Positive Thinking Without the Rose-Colored Glasses

rose_colored_glassesToday’s blog may seem strange coming from someone who runs a website selling mp3 affirmations. However, this topic has been on my mind for sometime and an article I read today on Slate.com entitled Think Negative! seemed like the perfect opportunity to address it.

In the article, writer John Gravois takes Oprah Winfrey to task for her promotion (and darn near creation) of The Secret craze. Gravois argues that, if anything, we have our rose-colored glasses on too much in modern America. He blames “the positive thinking crowd” for this problem.

Gravois refers to a book by Rutgers University professor Karen Cerulo entitled Never Saw It Coming: Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst. Cerulo apparently details Gravois’ point about how we Americans only see the good in things and do so to our peril. He calls on Oprah to use her powers of persuasion to reverse support for The Secret.

First, I want to say that Oprah has been a hugely positive force in our society for a long time. For many years, I didn’t “get” her show. I thought it was just another afternoon show for the shrinking ranks of stay-at-home moms. Once I realized what she is all about, I became a great admirer.

Her message, it seems to me, is a pretty simple one…”you can do it!” I think she and her staff work very hard to find tools and information that support that mission. The Secret certainly falls into that category.

I think what is needed in this discussion is balance and context. 

To an extent, Gravois has a point. There are some purveyors of The Secret that go overboard in their assertions. This does have the tendency to promise susceptible people things that probably are not possible. It also has fairly been criticized for promoting the a “blame the person” defense when the system fails to yield the desired results.

On the other hand, Gravois seems to be falling into the common trap that assumes that a negative view of the world is somehow more realistic than a positive view. While he recounts instances where positive thinking falls short, he fails to look at the fact that most of the negative things we worry about never come to pass.

Yet, those negative thoughts and worries have a very real impact on our lives and on how we interact with the world whether they ever come true or not.

We live in a world that has a lot of negativity. We have a government and a mainstream media that maintains control by spreading a great deal of fear, negativity, and divisiveness.

People, in my opinion, have a right – even a self-obligation – to fight back or they place their outlook, their confidence, and their very self-hood at risk.

Positive thinking is a tool. Like any tool it can be misused. Its benefits can be overstated. It also has very real, tangible, demonstrable benefits over being negative. Skills, mood, behaviors, and many other aspects our lives can be improved (if not perfected) through the power of the way we think about them.

It’s foolish to walk into a rattle snake den or fail to seek medical attention for a serious condition on the hope that your positive thoughts are going to protect you. It is equally foolish to go through life only seeing the gloomy; never experiencing the good; and allowing others to form and control your potential by controlling your thoughts.

Only you have that right, but you can certainly hand it to the government, the media, your mother, or your friends. You have to take the bull by the horns and manage your own thoughts.

That is why I created The Affirmation Spot. Affirmations are a spark that lights the flame of the positive thinking engine. I call them mind vitamins because they do something similar for your mind to what vitamins do for your body – maintain health and help battle stress and disease.

Use of affirmations cannot guarantee perfection, enlightenment, a worry-free life, or the big shot in your career. They can, however, help you improve incrementally and prepare your mindset to handle life’s stresses and maximize life’s opportunities.

May each of you have a peaceful and prosperous day!

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams.He’s spent the past 21 years in sales and sales training for major companies.

He is the author of the Anunnaki Awakening series (2015). Book 1 – Revelation – is now available in paperback and on Kindle. This trilogy takes Ancient Aliens out of the past and into the present. An interstellar, interdimensional journey ensues with humanity’s future hanging in the balance.

Letting Go Tips – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday October 17, 2007

woman_eyes_closed_sun_rs.jpgToday’s affirmation is:

“I hold on to those ideas, things, and circumstances that serve my growth and freely release those that no longer do.”

Letting go is something many people have a difficult time doing. As human beings, it is natural that we grow attached to the ideas, things, and circumstances that have added value to our lives. We get used to the way things are and, at times, will go to any extent to keep them that way. This is simply loyalty until it becomes destructive to our well-being.

The ability to let go and move on is a key factor for success in life. Successful people recognize when a situation has yielded all the benefit possible (or enough punishment) and they willingly accept the next challenge.

Many situations begin in our lives as fertile rivers that nourish us and help us grow. However, when we hold on longer than we should we wake up one morning laying in a proverbial dry river bed and wondering what in the world happened.

Now, I’m not advocating a bottom-line cost-benefit approach to life, where you dump your spouse because you “don’t feel it” today or change jobs every six months. Commitment is an important characteristic of successful people as well. 

I’m advocating a wise, well-considered approach that honestly aligns with your deepest needs and intentions. Those are not fickle, flavor-of-the-day feelings, but they do change periodically.

One stumbling block encountered when trying to let something go is the fact that it is a mostly mental process. One way to put an exclamation point on the release is to do something physical to represent the release.

Not every situation needs this much attention, but situations where you are really having a hard time letting go; try the following.

Write the situation you are trying to release on a piece of paper. Be specific. Use names, dates, and descriptions. At the end of the note, write, “Today I am releasing you.”

Here are three ways to solidify your release of the issue.

1. Take your note and tear it into small pieces. Feed the pieces – one at at time -into a fire until it is gone. As you feed each piece into the fire, say to yourself, “I release you.”

2. Get a balloon and stuff your note inside. Fill the balloon with helium and release it. As the balloon sails up and away, say to yourself, “I release you.” The balloon gets smaller and smaller until it is gone. Visualize your attachment to the situation getting smaller and smaller until it is gone.

3. If there are very strong feelings associated with the situation, try this technique. Put your note in an empty aluminum can. Set the can in your drive way and roll over it with your car until it smashed flat. Each time you roll over the can say to yourself, “I’m done with this situation.” When you have crushed the can flat throw it a way and “be done with it.”

These techniques are helpful for situations involving strong emotional attachments. Not every situation requires such an extreme measure, but we do need to maintenance our lives occasionally to make sure we are surrounding ourselves with the people, things, and circumstances that benefit us and the people we care about.

Have an exceptional Wednesday.

Peace…

Ray 

The Affirmation Spot.com

New affirmations are available today in the Wealth and Prosperity, Personal Empowerment, and Sales sections of the website.

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Amazing NASA – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday October 11, 2007

rocket_night_launch.jpg The past two days have been absolutely amazing! April and I spent the day yesterday touring NASA and reliving much of the history and glory days of the U.S. space program.

We were honored to attend a lunch with retired shuttle astronaut Jon McBride who provided a hopeful outlook for the future of the space program with plans to go back to the moon for good and then on to Mars by 2030.

Today we were making our way through another theme park (the third in four days) and decided to leave and drive to the ocean. We didn’t set out to wind up at Cocoa Beach. It was one of those synchronicity things.

We had dinner and went out to the beach to enjoy the evening. There was rocket launch scheduled for this evening and we thought Cocoa Beach might be a good place to view, as it is only a few miles south of Cape Canaverel.

We were not disappointed! About 30 minutes after dark, the entire northern sky lit up and the rocket slowly rose into view. The rocket was moving so fast that the sound of the launch and all subsequent sound did not reach us until as much a 30 seconds after the rocket had passsed a certain point. In other words the sound in the sky was coming from well behind the visual on the rocket. It was astounding.

I speak about goals and dreams and such often on this blog. The Affirmation Spot is all about producing audio pieces to help people achieve things in life. I cannot remember the last time I was as inspired as I have been these past two days during my contact with the space program.

It is so much of what we need so much more of in this world. We need a bigger vision that is centered on pulling together to accomplish something bigger than ourselves. Space can do that! It has the potential to replace war as the world’s number one industry. It has the potential to expand our minds and our possibilities. It reminds us that our petty differences on this planet are miniscule in comparison to our common goals and dreams.

If you ever have the chance, I hope you will visit NASA and that you will contact your elected officials to support this important program for the future of this nation and humanity.

May this Thursday find you peaceful and prosperous.

Ray 

The Affirmation Spot

P.S. – Be watching for a large number of new affirmations coming to The Affirmation Spot in November in December. Sports, Learning, and Personal Empowerment will be the key categories with many new additions coming.

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How to Know Affirmations are Working

world musicI get these two questions a lot from people who are using affirmations. When are affirmations an effective tool? How do I know that an affirmation is working?

Affirmations are an extremely effective tool for self-development, behavior modification, thought substitution, or skill enhancement when you do three things:

  1. Decide and commit to change.
  2. Set realistic goals.
  3. Clearly define your goals.

You have to decide and commit to change. Until you do that, your affirmations are just wishful thinking. Without action and belief, your affirmations will fail. So will other methods. Counseling, visualization, and any other technique require some commitment on your part.

Secondly, your goals should be realistic. To use affirmations effectively, you need to separate reality from hyperbole. There is, in my opinion, a lot of misinformation circulating in the positive thinking arena right now.

Modern technology smartphoneThere are some popular programs around that promise that if you believe something, anything hard enough, it will be yours. They create an impression that thoughts are the key to some cosmic ATM that will leave you rich and healthy…somehow perfected…if only you believe strongly enough. These, to me, are reminiscent of an “eat anything and lose weight” diet.

Your thoughts are the most powerful tool for improving your capabilities, but a 65-year old man is not going to think himself into winning an Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter dash. If you’re 65 and you want to run the 100-meter dash, wonderful! Work on being the best you can be. Aligning your thoughts with that goal will allow you to achieve far more than you ever imagined.

Your thoughts are a tool for improving not perfecting yourself. This topic could be several additional posts, but the point is to be realistic. Once you reach early goals, stretch yourself a bit further. The change is organic, not instant.

Thirdly, it is not possible to know how well the affirmation or affirmations are working unless you have a clear picture of what you are using them to achieve. You need to have a picture in your mind of what success looks like. Then you use carefully selected affirmations that target or support that goal.

Let’s say you are football quarterback who wants to improve game performance. You need to first identify what aspects of your game need improvement and then use affirmations that specifically support the mental and physical behaviors that will help you achieve that change.

So, how do you know the affirmations are working? Let’s take thought substitution as an example. Let’s say you have some very old self talk that says, “You’re so stupid,” or “You can’t play baseball,” or “You’ll never be an actor.” Usually, these thoughts were planted by someone else at some point in our lives. Because the tape has never been replaced, it plays on cue each time you face the situation.

A typical affirmation to overcome any of these thoughts is something positive like, “I am so smart,” or “I am a great baseball player,” or “I am a great actor. I really connect with my audience.”

An easy way to know your affirmation is working is when you face the situation and the old thought comes up; but your new positive thought immediately answers the old negative thought.

For example, “You are so stupid,” is immediately answered by “No, I am so smart.”

Repetition, belief, and the desire to change all play into how well affirmations work. They are simply a tool that can help you improve an area of your life.

Empower Your Mind!

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s been studying and practicing personal development for 30 years. He’s also studied many of the world’s spiritual traditions and mythologies.

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