Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Happiness

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month Theodore RooseveltPersonal Responsibility is Crucial for Happiness-Maximization

As those who have embarked on the quest for happiness know quite well, a crucial milestone on the path involves taking personal responsibility. Taking personal responsibility means not blaming others for your unhappiness. It means figuring out ways in which you can be happy despite others’ (negative) behaviors and despite the external circumstances. A person who has taken personal responsibility recognizes an all-important truth about happiness: your happiness depends much more on your attitude than it does on objective, external circumstances.

Does this mean that one can be happy no matter what the external circumstances? Can one be happy despite intense physical or psychological pain?

This is the question many of my students ask when I talk of taking personal responsibility for happiness.

Theoretically, it is possible to be happy no matter what the external circumstance. How? Because one’s emotional state is a function of how one interprets events, rather than what actually happened, as reflected in Milton’s famous saying, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” Findings from cognitive theories of affect support Milton’s saying. Generally speaking, our happiness–in fact, any emotional state, including a negative one–is generated by interpretations of events, as I elaborated in another post. When we interpret our negative boss as an obstacle, for example, we feel angry and frustrated; if, in contrast, we view our boss as “exactly what we need in order to become a better person,” we experience a sense of calmness, perhaps even gratitude.

Of course, most of us do not believe that we can be happy no matter what the external circumstance. When confronted with the idea that happiness is ultimately in the mind, many of us immediately entertain extreme examples that falsify the theory: could we be happy even if we break a bone or lose our job?

To me, those are the wrong questions to ask. The right question to ask is whether we can be happy given the types of negative events that routinely occur in our lives. In other words, rather than ask yourself if you can be happy even in extremely negative circumstances, ask yourself whether you can be happy in the more moderate circumstances in which you find yourself on a day-to-day basis. Can you, for example, entertain the possibility of being happy despite the fact that it’s raining outside? Can you be happy if a meeting with your client did not go as well as you would have liked?

Why is asking yourself whether you can be happy in extremely (vs. moderately) negative circumstances the wrong question? Because, by asking such a question, you undermine the confidence you need to develop the ability to be happy under all circumstances. Just as a child cannot imagine being as physically strong as an adult, those of us who haven’t developed the ability to interpret moderately negative events in a happiness-enhancing fashion cannot imagine being happy in extremely negative circumstances.

It is useful to think of the ability to control your emotional responses to events as a muscle; just as your biceps become stronger only when you exercise them using the appropriate weights–weights that are neither too light nor too heavy–, your ability to control your emotional response to events gains strength only when you take on challenges that are commensurate with your current ability. If you are currently someone who lets relatively minor events–like an encounter with a rude waitress–spoil your mood, how can you expect to maintain your happiness when a more extreme event–like a week long visit from a unpleasant relative–unfolds?

The point is: just because you currently lack the ability to maintain emotional positivity in the face of extremely negative events doesn’t mean that the theory–that the key to your happiness ultimately lies in your hands–is false. Rather, what it means is that you don’t, at present, possess sufficient control over your mind to feel happy regardless of the circumstances. You may ultimately desire to be like Gandhi or Jesus–who were remarkable in their ability to maintain good cheer even in the face of extreme adversity–but you can’t get there by biting off more than you can chew right now.

This brings me to an interesting irony about taking personal responsibility. Seeking mental control, it might appear at first blush, is similar to seeking control over others or over the circumstances. Quite the contrary! If anything, your ability to control your own mind is diminished by seeking to control others and the circumstances. Indeed, a critical element in developing mental control is a willingness to accept whatever outcomes you are dealt. If you cannot fully accept your outcomes–including, for example, the presence of a toxic boss, or poor health–you will not be able to interpret these outcomes in a positive light, and hence, you cannot be happy.

So, taking personal responsibility for your happiness involves, ultimately, adopting a “surrender mindset”–which refers to the willingness to fully and unquestioningly accept the outcomes you are dealt in life.

But how does one develop the surrender mindset?

Before answering this question, let me briefly discuss a commonly held misconception about the surrender mindset. Surrendering isn’t the same as capitulating. In other words, a person with a surrender mindset is not a weak, rudderless individual who has “checked out” from this world; rather, he is someone who, like the rest of us, has desires and goals and pursues them. However, whereas the rest of us cling to our desires with feverish desperation, a person with the surrender mindset does not. Thus, a person with the surrender mindset may dream of breaking the world record in the 100-meter dash, but if he were to discover a physical condition that prevents him from achieving this dream, he will be able to discard his dream, and move on to other goals without hesitation.

In other words, a person with the surrender mindset is like the rest of us in many ways, but only until the moment the outcomes unfold. Whereas the rest of us ruminate and moan when our favored outcomes don’t unfold, the person with a surrender mindset is able to move on, emotionally unscathed.

Let me now return to the question I had raised earlier: How does one develop the surrender mindset?

The most effective way to develop the mindset is one that those with a scientific orientation will likely find unappealing: it involves faith in a larger intelligence or force. Specifically, those who believe that there is force larger than oneself, and that this force is benign, will find it easier to surrender. The reason for this is straightforward: if you believe that the Universe is shaped by a force more powerful than you, and that this force has your best interests at heart, then you will find it much easier to make peace with the outcomes you are dealt. Even if you are unable to see how an outcome is beneficial for you in the moment, you will at least be willing to look for ways in which it opens new doors and opportunities. In contrast, if you are convinced that the outcome you have been dealt is bad for you, you are more likely to ruminate about the past than to move forward.

Ultimately then, surrendering has to do with trust. Just as trusting the people with whom you interact on a day-to-day basis is indispensable for being happy, so it seems that trusting that the Universe is taking care of you is crucial for being happy too.

This may be one reason why findings repeatedly show that religious people are, on average, significantly happier. Developing the surrender mindset, however, doesn’t mean you need to become religious. One can entertain the belief in a benign (rather than malign or indifferent) Universe without subscribing to any other religious tenet.

So, the logical thing to do, if you want to take personal responsibility for your own happiness, is to do something that might sound illogical: to have faith and adopt the surrender mindset.

Isn’t that wonderful?

Today’s article was written by Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D. and is shared from the following website: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sapient-nature/201112/taking-personal-responsibility-your-happiness

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How Parents Who Play Favorites Hurt the Entire Family

For there is no respect of persons with God Romans 2:11Parents try to be fair, but children pick up on subtle differences in the way they are treated.

In a study appearing in the journal Child Development, researchers led by Jennifer Jenkins, a professor of human development and applied psychology at the University of Toronto, report on the wide-ranging effects that playing favorites, known as differential parenting, can have on not just individual siblings but also on the behavior and mental health of all family members.

When parents provide more positive feedback and encouragement to one child while sending primarily negative comments to another, it’s no surprise that the negatively targeted child may develop more behavior problems and have a more difficult relationship with his parents. But Jenkins and her colleagues were interested in exploring how differential parenting affects all siblings in a family and in understanding some of the factors that might make such differential treatment more likely.

The researchers focused on nearly 400 Canadian families, each of which had at most four children. They asked mothers about their children’s positive and negative behaviors and went to some of the families’ homes to observe parent-child interactions — for example, how the children played without toys and how mothers taught their children to make a pattern based on a photo, and the way mothers told their children a story. When the youngest children were at least 18 months old, the researchers measured the youngsters’ aggression, attention and emotional problems and rated their relationships with siblings and parents.

Overall, the negatively treated children tended to show more attention and emotional problems than their more positively treated siblings by the end of the four-year study, but all children showed higher rates of these problems compared with when the trial began. That, says Jenkins, was a surprise since previous work had only highlighted the effect of differential parenting on the targeted children.

“We would have thought that, on the basis of previous research, it would just be the disfavored children who are having problems, but that’s not the case,” says Jenkins. “Sometimes moms are very similar with their kids, and sometimes they’re very different with their kids. And when they advantage some and disadvantage others, it looks like it’s a problem for all of the kids in terms of their mental health.”

Since parents rarely set out to treat their children differently, the scientists decided to explore which factors promoted differential parenting; they figured that a mother’s stress due to economic or personal experiences might have the greatest impact on the way she treats her children, so they also collected data on the mothers’ education levels, depression and history of physical and sexual abuse. They also considered family dynamics such as whether the mother was a single parent raising her family and the safety of the home environment.

Mothers who came from unstable family backgrounds were more likely to treat each of their children differently than mothers who had privileged upbringings, and the more external factors a mother faced, like being a single parent or struggling with depression, the more difficult it was for her to treat her children equally.

That makes sense, Jenkins says, since a mother who is stressed may have less patience with the child who has more problems. But as a result, all of her children may experience more behavior problems since children tend to internalize their parents’ reactions. Children who perceive the differential treatment as unfair, even if they are treated more positively, may also act out and develop attention or emotional problems as they grow older, possibly as a way to empathize with their siblings or in protest of the injustice of the favoritism. “It creates a sense of the kids feeling uneasy, or [gives them a] sense of unfairness,” says Jenkins. “In other studies, we’ve shown that the amount of differential parenting is related to the quality of sibling relationships, so when a kid is favored or disfavored, [he or she] is fed up with the sibling, getting on less well with that sibling, and that also feeds into the general dynamic of the family.”

Addressing some of the factors that may fuel parents to play favorites, like financial strain, could help alleviate some of the wide-ranging effects on families. “We really have to start supporting parents who are socially disadvantaged and make sure they have access to money so they aren’t worried about their kids all of the time, and access to good childcare so that they’re not worried about kids being on their own when they’re working,” says Jenkins. “These things are eating into the way parents can parent.”

Even when parent-child relationships are stressed in this way, communicating well can reduce some of the negative consequences. In some families, certain siblings need more attention or support than others, and parents should discuss with their kids why they are approaching siblings differently to avoid any misunderstanding. Children “don’t mind that parents treat them differently,” Jenkins says. “They only mind when they see that differential treatment as unfair, and that comes about when things aren’t explained to children.”

Today’s article was written by Olivia B. Waxman and is shared from the following website: http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/12/how-parents-who-play-favorites-hurt-the-entire-family/

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Ronald Reagan and Personal Responsibility

We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions. Ronald Reagan

“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

– Ronald Reagan

Personal responsibility is what created the United States. Literally.

When our forefathers’ declared independence from England, they sent a signal to the world that freedom and liberty are only possible when each person is allowed to determine how to live their life.

They called these God-given rights. And with these rights come responsibilities.

We teach our children they will be held accountable for their actions. We tell them they will reap what they sow. Yet they often see lawbreakers set free, or never arrested in the first place. Many who are sent to prison commit more crimes upon their release.

This cycle repeats itself time and time again until the laws cease to be a deterrent. They become a mere nuisance to the criminals.

As President Reagan stated, it’s time to put a stop to this. Laws are laws for a reason. We need them in order to have a functioning society.

Some may disagree with a law. Fine. Seek to change it. Until then, live within the law.

When laws are not enforced, lawbreakers are in essence being told that their actions are permitted.

Laws are not the problem. Lawbreakers are the problem.

Personal responsibility is not a burden. It is a requirement for a country that was founded on the God-given rights of freedom and liberty.

To be truly free, one must be personally responsible.

Today’s post is shared from the following website: https://www.reagan.com/blog/24/in-his-own-words-ronald-reagan-and-personal-responsibility

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How to Change the Stories You Tell Yourself

If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite William Blake

Around and around I went.

Like a Ferris wheel. 

It was only a pattern, a habit, an unexamined cycle. 

It wasn’t something I was proud of, but it was my reality.

It was the world I created for myself.

It was full of fear. Full of scarcity. It was survival.

I lived in it for many years until I examined my prison.

Fortunately, I was open to changing my perspective. If I am not open to examining my perspective, I accept I can create a mental prison.

It’s invisible. I had many blind spots.

Blind spots create pain.

Blind spots create struggle.

Blind spots create unhealthy realities.

When I examined my mental world, I realized it was full of scarcity.

My worthiness was scarce, although I had several accomplishments.

My happiness was scarce, although I did many remarkable things.

My finances were scarce, although I had plenty in the bank.

Love was scarce, although I was loved by many around me.

Relationships were scarce, although I personally knew many people in the area.

I was always afraid, although I was never in physical danger.

I had various phrases I used to think and tell myself.

Here are some examples of mental stories I told myself…

“You’re not good enough.”

“Who are you to do this?”

“You’re not old enough to do that.”

“What will others think of you?”

“What if you get rejected?”

And I’ve changed these stories. This article shares what I’ve learned in the process.

Powerful analogies to the stories we tell ourselves

When I get a flat tire while driving, it’s immediately noticeable that I get a flat. I feel the bumpy driving. Maybe I hear the tire get punctured. I know what needs to happen next.

In life, the equivalent of a mental flat is when we struggle for too long. It’s a mental growing pain. Until we look at this behavior under this lens, it can be a blind spot.

When a painter paints on his canvas and is too focused on the small area where he is painting, he can’t see the full picture. Sometimes, in life, when we don’t see the stories we tell ourselves, we fall into this trap of being imprisoned by the stories, stuck in a small area, thinking small, and living small.

When the CD skips and the music abruptly jumps, we know the CD is likely scratched. What’s the solution? Clean the CD. For this to work, we must first understand that it’s only a CD. It’s only a mental story. It’s not us, it does not define us.

The rear-view mirror of a car says, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” For us to gain another perspective, we must seek it. We must look for another perspective. Use another mirror or look over the shoulder in a car. This is not a reactive act. This does not happen by accident. This is a proactive practice.

When we’re consumed in fear, it’s hard to see our story. Fear, a biological survival instinct, used to keep us alive. Now, it can keep us in survival mode. In survival mode, we cannot detach from our story, we are simply consumed by it because we’re fighting for our survival. This takes effort to transcend.

Why you would want to change your inner narrative

Maybe you don’t realize it, but the story you tell about yourself says more about you than the story. The way you see the story says something about you. Neither good nor bad, it simply is. I want to raise your self-awareness to help you consciously and proactively decide if you want that story.

Until you understand your story, you may attract others with the same story. There are reasons why cycles and habits and patterns live on through generations of families. Objectively speaking, it’s because we don’t invest the time to understand our story and the way it’s affected us (possibly because we never had an opportunity to learn or it never entered our awareness). Conscious or not, who you choose to surround yourself with says something about you and the stories you tell yourself. Nothing good or bad, it just is. (Same is true for me)

Maybe you’re tired of blaming external circumstances. Maybe you’re ready to change yourself. Maybe you’re ready for one of the most meaningful journey’s you can take… the journey to better understand yourself. Blame is the discharge of comfort and pain. Maybe it’s time to face within and stop blaming.

The empowering truth about your story

You decide your truth. You decide what truths you want to accept. If you accept these truths, you will find yourself with less friction to change your story.

Believe that you are not your story. Your story does not define you, it’s just your story. Sure, it’s the only thing you have that’s unique to you. But it is not you. The more you attach your identity with your story, the more friction you create for yourself in changing your story.

Believe that age has nothing to do with it. It’s easy to say, “I’m X years old, this is not for me, I should have this figured out!” I believe that I am doing the best I can, with what I’ve been given, with where I’m at in life. Because I believe this for myself, I give this gift to everyone else. It is the foundation of my empathy and compassion. When we learn how to respect our own journey, we can respect the journey of others. Age has nothing to do with this. We are never taught this truth in school.

Believe that it’s only a story. To center myself, I like to zoom out. I like to remind myself that I am 1 of ~7 billion people on this planet. BILLION. That’s a lot of people. Everything I experience is affected by only 2 factors: 1) my biology. 2) the stories I tell myself (the inner narrative). If I had 3 hours of sleep last night, it will affect the way I experience the next day. If I tell myself I am afraid of what others think of me, then I live in that fear of what others think of me. I like to ask myself, “What am I telling myself that is making me feel this way?” After I acknowledge the story I am telling myself, I then ask, “What can I tell myself to better serve me?”

This is not about happy thoughts and positive thinking. This is about having the self-awareness to understand the stories you tell yourself so that you can rewrite your stories to reach new levels of awareness and personal growth. Not for yourself, but for others. For legacy.

Understand how your story affects your biology

I’ve written before about my past story of personal surrender.

It was the moment life brought me to my knees and I was forced to examine the story I was telling myself. It wasn’t serving me anymore.

A scab on my leg from a mountain biking accident didn’t heal itself after several months.

Eventually, I took notice.

The scab on my leg was not healing itself because my body’s immune system was weak.

Why?

It turns out, eczema (a skin condition) took over my scab.

Why?

My eczema is aggravated and triggered by stress.

Why?

Stress is experienced by what I believe about stress (and other thoughts). Yes, if I believe stress is good for me, then I experience it in a positive way. If I believe it’s bad for me, I experience it in an unhealthy way. Actually, if I believe it’s good, I live longer. If I believe it’s bad, I die sooner. If this sounds crazy, watch the TEDx talk.

Our thoughts, and the words we use, and more importantly, the relationship we have with the words we use, have the potential to affect our experiences.

I covered this in-depth in an article about self-awareness.

Burn out, depression, and having a stroke can be the result of weak stories that we tell ourselves that are not sustainable.

If you proactively practice gratitude, you’ll live longer. Think about it. Scarcity is fear-based. Gratitude is abundant and truly powerful. If you don’t believe me, Google it.

Stress and anxiety also manifest in our bodies in other ways. How about sweaty hands? How about sweating from nervousness? How about talking too fast? How about being unable to sit still? We can blame certain factors and pop a pill, or we can accept that maybe the world we’ve created for ourselves isn’t serving us. (It’s ok, it’s just a story…)

Why we have weak belief systems

At HX Works, I believe the human experience (HX) is about connection.

I believe there are 2 ways to respond to life: out of trust, or out of fear.

Often, we learn how to respond to life before we’re able to understand what we’re doing. Meaning: there is a childhood response driving us all (until we examine the behavior and move beyond it).

These seeds of stories get planted by society, caregivers, parents, teachers, bosses, professors, and various connections we make to others throughout our developing years (and even into our adult years).

Often, we have these experiences, and we cruise through life in autopilot, not aware of the stories in the mind. Since I am the only person I have to live with throughout my life, I invest the time to live with myself.

I believe that vulnerability is power.

Vulnerability is embracing uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure (Brené Brown). Vulnerability is the foundation of creativity, change and innovation.

All of these stories we often tell ourselves prevent us from vulnerability.

Many of the stories I told myself above tried to keep me away from being vulnerable. Or my struggles with perfectionism. Or how I gave my power away to others. All of this prevented me from being vulnerable.

When we embrace vulnerability, we embrace the truest sense of reality.

The reality is, life is uncertain. There are risks involved. If we’re not exposing our emotions to someone or managing them, they’ll force a surrender.

This is a natural law, like gravity, it cannot be fought.

Yet, the voice in our head makes it easy to avoid it and to ignore our objective reality.

I believe the human experience (HX) is about connection.

The root of many of the voices in our mind are rooted in the fear of disconnection from others. This takes effort to transcend.

Because we don’t experience life as it is, we experience life as we are, many high performers, entrepreneurs, and high achievers, are driven (conscious or subconscious) by the fear of disconnection. We’re not living to make a difference, we’re living to be worthy. (This used to be me, I know this story) When this is not understood, these things take power over you and they feed your blind spots.

Blind spots can lead to pain, discomfort, struggle, burn out, depression, or strokes… either we consciously decide to understand ourselves better, or natural law forces a surrender.

I like to ask myself, “Am I making this decision based out of fear or trust?”

Trust overpowers fear if we allow it to.

This is about self-awareness. I realize it’s easy to read this stuff and automatically think, “Well, that’s not me.” I challenge you to reflect on this. Not for me, or yourself, but for those around you.

Oh, and for the record, this cancerous lie we tell ourselves of “fake it until you make it” is not healthy. It disrespects our objective reality and further propagates weak belief systems.

When we trust, we embrace uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. We’re living.

When we fear, we seek certainty, perfection, rigidness, and absolutes. We’re surviving. (This also weakens us by forcing us to surrender our power to others)

This is about living more proactively and less reactively.

Understanding the 5 stages of competence

In psychology, the conscious competence learning model can help us understand the progression of changing our inner narrative. I’ve modified it with a 5th element.

Unconscious incompetence is the first stage of the model. Unconscious incompetence happens when something is in your blind spot. You don’t know what you don’t know. You may deny what you don’t know. Until you recognize what you don’t know, and see the value of the new skill/awareness, you can’t move onto the next stage.

A basic example of this is when you were a toddler and you didn’t know that one day you’ll probably drive a car. Until you accept that you don’t know how to drive a car, and until you see the value of learning how to drive, will you move onto the next learning stage. The same is true of your mental patterns. Since they’re abstract and not as concrete as driving a car, they require effort to work through. Usually, you need a powerful cause to force the effect of changing your beliefs. But does everyone need to learn the hard way?

Next is the conscious incompetence stage. At this point, you recognize that you’re conscious, or you understand, what you don’t know. You see your incompetence or lack of understanding or skill.

In our driving example, at this point, you’re in your mid-teens and you’re starting to see the value of driving for yourself. You accept you don’t know how to drive but see the value in it.

Thirdly, we have the conscious competence stage. This is when you understand or know how to do something. However, it requires focused concentration. The process needs to be practical, simple, and broken down into steps.

In driving, this often happens in a focused format during driver’s education. First, there is reading material and videos to learn from, and then there is focused time behind the wheel. Heavy concentration is required to carry this out. In the context of changing your inner narrative, this is often where people get stuck. People may, at some level, know what they’re doing and what they need, but it never moves beyond that because effort is not invested (or practical solutions are not discovered).

The last stage of the official conscious competence model is unconscious competence. This is when the skill or inner narrative becomes second nature. No effort is required because it’s automatic.

In driving, this is when you can talk on the phone, eat food, and drive with your knee. No, I’m kidding, I hope you’re not multitasking while you’re driving! However, most of us live our mental lives like this… we never see clearly because we’ve never turned on the windshield wipers to learn how to see past the dirty window. Strong belief systems give you power to live with strength (for yourself and those around you). It’s just a story, that’s it.

The last added stage to this model is mastery. It’s when what you’re doing happens with unconscious competence and you know what you’re doing enough to teach it and explain it. When you can teach what you’re doing, you can fully detach from it, examine it, and explain the behavior.

Simple strategies for changing your inner narrative

Before I continue, I want to repeat something I said earlier. I believe the human experience (HX) is about connection. Many of our behaviors can be described under this lens.

If you woke up one morning and you realized you put on socks that you didn’t like, how do you change them? Take them off and put on a new pair, duh. 🙂

Changing your narrative works the same way.

To change it, you must disconnect from the old story and connect to a new story.

Here are simple and practical tips to changing your narrative…

Understand the source

Some say this helps, some say it isn’t necessary. I want to include it here because I think it’s valuable. It’s easy to tell someone, “well, just change your thoughts.” When you understand the root of your thoughts, you may uncover other patterns and/or thought patterns related to that. Identify the fear or reason underneath the thought.

Understanding where that fear came from (maybe a person or an experience) can also be valuable to deeply understand how, conscious or not, you affect others.

Accept your narrative, but don’t embrace it, yet

Accept the narrative. If you don’t accept it, you add tension to moving past the narrative. No judgment, no critical thoughts, no negative feelings towards the thoughts, simply acknowledge the thoughts for what they are… thoughts. After you’ve taken off the sunglasses, or the narrative you have, analyze it. Ask yourself, is it serving you? Is it beneficial? Or is it holding you back? What would the narrative be if you focused on something else? It’s all perspective.

After you’ve accepted and detached from your narrative, how can you laugh it? Imagine all of your old narratives and stories that you tell yourself as gummy bears on the floor. Then imagine stepping on them. Seems silly, right? The more you can laugh at your narrative, the more you reduce the friction for getting away from it. It’s a mental game.

After you’ve accepted, detached, laughed, and examined your narrative, find a new narrative that you want and start to attach to it.

Be mindful of your body and how you feel

Depending on your life experiences, “feelings” may not be something that are valued. You may even be moving so fast onto the next thing that feelings are the last thing you think about.

Be mindful of slowing down and paying attention to your body. Pay attention to how food makes you feel. Pay attention to how your thoughts make you feel. When do you feel great? When do you feel uncomfortable? When do you feel nervous? The more you become aware of the tension within, the more you’ll be able to uncover the thoughts and patterns that create the tension.

Journal nightly

To detach yourself from your narrative, journal nightly. Express yourself openly and honestly. How was your day? How did you feel? Did you do what you wanted? When you’re done writing the summary, read it back to yourself. Disconnecting and connecting yourself to your story helps raise your awareness to your narrative and how you are. Be honest.

If you’re working through a certain narrative, or if there is a specific thought that you want to change and not have, ask yourself a question to counter what you don’t want.

For example, when I struggled with self-acceptance, I asked myself, “What do I accept about myself?” When I struggled with fear in my life, I asked myself, “What do I trust in?” When my world was full of scarcity, I asked myself, “What am I grateful for?” When I wasn’t aware of my wants or what I wanted in life, I asked myself, “What do I want?”

I asked myself various questions for hundreds of nights. Answering a question that counters a limiting belief for hundreds (or even dozens of nights) will raise your self-awareness.

You can write this down in an app (I like DayOne for iPhone), or you can write it down by hand in a physical journal. Whatever works best for you.

Speak the new narrative out loud

When I focused on gratitude, it didn’t stay in my journal. My gratitude found its way into my language. I started saying phrases such as, “I’m grateful to be here.” Or, “I’m grateful to have this time with you.” I also started using phrases such as, “I trust that…” when talking with others. Or, “I accept that I …” This process can take months or years. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve done for myself.

To make this more real, tell a close friend or significant other what you’re doing. Share what you’re proactively working on. Share this article. Maybe even have them let you know when your old narrative comes out (whatever you want to replace). (You might inspire them)

Meditate

Meditative practices mean different things for different people. Maybe this means sitting in silence and paying attention to the thoughts in your mind.Don’t try to control them, simply observe. The more you do this, the more you intentionally connect yourself to yourself (crazy thought, eh?).

Maybe this means a guided yoga practice to do something different, focus on breathing, and focus more on being mindful of your body.

Maybe this means going on a walk every night and reflecting on your day.

Whatever you do, set reminders to do it daily. Everything I’m sharing with you are things I’ve worked on. Set triggers to help remind yourself.

Find a greater meaning

Victor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor, coined the phrase “logotherapy.” Logotherapy is the process of finding a greater meaning behind your experiences in life.

For instance, if I had a bad accident, I could focus on the pain and my accident. Or I could focus on the lesson the accident taught me and believe that it’s preparing me for something greater. This meaning is highly personal. Where can you find deeper meaning in your life?

This, in a way, changes the inner narrative because it can put your focus on something greater than yourself. It can be something meaningful to you.

Mind your connections

Again, I believe the human experience (HX) is about connection. The sum of your connections brought you to this moment in life. You’re connected to your body, your DNA, the stories you tell yourself, your life experiences that have brought you to this point, and more. The more you understand all of these connections, the more you can shape them to serve you so you can create the greatest impact in the things you do.

The more you unpack your narrative, the more you can understand the narrative you want to change. The more you understand this, the more you can understand what’s connected to your narrative.

For example, when I was changing my inner narrative in the past, some of my narratives were tied to certain friends. While I proactively worked on that narrative, I limited my time with those friends so I can strengthen my narrative and gain control of it. (I could have also brought my friend’s awareness to what I wanted to change about myself, but I didn’t think of this at the time)

Often, we get caught in our narratives because we’re not evolving our environments and our relationships. Imagine if you hit a “refresh” button on all of your friends and you could start over by being whoever you wanted to be.How would you be?

Think about that for a moment. I’ve scheduled dozens of lunches with new people simply for the sake of re-telling my story and finding out what I enjoyed the most.

Friends, or environment (Facebook?), or significant others, or employees, or even parents, have the ability to influence your inner narrative (some more than others). When this happens, you get put in a box. In psychology, as the labeling theory says, you act out as you’re labeled.

At some point in your life, you taught others how you are (consciously or not), and that construct of who you were may be difficult to change. The more you’re aware of how others do this to you, the more you’ll be aware of how you do this to others. Pay close attention to the language. Be mindful of statements such as, “Oh, that’s just how he/she is” or “it’s ok, that’s just you.” These are powerful words.

Or maybe you connect your inner narrative to fear about your environment and decide to stop watching horrific news.

Or maybe you discover that the “I’m not good enough” narrative is getting old so you take a break from social media and seeing what everyone else is “doing.” Maybe, you decide to be selfish.

Be mindful of your connections. They often have more power over you than you think.

Know your connections, know your focus

Part of changing your narrative is by changing your focus.

When I’m mountain biking in advanced trails in the Southern California mountains, errors can result in intense pain. Boulders, rocks, roots, ruts, cactus, and cliffside exposure are the norm on many rides. When mountain biking, I focus only where I want to go. Not a split second of thought gets focused on where I don’t want to go.

In life, the same lesson applies. It’s a game of focus. I’ve explored this in-depth in my article on what mountain biking can teach us about focus.

Before I get on stage to speak in front of an audience of dozens or hundreds, I focus on my breathing. I slow my breathing down. It calms my body. Having done this dozens of times, the nervousness eventually goes away. If you want to escape a mental pattern, focus on your breathing. It affects your whole body.

When you understand your power, you’ll understand how to focus your power on what matters – often, your narrative. Willpower is finite. Your ability to make effective choices is limited. To optimize your days, focus on things that deeply matter to you.

And while I’m at it, who do you focus on the most? Yourself, or others? If you focus on yourself, what do you get out of that? For me, I get understanding about myself (which, as I write in a powerful article on self-awareness, helps me understand others). If you focus on others, what do you get out of that? I imagine, if I spent more time focusing on others, I would miss out on opportunities to learn about myself.

Reframe your narrative

Ah, the power of reframing.

I could tell myself, “But I have no experience in this, I’m not good enough.” Or I could tell myself, “My strength is that I have no experience in this, I bring a fresh perspective.”

I could tell myself, “I’m not old enough, I don’t have enough life experience.” Or I could tell myself, “I have the resources to learn and the ability to adapt and the energy to make it happen.”

The answer lives in changing the perspective. Take whatever you think is a weakness or a narrative you don’t like and find the opportunity or the strength in it.

After you’ve changed your narrative

After you’ve changed your narrative, you choose your world.

This requires focusing your power on the thing you have control over, your self-awareness.

Imagine showing up exactly as the person you want. No doubts, no insecurity, no limiting beliefs, no old you, only the new you that you want.

Too many die with their music inside because they don’t invest time into this process or were never aware of it. Don’t let that be your story.

As you take this journey, remember, personal growth is not personal. It has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with your children (if you choose to have them), your friends, the people you work with, and the people you love the most. This is about how you affect them. That is your legacy.

Your external world is a result of your internal world.

Do you value self-awareness and want to strengthen your beliefs?

Today’s article was written by Michael Gallizzi and is shared from the following website: https://hxworks.com/insights/how-change-stories-you-tell-yourself/

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Shout Outs for Taking Personal Accountability!

Taking personal accountability is a beautiful thing because it gives us complete control of our destinies Heather Schuck

As many of you know who follow this blog regularly, I love to post positive and inspirational leadership stories. This particular story I want to share touched me in a lot of different ways. There is power in doing the right thing regardless of how difficult it may be.

On June second of this year, Armando Galarraga, a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, was one out from pitching a perfect game; something that is rare in major league baseball. However on the last out the first base umpire Jim Joyce ruled the runner safe, putting an end to Galarraga’s quest for a perfect game. Joyce believed he made the right call until he saw the replay for himself after the game; the replays showed the runner was clearly out and that Galarraga should have got credit for a perfect game. Joyce, the umpire, immediately went to the 28-year-old pitcher from Venezuela after the game and apologized for getting the call wrong.

Holy cow, backup, rewind… let me say that again. The umpire, Joyce, went and apologized for getting the call wrong. That is accountability in all of its purest glory folks!

And then Galarraga turned around and forgave him for blowing a call that cost him something he may never ever do in his career again; throw a perfect game. “He probably feels more bad than me,” Galarraga said. “Nobody’s perfect. Everybody’s human. I understand. I give the guy a lot of credit for saying, ‘I need to talk to you.’ You don’t see an umpire tell you that after a game. I gave him a hug.”

Wow! I love it when people take accountability. And I love it when people forgive. Whether it is my kids, friends, umpires or leaders, I love watching people do the right thing because it is the right thing. Taking accountability for one’s actions builds huge trust dividends. Do you think feelings of trust and respect for Joyce have improved across Major League Baseball? Absolutely! It’s interesting how when we try not to cover up our pride we become people of character that others genuinely love and respect.

Thank you to both Jim Joyce, an accountable umpire and Armando Galarraga, a forgiving professional athlete. You have taught us and left a legacy as leaders that is worth way more than nine innings of perfect baseball.

Today’s post was written by Michael Rogers and is shared from the following website: http://www.teamworkandleadership.com/2010/06/leadership-accountability-that-may-move-you-to-tears-true-story.html

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