Scott’s Thoughts: Mastering the Approach

“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.”

Earl Nightingale, (March 12, 1921 – March 25, 1989) an American radio speaker and author, dealing mostly with the subjects of human character development, motivation, and meaningful existence.

Is this glass half-full or half-empty?

How we approach important moments in our lives can have a dramatic impact on the outcomes of those events. Whether it’s a business negotiation, a new business venture, facing adversity in a marriage, or recovering from illness or trauma, how we decide to face the challenge has a profound effect not only on ourselves, but on those we interact with and support us along the way.

Adversity is a growth opportunity we may not always appreciate. But to make the most of the trying times, I feel there are useful mindsets that can help us maximize the return we receive. I thought I’d share a few this week you might leverage in your life’s journey:

1. Approach with curiosity instead of dread or fear. Certain situations are bound to have a degree of unpleasantness if not outright suffering. While we could face these moments with fear of pain, rejection, or misery, we can shift our feelings slightly if we remain curious. What is the message in this experience? What is the greater lesson to be learned here? How is this making me stronger or enriching my perspective?

2. Approach with an openness to surprise. There’s an internal monologue that goes, “Well, I know how this is going to go down.” By bringing our own “spoilers” to the story, we hobble the possibility of productive surprise. If we are open to surprise, we are open to learning. If we shut down surprise, we are more likely to defend our predictions, thereby reinforcing our ignorance.

3. Approach with silence. Have you ever imagined an argument in your head? Have you ever planned what you’re going to say, and then immediately imagined what someone’s response will be? Remember you are not the dialogue writer for the universe. Focus on your feelings, your values, and your best effort to be honest and leave a silent space for others to speak. Often all the arguments you imagine never come to pass.

Have you had an experience recently which might have gone differently or been more endurable with these mindsets? I know I have. Perhaps much of life can be improved by mastering the approach.

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