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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...
Second, when the body resists I must persist...
Third, when my body and mind yield to my leadership I must reward it...
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!)
Fourth, when fear takes me, I will control it...
Fifth, when I feel disconnected or bored, I will find ways to make learning and growing fun again...
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!