Eric Edmeades is a favorite teacher of mine. He’s coined a new phrase called the “Hindsight Window,” and I love it! How quickly you take a seed of adversity from “Oh, sh**” to “This is the best thing to happen to me,” is the factor that determines how the course of the events you are processing are serving you or not.
Learning to shorten the gap between fear or anger to gratefulness is a lesson that could dictate the quality of the rest of your entire life.
How do you shorten that gap? You compress it with questions. The quality of your questions and self-talk absolutely affects your forward trajectory.
For instance, what is your first reaction to, “Our luggage is lost,” or “The flight has been delayed,” Angry, Scared? “Why does this always happen to me?” Or, “Whohoo, luggage lost, I get to go shopping.”
“The flight has been delayed?” My husband and I have been upgraded many times just because we will tell the gate agent, “Hey, we know it’s tough right now. Just bounce us to your next available flight so you can take us off your to-do list.”
Which scenarios positively serve you?
Ed Edmeades breaks it down like this, “Why should I be happy about this experience?”
1) An event happens. Figure out if this emotion you are having is serving you?
2) What emotion would be serving me better?
3) What would have to happen for me to find gratitude right now?
The more gratitude you have for your past or an adverse event now, the more faith you will have in your future. Just as resentment and regret about your past will show up as fear in your future.
Think of all the famous authors who are grateful for their early childhood, like Wayne Dyer or the Holocaust survivor, Dr. Victor Frankl. Wayne Dyer always said he’s so grateful he lived in orphanages and foster homes until his single mother could get on her feet and support him and his two brothers, this back in the 1940’s when assistance was not readily available. He said this very experience gave him the tools and lessons he needed to become Dr. Wayne Dyer.
Victor Frankl finished the book- Man’s Search for Meaning while in a concentration camp! If you are not familiar with either author, start with the hard read, Mans Search for Meaning. Then Wayne Dyer’s classic, Your Erroneous Zones: Step-by-Step Advice for Escaping the Trap of Negative Thinking and Taking Control of your Life.
Research is now backing up the notion that practicing gratitude is good for you because it creates a biochemical shift in your body.
Is gratitude a physical activity? No, it is non-physical but has profound affects on our physiology. So, Napoleon Hill was right, and ahead of his time, in his book, Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success, when he says “Time penalizes the individual for all negative thoughts and rewards him for positive thoughts.”
Just like positive or negative thinking, gratitude is a thought process or habit you can build up. First, you build your habits, and then your habits build you.
For a beginner, know that sharing the gratitude gives it more meaning. So, call a friend or family member to let them know you are thinking of them and you are grateful for them in your life. Or, send them a text. Practicing gratitude is just that, a practice you have to make, consciously.
Another easy tool to employ is this: At the end of the day, make a list of three things you are grateful for. It can be as small as the pretty sunset on your way home, the bed is made when you walked into the bedroom, or you hit one more green light on the way home than usual.
Buy a journal, (Tuesday Morning always has a nice selection at ridiculously low prices) and start with a new list of three grateful things every day. Journaling helps you lock in the gratitude and adjusts your focus. And, guess what? The more you practice journaling gratitude, you are strengthening or rewiring your brain, and it becomes easier for you to find more things to be grateful for. Many people who meditate and journal admit it’s not always easy to find the positive. But they move forward anyway, and by acknowledging their emotions, good or bad, it helps to let things pass through you instead of getting stuck.
Try incorporating this one. “Where do I need to be kinder to myself?” “What did I do today just for me?” Permit yourself to be kind to yourself. By changing your self-talk in this area, you open the possibilities of being happier and more productive. You can see how this can easily create a loop already, positive thought to happier you.
By taking the Hindsight Window and shortening the length of time from a negative emotion to a positive thought, your positive attitude is helping your physical well-being instead of making you sick. There is much scientific research now supporting how thoughts affect your well-being.
The best tools to use are asking yourself questions, questions that shine the light on your unique assets. We all have positive assets.
Again, one of the ways a coach can help you is to shorten what Edmeades calls the Hindsight Window Gap. With gentle questioning to yourself, you learn to dig deep and find the answers, which were already within you.