Friday, August 31, 2007



These obstacles are fear, worry, anger, and doubt. When things are not working out the way we had expected, our immediate response is to become fearful and uneasy. We are afraid that we will lose our money, waste our effort, or forfeit our emotional or physical investment in what we have done. If we are not careful, we start thinking of our potential losses rather than focusing on our potential gains.

Fear triggers worry, and we begin to use our power of imagination to create all sorts of negative images that cause us unhappiness and insomnia, and make us unable to perform efficiently. Fear and worry create anger, or what has been called the "victim complex." Instead of moving constantly forward in the direction of our dreams, we begin to react and respond, and to blame other people and other situations for our problems and challenges at hand.

Surrounding these negative emotions is the mental quality of doubt. Doubt is a fertile breeding ground for the other three negative emotions. Therefore, to eliminate these obstacles to positive thinking, you need to systematically eradicate the weakening emotion of doubt.

How do you do this? It's simple. The only real antidote to fear, worry, anger, and doubt is positive action toward the achievement of some worthwhile ideal.

Psychologists tell us that the key to dealing effectively with life is what they call "cognitive control." This is the assumption that you can think about, and concentrate on, only one thing at a time, either positive or negative. Successful people consciously choose to think about what they want, rather than what they don't want. As a result, they are continuously taking action toward their goals, rather than spending their time thinking and worrying about the current difficulties or the inevitable challenges that are sure to face them.

(Article extracted from Nightingale News letter)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


As we moved south across the desert, we encountered endless problems, any one of which could have ended our trip and, probably, our lives. Yet, it was during this desert crossing that I learned one of the most important lessons in my life about attitude.

The French, who had controlled Algeria for many years, had marked a path across the desert with black 55-gallon oil drums. The drums were spaced exactly five kilometers apart. As we drove and came to an oil drum, the next drum, which was five kilometers ahead, would pop up on the horizon, and the last oil drum, which was five kilometers behind, would fall off the horizon. Wherever we were, we could always see two oil drums at a time — the one we had just left and the one we were headed toward. To cross one of the greatest deserts in the world, all we had to do was take it "one oil barrel at a time." We did not have to cross the entire desert at once. For me, crossing the Sahara was a metaphor for life. In order to maintain a positive attitude under all circumstances, all you have to do is take it one step, one oil barrel, at a time. As Thomas Carlyle said, "Our great business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand."

In any endeavor we can choose to be positive and constructive, sit down and think through the situation, and then begin to deal with it one oil barrel — one small achievement — at a time. Of course, this isn't always as easy as it sounds. We all must overcome the four obstacles that tend to get in the way of our maintaining a positive attitude.

(Article extracted from Nightingale Advantedge News letter)