Turning the Obstacle Upside Down

Last week I shared a Stoic exercise called Practicing Misfortune. There are actually 8 exercises that Stoics drew upon for strength in trying times. The second is one we’ve talked about before but is important enough to mention again. It is the concept of altering your perception to see an obstacle as an opportunity or Turning the Obstacle Upside Down.

“Choose not to be harmed and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed and you haven’t been.” -Marcus Aurelius

An event isn’t in itself good or bad. It is how we choose to view the event that gives it its quality. To illustrate this, let’s consider that the quality of any event is highly subjective. If it rains today, I might think this is a good thing. I will stay inside my toasty house drinking tea and reading with my warm blanket. However, you may not share my opinion about today’s rainy weather if you had planned a party outdoors. Continue reading “Turning the Obstacle Upside Down”

Positivity for Pessimists

People move toward positivity, plain and simple. Everyone likes a positive person, someone who is upbeat and cheerful, who rolls with the punches, and has a can-do attitude. So, what if you aren’t that type of person? Are you doomed to walk the streets alone, to spend your life as a solitary, cut off from the enjoyment of meaningful relationships?

I used to think that positive people were obnoxious. Think Legally Blonde: I was the stuck up, grey law school girl looking down my nose at the pink, bubbly chick getting it done. So when I started reading all of the evidence indicating positive people have a longer health span, are healthier in general, and are more productive I had to overcome my own dour disposition and admit that not all positive people are fake, silly, or stupid. Maybe, if this positivity thing has so many perks, I might even like to (gulp) become one of the happy people.

Is positivity something a person just has a talent for or can it be learned? I can tell you from experience that positivity can be learned. Even the most cynical person can learn to be positive with the right amount of effort. Here’s how you start: Continue reading “Positivity for Pessimists”

Limiting Beliefs

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford

What beliefs do you have that are holding you back? Do you tell yourself that you shouldn’t want certain things because you don’t deserve them? Maybe you have a limiting fear. Think of a child on a diving board, too afraid to jump until she finally does. Only when she takes the risk does she realize that it’s fun. Maybe you think you can’t have something because of who you are or the situation you are in. Maybe you aren’t even aware of your limiting beliefs. I wasn’t. It turns out that I was limiting myself because I believed that I couldn’t run my own business. I thought this because I didn’t know how and probably wasn’t smart enough, so I wasn’t even going to try. Letting the excuse that you don’t know how to do something keep you from doing it is really silly, by-the-way. You can learn anything. It just takes quieting the negative voice in your head. Melissa Ambrosini calls that negative voice your inner “Mean Girl”, which I think is a very good description. Your mean girl holds you back, tells you that you are not worthy, Continue reading “Limiting Beliefs”

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