Friday, December 22, 2006

Are you ready to be optimistic

worth reading and applying in 07

The Power of Positive Self-Talk Brian Tracy
Perhaps the most powerful influence on your attitude and personality is what you say to yourself, and believe. It is not what happens to you, but how you respond internally to what happens to you, that determines your thoughts and felling and, ultimately, your actions. By controlling your inner dialogue, or "self-talk," you can begin to assert control over every other dimension of your life. Your self-talk, the words that you use to describe what is happening to you, and to discuss how you feel about external events, determines the quality and tone of your emotional life. When you see things positively and constructively and look for the good in each situation and each person, you have a tendency to remain naturally positive and optimistic. Since the quality of your life is determined by how you feel, moment to moment, one of your most important goals should be to use every psychological technique available to keep yourself thinking about what you want and to keep your mind off of what you don't want, or what you fear.

Arnold Toynbee, the historian, developed what he called the "challenge-response theory" of history. In studying the rise and fall of 20 major world civilizations, Toynbee concluded that each civilization started out as a small group of people - as a village, as a tribe or in the case of the Mongol empire, as just three people who had survived the destruction of their small community. Toynbee concluded that each of these small groups faced external challenges, such as hostile tribes. In order to survive, much less thrive, these small groups had to reorganize themselves to deal positively and constructively with these challenges. By meeting each of these challenges successfully, the village or tribe would grow. Even greater challenges would be triggered as a result. And if this group of people continued to meet each challenge by drawing upon its resources and winning out, it would continue to grow until ultimately it became a nation-state and then a civilization covering a large geographical area.

Toynbee looked at the 21 great civilizations of human history, ending with the American civilization, and concluded that these civilizations began to decline and fall apart when their citizens and leaders lost the will or ability to rise to the inevitable external challenges occasioned by their very size and power.

Toynbee's theory of civilizations can be applicable to our life as well. You are continually faced with challenges and difficulties, with problems and disappointments, with temporary setbacks and defeats. They are an unavoidable and inevitable part of being human. But, as you draw upon your resources to respond effectively to each challenge, you grow and become a stronger and better person. In fact, without those setbacks, you could not have learned what you needed to know and developed the qualities of your character to where they are today. Much of your ability to succeed comes from the way you deal with life. One of the characteristics of superior men and women is that they recognize the inevitability of temporary disappointments and defeats, and they accept them as a normal and natural part of life. They do everything possible to avoid problems, but when problems come, superior people learn from them, rise above the, and continue onward in the direction of their dreams.

Dr. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania has written a fascinating book based on his 25 years of research into this subject. It's titled Learned Optimism. In this book, Dr. Seligman explains the basic response patterns of both positive and negative people. As a result of his many years of work in cognitive therapy, and the use of exhaustive testing, he finds, quite simply, that optimistic people tend to interpret events in such a way that they keep their minds positive and their emotions under control. Optimists develop the habit of talking to themselves in constructive ways. Whenever they experience an adversity, they immediately describe it to themselves in such a way that it loses its ability to trigger negative emotions and feelings of helplessness. Dr. Seligman says that are three basic differences in the reactions of optimists and pessimists. The first difference is that the optimist sees a setback as temporary, while the pessimist sees it as permanent. The optimist sees an unfortunate event, such as an order that falls through or a sales call that fails, as a temporary event, something that is limited in time and that has no real impact on the future. The pessimist, on the other hand, sees negative events as permanent, as part of life and destiny. For example, let's say that the optimistic salesperson makes 10 calls on likely prospects, and every one of those calls is unsuccessful. The optimist simply interprets this as a temporary event and a matter of averages or probabilities. The optimist concludes that, with every temporary failure, he is moving closer to the prospect who will turn into a sale. The optimist dismisses the event and goes on cheerfully to the 11th and 12th prospects. The pessimist sees the same situation differently. The pessimist has a tendency to conclude that 10 unsuccessful sales calls is an indication that the economy is terrible and that there is no market for his product. The pessimist generalizes and begins to see the situation and his career as hopeless. While the optimist just shrugs it off and gets on with the next call, the pessimist becomes discouraged and loses heart and enthusiasm for the hard work of prospecting. The second difference between the optimist and the pessimist is that the optimist sees difficulties as specific, while the pessimist sees them as pervasive. This means that when things go wrong for the optimist, he looks at the event as an isolated incident largely disconnected from other things that are going on in his life. For example, if something you were counting on failed to materialize and you interpreted it to yourself as being an unfortunate event, but something that happens in the course of life and business, you would be reacting like an optimist. The pessimist, on the other hand, sees disappointments as being pervasive. That is, to him they are indications of a problem or shortcoming that pervades every area of life. If a pessimist worked hard to put together a business deal and it collapsed, he would tend to assume that the deal did not work out was because the product or the company or the economy was in poor shape and the whole business was hopeless. The pessimist would tend to feel helpless, unable to make a difference and out of control of his destiny. The third difference between optimists and pessimists is that optimists see events as external, while pessimists interpret events as personal. When things go wrong, the optimist will tend to see the setback as result from external factors over which one has little control. If the optimist is cut off in traffic, for example, instead of getting angry or upset, he will simply downgrade the importance of the event by saying something like, "oh, well, I guess that person is just having a bad day." The pessimist has a tendency to take everything personally. If the pessimist is cut off in traffic, he will react as though the other driver has deliberately acted to upset and frustrate him. The pessimist will become angry and negative and want to strike out and get even. Often, he will honk his horn or yell at the other driver. There is a natural tendency in all of us to react emotionally when our expectations are frustrated in any way. When something we wanted and hoped for fails to materialize, we feel a temporary sense of disappointment and unhappiness. We feel disillusioned. We react as though we have been punched in the "emotional solar plexus." The optimistic person, however, soon moves beyond this disappointment. He responds quickly to the adverse event and interprets it as being temporary, specific and external to himself. The optimist takes full control of his inner dialogue and counters the negative feelings by immediately reframing the event so that it appear positive in some way.

*About the Author: Brian Tracy is a leading authority on personal and business success. As Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, he is the best-selling author of 17 books and over 300 audio and video learning programs.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Women shop a lot more from the doctor

In the last Daily Dose, I surely got myself in hot water with at least half my audience by citing some new science that gives credence to the age-old notion that women are bigger chatterboxes — er, I mean more comprehensive communicators — than men are…

Well, now there’s some new data validating another stereotype of women the civilized world over: That they tend to shop a lot.

According to another recent article in the UK Daily Mail (Male?), a survey study of 3,000 British women revealed some staggering factoids about every girl’s favorite pastime. If the research is right, the average UK woman:
Makes 301 shopping trips per year for all purposes combined (1 every 29 hours)
“Window-shops” 51 times annually, for a total of more than 2 full days
Spends a combined total of 4 days per year in the supermarket alone
Devotes 90 shopping excursions specifically to finding shoes, clothes, accessories and toiletries for herself
Expends more than one full waking day (18 hours) shopping ONLY for personal deodorants, shower gels, and razors
Makes 19 total shopping quests per year in search of gifts for friends and family
And perhaps the most astounding finding of all: The average UK woman will spend MORE THAN 8 YEARS OF HER LIFE shopping!

Now, before you go and assume that I’m being judgmental or ridiculing of the fairer sex, I want you to think about this: What would the existence of most of the men in these women’s lives be like if they DIDN’T spend so much time in search of the ultimate bargains, tastiest food, and most perfect fashion accessories?

Keep reading…

What would men’s lives be like if their women weren’t borderline shop-a-holics?

I’ll tell you what they’d be like: Dull, boring, colorless, lifeless, curtain-less, TV-dinner-eating, ratty-old-clothes-wearing, greeting card-less, newspaper gift-wrapped, candle-less, smelly-bathroom-ed, unscented-soaped, plain-toweled, holiday-decoration-less, dirt-yarded, ugly-housed, sexless, romance-less, and vacation-less…

Not to mention damn near without a moment’s peace — since their women would always be home instead of out shopping.

I’m serious here, folks. Men can take care of themselves, but not well. They’re hard-wired to think only of the essentials. The big picture. Just about all of the details that make life truly worth living come to us from our women. A lot of men I’ve known bitch about the credit card bills and all the stuff their ladies buy — but they’re failing to consider what those dollars are REALLY buying…

Time to themselves and happiness for their ladies (which equals happiness for them).

What they don’t realize is that this is one of the truly great differences in the sexes that men should appreciate above all other things. Women’s drive to acquire beautiful things, stockpile provisions, and keep themselves (and you) looking as pretty as possible should be nurtured at all costs.

Especially now, during the holidays. So cut loose the plastic, boys, and give your girls the gift they really want this Christmas: A first-class shopping trip (or 10 of them)…

I promise the benefits will come back to you far more than most of the money you could spend on yourself or your own hobbies.

Hopefully not offending about the realities of spending,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

P.S. Lest you think I’m a raving sexist, I’d be willing to bet this: If ever there were a study conducted about the average man’s absorption of sports on TV, I’ll bet it would give the girls’ shopping time a run for its money…

Monday, December 18, 2006

Women talk more -a medical opinion

Women’s lip: A fact of life

I’m going to get in trouble for this one, I just know it. But don’t shoot the messenger…

We spend a lot of time in American society denying or minimizing the differences between the sexes. And as un-PC as it is to say, this is a purely political ploy designed to erase men’s natural advantages in some professional fields — like where physical strength, spatial judgments, or mathematical calculation is required.

Studies NOT at the mercy of the political winds have borne out time and again that men have certain advantages in these areas. Sorry, but it’s true.

Not that women don’t have some major edges in other areas — they do. Look at publishing, writing, editing and journalism fields. The girls not only compete in these arenas, but often dominate them. Same for teaching, nursing, social work and a lot of other careers.

The bottom line is that in this modern political climate, women are allowed to exploit their advantages over men whenever they can — but men aren’t allowed to do the same over women. And if they inadvertently do, they have to be ashamed of it and hide their masculinity every day. It’s a major double standard, and it’d be funny if it weren’t so screwy. But I digress…

Today’s column is about a major difference between men and women that PC political forces try to deny or sweep under the carpet: The fact that women TALK MORE THAN MEN. For some odd reason, this assertion has been raising ladies’ hackles for years. It’s almost as though if this were proved true it would somehow diminish women’s stature in society or something.

Must be a chick thing, I don’t know.

But regardless of how anyone FEELS about it, the fact is that — just as most men have suspected since the dawn of language — women chatter (sorry, vocalize) around 3 times as much as men do. And yet another body of research has proven it.

According to a recent UK Daily Mail article, a new book titled The Female Mind — written by a University of California affiliated, self-labeled feminist named Dr. Luan Brizendine — reveals that the average woman gives voice to around 20,000 words per day, compared to just 7,000 or so from the typical man. Keep reading…

The reasons women talk more than men, Brizendine claims, begin in the womb.

According to this daring doctor, this disparity in expressiveness is the result of actual physiological and hormonal differences in the way men’s and women’s brains develop — not from man-centric societal influences (as most revisionist PC types would maintain).

See? We ARE different! Deal with it, feminists…

As if this isn’t politically incorrect enough, she also maintains that women actually get a kind of heroin-like brain-chemical “buzz” from hearing their own voices! Kind of puts a new twist on things when men say that their women are arguing just to hear themselves talk, doesn’t it? (I’m going to get it for that crack, I know). The news isn’t all unflattering for the ladies, though. Brizendine redeems herself with her militant feminist readers by suggesting that the same brain chemistry differences that make men and women talk at such differing rates also enable men to become “deaf” to their women’s protestations…

Small consolation for the girls, I realize. But I’m in the truth biz, not the “fuzzy lies” one.

And since I’m already in hot water with the fairer sex today — I might as well go all the way with it tomorrow. Stay tuned…

Talking too much (for my own good) about who’s talking too much,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.