1st Lady of the United States, Martha Washington
“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go.”
What kind of a mood are you in right now? Good, bad, ugly? Interestingly, your mood will help decide what kind of day you are having.
Our actions have to begin somewhere. The obvious is that you must think it before you can do it. Your state of mind as you contemplate action makes a tremendous impact on your ultimate decisions.
This is especially true when you are surprised and must act quickly. All of us have heard of the “fight or flight” response humans have when faced with sudden danger. Your emotional state at the time of the sudden surprise totally affects your choice of actions.
If you feel nothing is going to go right today, your state of mind could get you mugged in an alley, since that is just par for the course of the day.
A better choice would have been thinking to avoid the alley and take the longer, less dangerous way around. Instead, you were so depressed about your day that you stumbled right into danger you could have avoided.
Once I was a passenger in a car that was suddenly confronted with a much bigger vehicle on a blind curve. Keeping control of the car would have been good idea, but instead the driver covered their face and waited for the impact.
This had the effect of continuing us moving directly at the other vehicle, instead of veering to the right which would have given both cars more room to avoid each other. The skill of the other driver made it just possible to slip by, but then we almost went over into a ravine as we continued unchecked and driverless for an extra moment or two.
How can we prepare for such situations in advance? How about reducing our every day stress, feelings of shame, worthlessness, and excessive guilt? Many times these things make our mental reality seem much worse than things actually are. You are what you think. Advance preparation is what we need to have our minds in a better state to cope with the things we are confronted with daily.
National First Ladies Library
Abraham Lincoln, President of The United States
Mr. Lincoln was suggested by Stephen Haynes.
“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.”
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to criticize someone else? We have all judged other people by our own value system and decided what they should be doing based on what we think we would do in the circumstances. It can however, be a much harsher motive than that.
If we don’t understand why they do the things they do, wishing them ill could be because we want validation for our own lifestyle. If we think their life is going badly, and ours is better, it must be because of clean living and prayer before bed. To be blunt, we want to believe we are better.
But what should we really do? To misquote a TV commercial that used to be popular, “Criticism is so easy, even a caveman could do it.” Criticism is not something you need to teach kids to do, it actually comes quite naturally to humans everywhere. It can be harsh and cruel, a couple more natural human traits.
Abraham Lincoln had a suggestion for making our critical comments productive instead of destructive.
Before you utter one critical word, think of a solution to the problem you are going to accuse that person of having. Then be ready to help them with that problem.
Condition yourself to only voice criticism when you truly want to help, and are capable of doing so. If you aren’t willing, the solution is simple. Keep your mouth shut.
Back in the good old days there was an animated movie involving a young deer, who had a rabbit as his friend. When the rabbit started to say something critical, his mother asked him to repeat what his father had said. It came out something like this:
“If you can’t say nothin nice, then don’t say nothin.”
Criticism can be an amazing tool to help others if we only use it in a friendly and productive manner. Before bringing it out, wrap something soft around it and be careful not to alienate someone who really needs your help. You could be making your next lifelong friend.
There is an old saying that nobody seems know the origin of that states that “you never truly know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”
There is a great article on the subject at the website called everydaysuccess.com.
A link to this article will be included in the show notes at daggersofthemind.com
The History Place Timeline
My brother, Paul Holbrook, is a reader of audio books for Audible.com. He does a great job and has lots of books to his credit. Check out his blog at:
Audiobookinfo.wordpress.com. He reviews the books he has narrated and gives links to audio samples of each.
We will also include a link to the Audible page of his books in the show notes.