How To Stay Positive In A Negative Situation
Hi I’m dr. Paul Jenkins welcome to Hero TV I’m going to teach you a process by which you can stay positive in a negative situation. So as a psychologist, one of the most awesome things about my job is I get to illuminate the obvious. So think about that, illuminating the obvious. I get paid to tell people things they already know or to show on things they already see but there’s a lot of obvious things that are unnoticed obvious but I notice so let’s go there for a minute.
Your shoes can you feel them, is it obvious? Yeah. You didn’t notice until I said something or the fact that we’re speaking English. Did you notice that’s what I’m talking about? Obvious things that are unnoticed in our mind has several processes that are so obvious and you’ll see them immediately as I bring them to your attention. But they’re unnoticed right up until the time that I mentioned them so the first one is called, metacognition. That’s a fancy word in psychology. We like to make up words because it makes us feel smart and this is one of those. Think about how that breaks down cognition means thinking.
So we’ll put that right here at this level thinking no meta cognition is a higher level. It’s thinking about thinking. So notice that you can do this, this is an important skill to be able to identify the other processes that are going on that are obvious but unnoticed. So let’s start with a model on this line. I will put what it is and what this means is the way things are. You’ve heard the phrase, it is what it is which can be kind of annoying depending on who’s saying it but all it means for today is the way things are right now in your life without changing anything it is what it is. Okay so this will make more sense if we put it into a scenario.
Let’s say that you go down to the school just to take care of something for one of the kids and while you’re standing there in the front hallway of the school you notice a commotion going on just down the hall. Well, as you turn to look a guy in a ski mask just came in with a guy, how would you feel?
That doesn’t take too long to figure out. Nervous, upset. Now turn on the metacognition. Think about your thinking. Why would you feel nervous and upset a lot of good answers come out now here’s the obvious but unnoticed, you feel nervous and upset because of your imagination. Your imagination ,this is where people fire me sometimes but stay with me. We’re not imagining the gunman. He’s real. What are we imagining? How do you see it? Now what he’s going to do and you don’t know but you’ve got a really great imagination and you start to think of all the things that could happen or might happen or maybe even probably will happen.
Just notice that, that’s happening. It’s not right or wrong. Now keep the metacognition turned on and I’ll tell you what happened. unbeknownst to the gunman, the police officer assigned to the school is standing right behind him in the hallway. And this cops thinking not today, not my shift, I don’t think so. Get some behind him, throws them into a bear hug, and takes them down to the floor hard. In the process, you hear the explosion of a single shot from that gun boom and then you feel a bullet hit you. Hit you right in the foot. Cated to see what just changed. Now let’s look at two processes really quickly that will help us to stay positive even in the most negative situations. Here’s what’s happening and you probably notice this. The first process that will talk about is called evaluation. you cannot turn this off any more than you can turn off gravity. It’s going to happen. that’s where your mind takes what it is and judges it. Think about it, you’re constantly judging yourself, your circumstances, your job, your co-workers, your spouse, you’re judging me.
It’s okay you can’t turn it off. Evaluation is where you mind takes what it is and that starts to ask questions like, okay I got shot in the foot is this good or bad? this lucky or unlucky? fortunate or unfortunate? I don’t know i’ll check now your mind gets busy checking the word evaluation itself implies comparison with some standard so you have to take what it is and compare it to something.
What are you going to compare it to? that’s where your imagination comes in. Okay so notice this, it is what it is. What it is, is you get shot in the foot. Okay scenario over this guy goes off to jail, you lost the emergency room or done. Now what is your mind doing with it? judging? Can you imagine anything better than getting shot in the foot? Oh not too hard right? How about not getting shot at all? how about no gunman comes into the school? how about everything goes just like I planned it too because that’s how my life rolls. Like that’s real but you can imagine it.
Now when you take what it is, you get shot in the foot and you compare it in your imagination to something better, how do you feel about getting shot? This is awful you kidding me?! Now, you’re never wrong about how you feel. How you feel is a hundred percent consistent with the way your mind is doing this process. But you’re probably getting ahead of me can you imagine anything worse? Oh yes! you can and you probably did remember I said you feel a bullet hit you and tell you where you are imagining in the chest or between the eyes? or some body part you like better?
That’s not what happened. When I said in the foot, wow you felt a little bit of relief didn’t you? but when I said a gunman comes into the school what else were you imagining? Think about it. You’ve seen, you’ve got some history. You’ve got some experience and you can imagine even worse things happening when you take getting shot in the foot which is what it is and you compare it to your imagination of something much worse like innocent children being hurt. How do you feel about getting shot in the foot? We do know you’re never wrong about how you feel. How do you feel it ?100% consistent with the way your mind is doing this process. We’re not done yet. I said that there are two processes and this one sets us up for the next one.
The next process is called creation and you can’t turn this one off either. Your mind has to do this. So in our creative mode, we take what it is and we start to imagine what we’re going to create. Next, think about it. What if I asked you to take a half hour just turn off the video? Take a half hour, go out there into the community and somehow make your life worse. Ok that’s ridiculous right? Would you ever do that on purpose? I mean now but look how quickly your mind can come up with half a dozen ways to do that? When we get to creation mode our imagination of something worse actually makes us feel something very different. How do you feel when you imagine that? What’s coming is worse than what you’ve already got. This my friends is anxiety. That is 20 years of clinical experience in a nutshell. When we imagine that what’s coming worse, we don’t know conversely when you imagine because you don’t know that what’s coming is better than what you already have. How do you feel? you see it? This is hope. So what we have here is called the positivity vector. And this is, you’ve heard forever that happiness is a choice, right? This is how and why that is very literally true and what it means is that, no matter what it is, we can always put ourselves in a positive position when we evaluate that. Because it could always be worse and with that energy, we can move forward and start to imagine and anticipate and create something even better which creates the hope. This is how folks. You can always stay positive even in a negative situation.