Piece of Advice: “Attitude of Gratitude”

A Piece of Advice – Discovery Challenge

“This week’s challenge brings out the positive: tell us about a piece of advice you’ve received — and would like to share with others.”

One story immediately comes to mind:

A friend of mine, let’s call him John, told me how the CEO (aka Bossman) of his company rules with an iron fist. He’s the guy who puts the fear of God into people when they mess up. He’s pretty ruthless with calling out your shortcomings when you produce low quality work.

His boss once told him that the best place to be is not in his office. Meaning if someone is called into his office and his door is closed, it’s almost guaranteed that he’s tearing them a new one.

You would think people would dread coming to everyday. He says his workplace has a high turnover rate.

On the contrary, however, many of the people who don’t quit or get fired immediately love coming to work. The environment is fun, everyone has a good attitude, people are constantly challenge with their workload and forced to grow. Aside from the occasional meetings the Bossman will have with teams that aren’t performing, there’s a general consensus that his management style is an effective way to keep people on their toes and productive.

One time, John finds himself in the Bossman’s office. He recently got promoted into a new position and was having difficulty keeping up with the workload. He made a few minor mistakes, which was understandable considering he’s never done this type of work before.

He goes into Bossman’s office, closes the door, and takes a seat at his huge, glass desk. Bossman starts laying it in, point out all of his errors, belittling his work and saying he doesn’t have a brain and yelling at him about how it should be done.

The entire time, John starts to feel humiliated, insecure, frustrated at himself, angry at Bossman for yelling at him, and stressed out about the whole situation. I mean, who wants to be yelled at?

While he’s being yelled at, he just takes it all in silence. Why argue with a guy like this? It won’t make a difference whatever he tries to say. Guys like his boss will always think they’re right no matter what they say. The smart thing to do, he thought, was just to take it.

At the end of the roast, while his ego is at an all time low, his boss asks, “do you have anything to say?”

What should he do? Be defensive? Say how he feels disrespected by the way he was treated? Mention how he could have been nicer in his reproach? Blame someone else?

“Thank you. You’re right and I’ll take what you said, apply it, and improve so those mistakes won’t happen again” John says.

An attitude of gratitude, he thought.

He told me that he had learned when all else fails, putting on an attitude of gratitude is key.

Think about it, it changes your mindset so that you can reframe it from a negative experience to a positive, learning experience. In turn, you will react and respond to the event in a totally different way.

Instead of interpreting his boss reprimanding him as a sign of failure, he saw it as an opportunity to learn from his boss’s feedback, improve, and become better. And he was grateful for his boss calling him out because a boss who didn’t care wouldn’t even take the time to teach him a lesson.

From that point forward, John raised his standards for himself and consistently produced high-quality work. Half out of fear of being yelled at by Bossman, but half because of the satisfaction he gets from knowing he’s constantly growing and becoming better at his craft.

“At my workplace,” John says, “the high volume and steep learning curve will weed out the ones who can’t hang. But the ones who stay tend to produce at such a higher level than they ever thought they were capable of.”

But this wouldn’t be possible, I presume, if people aren’t able to have the right attitude.

“Cowardice”

Cowardice – Daily writing prompt

Noun – lack of bravery

Anyone remember that show on Cartoon Network, Courage the Cowardly Dog? Wasn’t it ironic how although he was considered “cowardly”, he always managed to summon the courage to be brave and save his owners from monsters and aliens. I guess that was the point, him summoning the courage to do the impossible and save the day.

“The things I do for love…” – his motto, haha.

I wonder if Courage always had to deal with cognitive dissonance. Being called a cowardly dog, and yet named Courage.

Cognitive dissonance – n. “the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change

It’s like when smokers know they shouldn’t smoke and yet they continue to do so, that cognitive dissonance will force one thing to change. Either their thoughts on smoking or the act itself in order for there to be consistency in thought and actions. Sometimes they’ll quit, which will align with their beliefs. Other times, they’ll justify what why smoking isn’t that bad.

“You only live once, might as well enjoy it”

“I’m young, its not that bad right now. I can quit later on.”

“But my family smokes, its a genetic thing.

“How am I supposed to socialize with my friends if they all smoke and I don’t?”

I firmly believe in the principle that our actions are determined by who we are. And who we are is determined by our thoughts, how we think, and how we define ourselves.

Remember that scene in The Amazing Spider Man when the English teacher is talking to the class?

“I had a professor once who liked to tell his students that there were only 10 different plots in all of fiction. Well, I’m here to tell you he was wrong. There is only one: ‘Who am I?'”

I think once we start to understand how powerful our identity is, we’ll see how strongly it affects what we do. People throughout history have given up their lives on their identity.

My question is: do you think you can change your own identity from what it is now to something better? Who do you want to be?

“Glass”

Glass

Half empty or half full?

-Your perceived reality deals a lot with what you focus on.

What is it filled with?

-Context is always important.

Why are you holding onto the glass?

-Your reason/”why” you do something can be one of, if not the most important, things you can figure out. There’s a huge difference between a ship with a captain who has an unbreakable resolve to find treasure, and a ship without a captain wandering aimlessly in the ocean.

A glass of water might be easy to hold for a couple seconds, but several minutes can make the weight of the glass feel like hundreds of pounds.

-The longer you hold onto something, the greater affect it has onto you. Similar to a grudge you can’t let go of, it’ll keep weighing down on you more and more. Your resentment and bitterness doesn’t affect them, only you.

Our reality is affected by the lense (glass) through which we see the world.

-Changing the lense and shifting the paradigm will produce different responses to the same stimuli, and therefore create different results. The lense through which a lower class youth from a marginalized population will be vastly different from the same aged youth from an upper class background with racial privilege. This will in turn drastically affect how they see, respond to, and create results in their lives.

Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

-being quick to condemn someone for their actions when the condemner has just as much fault. Nobody likes a hypocrite or double standards. Forgive others because you have also done unforgivable things.

Be careful with glass, it’s fragile.

-Those who are most transparent leave themselves vulnerable to others. And although it’s scary to be vulnerable, it’s that same vulnerability that produces the beauty. Think of a glass prism when it reflects and reveals the many colors of light. The glass shows the beauty  hidden within the light that we did not initially see.

 

“False” and relationships

False

Why can’t I find a nice guy/girl? Why don’t my relationships last longer than 3 months? There are no more good people out there.

False.

The common denominator in all your failed relationships is YOU. Sure, you might go through some genuinely bad people, but if you’re always blaming someone else, you’re playing the victim and remove your own power.

Think, are you the type of person you would want to date?

I see cultivating a great relationship is like developing a successful career or building a business. Those who take responsibility and are proactive in creating the results they want usually get them.

Those who do nothing but complain and argue for their excuses will stay in the same place.

The grass isn’t greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it and put effort into keeping it healthy.

Theres no difference between your grass and your relationship, or your life.

You’re not going to “find your soulmate” and then live happily ever after. You’re not magically going to find that knight in shining armor that will sweep you off your feet.

Why the heck would the knight in shining armor want to be with you? What are your merits?

It’s a fundamental principle of the universe that you attract what you are. Great people find other great people. Are you working to become that knight in shining armor so you can find your princess? Are you working to be an amazing wife for your future husband?

You cannot control the other person, you can only control who you are.

And this is more apparent once you’re in a relationship. Whether or not the relationship is great, it’s not on them. It’s on YOU. The sooner you adopt this, the sooner you will empower yourself to create the amazing relationship you really want.

 

How To turn $7 into $19 and beat Starbucks

When the Starbucks rewards program came out years ago, I never followed the trend because I hardly ever spent money at Starbucks. To me, it was a waste of money to pay for overpriced coffee and frappuccinos.

But when I lived in D.C., my mom opened up a Starbucks account for me online. She wanted to able to add money to it occasionally for whenever I wanted a drink (my mom is so sweet like that 😁).

Seeing the stars add to my account with each purchase eventually got me hooked. Damn it, Starbucks!

Before the most recent revamp of the rewards program, it used to work like this:

Every purchase you make, you get 1 star. After you’ve earned 12 stars, you get a free reward. This allows you to buy any menu item. The most expensive things, like a Trenta sized drink or their snack pack, will cost you about $6

If the average order price is around $4, Starbucks is banking about $48 for every free item they give away, which is a net profit of $42 for them.

Side note: as a Gold level member (getting 30 stars in a year) you also get a “birthday reward” on your birthday. Who can argue with free stuff? (Well, almost free. But you know what I mean.)

Now, I think I’m a smart guy 🤔 so given these figures, there’s no way I’d get suckered into giving away $42.

Soon, I started to notice these promotional emails they would send out. They would have offers like, “make 4 purchases, earn 10 stars” or  “visit 5 days in a row, get 12 stars”.

So I thought, this could be a way to cheat the system. Instead of spending $4 to get 1 star, I could average 2 or more stars per dollar if I bought one of the cheaper items (bagels – $1.50, vanilla bean scone -$1.25, banana -$1.00) through these promotions.

Here’s the math:

4 purchases x $1.50 (bagel) = $6 for 14 stars (4 regular + 10 promotional)

14 stars / $6 = 2.33 stars per dollar.

If costs me a little over $5 to get a free reward, that means I’m just about breaking even. Except I get a free reward plus the 4 bagels so that adds a bit more value.

And yes, I understand the whole “if you get 30% off your $10 purchase, you don’t save $3, you just spent $7” logic. But the instant gratification of the sweet, empty calories of a double chocolate chip venti frappuccino and the fallacious rationalization that I’m getting a great deal is irresistible.

This system, however only works if you only buy when there are good promotions. If the promo doesn’t give me at least 2 stars per dollar spent, I won’t use it. $6 spent = 12 stars = free item. Anything less than that and I’m losing money.

Although I guarantee there are tons of other people who have figured this out, I’m certain the majority of people will just get Starbucks whenever they feel like it, regardless of the promotion. This means Starbucks will make their generous $42 net more times than not.

These promos are to get you to making a habit out of going to Starbucks everyday, hence the “6 consecutive visits” promo. People with less mental discipline to go only during promotions will understandably fall for the trap.

With this new program, they seemed to fix the  loopholes I’ve been exploiting. Now they award 2 stars for every dollar ($0.50 / star) and it takes 125 stars ($62.50) to earn a reward item. Though it prevents me from cheating, I admit it is obviously more fair for the average person.

With this new program not allowing me to cheat, I vowed not to participate in it anymore.

Until they sent another promotion to my email:

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Damn you, Starbucks.

Quick calculations: 4 visits x $1.00 banana = 104 stars (26 stars per dollar spent)

With this system, I could turn $1 into $13!

A week later, they rolled out another promotion: 1 visit for 50 stars!

7 bananas later, I had 250 stars (2 free items).

I felt victorious. I had cheated this new system again. $7 to get 7 bananas + $12 worth of free Starbucks food items, a $19 value!

Sometimes I’ll just save these rewards for a rainy day, or split a venti frap into two grande fraps for with my girlfriend and me, essentially making it an $8.50 value (2 grande fraps run about $4.25).

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Sweet victory.

There you go. That’s how I beat Starbucks. Having my frap and drinking it too.

But once my sugar high wears off, I realize I just bought seven overpriced bananas that will probably over ripen before I can eat them all, consumed 3 days worth of sugar in 10 minutes, wasted $2 worth of gas driving there, added 1 plastic cup to the landfills of our dying earth, and I bet you Starbucks isn’t crying over the $12 they lost on me as everyone who hears this story will probably want a frappuccino now.

Damn you, Starbucks.

 

What Motivates Us

Yesterday, my boss told us a story in our Monday morning meeting that shifted the way I thought about motivation. I’m paraphrasing for sure but hopefully the meat of the story stays in tact.

There were these two men who ran together everyday, one was older and one was significantly younger. Based on appearance, the younger man’s youth and vitality would assumably give him an advantage. However, the younger man could never catch up to and pass the old man.

One day, the older man asks the younger one, “What do you think about when you run? What motivates you to keep going?”

The young man responds, “I imagine a snarling, hungry wolf running behind me, his teeth chomping at my heels. That’s what keeps me going.”

“Interesting,” said the old man.

“What about you? What do you think about when you run?” said the young man.

The old man replied, “I imagine I’m the one chasing the wolf. Though I can never catch him, I always try.”

It’s easy to see how this key distinction affects each man’s drive. One focuses on the fear of being eaten by the wolf, while the other focuses on surpassing the thing that’s better than him.

Many times, we focus on what we don’t want. As Tony Robbins says, “what you focus on expands.” Likewise, we fail to instead focus on what we do want and head toward that.

Its funny how when you ask someone if they could design the ideal life for themselves 10 years into the future, they usually can tell you more about what they don’t want compared to what they do want.

Then, we wonder why we get all the things we don’t want, and never what we do want.

So my challenge to you, the reader, is how can you stop focusing on the bad, and instead focus on what we want more of? Better yet, how can we push ourselves to chase our higher self everyday? While we shouldn’t ever think we’ll achieve “perfection,” you might surprise yourself on how much you’ll grow in pursuit of it.

For me, I’m stuck on a treadmill chasing treadmill ahead of me. Who knows if I can ever catch it 🏃🏼🤔

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Where’s that darn wolf? 🐕🐩🐖🦄

 

99% is hard, 100% is easy

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This book is packed with nuggets of wisdom.

I heard this as I was listening to Success Principles by Jack Canfield last week. The context is when you want to develop a new habit in your routine, but can’t seem to stick to your commitment.

A perfect example many of us can relate to is working out.

Continue reading “99% is hard, 100% is easy”

Small problems, small person

The size of the problem determines the size of the person.

So this morning as I was headed to the gym for my 5:30am workout, I somehow managed to lose my earbuds during the walk from my car to the gym (as I was taking a selfie for my workout accountability group). I spent the next 5-10 minutes retracing my steps, getting frustrated at the fact that I may have just lost my $20 apple ear buds.

gym selfie
Somewhere between the walk from my car to this selfie is when I lost them =(

A couple weeks prior, I had to replace my $10 gym lock that I absentmindedly left in the men’s locker room. Needless to say, I was ticked that I can’t seem to stop wasting money on things I lose.

After giving up the search, I realized that I was getting worked up over something so small. Yes, $20 can buy a lot of things like a all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ or 2 admission tickets to a new release movie in theaters. And I’m not a rich person, but I’m also not so financially insecure where replacing lost earphones would mean I couldn’t eat for the next few days.

My point: why was I letting something so trivial get me down?

In the book “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind,” T. Harv Eker makes a comparison about the mentalities “rich” people versus “poor” people. He says that poor people are smaller than their problems, whereas rich people are bigger than their problems.

This is how I interpret it: if I let something small get me down, then I’m a small person. Small problems don’t affect big people, only big problems.

As one part of my daily habits, I recite what’s called a “commercial affirmation” to myself. Its pretty self-explanatory, but it’s basically a paragraph of affirmations written in the third person about the person I want to become in the future. Or as a mentor of mine says, my “higher self.” I do this once a day, usually in the mornings before my commute to work.

When something small like losing my earphones gets me worked up, I think: would my higher self, the multi-millionaire entrepreneur, international speaker, and bestselling author be phased by this?

The answer is always a resounding “Nope.”

If the size of the problems determines the size of the person, how “big” of a person are you? What’s getting you down that you know isn’t worth your time, energy, or attention?

I’ve always been taught that mindset is where it all begins. When you can control how you think, you can control your reality.

Event + Response = Outcome.

But that’s a whole topic in itself, haha. As of now, I have a new lock, 2 sets of earphones (a backup in case I lose mine again), and I haven’t even given it a second thought.

ear buds
Daiso earbuds = $1.50. Problem solved. B)