Saturday, February 14, 2009

Where's The Refresh Button?

Article by: Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, February 13, 2009

If you want to read a great book, read, “The Big AHA! Breakthroughs in Resolving and Preventing Workplace Conflict, written by Bill Wiersma, The following is copied from Chapter 10 of the book:

“At a gathering we were both attended while I was writing this book, Carol Lynn Pearson, an accomplished author, related the following experience:

As I logged on to my personal Web site the other day, the first things I noticed were the old Christmas graphics. My Web mistress and friend, Sandy, had put them up for the holidays, and they were still there at the end of January! I thought, well, this is embarrassing!

I called Sandy and said, ‘So, what do you think…can we take the Christmas decorations off the Web site now?’

“Oh, honey,’ she replied, ‘I took those down some time ago.’ (Sandy lives in Texas and she calls me honey.)

“Now, Sandy,’ I said, ‘I’m sitting here in front of the screen right now, and I’m staring at a candy cane. The decorations are still up.’

“She said, ‘Oh, I know what the matter is honey! It’s all those cookies you got stored in your computer. They just hang onto everything. They send you onto the hold pathways they’ve built up habits around, and they pull up the old Web site, not the new one. Now, here’s what I want you to do. Right-click on a blank area…go ahead, right-click. Now, you see where it says, Refresh? Go ahead and left-click on Refresh.’

“I clicked Refresh, and lo and behold, the Christmas decorations were gone. Well, they had actually been gone for some time, buy my system had been stuck in the past!”

When my friend related this experience, I couldn’t help but think how easily we get stuck in the past (especially given the nature of the experiential mind) and how our “cookies” exacerbate the problem by encouraging us to define people by their histories. It’s difficult to let go. Howe convenient it would be to have a Refresh button of our own, enabling us to change how we feel and see people in a renewed way – a more accepting light.”

Well there it was right in front of me – a mental Refresh button on the brain. Not just for looking at a person in a new light but also a situation or a problem we have encountered. How many times do we form instant opinions or decisions based on an old mental photograph? Things change as do people and events. If we had a Refresh Button on our brains, could find a different position, opinion, pathway or solution to a problem? I not only think so, I know so!

In a training class many years ago, the instructor compared our brains to a pocket tape recorder. Everything that we see, hear and do is permanently recorded on a never-ending tape. We are too busy to edit the tape at the end of the day so the images become permanent. Then when we face a similar situation or even a brand new situation, we mentally and unconsciously scan our mind’s tape recorder to see how we should react based on what we believe to be true because we have it on tape. He referred to this process simply as “old tapes” and in many cases, these old tapes become limiting beliefs we hold to be true.

A more modern version would compare the brain to a desktop computer with a never-ending hard drive that logs everything we see, hear and do. Then, like the old tapes, we now have our old hard drives that dictate to our brains how we should form an opinion, take an action, or make a decision based upon the information on the hard drive – “old tapes.” Can this information be in error? Absolutely. In computer language, garbage in – garbage out. If we fail to validate the information we store on our mental hard drives, we use the incorrect or defective information to form opinions, take action or make decisions and it is all based on inaccurate data.

Big problem – little problem? Whether a problem is considered big or little really depends upon where you are mentally coming from as you encounter the problem. Problems tend to attract more problems. If you are constantly encountering bad people, bad people tend to attract other bad people. If your problems are financial, financial problems attract more financial problems; and the list goes on. It’s THE Law of Attraction at work in our lives.

If you play golf, bowl, work crafts, hunt, make jewelry or whatever hobby you pursue, if you are like most people you spend time getting better at what you like to do. Yet when it comes to your attitude, when was the last attitude course you took? What was the last attitude book you read? I have made this recommendation many times, I would start with Jeffrey Gitomer’s book, The Little Gold Book of YES!Attitude. If you work on first creating an environment to have a positive attitude and then work every day without fail on having a positive attitude, it in turn affects the way you look upon the problems and people you encounter. People with a positive attitude come from a position of:

1. Looking from the outside in, what is the problem?
2. What can I do to fix this problem?
3. Who can I talk to that may have experienced this problem?
4. Fix the problem.
5. Fix the root cause of the problem so it does not happen again.
6. What can I learn from this experience?
7. Who can I teach to help them avoid similar problems?

People with a negative attitude, and that would be most people but certainly not you, react rather than respond to their problems. Problems come as a surprise (not really) then anger sets in, (Why me?) and oftentimes they have a knee-jerk reaction rather than a measured response.

Therefore it is my opinion that we all need to first clean our mental hard drives of negative experiences. Think about the “bad” things that may have happened to you that you dwell and rely upon but this time think about the good that came from them; there is good in almost every event regardless of what you may think. Then focus on the good things. Erase all those negative “cookies” in the mind on a daily basis.

If you stop there you will have gained little. Working on your attitude for today and all your tomorrows is the key. When you do, problems are reduced in size to being more like bumps in the road rather than detours in life.

It all starts with a smile and a positive thought every morning, before you do another thing. Look in the mirror, smile at yourself and thank God that you can look in the mirror – regrettably as it is, tomorrow morning some won’t be able to look in the mirror, smile and give thanks. So it could be worse – much worse.

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