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Voice In – Have you ever struggled with negative thoughts? A time when you knew you were being pessimistic and negative, but you just couldn’t flip the switch? You couldn’t turn it around? I’ve been there – I still get there sometimes – but I want to give you a solution and a strategy that will help you gain control of that normal negative that we all have – in 5 4 3 2 1
I was cruising through some personal development groups on Facebook this weekend, and someone was crying out for help. They asked, “how do I start with positive thinking? I can’t seem to do it.” The answers I saw there were horrendous, unhelpful, and insulting. “How do you think positively,” they said, “easy – you just start thinking positive thoughts. Another answer was similar – “just stop being so negative”. One said “in order to think positively you have to have a positive mindset.” They went on and on like that – advice to someone who can find no value in that advice is a waste of time. Telling someone to make a list of all the things that make him happy – that’s fine, but it’s a quick band-aid over the very real issue the person is experiencing.
This is another episode on input, because that’s where it all starts. Imagine that you are a flower in a pot. And you’re sitting there stuck in your pot, and you are starting to droop, and your leaves are beginning to wilt. You call out, “hey, I need water – I’m wilting, I’m going to die soon here” And people are telling you, “, you’re solution is so easy. So basic. Just get some water.” And you say, in your little flower language, “no you don’t understand, I don’t have the capacity to go get water. I don’t have any way of getting it.“ And the next annoyed response is, “well, you see, your problem is that you’re just not wet enough.You don’t have enough moisture in the soil, and there’s not enough moisture in your leaves, and you look like you’re wilting, so maybe you should get some water. ”And you say, “You don’t understand. I know I’m wilting. I know I need water. I don’t have the capacity to get water.”
That is what we do to people when we tell them to just have a positive mindset. Think positive. Keep looking up. Things always get better, and all of the other empty platitudes that we are bombarded with sometimes on a daily basis.
You can’t do this thing without input. Personal development is not about listening to a happy message once and then changing your life forever. What that plant in the example needs is for someone, not to give them some quick advice, not even just to water it once and then forget about it. The plant (you) needs someone to put it near a sprinkler so that it gets watered often, and regularly.
For us humans, that sprinkler is the input we decide to put into our heads. So, not advice – not a one-shot quote that changed your life so you expect it will change someone else’s life. But a small stream of regular input of pure, powerful, and positive material. That’s the only place to start, and that regularity is the only thing that is going to make a difference to someone’s life. So here’s a Jim Rohn seminar to listen to. Here’s a Zig Ziglar Seminar to listen to. Here’s Brian Tracy. Here’s Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Simon Sinek, Mel Robins, Darren Hardy – there’s a long list. Get it in your head daily.
I’m going out on a limb here – I try to listen to about an hour a day, but I am trying to teach this stuff to people in my life, so I have more accountability to get it in my head, and to journal and to write down fresh ideas that pop up that maybe add some modernity to these ideas. If someone were to commit to listening to 15-30 minutes a day on how to make life better, on how to be better, and how to become more – I think that would create a lot of change. I think. I can tell you a couple things that I know – an hour a day or more is better, if you’ve got a drive, or you walk or work out, or you do the dishes, and you can listen to these greats of self-improvement, there is no WAY you will not change.
One other thing I know. I talked in my second episode about the hike that changed my life. I was confused and furious and all-around negative – and I listened to a couple hours or more of personal development, and it is the reason I am here. But it was because that initial dose of personal development caused me to want more. In that first seminar I listened to, Zig Ziglar told me that my input determined my outlook. My outlook determined my output. And my output determined my future. He told me that self-improvement doesn’t stick. It’s like bathing. You have to do it every day.
If I had listened once, felt better, and then went back to my regular life – nothing would have changed. Sure, maybe I would have had a new strategy. Every time I get down, I can pop in my headphones, listen to some positive material, and feel better. But – that’s just a band-aid, it’s not healing what keeps cutting me.
I listened to Zig, and it gave me so much hope HOPE to know that if I keep doing this my life will change, my thinking will change, my outlook and output will change. And that hope caused me to commit to making this my thing. To getting better, every day a little bit at a time. To turn that sprinkler on, and make sure that I was getting enough to stop drooping and wilting, and to begin growing. There’s no magic number. It’s not once or 163 times. It’s a commitment to grow.
Without that commitment, no advice is going to help. So if you hear of someone trying to find a better mindset, someone who wants to change, the most important thing that you could do for them is to say, “here are some recordings. Listen to these every day for 90 days and I think it will help you. “ It is that input accumulated over time that is going to change your daily outlook, and make it far easier to turn around a negative attitude – or at least bear with it for a bit longer because you know that it won’t last very long.
One last thing I learned. Every time I ran into a problem with my mindset, my ethos, my philosophy – I can look through my journals and realize that they correspond to the times that I wasn’t listening to the recordings of seminars that brought me to becoming more.
Let’s do some research this week. Search YouTube and podcasts and other media and find some people who inspire you – people you feel like are speaking straight to you. Not every speaker works for everyone. It’s kind of a personal thing, who you decide to listen to. In your journal tonight, write down the three people who excite you the most. Join the Facebook group Ideas and Concepts and jump into the conversation, and get some more ideas– the link is in the show notes. I’ll be here every Monday and Thursday until all of the different music genres make sense to me.