Why is Monday

“Why is Monday so far from Friday, and Friday so near to Monday?”

-Author Unknown

Image from kappit.com

Image from kappit.com

The practice of looking forward is a powerful thing. When there is something desirable in our future, or when we are having fun, time literally flies. Conversely, when the future is undesirable or dreaded, time slows down, or seems to prolong the discomfort.

This is where a magical pair of forward-looking glasses can be helpful. The secret to this visionary tool is to look for, design, and create new and better futures in as many areas of life as possible, where the anticipation of a better tomorrow is always there to be embraced and enjoyed.

EXERCISE:

How can a more creative, optimistic, forward-looking perspective enhance the quality of each of your Mondays and Fridays to come?

I Have Hope

“I have hope and I’m not afraid to use it.”

-Author Unknown

Image from porsperityconnection.org

Image from porsperityconnection.org

One of the top qualities I look for in my coaching clients is optimism—a hopeful perspective on life. Through an unscientific evaluation, I have found that such individuals are generally more successful and far more satisfied with their efforts and progress. They are also far more enjoyable to be around.

Fearful and pessimistic individuals, on the other hand, tend to look through the lens of what is wrong or what won’t work, and therefore, stop themselves or avoid attempting new pursuits where failure is possible.

They often see even good things that happen to them as temporary or a “fluke,” as opposed to the hopeful people who see setbacks as only temporary.

EXERCISE:

How would an even more hopeful perspective on life help you achieve better results and attract more wonderful, equally hopeful people into your world?

“Become the most positive…”

“Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.”

—H. Jackson Brown, Jr. American author of Life’s Little Instruction Book

QC #838

Positive psychology is the scientific study of human flourishing, and an applied approach to optimal functioning. It has been defined as the study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals, communities, and organizations to thrive.

Although no single quote can capture the full impact and magnitude of this field of study, this one does point us in the direction of human qualities that can lead us to the better life we all desire.

EXERCISE:

Consider doing a Google search on the subject of “positive psychology” to learn more about many techniques and strategies to leading a fuller, more satisfying life.

If you have 20 minutes, check out Martin Seligman’s 2004 Ted Talk titled “The New Era of Positive Psychology.” Over 3 million people have viewed it to date.

To learn even more, consider Seligman’s books:
Learned Optimism (1991)
Authentic Happiness (2002)
Flourish (2012)

Small thing big shadow

“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.”

-Swedish Proverb

Photo from Flickr by Stuart Anthony

Photo from Flickr by Stuart Anthony

When was the last time you examined your shadow just after dawn or just before dusk? You know – the times of day with the sun just peeks over the horizon, on either side of the day. It is at these times that the longest shadows are cast.

Worry, fear, dread, or that forbidding feeling we sometimes experience is just like these shadows in that they make small issues so much larger and ominous than they actually are.

EXERCISE:

Imagine a world where it is always high noon – where the dark shadow of worry is either very small, or nonexistent.

How can you exercise your optimistic attitude, enthusiasm, and positive perspective so that you can carry around your own sunshine, making your life and the life of others brighter?

light where there is none

“An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out?”

– René Descartes, French philosopher and mathematician (attrib.)

575

Image from Flickr by spcbrass

One of my favorite books that supports effective interpersonal and group communications is Six Thinking Hats, by Edward de Bono.

In his model, a “yellow hat” represents the optimistic individual who sees the light of possibility in things. The pessimist or “black hat” represents the negative perception on matters that often stops progress.

Of course there are four more hats to explore in our journey to more effective individual and group thinking, and I encourage you to pursue these as part of the following exercise.

Exercise:

What percentage of the time do you wear the yellow and black hats in your professional and personal interactions?

How can you increase your emphasis on the sunny side of things and diminish or remove that dark cloud that extinguishes the light of possibility?

You can find a one-page pdf summary about the six hats here, and you may wish to explore “putting on” one or more of the others: www.foodsec.org/DL/course/shortcourseFK/en/pdf/trainerresources/PG_SixThinkingHats.pdf

The war between optimists and pessimists

 “The optimist already sees the scar over the wound; the pessimist sees the wound underneath the scar.”

– Ernst Schroder, mathematician

The war between optimists and pessimists has raged since the beginning of time. Which camp are you in? For the purpose of this post, please don’t take the back door and choose “realist” – though I do appreciate you thinking outside the box!

It turns out that both strategies come in pretty handy, depending on the situation. Optimists tend to have a promotion focus on growth and advancement. Pessimists, on other hand, tend to be more focused on security and safety. Schroeder was probably an optimist, given the fact that a scar is a protective and healing phenomenon supporting new growth.

Exercise:

Where are you engaged in the rapid healing and growth from wounds you may recently have experienced?

Where are you still feeling the wounds of the past that should have fully healed by now?

#85: “Hardening of the heart ages people faster than hardening of the arteries.”

– William James, psychologist and philosopher

Do you know anyone in your life who is a grumpy old man or woman? They don’t even need to be chronologically old – they simply act old by:

  • Looking for what’s wrong in things and others
  • Being skeptical and cynical
  • Being overly serious
  • Not smiling enough
  • Not looking for the beauty around them

Exercise:

To clear out your arteries and find your own fountain of youth, try:

  • Finding what’s right and what works
  • Being open and receptive to the thoughts and ideas of others
  • Working on building your funnybone and your sense of humor
  • Smiling and saying “thank you” more often
  • Creating a daily gratitude and/or beauty journal to begin seeing the world with a lighter heart

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#13: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity…”

“…An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

– Winston Churchill

Call it attitude, perspective, a paradigm, or a mental model: how we look at things affects everything. The lenses we wear as we look at life truly color what we see.

I tend to lean heavily in the direction of optimism and possibilities. I seek moments of learning when things do not go the way I desire.

Most people like to be around others with a can-do, find-a-way perspective.

Exercise:

What strategies can you develop to see good things in life as the norm, and the not-so-good things as temporary barriers to overcome?

Quotes are posted on The Quotable Coach a week after being sent out by email. To get the latest quotes straight to your inbox, pop your email address in the sidebar to the right.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high…”

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”

– Michelangelo

Image from Unsplash by AJ Yorio

I guess spending five years painting the ceiling of the Sistine chapel is an example of reaching consistently for new heights. In fact, most of Michelangelo’s works are examples of extraordinary achievements.

  • What have been your proudest moments in life?
  • Where have you dared to achieve greatness, or a higher purpose?
  • How did stretching or reaching for these seemingly out of reach goals help you grow?

Even if we fail on attempt after attempt, we can try again.

Exercise

Where in your professional or personal life are you playing too small and too safe?

What goals in your life are worth greater risk, even the risk of failure?

#3: “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

– General Colin Powell

Would you describe yourself as an optimist? Optimistic people:

  • See the possibilities in things
  • Have a “can do” attitude
  • See lemonade whenever they see lemons
  • Drink from the half-full glass
  • Look for the good in others and situations
  • Find the pony in the room full of dung
  • Attract other people and opportunities

Optimism helps us to adjust quickly to adversity; after setbacks, we can get back up faster. By making optimism a habit, you can find a positive aspect in every situation. There’s always something new to learn.

Exercise:

Who are the most optimistic people in your world? How can you spend more time with them and be more like them?

Who are the most pessimistic people in your world? How can you reduce their impact, or even remove them from your life?

Quotes are posted on The Quotable Coach a week after being sent out by email. To get the latest quotes straight to your inbox, pop your email address in the sidebar to the right.