Monthly Archives: February 2013

Overcome 3 Negative Effects Of Emotional Reasoning

In my own life, I have noticed that I tend to use what is called “emotional reasoning.”

A great article I ran across lately online is called “Unhelpful thinking habits.”

You can find the article online at this website:

http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/unhelpful.htm

I like their example of emotional reasoning: “I feel bad, so I must be bad”, or “I feel anxious, so I must be in danger.”

In his valuable book called “The Feeling Good Handbook”, Dr. David Burns defines emotional reasoning this way:

You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things are: ‘I feel terrified about going on airplanes.  It must be very dangerous to fly.’

This type of faulty thinking leads to a great deal of tension, anxiety and depression.

In today’s post, I’d like to give you three negative consequences we experience when we confuse our negative feelings with truth or reality.  I will also provide three tips that you can follow to overcome these faulty perceptions.

We end up living life based on our feelings, rather than on the truth

You may recognize these types of thoughts… You have likely had your own battle with these ideas:

“I feel incapable, so I must be inadequate for the job.”

“I feel inferior to these people, so there must be something wrong with me.”

“I feel rejected, so I must not ‘measure up’.”

We all need to be careful of making such faulty conclusions.

This morning, I needed to refer back to my document called “Top 15 Achievements.”  My hope is that this blog provides you with valuable and practical ideas.  Even for me, it’s tough to put good ideas into practice.  I seem to learn a lot through trial and error.

I would encourage you to create and review your own “Top 15 Achievements” type of document.  One of the biggest battles in life is against the self-doubt and the “inner critic” that we all face.

Why create an achievements document?  With all the negativity we face, we can all use an extra source of inspiration. Write out and review your achievements document.  You will notice that you have demonstrated many positive characteristics.

From each accomplishment, you will notice a positive characteristic that you can be proud of.  For instance, you will notice that you are capable, adequate, goal-oriented, persistent, strong, and courageous.

These are the true character traits that you need to focus on.  It’s been valuable to me, and will be helpful for you if you put this idea into practice.

We end up settling for the status quo in our lives – as we focus on our “inadequacies”

When facing any challenge or obstacle in life, here is one natural response:

“I feel inadequate, so this new goal or challenge is too big for me.”

About a year ago, I called in the computer repairman for help with my router problems.  The Internet on my computer was not working.

The repairman couldn’t figure things out after a few hours.  He tried different things, and as a last resort, finally tested my router.

Finally, he wasn’t really sure if it was my router or not.  So, he took it and tested it at his place.

To make a long story short, I ended up purchasing my own router, hooking it up, and it worked!  I called for support in getting things working.  Things worked well.

When I was initially faced this challenge, I thought “I can’t figure things out and get things working again.”  I felt inadequate, and falsely concluded that I was inadequate for the task.  To fix my problem with the router, I ended up spending more money and time than I needed to.

What an expensive lesson!  It demonstrates the folly of thinking, “This is a new problem.  I’m not adequate to handle it, so I can’t fix things.”

How many goals and dreams are you setting aside for another day?  Is it because you think you’re inadequate?

I’d like to encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone.  Don’t talk yourself out of your dream.  You have greater potential and capabilities in your life that you even recognize right now.  Give yourself a chance.

We don’t get started with our goals and dreams- because we don’t “feel motivated” to get things going

Here’s one statement that reminds me of a lack of motivation.

“I don’t feel motivated today, so I must be lazy.”

When we label ourselves, we end up holding ourselves back in life.  Too many of us quit on our goals and dreams before we even give ourselves a chance to succeed.

How important is your biggest goal or dream?

I assume that you have a major goal for your life.

Rather than worry about how motivated you are to achieve it, take a moment to consider how committed, determined, and focused you are in achieving your goal.

Think of the end result or reward when you achieve it.  Would this end result be rewarding?

Of course it would!

Rather than “wait to feel motivated,” focus on the rewards you would experience when you achieve your major goal.

When you put this idea into practice, I can assure you that you will be motivated to start taking action.

With my busy schedule, one of my major goals is to maintain and develop a higher fitness level.

I have a workout machine at home that I enjoy using.

My goal is to workout at least twice a week.  Three times would be nice, but I have set two workouts as my minimum goal.

Do I always feel motivated to do my workout?  Not really.

There are times when I would rather skip it until the next day.  I find my schedule to be demanding and (at times) very tiring.

I used to label myself as “lazy” when I would postpone my workout.  I would then get rather discouraged and critical with myself.

The negative and critical questions would then enter my mind, as I would ask: “What’s wrong with me?  Why am I so lazy?”

I am now focusing on the rewards of a good fitness level:

  • greater energy
  • more strength to meet my daily responsibilities
  • better health
  • plus many other additional benefits…

With these types of benefits or rewards, I am determined to stay on track with my workout schedule and fitness goal.

In a similar way, think about one of your major goals.  What is your level of commitment, determination, and focus for achieving it?

If your rewards are compelling enough, taking action on your dream will become “second nature” to you.

In summary, here are three tips that will hopefully encourage you today:

  • Rather than focus on negative feelings about yourself, focus on a mental image of yourself and your positive characteristics (caring, inspired, motivated, strong & courageous)
  • Rather than “feel inadequate,” take action, step outside your comfort zone (you will learn that you can do the thing that you think you cannot do).
  • Rather than wait to “feel motivated” – focus on the rewards of achieving your goals and dreams (that way you will become more committed, determined, and focused on taking action in your life).

I like the quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. in the image below, which says “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Until my next post, have a great day.

infinite hope Overcome 3 Negative Effects Of Emotional Reasoning

3 Beliefs That Can Hinder Our Progress In Life

Many of us don’t like to admit that we have struggles with anxiety and depression.  I think a more accurate statement might be “most of us.”  These internal battles are not ones that most don’t want to share or talk about.

It’s good that it seems to be a topic that is talked about.  Even in the local paper and online, high-profile people, such as sports coaches, and people in business are able to share their struggles (and hopefully, without being “stigmatized” for it).  In my opinion, that’s a good thing.

In my own life, I’ve noticed how my own attitudes about things affect my daily results.

In today’s post, I’d like to encourage you with a greater awareness of these four “erroneous” or hindering beliefs.  Hopefully, these ideas will inspire you, and motivate you to journal about outdated attitudes or beliefs that may be hampering your own progress in life.

Viewing Life as a Daily Grind

When we have a lot of things to do, it’s easy to get “caught up” in all the duties, responsibilities, and obligations of daily life.

I’ll address the “work” portion of these responsibilities.

In the past, I have often equated the “daily grind” with a schedule that is tiring, draining – one which drives us to the point of exhaustion.

With this blog and online business, I often think about all the things that need to get done.  If I’m not careful, my mind starts to work overtime.  I think about all the tasks and training modules I need to complete.  My mind tends to go at warp speed, or about a million miles an hour.  I then start to feel stressed out and anxious about my schedule.

I do enjoy training, learning, and writing for this blog.  Unfortunately, things don’t always go “according to the plan.”

Even when I wake up in the morning, I sometimes lack the enthusiasm to get things going.   I’ll often tell myself “So much to do and so little time.”

When we tell ourselves these types of statements, it’s no wonder we start to feel anxious in our daily lives.  We wonder how we’ll ever get things done.

If you’re tempted to think of life as just a “daily grind” that you need to endure, I’d like to challenge you to think of a couple of major goals you could start to work on in your life (if you’re not working on them already).  What are your two major goals?  What are the major rewards you would experience as you achieve them?

What would be your major compelling reason to get started, stay motivated, and accomplish your top goal?  Think of something that would be deeply rewarding to you.  This inspiring purpose and reward will keep you going as you try to achieve your goal.

Life is meant to be much more than “a daily grind” or another day to just get through.

Viewing Difficulties in Life as “Overwhelming”

With any big issues, problems, challenges, or obstacles we face, one of our natural reactions is “This is unfair.  Why is this happening to me?”

I like how the motivational speaker Les Brown answers the question “Why me?”  His response is “Who would you suggest instead?”  This is a good response.

Whenever we view our difficulties in life as overwhelming, it’s easy to give in to self-pity, discouragement, and even depression.  Things often look more dismal than they actually are.

It could be that the difficulty you face will provide you with greater learning, wisdom, and character development.  Les Brown wrote an excellent book called “It’s Not Over Until You Win.”   I like his perspective in the following quote:

Your talents and abilities are gifts handed to you but your character is formed under fire and tested in turmoil.

It’s interesting that many of our most famous leaders came from humble and difficult backgrounds.  If we read a biography about their upbringing, series of defeats, and hardships, most of us would probably “write them off” and think that they would have no hope to succeed.

It’s the difficulties, challenges, and obstacles we face that allow us to develop great things like character and perseverance.

Think back to any major success you had in your life.  Was it easy?  No.  Was the pain and challenge worthwhile?  If you endured some difficulty to achieve a major success, I’m sure you would agree that it was.

Problems and challenges help us learn, grow, and develop character.  If I could give only one piece of advice with this blog, it would be this:  Don’t run from your problems.  Face them.  You’ll discover that you have more courage than you think you do.  Give yourself a chance to overcome your own difficulties in life.

Viewing Failures and Disappointments as “The End of the Road”

When you have experienced any type of failure or setback in your life, was it truly the end of the road for you?

Things like rejection, disappointment, and failed expectations are painful events.  We should never try to minimize the loss.

There is a time or a season to mourn over a loss, but at some point, we need to move forward after such events.

I have had major business setbacks.  My business dealings were with two companies who were less than ethical, helpful, or supportive.  It’s difficult to get over the anger, discouragement and depression I felt for allowing myself to get involved with these kinds of companies.

When I was laid off from previous jobs, the companies I worked for lost major contracts.

I wallowed in self-pity and thought “Why me?”  As a result, I found it very difficult to get things going for myself.

Looking back, I was able to experience some good things after all:

  • I was able to upgrade many of my skills.
  • I learned more about my own talents, skills and accomplishments – and that (contrary to my own opinion), I can be a valuable employee for many organizations.
  • I met some very helpful and supportive contacts at some job and career search workshops.
  • I discovered that I enjoy writing for this blog, and like learning about developing this blog and website.

I like a Winston Churchill that I read a few years ago, that “Success is not final.  Failure is not fatal.  It is the courage to continue that counts.”

In summary, here are three ideas that I hope you find helpful and practical:

  • Instead of viewing life as a daily grind, focus on the rewards you’ll experience when you achieve your goals and dreams.
  • Instead of viewing your difficulties as “overwhelming” – use these challenges to develop character and perseverance in your life.
  • Instead of viewing failure as a finality, look for the positive things that you can learn from each setback and disappointment.

I like the quote from Eric Hoffer in the image below, which says “The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”

Until my next post, have a great day.

blessings quote 3 Beliefs That Can Hinder Our Progress In Life

3 Tips To Help You Address And Overcome Self-Blame

If you’ve ever had intense feelings of regret, please know that you’re not alone.

I’ve made personal and business decisions that I have regretted.

If we’re not careful, we can end up focusing on our mistakes and errors of the past.  Our moods, attitudes, productivity, and sense of well-being are affected.

In today’s post, I’d like to help you address any areas of your life in which regret plays a major role.

Self-Blame Leads Directly to Regret and Depression

If you blame yourself for your unchangeable past, you end up getting caught up in feelings of regret.

Sometimes, we personalize our mistakes and failures, feeling that our past defines us, and sets the course for the rest of our lives.

Viewed incorrectly, our past will have a negative impact on our present circumstances, but only if we allow it to.

For instance, I have often regretted some of my own past decisions.  I would ask myself questions that would make me feel depressed:

  • “Why did I make such a poor choice?”
  • “Why do I make such bad decisions?”

Your poor choices from the past do not equate with your potential.  If you think about it, any past success you had last month doesn’t necessarily translate into a big success today or next week.

You might have made a previous decision for a variety of reasons.  It’s best to step back and take a look at some potential reasons:

  • You were younger, and you didn’t think through the consequences of your choice (you lacked wisdom)
  • You made a decision without adequate information (which demonstrates the importance of due diligence and doing your homework)
  • You made a decision because someone else “thought it was a good idea.” (you were too easily influenced)

With any poor decision from your past, take the time to look back upon it objectively.  The list I just wrote about gives three examples.

Rather than subjectively personalize your wrong choices, look for the learning.  You can gain wisdom for this moment and for your future.

Self-Blame affects your enthusiasm for your goals and dreams in life

When starting out on a new goal or project, it’s natural to allow our past mistakes and failures to dominate our thinking.

If you start to think by default (which means “negatively” when you battle with depression and regret), you may tell yourself “I can’t accomplish this goal.  Look at my past.  Who am I to think that I can do this?”

Then you may start to think about all the reasons why you can’t succeed, why you don’t have what it takes, and any of the mistakes and unwise choices you’ve made in the past.

If you take a few moments to list your major accomplishments and achievements, wouldn’t you agree that you are capable of greater or better things in life?

Think about two of your major goals.  Are they important enough for you to pursue?  Of course they are!

You will learn as time goes by (which is very quickly when you think about it), that your present moments and future are far too important to get caught up in self-blame, regret and depression over your past choices.

The important part of life is to get up and try again, and again, and again, and again… (I think you get the point!)

Perseverance is key.  Never quit on your goals or your dreams in life.

I like a quote I read this morning from Michael Jordan, who of course, is considered the greatest basketball player, and is in the NBA Hall of Fame:

I’ve missed over 9,000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games.  26 times I’ve been trusted to take the winning shot…and missed.  I’ve failed over and over again in my life.  And that’s why I succeed.

Think of all the outstanding leaders in our world (such as Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill).  They had their share of heartaches, challenges, and defeats.  Yet they decided not to personalize it.  They kept going, and made an exceptional difference.  You can too, if you begin to view each past choice more objectively, and then decide to give yourself a chance.  Today is a new day.

Your goal for your life should be bigger than your past regret.  If it’s not, it’s time to develop a dream for your life that you can be enthusiastic about.

Self-Blame causes us to overlook our good qualities and the blessings we experience

If you blame yourself excessively, you definitely have a habit of overlooking your good qualities.

Not only that, you tend to forget that you do have blessings in your life.

If you’re depressed over something in your current circumstances, it shows that you care about the things that are happening, and the things that have just happened.

In the past, you have demonstrated your own care, compassion, and understanding for others.  You have many positive and valuable qualities that other people likely admire.  Ask a friend.

When you start focusing on your past failures or present limitations, you have likely forgotten that you even have any good qualities.

Take a piece of paper and list them now.

I just did.  This morning I’ve been carrying around my own regrets.  As I write this post, I have thought back to a few of my own mistakes of the past.

When I wrote down nine of my good qualities, I started to recognize once again that I do have some good, redeeming characteristics.  You will notice this as well when you write them down.

What are your present blessings?  Do you have food, clothing, and shelter?  You likely do.  Do you have a computer or some type of reading device?  You clearly do if you’re reading this blog post.  Do you have your health?

Even if your past has been marked by failures or mistakes, you still have capabilities, strengths, talents, skills, hopes, dreams, visions, plans, weaknesses you can work on – - and positive characteristics which you can build upon.

You have many positive things that you can be grateful for.

One thing I had forgotten to write (and review) was my daily gratitude list.

To overcome much of our despair and depression, it’s vital for each of us to reflect upon our daily blessings.  Gratitude is an essential foundation for your success and well-being.

Remember to take time for a brief gratitude list.  I can assure you that it will make a difference in your life.

In summary, here are three tips I wish I had followed.  These ideas are hopefully one’s that you can use whenever you feel depressed or regretful about your past:

  • Rather than blame yourself for your past mistakes, consider the valuable lessons and wisdom you can gain from your mistakes.
  • Don’t allow your past regrets to determine your the quality of your life (give yourself a chance by persevering with your goals and dreams).
  • Focus on your daily blessings and the good personal qualities that you have (and the characteristics you want to develop).

I like the quote from Malcolm S. Forbes in the image below, which says “Failure is success if we learn from it.”

Until my next post, have a great day.

Failure Quotes 11 3 Tips To Help You Address And Overcome Self Blame

Build Your Self-Respect As You Overcome Depression

The term “self-respect” is (to me) both an interesting word and concept.  I hope it is for you as well.

The Merriam-Webster.com site defines self-respect as “a proper respect for oneself as a human being.” Another site (thefreedictionary.com) defines self- respect as:

  • due respect for oneself, one’s character, and one’s conduct, and…
  • a proper sense of one’s own dignity and integrity

I like these definitions.  If we follow these ideas, and incorporate this concept into our lives, any battle with depression can be won.

This is a rather bold statement, wouldn’t you say?  How could such a claim be made?

There are certain aspects of ourselves that are well-worth respecting.

With today’s post, I’d like to provide you with three ideas that I found both helpful and encouraging.

As always, much of what I share with you is the result of my own trial-and-error in my own life.

Respect Your Value and Worth as a Person

To build your own sense of self-respect, this is an important first step.

How much value do you place on yourself?  Do you think that you are worthy of respect and success in your life?

Do you affirm your good qualities?  Are there aspects of yourself that you can respect and even admire?

Of course there are!

If you think about your value as a person – you are a unique individual.  As Og Mandino mentions in his book called “The Greatest Miracle In The World,” never before on the face of the planet has there ever been someone exactly like you, and never again will there ever be another person like you.

I would encourage you to consider your unique identity and to place a high value upon yourself.  As I have done so in my own life, I am beginning to eliminate the inner critic that says “I can’t,” and “I’m not good enough.”

Begin to accept and affirm yourself unconditionally.  I have a couple of excellent affirmations for you to refer to whenever you struggle with depression or self-doubt:

  • I am loving and accepting of who I am and who I am becoming.
  • I love and approve of myself aside from my accomplishments.

What types of things do you tell yourself about yourself?  Make a commitment to affirm yourself (instead of tearing yourself down).  It makes a tremendous difference.

Respect Your Strengths and Talents

This is a difficult step to follow.  I have found that it really takes time to develop this habit.

Take a bit of time to figure out your strengths and best characteristics.

What are you good at doing?  Do you have special skills or qualities?  I’m sure that if you take a good inventory of your past achievements and accomplishments, you will find several.

A few years ago, I was encouraged to create a document called “Top 15 Achievements” from my personal development coach.  It was an eye-opening experience.

Lately, as I have struggled with discouragement, I have often questioned my own abilities to learn, to get things done, and to achieve my goals.  Whenever I have fallen short of my targets and objectives, I have started to focus on my own weaknesses and self-doubts.

This morning, I opened my “Top 15 Achievements” document at the computer.

As I reviewed this document again, I felt encouraged.  I was reminded of my best accomplishments.  More importantly, I thought back to the challenges and obstacles that I had to overcome to achieve my goals.

Create your own list of top 15 achievements.  Whenever you battle or struggle with depression or inadequacy, you will need a constant reminder each day that you have many strengths, talents, and personal characteristics of which you can be proud of.

If I could give one piece of advice with this blog, it would be to be careful about the things you focus on, and to not accept depression and discouragement as a way of life.

Accept Yourself as You Work on Your Shortcomings

Unconditional self-acceptance is a difficult thing to master.

We tie so much of our self-esteem with our behaviour.  I think this is part of human nature.

For instance, it’s easy for me to say “I behaved badly, therefore I must be a bad person.” or to also say “I failed to achieve this goal.  Therefore, I must be a failure.”

There is so much faulty logic in these statements.  For example, if I failed to achieve my goal, I might have the wrong goal, or the timing might not have been quite right.  It might be the first time I tried to accomplish that objective.  It doesn’t mean that I’m a failure as a person.

In my previous blog post, I referred to an image that I saved on this website called “Be Thankful.”  As I write this morning for this blog, I recognize that I need this advice as much as I give it.

Here is a link to the image (which will open in a new tab).

http://topliferesults.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Be_Thankful1.gif

I think it’s worth printing out and referring to every day.  It’s so easy to focus on our problems and challenges, rather than the good things or daily blessings that we have.

While we’re on the topic about our limitations or weaknesses, a couple of the statements really stand out for me:

Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement.”

“Be thankful for your mistakes.  They will teach you valuable lessons.”

Through much of my own life, I never really thought about my limitations and mistakes that way.  I wish I had.

Imagine how much progress you can make with your own limitations and mistakes in life with this perspective!

Sometimes we really need to work on our level of self-acceptance.  You might be at this stage in your own life.  Do you tend to approve of yourself and your value, or do you tend to tear yourself and become impatient with yourself.

Here is a great quote from St. Francis de Sales:

Have patience with all things but first with yourself.  Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human being.  You’re a perfectly valuable, creative, worthwhile person simply because you exist.  And no amount of triumphs or tribulations can ever change that.  Unconditional self-acceptance is the core of a peaceful mind.

St. Francis de Sales was a patron saint of the Roman Catholic Church and a writer.  It’s interesting how we can learn from people of different faiths, ideas, and backgrounds, no matter what our personal or spiritual perspective may be.

In summary, here are today’s three ideas and tips to help you build your level of self-respect:

  • Respect your value and worth as a person – make a commitment to accept yourself unconditionally.
  • Take an inventory of your proudest accomplishments & create your own “Top Achievements” document – as you refer to it on a daily basis, you’ll be inspired and encouraged to pursue your goals
  • Accept yourself as you work on your shortcomings- Be thankful for the lessons and opportunities for improvement

I like the quote from Henry Ford in the image below, which says “Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement.”

Until my next post, have a great day.

mistake quote Build Your Self Respect As You Overcome Depression