REFLECTION & ACTION: As I waited for my medical-test results, my mind led me down some amazing trails-most of them predicting disastrous outcomes. Within minutes, it took me from ill, to seriously ill, to languishing on my deathbed, to planning my funeral.
On what were these stories based? Nada. Zip. Nothing. No information at all! In the absence of information, my mind seemed determined to manufacture its own.
An African tribe that teaches its children how to calm themselves in anxious situations offers a wonderful strategy to handle the pressure of the unknown. Little ones who start imagining the worst (man-eating tigers lurking at the edge of the path) spin their yarns based only on fear. They are told to watch for a pattern. Once they notice the pattern, they stop and label their flights of fancy as hurting stories-stories that don’t have to be written.
As adults, we spin scary yarns about negative outcomes based on nothing but fear. This project is doomed. The market will dry up. My business will fail. Our relationship is dust.
Pay close attention to the churning of your mind. When you find yourself getting bent out of shape, particularly when evidence is lacking, pause. See if you can identify the pattern and the hurting story.
When you do, find another story to take its place: a positive scenario with a compelling vision of a preferred future. Write yourself a healing story.
Given a choice-and you have a choice-it’s much better to have a whole lot of healing than a whole lot of hurting going on.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“You’re a success every time you face down fear.” – Barbara Sher
“When I’m facing down fear, I replace the thoughts of gloom and doom with thoughts of a successful outcome. I ask myself: ‘What will success look like in this case? What will it feel like?’ Instead of visualizing disaster, I visualize everything being okay. When I think about successful outcomes, my mind and body are more calm and serene. Whatever happens, I’m better prepared to handle it-mentally, physically, and spiritually.” – Marg F.
“At the beginning of a new school year, I set a goal to approach everything in a positive way. It took me months to develop this new habit. I had to learn to identify the things I really liked and wanted, take notice of them, and then verbalize them to others. I started to take fewer things for granted. Students responded and were more willing to take risks. As a leader, appreciating the talents and efforts of those around me helped me establish strong bonds with my staff.” – Frans L.