In the capacity of my career I am fortunate to be in a position to help others as they face various forms of adversity, challenges, difficult decisions, etc. While the facts and circumstances differ from situation to situation, finding a solution invariably follows a similar pattern in analyzing the problem, considering alternatives for action and in the final analysis, making a decision. Invariably, how one thinks to a large extent determines the final outcome. Sometimes, as crazy as it might seem, the eventual decision is unfortunately many times “chosen by default“, i.e., by not making a decision a decision is actually made. Let’s take a step back and see if we can better understand why this happens, even at times to the best us, and, perhaps more importantly, what we can do about it.
Choosing by default (CBD) ususally occurs without even realizing a decision has been made. Having counseled and coached numerous clients and staff over 35+ years, so much, in my opinion, starts from either lack of self-confidence and self-esteem, fear of making the wrong decision, incessant worry, etc. These arbitrary self assessments/mind sets are for the most part hogwash causing distortion and vacillation. Sadly, they are symptoms of an all too often ailment which goes undetected and misdiagnosed — I call it “Shit-in-the-Head Disease” (SITHD). People who suffer from SITHD may appear quite normal on the surface, but in a quiet moment all alone they suffer, albeit unnecessarily. Surprisingly, those who suffer are many times quite talented and remarkably intelligent.
Let’s take a closer look at a real life example (names changed to protect the innocent) of how SITHD can rather routinely be the root cause of CBD. My friend Robert works for a well-respected firm, has a good job, receives competitive pay, yet hates his job. The fit (employee and company) is not the best and the time has come to move on; Robert is capable of much more. While Robert knows this, self-doubt has already stepped in, even though he is not only good at what he does, smart, hard-working, enthusiastic, but also truly well-liked by his fellow employees and superiors. He is nevertheless frozen, unable to make a decision regarding his future. He is “certain” he will fail even though the facts indicate otherwise. You might now be saying, WOW, this can’t be Joe, but yes Kemosahbee, it is. But the best part is, by not making a decision, Robert has in effect made a decision, he has CBD. Robert’s story is not unique. William, a very capable and successful business owner with an abundance of skill and ability, is unable to come to grips with the future direction of his company. He knows the answer, yet will do anything to avoid change and potential confrontation. He has, like many of his fellow business owners, CBD, and in doing so has become an ostrich with his head in the sand.
If you can identify with CBD and suffer from SITHD, take heart, there is hope. Remarkably, just like when Dorothy in The Wizzard of OZ discovered that she could have returned to Kansas at anytime by simply clicking her ruby slippers together, you too can rid yourself SITHD and thus put an end to CBD. First and foremost, you must acknowledge, and repeat over and over, that no one, and I mean no one, can control how you think except you. Keeping that in mind, let’s look at the following 15 Maxims to Successful Thinking:
MAXIM #1 – Many times in life the truth is irrelevant. DISCUSSION – The sooner you can recognize and accept this phenomenon, the sooner your response to adversity and unfair treatment will be much more controlled and appropriate regardless of the situation.
MAXIM #2 – The only thing we can do is our best: Do not prophesize negative outcomes. DISCUSSION – In other words, watch what you say as it has a surprising way of coming to fruition. If you’re going to say something, keep it positive.
MAXIM #3 – If you can’t be number 1, be number 2. When number 1 slips and falls –and they will — be ready to get in the game. DISCUSSION – Whether it be in sports, in the classroom, in business or life in general, if you find yourself number 2, make the most of it. After all, you are next in line to be number 1. While things may not be happening according to our self-imposed timetable, stay the course, think positive and do your best. Leave the timing to God.
MAXIM #4 – Count your blessings and build on them. DISCUSSION – You don’t have to wait for the Thanksgiving holiday to come around, or to be in church to count your blessings and give thanks. Give thanks everyday and in doing so, something magical happens.
MAXIM #5 – Nothing changes if nothing changes. DISCUSSION – This maxim is amazingly simply, yet so profound. We need to change a behavior in order to attain different results.
MAXIM #6 – Take a time out: We control what we think, what we say and what we do. No one else does. DISCUSSION – Sometimes in order to put things in proper perspective you just have to “apply the brakes“ and take a deep breath.
MAXIM #7 – While many times our circumstances are beyond our control, you can always change your perspective. DISCUSSION – Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we respond. Keeping the right perspective is crucial to our success.
MAXIM #8 – Walk by faith and not by sight. DISCUSSION – Faith is a higher level of belief. No obstacle is too great for faith. The opposite of faith is F-E-A-R. Fear is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real. With men it may be impossible, but with God all things are possible.
MAXIM #9 – Our circumstances must never change our attitude, but our attitude can change our circumstances. DISCUSSION – Regardless of what is happening around and/or to us, our efforts should never go into a slump.
MAXIM #10 – What is the answer if you don’t ask? NO, of course. DISCUSSION – Take those training wheels off and GO FOR IT!!!!! What do you have to lose?
MAXIM #11 – Fortune favors the bold–not the reckless. DISCUSSION – Dare to dream and believe in yourself having the courage of your convictions in moving forward.
MAXIM #12 – The competetion maybe bigger and stronger, the adversity you face may appear overwhelming, but always remember, David beat Goliath. DISCUSSION – Yes, he did and with just 5 small stones. Enough said.
MAXIM #13– It takes an adult to say “I’m wrong”, “I’m sorry” and “I want to learn from my mistakes.” DISCUSSION – Just because one is an adult, it does not mean we are infallible. Be an adult and most importantly, be gracious and sincere in owning up to our mistakes of any kind.
MAXIM #14, – Focus on forgiveness of others – “As we forgive those who trespass against us”. DISCUSSION – Too many times in life we get consumed by anger, disrespect, slights, etc. Don’t give away your joy. Not only should we forgive others for their indiscretions, but we should take the higher road and pray for them. In doing so, the negative thoughts will remarkably dissipate.
MAXIM #15 – Be careful, very careful of letting your ego make your decisions and affect your thinking. DISCUSSION – There is a difference, a profound difference, between having a strong ego and having a big ego. In either case, always remember the acronym E.G.O., which stands for Edging God Out.
Take the 15 Maxims for Successful Thinking listed above and intertwine them into THE 11th COMMANDMENT – Thou shalt not piss, whine, moan or complain. DISCUSSION – More so than any one maxim, honoring this commandment will make the biggest difference in recovering from SITHD.
Does practicing the maxims discussed above together with The 11th commandment work, and perhaps even more importantly, do they cure SITHD as well as CBD? They do. Click here for real-life example and in this case the name has not been changed because he wanted me to share his story with you.
As our world has changed over the years and continues to do so at an incredibly fast pace, it is more important than ever that we hold true to principles, fundamentals, maxims and commandments that will stand the test of time. In doing so, we are honoring God. Adversity, challenges, and difficult decisions, will be here until the end of time. Whether you suffer from some form of SITHD or find yourself CBD, you can change your thinking and in doing so change your world. Bad habits are hard to break and SITHD is nothing more than a bad habit. Knowing that the law of learning is quite simply repetition (this is how we memorized our ABCs and multiplication tables) we can begin to change our thinking in a positive manner. Commit to memory The 15 Maxims of Successful Thinking together with The 11th Commandment and in doing so prepare yourself for a new world that you never knew existed. Just like Dorothy, all you have to do is click those ruby slippers; Thinking for Success is within your grasp and best of all, its’ entirely up to you!!!
Have a great day!!! May God Bless you!!!!
Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)