Your Attitude Counts More Than Your Aptitude

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Your Attitude Counts More than Your Aptitude

A lot of people have tricked themselves into thinking that for them to make any kind of fundamental positive change in their lives, they have to learn certain things. For example, if you are struggling with finances and you don’t have a college degree, it’s very easy for you to say to yourself, “Well, the only way I can really get a leg up in my career is to get that four-year degree. Since I’m too old and I already have kids or you have a long laundry list of other reasons, you just basically say to yourself, “Well, I’m screwed. That’s not an option. The college degree is unattainable so here I am, I’m stuck forever.”

 

What you’re looking at is not reality. It’s your take on reality. Your thoughts are not real – they are your perceptions and interpretation of events that occur. Your analysis of reality is not reality itself and is really just a reflection of your attitude.

 

If you think that aptitude is the way forward to all of life, you’re wrong. In most cases, employers are more likely to take chances on people with the right attitude than the ones with all the qualifications. I have seen employers who struggle in wanting to hire the most ablest candidate but overlook their attitude and regret that decision later.

 

These people may seem perfect on paper but if their attitude is wrong, then it’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. I’m sure it’s possible after enough pushing but it’s not all that efficient. It may also be planting the seeds for future destruction. Most people would simply not do it.

 

This is why it really boils down to attitude. If you have the right attitude, don’t worry about not having the technical know-how. That will come. You will find a way. The key is do you believe in yourself enough to want to find the way?

 

If you think that everything has been closed off to you, and you are essentially just a very limited person because other people have it in for you and are conspiring against you, believe me, it doesn’t really matter what your aptitude is. You might even be the smartest person in the room but if you have that attitude of persecution and you feel that possibilities are always closed off, you will always remain stuck.

 

On the other hand, if you know that you don’t know certain things but you have the right attitude, you will make things happen. Maybe you would take night classes. Perhaps you would take online classes. Possibly, you would partner up with another person to get into some sort of semi-formal or informal apprenticeship. Even reading books, such as on leadership or mindset or a topic of interest, will raise your knowledge and skills. There are many ways to skin a cat, so to speak. It all boils down to your willingness to even try.

 

The problem with rigid or negative attitudes is that you basically end up robbing yourself of possibilities. You basically tell yourself, “Well, there’s only one way to achieve a certain outcome. Since that path is somehow some way off-limits to me, then this means I have no hope.” Who told you that’s the only way forward?

 

When you look at the careers of a lot of successful people on the planet, it turns out that a lot of them started out as janitors. A lot of them were illiterate. A lot of them were poor. A lot of them were immigrants with not even a penny to their name. Many were told that they would never make it but they did – look at the Wright Brothers, Benjamin Franklin or Wat Disney. Even J.K. Rowling was turned down by 12 publishers before the Harr Potter series – and conglomerate – were birthed.

 

Attitude counts more than aptitude. If you allow yourself to believe that you can achieve, then anxiety and constantly feeling that the best things in life have already been taken or that there all these barriers arrayed against you, things become wide open. You start seeing the possibilities. The opportunities become manifested and, before you know it, the way forward presents itself. You find yourself at the right place with the right people at the right time doing the right things.

 

Having an idea, going after it, and then never being deterred will lead to success – it all starts with having the right attitude. Begin, today, to turn yours to  positives – affirmations, mindfulness, and positive self-talk can get you on the right path, so start today!

 

Why Being Assertive is Important and How to Develop It

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Before you start, it’s important to understand what being assertive means. Psychologists define assertiveness as being able to express yourself effectively and stand up for your point of view while respecting the rights and beliefs of others, while maintaining control of one’s emotions (APA.org). The basis of assertiveness is mutual respect and honesty. Assertive communicators are straightforward and know how to set and maintain healthy boundaries. Their relationships value and promote trust.

If you’re serious about living an authentic life and succeeding in reaching your goals, learning to be assertive is crucial. It’s one of the soft-skills that are needed to lead and survive in the workplace.

Think about how you feel about your life right now: Are you satisfied with your personal and professional situation? Are you conflict avoidant? Do you worry about what other people think of you? Do you tend to over-do and give to others but then get angry that you did?

If you’re not happy with where you are now, the good news is that assertiveness is a habit that can be learned just like any other. With practice and commitment, you can change your mindset and live a life more aligned with your true values and aspirations.

Try these tips for introducing a more assertive approach into your life:

  • Decide what your priorities are and stick to them.
  • Work out your individual boundaries i.e. what you will/will not accept from others or do for others
  • Develop a positive open posture and look people in the eye when you speak to them.
  • Use positive ‘I’ statements about how you’re feeling instead of blaming or finding fault with the other person. Be especially wary of feeling tempted to say words such as: ‘you always’ ‘you never’ ‘you should or you must’
  • Get comfortable with saying ‘no’ to things you don’t want to or can’t do. Keep it simple and non-emotive and don’t feel you need to add an excuse or explanation.
  • Only use ‘sorry’ when it’s appropriate for the situation. You don’t need to apologize for saying no.
  • Offer alternative suggestions to proposals you don’t like.
  • Look for compromises and negotiate on them
  • Be honest and direct about your feelings, thoughts, and intentions.
  • Consider writing a script for a situation that feels awkward. Rehearse being confident.

Try to keep your focus on the impact of the situation and finding a way to work together to find a mutually satisfying solution, which is where negotiation comes in to play; there is always a workable solution. Agreeing to disagree and learning to walk away from a situation will bring you inner peace.

Above all, being assertive means staying in your power, accepting that you have control over how you approach the situation and your feelings about it. Assertiveness won’t get you everything you want all the time, but you will feel in control and deal much better with situations that would have previously been stressful.

Tired of Complaining? Take These 6 Steps to Become a Positive Thinker

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Being surrounded by people with a negative attitude isn’t fun. No matter what happens, for some reason, these people are able to see the worst in every situation. It’s almost as if they are challenged to find something to complain about. Negativity is like a disease that can spread like wildfire. Soon, others will start seeing the negative in situations as well.

But, what if the complainer is you?

Being stuck in negative thinking is stressful. Not just mentally, but physically and emotionally, too.

How do you change? How do you stop the negative thinking? Is it even possible?

Many people ask these questions. There is an answer, but it takes work. It means changing how you look at the world around you, but also how you see yourself.

The first thing to understand is this: positive thinking does not mean that every time something bad happens you feel good about it. It means having a solution-oriented perspective. It means that when you are presented with a problem you want to find a solution, not complain because you have a problem. The brain will focus on what it is fed so if it is negative, then negative is all that is seen.

This begs the question, is it possible to change this way of thinking? A resounding ‘Yes!” is the answer. It will take some work; in fact, developing a new habit can take anywhere from 60 days to a year. The hard part is unlearning old behavior, implementing the new, and then practicing for it to ‘stick,’ voila – new way of thinking.

If you’re ready to work a bit on yourself, here are 6 steps you can take to become a positive thinker:

Look for the Positive

Life is challenging. Other people do things that harm us, we get ill, economic downturns can cause us to lose our jobs, and more. Looking for the positive can be difficult. It takes practice and if you don’t make it a part of your everyday way of thinking, you will lose the skill.

When you have a strong negative reaction to something, take a breath, a deep breath. Calm that reaction so that you know your mind is unaffected. The point is to not dwell on the feeling but to focus on what can be done. Look for a solution. Ask what you can do about it and then do it.  When the situation has passed, we can often look back and see how we could have handled ourselves differently – do this now with past situations and look for the positive, look for when you could have asked yourself what the solution might be. This way you can begin to see current challenges differently and practice looking for solutions. This will help you to respond more positively, instead of just reacting to the negative and complaining because you think you have no control.

Maintain a Gratitude Journal

Make journaling an everyday habit, whether it is first thing in the morning or one of the last things you do each evening. Using your smartphone or a pen and notepad, write about all that you are grateful for. Look over your day and recall the experiences you had that you are grateful for, including things you appreciate about yourself.  This simple habit will help you recognize the positive things that are happening your life and help you see the positive in situations much faster.

Say “I Get To”

A small change in how you talk to yourself about your daily life will go a long way toward helping you become a positive thinker. One of these is the simple phrase “I have to do this”. You say it every time you do something you don’t want to do, putting your mind into the negative. For instance, “I have to go to work” can feel overly negative, especially when there is a project you don’t look forward to working on.

Replace the “I have to” with “I get to”. This way of thinking allows you to see and appreciate the positive points of the mundane, daily things you do. “I get to go to work” can be expanded on at any time to include “I get to go to work and finish that project that has been annoying me” or “I get to go to work to finish that project so I can work on something new.” Another example could be “I get to go to the grocery and buy the stuff I need to make my favorite dinner”. As you can see, within a short time this simple change of thinking will help you feel more positively about your day.

No Problems, Only Challenges

Much like changing the word have with get, when you have a problem you can instead say you have a challenge. When you have a problem, it’s usually something that is broken and almost always something that is negative. Your subconscious connection with the word is what is creating the negativity. By using the word challenge you open your mind to see solutions.

Understand That You Have Control

Nothing that happens to us is good or bad, positive or negative until we assign that attitude to it. You have the ability to control how you see the situation and to understand what you can do about it. When you choose to respond, rather than react, with a positive attitude that asks “What can I do now?” “What can be done about this now?” “Does this really apply to my life now?” you are in control of your thoughts and your actions. Neuroscience says that we need 3 positive thoughts to override one negative – doing this action will help you control your thoughts and actions. It puts you in problem-solving mode for how you will deal with any situation.

Positive Self-Talk Only

Have you listened to what you say to yourself each day? If you said the same thing to someone else, would it make them feel better or worse? When you catch yourself saying something negative you need to stop, take a breath, and instead say something positive. Ever say “I’m such an idiot!” under your breath? Stop. Now say “That’s not true. Sometimes I do smart things like XXX” and then list a couple of examples to remind yourself of what you are capable of.  Find a way to laugh at yourself and the situation as it will diminish any negative feelings you have around the situation while releasing dopamine, our happy chemical which gives your more positive feelings.

There you have it. 6 steps to become a positive thinker. Don’t be discouraged, however, if you find this to be more challenging than you expected. You are learning, so that means you will make mistakes. If you need a reminder or ‘catch’ yourself when making a negative statement,  write down (or tick off) every time you have a negative, or have an accountability partner to remind you. You will soon see that it won’t take long before your awareness is raised and you will work on the steps above.  

Be kind to yourself during this process, as change is not easy. Shrug it off and keep at it because you will be happier which, in turn, will spread that positivity around.

Be Accepting of Yourself While Striving for Greatness

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There is absolutely no way for you to be successful and reach your goals until you accept who you are. You have to like yourself and what you do before anyone else will.

The world detects how you feel about yourself and often simply shares the opinion you have about who you are. It is said that what you put out is what you attract; so, if you are not kind and compassionate to yourself, then you will be coming from a low level of vibration which will show up in all areas of your life, especially in your work.

When you are at a lower level, stress and anxiety are free to creep in which can lead to a host of mental, physical, and emotional troubles. Productivity and time management decline, behavioral issues may arise (i.e. irritability, conflict, etc.), and disengagement to some level occurs.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you realize it or not, you do have control over your thoughts and actions so you step into your greatness. You must be yourself and free yourself in the process.

You are an individual who is unique. Your talents and abilities, you intelligence and interests, you opinions and tastes, make you who you are. There is no need to hide a part of yourself or alter a part of yourself for the sake of conformity. True success is about freedom and all truly successful people are individualists who have, more or less, accepted and glorified who they are. You should do the same.

At the same time, being yourself does not mean glorying in mediocrity. You need to be the very best version of yourself possible. This means that you have to work at being you.

You have to put the time into self-improvement. If you want to be great, you have to take daily actions that lead you there. Acceptance is not an excuse for laziness, cowardice or fear. Life is a privilege. It is a gift.

The gift and the privilege of life is that you get to be yourself, the best self you can possibly be. Use the gift; take advantage of the privilege that you’ve been given every day. Take time to breathe, to plan, to visualize, and to work on becoming the best version of you so you become great.

 

            “To increase your effectiveness, make your emotions subordinate to         your commitments” (Brian Koslow)

 

Don’t squander the chance. Let your own unique light shine forth. This is the light that will illuminate the path to real success in life. It will also be the light that attracts other people to you and shines the way to greatness.

 

Do You Ever Feel ‘Foggy?’

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Do you ever wake up and feel brain fog? The night before, you set for this day and the goals you want to achieve but, suddenly, you feel foggy as if you can’t move. You know you want to work on them but, for some reason, you don’t know what to do, lest have the desire.

I’ve been there more than I care to admit. So, why does this occur? There can be several explanations but the basic one is that an unconscious thought arose and thwarted you.  To understand some basic facts from neuroscience, the thought(s) that arose released some chemicals, particularly cortisol, which goes immediately to the prefrontal cortex or the executive function of the brain.

This, then, puts you into a threat state and we can almost feel paralyzed from taking any action. Because it feels threatening, it’s easier to stay right where you are – in the comfort of your daily actions and life.

Essentially, change is what is leading to the fog – moving from what you know to what you don’t know. So what is the answer? How do you move forward to your goals and this uncharted territory?

There are several steps that I have found that should help you, too:

  1. Be aware of your feelings, and then dig into your thoughts – feelings are going to be known but it all starts with the thoughts. When you feel that flutter in the stomach, irritability, anger, sadness, etc, that is when you want to stop, breathe, and then check into any thoughts you are having. Writing them down helps to identify and capture them.
  2. Take a pause – breathe, yawn, stretch, stand up; all of these will calm your mind and body so you can focus on the issue at hand.
  3. Self-talk – as strange as it sounds, self-talk can snap you out of the fog state. Reasoning with yourself and stating positives helps with motivation, as do positive affirmations. I have found this very helpful to dispute any negative thoughts I am having.
  4. Ensure your daily goals are written – it’s not enough to keep them in your head with all the millions of other thoughts you are having.  Writing them makes them real, so then you can identify specific actions to take. I find fulfillment in crossing off those steps as I get them done.
  5. Use the 5-Second Rule – if you haven’t heard of it, the 5-Second Rule was developed by Mel Robbins and is a way to circumvent  the pause so you take immediate action. I used it today to get up an hour earlier and walk before I started my day; it sounded so good last night but not so much this morning. However, I made the statement to get out of bed and counted 5-4-3-2-1 and immediately stood up. I did take that walk.

I hope these steps are useful for you. Our brains can be a hindrance or we can use them to their fullest. You can train your brain for more positivity and productivity. It all starts with the intention and then action.