Happy Thanksgiving

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What does Thanksgiving mean to you?  A family brainstorm on the holiday created the image above, with a few edits here and there.  I originally thought tradition would have best represented the “T” ,but someone else felt it was more about being together than traditions.  Another shared nostalgia for “N“, a word I had not considered, but felt it appropriate since our current activities would some day be pleasant memories.  In an attempt to create new vocabulary, I wanted to add a letter to the word Thanksgiving, “F“.  It was missing family and friends and I think we all could agree without family and friends, Thanksgiving would be a meaningless word.  I tried to match amigo with the “A“, but got voted down.  Also edited, gas for “G“, even though the thought process was clearly logical, “since we are eating all of that food.” Got to love the minds of little boys. From our family here at TURNING STONEchoice to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Everyday Thankfulness – Why is it so hard to do?

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At any moment in time, it’s easy to be welled up with thanksgiving when the “big things” in life come around, like receiving an unexpected gift, a promotion, or being cued by a holiday. But that moment is just that, a fleeting feeling of gratitude, and then it’s back to the same-old attitude. Why is it so difficult to have everyday thankfulness for the little things we take for granted, which really aren’t little at all, like clean drinking water, a roof over our heads, and food to eat? The key to unlocking this virtue may be an understanding of the reasons we struggle to maintain a grateful attitude. Sometimes, gratitude is the victim of short-term memory loss. We forget all about our past and current benefits and grumble on forward. We tend to take for granted the people closest to us and simple, everyday things in our lives. This ungratefulness shapes our interactions.

I recall, after Hurricane Sandy, being without electricity for several days, and, when the power came back on, I was overwhelmingly grateful. Today, I don’t have that same attitude, since I’m not without. I leave lights on when I shouldn’t, and everything that has a plug is in an outlet, and I’m not being very energy conscious. (Don’t judge. You aren’t, either). I guess absence does make the heart grow fonder.
So, again, why is it hard to keep a positive attitude and maintain inner gratitude? There could be a link to a theory related to positive thinking and negative thinking. The latter is coined Brain Negativity Bias. According to Wikipedia, Brain Negativity Bias is a psychological phenomenon in which humans have a greater recall of unpleasant memories, compared with positive ones. Humans are much more likely to recall, and to be influenced by, the negative experiences of the past. Basically, our brains tend to focus on negativity, and this could very well be a major cause of our uphill battle to thankfulness. Some modes of thought explain that this is in place as a survival mechanism, allowing us to detect and to respond to dangerous stimuli. So we are fighting nature and our own brain. Ugh!! Are we just natural-born ingrates? If we are always leaning into our negative thoughts and experiences, then thankfulness is almost out of reach. I did say, “almost.”

There are ways to foster gratitude by consciously focusing and engaging our brain in an empowering choice to be grateful. We can also develop a small ritual of sharing something we are grateful for each day or writing it down at the end of the day. With the reference of a journal filled with grateful moments, perhaps we can reverse our short-term memory loss. One of the most gracious ladies I know on this planet shared with a large group of women her experience with bitterness, and she did not like the woman she was becoming. She decided to write down three things she was grateful for every day for 30 days. Some days were a major stretch, like the ability to breath in air, but she continued to focus on the positive gifts each day gave her. It must have worked, because, like I mentioned, she is incredibly gracious, and people would have never known she was going through a hard time.

How will you maintain the spirit of Thanksgiving 365 days of the year? Happy Thanksgiving!

~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Thankful Annoyances

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What is wrong with my brain today? It just does not want to focus and get with the program, which is today’s blog deadline. I’ve got excellent Thanksgiving and gratitude topics to chat about, but I think I’ve got the dreaded case of writer’s blah! Plus, the computer ate my original blog, which I was not too thrilled about, a sign I probably should not publish. I’m totally complaining on a blog that is supposed to be encouraging thankfulness (insert laughter). But, aren’t the days filled with typical annoyances that pick away at our thankfulness until we are generally sour, curdled up, stinking milk? I don’t want to be stinking milk. A recent experience of spilled milk in the back of my car, left to grow an ungodly toxic smell, is a little too real of how behaviors and attitudes can stink up our world. The old saying, “Don’t cry over spilled milk” needs some tweaking. We slowly accept a complaint here and there, and before we are aware of it, we have adopted a spirit of grumbling. This can lead to a weighed down spirit and a position of feeling low and out of control. Instead of deriving a wonder list of the things we are thankful for could we actually be thankful for the annoyances. Use them as tools to learning and growing in our ability to make self-empowering choices. We cannot always control the circumstances of our lives but we do control how we react to them. I’m thankful the computer decided to digest my original article and give me an opportunity to share an everyday issue rather than the perfunctory article on gratitude or thanksgiving. Besides, there is still time to write that one.

~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

NFL Investigation – Reviewing the fumble w/ Martin & Incognito

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I’m glued to Sports Center to figure out what makes a 300+ pound NFL lineman (Martin) cry, “Bully!” I believe it goes beyond the actions of another 300+ pound professional football player (Incognito) and that the NFL is on the cusp of addressing the culture of intimidation in the workplace. I’m sure, on the books, the NFL has established its code-of-conduct for workplace behavior, but when we talk “culture,” we address more of what is acceptable among the players, themselves. What is the “understanding” between rookies and veterans? If an extended history of long-suffering macho-ism is the tone from high school all the way to the pros then it will take more than written policy to break down the cultural norms. Norms that dictate that hazing is to be accepted, intimidation is to be tolerated, financial coercion is allowed, and players with less-than- combat- soldier attitudes need to conform. The facts are just beginning to slowly surface, and speculation is just that. The “fumble” in this review would point to an epic failure in communication with everyone accountable for his part. Failure from management to communicate effectively what a positive environment looks like, sounds like, feels like, a failure from veteran players to communicate and create a legacy of trust without the rookie trials of fire. If you made it to the pros then you have already proved yourself and have to continue to prove yourself on the field. And, sadly, if Martin had communicated immediately and consistently to others on how he would like to be treated, spoken to and encouraged, perhaps the dynamic between he and the team would look very different. The NFL investigation will undoubtedly churn some additional controversies to deliberate when it comes to not just individuals but the overall history of the NFL workplace environment. Having recently improved the safety of the players on the field, the League will now have to turn its attention to equal protection off the field.

~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Relevant Book for student-athletes to consider reading is Angst by Christopher Avery. Follow link for review at http://www.amazon.com/Angst-Christopher-Avery/dp/0984002200/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385140013&sr=8-1&keywords=angst+christopher+avery