Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Hello,Life is messy and navigating through it is difficult. So here is your "How-to Guide to Life!"
At your service,Dr. Mitchell Perry
AXIOMS OF LIFE©
Rarely do we get much guidance or training on how to best live life. Most of us bumble through in a trial-and-error mode. Many of us end up behaving like everyone else, which is often counter-productive and a perfect illustration of peer pressure at work.
For example, you may notice that most of us now use the word "like" every fifth word in our dialogue. We are often completely unaware of the habit: it is just that "LIKE everyone is doing it! It's LIKE incredible. It's LIKE so LIKE amazing!"
We know as adults that being skilled in relationship and performance effectiveness is VERY important. It is so important that we often conclude that relationship effectiveness is likely to be among the MOST valuable competencies we can have. On the other hand, it is curious that getting along effectively with others has been a subject missing from school curriculums since there have been schools.
After a few decades of practicing in the human relationship and performance effectiveness business, I have come to realize there are some incontrovertible truths about the business of living. Living by these truths can make your life much more fulfilling, especially if you want to be happy and successful (as most of us do). I call these truths AXIOMS OF LIFE©.
To get started, here are a few given assumptions I encourage you to review:
- OLD BELIEFS + OLD HABITS = PREDICTABLE CONSEQUENSES
Consider smoking, over-eating, over-spending, lying, being irresponsible, blaming others, playing victim, etc. If life is going badly for you, you are probably unaware of how you helped that happen.
- NEW BELIEFS + NEW HABITS = NEW CONSEQUENCES (perhaps improved!)
Consider the consequences of new commitments and disciplined habits in relationships, fiscal literacy, persuasion, good health, strength of character, education, high standards, and self-respect.
- My ongoing behavior and habits are a result of my ongoing beliefs.
- Whatever I expect to see, I will likely arrange to confirm.
- What I focus on expands.
- Whatever I rehearse, I will duplicate.
- When we effectively change and improve our beliefs, our perspectives, and our habits, we will gain different and by far better outcomes.
In order to make lasting changes and improvements, I must:
SO HOW DO I GET STARTED?
For your consideration, here are my AXIOMS OF LIFE©
The only life to which you are entitled is the one you are living. The nature of your experience in that life is for you to decide.
Often life is supposed to be different than the way it is. You are supposed to be good looking, healthy, fortunate, born into a good family, educated, safe, privileged, smart, lucky, respected, and popular. You are supposed to be happy, brilliant, successful, and perpetually young.
AND, while all the above is the way life is supposed to be, you will likely notice that life is often quite different. Life turns left when it is supposed to turn right. Sometimes you get sick, let down, betrayed, lose your job, divorce, waste your time, make bad decisions, perpetuate bad habits, and get old. In addition, you may notice you are often complaining and describing the problem more than doing something to solve it.
SO WHAT DO YOU DO?
PLAY THE CARDS THAT ARE DEALT!
Most people prefer to complain about the situation they are in rather than figuring out how to improve their situation. Remember, LIFE IS AS IT IS, INSTEAD OF HOW IT SHOULD BE.
Consider what Christopher Reeve did. After finding fame and fortune as a movie star and celebrity, he experienced a horrific accident in 1995 from which he became a quadriplegic. He was confined to a wheelchair and required a portable ventilator for the rest of his life. He lobbied on behalf of people with spinal-cord injuries and for human embryonic stem cell research, founding the Christopher Reeve Foundation and co-founding the Reeve-Irvine Research Center. Somehow, he decided to play the cards that were dealt and still touched the lives of millions until his death in 2004 at age 52.
If your life destination has a roadblock, figure out a way to get around it. Life is too short to waste your time whining, stalling, rationalizing, and swimming in self-pity.
Remember, DOING IT RIGHT IS SECONDARY. DOING IT IS PRIMARY! So replace the whining habit with energy to create solutions and action.
2. LIFE IS FAIR, UNFAIR, AND BOTH.
When you are little, you routinely complain to your parents that life is unfair. Your children likely say the same thing to you, "That is not fair!" And, the answer is, "That's right!" Some things are fair, and some things are unfair, and in life it is often both. LIFE IS MESSY.
Whoever said that life is supposed to be fair? If you believe life is supposed to be fair, you are likely to be miserable and swimming upstream (see Axioms #1 and #7).
Some people seem to get better breaks. Some situations are blocked for you. Some circumstances have unfair outcomes. Sometimes you will be denied admission, you will be abandoned, cheated, deceived, and some family members will get more and treat you disrespectfully. Sometimes people will appear to discriminate against you. Sometimes bad things happen to good people... and it's unfair.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
ADAPT, ADJUST, IMPROVISE, AND OVERCOME!
Plot an alternative course to your destination. Keep your standards high, maintain your self-respect, do the right thing, love what you can love and let the rest go... and keep going! It is all about the journey more than the goal.
3. WHAT I RADIATE, I ATTRACT. WHAT I FOCUS ON EXPANDS. PEOPLE WILL TREAT ME HOW I TEACH THEM TO TREAT ME.
Think about this. It might just be so obvious you might miss it.
Think about how you routinely behave. If people are warm around you, you might be helping them to behave that way. If people are distant and non-responsive, you might be teaching them to behave that way. If you expect people to be unimpressed with you, you will likely conclude they are.
What you radiate, you attract. Generally, if you are warm, people are inclined to be warm in return. If you are hostile, people reward you either with distance or hostility in return.
You become more interesting when you are interested.
More than you know, you teach people how to treat you. So think about how you behave in the first place. Love begets love. Hate begets hate. Distance begets distance. Criticism begets loneliness.
Your pride is often very expensive and a colossal time waster.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
RADIATE WHAT YOU WANT TO ATTRACT.
As Ken Keys says, "A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror."
YOUR CHOICE OF HOW YOU CONDUCT YOURSELF IN YOUR WORLD LARGELY CREATES THE WORLD AROUND YOU.
4. AS AN ADULT, I AM RESPONSIBLE.
The biggest indicator of being an adult is the willingness and practice of taking responsibility for yourself, your actions, decisions, relationships, behaviors, beliefs, feelings, successes and failures. To continually blame everyone else and avoid responsibility is a habit that too often will keep you dependent, weak, and in emotional prison.
If life is going well for you, you probably had a huge contribution in creating that - good habits, health, wealth, positive relationships, happiness, success.
If life is terrible, you probably also contributed to that outcome - bad habits, poor health, broke, upside down financially, under-educated, miserable, weak, irresponsible, dishonest, dependent.
If life is a huge pile of boring, underwhelming, meaningless, and unimpressive... you did that too: simply putting in time, doing just enough to get by, waiting for "hump day," pay day, retirement, and life to be over. Passing your life with time, rather than passing your time with life.
Remember, you CAN avoid being responsible by refusing to do anything. Note: "Doing nothing" is a decision and a choice for which you must also take responsibility.
SO WHAT DO YOU DO?
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF.
Operate from high standards, self-respect, and strength of character. Own your situation, your decisions, your conduct, and your life direction. Look in the mirror and if you like and respect what you see... then good for you! On the other hand, if you are unhappy with what you see, and your self-respect is in the tank, then it is time to take more responsibility for yourself and do something about it.
5. FORGIVENESS WORKS WONDERS.
Pride is very expensive. Think about how often you are angry, betrayed, insulted, rejected, abandoned, cynical, humiliated, let down, embarrassed, and/or upset by someone or some people. Often you will be so bothered that you refuse to forgive them.
Now, think about the effect on you. You remain in this emotional prison refusing to forgive. Sometimes you are unable to let it go and get on with your life. You remain bitter, hurt, scared, angry, prideful, and wanting a pound of flesh. Further, you may start noticing that in reflection, you may have had some contribution to the bad experience and/or you continue to punish yourself for being so weak, stupid, vulnerable, etc. Now you are unable to forgive them and unable to forgive yourself. Most of the time your pride prevents you from getting out of emotional prison. So you waste time that you are unable to get back.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
DECIDE TO FORGIVE. NOW!
Forgive others and yourself for being imperfect and human. Then you can get on with life with less focus on being emotionally hostage and with more focus on your next chapter. Forgiveness lets go of being stuck in the past and charts a new course for the future.
Consider what is more important:
When you forgive YOU get out of emotional prison and you develop grace. The bonus is that sometimes you get to reestablish and restore important relationships.
6. I MUST CHANGE MY BEHAVIOR FIRST.
It is the best way to cascade change around you. We are all responsible for at least 50% contribution to every outcome in relationships in which we participate.
We all contribute to the outcomes if they are good and also if they are bad. We are either often causing the problems and/or enabling them to continue.
When you change your contribution FIRST, you will create a condition where others HAVE to adjust and change. Sometimes the only way to win is to refuse to play.
Remember, you have much more control and power over YOUR own behavior and conduct anyway.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
MAKE THE FIRST MOVE.
Reach out, compliment, reinforce, forgive, listen, understand, empathize, show patience, respect, and flexibility. Ask them to dance.
Quit enabling, refuse to participate, remove yourself from toxic circumstances, trust your judgment, choose to operate from strength. Let them infect their own lives. The only way that someone can take advantage of you is with your consent.
Choose your self-respect first.
Mahatma Gandhi said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
7. ACCEPTANCE IS DIFFERENT FROM APPROVAL.
I can accept without agreeing. I can also accept without concluding resignation or defeat. See Axiom #1, "Life is as it is, instead of how it should be." Sometimes in order to function in life, I must accept how things are rather than getting upset and disapproving or retreating in defeat.
Think about life as a river, I can go downstream and get in the river in the direction it is flowing rather than fighting life by swimming upstream and wasting energy or disconnecting and disengaging from life and relationships.
In this context, there are types of people:
A. BYSTANDERS. People who watch life go by without any engagement. They avoid contributing to society and spend their time being oblivious, feeling entitled, and/or being apathetic. They act like they have years in their life instead of life in their years. They are unaware there is a river anywhere or where it is going.
B. EXHAUSTERS. People who swim upstream and fight life. They are often unhappy, angry, defensive, critical, suspicious, cranky, pessimistic; they compensate for weaknesses and describe the problem. These people always seem to have a cause, a protest, a need to make life fair, a hyper-sensitivity to life being unfair, a constant need to fix and repair people, and an inability to reconcile the difference between how life should be and how it is.
C. SURFERS. People who go downstream contributing to society, optimistic, capitalizing on strengths, solving the problems. These people surf the waves, avoid the rocks, contribute to the greater good, and enjoy life. They pursue happiness and enjoy it after they find it. They help people to help themselves. They spend more time reinforcing and appreciating than criticizing and invalidating.
The Surfers can accept without having to approve all the time. They make room for lots of types of people and situations. They can embrace the differences more than condemn them. They can forgive, change their behavior first, and take responsibility for themselves.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
START SURFING AND GOING DOWNSTREAM.
"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers
"The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You must catch it yourself." - Benjamin Franklin
8. LIFE IS ABOUT LEARNING LESSONS, AND LESSONS WILL BE REPEATED UNTIL THEY ARE LEARNED.
Every one of life's dilemmas is doing you a favor by opening a window for you to learn a lesson. How much are you willing to pay the freight and learn the lesson?
What happens if you fail to learn the lesson? You remain destined to repeat it over and over again.
Consider some very expensive lessons to learn:
- Physical and financial irresponsibility: Consuming more than you need and spending more than you have.
- Demonstrating poor character without integrity, responsibility, and generosity of spirit.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
REFLECT ON YOUR EXPERIENCES, LEARN THE LESSONS, AND CLEAN UP YOUR MESS.
Wisdom happens when experience collides with reflection on experience. So, make a point to regularly reflect on your experiences to determine life's lessons.
Remember, happiness is about wanting what you have rather than having what you want. He who dies with the most toys is still dead.
Here are some final thoughts for your consideration.
"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." Martin Luther King
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Marianne Williamson from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Dr. Mitchell Perry
Going forward, consider using the "SELF-RESPECT BAROMETER©."
Over your lifetime, what's more valuable, gaining approval or having self-respect? Is it more important to be popular or to be respected?
Think about it and read more below.
At your service,
Dr. Mitchell Perry
YOUR "SELF-RESPECT BAROMETER©"
Being Popular vs. Being Respected
Consider the difference between being popular with others in contrast to being respected by others. The following contrasts might get your attention:
- Wants to be liked / avoid disapproval
- Doubts their own judgment
- Less adult / less mature
- Less responsible
- Externally grounded
- Avoids conflict
- Responds to peer pressure
- Defers / over-accommodates
- Difficulty with saying no
- Needs to fit in
- Operates from weakness
- Less strength of character
- Wants respect from others
- Trusts their own judgment
- More adult / more mature
- More responsible
- Internally grounded
- Deals with conflict
- Prefers to be eccentric
- Stands ground / faces the music
- Okay with saying no
- Little need to fit in
- Operates from strength
- More strength of character
In your network, you have known many people who prefer to be more in one category than the other. And, when you think about it, you may start concluding that more than half the people you know are more interested in being popular than being respected. Perhaps they are too often operating from weakness and therefore are more hostage to the approval of others.
Which category appears to be more like you? How much would you like to live your life being more regularly respected?
YOU ARE ALWAYS WITH YOURSELF
Do you ever notice that every morning you wake up... you wake up YOU? You are always there, regardless of your dreams or fantasies about being someone else.
I like to say, "Wherever you go, there you are, so there you go!" This means that every morning when you look in the mirror, there you are. You will always be attending that meeting and that experience with yourself so it makes perfect sense to enjoy and feel good about what you see in the mirror.
It is insane to dislike or disrespect the person always attending your party: You.
So, your judgment, your approval, your self-respect, your self-concept is primary. Therefore, to be partially or routinely hostage to the approval / disapproval of others over your own is profoundly counter-productive and insane.
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
1. Which has a longer shelf-life, being popular or being respected?
When you think about it, being popular is similar to fashion, one minute it is IN and the next minute it is OUT. Being popular means that you are hostage to the whims of the masses and often the masses, can be fickle. There is often great group pressure to belong to the Union of Fitting In. You will also notice that people who are popular rarely have a strong opinion on anything and they are careful to routinely avoid being controversial or strong-willed. They want to fit in, be nice, court favor, and avoid conflict. Therefore, popular people are easy to like.
Your being hostage to the approval / disapproval of others perpetually makes you adjust your standards and conduct in the interest of gaining that temporary favor from them.
Moreover, you will notice that people who are respected tend to be respected for a long time. They are willing to be unpopular in the interest of a higher standard. They are often people to whom you look up to because they often choose a higher principle and are willing to stick with it. Principles, values, and standards are important to people who are respected. They often emerge as thought leaders and role models. They also think that fitting in to the trend of the day is unthinkable and that everyone who is concerned about being popular is out of step with what is important. Instead they are committed to strength of character and want to operate from integrity, responsibility, and generosity of spirit.
SO, BEING RESPECTED HAS A LONGER SHELF-LIFE.
SO, BEING RESPECTED HAS A LONGER SHELF-LIFE.
2. Which is more likely?
If you are liked and popular you will be respected? OR
If you are respected you will be liked and popular?
Certainly it is true that either one lacks a guarantee.
On the other hand, think about how much you will respect someone if you like them. Think about the people you think are popular and liked. It is easy to like them because they are easy to be around... fun, funny, charming, affable, polite, mannerly, flexible, accommodating, deferential, amiable, empathetic, and caring. All good qualities. On the other hand, it is less likely you will respect them.
If you respect someone, you admire their values, convictions, discipline, standards, and willingness to live by strong principles. Over time, you might notice that you are gradually drawn to them and actually might begin to like them even if you disagree with some or all of their convictions.
SO, IF YOU ARE RESPECTED, YOU ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE LIKED.
3. If you operate largely from self-respect, are you more likely to be respected?
The degree to which you get respect from others is in direct proportion to your own self-respect. The more self-respect you have, the more respect you will get from others.
Example: You get pressure from your peers to participate in doing drugs because it is cool, everyone is doing it, and you want to avoid being called a wimp. So, to get group approval, you consent, do the drugs and then later regret it big time for a variety of reasons. Sometimes you have to do the "right" thing because your self-respect is at stake. When you do, you respect what you see in the mirror, and then "they" will likely respect you more.
OVERALL IT APPEARS THAT SELF-RESPECT AND BEING RESPECTED IS OVERWHELMINGLY THE PREFERRED CHOICE.
So how do you ensure that you operate from a position of self-respect?
YOUR "SELF-RESPECT BAROMETER©"
Going forward, consider using the "SELF-RESPECT BAROMETER©."
You know what a barometer measures: air pressure. And, as you may know, boaters and airplane pilots always check the barometer before they venture out into the sea or sky. If the barometer indicates a storm coming, it might be a bad idea to go out in bad weather. Barometers give you a reliable prediction of what is coming.
Consider this, you probably wear a watch, and you probably routinely look at your watch to check the time (or you might routinely look at your mobile phone for the same purpose). Regularly checking the time helps you make important decisions at particular points in the day.
So imagine that you NOW have an additional gauge on your watch (or phone) and this one is called your "SELF-RESPECT BAROMETER©" and it continually measures your self-respect at any time you want to check it.
Now imagine you are going to make a decision about a relationship, an initiative, a purchase, a reaction, etc. and this decision has some emotion attached to it, which means this next decision might be impacted by that emotion.
Take a look at the following examples around which you have 2 choices. Consider which choice is likely to increase your self-respect.
- Run away from the mess you've created and hope the conflict resolves itself
- Clean up the mess you made and resolve the conflict
- Buy the item because you must have it even though you lack the money
- Routinely set aside money so you can build up your monetary supply
- Drink and drive because you will be "fine"
- Get a ride home and be safe
- Break your commitment with someone because you just got a "better deal"
- Stick with your commitment because you want to be good to your word
- Betray a relationship with "little white lies"
- Stay loyal, honest, and face the music
- Over-accommodate your spouse / children to avoid the conflict and whining
- Stand fast, say no, and remain calm
- Criticize and blame others because it is always "their fault"
- Own your behavior, pay the freight, and take responsibility for your contribution
- Be defensive and argumentative because you must win and/or avoid losing
- Step up and work on reaching agreement and compromise
- Stay in a toxic relationship, play the victim, practice self-pity, and stay miserable
- Offload the relationship, learn your lessons, and move into your next chapter
- Abandon your commitment to staying healthy because it is "boring"
- Stick with your exercise and diet discipline to stay healthy and have a long life
- Stay in a job you hate because you are afraid to be in charge of your life
- Take responsibility for your destiny and find a new direction that you enjoy
- Carry a grudge, keep condemning, and wanting a pound of flesh from them
- Forgive, get over it, move on, love what you can love and let the rest go
- Compromise your standards because it is easier and "everybody does it"
- Stick with your standards because you are calmer inside when you do
BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY MAKE THE DECISION, SIMPLY CHECK YOUR WATCH AND LOOK AT YOUR SELF-RESPECT BAROMETER©."
Now ask yourself this question, "If I choose this decision, does my self-respect go up or down?" If the answer is DOWN, then you can decide to make another decision instead.
If the answer is UP, then go ahead and make that decision!
Remind yourself that self-respect is always the guiding light, the guidance counselor, the mentor, the internal locus of control. Is it worth compromising your self-respect when you make the wrong decision?
WHEN YOU ROUTINELY USE THE "SELF-RESPECT BAROMETER©" TO GUIDE YOUR CONDUCT, YOU ARE LIKELY TO MAKE DIFFERENT AND BETTER DECISIONS. THEREFORE, PUT YOUR SELF-RESPECT FIRST.
You then start trusting your judgment more.
Remember, your self-respect begets higher standards in you. You are therefore likely to show more respect to others, which in turn begets more respect from them.
YOUR SELF-RESPECT BAROMETER IS HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT! Refer to it often.
Keep the "Self-Respect Barometer©" close by and look at it often. You will notice that it will help you make important decisions, retain your strength of character, and your self-respect.
You think English is easy?
- The bandage was wound around the wound.
- The farm was used to produce produce.
- The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
- We must polish the Polish furniture.
- He could lead if he would get the lead out.
- The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
- Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
- A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
- When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
- I did not object to the object.
- The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
- There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
- They were too close to the door to close it.
- The buck does funny things when the does are present.
- A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
- To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
- The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
- Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.
- I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
- How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
When you believe you are defective, and weak, you are... on the other hand, when you believe you are good and worthy, you are. So, which one do you want to believe?
At your service,
Dr. Mitchell Perry
WHAT YOU BELIEVE, YOU WILL PROVE
Your state of mind has a huge impact on the way you conduct yourself. Your ongoing beliefs determine a tremendous amount of the way you look at reality and apply those perspectives.
Even if your beliefs are completely unreasonable, unrealistic, and irrational, you are likely to continue to proceed with your habits reflective of those beliefs. Therefore, before you begin to change your conduct, it is very important to first take an examination of your beliefs in the first place to determine if they are sane, reasonable, and realistic.
Examples of popular beliefs:
SO, WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT THIS?
First it is very important to examine and acknowledge your ongoing foundational beliefs. Determine how much of what you believe is unreasonable, irrational, and unrealistic.
Then there are 3 steps to operate from a realistic, rational, and reasonable point of view:
The late Dr. Albert Ellis outlined the most popular irrational beliefs that most people believe. These are all counter-productive, unreasonable, and self-defeating. Take a look at them, decide which of them sounds like you, and then consider how you might rewrite them to new and improved beliefs.
THE IRRATIONAL BELIEFS
By Albert Ellis Ph.D
Remember that what you believe, you will prove.
Here is an example for your consideration. This is a popular belief you will notice is entirely unreasonable:
THE BELIEF THAT GOOD LOOKING AND ATTRACTIVE ARE THE SAME THING... AND, THAT IF YOU ARE LESS THAN ENTIRELY GOOD LOOKING... THEN YOU ARE UNATTRACTIVE.
"If I am not beautiful / good looking, then I am not attractive."
Give some thought to that. Is beautiful and attractive really the same thing?
Ask yourself the following: Are there some attractive people who are less than beautiful / good looking? Of course.
Likewise, are there some beautiful / good looking people who are quite unattractive? Absolutely!
So what makes people attractive?
So what makes people beautiful and good looking?
Therefore, if you look at the above, you will notice that many people who are attractive possess MANY qualities that are distinct from being good looking / beautiful.
So, ATTRACTIVE IS OFTEN QUITE DIFFERENT FROM BEING BEAUTIFUL / GOOD LOOKING.
On the other hand, if you think that you can only be attractive if you are good looking, then you are setting yourself up for a let-down.
SO, CONCLUDE THAT YOU CAN BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN BE QUITE ATTRACTIVE WITHOUT REQUIRING YOURSELF TO BE GOOD-LOOKING.
If you believe something irrational and unreasonable, you will continue to prove it in a very self-defeating manner.
When you replace your beliefs with something sane and reasonable, you will be more productive and functional.
CHANGE YOUR BELIEF, CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
WHAT YOU BELIEVE, YOU WILL PROVE.
at 2:59 PM