From Volume 13, Issue 1:I now realize that being angry, frustrated, sad, guilty, afraid, scared, annoyed, disappointed, discouraged, apathetic—the laundry list goes on—simply has not been good for my well-being. It can make me lash out at those who may or may not be responsible for these feelings. Generally it makes me very unapproachable… people walk wide circles around me.
From Volume 11, Issue 4:Harold walked into his boss’s office to report on the project he’d been given earlier in the week. Before Harold said a word, his supervisor, clearly agitated, asked why the completed project was not yet on his desk.
Harold’s blood pressure rose and in an instant he found himself in a potential fight, flight, or freeze situation. He chose to defend himself and offered myriad valid reasons why the project was not yet done.
The battle had just begun—and not for the first time. Harold’s supervisor frequently set expectations of Harold that Harold felt were unreasonable. In other words, this dialog was not foreign to either participant.
From Volume 10, Issue 7:We’re human. We judge. It’s what we do. Good, bad. Right, wrong. Pretty, ugly. Useful, useless. Fast, slow. True, false. (I refer to this tendency in each of us as our Knower/Judger, or K/J.)
How do we make those judgments? We compare what’s happening right now with history lessons from our past. Our K/J has set up a database that can be quickly accessed to help us make snap decisions (not really decisions at all, but actually programmed responses) that help us get through life with a minimum of work. We are, as a species, pretty lazy sometimes. And as long as these responses generally work for us, we probably don’t see any reason to look for new ways to respond.
From Volume 9, Issue 12:Over the years, multiple psychologists have delineated the “stages of life.” Dr. Thomas Armstrong has 12. Mark Manson has four. Others claim there are five or eight. In all models, there is a phase in our lives when we separate from our parents, go out in the world, and acquire. We acquire skills, possessions, money, reputations, relationships, and more. In this stage (roughly 25–45 years of age, depending on which model you’re using), we are responsible for making ourselves into what we are going to be. And it’s full of frustration and expectation.
From Volume 9, Issue 11:Recently, many of my clients are having “trust” issues with employers, supervisors, direct reports, spouses, and family members. Many of us have also had “trust” issues with our presidential candidates. So what is it about trust that gets us so worked up? In the last years of his life, my mentor, Jut Meininger, was attempting to teach me that the foundation of all frustration is expectation. “If you manage your expectations,” he would say, “the level of frustration in your life would evaporate.”
What is trust if not an expectation on steroids?
From Volume 9, Issue 5:You won’t find the verb “to luck” and the associated gerund “lucking” in the dictionary. Why? It’s my word, that’s why. Lucking means creating your own luck, and we’re all doing it all the time. The question is, what kind of luck are we creating, and if it’s not the kind we want, can we change it?
From Volume 9, Issue 2:My mentor, Jut Meininger, spent the last three years of his life attempting to get me to see the futility of having expectations. “Give up your expectations,” Jut would tell me from his Knower/Judger, “and you will completely eliminate frustration.” (I’ve been known to be very frustrated on and off during my life…many of you may have witnessed this!) My response from my K/J was, “How does someone with the goal-oriented K/J set of rules actually accomplish anything? Don’t we have to have expectations in order to succeed?” Jut’s been gone six years now, and his wisdom is finally sinking in.
From Volume 9, Issue 1:The cultural Knower/Judger rule, at least here in the Western world, is that we continually strive to close the gap between what we have or are, and what we want or want to be. The desire to close this gap is a motivator. It’s what will help you make a higher salary or annual income this year, hit your sales goals, and get the car, house, or clothes you want. But let’s face it. The driving force of the American Dream is a certain level of dissatisfaction and, quite naturally, unhappiness—until you get what you want. My question is this: do dissatisfaction and unhappiness have to go together?
From Volume 8, Issue 11:Every once in a while my computer locks up. In Mac land they call it the “pinwheel of death.” Microsoft people call it the “blue screen of death.” Anyway…it’s death. Sometimes the router for my in-home Wi-Fi just gets testy and stops communicating with my devices. I’ve had times when the “smart” stuff in my car has stopped working. How do I recover from these little tragedies? They all have reset buttons! Do a restart and all is well.
But what about my reset button? You know, the one that eliminates what’s causing me stress right now and gives me a new outlook on a situation and new energy to move forward? The way I see it, there are three types of reset buttons we can press when life is challenging us—if we remember to press them.