How Victim Thinking Stops Innovation

There is a story about two young twin brothers who walked into a barn with their grandfather. One boy complained about the foul-smelling manure and ran out of the barn while complaining about getting manure on his shoes. The other boy raced through the barn with excitement and yelled to his grandfather, "With all this manure, there must be a pony somewhere!" The first boy saw himself as a Victim of the manure and its smell. The second boy saw the manure and linked it to greater possibilities. Which boy do you identify with?

Do you complain about life's bumps, or do you see challenging issues as an opportunity to innovate and create new possibilities? Tough times can magnify your view of situations. If you see difficult issues through the eyes of a Victim you might say: "The budget has been slashed so there's no way we can accomplish our goals" or "I'm at the mercy of my bad boss" or "voters won't approve of that idea."

Victim mentality sucks the life out of innovative energy. People with Victim-like thinking can be addicted to the drama and complaining rather than seeing the possibility of innovation and new approaches.

The Creator/innovator, on the other hand, clarifies what they want and goes after that outcome step by step. Not brought down by the situation, they ask themselves, "What do I want to focus on despite this challenge in front of me?" The fundamental difference between the Victim mindset and the Creator/innovator mindset is the quality of attention. When in the Victim orientation, the focus is on what you don't want.

With a Creator mindset, the focus is on what you do want, rather than focusing on setbacks or obstacles. Often it is two steps forward and a step back. But with each step the Creator trusts they are getting closer to and clearer about what they want. It is no secret that now, more than ever, people feel victimized by circumstances such as toxic politics, not having enough time or money, their poor work environment, an illness or their bad childhood. Despite these challenges, the Creator/innovator mindset sees failure as an opportunity to grow, and trusts in the cycle of breakdown to breakthrough.

Staying in the Creator/innovator mindset is not always easy----it goes against our human tendency to see problems first. It takes commitment and desire to remember that your true essence is as a Creator/innovator. People who forget their true essence as a Creator are at risk of taking-on Victim thinking. That's how thinking like a Victim stops innovation!

The only thing Victim thinking creates is more misery for their co-workers, family members and themselves. Because Victim thinking can be very subtle and unconscious, we encourage you to notice your Victim thoughts and feelings when they arise. When they do, learn to shift your perspective by asking: "What's the outcome I want here?" and "What conditions can I create that foster a Creator/innovator mindset?"

Now the conversation has an opportunity to shift from complaints and problems to a more inspiring destination. When you begin to do this, others will ask you to join their conversation and share your knack for turning problems into opportunities. This is a powerful shift, but no one can do it for you. The fact is, only you can notice the lens in which you relate to the world. It's your choice. Do you see a barn full of manure or look for the pony?

This article is by By David Emerald & Donna Zajonc, MCC website:

Learn more about The Drama Triangle - click here

Dr John Gottman - How to Build Trust and Positive Energy in Your Relationship

What are the keys for building trust, at any stage in your relationship? What can you do to amplify the things that are going right in your relationship? What has research revealed about the secrets that make love last? And what can new parents do to ensure that their relationship stays strong even as it changes with the new addition to the family? On today’s episode, we’re going to hear from one of the world’s foremost experts on how to build a successful relationship - Dr. John Gottman. In his second visit to the Relationship Alive podcast (see Episode 1 for his first visit), John Gottman offers answers to these questions and more expert wisdom on how to take your relationship skills to the next level.

Trust is the core issue for new relationships. People new to their relationships are constantly wondering: Do you have my back? Can I trust you? Will you be there for me? The majority of arguments and conflicts are, at their core, about trust. Trust is absolutely essential to build safety in a relationship (new or old). Trust stems from the ability to think about your partner’s welfare as well as your own, and to work towards maximizing both simultaneously. It is only from this knowing that you are being cared for as much as you are caring for, and being loved and appreciated as much as your are loving and appreciating, that you can withstand the risks, doubts, and conflicts that inevitably arise in partnerships.

Build your trust metric: Trust is something to care take and to cultivate. It is an aspect of the relationship that needs continual attention. One important way to build trust naturally is to listen to your partner’s negative emotions. Really hear them when they are sad, angry, disappointed, etc. Listen with curiosity and openness and respond from this place, rather than from defensiveness or a desire to dismiss. Continual attunement means that at any point you are able to switch and see things through your partner’s perspective with empathy and compassion. Continual attunement not only builds trust, but it nearly immediately de-escalates the you/me tension that leads to criticism, contempt, conflict and disconnection. In fact, with adequate connection and empathy, conflict can be constructive in leading to creative problem solving.

Have each other’s best interest in mind. Adopt the motto “Baby when you are in pain, the world stops, and I listen”. Let your partner know that you are going to be there, even when they are upset with you. Turn the screens off and make time to listen and be with your partner with your whole heart and attention.

Good relationships require trust and commitment. Commitment is absolutely necessary for building safety in a relationship. Commitment is different than trust- commitment is about really saying “you are my journey, I have chosen you and I cherish what I have with you”. Couples that do not build this kind of investment in their relationship, or who make negative comparisons to other relationships, end up betraying the relationship. In fact, this alone is a predictor of infidelity. Check in with yourself frequently and ask yourself if you are thinking that the grass might be greener with someone else, or if you are starting to meet needs outside of the relationship through others. Remember- commitment is about loving THIS person- all the good and the bad.

Choose gratitude instead of resentment. Given that negative comparisons to others begins the cascade to betrayal, be sure to return often to gratitude for all you share, experience, and love about your partner and your relationship. Resentments and conflict are inevitable, however do not let this set the tone of your love. Look for the unique aspects of your partner that you can cherish. During times when you are having a harder time accessing this love, try to be honest. Avoiding conflict and avoiding self-disclosure threatens commitment and leads to infidelity.

Nurture and cherish! Gottman poses that “commitment is about going the extra mile- it means that even when your partner isn’t with you, they are with you in your mind, and that you are really thinking positive things about your partner’s character and the relationship”.  

Invest in the relationship: Make sure that the time you spend with your partner involves 100% of your heart. Be ready and willing to invest and sacrifice for your partner. Dare to care more about their well-being than your own (over time these become one and the same).

Happy and strong couples tend to: Say I love you and mean it! Kiss passionately! Cuddle! Give romantic gifts! Show affection in public! Have a weekly date! Prioritize sex! Stay friends! Make time for each other! In conclusion- they engage in behaviors that foster oxytocin which increases pair bonding, and builds a deep sense of safety.

You can be great friends and great lovers: The essential elements are simple- keep touching each other and keep...

Article from the above podcast by Neil Sattin

How the brain works in the fight, flight, freeze response

Dr Daniel Siegel presenting a Hand Model of the Brain

The Teenage Brain

Mindfulness and Neural Integration: Daniel Siegel - how we can combine with technology and self regulation.

A simple way to break a bad habit

Can we break bad habits by being more curious about them? Psychiatrist Judson Brewer studies the relationship between mindfulness and addiction — from smoking to overeating to all those other things we do even though we know they're bad for us. Learn more about the mechanism of habit development and discover a simple but profound tactic that might help you beat your next urge to smoke, snack or check a text while driving.

Writing to Heal Dr James Pennebaker

Research shows writing has health benefits...

For nearly 20 years, Dr. James W. Pennebaker has been giving people an assignment: write down your deepest feelings about an emotional upheaval in your life for 15 or 20 minutes a day for four consecutive days. Many of those who followed his simple instructions have found their immune systems strengthened. Others have seen their grades improved. Sometimes entire lives have changed. Dr. James Pennebaker

Pennebaker, a professor in the Department of Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin and author of several books, including “Opening Up” and “Writing to Heal,” is a pioneer in the study of using expressive writing as a route to healing. His research has shown that short-term focused writing can have a beneficial effect on everyone from those dealing with a terminal illness to victims of violent crime to college students facing first-year transitions.

“When people are given the opportunity to write about emotional upheavals, they often experience improved health,” Pennebaker says. “They go to the doctor less. They have changes in immune function. If they are first-year college students, their grades tend to go up. People will tell us months afterward that it’s been a very beneficial experience for them.”

In his early research Pennebaker was interested in how people who have powerful secrets are more prone to a variety of health problems. If you could find a way for people to share those secrets, would their health problems improve?

It turned out that often they would, and that it wasn’t even necessary for people to tell their secrets to someone else. The act of simply writing about those secrets, even if they destroyed the writing immediately afterward, had a positive effect on health. Further studies showed that the benefits weren’t just for those who had dramatic secrets, but could also accrue to those who were dealing with divorces, job rejections or even a difficult commute to work.

“Emotional upheavals touch every part of our lives,” Pennebaker explains. “You don’t just lose a job, you don’t just get divorced. These things affect all aspects of who we are—our financial situation, our relationships with others, our views of ourselves, our issues of life and death. Writing helps us focus and organize the experience.”

Our minds are designed to try to understand things that happen to us. When a traumatic event occurs or we undergo a major life transition, our minds have to work overtime to try to process the experience. Thoughts about the event may keep us awake at night, distract us at work and even make us less connected with other people.

When we translate an experience into language we essentially make the experience graspable. Individuals may see improvements in what is called “working memory,” essentially our ability to think about more than one thing at a time. They may also find they’re better able to sleep. Their social connections may improve, partly because they have a greater ability to focus on someone besides themselves.

To Read the rest of the article visit: University of Texas at Austin

Dr Pennebaker Writing To Heal

In this video, Dr. Friedman explores the link between creative endeavors, such as expressive writing, and reduced symptoms and improved health.

Unconditional Positive Regard -- the power of self acceptance - Michelle Charfen

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Michelle shares her personal journey towards Unconditional Positive Regard and self acceptance through the lens of parenting. This is a story about relationships and ultimately the relationship you have with yourself.