Category Archives: realistic

Who Wants to Win an Amazing Car and Have £2,000 to Spend?

It was a TV ad on the Breakfast show.

It looked tempting, so tempting that many people  entered this competition. Hard to resist – the chance to show off a fantastic new car and go shopping with £2,000 to spend.

Imagine when the car’s delivered!

I want one of those!

It sits outside in the street or on your drive and everyone stops to admire it. You’re so proud. Can’t wait to take it for a spin. Off you roar, leaving those admiring glances behind, those envious faces wondering how you afforded it. After all, you only just changed last year’s model. They’d love a brand new car, given half the chance.

There’s nothing like the smell and feel of a new car. Leather seats, everything shiny, no finger marks, not even the tiniest scratch.  You stop at the lights and the guy in the older car next to you grins and waves, giving you a thumbs up. You grin back, basking in the sunshine of his envy.

You frown a little as it begins to rain. The auto-wipers do their best but it’s quite a downpour. On the motor-way the traffic’s heavy. Lorries soak you in muddy spray, wooshing past at speed. Reluctantly you slow down, it’s hard to see far ahead in this storm, even with the headlights on. It’s dusk and it’ll soon be dark. As soon as you can, you turn off and head for home.

You put your house key in the lock and call out.

‘I’m home, love!’

You shake the drips from your coat and hang it up.

‘How’s the car, love? Pleased with it?’  She comes to the door to take a look.

‘What a pity it rained, sweetheart. It’s lost its shiny, new look. You’ll have to wash it tomorrow. Still, I suppose it can’t stay ‘new’ for ever! ‘

You’re gutted. It was fantastic having it delivered. And now it’s not new anymore. Looks just like everyone else’s. Muddy, smeary, tyres all spoilt, mats muddy.

But at least you’ve still got that £2,000 to spend…

We all get a ‘high’ from having more ‘stuff’.  It lasts for… well… at least a few minutes… and before long we’re thinking about the next ‘new thing’.  At least that’s how it seems to me sometimes.

I wonder how long the novelty and excitement of  receiving their ‘new stuff’ will last with most children this Christmas…

Is there anything we can do about it?

How can we help our children to be less greedy when many adults are just as bad?

How do we show them that having more ‘stuff’ won’t make them happy?

or will they discover it for themselves…

  • What does happiness mean to you?
  • What has to happen for you to feel happy?
  • Is it a lasting state or is it fleeting?

Do tell us in the comments…

Header image by cursedthing, post image by Kraetzsche Photo, on Flickr

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Filed under change, expectation, happiness, hope, plans, positive, realistic

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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I Have Something To Confess, How About You?

I hate cooking!

I sat down in my steaming hot kitchen, put my head in my hands and cried.

My face was flaming, there was ‘stuff’ on every work surface, recipe books were smeared with flour, the oven was working away, dishes were piled up, dirty pans that won’t go in the dish washer waited,  and I was in despair.

We were giving a ‘dinner party’ for  six guests (I know, not exactly a crowd) and I’d been running round in circles since early morning. I thought I’d been looking forward to it. I’d written my lists, done the shopping, even  laid the table. But the fact remained – I was in tears.

Apparently I’m not alone.  A recent press survey reported that many of us find the whole dinner party thing more stressful than seeing the bank manager or commuting to work!

So what’s the problem?

Here’s my Positive Spin.

  • I don’t like being ‘judged’.

There are so many cookery shows on TV and it looks so easy! They’re run by real chefs, all with years of training and experience,  owning  successful restaurants. Of course their meals are amazing. That’s what their diners expect! Of course I can’t match their expertise. But somehow, when I have friends around for dinner, because I’m not a natural cook, I feel judged.

  • I don’t want to ‘fail’.

I feel embarrassed if my roast potatoes aren’t perfect, my sauce has lumps (surely not!) or the steaks are over/undercooked. I worry that my menu won’t live up to expectations.

  • I feel out of my depth.

At the last dinner party I went to there were three desserts.  I just can’t compete!  What will they say if I only produce one! I don’t know how to make filo pastry by hand, unlike my talented friend. I’ve not mastered the art of home-made ice cream or perfect cheesecake.

And so it goes on.

So! What can I do about it?

  • I need to get ‘real’.

Sharing a meal is a way to get together and enjoy one another’s company. If cooking for a dinner party puts me out of my depth then I need to be very brave and say, ‘ We’d love to see you for dinner. I’m not too confident about cooking so we’d like to take you out instead.’

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, there are plenty of great pubs in the UK that serve moderately priced meals and even more choices in the US.

  • I can cheat!

There’s an amazing array of food out there, ready cooked. Indian food is especially plentiful and not expensive. I’ve found fantastic savoury pies, casseroles and pasta dishes on sale in some butchers’ shops, along with fruit pies, crumbles and mousse. Sometimes I buy the main course but make the dessert. Or I make a really easy but tasty and interesting starter.

I always tell my friends that I cheated and they don’t turn a hair. At least, not so far as I can tell. It’s their company that’s the most important part of the evening.

  • I must live in the real world.

Everyone has skills. Everyone. Not everyone is an expert cook, home decorator,  dress-maker…. whatever. It’s time  to stop stressing about it and simply confess that I don’t enjoy trying to cook restaurant style food for guests. It’s silly to pretend otherwise.

There! That feels better…

How about you?

Is there anything you need to confess? Go on, you know you want to…

You’ll feel so much better if you do!

Header image by cursedthing, post pic by lisaclarke, on Flickr.

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Filed under action, adjust, anxious, change, confidence, expectation, failure, fear,, realistic, success

And The Award For Most Boring Person Goes To..

Me, Me, Me!

One of my Face book friends commented after reading this recent  post

‘So many people are wrapped up in themselves, I often wonder what people know about me.  I’m a good listener but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like people to show an  interest in me. People are often all about – Me Me Me !’

I decided to give this some thought and look for the Positive Spin:

Are you listening to me? 

Why do so many people think it’s always about them?

I’m sure you can relate to this….

I’m at a social gathering. I don’t know many people but I start to engage the guy next to me in conversation. He tells me his name, what he does (see this post), and off he goes…. He talks about his amazing job, his amazing family, his amazing holiday and after 15 minutes or so he’s asked absolutely nothing about me. I try to edge away to find someone to have an actual conversation with. 

A conversation!

That’s where more than one person talks and where people listen to one another.

So what’s the issue here?

  • What’s the point of a conversation?

We have conversations because we want to get to know one another. To do that we must share information, ask questions, listen to one another. We must pass the ball around.

  • Conversation is a skill.

It’s not an easy skill to learn. It’s a bit like a game of tennis: the two people take it in turns to ‘serve’. While the other person is ‘serving’ we must focus on them completely. Sit still, don’t fidget, and listen carefully to what they’re saying. Try to pick up some mutual subjects or threads that you can serve back to them later, when it’s your turn. But try not to interrupt.

  • What if it’s never ‘my turn’?

Sometimes the conversation never gets off the ground: it’s a monologue. Not easy. What I try to do is listen for a pause, however small, and perhaps ask a question, or pick up one of the topics they mentioned and add a remark or two. Perhaps change your sitting position or even fidget a bit to alert them that you’re still there! I’ve even resorted to saying, ‘Your holiday toSouth Africa/Barbados/Bournemouth sounds fun. I went to Edinburgh for a trip last month. Let me tell you about the highlights.’ If they still don’t let you ‘have the ball’ you have to make an excuse and find someone else to talk to.

  • It’s natural, even though it’s bad manners and rude.

It’s natural for some people to believe that they are the most important person in the room.

It’s just the way they are used to behaving. They assume that everyone wants to hear what they have to say. They have been allowed to get away with it. They seem oblivious of the problem because no-one has made it clear enough that it’s annoying.

They won’t change their behaviour because we’ve let them carry on ‘carrying on’ and they remain unaware of how selfish and boring they are.

We have to show them that we don’t like it. If they don’t listen to us at all, if they don’t have a conversation with us, we need to move on to someone who does. And there will be lots of people who are interested in listening as well as talking.

Next time you are introduced to someone new make sure that you:

  • Listen with real interest
  • Make eye contact, for a few seconds
  • Ask a question
  • Use their name, to help you remember it!
  • Don’t interrupt
  • When it’s your turn, don’t deliver a monologue!
  • Remember how it feels when the other person isn’t interested in you and do as much as you can to show that you’re interested in them. (Even when they’re not Angelina Jolie  or George Clooney…)

How do you deal with the ‘Me,me,me’ types?

What’s your Top Tip for my Facebook commenter?

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

Be Someone Else, Just For A Day

Put on their shoes, just for a day…

 

It was in the middle of the road.

A shoe.

I didn’t get a long look at it as I was driving past. But it was odd, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  Who did it belong to? It was quite large but even children have large feet so I didn’t get much of a clue from its size.  Still, it bothered me.

Where was its partner? I almost began to feel sorry for it.  Soon it would be squashed and that would be that… end of shoe.

Isn’t it amazing how many shoes most of us have in our wardrobes? Especially women? I know buying shoes can become addictive.

I think we love our shoes because they have magic powers. Yes! They do!

When I put on the high-heeled, silver ones, I’m transformed. I’m taller, more elegant and beautiful simply by putting on these particular shoes. And when I look at the ones I wore to a friend’s expensive wedding, my face is transformed too. I’m remembering the day, the glorious sunshine, the special clothes, the flowers… I’m time-travelling magically back to that day…

Then there’s that old pair. The ones I wear to work in the garden. As soon as they’re on my feet it doesn’t matter how dirty they get, I’m creating magic in my garden.  Moving plants that have outgrown their place, planting bulbs for the spring and clearing away the weeds.

Just by putting on a pair of shoes I can become someone else, for as long as I’m wearing them.

If I could have a pair of magic shoes, to instantly transform me, who would I like to be, if only for a day?

Here are some people whose shoes I’d like to stand in –

  • an airline pilot

I’d love to see the views that he sees, the skies, the dawns, the sunsets… to soar above my problems, get stuff in perspective, see the world as a curving, colourful ball, remove myself from everyone, just for a while.

But I wouldn’t like the lightning, the storms, the ‘near misses’ we never get to hear about.

  • a person who uses a wheel chair

I’d like to watch the faces of the passers-by, the ones who pretend they haven’t seen me and the ones who care; I’d like to hear what they say to one another when they think I’m not listening, how they patronise, empathise  or even snigger. I’d like to know how it feels to be helpless, dependent on the help of others, but…. just for a day…

  • a child who stands on the edge of the playground, too scared to join in.

I’d like to understand how that feels, to be a lonely child, unhappy and solitary.  How would it feel to be left out, not included, day after day? I take  for granted my natural ability to interact, it would be an excellent lesson for me. I’d like to try to feel what he’s feeling and do something about it…

Unless we stand in someone’s shoes we cannot know how they feel.

We try; we say, ‘I know how you feel.’  But we don’t, unless we’ve walked in their shoes along their path, wherever it may lead.

Who would you like to understand better?

Whose shoes would you like to wear, just for a day?

 

Header omage by cursedthing, post image by Lil Larkie, on Flickr.

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How Would You Use An Extra Hour In Your Day?

 

You have an 'extra hour'...

We’re all so very busy being busy, aren’t we? We have our ‘To Do’ lists, our shopping lists, our ‘The Sky Will Fall In If I Don’t Do This Today’ lists….

How often do you hear someone say, ‘There just aren’t enough hours in the day’?

It’s that time of year again.

The clocks’ went back’ this weekend in the UK. We had to trawl around the house altering every timer and clock, moving the hands backwards so we’d have that ‘extra hour’. It’s what we all want, isn’t it? An extra hour in our day?

OK, we only get it once a year and most of us spend it sleeping but never the less, the whole process started me thinking about what we’d all do if there were 25 hours in our days all the time!

A few years ago my OH and I decided to hold an impromptu ‘Extra Hour’ party.   At midnight we all changed our watches and spent the extra hour dancing and celebrating.  And then I thought, ‘Hey! We would have done this anyway, without the extra hour… ‘

Would we really value a ’25th hour?’

I thought it would be interesting  to ask you how you would spend your 25th hour, if it was permanent.

Would you:

  • do the same as you do now and then make the extra hour special in some way, tagging in on to the end of your 24 hours?
  • add a new ‘activity’ to your 25 hour day?
  • simply allow longer for certain tasks that you know you rush at the moment?
  • get up  later?
  • go to bed later?
  • use it writing that novel you never have time for?
  • waste it?

I think we’d all get used to it, wouldn’t we and simply do exactly what we do now. But it’s good to think about whether we waste time, rush, dawdle, procrastinate, day-dream, sleep, shop, yet still complain that there aren’t enough hours in the day.

How about you?

A whole hour! Extra! To use as you like!

How would you use that ‘extra hour’ if it was a permanent add-on to your day?

 

Header image by cursedthing, post image by Len Reynolds, on Flickr.

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Filed under action, adjust, change, expectation, happiness, hope, positive, realistic, timing