In life, private victories always come before public victories.

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I’m sharing something I wrote recently after a rough week that just started flow onto the paper.  I wanted to share it with our talented group.  Here goes…

“In life, private victories always come before public victories.”


There is one thing in life that I can control. It is my attitude.  Every moment of every day, I have the power to decide my attitude.

I have been reflecting on the following questions recently.

Do I have a positive attitude?
Do I control my emotions?
How healthy is my mindset?

So much of my life opportunity and overall personal fulfillment comes down to my emotional fitness and my psychological strength.

So what is my level of emotional fitness?

I have heard that medical professionals will often test a patients fitness by having them exercise for 5 minutes and then check their heart rate exactly 2 minutes afterwards.

If the heart rate after 2 minutes is back to normal levels, the patient is considered to be in excellent physical / cardiovascular shape.

The longer it takes for a patients heart rate to come down to normal levels, the more “at risk” the patient is of heart attack or other serious health issues.

The same holds true with my emotions and my attitude.  Some people can “land on their feed” after a few minutes while others can be an emotional mess for hours or even days before course correcting.

It begs the question, why are some people able to maintain a positive attitude and mindset?   Why are some able to control their emotions?  What is emotion?
How is attitude formed?

To oversimplify some quick research, an emotion is a psychological state that is the landing space or intersection of three distinct parts:

1) a subjective experience.
2) a behavioral response.
3) a physiological response.

Why then do so some people seem to be an emotional mess?

Why do some people walk around with a piss poor attitude?

I personally avoid people with with bad attitude like a virus and quite frankly can’t fathom how so many people (that should be counting their blessings) can be walking around with a cloud over their head, bringing their unhealthy storm to anyone in their path.

I’m sure you are thinking of someone now.  I sure am.

A bad attitude can suck the energy and life out of the room and bring everyone else down.

So why the negativity and bad attitude?

The reason is this…

They have not DECIDED to change their state, their attitude, their mindset.   I’m not saying it’s easy but I am saying that it is a DECISION.

In fact, it is one of the few areas of control that we will ever have in this life.  It takes work.  It is no different than building up muscle.   It takes a decision to improve and it takes work.   The result is emotional muscle and emotional strength.

First, DECIDE that it is important to you and that you want to change.  It will not happen on its own.

Here is the reality— weeds grow in EVERY garden.  If I don’t pick them often, they take over the garden and choke the life out of that garden.

The same holds true of my mindset resulting in a poor attitude and a lack of emotional control.  It takes systematic weeding.

So let’s get practical.

How can I take the reigns back on my emotions and my attitude before I do unnecessary damage to myself (and others around me) with my bad attitude and emotional outburst.

What I really need to know is — How do I get out of an unhealthy emotional rut?

Here are best practices:

1) Decide.

This is no different that jumping in the ocean to swim.  Jumping in (read: letting go) is hard.  It’s cold at first for a few minutes.   Then I get used to it.  I have to face the water and decide that I will jump in first.

2) The State Change.

I absolutely love this technique. It is so simple and can help pull someone out of an emotional rut very quickly.    Simply, change your current physiology.   For me, I will go exercise.   If I’m at work, I’ll will take a “hot lap” around the building or drop down and do push-ups for 60 seconds.  Try it, it works.

3) “I am responsible.”

This one is a bit deeper.  These three words are among the most powerful in the English language.  When I say “I am responsible” and take responsibility, you override the neurotransmitter pathway that allows for negative emotion to flow.  Say “I am responsible” for 2 minutes (60 times) and watch what happens.

4) Gratitude.

It is impossible to have a positive thought and a negative thought at the same time.  Try it.   To move from a negative to a positive place, start to be thankful and move to a place of gratitude the good things happening in your life, no matter how small.  When I express what and who I am grateful for and let the gratitude flow for 60 seconds to 2 minutes, I remove the space that is hosting the negative emotion.

5) Perspective.

Taking a step back (or up) for healthy perspective can help to shed light on how small my problems are and how misguided our emotions and attitude can be.   For me, perspective is either a conversation with someone wise that I respect or moving geographically and physically getting perspective.  My method is to climb the steep fire trail behind my house at dusk.  As the sunsets and the lights below in the valley come on,  each light representing another human being, I start to realize how small my problems really are and this moves me to a healthier emotional state.

In life, private victories always come before public victories.  Life changes for the better when I decide to do the work to intentionally manage my emotions and attitude.

Avoiding negative people, managing my mindset, emotions, and attitude can clear a path and fast track a fresh new life chapter where anything is possible.

This is my “Generals Tent” lesson to myself for the week and have decided to pass it on.  I hope it helps you too.

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