Finding Hope

Why are we always so optimistic about winning the lottery and so pessimistic about solving our health, relationship, personal and work problems?

It makes no sense.

You have virtually no chance of hitting it big in the lottery – but you already know that – and yet you have so much hope that you’re even willing to bet money on that slight chance.

It’s hope against the odds.

How would our lives change for the better if we could channel the type of blind and automatic optimism we have that we will win the lottery and bet on ourselves in the same hopeful way.

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Erasing Negativity

Ever wonder why anxiety builds up as the day goes on?

We are human sponges soaking up the fears and worries of those we are connected to and making it ours.

The relief from being a sponge soaking up anxiety of others is to EXPUNGE these stressors.

Erase.

Remove.

It’s difficult enough to deal with our own negativity let alone taking on those of others.

Ban the negativity that brings you down by putting a stop/loss on the anxieties of those we are connected to.

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The Advantage of Being Quiet

Loud people are more commanding, more assertive, more successful.

Wrong.

A recent Wall Street Journal piece says “Research shows that we are overconfident in our beliefs but underconfident about being heard.  So, we compensate by being loud.”

Soft spoken people are among the most riveting public speakers.

Yet loud people and shouters feel they have an abundance of confidence while the quiet and often shy see their soft-spokenness as a distinct disadvantage.

Especially true in social situations.

The trick is not to be loud or quiet but to be yourself – the real measure of inner-confidence.

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Jealousy

In jealousy there is more self-love than love (Francois VI, 1665)

Unfortunately, it is always destructive.

If we can go on a low carb diet, we can go on a jealousy diet.

In my book, Out of Bad Comes Good – The Advantages of Disadvantages – 5 steps can make a difference.

#1  Let go of the fear that you don’t have value

#2  Repeat often:  “jealousy hurts me more than it hurts them”

#3  Count jealousies like calories – make a list of people of whom you are jealous

#4  Focus on your accomplishments

#5  Make amends for jealous behavior

Our success is not assured by someone else’s failure.

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Costco Antidepressant

It seems like every time I go to Costco, someone makes me feel better.

Costco workers largely love their jobs, benefits and how they are treated by management.

They feel fortunate to have their jobs which is why few of them are quitting even though so many people are using the pandemic to look for something else.

I needed help putting nitrogen in the tires of my SUV and not only did I get it but learned a few things I didn’t know.

As is store policy, the employee wouldn’t take a tip because I wanted to pay him for making my day brighter.

Even in tough times, one happy person can make a difference.

The morning host on the radio or the supervisor for whom you work.

No matter how bad things get, positive people who are happy with where they are in life can lift others up.

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Rethinking Your Life’s Goal

When you are hell bent to accomplish the most important goal of your life, be careful.

It’s easy to see that goal so much that you miss current opportunities to climb the ladder to success.

It’s the challenge that presents itself now that is the most important goal.

Conquer that and the next one comes along.

Passionately chasing future goals is ambition.

Pursuing the chances you have right now – these are the steps toward the big one.

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Bette Midler on Self Absorption

“But enough about me, let’s talk about you… what do you think of me?” – Bette Midler in Beaches: The Movie

How many people have asked about you today and, if they did, actually listened?

I thought of this in the last few days when I was asked a question and when I went to answer, the questioner answered it for me – not uncommon for our over-connected world.

The awesome power of listening is available to us as soon as this very day to unlock the humanity in others – to show you care, to make them addicted to being with you.

Talking in terms of the other person’s interest is what makes you a leader, a compelling figure and even a good conversationalist.

Dale Carnegie pointed out in How to Win Friends that ironically you have a better chance of being perceived as a good conversationalist by not talking so much and instead asking questions.

Close this email, and try it – let me know.

Believing 

It’s hard to ask people to believe in us when we don’t believe in ourselves.

That’s how critical self-confidence is.

And the thing about believing is that it is not a warm and fuzzy feeling, it’s a cold, hard decision.

You decide – this is worth 100% of my personal investment.

Athletes are trained and coached to believe they can accomplish personal and team goals.

The least surprised person in the room when you achieve your goal should be you.

Everyone else is invited to buy in later.

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The Disconnected Vacation

20% of workers in the private sector do not have paid vacation according to the Department of Labor.

More than half of us do not use all our paid time off according to an Ipsos/Oxford survey because it is seen as career threatening.

While pauses help, disconnection is the better.

Get away from email, Slack and being moments from being drawn back into work.

The restorative benefits of vacationing last only 2-4 weeks after returning to work.

Some companies are shutting down completely for periods of time so as to help workers totally disconnect.

Hard work is not the virtue it used to be in a world where we cannot easily disconnect.

Take all the time you can.

Leave work behind and disconnect from mail and social media.

Return by slowly resuming a full schedule.

NOTE:  Cheryl and I are going to take a few days off to recharge our batteries before NYU resumes in-person classes again in a few weeks and the media industry revs up to end a challenging year.  This seemed like a good time.  See you in a few days — Monday August 23.

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Lonely And Connected

Between 2012 and 2019, the rates for teenage depression, loneliness, suicide and self-harm rose sharply.

Then the isolation of the pandemic with those born after 1996 feeling it the most.

NYU Professor Jonathan Haidt and San Diego State professor Jean Twenge have a tough love answer few will like but apparently everyone will need – this is directed toward kids but easily applies to adults who are feeling the anxiety.

Take long periods each day away from the distraction of digital devices.

Concentrate on not just being present but being fully focused for long periods of time.

Be cautious of social media, the great attention black hole for adults as well.

There are consequences to too much screen time and parents are as reluctant to come down hard on their kids to balance reality with virtual reality as they are to abide by the same steps themselves.

There is a tie-in between smartphones and the anxiety of distraction and fear of missing out.

Switch back to in-person socialization – read The Smartphone Trap here.

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