On Quotes

What is the Difference Between Confidence and Arrogance? It Is In the Minds of the Beholder…

CR7bI recently came across the question:  What is the difference between confidence and arrogance?  Without giving much thought to the exact definition of each word, I think most of us have noticed that confidence is seen as a positive trait that people admire, while arrogance is seen as a negative trait that turns many people off.

According to Dictionary.com, confidence is defined as:

  •  belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance

According to the same source, arrogance is defined as:

  •  offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride

If you look closely at the definition of confidence, it appears to be something that is felt within the individual to whom the term is applied.  It is their personal belief in their ability.

If you look closely at the definition of arrogance, you can see something else happening.  It includes the opinion of an observer.  For it to be an “offensive display”, it must be offensive to someone else.  It would not make sense for it to be offensive to the person making the display.  For the individual’s level of pride to be “overbearing”, it must be experienced that way by someone else.

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

Carl Jung

This question immediately brought to mind world-famous soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo as the perfect example for working through this distinction.  As a three time winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or, he has been able to refer to himself as the best player in the world with complete confidence.  However, he is one of those professional athletes that people either love or hate, or love to hate, and he is often referred to as arrogant.

CR

I think many people who reach the pinnacle of their profession do so because they are very passionate people, and they bring that passion to their performance.  It will naturally follow then that during certain moments, for our present example, when Cristiano Ronaldo scores, we will see an explosive display of this passion.  And we often do.  It is during these moments that he is thought to appear the most arrogant, and has subsequently been deemed an arrogant person.

I think what people forget though, is that when Cristiano Ronaldo is on the field, he is at work.  He is working.  He is focused, he is determined, and he is not overly concerned about how he might appear to others.  I think that is as it should be.  That is a big part of what makes him successful.  He works hard, he believes in his ability with absolute confidence, and he’s excited and proud when he achieves the positive outcomes of his drive, dedication and persistence.

Does anyone every consider if he continues to behave like this when he is not in the role of “soccer player”, and instead is in the role of “friend”, “father”, “son”, “brother”, “diner”, “patron”, “customer”, etcetera.  It would be quite absurd if he did.  I find it highly unlikely.

Does anyone ever consider how often he cries when his vast ambition is thwarted or even awarded?  We see the same level of emotion as when he scores, but the tears suggest emotions that are completely inconsistent with arrogance.  We do not expect to see arrogant people crying in public.  I would assume that a person with an unassailable “offensive sense of superiority” and “overbearing pride” would be unperturbed by defeat or high honors.

CR7Euro

CRBallonD'OrWe all behave differently when we’re in our different roles.  We behave differently at work than we do with our children, and different still with our spouse, and different yet again with our friends.

I note in general, there is a tendency among the masses to want to find flaws in celebrities.  Stories and pictures of celebrities looking bad or messing up in some way are regularly brought to our immediate attention.  And they are regularly read, talked about, and often worst of all for the celebrity, never forgotten.  We do this with certain coworkers, friends, and family members as well.  What does it say about us that we get a secret, or sometimes not so secret satisfaction when others fail in some way?  What does it say about us that we so frequently choose to ignore a person’s redeeming qualities?

What others say about you is their reality, not yours.

Unknown

If only someone took the time to really think about their assumptions before committing to them, they would find an entirely different story.

Again, using our present example, Cristiano Ronaldo is known to be fun-loving and kind. He appears to be a true team-player, and his dedication to practice is admired by his coaches. He is a devoted father to his son and is very family oriented in general. He is known to write encouraging letters to children, to fight the crowd to ensure that a child rather than an adult will receive his jersey after the game. One has to merely look to find endless examples of a softer side to this player.

CR7JR

And I believe that this is true for anyone. As humans, we all possess the potential to be temperamental at times, to be self-absorbed, to be insensitive to others, and to be arrogant. We also all possess the potential to be patient, selfless, and compassionate. No one is completely arrogant just as no one is completely perfect. Forgetting this, and assigning permanent labels to people limits the extent to which you can see humanity in this world. And that is a shame because humanity is one of the world’s most beautiful aspects.  We are all more alike than we are different, and we’re all on the same team.  Fundamentally, we all just want and deserve to be happy.  When we remember these facts everyone becomes a lot more likable.

Keep well,

Susan

 

Be the Change…

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

Today I write with recent tragedies that  have occurred in the United States on my mind.  It makes me feel sadness to see how so much fear, hate and anger does nothing but produce more of the same…  Very very valid feelings, but very destructive and counter-productive at the same time…

If I had the perfect solution I’d share it in an instant but I don’t.  The situation appears to be anything but simple.  But I cannot forget the progress that men like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela have accomplished through peaceful protest.  Hopefully more people will remember them and follow their lead…  and that most definitely includes the police too…

I’d like to share an excerpt from the book A Lamp in the Darkness by Jack Kornfield.  It’s a very touching and true story that I think is particularly fitting at this point in time as it reminds everyone as Frankl said, everything can be taken from you but your freedom to choose how you will respond.

“One young boy, just fourteen years old, wanted to become part of an inner city gang.  In order to initiate himself into the gang, he went out and shot another teenager his own age.  He was subsequently caught and arrested for murder and, after a time, was brought to trial.  He was convicted and just before he was taken off to prison, the mother of the young man who’d been murdered stood up in the courtroom, looked him square in the eye, and said, “I’m gonna kill you.” And then he was led off in handcuffs.

While he was incarcerated, the mother of the young man who had been killed came to visit him.  He was shocked and surprised.  During her first visit she talked to him for a little while, and later she came back and brought him some things he needed – a little money to buy things in prison, some writing materials – and began to visit him regularly.  And over the next three or four years, as he served his sentence, she would come visit him regularly.

When the time came to be released, she asked him what he planned on doing when he got out of jail.  He had no idea.  “Where are you going to work?”  she asked him.  He didn’t know.  So she told him, “I’ve got a friend who has a little business – maybe you could get a job there.”  And then she asked, “Where are you gonna live?” And he said, “I don’t know.  I didn’t have much of a family even before I came in here.”  And she said, “Well, you can come and stay with me.  I’ve got a spare room.”  And so the young man moved into her home and began to work at the job that she had found for him.

After about six months, she called him into the living room, sat him down, and said,”I need to talk to you.”  He said, “Yes, ma’am.”  She looked at him and said, “Remember that day in court when you were convicted of murdering my only child?”  He said, “Yes, ma’am.”  She said, “Remember I stood up and I said, ‘I’m going to kill you’?”  He said, “Yes, ma’am.”  “Well, I have.  I set about changing you.  I came to visit you over and over and brought you things, and made friends with you.  And when you got out I took care of you and got you a job and a place to live, because I didn’t want the kind of boy who could coldly murder my son to still be alive on this Earth.  And I’ve done it.  You’re not that boy anymore.  But now I have no son and I’ve got no one and here you are and I wonder if you’d stay with me and live with me for a time.  I can finish raising you as my son and I’d like to adopt you if you’d let me.”  And she became the mother of her son’s killer, the mother he never had.”

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.

Jean -Paul Sartre

Keep well,  Susan

You’re sure you don’t want any?

“The danger is not that the soul should doubt whether there is any bread, but that, by a lie, it should persuade itself that it is not hungry.”

Simone Weil

I think we’ve all been asked this question countless times, particularly when it comes to sharing food.  We’ve also come across similar questions when friends and family ask us to join them doing this, that or the other and we decline.  What doesn’t happen so often, is that someone will ask if you are sure that you do not want more from life.  How often does it happen that we even ask ourselves if we want more?

It is not uncommon to exit our formative years with our dreams and aspirations trampled out of our awareness by well-intentioned discouragement, an unsuccessful first attempt, and the thoughts of our very own minds.  Rather than endure the discomfort of taking a closer look at what has happened, dreams and aspirations are easy to let go of in the interest of protecting ourselves from the anguish of seemingly inevitable failure.  This becomes even easier to do when we have children and forget our own dreams and aspirations and instead wholeheartedly focus on theirs.  Life on the beaten path, a life that seems to be keeping up with those around you, gives a sense that life is just as it should be too.  And for many it truly is.

I’m writing to those of you for whom that spark of fire attached to a dream never extinguished and still burns.  To those of you who think that feeling okay most of the time is good enough.  To those of you who think its too late, you’re too old, you can’t afford it, you’re too busy, you’re too (fill in the blank) …

Remember, thoughts and beliefs are merely content of the mind.  Just because we have certain thoughts and beliefs, it does not mean that they are true.  And often they are not…

You can have a belief and still choose behaviors that contradict it.  You can look around and you’re sure to find evidence of other people contradicting your belief.  These are people who refuse to entertain negative or self-limiting beliefs.  These are the people who feel abundant and alive in adult life.  These are the people who are truly happy because these are the people who are living their passion in whatever way they can.

Find your way to feed that fire to bring passion and happiness back into your life.  Not only will you benefit, but your friends and family will be thrilled to see you back in the game.  You deserve this so take some…

Keep well,

Susan

A Golden Rule For Users of the Golden Rule

The Golden Rule, also often referred to as the “ethic of reciprocity”, is a general piece of advice on our daily conduct that is found among most religions.

Most basically it states:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

In its negative or alternative form it states:

Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you.

Even more basically, its a very simple and easy to follow rule that suggests you treat people in ways that you would like to be treated, and that you not treat people in ways that you would not like to be treated.  Who couldn’t agree with that?  Its easy and fair to everyone involved.

However, if you adhere too closely to the Golden Rule you may run into trouble.  There is something missing from the Golden Rule.  Although it seems to cover everything about how we choose to conduct ourselves and is therefore assumed to do so, it doesn’t.

What the Golden Rule doesn’t account for, is whether or not the people you are living by the Golden Rule with are also living by it with you.  Given that historical religious writings often condone a life of service and giving our own needs less priority than those of others, this doesn’t come as a surprise.  It is a problem though for those of us who have a tendency to be very giving and caring people, particularly for those of of who tend to be “rescuers”.  When we’re going through life Doing unto others…  its not always the case that others are also Doing unto us…

This can create problems when this becomes our way of being without taking time to consider the factors present in each scenario when we are giving of ourselves.  What can unfortunately happen is that we run into people who don’t live by this rule, but for obvious reasons love the devotion of a good friend, mate, coworker, or family member who follows this rule.  When this happens, these people can turn into bottom-less pits of taking and/or neediness.  They can really put a big dent in our energy supply and subsequently, even if unwittingly, interfere with our ability to accomplish our daily, short-term and long-term goals.  They can leave us feeling used, abused, and exhausted, wondering how did so much time go by where none of what I did with my time benefited me in any way, shape or form, and/or actually caused my life a lot of harm.

For those of us who have unfortunately become entangled in such a relationship, I propose a third Golden Rule and believe it is just as important as the other two:

Do not let anyone do to you, what you would never do to anyone.  Do not let anyone take from you, what you would never take from anyone.  Do not let anyone depend on you in ways that you would never depend on anyone.  Do unto yourself, as you would do unto others.

Keep well,  Susan

 

 

What dwells on the mind is worth some time considering…

A friend of mine sent me the following quote several months ago, and it has been dwelling on my mind ever since:

I wish I’d partied a little less.  People always say:  “Be true to yourself.”  But that’s misleading because there are two selves.  There’s your short-term self, and there’s your long-term self.  And if you’re only true to your short-term self, your long-term self slowly decays.

Unknown

It shook me when I read this because for many reasons what can be referred to as my “short-term self” has dictated much of my life thus far.  During the past couple years I have set things in motion to change that, to choose to see myself positively as a “late-bloomer”, and to finally honour my long-term self that was and is the self of my childhood dreams, my life’s purpose, and my true heart’s desire.

Where does this short-term self come from?  And how does it gain so much power over our lives sometimes?  I think this can be answered in so many different ways, by myself, and by anyone else.  But does it really matter after all?  The most important thing first is to notice it, to remain aware of it, and to take control away from it and hand the reigns of your life over to your long-term self when you know its time.  If that cannot be achieved easily then further investigation will help you uncover what makes the short-term self and its priorities so much more compelling…  Look to the payoffs that your short-term self and long-term self enjoy from this pattern and follow from there in your journaling, meditation practice, chats with close family and friends, or any other way you check in on yourself and get a good look at what is present for you…

Stay aware, stay committed, and keep well…

P.S.  If you feel you could benefit from some extra help with this, I am also available to help…

The IQ Toolbelt

Have you ever known someone, or several people, who you consider extraordinarily “smart” or “intelligent”.  And It’s not just you, everyone else you know who knows these people would agree.  These are people who you are sure would score close to, or in the gifted range, on an IQ test.  Yet despite that high IQ, these same people cannot seem to maintain any level of success.  They just can’t seem to get it, or keep it, together.  They are for whatever reason, and most unfortunately, underachieving…

I think that there is an assumption out there that straight As equal a successful life.  But if you take a look at the successful, there are countless examples of people who didn’t go the traditional academic route, or weren’t in the top of their class, yet who do quite well in life regardless.  Some quite astounding in fact.

So if IQ doesn’t solely determine our level of success then what does?

I recently read the following quote:

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.

Anonymous

I have found that IQ is almost useless without a variety of other important yet less frequently considered traits such as the following:

  • Discipline
  • Stamina
  • High tolerance for frustration
  • High ability to delay gratification
  • Realism and/or optimism
  • Self-confidence
  • Drive and desire
  • Focus
  • Internal Motivation
  • Vision
  • Belief and faith

I am sure that you can add a few more strengths to the list.  That is what I would refer to those qualities listed as, personal strengths.

While I am not as sure that we can do much to improve the range within our own IQ falls, I am sure that we do have a lot of control over how we facilitate and maximize the use of our strengths.

We all have our own unique constellation of strengths and weaknesses.  If you’re struggling to succeed, and you have been for awhile, it might be time to upgrade some of your strengths or “tools” with some targeted self-work.  Let nothing that is within your control to change stand in your way…

Keep well…

 

Food for Thoughts about Procrastination…

 

Procrastination.  We all do it.  We all feel bad about it.  Yet it remains among the most common of bad habits of the average daily life.  We can ask ourselves why, but the most obvious explanations are abundantly clear.  Fundamentally, in the short-term, it is simply easier.

Not only is it easier, our minds have become quite clever at creating an endless list of excuses (or really just reasons masquerading as excuses) to justify it.  Ask me why I watch more television than I probably should and I’ll answer:  because it creates more relaxation in a smaller amount of time than anything else I know.  I get the most bang for my buck and that’s great value.  And when I’m looking for relaxation, or anything for that matter, it makes sense to go with the option that offers the most instant gratification with the smallest investment possible.  Are these things true?  Yes, they definitely are.  They appear to be completely rational thoughts.  Are these things false?  Yes, they definitely are.  It’s all about perspective really, and I think most of us know this.  Most of us know that procrastinating may bring more relaxation into our lives today or this week, but it certainly won’t bring more relaxation into our lives this month or this year.

Sometimes we can get so busy that we can go through days or weeks without even noticing that we’ve wandered into procrastination territory again.  The fact is, that aside from being easier, for many procrastination does serve additional and significant purposes.  It is this dynamic that keeps us stuck in it despite knowing that it will rarely truly work to our benefit.

For me, right now my most important task is committing to a regular writing routine which includes creating blog posts, articles, an e-mail newsletter, another e-Book, etcetera.  Writing is key to the success of business online.  My problem is that to me, writing feels like public speaking, and I have always struggled with any form of public speaking.  I actually rarely think about this, but I always know its the root of this problem.  Its why I find myself putting off my writing until I review one or several of my texts, or read something new, or both…  Sometimes even work can be procrastination in disguise…

Recently I read the following quote and had one of those ah-hah moments where I questioned what I’ve been doing for the last several weeks:

If a man for whatever reason has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.

Jacques Yves Cousteau

It made me realize that while indulging my avoidance tactics, however below awareness they were, and however alternatively productive they are, I am not only sparing myself some discomfort that I can easily get over with practice, but I’m depriving others of what I have to offer that would be helpful to their lives.  Caught up in my silly concerns that some people are not going to love or even like what I have to say, I lost my awareness of those that will.  I don’t need to save the entire planet, I don’t need the whole world to agree with me.  I just need to focus on what matters – the fact that there are people out there who will benefit from what I have to say.  That’s enough for me.

What this all boils down to is that sometimes procrastination is just procrastination, and sometimes its more than that.  We owe it to ourselves, and to the people that matter to us if and when the situation applies, to take a closer look at what is going on.  There can be many explanations for your procrastination – avoidance, fear of failure, ambivalent motivation, guilt, grief – the possibilities are endless really.  Fortunately, procrastination is not…

 

 

 

Red Light Green Light

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

Zig Ziglar

It’s quite common to reach adulthood with a case of fear of failure and its sidekick procrastination.  As we proceed throughout life, each of us will inevitability encounter many experiences where we have failed to some degree or another.  Sometimes this will be intentionally, sometimes inadvertently, and other times it may have resulted from our own  negligence.  Regardless of the cause, few can walk away from these experiences without having some or several negative beliefs and/or feelings about what has happened.  Just as we’ll easily learn to proceed with caution when jumping into water for a swim after jumping into an ice-cold lake, we will learn to proceed with caution, delay or even entirely avoid any situation that has led to a negative and painful personal experience.  This tendency of our thinking and relating minds does a very effective job at keeping us safe from any sort of harm.  However, it can’t keep us safe from the harm we cause ourselves in terms of missed opportunities and personal growth.  After a certain point, safety is insufficient for ensuring our happiness and quality of life.

Consider a baby between birth and five years of age.  In normal circumstances any given baby will learn to walk, talk, control bodily functions, complete simple tasks, mimic adult activity, devise ways to amuse themselves, etc.  And they all do it, at least seemingly, with little to no fear.  Consider a young child learning to walk.  They will fall down countless times and simply pick themselves up and continue to practice walking until they have it mastered.  Consider many adults twenty, thirty, even sixty years later.  After a few failed attempts, and possibly even just one, they will quit or fail to approach an unfamiliar experience, be it a new job, relationship, skill, form of recreation, or anything.  Somewhere along the lines we learn that failing is unpleasant, and our brains begin to operate on the assumption that the possibility of failure, guilt and shame, is a threat to our personal safety and is therefore something to avoid at all costs.  Even at the cost of a quality life.

ACT interventions often ask the question:  Which will you believe, your mind or your experience?  Your mind is throwing up red flags signalling dangerous territory ahead, and you feel this in your body as anxiety, resistance and dread.  But your experience tells you that you have survived and learned from every painful experience you ever had and will continue to do the same.  Your experience tells you that many of the ultra successful have failed many more times than the average person.  Your experience tells you that you have already learned countless things and with much less information than you have now.  It probably also tells you that you have succeeded far more often than you have failed.  However, success is not useful information for the part of our brain that functions to keep us safe so its typically filtered out.  Luckily we still maintain access to all the memories of success, big and small, that are stored within our brains.  We just have to set an intention to recall and focus on the useful memories we find and devote ourselves to the process of obtaining whatever it is that we seek with a willingness to accept whatever failures we encounter on the way.  Your mind will give you a red light, your experience will give you a green light.  Which will you believe?

The following is a link to a fantastic article about procrastination that is very helpful. It puts procrastination in a more realistic light and provides useful tips for overcoming it.  I’ve also included links to a self-help classic, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, for those whose struggle with fear and procrastination is more moderate to severe.  The first is the quick and easy to read best-seller, and the second is an audio version of the book which includes eight CDs.  Counselling sessions with myself or another helping professional remain available to you as well.

http://livelearnevolve.com/work-now-procrastinate-later/