The weather is bad. The holidays are too commercialized. Families are crazy. I don’t have enough money. The days are too short. I’ve got too much to do.
Recognize this list? These are a few of the things I’ve heard from friends, television hosts, people in line at the grocery store, or through text messages in the last 24-hours. I’ve even said a few of them myself. I’m really good with the ‘I’ve got too much to do’ one.
But inherent to each of these statements and many of the hundreds more we repeat every day, is that something is wrong. Not good. Not right. Lacking, or bad.
If we continue to see and describe the world as a harsh place we are bound to notice more harshness. It’s like buying a new car – after you hop in your chartreuse Volkswagen, you see chartreuse Volkswagens everywhere because your awareness is attuned to just that make and model.
Same with negativity. If you are attuned to find the bad, you will find it.
But, what if you just put the drive for negative in neutral?
I LOVE, LOVE this idea of emotional neutrality. It was like a little thought explosion going off in my head when I read about it in Allen Klein’s book You Can’t Ruin My Day: 52 Wake-Up Calls to turn Any Situation Around.
“Many people think that the world is out to get them. If you are one of those people, stop that thinking right now! The world is not out to get you. Situations are what they are. You are the one who sees something as suffocating or supporting you. When you feel that you are a target, you will naturally feel victimized. But there is another way to look at what is happening to you, no matter what that is. It is to see everything from a neutral point of view.
If you put your car in neutral gear, it detaches the transmission from the motor. Putting a difficult situation in neutral is like that; it will detach you from your upset.”
Later he writes: “Taking a neutral approach is a great way to not get caught up in daily upsets, irritations, and aggravations. It can also help us see more clearly.”
Think about it: The situations themselves aren’t stressful, it’s how we label them that determines whether we experience upset or ease. I’m going for the ease.
And, in Wednesday’s post I’ll tell you how to do it by providing a couple of the exercises Klein recommends to shift into neutral.
But, for now, just notice. How are you labeling the situations you encounter today? Can you shift into a more neutral space?
Allen Klein is the world’s one and only Jollyologist. Through his books and presentations, Klein shows people worldwide how to use humor to deal with everything from traffic jams to tragedies.
He is an award-winning professional speaker and a recipient of: a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, a Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association, and a Toastmaster’s Communication and Leadership Award Klein is also a best-selling author of 25 books which have sold over 600,000 copies.