Category Archives: Positive Thinking

The American Presidents – A Contrapuntal Soliloquy

Post Date: February 14, 2019

Monday, February 18, is Presidents’ Day. A day to honor our leaders, those who have assumed the executive responsibility for our democracy and our freedom. The burden for them, all of them, has been and remains enormous.

abraham-lincoln-when-I-do-good

Collectively, our Presidents have been almost as awesome as the concept of America itself. Even if we take their average, they are an extraordinarily gifted group of human beings.

Their wisdom has come down to us in their actions and in their most salient quotes. It seems fitting to reflect on some of the thoughts that they lived by.

Let’s start with the father of all Presidents.

’Tis better to be alone than to be in bad company.
     —George Washington

The guiding principles put into words by our best Presidents sound like the natural language of speaking to a beloved child. In the pre-Revolutionary period, Washington had to choose carefully with whom to align. History vindicates his choices.

This quote sums up the American Agenda:

To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do.
     —John Adams

This is also the Perennial Philosophy and the root of all religion. You see right away what I mean about this group of people.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
     —Thomas Jefferson

Mental focus and attitude is the core of Buddhism and my own work and a lot of other great work being done around the planet more and more each day. A lot of the innovations that roll out, start right here in America, even today, even in our time of self-doubt. The mental climate in America remains right for innovation despite any temporary inner turbulence. The mental attitude of pessimism says that every great nation declines, like a law of physics. That’s not exactly the mental attitude Thomas Jefferson was recommending to us.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
     —John Quincy Adams

“Judge them by their fruits,” Jesus said. Truly the fruit of inspiration is an enthusiastic, hopeful populace. We are not always in that blessed state, but we have always returned to it.

It takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error.
     —Andrew Jackson

The gratitude … should be commensurate with the boundless blessings which we enjoy.
     —James K. Polk

Surely over time we have taken for granted the rare privileges we receive here in the land of the future, The Noble Experiment launched by our Founding Fathers.

I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.
     —Abraham Lincoln

God crowned our Good with Brotherhood, as the song goes.

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.
     —Theodore Roosevelt

The object of love is to serve, not to win.
     —Woodrow Wilson

These leaders, elected by the American system, often brought us to the highest principles of existence. 

Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.
     —FDR

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
     —Harry S. Truman

 Pessimism never won any battle.
     —Dwight D. Eisenhower

Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.
—John F. Kennedy

 You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can.
     —Jimmy Carter

As a beacon of freedom and opportunity, that draws the people of the world, no other country on Earth comes close.
     —Ronald Reagan (see video below)

No problem of human making is too great to be overcome by human ingenuity, human energy, and the untiring hope of the human spirit.
     —George H.W. Bush

 If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.
     —Bill Clinton

 Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
     —Barack Obama

 Without passion you don’t have energy, without energy you have nothing.
     —Donald Trump

You may not respect all of these people quoted. But looking at the group as a whole, I’d say it attests to the inspired design of the American system that elected these men. Improbably, the system has worked better than any other political system in history.

I encourage you to have a listen to this precious gem, Ronald Reagan’s last speech, in the video below, in which he reminds us how lucky we are to be Americans, and how the attraction of bold and courageous immigrants continuously revitalizes our nation, and validates to the rest of the world the value of our way of life.

A big round of big-hearted, inclusive, unifying applause, folks, for the 45 elected leaders that have taken us through 243 years of growing pains as a nascent Democracy. We have been miraculously blessed, and we have much to be grateful for. We know what we have. And we are each responsible for our part as engaged citizens. Each day we can strive to make it better. And guess what—we will.

Happy Valentines’ Day to Every One!

Bill

My thanks to Bob DeSena and The Human Effectiveness Team for their inspiration.

Thanks also to Psychology Today whose curation of Presidential sayings is where the quotes above come from. Here’s the link. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/better-perfect/201702/inspirational-quotes-the-45-us-presidents

I chose a different quote for Ronald Reagan, a quote from his last speech (see video above).

Read my latest post at my media blog “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers.  

How can you seize the day?

Originally posted May 12, 2015

Not just the “set the world on fire” days are important — you can seize the day every day.

make every day count

Sometimes what will make you feel good and would serve as the day’s best strategic move actually begins with an insight. Imagine the type of insight that sparks a throbbing impulse to creatively optimize it in ways that will continually bubble up in your mind.

We have the power to make every day count and to feel like it’s one of those days by prioritizing our mental state over the to-do list.

Achieving this is mostly by remembering the intention to do so, and bringing your attention to the intention. Intention without attention goes nowhere.

Typically, when the To-Do List has supremacy over our Intentions, each day is kept from being a day of great strategic insight or other accomplishment. We’ve become slaves of the To-Do List!

How often do our To-Do Lists supersede all higher values present in our accumulated intentions sac? How often do our intentions mostly live in a figurative mindspace where they are saved like an Amazon Wish List and perhaps looked at about as often? This is what is happening on a grand scale every day that we stay stuck in the pervasive Acceleritis™ cloud.

Pragmatically, the reason for giving highest priority to one’s own mental/emotional state over the To-Do List is that without shifting into Observer state or Flow state, the quality of one’s work is not going to be world class and the day will not have been fully seized.

Optimizing each day includes keeping track of the key moment-to-moment tradeoff decision between the To-Do List and one’s mental/emotional state. By stepping back, reexamining your intentions and your attention, you will notice that you take more frequent breaks from the To-Do List and in so doing you get sudden rushes of brilliant insights and ideas.

Don’t you breathe more deeply now that you’ve merely entertained the notion of freeing yourself from mental slavery? Doesn’t that air feel good? Is a slight headache you take for granted strangely gone?

With more practice every day, we can all seize each day. Carpe diem!

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog  “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers.

Originally posted 2015-05-12 12:21:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Positive Thinking

Originally posted March 17, 2015

People are always saying to me, “Bill, you’re one of the most positive people around.” While I take it as a high compliment, I am always thinking “How do I convey that there’s more to it than positive thinking?”

Positive thinking is an idea all of us know by now, and it is not easy for most people to practice it when faced with perceived threats, disappointments or other mood negators.

You actually do have the power

I actually didn’t set out to be a positive thinker. Like all children I wondered about everything, I just wondered more systematically, and in a bulldog fashion. A philosopher by nature, I really wanted to figure things out. The positive thinking came along with a lot of other discoveries.

As a philosopher I am attracted to pragmatism. This moves the mind toward positive thinking as a side effect. From a pragmatic point of view, one does not start with positive thinking, but with questions like what is our goal or purpose, and then what means will get us there. In the context of pragmatism, anything but positive thinking is an obvious waste of time and energy! Negative handwringing is staying in the problem definition phase when it’s time to move on to the solution phase.

Having been led to positive thinking via pragmatism, I was then able to see the value of projecting positively, pre-visualizing positively, and communicating positively as simply more effective at achieving goals. I didn’t do those things out of a belief in thinking positively; I did them because I saw that they worked.

Here are some other attitudes or strategies that I find work well along with positive thinking:

  • Have fun, because fun is conducive to reaching Flow state.
  • Develop long-term goals and then work toward aligning your short-term goals to your long-term goals.
  • Consider “What can I control or change, and what must I accept?”
  • Take the right action and let the chips fall as they may.
  • Pre-visualize successful outcomes.
  • Non-attachment to outcome is key.

Positive thinking is one of the cornerstones of success, leading to Flow state or Zone-level performance, ability to withstand and meet challenges, ability to be happy. I highly recommend it as a daily practice.

Mindfulness is another necessary component that works side by side with positive thinking. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on mindfulness in the next post.

Best to all,

Bill

Read the latest post at my media blog, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com

Originally posted 2015-03-17 10:49:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Which voices do you listen to?

Originally posted September 8, 2015

Volume 5, Issue 27

Most of the time, we are not aware of the layers of louder and softer voices constantly going on within our mind. Most of us have found that the subtlest part of our mind speaks in the softest voice, while the most negative part of our mind speaks in the loudest voice.

Quiet the mind - let the softer voices be heard

By being in the moment, we can actually choose which stream to switch our attention to. We can actively choose at any moment to switch to a subtle channel or to a negative channel. One reason we switch to a negative channel more often is that the negative channels are essentially screaming at us and typically contain a much higher emotional content than the subtle ones whispering under that din.

Not all of the voices in our head are equally smart. When we take action based on a screaming voice, we are less likely to take effective action than when we act based on the quiet voice.

If we listen to the small quiet voices, we find them to be ethical in nature, disciplined, courageous, having good judgment, honest, and somewhat detached from outcomes. The small quiet voices do not have a powerful emotive component.

The accumulated knowledge about brain function related to structure gives at least some reason to infer that the soft and loud voices are playing upon different parts of the brain in different ways. All of the other parts of the brain chorus might also be chiming in, filling in the chords below the melody perhaps.

How do we more often tune into the sound of our softer voice?

We all have experienced quieting down for a moment and suddenly having a deep inner realization that’s been trying to make itself heard for ages. By quieting down the screaming voices, the softer ones can be heard.

To listen in more closely I have found that a regular meditation practice serves me well. The benefits are bountiful, many stemming from getting in touch with the wisest part of our self.

This meditative process of listening to the subtler voices can be practiced during the hubbub of our daily life experience and not just in get-away moments. The benefit to the human race would be enormous if everyone on the planet started meditating for at least a half-hour every day. This is where cultivating a meditative process begins, with a single step, followed by another and another.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site. Here is the link to my latest post, “A House Divided Cannot Stand.”

Listen to this new podcast in which Nate Rackiewicz interviews me about the common ground just discovered that could heal the rift between pro- and anti-Trump (first 5 minutes summarizes the later portion). Go to podcast.

Originally posted 2015-09-08 05:58:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What’s the value of positive thinking?

Originally posted August 11, 2015

Do you know people who seem to be so mentally strong that they almost always seem happy and positive, never saying a bad word about another person? More and more of us are practicing random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty, loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. Our actions are more aligned with the Sioux proverb, “with all beings and all things we shall be as relatives”.

There is real value in getting ourselves into a good mood. We make better decisions. We think more clearly. And there is no downside. It feels good — we feel good — and we make others feel good. Getting into a more positive frame of mind is not just to pump ourselves up. It manifests more Observer and Flow states in our lives, so we enjoy life more.  We are more creative and effective in our work and happier in our life in general, which of course ripples out to all whose lives we touch.

Live more fully in every second.

So how do we get ourselves to feel good more often?

A daily vacation is a great start. Taking a break and doing whatever we want to do.  Creating a space away from other people (this isn’t always necessary but it usually is in the beginning) and then just doing whatever feels right from second to second. Playing, like a child again. Being who we really are.

When we’re on vacation, we want to be in bliss. So don’t hurry when you’re on your daily vacation. You won’t accomplish the vacation objective fully if you’re thinking about how soon you have to get back to work and thus trying to cram in the fun — still speeding, still in the clutches of Acceleritis™. When I take time out, I go back to work not because the “vacation” ended but because it’s what I really want to do. A flood of ideas rushes in so fast I have to write in pseudo-shorthand. Continue reading

Originally posted 2015-08-11 11:01:54. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Forgive the Universe for Having Hurt You

Volume 4, Issue 5

The Universe is trying to bring out the best and highest in each of us — motivated selfishly by the fact it IS us.

So for the corrective feedback we get, we will eventually be grateful. We will get to a place where we can see the Big Picture.

If it hadn’t been for that warning tap (which deeply crushed our feelings and the bad feelings never went away) we would have not been prepared for that next situation. The outcome could have been a lot worse.

The prediction about a next situation of the same kind is not just a probability but a certainty. Self-fulfilling prophecy: if you don’t get it, there will have to be a next warning tap. You have to face the long-range lessons of your own heart, since that center starts and drives all the play of your life. And from the highest perspective it is all play.

It all starts with our own choices anyway so we are causing whatever light warning taps we are getting. We should not wait to be grateful for them, because that grateful perspective lens helps you get the messages faster. Ask the right question: how could this possibly turn out to be helpful to me? It helps to ask the right question.

We start the action every time we Love something. Each Love is one driving center of long-term action. The intermingling of the Loves of course adds layers of complexity and individuation to the Game. It’s never played the same way twice in all of infinite eternity.

Carrying around bad feelings impedes Flow state, so why do it? Forgive the Universe right now for having banged you around and tell It you are trying on for size the notion that this is all well intended. Give it half a chance to prove Itself to you. Kiss and make up. (Play nice kids — oops I mean play nice Me, God says with a smile.) Try on that atmosphere for a while and see what it does for you. And please let me know. Thanks!

Best to all,

Bill

P.S.

  1. Watch for my new book, You Are The Universe: Imagine That, coming in April.
  2. For those interested in my work in the media business world you might watch my video interview on the unconscious decisionmaking of consumers with Bob Lederer on Research Daily Report. You also might want to check out this collection of videos.
    Bill Harvey interviewed on March 19, 2014 on Research Business Daily Report online

3.  Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at  Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.