So, why do we get upset? Maybe you are one of those strange people who never gets upset, but I
always wonder: “Do you care about anything?” If you could answer ‘why’ you might know ‘what now’, true?
I spent my early life being upset about something…especially when things didn’t go my
way. Frankly, I don’t recall things going my way that much!
The reason we think we are upset can vary a great deal. It’s everything from someone else upsetting us
(the devil made me do it), to the stars, my blood sugar, wheat gluten, heat, humidity, or tree pollen. Now,
don’t get me wrong—all those things can affect how we feel as to mood or sense of well-being (maybe
not the stars); however, none of them are causing our upset.
Why do we get upset? Moreover, what is it costing you in terms of relationships or income or impact? The
constantly tearful or angry or frightened person doesn’t get too far these days. So, what if you could change it? What
if you could switch your upset off in a moment?
Honestly, I KNOW it can be done. I’m not perfect yet 😉 but I do know how to change my upset into calm. Sometimes
I don’t want to change it (like giving a speech about something that animates me!), but when I do, I can.
The trick is found in understanding why we are upset, and here’s the reason:
We get upset because we are thinking an upsetting thought
Yes, that’s it. But what more do you need? What an awesome diagnosis! What if you could grasp that all your
upsettedness (right word?) is caused by a particularly upsetting thought in the moment? It would mean that
you could change how you feel by simply changing what you are thinking about!
Now, that may sound easier than it you imagine, but it really isn’t. Someday I’m going to complete the course
on how to calm your crazy feelings; but in the meantime let me assure you of two things:
A) You can change your thoughts
B) Your upset will change with your next new thought
I don’t have the time to go into all the reasons why it works this way, but just pay attention and you’ll see the
truth of it.
So, here’s what I suggest when you are upset:
1. Ask and answer, “Am I upset?” You really have to admit it first.
2. Ask and answer, “What am I thinking that has me upset?”
3. Ask and answer, “What are the totally provable facts I’m thinking here?”
4. Ask and answer, “What am I guessing about this that I really can’t prove?”
That will be a great start. There is a curious change that occurs when we separate fact from opinion…and it
works in discussions too. Play with these questions and see what happens. Oh, and give it a number of tries! These
questions will change your thoughts most of the time, and so, your being upset as well.
Of course, you can change your mind in other ways. You can watch a movie, call a friend, imagine the person
you are upset with wearing a clown suit and talking with a ‘helium voice’ while participating in the running
of the bulls.
However, I think you’ll find these questions will help you shift your perspective. Let me know what you think.
Off to learn,
Fred Ray Lybrand
Maybe what you don’t like happening is your fault. Maybe you are encouraging the wrong
things in your life. Success is clearly about communication, and we communicate
in many subtle ways. It may just simply be that you are communicating to others
that you want THE OPPOSITE of what you really want.
Just ask, “How am I encouraging ______________________?”
What does you mind tell you ?
Great…now think about how to encourage something different. If you only have
creeps coming up and talking to you, change what you are wearing (or where you
go). If only marginal people apply for the job, change the amount you’ll pay and
where you look for employees.
You may get the idea…but you won’t learn it until you practice it!
Fred Ray Lybrand
First, you need to know who she is and why I would want to quote her.
She’s my mother, Jerri Lybrand, but wait don’t quit here.
In 1969 she was selected as one of an Outstanding Woman of America. She did all of the amazing things; ran the Leukemia Drive, school PTA, socialite, servant, mother of three busy children. Of course, there is more since she helped see my dad get elected to two terms in the Alabama Legislature. She was at factories at daybreak handing out brochures and smiling next to George and Lurleen Wallace, the governor and his wife, the future governor. She also happened to overcome a divorce, three back injuries, and a serious bout with some personal demons like we all face. Finally, she was the first or second woman to ever sell cars (Volvos, because they were safe and easy to sell to women) for a living in Alabama.
So, this woman who grew up in Centre, Alabama, answered a question I posed to her as I sat down to write this chapter. “Mom,” I said. “What’s your best advice about communication?”
She didn’t really even hesitate. She said, “Stick out your hand.”
In her experience, the best action is to initiate communication. She then recounted to me how much she admired Princess Diana for this very attribute. “She was no sooner out of her Limo before her hand was out greeting the people right in front of her.”
As I pondered it, I’m thinking that may be a bit more profound than I’d like to admit. Imagine if we did little more in life than simply make sure that we were the first person to stick out our hand, what might happen? Do you as a manager, a parent, a tennis partner, a visitor, or a client initiate communication or do simply wait for others to extend their hand first? Honestly, that’s a fine question.
What is the most important thing to know about when communicating?
[Vizzini has tried cutting the rope to kill the Man in Black, but he clings to a rock] Vizzini: He didn’t fall?! Inconceivable! Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Definitions simply matter. When you notice what happens in conflict and difficulties, that is when you begin to understand communication issues. Conflicts are always about a couple of things… There is a battle over opinion and fact, and there’s a conflict over definitions. Have you not experienced the problem of being in a disagreement until the words come forth that, “Oh, I thought you meant…” It happens all the time, but it is only one new habit away from annihilation. As it were, there is a ‘magic wand’ in terms of a couple of questions which can change everything.
“I’m going to use them to track him down and thwart him.” “Thwart?” Sarissa asked. “Thwart.” I said. “To prevent someone from accomplishing something by means of visiting gratuitous violence upon his smarmy person.” “I’m pretty sure that isn’t the definition,” Sarissa said. “It is today.” ― Jim Butcher, Cold Days
Every single day we all are busy getting offended, irritated, depressed, and surly; all because we are starting-and-failing at the simplest place. We aren’t getting the definitions clear. In the now most famous of all exchanges regarding definitions, Alice and Humpty Dumpty go at it this way,
‘And only one for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!’ `I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said. Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘ `But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected. `When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ `The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ `The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.’
Words, of course, don’t mean what we choose them to mean; however, that is exactly how we should function with others. The way to go is NOT to quibble over words, but rather to find out what they think they are saying. We all can get sloppy and confused. If we are arguing against what the other person thinks she is saying…well, good luck with that! Best to wave the magic wand. THE MAGIC WAND Here’s the new habit, the magic wand, in a couple of questions. Here’s all you need to say, “What do you mean by………?” Now, keep saying that for all the words you need to until you get all the meaning; that is, all the meaning the other person is holding onto. The next wave of the wand works by asking, “So, you are saying that………., true?” When they say, “Yes,” then 90% of the conflict is gone. Now you can get down to the real issue, not the squabbling and tension over the other person being a JERK. The real problem is they aren’t a dictionary…and…they don’t get the definitions clear! Go try it! Fred Ray Lybrand
THE EASY WAY TO CONQUER FEAR
A few years ago I had a passing conversation with a lady in a hallway. I shared a secret with her in a short two-minute conversation… After which she sent me a Starbucks card as a ‘thank you’ every month or so for some time.
I shared with her something I had learned from others which I call, “The easy way to conquer fear.”
Here are the simple keys –
1. Conclude Fear is the Enemy – fear doesn’t give good advice
If you study the nature of fear you will find that fear never gives good advice. If it does give good advice, it’s not often enough to matter. Of course, the basic nature of fear is that of panic and fright and flight. In these modes the brain is not busy thinking, rather it is busy reacting. The advice fear gives, therefore, is always designed to serve the fear (it lacks perspective). If we think of fear as a person, then we can realize that fear’s goal is survival. Why would fear possibly give you advice that would make it go away?
2. Understand Fear’s Lifeline – the imagined future
Fear is always built on an imagined future that is negative or horrible. One of my mentors, Robert Fritz, used to tell us that some people tend to “FOINC” (which said stood for, “The fear of imaginary negative consequences.” This simply means that some people run ahead into the future and conclude that some terrible and negative thing is going to happen, which then makes them dash back to the present to control the first ‘domino’ in the series so the imagined bad thing can’t happen. This activity compels a lot of people to do a lot of things they’d probably rather not do. Of course it makes sense, if you knew for a fact that you would died this afternoon if you got in your car… Well, we couldn’t get you in your car. The truth is, however, that you actually MAY die in your car today. Not knowing for sure the future allows you to operate with some measure of wisdom as you drive your car. Thinking you know the future for sure will keep you from getting into your car. This is exactly why the imagined future is fear’s lifeline.
3. Conquer Fear with Honesty – you know what you know and you don’t know what you don’t know
Credit here too goes to Robert Fritz (www.robertfritz.com). You know what you know and you don’t know what you don’t know – simply means that you would be well served to notice that you do not know the future. Hardly any of us are prophets anymore. Fear controls us when we know the future is going to be bad; telling ourselves the truth that we do not know the future (you know what you know and you don’t know what you don’t know) means that we CAN’T be afraid of the future because we are sure about it.
Please watch the video below for my full explanation of the easy way to conquer fear…Especially learn the lesson from the man, the son, the horse, and a lot of stupid friends.
-Fred Ray Lybrand