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Time For Your “Mind Gym” – How Optimistic Are you?


optimism

What do you see if you were given the transparent water glass test (with half of it water)? Would you see the glass as half full, or half empty? Half filled with water and half filled with air? Would you suggest that the glass is twice as big as it should be? Or is it that you express being grateful you have a glass to start with and dismiss appraise? Are you at all a realist who describes it both ways?

To many psychologists, you’re said to be more of an optimist, or a pessimist depending on your answer for such a pop quiz. I wonder what your first spontaneous response is. Perhaps, at different moments, your mood will color what you say, but in general, we can train ourselves to have a default mode in responding to circumstances in certain ways. To be an optimist, you need to practice it, so they say.

At times, it requires tremendous effort to remain optimistic when tough times extend, don’t you think? Even the toughest people have their weak moments during which positivity wouldn’t easily blend with the negativity to dilute it, or even make it shrink. Unless you’re well trained, “tolerance” levels exert their toll and play a negative role on your soul.

At other times, when one forces optimism in all situations despite all signs, this can lead to faulty expectations and eventual aggravation. Surely optimistic people lead a happier healthier life with more solid resilience foundation; yet, to take it too far, and deny that “#%*^” is happening now, or can happen in the future is a misleading temptation.

I am not a pessimist, and contrary to what many think, neither am I a 100% optimist. I am a realist with a holistic view on matters who assesses both sides, but who eventually focuses on the upside. I can’t easily claim horrific matters don’t exist, but I focus on better outcomes as my guide. Realistic optimism remains my preferred ride…

“It is no use to deny it when things go all too crappy. Sit with it and understand it. Process it and embrace it. Get real; then do all you can to make yourself happy.” ~ 3Ds

Rather than sinking in the pile of “#%*^”, you need to seek a better view. Re-arrange the pile and stand on it to get yourself mounted. Realistic expectations and thoughtful consideration are needed to be more grounded. It is the only means to make disappointments less compounded.

Life is much more complicated than that simple glass of water test. And guess what? So are you if the contrary you try to attest. To fight gloom and doom with optimism will remain your contest.

Before I put my case to rest, I’d like you to fill that glass FULLY with water yourself and rise… Hold it high in the air, and throw a toast for all of us: Cheers for the best…

Your Personal Coach

Dania

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Time For Your “Mind Gym” – What Do You Doubt?


faithI have no doubt that most people have a variety of doubts; and these don’t come about haphazardly. We doubt ourselves, our capabilities, other people, and future experiences so rapidly. Often times, a discouraging past acts like the fuel to mistrust in what’s coming; and thoughts of faith aren’t there within us so naturally.

To live with no doubts can lead to grave disappointments especially if those involved things you cannot fully control. I refer here to things surrounding you; not those residing at the core of your heart and soul. To believe totally in others – as you do in yourself – would be like digging in a graveyard for your high expectations a deep hole.

To live with excessive doubts creates a hindrance; and if these doubts revolved around your strengths, they strip you of any potential brilliance. Excessive doubts in people lead you to becoming paranoid and eventually isolation. And if these doubts rotated around life situations, they lead you to a state of “paralysis by analysis” and eventually stagnation.

Some doubt is necessary for a reality check. You’re not expected to remain blinded to what’s real, to prior evidence, and to how things made you or still make you feel. A big picture kind of approach includes probable nuisances; and you may resolve to stay focused on better outcomes as the ideal.

I’m advocating here some sort of balance and for you to be aware of your doubt levels with one exception. At all times…. by all means… doubt your “fears” especially those about your hopeful resurrection. These fears about your abilities to achieve, to reach higher, and to be the ideal you dream are all mere deception.

“Always decorate your thoughts around your potentials with faith and compassion. These remain the trendiest and never go out of fashion.” ~ 3DS

Next time you hear yourself saying: “What if I fail?” or “What if I can’t pull it through? And statements like that, please know that these limit what you really can do….Turn the deaf ear to any emerging fear… It’s crazy how loud the cheerleading music gets once you ignore those kinds of doubts dear…

Try this: Say “I’m unstoppable!” with a loud cheer… Feels good, ha? Soon enough you run out of things to worry about or doubt… Ok, now Jump, fly, or shoot the spear… You’ll love it when you’ve mastered it!

Selfie With Your Personal Coach?

Dania

Time For Your “Mind Gym” – What’s Your Handy Conviction?


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You know how it’s like to be so stubborn in holding on to specific beliefs that guide much of what you do, or feel as you navigate your future direction? Those handy (or not) beliefs are so ingrained that you don’t question their validity. You leave them to influence your every move, your every thought, or your every upcoming decision.

These are what we call convictions. They’re pretty much like faith – in their positive implications – so blind to any alternative negative explanations. And they could really be limiting – in their negative sense – to how well you could thrive, prosper, be happy, or make constructive future predictions.

Those handy (or not) mental influences & internal feelings can be life changing for better, or for worse. They can nourish you like a nurse, or demolish you like a curse. Have you reflected on which in your mind & heart do you repeatedly rehearse?

Not so handy convictions can send you to gloom & doom. They keep you immobile like a baby forever staying in your mother’s womb. They’re like the tools you use to dig a grave for your dreams & lock them for good in a rotten tomb.

Handier convictions stretch your potentials deeper, wider, & higher. That much optimistic sense of total confidence that you can surmount all obstacles like a diligent fighter; To lighten up dark days & make them brighter; To dump off heavy burdens weighing you down & render them lighter…

Those convictions precede all euphoria, all achievements, & all breakthrough. They never come on their own in passing but are thoughts & feelings you habituate your mind & heart to attach to ….

“That voice in your head… That feeling in your heart … can be a handy or not conviction. Your default diction will surely influence your future prediction.” ~ 3Ds

Yes, do believe everything will be alright! Yes, be determined to transcend any plight! Yes, take “happiness” your destination on any trip or flight!!

Now …. Repeat after me: “Mountains will be the least I move…”

How about that for a new handy conviction? 🙂

Your Personal Coach

Dania

PS. I’ll be the first keynote speaker in Toastmasters Lebanon’s Annual Convention at AUB next Saturday march 22 starting at 9:30am. My topic will be “Mission Possible” which empowers attendees to face their fears. You can find tickets at librairie Antoine or follow this link: http://www.antoineticketing.com/Event_Other_Face_it_Ace_it__Toastmasters_Lebanon_1699

Time For Your “Mind Gym” – How Do You Show Your Love?


 

love motion

Valentine’s day is near (Hip Hip Horraaaah!!!). Time to show your “Love” how much you truly loooove them – as per current marketing trend. That day, though, may not be the best of days for many on the receiving end. For all I know, it’s the “gloom & doom” day when they get to feel so unloved, or all positive expectations suspend 😦

To those “single”, Valentine’s day is freakin scary. There’s no partner to give them that special attention. Not that day; not any other day. Alone with their own shadow they’re left to dance & sway.

As for those who do have a partner, they’re lucky to have one; hence, wait for that open expression that “you’re, in fact, the one”. But what if it doesn’t come? Aaaah…. in waiting, it makes them feel so dumb…

On a more positive note, if you’re on the giving end, & you always forgot to be expressive before, perhaps that day is a perfect reminder to stop being such a bore & delay showing your care no more. It really is no chore. On the contrary, it makes your relationship soar….

My question is: do you really need a special day to express how much you love & care? Why not do it every day each time choosing a different way? It’s like the fuel that keeps others going. It’s the one thing that you should never hesitate showing.

“Love is not just an emotion, an expression, or total devotion. It’s a series of acts ruthlessly kept in motion” ~ 3Ds

When acts of love are demonstrated, it’s not only how it makes others feel. It is how you, in turn, blossom & heal from any ordeal….

Just as you ought not keep your partner deprived, your relationship with others you care about need to be constantly revived…

And if you go right now to the nearest mirror, you’d get to meet the true love of your life thereof….

How often do you show THAT what we’re speaking of?

Hoping a whole lot of….

Your Personal Coach

Dania

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The Power of Positive Expectations: Questioned!


I am a big fan of positive expectations being a healthy powerful mindset that helps us plan and achieve so many aspirations. Many leaders, theorists, and researchers advocate and assert the idea (e.g. Churchill, Spalding, Goethe and Rosenthal to name a few). There is even a rule about it (The law of expectations) that dictates that whatever we expect, be it positive or negative, becomes a reality. If we are totally confident and believe whole-heartedly that things will happen, they will. To us, it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy; and with other people, it’s like drawing them directly or indirectly (through our language, voice, or even body language) to behave in a way to confirm our expectations. The “law of expectations” compliments the “law of attraction” which advocates that we attract what we constantly think about. Together, the two laws ensure that both our minds and the universe conspire to serve our deepest wishes. Our beliefs, assumptions, presuppositions, suggestions, elicited multiple cues, and cosmic energy all work together to have an impact on the course of whatever happens.

Very appealing laws for someone with a positive psychology orientation like mine. I do believe the law of positive expectations works and even preach about it all the time with my students and clients alike. The counter argument was always: “what if we expect something good to happen, but it doesn’t” (Like not scoring well on an exam, or not getting that dream job one had hoped for?) My reply was too often the same: setting high expectations makes one work harder and if things don’t work out as well as we wished, the outcomes may have been worse. It’s just feedback that we need to change the strategy we adopted the first time and keep trying harder. That second trial can make all the difference. I constantly had faith that things will inevitably change to the better if we kept our positive expectations. I am having second thoughts now. Seriously, what if these repeatedly don’t….

I’m revisiting the power of positive expectations lately due to experiencing a series of unmet expectations. Could it be that I was not confident enough that the expected would happen? That’s possible. After all, I couldn’t ignore my internal sensors. It felt like it is one disappointment after another; and everybody knows that repeated disappointment exerts a heavy toll on our feelings. It can knock us down so hard that we lose faith in ourselves or others – even for a short while. I am having my moments of doubt now. It is easy to talk myself out of it when matters rotate around myself. We can always do that: capitalize on our strengths and remember our successes. It becomes much more difficult if things involve maintaining faith in other people. We can never have control over the unpredictability of others’ responses. So many times we expect others to treat us in a good way, help us when we ask, and rely on them to carry out their promises. And then it’s an “epic fail”….. The law of positive expectations doesn’t always hold.

 How can we maintain a positive attitude when reality tells us otherwise? This is when a healthy dose of skepticism may be a good idea. Let me get clearer about the concept of “expectations” and redefine that “law” in general and in more specific terms just a bit further. I am seeking a buffer for future disappointments.

  1. Set realistic expectations: Extremely high expectations can lead to graver disappointments; and these are harder to deal with. One way we learn is through experience; and one intense event that stirs us up emotionally can suffice to hold us back for a long time. Get a reality check of probable outcomes every time. You can’t expect sincerely to fly like a bird, can you? That’s biologically impossible. You may think of an alternative that takes you high up in the sky akin to that flying bird.  
  2. Be clear that expectations don’t have to mirror reality later: We can get very close to what we expect, but it doesn’t always have to measure exactly to what we envisioned. Expectations work like a framework or general guidelines that clarify our destination. Be open to accepting “less than a perfect” match. It could be your dream house, soul-mate, or child for example.
  3. Have no expectations when it comes to others: Alexander Pope said it beautifully: “Blessed is he who expects nothing as he shall never be disappointed”. I wouldn’t want to generalize his statement to all sorts of expectations. It would be like depriving ourselves of fuel to strive and achieve. But since we can’t control others, nor their circumstances or whims, we’re better off lowering just that threshold to its minimum. I find this dictum only applicable to our relationship with others. Low or no expectations of what others can do to you is the best strategy. They are all fighting their own battles. Rely on yourself. You can still, however, impact them directly or indirectly in their being masters in their own territories. That’s when the law would still hold.
  4. Spread your focus and diversify: We sometimes confine ourselves to one primary source to get life-satisfaction; hence, have the same one expectation (e.g. expecting a higher pay-check). We may, also, rely so heavily on one source to get things done (e.g. expecting that exercise alone will help you reduce your weight). Both don’t work. The common adage is true: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. This way if one thing doesn’t work, there’s still probability in other things meeting your expectations. Who in his/her sane mind would want to build walls of confinement around “more”? That’s very limiting.
  5. Reframe any disappointed expectation: Ultimate expectations will be served. Let’s remember that. The baby steps to be there can be thwarted for a variety of reasons. Examine alternative explanations or justifications for why a prospect failed (e.g. there may be many hidden reasons that you don’t know). Shift your focus, then, to the brighter side of unmet expectations. Dig it out (e.g. what doesn’t break me makes me stronger; or everything happens for a reason; here’s my chance to exercise my persistence; something like that).
  6. Consider unmet expectations as chances to grow: It’s fascinating to aspire high. It keeps us going. Still, more emphasis ought to rotate around the learning experience and enjoying the ride as you wade your way through (e.g. we really get tempted by quick results when it is the trials that keep us mostly healthy). Furthermore, many times, it is small consecutive disappointments that lead us to much bigger results. Unmet expectations can be used as a catalyst for change, or a shift in direction. Find out where you can go next.
  7. Keep a bird’s eye view: Every now and then, take your distance and dissociate. We have the tendency to become too myopic when we get excessively involved. Reconsider, re-examine, and re-asses your expectations. Things evolve and change as you go about inventing your life. Keep alert to pointers down on earth. Change your expectations if need be. Opportunities may come in disguise. Fish these out.

 

The power of positive expectations? ….hmmmm…. How many times do you actually equip yourself with, but get disappointed. That’s why you hear so many arguing that you’re better off lowering your expectations (and save yourself the frustration). By no means am I totally debunking the law herein; rather, just fine-tuning it a bit. I find it somewhat unrealistic to completely accept that our expectations will be met at all times. Setbacks and disappointments are to be expected along the way as well. To view life in rosy glasses is certainly a desirable empowering attitude that serves us well many times. To overstretch it and claim that things will turn out as we please always is a bit over-rated, don’t you think? The above were a few laws for the “Law of expectations” 🙂  I am sure you can think of more….

 PS. I expect only a few to read this post upon publishing it (no more than 5 readers) and I guess this will be what I get. Please leave a comment if you’ve read so far. I’m putting that law of expectations to the test now 🙂

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