A Coaching Power Tool created by Jennifer Dryden
(Motivational Life Coach, UNITED STATES)
If life deals you lemons, make lemonade. Proverb
Our culture seems to promote negative thoughts and actions. Gossiping with friends, complaining about the weather (too hot, too cold, too humid…), and discussing the horrible events in last night’s news are all typical topics of conversation. Commiserating with a co-worker about the awful the new manager, being jealous of someone’s flashy new car, and worrying about the state of the world today are all considered perfectly normal responses to outside influences. How many times have we replayed an argument in our minds, angrily going over the things we should have said or done?
The bumper sticker “Commit random acts of kindness”, often seen around my part of the country, always seems a bit startling. Committing random acts of violence and destruction seem to be more normal occurrences. From childhood, we are told “Don’t talk to strangers!”, “Don’t climb too high or you will fall!”, and “stop bothering people!” We are taught to believe that the world is a dangerous place and, often-times, that people are “out to get you.”
Thinking and acting in this negative mindset day in and day out becomes extremely tiresome and draining. It’s no wonder so many people are seeking life coaches to help them turn over a new leaf and get out of the rut they feel they are in!
Thinking positively throughout your day takes commitment and practice, but it can completely turn your life around. Feeling love instead of resentment, appreciation instead of frustration, and reacting with a sense of humor rather than anger can fundamentally change the way you experience the world. Instead of resenting that new manager, why not try to find ways to connect with him? Rather than discussing the depressing events in the news, why not talk about a wonderful book you are reading? Get in the habit of stopping yourself when you are on the verge of blaming someone. Take a breath and change your course when you are about to start gossiping or complaining.
These new habits will lift you, and others around you, into a happier, healthier space. Positive thinking will, literally, improve your health! As Deepak Chopra says, “Unwittingly, we damage the body’s natural state of health with negative input. The fact that this input comes from the brain means that thoughts, moods, and expectations, however intangible, get translated into chemical messages just as surely as molecules of aspirin or glucose. You and I bear the responsibility of sending positive messages to our cells as opposed to negative ones.”
The practice of thinking positively will empower you and help you to stop feeling and acting like a victim. Take the example of two mothers with their toddlers at the supermarket. Both women are sleep-deprived and in short supply of patience, but one makes the conscious choice to have a positive shopping experience while the other ends up having quite the reverse…
Mommy A enters the store, sets her toddler in the carriage and begins to shop. The child immediately points to the balloons floating near the checkout counter and asks loudly if he can have one. The mother says “No, not today sweetie.” As they make their way through the store he asks for bananas, a brightly colored box of cereal, small, colorful toys he sees hanging along the aisles, cookies and ice cream. To each of these requests, she either says “No, not today,” or, if she is planning on buying the item, “OK but not ’til we get out of the store. We have to pay for it first.”
The child becomes fidgety and she says “Sit still!” or “Sit down – you’ll fall out of the carriage!” After 20 minutes both mother and child are extremely agitated and the child starts to cry. The mother is frustrated and embarrassed and starts to become enraged. People around them become embarrassed as well, and even after they have driven away from the store, she is still angry and short-tempered with her child.
Now look at how Mommy B handles her visit to the supermarket. She enters the store, places her toddler in the carriage, and hands him a special bag of toys she keeps in the car for shopping trips. He is occupied for five minutes or so, and then starts to notice all the brightly colored food items around them. When he points to something and asks if he can have it, the mother pulls out a bag of snacks she has brought from home and says “How about these?” She dangles the bag temptingly in front of him and he grabs it happily and starts eating.
After a while, the toddler inevitably begins to fidget so the mother says “Hey! Would you like to help me put the groceries in the cart?” And of course the child says “Yes!” So as she takes each item off the shelf, she hands it to her child and he places it in the carriage. They are happy with each other, happy to be working together. Then she says “Let’s sing a song!” So they spend the rest of the time singing and loading the cart together, gathering smiles from all the people around them, and leave the store feeling peaceful and satisfied.