Monday, March 16, 2009

Bad Dog!.... I mean “Good Dog!

Much has been written about how our attitudes affect our daily lives. The Law of Attraction basically says that you will attract things to you based on your beliefs and attitudes. Think positive thoughts and positive things will come your way. Think negative thoughts and you will attract negative things to you.

I’m a huge believer that our attitude affects the world around us. I’m not trying to suggest that thinking happy thoughts and whistling a catchy tune will guarantee you happiness in life, but I am suggesting that the way we can control much of what happens around us, is by our attitude.

You’ve heard the old saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” To me, that statement sounds rather Pollyanish but the truth is that your reaction to a situation or problem speaks volumes about how you deal with life’s problems, both big and small.

You can’t always impact what happens to you, but you can impact the way you deal with those things.

For instance, the other morning I was dressed for work when I heard the dog barking to come in. I let her in and she immediately jumped up, placing her paws on my chest, to tell me “hello”. Unfortunately, her paws were wet and dirty. So my shirt was now wet and dirty, as well. At this point, I have several options in terms of how I can mentally react:

1. I can get angry and upset and yell "Bad Dog!" and then let this setback affect more of my day.
2. I can clean off my shirt or change it and move on.
3. I can get momentarily annoyed, and then put it behind me
4. I can laugh and say “Good Dog! You just love your Daddy!”

The truth is #4 has never been me. I love our dogs, but that’s just not going to be my reaction to an incident like this.

Ten years ago, number 1 might have been my reaction. When things happened to me, I tended to carry those thoughts with me most of the day.

Today, 2 or 3 are a much more likely response from me. For the most part I’ve learned not to let one incident affect me for more than a few minutes. So when I get upset with the dog, I don’t take it out on my wife, my business partner, or anyone who happens to be driving in a way I don’t appreciate.

But that certainly wasn’t always true. Just a few years ago I wore my emotions on my sleeve. I just wasn’t aware of it.

For more about that, watch for our video on the Johari Window.

Until next time….

Dave Meyer
ECI Learning Systems, LLC

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