes time and effort but if you persist, you will find no greater ally. (“Learned Optimism” and “Unlimited Power” and “Awaken the Giant Within” are all powerful sources of techniques on personal change.)

Closing Quotes:

“You are not responsible for the programing you picked up as a child. However, as an adult, you are 100% responsible for keeping it.” – Ken Keyes, Jr., 1921 – 1995, author, Living Love

“Habits of thinking need not be forever.  One of the most significant findings in psychology in the last 20 years is that individuals can choose the way they think.” – Martin P. Seligman; “Learned Optimism”

“Most people carry a large amount of unnecessary baggage. They limit themselves through grievances, regret, hostility, guilt; an accumulation of old emotional pain called the ‘pain body’.” – Eckhart Tolle

“You can never succeed in realizing your highest dreams and ambitions if you do not strive for them with all the force of your personality.” – John R. Silber, Boston University 1996 commencement speech, 1926-2012

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

Creating Emotions That Serve You

outer inner peace

We generally view emotions as like the weather: something that happens beyond our control that we just have to live with. The truth is we have a lot more control over the creation of emotions than we realize. How we interpret a situation, how we perceive events, the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of the world; all these powerfully impact the emotions we experience.

Many of the things or events that we claim cause our emotions are really just triggers, fuses attached to pre-existing feelings. My wife says she didn’t get around to doing something I’d asked her to do and I react strongly. Was the task that important? No, not really. That is not where the energy, the strong emotion came from. The story I’d been telling myself all too often is that I’m carrying too much of the partnership work load and it’s not fair. That story, that interpretation of the world, that perception of events: that is where the strong emotion came from and that is a reality I’d created pretty much all by myself.

Pay attention to the stories you tell yourself. Ask yourself if other storylines are possible, if others would see it differently or feel differently. If so, then perhaps your emotions around the situation come in large measure from you, your attachments and values, and not from the situation itself. Psychologists speak of “free floating anxiety/anger looking for an attachment point” i.e. people who have issues, often internal, that they are not facing or coping well with and are looking for something outside of themselves to focus on so that they can distract or distance themselves from facing the things that really scare them.*

Ask yourself if your stories and your point of view serve you. Do they bring you peace of mind? Contentment? Connection? Harmony?

You’ve but one life to live; I suggest that you do all you can to release your brakes, banish your destructive doubts, free yourself from fear. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change: Change Your Mind, Change Your Life. Do whatever you need to do to keep your inner world peaceful for your inner peace is essential for your health and well-being.

Closing Quotes:

“Peace begins within me. The more peaceful I am inside, the more peace I project to the world; all that I seek is already within me, already freely available to me.” – Louise Hay

“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” – Wayne Dyer, 1940-2015

“Imagine all the people living life in peace.
You may say I’m a dreamer,
but I’m not the only one.
I hope someday you’ll join us,
and the world will be as one.”
– John Lennon

*This same dysfunctional tactic often plays out in politics; classic case is Argentina’s ruler picking a fight with Great Britain over the Falkland Islands in order to distract the populace’s attention from economic chaos on the home front.

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier