Instruction #188 – Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know

There are 57,900,000 results for “positive quotes” on Google and 26,968 results for “positive thinking” books on Amazon. I guess the laws of supply and demand would indicate that we have a great need for positive inspiration in our lives. I, myself, subscribe to Inspire Me Today to receive daily doses of positivity and motivation. Like most people I know, I often find it difficult to source that motivation from within myself and I need a little help.

Everyone knows the phrase “if you believe it, you can achieve it”. The news is peppered with stories about amazing achievements generated by positive thought. Gail Lynne Goodwin, founder of Inspire Me Today, gave me some advice via Twitter… when I asked how one gets through the difficult days she said “Determination and realization that it is a choice. Nothing more than that.” It is a choice! This may sound strange, but that was a bit of a revelation to me at the time. I can choose to be unhappy, I can choose to be fearful, I can choose to be angry OR I can take a deep breath, smile and choose positivity.

It’s a simple concept. But it’s right. After all, who actually wants to be miserable? and I’m reliably informed that it takes less muscles to smile than to frown. Though when researching for this blog I found that there is actually extensive debate around whether this is true or not… much of which is irrefutable medical evidence – but in support of positivity, I’m willing to over look this little white lie and perpetuate the myth 😉 I hope that you are too!

So, I declare December a month of positivity (for me anyway). As of today, I’ll be following Instruction #188, from the little book – I’m going to become the most positive and enthusiastic person I know. I promise not to cheat by surrounding myself with miserable, negative people. And who knows, maybe if I can keep it up for the whole month, I might just stay the most positive and enthusiastic person I know! I’ll let you know how I get on…

Advertisements

Instruction #1128 – Write some poetry

As part of my continuous self improvement process, using my Life’s Little Instruction Book as a guide, I set myself a challenge to write some poetry. I know nothing about poetry, knew  nothing about poetry… although I wouldn’t profess to know much more now! I’ve spent the last week (some of it at least) researching the basics of poetry. I’ve asked for help, hints and tips from friends, family and twitter buddies alike. And everyone was very helpful.

There are a lot of resources out there for the budding poet. To learn the basics though, I was restricted to learning exercises for children. That, or just take a pencil and some paper, observe, feel and write…. I got as far as feel and then nothing. I needed structure. So, back to the elementary lesson plans I went….

There are also a lot of different types of poems, and did you know that sonnets are highly technical… with their iambic pentameters, quatrains and stanza, ABAB CDCD EFEF GG… and that’s just a basic one! Think I’ll leave those to Shakespeare. So, I decided on an Acrostic Poem. Simple yet effective. Don’t get me wrong, by simple I don’t mean easy. I was genuinely surprised at how difficult rhyming can be. Well, meaningful rhyming. Making sentences that made sense was hard enough, but to make them interesting and compelling was even more difficult.

I have to say though, I enjoyed the process. Getting all the words down on paper, exploring vocabulary and shaping my creative chaos into something, hopefully, quite entertaining. It was a little bit like blogging, but harder!

So, without further ado, here’s how I got on…

Henry is my cat
Ever playful
No dingbat!
Running around splash and splat!

You would like my Henry cat
In the garden and in the park
Searching for birdies, mice and sprat
Making mischief from this and that

You could play with Henry cat
Chase the cork, climb the wall
A box, a bag, a ball, a hat
They’re all fun games for a cat thereat!

OK, OK, so it’s a little immature. But, you’ve got to start somewhere! And I will keep trying. Keep learning. Keep improving. Keep your eyes peeled for greater poems to come…

Instruction #1 – Compliment 3 people every day

OK, so it’s been almost a month since I undertook to improve myself via the instruction provided in Life’s Little Instruction Book… as I mentioned in my previous post, there’s 1,560 of them so, not so little a book. And impossible to start doing them all at once. So, I thought “one step at a time” (a fairly common and highly recommended approach) and started with Instruction #1 – Compliment 3 people every day.

Now at first glance, this seems fairly straight forward, fairly easy… very achievable. Turns out, either it’s actually not… or I’m a mean, nasty, horribly selfish person! Now I admit, (as is my nature) I started off very enthusiastically, though I did cheat a little by sending out a generic (but genuine) compliment to the Twitter community, and then it did kind of peter out quite a bit.

When it came to the real live people I was complimenting, I predicted that a pattern would emerge fairly quickly. Those who knew me, were genuinely thankful and touched by my compliments (I decided early on that I needed to be genuine with my compliments otherwise, what was the point?). This was a good thing. This was a great thing.  In return for taking the time to say a few nice words to my friends and family, I was rewarded with a few moments of conscious and heart felt love. I was loved.

In the other camp, I had thought, that the people whom I didn’t know – strangers, for want of a better term – would look upon me with great suspicion. But I was wrong, partly… There were those who showed fear and mistrust. But that may have been down to my own apprehension and uneasiness at delivering such a personal observation to a stranger. Maybe the compliments didn’t come across as so. But mostly, people actually responded positively. And I was again rewarded with a little bit of conscious and heartfelt love.

Like the archetypal Brit, I find it difficult to be open with my emotions. Sometimes even with those close to me, never mind with complete and utter strangers. I think we can all agree that it’s a fear thing. But, putting my psycho-analysis to one side for the moment, this experience has taught me that there is some truth in the saying “it is better to give than to receive” because actually, when you give you get a little back too. And braving the emotional hurdle of “giving” kindness to strangers is definitely worth a try, as it increases the chances of “receiving” a little conscious love.

Now, as I said earlier, my enthusiasm for “giving” fizzled out a little and I admit that making a conscious effort to compliment 3 people every day, in the end, was too demanding for me (whether that makes me mean, nasty, horrible and selfish is a subject of a much longer and deeper blog, no doubt). BUT I do, now,  try and remember to spot opportunties for complimenting people – loved ones and strangers alike – in the hope of spreading a little love. I’m just not counting, that’s all.

Why don’t you go ahead and give it a try yourself.

In the meantime, I’m going to try out another little instruction… Instruction #1128 – Write some poetry.

Life’s Little Instruction Book

One of my good Twitter buddies @Stephen_OConnor referenced an intriguing book in one of his tweets about a month ago – “Using my “life’s little instruction book” for my tweets today” . Now being, as I am, an interested party in the meaning of life as well as the continuous improvement of myself, I thought – this could be a useful tool, or at the very least an interesting read. So, I promptly navigated to Amazon and bought a copy.

The book arrived 2 days later, complete with 2 volumes of hints and tips to live a good life… 1,560 of them! Not so little, I thought. But having skimmed a few pages, I started to think, hey! this isn’t such a bad idea… It may not earn me a Sainthood, but it might just help me to expand my horizons a little and I may well learn a few things. After all is learning not what this blog is all about for me?

So I’m going to give it a try – I’m going to try out some of Life’s Little Instructions and I’ll let you know what happens.

Instruction #1 – Compliment 3 people every day.