Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It is all in how you take it......

One of the most overlooked options for most of us is the option to choose. In every situation and interaction, knowingly or unknowingly, we choose to feel how we feel. This is a very powerful concept once you understand how to harness the power. Let's look at some examples:

Someone just yelled to you, "Hey...idiot!" We turn around to see who shouted at us....and then we choose how we will react. If it is a long lost friend, the insult may have been a joke or term of endearment. We just laugh and shout back, "Who you calling idiot?" It is all a big laugh. What if when you turned around, you didn't know the person. This is where the choosing comes in. We may react by shouting the same thing that we did at our friend, "Who you calling idiot?" This time, it is not a big laugh but an escalating confrontation. The point is that we affix connotation to almost every situation in life. Many times, we unknowingly choose a negative connotation. Why is that?

I have been doing a tremendous amount of public speaking lately and I see all kinds of things from the front of the room:

• A guy is nodding off
• Someone just left the room
• Two people are whispering

I could take this as:

• A guy is nodding off - "Man, I am boring him to death!!!"
• Someone just left the room - "I have offended her. She doesn't like me."
• Two people are whispering - "They have lost interest in my message."

Or, I could take each situation as:

• A guy is nodding off - "He had a really late night, but he is trying to make it through because he really wants to be here"
• Someone just left the room - "There is an emergency she needs to deal with."
• Two people are whispering - "They are sharing how they will use the concepts tomorrow."

The truth is that I really do not know any of the reasons for this behavior. However, I can choose what connotation I want to place on the event. Since ultimately we can choose to affix the connotation, then it doesn't have to be negative.

This is applicable to personal relationships as well. There are so many fights and disagreements because of how we chose to take something versus what the intent was. For instance, I have a person in my life that seems to always want to one-up the situation. They try to affect my spouse. If they can't get to her, then they try to get to me. If they can't get to me then they try to get to my family members and so on. It is almost an obsessive compulsive behavior. It is as if their joy in life is putting down me or my family. However, that is me choosing a negative connotation to the behavior. Who knows the reason for the behavior, I really don't. So why should I attach a negative feeling to it? The answer is that I won't! When I observe the behavior, I just shake my head and say, "That's odd," and move on.

In business, I found out that I was a fantastic motivator and project manager. I also found out that I was not good at being a HR manager. My entire career had been spent influencing people that did not report to me on an organization chart. When I did have people report to me, I was awful at some of the key skill sets. I had a person that worked for me that no matter what I did, in their mind I was out to get them. There was a negative connotation placed on every action that I performed. Some of it was warranted and some of it was just plain unfair. I tried everything to build a relationship, but just could not do it. That bothered me for a very long time until I chose the connotation that I would affix to the situation. I looked at my efforts to rebuild the relationship and then came to the realization that I had done enough. I could look at myself in the mirror and honestly state that I tried everything I could to make the relationship work. After that point, the negativity and hurt feelings I had simply melted away.

Choosing how you take something is a very powerful technique. People will see somebody really happy and state, "I wonder why they are so happy!" The answer is that they choose to be. Making the decision to find the good in situations can have a transforming effect. If you don't believe me, just try it! If you think I am crazy, I will just choose a positive way to feel about it! ;)

It is all in how you take it.......

Choose to have a great day,


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for this post, Rick. It was very timely for today!

Brad Walker