A 'but' mentality; the monkey on your back
I have to admit, this has become a bit of a pet peeve of mine; the word ‘but’.
Usually followed by an excuse, the kind of excuse that wouldn’t wash with a four year old, the kind of excuses I used to use myself.
This week’s article is about mindset, mentality, and positivity.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to start piping on about the cosmos and positive energy waves or anything like that; that just isn’t me.
In fact I’m a bit of a cynic, always have been and in some aspects I’m delighted with my cynicism, however there is a line and it’s all too easy to cross.
It’s easy to let cynicism rule all aspects of your life, to the point where you become so closed minded that you suffer at the hands of it.
See, I don’t believe really in anything that can’t be proven, never have.
I don’t believe in a God, I don’t believe in ghosts or the afterlife and I certainly don’t believe in positive energy waves floating around the cosmos.
I’ve never seen the point in the debate surrounding these issues either.
Educate, sure; anything we can do to move towards greater acceptance and tolerance within our vastly diverse and ever volatile world. Debating the existence of something that neither party will ever prove otherwise seems like a waste of time to me, a waste of time that can only ever result in bad feeling and a further distancing in our quest towards understanding and acceptance.
Believe what you want, or not.
It is here where I welcome my cynicism, I relish in the simplicity of not giving certain things a second thought.
Like I said though, there comes a point where that cynicism can spill over into other arguably more important aspects of life like career, health, fitness, fat loss, strength, relationships, and the list goes on and on and on.
I used to be the kind of guy who didn’t notice the stray twenty euro note on the ground of the high street; instead I cursed the ‘jammy bastards’ who did.
I avoided job applications, dodged social occasions, made every excuse I could think of not to put myself out there, not to try, not to bother.
I had a ‘But...’ mentality.
“...but why would they hire me? I’m not qualified enough for that job”
“...but what if they don’t like me, what if I have nothing in common with anyone?”
This kind of attitude will hold you back forever if you let it.
Unless you take the necessary steps to overhaul it, it will hold you back in all aspects of your life; Yes, even your fitness or health goals.
I hear it all the time; it usually goes something like this...
Me: “Here’s what you need to do; you need to do X, Y and Z in order to move forward towards your goals”
Subject: “Oh, but I can’t do X because...” or “But, I don’t like doing Y because...”
Of course, some excuses will carry legitimacy and for those I must adapt my methods for, but the majority of the time as soon as I hear the word ‘but’, I know that person isn’t ready for what I’m offering them, I know they need to address the more pressing issue first.
So what are the necessary steps one must take to get this monkey off their back?
Bathe in positivity:
For the last four consecutive summers I have worked as house manager in a 4 star, luxury ten bedroom guest house on the west coast of Scotland. The house is frequented by some of the richest people in the country; these people tend to be quite positive.
I know what you’re thinking; you’d be positive if you were that well off, right?
That’s what I thought at first, but then over the years as I got to know the returning customers and my employers, I realised something. All of these people share at least one thing in common; they’re not deterred by anything. Whatever life throws their way, they carry on, try again; they adopt a different approach until something sticks.
This attitude is not necessarily inherent either, a lot of the people I met were self made from very humble beginnings.
Surrounding yourself with positive people tends to have an effect on you; you start to look for ways to become more like them; if they can do it why can’t I? What’s holding me back?
Take a risk, put yourself out there:
Putting yourself out there takes real guts. It doesn’t matter the context either, taking that risk and potentially setting yourself up to fail is a scary but liberating thing.
Ask yourself, what’s the worst that could happen?
It doesn’t work out the way you thought it would?
So what? Who cares? Consider this for a moment if you will. What if you learn something during the process, what if it takes you one step further to your goals, what if you actually achieve that goal first time round?
Next time you dream for something or wish to do something ask yourself not what could go wrong, but what could go right?
Take stock of how you feel now and then imagine that feeling with an added serving of regret on top, because that’s all you stand to gain from not taking the plunge.
In the words of a personal hero of mine; the most ever optimistic, never deterred man on the planet... “He who dares wins, Rodders. He who dares wins”- Derek ‘Delboy’ Trotter.