Sunday, June 9, 2002

State of mind...

Our state of mind speaks louder than words or deeds. If we could visualize this concept the difference in our life would be enormous. Word or deeds are like filing cards in comparison to our state of mind -- like a placard poster that can be seen for miles around.Dr. Richard Carlson says, “There’s this perception that if you worry a lot and if you look really busy and stressed out, then you’ll be more successful. You talk about how little sleep you get and how tense you are and how you’re not getting the appreciation you deserve and how hard you’re working. You think this is somehow feeding into your success and your career, and that’s just not true. Any success that you have in your career is despite your being all bothered and annoyed and stressed out not because of it.”

Yes, emotions can be significant allies or frightening opponents, depending how we handle them. The world is an environment of constant evaluation. Expecting human nature to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian. Inconsiderate opinions can often be more devastating than any other formal assessment given by any professors. Have you ever asked yourself what draws people to heroes like Superman?

For me it is the double identity or secret double identity that fascinated me. The contrast between the realism of Clark Kent and the idealistic world of Superman resemble somewhat the drama of daily life. We win some battles and we lose others. I think the recent version of Clark Kent that was telecast a few years ago was really too good-looking, too smart and too flirty to be believable. There was little contrast between the commonplace and the extraordinary.

I like the Clark Kent of the original series because he presented a much more convincing difference. Clark wore heavy black conventional glasses, which could make even the most attractive person look goofy. He was physically awkward, and socially timid. That’s part of the magic: on the surface Clark Kent is unassuming and underestimated, but at any moment, he was capable of transforming himself into a supernatural hero.

Some people seem to settle for only a Clark-Kent-state-of mind. They live under the constant reproach of those that surround them. They live below their true potential, by conforming to someone else’s concept of them. Steven Covey refers to this dynamic as the “social mirror”. He says that when we permit others to form our self-concept through their imperfect scrutiny, it is like viewing oneself in a crazy mirror house that one finds in amusement parks. The image you see is a mere caricature of oneself -- distorted and out of proportion.
“Why can’t you ever keep things in order?”
“Why can’t you confront people like a man?”
“I can’t believe you won.”
“It’s so simple. Why can’t you ever understand?”
“Boy, you eat like a horse.”
“Why are you always so serious?”

We may forget many details of the past, but we have a more difficult time forgetting hurtful words, so it's important to be in tune with yourself when your state of mind is being sabotaged by cutting comments that seek to label us in some way.

Troubled Reflector © 2002

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