Reprogramming My Brain

Lately, it’s been a chore of mine to stop myself from reliving past negative experiences in my head. I’ve been trying real hard to cut out all negative thoughts and either fill them with positive thoughts or positive words about myself. I’ve been waking up a lot in the middle of the night and have troubles going back to sleep because I’m thinking about so many things. Lots of things are going on and I can’t seem to turn off my brain that easily. But, I’m thinking the more I practice not letting my thoughts go to a negative place, not letting them go off on a tangent, the easier it will get. Maybe I will start to really seek control over my mind and gravitate toward more positive thoughts than negative. I spend way too much time thinking about my sensitive nature and worrying about future things overwhelming me. But, I’m sick of letting my mind run wild. It’s time I start fighting my negative thoughts with positive ones.

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The Secret to Becoming More Positive and Even Happier

I learned something momentous about being positive this last week. Now I’m working to be more positive!

I know that I’m in control of my happiness and I can make the choice to be happy and seek it out, but that hasn’t been enough to keep me positive. I’ve been in a pretty negative place over the last few months due to my health. I got really angry about having health issues mostly because I was in a really happy and positive place before them. I was angry that life circumstances popped my positive and happy vibes, as if there were little bubbles floating around that I had no control over and no way to protect. I’ve never really had any health issue the lasted more than a couple of weeks so I didn’t handle the situation very well — as you might have sensed from my past blogs.

When all the numerous tests I had were basically done, and I was left with a most likely diagnosis, I knew I needed to focus on being more positive and being happier in order to focus on my business. Instead I felt the complete opposite. Instead I was an emotional mess. Then after a really positive networking experience it hit me — I can’t fix myself unless I fix the negative influence in my life. Sadly, my husband was an extremely negative influence on me. He was in a worse place than me. After being angry and having an emotional meltdown, my husband agreed that he needed to start being more positive. He needed to be more positive for himself, as well as for me. I don’t blame him for being a stressed mess because I’ve been just as bad, if not worse, at certain points in my life. However, enough was enough. We weren’t doing ourselves any favors.

I thought back to when I was in a happier place and what I was doing different and it occurred to me that I was reading a lot of positive and motivational books and articles. So I took my husband to the library and found him some audio books focused on being happier and being more positive. A light switch had already been turned on after I confronted him about his negativity. He decided to be more positive, but listening to the audio book has helped even more.book-863418_1280

Some would laugh at the thought of reading self-help books, listening to CD’s on being more positive or anything of that nature. Some would think it’s for the weak. But, I’m telling you, it’s for everyone! Everyone can benefit from it. There comes a point in everyone’s life where they need it. I read about a lady who listens to that type of thing everyday for an hour. Science shows that a good percentage of our thoughts our negative and focused on the past. People are more easily stressed out these days. It actually makes loads of sense to read or listen to something motivational or positive everyday, or even a couple times a week. I’ve read and heard multiple times from so many people that as an entrepreneur I should be reading new books all the time to learn new things. Once I started really diving into reading books again I noticed a change in the way I felt.

Sure with everything my husband and I have been through we have a right to be stressed out and upset, but we needed to choose not to be. We chose not to be, and chose to seek out inspiration. That doesn’t always work too easily, but there’s a book on just about every problem out there. At some point I stopped reading books on a regular basis. I have never been big on reading, but I like books where I learn something. I now notice having a positive or inspirational book to read really had an impact in my life.

I think the best secret to being more positive is reading books. In the past I’ve tried to verbally provide my husband with motivational and positive lessons, and he has given me some himself. It didn’t help enough though. Even doing activities that made me happy didn’t really help. Spending more time with friends didn’t really help. Trying to help others didn’t really help. Seeking out positive reading and gaining a positive husband did. Seeking it out is key — we had to make the choice to seek out positive vibes, not have someone preach it to us. Also, with us both reading positive things there’s double the chance of us leading a more positive life. That way it isn’t always one person trying to bring the other one up, when the other is down, or worse just bringing each other down.

Lesson 1: Seek out motivational and inspirational books, always be reading something, or have something that you can refer to when your in a negative or stressful place.

Lesson 2: Have your significant other read something too, or whomever your living with because you don’t want them to bring you down, when they could be influencing you positively.

🙂 Hope your feeling some positive vibes. I’m not going to let my positive vibes get popped too easily from now on. I know I might fail, but I’m going to keep reading, and keep trying to be happier.

Inside Out Movie – Sounds about Right

I went to see the movie “Inside Out” on Tuesday and I just loved the idea of it. It seems kind of silly having 5 people in your head controlling all your emotions and planting ideas in your head. But, by the end of the movie I could totally imagine having 5 different people in control in my head.

If you haven’t seen it, the five different people are: Joy, Fear, Anger, Sadness, and Disgust. They have a control station and press buttons to take control of the girl, who’s head their in. They decide how she should feel and react at any given moment. There are also people who control memories, the unconscious, and even clear out thoughts to make room for new ones.

My husband and I both agreed that Disgust was probably usually in control in my head. Not to mean that I’m disgusted by a lot of things, but because I often don’t see things the way other people see them. I disagree with the way the world works. I don’t follow the status quo. Which I think, makes sense for disgust. Disgust has an attitude about everything. But then again, I don’t often show my attitude toward a lot of things. So, maybe not.

Anyway, when I was young I was very overwhelmed by all the emotions I had. I was very confused by my personality, and I would find myself struggling to decide how to handle different situations. People usually have a certain way of dealing with anger and pain that they stick to. But not me, I would sit there and debate whether I should cry, be angry, ignore the situation, or do something entirely different. In reference to the movie, it’s like the people in my head were arguing over the controls, or worse they were just taking a snooze making me completely freeze in my tracks. I couldn’t even decide if I wanted to be silently be angry, or openly share my anger with those who hurt me. I would often find myself dealing with each emotional situation differently even though the situations were not all that different.

Still today, I can see how it would make sense that people in my head are controlling how I feel. I can go from being completely happy to unhappy pretty quickly. Although, sometimes I feel like anger, sadness, disgust, and fear are all working together to drive me emotionally crazy! Lately, joy has take a backseat because of the stomach pain I haven’t been able to get rid of. But, I want to feel joy, I want to feel joy so badly it actually makes me angry. I try to feel joy.

Well, if you haven’t seen the movie yet I recommend checking it out. I really enjoyed it. I might even buy a copy when it comes to DVD.

Why There’s a Problem with our Education Systems

I have constant recurring dreams that I have gone back to college or high school. I used to really hate these dreams, but now they no longer bother me.

I’m not entirely sure why I have this dream, but it is rarely a good dream. I end up either late to class or I forgot to do my homework. I dream of having to redo a year of school because I didn’t take some course I was supposed to take. I read this is a popular dream for people to have, but I don’t think I’m having these dreams for the same reason.

School was very difficult for me, and I understand now more then ever why it was so hard. I’m not entirely sure how schools can change, but I don’t believe they are set up correctly for introvert personality types and certainly not highly sensitive people. I daydreamed all the time because the crowded classrooms overwhelmed me. Constantly being around other people drained my energy. I hated being called on in class and having to talk in front of the whole classroom. The teachers always gave me hard time because I never spoke loud enough. I had one teacher in elementary school that I still remember to this day, because she always pointed out that I wasn’t paying attention in a room full of students. I tried and I tried in an effort to avoid the humiliation, but I still kept falling into a day dream losing sight of all reality. But, she was wrong for treating me that way, it was unfair for her to embarrass me for something I had so little control over. I felt like there was something wrong with me all the time, and now I know it’s the school systems that are wrong, and perhaps some of the teachers.board-361516_1280

I faced other problems with taking tests. I never could finish a test in the allocated time limit and often had to stay after class. Sometimes I would end up staying after into the next class. It was embarrassing at times, but I was committed to putting in my very best effort with each test.

I always struggled with Math, Science, and History. I had to study many long hours in order to get good grades. I wonder now if maybe it wasn’t what I was learning, but how I was learning it. I read a great article about being an entrepreneur and a kid told their parent, “Why do I have to memorize all this information for a test, if I’m just gong to dump it from my brain later?” I wouldn’t have a good response to that question even if it was my kid. Because I agree. I don’t entirely believe in tests. I also think people would learn a lot more about how to succeed in life if they learned how to operate a business – just like the article mentioned.

I’m friends with a bunch of teachers and I hear the stories about all the tests kids have to take now, and how they are losing their recess and free time to just play and release energy. I’m extremely upset by this! I honestly can’t imagine having a kid and having to accept the way schools are now. I read an article recently on the most productive workers and it said they take frequent breaks: 17 minutes for every 52 minutes of work. In the article it lists ways to waste time properly such as taking a walk, chatting with a colleague, taking a nap, surfing the net, daydreaming, and meditating. I started taking the advice in the article and incorporating more breaks into my working day and I did notice the difference that it made. If adults need these breaks, of course kids do.

I had all these dreams as a child about when I grew up. How I would find the right path for me, and how I would feel accepted, valued, and apart of something emotionally fulfilling. When I had to face the real world, I realized it was nothing like I imagined and nothing like my parents and teachers made the world out to be. It was all just one big struggle after another, with the exception of my happy marriage.

I think my dreams are a reminder that I’m no longer trapped by society’s systems that are not meant for people like me (introverted and highly sensitive type). And I don’t have to go back down that road ever again, I can make the choice not to. I don’t have to be a part of any classroom lecture, or any corporation again that will make me feel undervalued.

The future is my own.

Being Someone or Something Your Not

I have on a subconscious and sometimes a conscious level tried and pushed too hard to fit in with people very different from me. I have tried and pushed too hard to fit into group cultures that didn’t suit me. I want to make a pact with myself from this day forward to stop the whirlwind of trying to fit in with anyone or anything that doesn’t align with the person I am.

I grew up with a family that is everything that I’m not. I haven’t learned much from them because I rarely listened to them. They were overwhelming. I didn’t know who I was until I left. I have already made a pact with myself after I left that I would never again get caught in a situation with them where the exit door wasn’t in sight. Secondly, I will never spend more time with them then I want to. Thirdly, I will dodge their calls if I feel they are calling too much. Fourthly, I will never again let them give me advice on my life that I didn’t ask for. Lastly, I won’t let them talk about my childhood like they were good parents and they somehow had a positive influence on the person I am today.

I also grew up in a culture of Greeks. My Mom is Greek and if you know anything about the Greeks they are loud and usually outgoing extroverts. It sounds like a stereotype but I went to a church full of them. Then, there was me the girl who seemed shy and fearful of the world. I was so incredibly out of place. I made friends with some people during my high school years and enjoyed the friendships, but they slowly faded away. I always made the effort to socialize at my church and found so many people would talk to me for a few minutes before moving on to the next person – this was incredibly annoying! I have had many awkward situations like this. I have tried to socialize with people and been shut out of a conversation. I come home and just feel a huge energy drain, I never realized why until about a month ago. I’ve been working too hard to be something I’m not for all these years. No matter how badly I wanted to fit in I don’t, and I never will. I felt the desire to because my church is filled with family and many fun people. I love certain things about the church I grew up in but I don’t enjoy going. I don’t belong. I never did. I’m not your typical Greek and I’m never going to be. But, I will always love the food and beautiful holiday services. I have made a pact with myself to church hop until I find a church that I like.

I also want to make a pact with myself to no longer feel bad about the things that I’m not good at by nature. I’m not good at solving problems or answering complex questions on the spot, or doing tedious activities for several hours, speaking in front of large groups of people or having social conversations with strangers. I get overwhelmed easily, I’m highly sensitive, and that’s just who I am. Yes, I can and have gotten better at many of these things, but I’m not going to feel bad that I’m not great at them. I’m not going to let anyone make me feel bad for something I’m not good at when I have strengths in so many other things. I’m not going to put myself in situations where I will be forced to use more of my weaknesses then my strengths. I’m going to embrace the fact that there is a lot of stuff I’m good at and I’m going to indulge in the fact that I am smart and growing smarter everyday.

I’m growing smarter each day the more I read and learn and discover who I am day in and day out. Some people don’t spend much time in their lives discovering and exploring who they are. Some people coast through life without any real thoughts on what kind of life would truly make them happy. I think I’m a stronger person because I have. The more time I spend creating the best version of myself the more I can contribute to this world and the happier I will become.

If people have a problem with who I am, where I am going, and what path I choose to follow that’s their problem not mine! I’m going to strip myself of anything that doesn’t feel right to me. I’m done being someone or something I’m not! I’m working everyday on discovering how someone as incredibly unique as me can do something incredibly unique with their time. I need to find a path that won’t make me question who I am or try to change me into something I’m not. That ship has already sailed and sunk.

Everyday I feel I’m different from everyone else. I’m not ordinary. If there’s so few people like me that must mean I’m meant to do something extraordinary (beyond what is usual, ordinary, regular, or established).

Determination is Essential for Success!

I’ve been asked to write a blog post about what I feel is the “most marketable skill” and skill that is essential for success. Right away the first word that came to my mind was “determination.” There are many definitions out there for the word “determination” so I want to be clear on what I mean.

Determination: a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult.
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Determination is a positive emotion that involves persevering towards a difficult goal in spite of obstacles. Determination occurs prior to goal attainment and serves to motivate behavior that will help achieve one’s goal.

This word has defined me all my life and is the reason for my success in both my professional and personal life. Coming out of college and entering the workforce I thought I had all the skills and education I needed to succeed at obtaining a job and a job in my chosen career field. But, I was completely misguided. Maybe several + several + several years ago it was that easy. But, it’s not anymore and that’s why you need determination! Chances are it will be difficult, but you can’t give up!

I was fortunate enough to listen to a great presentation that talked about Career Security, and it mentioned how it’s no longer provided by the employer, it’s something we create for ourselves. This is a direct quote from that presentation: “It’s created through a process of updating skills, networking, and looking at wherever we are at the moment as a stepping stone to the next stop on our career journey.” Also: “Individuals possessing Career Security feel in control of what happens to them in the workplace. They have become the master of their career, rather than its victim!” You also need “foresight” the ability to predict and plan for the future.

Your never done learning and never done obtaining skills that you need to be successful. So, you need to stay determined through out you life. However, you also need to be certain of what you want. Determination also means a fixed purpose or intention. You need to figure out what your strengths are, what type of company you want to work for, what type of culture is important to you, and most importantly what will make you happy. Determination to achieve something without direction won’t get you very far. I know this from experience. Right out of college, I had a few ideas of what I wanted to do, and I was determined to be successful, but I really had no concept of what would make me happy. I’m going to tell you what I should of done. I should of interviewed employers at companies I wanted to work at to find out what it would be like to work there. You don’t ask them for a job; you just ask them what the culture of their company is like, how things work, and what skills they look for in new hires. Research, Research and Research! If you want to be successful you need to research the jobs out there, the types of companies, the culture, how to do effective resumes/cover letters, how to interview well, what are the latest trends in your career field? You should always be learning something new. I recommend reading lots of articles and books on success and happiness. It’s really helped me! Also, having an internship experience even if it’s unpaid. I had to do an unpaid internship at one point to help move my career forward.

Determination is outlined as a most important trait in the book “Think and Grow Rich” which highlights some of the most successful people throughout time, and how they achieved their goals because they never gave up and kept trying even after they failed over and over again.

How do I know all these things? Because, I was always afraid of failing in the eyes of other people so I’ve always been determined even when I didn’t have any clear set goals in my life. And my determination helped me to succeed at many things. I’ve always had high expectations for myself. I have suffered from horrible self-esteem for most of my life. My last job I hated, and I took it just to be making money, but when they laid me off and it was the best thing that could of happened. You can view my blog post: Lessons Learned from Being Unemployed. After two months of not getting anywhere with applying to jobs I started trying everything and anything that was suggested to me. I did a ton of stuff that I was uncomfortable with like networking and interviewing employers at companies. I attended a networking group, I read a lot, spent a lot of time defining what was important to me, defining my skills, I researched and researched, read about interviewing, created a portfolio, and looked for ways to improve my resume by asking other professionals. I became the definition of determination and was able to be more positive then a lot of my peers. I improved my self esteem the more I learned, and the more I started to realize I was in control of my career and I was the only one in control! I stopped worrying about what my husband thought, what other people thought, because I had all this knowledge pointing out that I was following the right path. Now my husband is looking for a new job and he asks me question after question about resumes, cover letters, ect.. Now I’m trying to help him be positive despite all the stress and aggravation of finding a new job.

You need to define you strengths and skills and not let any one job define you. When you find a passion for learning new things and continue to be determined you will find your way. Through my determination I have come to accept just about everything about myself. My self-esteem has done a complete 180, along with my satisfaction with my job and my life.

Be determined to be happy and you will find success as well.

This post is a contribution to the “Most Marketable Skill” project in honor of the class of 2014 for http://www.webucator.com/. They offer free Microsoft Office courses: http://www.webucator.com/microsoft/index.cfm

Are you living the life of a lucky person?

I don’t consider myself lucky or unlucky, but now I understand exactly where I rate on the scale of luck, and now I know how I can improve my luck! If you thought that “we create or own luck in life” you were right! 

I just finished the book called “The Luck Factor” by Dr. Richard Wiseman. The book teaches you how to lead a luckier life with four essential principles. It’s a book based on scientific research that evaluates the ways in which luck and unlucky people think and behave. The author did extensive psychological testing on both lucky and unlucky people.

Throughout the book you are given questionnaires and exercises to evaluate your own level of luck. Each principle has 2-4 subprinciples and is explained in great detail with the research to back it up. At the end of the book, you learn that the unlucky and lucky people mentioned, increased their luck in life, and now lead happier lives after following the four principles outlined in the book. You are also given exercises to do in order to increase your own level of luck, and are told to follow the four principles for a whole month. 

I don’t necessarily consider myself lucky or unlucky, because that’s not how I view life anymore. At least not conscientiously. I understand that I create my own luck. But, when I was younger I would have most definitely classified myself as unlucky. Now, I consider myself “neutral” and after taking the questionnaires in the book I am classified as “neutral.” Not really lucky, but not really unlucky.

I’m past living the life of an unlucky person, and I’m ready to move beyond neutral, and consider myself lucky! It will be hard to view things as lucky, because I usually don’t consider things as either unlucky or lucky. However, if I increase my level of happiness and satisfaction with life then I will have definitely succeeded. 

I’m on a quest to increase my luck over the next month starting tomorrow morning. In order to commit to following the principles outlined in the book I have created sheet of exercises that I plan to carry with me for the next month. I will reevaluate my luck score at the end of the month. I then plan on writing a follow up blog post in a month, and I will let you know whether I have succeeded in increasing my level of luck! 

Wish me luck! Haha! 

Here is a link to more information on this book: http://www.richardwiseman.com/resources/The_Luck_Factor.pdf  If you are interested in purchasing it, I was able to get a used version on Amazon and it cost me less than $8.00 with shipping. 

Life is Crazy!

Due to my crazy summer and busy schedule I was unable to post a blog last week. I might post two this week to make up for it. Last week, I had the choice of to spending time with a friend I rarely see, or staying home to write. The choice was relatively clear.

Life is crazy! Sometimes I get super annoyed when I plan all these things to do and end up not completing them. But, then I realize that there’s no escaping that. Life is crazy, and you can never plan everything to work out just the way you want it to. No matter how much we picture our perfect life, and work hard to make it happen, it will never quite turn out the way we expect. 

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” -Unknown

When you try to hard to control the world and your life you will find more stress and feel less accomplished. Your better off just letting go, and letting life take you on a ride. Just buckle up and hold on. 

Sometimes the chores will pile up, you won’t complete everything or even anything on your to-do list, everything you touch will break, it will storm and rain on your planned day in the sunshine. So, what? I say bring it on! If more than half my week goes as planned that’s good enough for me. I won’t let the world bring me down! I will keep on trying to make the best of things.

My husband is always staying up to date on politics, along with what’s happening with the economy, and what’s happening is extremely depressing. But, there’s always something to stress about and worry about. There is no shortage of problems in the world, if you search for the problems you will find them. It’s good to be informed and be able to make informed decisions with the knowledge that we gain. However, we also need to make the decision to rise above the mess and think positively about our future. Take control of what we can, and leave the rest to fate. 

My husband and I always say “It’s the two of us vs. the world,” and then we ask ourselves “Are we winning yet?” Some days we are, some days not so much. I plan on a future where the answer will almost, if not always, be a resounding yes! 

Life is Crazy! There’s no real guarantees. Almost anything can happen! If there is no tomorrow, I would hate to have wasted today.