I was reading a fascinating book on commitment, which found that in order to sustain commitment, successful people focus on and emphasize the positive aspects, while downplaying or ignoring negative ones.
To keep a commitment strong, the research proved, it was vital to keep the negative aspects relatively deconstructed, that is, to regard them as isolated exceptions or temporary problems that were relatively unimportant in comparison with the broad pattern of positive benefits.
When I read that, I felt a puff of hope. Because it reminded me that just because I had a disappointing day, doesn’t mean the world is out to get me. Isolated discontent may be part of the process, but it’s not part of some broad negative life pattern. It’s not the warning shot for an impending wave of catastrophic life events.
This negative event is merely a temporary glitch. An isolated incident on my path to inevitable progress. It’s not personal, it’s not permanent and it’s not pervasive. Moving on.
Call it optimism, call it delusion, call it selective memory, call it blowing second hand smoke up your own ass, but if you don’t expect success and consider happiness to be your normal state, every minor setback will wipe you out of the game. That’s the kind of emotional courage true commitment requires.
It doesn’t guarantee success, but does broaden your field of vision, which allows you to better notice solutions that lead to success.
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How do you coach yourself in relation to the low points of your journey?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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