Dealing With the Negative Nancy

This month for North Sound Writers book club, we are reading Don’t Shoot the Dog, by Karen Pryor. Karen is the mother goddess-dragon of all animal trainers, and she is attributed to developing positive reinforcement training which zoos and aquariums adhere to in working with their animals. The book she wrote is considered the animal trainer’s bible. 

But Karen didn’t write the book just for animal trainers. She wrote it specifically for people outside the training world. She wrote it for people looking to change their pet’s behavior. To change your kids’ behavior. Your spouse’s habits. Even your own. Karen shows how a shift from negative focus, punishment methods to a positive reinforcement mindset will bring life long changes in habits.

Interestingly enough, I have also been catching up on Brian Johnson’s Optimize clips. A few of his recent Optimize +1’s have focused on switching from a Victim to a Creator mentality. It’s not easy, and takes practice, but I really resonated with his advice. I think Karen would approve as well.

Victims like to play the blame game. In their mind, there are rescuers and persecutors. It’s either someone else’s fault for their misfortune, or someone else’s responsibility to get them out of predicaments. People in victim-mode focus on what they don’t want to be happening in their lives. They complain about problems rather than finding solutions. These are the Negative Nancys in life.

Creators focus on solutions. They look at those around them as either coaches or challenges. Creators are empowered to make changes in their lives and fix situations, with assistance of others, as needed. They don’t rely on others to do everything for them, or blame others for misfortune.

So how do you practice going from a Negative Nancy to a Totally Empowered Dynamic, or Ted? How do you shift from a negative mindset to a positive mindset? With a simple question.

What do I want?

That’s it.

What do I want?

Lose your job? Instead of blaming your horrible boss, or the economy, ask yourself what it is you want. And then go get it. You are empowered instead of wallowing in self-pity.

I have a friend who I adore, but also loves to be the Negative Nancy around me and Chris. We have decided to apply this principle with this friend as well. Instead of going down the rabbit hole of negativity and arguing, we stop and ask, “Well, what is it you want? What do you want from the situation/us/your significant other?” 

I am trying this out on myself as well. I am feeling frustrated by the vicious cycle I am experiencing with my knees. So I need to ask, what do I want? I want to be able to move freely and pain-free. This has led me to seek out avenues which will hopefully alleviate my pain, allow me to increase my workout intensity, and help me lose my excess weight.

What do I want? I want to introduce people to the fascinating world of ZooFit and show how we can save the planet by taking care of ourselves in a fun, engaging program. So how do I do that? Well, not by wallowing that no one signs up for my programs, or simply sitting on my tush. I have to go out there and share my program with the world.

So, my question to you is simple.  What do you want? Rid yourself of your Negative Nancy and embrace Totally Empowered Ted.


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