2023 June 6 Attitudes start young!

Jun 06, 2023

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website about reimagining your life. Thanks for joining me tonight to talk about discovering what's right in front of you in terms of attitudes and where they can actually come from. The origins might surprise you.


If you like what you hear tonight, please leave a like and tell your friends and send me a message. Tonight's an unusual night in the Northeast. First of all, if I'm losing my voice, it's for a couple reasons. One is I was traveling all day, coming back from, from a high school graduation ceremony, which was a lot of fun. 


The other reason is, for the second time in recent history, Canada's having really large forest fires, and they're large enough to affect the northeast United States with smoke. It's one of those things that's both amazing and a good reminder of just how small the earth really is. What happens there, no matter where there is, eventually ends up here. It amazes me how a single, albeit large, forest fire can impact the weather hundreds and even thousands of miles away. Mother Nature truly works on a grand scale. 


So thanks for joining me tonight to discuss attitudes and how they shape our reality, but also about how early these attitudes are actually formed. I spent the weekend with the kids and the grandkids for a high school graduation, which was awesome. It was a lot of fun. 


But of course, there's always family dynamics, because everybody lives life a bit differently. There are some things that end up as challenges here and there, but I reminded myself and a few of the youngest attendees that it's up to each and every one of us to decide how we want to remember each event or stimulus in our lives.


The weekend was awesome, thank you very much. It really was, because the good things really outweighed the bad things. But I meet so many people where they have a wonderful weekend or a wonderful event, and one thing goes wrong, and the only thing they remember from the whole time is the one thing that went wrong.


Dozens of things went right. That's the way this was. A couple things were a little rough. Overall, it was a fantastic weekend. I got to see a cousin on the way back who I hadn't seen in a long time, which was very nice. But the one thing I really noticed speaking with the two youngest attendees is how early very definitive attitudes have formed in our minds.


They're in the second and fifth grades or thereabouts. They've already learned many certainties in their lives, and I think probably not all of them are going to help them when they're older. This isn't anyone's fault, per se. Probably a lot came from peers, likely some came from entertainment. Others came from teachers and various other adults in their lives. One that really caught my ear was the frequent use of the word hate. Whether it's broccoli or the annoying boy in class, hate is a word that I often discourage.


Don't misunderstand me. There are certainly times when it's appropriate, in my opinion, but those times are few and far between. Dislike is for veggies, don't care for is for the annoying boy. Reserve the very strong emotions for the few things they really deserve. It's something like war, something really, really bad.


It's kind of like cursing. If you've ever been around someone who curses a lot, at least I always have the inclination to ask them, Hey, how will I be able to tell when you're really angry about something? It’s like everything's just horrible and they're just cursing up a storm.


Dude, dial it back. A few things are going pretty smoothly. Why are you cursing? When you use something, it loses its effect. When you use the word hate a lot, for example, then it kind of becomes a meaningless word. It shouldn't be a meaningless word. It should be reserved for things that really count.


I thought it was very interesting that by that age, they're already very aware of self-doubt. I'm not sure where that came from. They have an extremely supportive family. The family's wonderful. The teachers at school are very encouraging. Their friends seem nice. 


Yet they're already doubting their ability to move up a grade, do new homework, solve a puzzle. They're both very intelligent. They do lots of things. They're perfect kids. They have a lot of capabilities and yet, somehow they've already learned to focus first on the problems and the challenges, and then perhaps look for the opportunities. Clearly there's something endemically wrong in our approach to education, not just schooling, but education overall.


Certainly, the entertainment I would fault for part of this. I was forced by circumstances to watch children's TV, and even the upbeat shows are really not a good source of positive outlook training. There's a lot of snarky comments and people criticizing each other.


So you don't have to be really creative in your mind to see that if you're young and learning how life works, and you see two people on the show, one's always criticizing the other one, you're probably going to put yourself in one of those two positions, and quite possibly in the position of the one who's being criticized.


So that, I just fault Hollywood for, end to end. But regardless of that, I thought it was really interesting that, in these very talented children, who have a very well-rounded background, and  have a really good family situation, there's already all this self-doubt. 


So imagine somebody who doesn't come from that, how much self-doubt they carry. That brings us to adulthood. How long have we been living our lives while judging ourselves and the world with attitudes rooted in either our preteen or maybe even single-digit years?


Think about that. Here you are, looking at something and thinking, You know, I don't think I could do that. I couldn't speak on stage. I couldn't possibly speak on stage because I just don't have that sort of competency. Why is that the first thing that comes to your mind as opposed to somebody says, Hey, you want to talk to the Lions Club about the new project you're starting to help people in the neighborhood. It's an opportunity. The first thing that should pop in your mind first before everything should be, Sure! That's in line with my goals. That's what I want to do. But that's not how we've been programmed. We've been programmed to think, Oh, I don't know if I could speak because I was never very good about speaking, and it's why changing ourselves is always difficult.


So, let's think about this. Assume we didn't start to criticize ourselves in earnest until we were 10. Although I think it probably started a lot earlier than that. How long have you been doing negative self-talk? How many decades? Decades of this. That's what you've been building on. That's why it's really important to both stop the negative self-talk, and also to think about where those thoughts even originated from. 


Although some of it may sometimes be something very serious, often when we figure out where it really started from, it's something silly, like a comment someone made at the end of a school party in your second or third grade. I can actually come up with things like that from when I was probably 10 years old. I can remember certain comments and certain situations that happened very clearly. Why am I still carrying that around? Maybe it's just an interesting thing from the past. 


But why am I even using that to judge myself? It’s completely irrelevant. We should really get past those things. Those attitudes certainly have no place in your adult life. You already know what you're capable of doing. We've talked about this a lot. You're capable of doing anything that's truly important to you, and now is the time to start reminding yourself of how much you can accomplish.


You should start doing it with every single thought, every single day. There are exercises to go through and look back at your beliefs. From a single incident, you've now told yourself this story and often keep repeating this negative self-talk to yourself. There are ways around that.


Your homework (if you decide to do it) is to pick something that you just know to be true, that you've never doubted and trying to figure out where it came from, whether it's something about yourself, something about the world. Where did it come from? Then try to disprove it. Maybe go to the library. Pick something that you are sure is true, and find out whether it really is or not, and where it came from. 


So that's it for the evening. Thanks so very much. Again, UKR7.com is the site where you can find links to support the people of Ukraine. Also, the World Central Kitchen: WCK.org. Lots of good links. People definitely need support, more now than ever. It's been going on for over a year over there. 

That's it. Please remember the war in Ukraine. Remember that one of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. It really changes your perspective on the world and takes you from looking inward and finding all the things that are wrong, to looking outward and seeing all the opportunities where you can make things better and help other people.


So if you can and you're able, please check it out. As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along and please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week. T


Remember to live the life that you dream of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone, and see you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you.

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