Day 14: The Best Asset is a Positive Memory
Thus is it incumbent upon us, when we direct our gaze toward other people, to see where they excel, not where they fail. Abdu’l Baha
You have just come out of a really bad meeting with your supervisor who has managed to tell you what an awful job you are doing at work. It is devastating to you. You feel depressed and rejected. What do you do?
What most supervisors do not understand is that the meaning of communication is the result that it has on the hearer and not necessarily the intention of the speaker. Criticizing is a type of communication that may give some short term results, but doesn’t usually work in the long run. Self-criticism is equally as bad. When you talk to yourself in a negative manner like in the middle of a match, it doesn’t make you play better even though logically you may think it does. Speaking in a negative manner to someone usually makes them go to a negative place inside themselves where they find even more stress and tension.
What allows us to keep functioning with positive energy in the present tense is when we evoke the positive past even the immediate past. When you tell athletes that they are playing really well, you are not talking about the present because what you are observing is already past even as you are observing it. You see a behavior and then remember it. When you tell the player that they are playing well what you are saying is that they played well 5 minutes ago, but not now. The reason for using this kind of encouraging talk is so that they can fix a positive memory in their mind so that they keep playing at a high level in the present. You can be losing a match in a very one-sided manner, but still be playing better than you have ever played before. The score can trick you into believing that you are playing poorly in the same way that a supervisor’s words can trick into believing you are now performing well at work. When the stock market crashes, all investment counselors perform badly. The best ones are the ones who maintain a positive attitude in the midst of losing a great deal of money.
The difficulty with accessing positive memories is that negative experiences generally have more power over most people than a positive one does. When a supervisor is primarily critical, for instance, it is because they are trying to exercise control over the other person’s behavior so that they will become fearful of some bad consequences like being fired. It just makes the worker have to work with the added pressure of the fear of being fired.
The transformation goal and practice is to be able to let go of the fear and the hold it has on your mind, access positive memories of past successes, and then act in the present. When you let go of a fear, the mind automatically starts accessing positive past experiences like making a hole in one or being close to your spouse or finishing tasks well. They are the best assets.
You can confidently go into the future when you have a series of positive memories one after another. As soon as we start losing confidence it means that we can do a 180 walk back into the past and find positives where we were resourceful and effective.