Positive Thinking – Part 4: Fine Tune Your System

English: Jack Dorsey and Barack Obama at Twitt...

English: Jack Dorsey and Barack Obama at Twitter Town Hall in July 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Warning:  This is a very long post, but well sectioned off.  If you have limited time, just read the sections that interest you.

I’ll say it again; it’s hard to think positively when you have problems in your life.  Carrying on day after day can become hectic, especially when working, going to school, and raising a family can tire you out.  Life seems so hopeless because whatever you try to do, you never can seem to get ahead.  Each day, you’re struck with more bad news and the more you hear, the less likely you are to be happy.  Trying to save enough money to pay your bills and save for what you really enjoy seems virtually impossible, especially when things keep breaking down.

It is likely you feel hopeless and trapped in a stagnant world, however, I don’t blame you for feeling that way.  Is the atmosphere out there polluted or are you looking through a dirty window?  While you can’t clean the outside air, you can wash the window that you peer at the world through.

Instead of feeling hopelessly strapped down, you can do a little “spring cleaning” in your life.  Here is where you get creative.  Figure out some new strategies to make your life run more efficiently.  Try something new.  Find contemporaries you can associate with that are having the same problems as you.  Change the way you handle your daily routines.

Learn Something New

Learning something new is great, even if the newfound skill or info doesn’t improve your everyday life.  We all lack skills or knowledge in one area or another.  As we become aware of this lack or deficit, we may not feel good about ourselves.  Rather than allowing this black hole to handicap us, we can find a way around it.

For me, such a subject was breeds of dogs and cats.  I could look at numerous cats and dogs, but I can’t identify their breed.  Although this was a subject that never interested me whatsoever, I thought it would be great to know more about them.  I would just feel stupid if I came across such an animal and couldn’t tell you what it was.

As a means of becoming acquainted with the various breeds, I purchased a dog book and wrote a blog on several types of dogs.  I even posted poems about each breed on my Publish N Prosper blog, hoping this would attract more readers and educate myself as well.  It’s only been a year now and before then, I never heard of half of these breeds as the Basenji or the Whippet.

The point is, my knowledge about cats and dogs was below average.  Just by studying these breeds, I am now familiar with an area I knew next to nothing about.  So, if there’s a skill you lack or a certain subject you’re totally in the dark about, you need not feel self-conscious about it.  All you need to do is find a book or search the internet on that subject.  Take at least 15 minutes a day to review this topic. Talking to those who are knowledgeable about it can help greatly.

Becoming bright in a once-dark subject will make you feel better about yourself.  You’ll be able to function well in related activities.  This in turn promotes positive thinking.

Polish a Finer Skill

Now focus one of your stronger areas.  We all have a particular skill or knowledge base in one area or another.  So, your gifted asset has helped you launch a successful career or has made an admired member of a social network of others who share that same interest.  No matter how skilled we are in a specific area, there is always room for improvement.  Either it can be an aspect of that trade you never really cared about or changes in trends affecting your trade.  Find ways you can polish your strong suits even more.

My greatest skill is writing.  Although I feel I do it well, I can always do better.  Not only must I write well, but I must make my articles interesting.  Hence, I must find subjects that are sure to inspire my audience.  This means staying current with the news and reading articles others have published.  Keeping in touch with the outside world and changing trends of writing will ensure better quality articles on my behalf. By seeing how others write, I can improve my method of blogging as well.

Not only must I find great subjects, but keep my writing style sharp.  Learning and using new vocabulary words may convince my readers that I am quite intelligent.  Embedding up-to-date concepts into my articles shows my readers that I am up with the times.  For example, this may be “tweets” as in Twitter, “likes” as in Facebook, “dashboard” as in WordPress or other copycat applications, etc.  Polishing up on grammar and punctuation will sharpen my posts as well.

Whatever you do, don’t let your finest skill go to your head.  So, up to now, you’ve seemingly attained undefeated success.  That doesn’t mean you’re a god in your trade.  No matter what area you excel in, there are always going to be new trends or methods of doing things.  It is up to you to stay current with the changes.  What was considered a superb job in the 1970s and 80s is most likely worthless today.

My father worked as a carpenter in the 1960s and 70s.  If he was still alive and in good health, I’m sure he would continue to remodel homes.  The only thing: he would use the same building techniques now that he learned back then.  Why?  He felt that his methods were the best since they always worked fine.  For example, drywall and boards that were once fastened by nails are now fastened with screws and/or glue.  He would laboriously hammer nails rather than use a power driver.  It was like he thought, “I am so great at carpentry, I have the world on a string”.  You couldn’t tell him differently.

No matter how well you do something, be open to constructive criticism.  Never think that your shit doesn’t stink.  Don’t adhere to the ways you learned to do things.  Be open to changes and you’ll do even better.  Network with others that share your same interest.  They can teach you great things.

Polishing a fine skill will impress others and keep you competitive in your hobby or trade.  Being sharp and on top will help you land a good job and/or win people over.  This in turn promotes positive thinking.

Keep Your Living/Working Environment Clean and In Order

More than likely you’ve been in peoples’ homes or workplaces and found things strewn about and unorganized.  Some people just hate cleaning.  They figure that since they know where everything is, why tidying up the area?

Having a cluttered and disorganized living space only makes things worse.  If you allow things to pile up into a system only you can figure out, sooner or later, you’ll pay some kind of price for your sloppiness.  One day you’ll need a particular tool or a specific document and wind up spending hours tearing the place apart looking for it.  So you thought you knew where that “whatchamacallit” was?  Guess again!

Those who live in chaotic, messy homes often have low self-esteem.  They abhor getting up in the morning and facing their messy house.  Worse yet, they despise the thought of taking the time and effort to clean up the place.  To them, it’s just a chore and they hate to work.  Others may fear that cleaning up a messy place will only uncover other problems as dealing with unwanted paperwork, fixing broken doors, etc.  Overall, they become tired of looking at their mess and might feel hopelessly trapped within it.

Office workers with messy cubicles may set themselves up for problems on the job later.  They may dread coming into the office in the morning and looking at a huge pile of paperwork.  From their point of view, it’s just going to be another hectic day.  As a result, they’ll lug themselves through the day the best they can and hope that time will fly by quickly.  Not to mention frustration on the job and a negative image they’ll develop.

Disorganization will cost you time and money.  It can seriously handicap your work efficiency.  It will also give others a negative impression of you.  Also, it will make you less happy and not so proud.   There are no two ways about it.

I’m not saying I’m a neat freak, but I try to be.  Sometimes I let papers accumulate in piles, but I don’t let these piles grow too big.  Other times, I’m searching for a tool because my system of tool organization is not totally consistent.  Worse yet, I allow things to pile up in drawers and cabinets.  As a result, I might buy something I already have, because I forgot I still have it, such as a bottle of aspirin.

Once I had to fix a clogged drain in the kitchen.  This of course meant removing all of the contents from the cabinet below.  I pile so many things under there (including shopping bags I intend to reuse) to a point where the cabinet space is packed.  Upon cleaning out the cabinet, I discovered there were four boxes of detergent for the dishwasher, all unopened.  Needless to say, I was spending money on things I already had.

Cleaning up your living and work space will make you feel better about yourself.  Waking up to a clean house will make you feel good.  You will be convinced that all your chores will be done and today will be another fulfilling day.   Reporting to work with a clean office will boost your confidence and make you feel prepared to handle any problem that comes your way.  You may dread the thought of cleaning the place at first, but you’ll enjoy it once you have begun.  The time out and effort required will definitely pay off.

Best of all, having a clean living and work space might even give you the feeling of living in a brand new home or working in a new office building.  This in turn promotes positive thinking.

Fix Something That Is Broken

Finally, fix anything that is broken.  This may be a poorly working faucet, a door coming off the hinges, an appliance that makes strange sounds when it’s running, etc.  A lot of people dread the thought of doing repairs on something they know little or nothing about.  Some fear they’ll only make the situation worse so why bother?  Others may worry about what it may cost to have a professional fix it.

Living with nearly inoperable devices only causes aggravation and inconvenience.  Knowing something doesn’t work right only makes one feel worthless. Likewise, it gives others a poor impression of you.

Owning a house, I have dealt with a number of repairs.  I have fixed clogged drains, leaky faucets, minor electrical problems, and a conglomeration of other things.  Although I wasn’t always successful, I learned a lot from my attempts.  A great amount of what I learned came from hardware owners or clerks from building supplies stores.

There is a bright side to this.  Even if one fails in his attempts to repair something, he will always learn something about the broken down…whatever it is.  While attempting repairs, one thing leads to another and sought out advice is easily found.  Even novices learn valuable things from trying to repair things, even if they do not succeed.  Eventually, one will find a way around his problems after seeking out the expertise of others.  Once a breakdown is repaired, the owner will feel good about his success.  This will give him confidence in fixing things in the future.

After a broken device is fixed, in the end you will feel great about it.  You no longer have to live with the drudgery of putting up with the inconvenience from it.  Most of all, you won’t feel worthless because this “thingy” is not working right.

That in turn promotes positive thinking.

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