2021 November 23: Life reimagined for Baby Boomers and everyone at US Thanksgiving!

Nov 23, 2021

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, a podcasting website by, for, and about Baby Boomers. Tonight we're going to be talking a little bit about a tip put together for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. For those of you who aren't listening in the US, today is Tuesday, when we normally do the weekly live recording. Thanksgiving always falls on a Thursday in the US. So that is two days from now. So today is the Eve of Thanksgiving Eve, which means anyone that has to travel is madly doing all their baking and other cooking or any other special things they're doing before they travel today. 


So it's a hectic day. I apologize. I tend to live my life one of two ways, either kind of a bit late like tonight, or very early. Because whenever I have a small amount of time, I always think I can do more in that time than I can. So I had an extra 20 minutes. I thought I should be able to make two loaves of bread in that amount of time. And I'm here to tell you that it takes more than 20 minutes to make two loaves of bread from scratch. So lesson learned for that tonight. 


So what am I going to talk about tonight? Well, first off, Happy Thanksgiving to everybody, both in the US and everywhere. We're always happy to share our holidays. I often invite people from other countries to come to Thanksgiving dinner, and sometimes they show up, which is always fun. But it's certainly my most favorite US holiday and probably my most favorite holiday of all the holidays I know throughout the world, because it's a super low pressure holiday and it's not gift giving. There's some travel sometimes, but that's about it. The core piece of it isn't about shopping and finding the perfect thing. It's about hanging out with your friends and your family in a situation you find comfortable, and just having a good time, and talking about good things and trying to bring the best out of each other, and look for all the good things in our lives. So actually, it's a really nice holiday. It has a good tradition. We're not the only people to have something like that, but it has a good tradition, and it's just a fun time. They've tried to monetize it, but they haven't really so far other than Black Friday sales. 


So Thanksgiving kind of leads me into the topic. Last week we spoke a bit about how our perceptions and how they're formed, and how they actually affect our lives on many, many different levels. You may recall from my training in Dr. Shannon Irvine's Neuro coaching course the very basic building blocks of our perception around us. There's a situation or a stimulus. 


Something comes into our lives. So some part of us, either we have a feeling that something is going on and we actually see it and look at it, or we can hear it. But something catches our attention, and that immediately evokes the thought. That happens very quickly, and the thought could be anything. It depends on what's happening. You hear a note, and it might be, oh, that's the first note of your favorite song or something like that. It could be a bang. So you're merely looking to see if something is falling your way. It could be anything. But that thought happens. Then what happens after that is over time. Typically, things that are common. It could be anything. It could be somebody shouting at somebody, a horn blowing while you're driving, the leaves rustling, the leaves turning over on the trees the other way, something happens that causes that same thought to occur. 


When that thought keeps occurring the same way to the same stimulus, the same situation, your brain hard wires that into a belief. That's something that just happens in your subconscious. Now there's narrow paths that are formed. So that thought comes in and is applied against this filter or these set of rules, and it says, hey, does this thought match anything? Oh, yeah. It's the front door closing. You have to stop thinking about that, which is good, because something like 80% of the thoughts we have every day are just completely not consciously acted upon. I don't want to say discarded because they provide input to us. But it's not something that we have to actively do. 


There's thousands and thousands of thoughts that go through our mind every second. You're walking along and you notice something in the sidewalk or in the street or on the carpet in front of you. There's a thought that happens and modifies your muscle movement. But it's not like there's this whole great thinking exercise, and you're going, wow, there's something in the carpet. Is it something in the carpet? Should I step around it? 


We don't really remember this. Obviously, we remember children. That's exactly what happened. You watch a child, a really young child just started walking, and they're focusing on everything except where they're walking. There could be something right in front of it. Boom. They fall down. It's kind of like, wow, I wonder why I fell down. That happens a couple of times. Then this path starts to get wired automatically. It's kind of like there's something in front of you. You have to step over to go around it, and you see all these patterns develop, and they're fun to watch develop in a child. 


But they develop in all of us throughout our entire lives. So that's all from last week. We knew about that. What's that have to do with what we're talking about? Well, we're talking about Thanksgiving. For a lot of people, certainly, I hope that all your thoughts around the holidays in general and life in general are generally pretty good, but that your life is going well. I want that for everybody. 


But even in lives that are really good, they still have moments, stressful moments that pop up. The reality is we've all been through times when there just seems to be a lot of life challenges coming around. For a lot of people, I know for me for a while holidays were always kind of a stress-invoking period of time because you had Thanksgiving, and that was usually travel, and you had to fit that into work and all the other things going on. Then right after that was Christmas, and Christmas has its own set of issues, and trying to get everybody the perfect present, and get all that squared away. So the holidays are somewhat stressful in that regard. 


So there are ways to make them a lot less stressful. Probably one of the first things to do is to think about why you get stressed about them. Usually you'll find out it comes down to one or a couple of things. I really hate all the driving for a short visit. Everybody expects me to drive three and a half hours to show up for dinner, and I have to be to work the next day because I work in retail and we're opening at six in the morning. Those sorts of things. Those sorts of things are things that just have to be addressed with your family or whatever the situation is. There's probably workarounds for those. What about the other stresses that arise in your life? There are people there that you don't like. There is something about the situation you don't like. Maybe you just don't feel like going at all. 


Well, there's a couple of things to address that, so this is a little handout I put together, and it should be posted on the website. But basically it goes through some techniques, really primarily one technique, which is when you find yourself in a situation you're not comfortable in or find yourself in a situation that you just find stressful or challenging for whatever reason. 


One very simple way that sometimes will get you through a real short period of stress is to just see if you can find some privacy somewhere, or even just make your own privacy with your eyes open, let your thoughts drift away, and think of something that was really good that happened to you. Actually, the four bullet points that I have for places to start about this, and you can prime this in advance. So you have these things handy and ready to go when you need them. The four questions I had that I would suggest you might want to fill out and really ponder for a little bit before you go into a stressful situation:

  1. I  can find happiness in... That can be their situation or in doing something, helping somebody going somewhere, just being peacefully at rest on your back porch, running a race, whatever it is that brings you happiness. 
  2. This is an opportunity for me to be better at...  That one's kind of interesting, because a lot of times we're in a situation. I use this one a lot, now more and more over the past couple of years. I would get in a situation - didn't matter what it was, whether it's at work or in retail. I'm out shopping and the person in front of me is just being a first class jerk in every way. What can you do about it? So one of the things I started to do is say, okay, how could I handle this situation better? As soon as anything starts to arise, say, how could I make this person happier? How can I make this person just stop complaining so that everyone else's life can go on? Whatever it is, whether or not you act on it, that's something different, but just the mental exercise of taking yourself away from being a victim. A victim of a circumstance. You have this idiot in front of me in front of the line, instead turning into an opportunity to say, how can I make this situation better? Not only for me, but for everybody, including the person who's making the disruption. It may not be a disruption. Maybe just they want to be the center of attention. You're just tired of listening to it. How can I handle this situation better? Is it just to gracefully excuse myself? Join in the fun and levity? There are a lot of options, but thinking about them suddenly changes your mindset. Suddenly, instead of being somewhere where you have no control, you're coming up with ways that you can have some control, if not for the whole situation, at least for how you perceive it, and how it affects you. 
  3. The third question or third point to consider is.. I am thankful for..  That one is a really powerful one, actually, because pretty much all of us have something to be thankful for. You got to be careful about this. I'm not saying that everyone's life is really good if you just thought about it. Some people have some really serious challenges. There's no doubt about it. I'm not minimizing those in any way. But even if you're in the midst of challenges, probably in almost every situation, there is something, some small thing that is going well, try and focus on it. Trying to remember what it is and be thankful for it. It could be something silly like you see three leaves together to remind you of the logo of a purse you wanted to buy ten years ago or something. It doesn't matter what it is. There's probably something going on that brings at least a little spark of light into your life. Think about those. It doesn't mean that it overwhelms everything else, but it gives you something to hang on to, and we'll go through in a second why that's really important.  
  4. Then the fourth thing is.. I can make others happier by... That's kind of a neat one, because much like how can you control the situation? It's sort of along the same lines. That is taking you out of yourself and bringing you into the whole group of people and group of others surrounding you. When you do that, suddenly, how you act changes. It's not all just about maximizing your pleasure at that instant, but now it's maximizing the pleasure of the group, which includes you. It doesn't mean you have to be miserable when it happens, right? So you can do things where everybody is happy. But when you do that, again, it very much changes your focus as to how you handle something. I'm sure you've all met somebody at some point and maybe meet them regularly, where they just walk into a room and everybody is drawn to them and they have this magnetic personality. 


I think I've mentioned before that I'm certified wilderness first responder. And so I've been on some pretty good size accident scenes often by myself. They're almost all in urban situations, but nonetheless, where I realized that if you walk onto a scene with the mindset of I'm taking charge of the scene and getting it under control for everybody's safety. If you just envision that, it happens. If you walk in and say, Wow, I wonder if I'm going to get these people under control. That's what will happen. 


We have a lot of ability to project our expectations onto others, and we as people have a lot of ability to feel other people's expectations of us, much like the person who's always the center of attention. They walk in and they just expect to be the center of attention. The social community aspect of us goes, well, they don't look like a horrible person. They're looking to be the center of attention. We will echo that, mirror that, and they become the center of attention. It's really interesting how that happens. When you start to envision that, do the four questions. I can find happiness in... This is an opportunity for me to be better at... Something I am thankful for... and I can make others happy by...  When you do that, then suddenly your whole world perspective changes. The other thing that's neat when that happens is that any situation you walk into, you have a choice. You can walk in to be passive and hope things go your way, or that's letting the situation control you. Or you can go and choose happiness. That's where we make decisions that lead up to support our goals and our hopes and dreams for ourselves. But that can happen on little steps. 


By going in, as I say, just making a point of thinking about one nice thing, and it can either be a real thing that happened or just something that you wish would happen. Any nice thing. When you do that, something really funny happens, because suddenly you find out that your brain realizes, wow, I can choose what I want to think about, and I can choose how I perceive the world. It's kind of a reminder to your brain to get back in control. Rather than letting the situation push it around the whole time, your brain gets back in this mindset of I can project what I need to have happen to accomplish my goals. My goals at this point are to be this group of people for Thanksgiving and for everybody, including myself, to have a good time, to be walking into a situation anywhere where I want to maximize the benefit for everybody


When you think in those terms, which is what those four questions lead you to do. When you think in those terms, then suddenly you'll find that other people will think in those terms as well. If the only thing you're doing is arguing politics, and you, meanwhile, are helping somebody else with an interesting problem they have going on with their car, other people start to listen and other people say, Well, that's actually much more interesting. I'd rather much help somebody else, and they'll start making suggestions and joining in the conversation rather than just having another endless argument about politics with Uncle Harry. The only thing he ever does is argue politics. You know that, that's all he does. Just avoid the situation and create your own good situation. That starts with just a little teeny thought in your head. That's basically the fundamental of the tip. There's a little bit more in the handout that we go through. 


The one point that it didn't cover that's kind of important, when you really start to do this. We use this later on in the course One Minute to Happiness, and it's critical to convincing your brain that your goals count, too. Your brain will automatically work towards the goals in your life. That's actually the core of the course. This one little trick, if you really focus on what you're trying to envision, because what you're really trying to do is convince your brain that this is a real thing. It could be either a real thing that happened in the past but your brain kind of followed away. It's like, yeah, that happened. Your brain gets a little two dimensional about things that happen in the past sometimes. If you really remember it, if you remember that time in high school, when you had the summer picnic after the school got out that year, and it was a really good time, and all you got together and you had a big cookout and you start thinking about it, you realize, oh, I had a cookout and you could smell the grill going, and you could hear the burgers sizzling. Three Dog Night was playing on the transistor radio, and we could see the state trooper at the top of the hill with binoculars, trying to see if we had any beer at the picnic. 


The more of these pieces that you bring into that vision, the more real it becomes to the current time and the more happiness it will bring to you. We're going to go a lot more into this in the course. But even on our little tiny example here of how to have a good time at Thanksgiving. So you go into a situation and you start to think about things and it's the world's worst creamed onions are made by Aunt Mary every year. So before you just get totally disgusted by the whole thing, envision something nicer and your brain will start following up to that thought. It's kind of like now you're focusing on a nice thing and the other stuff is noise, as opposed to focusing on the thing that's annoying you. Now the good things are noise. It's just a matter of setting your own priorities and controlling your local situation. 


So I hope this made some sense to you. The handout is posted at https://www.7everyminute.com/Thanksgiving-Thank-You.


I know we covered a few things, and some things probably in more depth than they should have. So kind of going through the best way to do a short talk on something like this. Next time we will probably have more handouts so I can do it visually as well for all you visual learners. From last week, remember, it's up to us to live the nicest life that we can. We can do that by controlling how we react to a situation, to then modify our thoughts, and from that, that will automatically modify our beliefs. 


That's it for the week. Thank you again for stopping by and for Thanksgiving in the US and a couple of days in particular. If you found something interesting, please pass it along. If you did not, please drop me a note in the comments about things you'd like to hear about. Have a great week and thank you for visiting. Remember to live the life that you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everybody, and see you next week on 7everyminute and 7everyminute.com. Thank you so much. Bye.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.