Fear Thought and Forethought

The difference between fear thought and forethought is that fear thought is the negative thinking that makes life worse for all of us and forethought is the positive way to realistically look ahead to deal with problems.  

Sometimes just knowing the difference makes all the difference.

When we fear the future, we get what we fear even though 99% of what we fear will never happen.

When we plan for the future, we are actively dealing with potential problems.

Fear thought paralyzes us.

Forethought empowers us.

Never spend a moment fearing the future because the odds are in your favor that your fears will never be realized although you may make yourself sick and unhappy.

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Risks

When I taught generational media at the University of Southern California, I used to share thoughts about life to my students in the final minutes of class.

Last week, one of my students posted it on Facebook for all her friends to see.  It was an inspirational passage about the freeing benefits of taking risks and I’d like to share it with you today:

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.

To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.

To reach for another is to risk involvement.

To expose your feelings is to risk exposing your true self.

To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.

To love is to risk not being loved in return.

To live is to risk dying.

To believe is to risk despair.

To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live. Chained by their attitudes they are slaves; they have forfeited their freedom.

Only a person who risks is free.”

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How to Persuade

The more a salesperson sells me, the more I don’t want to buy. 

The more someone tries to win me to their way of thinking, the more resistant I become.

And we’re being sold something constantly through advertising, popup ads, search, billboards and those around us.

So here is the secret to getting someone to listen to you.

Listen to them.

The sales guru Tom Hopkins is known for teaching a technique where a “champion” salesperson gathers information and looks for validation before asking for the sale.

“Would you like it in red?”

“Yes”

“I’ll make a note of it”

Listening and not talking is the key to getting people to opt in on what you have to say, or what you think.

Listening is so hard.  It seems to be against everything we’re taught in life.  To pursue what we want and do it vigorously.

Ironically, the secret to influencing others is to be skilled at sincerely listening to them.

Here are 6 ways to persuade and influence others from Steve Bressert, PhD:

1. People are more willing to comply with requests (for favors, services, information, and concessions) from those who have provided such things first.

2. People are more willing to be moved in a particular direction if they see it as consistent with an existing or recently-made commitment which is why when shopping for a car you are asked “What qualities are you looking for?” in a car.

3. People are more willing to follow the directions or recommendations of someone they view as an authority.

4. People are more willing to take a recommended step if they see evidence that many others, especially similar others are taking or buying or using it.

5. People find objects and opportunities more attractive to the degree that they are scarce, rare, or dwindling in availability.

6. People prefer to say yes to those they know and like.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” – Dale Carnegie

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Dream On

Millennials – the 80 million or so people who are coming of age in Gen Y – have many admirable characteristics not the least of which is pursuing their dreams.

We’re never too young or too old to chase our passions in life.

There is no total number of dreams we are allowed.  Everything counts – home, work, relationships, friends, causes.  We can have more than one at a time.

Dreaming is not easily outsourced to another, it must come from within.  No one can have your dream of the future exactly the way you want it and no one other than ourselves should be asked to be responsible for it.

People who discourage should be avoided because the guaranteed best way to dash your dreams is to allow someone else to tell you what isn’t possible.

Is there a dream that you want to pursue?  If so, it will not find you.  You will have to find it.

Try this.

Name 5 dreams you have for yourself.  Think big – the bigger the better but they don’t have to be earthshattering.

Think “can” instead of “can’t”.

Start today and never look back until you fulfill your dreams.

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney.

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Working Through Sadness

How long is it normal to mourn a loss?

As long as we are able to go on with our day-to-day activities there is no timetable on mourning.

Television’s “Mister Rogers” in an interview with Karen Herman once had the ultimate challenge.  I’ll let Fred Rogers tell it in his own powerful words.

“My greatest challenge?  I suppose to walk through the door and sing ‘It’s A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood’ when I have had a real sadness in my life. I had to go to Miami one hour after my father’s funeral because they were having a Mister Rogers Day there that could not be cancelled. We had 23 fifteen-minute performances in one day. I had to sing ‘It’s A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood’ for each one of them.”

Gratitude is the elixir for sadness.

The more grateful we remain, the more we can live life with all its up and downs.

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  • Dealing with the death of a close lifelong friend a couple of summers ago taught me something very valuable.  I was in the midst of talking some summer courses for my business degree.  I had to work through through a term paper and my grief at the same time.  trust me, it wasn’t pretty; I wrote portions of the paper in a state of near drunkeness, just to get through it emotionally.  I did get though it though, and in fact I aced the course.  So I learned that I could function in a crisis.  A very valuable lesson indeed.

  • Friday just passed was the 18th anniversary of the passing of my wife Lynne who had undiagnosed and terminal breast cancer when we met. I have never had a major GF since. And have never been able to process through the grieving to get past that. And really don’t feel bad about it.  I have gone on about my life and my work, but it still feels like part of me is missing, that I remain incomplete. One quibble: I dislike the word “gratitude” about which once I heard described as “the NICEST form of resentment.” Much prefer thankful. “Gratitude” implies debts owed in return while “Thankful” doesn’t have that baggage.