When your mind thinks about the past, it will always associate those memories with the emotion(s) associated with the event. So what happens is, you condition yourself to think about memories that do not serve you because they are negative. Negative thoughts (memories) create a negative environment.
Your mind will focus on what’s familiar to it.
Therefore, you are essentially reliving the same negative event over and over.
You think about a difficult event in a previous relationship >> you get upset because the situation made you angry and sad >> you spend the next couple of hours relieving those same emotions, even though it already happened >> the cycle continues
Some people do this for days, weeks, months, years, and even their entire lifetime.
A visual representation of what happens when you allow your mind to take control of you.
You must learn to break the cycle and master yourself. Learnto control what you’re thinking about, aka “observe” what you’re thinking about. If these memories do not serve you, let them go. You can’t change the past but if you’re not careful, you can take your emotional response with you. Is that how you want to move forward? My guess is: no, it does not serve you or anyone within the circle of your influence.
Focus on thoughts (memories) that will set you up to win. If you want to win the day, master yourself. You are worth it.
Have you ever stopped and wondered, “Why do some people go through their entire life, working aimlessly like robots?” Is this their personal choice or are they conditioned to be this way? Well, you could make a pretty good argument that both of these reasons are a contributing factor. Obviously, no one wants to be considered a robot. However, people do not realize that our society is slowly training you to be one, at a very early age.
When you were a child, you were conditioned to wait for a sound or a voice to tell you when to move, start, and finish.
“Don’t touch that.”
“Wait until I tell you to start.”
“Don’t express your opinion, even if you believe you’re right.”
When you were in school, the sound of a bell controlled your actions. The first bell was designed to tell you when to start. As soon as you heard the bell, you were conditioned to get serious and focus on your work. [“Pay attention.”]
The bells after that, indicated it was time to transition to the next class. Once you arrived there, once again–you were required to get serious and focus on the next subject. Your school day would end at the sound of the final bell. [“You can leave, now.”] This was always an indication you could finally relax. That is, until you arrived home or at practice (sport, etc.) We have been using the bell system since the 19th century. For more detailed information about it, visit: http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/-school-bells
Make no mistake, I’m not saying anything negative about the education system. I am simply pointing out the fact that from a very early age, our lives are structured. We are told when to do things, how to do them, how long we can do them, and when to stop doing them.
Your Adult Life
The same concepts apply in the workplace. You rely on a time clock to dertimine when you get serious and when you’re allowed to relax. Even if you dont use a time clock, things called “deadlines” or “suspenses” have the same impact on you.
Although you can’t necessarily change or influence the way your employer or organization operates, you can change the way you operate. At some point, you must understand that change starts with you. Going through life like a robot does not serve you or anyone in your circle of influence.
My recommendation: make a schedule or write down your daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly goals. By taking the initiative to write these things down, you will place yourself back in the driver seat of your life. You establish what your day will look like so you can have the day you want, instead of settling for what the day gives you. When you operate like a robot, you’re in the passenger seat or sometimes in the back seat. Meaning, you’re not in change of where you’re going in your life.
Making a schedule is not where it stops, though. You must learn to rediscover your voice. Remember, you were conditioned at a very early age not to speak your mind.
“Don’t say that. Just keep quiet.”
Instead of sitting back in the meeting listening to the wrong information being discussed, you have the courage and professionalism to say, “Mike, the packet actually consists of five documents and not three.” The robot mentality would have kept you quiet and allowed the major mistake to occur. “I’m not speaking up.”
This iscalled thinking outside of the box. The box is your comfort zone, aka where you were conditioned to stay so you can function like a robot. Thinking outside of the box is how you grow in both your personal and professional life. Therefore, it is incredibly important for you to take control of your life sooner than later. The older you get, the more habits you build. When you’re functioning like a robot, your habits are based on robot principles.
Thinking outside of the box will make you unique.
Something to consider: once you step out of your comfort zone, several things will change. Some people will misunderstand you, roll their eyes at you (negative body language), some may even avoid you, and overall dislike you. Why? Because you no longer function as a robot. Therefore, you’re a threat or an outsider because you’re not part of the norm.
When this happens, you must stay the course. The obstacle is the path. You’re are not a robot. You are a unique person that has value.
I would like to start off by wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. This holiday is truly unique because it creates a great opportunity for us to reconnect with our family and friends. Even though we associate Thanksgiving with food, this is also a social holiday.
I recently took a break from writing blogs, due to my busy schedule. However, it was a blessing in disguise because it offered an opportunity for me to reflect on what matters. As I’ve said in previous blogs and my latest book The Best Version of You, we are very disconnected due to technology. Sure, technology is supposed to keep us connected, yet–that’s not really happening. We would rather hide behind our phones or computers, instead of making eye contact with the person we’re talking to. Sure, FaceTime and Skype are unique but they are not the same as a face-to-face conversation.
Now that we can text and e-mail, people would rather text, instead have a real conversation. Consider this, if your son had some great news to tell you, which method would you prefer:
Text version: “Hey dad, I have a great news. I got accepted to the Ohio State University.” Your son has to wait for your response because he can’t see you. Therefore, he doesn’t see how excited, proud, and happy you are, for him.
Face-to-face conversation: “Hey dad, I have a great news. I got accepted to the Ohio State University.” You embrace him and tell him how excited, proud, and happy you are, for him. Instead of him reading your response (text message) and guessing how you felt, he can see it. This helps create authenticity. Not only did you convey you’re proud of him, you demonstrated it. We really can’t do that when we send a text or an e-mail. We might think a creative emoji conveys the same message but trust me, to your son, it doesn’t. Have a real conversation.
I am hoping you selected option 2: Face-to-face conversation. It doesn’t matter how busy you are, your loved ones deserve your full attention. By only communicating via texts and e-mail, it might convey the wrong message: You are not a priority to me. This might seem extreme but to a child or loved one that desires your attention, it might be a huge deal. Take a step back and ask yourself, “How would I want to receive this information?”
Here are some benefits of a face-to-face conversation:
It creates authenticity.
It displays your true emotions and reactions. [body language]
It conveys a more powerful message.
It builds relationships.
It helps prevent an argument or disconnect, due to eliminating the risk of typing a convoluted text. [What did you mean?]
It creates additional conversations.
It builds connection.
It builds winning streaks.
It tells people, what you have to say, matters to me.
I challenge you to implement this into your Thanksgiving dinner, regardless if you’re celebrating at your house, a family members house, or a friends house. The world can use more face-to-face conversations and you have the opportunity to help cultivate it.
How many times have you heard someone say, “Man, that team got lucky?” I’m willing to bet, you hear it at least once a weekend. For some reason, people associate things they were not expecting with good or bad luck.
What people don’t realize–luck, just like fear, is not a real. It does not have any physical properties. Luck is usually attached to 2 things:
When people say, “She got that promotion because she’s lucky,” is it actually true? Is there evidence supporting how the stars were aligned and her employer was forced to give her the promotion? Of course not. Could it be, she got the promotion because she deserved it by putting herself in a position to win? It’s not luck, it’s preparation meeting opportunity.
When people fall short of a goal, their mind wants answers because it is their biggest critic. Therefore, to compensate, they’ll say almost anything to make themselves feel like they didn’t win because of external circumstances. “You got lucky.” This excuse and demonstration of bitterness doesn’t require any ownership.
Whenever I discuss this with other people, they always bring up the lottery. “You have to be extremely lucky to win the lottery.”
Well, that’s necessarily true. To win the lottery, you have to play the numbers. Meaning, you have to participate. So when you participate, and pick the right numbers, you get rewarded for doing what is required. That is not luck.
Successful people are not lucky; they just work harder than the average person.
When a Quarter Back (QB) throws a Hail Mary on the final play of the game and the Wide Receiver (WR) comes down with the ball in the endzone, does it get listed in the luck stats? Obviously not. The QB gets a passing TD stat and the WR gets a TD reception stat. Why? Because it is not luck when you perform what is required. They did their job. [One guy throws the ball, the other guy catches it.]
At the end of the day, blaming things on (bad or good) luck does not serve you. It undermines people and circumstances. If someone gets a promotion instead of you, next time–put yourself in position to perform better. Blaming your shortfalls on luck is not competing.
I am very excited about finally having this book in my hands. Hard work is always worth it, regardless of how long it takes.
The Best Version of You is a self-help book designed to introduce new skills and concepts for anyone to use when they’re facing adversity, feeling lost and out of focus, wanting to make changes in their lives, or simply wanting to update themselves.
We update our phones, our computers, and our software, but honestly, when was the last time we updated ourselves?
The book is available on Amazon.com and Amazon Kindle:
What you think about the most, will consume you. It will activate your Reticular Activating System (RAS).
“The reticular activating system is a short, pencil-sized piece of the brain located just above where the spinal cord is attached to the brain. It acts as the gatekeeper of information between mostsensorysystems and the conscious mind.“
You purchase new shoes for the gym. You honestly believe they are unique but over the next couple of days, you start noticing other people have the same shoes. Did they buy them because you did? No, obviously not. They’ve always had them but now these shoes are in your awareness. Therefore, you notice them. It turns out, these must be great shoes because other people are buying them, too.
You start believing that people always get hurt in the gym, regardless of their skill set. Therefore, you take notice every time someone gets dinged up or seriously injured. It is all you can focus on. Do people get injured in the gym? Of course, that’s part of Murphy’s Law. However, because injuries are in your awareness, you notice them more than usual. Because of this mindset, you hold back in the gym because you don’t want to be the next person to get hurt. This is also your confirmation bias working against you.
These examples demonstrate how you need to be careful about what you’re thinking. If it upsets you, disappoints you, or goes against your values–why are you wasting your time with it? What is the:
If it doesn’t support any of these things, eliminate it from your life.
“Where focus goes, energy flows.” -Tony Robbins
I don’t care for video games. But I won’t make the mistake of constantly thinking (or talking) about why I don’t like them. It serves no purpose and takes valuable time away from things that I value. I would rather reallocate my time to focus on things that help me win at life.
I love people that are focused on maximizing their potential. They don’t spend their day focusing on what they don’t like. Instead, they focus on what they do like and how they can multiply it. Because my filter is calibrated on this mindset, I notice people that are like this. If I didn’t like these kind of people, I would never notice them even if they were all around me.
Driver seat: You focus on positivity, it is in your awareness, and you set yourself up to win.
Passenger seat: You focus on things you don’t like, you hunt them down because they’re in your awareness, and you fuel disappointment.
I have been a sexual assault victim advocate for 9 years and a proud supporter of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Helping people cultivate change is very important to me. However, being a male advocate in this field is very challenging. Therefore, I wanted to write this blog to help current and future male advocates. Please feel free to share this information.
Congratulations on your decision to become a volunteer advocate. Advocacy is an instrument for change. As a volunteer, you will help facilitate the ambivalent and recovery phases of victims (survivors) of sexual assault.
Your commitment is a representation of the (Your Agency Name) and supporting agencies. Meaning, you are the face of multiple agencies that share one common goal: serve survivors of sexual assault without allowing any of your biases to interfere.
Whenever I am facilitating training, I always ask this question: “What is the number one thing you notice about me?” [Which is the best answer]
You are committed to helping people.
You’re a male advocate.
You are just going through the motions and do not really care about this topic. (check-the-block mentality)
You facilitate this training way too much.
If you answered 2, you are correct. Although answer 1 is valid, it is not a major factor. Wanting to help people and actually doing it are not always the same thing. I usually get a few laughs and an occasional shoulder shrug. “Why does that even matter?” With the way society is today—thanks to television shows, movies, magazines, music videos, advertisements, and social media—it matters a lot.
Being a male advocate in a female-dominated field can be incredibly challenging and exhausting if you are not prepared. Preparation is the key. Here are some examples of the stereotypes you might be up against:
“Wait—why are you here? You’re a male…”
“You’re an advocate? Why?”
“I’m sorry but—she is not going to want to see you because you’re a guy.”
“I appreciate you doing what you do. However, we normally recommend that a woman responds to these types of events. I’m sure you understand, right?”
“Are you trained for this?”
“Wait—you volunteered to be an advocate? But, you’re a guy!”
These are just a small sample of the obstacles you can face as an advocate. They might sound like the worst-case scenarios because they are. The reason why you need to consider the worst-case scenarios is because you need to prepare yourself to hear things that you’re not expecting. Keep in mind, these are comments that you might hear before you even see the survivor. When you’re talking to the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) or hospital staff, you are in a safe environment. Meaning, your body language and emotional reactions to these comments should not impact the survivor. However, once you receive permission to enter the survivor’s room—there is no room for you to demonstrate how uncomfortable you are with these types of comments.
Not everything is about you. Leave your ego (h-ego) out in the waiting room.
The fact is, if you are not willing or prepared to take criticism——due to the fact you are a male—then this is not for you. That might sound very harsh but it is true. Allowing your pride and ego to get in your way does not serve survivors. If anything, it insults them. It is not always about you.
How do you get better at handling these types of situations? I highly recommend you incorporate Push Back scenarios into your training. This will help condition you to handle real-time resiliency.
What will using Push Back scenarios and exercises do for you as a male advocate?
It will condition you to handle circumstances that you are not expecting.
You will become a better advocate.
You will become a better facilitator and leader.
It will help you understand how other people feel about this topic, to include how they feel about male advocates.
How you start your day will determine if you’re going to be proactive or reactive. It is the difference between winning or losing.
Reactive: You wait until things happen and when they don’t, you allow your confirmation bias to manifest them. External circumstances are your master.
If you check social media, emails, or focus on what’s stressing you–prior to doing anything else–you will condition your mind to be reactive. This mindset will run your day.
Proactive: You don’t wait for things to happen, you make them happen. Everything you do is focused on helping you win.
If you train your mind to have an attitude for gratitude, you will own the day instead of the day owning you. Being grateful and cognizant of the things that matter will not leave any room for your mind to drift.
Social media and emails can be important, depending on what you do for a living. However, just like stress in general, they don’t run your day–you do.
The world would be a better place if we focused on things that we love, instead of what hate or dislike. That is why I highly recommend you develop an attitude for gratitude. Here are just a few things to consider:
I love people regardless of their gender.
I love people regardless of their age.
I love people regardless of the color of their skin.
I love people regardless of their sexual orientation.
I love people regardless of their political affiliation.
I love people regardless of their abilities and disabilities.
I love people regardless of their looks.
I love people that have a different opinion as me.
I love people for their uniqueness.
I love people for their originality.
I love people that challenge me and other people.
I love people that are obsessed with success.
I love people that are comfortable in their own skin.
I love people that value doing what’s right.
I love people that understand and practice selfless service.
I love people that choose not to conform to society.
I love people that support equality.
I love people that take ownership of the failures and success.
I love people that don’t settle for their comfort zones.
I love people that crave self-development and self-improvement.
I love people that understand when love is not always the answer.
I love people that recognize when something is not for them.
I love people that welcome the next chapter in their life.
I love people that are not afraid to take a stand.
I love people that challenge themselves.
I love people that can control their confirmation bias.
I love people that can identify their thinking traps.
I love people that own their happiness.
I love people that can fight off the comparison trap.
I love people.
This list could go on and on because once you recognize what you love or what you’re grateful for, you will begin to notice more and more things. Love, happiness, and positivity create winning streaks. Set yourself up to win.