Is it true that we can choose how we react?

We can choose how we react to our circumstances. -- Depending on our level of awareness.It is often said that we cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we react to it.

While the idea itself is probably way older, the above quote is often ascribed to the Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus (55-135 C.E.).

Specifically, he stated the following:

Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, aversions – in short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing.

What does this have to do with confidence and empowerment? Only pretty much everything.

See, I’ve found that the most basic difference between a confident and a non-fident mindset is the awareness of optional reactions. Like I’ve written about before, confident people have a mindset of abundance, possibilities and proactivity. Whereas non-fident people have a mindset of scarcity, limitations, and re-activity.

When we become confident, it’s because we shed our fears. This allows us to see possibilities where we used to see limitations and obstacles. And this, in turn, makes actively and consciously choosing what to do so much easier.

It’s when we’re confident that we can choose how we react.

However, this means that the saying of Epictetus isn’t 100% true.

Partly because non-fident people can’t always choose how to react. Because, non-fidents tend to look at life as something that happens to them rather than something which they’re able to influence. Therefore, their awareness of their available options are at a general low — often equaling zero.

Our level of awareness, then, determines to what extent we can choose how we react.

Furthermore, I see several patterns indicating that we can — to a certain degree — choose what happens to us.

Again, this highly depends on our level of confidence. Because the more confident we are, — and, hence, the more proactive we can be, — the more we’re able to set ourselves up to succeed.

The more we’re able to adjust our habits, our environment, our mentality, and our network of people to our advantage, the more we increase the possibility of great things happening in our lives. And the more confident we are, the more we’re able to do this.

If I could decide ONE quote, ONE piece of learning for you to take with you from me, the above might very well be it. Because this is the essence of what confidence does to us. Not only does it mean that we can choose how we react; it also enables us to build that future of happiness and success that we secretly yearn for. And, of course, it allows us to feel worthy thereof.

So, while he did make a name for himself, Epictetus might essentially have been too Stoic for his own good. 🙂

We can observe in highly confident people how having great confidence affects us. How it allows us to create our own realities. And how it really does mean that we can choose how we react.

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Do I have a choice?

Do I have a choice? Depends on how you look at it. So look at it the confident way!Do I have a choice?

Man, there’s a question that’s been bugging me for years. And I know it’s been bugging many of you, as well.

It’s a question closely related to the matter of confidence. Because confident people have a mindset of abundance, possibilities and proactivity. Whereas non-fident people have a mindset of scarcity, limitations, and re-activity.

Confident people not only see a variety of options to choose from when making choices. So they rarely, if ever, pick the wrong option; and they always find a way back out if they do.

Non-fident people, on the other hand, rarely see many options — if any at all. Therefore, they tend to think of themselves as victims of circumstances.

But what exactly IS a choice? Exactly how free IS our will?

Do I have a choice, for example, in what to eat for dinner tonight?

Oh, Hell yes. I have TONS of options. And if I don’t stray too much from the theme of normal, human food, my choice isn’t gonna make a whole lot of difference.

So that outcome can be based on factors like personal taste (certain dislikes etc.), impulsiveness (sudden cravings), and specific circumstances (the local store is out of rice).

But do we have any genuine control over these factors? We might affect them to a certain degree. We might eat something out of necessity if we’re in a hurry. Or because we have nothing else left and can’t afford anything ‘till payment’s due.

We might go to the other end of town just to try that new burger joint. We might eat vegan if we’re visiting a vegan couple.

So, are those choices? Or, are they more like actions influenced by inner and outer conditions? Read on as you ponder this.

Another example: Do I have a choice in writing this article or not?

I could not do it. I could just slump on the couch, open a beer and watch House of Cards. Which, admittedly, I do feel like doing. But I also like writing, and I find this topic interesting. So I genuinely DO want to write this article.

Writing not only brings me joy; it makes my wonderful readers come back, and it keeps the search engines happy when done consistently. So I’ll do it now, and then have a beer and watch House of Cards later.

That’s my priority, then. Based on both urgency and pleasure — the latter both short and long-term.

Does that mean I have less mobility in making a choice like that? Again: Read on.

Last example: Do I have a choice in picking a career?

Oh boy.

We’re often told that we can “be anything we want”, but the reality is often quite another. A buddy of mine wanted to be a pilot. — A dream that would never come true because of his astigmatism. So he became an engineer, which allowed him to do something with relevant similarities.

So, is that a choice? Or is it rather a decision influenced by inner and outer conditions?

Me, I wanted to be a musician — something I gradually slipped out of due to more reasons than I can or ought to get into here. So I became an entrepreneur, because it has the same elements of freedom and creativity that appealed to me in music.

Again: Is that a choice? Did I actively choose to let the whole music thing just… slide??

And conversely, if someone is fixed on one job or career from the beginning, then gets that job or career and never changes course, is THAT a choice?

If those are both equally valid choices, then how are they not like each other at all??

The counterpoint here is basically the same all along: There are always options, but whatever we end up doing simply depends on a variety of factors.

If we follow this logic to the end, it’s impossible not to consider determinism at some point.

So, do I have a choice? Yeah, kind of.

One of the problems here is our idea of free will. And, like I’ve said before, while we do have a will, it isn’t free. It’s conditioned.

Part of this problem is that the idea of free will is deeply ingrained in our idea of making choices. Even the word choice, rather than the word act — or, indeed, re-act, — seems to suggest there’s more going on than simply a lifelong series of actions.

For the purpose of this article, I’ll get back to what I said in the beginning about confident people and the way they think.

See, the more we think in making choices, the more confident we get. And, conversely, the more confident we get, the more options we tend to see, and the better we become at prioritizing.

And for all intents and purposes, that’s what we want. Because that’s what benefits us.

Do I have a choice? Maybe, maybe not. It’s an interesting question, but it’s not important.

What’s important is being confident in one’s thoughts and actions, and acting in accordance with one’s values. What’s important is making one’s decisions on a solid foundation.

And it’s more important to make decisions in the first place than to not make them. If we don’t decide for ourselves, life itself will just bounce us around at its own convenience.

And with that, I’ll conclude this article. Indeed, do I have a choice not to?

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Is your life running on autopilot?

Confident people do what they want. Non-fident people tend to be running on autopilot.Ever get the feeling your life is somewhat running on autopilot?

That you’re not really working on what you truly want, and that you’re putting off certain necessary things because you feel a need for instant gratification?

And, in turn, do you ever think that you “really should be doing” X? That you really “ought to be doing” Y? But maybe you can’t, because you “have to do” Z?

I know where you’re at. It’s not a good place.

Why would we allow ourselves to get there? Why would we allow ourselves to be running on autopilot like that?

As far as I can see, most people tend to let their lives run on autopilot to a certain extent. Not necessarily out of fear, but because they identify with what other ordinary people do, which is… Ordinary stuff.

Those who stand out are always the confident ones. Those who have the guts, the energy, and the resourcefulness to do what they want, and what’s necessary to get to where they want.

The non-fident ones, on the other hand, tend to be full-out running on autopilot. They tend to do whatever they do, because they feel like they “should”, or “have to”.

And, since this is essentially an inhibitive way of living, they tend to overcompensate on activities of instant gratification, e.g. getting drunk every weekend or slouching in front of the TV when not at work. — Effectively creating a loop of guilt and emptiness without purpose.

Oh, I’ve been there.

Does anyone genuinely want to live like that? Of course not. But many people feel obliged to, simply because they don’t know any better.

What do you mean by “know any better”?? What exactly do I need to know then?

Good question. And for that, you get the answer right here:

We “should” not do anything. We “ought” not do anything. In fact, we don’t even “have” to do anything.

There is only what we want to do, and what is necessary to do.

But then shouldn’t we do what’s necessary? Don’t we HAVE to do that?

Well, no. It’ll probably have consequences if you don’t. But really, we’re entirely free to do whatever we want.

Confident people know this. Confident people act from a mindset of freedom and safety. Whereas non-fident people tend to act from a mindset of desperation and captivity.

But what about paying my taxes? If I don’t pay my taxes, I’ll get punished somehow, right?

Probably, yes. But that’s not the point.

The point is, confident people do what they want AND what’s necessary.

Not because they feel forced into doing what’s necessary, but because they’re proactive about not having bad consequences happen to them — and about doing what they want.

Non-fident people, then, tend to do what others want. Or at least what they think others want. And, hence, to be running on autopilot.

I really ought to be doing my homework”.

I’m 30, I should be married by now”.

I have to get this report done on time”.

I hear bells ringing all around.

I’m not saying that one’s daily tasks and chores aren’t at all necessary. For the major part, they ARE more or less important. But they’re not necessarily essential to what we truly want to do.

ACTION ITEM:

This week, note your daily tasks by durance and importance. At the end of each day, and at the end of the week, add them all up.

How many hours a day do you spend on doing something you allegedly “have to”, “need to”, or “ought to”? How many hours a day do you spend on doing something you truly want to?

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Depression is NOT “laziness”, it’s your ignorance and arrogance that’s lazy.

What does low confidence have in common with depression? A lot of things, including that none of them can be reduced to a simple matter of "laziness".Many non-fident people will be familiar with depression. In fact, you could very well say that confidence and self-esteem are pretty safe antidotes for depression. — And vice versa.

When we’re depressed, we have little faith in our abilities and our future. In our purpose, our entire existence, our very worth as human beings. Depression in its worst forms can be one of the most debilitating non-lethal illnesses ever known to mankind. In fact, according to the WHO, depression will account for “the highest level of disability accorded any physical or mental disorder in the world” by 2030.*

(And I say “non-lethal”. Because in the case of suicidal depression, it’s technically not the disease itself that kills you.)

And then, some ignorant, self-righteous idiot starts claiming that it’s all about “being lazy”, “pulling yourself together”, and “if I can, so can you”. And then, I involuntarily grind my teeth and clench my fists.

As if depression was simply a matter of being “lazy”. I mean, how dare these people?!

As if anyone who, remarkably enough, knows absolutely nothing about depression, were even remotely qualified to have an opinion on the matter. — Much less write the whole thing off as “laziness”.

Seriously, if you’ve ever thought someone suffering from depression was simply being lazy, up yours. Your point of view is not only objectively wrong and twisted, it’s insulting and harmful. The end, period.

In fact, I think it’s about time we put the very idea of “laziness” to scrutiny. Because what I’ve found is that, when there’s someone we might consider “lazy”, there’s really all other kinds of stuff going on underneath that perceived laziness.

There’s fear. Insecurity. Barriers. There is analysis paralysis. These things tend to manifest as procrastination, inactivity, isolation, and defensiveness.

… But they’re NOT “laziness”.

And no, not even procrastination. It’s all based in fear; it’s all driven by fear.

Insecurity is basically fear. We perceive barriers out of fear. We over-think, second-guess and go into analysis paralysis out of fear. The most primal human feeling, (apart from the conglomerate of physical attraction, survival instinct and dopamine-induced emotions that we call love), is fear.

… NOT “laziness”.

– “Okay, so now there’s no lazy people anymore? What if the name is there for a reason?

Well, everything’s here for a myriad of reasons. But just because every ol’ man-made notion or idea is here for a reason doesn’t make it true.

Our ancestors used to think the solar system was geocentric. Errrrrrp, wrong answer.

It’s not that I’m writing off the idea that someone can be lazy. But psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors and mental therapists have long since built an entire bulletproof framework around the concept of depression. By working with people suffering from depression and low confidence/self-esteem.

— Just like astronomers have long since discovered that our solar system is heliocentric.

Depression is real; it’s medically proven; and it’s not laziness. On the contrary, the only thing that’s remotely lazy in this context is the ignorance and arrogant attitude of anyone who claims that depressed people are simply being “lazy”.

 

* Source: https://www.psychology.org.au/publications/inpsych/2012/february/manicavasagar/

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There’s only ONE source of unhappiness in the world, and we’re hardly even aware of it

The one and only source of unhappiness in the world is the discrepancy between how things are, and how we want them to be.Ever stop to think that there’s actually only one source of unhappiness in the world?

Yeah, me neither. That is, until that time last year when I watched this TED Talk. I forget which, but the idea stuck with me.

I wanna share it with you, because I think it’s quite relevant to the topic of confidence and self-esteem.

See, we can probably all agree that non-fidence is not a happy state of mind. Of course, like I’ve written about in another article, there’s the paradox that low confidence, (or, as I like to call it, non-fidence) can seem like a safe space for us, because our fear of taking risks haves us believe so.

But, like I said, deep down we’re lying to ourselves. If we’re non-fident, a part of us KNOWS that there’s more to life than what we allow ourselves to partake in. And we KNOW deep down that we’re missing out.

So, is this the one source of unhappiness in the world that I’m talking about?

In a way, yes. What I’m talking about is the principle that lies beneath. And it really is extremely simple once you get your head around it.

Let’s look at some examples.

Why are suppressed people unhappy? Because they want freedom.

Why are starving people unhappy? Because they want food. Duh.

Why might unemployed people be unhappy? Yeah, probably because they want a job.

Why might single people be unhappy? Well, then it’s probably because they want a partner, right?

You’re probably starting to see the pattern here. So let’s just get to the point already.

The one and only source of unhappiness in the world is the discrepancy between how things ARE and how we WANT them to be.

Makes perfectly good sense, right? Why aren’t more people talking about this?

Good question. Probably because most of us tend to get too stuck in our own misery to see the bigger perspective. (Indeed, one’s own problems tend to eclipse most other problems in the world, no?)

So, just to be clear, why are non-fident people unhappy? Because they want confidence!

Hell, they NEED confidence. Otherwise there wouldn’t really be a problem, no?

Okay, so how do we go about all this? How do we make things be like we want them to be?

Yeah, there’s another good question. 😉

We all want different things. But confidence is something we all want.

ACTION ITEM:

Like I said, the only source of unhappiness in the world is the discrepancy between how things ARE, and how we WANT them to be.

Using your awareness of this insight, try to locate the one area of your life where there’s the most discrepancy between how things are, and how you’d like them to be. Write this down.

For example, if you have a really hard time getting up in the morning, do a brainstorm on why this might be. Maybe you’re not getting enough sleep. Maybe the sleep you’re getting isn’t sufficient because of distractions or obstructions like sounds, lights, heat, movement, sleep apnea etc..

For each of these distractions or obstructions, write down three possible solutions. In the following week, implement at least one of each solution.

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On the paradox of finding comfort in low confidence

No matter how safe you might feel, staying with your low confidence is the biggest risk of all.If you know anyone with low confidence, you’d want them to feel more confident, right?

However, things aren’t always that simple.

Low confidence is a lot like depression. In that it has that one counter-intuitive paradox to it:

Depression and low confidence holds us back. But for that same reason, they can actually feel safe.

Indeed, confidence can be scary!

… Well, actually, it’s not confidence in itself that’s scary. On the contrary, confidence is the antithesis to being scared.

However, if one has low confidence or none at all, the IDEA of having it can sometimes be quite frightening.

Indeed, if you have low confidence, confident people can come off as brash, intimidating, and careless towards other people’s sensitivities.

Therefore, staying in your “safe spaces” can seem all too easily obvious. You don’t speak up; you tend not to disagree; maybe you don’t even get out much.

Ultimately, your low confidence can end up as a sort of trusted companion to you. Because not taking any risks can seem safe and secure.

And — you guessed it — here’s what’s wrong with that…:

Deep down and honestly, beyond all the fear, doubt and superficial comfort, we all know that we want more than that. Some of us might even know that we actually CAN DO better than that.

But taking action can be scary. Because often, we wouldn’t know where to start. Nobody told us. How would we know?

And what if we mess it all up beyond repair?? We could ruin our reputation, right?! And other people would maybe LAUGH at us!!

Here’s what we all need to realize:

The biggest risk is not taking any action at all.

Altogether now:

THE BIGGEST RISK IS NOT TAKING ANY ACTION AT ALL.

Only when we’ve made it fully clear to ourselves that our perceived comfort in low confidence is by far the bigger evil can we move towards action.

And the good part is that often, the biggest difference is not what action we take, rather than the fact that we take action in the first place.

See, if we truly wanna get confidence, we gotta start by getting used to taking action. And, popularly speaking, this means, get off your ass and deal with your circumstances.

But no, really: If you don’t take action on your own behalf, who do you expect will do it for you?

Nobody will! Your parents won’t be around forever. And your friends’ support, however generous, only goes so far. Their food budget isn’t yours, and you can’t stay on their couch forever. (Or, indeed, any couch.)

And of course, this only applies to those lucky enough to have parents and supportive friends. Not everyone is.

Whatever’s the case, it really is up to you to take action.

ACTION ITEM:

This week, stretch yourself. Challenge yourself in an area of your life where you have particularly low confidence. (And if that’s “all of them”, just pick one.)

If you’re anxious about approaching other people, do it. Ask a stranger for directions anywhere and exchange a few words in the process. If you feel like you could have done a lot better, do it again.

Getting our of our comfort zone is the true killer of low confidence.

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Okay, so you messed up. Now what?

If you messed up something, you might feel embarrassed. But mistakes are necessary if you wanna build confidence.Okay. So you did something wrong. Maybe you made a social blunder; maybe you carried out some task and failed. In short: You messed up.

For people with low confidence, failure can be downright devastating.

I know. Because I used to be ashamed of things I did or said. All the time.

And I’m not talking about calmly realizing one’s wrongdoing and immediately learning from it. I’m talking an involuntary panic-anxiety-attack-like-muscle-spasms-complete-with-grinding-teeth-and-making-noises sorta sensation.

With an inner voice going like: “Screw you! You messed up, and you’re useless! You’re unable to do anything right, and you should be locked away! You messed up, and that’s all you’re ever gonna do!

Every day, several times.

And it doesn’t even have to be something big. It could be a misused word, a social faux pas… anything.

When non-fident people react drastically to making any kind of mistake, it’s because non-fidence is often accompanied by low self-esteem, perfectionism, and insecurity.

When we have low self-esteem, we tend to judge ourselves more vigorously than we would our peers. If we don’t like ourselves, we’re hard on ourselves. Simple as that.

But moreover, if we don’t allow for ourselves to make mistakes, we develop perfectionism. Which, in turn, makes it seem so much worse to us when we do make a mistake. — Or even do something in a manner less than “perfect”. (Which, as I’ve written about before, is a BS notion.)

And then there’s the insecurity, which doesn’t allow for much space for mistakes, nor for even trying. This is governed by the amygdala — the reptilian part of our brain — most commonly known for our “fight or flight” mechanism.

See, amongst our primitive ancestors, social identity was way more important than today. Dangers were all around. If you messed up something, it could get you expelled from your tribe and thrown out into the wilderness on your own.

All of this perfectly illustrates the dangerous downward spiral of non-fidence. If we have low regard for ourselves we make less space for ourselves to make mistakes. This, in turn, causes making mistakes to be even more likely, which, then, will only lead to much more self-loathing and shame.

Because we DO make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. We know this perfectly well, yet tend to act like we’re the only flawed person alive.

But here’s the kicker:

Confident people make WAY many more mistakes than less confident people.

The more confident you are, the less regard you give to other people’s opinion about you. The higher you think of yourself, the less you worry about making mistakes. You know perfectly well that your rights outnumber your wrongs. You know perfectly well that you’re able to learn from your mistakes.

Indeed, if you don’t make mistakes, you can never learn. And if you don’t learn, you don’t grow.

In other words:

For every time you messed up something in life, you had the opportunity to learn, grow, and prevent yourself from making the same mistake again.

So get out there and mess up. Badly. Learn, improve, repeat. And as you learn and grow, watch as your confidence grows with you.

ACTION ITEM:

The next time you’re embarrassed about something, use the following method:

  1. Stop what you’re doing.
  2. Breathe. Ten long, deep breaths.
  3. Think. Realize that whatever negative response on your part are merely thoughts, and that they’re not necessarily true, constructive or favourable.
  4. Choose how you want to feel about what happened. Do you genuinely want to be ashamed? Or would you rather accept, learn, and grow?

The choice is yours.

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Are you humble or vain?

Outer values don't mean you're vain or less worth. On the contrary, they often reflect confidence.Many of us are raised into believing that humility, modesty and inner values are virtues. — And that those are superior and contradictory to being vain, selfish, and superficial.

That money not only can’t buy you love, but it’s the root of all evil. That we’re not supposed to think too highly of ourselves, and that wanting more than your average peer is “vain”,  “selfish” and “greedy”.

… And I say that’s all a huge load of life-denial.

Want six-pack abs? Of course you do!

Want a pimped-out car? Cool!

Want to be rich? Well, who doesn’t?!

Want to eat out at fancy restaurants every week? Well, count me in!

Sadly, there’s a prevalent way of thinking that allegedly, only weak individuals who try to cover up low confidence strive for these things. And that the two are incompatible contraries.

However, I’ve found the opposite to be true.

Whether you can have a humble outlook and still cultivate outer values is a matter of confidence. Because confidence is a matter of personal growth, and being able to contain presumed differences and paradoxes.

I used to think that nothing made any sense because nothing has any inherent meaning or value, and therefore, nothing mattered. And so, it didn’t matter what I did or whether I felt good, so I might as well feel miserable.

Today, I KNOW that nothing makes sense, has any meaning or value — so we have to apply our own meaning and value. I KNOW that my existence is as objectively pointless as any other human being’s. — But also, I sure do know what I like. So I’ll have some more of that while I’m here, thank you.

Non-fidence often entails envy of other people’s fortune. With thinking in terms of scarcity, pettiness and settling — rather than abundance, admiration and ambition.

When you see successful people driving cool cars, dining at expensive restaurants, working out to get slim and fit, and whatnot, those things are assuredly a reflection of confidence. — Feeling that you’re worth something, and that it’s totally cool to have nice things because why shouldn’t you be allowed to?

But they’re only brief values, not permanent ones!

… And??

Whenever we eat anything, it’s a passing pleasure. And, for that matter, whenever we have sex, watch a movie, get drunk, have fun and all-round entertain ourselves. Life CONSISTS of passing moments and sensations: Why not make sure they’re enjoyable?

Don’t get me wrong. We should, ideally, feel good about ourselves no matter what we do. But I believe it goes the other way, too.

I believe that the things we do should also make us feel good. If someone else considers them “vain”, so what?

Just because you feel good doesn’t make it right. I know. But that in itself sure doesn’t make it wrong, either.

We’re here once. (And there’s no sensible reason to believe otherwise until someone presents sufficient evidence.) So for goodness’ sakes let’s go ahead and make that one time worth looking back upon.

ACTION ITEM:

Indulge yourself. Do something you’ve been wanting to do, but didn’t because you thought it might be too vain or selfish.

If you want to be worth it, go ahead and think that you are. That’s how we grow a little.

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“The one word you need in order to succeed”

In order to succeed, don't just say 'yes' or 'no'. Say both, to the right things, respectively.Yeah, notice how there’s a lot of these kinds of headlines out there? “The one word you need in order to succeed”. “Learn this one word and it’ll change your life forever”.

To spare you the time and effort, I’ve hereby decided to write, well, the one article you’ll ever need to read about this topic.

(… In order to succeed? You be in charge of that.)

You see, in my years of studying confidence and self-development I’ve read several articles like that. And while some of them do contain important truths, I have a problem with the entire premise. Because…

***SPOILER ALERT***

This one word they talk about is always either ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

The idea, then, is that if you just say ‘yes’ — or ‘no’ — to whatever comes your way, things’ll start looking up for you.

You can probably see where I’m going with this. Because…

How on Earth would you possibly live like that??

And it’s not like I don’t get it. I KNOW you’re not supposed to take it that literally.

But what these articles fail to address is the crucial distinction between what one either accepts or rejects .

If you say ‘no’ to everything you’re not gonna have much going for you. But if you say ‘yes’ to everything you’re gonna burn out from stress within a week.

What’s really important is WHEN to say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

For the sake of argument, let’s distinguish between a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ mentality. Both can be attributed to non-fidence in their respective ways.

A ‘yes’ mentality in that non-fidents are often people pleasers who will seek to avoid causing conflict and rejection by over-agreeing, over-accepting, and taking on too many burdens of their peers.

A ‘no’ mentality in that negativity is closely related to non-fidence. If you look at yourself negatively, you probably don’t have a very positive outlook altogether. And to protect themselves, non-fidents tend to be rejective towards new ideas that might challenge their comfort zone.

In order to succeed, then, we gotta figure out the right things to either accept or reject.

To better ourselves, we need to teach our ‘yes’ mentality that sometimes it’s okay to disagree, reject non-supportive ideas, and acknowledge that we’re not able to solve everyone’s problems.

And, conversely, we need to teach our ‘no’ mentality that we’ll go nowhere by not allowing ourselves to, that new ideas fuel our growth, and that meaningful change happens outside our comfort zone.

It takes years practicing this distinction. Hell, I’m still working on it. But it gets easier.

Just don’t ever think you’ll do yourself any good by resorting to leading a one-track mentality.

ACTION ITEM:

Write two lists of five to ten things.

One, a ‘yes’-list — of things towards which you probably need to be more open and accepting. And, well, in order to succeed in some areas.

The other, a ‘no’-list — of things which you probably need to cut down on, or maybe remove from your life entirely.

These things might be actions, habits, ideas, people, food, gadgets… Whichever might be either obviously beneficial or detrimental to you.

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Don’t be that guy…

Nobody likes someone who moans and bitches, be it online or IRL. So whatever you do, don't be that guy.You know how in every comment section online there’s always that one guy who’s bitchy and moany about whatever the subject matter? Yeah, don’t be that guy.

Often, there’s more than one. (Lookin’ at you, YouTube!) And of course, girls do it too, but they tend to be more passive-aggressive, whereas guys can be more up-front.

As far as I see there seems to be a strong connection between that type of behavior and low confidence/self-esteem.

This doesn’t mean that all of my readers are “moaners”, as it were. (Au contraire, I like to think that you’re smarter than that.) It’s simply a matter of how non-fident people tend to think, and how many people seem to use online comment fields as an outlet for all-round negativity.

You see, non-fidence and negative thinking go hand-in-hand. If you tend to have negative thoughts about yourself, you can’t very well have a positive outlook towards life in general, right?

And, conversely, if you tend to see flaws, ugliness and shortcomings everywhere, it would likely include yourself.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with questioning and critical thinking per se. But the line between critical and negative tends to be blurred, at best. And when you’re non-fident, it’s all too easy to let negativity take over.

I hereby implore of you…: Don’t be that guy.

Whether online or IRL, just don’t moan and bitch. Those people bring about nothing constructive. Their attitudes and choice of words are poisonous towards a normal, healthy environment.

But what if I’m being negative towards something that really deserves it, like racism, misogyny, corruption, global warming, or reality-TV??

Look. Sensible people know perfectly well that those things are messed up. But what matters isn’t how we talk about them; it’s how we act towards them.

If you really wanna solve a problem, do something constructive to solve it. You solve nothing by simply pointing out negative aspects.

Don’t be that guy who bitches and moans without bringing anything constructive to the table. Don’t be that guy who does nothing but increase our collective amount of verbal sewage.

If you bitch and moan about things, chances are you’ll not only look less cool to those who oppose you, but you’ll likely become ingrained in the very habit of negative thinking. And that’s tough to unravel when you need momentum, lemme tell ya.

So, am I not ALLOWED to speak my mind all of a sudden?!”

Yeah, notice how you’re still making negative assumptions rather than taking my words to heart. 😉

Bottom line: Yes, there’s a downside to everything. But we gotta ask ourselves: Which side would serve me best to focus on? Which side is more beneficial and constructive? Which side would be ideal working towards?

I wage that 99,99% of the time, it’s the positive side.

ACTION ITEM:

Note three things which you usually perceive negatively. For each of those, write three paragraphs of 50-100 words apiece, each concerning one positive aspect of that thing.

This exercise challenges our usual habits of thinking, and makes us see things from a different, positive perspective. It’ll probably surprise you how tricky — and beneficial — it is.

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