Coach’s Challenge for July 30, 2007
Good day, team,
This morning I happened upon an article about Dr. Albert Ellis, a noted psychotherapist who died last week at 93. Dr. Ellis focused much of his psychotherapeutic treatments on action; that is, rather than overanalyzing everything, he encouraged his patients to take action regarding their emotional and psychological states by accepting who they were and not delving too deeply into the reasons why they were that way. He wrote over 75 books with titles like “How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything,” “How to Keep People from Pushing Your Buttons” and “How to Make Yourself Happy and Remarkably Less Disturbable.”
Dr. Ellis’s words remind me of the importance of staying sane in our daily lives by dealing with the internal dictator that tries to tell us all sorts of ridiculous things. For example, some of us walk around all day with internal thoughts such as “I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to do that. I should have said this to that person. I need to more like that. I ought to be more organized. I should be more attractive, intelligent, witty, popular and personable. I ought to be more assertive. I need to be less aggressive. I’ve got to speak up more. I really need to keep my mouth shut.” Some of us “should on ourselves” all day long!
This mind chatter makes us crazy. And if that’s the state of mind we harbor most of the day, we tend to project that same state onto others. It often takes the form of judgment and blame: “He should do this. He should do that. They ought to know better. They should treat us more fairly. She should be more sensitive. She ought to be more personable,” etc., etc.
This week, try to give yourself a break from thoughts and attitudes that continually judge and blame yourself and others. Ellis wrote, “Not all emotional disturbance stems from arrogant thinking, but most of it does. And when you demand that you must not have failings, you can also demand that you must not be neurotic…and this only makes you nuttier! Neurosis still comes mainly from you… And you can choose to stop your nonsense and to stubbornly refuse to make yourself crazy about anything.” Often the simple practice of trying to think of how we can serve others, either at home or at work, will take us out of the subject of “I am the center of the universe” and expand our thinking.
I see that continually thinking about myself is where my arrogance shows up. When I spend more time thinking about the well-being of others rather than continually entertaining thoughts about myself, I am a lot happier, and life is much more rewarding and interesting.
Have a great week!
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