The Blog

Negating the Nattering

In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism.

~ Spiro Agnew, former U.S. Vice President

The nattering nabobs of negativism – the late William Safire, New York Times columnist and former speechwriter for Richard Nixon, coined this phrase made famous by Vice President Spiro Agnew, to describe the toxic people who seem to come out of the woodwork at election season.  It’s a particularly appropriate phrase in today’s contentious political climate. But it’s also relevant at any time, because these people can trigger our own self-doubt that undermines our creativity and gets in the way of what we really long to do.

Most of us know at least one or two such individuals. We may live with them, work with them or know them socially, although we might not recognize them as such.  Unfortunately, toxic people don't exactly come with a warning label.  However, some traits are strong indicators, including:

1. Arrogance

Confident people inspire. Arrogant people intimidate, and always believe they know best. They will never celebrate someone else’s achievements because it interferes with their sense of superiority.

2. Victimhood

The perpetual victim is one of the most dangerous people to have around you. Perpetual victims never take ownership of their own lives. They always find others responsible for their own shortcomings, and will not hesitate to point a finger of blame at anyone close to them.

3. Need to control

Controlling people are convinced they know everything and the best way to do anything. They're usually very insecure beneath it all, but they will never allow you to expresss an idea or do anything yourself.

4. Envy

Envious people are never happy with what they have, and aren't capable of being happy when good things happen to someone else. They can't appreciate another’s achievement, and only feel jealous of success that isn’t their own. They believe that if anything good is going to happen, it should happen to them.

5. Habitual negativity

You’ve probably crossed paths with someone who's always angry and resentful, suspicious of everything. Habitual negativity is contagious, and it destroys relationships. Spending time with negative people can soon make your own life seem miserable and joyless.

As with any toxin, limiting your exposure is critical to your well-being.  The best way to deal with the truly toxic people in your circle is to release them as quickly and kindly as possible. Unless and until you’re able to do so, try to make every interaction with them as positive as you can. You’ll introduce the “nattering nabobs” to a sunnier side of life, and who know, but they just might discover that happiness is even more contagious than negativism.

To Your Best Life!


Theatre of the Mind

Everything you can imagine is real.

~ Pablo Picasso

For years, scientists believed that the brain quickly lost its ability to produce new neurons after infancy. However, recent research shows that adult minds, middle-aged and beyond, can generate thousands of new cells every day in areas associated with learning and memory. This is encouraging news for fending off age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, since the more neural connections the brain creates, the more it can potentially afford to lose. Good nutrition, healthy lifestyle choices and activities like reading, learning new work skills, enjoying artistic or musical hobbies, and doing challenging memory and problem-solving puzzles stimulate brain growth at any age.  But one of the best, and most productive, ways to activate your brain is a creative visualization technique called the Theatre of the Mind.

Developed by Dr. Maxwell Maltz of Psychocybernetics fame, the Theatre of the Mind harnesses the power of imagination to simulate a possible future.  Dr. Maltz observed that the human mind was like a theatre, with movies playing in it all day long that were far more powerful and real than anything in the outside world.  He also found that a person could select a particular mental movie to play, and replace any old negative images running on the screen with new, positive ones. On the psychological level, this mental exercise brings your self-image into alignment with your desired goals. Physiologically, it stimulates the same neural pathways you will use when performing the actual task or event. In effect, it “wires in” the neural connections that program the behaviors needed to achieve success in any endeavor you choose.

The first step in creating your own Theatre of the Mind is to clearly define your desired end result, making sure this is really what you want to happen. The next step is to imagine experiencing those feelings, thinking those thoughts, and performing those actions that are part of the future you envision as follows.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a movie theatre. You are sitting in a seat watching a scene of your life play out. See it in full color as if you were watching a real movie. Once you have made this image very vivid, step into the action. Watch the different characters in the story and interact with them. Begin to imagine you are doing everything in real life - you are now literally playing the part.  Repeat this exercise often, to reinforce everything you would like to have happen in reality. The more times you see yourself succeeding, the more you are strengthening those pathways in your brain, and your self-image as well. In the process, you are transforming yourself into the person you want to be.  Finish by enjoying the benefits of success and a life you love living.

To Your Vision!


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