Combat your natural negative tendencies with these potent strategies
Combat negativity as soon as you notice it. If you can’t think of how to, go make yourself SWEAT
I’ve come to realize that my brain seems to default towards the negative. If there’s a possible negative outcome, you can bet I’ve thought of it. My brain constantly browses through its files and typically highlights the negative ones as most important. I need to be extra vigilant to avoid getting wrapped up in my negative thoughts and have spent a ton of time working on it, but in the end, we all need to accept these thoughts and emotions as part of the human experience. To struggle is to be human and there’s no end in sight for it.
Last year, I had the opportunity to climb Mt Rainier with some people I had never met, un-guided. First impressions are typically important, but when mountaineering, first impressions are especially important as your life can literally be in the hands of your climbing partners. The picture below is me showing up to the meeting spot to hop in with 3 physics PHD students. You can see I’ve got 2 backpacks worth of gear – not a good start. They quickly mentioned to have our passports handy to save time at the border, to which I replied… passports…right!! I’ll be back in a few guys.
The ‘making myself look like a fool’ continued as the guys helped me pack, unpack and repack my bag as I could barely lift it off the ground. Just as we were about to set off on the trail, after much delay, 5 steps into the hike my ice axe falls off my bag.
Once again I had to park my ego to the side and accept that yes, I too have faults and screw up regularly. I thank the universe for the reminder, put my head down and one foot in front of the other.
In the end I made up for my lack of competence with my fitness and bad jokes and we summited in good form a couple of days later, but I doubt my climbing partners will forget that classic display of incompetence. Makes me laugh.
Wellness has been my biggest tool to battle these negative traits. By focusing effort in building wellness, our brain health improves and negative things just seems to happen less. It can be as simple as swapping in a superfood smoothie for breakfast, creating a nighttime routine or finding a couple of people you can be real with.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the Spring I simplified my approach to wellness by hiring a personal trainer for 3 sessions and how that kickstarted my journey towards wellness. After getting some consistent exercise, I began to crave healthier food, so I started to study healthy eating, coming across some über inspiring books like Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Diet, Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra and Adam Hart’s Power of Food.
The extra energy and boosted mood from the good food propelled me towards completing my first ultramarathon a year and a half later. When I set this goal, it was so far beyond my 5km running capacity that most people seriously questioned my intention. My attitude was that I needed something that was exciting enough to get me to train. An ultra was just that and it worked like a charm. I also figured that if I had the energy and fitness to run an ultra, then maybe, just maybe I’d have enough energy to build a career I could enjoy. So far, so good.
– We all self-sabotage, struggle with laziness and feel negative
– It’s about building our awareness of these negative tendencies and being proactive when they appear
– We need to accept our faults and our negativity as part of being human
– BUT, we can build our wellness capacity to bring more posititive experiences into our lives
– AND we can make commitments that move us in the right direction to overcome even the most engrained laziness
Leave a comment below with something you’re committing to. The bigger the better. I’ll read every one.
All the best,