If, however, you don’t know your dreams and have no direction, this false positivity creates a world where you talk instead of do and wander around wearing rose-colored glasses with a slightly stupid smile on your face.
Life Without Talking
All of the Lab Rats talk too much (although Lizzie only talks to herself). They all have ideas that they discuss and plan but do very little to implement.
For example, Alessio wants to start a blog and he talks about blogging all the time, but he doesn’t actually do anything about it. He knows the small steps he could take to get the blogging going, but he doesn’t and is stuck in the talking mode.
Lizzie (to herself) talks about all the things she doesn’t get around to: taxes, weight loss, puppy training, sleeping. In her case the talking happens because she puts heavy expectations on herself, expecting perfection right away and procrastinates getting started because (of course) perfection isn’t possible.
Horatio’s overtalking problem is more general. He knows exactly what he could be doing to move forward all the things he talks about, but he doesn’t actually move forward. For Horatio this block may come from the major block in his professional life – how can he move anything forward if the one of the most important parts of his life is completely stagnant?
And for Wendee it comes down to attitude. She doesn’t do things because she harbors negative thoughts and feelings about many things in her life including her art, her desire to go back to school, her writing abilities.
In one of my favourite fantasy books, Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede, the main character, Cimorene finds herself about to be married off to a Prince she can’t stand. Eventually she finds herself in a conversation with a talking frog who asks her what she was going to do about the situation. Cimorene tells him about all the people she’s talked to and complained to. He replies with:
“I didn’t ask you what you’d said about it. I asked what you’re going to do. Nine times out of ten, talking is a way of avoiding doing things.”
The Lab Rats now know what they’re avoiding doing. How about you?
Life Without The Rose-Colored Glasses
As I mentioned before, we live in a positivity-obsessed world. In some ways it’s a good thing – much better to look for the good in people and situations than the bad, but when taken to the extreme it means trying to move forward while wearing rose-colored glasses, not seeing the world as it really is. When that happens we refuse to acknowledge the obstacles to progress and then wonder why nothing happens.
When the Lab Rats took off their rose-colored glasses they admitted to some pretty bleak situations with families that are indifferent or downright unsupportive, complicated romantic relationships, fear and a lack of trust in the possibility of a secure financial future doing something they enjoy, and a general disregard for physical fitness (although some of the Lab Rats are beginning to make an effort on that front).
A pretty harsh lesson hides in what the Lab Rats discovered when they took off the reality-altering glasses: you can’t rely on anyone else to make you happy.
I don’t mean we can’t get support from others or ask for help. I mean we are the only person who can make us happy. We choose to accept negativity from those around us. We choose to be judged by others (I’m big-time guilty of this one). We (for the most part) choose our work situations (often based on our desires to not disappoint others). And we choose what level of fitness we live with on a daily basis (notice I don’t say we choose what level of health because often illness is not a choice).
By actually looking at the world clearly, the Lab Rats can begin to make decisions based on what they want rather than what others want and can see where they are making assumptions that just aren’t true.
Last week the Lab Rats learned to pay attention to their fear and to begin to find ways to use their fear to move themselves forward. This week they’ve done the same with the reasons and excuses for not making choices and taking charge of their lives. By being aware of these various excuses they can derail negative thinking and keep false positivity at bay.
And how do they do that? By deciding what they want out of life, regardless of what others think and finding small steps to pursue.
Which is what we get into next week: defining their dreams.