Do You Need To Ignore Your Lover?

I believe a positive mental attitude is key in achieving success, however you define success.  But getting and maintaining a positive mental attitude in the face of doom merchants and naysayers can be hard, even downright difficult.  One of the commonest blocks to success has got to be the negative attitudes and projections of the very people you would expect to be your strongest supporters.

Your spouse, your parents and your best friend.

Don't ListenThink about it. If you are trying to make a change in your life, improve yourself in some way, change career, start an online business, lose weight, stop smoking, write a book, or anything at all, there will be a time when you need to change the way you think and move outside your comfort zone. This can be scary and is the time when you are most vulnerable. It is the time when you need the support of your nearest and dearest.

And it is exactly this time when your loved ones can pour doubt and derision into your brain instead, sabotaging your positive mental attitude and with it, any chance of your success.  Why would they do this?

Simple. Your success affects them in a negative way.

Every relationship can be thought of as a see-saw in equilibrium. Both sides are balanced. It doesn’t matter how unequal the relationship is. It is what it is. And for as long as the people in it keep doing whatever they usually do, it can be thought of as “in balance”.

But when you decide to change yourself and do something different, this alters the equilibrium of every close relationship you are in. The see-saw becomes unbalanced.

This feels odd, uncomfortable and scary for the people in the relationship. To regain the relationship balance, or to get the see-saw back into equilibrium, the OTHER person must ALSO change, and they may just not want to. After all, THEY didn’t want to change in the first place. So they do the next best thing.

They try to stop you from changing. Instead they force you back into the box you are trying to get out of. They sabotage your chances of success by filling your mind with doubt.

Unless you are very strong, you listen to your loved ones. You listen as they tell you how worried they are that you will fail. You listen as they explain it isn’t for you and isn’t it just better to stay where you are? You start to believe them. You bury your dreams and go back to living the way you were.

OR you realise they’re scared for you, for themselves and what the new you will mean to your relationship and home life.  If it will help, talk excitedly about your project to drum up their enthusiasm if you can.  Show them your resume if you’re changing jobs.  Explain how much time will be involved if you’re following a course.  Reassure them you will still have time for them.  Do everything you can to explain how you’ve minimised your risk of failure.

But accept that sometimes it’s just too hard for your loved ones to accept the changes in you.  That’s why friends and family members “grow apart”.

If it’s your spouse who is the doom merchant and naysayer, you need to tread more carefully.  If you KNOW that what you are doing will improve the lives of you both, then do NOT seek their approval.  If it’s a big thing, like moving house to get a job, or stopping smoking when both of you smoke, then fight your corner but be prepared to compromise on things like timing. However, if you’re trying to make a success of a personal goal, like losing 30 lbs weight or learning to write poetry, find a support group and just go for it.

Sometimes your nearest and dearest just do NOT have your best intentions at heart, however much they think they do. Sabotaging your positive mental attitude by sowing doubt is one way to keep you from ultimately forcing change on them.

And vice versa.

So remember that next time YOUR loved one asks YOU to support a life change!

Are You A Noun Or A Verb?

But if you are not happy, the harsh truth is that you need to do something. I’ll say that again. If you want to live the life you dream of, rather than the life that is dealt to you, you have to do something about it.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my life.  And something came to mind that I read once.  I don’t remember the exact quote, or where I read it but it was something about people generally being nouns when the world needed verbs.  (Bear with me).

What I took this to mean was that people generally lived their lives with things being done to them rather than taking control and doing things themselves.  No doubt there are other interpretations – not least that the person who said it had had a drink or two too many! 🙂 

But thinking about it, I think it is true and I’m living proof!

When I first started work after University, like a lot of hopeful, shiny new graduates, I came to London.  I had accepted a job on a graduate career programme which did not excite me but as I was brought up with a strong work ethic, I didn’t think that mattered.  I started the daily commute on the London Underground.  At that time, I had to use the Northern Line, which is actually over ground on the outskirts of London and “goes underground” after Golders Green.  I never got a seat and always stood in the same carriage and braced myself against the adjoining carriage. 

Every day I got up, followed exactly the same routine as the day before and caught the tube.  Every day I felt a sinking feeling hit me as that tunnel approached when the sunlight was extinguished from the train as it entered the underground network.  Day in, day out, the same thing.  Then one day as the doors closed at Golders Green and the train entered the tunnel I remember thinking “Is this all there is for the rest of my life?” 

This shook me to the core.

I had entered the corporate world thinking they wanted the bright, young thing, energetic and active.  A doer.  A verb.  But within months they had knocked all enthusiasm out of me.  With their attitudes and way of doing things, it was clear what they actually wanted was another corporate cog – I had become a noun. 

This had happened so gradually I hadn’t even noticed!  That’s when I started looking for another job!  I took action. 

And it’s the same for any business, offline or online.  I’m not saying that sticking with the status quo is wrong; many people live very happy and decent lives doing just that.  But if you are not happy, the harsh truth is that you need to do something.  I’ll say that again.  If you want to live the life you dream of, rather than the life that is dealt to you, you have to do something about it.

I’m still striving for my perfect life, but it’s closer now than it’s ever been and getting closer by the month!  Be a verb.  Do it your way and don’t give up until you get there.