Cruising along the highway of life, you reach over and press the button marked "SCAN".
Your brain registers signals competing for your attention.
Self-Doubt 88.9 ... Frustration 91.9... Blah 92... SERENITY 93...Judgement 94.5 ...GRATITUDE 96... Worry 97...Self-Pity 98.9... P-O'ed 99... Jealousy 100... Anxiety 100.5... JOY 101... Regret 103.1 ...Grudge 104 ...Despair 106.5 ... HOPE 107...
Your human brain often operates like a distracted motorist, scrambling for a favorite radio station. Capable of processing 45 thoughts per minute (one every 1.3 seconds), your mind sifts through about 46,000 thoughts for the 17 hours you are awake each day.
Can you figure out which thought stations you tune in most?
Have you ever given serious thought how many are worth listening to?
And is it safe to say about 97% of those thought stations are the same ones you heard yesterday?
Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer and a number of other human potential experts maintain about 80% of our daily thoughts tend to be negative, self-critical and self-defeating. Life in the negative thought lane can surely make you lose your mind, sabotaging your best intentions. One of the most important psychologists of the last fifty years has discovered there is a way to reverse what he calls "learned helplessness" with, oddly enough, "learned optimism". In his research at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Martin Seligman discovered resilient people were optimists who think of adversity as temporary, specific, and external. Pessimists, on the other hand see adversity in permanent, pervasive and personal ways. For example, a pessimistic salesman might think: ‘I hate cold calling. I just annoy people and I'm not cut out for selling'. An optimistic salesman might think: ‘I gave it my best shot, but she was obviously in a bad mood'. A pessimist will likely give up and feel depressed, whereas the optimist will take it easy, keep going and remain determined.
Essentially, Marty and other researchers are concluding there is a scientific case to be made for dialing in Hope.
The good life is never problem-free.
Whether at work or home, the process of overcoming adversity often produces some of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. Throwing in the towel at the first sign of trouble is easy to do, but in the long run, how far can anyone expect to travel dialing in stations promoting self-doubt, worry and regret?
Typically, despair and hopelessness set in whenever "impossible" situations present themselves. Just as often, those not so peaceful easy feelings are transmitted from one human being to another in such a way that they become self-fulfilling prophecies. And until a new song starts to be sung or hummed along to that includes Hope, the "impossible" situation you face will remain that way.
The Eagles were the biggest band in the world when they broke up in 1980, blown apart by clashing egos, boiling tempers, hefty substance abuse, tireless womanizing and meddling lawyers. Internal bickering came to a head on stage in Long Beach, California, July 31, 1980, with band members muttering dark threats to each other between choruses, leading to a backstage brawl. The ensuing split was so acrimonious that drummer Don Henley frequently asserted the only way the Eagles would reunite was when "when hell freezes over".
It took a while.
But, Hades finally chilled 14 years later, as Henley, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt resumed touring and singing songs of Hope in 1994.
At some point, even the Eagles learned yesterday is already gone. Nothing that happened yesterday even matters.
At one time or another you will be faced with a "hell freezes over" situation, but tuning into a frequency called Hope might give you an opportunity to turn it around.
Hope gives you a second chance every morning.
What you do with that chance is what really counts.
"Let hope inspire you, but let not idealism blind you. Don't look back, you can never look back"
Originally posted January 18, 2010
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