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Category Archives: Perspectives

My Journey To Positive Thinking

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Some people would say that “life sucks.”

Really!?

I adhere to the dictum that “Life is what we make it.” I believe then that when people say that “life sucks” it’s because that’s the way they made it to be. The kind of life we live is defined by the mind-set we have. It is one’s way of thinking that would make life suck.  It is the negative attitude towards life that make people fail in their undertakings – it is what  makes them unhappy and dissatisfied. It’s in the midst of all their failures, sadness and dissatisfaction that  they say “life sucks.”

People are seemingly not sold on the idea that their  way of thinking affects the way  they live life and would determine whether or not they succeed. It is hard for them to accept that it is their innate responsibility to examine their way of thinking and ensure that it doesn’t stand in their way to happiness and success. This is something  I learned so late in life. How I wish I had learned so when I was  younger.

I have heard a lot of things about positive thinking before  but it was only around 2009 that I started digging deeper into the idea and it took a few more years before I really became serious about it.

I realized that there is more to positive thinking than veering away from negative thoughts and shedding off negative attitudes.

It all began when I watched a film entitled “The Secret.” I saw the DVD of the movie by accident. The store owner mixed it with regular movies. When I bought it, I had no idea what it was. There was no synopsis, not even a brief note explaining anything about it. That was it… everything was what the title suggests – SECRET.

I thought it was either a mystery-thriller or a sci-fi movie. When I played, it I found out that it was some kind of a “self-help” film. It was technically a documentary.  I have to admit that at first I  considered the ideas presented as preposterous. Things  I was seeing and hearing from the beginning of the film were like lifted straight from the pages of  a science fiction book… but at the same they also tickled my curiosity.

So, I continued watching and tried to be open-minded and thought of the information in the film as tips for personality development. I have always considered anything that advocates positive change as worth my time and worth trying.  I watched it a few more times after that  and even shared the ideas I learned to my students whenever I would see a connection to the contents of the topic we’re discussing.

Then I decided to do an internet  search for one of the speakers in the documentary who impressed me the most – Bob Proctor. That internet search led me to his (Bob Proctor’s) motivational videos on YouTube and to links to information and videos of other motivational speakers such as Wayne Dyer, Les Brown, Jim Rohn, Joe Dispenza, Brendon Burchard, Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, and Mel Robbins.

I watched the videos of the said speakers and searched for electronic copies of the books they have written. At first, it was like once a week that I would play their videos on YoutTube  until such time that I started doing it everyday – in the morning and at night. It became part of my daily routine.

I found out later that Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, and Earl Shoaff came ahead of the motivational speakers previously mentioned. My constant browsing of the internet intended to quench what has seemingly become an insatiable thirst for ideas for personality development  led me  to the works of  one of the “pioneering figures of modern inspirational thoughts” – James Allen. His most famous book – “As A Man Thinketh” – set straight everything I learned about positive thinking.

Dr. Joe Dispenza’s book “Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind” provided enough science into the positive thinking paradigm that wiped out whatever doubts I had about it. I love the way Dr. Wayne Dyer incorporated Asian philosophies into that paradigm and the infusion of practical wisdom and humor to it by Jim Rohn and Les Brown.

I don’t take  everything I read and hear from motivational speakers hook, line, and sinker. I always have my filters and my critical lens ready when I listen to talks and read books. I analyzed their ideas carefully and (without judging and doubting) tried to see which ones work for me and which writers and speakers make sense.

The one thing those motivational speakers succeeded in doing was to change my mind-set. They taught me how to look at things using a positive perspective. They were able to convince me that whatever we become is the sum total of all the decisions we make.

The process of my personal transformation was rather slow and I got to observe things in my life changing for the better only in 2013.

When positive thinking succeeded in changing my perspectives about life, things in my life improved,  particularly in the areas of relationships, health, work, and  finances.

One day I just woke up and  realized that things are the way that they are. People are who they are. They talk, behave and act the way they want, whether I like it or not.  I can not change them. I can not change the  system of the government, the policies in my workplace, the attitude of my co-workers, the character of my friends and loved ones. The only things I could  change are those that I could control directly  – my words, actions, and my thoughts.  It is my perspective that must change. I need to have paradigm shift as Bob Proctor would put it.

I did exactly that. I changed my perspective and it is continuously evolving.  I’m not saying that everything in my life now is perfect. One thing I could say though is I am happy with who I am, what I have, and where I am. Perhaps the life I live now  is what Brendon Burchard would describe at the end of his videos as – “a charged life.”

I fully embraced self-sufficiency and personal accountability.

People wrongly think that positive thinking is just that – thinking. It only starts there – having a positive mindset. What would make positive thinking weave its magic is the corresponding positive actions you undertake.

Positive thinking without positive action doesn’t work. Brian Tracy added one more to the equation – “One must have an organized plan of action.” He added that action without planning is the cause of every failure, underachievement, frustration, time wastage, anxiety, and stress.

So, it’s not just a person needing to think positively and that’s it. Action and planning are needed.

All motivation gurus advocate the setting of goals. They strongly suggest that people should have their daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals… on top of their long-term goals.  They also identified two qualities that a person must have in order for positive thinking to work – self-discipline and self-sufficiency.

I’m highly appreciative of the efforts exerted by Tom Bilyeu and Evan Carmichael.

Bilyeu hosts a show called “Impact Theory” where he interviews some of the world’s highest achievers in different fields of endeavors to learn their secrets of success.

Carmichael’s “Top 10 Rules For Success” – a segment of his   YouTube channel “Believe” – provides a 10-point summary of what he considers as the best advice motivational speakers and successful people could give for  people to succeed.

I also subscribed to the following YouTube channels for my daily dose of motivation.

  1. YouAre Creators
  2. Daily Motivation
  3.  Actualized.org
  4.  Growing Forever
  5.  Your Universe
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On Perspective

HARDPEN'S PORTFOLIO

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I do have a friend who would usually be mistakenly identified as me. There were many instances that  people in the university where both of us are teaching called me by his name and him by mine. Why? None of us is a dead ringer for the other but very likely that our  similar built, height and rounded face would make people commit that mistake.

Seemingly bemused, he asked me one time, “Why would they think I am you? Do I look as old as you are?” I paused for a while, smiled then told him jokingly, “No, I think I just look as young and handsome as you are.”

As my friend laughed at my response, I thought that the contrasting way we looked at the issue has opened an opportunity for me to revisit the topic “perspective.”

That (perspective) is one of the most amazing things about us…

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On Perspective

writeawriting-com

I do have a friend who would usually be mistakenly identified as me. There were many instances that  people in the university where both of us are teaching called me by his name and him by mine. Why? None of us is a dead ringer for the other but very likely that our  similar built, height and rounded face would make people commit that mistake.

Seemingly bemused, he asked me one time, “Why would they think I am you? Do I look as old as you are?” I paused for a while, smiled then told him jokingly, “No, I think I just look as young and handsome as you are.”

As my friend laughed at my response, I thought that the contrasting way we looked at the issue has opened an opportunity for me to revisit the topic “perspective.”

That (perspective) is one of the most amazing things about us humans – our tendency to look at the same thing differently.

Anything in this world can be viewed from different perspectives. We get to decide at what angle we would look at circumstances, problems, events and even objects using lenses that are uniquely ours. We tend to measure the value of those things using our own sets of standards and label and define them according to our beliefs.  Those standards and beliefs are shaped by the way we were raised by our parents, trained by our  teachers, influenced by the people around us, and conditioned by our culture.

The sum total of the experiences we accumulated since birth and the amount and quality of information we gathered through the years from different sources are the factors that contribute to the kind of perspectives we develop as persons. Our way of viewing things depends on the belief system that those experiences and information impressed upon us.

Each person is entitled to embrace a particular attitude towards something. There are no specific measurement to determine the rightness and wrongness of perspectives. Only the consequences of a person’s action (or the lack of it) as a result of embracing certain perspectives could perhaps be labeled as right or wrong.

When we are about to take a perspective it’s like we’re positioning ourselves in the number scale and decide whether to go north or south.  We can either be positive or negative with our perspective. Those are the only directions we could take when we look  at issues and circumstances confronting us. It’s a matter of choice.

Perspective is said to be like a coin, it only has two sides. We flip the coin and choose either “head” or “tail.”

Our perspectives affect the decisions we make. They inform the things we think, say and do. Thus, while we are entitled to have any kind of perspective, in the same manner that we are entitled to our own opinions, we have to understand that we will bear whatever consequences there may be for embracing the perspectives we take.

We also need to understand that we could not assume that what we believe or see is definitive. Different people have different ways of looking at things. The perspective of the world that dictates the lens through which we see it is not the same for everybody. We need to develop the ability to see things from another’s viewpoint.

Perspectives can either be broad or narrow.

Having a broad perspective means being able to see the bigger picture.  `

I once had a conversation with  another friend about working conditions. He bewailed the fact that a truck driver in his country earns more than what he is earning in a year as an expat teacher. After listening to his litany, I told him to pause for a while and dig deeper into his comparison and consider other factors like number of required work hours and the physical demands for the job. When computing the number of hours, I reminded him that we as teachers are not actually working during winter and summer breaks but we get paid in full by the university as stipulated in our contracts.

He realized at the end that his pay per hour is actually higher than the truck driver and his working conditions are much better.

It is not really hard to train the mind to look at the bigger picture. It is easy to look beyond the obvious if only we’re open-minded. It does not require a special kind of training. All we need is common sense.

There are a lot more that could be explored in the discussion of perspective. At the end, the thing that matters is the answer to the question, “How do our perspectives affect the way we live?”

If the lenses we are using to view the world have brought us success and happiness, why change them. We’ve been told many times, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But what about if those lenses are seemingly broken and  have caused us nothing but failure and misery?  Is it time to visit an OPTIMIST?

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