A. Cancerous thoughts successful people quarantine, the first of three articles by Travis Bradberry for LinkedIn (ME: I post these for my own benefit, though everyone can learn from these words).
Your self-talk (the thoughts you have about your feelings) can make or break you. They either magnify the negativity or help you turn a misstep into something productive.
Negative self-talk in unrealistic, unnecessary, and self-defeating, sending you into a downward spiral that is difficult to pull out of. All self-talk is driven by important beliefs you hold about yourself. Henry Ford said “he who believes he can and he who believes he cannot are both correct.”
Successful people possess the ability to control negative self-talk so it doesn’t prevent them from reaching their full potential. Here are some common thoughts that hold people back more than any others:
1. Perfection equals success (wrong!) When perfection is your goal, you are always left with a nagging sense of failure. You end up spending time lamenting what you failed to accomplish, instead of enjoying what you were able to achieve.
2. My destiny in self-determined. Blaming multiple successes or failures on forces beyond your control is a cop out. Life may deal you difficult cards to play, and other times you’ll be holding aces. Your willingness to give your all in whatever hand you’re holding is what will determine your ultimate success or failure in life.
3. I “always” or “never” do that. Since that is untrue, it’s just self-pity. It makes you believe you have no control of yourself and you will never change.
4. I succeed when others approve of me. You are never as good or bad as they say you are. Take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. Self-worth comes from within. ME: – and from God.
5. My past equals my future. Repeated failures erodes self-confidence. Most of the time these failures come from taking risks and trying to achieve something (if you aren’t doing these things, then shame on you). Success lies in your ability to rise in the face of failure. Anything worth achieving will require a little risk taking. You can’t allow failure to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed.
6. My emotions equal my reality. Take an objective look at your feelings and separate fact from fiction. Otherwise your emotions will continue to skew your sense of reality, and make you vulnerable to the negative self-talk that can hold you back from achieving your full potential.
Complaining is also bad for your health – raising blood pressure and blood sugar, impairing your immune system, and making you more susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and obesity.
Like second-hand smoke, keeping the company of complainers can bring on the same effects as complaining yourself. The scientific term is Neuronal Mirroring – the basis for our ability to feel empathy.
Combat complaining by developing an attitude of gratitude. Shift your attention away from complaining. Research shows being thankful reduces stress, improves mood and energy, with less anxiety. In time the positive neuron bridges will become a way of life.
Combat complaining by solving the problem:
1. Have a clear purpose.
2. Start with something positive. Helps keep people from getting defensive.
3. Be specific.
4. End on a positive.
C. How to break a bad habit- a related article by Bradberry. Don’t give up too soon – research shows it takes 66 days for a good habit to form, or shake a bad habit.
Bad habits are formed: something triggers the bad behavior, then there’s the behavior itself, then finally the reward. Example: you’re stressed, so you numb out on Facebook for an hour and eat a bag of Cheetos. Once you repeat this enough, you do it without even thinking about it – even when you’re not even stressed.
The 66 day process of breaking a habit:
Look Inward (days 1-10): the problems are obvious (overweight). The real challenge is understanding the triggers, especially if the habit is so ingrained that you do it subconsciously (overeat, don’t exercise). What is the source of the habit? (unhappiness/stress?).
Spread the Word (days 11-40): accountability is crucial. Tell everyone you can about the habit you’re trying to break. The more vocal you are, the more likely people will call you out when you slip up. Let them know you really want them to say something. You might have to keep reminding them. A step I always avoid – erroneously.
Mind your relapse triggers (days 41-66): Be ready to make mistakes, but look for the common threads, and try to avoid those mistakes.
Reward yourself (day 67): celebrate – and chose the next habit you want to break.