Dave Lukas - Lessons for Hannah
380: Lessons For Hannah - How to Overcome Negativity
Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!"
Many years ago, I introduced a new format that alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of "Lessons for Hannah," I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.
Lessons for Hannah are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share it.
This week’s Lesson for Hannah
Throughout our lives, we will encounter negativity, both internally within ourselves and externally from others. In fact, it seems like for many, their default position is to be negative or see only the negative in things. While there are absolutely things in life that are negative, it is how we respond to them that allows us to fight through and overcome or let them consume us and cause bigger issues.
You will encounter negativity everywhere, but the one place you can control is the negativity that comes from within you and how you respond to the negativity that comes at you from external sources.
For internal negativity, it comes down to a simple fact…a choice. You can choice to be negative or not. You can choose to let your thoughts be negative or change them to ones that can actually help you. You can choose to let the negativity rule the day or to fight through. The biggest place this comes through is in your attitude with which you approach every day. Your attitude is your inner game showing in your outer game. Don’t get me wrong, we all have days where things don’t go our way, but back to choice in how we deal with it is what makes the difference.
I have mentioned this before and you have seen it. I have a whiteboard in my office that has a simple question on it, “What attitude will you choose to have today?” Every day when I walk in my office, I have a choice to circle the word, “great, fair, or poor” for that question. I have been doing this for almost 20 years and not once have I ever circled fair or poor, so when I have “one of those days” and I am looking right at my choice of choosing a great attitude, it reminds of that choice and helps me to remove the negativity, find the good or opportunity, and move forward. And this little exercise has made some of the biggest difference in my success over the years.
When it comes to external negativity, there is a difference between reacting and responding. Reacting is more automatic, typically without much or any thinking. Responding is taking time, even a few moments, to consider the situation and choosing (there is that word again) to move forward in the best way possible. Each day you encounter external negativity from things that happen in life and from those around you, so learning to respond and not react will help you to find the best way forward and best outcome. It will also help you not to let a negative situation derail you or consume you.
Let me share a couple examples from things I read recently.
The first one was an obituary to a mom who had passed away. It was written by her two children. And it was not positive. It seems that this mother had abandoned these children when they were very young selfishly and while they were raised by their grandparents, the mother never wanted anything to do with them and never showed any love toward them. The obituary was a scathing rebuke of her ending with “her time for judgement has come.” While I cannot possibly understand what it would have been like to be one of these children and grow up in this situation, I took a moment to think on it and I felt sorry for them and the mom. First, I felt sorry for the mom because she missed the incredible opportunity to be a mom and a parent. I felt sorrier for the children, now adults, but nor for the reason you would think. I felt most sorry for them because they have carried around this incredible negative burden their whole lives and have let it consume them. Instead of just forgiving and moving on to live their lives, they have carried around this animosity and it has affected them greatly, at least I think, based on what they wrote. I wonder if they felt any better after having published their negativity? I wonder if that gave them closure to move on and close that chapter in their lives and not let this person who wrong them early in life continue to affect them. My guess, it didn’t and they will continue to be affected by it until they choose otherwise.
The second example was from a daily devotional I read from the Kennedy Ministries and I found pretty powerful. Here is what it said.
Have you ever wished for a magic wand that could change all the unpleasantness of life into something good? Wouldn’t you love a way to instantly sweep away all the trivial things that accumulate until they drag you down?
I believe the Lord has offered us something similar to a magic wand. It can change our outlook on the circumstances surrounding us. What is it? Gratitude. When we feel grateful, our perspectives toward things change. We see our circumstances in a new, more positive light. And when we have grateful hearts, we want to express our gratitude outwardly through thanksgiving. This can work in reverse, too. If we give thanks even when we don’t feel very grateful, we often feel our attitudes change in a more grateful direction, just as if we passed a magic wand over ourselves.
Thanksgiving transforms the secular or commonplace into the sacred. When we give thanks to God, suddenly we see God everywhere. We find ourselves living in an enchanted land, a land in the presence of our great Creator and Redeemer. With our spiritual eyes open, we can see that it is God who gives us everything, from our daily bread to the money we need. Our faith grows stronger as we express gratitude. All things become suffused with the divine presence.
And as we recognize God’s blessings, our thankfulness gives us victory over temptation and sin. How can we commit adultery when we are grateful for our spouses? How can we steal when we are grateful for and content with what we have? How can we envy others’ talents and abilities when we feel thankful for the way God has made us? How can we grumble or complain when we’re thankful for God’s blessings?
We should thank God, and we should also show gratitude for the ways others have blessed our lives. Everyone needs the kind of lift that gratitude brings.
What are you grateful for today? Thank God for all the blessings He has given you, and see how it changes your perspective on life. And don’t forget to express thanks to someone who has enhanced your life. I hope that in your thanksgiving you’ll experience joy.
Whether you are religious or not, there is a lot of wisdom in that short message. And notice how it comes down to choice and choosing to be grateful and remove negativity from our lives because when we do, it opens us up for the many great things that can happen for us.
Hannah, one of the best things you can learn to do for life is learn to overcome negativity through choice, your daily attitude, and through gratitude. With those things, you will be to work through anything that comes your way and come out better for it. I hope you can put this to use as you grow.
I love you,