Two Ways to Quiet the Negative Voice Inside YOU

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I receive a daily dose of inspiration from bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff. Here’s an excerpt from a recent email:

Why do we think negatively when we know better?

Because thinking negatively, expecting “the worst,” seeing the downside of positive situations, and even downright expecting failure, all convey a kind of backwards-thinking, emotional insurance policy. It goes something like, “If I expect a tragedy, then I won’t be disappointed when it takes place.”

Of course, this is NOT what we truly want or need in our lives. So how can we stop talking ourselves into these thinking traps? Let’s take a look at two powerful ways to quiet the negative inner voice that leads us astray:

1. Start focusing on the grey area between the extremes.

Life simply isn’t black or white – 100% of this or 100% of that – all or nothing. Thinking in extremes like this is a fast way to misery, because negative thinking tends to view any situation that’s less than perfect as being extremely bad. For example:

• Rather than the rainstorm slowing down my commute home from work, instead “it wasted my whole evening and ruined my night!”
• Rather than just accepting the nervousness of meeting a new group of people, “I know these people are not going to like me.”

Since 99.9% of all situations in life are less than perfect, black and white thinking tends to make us focus on the negative – the drama, the failures, and the worst-case scenarios. Sure, catastrophes occur on occasion, but contrary to what you may see on the evening news, most of life occurs in a grey area between the extremes of bliss and devastation.

2. Stop looking for negative signs from others.

Too often we jump to conclusions, only to cause ourselves and others unnecessary worry, hurt, and anger. If someone says one thing, don’t assume they mean something else. If they say nothing at all, don’t assume their silence has some hidden, negative connotation.

Thinking negatively will inevitably lead you to interpret everything another person does as being negative, especially when you are uncertain about what the other person is thinking. For instance, “He hasn’t called, so he must not want to talk to me,” or, “She only said that to be nice, but she doesn’t really mean it.”

Assigning meaning to a situation before you have the whole story makes you more likely to believe that the uncertainty you feel (based on lack of knowing) is a negative sign. On the flip-side, holding off on assigning meaning to an incomplete story is a primary key to overcoming negative thinking. When you think more positively, or simply more clearly about the facts, you’ll be able to evaluate all possible reasons you can think of, not just the negative ones. In other words, you’ll be doing more of: “I don’t know why he hasn’t called yet, but maybe… he’s actually extremely busy at work today.”

Being able to distinguish between what you imagine and what is actually happening in your life is an important step towards living a happier life.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.


Circle of Love

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In his book, Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty provides the following insight on a verse from a well=known poem:

A well-known poem by Jean Dominique Martin says, “People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” These three categories are based on how long that relationship should endure.

One person may enter your life as a welcome change. Like a new season, they are an exciting and enthralling shift of energy. But the season ends at some point, as all seasons do. Another person might come in with a reason. They help you learn and grow, or they support you through a difficult time. It almost feels like they’ve been deliberately sent to you to assist or guide you through a particular experience, after which their central role in your life decreases. And then there are lifetime people. They stand by your side through the best and worst of times, loving you even when you are giving nothing to them.

When you consider these categories, keep in mind the circle of love. Love is a gift without any strings attached. This means that with it comes the knowledge that not all relationships are meant to endure with equal strength indefinitely. Remember that you are also a season, a reason, and a lifetime friend to different people at different times, and the role you play in someone else’s life won’t always match the role they play in yours.

Source: Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty, pp. 230-231


Honoring President Abraham Lincoln

Born this day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He led the country through its Civil War and preserved the Union. He also abolished slavery, strengthened the Federal Government, and modernized the economy.

An extraordinary man and leader, he is consistently ranked among the greatest American presidents.

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I’m honoring his birthday by sharing 10 favorite quotes:

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

Determine that the thing can and shall be done and then… find the way.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.


Our Thoughts Rule

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I receive a daily dose of inspiration from bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff. Here’s an excerpt from a recent email:

A puppy thinks: “Hey, these people I live with feed me, love me, provide me with a warm, dry home, pet me and take good care of me…

… THEY MUST BE GODS!”

A kitten thinks: “Hey, these people I live with feed me, love me, provide me with a warm, dry home, pet me and take good care of me…

… I MUST BE A GOD!”

Same situation, different thinking.

To a great extent, we make our own life stories by our thoughts. The reality we ultimately create is a process of our daily thinking. And when our daily thinking is right, our daily actions can’t be wrong in the long run.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.



Good Enough is Good Enough

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I highly recommend The Gift: 12 Lessons to Save Your Life by eminent psychologist and Holocaust survivor Dr. Edith Eger. Here’s an excerpt that I like to read whenever I experience a writing block:

Often when we’re stuck it’s not that we don’t know what to do. It’s that we’re afraid we won’t do it well enough. We’re self-critical. We hold high standards. We want others’ approval—most of all, our own—and think we can earn it by being Superman or Superwoman. But if you’re perfectionistic, you’re going to procrastinate, because perfect means never.

Here’s another way to think about it. If you’re perfectionistic, you’re competing with God. And you’re human. You’re going to make mistakes. Don’t try to beat God, because God will always win.

It doesn’t take courage to strive for perfection. It takes courage to be average. To say, “I’m okay with me.” To say, “Good enough is good enough.”

Source: The Gift, pp. 143-144

Seize the Day – Carpe Diem!

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Jane Risdon sharing a multi-act creative journey that has spanned six decades across three continents.

Here’s Jane!

I’ve always wanted to write but a move overseas with my family in my mid-teens, put paid to that, even though I had an offer from a friend’s father who was an editor on the Sunday Times, to work under his guidance as a ‘cub’ reporter. I ended up leaving school and sitting at home in Germany for a year doing housework and child-minding for my parents.

A year later and I was ‘found’ a job at the local British Army Base – Ministry of Defence – in the small village where we lived. I went to work in an office filled with elderly Germans who had worked for the Army since the end of the War and none of them wanted to speak to me in English. I had learned shorthand and typing at school in French, but not in German! I managed typing in German all day – somehow – and vowed to get away as soon as I turned 18 and could get a Passport in my own right.

An avid reader of The Lady in those days, I spotted an advert for the Office of Information in Whitehall, one of the Government Ministry departments. I applied for it, thinking I could spend all day writing and living it up in London in the ‘Swingin’ Sixties.’ It meant I could be with my musician boyfriend too. We hadn’t seen each other since I’d left England, and because his band was constantly touring, communications between us were hit and miss.

I didn’t get the job, but I was invited to London to sit on an interview board with a view to joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Whitehall, a more prestigious post and I found out later, and hard to get a job with. I jumped at it because I was desperate to get away from Germany. I sat on the board – several men stared at me over a long table as I sat marooned in the middle of a huge room on a chair facing them. They fired questions at me. I left thinking I’d failed.

Several months later I got a letter telling me that after extensive PV (Positive Vetting) I had the job. Within weeks I was ensconced in a Civil Service Hostel in Lancaster Gate on the Bayswater Road and working in the FCO in their Personnel department. At last, I could see my boyfriend.

I worked for the FCO and later many other Government departments as my boyfriend became my husband, and his band grew more successful. Many years later we decided enough was enough and we decided to go into business together putting what we had learned during his career to use managing recording artists, singers, songwriters, and record producers internationally. We also found music for TV/Movie soundtracks.

We lived and worked overseas mostly, in USA and SE Asia and got to know how Hollywood and Bollywood worked. We were successful and enjoyed working with music and movies.

However, there comes a time when it all gets too, too much. Babysitting testosterone fuelled musicians and PMT stressed females is not much fun after a while, and after many years in the business we decided to retire.

At last, I could write. And I did, non-stop for about 3 years. I was first published in 2012, and signed to a traditional publisher in 2014, with a co-written novel with Christina Jones, Only One Woman, published in 2018. In-between I was published in many anthologies and magazines – both print and online. My collection of short crime stories, Undercover: Crime Shorts, was published in 2019.

In December 2020 I was taken on by an agent, Linda Langton of Langtons International Literary Agency in New York City, USA. So, another chapter in my life opens and I am excited to see what transpires.

I almost gave up the dream of being a writer. Life and work got in the way. Having to work for a living and go for security of income when my husband and his band were struggling in the early years meant that I had little time to myself. Someone had to earn regularly. I kept thinking, ‘one day…’ Later working with other musicians, managing their careers, meant there really wasn’t time. During our 50 years of marriage, we have never even had a holiday together.

I would tell anyone with a dream to hold on to it and try to plan the road ahead. I couldn’t plan because life became too complicated early on: marriage, child, and career in music got in the way. I loved what I did, but it was not conducive to writing. Trying to find time to myself whilst constantly on the road, in planes, and recording studios, surrounded by demanding artists is not the right atmosphere. Their careers took precedence. Thanks goodness we retired, and I was able to write to my heart’s content.

I never thought about publishing my work; I was approached by my publisher. I never sought an agent. Again, I was approached by one. It took me a year to accept her offer. I wonder what opportunities I could have seized had I been that much younger when achieving all this. I’ll never know.

My advice to anyone seeking a career in writing would be to go for it and not wait. I wish I’d begun writing 30 years ago, but it was not to be. However, I look back at my younger self and wonder: would I have been able to write, and would a lack of life experiences back then have made my writing vastly different from what it is today? But I do wish I had not waited, I wish I had more time to write everything I need to, but sadly I cannot change that. If I’d had an idea of my future and could have planned it, I would have. But most of us live a day at a time and suddenly, like me, wake up and wonder where all the time has gone.

I advise anyone thinking of writing to seize the day – Carpe Diem. Good luck.

Jane’s Books

Only One Woman and Undercover: Crime Shorts are available at Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Amazon and other digital platforms. International territories, too.

Amazon Author Page (UK) | Amazon Author Page (US)

My regular music series, In the Mix is available in print and online from The Writers and Readers Magazine. The Writers and Readers’ Magazine is available from Amazon and Magazine Heaven. You can buy it in print or for Kindle etc. packed full of articles, poems, short stories and more. My regular series In the Mix is there as well. Submissions always welcome, the deadline is 21st January.

Also available in print and on subscription here.

Bio

Jane Risdon is the co-author of Only One Woman, with Christina Jones (Headline Accent) and Undercover: Crime Shorts, (Plaisted Publishing), as well as having many short stories published in numerous anthologies and writing for several online and print magazines such as Writing Magazine and The Writers and Readers’ Magazine.

Jane’s collection of crime stories, Undercover: Crime Shorts, was book of the Month on virtual library and festival site, MYVLF.com, and her live video interview features in their theatre. She is a regular guest on international internet radio shows such as theauthorsshow.com, chatandspinradion.com and The Brian Hammer Jackson Radio Show.

Before turning her hand to writing Jane worked in the International Music Business alongside her musician husband, working with musicians, singer/songwriters, and record producers. They also facilitated the placement of music in movies and television series.

Jane is represented by Linda Langton of Langtons International Literary Agency, New York, USA.

Where to find Jane…

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Pinterest | BookBub | WNB Network West Channel 6 | WNB Network West Channel 4 | Chat and Spin Radio | MYLVF

MYVLF video interview: Meet me in MYVLF.com watch my video interview and those of many well-known authors. Free Book of the Month, festival and so much more. I’m chatting about Only One Woman, Undercover: Crime Shorts, the music business, working in the Civil Service in the late 1960s, touring America, and so much more. The inspiration for my writing is all there…

TheAuthorsShow.com: Twice monthly, Jane is podcast on this global internet show talking about Only One Woman and Undercover: Crime Shorts.



5 Life Lessons People Often Learn Too Late

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I’ve watched this thought-provoking video several times.

Enjoy!


Choose Yourself Today

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A longtime fan of bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, I look forward to receiving their daily emails. Here’s a recent message that articulates the importance of self-love.

Ready to get real? There are certain people and situations that aren’t meant to fit into your life no matter how much you want them to. It’s tough to hear, I know, but maybe a happy ending doesn’t include anyone or anything else right now. Maybe it’s just you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself for something more. Maybe a happy ending is simply letting go.

Do your best to let go — to be free. Don’t get to the end of this week and find that you lived only the length of it; live the width of it as well. When it comes to living as a passionate, inspired human being, the only challenge greater than learning to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, is learning to walk a lifetime comfortably in your own. Follow your heart, and take your mind with you. When you are truly comfortable in your own skin, not everyone will support you, but you won’t care about it one bit.

In the end, loving yourself is about enjoying your life, trusting your own feelings, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, cherishing the memories, and learning from the past. Sometimes you simply have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting. Have faith that things will work out, maybe not exactly how you planned, just how it’s meant to be.

This, of course, is much easier said than done. But please give yourself a chance.

You may have been beaten down by adversity, or sidetracked by rejection, but you are not broken. So, don’t let anyone or anything convince you otherwise. Heal yourself by refusing to belittle yourself. Choose to stand out, to do what you know in your heart is right at this moment. Choose to appreciate yourself for who you are, accepting your scars entirely and sincerely. Make self-love a daily ritual.

Truth be told, you won’t always be a priority to others, and that’s why you need to be a priority to yourself. Learn to respect yourself, take care of yourself, and become your own support system. Your needs matter. Start meeting them. Don’t wait on others to choose you.

Choose yourself today.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.

Become the Lake

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In his bestselling book, Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty shares the following story about the importance of perspective.

“What brings you to me?” asked an old, wise woman of the young man who stood before her.

“I see joy and beauty around me, but from a distance,” the young man said. “My own life is full of pain.

The wise woman was silent. She poured a cup of water for the sad young man and handed it to him. Then she held out a bowl of salt.

“Put some in the water,” she said.

The young man hesitated, then took a small pinch of salt.

“More. A handful,” the old man said.

Looking skeptical, the young man put a scoop of salt in his cup. The old woman gestured with her head, instructing the young man to drink. He took a sip of water, made a face, and spat it on the dirt floor.

“How was it?” the old woman asked.

“Thanks, but no thanks,” said the young man rather glumly.

The old woman smiled knowingly, then handed the young man the bowl of salt and led him to a nearby lake. The water was clear and cold. “Now put a handful of salt in the lake,” she said.

The young man did as he was instructed, and the salt dissolved into the water. “Have a drink,” the old woman said.

The young man knelt at the water’s edge and slurped from his hands.

When he looked up, the old woman again asked, “How was it?”

“Refreshing,” said the young man.

“Could you taste the salt?” asked the old woman.

The young man smiled sheepishly. “Not at all,” he said.

The old woman knelt next to the man, helped herself to some water and said, “The salt is the pain of life. It is constant, but if you put it in a small glass, it tastes bitter. If you put it in a lake, you can’t taste it. Expand your senses, expand your world, and the pain will diminish. Don’t be the glass. Become the lake.”

Source: Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty, p. 218

Fail Trying, Don’t Fail Watching

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

This year, I decided to read daily inspirations from Bob Goff’s devotional, Live in Grace, Walk in Love. I found yesterday’s reflection inspirational and a call to action.

Before Bill Gates was one of the richest men n the world, he was a Harvard dropout with a failed business. He cofounded a business called Traf-O-Data. Have you ever heard of it? Of course not. Me neither. It was started in the 1970s, and this company generated reports about roadway traffic to help cities know where to put traffic lights or which roads need improving. It was far from a head turner. Here’s why it’s interesting. The company and its ideas crashed and burned.

Bill Gates was born with a gift, though, and he didn’t bury the gift just because his first attempt was a failure. He and his business partner learned from their mistakes, started Microsoft, and changed the world.

Failure tops the list of greatest fears for most of us. It’s vulnerable to put our passions into action because we can’t play it cool if it crumbles. If others see us go all in, they’ll certainly see us if we fail. We’ll be embarrassed, broke, and our friends might be awkward in the way they handle it all. What if they see that our best wasn’t enough? What if we hear that dark voice inside us again that says, You’re not enough?

We can’t win the game from the bleachers. We’ll never succeed unless we get out on the field and go for it. Whether it’s starting a business, putting music to your poems, or braving rejection from the girl who makes you lose your words, you won’t get the gold if you’re too scared to work the mine. God created you with unique gifts and ignited the passions He put in your heart for a reason—don’t let fear steal your opportunities and leave you on the sidelines wishing you’d tried. Do what you believe you were created to do. Is it possible it won’t work? You bet. Fail trying, don’t fail watching.

Source: Live in Grace, Walk in Love by Bob Goff, p. 6