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What if You Didn’t Expect the Worst to Happen?

What if You Didn’t Expect the Worst to Happen?

January 12, 2017

How many natural pessimists do we have amongst our readers? That's right, you know who you are!

The truth is, pessimism, or what I'll call Deficit-Based Thinking comes naturally. The human nervous system is hardwired to pick up signals of impending danger more than signals of opportunity.

And even though deficit-based thinking protects us under dire circumstances, it may begin to dominate our thinking. It feeds our thought process, but it's a diet of starvation. 

"Your job, when you drive home, is to take an inventory of what has gone right in your day. Your job at the dinner table is to talk about the progress, the victories, the triumphs."

-Dr. Kathy Cramer.

Dr. Kathryn Cramer, founder of the Cramer Institute, championed an approach she termed Asset Based Thinking (ABT). One of our top mentors, Lainie Neiman, has been a long time colleague and dear friend of Kathy's. Lainie often introduces our clients to ABT during their work together.

Deficit Based Thinking (DBT) focuses on:

1.  What went wrong today.

2.  What I don't like.

3.  What needs to change before I can be happy.

While Asset Based Thinking (ABT) focuses on:

1.  Opportunities rather than problems.

2.  Strengths more than weaknesses.

3.  What can be done instead of what can't.

ABT says: If you are seeing a "problem," then you will inevitably think "stress" and feel "overwhelmed." But if you see "possibility," you will naturally think "growth" and feel "exhilarated."

This is not a fantasy approach to life; ABT is a truly rational, down to earth system. It's based on making a proactive choice to focus on the positive, then follow through in action.

ABT is not blind optimism or magical thinking.

ABT is not a quick fix.

ABT is not based on theory alone... but on direct observation of a growing minority of highly effective and satisfied people.

ABT is not just positive thinking or attitude .... but a call for positive action.

It's a concrete, cognitive process aimed at identifying the assets that are immediately available in yourself, other people, and any situation. Think of ABT as a self-reinforcing process-a virtuous cycle that spawns solutions, and DBT as a downward spiral that only makes matters worse.

Kathy Cramer's best known book on this subject is called,

"Change the Way You SEE Everything."

However, she explains that the most important point is to

CHANGE THE WAY YOU SEE YOURSELF.

See Kathy in action here. 

[CLICK HERE to take the 5:1 Asset Challenge and be entered win a free copy of Kathy's book.] 

 

So this is all wonderful in theory, but how can I use it when I'm actually stuck?

ABT teaches a 3-part technique in any circumstance to shift from, "I could have done this. I should have done this...I didn't do this. This is a problem" to "Here's what's next. Here's what's possible." 

Start with the small stuff. Practice when you're in a traffic jam. Keep it easy.

Step 1: Catch yourself in the act of second guessing and criticizing yourself. Be aware of how you speak to yourself.

Step 2: Make a decision that you want to shift from criticizing to coaching yourself.

Step 3: Make a physical gesture. Use your body to make it real. We often use negative (and rude) gestures as an outlet for our frustration. Make a positive gesture to make your thoughts a reality.

Very sadly, Kathy Cramer died on July 13, 2016 from complications from cancer. She was 68. However, her work lives on and we all benefit from her insight, knowledge and enthusiasm.

One of Kathy's sayings was, "The only difference between fear and excitement is breathing." They both use adrenaline. It's how we choose to use the adrenaline that makes the difference. 

 

[CLICK HERE to take the 5:1 Asset Challenge and be entered to win a free copy of Kathy's book.]

 

Taking you from where you are to where you want to be.

Jon