[00:00:33] Welcome to the podcast. My name is Blaine Rada with Arch MI. I really appreciate you taking time to invest in yourself and I promise not to waste your time. My intent is to help you separate and differentiate yourself from the competition. And I do this by sharing my perspective and experience from doing this work for over 30 years. Like the previous two seasons of this podcast, I plan to be unscripted and conversational, which means I’m never quite sure what I’m going to say or how long it might take me to say it. However, I’d like season three to be a little different with shorter episodes and even easier to implement ideas. So, let’s get to it.
I read recently that 75 to 90% of all doctor visits are stress-related. I mean, we know that stress has an impact on our health and I’m sure you’ve felt it physically in your body. Each of us kind of feels it in our own way when we’re under stress. But most stress is actually a state of mind, which means that most of the reasons that we’re going to the doctor are things that are happening in our head. And so I’d like to focus today on getting some weight loss for the mind. Wouldn’t that be nice if we could actually lose some of that mental weight that we carry around. And so I’m going to walk you through what I call diseases of attitude, and I’ve got a list of 10. And I’m sure I probably could have come up with even more and maybe you could add to the list in your own way. But when I got to 10, I thought, you know, that’s kind of a depressing list. So I want to keep it to no more than 10 diseases of attitude. And just so you know, I mean, I suffer from these diseases too. It’s not like I’ve figured out how to cure these and no longer have to deal with them. So I know them intimately, but my goal is to share the 10 diseases with you to have you consider what you might be able to do to minimize their effect in your life and on your stress level and on your health potentially. And that’s certainly what my goal is for myself. So they’re not in any particular order, but I will kind of count them down as we go so you can keep track of them if you’re making some notes.
[00:02:49] So let’s start with number one, which is pessimism. Pessimism is basically complaining. And of course we all don’t like to be around complainers, right? I mean, especially if you work in an office environment or maybe in your household, if you’ve got that person that’s around you that’s constantly complaining, I mean, that has got to be one of the most annoying things to experience. So, you certainly don’t want to be that person, right. You certainly don’t want to be that person who’s always looking at the glass as being half empty instead of half full. Always looking at why there’s a problem instead of a solution. So, you want to try to minimize the time that you spend complaining. We all have things that happen to us that put us in that state of mind, but the key is to kind of catch yourself being pessimistic, to catch yourself complaining and to try to cut that off as quickly as you can. Sometimes it might feel good to get something off your chest and to verbally express your frustration with something. But, again, just remember none of us like to be around a complainer. Nobody likes to be around somebody who’s a pessimist. So we certainly don’t want to be guilty of that ourselves. That’s number one.
[00:03:54] Number two, the second disease of attitude is doubt. Another kind of insidious thing that we often don’t think about. And doubt comes in a couple of flavors. The first one is doubting others and you can see how these start to get related to each other, right? I mean, sometimes we’re pessimistic because we’re kind of doubting others’ intent or doubting others ability. And that’s obviously not a healthy outlook to have, but I would suggest that the worst kind of doubt is self doubt where you’re holding onto very limiting beliefs. You’re not believing in yourself. You’re not feeling that you’re worthy, however you choose to define that. That really puts you in a very bad state of mind. And again, I think that disease of attitude can certainly impact your health and your stress level. All right. So, this is going to sound as we keep going here, like a really depressing topic, but we’ve covered two of the 10, pessimism and doubt.
[00:04:53] Number three expectancy. Now there’s one that you probably wouldn’t naturally think of would make a list of diseases of attitudes. So let me explain what I mean by expectancy. When we have an expectation about the way that we think things should be, what that does is it sets up a contradiction. It sets us up to basically have that expectation dashed. In other words, you might have some plans for the weekend and so you check the weather forecast and it’s supposed to be a great weekend of weather. And so you make your plans and you’re all excited about this thing you’re going to do outdoors and sure enough, when the day comes, the weather’s not so great. It’s cold or it’s rainy, or it’s just not what you expected. Well, if you hadn’t had an expectation that the weather was going to be great, the fact that it didn’t turn out so well would not have been probably as big of an upset to you, right? It’s the fact that we had this expectation that things didn’t turn out the way we wanted. So the key is to learn to basically accept what is without resisting it. It’s our expectations of the way that people should be, the way that people should act or the way that people should respond to us, the way that everything in our life is kind of planned out. Again, I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t do that. What I’m saying is we shouldn’t have resistance to the fact that things don’t always work out the way we expect. So, the sheer act of expectancy, the sheer idea of expectancy kind of sets us up to have natural contradictions because that’s the way life is, and then we get upset. So, I’m not saying you can probably eliminate expectancy from your life, but you might be able to limit your getting upset by it when the inevitable contradictions come by just accepting that it is kind of what it is. That’s number three, expectancy.
[00:06:50] Number four is frustration. Again, kind of similar in idea. But more specifically, I think we get frustrated when the timing or circumstances that we’ve desired don’t work out. If you thought that it would take you 20 minutes to drive from A to B and it took you 40 minutes, we get really frustrated by the fact that that didn’t happen the way we wanted. This is a tough one for me personally. I tend to find myself in a frustrated state, more often than not, actually, if I’m honest with myself. And I think part of the reason that I get frustrated, so I don’t know if this would affect you or not, but I’m just gonna share it from my own perspective, is that I have a desire to understand things like why is it that the traffic has suddenly slowed down to a crawl when there’s nothing happening on the road. Or why is it that, you know, people behave in the way that they behave, they should know better. Again, these are kind of ridiculous questions to ask, because again, it is what it is. We can’t have too many expectations around the timing of how things are going to work out or exactly how they’re going to work out or we’re going to experience frustration. So expectancy and frustration are kind of closely linked, but I wanted to provide each of those words in case they have a different meaning for you. So we’ve talked about pessimism and doubt and expectancy, which expectancy leads right to frustration.
[00:08:23] Number five, fear and worry. I kind of put them together, fear and worry instead of listing them separately because they have some really common elements to them. And again, I am going to use this word expectation again, what we fear and what we worry is basically an expectation of an upcoming contradiction. Now, I’m probably expressing this in a way that you haven’t heard before, but what I’m saying is that fear and worry, most of what we fear and worry about doesn’t happen. It’s an expectation that something’s going to happen. It’s an expectation about a change or an expectation about just the unknown. And I mean, this has been something we’ve been dealing with from the time we were children. Now you probably aren’t scared of the dark anymore. Although honestly, there are times when it can be scary in the dark, but, if you’re lying in bed at night and the lights are off, you’re probably no longer worried about the fact that there might be a monster in your closet or something under your bed. But as a child, you certainly might’ve thought that. And of course that was not real. So you may have heard fear expressed as an acronym of false evidence appearing real (F-E-A-R) false evidence appearing real. In other words, we think that something is real and it’s not. And a child being scared of the dark is a perfect example of that, because once you turn on the light, nothing in the room has changed. Everything is the same and yet they’re no longer fearful. And so that’s why often children want to sleep with a nightlight or the door open a little bit so that there can be a little light coming in the room. Again, that fear in and of itself is irrational and worry is the same kind of condition. You know, we worry about things that most of which, I mean, I’ve seen studies that say upwards of 70, 80, even 90% of the things that we worry about never even happen. It’s like, we’re worrying about some future thing that doesn’t even take place. So again, I’m not saying that we can eliminate fear and worry from our lives, but if we call it out for what it is, that it’s just basically some expectation of something not being the way it’s really going to be, we can shine a light on it, so to speak and not be so scared. All right.
[00:10:37] Number six, anger. You know, all I think I need to say about anger is that it’s toxic. Of probably all of these diseases of attitude, this one might actually be the most detrimental to our health. I’m really not sure. I mean, I suppose there’s a time and a place for anger, I suppose there’s an appropriate way to express anger. I’m sure that that emotion has a value or we wouldn’t have it, but for the most part, we need to just let things go. I mean, I’ve heard people say, well, anger is simply a feeling of loss. You know, the loss of control for instance, or the loss of something tangible and when that loss happens we become angry. Psychologists can study this all day long, it really doesn’t matter to me as just a mere mortal who doesn’t understand this stuff. But I know that I don’t want to feel anger. It’s a very destructive emotion. In fact, it’s probably of all of the ones that we’re going through, it’s the one that I can physically feel in my body when it happens more than anything. And if you hook yourself up to a bunch of monitors, when you’re angry, you’d probably see that your blood pressure is rising, your heart rate is increasing. I mean, things that are probably very stressful for your body. So just remember that anger is a really toxic attitude or a really toxic emotion. And the only solution I have for anger is to try to let things go, to try to be more accepting of things being the way they are. In fact, you’re kind of seeing that as a common theme here. If we’re just a little bit more willing to accept things the way they are and kind of take life as it comes, we can eliminate a lot of these diseases of attitude.
[00:12:15] All right. Number seven is guilt and we all suffer guilt in various ways. And some of it is from our upbringing and some of it is from the things we’ve been taught: how we’re supposed to behave, what’s acceptable, what’s unacceptable. Let’s just say as an example, that you’ve done something to somebody that you weren’t behaving in your best way. In other words, we all stumble. We all have missteps and maybe we do something or treat someone poorly. And we certainly could have behaved in a better manner, but we didn’t. In that moment we did something that now we feel guilty over. It’s a natural emotion, but you don’t want guilt to consume you. You don’t want to be chewing on this guilt forever. So one kind of little formula that I could offer you that might be helpful if you’re feeling guilty about something is to, first of all, realize that we’re imperfect. I mean, if we were perfect, we probably wouldn’t be here. Like what would be the point. I mean, living life is kind of like a journey through discovering your imperfections and just trying to be a better human being, however you define that. And so just recognize that we’re imperfect. We make mistakes. We do things that we wish we hadn’t done. We sometimes treat people the way we wish we hadn’t treated them. Or we say things that we wish we hadn’t said. It’s just going to happen. It’s a fact of life. We are imperfect. So is everybody else. We all are. So that’s kind of the first part of this formula. The second thing then is to forgive. So realize that we’re imperfect you as well as everybody else, and then forgive yourself or forgive the other person, you know, when somebody behaves badly or you do something that in hindsight, you wish you hadn’t done. Forgive yourself of that. And then number three would be to resolve or commit to be better next. And you may not, again, be perfect next time, but at least resolve or commit to yourself that this thing you did, that you’re feeling some guilt over, I’m not perfect and I’m going to forgive myself, but I’m also not going to just say, okay, well I’ve forgiven myself, so I’m off the hook, right? The third part of this formula is you need to resolve or commit to be better, to do better next time to not make the same mistake, perhaps. And again, this is not foolproof, you’re never going to make the same mistake again, but hopefully that’ll help you not repeat some of the things that you might feel guilty about. Okay. So we’ve talked about pessimism and doubt and expectancy and frustration, fear and worry, anger, guilt, number eight, confusion.
[00:15:09] Oh my gosh. Do I suffer from confusion, and maybe you haven’t. Have you ever been confused? If you haven’t ever been confused, do you think you might ever be confused in the future? Is it possible you might have a moment of confusion? I mean, I’m telling you for me, it’s like a daily occurrence, where there’s some moment where I’m like really confused. So, I’ve really tried to figure out how to get the handle on confusion. So one of the things that I’ve learned about confusion is that we actually approach it in completely the wrong way. So let’s just say, you’re trying to make a decision and you don’t know what decision to make, and so you’re confused, right? You don’t know which direction to go in. And so what do we tend to do when we don’t know what to do, when we have this state of confusion, especially about an important decision, what do we tend to do? Maybe you don’t do this, but what I do is I seek out information. I want more information. Because if I’m confused, well, that must be because I need more information. Well, there’s no shortage of information. In fact, we are drowning in information. And so I’m going to suggest that we actually do the opposite, that the cure for confusion is to ask fewer questions, ask fewer questions. In fact, I heard once of this philosophy called the half dozen theory, which says that there’s really only about a half a dozen things that you would need to know about anything to be able to make a decision. So, think about some of the big, important decisions that you might make in your life. Maybe the purchase of a home or what kind of car to buy or, gosh, this is a big one, who to spend the rest of your life with. A life partner. Now there could be dozens of things that might go into that decision. There could be thousands of facts about an automobile. There are probably dozens of things that you might want to know about a home and maybe hundreds of things about a human being that you would want to know about them before committing to be with them for the rest of your life. But if you really boil it all down to what’s really important, isn’t it about a half a dozen things? Couldn’t you list about a half a dozen things that are the main reasons why you would, or wouldn’t buy a home. About a half a dozen things that you’re specifically looking for in the purchase of a car. And even in choosing something as significant as a life partner, won’t it really come down to really maybe a half a dozen things about that person that either makes or breaks that decision. I’m not saying that there’s only a half a dozen things that you need to know to make a decision. I’m saying that there’s probably only a half a dozen that really matters. So when we’re confused, rather than seeking more information and trying to get more, I’m suggesting we ask fewer questions. Asking fewer questions leads to less confusion. And when it comes to decision-making what the research shows, because we’re so anxious about making the right decision. I have to make the right decision. Okay. So, what the research shows though is that what’s more important than the actual direction that you took, like what’s more important than the decision that you made in terms of the quality of the outcome of that decision are things like the timing of the decision? Like when you made the decision could be more important than the decision itself and the actions that you took. So ask fewer questions and if you don’t know, don’t go. Maybe that’s one cure for confusion is that if you feel kind of like you have analysis paralysis and you’re not sure what course to take, what direction to go in, maybe if you don’t know, you don’t go. Or come up with some kind of a way to remind yourself that if you’re that uncertain, if you’re that unsure, maybe you don’t make the decision. Maybe you don’t take that step forward, or you don’t take that action. I’d never want us to be so paralyzed with analyzing things that we never move because there is that thing that I mentioned analysis paralysis where we just won’t make a decision because we’ve got too much that we’re trying to analyze. But sometimes maybe that is the appropriate thing to do rather than forcing the decision or forcing the change or the direction that you’re going to move in. Maybe the best thing to do is while you’re asking fewer questions, also press pause and just don’t do anything at this moment and wait for the timing perhaps to be better because remember, the timing of decisions is often more important than the actual decision itself. Okay. So that was number eight, confusion.
[00:19:50] Number nine is certainty. The curse of knowledge, some people would call it. There is actually this thing called the curse of knowledge and the curse of knowledge implies that when you know a lot about something, you tend to think that everybody else kind of has that same level of knowledge or that they should know that. So for instance, take something as simple as, let’s say you have a song in your head and you tell someone that you’re going to hum this tune and you want them to identify what the tune is. And let’s say it’s something very simple that everybody would recognize, say, happy birthday or something that pretty much anybody has heard and knows how it sounds. And so you hum happy birthday or you tap on a table with your fingers, you tap out the melody to happy birthday. Even though you yourself, when you’re humming or tapping, it will sound to you exactly like happy birthday, very few people will actually have any idea what you’re humming are tapping. And that can be very frustrating. Like you’re thinking to yourself, what is wrong with these people? I couldn’t make it any clearer. It’s clear as day that I’m humming or tapping happy birthday. Why can nobody hear this? That’s what the curse of knowledge is about. We’ve got knowledge, we have an understanding of something and we’re getting very frustrated that other people don’t. So that’s linked to this word that I used called certainty because when we feel certain about things, then we get very frustrated when other people don’t seem to see it the way we do. So my suggestion to you would be don’t care as much about what you know. In fact, it’s healthy to just say, I don’t know. Try to think of how many times in the course of a day, as you’re interacting with various people, how many times when they bring something up are you willing or comfortable to say, I don’t know. I think our tendency now, again, I’m speaking for myself. I think our tendency is we want to be certain. We want to be right. We want to always have an answer. That actually creates a lot of stress. So be willing to say, I don’t know. Now, if you really want to push yourself, add don’t know, don’t care. And I’m not saying in a flippant way, like somebody is asking you something serious, I’m not suggesting you should tell them you don’t care. I’m saying internally, like to yourself, don’t feel like you have to care about knowing everything. It’s okay to not know. So adding don’t care is really more for just taking the pressure off yourself. I don’t know and I don’t care. It’s not something I have to worry about. I don’t have to know that. It just relieves a lot of weight off of you. You can probably feel that already. Just the weight of not having to know everything and be certain about everything all the time. All right. And that takes us to our last one.
[00:23:01] Seriousness. And man, do I suffer from this one too. I can only speak for myself, but I tend to think that the people who are the most serious are the people who are kind of living in their head, in their thoughts. People who are very certain about what they believe. People who think they know a lot about a lot of things. That curse of knowledge. I don’t know if life is really as serious as we make it. I don’t know that all these things that happened to us in the course of our lifetime are really meant to be taken seriously. Some people would suggest that life is, you know, you need to have a sense of humor. You need to have a sense of humor as you’re navigating through your life. I think there are times and places where obviously seriousness is important. But I think most of us air on being serious too much. Now, if you’re one of these people that, as I was walking through this list you’re thinking, oh that doesn’t really affect me, or I don’t really see myself having that problem. Hey, that is fantastic. I, myself, as I walked through this list could see all of these things in myself at certain times. So I’ve not mastered the ability to eliminate these diseases of attitude from my life, but I try to manage them. I try to recognize them when they’re happening. I try to call them out when it’s happening. I try to minimize the impact it has on my life. I try to manage it. Because cumulatively, if you think about it, I’ve only listed 10, we could probably come up with more than 10. But even just these 10, you put them all together, a lot of your waking hours, a lot of your life could be spent with these diseases of attitude. And again, this all goes back to the idea that stress is a state of mind and that most of the reasons that we become physically ill or need to go to a doctor are things that are stress-related. So let me leave you with two suggestions as we close. First of all, when you are faced with adversity, because let’s face it, life can be challenging and difficult, and that’s often when these diseases of attitude show up is when things aren’t going well. But when you’re faced with adversity, one suggestion I’ve heard that can be very helpful is to focus on the solution and not the problem. So maybe one way to just have a better outlook on things is to focus on the solution and not the problem itself. And my wife and I are very different in many ways and perhaps that’s what’s made our marriage work, they say opposites attract. And in some respects we’re very different. And in other respects we’re very similar. But one of the ways that we’re different is that I tend to be an idealist. I tend to be one of those people that’s always thinking, you know, the sky’s the limit. Why not try this and why not do this and go for it, and be very idealistic. And I think that was just because of the way that I was brought up and very much my mother’s outlook has been idealistic most of her life. My wife on the other hand is much more realistic. She’s got her feet on the ground. She doesn’t fantasize about stuff that’s not practical. So, kind of almost two extremes right. Now, obviously the blending of those two, being optimistic and being realistic, the blending of those two is probably the sweet spot. That’s probably the best place to find yourself. So I don’t know if I heard this or I wrote it myself, you know, you’re never quite sure when you think of an idea, if it’s really your idea or not. But I came up with this phrase called realistic optimism and what I believe realistic optimism is, is seeing the world as it is. That’s the realistic part. But always working towards a desired outcome or solution. Seeing the world as it is, but always working towards a desired outcome or solution. Not focusing on the adversity, but focusing on the solution or your desired outcome. So maybe those are some thoughts to kind of help you with this kind of negative list, this is probably one of the most negative topics I’ve talked about in a podcast, but I thought it was important to call out some of the mental weight that we carry around. And I wanted to try to give you some weight loss for the mind today.
[00:27:08] All right. So that’s it for this episode. But as I always say, at the end of these, the work on these ideas is not done. It’s really just beginning. Because we think that clarity leads to action, when in fact it’s action that leads to clarity. In other words, only when you put ideas into practice and you use them will you really understand what they mean for you. And so I encourage you in order to get the maximum return on the investment of time that you made today, take action on something that you heard, something that you found valuable. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with you. This is Blaine Rada with Arch MI. Thank you for listening.