Archives: October 2015

Confidence: The Bottom Rises With You

The Bottom Rises With You (image from

The Bottom Rises With You (image from Site)

I find the America Ninja Warrior TV show inspirational, not only because of the individual stories of hard work and triumph . . .

nor because of how supportive the contestants are of each other . . .

nor because of how the show makes me feel capable of improving my own fitness.

No, I also find it inspirational because it can be a good, visual metaphor for confidence.

You see, I used to subscribe to the belief of not getting my hopes up too high, because if I fall or fail, I fall far, hard.  But I’m discovering the opposite is true if you work on your general confidence levels.  It’s like that obstacle at the end of ANW, the spider climb.  For safety reasons, the bottom rises as contestant climbs higher.  This is to cushion their fall.

If you work on your confidence, your confidence becomes like that end-game obstacle.  The bottom rises with you.  Failing doesn’t hurt as much.  You don’t fall as hard.

All of that makes it easier to try again next time.


Positivity on the Web: Being Busy, Having Energy


be a busy bee with fulfilling activitiesHuffington Post had an interesting article on traits of positive people.  The tip that sticks with me is being busy with fulfilling activities.  This does help, because it makes me feel like I’m going somewhere and that I can handle where I am going.  It boosts confidence, and high confidence improves not only the work you are doing but your attitude toward work.

And related to the above, this post from The Psychology of Wellbeing had some ways to increase your energy levels so you can tackle more.  I know my ADD/ADHD is better when I get more sleep (though I like to curl up like a Shih-Tzu or cat for 10 hours or more, lol.), but I think the best tip is about working more with your strengths.  Doing something you enjoy, doing these fulfilling activities, gives you more energy and leaves you feeling better and accomplished afterward.

So today’s positivity on the web is about doing fulfilling work and how to find ways to have more energy to do it.


The question is, can it help with the idea doldrums, too?  It won’t directly alleviate the doubts that surge in the day after a good idea strikes, but keeping at the idea, working to make it reality, can create its own energy that will make it easier to keep going.


Unmasking the Problem, Exposing the Secret Opportunity Beneath


unmasking the problem to reveal the opportunity beneathThe other day, I posted about the doldrums that follow the fresh winds of a new idea.  During the drive to work yesterday, while listening to a podcast of Dan Miller’s 48 Days, I was inspired (as I often am by his works) and had an insight about it all.

With new idea you start by seeing the possibilities.  After a bit, the doldrums set in, and you begin to see the problems.  I don’t know if that is because I’m a perennial pessimist and an occasional optimist, or if it that process is natural to everyone.

But if it is part of our nature, then why can’t we turn it around?  After all . . .

“Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.”*

So what we need to do is unmask the problem and reveal its secret identity as an opportunity.

This excites me.  Not just because I just finished watching the TV-show premier of Supergirl, but because I love superheroes, and I love it even more when superheroes are unmasked.

The thing is it won’t be easy . . . like superheroes, problems are notoriously and naturally resistant to this kind of exposure.  After all, a superhero and his civilian identity rarely can exist as just one known person.  Neither, so the motivational experts say, can a positive and negative thought be held in the mind at the same time.  So does that mean if you unmask the problem, you will be left with just the opportunity beneath?

I’d like to hope so.

But how to do this?

Well, a lot of the time, superhero unmasking is borne out of necessity (civilian persona held hostage or the inability to dash off the phone booth to change suits).  That means, not letting the disguised opportunity escape our clutches.  We have to keep an eye on it.

And that ties into another way.  Those who spend a lot of time around the hero, or those are obsessed with the hero, tend to eventually discover the truth.  So that means spending a lot of times around the problem.  Studying it, figuring out what makes it tick, worrying why things don’t quite make a 100% sense about it.

And then, well, with all the buzz about the future Civil War movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Superhero Registration Act comes to mind.  I.e., mandatory reveals.  In this case, it may be a simple case of sitting down and forcing the problem to show its true colors.

However the reveal comes about, motivational gurus promise an opportunity hides beneath the guise of a problem.  You just need to see it.  It may be obvious (like Superman’s Clark Kent disguise of mild manners and dorky glasses), or it may be a complete surprise (like Malcolm Merlyn being the Dark Archer on the TV show Arrow. Okay, technically, that was a villain . . . ).  Still, if the lore holds true, once you unmask the problem, your relationship to the problem is never the same again.

So let’s peek behind some masks, shall we?

* Credited to Benjamin Franklin


Dreams: Trapped by the Doldrums? Or Saved by Your Own Winds?


Stranded ship, stranded dreams“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar

“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” – Brian Tracy


I’m a devotee of self-help books. But none of them so far have stopped the doldrums that pop up in the wake of a good idea. It seems inevitable. On the first day, I am blown away. On the second, doubts weigh me down, and I am going nowhere. It feels easier to cut anchor on the good idea than do any work.

Part of the problem is the moment the idea is conceived, the beginning and end feel like they coexist in the same space and time. It feels not like you can win, but you already have won. Then you wake up the next day and the distance between the beginning and end feels, not one, but infinite.

Another part of the problem is doubt. It comes from fear. Fear that you were an idiot yesterday and know it today. Fear of the work involved. Fear of something whose success exists at end of a long string of tomorrows, and so it may never be seen.Making your own wind to get out of the graveyard of dreams

Well, the fear is always going to be there. So will the doubts. So will the disappointment. So will the work.  And unlike with a ship, I can’t wait around for a good wind to find me and send me safely away. To get anywhere, I’ll have to make my own wind. That is, I have to change my attitude to the problems I face.

Easier said than done, but I’ll share tips on what works and doesn’t work as I find them.

POST CREATED: Oct 25, 2015
EDITED TO ADD (ETA): Oct 27, 2015: Some further thoughts on the doldrums (Unmasking problems)


ADHD/ADD: A Problem-Wrapped Gift?

ADHD/ADD A problem-wrapped gift?

Is ADD/ADHD a problem-wrapped gift?

In a book I read recently was a great quote by Norman Vincent Peale:

“When God wants to send you a gift, he wraps it up in a problem. The bigger the gift that God wants to send you, the bigger the problem he wraps it up in.”

As a person with ADD/ADHD, of course, my mind went instantly there. ADD is a big problem for me.  Is it possible, I’m not looking deep enough?  And what is the gift waiting for me to unwrap?  Can my frustrations or mistakes or problems I cause or things that cause problem for me be presents in disguise?

I don’t know the answers, but asking the question is the start of change.  My goal now is when I am frustrated or upset by my ADD to look for the gift or benefit in it.  You see, I tend to be too hard on myself.  I never go in loops of “wow, I was awesome,” but “my God, how could I do that?” or “why did that person do that to me?”

Not only will this new question help short circuit that negative cycle, but it will help me become more positive.

And as I already discovered, positivity begets positivity.

It also gives me energy and calms some of my ADD symptoms (cuts down on some of the self-talk, usually negative, that distracts me and boosts confidence-levels that ADD sucks down like the six-Coca-Colas a day I swore off).

So the side benefits of positivity could even be part of the gift (after all, I love bubble wrap, so I like to think of ADD presents coming cushioned with some tactile and auditory fun.)

So, when you are faced with a problem or your ADD/ADHD creates a problem, stop and consider if there isn’t some present lurking inside or at least bubble wrap to amuse yourself with.