Saturday, 31 October 2020

How can I recognize my most important relationships?

Who is depending on you? Who will suffer the consequences if you don't do your job? Who are you accountable to? Who will call you out if you fail, and who can help you get back on track? What type of accountability system would work for you? Do you need to be gently encouraged or driven hard? How will you communicate your progress? Over the phone? As she talked about this fear her eyes filled with tears--a good indication that we'd gotten to the root of her potential obstacles. Facing this truth was an important first step for May. Now she had something to work with. She simply needed more information. May decided to add research pastry chef schools and classes to her action plan. Interestingly enough, the very next day May found a flyer for a French baking class offered in her community. Seeing this as a Divine sign, she immediately signed up. What are you really concerned about? Go back and look at how you answered the questions about your potential obstacles. Then take out your journal and answer the following questions: The evidence was irrefutable and showed that Vince was guilty of strangling his elderly father to death and dumping the body on the side of the road in another state, after chopping off the fingers to make the body harder to identify. Although Vince didn't deny his role in ending his father's life, he maintained that his crime was not the act of a cold-blooded killer.

Representing himself in court, he laid out a rather incoherent case for his insanity, built around the idea that his brain was destabilized by low levels of serotonin after he quit his antidepressants cold turkey. Although Vince showed some unusual twitching behavior, severe mood swings, and cognitive problems in the lead-up to his trial, law enforcement officials, a psychiatrist, the judge, and the jury all assumed that he was faking these symptoms. After all, isn't this exactly what you would expect from a cold-blooded killer trying to avoid doing time for his crime? The good news about human nature is that extremely negative behavior such as Vince's is actually rare. But because it's so harmful or disruptive to society when people do bad or unusual things, we are quick to slap a negative label on those who commit crimes or who exhibit other abnormal tendencies, and we are very reluctant to peel off such labels. Once someone is labeled a psychopath, as Vince was, his or her every action is interpreted as evidence of psychopathic tendencies. These biases have been confirmed in research in which naive observers and trained clinicians are more likely to interpret drawings from mentally ill patients as revealing signs of the artists' disorders. In fact, the researchers had randomly paired each picture with a given disorder. Face-to-face? And to whom? What will be the consequences if you don't follow through with your commitments? If you want to work with an accountability partner, I encourage you to use the accountability partner checklist available in your action guide. Exercise: create accountability Using your action guide write down one thing you can do to build accountability. Create a morning ritual What do you do first thing in the morning? Most people do nothing more than react to their day instead of taking charge of it. Not surprisingly, these individuals can end up feeling powerless and unmotivated. FLEX YOUR NEW COURAGE MUSCLES There are a variety of potential obstacles that may prevent people from taking the necessary steps to orient their lives around their values.

Fear is on top of the list. Since you've already begun to build your courage muscles, this should be less of a problem. It's easy to think that the fear we feel when starting out will stay with us or, even worse, increase over time. But with every positive step in the right direction your courage muscles get stronger. And here's another important thing to know: Excitement neutralizes fear. As you take action every success that you experience, big or small, will fuel your enthusiasm to forge ahead and accomplish even more challenging goals. With this enthusiasm in place you'll work your way through challenges with more ease. For example, if you finally decide to go back to school, you'll probably find that your excitement about learning something that's of interest to you will outweigh the heavy load of homework you were worried about handling in the beginning. It was people's schemas for how mental illness should look, not a mental illness itself, that shaped how these drawings were viewed (Chapman & Chapman, 1967, 1969). In the same way, for Vince, his negative or unusual behaviors seem fitting for a psychopath, but of course anything positive or exculpatory seemed like a cunning attempt to charm and manipulate others. If the label is accurate, we tend not to stress about the mental straitjackets we apply to people. But these labels not only leave little room for people to grow beyond or redeem themselves from past wrongs, they also make it nearly impossible for those who have been mislabeled to break free of these binds. In Vince's case, it took someone who was willing to construct an impression or schema of him built around more positive associations to provide a different interpretation of what had happened to Vince. You see, before Vince killed his father, he was a beloved and compassionate doctor. The physician who took over Vince's clinic learned about the close and caring relationships he had with his patients and dug into Vince's case in more detail. Eventually, he discovered that Vince had tested positive for Huntington's disease, a degenerative condition that could explain every one of the unusual behaviors, mood changes, and violent actions that Vince had been displaying over the past few years. Although Huntington's is a terminal illness with no cure, and Vince Gilmer remains locked up in a psychiatric facility, Vince could finally feel vindicated that the label of cold-blooded killer might not be the best explanation for his behavior. Stories like Vince's reveal the power of schemas to influence a person's perceptions and lead to confirmation biases that justify whatever label she or he has already decided on. While you cannot always control every event of your day, you can choose to begin your day with a few positive daily habits. And, as you do so, you'll experience a boost of motivation that will benefit you as the day unfolds.

Having a specifically designed morning ritual is a great way to create more positivity in your life. In fact, my morning ritual helped me build lasting motivation. In my article, Wake Up Call, I present nine steps to help create a morning ritual to support you in achieving your goals. Clarifying your why: Make sure you have a clear objective in mind when you create your morning ritual. You might want to experience a particular emotion or focus on a specific project you're excited about, for instance. Getting excited about your morning ritual: It might include drinking your favorite coffee, reading your favorite article, or spending quality time with your family. Identifying obstacles and preparing yourself mentally: Look for potential hurdles you may encounter as you create your morning ritual. If you ever failed to implement a morning ritual in the past, ask yourself why. Sometimes fear is just a term we use for other obstacles. For example, sometimes fear is just a lack of fans--a network of people who believe in you and support your efforts. When my client Katie wanted to leave her job to move to a warmer climate she said that she was concerned about a couple of friends who were realists and made a habit of telling her why she shouldn't give up her home. Well, just about everyone has a pessimist in his or her life who will gladly inform him or her of why something won't work. When I hear this concern I see it simply as a lack of fans. In the beginning, when you're making important life changes, you'll need to be flooded with positive support and plenty of good news. The start of any plan is the most vulnerable time, and you'll have to protect your desires by making a deliberate request to only hear positive feedback that strengthens your resolve. Certainly, if you do have close family members or friends who tend to be wet blankets, go back to article four and use those skills to take the necessary steps to stand up for yourself. Don't waste your time trying to convince naysayers of the viability of your plan. These folks usually get energy from conflict, and their investment in why something won't work fuels the drama. Of course, in Vince's case, he had committed an unspeakable crime and was, in fact, exhibiting unusual and dangerous behavior. Can negative labels be just as confining when inaccurately applied to sane and healthy people?

Imagine the following horror film scenario: You wake up one day in a psychiatric institution and have been labeled a schizophrenic. How easy do you think it would be to convince the staff you were not schizophrenic and get them to release you? In 1973, David Rosenhan set out to examine this very question in a provocative and controversial study. Rosenhan and seven other normal people checked themselves into San Francisco-area mental hospitals. Once admitted, they tried to convince the staff that they were normal and should be released. These pseudopatients first checked into the hospital reporting that they had heard a voice in their heads saying the words hollow, empty, thud. Other than that one misleading symptom, they gave otherwise honest information about their names and backgrounds. Every pseudopatient was admitted, and seven of the eight were diagnosed as schizophrenic. Selecting the components of your morning ritual: For a correctly balanced morning ritual, select activities that will feed your body, mind and soul. For example, try exercise (body), meditation (mind), and journaling (soul). Deciding how much time you have available: It could be as little as ten minutes or as much as an hour, but you do need to be consistent. Removing roadblocks and distractions: Prepare everything you need the night before and go through your morning ritual first thing after waking to avoid procrastination and distraction. Setting yourself up for success: Make sure you have enough sleep. If necessary, create an evening ritual as well. Whenever possible, go to bed at the same time every night. You can also set your intentions the night before by visualizing the tasks you want to work on the next day. Committing 100%: Commit to your morning ritual. Don't be casual about it. Let me offer you a piece of advice that I received long ago: Don't go to the hardware store for milk. Stick with people who have your best interests at heart.

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