Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fighting with myself

This post is inspired by a post made on "The Striking Post".  A Blog by Kris Wilder, martial arts instructor and all around great guy.  You can see his post at Martial Arts Training Tip #62

Too much negative!

At some point all of us have heard of the concept of positive and negative self talk.  We all have an internal monologue and some of us even have an internal dialogue.  Do not worry.  Internal dialogue only becomes a problem when you start losing arguments or when the internal becomes external.  More on that some other time.  I have had thoughts out loud a few times.  The best is when I am stepping off an elevator and the only things that people on the landing hear are about kicking people in the head.  Out of context since I am a martial arts instructor.  Of course, they do not know that and I usually do not clarify.  Okay, so making people wonder about me is a little fun.  Anyway...

In our personal dialogue we use both positive and negative terms.  Kris's post pointed out the use of sweeping terms that usually have a very negative impact.  Take a look at his post for details.  One example I can share is the, "I will never be able to..."  .  Now some things we can say with all honesty.  "I will never be able to fly like superman."  Of course watch some joker make a bit of tech that allows this and I have to eat my words.  You get the point I hope.

I am not one to frequent these negative limitations mentioned in the post on myself.  I know I have accomplished a lot in my 37 years of life and I plan to accomplish a lot more.  However, lately I have caught myself using other negative statements.  Especially in regard to other people.  The best example I can think of is while driving.  The term "Road Rage" is a common one around here.  To be fair, there are some very bad drivers out there.  I am one of them from time to time.  However, it occurred to me after reading that post that I have fallen into the trap of the negative talk about a lot of things in my life.  Having been recently divorced and somewhat getting stuck in the old "feeling sorry for myself routine" I think it is something I have done for a while and it just got worse recently.

Now, someone I have seen that is at total odds with this type of feeling.  Iain Abernethy.  I have been studying his martial arts materials for years now and I got to meet Iain in Seattle during the Crossing the Pond Martial Arts Expo.  Iain always seems to be very upbeat.  I have been watching his posts on twitter and even when Iain is ill he his posts are unnaturally happy.  (I say unnaturally, jokingly of course.)  Iain had a great spirit about him at the seminar.  Quick with a laugh and a smile, he is a great guy.  I am absolutely certain he has had his down moments.  Times where he felt like screaming, yelling, or even throwing things.  I imagine everyone has days like that at some point.  I am also certain that the fact that he is doing for a living what most of us in the martial arts only dream of does not hurt either.  Teaching seminars all over the world.  Meeting great people, and all the while getting paid to do it.  Wow!  But with a negative attitude even the best jobs can become a chore.

I have seen a similar spirit in Kris Wilder and Al Peasland during the seminar.  Both great men and had a slightly more subtle strength of attitude behind their interactions during class.  To continue the observation I saw a powerful confidence in Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung too.  I saw uncommon experience in Nicholas Yang.  But from all of these gentlemen.  I didn't see one of them use negative language.  At least not during the seminar.  Again, I was only briefly able to interact with these guys but to me they are all accomplished.  Anyone who can find a way to do what they love for a living is successful.  Someone to whom I can see aspiring to be more like them in my life.  I am certain they have ALL had trials and tribulations.  Yet they are still accomplished.

Instructors from the Martial Expo, 2010


As Kris pointed out if someone comes out with negative language in their speech or in their dialogue with the people around them.  We can safely assume that it has taken five times as much negative dialogue internally to become comfortable enough with it to come out in our day to day interactions.  Not good!

So, here is what I propose and something I am going to do for the next week.  Beginning today and through next Thursday the 16th.  Every time I say something or feel something negative I am going to stop myself as best I can and look for the silver lining.  What redeeming quality can I find in the negative I just experienced.  There should be a way to find a positive spin on just about anything.  I would challenge you to do the same.  I have caught myself doing the negative thing three times this morning already.  Each time I forced myself to stop and find a way to turn how I felt around.  To seek out the positive or to find a way to make the ultimate outcome of that negative thing become positive.  Might sound like a lot of self help garbage but if you think that...guess what.  You are being negative and that is where you can start today!  Good Luck.

My hope is that this type of positive reinforcement will improve my outlook or mood.  Pending the outcome of the experiment I will make this a permanent change.  If it does not work I will just try something else.  Post your comments on some of the things you experience this week if something really stands out to you.  Knowing others have the same issues might help to fuel each of us along.