Every parent knows that children tend to display a condition called ‘selective hearing’: they CHOOSE what they want to ‘hear,’ or more accurately, what they respond to.
As much as that irritates us as parents, if we understand the motivation behind this behaviour we have to admit that it’s an amazing skill to have! Moreover, there is an important lesson for adults to learn from such a skill.
It could also be comments made by others that seek to tear us down instead of lifting us up. It could be, simply, anything that prevents us from giving our full attention to a task at hand. These are all examples of ‘noise’ that we need to be able to tune out.
We don’t have to respond to every critic. We don’t have to jump at every call to do something which is neither important nor urgent. Neither do we need to be drawn into every argument that someone with apparently too much time on their hands, decides to instigate.O. N. Rowe
An ability to be selective about what we ‘hear’ and react to is, in many situations, an amazing skill to have.
An Overreaction can be described as an irrational, emotional reaction to some situation, leading to a response that is more forceful than is justified or can be considered reasonable.
When faced with an undesirable situation, our immediate instinct is typically to switch to self-preservation mode. In the absence of information we try to fill the gap with what often turns out to be the ‘worst case scenario’. The problem is that sometimes we end up doing more harm than good.
The impact of overreacting not only affects us, but potentially anyone else involved in the situation we are responding to. In fact, it can make the situation worse.
Interestingly, when we respond without the benefit of information, our response typically betrays our deep rooted fears, or even stereotypes, that might have shaped our expectations.
When we expect bad to happen – especially as a result of past experiences – the slightest resemblance can lead us to conclude that this IS in fact the reality. Put another way, our perception of a situation is often shaped by our expectations.
The bottom line: An overreaction is like using a sledge hammer to drive in a thumb tack. It will get the job done, but the damage can be devastating!O. N. Rowe
We can learn to minimize overreactions by pausing before we respond; by considering the possibility that we could be wrong; and by taking steps to gather as much information as we can, or as we need, to help with applying an objective response.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll
How many times have you put off doing something important because it was just ‘not the right time?’ How many times have you ended up not doing it at all because something else came up and…Uhmm…there was just no time in the end? I suspect we all have been there.
This is not about thoughtfully prioritizing (after all we are busy people) and ending up pushing something further down the list of priorities. It is that situation where you tell yourself ‘I won’t bother to do that now because there’s time tomorrow.” Or thinking that because someone has done something to upset us, we will “forgive them eventually” but NOT NOW. For now they must suffer in their guilt, shame, and your silence – there’ll be time to make up later.
But what if there is in fact NO time? What if you miss the opportunity to make up or to restore that broken relationship – FOREVER? Would your delay still be worth it?
Leaving the important things undone may very well condemn them to the pile of ‘never done’ because of factors outside of our control. That is why there is no time like NOW.
The difference between failure and success sometimes boils down to the impact of a mere 1% – that final 1%.
That is because this typically represents the point where mental and/or physical fatigue has set in; where past failures along the way have led you to doubt whether you have what it takes to complete what you started; or where your early enthusiasm has been replaced by questioning the wisdom of having started in the first place. But…
Having already done the hard work; having already made tremendous sacrifices; or having already gone 99% of the distance, you could very well miss out – IF YOU STOP NOW.O. N. Rowe
The difference between success and failure might well boil down to that final 1%, where you struggle the most to go on, and where you feel like you have done everything you can do. It is at that point where your success might very well be closer than you think – perhaps just 1% of incremental effort away.
Often times success vs. failure; or having a ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ day; or even the kind of outcome we have at the end of an activity, is determined by a combination of our expectations of success/reward, our approach and/or our attitude.
When we choose to get up, show up for the task at hand, and give it our best shot, we are increasing our IMPACT, whether this be on our personal pursuits, our family, our work Team or the Organization as a whole. With an increase in our impact we are increasing our chances of success.
However, when we simply sit back, go through the motions, and just let things happen, we are setting ourselves for failure by giving up control over the outcomes, and often times the result is quite underwhelming and disappointing!
Each day is an opportunity for us to INCREASE our impact, and that is the surest way to REDUCE the undesirable impact of external factors on the outcomes we desire.O. N. Rowe
So don’t just wait for things to happen TO you. MAKE things happen FOR you, the way YOU want them to. That is the surest way to secure a positive outcome.
Looking out at the lush, green foliage around me, and taking in the beautiful scenery, serene thoughts flooded my mind. I observed numerous geese enjoying moments ranging from peacefully resting atop the serene water in the pond, then gliding majestically across the pond with little or no effort, and eventually frolicking playfully in the water.
Red-winged Blackbirds singing sweetly in the trees, occasionally flitting from one place to another, getting up from their perch to fly around, or to enjoy a different kind of experience and perspective perched atop one of the slender reeds embanking the pond.
I thought about how often we tend to treat ‘normal’ as something bad. We believe, incorrectly, that unless we are on an emotional high, or out somewhere having fun, or doing something we actually enjoy doing, then we must be having a bad day or at best a ‘so-so’ day and at worst.
We pine after things that are NOT happening at the moment, forgetting to make the most of whatever our current situation might allow. We mistakenly believe that real happiness and contentment comes from something – whatever that ‘something’ happens to be at this particular moment- that we do not have.
Who said we cannot enjoy the normal things of life, like having some quiet peace around us. Or having an opportunity to recharge, or taking time to pay some attention to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being? It is in the normal, or even mundane, times, that we have the opportunity to benefit from the things that matter.
Yes working is important; having fun is important; being actively engaged in physical or recreational activities is important to our overall wellbeing. However, it is the beautiful tapestry of the whole, consisting the ‘normal,’ the ‘mundane’ and the ‘boring’, that provides us with an optimal experience in this journey through life.O. N. Rowe
So pursue your dreams; seek after the things you believe can build you into the best version of yourself. But in the process bear in mind that the ‘normal’ things play their vital roles. YES – Embrace the normal!
The word ‘Authenticity’ and the phrase ‘Be Your Authentic Self’ have become extremely popularized in recent times in a world which is supercharged by intolerance. Intolerance is a significant impediment to Authenticity.
In our day to day existence, we are faced with the dilemma of either being honest about who we are and possibly risk ostracism and isolation, or being forced to pretend to be ‘someone else’ or ‘something else’ to gain acceptance, or to avoid discrimination. This dilemma arises in response to perceived, and often times real, societal norms and expectations that dictate how we should look, behave, or even dream!
The dissonance that results from this disconnect has had untold negative impacts on the affected individuals for generations. The different coping mechanisms adopted by individuals in response sometimes compound the situation, often leading to tragic outcomes.
When we are intolerant of others based on how they are different than we consider ourselves to be, this discourages authenticity. When we deny others the freedom and opportunity they deserve to express their individuality and all that this entails, this inhibits authenticity.
In fact, I believe when we take the stance that our personal characteristics, circumstances, backgrounds or experiences make us in any way superior to others, we are being arrogant, self-righteous, narrow-minded and disrespectful.
Authenticity in its real sense removes the clutter from our psyche and provides the clarity of purpose that unleashes the power within us to accomplish our dreams, regardless of how ‘different’ they happen to be.
There’s a saying that goes ‘Once bitten, twice shy.’ The essence of it is that if you have a particular bad experience once, you will be inclined to expect a similarly bad experience next time around.
To some extent that makes a lot of sense. After all, who would want to risk having a repeat of a bad experience, especially one that had a huge impact on them?
Unfortunately, bad experiences are part of life and come via many sources, some expected, and others devastatingly unexpected. Some result from our own actions or non-actions; other times through other persons’.
In response to what might appear to be frequent disappointments we rationalize and comfort ourselves by saying we ‘…expect the worse and hope for the best’ in our quest to avoid further disappointment. This can be a dangerous approach to take!
This is because our reality tends to be aligned with our expectations because our expectations influence our actions. Simply put, we put out greater positive effort where positive returns are expected. Bottom line: effort often determines success.
Bottom line: Don’t let your past experiences shape your expectations for the future.
Not everything you set out to do in life will go your way; and that’s ok. The important thing is that some will! Sometimes you can never tell which will turn out to be a success – even the ones you are most certain about can fail, and the ones you least expect to, can succeed.
The reality is that there are some situations where you possess all the right skills and resources to succeed at, but you fail because one critical ingredient is missing: the right attitude.
Sometimes we even underestimate the desire of someone else to win in instances where there are competitors.
Where these acts of self-sabotage take place (and that is exactly what they are), failure is almost assured. The fault for such unexpected outcome then lies squarely at our feet even if we seek to transfer the blame on someone else, or on something else.
Therefore always be humble and be prepared to work hard; to run through the tape; to keep your shoulders to the wheel. If, after all that, failure is the outcome, then you can feel satisfied that you gave it your best shot.
And that ALWAYS means that you are better off than you would have been, had you not given your best.