If I could have you read one post….
If you read any of my other blog posts, you would know that 2009 was a tough year for me.
Like many, I became unemployed for the first time.
I also lost both my parents, and lost other relatives in our family.
However -I think things were starting to go from good to worse before that and mostly because of my attitude- my focus -my choice of vocabulary……..
…..I could put it this way – from about 2001 through 2008 things improved for me financially and otherwise. Things got better on the whole. However for whatever reason in late 2006, 2007, 2008, I start focusing on the wrong things.
I started using vocabulary and questions and words that were not good, not empowering.
For instance; I have a great wife – but at that time I really focused on what she was doing wrong -little things, big things. They weren’t anything out of the ordinary; she’s human, I’m human, we all make mistakes and do little things that irritate one another. That’s all these things were.
I was focusing on things around my house that didn’t work. I believe this probably was one of the major issues for me. In 2007 we bought a new house, we paid more than I really wanted to and found out later that there were lots of things that needed to be fixed and I got angry and bitter and focused on those bad things. I totally forgot the beautiful surrounding, the neighborhood, the value, and the simple fact that I could buy a home.
The other thing was my vocabulary. I would ask questions like “Can it get any worse? How can this get any worse? Why are these bad things happening to me? Why can’t I make more money? Why am I so unlucky? What other bad things are about to happen?” Etc. etc….. you get the idea. Everyone’s brain is like a computer – ask a question and it will search for answers. Ask a bad/disempowerint/negative question and you’ll get an answer “Why am I so unlucky?” …. your brain will search for things, true or not, to answer it.
Ask a positive question “Why am I so lucky?” and yes, your brain will search for things, true or not, to answer it.
You must already understand that I was making more money than I ever had before. I had a nicer house than I ever had before. I had (and still have) two beautiful daughters, a caring beautiful wife, friends, family, and lots of great things. My parents and many loved ones were alive with me then.
Then there were my poor choices with words and questions.
I would often use dis-empowering, negative words and apply them to everyday things. For instance I’d say that some basic thing in daily life was “horrific.” Meanwhile, it was something as simple as a busy day and I would be tied up until late…often with productive things or customer meetings (revenue generators).
I would often use words/phrases like “that’s crazy, that’s outrageous, that’s terrible,” in my vocabulary – which really blew things out of proportion. A day that’s busy with lots of opportunities is by no means horrific.
At work, I went from being someone who had a reputation of as a great communicator; diplomatic and able to get along with everyone – even ‘difficult people’, to someone that became known as being a little sharp, blunt and less forgiving. I wasn’t even sure how that happened. Almost overnight people seemed to not enjoy communicating with me as much as before.
I would focus on the things that my coworkers and colleagues did wrong. This is Not good especially in a team environment. I didn’t often offer a solution. (I often say it’s good to offer a solution if you’re gonna complain-or just don’t complain) I would just complain without anything constructive to say. I got bitter I would focus on it at night in bed.
I would focus on those things that were not working.
Then 2008 came, the financial crisis hit, and we were told that we were losing our jobs. Of course I was angry and better about that, and I had a bad attitude about finding a job. Then, in retrospect, I think that my reputation of being a tough guy may have hurt me finding a job. It is hard for me to say that but it’s probably true.
In early 2009, my parents died and we lost three other relatives that my wife and I both loved from her family. I struggled for a long time.
It was very tough on me as a man as a father and as a provider.
I knew I was in a funk. I knew I needed some help. Even though we were very tight on money I hired a coach. I got myself some good books to read and just tried to work out of it.
It was and is really simple in concept but hard in practice:
- Focus on what works.
- Focus on what you want (not what you don’t want).
- Focus on the present, the now, be aware.
- Take action.
- Picture, imagine, and visualize good things (instead of bad things, which is simply worrying.)
Ask good questions. Your brain will find good stuff no matter what, no matter how small and your focus will be on the good stuff.
Lastly, really make an effort to be happy. I don’t mean being selfish and focusing on what I want but being happy with simple things in life.
Being happy with what we have now. I have had so many good things and I lost many of them. I didn’t necessarily enjoy them then but I wish I had the back.
But I’m happy now with what I have and I enjoy them.
We all need to enjoy the moment, find joy right now. Time goes so fast.
I also avoid things that make me unhappy. I’m not talking about chores at home or things to do at work. I am talking about people with negative energy, the evening news, reality television, …..things that I know are low energy or negative energy and things that are not empowering.
We all know all of the above things, perhaps.
I agree, maybe none of these are ‘lightning strikes’ or Eurekas.
I have read them over and over through the years but it is really only after I’ve had those tragedies, the unemployment that I looked in the mirror and finally tried to put them into my life.
I certainly have bad days and I still focus on bad things and I slip but
I tell you from the bottom of my heart, over and over again, these things I’ve mentioned above; focus on good things, focus on what works, live in the present, be happy with what you have, be happy for the simple things, focus on what you can do now-take action, asking great questions – have all helped me immensely in the past five years. Try it.
I’m still not out of the woods but I’m certainly happier and I’m moving in the right direction now and I feel better about life and life is improving.