One of the nine mastery mindsets that we teach is "I deflect negative energy." This mindset refers to the importance of not letting situations or people steal your joy. Chances are, there's been a time when you were having a great day until somebody came along and said some negative comment that threw you off your game.Of course it's easy to say “you shouldn't let that bother you” when you're giving advice to your friends. The challenge is being able to apply that advice in your own life. I would like to share with you a few strategies that work well for me. Perhaps they will do the same for you.
First off, do your best to avoid negative environments. This might seem like common sense but sometimes we just need to be reminded. I remember a time years back when a gentleman came into my school to ask about self-defense classes. He had a black eye, a fat lip and some stitches on his cheek. Come to find out, he had just been in a bar fight and ended up on the losing side (On a different note, I'm not sure if there is a winning side in a bar fight, but we'll talk about that another time). He told me that he needed to learn some self-defense because every time he goes to this one particular bar he always gets into fights. I answered him half jokingly by saying "don't go to that bar!" He literally answered me by saying "I hadn't thought of that. What a great idea." Are there any metaphorical bars in your life that you shouldn't be going to?
Next, do your best to avoid negative people. We have all experienced our share of these I'm sure. For me, there is one gentleman that clearly stands out. He was the father of one of our junior students and spent a couple hours a week in our lobby for several years. I remember walking up to him one time near the beginning of our relationship, shaking his hand and asking him how he was doing. He responded by saying "lousy, but thanks for asking." It kind of threw me off but I figured he was just having a bad day. What I found out over time however was that every day was a bad day for him. Virtually every conversation I had with him was negative. Life was hard. He was sick. His son is dumb. We need to teach better classes. I'm a little slow so for the first few months I always tried to accommodate him and fix his problems. Eventually, the light bulb went off and I realized that this is simply who he is. After that, I would simply wave to him as I passed, give him a smile but never slow down long enough to have a conversation because I knew if I did, he would only spew a bunch of negativity my way. Of course it is impossible to use this strategy all the time but I bet that you can use it more than you currently are.
Another strategy, perhaps the most important one, is to try to not take things personally. As a martial arts instructor I know that if I ever lose patience with my students, it's rarely the students fault. It usually has to do with the fact that I'm probably thinking about something else at the time, something that irritates me, and the student just happens to be in front of me so I unconsciously take it out on them.
So the next time some negativity gets thrown your way, simply do your best to not accept it. I'm reminded of a childhood jingle that I learned when I was about eight years old. It went something like this "I'm rubber, you're glue. Whatever you say, bounces off of me and sticks to you." I didn't realize it at the time but I would say that was pretty good advice.
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