Adding Positivity

Jim:    Good evening and welcome to another episode of Fishing Without Bait where we enter into the realm of life without definitive expectations.  We attempt to take people on a journey where we’re living in the moment and being in the moment.  Being in a moment and living in a moment – the words are interchangeable.  Our philosophy here is that when we fish without bait, without definitive expectations, we can’t set ourselves up for disappointment in failure.  However, we are out fishing, are we not, Mike?

Mike:    Yes, we are.

Jim:    Indeed.  We do have a plan.  We’re aiming, are we not?  

Mike:    Exactly.

Jim:    So, the idea is that whether we catch fish or we do not we are still fishing.  And, that’s the purpose.  We’re participating in our lives.  Mike, when you started your own business – you work for yourself, is that correct?

Mike:    For the most part, yes.

Jim:    I imagine you met with many naysayers when you told people you were starting your own business.

Mike:    Just a little bit of people saying are you considering doing this?  Do you know how hard it’s going to be?  The biggest naysayer actually in the long run ended up being in my own head.

Jim:    In your own head?  Can you imagine that?  90% of the negative thoughts we get are repetitive.  And, how many of those repetitive thoughts did you – how many nights did you stay up wondering about starting your own venture?

Mike:    I’m still wondering.  

Jim:    Sometimes we invite ourselves to our own argument party, do we not?  

Mike:    Exactly.  

Jim:    Remember when we talk about an argument party – when you get invited to an argument party, what do you expect at the party?

Mike:    The punch?

Jim:    You’re expected to bring an argument.  And, sometimes you bring two handfuls, okay?  So remember, it’s our choice whether to participate in an argument party or not.  And, speaking about choices and negative thoughts, negative people, would you mind me telling you a story about the Buddha?

Mike:    Oooh.  Go ahead.  It’s Buddha time.

Jim:    So, one day the Buddha was walking through a village and a very angry and rude young man came up to him and began insulting him.  You have no right to be teaching others.  He shouted.  You are as stupid as everyone else.  You’re nothing but a fake.  The Buddha was not upset by these insults.  He just smiled.  The man insulted him again and again.  But, the only reaction he could get back from the Buddha was a smile and silence.  Finally, he stomped his feet and left cursing.  The disciples were feeling angry, and one of them couldn’t keep quiet and asked the Buddha why didn’t you reply to the rude man?  The Buddha replied if someone offers you a gift and you refuse to accept it, to whom does the gift belong?  Of course to the person who brought the gift, replied the disciple.  That is correct, smiled the Buddha.  What do you make of that, Mike?  How many times have you been insulted?  How many times have you felt slighted and felt a need to respond?

Mike:    Very often.  But, you need to kind of step back and check yourself.

Jim:    So, when we step back like the Buddha and say if we refuse a gift from someone, who does it belong to?  The person who brings it to you.  Is that correct?

Mike:    Right.

Jim:    So, what is that person left with, then?  Bitterness, resentment, anger.  And, that’s what they walk away with in their hearts.  What we’re talking about here is a change, and a change in mindset.  When we’re dealing with negativity – and again we’re talking about so-and-so makes me so angry.  So-and-so made me upset.  This situation, people, places, things, circumstances, events that operate in our lives and we get so upset because they’re not exactly the way that we want them to be.  We feel that they control us, or they cause us to feel a certain way.  Remembering again that – where is the source of all negativity, Mike?  Is it in the world?  Or is it in that job you didn’t get in?  Is it in that partner that dumped you?  Is it in the failed business venture?  Where is it at?  

Mike:    No.  It’s inside our own heads.

Jim:    Absolutely.  We’re the ones who generate the negative thoughts.  What we’re talking about here is taking a responsibility and taking ownership for your own negativity.  There’s a quote by an individual by the name of Peter Shepherd.  And it says healing comes from taking responsibility to realize that it is you and no one else that creates your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions.  What do you think about that?  Did you ever take ownership for your negative thoughts, Mike?

Mike:    I try to, especially after having these sorts of discussions with you and everybody else over the years since I’ve discovered these mindfulness things, kind of sitting back and taking stock.  Again, taking that ownership.

Jim:    Remember.  We have a choice.  Do you personally – you have negative friends, do you not?

Mike:    Certainly.

Jim:    They complain and whine all the time?

Mike:    Exactly.  And, one part of taking that stock is sometimes, on purpose or just by reaction, you start to stay away from those negative friends.

Jim:    And, do you do that?

Mike:    Do I do that?

Jim:    Yes.

Mike:    Yeah.  I say maybe I won’t invite that guy over for this because all he did was complain when we watched the show.  It’s just not something I want to be around, and I recognized that and realize do I really need to be around that person?  

Jim:    Let’s put it this way.  If your interest was golf, would you join a bowling team?

Mike:    Yes.  Because, I’m usually very confused, Jim.

Jim:    That’s our attempt to unconfused you, Mike.  So, the idea is, do you want to have a negative life?  Do you desire pain?  And, do you desire being restless, irritable and discontent?

Mike:    No.  Even though it seems like – especially these negative minded people feel like they thrive on it sometimes by the way they react and seem to flock toward the danger and negativity, I guess.

Jim:    It takes that much energy to sustain that negative power inside them, and then that negative action.

Mike:    Right.  It’s like some of them find a justification in blaming the world on whatever the issue is.

Jim:    I’m sure that you’ve run into some poor therapists, some poor doctors, some poor coaches, some poor nutritionalists.  Would that be correct?

Mike:    Yeah.  I’d say so.

Jim:    Sure.  So, let’s say a nutritionalist would come up to you.  One of the first things they’d say is well tell me about your diet.  Tell me everything that you eat in a day.  Tell me everything that goes on.  And the first thing a poor nutritionalist would do would begin x-ing things off.  Welp, this is gone.  Ooop, you can’t have that anymore.  No more of that.  That’s gone.  That’s completely out.  Oh, we’re not going to go there.  How does that make – how does that leave you feel?

Mike:    Empty.  You have a lot of voids to fill at that point.  

Jim:    Right.

Mike:    It’s like oh I can’t do anything anymore.

Jim:    So, we’re taking things out of our lives.  What a competent and a good therapist, doctor, nutritionalist, and coach will do is rather than begin by eliminating negatives – what they’ll begin to do is by adding positives into a person’s life. If a person has a really lousy diet.  If they’re not eating well at all, and you ask them to start eliminating things that they’ve been eating for years, they’re going to balk at that.  

Mike:    Right.  It’s too much change.  You need to have a level, right?  And, it needs to be tempered a little bit.  And, just to take all that away – you’re going to fill that void with other negativity.

Jim:    So one thing as simple as adding a glass of water with every meal – changing nothing else.  Adding a glass of water with every meal.  And, then maybe in slow increments adding other positives.  Conversely, in people’s lives, some people’s lives are – let’s say figuratively filled with bad nutrition.  They hang around in bad environments.  They hang around with people who are negative – soul suckers is what I call them.  Energy drainers.  And, we can get as addicted to those situations as anything else.  

Mike:    I’ve heard of similar situations around business, actually.  That they’re the negative person, and they’re the office zombie is one way to look at them.

Jim:    The office zombie.

Mike:    It’s another version of that.

Jim:    So, let’s say you have a friend that you’re trying to help.  And, rather than go to them and say okay, here’s what you need to do with your life.  If I came to you and said, okay, Mike.  If you came to me and asked for my help and I said okay, Mike, here’s what you need to do to your life.  Would it be more beneficial for me – would you be more receptive if I said to you Mike, here’s what we can add to your life.

Mike:    I think so.  Why don’t you add this on?  Then it’s not – you’re not taking away.  You’re not changing your life.  You’re – do this too.  Add some yoga to your life.  Something like that.

Jim:    Absolutely.  You can do this with a friend.  You can do this with a child.  You can do this with a partner.  You can do this even with an employer – begin to add things into life.  When you’re dealing with negative and nasty people, even attempting to add a kind word into their life could possibly change things.  The idea is is that – there’s another quote by Rumi that says yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world.  Today I am wise so I am changing myself.  

Mike:    Good old Rumi.

Jim:    So, when we talk about – let’s say the political landscape of any time or era, because most people are dissatisfied with it, are they not?

Mike:    Right.

Jim:    So, what do they try to do?

Mike:    They distract themselves.

Jim:    They distract themselves, and they try to change the world.  They try to change the system, do they not?

Mike:    Right.

Jim:    Rather than try to change themselves and their attitudes.  

Mike:    They try to change the thing that they find easier or less accountable.  What’s more accountable than yourself?  

Jim:    So, how many times have you not wanted to go to a birthday party or an anniversary or a meeting or any type of gathering because you thought it would be boring and horrible?  

Mike:    Many times.

Jim:    Many times, sure.

Mike:    Or not the thing for me, right?

Jim:    And, again, getting back to accentuating – adding the positives, just a simple mindset, Mike – a simple mindset of simply saying well, it’s not so much as what I can get out of this meeting or gathering, it’s what I can bring to it.  It’s what can I bring to it rather than get something out – getting something out of it is rather selfish and self-centered, isn’t it?

Mike:    A little bit, yeah.

Jim:    When we begin – let’s say if we have a house full of really negative people.  You have the worst relatives in the world, and they’ve all come to live with you.  And, they’re complaining.  And, they’re eating your food – there’s never enough.  It’s too hot.  It’s too cold.  What you begin to do is you begin to – let’s say your wife’s family is full of really positive people.  So, rather than ask all those people to leave, you begin to invite some of your wife’s family – and they’re all very positive.  And, they’re nice, and compassionate people.  You move one in.  Two in.  Three in.  Four in.  Soon, there won’t be enough beds or room for some of the negative people will there?

Mike:    Right.

Jim:    And, they’ll eventually be forced out.

Mike:    I started looking at that.  I think if we can bring this around to business a little bit – you find yourself in a bad business situation, or a bad job.  So, you start surrounding yourself about positive, motivated people that will help you achieve your goals or encourage you to achieve your goals, or people that have achieved the goal that you want to get to, that you can find inspiration from.  I think that’s a version of it.  You’re filling it with all that positivity and then you find yourself saying okay, we need to kind of – that builds, and that builds, and we block out – or at least that negative part becomes smaller and smaller and starts shrinking away in your life.  

Jim:    Again, I’ll refer back to 12-step recovery.  12-step recovery, just like life, is all about the solution.  It’s not about the problem.  So, I’m sure that you’ve experienced many problems and issues in your life, have you not, Mike?

Mike:    Oh, certainly.

Jim:    Would you rather talk to people who want to perpetuate the problem and keep talking about it?  Or would you rather talk to people who perhaps want to talk about the solution?

Mike:    Certainly the people who have – that have achieved a solution.  The people that are on their way, trying to figure out a solution.  We talked about this before.  How many people bring their problems?  I sit in some public places and hear people complain about everything that’s wrong in their life, and what’s the problem now?  There’s never what’s great going on.  And, then we pass that stuff on.

Jim:    So, it’s a mindset.  So, here’s a thought to you, Mike.  And, you know that I do this sometimes often – is when somebody is complaining I would ask them tell me something good that’s gone on in your life?  What are you grateful for today?  Tell me something last week that happened that was well for you?  Especially when people just like to complain about the way that life’s treating them.  And, sometimes what I’ll ask them is tell me about a time when things were good.  Tell me about a time when you were happy.  Tell me about a time when life – when you thought life treated you fairly.  And again what we’re doing is we’re adding positivity.  We’re going to leave with this little note today.  We’ll be getting into this in a more deeper sense the next time.  It’s not so much what you can take away from the situation, but what can I add to it?  And, that’s the question I’m going to leave our listeners with.  Thank you so much for doing this.  

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