Category Archives: persistence

This is Me… But Who Are You?

 
 

and who are you?

You’re at a party.

You don’t know many people there. Not yet, anyway. It would be so much easier if everyone had a label pinned to them. No need for all the preliminaries, at least you’d know a bit about them to get the conversation started. You’d like to disappear, run away…

He’s coming over. The balding man in a drab jacket. Very British. Doesn’t look at all interesting. You take a deep breath, try to find your friendly face and say,

‘Hello!  I don’t believe we’ve met! I’m Trish. I live next door.’

He beams. ‘Hello! Good to meet you! I’m Henry. I’ve just moved here.’

(And you know exactly what you’ll say next, don’t you?)

‘Nice to meet you, Henry.  And what do you do?’

He looks down at his freshly polished shoes.

 ‘I’m one of the Queen’s body guards!’

You stare at him for a moment. Surely not. He looks so… ordinary. You grin, embarrassed and then the grin turns to a genuine smile and you say,

‘I’d love to hear more, Henry! Are you allowed to talk about it?’

He fetches you both a drink and you talk animatedly for the next half an hour. He’s such a compelling story-teller you realise he’s quite the most interesting man at the party.

I have just up-dated my ‘This is me’ page. (It’s at the top of this page.) I’m following the A-List Bloggers Boot Camp and this was one of the tasks in our first assignment. It’s hard knowing what to put in and what to leave out when I’m writing about myself. I want to connect with you but I don’t want to be boring about it or you’ll fly away!

The process of up-dating made me think about how it’s so easy to judge one another with very little information. When you meet someone for the first time, what impression do you give? What information do you give them? And what do you leave out?

Communication is what it’s all about. So much confusion and misunderstanding results from poor communication.

Here’s my Positive Spin on How To Communicate.

  • Tell the truth.

How often have you heard someone boasting about their achievements? Exaggerating their successes? Why do they do it? Because they’re scared of not measuring up, not being good enough. They have low self-esteem. Do you find yourself exaggerating sometimes?

  • Watch and learn.

At this time of year you’ll have plenty of opportunities to watch people at social events. Focus on one person who is communicating well. Does he talk more than listen? Look at his body language, how he stands, how much eye contact he makes. Pick one aspect to try out  in your next conversation. I promise it works! I’ve done it…

  •  Listen more than talk.

It’s easy to talk too much when you’re nervous. We all do it. But one of the secrets to good communication is to focus on the other person. Completely. Make them feel as if there’s no-one else in the room. Listen, but don’t chime in with what you’re dying to say. Wait. Ask questions. Ask them to tell you more. And whatever you do, don’t look around to find someone more interesting to talk to. You know how that feels, and it’s not good.

What would you write on your ‘This is me’ page? 

More to the point, what would you leave out?

What do you think is the secret to good communication?

Do tell us, we all need all the help we can get!

 

Header image by cursedthing, post image by Dustin Diaz, on Flickr.

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Filed under action, anxiety, confidence, persistence, positive, self-esteem

Today I Met an Invisible Man

He was standing by the supermarket entrance.

Most people hurried past, lists in their hands, trolleys leading the way. It was pouring down and soggy umbrellas dripped everywhere, making the trolleys wet. Time to stop for a few minutes to buy a poppy?  For most, no time to even look up.  Just needed to get the shopping, get home and get dry. End of.

I watched from a distance, under the shelter of my umbrella. The rainy day didn’t bother him one bit. He was far stronger than that. A drop of rain was nothing. Not when you’ve been out in freezing temperatures, in the Arctic, protecting the cargo ships taking vital supplies to the Russians on the Eastern Front.

 
The Russians were our allies and desperately needed fuel, tanks, planes and ammunition. Those Russian Convoys were desperately needed. Which is why the Germans did all in their power to bombard them and sink the ships.

No-one could survive in those icy, mountainous seas.  A minute or two in the water and they’d die of cold. No point in looking for survivors. Had to leave them behind and sail on.

No, a drop of rain was no problem for this immaculate veteran, with his medals proudly displayed. I asked him about the medals and he told me he was in the Russian Convoy Club.

‘You’re too young to have heard of it’, he grinned.

I grinned back.

‘Do tell me about it’, I asked.

And that’s how I met an invisible man.

And heard his story, while some people stopped to buy a poppy from him but most walked by. Perhaps they’d already bought one. 

I’m glad I had the privilege of meeting this proud man and hearing about his young self who braved the Arctic ice with his comrades, 3,000 of whom never returned.

As I drank my coffee in the coffee shop, I gazed around at  the other customers. Some of them were elderly. What would their story be? How was it for them in World War Two?

It’s easy to dismiss the old and frail with not even a glance. But they weren’t always old and frail. They were the same as us once, and they all have a worthwhile story to tell, if only we’d take the time to listen. They deserve our respect and our thanks.

Who will you remember, tomorrow, on Armistice Day?

  • I’ll think of my friend who never knew her father. He was killed before she was born. Every year her mother proudly attended a Remembrance service. She never re-married.
  • I’ll think of my own father, who repaired the gliders that carried men to France to parachute silently into occupied  territory. Thankfully, he survived the war.
  • I’ll  think about Afghanistan and the seemingly endless killing. I’ll think about the innocent children in that country who are addicted to drugs because it’s cheaper for their families to buy drugs than to buy food, now that their bread-winner  has been killed.

But this year I shall also think about the invisible man I met on a rainy day outside the supermarket.

Who will you think of.

Header image by cursed thing, post image by US Geological Society, on Flickr

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Filed under action, anxious, confidence, expectation, fear, hope, persistence, positive, progress, risk, success

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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Filed under action, excuses,, fear, Guest Post, hope, persistence, positive, realistic, success

Found! The Secret Sign of Success

I tried hard, mum...

It was Mother’s Day.

But I was not happy.

I was trying to make a cake for my mum.  Her favourite Victoria Sponge.

What was the problem?

I’d made Victoria sponges loads of times before, to great applause from the family. 

But this was different. I had to succeed. I wanted her to say: ‘It’s lovely! Better than I could do! Delicious!’

My first two attempts were cooling off in the bin and with much huffing and puffing I got busy mixing up the third, and yes, forty minutes later…  the third cake was fine and mum was pleased.

Years later, and a mum myself, I know that my success that day was not about anything other than this:

I wanted to show mum that she was special.

It wasn’t about a cake. It was about mum knowing I cared.

And me smiling inside.

This post was inspired by Leo’s words about success, on Zen Habits.

He made me stop and think about –

What does success mean to me?  

How do I know when I’ve succeeded?

And I’m asking you the same questions.

For me, I know I’ve succeeded when I’m Smiling Inside.

Here are some of my Smiling Inside successes.

  1. Leaving the house for the first time after an illness.
  2. Writing a difficult blog post and feeling satisfied with it when it’s finished.
  3. Receiving a loving card from my daughter for no particular reason.
  4. Finally persuading the store to give me a refund.
  5. Seeing a plant bloom when I thought it had died.
  6. Hearing my cat come through the cat flap after she’d been out ‘on the tiles’ for 12 hours and I’d been calling and calling…
  7. Working out how to upload photos to this site.
  8. Having my work validated by my readers.
  9. Seeing a turtle amongst the coral when I’m scared of deep water.

For me, my successes and Smiling Inside are invisible to everyone else.

They are my secrets, and every time I recall how I felt about each success, a warm, invisible smile begins.

What does success mean to you?

Is it an outward thing? Like a trophy or an award?

Or does it stay inside?

Header image by cursed thing, post image by Aleasy, both on Flickr.

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Filed under action, confidence, failure, fear, goals, happiness, hope, persistence, plans, positive, progress, success

Just Want To Share My Good News

I know,

two posts in one day, sorry,

but, forgive me, I wanted to share my good news with all you Spinners…

I’ve added this news to the side bar but you may have missed it.

I’ve been invited to write once a week for a ‘How to’  blogging site.

Needless to say  I’m very pleased and excited!

All I have to do now, is work hard to keep up with the high standard already on We Blog Better…

A bit more time in front of this machine…

But I’m not complaining…

Any excuse to write…!

So it’s cakes all round again!

Oh, go on... you know you want to!

 

Header image by cursedthing, post image by aj stephens, both on Flickr.

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Filed under change, goals, Guest Post, happiness, persistence, plans, positive, risk, success

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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Filed under action, change, excuses,, expectation, fear, hope, persistence, plans, positive, progress, success

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.

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Header image courtesy of cursedthing.

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Filed under action, change, excuses,, goals, hope, persistence, plans, positive, progress, success