Category Archives: excuses,

4 Secrets My Snowman Showed Me About Having A Positive Spin

 

He was my first snowman.

My cheeks were red with excitement and the cold.  All he needed was a hat and I ran indoors to ask mum if I could use one  of my knitted ones. With great ceremony I put it on his head and then stood back. He was as tall as me! He was smiling, and I’d made him all by myself.

That night, while I was getting ready for bed I heard an ominous sound. I knew what it was, it was the sound of water dripping. The icicles by the back door were melting and the snow looked different somehow. I stared put between my curtains at my snowman in the middle of the garden and tears crept down my cheeks.

Next morning he was gone. Just his blue knitted hat lay on the emerging grass, with his lumps of  coal eyes.

Last week I thought about that snowman.

I thought about the snow we’d just had and how people reacted to it. I realised that my long-ago snowman had started me on the road to having a Positive Spin.

Here are the 4 Snowman Secrets to having a Positive Spin:

1.   It’s  too easy to say ‘No.’

The day is snowed heavily we could have easily said ‘No’ to going out. After all, the house was very cosy, we had stuff we ‘ought’ to have been getting on with. But out we went. What we would have missed if we’d stayed in!

Exquisite beauty, twigs transformed, a silent world, a traffic free road and childlike fun.

I’m going to try to say ‘Yes’ far more in my life. What about you?

It’s so easy to feel wary, scared, afraid of change. But when we say ‘Yes’, we rarely regret it.

2.  We must appreciate people while they’re with us.

I was so sad when my snowman ‘died’. I’d only just met him and he was gone again.

I don’t want to sound morbid, but it’s often not until people leave us that we realise their importance in our lives.We must tell them how much they mean to us, show them we value them and give them hugs, virtual or real.  It never seems to be the right moment. I’m going to try to tell them more often …

3.   We must be proactive.

If I hadn’t built my snowman that day it would have been too late. It didn’t snow again that winter. I would have missed it.

It’s the same with life’s opportunities. If we don’t ‘seize the day’, the day will be gone. When we have the chance to learn something new, travel to a new place, make a new friend, we must take it. Before the opportunity disappears.

4.   Take that risk!

We went to see the children sledging. It was a delight to see them. And then, as you know from this post, I was offered the chance to join in. It would have been so easy to say ‘No’. But I said ‘Yes’ and took the risk. If I’d waited for another day, the snow would have melted, and who knows when another chance would come? When will we next get snow?

Chances to do new things will come your way. Follow your instinct. If it feels right, do it! New course? Learn to dance? Learn to ski? Why not!

I realise that having a Positive Spin is not practical all the time. But once you start to develop the habit, you’ll be surprised, as regular readers will know.

It’s like rolling a snowball. It grows… and grows…

… until it’s a way of life.

I’ve chosen to seize the day and upgrade this blog.

There’ll be a new look very soon! I could have waited until another day, but I decided the time was right. I’ll enjoy developing  and improving it for you, I’m certain of that.

Are you going to miss out on a magical, exciting experience?

Or are you going to say ‘Yes!’ and develop your Positive Spin?

What are you going to say ‘Yes’ to in 2011?

Do tell us. We all need some inspiration…

Header by cursedthing, post pic by theirhistory, on Flickr.

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How To Be Brutally Honest With Yourself and Still Remain Positive

Guest post, especially for us, by Kiesha Easley from WeBlogBetter…  Thank you Kiesha.

I won’t lie, being completely and brutally honest with yourself is not the most pleasant activity.  In fact, it can get down right ugly.  Especially, if like most people, you’ve done some things in your past that you’re not too proud of.  No one likes to think of themself as the bad guy, but it happens.

What’s even worse is that while we’re doing hurtful things to people, it rarely bothers our conscious until the consequences slap us in the face.

When I think about how I used to treat my younger sisters when we were kids, my heart often aches with shame. I really neglected them and avoided spending time with them like the plague.  I’m nearly 10 years older than them and as a teenager, I just didn’t want to be bothered.

I’d yell at them and kick them out of the room without a second thought, and taking them to the playground was out of the question.

After we grew up, things got a little better, but nothing to receive awards over.  Yet, despite all of this, I was surprised and hurt when-

I overheard my sister tell someone that I wasn’t as nice as everybody thought I was.

Ouch! That hurt and my first response was sadness, as if I were the victim, when really what my sister was saying was totally true.  How nice could I really be if I could treat my sisters the way that I did?

I took some time to reflect on it and realized that the truth is that no matter how hard I try to be nice to others, sometimes I get grumpy. Most mornings I’m grumpy and unpleasant to be around.  I don’t like admitting it, but it’s true.  In order to be able to love and live with myself, I have to simply accept that fact.

The good news is that nobody has to be perfect; everybody is flawed in some way.  So why do we expect to be any different?

There are tons of things about myself that I don’t like, but I’ve learned that once I acknowledge the flaw, I can make a choice to try to improve the things that I can and learn to be at peace with things that I can’t.

That’s how I’m able to be brutally honest with myself and still keep a positive attitude.  That’s what keeps me from constantly blaming others; that’s what helps me accept responsibility for my actions.  Sometimes, I just have to apologize for being a jerk, and then do what I can to fix it and move on.

Have you ever been around someone who couldn’t accept responsibility for their actions to save their life? 

I know a few people who are always blaming others for their mistakes. They do this so much that even when there’s no one around to blame, they will still manage to find an excuse. If one night while driving alone, they ran a red light and crashed into another vehicle, when asked why they did it, they’d quickly blurt, “It wasn’t my fault! I was distracted because my girlfriend keeps stressing me out!” instead of accepting the brutal truth that they simply weren’t paying attention.

You don’t have to hate yourself for mistakes you’ve made. In fact, being able to accept the truth about yourself and still love yourself is a sign of maturity and integrity.

So what about you?

Do you ever have a hard time loving yourself when you think about the things you’ve done wrong over the years?

What do you need to accept about yourself?

 

Header image by cursedthing, post image byAnita Robicheau, on Flickr.

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Hey! We Have a Guest! Look For The Good in People; it’s Better for You

I’m very excited!
We have a Guest!

I’m delighted to introduce Kiesha Easley, from weblogbetter. She has written this post for us here on Positive Spin and you can read all about her here.

I know you’ll all make her welcome and pay her the compliment of leaving some comments.

One sunny afternoon, my hubby and I were driving Downtown and we saw a guy riding a pink girls’ bike.

The guy looked a little unkempt, and seeing him on it piqued my curiosity, so I said, “What in the world is that guy doing on that bike?”

“He probably stole it,” my hubby replied.

“Why would he do that? It’s probably the only bike he could afford; probably got it from a thrift store or something…”

“There you go, always trying to find the good in people. Why can’t you just accept the fact that people aren’t that good? Some little girl is somewhere crying about that bike and here you are making excuses for him.”

“That poor man is probably on his way to work. Maybe he works at a construction site and had no other way to get there.” I quipped back.

“Like I said…” my hubby continued, “You’ve just got to see the good in people…”

Now, neither of us really knew what this guy’s story was, but each of us had created scenarios based on our opinions. We’re probably both wrong, the guy could’ve been riding his daughter’s bike home after getting a tire repaired for all we know… or he really could’ve done something terrible.

But regardless, we could’ve gone on all day creating scenarios about that guy, and no matter what, I would’ve continued to choose the positive side.

Why, you ask?
Because you get what you look for – you look for the good, that’s what you get.

People who insist on focusing only on the bad are more likely to be grumpy and angry all of the time. They tend to believe others are out to get them – when that’s not the case at all.

These people build walls around themselves that they believe will shield them from the bad without realizing that it’s also shielding them from the good.

While they’re trying to protect themselves, they’re missing out on the best in life; the good and the humanity that resides in all of mankind.

Looking for the good in others might seem a little delusional, especially in a world where serial killers run rampant and war is the norm. I’m not pretending those things don’t exist, but I make a conscious choice not let it control my opinions.

I look for the good in people because it helps me to see the good that is within me. It takes the sting away from the fact that I; that none of us can ever be perfect. It allows me to keep my good mood and helps me forget the times people have done me wrong. It’s a far more nourishing way to live.

It’s funny, because people seem to be divided – they are either pessimistic or optimistic about the nature of people and life in general.

What about you?
Are you leaning to one side or another? Do you always notice the bad or the good in others and why?

Kiesha blogs at WeBlogBetter.com. She’s a writer, writing instructor, and blog consultant for small business owners. Connect with her on Twitter @weblogbetter

Header image from cursedthing, post image from woofiegrrl, on Flickr.

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Beginners Guide to Solving The Problem of World Peace

It's our problem...

‘World Peace? Our problem? Stop it… now you’re being very silly…’

Errr, no. I’m not. Being silly, that is.

Every drop helps to fill an ocean…

Every Positive Action we take in our tiny ‘world’ will help to bring peace to the larger world, if we all join in.

We can do something to help.

All of us.

If we take the time to think it through.

 

I thought it through and I came up with:

The Beginners Guide to Solving the Problem of  World Peace.

1.   What if… we waited?

Not easy. Doesn’t come naturally. We tend to put ourselves first. 

  • What if we waited…. and let the car out in front? (What?)
  • What if we waited…. without moaning, in the queue? (No,I can’t…)
  • What if we waited…  for the other person to speak and not interrupt?(Impossible…)
  • What if we waited…  before jumping in with our opinion? (But….)

2.   What if …we took responsibility?

It’s easy to lay blame. I do it all the time. It’s not my fault.

  • What if …we admitted when we’re wrong? (Don’t be ridiculous…)
  • What if …we stood in the other person’s shoes? (Why should I?)
  • What if …we acknowledged when we’ve upset someone? (But that’s hard…)
  • What if … we… (good grief!) apologised? (But…)
  • What if …we stopped making excuses for our behaviour? (I can’t do that, because… well, just because…)

3.   What if… we took a back seat for a change?

Oh dear…

  • What if… we spent time listening to a friend’s problem, even when we’re really busy with our own stuff? (Not enough hours in my day!)
  • What if… we didn’t rush away when someone wants to chat and it’s not ‘convenient?’ (But I’ve so much to do.)
  • What if… we didn’t try to influence other people’s choices? (But they’ll get it so wrong!)
  • What if… we said ‘yes’ to a simple request, even when we ‘d rather not ‘because it’s too much trouble’? (Must I?)

4.   What if…we smiled rather than frowned?

It doesn’t seem to come naturally but people are surprised when you do!

  • What if… you smiled and waved at the driver who ‘cut you up’ on the motor way?  (He’d be very surprised! OK, or she would…)
  • What if… you smiled at the waitress when she brought you the wrong order, and just quietly pointed it out? (I suppose I could…)
  • What if… you smiled rather than exploded when you lost a document on the computer, because it was your mistake and no-one else’s? (OK, I get your point…)

5.   What if … we stopped  blaming?

I could write a lengthy list of all the people who’re responsible for everything that goes wrong for me. Starting with computer designers…

  • What if… it wasn’t the government’s fault that our schools don’t meet our children’s needs? (But it is, isn’t it?)
  • What if… it wasn’t the chocolate makers’ fault that you put on weight? (They shouldn’t make such tempting stuff…)
  • What if… it wasn’t your partner’s fault that the washing machine won’t work today? (It has to be his fault, I didn’t overload it…)
  • What if… it wasn’t your child’s fault that he missed the bus? (Of course it was.)

The more I think about it the more I realise that we could all do more to make – 

  • our everyday lives more peaceful,
  • our family’s lives more peaceful,
  • our friends’ lives more peaceful,
  • everyone we meet’s lives more peaceful,

(see where I’m going with this?)

What do you think?

  • Am I being too idealistic?
  • Am I being silly?
  • Or… can we help solve the enormous problem of world peace?

In a small way?

Join our World Peace Chain, mentioned in the comments!

What will YOU do?

 

Header image by cursedthing, post image by Cayusa, both on Flickr

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Ooops! I Said ‘Yes’ But I Wish I’d Said ‘No’! (And What To Do About It…)

Why did I say 'yes'???

 This post is for Christine.

You put down the phone.

Your heart sinks.

You’ve got butterflies…

If only you’d been brave and said ‘No’.

Oh well… that’s it. Nothing more to be done.

Stop right there!

All is not lost.

You have the right to change your mind!

I’ll pause while you read that again….

You know why you did it:

  • You’d felt guilty if you said ‘no’
  • You didn’t want an argument
  • It was easier
  • You always do…

Why do you want to change your mind?

Here’s what to do about it.

  • Say what you want.

‘Sarah/mum/Simon… I need to cancel the arrangement we made to go to the cinema/come to you for Christmas/go on holiday with you/come to you for the week-end.’

  • Don’t apologise or grovel, simply give the real reasons.

I realise I’m over committed/under a lot of pressure at the moment.’

‘We want to have a quiet Christmas this year but would love to see you in the New Year/ in February/ on your birthday’  – whatever you actually want to do.

  • Be clear and honest

You must say what you want, don’t apologise,On reflection/now I’ve had time to think about it /I realise that it doesn’t work for me/us at the moment. (Leaving the door open if that’s what you want to do.)

  • Listen to what they say.

Give them a chance to respond and try to see it from their shoes. But don’t be persuaded to give in. Perhaps you can concede that you understand it’s a nuisance/inconvenient for them, but remember, you have every right to change your mind.

 You could say something along these lines: ‘I understand that this is a nuisance but it’s what I want to do.’

 What will happen ?

  • They’ll be upset
  • They’ll be surprised but not upset
  • They’ll understand and appreciate your situation and your honesty

If you feel yourself begin to waver, simply remember that

you have the right to change your mind.

Result?

  • Once you’ve had the conversation, you’ll know it was the right thing to do because you’ll feel relieved
  • You’ll feel so much more confident about saying ‘no’ in the future.
  • You’ll smile all day!

Are you going to change your mind about something?

What do you wish you’d said ‘no’ to?

Do share, in the comments, how you dealt with it… we’d all like some help with this!

An excellent book on this subject: ‘Assertiveness’ by Claire Walmsly.  BBC books.

Header image courtesy of cursedthing and post image by Nicoli Barea, on Flickr.

 

    

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Ditch Your Addiction…And Help Solve A Huge Problem

‘Oh no! It’s absolutely pouring!’

‘I’ve just hung out my washing!’ (Yes, some of us in the UK still do that!)

‘I’ll get soaked, just walking to the car!’

Sound familiar?

It’s a UK habit.

We love to  moan about our weather, especially the rain.

I want to shout, ‘For goodness sake! It’s not life threatening! It’s only water!’

Wrong!

Lack of water, and lack of clean water is life-threatening.

I read this yesterday and I was shocked:

Please make the time to go over to this site and read more about the world’s water problem. You’ll be shocked too.

Today, Friday October 15th, is Blog Action Day.

The world’s bloggers from 125 countries are joining forces and blogging about the same issue on the same day, to promote discussion and action by as many people as possible.

This year’s issue is Water.

When I read about the world’s serious water problems I wondered how I could possibly help when the problem is so huge.

It’s easy to say, ‘How can I make a difference?’ and leave it to the ‘powers that be.’

But the more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me, that if everyone thought that way,  no major changes would ever happen.

By joining in with all the thousands of bloggers world-wide and posting about the water problem on the same day, at least I’m doing something, however small.

Tap water, in disguise…

In this ‘Positive Spin’ post for B.A.D. 2010, I will write about the problem of bottled water addiction.

I don’t understand why a bottle of water (the ‘correct’ brand, naturally, or should I say, un-naturally?) has become a fashion accessory.

Whatever next?

Bottled ‘fresh air’?

It’s become an addiction.

Why?

I wish someone would explain it to me…

 Every time I see someone carrying their wretched plastic icon, I want to go up to them and say,

‘Are you dehydrated? It’s not even warm today. Are you about to collapse from thirst?’

But of course I don’t, I simply glare and walk on by.

According to an article on the site above, one third of bottled water comes from exactly the same source as tap water. In fact, the ‘Big Three’ water bottlers in the US use municipal water as the basis for their product, selling it back to us at hundreds of times the cost.

And the majority of the plastic bottles cannot be re-cycled…

Silly, isn’t it.

Here’s How YOU Can Help Solve a Huge Problem.

  • Drink your water from the tap.
  • If you don’t like the taste, use a simple water filter.
  • I find tap water tastes much better with some lemon or lime slices in, and perhaps some ice.
  • If you must carry water with you, re-use a bottle and fill it with tap water or from your  jug in the fridge.
  • If you do buy water in a bottle, check the bottle can be  recycled.
  • Read about the world-wide water problem and look for simple ways that you can make a difference.
  • And finally…Ditch your addiction!

‘The jug fills, drop by drop.

The Buddha’

 

What will you do to help with this huge water problem?

There are lots of ideas on the site I linked to above.

What do you think about our addiction to bottled water?

Do tell us in the comments.

New here?

If you liked this post and would like to read more, why not join my ‘Spinners’ and subscribe for my regular posts?

Header image courtesy of cursedthing.

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How To Stop Putting Up With Stuff You Don’t Want To Put Up With

‘I can’t believe you never exercise!’ 

‘Why on earth would you want an i-phone?’ 

‘You really should drink more water!’ 

Hold on a minute! 

  • You’re over twenty-one!
  • You get fed up with people telling you what you should do or not do!
  • You feel undermined!

So what do you do? 

  • You sit on it.
  • You put up with it.
  • You keep your mouth shut.

Why? 

  • Because you hate confrontations.
  • Because you want to stay friends.
  • Because you always do…

OK, Spinners! Here’s…   

How To Stop Putting Up With Stuff You Don’t Want To Put Up With 

from bret polok on Flickr

 

Problem: You’re worried that you’ll find  yourself agreeing to go to your sister’s again for Christmas.. 

Solution:  

  • Sit down quietly and decide what you want to do.
  • Write down exactly what you want to say.
  • Set aside a time to speak to her, in person or on the phone
  • Stay calm and state clearly what it is you want to change.
  • Start with a ‘positive’, like ‘I do appreciate the hard work you put into Christmas.’
  • Then: ‘We’ve decided to have a quiet Christmas here this year. ‘
  • Then:  ‘We’ll arrange to get together as soon as Christmas is over/in the New Year/in February…

Problem: You always end up buying the clothes items  your dominant friend suggests. 

Solution: 

  • If she tells you she doesn’t like your choice, simply smile and say, ‘ I can see you don’t like this coat/dress/sweater but I love it and I’m buying it!’

Problem: You’ve allowed the situation to escalate. Your friend is used to you always going along with her plans. 

Solution: 

  • Decide to put a stop to it.
  • Next time she tries to ‘organise’ you, step in and make it quite clear you’ve decided what you’re going to do.
  • When she invites you to go to the cinema/meal/coffee shop, say, ‘I’ll get back to you on that’ or ‘That won’t work for me. Can we leave it for a week or two?’
  • When she suggests you should do more exercise, drink more water, buy a more up to date phone, tell her it’s your choice to make.

Problem: You find assertiveness difficult. 

Solution: 

  • Watch people when they’re being assertive, on TV, in a film, anywhere!
  • Note how they behave and practise copying them, their body language, speech, attitude.
  • Practise saying what you want to say, in the car, alone in your home, out for a walk, until it comes more naturally to you.

 Remember this: 

  • You have a right to an opinion.
  • You have a right to a choice.
  • You have a right to be heard.
  • You have a right to be ‘different’.
  • You have a right to disagree.

Don’t put it off! 

Make your voice heard there and then, next time you think about ‘putting up with it’, without anger, without fear, calmly, confidently and assertively. 

Do not put up with stuff you don’t want to put up with. 

 I read this over on my friend’s blog: 

 ‘The shoe that fits one person pinches another. 

There is no recipe for living that fits all cases.’ 

Carl Gustav Jung 

Over to you! 

What are you putting up with? 

And… 

What are you going to do about it? 

Header image: thanks to cursedthing on Flickr

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