24 March, 2012

Regrets - 5 Reasons We Have Them and How to Make Them a Positive Experience by Catherine Pratt

When I was about 16, I received an invitation to join a prestigious track and field club after doing really well in a local competition. I really wanted to do it.

I loved track and field especially the hurdles. I could practice those over and over until my phys ed teacher told me I had to come in. But I ended up turning the invitation down. Why? Because it meant going by myself and also taking the bus to an unfamiliar part of town. I lacked the confidence to go to a new place by myself.

Seems silly now but at the time it made perfect sense to me. New places and people terrified me. So, I allowed fear to get the best of me. Even today, I wonder what I could have accomplished if I’d been able to make it past that first obstacle.
Do you have any regrets of things you wished you’d done? Or have you actually done something only to regret it later? You tell yourself, “how could I have been so dumb?", "what was I thinking?" or "wow, I really regret that”.

Whenever you find yourself regretting something, ask yourself, “Why do I regret it?”

Is it because:

You’re being pushed beyond your comfort zone and are expected to do something you’re not quite comfortable with

This can be a good thing. Think about why it scares you so much and then face that fear. You’ll be proud of yourself after you accomplish your goal. Turn it around. Think of it as an experience.

You did it on impulse and now regret that you didn’t think it through

It’s a valuable skill to be able to think about your options and the potential consequences prior to taking action. As long as you don’t let the “what if’s” fears stop you from pursuing something you really want to do.

The results weren’t what you expected

You did something expecting a certain response and something totally different occurred. Learn from the experience. You’ve probably learned some valuable lessons about human nature. And you never know, it might end up being a really good thing. Look for the silver lining

You allowed fear to stop you from taking advantage of an opportunity

Just like my track and field offer, use it to remind yourself the next time an opportunity comes up that you don’t want to miss out on something else. Also, let it remind you of how far you’ve come since then. Maybe you weren’t ready at that time but you are now. Don’t live with the disappointment of not knowing what might have been if only you had managed to conquer your fears.

You wish you’d done something differently
You chose to do it a certain way for a reason and you did the best you could at the time. Also, you don't know, doing things differently might have turned out worse. You have no idea what the results could have been. Also, just because it didn't work out right this time doesn't mean it won't work the next time. A few tweaks and you might have a winner on your hands.

Never have regrets for what you've done. It's a waste of energy. Forgive yourself if you need to and move on. Regrets just weigh you down and cause you to fear trying new things. Regrets are not meant to drag you down. They’re valuable experiences. Sometimes it's years later that you realize what a wonderful experience it was for you. It may not always have been pleasant at the time but you'll probably realize how much you gained from it later.

Your life is constantly changing in new and wonderful ways.

"Don’t let past regrets stop you from experiencing fully everything life has to offer. And, if you catch yourself suddenly saying, “I just did something and now I totally regret it”, ask yourself “Why”. See what you can learn from it and how you can turn it around to be a positive experience.

How to Handle "What If..." Worrying by Catherine Pratt

The sentence, "what if ..." used to dominate most of my thoughts.
I’d always worry about the worst happening basically no matter what I was doing. My day would be filled with “what if I’m late?”, “what if it’s the wrong decision?” "what if I screw up?” and on and on I’d go.

It took me a long time to realize that there’s always two sides to “what if”. Yes, there’s the “what if something goes wrong” side but there’s also the “what if something goes right?” side. Something you may not always consider if you’re focused on the negative. There’s a 50-50 chance of it going right so why concentrate on just the negative?

t’s good to be aware of what could go wrong so that you can have back up plans. But, not to the extent that you worry yourself sick over something that may not come to be or doubt yourself with the “what if it’s the wrong decision?” That’s usually just a waste of energy worrying about something that never even happens.

Here’s a good example. If you’re going on a trip, it’s good planning to think “what if it rains?” so that you can take along a rain jacket but it’s not useful to worry about “what if I miss the plane?” Missing the plane is something you can’t do anything about until it happens and most likely it will never even occur. I used to constantly worry about missing flights. Then, I married my husband who is always pushing it to the furthest limits of how late we can leave it before departing for the airport. My husband is so extreme that he calls the taxi, and then starts packing. Up until that moment, he hasn’t even thought about what he’ll take. So, he packs in 10 minutes or less. At first, this stressed me out greatly and I would waste hours worrying “we’re going to miss the flight. What if we miss the flight? What will we do?” Then one time, we really did miss our flight. And what happened? Nothing really. It was very anti-climatic to my original worrying. The airline simply put us on the next flight which turned out arrived sooner than our original flight. So, now I know, if we miss the flight, we deal with it.
Another 5 points I've learned on how to handle "what if” worrying are:

1. The Bad Thing May Turn Out To Be A Good Thing

You just never know why things happen the way they do. What may initially seem like a bad thing could end up being a really good thing. Just like missing the flight, we ended up arriving sooner than we were originally scheduled. That was something I definitely didn’t consider. Plus, all sorts of things could have happened. We could have run into an old friend at the airport or met someone who would change our lives. You just don’t know. You just have to trust that all is well in the world.
2. How Important Is It?

Try asking yourself, “if this happens will I even remember it in 5 years time?” For example, when I used to worry about being late, is anyone going to remember in 5 years that I was late one day? No. I’m not going to remember it either. I’ll do my best not to be late but if I am, I apologize, and it’s over. Definitely not worth worrying over.
3. You Can Handle It

Along with not knowing why things happen, you also don’t know what resources you’ll have available to you at that particular time. Back to the missed flight example, I couldn’t have known that the reservation agent would be so great and would handle absolutely everything and make it such a smooth and easy process. You just don’t know what will be there for you until you’re in it. Just know, that if the worst happens, it’s at that time that you can really assess the issue and take stock of what resources you have to work with. You won’t know that until it happens. And when it happens, you’ll deal with it. So, now whenever I catch myself having a lot of “what if” thoughts, I tell myself, “I’ll handle it when it happens” and move on to something else.
4. Can You Take Action?

The worst part of "what if..." worrying is that you’re not doing anything about it. If you’re worried about something happening, is there something you can do about it? Let's use the above example about being late for work. If you're worried about being late for a meeting or even just for work every day, are there things you can do to minimize the risk? You could leave earlier or you could get all your things ready the night before. Two easy things you could do to take action to deal with your worry.
Here's another example, if you’re worried about getting sick while you’re on vacation, is there action you can take? Yes, you could pack some basic medications to take with you. Taking positive steps will quickly erase your fears. You now know you’re prepared to deal with the problem.

5. Don't Get Trapped In Denial

In the above example, you might try to deal with it by letting yourself slip into denial thinking with “it’s nothing. It won’t happen. I won’t get sick”. Usually this will just push your worry to the back of your mind but it will still be there, slowly stressing you out more and more by constantly asking you "what if...". Face the fear and move towards it. You’ll quickly find that it just isn’t as scary as you thought it would be. Also, sometimes, just by verbalizing the fear instead of letting it fester at the back of your mind will make it seem less frightening.
In Summary

Whenever you catch yourself worrying about "what if..." scenarios, use the above 5 tips to change the negative thoughts into more constructive thinking. Needless worrying is just a waste of energy. Worrying also causes you to miss out on enjoying the present moments of your life because you're so focused on something that isn't even real.
It'll probably take a little bit of practice but you'll find that you're so much calmer and happier without the previous anxiety.

Good Luck and no more driving yourself crazy worrying about "what if...?"

Are You in a Negative Work Environment? 5 Tips to Change It by Catherine Pratt

Whether you love your job or hate going to work every day can depend a lot on whether you work in a positive or a negative work environment. We’ve all been in the situation where we seem to be working with dysfunctional people and in an area that’s more toxic than a nuclear waste dump. It’s frustrating and draining and a lot of the time you end up thinking that you’re going to have to find another job. But, there will always be negative people everywhere you go. The trick is to learn how to deal with those people. Part of the frustration comes from feeling that you are helpless to do anything. This article will show that you do have the power to change your environment.

1. What’s your own mindset?

There is an African proverb that says,
"when you cross someone on your path who is more committed to their hatred than you are to your love, then their hatred will take the place of your love.”
The moral of this proverb is that you need to make the commitment to yourself that you will walk with positive thoughts and have joy for life. Don’t let the negative people bring you down. It’s very easy to get caught in that trap. Step 1 is to be aware of your thoughts and try to focus on the positive. Listen to your thoughts, are they positive or negative? If they’re negative, try to look at the situation from a different angle and make it a positive. This gets easier with practice. Also, just because everyone around you is unhappy doesn’t mean you have to be. This can be tough to do but it’s definitely worth it. If you can train yourself to be positive in these types of situations, you will be able to deal with almost any situation you come across. Remember, most of the time environments are all in how you think about them. If you think it’s a horrible place to be and there’s no hope, that’s exactly how it will be. If you look at it as a learning experience and a challenge to come up with meaningful solutions, you will be able to find the answers.

2. Are you a part of the problem or the solution?
Negativity quickly spreads from one person to another. If you constantly complain to others about how bad it is, then you become a part of the problem because you're adding fuel to an already depressing situation.

example, is there someone on your team that drives you completely crazy? They are always complaining about everything, don’t want things to change, constantly put down others, never seem to do their fair share of work yet are always griping that they’re overworked. Sound familiar? The more you talk about this person to other members on your team, people in your organization, even to your friends and family, you and everyone you complain to, are all becoming just like your co-worker. Pessimistic and unhappy. Things get worse and worse instead of better. It’s like the African proverb, you have become committed to the same attitude as the person you are spending so much time complaining about. The more you talk about them the more power you are giving them and in the end the person you hurt the most is yourself.
3. Are you waiting for someone else to fix the situation?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your boss should take care of the situation. So, you wait for them to do something. They are after all the one in charge, right? Wrong. Dealing with personalities is one of the hardest jobs a manager has to deal with. A lot of managers don’t understand why people just can’t do their jobs and why there’s so much personal confrontation. They’re not trained to deal with emotions and they may not have a clue on how to handle it. They’re trained to deal with issues like productivity and the bottom line, not personality conflicts. If you can suggest solutions then you’re not only solving your own problems but you’re going to be viewed as a much more valuable employee. This also has the benefit of making you realize that you’re not a helpless victim. You have the power to make your own changes and you’re the one in control of how you view the situation and how you handle it.

4. Step Back, Take a Look at the View

Say, that same co-worker in the above example snaps at you and never has anything nice to say to you. Your feelings are hurt and you don’t understand why they always seem to say such mean things to you. Take a step back and think about why the person may be behaving the way they do. There could be a lot of reasons. It could be anything from family issues to the fact that they feel they’re not living up to their potential and feel stuck in their current job. It could be something as simple as they feel like they’re being excluded by the group and they just need to be included in more conversations and coffee breaks. Most likely it doesn't really have anything to do with you. That person may just be in a negative mental space and everything in their world is lousy. It wouldn't matter who you were they would be making the same snide comments. It’s not personal against you. It’s just how they view everything around them. It can be hard for people to get out of a negative groove when they’ve been that way for awhile. It’s like the saying that someone sees events around them with "rose coloured glasses” except in this case they have "mud coloured" glasses.

If you can maintain a positive attitude it won’t affect you as much. You’ll know it's a reflection of where the negative person is at, not you. They’re negative energy and they’re looking to attract more negative energy. If you're positive, you're on a different level. If you try to look at the big picture and think where the comments are coming from it makes it much easier.

Everything is all in how you look at it and how you decide to let it affect you. You have the power to choose. You can learn from it or you can just let it eat you up. It's completely your choice.

5. Quit fighting the symptoms, go for the cause

Positive energy can spread just as quickly as negative energy. You just need to start the ball rolling. People get trapped in the victim mode and feel that there’s nothing they can do. If they start to see that changes can happen they may be more willing to come up with their own solutions to add to yours. The majority of people want to be positive but just don’t know how.

A good way to start is to come up with solutions to solve some of the problems you see occurring. It’s really important for you to try to find the root cause of the situation and not get caught up in fighting just the symptoms. For example, one person is always complaining that they’re overworked, the phone is ringing off the hook and that there is no one to help them. Your first thought might be that your company needs to hire another person to help out. But, this probably isn’t the root cause and in most companies it’s probably hard to find the extra dollars in the budget to hire another person. Plus, you’re back to expecting someone else to solve the problem.

Here’s another option. Track the phone calls. What are most of the calls in regards to? Are most of the calls related to the hours that your business is open, people unable to find the product information they need, people trying to book appointments? Once you know that, try to find alternatives for people to get the information they need without having to make a phone call. For example, could the information be posted on a web site, are there brochures you could give people, is the information people are receiving too confusing and just needs to be re-written?

Try to determine if there are things you can do to alleviate the real problems. Can processes be streamlined, can procedures be made more efficient? It’s amazing how much difference even one little change can make to improve a situation. You just need to start looking and figuring out some possible answers.

In Summary

Whether you love your job or hate it is really going to depend on how you view it and what you’re willing to do about it. You have much more power than you may think. Instead of feeling like it’s hopeless, view it as a challenge to actually make a real difference in your workplace. You’ll appreciate the results as will your co-workers. You definitely have the power to change a negative environment into a positive, fun place to be. You can do it.

Frustration - 8 Ways to Deal With It by Catherine Pratt

Frustration - 8 Ways to Deal With It

by Catherine Pratt
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. - Winston Churchill

The emotion you’re feeling is “Frustration”.
With a capital “F”. Maybe even add in some anger because you’ve been working really hard towards your goal or on a project and it just isn’t working. Or you feel like you’re stuck in a dead-end job and can’t find another one. And you may not even really know why. All you know is that you seem to be stuck and no matter how hard you try, you don’t seem to get anywhere. You’re just spinning your wheels in the mud and all you feel is pure frustration. Sound familiar?
This is the point where a lot of people will just say, “I Quit” and give up. Before you do though, here’s 8 ways you can blast through any frustration:

1. Ask Yourself, “What Is Working in This Situation?”
Even if feels like nothing is working, look closely and you will probably find at least something that is going right. So, that’s good. You’ve found something that’s working. Now, how do you improve it? By asking this question, you’ve taken yourself out of the negative mindset of “it’s hopeless” and are back to focusing on the positive.

There's something that’s working and that will give you a clue of what direction to focus on. You may find that even if your previous issues come up you’ll be able to resolve them in the process of concentrating on your improvements.

2. Keep an Accomplishments Log
Write down everything you accomplish in a log. If you do it in a monthly format you will be able to see all that you have accomplished in just one month. You may be surprised by how much you have done. If you realize there’s not much on the list, it may open your eyes to the fact that you may be procrastinating more than working or that you are using too much of your energy going in too many directions and that you need to focus more. Hopefully, you will have lots of items on your list then you can see that even though it may not feel like it, you are moving forwards. The log will also help to highlight where you were the most effective and where you need to work harder.

3. Focus On What You Want to Happen
Go back to the big picture. What is the desired outcome? Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in one problem and trying to solve it that we forget what we were originally trying to accomplish. Try not to ask yourself, “Why did this happen?” Asking questions like that will keep you rooted in the past. It doesn’t offer a solution to the problem. The important thing is knowing the answer to the following two questions:
- What do you want to happen differently this time?”
- What do you need to do in order to get there?

4. Remove the “Noise” and Simplify
When you’re trying to solve a problem, you can get so wrapped up in trying to find a solution that you add unnecessary clutter, noise, and tasks to a project because you thought they “might” be a solution.

Working on this website, I get bombarded by offer after offer of “easy ways to run your website”, “get more traffic”, “make more money” etc. They’re just noise though and usually a waste of my time even reading them. These people are just trying to make money off of me. They have no interest in whether I succeed or not. When people are frustrated by how slow the hard work process is taking, they get tempted by these “here’s what you’ve been missing” and “I’ll make it easy for you” offers. Usually, it ends up that if you do get tempted by the offers you discover 6 months down the road that if you had just stuck with your first plan and just kept working at it, you’d be a lot further ahead by now. Not to mention richer from not having spent money on the Get Rich Quick schemes. Believe in yourself. Simplify and go back to the basics. Determine what is really necessary and remove everything else. Anything that takes your time and effort that isn’t adding value, should be eliminated.

5. Multiple Solutions
You always have options. You just need to brainstorm and figure them out. Tell yourself you need to come up with 8 possible options to what you’re dealing with. Just knowing that you have lots of options will help to make you feel better. You won’t feel like you are trapped in one negative situation. From your list, figure out the best direction and go for it.

6. Take Action
When you get into serious frustration with a problem, you tend not to want to work on it anymore. It’s hard, it’s frustrating, and you’re not getting anywhere. So, anything to avoid having to be in that situation may be far more attractive. Procrastination may start to set in. If you can keep taking steps forwards, you will probably make it past this temporary hump. As Thomas Edison said, “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up” and “Surprises and reverses can serve as an incentive for great accomplishment.”

The other thing that can happen is that you start to spend a lot of time worrying. Worrying is a definite waste of energy and does not move you in a forwards direction. Only taking action will. Once you start moving forwards again, you will most likely find that you worried for no reason.

7. Visualize a Positive Outcome to the Situation
A lot of times you can get stuck on focusing on what you don’t want to happen or fearing the absolute worst thing that could happen. The top athletes of the world will imagine themselves competing flawlessly over and over again. There is no room for failure in their minds. This is what you need to focus on as well. See yourself achieving your desired outcome. What will it look like? What will it feel like? What will you say? How will you feel? Take the time to visualize it and really feel it. It will inspire you to keep moving forwards.

8. Stay Positive
Things are usually not as bad as they first appear. Sometimes, things seem much worse simply because we’re tired or mentally drained. Taking a break and remembering to keep your sense of humour can also help. This time of frustration will pass. A positive mind is far more open to solutions and answers than a negative one that thinks it’s just “hopeless” and thinks “what’s the use?” A closed mind will not be able to see the possible solutions when they do come along. Stay positive.

As with any problem, the solution is to figure out what your options are, decide on a plan, focus, and then take action. By using the above 8 steps, you should find that you’re running into fewer problems and feeling less frustration. Instead, you may find that you’re running into opportunities and you know exactly how to take advantage of them.

16 March, 2012

Kasih Sayang...

Buat yang bernama Kasih Sayang...

Apabila hati kita penuh dengan kasih sayang dan penerimaan, kita berkasih sayang terhadap orang lain...kasih sayang yang diberikan walaupun sedikit, ia mampu mengubah seseorang...

Dengan kasih sayang, yang jahat, degil, panas baran, pemalas semuanya akan berubah menjadi lebih baik jika ditundukkan dengan kasih sayang...

Kasih sayang adalah satu yang unik...ianya perlu dipupuk walaupun ia nampak sukar...ada kalanya diri ini terlalu sibuk untuk memberikan sedikit kasih sayang kepada yang memerlukan...

Kasih sayang yang abadi...lahir dari hati...lahir dari hati yang ikhlas...sukar untuk aku katakan yang kasih sayang ini boleh diukur....kasih sayang...kasih sayangku tidak pernah luntur walaupun untuk sesaat jika aku menghadiahkannya kepada yang memerlukan....

Kasih sayang....kasih sayang itu sifatnya lembut....begitu ku rasa berkasih sayang jika aku dapat menghadiahkan kasih sayang ini kepada dikau...tapi kadang kala kasih sayang tidak dapat diucap dengan kata-kata...kasih sayang kadang-kala dizahirkan melalui perbuatan...aku sukar untuk menzahirkan kedua-duanya dalam satu masa...ada kala aku mengucapkan kasih sayang ini...ada kalanya aku menunjukkannya melalui perbuatan...sukar untuk menjadi aku...

Sesungguhnya kasih sayang ini ada masanya perlu dizahirkan dari mulut ke mulut...ada kalanya dari hati ke hati...ada waktunya dari mata ke mata...ada harinya dari telinga ke telinga...ada masanya dari tangan ke tangan...ada hitungnya dari setitik darah ke setitik darah aku hadiahkan kepada dikau....

Mungkin kasih sayang ini masih tidak direncanakan sepenuhnya kerana masa dan jarak memisahkan kita...dikau di sana...dan aku di sini...aku pasrah jika hidupku ini ditakdirkan untuk menanti...disini ku pasrah menanti sayang...

Sambutlah kasih sayangku dari jauh ini.... loves...