Lateral Thinking

Another way to use your mind to your advantage is to be aware that you have the power to go beyond your old thinking habits and thought patterns. You have the ability to question the way you think and how you are living your life and then change those things in imaginative and creative ways. It is called “lateral thinking” or “thinking outside the box” and it broadens your thought processes so that you can use your mind in a more productive manner. Expanding your mind in this way enables you to come up with innovative solutions to problems.

You have a mind that has the power to do things far beyond what you can imagine. It absorbs everything that goes on around you even though you may be unaware of those things such as the sounds and smells in the background and conversations going on around you even though you may not be listening to them.

Most people only use their intellectual, or rational, part of their mind. They analyse ideas and compare them with their own preconceptions. They then interpret them in such a way that supports their existing view of world. No wonder we are told time and again that most people only tap into a very small percentage of their potential.

There is, however, a part of the mind that is often hidden unless the mind is allowed to expand beyond the intellect into the areas of intuition. When the expansion happens that person can come into contact with concepts and ideas that they have never previously thought about and which, often, have been quite contrary to their usual conscious beliefs.

To allow yourself to think laterally, therefore, you may need to question your assumptions in a given situation or, perhaps, imagine the complete opposite of that situation. This may allow you to see a predicament from different points of view. You may even be able to compare your current problem with another, similar, problem which was happily resolved. Whenever you are faced with difficulties, try to think laterally or “outside the box” of conventional thinking. After all, we as humans are unique because we can question the world around us and we can ‘think about how we think’. That means we have the ability to change the way we think and that is something quite special and amazing.

You Have A Difficult Relationship With Your Adult Children

Your relationship with your adult children is troubled. One of them is not working full time and usually only comes to you when he wants money. He drinks too much and you think he may be dabbling in the drug scene. You have tried to help him in various ways but he is unpredictable and generally irresponsible. He often becomes angry with you because you have found it necessary to refuse to give him money when he asks. You know it will be spent on the wrong things so you have told him he needs to stand on his own two feet now and earn his own money. His brother is altogether different; he has a job and takes responsibility for his life. However, because you have stopped helping the wayward son his brother feels you have done the wrong thing and thinks you are cruel. This, therefore, has caused difficulty in your relationship with both sons. You still love them but their actions make the relationship very difficult.

Where did it all start? You tried to rear your children to be independent and welladjusted by instilling in them values to live by; so what went wrong?

Some children are born with a difficult temperament. I remember a family who lived opposite us. The young parents had 3 children. The 2 eldest boys, about 12 and 9 years old, were exemplary children always well-behaved. Then the parents had a third boy who was a very active child. From the time he was born they had problems and as he grew into a toddler, he became naughty and more and more difficult to handle. He loved to irritate his older brothers by hiding their clothes and their schoolwork. As he grew older he would get up in the middle of the night and steal food from the kitchen. He had to be watched carefully as he often tried to run away. That boy would have grown up by now and I don’t know whether he ever outgrew his bad behaviour. Certainly he came from a good home, full of love and care for each other and all the children. What I have said is merely an illustration that some children seem to come into this world with aggressive tendencies that are difficult to control.

Other children may start their lives with promise and deteriorate because of problems in the household or difficult behaviour may begin after a particularly debilitating illness. Some children may be autistic or demonstrate a disorder such as attentiondeficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There are those children who have been given every advantage in life from a very loving household and yet they opt out of school and later seem to opt out of life and particularly out of the lives of those who loved them. The latter may be what has happened to you.

The reality of life is that things often do not work out the way you may want them to. “So what”, what can you do? Do you give up on them both and walk away to live your own life? Do you try to come to an understanding with the “good” brother and forget the one who has gone off the rails? Or do you keep trying with both of them? There is no magic “right way” to act but giving up on another human being, particularly your own flesh and blood, does not seem the way to go.

The choice is yours. It would seem to be easy way out to walk away from a difficult situation but when that situation concerns family, it becomes very complex. There is always a bond between a parent and son, however hard one may try to break it. A strong and positive relationship, however, needs both parties to contribute to that relationship to make it work. So you may be in a quandary about what to do. If you allow the whole situation to play on your mind you can become upset and depressed and make things worse. If you allow your emotions and thoughts to run rampant you may walk away and never see either son again. That is a worst case scenario. There is a better choice – that, without interfering in their lives, you keep on doing all that you can to draw both sons back into the fold as responsible and loving adults.

A lot of adult children are the way they are today because behavioural problems were never addressed as children. It may also be necessary for you to look long and hard at your parenting skills and any problems that may have arisen during the years of raising your children. It is obvious that no parent is perfect, but, if you honestly look back over those years, there may be a time or times where one particular child ‘went over the edge’ and was unable to handle some emotional areas in his life. There may be a combination of factors such as genetics, the environment or some particular experience that happened that had a deep impact on a young mind. Only do these exercises with the attitude that something that happened in childhood may aid you to help your sons now and build a better relationship with them. It is important that you don’t apportion blame to anyone, including yourself and certainly don’t move into the area of having feelings of guilt.

“So what” do you do? Do you stand your ground and tell one son to ‘get a life’ and pull himself together, clean himself up from drugs and get a job? And do you tell the other son that he is being unfair to you by taking sides with his brother against his parent? That would seem to be trying to win a war by meeting the other army head on. You might win some battles but there are going to be a lot of casualties along the way – and one of them may be you!

If you want to win the war it may be better to come in from the flanks. It will be a matter of using your mind to your advantage and using wisdom to work out what can be done. When family is involved, never withdraw your love from either son. That doesn’t mean being wishy-washy; it may mean hard love at times. Throwing money at the wayward son will not help but keep the door open to your home to both sons. Offer meals to him and a bed sometimes when he really needs it but don’t question too much. Allow time for him to trust you again. Once trust is re-established you may be able to help him by getting him to drug rehabilitation classes. By taking the softly, softly approach you may also regain your other son’s trust as he sees you are trying to help. It is important to have him on side by telling him you want to help his brother get back on track and you need his help. It may take time and a lot of effort and it will need both of you working together to make any impact.

In the long run, both sons are grown, emancipated men and they hold the key to their own lives. As a parent, never give up on them and always be there for them.

Perhaps those sons never got around to learning the importance of gratitude. When you have a thankful heart and you are grateful for what you have, good things happen to you. Life is peaceful, relaxed and harmonious and flows along bringing favourable opportunities. Take time to say “thank you” to parents for the years they have given you and for their teaching; thank your partner and children for their love and thank friends for being faithful. It is only a little word but it has a world of meaning.

Positive Thinking On Its Own Doesn’t Work

It is very important to remember that, first of all, positive thinking is a mindset – a way of looking at the world around you. It is not something you do, like repeating a mantra for days or weeks and waiting for something to happen so you can get what you want. It is not a form of bargaining that says if I do this then I should get that in return; it just doesn’t work like that. Instead, it is a way of using your thoughts to help you move forward creatively rather than letting them run rampant in an unco-operative manner, making you feel discouraged and trapped. Your mindset doesn’t pretend the obstacle isn’t there and it doesn’t do the work for you but it does remain open to change and to taking action by finding a detour around the problem. So the switch that makes positive thinking work is ACTION! When you are up against an obstacle, a positive thinking mindset helps you recognise opportunities that will remove the obstacle where others merely see a brick wall – but then you must ACT on those opportunities.

That is why the “So what” system works so well. It gives you the right mindset to recognise opportunities which will bring about a forward-thinking and achievable result. Practice it many times and when a disappointment or crisis occurs you will be ready to meet it head on and come out the other side confident in your capacity to live life to the full.

Changing A Belief System

We were not born with our belief systems in place; they were built up from our childhood with input from our parents, our environment and our friends. Since those beliefs were put there we can change them. However, it took a long time to establish those beliefs and it may take some time to change them. How long? Well that depends on how deeply they are ingrained into your system and how much effort you are prepared to expend to make the necessary changes. If there is a belief system in your life that you know is holding you back and you are prepared to change, you can do so by taking your thoughts captive and concentrating on the new thoughts consistently. Like children, your thoughts need parameters so don’t allow them to run rampant and take charge of your life. Don’t allow yourself to serve your thoughts by allowing them to roam wherever they will. Unrestrained thoughts bring unrestrained actions so train your thoughts to obey you.

You can only think one thought at a time, so determine to keep your thoughts in the realm of constructive thinking by concentrating on your assets and focusing on your strengths. Make an effort to free your mind from distracting thoughts and restless thinking. Doubt and scepticism will try to intrude but stay aware of them and deliberately concentrate on the good that can come out of a situation.

The key is to replace contrary and pessimistic thoughts with new, positive and beneficial thoughts. Repeat silently to yourself the thoughts you want to retain and then speak them out over and over again. Thoughts on their own, however, will not make the change; actions which mirror the new thoughts must be repeated enough times to embed the new beliefs into your subconscious mind.

For example, it may be necessary for you to change your beliefs and thoughts about money. If you are ‘desperate’ to make money you may find you are pushing away the very opportunities you are looking for because you are unable to control your focus. The more emotional you are the less control you have. Your attention and focus needs to be on enjoying what you do and giving service to others rather than on the money itself. Money should be seen merely as a tool to get you where you want to go. It is important, therefore, to let go of your desperation and become emotionally detached. This will take a change in your thought life and in your attitude toward money. Change your thoughts from ‘wishing you had money’ to ‘believing you will have it’. The former attitude will keep you poor; the latter attitude will allow you to let go and become relaxed enough to be able to work toward what you want and prosperity will follow.

Be careful of the words that come out of your mouth. What you say is a good indication of your belief system and if you speak negatively such as, “I can’t do it” or “nothing ever goes right for me” then you are cementing that belief deeper into your psyche. Rather change the words to “I can do it” and “everything is going right for me” and keep it up. Whenever the wrong words come out, stop and say, “That is not right” and repeat the affirmative version several times. If you do this consistently, stay focused and confident and believe in yourself, you can throw off a restrictive belief system and win. When you change your beliefs you change your life.

A Death In The Family

It is something that touches every family on earth but that does not make it any easier to bear; particularly if you have been very close to that family member. It can never be a pleasant experience. It is doubly difficult if he or she has been taken early in life by an accident or disease.

The death of a parent is a particularly difficult experience and it can affect you as the child, whether young or adult, in a number of ways, but one thing is the same; a void has been created in your world which you feel can never be filled and it can shatter you. You may feel that your life is spinning out of control with no way of coming to a stop in the near future. Your grief will entail heartache, pain and sorrow, often in immeasurable amounts and all these feelings have to be dealt with as time progresses. Grief can be compounded when there are siblings and other family members who are also expressing their loss in various ways. It can actually help you if you can help them through their grieving period. Helping others can be quite therapeutic.

It is very important to grieve for that person but it is also important that you do not stay in that state continually. It may be the most difficult season for you in your time of grief, but it will pass and when it does, if you keep the right attitude, you will come out on the other side stronger than before.

Often, the grieving process can contain phases which include very deep anger, denial, bargaining, loneliness and depression. You know you are coming out the other side of that process when there is acceptance and eventually peace about what has happened.

We know there is a grieving process that we must all go through in varying degrees but it is how far one allows the grieving process to take over their life that decides whether they spiral down into depression or whether they take a deep breath and get on with living. It is sad just how many people allow the death of a loved one take over their life, withdraw within themselves and refuse to embrace life fully again. Queen Victoria was one of those people who did just that. She lost her beloved husband, Prince Albert, after only 21 years together and mourned his passing for the rest of her life.

Grieve for a loved one lost, yes, but do not withdraw from life. You may feel stress during this time which is normal; knowing how to manage it, however, can help you move forward. Distress is caused by a pessimistic attitude and becomes a negative response by the body when stress continues without relief. It can cause illness by upsetting the internal balance of the body which show in many ways such as blood pressure problems, headaches, insomnia, panic attacks and anxiety.

Instead, make an effort to think and do uplifting things to help you move on with your life. This can be done by interacting with others, especially those who have lived through and survived a similar experience. Also do things with people who nurture, comfort and recharge you. It can be helpful to plant a tree or flowers in memory of the person you have lost and make time to relax and think of the good times you had with them without allowing those memories to overwhelm you. Instead, perhaps you could fill a scrapbook with letters, notes and poems or put together a photo album of their life with all the good memories; such things can keep your thoughts balanced and positive.

Give yourself permission to feel sad and allow tears to come; if you feel angry, allow yourself to vent steam in private; it may help to get it out of your system. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and let people know your needs. Don’t ever think of yourself as being a burden to others; most people get immense satisfaction from being able to help someone in need whether that need is practical or emotional. Give yourself plenty of exercise; just walking can help to relieve the stress and tensions you feel and it can help to improve the way you think. Also sleep and eat properly and remember to laugh. All these things help you draw on your strengths and give you a positive attitude.

As hard as it is for you now, you will survive. There are others who are close to you who depend on you to take the right attitude and to be prepared to help them along the road that is life. Take the attitude of “So what! I can go on and I will live life to the full.” You will never forget your loved one, but if you fill your thoughts with happy memories you will be able to enjoy life and move on to bigger and better moments.

Your Belief System

Your belief system creates your reality. Now that is quite a mouthful and you may need to read it several times to understand its importance and far-ranging consequences. First, what is your reality? It is how you see the world from the point of view of your beliefs. Your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between internal and external ‘reality’. Internal reality is made up of our thoughts and external reality is the evidence of our five senses (touch, sight, smell, taste and hearing). That explains why our belief systems have such an influence on our lives and why it is important to recognise the power of our thoughts.

The distinction between a fact and our attitude towards that fact is our belief system. It is the single most important influence we have and our beliefs are so remarkably powerful that they control the direction and destiny of our lives. No belief is right or wrong – it is either empowering or limiting; however, our beliefs become habits and we all know how difficult it is to change a habit. Once the limiting beliefs and habits have been identified and acknowledged it will be easier to change a particular behaviour pattern. Knowing this should stimulate us to be the master of our thoughts and beliefs and not a servant to them. Unfortunately, sometimes emotions get in the way and they are a major cause of limiting beliefs.

I am explaining our belief systems because how you see your reality and what you believe about yourself and about others will determine how you handle life’s difficulties.

Limiting beliefs can trap people in a revolving door of hardship and fatalism where their concentration is on the negative things of life and the feeling that they were meant to struggle and the ‘good life’ is only for “other people”. They sit around with their friends and agree that life is unfair. They don’t believe they can get jobs that would take them up the ladder of success and if they find they have spare money, they spend it.

When disappointments or crises arise a limiting belief system will see to it that no matter how hard you work or how much effort you put in, you will always be severely limited in your achievements. It will tell you that you will be unable to cope with the situation, that you have failed or life is not worth living. You think about your problems incessantly and your emotions may swing like a pendulum from anger to feeling sorry for yourself as you see no way out. Negative emotions will control your thoughts and while that is the case you will not be able to think clearly about finding a solution to your situation. When your mind is in this realm your reality becomes clouded.

An empowering belief system, on the other hand, will certainly feel the pain or the disappointment but that person will control their thoughts and remain expectant that something good will happen because they know the time will pass and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. They will “pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again” as the song says. Empowering beliefs allow us to keep our mind clear so a solution can be found and it allows us to seek help if that is necessary. If the crisis is a death in the family, it is the knowing that “this too shall pass” and that life must continue.

How Do You Think?

Thought is the reasoning of the mind and our power to think is almost unlimited. When concentrated meaningfully on a subject our thought power can solve any problem. Thoughts must, however, be properly harnessed and controlled so that we can train our mind in such a way that we are able to convert the most caustic thoughts to those that are complimentary, kind and agreeable and which help us live peacefully. We have the choice to think whatever we wish but the results of our thoughts will culminate in some kind of action. If thoughts are negative, inconsistent and reactive, the results will be destructive. If thoughts are positive, affirmative and creative the results will be constructive and strong. It is important to understand that weak, negative, reactive thoughts can never bring about positive growth or creative activity and they will never allow us to climb out of the valleys in our lives. So learn to control your thoughts to create beneficial mental habits that will blossom into action and create the conditions you are seeking. If you cannot take action to solve your problems you need to change the way you think about them. Only by controlling your thoughts can you develop a positively expectant and creative state of mind that is flexible and open and that will be a magnet for good things to be attracted to you.

Remember those words, “positive growth” and “creative activity” for they are important to you as you face life. “Positive growth” comes from being prepared to look forward with expectancy and to make constructive changes where necessary. It is when optimism comes to the fore and you expect the best to happen. Positive mental growth does not happen immediately. It is a process of learning to listen to your own thoughts and it encompasses an understanding of your belief system. Every rough patch of life is seen as a learning experience and a little growth is added each time the rough patches occurs.

“Creative activity” means opening your mind to new ways of thinking, stimulating your imagination and being flexible in your outlook so you can maximise your ability to develop your thoughts. When you think creatively you expand your thought patterns which bring you to an optimal state of mind for generating new ideas. What does all that mean? It means that if you keep your mind positively active you will be able to maintain a “So what” attitude whenever you have a valley experience.

You Have A Difficult Relationship With Your Spouse

We often enter marriage with stars in our eyes about the institution of marriage and our prospective partner putting them on a pedestal that will become shakier as we live together and get to know them better. Society fills us with unreasonable expectations. We expect, for example, that once we are married we will live ‘happily ever after’ and our life will be filled only with good things and happiness because our partner will make it all happen. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are all less than perfect and everyone, male and female, has their own idiosyncrasies and their own baggage and ingrained belief systems which they bring to the marriage. These things may not have been noticed before marriage because each of you was concentrating only on the good side and positives in each other. You were kind and thoughtful and respectful of each other’s needs.

Do you really think that you can be compatible with your partner in every facet of your life together? If so, you have unrealistic expectations. On the other hand, don’t assume you are incompatible just because you can’t agree on everything. Everyone has a different upbringing; you may come from different communities, even different countries, and your belief systems will reflect that. Although it may seem obvious, men and women think and act differently. When a husband comes home from work, the wife may want to discuss at length the day’s happenings. Men, on the other hand don’t usually say much about their problems. So understanding is necessary and in this instance the wife may need to be quiet for a while and allow time for her husband to relax. He will share when he is ready.

There are many other pressures which add to the difficulties in marriage such as financial stresses and time constraints as well as changing expectations in a rapidly shifting social culture. More than ever before, romance is not enough to build a strong, stable and mutually happy marriage; it takes commitment and hard work and a preparedness to take responsibility for each other’s needs. Many couples are completely unprepared to deal with marriage pressures and have no idea why problems emerge. They become disappointed and overwhelmed by the differences that arise and lose trust in themselves and their mate.

There will be marriage difficulties and they will usually come from a difference of opinion. The smallest things can cause irritation such as a preference for different toothpaste or the way the toilet paper is put on the roll. Perhaps one partner likes everything in its place and hates the fact that the other partner leaves their clothes on the floor. All these small matters need to be talked about and an understanding reached that leaves both of you happy.

Too often, however, one or other partner lets these little things build up inside until another small difference of opinion tips them over the edge and they begin arguing. Soon the relationship becomes more and more difficult and openly discussing the matters that cause irritations becomes less and less possible and a very difficult relationship has begun unless both are prepared to step down from their high egodriven horse and communicate with each other.

It is important to accept that all marriages have problems at various times and it is easier to deal with these problems as soon as you become aware of them for they form part of the fabric of two lives becoming one. Unresolved anger or other personal issues should not be allowed to fester for they will grow in your mind and will eventually erode your marriage. Don’t let differences come between you; rather, discuss them openly and you will probably find they were petty and not worth worrying about. Perceptions can be dangerously wrong and you can get what you perceive. You may, therefore, have to challenge your thoughts. Remember, a vulture looks for dead things and a hummingbird looks for life – and they both find what they are looking for! Difficulties are a normal phase in a marriage and the sooner they are talked over and a solution found, the sooner you will both grow into a solid and happy life together. Marriage is never an easy option; it is for those people who are willing to commit their life to being a ‘giver’ and to making a relationship work, no matter what.

Difficulties will grow out of all proportion if both parties blame each other for their problems. Blame and finger pointing will not solve difficulties they will only ignite arguments where each one wants the final say. This can lead to a yelling match and even physical fighting where you hurt more than just pride. By this time things are out of hand and both people would be quite irrational and emotional. Wherever there is an argument, both parties will always think they are right so no solution can be found in that area. At this stage both parties need to wait until their anger has subsided so they can think rationally and try to resolve the conflict. If the reason for the argument is petty, both of you should be able to let it go and get on with life.

Don’t allow pride to come between you and don’t always insist on having the final say; it can wreck a perfectly good marriage. Instead, put love first, calm down and try to see the other person’s point of view. The hardest word for people to say is “sorry”. Even if you still think you were right, be prepared to say “I am sorry”. Real love and an apology will pour balm on deep wounds. Even if the other person is taking longer to get over the argument, give them time and space and continue to love them.

Crises are unavoidable in marriage; they are all part of the expansions and contractions of life. It is how you handle each crisis that is important and that will depend on your attitude. Each crisis should be worked through step by step by two people working together, discussing what should be done and by putting solutions into action.

The first action to take is to pinpoint the problem so you know exactly what you are dealing with. When and how did your unhappiness begin? What was the cause?

Secondly, don’t blame the other person. If you think your mate is making you unhappy, take another look at your own attitude first. Perhaps you are making demands and have expectations which the other person cannot fulfil. Your happiness or unhappiness come from yourself and you may be the one who needs to make changes.

Thirdly, work on finding a solution to the problem. That means communicating with each other by listening to the other person as well as opening up about your concerns. Try to find common ground so that you can commit to take action and both work on the solution together. If the problem appears too big for both of you, then you should seek professional help. Remember to keep in mind that every crisis brings the opportunity for learning new things and for bringing positive personal growth.

A good marriage can be built up by spending quality time with each other without interruptions. Without meaning to, children can sometimes take precedence over your spouse. Although they are your responsibility as well, try to give priority to your partner. Interact during your quiet times together by talking about your lives, including the high times and the low times. Use these times to come closer to one another and bring warmth, love and respect into your relationship.

One of the most common difficulties that couples face is about finances. It is a sensitive area and financial problems, not always of your making, can creep up on you. The correct structuring of finances should be agreed to early in marriage so lay out everything before you and agree how money should be budgeted. It is also wise to agree on large items you wish to buy. For example when buying a lounge suite, you may have differing views on what to buy. Be prepared to forego the lounge suite you like and they hate and wait until you find something you both like. You will then have a home that reflects the tastes of both of you.

For a happy and fulfilled marriage, treat your partner as you did before you married and don’t make the mistake of taking each other for granted. Show the same consideration for each other that you would show to a friend or work colleague. You would not dare speak to them rudely just because you are irritable. You would be careful what you said and how you said it so you would not upset them. Your attitude should not change, therefore, when you walk into your home and close the door behind you. If you speak to your spouse in a disparaging manner you are taking advantage of the familiarity which is part of your intimate relationship. We all get annoyed at some time and say things we didn’t mean to those we hold most dear. Be prepared to immediately apologise and try to be more careful what you say in the future. Words reflect what is in your heart and if you really love someone you would not want to upset or hurt them. Instead be thoughtful and attentive to the person you love.

Complacency can be dangerous so make an effort to cultivate a good relationship. Marriage takes work and mental flexibility from both of you. It is a vibrant, living relationship of two separate individuals becoming one entity over time. The following points are worth remembering:
Make major decisions together. There will be much more harmony in the family if everyone feels they have a part in the decision-making process.

Show affection and appreciation to your spouse and be kind, gentle and loving. Never take them for granted but remember their good points and your reasons for marrying them in the first place.

Do not keep raising the problems that happened in the past. This often happens in arguments and only serves to inflame the situation.

Be prepared to admit your mistakes and if the other person makes mistakes, forgive them quickly.

Always communicate with each other. It is important to understand what the other person is thinking and feeling. This way you can deal with problems early and honestly.

Keep your expectations realistic. You are not part of a Hollywood film but flesh and blood individuals with strengths and weaknesses which need understanding and acceptance.

Keep trust, confidence and warm companionship in your relationship and you will keep your marriage secure.

A good marriage requires a “So what” attitude. You will have difficulties – “So what” everyone has difficulties. It is the way you handle those difficulties that will make a marriage fail or succeed. You can decide that you are always right and demand to have everything you own way, or you can treat your spouse the way you would like to be treated and work toward a marriage that is based on love and respect, kindness and thoughtfulness, understanding and forgiveness, patience and love. A marriage with all these ingredients will establish a strong emotional connection with each other and build a lasting and happy relationship.

Relationships

We must develop our emotional intelligence so that we can learn to strengthen our mind. It has nothing to do with pride but it has everything to do with a healthy mature love for oneself and an understanding of how special and unique we are. When we develop a positive self-image we open up new capabilities and new talents and we can literally turn failure into success. Emotional intelligence is being able to nurture our ability to recognise, evaluate and manage our own emotions and be able to handle our relationships with others in a mature and effective way. We can build our own emotional intelligence as we become more aware of how we think and as we learn to manage the use of our mind. When we do this we find it much easier to recognise what needs to be done to build solid, effective and reciprocal relationships.

The first building block to a good relationship, whether it is with your family, your friends or your work colleagues, is to understand and love yourself. If you can’t love yourself you can’t expect others to love you. That is because people always reflect back to us the way we treat them. If you criticise and find fault with others they will criticise and find fault with you; if you think life is against you, it is. If people are unfriendly to you, check your thinking; it may be the vibes you are sending out. Your inner world will always be reflected on the outside. When you are happy and confident in yourself (note I didn’t say ‘overconfident’) people will return the favour.

Albert Schweitzer once said, “The only ones among you who will be truly happy will be those who have sought and found how to serve.” Service is not surrendering your individuality so that you become someone else’s possession. It is, instead, simply the wanting to give of yourself because as you love yourself you love others. It is so important that you are prepared to serve others in your relationships and this is especially so in the home.

Staying Power

Life will constantly present you with obstacles and challenges to test whether you are serious about reaching your goals and objectives in life. Difficulties exist and everyone has pressures and problems that can make them want to give up. It takes staying power to overcome those difficulties. Strengthen your staying power by focusing on the goals you want to reach in life. The most successful people have learned to overcome obstacles that get in their way. They look for new solutions and refuse to give up. You can do that too.

There are going to be times when you feel your plans are not working out. Challenges and obstacles will loom in front of you on a regular basis. It is what you do when you are faced with these barriers that will determine your level of success. Never focus on the challenge; always focus on the solution.

William Penn Patrick said, “No person, idea or institution becomes great until great resistance has been encountered”. Resistance will come; welcome it. Perhaps the resistance will be in the form of challenges and obstacles in your way. Maybe it will be in the form of criticism or contempt. You can prepare yourself for challenges and adversity and become mentally tough; if you are prepared for the fact that resistance will be encountered you will be more able to handle it.

Staying power needs positive energy which is the capacity to be active. Anthony Robbins called it “the fuel of excellence”. You need energy to accomplish your purpose but it must be directed and channelled into specific areas such as overcoming unhelpful influences. When your energy is constructively directed toward a specific solution, difficulties have a way of dissipating.

Energy gives you mental alertness and purpose and allows you to give attention to detail. It is demonstrated through physical vitality and radiates purposeful activity.

Nothing will drain your energy from constructive action faster than negative emotions and when difficulties beset you on all sides, such emotions are hard to control. Anger is a common emotion which must be dealt with as it expends a great deal of energy into non-productive channels. There is a saying, “anger falls one letter short of danger” and like anxiety, fear and doubt, it will quickly drain your energy. Work on eliminating those emotions so you have increased energy available to stay the distance and detour around the challenge you are experiencing.