By DANA DITTMAR
I’ve been writing this column for over six years now, and it truly is a labor of love. However, it’s still labor. I try to come up with over 50 columns a year.
Self-discipline is not one of my virtues. Sometimes I feel about writing like I used to feel about piano practice. I know doing it will make me better. As a kid, if I was inspired by a new piece of music, I’d sit at the piano all day and work on it until I’d mastered it. But if it was the same old etude… eh. Not so much.
Practice does not make you perfect. Perfect practice makes you perfect. Still, it’s something we have to do. You didn’t become a fast typist by only doing it once a year for 10 minutes. Nor did you become a whiz at that computer game by only playing it every other month on the second Wednesday.
Here’s something we all could use a little more practice doing: separating ourselves from our own negativity, other negative people and the damage they do. Nothing saps your energy more than negativity. As any Star Wars fan knows, use the Force for good. Do not succumb to the Dark Side.
That’s often easier said than done. A body in motion tends to stay in motion, especially if that motion is heading downhill. But there are some ways to slow it down until it stops completely.
The most important thing to do is to refrain from making your thoughts your words. Do not vocalize your bad mood to anyone, even your best friend. Especially keep it from your coworkers who might inadvertently catch it and spread it around the rest of the office like a bad cold. By keeping it to yourself silently, you take its power away.
Next, stop what is contributing to your bad mood, and go into an area where you are completely by yourself. The stall in the bathroom is a great place. And then repeat to yourself out loud, “This is a great day, with great potential, and I can tackle anything if I just quiet my mind and let things be!” You might have to say it out loud several times, but just keep saying it. (Don’t listen to any voices or laughter you might hear from the other stall…)
So, here I am with another column done, all because I stood up from the computer, went into the ladies’ room and talked to myself. I’ve been using this trick for a lot of years and it always works for me. Maybe that’s because I practice — perfectly.