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?

“Desert”

Desert – Daily writing prompt

Verb – abandon in a way considered disloyal or treacherous.

Noun – uninhabited, desolate

“Some would say deserting a deserter in a desert is giving him his just deserts”

This doesn’t sound like a very fun word.

 

Dessert – sweet food eaten after the main part of the meal

Dissert – to speak or write at length

“The desert deserter decisively displaced himself daringly, despite his dessert dissertation documents accidentally discarded on his desk.”

Now this is getting fun 😉

“Dominic, the despicable Duke of Doom, dashed into the dorm with decreasing disregard for Darren’s dissertation discussion hosted downstairs. The dastardly deed was later described as disrespectful to doubters of Dominic’s dark and distasteful disposition. Daisy defended the debacle by disclosing Dominic’s downward duel with depression.”

 

“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.

 

Darkness and Light

Darkness

Several ideas pop into my head:

-You cannot drive out the darkness with darkness, only light can do that (pretty sure this is a quote from somewhere)

-sometimes the darkness makes the makes us appreciate the light

-having gone through the darkness, we can now show others the way

-In Star Wars, we often think of the Dark Side of the Force as bad. Conversely, the Light Side of the Jedi is thought to be good. However, I read somewhere that the darkness could actually be more representative of PASSION and the light could be more identified with PEACE and acceptance/tranquility. I wouldn’t discard either side, but rather both need to be used together in balance.

-If your life feels like a dark room with the lights off, once the light is turned on, it doesn’t matter how long the light has been flipped off. Instead, we should just focus on the fact that we’ve escaped and now live in the light. Too many times people tend to ruminate on their past and how terrible it was without being able to move forward and focus on what’s different. What you focus on is what expands, right? Where focus goes, energy flows (as Tony Robbins says)

-In the book “Relentless” by Tim Grover, he discusses how Cleaners (an elite level performer) taps into their darkness, the side of them that isn’t restricted or held back. Think of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One lives in the light with all the societal restrictions. One lives with raw, animalistic instincts, not bound by any rules. One can easily see which one is more powerful given their different positions. High level performers can tap into the “zone” by utilizing their dark side and achieving a state of flow and focus. It’s a really fascinating concept. The most prominent Cleaner he discusses is Michael Jordan, the legend.