The Odds Are On Your Side

It’s one of the great ironies of my work over the years. A persistent reason people give for not thinking positively is they don’t want to be deluded by false hope. It’s ironic because they don’t see how often they’ve been deluded by their own negative thinking.

Often, when confronted by this fact, they will say they’re not being negative. They’re just being “realistic.”

This reveals a mass human tendency to see being negative about ourselves/our prospects as being realistic. It’s a simple psychological defense mechanism to seeks avert disappointment and often responsibility for outcomes we don’t want. If we “don’t get our hopes up,” we tell ourselves, “we won’t get hurt.”

What if we understood deeply that positive outcomes, even by pure chance, are as likely as negative outcomes? When we apply the power of our minds and our efforts, the scale quickly turns in favor of a positive outcome. We literally have direct control over making positive outcomes more likely in our lives.

Now, let’s reconsider the calculation. Is avoiding occasional setback and disappointment really worth missing a dozen victories we might have won, if only we hadn’t been too “realistic” to try? I will leave you to answer that question for yourself.

Keep your mind on your side.
Ray

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Challenge YOUR Status Quo

Challenge YOUR Status Quo

It’s funny what a difference a word or two can make in meaning. Most of you have heard the quote, “practice makes perfect.” It’s a Vince Lombardi quote, but the popular version isn’t the whole quote. The actual quote is, “perfect practice makes perfect.”

Small word change, but a huge difference in meaning. The first version tells me that if I practice my flawed golf swing, over and over and over, I’ll magically have a better golf swing. The latter coaches that I need to get my golf swing to a good place and then practice the right way over and over to achieve excellence.

It’s a pithy piece of advice to tell someone to “challenge THE status quo.” I’ve written a number of articles over the years on that topic myself.

It sounds very rebellious. Many people are willing to try it. There’s little to no risk in it. Here’s why.

Challenging THE status quo is a nebulous endeavor. What does it even mean? Is it driving a practical car when all, your friends drive sports cars? Does it mean growing your hair longer or wearing out-of-style clothes? Does it mean saying yes when society as a whole says no or vice versa?

These type of behaviors aren’t challenging anything meaningful. They’re non-conformity for non-conformity’s sake. What is that but a new kind of conformity?

No, you must challenge YOUR status quo. You must put your most cherished beliefs to the test once in a while. Take them out to the woodshed and kick the crap out of them. Poke holes in them like a prosecutor would. Evaluate your beliefs the way you would your ideological opponent’s.

Until you do that, what are they but someone else’s theories and talking points adopted by you?

Do they stand up to that kind of scrutiny? Yes. Wonderful, you’ve got principles that are keepers. No or not sure? Maybe these are things you should reconsider or at least be more flexible and less dogmatic about.

Just like perfect practice makes perfect. Challenging YOUR status quo is the only way separate the wheat from the chaff in your belief system.

Have an amazing 4th!

Ray

Dogma Blocks a Better World

In a world where dogmas and entrenched beliefs rule, it’s practically impossible for better and new ideas to grow. Societies that become that, lose their forward momentum and they cease to be leaders.

The only way for a society to get better on this front is for individuals within that society to release limiting paradigms and be open to new ideas. All the world’s great ideas are not limited to certain times, certain places, and certain people. They’re born every day in the minds of people we “agree” and those we “disagree” with.

Failing to see that, we cut ourselves off from half or more of the better ideas that could improve country, planet, and species.

It’s up to each of us to reflect on how we are contributing to being stuck with ideas that don’t work anymore. The pace of change in the coming decades is likely to force our hands, but a more enlightened approach is to begin opening ourselves to new possibilities, figuring out how we make timeless ideas thrive in these new environments, and how we stop being a roadblock to needed change.

Our best future was not conceived in the past. It’s being conceived right now in real time. Our choice is to participate constructively in that process or be an obstacle to it.

Every great teacher and leader of the past did not re-entrench in old ideas. He or she brought new ideas to the table. They were change agents not defenders of the status quo. If we are to transform our times as powerfully and positively as they did, we must be agents for conscious change too.

Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you ARE awesome!

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