How to stay positive, no matter what - by Don Jessop

How to stay positive, no matter what - by Don Jessop

April 07, 2020 13 Comments

Any google search will give you answers on how to stay positive. You'll get examples of meditation techniques or positive affirmations but you don't need that. You need something more. I know that's rather bold of me to assume you need more but trust me enough to read past the first paragraph and you'll learn why I believe that.

I'm a horse clinician, author, and coach. Without any doubt, horses are a real passion for me. But the psychology part of horse training is what truly drew me to the game. I love figuring out how to help people be better leaders for their animals and at the same time making sure the animal is in love with following a noble leader. 

In the midst of all that horse and people training, I noticed something I'm not sure many other people in the world have noticed. I'll try to deliver this observation in the simplest form possible, first... by defining a leader. What is a leader? 

Without getting bogged down into what qualities a leader has, we can simply define a leader as someone who has "a following." In other words... you aren't a leader if you don't have anyone following you and responding to you. In that light, if you're a horse owner and your horse doesn't follow and respond to you, you're not a leader at all. In that same light, if your own brain and body don't respond to you... you're not a leader there either. 

There in lies the distinction I was talking about that I'm not sure many people have noticed. The human body and emotional brain are the natural followers of the cognitive, conscious self. Just like a horse follows a good human leader, the emotional mind should follow the conscious mind. Can you follow me here? I'm saying... that your emotional mind and body are just like a horse and you are the trainer, the leader. My question is, are you a good leader, or do you let your emotional mind run the show?

When you ask your body to respond, does it? When you ask your emotional mind to calm down, does it? Or does it buck and rear against your will? 

Using this simple analogy of training a horse, we can also train our own mind and body. If you're not a horse owner I'll fill in some gaps here to make sense of everything. 

Here are five things all good horse trainers/leaders have in common.

1. When confusion about what's next is obvious, the human stops to observe his/her goals and create a plan - no sense going blindly forward

2. When the animal resists, the human persists - always end on a good note

3. When the animal yields, the human rewards heavily - make a big deal out of small good things

4. When the animal is scared, the human demands their full focus and attention - for safety and progress past the scary thing you must be able to guide the situation not run away from it

5. When the animal is disconnected, the human finds ways to make learning fun again

There is, of course, much more to horse training, but these five things outline exactly what we need to be for our own emotional minds and bodies. 

If you want to stay positive, (a noble goal), you must follow those same five principles to rein in your emotional mind and demand responsiveness from your body. 

First, observe your goal and create a plan.

- I want to stay positive, no matter what. To do that I must...

  • Rehearse positive affirmations
  • Speak positive words into others lives too
  • avoid negative media and friends
  • exercise, stretch, smile, and breath as a new habit

Second, when the body resists I must persist...

  • I must not give up when my inner voice says "no." I will persist to a "yes"
  • I must get at least one aspect of the plan done right now
  • I must remember that I am the leader, not the follower

Third, when my body and mind yield to my leadership I must reward it...

  • I will make a big deal out of small positive things.
    • Example: (I BRUSHED MY TEETH! OH YEAH BABY!)
      • By the way... this is exactly what negative people do, they make a big deal out of small negative things. (I CAN'T FIND MY KEYS! THE WORLD IS ENDING!)
  • I will allow time to relax and take in nature and good friends

Fourth, when fear takes me, I will control it...

  • I will talk myself off any ledge
  • I will make abrupt pattern interrupts to redirect my attention and hold my focus
  • I will make sure fear is not my leader
  • I won't blindly do what I'm afraid of, but calmly learn how to navigate each situation
  • I will practice doing what I'm afraid of daily, in small doses, so I can build an immunity to it and handle more over time

Fifth, when I feel disconnected or bored, I will find ways to make learning and growing fun again...

  • I will connect with others on the same journey to experience camaraderie
  • I will set a focus timer to direct my attention and focus on one task without distraction
  • I will reward small efforts and build on them

We just walked through a big process together and like any good leader I've learned from, I hope to bring it home with even more simplicity. If you want to stay positive, you must engage in positive things and avoid negative things, and to do that without the normal resistance that accompanies change, you have to become a leader in your own mind and body. Are you willing to do that? 

Take my 24 hour challenge today. Decide, as a leader, what emotion you will express for the next 24 hours. Notice I said, "express," not "feel." You can't help but feel emotions based on circumstances, but all good leaders take a step past that experience of life and into the next, which is a conscious experience of life instead of the unconscious. 

Are you willing to take the challenge to express a certain positive feeling in spite of your circumstances for 24 hours? Comment below if you're willing to take the challenge.

It's simple, decide what to feel for the next day. When you don't feel that way, change it back and regain leadership over your emotional mind and body. If you get stuck, come back and re-read how a good horse trainer would deal with an unruly horse.

Comment below if you're willing to take the challenge. I'll start with the first comment. 

Also, if this article has touched you in a positive way, please share how, and pass this link onto your friends as well. God bless!

 



13 Responses

Ginger
Ginger

April 11, 2020

I chose a state of contentment which is a close relative of acceptance and gratitude.

Lyla Spencer
Lyla Spencer

April 09, 2020

Thank you Don for this timely article! I choose kindness, gratitude and love and will work a little every day on changing my self inflicted negative attitudes when they arrives in my brain!!.

Debbie Timms
Debbie Timms

April 09, 2020

I choose to express acceptance. Acceptance of the changes I must make to conform to this new way of socializing. (Or rather, not socializing!) I love your article! Thank you.

Susan
Susan

April 09, 2020

Don, you are always timely…and your message has such wonderful crossover today. I choose to express that I am grateful for the joy that can be found during this time of new normal. My friends express feeling “stuck” at home; and, although I do not feel this way, I haven’t expressed my gratitude (and joy!) at being with my family. I will accept the challenge and express my gratitude that I am with my wonderful family — and my fabulous animals. Thank you for being an inspiration.

FREDDY VERLEYEN
FREDDY VERLEYEN

April 09, 2020

Hi Don, Thanks. You are a really good Parelli follower. What i mean in the N.H.M.S. its not only about horses ; but also about your own attitude towards famely, friends in your job a.s.o The challenge you suggest us to do is aw.some. I will try something, have already something in mind from the moment aim finished with my mails. Take care and thank again.

Sally Twesten
Sally Twesten

April 08, 2020

I choose appreciation. I’ve been so blessed to have such good horsey friends, a lovely place to live an outdoor lifestyle, simple needs and wants that are met, faith in something bigger than me and a loving family.

Priscilla Kovalsky
Priscilla Kovalsky

April 08, 2020

Fantastic expression of leadership and so well written! Thank you Don.

One word? LOVE, but GRATITUDE is right up there too.

Cynthia
Cynthia

April 08, 2020

Wow! Thank You Don! You are such a inspiration to me. Lots to think about today during this “Transtion Phase in the World” I am a very positive person and see the best in Everything. My Motto is Do things out of Love not Fear! Love your story above. Again, really appreciate all you do for us and our horse friends!

Christine Quilling
Christine Quilling

April 04, 2020

Well said!!! When I used to get nervous riding a friend once said to me " Got butterflies in your gut….well then, make them fly in formation!" Always loved that and it helped!…Gratitude is a big one along with ,Wonder, which is all around us!

Eileen
Eileen

April 01, 2020

I choose gratitude as well. Thank you Don for a much needed and timely post ❤️

Sue Fanning
Sue Fanning

April 01, 2020

So important and timely Don! Thank you so much for making such a positive impact on horses and the people that love them!

Marilee
Marilee

April 01, 2020

I choose loving. Not only am I dealing with Corona virus quarantine but my husband of 53 years has lung cancer spread to his bones. We found that out the first day of the quarantine. He is currently getting radiation therapy to control the bone metastases and pain but it is actually making the pain worse. Some days I do okay but when he is in constant pain despite all of my skills as a pain management specialist for 25 years, I am overwhelmed. I am using my network of friends on the internet and texting and EFT tapping to get through those moments. Imagine my surprise when my favorite “horse trainer” gives me some much needed encouragement that I am on the right track….and a next step So today rather than wait to be overwhelmed by the next wave of anxiety, I will focus on being as loving as I can be to Mike, to friends, to self, to my horses. I knew that my years working with natural horsemanship were life changing. I just had no idea how much and where. Thank you again for these blogs. They always seem to arrive in my email at just the right moment of need.

Don Jessop
Don Jessop

April 01, 2020

I choose gratitude

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