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Posts Tagged ‘Winning Attitude’

Happy Father’s Day

The story of Rick and Dick Hoyt is one of the greatest love stories of all time, as the Host on NBC put it, “its the story of a Father who climbs mountains and goes to the end of the Earth and back to give his son a better life, a life that transcends the limitations of his body.” Rick has celebral palsy, caused by loss of oxygen to his brain at birth because his umbillical cord was  wrapped around his neck.

Rick & Dick compete together in marathons and triathalons.  To date Team Hoyt have run over 950 races including some 60 marathons and triathlon competing in 6 iron mans, the ultimate test of strength and endurance.  Dick carries him in a special seat up front as they bike, pulls him in a special boat as they swim, and pushes him in a special wheelchair as they run.  The Hoyt’s motto is “you can” and they’ve made so many believe anything is possible.

The doctors told Rick and Judy Hoyt that their son would never be able to walk or talk.   They said forget Rick put him away in an institution he’s going to be nothing but a vegetable for the rest of his life.  But Rick and Judy said “no we’re not going to put Rick away, we’re going to bring him home and bring him up like any other child.”

While in high school Rick learned about a five mile charity run for a paralyzed teenager and he told his Dad “I have to do something for him, I have to let him know that life goes on”, for Dick this was a call to action as a Father.  Rick told his Dad “when I’m out running I feel like my disability disappears”  and that was all Dick needed to hear.

When asked what one thing Rick wished he could give his father, his reply was “The thing I’d most like is that my dad would sit in the chair and I would push him once.”

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Lines That Divide US

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”  These words, spoken by Aristotle, are too often ignored and the price we pay is high .  When street gangs substitute for families and schoolyard insults end in stabbings it is a sure sign of a lack of empathy.  Being able to empathize is a crucial ability that forms part of Emotional Quotient (EQ) and matters immensely in terms of how we do in life.  Empathy has to do with knowing another person’s feelings, feeling what that person feels and responding compassionately to another’s distress.

Empathy acts as a buffer to cruelty and is a quality known to be lacking in child molesters and psychopaths.  Empathy is also known to lead to acts of altruism which is known to activate emotions that are vital to the maintaining of good health.

Schools that develop emotional literacy programs, designed to help children learn to manage anger, frustration, and loneliness see lunch time fights, for example, decrease from two or three a day to almost none.

How much happier would we be, how much more successful as individuals and civil as a society, if we were more alert to the importance of Emotional Quotient?

Aristotle also wrote: “Anyone can become angry, that is easy, but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and the right way — this is not easy.”

The good news is that empathy is an innate quality that can be shaped by experience.  The greater your ability to empathize the greater your EQ.

Adriano

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Helper’s High

There is no shortage of studies that show that happier people live longer.  They are also less likely to suffer heart attacks, strokes and pain from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.  It is also well documented that people who express positive emotions come down with fewer colds and flus after being exposed to the virus than those who express negative emotions like anger sadness or stress.  So how can we get “happy” and stay there?

In their book, The Healing Power of Doing Good, Allan Luks and Peggy Payne talk about the “helper’s high,” a feeling of exhilaration and a burst of energy similar to that experienced after intense exercise, followed by a period of calmness and serenity.

For the book, Luks studied over 3,000 Americans involved in volunteer services to find that these do-gooders reported a helper’s high that lasted several weeks and improved other aspects of their lives. They also report that the euphoric sensation returned when they remembered the action of helping others.

The benefits of charity go beyond improving sensations and emotions.  Of the group Luks studied for his book, 90% reported that volunteering acted as an antidote to stress, chronic pain, and even insomnia.

Another study found that members of volunteer organizations lived longer and experienced better health. The volunteers experienced noteworthy decreases in levels of blood pressure, stomach acid and cholesterol counts. Harvard University in a similar study dubbed the “Mother Teresa effect” showed 132 students a film about Mother Teresa’s work among the Calcutta’s poor, and than measured the level of Immunoglobin A, present in the saliva.  The test revealed increased levels of immunoglobin A which is the body’s first defense against the common cold virus – all after simply witnessing somebody else involved in charity work.

These studies show how important acts of altruism are in boosting a sense of well-being and maintaining good health.  It also shows why we should never pass up a chance to deliver a thank you note to someone who has been especially kind or helpful but never properly appreciated, or why it would pay to be there for someone even though it is not convenient.  But perhaps most importantly it also supports the dictum that the surest way to happiness is to lose yourself in a cause greater than yourself.

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Win the Race – Scott Goodfellow Style

All of life is like a race, with ups and downs and all,

all you have to do to win the race is get up each time you fall.

Quit, give up, you’re beaten they still shout in your face,

but a stronger voice inside you says: Get Up and Win the Race!

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The Dark Triad – Part 1 Intro

Skip to: Part 2 Narcissist –       Part 3 Machiavellian –        Part 4 Psychopath


Name Tag Dark Triad-1

As discussed in an earlier post, what makes life worth living comes down to feelings of well-being through happiness and sense of fulfillment.  And that this happiness and fulfillment can best come through a life of rich and rewarding relationships.  On that note, also in a previous post, we discussed the four human temperaments, also known as personality types, as a tool to understanding ourselves and learning to get along with others.  In this 4 part series we look at personality types of a different kind, specifically personality types which people would generally define as undesirable.  Psychologists have dubbed these  personality traits as “The Dark Triad”.  The Dark Triad consists of three personality deficiencies Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy.

Narcissists are driven by one motive: dreams of glory.  Narcissists flourish when they are facing a difficult challenge, they shine when performance under stress counts the most.  However they have little capacity for empathy and the more impaired a person’s ability to consider others, the less healthy their narcissism.

For the Machiavellian the ends justify the means, no matter what human pain he may cause.  They tend to be cynically calculating and arrogant, readily behaving in ways that undermine trust and cooperation.

The hallmarks of the Psychopath’s behavior are deceit and reckless disregard for others.  The Psychopath also lacks empathy and are completely indifferent to the emotional pain others may suffer because of his actions.

To varying degrees, all three personality types entail a dark, interpersonally destructive character with tendencies toward grandiosity, emotional callousness, manipulation and dominance. Psychopaths and Machiavellians have high self- esteem, and are charming and fun but psychopaths are also impulsive and cunning. Narcissists are grandiose and have high self esteem, and may also be intellectually gifted.

A common theme that underlies The Dark Triad is a preoccupation with dominance and power.  The problem with this preoccupation with power is that it suppresses the development of empathy.  When empathy is not practiced, it diminishes.  We are designed this way because assertion of dominance often necessitates overt or covert aggression.  Can we be aggressive towards someone we have empathy for?  Of course not, thus the most loving people are the least aggressive and the least domineering.

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Butter-Side-Down Syndrome

 

bread

Why does toast almost always fall butter side down?  The experts say it boils down to  the fact that when toast falls gravity makes it start to spin, and this natural consequence of gravity acting on the typical height of the average breakfast table causes the toast to land butter-side-down.  As an alternative you could eat breakfast atop a ladder so that the toast has time to turn right-side-up again.  

Of course how it happens doesn’t matter to us nearly as much as the simple fact that it does happen.  Since eating breakfast is one of the first things we do to start our day, when our toast falls (usually butter-side-down) its often our human nature to attribute it to the start of a bad day.  In truth though, we should count ourselves lucky that our toast even had a chance to fall when you consider that as many as 600 Americans every year are said to be killed falling out of bed.  The fact is “stuff happens”, that’s not in our control.  But its not what happens to you that’s important, its how you react.

Optimism is an outlook on life such that one maintains a view of the world as a positive place, or one’s personal situation as a positive one.  Optimists believe that regardless of the external world or situation, one should choose to feel good about it and make the most of it.  Having a “glass half full” attitude and thinking optimistically from an early age in life predicts health and well being in later years.  Optimism has demonstrable benefits, and pessimism has drawbacks.  This according to Christopher Petersen, PhD & author of A Primer in Positive Psychology.  He goes on to say that optimism has been linked to positive mood and good morale as well as success, popularity and good health.  Even if you have been a pessimist for many years, its not too late to change your way of thinking and reap the benefits of a positive attitude.

Indeed one source of positive or negative outlook may well be inborn temperamentthat is that, by nature, some people tend one way or the other.  But temperament can be tempered by experience.  Optimism and hope, like helplessness and despair, can be learned.  Self-efficacy is what psychologists refer to as the belief that one has mastery over the events of one’s life and can meet challenges as they occur.  A researcher on self-efficacy, Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura, states: “People’s beliefs about their abilities have a profound effect on those abilities.  Ability is not a fixed property, there is a huge variability on how you perform.  People who have a sense of self-efficacy bounce back from failures; they approach things in terms of how to handle them rather than worrying about what can go wrong.”

So as the saying goes, some days we’re the windshield and some days we’re the bug and on those days toast will inevitably fall, airlines will “misplace” our luggage and car engines will break down when we most need them to work.  But a positive attitude helps us cope more easily with our daily struggles, and effects critical aspects of our life such as success, popularity and health.

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If I had my life to live over

By Erma Bombeck

 

daisies8

The following was written by Erma Bombeck who was a journalist and humor columnist writing mostly about suburban family life. She suffered from polycystic kidney disease and died days after receiving a kidney transplant.

 

 

If I had my life to live over. . .

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the “good” living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television, and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love you’s.” More “I’m sorry’s.”

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look at it and really see it… live it… and never give it back.

Stop sweating the small stuff. Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what.

Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who DO love us.

Let’s think about what God HAS blessed us with.

And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually.

Life is too short to let it pass you by.

We only have one shot at this and then it’s gone.

I hope you all have a blessed day.

 

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