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10 Things that will Erode Psychological Safety in Marriage

Emotional safety erosion in the marriage institution is the gradual destruction and degradation of the level of confidence that partners share in each other regarding their interpersonal-relational-self-image and status by various contradictory behavioral agencies that ensue. Let us discover some of these culprit behavioral agencies.

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Psychological or Emotional safety erosion in marriage relationships is a slow process that we fail to see on time before it is already far gone. Emotional safety erosion in the marriage institution is the gradual destruction and degradation of the level of confidence that partners share regarding their interpersonal-relational-self-image and status by various contradictory behavioral agencies that ensue. There are salient and obvious negative behavioral characteristics that erode the confidence that couples share in a marriage relationship. These adverse agencies could be by omission (i.e., unknowingly) or commission (i.e., knowingly). However, physical and emotional abuses are the greatest enemies of a marriage relationship’s psychological safe zone. These abusive behavior forms erode the trust in a relationship and leave behind bitterness, inferiority complex, and lack of self-confidence. 

Every relationship requires a certain level of absolute trust to thrive. Older couples can tell you with all humility that trust and loyalty are critical ingredients needed to have a beautiful marriage. Developing this level of trust and commitment does not happen overnight. It is a function of time that is defined by corporate building by the two parties involved. There is a growth cycle laced with experiences as its building block that every relationship must go through. Couples grow daily to trust each other through the experiences they go through together. Developing emotional confidence starts with being comfortable with each other—letting go and relating without the shame of being judged for the simplest of things. This factor is at the nucleus of psychological safety in marriage relationships. It could be something as simple as “cutting the cheese” in each other’s presence. It could be something as profound as revealing a big secret of the past at the altar of confidence that could ruin your relationship. It could be anything that makes you feel exposed, and at your partner’s mercy. It is your emotional or physical Achille’s Heel, your point, or place of absolute vulnerability.

Trust is the foundation of Psychological Safety in marriage relationships

The most vulnerable one can ever be to another is showing the other individual your weaknesses and failures. This ability to take the risk to show your partner your vulnerability is the first step to building a psychologically safe zone and removing fear from your relationship. It is a zone that is free of any mental apprehension. It is a state of emotional freedom where one can let go and allow the partner full access through their hearts’ portals. Once couples feel comfortable with one another, they begin to open different parts of their lives to each other. There is a sense of emotional security. The defensive guards that surround their emotional vulnerabilities are let down. This dependability helps them give each other the support they require to grow as individuals and couples. Not being judged when you are at your lowest point encourages couples to understand one another and make the trust grow in the process. This understanding builds the surefire flames of friendship when they realize that they have a supportive partner and friend.

Trust allows couples the freedom to express their individuality and sexuality within the marriage union. Like any great team, the best form of liberty is when there is respect, excellent communication, and understanding with clearly defined boundaries, roles, and expectations within the relationship. A seamless team-spirited marriage relationship is an investment in hope, with each party extending a helping hand as they solidify the nuptial bonds in the marital association. They win various life psychological battles together. The feeling of emotional safety and lack of apprehension in a relational tie is exhibited in the freedom to express pain without reservation or being overly needy. There is a level of mutual liberty and understanding that the couple shares. Alternatively, it could also be the ability to stick your neck out for one another without a second thought. They are fully invested in each other’s emotions that they can risk letting each other into the depths of their deepest passions and experiences without an ounce of reservation.

Can your partner count on you? Are a true support for them? You answer

Emotional safety is the freedom to understand personal space and quiet time, but with the knowledge that it does not mean your partner is sending a silent message that he or she needs a break from the relationship. This confidence will give you clarity that the situation is just the usual personal space we all crave to make sense of the chaos of life, and not that he or she is distancing himself or herself from you. To attain this height of emotional safety requires a high-level mental maturity. No one desires to be in a relationship where they feel that they are emotionally smothered. No one craves in willful anticipation to be in a relationship where they sense that their significant other is steadily over their shoulder. Such action is a glaring sign of mistrust. Safe zones can either be a physical space or a mental place of comfort rooted in the knowledge that your partner loves you genuinely, and that love can never intentionally hurt you. The acceptance of this action means that psychological safety is the knowledge that each party in the union will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up, communicating their ideas, asking questions, showing their concerns, or making a mistake. 

Intimate relationships thrive on psychological safety. In an emotionally safe marriage, each spouse feels valued, understood, and accepted. Although emotionally abusive relationships might not leave physical marks, they can go deep leaving the individual with devastating psychological issues that take years to heal. In these relationships, we at times see one partner being overly dominant and aggressive, while the other one remains passive and at the negative receiving end of the union. The dominant partner is manipulative and selfish, always striving to make sure that it is their way or the highway. They abrasively unapologetic and will compass land and sea to always turn the script of guilt to their suffering partner—even when it is evident that they are the one in the wrong. The more passive partner, wanting peace to reign suffers in silence. Little by little, their psychological safety in the union is eroded until it’s no longer able to hold up the walls of confidence in the union. Emotional abuse corrodes self-esteem and can lead to an identity crisis. Emotional abuse is an eerie-cryptic-depressive-labyrinth of psychological solitude that should not be wished on anyone. Trust is as delicate as a rose. Once trampled, it is difficult and almost impossible to build it up again to its original state. These issues if experienced in a previous relationship can make it difficult to get into a new one. It can also affect your career, social life, and finances.

Emotional Depression

In the remain paragraphs of this article, we will look at ten things that can erode psychological safety in marriage relationships if not checked.

10 Things that will Erode Psychological Safety in Marriage

First is sarcasm—it can deal a fatal blow to the psychological safety of a marriage union. Making crass jokes at your partner’s expense is highly unacceptable and can quickly gnaw at emotional security. Words of ridicule may seem harmless at first, but they can be used to dig at your partner and communicate that you have been frustrated by an unmet expectation. Sarcastic comments that put your partner down will erode the psychological safety in marriage and likely leave your partner feeling frustrated. Please make efforts to speak words that will reassure your spouse that you’ve got their back. Speak uplifting words. Speak words that are motivating. Speak words that are infused with lots of positivity.

Beware of sarcasm!

The words that we say are very powerful. A Lewis Carroll once stated that “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’” Hence, married couples must weigh what they say to their significant others. Once that word or statement is let out of the bags of our buccal cavity, it’s out, and you can’t retrieve it again. If it is a graceful word, then it will build emotional safety deeply rooted in love. If it’s contrary, then it still achieves its effect. Remember the words of Francis de Sales, “Our words are a faithful index of the state of our souls.” Be careful of what you say, why you say it, and how you say it.

Second, taking each other for granted can cause an adverse ripple effect on a union or relationship’s cerebral security. Marriages often fail because couples fail to recognize and meet each other’s expectations. When the initial feelings of affection and the buzz of falling heads over heels wear off, there is a chance that couples could take each other for granted and may begin to lose interest in each other. This is the juncture where many relationships take the wrong turn. Instead of rekindling the flames of passion they initially had at the inception of the relationship, they become complacent with each other and allow the sparks to be extinguished by time.

At the onset of dating, couples usually make out time to see each other. As time passes, couples become lazy, and they begin to taper off when it comes to making the appropriate effort to keep the initial sparks of excitement alive. Keep the flames of your relationship alive—don’t allow the winds of indolence to blow it out. Not making a concerted effort to keep working at the relationship is a corporate investment in laziness, the rewards of which could be heart-wrenching and costly in the end. Taking your partner for granted can lead to a loss of respect for each other and spur emotional or physical infidelity, resentment, and constant relationship conflict.

Keep the flame of your relationship alive!

Some common relationship problems begin by not spending enough time alone together. Couples who have children commonly experience this relationship variation. When you factor in work and family obligations, the couple may begin to feel more like roommates with a mutual responsibility of just raising the kids than romantic partners on a mission. Being referred to as a roommate in your marriage could be because you have stopped ‘dating’ one another. Dating your spouse should never come to a halt. Remember, before the kids came along, there was just the two of you. Couples need to find time to fan the flames of the initial romance of dating. I know a couple in the Atlanta, Georgia area committed to continuing dating each other even after so many years of marriage. Guess what? Their marriage is still growing strong. What you focus on will flourish. Doing the contrary could make a partner feel unappreciated, unattractive, and emotionally frustrated.

Third, playing the blame game can numb psychological safety in a relationship. Having the “it’s all your fault mentality” can quickly erode the psychological safety in your union. The more you stop taking responsibility, the quicker you fall into playing the blame game. Take equal responsibility for building your home. Don’t let the weight of obligations rest on just one of the spouses on the see-saw of the marriage union. Don’t be lazy—help your partner out instead of pointing fingers at them and blaming them for things spiraling out of control. As it takes two to tango—two in a marital union must also put heads together to fix a flaw arising in their relationship—irrespective of who it came from. Humility and reason demand that the party at fault swallow their pride and extend an olive branch to resolve the dilemma peacefully.

Stop playing the blame—take responsibility as you swallow your pride

If you feel dissatisfied with any situation in your relationship, it is essential to address your needs in a calm, non-blaming way. It takes maturity to do this, and it solidifies psychological safety in the home. If one partner always sees themselves as the victim of blame coming from their significant other, he or she will eventually shut down. They may feel that no matter how hard they try, they can never be good enough for their partner. Playing the blame game is the coward’s way of not taking responsibility for their mistake. It will erode psychological safety in the home and has its roots in pride. In the words of a François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon, “Pride comes from a deeply buried root—it comes from the devil himself. Where pride is fostered, a person will be insincere, harsh, bitter, cutting, disdainful.” Eschew the blame game.

Fourth, threatening each other with divorce will destroy the emotional safety of a marriage union. Divorce threat from one spouse to the other could quickly help in the relationship’s degradation of psychological safety. When you make divorce threats, it shows that you are not genuinely committed to seeing the marriage last a lifetime. This could make your spouse feel rejected or unwanted. It could erode their sense of emotional security around you, leading to a diminishing effect on the love and commitment that they once shared in the relationship.

Sad little girl frustrated with a psychological problem caused by mom and dad arguing. Stop the divorce threats—Kids in the picture always suffer the most

Misunderstandings happen in marital unions. When couples have marital conflicts, the be-all and end-all of the situation should not always be divorce. It takes mature adults to resolve quarrels. The mention of divorce in jest could cause severe hurt to a partner in a marital union. It could also sow the seeds of doubt in your partner’s mind and cause irreparable damage to the relationship. When kids are in the picture, they suffer the most if the couple follows through with divorce over irreconcilable differences. Hence, be careful of threatening your spouse with divorce—it is potent cyanide that will kill your union’s emotional security.

Fifth, speaking in absolutes can help the cookie of psychological safety crumble. Speaking too firmly to your partner can be hurtful with words such as, “You are always late! I don’t remember you putting away the laundry! You never help out around the house!” You are telling your partner that they can never do anything right and that you don’t think they can change. When you use such words, they erode psychological safety in your marriage. When one partner lives mostly in a “Me” vs.  “We” paradigm—me-centered behaviors can negatively impact the relationship. Stop being an egomaniac. Psychological safety can be eroded when one spouse demands that the other spouse live up to their standard instead of their own personal standards. By pushing others to live up to the image that you project as necessary or ideal can create a feeling of resentment and discontentment.

Don’t be an egomaniac—it will end the psychological safety of your union

When it is blatantly apparent that you care more about yourself than your spouse, you are an egomaniac. You often start your sentences with “I.”  “I want this or that.” “Just get it done; I don’t care what happens along the way.” Instead of it being all about your partner, it is always all about you. You only care about what happens to you, and you could care less about your spouse’s emotions. It’s all about you, you, you. Your daily buzzword is “Me, Myself, and I.” These individuals are narcissistic to the core and are inordinately fascinated with themselves—they can only hear their own voice. Their excessive self-wantonness drowns out the drowning cry of their spouse. This is self-egotism at it’s very best. A partner to such a spouse may drown in the apprehension that they may never meet their egotistic spouse’s demands. Because of this, they may live with the fear that their spouse may leave them as soon as they get bored with the fact their spouse can never meet the demands of their self-centered self.

Sixth, bringing up your ex can corrode the psychological safety of your union. When you are angry or disappointed in your partner, it is easy to start making comparisons. You start comparing your spouse with your ex in one way or the other. You begin making slight comments about the flaws of your spouse in parallel to your past relationships. These individuals are also prone to nitpicking their significant others. Sometimes, these individuals could also compare their spouses with other people that may not be their ex. It could just be individuals they admire from afar who may have qualities that they desire in a spouse, completely lacking in their current partner.

Let go of your Ex—Stop comparing your spouse to others

It’s imperative for you never to let moments of dissatisfaction be a chance to minimize the things that you love about your partner. It is not a time to maximize an idealized version of your ex or someone desirable to you. Doing so will only erode the psychological safety that you share with your partner. Let bygone be bygone, and let your past relationships stay in the past. If you choose to always dwell in the past, you should not have committed to the present relationship. Continually living in your past is a red signal that you are in a non-fulfilling relationship. Be wary of this, stay in the present, and work out your differences with your spouse amicably. Stop comparing your spouse to others.

Seventh, absenteeism or coldness will erode the mental security of a marriage union. When couples fail to prioritize each other at a time of emotional need, it becomes a crack in their marital union’s foundation. This can have a devastating impact on their relationship and degrade the psychological safety they share. Failing to support your partner during highly stressful events in your lives can be emotionally grueling. Consistently missing opportunities to turn towards each other during the rigors of life could also be very destructive to the relationship. This is a clear sign of being absent from the union (i.e., absenteeism).

Stop being cold to your spouse—It erodes emotional safety

Some partners are also very good at giving their significant others the cold treatment or giving them the cold shoulder. Daily withdrawal and negative interactions can show how selfish you can act, how cold you can be, and how poorly you treat your partner. Engaging in these behaviors will silently destroy the emotional confidence that your spouse has towards you. Expunge absenteeism and stop giving your significant other the silent or cold treatment. Find time to be present for your spouse. Support one another in good and bad times. Mutually being there for one another will fortify the walls of psychological safety in the home.

Eight, lack of sex will cause the erosion of mental security in a marital union. Sex plays a huge role in relationships with physical, emotional, and even spiritual benefits. It is only natural that it would be the source of significant matrimonial issues. It is also the source of considerable emotional and psychological abuse in many homes. The absence or lack of sex thereof could erode the emotional safety in a marriage. When partners fail to reassure each other, their sex life naturally takes a hit. In most sexless marriages, the absence of any physical connection divides couples by destroying the bridge of communication. The erosion of communication, as a result, could also lead to the weathering of the emotional connection between the duo. What leads to sexless marriages?

In a study by a Madeleine A. Fugère Ph.D. on Psychology Today titled, “Do Married People Really Have Less Sex?”1 She established some reasons why married couples end up having less sex. First, “due to a sense of a loss of newness or familiarization to your partner.” The spark or flames of partners goes down as time goes by; however, it is the married duo’s responsibility to fan the flames of passion for keeping it blazing and anew. Couples also become over-familiar with themselves. Because of this, the passions the share often wanes. Second, she establishes that children coming into the equation in marriage often reduce sex between couples. The demands of childcare arise, and many times increased fatigue sets in, leading to a decreased sexual interest. This is also supported by an article from Times Magazine in an OpEd written by Belinda Luscombe.2

Rejecting your partners sexual advances can lead to the erosion of psychological safety

Third, career demands could be a factor that leads to the depletion of sexual desire in a marriage union. However, she supposes through her research that it could go either way from factual data. Some studies have shown that more work has also led to couples desiring more sex. Fourth, she also establishes that as couples age, sexual desire could go down due to hormonal changes in the human body. Also, an increased likelihood of illness or sexual dysfunction could occur due to aging. These are some of the factors that lead to sexless marriages, which could impact the emotional security that couples share in a marriage.

Dr. Madeleine A. Fugère did not just point out the several hiccups that cause a sexless marriage.  She makes several propositions on how couples can keep intimacy alive in their unions. First, she calls for couples to institute kid-free times to spend time with each other. Second, schedule time for intimacy—like you schedule a time for other tasks. Third, discuss your desires with your spouse—communication is crucial. Fourth, infuse creativity in intimacy. Fifth, put in effort in building marital satisfaction—it increases psychological safety and trust. Sixth, have a sense of humor—be fun to be around. Couples need to take time and reassure one another by satisfying each other’s sexual needs regularly. This will help in solidifying emotional security in the home.

Ninth, cheating and other forms of infidelity can rupture the bubble of psychological safety in marriages. Marital infidelity is a huge issue in relationships. The advent of the Internet has multiplied the chances that men and women are exposed to indulge in cheating escapades. The Internet is now a channel for emotional affairs. In pursuing extramarital happiness, people now resort to using social media as a platform for wandering eye adventures. People get attracted to each other over social media. Communications commence on a platonic level. It then graduates to a more romantic level of relationship. Before you know it, it gravitates towards a physical or even virtual sexual relationship. Mobile technology is also making cheating a lot easier as couples now drift into the macrocosm of sexting with their cheating partners. Today, many people get so attached to their mobile technology that it begins to erode the level of mental security that couples share on a face-to-face basis with their spouses.  (Check out these two articles, “Mobileholism: The Dangers of Technological Addiction” and “Is the Social Media Culture Eroding Face-to-Face Social Interactions?”). Those who are not careful, and those who do not reinforce their commitment to each other face the dangers of drifting into the world of cheating on their spouses.   

Technology plays a role in mobile infidelity

Marital infidelity resulting from sneaking around can seriously erode psychological safety in a marriage union and relationships, sometimes irreversibly. Albeit unjustified, in extreme cases, some men and women are sometimes forced to cheat when their partner uses sexual deprival as a form of punishment. Those who are sex-deprived in their homes often suffer—socially and psychologically. They become emotionally detached from their spouses. This could become the catalyst that stimulates the wandering eye for the man or the woman experiencing the deprivation. Those who cannot stay chaste through the abuse they face often resort to various improper means of satisfying their natural urges. Some drift into the detestable world of pornography and self-stimulation. Others resort to visiting the red light districts in their cities in the quest to satisfy their sexual urges. As they become more addicted to such pernicious habits, they are further drawn away emotionally from their spouses, further eroding psychological safety in the home. 

Sexual deprivation is not the only thing that causes the erosion of emotional security. Emotional and social deprivation also go a long way to cripple the psychological trust in marital unions that drive partners to cheat. Some people put up emotional barriers towards their spouses by not communicating enough (e.g., absenteeism and coldness). Not being able to connect emotionally and on a social level with their spouses drives these individuals away as they seek emotional and social connection and security outside the home. In their pursuit of passionate and social sanity, some people even go to the extent of forming emotional ties with the other man or woman outside the home. Marital infidelity is not right and can help collapse the psychological trust that partners share. So, make sure that you are not the reason why your spouse is moving away from you. Examine your union together. Correct your marital variations amicably, and continue to build the strength of your union. It takes time to build emotional safety. Cheating can destroy in a moment what it took years to establish.    

Three young beautiful people sit on a wooden bench and enjoy the autumn landscape—a love triangle and betrayal

Tenth, the lack of adequate finances or the overabundance thereof can erode psychological safety. One of the most common things that can cause the erosion of cerebral security in relationships is poor financial management. The lack of financial management acumen can cause a lot of rift in a marital union and erode mental security in the process. The erosion of emotional security can ensue when couples don’t have enough financial resources to care for their basic needs. Couples have rifts when they lack the business acumen to know how to split the home’s financial burdens. When the breadwinner’s burden falls on one spouse, emotional tension may arise in the face of mounting financial obligations because of such a situation. In many situations, couples need to be yoked together in bearing the burden of financial responsibility to make ends meet. There needs to be some equilibrium in the carrying of financial responsibilities.

A psychological rift can occur in a home that thinks solely on liabilities rather than in assets. A lot of couples spend their hard-earned cash on things that cause more indebtedness. Amid financial opulence, a psychological rift may arise when one of the partners thinks in assets and the other reasons with a sensibility that leans on liabilities. In this scenario, there is no mutual financial understanding. There is no common financial concord. The asset-thinker ruminates on how they can increase their cash flow, while the other spouse is only thinking of how they can spend the money—not on things that can help improve their cash flow—but on things that will continue to deplete the funds that are coming in. Other things that can cause the erosion of psychological safety relating to income are losing a job, ballooning debt, stinginess, overspending, etc. are all common issues that can put pressure on any marriage.

Couple having financial problems and analyzing family budget

In summary, psychological safety in a home or marriage situation is the level of confidence spouses share related to their inter-personal-relational-self-image. The erosion of emotional security in marriages can be latent and often unchecked before it is too late. Trust is a requirement in establishing the foundations of psychological safety in the home. The emotional security safe zone in the marriage situation is a place free of any form of mental apprehension. As stipulated in the preceding paragraphs above, several things can erode psychological safety in a marriage union. We looked at sarcasm, taking each other for granted, playing the blame game, divorce threats, speaking in absolutes, bringing up past relationships and exes, absenteeism or coldness, lack of sex, marital infidelity, and poor financial management. These variations and possibly more can impact the mental security of couples in a marriage relationship. The onus now lies on the couple to build the foundations of their psychological safety. Failure to do so could be devastating. A word is enough for the wise.

References

  1. Fugère, M.A. (2016, May 3). Do married people really have less sex? Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/dating-and-mating/201605/do-married-people-really-have-less-sex
  2. Luscombe, B. (2018, October 26). Why are we having so little sex? Time Magazine. Retrieved from https://time.com/5297145/is-sex-dead/
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Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze is an entrepreneur and the Founder, CEO, Editor-In-Chief of Oaekpost, LLC, a U.S.-based online media company and the parent organization of www.oaekpost.com. He is a multi-niche writer with a wide range of interests in various genres. Agom-Eze is based in the Greater Seattle Area, Washington, and can be reached at ogb@oaekpost.com.

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Motivation

Pay Attention to the Road Stupid!

Some people live in the past so much that they forget to live in the now. We can learn from the past, but we should never pitch our tents there. Let us look forward to the prize ahead in the future by building in the present. Using a driving allegory, let us understand more about this. Please, read all about it.

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Some people live in the past so much that they forget to live in the now. The past is an astute teacher that instructs us on previous happenings that allow us to live better in the present to have the future that we desire. Albeit an intelligent teacher, we cannot remain perpetually in his classroom. We must quickly apply the lessons we garner from the past to the present. Our present determines our tomorrow.

“Step on the past lessons and transcend. Dwell on past laurels, and it will likely drown your present like a millstone hanging around your neck.” — Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze.

Dwelling perpetually in the past will make us miss out on the present happenings that determine our tomorrow. Whether good or bad, lessons from the past can positively or negatively affect our everyday living. Learning suitable lessons from the past helps us shape our present for the better. We grow, we evolve, we become the very best that the universe has to offer. Wrong lessons of the past can either become mistakes we can avoid in the present if we heed their lessons. However, we can repeat mistakes of the past if we fail to learn. 

“Doing so would likely drown your present like a millstone hanging around your neck.”

Hence, we only need a quick glance back to the past—learn and move forward to become that person that destiny intends us to become. Once again, dwelling on the past, whether good or bad, can negatively hamper our present, which affects our future. No wonder many end up having ghastly Destiny-Accidents that dot their lives and existence. In the words of Robert Plant, an English singer and songwriter, once said that “The past is a stepping stone, not a millstone.” Step on the past lessons and transcend. As you wade through the waters of this life, don’t dwell on past laurels. Doing so would likely drown your present like a millstone hanging around your neck.  

A quick glance back to the past is akin to the automobile driving process in some ways. But how? Have you ever wondered why you have one big front windscreen in your car and three small rearview mirrors? When driving, you look forward to the road via your front windscreen, right? As you go, you take swift glances backward through your rearview mirror at the center of your front windscreen. Or you use your side rearview mirrors to monitor your left and right sides as you flow and navigate through. Sometimes when driving, you may need to turn to the left or to the right quickly to check your blind spots.

“…you use your side rearview mirrors to monitor your left and right sides as you flow and navigate through.”

However, when you drive, you focus 99.5% of the time on looking at the road ahead. The other 0.5% of the time is spent using your center rearview, and two side mirrors to take a quick glance backward or to the sides. In addition, you also take quick glances at your blind spots to make sure that you are not missing anything. The essence of this all is part of the defensive driving process to ensure that you are staying clear of others on the road. Although the hypothetical percentage of viewing the sides and rear while driving is infinitesimal, it could be the key to a life-or-death situation on the road. Also, these days, people take quick glances at their phones while driving—a bad and dangerous habit, to be honest. (NB. Don’t text and drive).

The previous paragraph explains the normal process of driving. We spend the predominant amount of our driving time paying attention to the road ahead. We do our best to avoid distractions while we survey the road as we drive. However, what would happen if you flip the script in percentages? If you spend 99.5% of the time looking backward and 0.5% of the time looking forward on the road through your windscreen, what will happen to you as you drive? Umm, your guess is as good as mine—you instantly become a danger to yourself and others on the road. You will most definitely have an accident on the road, and may God help you if you survive the crash. Pay attention to the road stupid!

“You will most definitely have an accident on the road, and may God help you if you survive the crash.”

Don’t get me wrong, the past is essential. There are things in everyone’s past that teach them—successes, Relationships, Trauma, etc. Harvey Mackay, an American businessman, author, and syndicated columnist with Universal Uclick, once said that we should “Learn from the past, but don’t live there. Build on what you know so that you don’t repeat mistakes. Resolve to learn something new every day. Because every 24 hours, you have the opportunity to have the best day of your company’s life.” The past is a learning place, not a dwelling place. Take a glance at it and let it inform your present. 

So, regarding the past, we are meant to take a quick glance at it, learn, and continue moving forward. Focus on the road ahead—focus on your destiny, goals, ambitions, and purposes so that you can get to your destination in one piece. However, we must spend 99.5% of the time looking ahead; looking to the past should be 0.5% of the time. Just the same way, we take agile glances at our center rearview and two side mirrors. Flip the percentages in this metaphorical analysis. If you spend 99.5% of your time looking at the past losses and victories you have experienced—you will soon be a goner. You will crash your destiny so bad that you will become history yourself.

But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven.”

Friends, do you think that Paul of Tarsus was a boneheaded idiot when he made that statement in Philippians 3:12-14 that “I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So, I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done?” (Contemporary English Version (CEV)) Far from that, he was a sage at best to say that “we keep our eyes on the mark, the bullseye ahead,” so that we don’t shipwreck our individual causes.

“Life is a culmination of the past, an awareness of the present, an indication of a future beyond knowledge, the quality that gives a touch of divinity to matter.” — Charles Lindbergh.

So, what has happened has happened—we cannot change the past. What is behind us are lessons. We can only pick up the blocks of history to build the edifices of our tomorrow in the present. The building blocks of your historical heritage are of no use when you remain in the past. Even if you had a DeLorean to go back in the past, it is still not humanly possible to build in the past. We can only create now. So, don’t be stupid to not pay attention to the road of your destiny. Pay attention to the road. Keep looking ahead to the end of your purpose and destination. Feed the data from your past into the Central Processing Unit (CPU) of your present. Use this information to write the program for your future. Carpe diem!

  

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Motivation

15 Stratagems for Bouncing Back When Out of It

Are you fed up with everything? Are you at the point where you are ready to throw in the towel? Don’t give up yet—don’t give in at all. Learn the fifteen things you can do to pick yourself up when you are at your wit’s end! Please read all about it!

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Life is indeed a rollercoaster. We are constantly in the game of Life’s ups and downs, and quite honestly, we sometimes do feel burnout and get to the point of wanting to give up. But we don’t have to give up. As the saying goes, if life throws you lemons, make lemonade out of it. Simply put, you don’t have to hit rock bottom before you get out of the rut. Use the challenges that life throws at you and make something good out of it. Make good use of the difficult times in your life.

“I have to pick myself up every day and say, ‘The show must go on,’ meaning Life as I know it must go on, whatever the obstacle is, I know I can handle it, and I can get through it.” — Jennie Garth. 

No one’s life is perfect; we all have one thing or the other that poses a challenge. Chances are, the bills we must pay, the family we have to provide for, the work we have to go to, or perhaps the fact that you are out of a job are all good enough reasons to weigh us down. Life always has a way of hitting us from various angles that could hinder our psyche and will to continue. However, what you make out from those circumstances is what matters most. Our approach to these life changes is what makes the difference at the end of the day. 

Life at times deals us cards that we don’t expect. It can be crushing. However, what you make out from those circumstances is what matters most.

For example, you’ve been to several job interviews and only get rejection letters. It’s depressing. However, it is not enough for you to give up. Your problem may not be a career dilemma. It could be financial problems, health issues (e.g., the COVID-19 Pandemic), mental health variances and exhaustion, relationship issues, and other forms of stress. Ask yourself questions, how can you re-strategize? What can you do differently? Where can you make lifestyle adjustments to help better your current circumstance? These questions will help to offset the idea of giving up.

“Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable.” — Joe Biden, 46th U.S. President.

Many things could cause us to get fed up with Life. However, the rule of the game is never to give up. Thomas A. Edison once said that “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Getting fed up and giving up should never be our option. Because of this, I have put down the following practical steps that will help you learn how to overcome self-rejection and regain self-confidence. You will be a much happier person and live a fulfilled life. Let’s dig into some of these steps: 

#1. Call a Spade a Spade!

Call a spade a spade! Keep it real! Be brutally honest with yourself!

Let’s be honest here. You cannot tackle a problem if you don’t first admit there was one. You must come to a point whereby you tell yourself the truth. You must keep it real and acknowledge that something is not going the way you want it. Don’t sit and pretend that everything is fine when you know it is not. Instead, sit yourself down and think about it for a moment. What are those things that are not working out for you right now? Once you have a clear admittance that something is not right, you can start all over again.

#2. Discover Who You Are

Do you know who you are?

You won’t appreciate yourself if you don’t know your true worth or what you want to make out of Life. Self-awareness is essential when you are on a journey of picking up yourself. The fact remains that if you don’t know your worth or who you indeed are, you might continue on a cyclical journey. No one wants to be called a champion in the game called circle. You want your life to be full of purpose and meaning. 

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” — Bernice Johnson Reagon.

To help you drill down this point more, first, try out a personality test. Second, take a pen and a small notebook, find a quiet corner, or time and write down your likes, dislikes, personality traits, hobbies, and family history—you can ask family members to help with the family history. Third, once you’ve done that, take some time and reflect on your notes. These questions should give you a better understanding of who you are at the end of the day. They would help you know who you want to become. 

Understand your personality.

When doing the personality test, be honest to write both your good and bad traits. The truth is that we are all made up of both good and bad characteristics. If you are hot-tempered, funny, attractive, hostile, sensitive, open, defensive, etc.—write what pertains to you down. Doing so will help you distinguish the good from the bad. It will also help you start working on improving these bad traits. The good news is that there is room for change if you so desire. 

“I think self-discovery is the greatest achievement in life, because once you discover yourself and accept what you are, then you can fulfill your true potential and be happy.” — Marco Pierre White.

This simple personality test exercise allows you to define your characteristics, know yourself better, see yourself in a well-adjusted manner, and above all, inspire you to become self-aware and make changes. If you wish to take a more profound journey to discover who you are, grab a copy of the book, Unearthing Your Latent Potentials: Discovering the Gems of Your Subliminal-Self by Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze. The author takes you on a practical journey that gives you answers on who you indeed are. 

#3. Have Self-Confidence 

“Yes, you!” You are all that and a bag of chips. Stay motivated and self-confident!

Once you have discovered who you truly are, embrace it and have confidence in your ability and qualities. In the words of Marcus Garvey, Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator, “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” Having self-confidence boosts your energy to focus on your goals and keeps you motivated. Realistically, confidence is not an attribute one is born with, to say the least. It is a virtue or trait that you cultivate over time. The more you practice, the better you will get at it. 

#4. Appreciate Yourself

“No matter how awkward you might think you are, appreciate yourself!”

Why wait for others to appreciate you? Every individual is unique and has different purposes. No matter how awkward you might think you are, appreciate yourself! Your uniqueness distinguishes you from everyone else because that is your unique identity, and you can use that to change the world. Enjoying yourself requires you to own up to your imperfections. After all, no one is perfect. Also, dwelling more on your positive traits rather than negatives will help you see yourself in a good light. 

#5. Be Grateful

Being grateful is a personal choice. You must be intentional about it. 

Having a grateful attitude will help you to pick yourself up quicker. Why? Because it allows you to appreciate people and things around you. It also opens your eyes to realize where you have come from, which gives you a humble perspective of Life. You may not be where you want to be at the end of the day, but it often is quicker for us to forget what we had or where we used to be. Joel Osteen, the American pastor, and televangelist, once said that “Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life.” So, it pays to be grateful for where you are now and your accomplishments thus far. Being thankful is a conscious choice that you must make. You must be intentional about it.  

“Every day, I like to wake up and remind myself to be grateful for the simple things.” — Miranda Kerr.

One effective way to develop a grateful attitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. Create a journal daily for a week or as you wish, write down things that you are thankful in Life for as it comes to you. Start from your body, walk your way down to your personality. Write about what people say they like about you. For example, do you like the shape of your nails, your dressing, your hair, the tone of your voice? Put them down. Do you like that you are a confident individual—you are not shy, or you want to see the best in people—write them down. Has someone ever said they like the way you speak, your smile, or that you have a lovely voice? Write them down. By the time you carry out this exercise for a week, you will have many things to be grateful for at the end of the day.

#6. Think Positive

Cultivate the art of positive thinking.

To be successful in the journey of becoming your best self, you need first to be proactive and develop a positive attitude about yourself. How do you achieve that? Think positive about yourself, and you will see that self-transformation working its magic. Stop thinking of all the things that could ever go wrong or how people will judge you. Channel your energy on how you can succeed at something that seems challenging to you. The more you think positively about yourself, the more it will reflect in your actions, and without any shadow of a doubt, you will feel a sense of satisfaction with yourself. 

#7. Speak Positively About Yourself

Be kind to yourself. Don’t speak bad about yourself. Speak positively about yourself. 

It is possible to think positively about yourself without verbalizing it. There is power in positive self-speak. The speaking aspect of it makes it more real. It gives you a sense of ownership. It reinforces what you believe in because words are compelling. What you say about yourself can either motivate you or demotivate you. It could nudge you into actualizing your dream self, or it could destroy your future eventually.

“Live life to the fullest and focus on the positive.” — Matt Cameron. 

Self-talk reaffirms your purpose in Life. The more you speak positively about yourself, the more you will believe in the meaning of why you are here. Rather than saying ‘I can’t,’ substitute it with ‘I’m able to.’ Your words define you. We end up becoming what we speak about ourselves. Our words are catalysts that motivate our becoming whatever our mind creates. We are what we think. We become what we think because we speak what we believe. What we think and what we say is concomitantly in pari passu. So, do yourself a favor and talk positively about yourself. 

#8. Spend Time with Positive People

Your company and association say a lot about who you are and who you will eventually become. Spend time with positive people.

The company that we keep says a lot about who we are and who we eventually morph into—bad company corrupts, good company elevates. Spending time with positive people is very transformative. Associating with such people helps shift our perspective about Life and readjusts our mindset to positive thoughts too. It also influences our behavior and choices. They make us believe in ourselves and achieve our dreams. 

#9. Stop Complaining

Time out! Stop complaining already!

Complaining without trying to change your situation doesn’t make it any better. It’s ok to vent concerning the things you are going through occasionally. However, it would help if you never made it a habit to always complain about everything. In the words of Harvey Mackay, American businessman, author, and syndicated columnist with Universal Uclick, “Life isn’t fair. It’s true, and you still have to deal with it. Whining about it rarely levels the playing field, but learning to rise above it is the ultimate reward.” Whining or complaining never makes things better. Learn to arise the problems you have.

“A little less complaint and whining, and a little more dogged work and manly striving, would do us more credit than a thousand civil rights bills.” — W. E. B. Du Bois. 

So, when next you are about to complain, stop, think, and ask yourself if it is worth it. Complaining is a limiting action—you make no progress. It makes you toxic and disgusting to others when you are always angry and complaining. In the words of Dennis Prager, the American conservative radio talk show host, and writer, “Complaining not only ruins everybody else’s day, but it also ruins the complainer’s day, too. The more we complain, the more unhappy we get.” Stop it already! Complainants are petty and only adds stress to us. The truth is that it is an unnecessary exercise. Please give it up as it will help to reframe your mind. 

#10. Quit Pleasing Others

Be the reason why someone smiles. In the process of doing so, don’t forget to love yourself.

It is good to be nice to people, help them, and do nice things for them. However, please, please know your boundary. When we aim to please others at our own expense, we deny ourselves the care and attention we need. You need to know your limit and learn to say no sometimes. Pleasing others doesn’t make you any better person than you are already. 

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” — Arthur Ashe.

Often, people are not aware of the way they made you feel. On many occasions, if they treat you in ways that are not welcoming to you, they probably didn’t mean to many times over. Most of the time, the people you are trying to please don’t appreciate your effort, and that’s why it is essential to know when to draw the line. Care and love others but remember to love yourself in the process. 

Remember to love yourself!

Can I drop this here? Everybody must not like you no matter how hard you try. I know it sounds harsh, but without any apology, it is the truth. You can never please everyone, even if you try. Some people are deliberately difficult. You must be intentional in cutting such people off as they are chronic timewasters. So why waste your time, energy, and resources trying to please someone who does not care or appreciate your efforts. Like the quote says above, “…do what you can,” even when it comes to pleasing others. 

#11. Stop Comparing Yourself with Others

Stop comparing yourself with others! You are just stressing your life doing so!

Comparing yourself with others can be very draining and bad for your sanity. It spawns from the pursuit of always keeping up with the Jone’s. It won’t get you anywhere. Stop trying to be like everyone else. Just be yourself! Be grateful for what you have, where you are in life, and who you are! Because if you believe in yourself, you should also be thankful for where you are going. 

“Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another.” — Marquis de Condorcet.

You may not know the secret behind that person’s life that you are wasting your time comparing yourself with and trying to compete with them. Instead of comparing your status with someone else’s, invest your time and energy developing and improving yourself. You can spend some time and money if needed and learn new skills and hobbies. Doing this can make you a better person to the person you are comparing yourself with after all is said and done.

#12. Get Your Hands on Your Passion

Find your passion with young woman holding a tablet computer in a chair

Find what you are good at and explore it more—get your hands on your passion factor and keep it there. It may be that you have the skills to write, and you’ve never discovered that you would love writing until you tried it. The moment you wrote a piece, you felt relaxed, and most importantly, your audience loved it; you then began writing more frequently. Your passion could be anything! We encourage you to lay your hands on it and never let go if it is something positive. Nurture it and grow it until it becomes an enormous metaphorical oak tree of achievement that you could ever envision!

“You can do anything as long as you have the passion, the drive, the focus, and the support.” — Sabrina Bryan.

Spending time doing what you love can be an excellent way to detox your mind of all the negatives. If you are not sure what your passion might be, ask yourself what you love doing in your spare time—that could be the clue that makes all the difference. Do you love knitting, cooking, walking, reading, exercising, or even chatting to friends? You never know; you might start making a living out of your passion once you’ve discovered it. For me, I love baking as a means to de-stress. You could explore how you can start a talk show if you love chatting. Just get your hands on what you love doing and do it more. 

#13. Help Someone

Help someone in your journey as you transcend!

I know you might say, “Umm, wait a second, am I not the one that needs help here? Hey! You can help someone pick themselves up when you are on the journey of picking yourself up. No matter how deep or down you think you are, some other person may be in a more precarious state than you. Someone out there needs your help and your time. You may not have the resources to offer to them, but your time and words of encouragement will make an impact in their journey—intentionally lookout for someone to help. There is a satisfaction that spawns from such altruistic action that allows you further heal and transcend. 

#14. Just Be Yourself

You are unique! Be you!

Being true to who you are is good for your mental well-being. Your mental health is crucial, especially when passing through the doldrums of pain and life pressures. Being true to who you are will help you realize when you need help. If you are true to yourself, you should know the point when you can’t take it anymore and that it is time to speak to someone and seek professional help. In the multitude of proper counsel, there is safety. If you’re tired of everything, it’s okay to ask for help.

“Be yourself, but always your better self.” — Karl G. Maeser.

Be true to yourself. Seek help when you are tired of living! Seek counsel! Don’t take matters into your own hands. Being fed up is normal, but you must never do anything harsh. Some people feel like when they are in that state, they should end it all. Does killing yourself solve the issue? No, it doesn’t. Suicide is the coward’s way out of a bad situation. Be yourself, but always seek help when you feel like you can’t take it anymore. Seek counsel! Seek help when you are in your depths. 

Love yourself!

Just be yourself! Stop trying to keep up with the Jone’s. Don’t pack undue stress on yourself when you know you can’t handle it anymore. Free yourself from the maze of trying to be someone else. Emulation will emasculate the will of your true personality and purpose. Quit trying to be a people pleaser, quit complaining, quit comparing yourself with others! Stop and be yourself! Believe in your intrinsic values! Pursue the golden goals that stipulate your personality with a positive mindset and indulge in your unique attributes.

#15. Pray

Prayer makes impossible situations possible.

The last point I will cover in this piece, “15 Stratagems for Bouncing Back When Out of It,” is the factor of prayer. I don’t think that this piece will be complete without covering prayer. As a Christian, I will share my perspective on prayer and how it can help you pick yourself up when you are out of it. I believe that there is a God who is forever powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present in the lives of those who believe in Him. He is a God of relationship and wants to always communicate in the place of prayer with His own. 

“Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don’t. You are in good company… You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing.” — Hope. John Piper.

No matter how down in the dumps you may be, God is forever near to pull you out. Cultivate a praying habit. Oswald Chambers, the early-twentieth-century Scottish Baptist evangelist, and teacher said, “We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” Focusing on your difficulties will only cause you to sink deeper and deeper into the solar plexus of your problems. William Temple, the English Anglican priest, who served as Bishop of Manchester, Archbishop of York, and Archbishop of Canterbury, once said that “When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don’t, they don’t.” Prayer is the master key that can help you pick yourself up. Instead, when you pray, God will pick you up. I have done it, and He did it, time and time again.

When you are out of it and at your wit’s end—Pray!

Some people may choose to oppose me for stipulating prayer as a way to pick yourself up when you are out of it, mentally or physically. The opposition may be because you do not believe in God. Oh well, I can’t help you on that note because of your apathy in saying that God does not exist. From my experience, God exists. From all the pointers I have given you via this piece, this point is the most compelling. The reason being that prayer changes things. 

Praying uplifts, you from the darkest dungeons that you may ever be in, to say the very least. No matter what we are going through, we can always look up to God for help. He is always present to answer. Mr. T, an American actor, television personality, and retired bouncer, bodyguard, and professional wrestler, once said that “God is on my side, and that’s all I need. I get up in the morning; I pray to God. I don’t pray to the president, the governor, the mayor, no black caucus, no this and that. I pray to God, and that’s the end of it.” I resign with that.

In Conclusion…

If you are at your wit’s end, pick yourself up and keep moving. Don’t stop! Don’t give up!

In this piece, we have seen fifteen steps to use and pick ourselves up when in a dark and lowly place. First, we must keep it real by being brutally honest with ourselves and the situations we are going through. Second, we must go the extra mile in discovering our purpose. Learning who we are gives us better clarity and direction when facing scalar situations. Third, we must cultivate the art and virtue of self-confidence. 

“To me, if life boils down to one thing, it’s movement. To live is to keep moving.” — Jerry Seinfeld. 

Fourth, self-love is very vital. As much as we love and care for others, we must learn to appreciate ourselves. Fifth, we must become intentional in cultivating an attitude of gratefulness. An attitude of gratitude opens the doors to greatness. Sixth, it would help if you become a positive thinker. We become our thoughts—as a person thinks, so is he/her. Seventh, you must learn positive speak—as a person thinks, so they speak. As you talk, so you eventually become.

Stay the course! Stay at it! Don’t give up!

Eighth, spend time with positive people—Iron sharpens iron. The positivity of such people will eventually rub off on you. Ninth, stop complaining. Being a whinner only makes you toxic. Complaining does not solve any problem at all. Stop it already! Tenth, don’t be a people pleaser. I am not saying that you should not be nice to people; however, remember to love yourself when loving others. Eleventh, stop comparing yourself to others. You are just packing a Herculean load of stress on yourself! Be you! Enjoy yourself and the process of your becoming! 

“Life is about how much you can take and keep fighting; how much you can suffer and keep moving forward.” — Anderson Silva.

Twelfth, get your hands on your passion, and don’t let go. It is an excellent way to detox yourself when you are going through the doldrums of life. Thirteen, help someone! No matter how bad you think life is treating you, someone has it worse than you have it. There is healing in helping someone worse off than yourself. Fourteenth, just be yourself. It is as simple as that, to be honest. It will help your mental outlook. Fifteenth, pray. God can help you out of any dark hole.

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10 Signs that Child Discipline Has Gone Virulent

Discipline is a gift that we give to our children that turns nobodies into somebodies. However, disciplining our children can quickly get out of hand and become abusive. In this piece, we explore various ways that disciplining our kids can go overboard. Please read all about it.

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Nature thrives on balance and moderation; when you disrupt that balance, all hell breaks loose. Too much of anything can interfere with its natural course, as well as too little of it. Therefore, the excessive disciplining of a child can cause harmful disruptions in their life. In far more cases, parents guilty of this don’t realize the consequences of their overzealousness in imposing discipline on their wards. In fewer cases, the parents don’t know that they’re over-disciplining their child; hence, the need for balance and moderation. 

“Home is, I suppose, just a child’s idea. A house at night, and a lamp in the house. A place to feel safe.” — V. S. Naipaul. 

Ultimately, we must educate ourselves about the difference between right and wrong discipline. The Trinidadian-American actor, dancer, musician, and artist Geoffrey Holder once said that “Education begins at home. You can’t blame the school for not putting into your child what you don’t put into him.” There are ways to know that you are going overboard. We must learn when to stop and retrace our steps before we do irreparable damage that we would end up regretting. Parents must be honest with themselves and determine whether they have gone overboard. This way you’d be able to make improvements.

How many of our kids are suffering in silence?

Consider this piece as a freebie in helping you add value to your mind when disciplining your ward and child upbringing. Some people raise their kids the best way they know how to or mirror how their parents raised them. The strategies they deploy may be wrong, but they stick with what they know. So, consider this piece as an avenue for you to stretch the horizons of your knowledge as a parent. You should be ready to make changes where necessary. Should the need arise, you may need to meet with a child psychologist or therapist to wade into an already dire situation. Whatever it takes that is positive to make the necessary corrections must become the answer.

You may have to humble yourself to the point of accepting honest feedback from your children without being arrogant or bossy about it. Some parents find it challenging to be humble when corrected rightly by their wards. Children are very good at observing—they soak up information like a sponge or preferably Sodium Polyacrylate, the water-absorbent material in paper diapers. They learn more by watching what the adults and peers around them do. When a parent disregards their opinion, feedback, or contribution, they take a cue from this and subconsciously learn that their views are unnecessary. 

“Children are very good at observing—they soak up information like a sponge or preferably Sodium Polyacrylate, the water-absorbent material in paper diapers.”

While this may not always be the case, sometimes, children are forced to view things via this perspective because they live in an atmosphere where silence thrives. Parents should learn to communicate clearly with their children. Instructions should be given out of love and not out of anger. Parents must maintain a high level of emotional intelligence at all times when dealing with their wards. Doing so will bar parents from venting their annoyance on their innocent children who may know nothing about what they are doing. 

10 Signs that Disciplining Your Children Has Gone Overboard

Kids make mistakes, don’t let disciplining your child go overboard.

Some people hang on Proverbs 13:24, which says in the New Living Translation that “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” There is often a misinterpretation of this verse to mean that physical punishment is the only way to discipline a child—that is not true. A Crosswalk.com study by Kyle Blevins, does a great job expounding this verse. 

“Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.”  Proverbs 13:24.

The rod does not solely mean instilling discipline via spanking alone; far from that, to be honest. The rod leans more on instruction, teaching kids via guidance and appropriate discipline as the occasion demands. It is more of a process of positively influencing behavior in children, not about punishing them, as many parents erroneously believe. The proper act of discipline should be constructive and never destructive. Solely physically punishing your child will eventually destroy them psychologically. Good discipline should cultivate self-discipline that makes them better. It makes them grow into well-rounded adults who are emotionally and socially stable.

The sundry angles of hostile parenting. Illustrations depict the negative and unhealthy ways of raising a child such as quarreling parents, harsh punishment, discouragement, yelling, and negligence.

Child discipline that has gone overboard is a sign of negative parenting. You see this evidence when parents constantly fight or quarrel, entertain no negotiations, dishing harsh punishments, speaking down on their wards, being unsupportive, continually yelling, indulging in an unhealthy lifestyle, etc. An unknown author once said that “If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn. If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight. If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive. If a child lives with pity, he learns to feel sorry for himself. If a child lives with jealousy, he learns to feel guilty…” All that is stipulated here are all products of negative disciplining of children.

However, on the split end of this spectrum, this same unknown author stipulates that “If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be self-confident. If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient. If a child lives with praise, he learns to be appreciative. If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love. If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself. If a child lives with recognition, he learns to have a goal. If a child lives with fairness, he learns what justice is. If a child lives with honesty, he learns what truth is. If a child lives with sincerity, he learns to have faith in himself and those around him. If a child lives with love, he learns that the world is a wonderful place to live in.” Disciplining your ward should be a guide to achieve these grand ideals.

The sundry angles of positive parenting. Illustrations depict the positive and healthy ways of raising a child such as supportive, involvement, reward, encouragement, trust, inspiration, and patience.

The ability to catch yourself when you are straying from positive parenting is very crucial. That is the core of this piece on discipline, especially when it has gone south and overboard. In the words of Gabriela Mistral (pseudonym for Lucila Godoy Alcayaga), the late Chilean poet-diplomat, educator, and humanist, “Many things we need can wait. The child cannot. Now is the time his bones are formed, his mind developed. To him, we cannot say tomorrow; his name is today.” Today, if you have gone overboard in meting out discipline, there is still a scent of hope. So, let’s look at some of the signs that show that punishment in child upbringing has gone overboard.

#1. You Don’t Give Your Children Room for Expression 

“Kids are expressive. You want to give them the chance to be themselves as you raise them.”

Kids are expressive. You want to give them the chance to be themselves as you raise them. Although it is common knowledge that children are inexperienced in so many life matters, it is still relevant to give them the chance to express themselves. When you are too strict on your children, it could lead to them becoming bottled up, and they wouldn’t want to speak up again. Several research and studies have shown that strict parenting produces children who become adults with behavioral problems. Indeed, this isn’t what you’d want for your children, or is it? Think long and hard on this and make a change before it is too late. Give them some room to express themselves.

#2. When You Over Threaten Your Child

Be careful of over-threatening your ward. You will eventually make them hardened and indifferent to your constant punishment. It will also plunge them into becoming more obstinate.

How many times have you or someone you know threatened a child that you’d do something nasty to them if they failed to comply? Without knowing it, you are teaching your child to misbehave. Constantly threatening your ward can harden them. The child gets used to the threat and ends up saying to himself, “After all, what is the worst thing that could happen if you follow through with your threat? Hit me? Oh well, I am already used to that,” alluding to the fact of the parent’s habitual threats and actions. For such a child, they’re no longer bothered about the dangers and parental hostility because it has become a pattern for them. A better way of speaking to kids is via a calm and gentle tone and language choice. The core is gentle guidance that speaks to the heart of their subconscious. That will make the most impact, ceteris paribus. A word is enough for the wise.

#3. Intruding into Your Child’s Personal Life

Kids have a personality, too—don’t impose yourself on them. Allow their independence and individuality to shine.

Children grow to become teenagers and then youths and consequently are young adults before they morph into other phases of human existence. Their growth comes with a new sense of responsibility and maturity. For instance, telling a child that they must study medicine, or a particular course of study is the wrong way of doing things. Children want someone who listens and understands them. They should have some sense of independence and freedom of choice. The worst thing you can do to your ward is to rob them of their sense of choice and autonomy. If they don’t get this from their parents, they won’t feel accepted. Curb your excesses, give them some breathing room to be themselves.

#4. Excess Do’s and Don’ts

Taper down on being too restrictive.

When you make too many rules, it can lead to information overload. The art of imposing too many restrictions—excess dos and don’ts—comes from an authoritarian perspective—an anaconda leadership style. It is very constricting and stifles the psychological life out of its victims. While this is something that can affect adults significantly, think about the repercussions of this on kids. One of the problems that can come from setting so many do’s, and don’ts is that you find it difficult to follow through on kids to know whether they’re keeping to those rules. When you notice this sort of pattern in your approach to parenting or notice it in other parents, it’s mostly a sure sign that discipline has gone overboard. Taper down on being too restrictive. Give your kids some breathing room just to be themselves.

#5. Not Being Available

Please pay attention to your wards, do not neglect them. Be present!

Not being available for your children has a way of affecting their inner core. It may lead to a sense of displacement in some children. It may make the child feel unloved. When parents become autocratic in issuing orders to their children, they will find it challenging to comply with particular instructions, as we stipulated in the previous paragraph and point above. Are you the parent who always shouts at your children? And yet you don’t make out time to be there for them! Such children will never confide in you. They will drift away from you and find other people they will confide in, which is never a good sign of positive parenting.

“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” —Jane D. Hull.

Not being available could mean that you are never there at pivotal moments in their lives. You hide behind the cloak of always working. Because of this, you never attend their school functions that require their parents to be there. You are never there to assist them with their homework. Even when you are home, you never have their time because you are now a victim of Mobileholism—your life permanently revolves around your mobile phone and other handheld devices. You are never present; you are not there in their lives as their childhood quickly passes by. These become lost moments as you end up losing your kids to the confidence of other adults or peers. On many occasions, the influence they get is not always positive. Please pay attention to your wards, do not neglect them. Be present!

#6. Always Monitoring Your Child

Don’t be a Helicopter Parent.

Do you often monitor your child’s every move? You always want to know all your child’s friends, where they go, what they do and shouldn’t do, etc. You are overbearing and constantly in their business. You scarcely give them room to learn some sense of independence or discover their individuality. We call such micromanaging parent the helicopter parent. While these things show that you are concerned as a good parent, they can also scare away your child. Children, because they are humans just as adults, also deserve some form of space. However, the kind of space they need isn’t as big as that of an adult. 

“Now that I have kids, I’m probably more overprotective than I’ve ever been. My wife’s nickname for me is ‘red alert.’ I sometimes check just to see if the kids are breathing. But I try not to be a helicopter parent.” — Matt Damon.

For instance, while it is good to know your child’s kind of friends. However, it is wrong to prevent your child from having any friends in your neighborhood. Caging them in could be because of the assumption or actual knowledge that most kids in that community are a terrible influence. Or, you may feel that other kids may not come from a privileged class like yourself or whatever excuses you decide to give. As much as there may be wisdom in censoring community relationships, human beings are social creatures—we want to forge relationships with others. No child or human being, for that matter, loves isolation. Children do better in their Education when they have the chance to socialize and play with their friends. Don’t incarcerate your kids to the social cages of lonesomeness.

#7. Is Your Child Withdrawing from You? 

Depressed and lost teenager withdraws from parents.

We always teach our kids not to talk to strangers, which generally makes them withdraw from people they don’t know. However, it is another thing for children to remove themselves from the parents of their parents. In the latter, it could be that the parents are too strict on the child or children. They don’t allow the child to have friends, speak up, express themselves, and open up on things he’s going through, and so on. 

Some parents often spiritualize things in their homes. They teach their children to commit all their problems to God in prayer without striking a balance. That is all well and dandy. However, parents are part of the agents of an answer to a child’s problem. Children should be free to discuss whatever they truly feel with their parents. The validation of their ward’s feelings is part of the answer to those issues. Parents must take proactive steps to address those issues as it builds a deeper child-parent bond of confidence. 

#8. Your Kids Don’t Want their Friend’s Home

Don’t let your negative behaviors make your kids victims of social bullying. Their friends will not want to come around them if they see how negative you treat them.

One of the things that can affect a child’s behavior negatively or positively are actions or inactions that hit at their self-esteem. For instance, when a parent shouts at a child before their friends, they feel awful. Such a child wouldn’t want his friends to come home, or on the other hand, his friends wouldn’t want to go to their house the next time. The reason for this is that that parent’s action has sent a wrong signal to his friends. The parents of your ward’s friends may not want their kids coming over to your house if they learn of your hostile characteristics. Such a scenario will impact the psyche of your child negatively. If this word gets out, it could make your kids become bully victims as other kids will make fun of them for how bad their parents are. As much as you are trying to raise your kids, it would be best if you continued to work on yourself to expunge contrary characteristics that will influence your kids negatively. 

#9. Becoming a Control Freak

Give your kids a break—don’t be a control freak! Let them breathe! Give them some space!

When a parent affirms a child, it brings out the best in such a child. It boosts their ego and sense of importance. Conversely, using curse words or swear words on a child if they fail to meet a certain expectation or standard is not only cruel but inhuman. Doing this affects the self-esteem of your child. Parents need to watch what they say and need to be cautious of how they use words with their kids, too. Don’t be a control freak with your kids. As much as goals and expectations are set for them to attain, give them a break—let them breathe! Give them some space! 

#10. All Work and No Play

Kids should have time to relax. Don’t burn them out!

“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy,” the famous saying holds for every child. It would be best if you gave children time to unwind. The practice in most parts of the world today in schools is the gradual emphasis on innovative learning. Most of the time, this occurs at the expense of the child’s psychomotor skills. Schools, not just in developing nations but also in developed ones, tend to emphasize computer skills, laboratory experiments, and several other activities geared towards improving the child’s mind without taking cognizance of the child’s need for play. 

When a parent emphasizes reading and studying and deprives a child of time to play to instill good discipline, it is clear from such a scenario that discipline has gone overboard. In the words of Mark Wahlberg, the movie actor, “There’s nothing like seeing the smile on my kids’ faces. Laughing together. Playing. It’s the best.” You should seek to strike a balance in this area of your kid’s lives. As much as we want them to work and achieve goals, they must also relax and play.

Where do We Go from Here?

A family that plays together stays together!

Discipline can go overboard in so many ways, as stipulated in this piece. Yelling at children most of the time before you get your message across to them is part of this. It is a dysfunctional way of instilling discipline. It shows that things have gone wrong and that the parent lacks the capacity for good parenting. Such a parent must develop how to approach parenting (NB. The piece you are reading is an excellent inception point for such erudition). 

“Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.” — Roy L. Smith.

Hence, a parent must establish the qualities of genuine and sincere affection, sympathy, and empathy for their kid and should be able to know when to bring discipline into the equation as a measure to guide their ward. Learning these qualities is not automatic. It requires parents to become intentional learners. All pride must bow before the due diligence of patient scholarship. Don’t be that parent that claims to know everything even in the face of apparent ignorance of being in the wrong. Be teachable. Remember, the inculcation of the said positive qualities above must be timeous. 

Unity in a home is infectious!

Part of the things to be learned will be how to listen effectively to your children, communicate with them, discipline, and overlook certain behaviors. Pointing out all the flaws of a child is a wrong approach to parenting. No one wants to be a victim of a demeaning barrage, not even children. They’re humans, and even if they are young and lack experience, they have emotions and feelings that require validation. Hence, parents must go the extra mile in learning when to take a chill pill when disciplining their kids. You don’t want to become an abuser. It would be best if you learned patience when raising your children. Kids will be kids. 

“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.” — Jackie Kennedy.

If their parents remind them constantly of the things, they do wrong, then that’s a problem. The parent needs to seek a solution instead of passing the blame to their wards continually. It isn’t the child’s fault that a parent cannot control their anger or tantrums. Over time, children will see a parent who yells at them much of the time as a weak and insensitive parent. They may not voice this opinion to their parents but do this inward, a seed of bitterness sown. In the long run, they probably may lose trust in that parent and possibly, respect.

Teach, guide, and correct our wards from a place of love!

We cannot completely rule out discipline; doing so is prepping the societies that we live in for moral decay and dissolution. However, we cannot approach discipline with ignorance. The Holy Writ establishes that “The Lord corrects those he loves.”1 In the same light, we must teach, guide, and correct our wards from a place of love. We must “discipline our children while they are young to learn. If you don’t, you are helping them destroy themselves.”2 You would be doing yourself a tremendous disservice if you shun discipline completely.

“Discipline is the hidden ingredient that turns nobodies into somebodies.” — Unknown Author. 

We must approach discipline in positive parenting with wisdom and caution. H. Ross Perot once said that “If you have but one gift to give your children, let it be discipline.” It may be a gift and tool that helps us in giving guidance to our kids. However, we must watch ourselves so that we don’t go overboard as it negatively affects child development. Parents must be mindful of this aspect of raising their kids. We must do everything in moderation, even discipline. 

Reference

[1]. Proverbs 3:12. [2]. Proverbs 19:18.

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Motivation

Strategic Living as a Lifestyle

Strategic living as a lifestyle is possible. It is a mindset thing. It is an attitude thing, which also determines your altitude in life. To find out more about how you can cultivate this mindset, please read all about it.

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Are you aware that you can learn so much from life when you closely observe the happenings around you in your everyday life? Hidden in plain sight are sundry nuggets of wisdom and erudition waiting for discovery. There’s so much knowledge to acquire when we are open to lore and mindful that life itself is a teacher. Life is like the game of chess. It takes us being intentional and strategic to make these life discoveries, ceteris paribus.

“When things do not go your way, remember that every challenge—every adversity—contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth.” — Roy T Bennett.

How would you react to challenging situations that occur without notice in your everyday lives? Your perspective regarding issues in life is of great importance because it will, to a large extent, determine how you confront the vicissitudes of life. Strategic living as a lifestyle is about being intentional and having a positive attitude in every situation. Let me share a story with you to give you some insights.

It Pays to Be Strategic!

“But to my utter dismay, it did. It not only got stuck in the ignition but also got broken while trying to start the car.”

Once, on a sunny and hot tropical afternoon in the bustling city of Port Harcourt, Rivers State in Nigeria, I had an interesting experience with my car keys that taught me a life lesson on strategy. The event happened way back before the advent and prevalence of remote keyless system (RKS) fobs. I had driven to a business meeting with a client. After the meeting, I came out to notice that my car key had a slight bent to it.

“Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different.” — Michael Porter.

Upon close examination, I felt the bent would not affect the keys’ usage. But to my utter dismay, it did. It not only got stuck in the ignition but also got broken while trying to start the car. This left me distraught with no other alternative than to look for a nearby locksmith where a new key can be cut for me from the original since I couldn’t go back home to get the spare key. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a learning experience for me.

“Whirling as it went, the key-cutting machine followed the patterned grooves on my old broken key to shape what would after now become my new car key.”

As I sat down to watch my attending locksmith choose from an array of assorted shapes of keys. I learned that the idea or strategy was to select a particular key with a form that would fit the broken key I came with. After careful selection, I watched as he slotted the chosen key into the cutting machine. Whirling as it went, the key-cutting machine followed the patterned grooves on my old broken key to shape what would after now become my new car key.

Suddenly like a thunderbolt from the blues, it struck me! When keys are cut, they are shaped to open a lock. The cut is the definition of the key’s purpose to open the lock that it is meant for, all things being equal. It hit me that if my car was parked out there without the key, it could not start. My car key aims to help me crank my engine up and give it life and action. It will remain parked, stationed in a fixed place, useless, and occupying a space that ought to be used for some other thing.

Become the key to success you were designed to become today.

In a similar vein, many of us are like the broken or absent key that is not fulfilling the purpose of cranking up the engines of myriad pervading problems. Many of us have refused to embrace the divinely programmed challenges designed to shape or cut us into becoming the “keys” to various successes. Keys that should unlock the doors to these problems in our immediate societies, churches, communities, and the world at large. It pays to be strategic to make this self-discovery.

How Do You Handle Dicey Situations?

Become the solution!

How are you reacting, embracing the problems and challenges that come your way? How do you handle the dicey situations that you face in life? Remember, the locksmith first had to choose the blank key that resembled my broken key before he could cut or shape it. In the same way, there are issues in life that you are patterned after to become a solution to it. There is a cause to the cutting and shaping of your life experiences. It will help you eventually serve a specific role. 

“Sometimes we learn the lessons of life through pain, melancholy, and the vicissitude of life, and sometimes we learn the lessons of life through joy and comfort. Whatever the case may be, the most important thing is the great lesson we learn out of the lessons life teaches us. If you fail to learn the lessons greatly, life will teach you a great lesson.” — Ernest Agyemang Yeboah.

You are destiny’s choice to go through your present life challenges. You have been chosen to be fashioned, prepared for a specific reason. You are destiny’s choice to become a solution to that problem in your family, society, and country. But you must yield to the shaping, tampering, and conditioning process. Because through these processes, a better you will emerge. Leaving you better and well suited for the part that has been allotted to you by destiny.

Annealing: A heat treatment process that alters the microstructure of a material to change its mechanical or electrical properties.

I studied Materials and Metallurgical Engineering in college. While still in school, part of our industrial training program was exposed to different methods of heat treatment that materials go through to toughen them. One such treatment is called annealing, a heat treatment process that alters the microstructure of a material to change its mechanical or electrical properties. It is used to reduce hardness, increase ductility, and help eliminate internal stresses.

Suppose materials are subjected to such a complex process to attain a suitable strength that will enable them to go through the rigors associated with its eventual usage. In that case, the challenges that come with life are how we as humans are toughened to be fit to face and handle life’s dicey situations. For these materials to attain such strength, their microstructure which is a crucial determinant to their mechanical and electrical properties, is altered. That is the same way that our makeup, our default mode, is changed when we willingly submit to being trained by the vicissitudes of life.

You Can Do It!

You can do this. Stay positive! Stay hardworking! Make it happen!

Brace up; you are fit for it. You just have to be tenacious and stick with it. You can make it happen. Gold had to go through fire to become marketable. For diamonds to appreciate in value, they have to go through a cutting and polishing process. Crude oil must go through the laborious process of factional distillation to be turned into various petroleum products. Iron ore has to go through the high temperatures of the Bessemer converter to be turned into steel.

“I think you grow wherever God plants you. I hope I’m growing as a person of faith, as a Christian. That should be our number one objective in this journey of life. That all starts with a personal, intimate relationship with Christ and then being in prayer every single day about all of those things—being tenacious about it.” — J. C. Watts.

In the same way, you must go through cutting and shaping to become the key to many successes. No one says that it will be easy; however, the product of the process is effectiveness and efficiency in your role and purpose in life. In the words of Christian Louboutin, the French-Egyptian fashion designer, “You need to believe in yourself and what you do. Be tenacious and genuine.” You must believe in yourself. You must trust the process as you are shaped for a strategic life of purpose. 

Your mindset is everything in adopting strategic living as a lifestyle.

How can I equip myself to face these challenges squarely and come out victorious? I want to share a critical factor: if we have a firm grip on it, we can do life effectively and efficiently, irrespective of whatever challenges will confront us. It is a word that has often been neglected and downplayed in the scheme of things. However, it determines how we approach life and the results we get out of life if given attention. What is the word? Mindset. As the word sounds, it is defined as the established set of attitudes held by someone. One word that stands out in this definition, which also gives meaning to this statement, is attitude. 

Attitude is primarily what makes up an individual’s mindset and plays a crucial role in determining how our mindsets are shaped. What is it, and how important is it? Attitude is the way you approach life. In a simpler term, it’s your angle of attack. It is the way we express our thoughts and feelings. Our attitude takes form or shape after series of repeated events that lead up to a set of beliefs that things will turn out in a particular way. This outcome forms what is called expectations. Our attitude is determined by our expectations. This is why we react either negatively or positively when confronted by a challenge in life. But it can all be changed by changing our core beliefs. 

See the Challenge as a Learning Experience

Are you ready for the next challenge? Are you prepared for the next learning experience?

Adopting strategic living as a lifestyle is all about being teachable. Teachability is the ability and willingness to learn. This attitude enables you to be open and receptive to whatever life throws at you while at the same time learning from it. Bearing in mind that whatever lessons learned will become an added advantage for you in the future. It is often said that evaluated experience is the best teacher. This willingness on your part will position you in such a way that you critically evaluate the experience to learn from it. 

“Believe in yourself, take on your challenges, dig deep within yourself to conquer fears. Never let anyone bring you down. You got to keep going.” — Chantal Sutherland.

The structure of a traditional educational system requires that you first learn a subject matter and then get tested on that body of knowledge. It takes a series of repetitive learning to sit and pass an examination or test. It is akin to what is obtainable in life. Life has been made so that you can only be promoted to another level of life when you have passed an examination it set for you. Life tests us intermittently, even in our ignorance, to see if we are ready for the next level of our situation. Most times, we fail these tests owing to wrong mindsets exhibited through bad attitudes.

Are you ready to duke it out with the next challenge in your process of becoming strategic and practical?

Are you ready for the next challenge? Are you prepared for the next learning experience? Are you prepared to duke it out with the next challenge in your process of becoming strategic and practical? Strategic living as a lifestyle begins at the junction where you start surmounting the challenges that life throws at you. You must tenaciously fight every challenge. You must adopt a winning mindset in other to become the champion of your own fate and destiny. You must see all challenges as a learning experience. That is the path of continuous improvement. That is the path of becoming strategic in your daily living.

You Can Become a Better Person

You can become a better person! You can excel and become your best self ever.

We are products of circumstances. Our present cases in life result from the things we encounter in life and the experiences we have had to go through to reach the point where we are now. The summation of these circumstances and phases of life is the personality that is seen today. Understanding this life process puts you in the right frame of mind to know that you are a work in progress that gets better with the exposure that life takes you through. 

“Circumstances does not make a man they merely reveal him to himself.” — Epictetus.

Most times, I’ve also realized that we as human beings prefer to remain in our comfort zone. We wish not to be overstretched. Most times, we are oblivious that challenges stretch our experiences to new frontiers most times in life. By seeking to eschew challenges, we ignorantly miss grand opportunities that would have launched us out to a bigger and brighter future that we have prayed and desired for.  

Gladly go through this furnace of fire called challenges. You will come out refined and empowered.

With all certainty, if we approach life with these mindsets, we will become victors and not victims in this game called life. We can become champions in life by adopting strategic living as a lifestyle. Understanding this statement will make you submit to this experience. Gladly go through this furnace of fire called challenges. You will come out refined and empowered. Become tenacious through the experiences that you encounter. You will come out shining, radiating, and you’d be glad you did.

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Leadership

15 Reasons Why Optimism is a Core Leadership Trait

Optimism is a positive mental state that propels us to become. It is simply expecting the best possible outcome from any situation. You cannot be a leader and not hone the trait of optimism. In this encephalic long-form piece, we explore fifteen reasons why optimism is a core leadership trait. Please, buckle up for the journey and do read all about it.

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Optimism is a mental attitude reflecting a solid belief or hope that the outcome of a particular endeavor will be positive and desirable. It is simply expecting the best possible outcome from any situation. An optimistic person attributes internal, stable, and global explanations to good things. A misanthropic person is not someone anyone wants to be around—someone who has darkness always hanging over them. If such a person is a leader, no one would want to follow them. Optimists make history. Optimists make the resounding difference. In the same light, followers will follow leaders who make history and a difference that shakes the very foundations of mediocrity. 

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every opportunity.”  Winston Churchill.

On the other hand, leadership is the simple method of motivating people mentally and physically to achieve a common goal. Influential leaders must possess certain qualities or traits and skills that can provide direction for their followers. These qualities or attributes include honesty and integrity, good communication, creativity and innovation, passion and commitment, optimism, and confidence. Various leadership styles exist, such as autocratic leadership, laissez-faire leadership, democratic leaders, situational leadership, transformational leadership, etc.  

An optimist always aims to paint a new and bright day.

No matter what type of leadership style a leader deploys, if they lack an optimistic outlook, it defeats the whole purpose of what they are looking to achieve with their followers. How many soldiers would follow a cynical general into battle? If such a general does not inspire confidence in his troops, he is straight out of luck as he will fall in action as the enemy will claim a victory. How many of you in organizations want to follow an opposing leader? That negativity spreads like metastasizing cancer that wreaks havoc on the body politic of the organization. After all, said and done, optimism (i.e., a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome) always aims to paint a new and bright day!

A. Why Should a Leader Be Optimistic?

Veni vidi vici—I Came I Saw I Conquered.

Leadership is quite an arduous task and, as such, is not for the faint-hearted. It is a lot of work to be a leader. As a leader, you manage a sleuth of things—emotions, beliefs, varying commitment levels, and buy-ins, performance, conflict, customer satisfaction, to mention but a few. If a leader does not have the true grit or capacity to perform, there is a problem. The dilemma becomes more complicated when a leader does not see the bright side of things. It is harder to lead from a bleak belief when trying to manage a broad spectrum of objectives. 

“Pessimism is an investment in nothing; optimism is an investment in hope.” — Author Unknown.

There will be times where circumstances don’t go well as planned, and the leader faces the dilemma of motivating his followers to action or proffering solutions to the identified problem. In the face of troubling circumstances, leaders must stand twice as tall. In situations that make people panic, should the leader buckle under the weight and burden of the problem? Doing so will scatter those already looking up to him as a vector to give them some direction. This very purpose makes optimism a core leadership trait that everyone at the helms of the affair must cultivate.

Optimism is the super telescope that sees through the dark clouds of pessimism.

Optimism is the super telescope that sees through the dark clouds of pessimism (i.e., the tendency to see, anticipate, or emphasize only bad or undesirable outcomes, results, conditions, problems, etc.). An optimistic leader sees the opportunity in every difficulty. That ability to see is the reason why a leader must become an optimist. The optimist must be able to keep their eyes on the prize. By so doing, they can guide others who don’t see the big picture.

“Pessimism is an investment in nothing; optimism is an investment in hope.” — Author Unknown.

Optimists are usually more successful than their pessimists’ counterparts because they see opportunities in every problem and instill courage in their followers rather than give up. Rather than seeing obstacles, they see opportunities. Instead of seeing the pains in a catastrophic situation, they see a pain point needing a solution. Optimists attempt to turn every problem to their advantage to create chances that everyone can benefit from at the end of the day. 

Optimism is the oasis in the desert of negativity, non-progress, and pessimism.

Leaders must be optimistic in other to make full proof of the benefits of optimism. Leaders must embrace optimism as a trait that helps them carry the weight of responsibilities that come with the territory of being at the helm of affairs. Optimism is the oasis in the desert of negativity, non-progress, and pessimism. Hence, optimistic leaders are the metaphorical aquifers of institutions and organizations that keep all things green and productive. Accordingly, we can pellucidly say that optimism is a core leadership trait that all leaders need to their quiver full of features.  

B. 15 Reasons Why Optimism is a Core Leadership Trait

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill.

The vital essence of leadership is to move forward. A leader should courageously lead his followers across obstacles and circumstances to a place of victorious progress. The fact we stipulate here ties into what Nicholas M. Butler, the American philosopher, diplomat, and educator, said that “Optimism is essential for achievement, and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.” A successful leader must then stand on the core pedestal trait of optimism to forge forward with their followers.

“I believe any success in life is made by going into an area with a blind, furious optimism.” — Sylvester Stallone. 

Optimism is a core leadership trait that leaders must imbibe because you cannot achieve anything of significance sans hope and confidence. The spirit of hope and faith is at the very nucleus of optimism. Building monuments for optimism is a norm. You don’t see institutions or organizations erecting monuments to the pessimist. Optimism is like the sun. It is a radiant source of light and power that dispels that dark shrouds of negativity. The leader that is an optimist is the harbinger of a can-do spirit and mentality. So, why is optimism a core leadership trait? Let us look at several reasons why it is so. Let’s go:

#1. Optimists are Innovative 

Optimistic leaders are innovative and think outside the box.

Innovation is one of the greatest keys to the growth of any company. It is what distinguishes between a leader and a follower. Optimists don’t get too comfortable with the status quo. Their can-do disposition is what sets them apart. When others hesitate, they advance on the new ideas that create new opportunities and profits. They constantly come up with new concepts, new business plans, and strategies, bringing about innovation. Because of this, they are always open to thinking outside the box.

“Optimism is essential to achievement, and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.” — Nicholas M. Butler.

Leaders who embrace optimism as a core leadership trait are always open to a new mindset, leading to new results. Because mindset is everything, a confident and positive one propels creativity, which is intelligence having fun. A new mindset is at the core of innovation. A new mindset thinks outside the box, which ushers one to discoveries. Old ways won’t open new doors, and optimism paves the part to creativity for those leaders that possess it. 

#2. Optimists are Future Orientated Thinkers

Leaders that are optimists look at the possibility of the great things that could happen in the future.

According to psychologists, optimists are less susceptible to the psychological phenomenon known as the Recency Effect.”  The terminology means that the most recent experiences we go through are the ones that we are most likely to remember. We assume that these experiences will continue in the future. Carmine Gallo, a Senior Contributor at Forbes, establishes in 5 Reasons Why Optimists Make Better Leaders that “Optimists see the big picture.” They are often immune to the recency effect, and they do so by seeing a more panoramic view of a situation rather than being narrow-minded in their perception. Pessimistic leaders can’t see a clear path ahead. They only see doom and gloom. Hence, optimism as a core leadership trait will battle the recency effect.

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill.

For example, if a person keeps applying for a job and keeps getting turned down, there is a tendency that such as person will discontinue seeking jobs or going for interviews. They might be on the lookout for other means of employment (e.g., self-employment) rather than wallow in self-pity. An optimist is a big picture thinker and has a positive view of the future. They would not be looking at what is happening right now or what happened in the past. Leaders that are optimists look at the possibility of the great things that could happen in the future. They glue their eyes to what is ahead of them. The lookback momentarily via the rearview window to the past. They learn from the past, educate themselves in the present, and aspire to a greater tomorrow in the future.

#3. Optimists Go for Gold

Optimists go for gold—they seek the best to win the prize.

Another reason why optimism is a core leadership trait is that optimists go for gold. They get to work on their strengths or talents instead of concentrating on their weaknesses. Optimists focus on what they do. They also focus on what they can learn to do well—call it their opportunity if you like. They focus on what they excel at, which gives them a competitive advantage over others. Optimists don’t concentrate on anything they aren’t. Instead, they highlight the areas of their strength. Leverage their opportunities. Improve on their weak spots, and watch out to eschew anything that is a threat.

“I am a stubborn optimist: I was born an optimist and will remain an optimist.” — Kofi Annan.

Optimists go for gold—they seek the best to win the prize. Based on the facts in the preceding paragraph, a great book that all my readers need to get and add to their book collection is Unearthing Your Latent Potentials: Discovering the Gems of your Subliminal-Self. Call it an optimists manual. I wrote this book to help all my readers to discover their strengths, leverage their opportunities, work on their weaknesses, and eliminate all threats. The Prairies Book Review wrote a great piece on it, recommending it to everyone in their statement, “Urgent and actionable, this passionate manifesto about the unlimited possibilities dormant inside all of us will be a welcome addition to any reader’s bookshelf.” Do yourself a favor, grab a copy and go for gold as an optimist.  

#4. Optimists Avoid Negativity 

Negative thinking will truncate your life and destiny.

Optimism is a core leadership trait because it allows you to sieve out negativity—that is, negative-minded fellows or pessimists out of your life. Optimists try all they can to avoid negatively adverse environments, people, and circumstances. Once an optimist knows a person to be a faultfinder or a chronic skeptic, who put in effort doing their very best to corrupt your mindset and thinking, optimists do their best to keep their distance. Doing this helps to keep only the most hardworking and positive-minded individual as part of the team and the negative Nancy at bay.

“People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?” — Thich Nhat Hanh.

Optimists are responsible for keeping themselves, and their followers shielded from harmful or toxic pessimism. In the words of Michael Jordan, we should “Always turn a negative situation into a positive one.” Optimism as a core leadership trait cancels out the negative while bolstering the positive. A negative mindset is like deadly metastasizing cancer that you must eliminate, all things being equal. Inculcating optimism as a leadership trait helps leaders build a shield that protects them from negative influences, and they flourish in turn.

#5. Optimists Have a Winner’s Philosophy 

The root of success rests in the terra firma of the mind.

Optimistic people always focus on the positive aspects of a situation. Their view of life is different from that of a pessimist—they have a winner’s philosophy. An Unknown Author once said that “As you travel through life, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the doughnut, and not the hole.” What does this mean? Optimists focus on the substance of the matter—the focus is on what adds paramount value. They don’t focus on the void and things of negative value. A success mindset is the terra firma of value. 

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” — Albert Einstein.

Hence, optimism as a leadership trait allows optimists to focus on what matters. Leaders as optimists have hope and believe in a better future. They focus on opportunities instead of obstacles. They understand what motivates and inspires them to live a successful and fulfilled life. Success to them happens first in the mind before it translates to physical reality. Negativity and fear do not belong in their world, and they see them as inhibitors to their success in life. They transform the obstacles of negativity become stepping stones to greater heights.

#6. Optimists are Problem Solvers

Optimistic leaders are great problem solvers.

Optimists try to identify what they can change and take action, controlling what they can handle in the face of challenges, failures, and adversity. Pessimists cower at problems, while leaders that lean towards optimism take the horns of the raging bulls of difficulties that they face. Rather than seek an excuse to deflect a problem, optimistic leaders move towards the situation, looking for solutions in the process. Hence, they have a strong bias for action.

“Pessimists are toxic. I love optimists—and by that, I don’t mean people who are unable to see challenges. Optimists are solution-oriented.” Ivanka Trump.

Optimistic leaders also try to look for ways to control situations that are almost beyond their control. Why? Because they believe that no problem is uncontrollable. They are constant solution seekers. Optimism is a core leadership trait because it allows leaders to troubleshoot circumstances that they encounter. They are solution harbingers that You can accomplish great things if you decide to control the things you do have power over.

Optimists are constant solution seekers.

An optimist seeks to improve situations. They never want to leave a position as they found it, especially if it is contrary to the norms of efficiency and logical productivity. Instead of only analyzing the issues surrounding a problem, they always find solutions. Optimist leaders use a solution-based approach to inspire creativity and innovation.

#7. Optimists Lead from Within 

Optimists lead from within—from a place of zen.

Achievement requires optimism and actual progress, and you build exceptional leadership on the foundation of optimism. Optimistic leaders must “lead from within.” The phrase “leading from within” means leading with a cool, calm, and collected disposition. Optimism as a leadership trait allows leaders to lead from a position of tranquility—when everything is in a state of Brownian Motion or chaos; they remain level-headed while exercising a strong bias for action because they believe in the possibility of a positive resolution.

“I don’t go by the rule book… I lead from the heart, not the head.” — Princess Diana.

Leading from within as a factor of optimism as a leadership trait allows the leader to act rationally and not from a reactive standpoint. When tempers are flaring, and others are anxious, such a leader with this attribute is the calm that placates these emotions. Such a leader is the voice of reason that inputs logic and understanding in the chaotic situation to tranquility. Leading from within allows optimistic leaders to make decisions from facts, not from erratic feelings. Facts have no feelings.

Optimistic leaders who lead from within don’t make decisions from a position of bias.

Optimistic leaders who lead from within nudge them to make decisions standing on a neutral, unbiased pedestal. Confident and positively inclined leaders don’t take sides. They listen to all the relevant parties to gain knowledge and understanding about the matter from a neutral position and decide based on facts about the issue. They make their subjective suggestions after comparing parties’ positions to the absolute objective truth about the matter.

When optimistic leaders champion causes from within, they do so from understanding and not from a position of ignorance. They understand the status quo of controlling narratives. Doing so allows them to forge forward with their new and current narratives to move the pack forward. Optimistic leaders who lead from within have a great depth of self-knowledge—they know who they are, what they believe in, their knowledge, or general-purpose.

#8. Optimists Are Apt Communicators

Effective communication is critical to outstanding optimistic leadership.

Optimism as a core leadership trait is heavily dependent on the art of effective communication. You can have the best ideas globally; however, having those ideas is futile if you can’t communicate well. Optimistic leaders are intentional and positive in their communication. The keyword and adjective here that qualifies communication is positive, emphasizing what is laudable, hopeful, and of good intention. Pessimistic leaders can be deliberate; however, they often lean towards negative communication that dampens motivation and throws the wrench of skepticism into the wheel of their dialogue.

“As a leader, you must consistently drive effective communication. Meetings must be deliberate and intentional—your organizational rhythm should value purpose over habit and effectiveness over efficiency.” — Chris Fussell.

Optimistic leaders build camaraderie and community via effective communication. In the words of Brian Tracy, the Canadian-American motivational public speaker and self-development author, “Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” Hence, optimistic leaders must embrace the art of effective communication in other to communicate their positive thoughts intentionally with meaning. The PsychCentral title, “Five Easy Steps to Better Communication,” is a great place to begin learning the art of effective communication.

Effective communication is the core of outstanding optimistic leadership.

Optimistic leaders can transfer their energy and motivation to people via effective communication. It also helps them create and keep long-term relationships. They use this tool to unearth the wrong notions that spawn from pessimism. Optimists are comfortable communicating and sharing their desires for a better future or better solutions. They choose to speak ab imo pectore while using data and facts to fortify the foundations of their said meaning.

#9. Optimists are Business Starters

Optimists make great entrepreneurs!

An optimist sees opportunity where others see a closed door, pain point, or difficulty. Others see these variations as obstacles or impossible insurmountable boulders. In contrast, optimistic leaders see these as possibilities for something big. You can’t tell me that the likes of Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, etc., are not optimists? These fellows and more not mentioned visualize the possibility of things becoming where others dare even to walk or dream. Their business empires are dominating the world today and creating business economies for the society at large.

“Starting a business is not for everyone. Starting a business—I’d say number one is have a high pain threshold.” — Elon Musk.

Optimism as a core leadership trait is a hallmark attribute that helps mold the mind of business starters or entrepreneurs. For instance, when the economy is down, and unemployment data is rising, the pessimist uses those factors as excuses to stay still. The optimist refuses to let these macro-economic trends limit their imaginations. For instance, the CBS News report by Aimee Picchi establishes that Billionaires got 54% richer during the pandemic.” It is their wits and optimism at work. 

“Where others are afraid to take a step, optimists take a leap of faith in starting new business ventures.” — Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze.

Nothing will dissuade them from creatively sustaining their businesses in tough times. Optimistic leaders are the maestros at leveraging pain points. Nothing prevents them from starting businesses that ultimately put people to work. Where others see obstacles, they see stepping stones. Where others see the speckled night skies, they see an opportunity for exploring a new frontier. That is the power of optimism as a core leadership trait—leaders who possess this trait move on to become great business influencers and entrepreneurs. Where others are afraid to take a step, optimists take a leap of faith in starting new business ventures. 

#10. Optimist Behaviors are Infectious

Sound energy is infectious. Become a carrier and spread it.

Being rationally optimistic can be contagious. Outstanding positive leaders carry their followers along by displaying positive behaviors that become a significant catalyst of influence. As mentioned above, via good communication, promising leaders can communicate their intentions and mannerisms effectively that their impact and draw becomes organic. People naturally flow towards them. That is the draw that we see with great motivational speakers and personalities. 

“A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.” — Tom Stoppard.

Optimists know that their behaviors and outlook will impact everyone around them, especially their followers. So, they try always to maintain a positive outlook. In the face of unfavorable circumstances, they remain optimistic. This positive outlook will, in turn, have a positive effect on the people around him. Promising leaders invest a lot in developing a healthy attitude, which can be pretty contagious. Sound energy is infectious.

#11. Optimists are Not Risk-Averse

Optimistic leaders try new things. They are not risk-averse.

Optimistic leaders are not risk-averse (i.e., the reluctance to take risks or tending to avoid risks as much as possible). An optimist is a risk-taker and is comfortable making tough decisions when it comes to it. We have seen the connection between optimism and entrepreneurship—optimistic leaders take risks to start business ventures and become entrepreneurs. Pessimists are risk-averse. Because of their skeptical viewpoint on issues, they often lean towards avoiding risks as much as possible. Great ventures are a function of risks. How will you know if you can or cannot do something if you don’t even try? From what Mark Zuckerberg said below, we can technically say that ‘failing to take risks is planning to fail.’

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” — Mark Zuckerberg.

Optimistic leaders accept the reality of failure and the possibility of making mistakes. Although promising leaders focus on productivity, excellence, and efficiency, errors are bound to happen. We are not at all perfect; we stumble at times. However, it should be a learning process in the journey of becoming our best selves ever. Optimistic leaders view failure or mistakes as an educational opportunity and a path towards progress. They see failure and setbacks as a part of life, as a part of the necessary process of becoming. So, optimistic leaders encourage their teams to learn from the situation quickly and move forward. The goal is not to make the mistakes a repetitive process. When the mistakes become redundant, then these leaders dig deeper to ascertain the root causation of the problem and the reasons for the failures to learn.

Optimistic leaders are not afraid to take risks. If you are afraid to take risks, then you are well out of luck.

Hence, optimistic leaders don’t come barreling down always at their followers at the first instance of a mistake. That will send a shockwave of fear down the rank and file, making the organization risk-averse. Optimism as a core leadership trait is the root for creating a learning organization (LO) (i.e., an organization that continuously learns through its members individually and collectively to make a sustainable competitive advantage by effectively managing internally and externally generated change).6 Optimistic leadership plays a role in fostering the warm ambiance that bolsters the characteristics of a LO. Such LO characteristics are cultural values, leadership commitment and empowerment, communication, knowledge transfer, employee characteristics, and performance upgrading.6   

We make the following reflexive deductions from the study of Yuraporn Sudharatna and Laubie Li that: Optimistic leaders foster a culture that continuously learns. A culture that supports its partners to try new things, whether success or failure, is the outcome. Hence, partners here are not risk-averse, encouraging an ambiance of sharing without retribution, promoting an enhanced sense of psychological safety. Optimistic leadership achieves non-risk-aversion via commitment and empowerment via the funnels of vacillating communication channels that give and receive. All this promotes the osmosis and diffusion of knowledge among employees and leadership alike. Optimistic leadership tracks all this to foster performance and efficiency.

#12. Optimists are Adaptable

It’s time to adapt—don’t wait any longer.

Optimism is a core leadership trait because it makes leaders more adaptable (i.e., adjusting oneself readily to different conditions). Optimistic leaders are quick to respond and adapt to the situation at hand. Courageous leadership fosters an atmosphere of innovation and creativity in organizations, where people are not afraid to challenge the status quo and out-of-the-box thinking. The adaptability process creates the wiggle room for mistakes, as stipulated in the points and paragraphs above. It creates a culture of experimentation and risk-taking. 

“To create an organization that’s adaptable and innovative, people need the freedom to challenge precedent, to ‘waste’ time, to go outside of channels, to experiment, to take risks, and to follow their passions.” — Gary Hamel.

Adaptability makes optimistic leaders very flexible. In the words of Mandy Ingber, a yoga instructor and a former actress, “No matter what twists and turns your life offers you, your ability to be adaptable and flexible will help you to stay open to all of the hidden gifts that difficulty may offer.” Hence, no matter the twists and turns or curve balls that life throws at the optimistic leader, they never take their eyes off the ball. They adapt themselves and adjust, shifting to counter the effect of the outside force. In Chapter Seven of my book, Unearthing Your Latent Potential: Discovering the Gems of Your Subliminal-Self, I allude to Le Chatelier’s principle of equilibrium. When optimistic leaders shift to adapt to outside forces that disturb their sense of balance, it is akin to what happens in this chemical principle.1

Optimistic leaders adapt and thrive!

We cannot overstate the power of adaptability as a factor of optimistic leadership. Adaptability ensures versatility, longevity, and resilience. Promising leaders latch on this quality to go the long haul in accomplish greatness. Hence, should something go amiss, they will want to get their teams moving forward and back on track as quickly as possible. If teams make mistakes, these leaders will want to know what went wrong. They want to know what they can do differently to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

#13. Optimists Embrace Continuous Improvement

Optimistic leaders go for continuous improvement always.

Optimism is a core leadership trait because leaders embrace continuous improvement (i.e., incremental and breakthrough improvements to products, services, or processes). Optimistic leaders never want to stay stagnant. Continuously, they want to be developing themselves and their team. There is absolutely no room for stagnancy. There is an onward ever, forward ever mentality at play. Their ability t look ahead propels them towards giving their very best and motivating their team to achieve the same thing. The goal is to be better than they were yesterday.

“Strive for continuous improvement instead of perfection.” — Kim Collins.

Optimistic leaders leverage continuous effort as the fulcrum that allows them to make a difference. They lean on this as a way to unlock potentials in themselves and their teams. The goal, as the quote by Kim Collins, the former track and field sprinter from Saint Kitts and Nevis, establishes that the goal is not perfection. The goal is, therefore, not ceasing in becoming better daily. For optimistic leaders, you find the secret of their success in their daily routine. Hence, by sticking with it, promising leaders grow their strengths and that of their teams.

Optimistic leaders do it the PDCA Way.

An excellent go-to model for optimistic leaders is the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle. Once again, my book, Unearthing Your Latent Potential: Discovering the Gems of Your Subliminal-Self1, is a personal development PDCA cycle primer that takes you on a journey of discovery. What do you do with your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats after you discover them? You develop a plan (Plan-phase), act on them (Do-phase), monitor your progress (Check-phase), and keep acting on them if all is well, or go back to the drawing board if something is amiss (Act-phase). Optimistic leaders improve via the PDCA cycle.

#14. Optimists Reason with Uncertainty 

Optimists reason with uncertainty—that is probabilistic reasoning. 

Optimism is a core leadership trait because leaders reason with uncertainty (i.e., not definitely ascertainable or fixed, as in time of occurrence, number, dimensions, or quality). Life is full of uncertainties. There are many things that we are not sure of in life. However, we live through these indeterminacies comfortably, albeit with some apprehension. Valid reasoning becomes very problematic when the information at hand is uncertain. Our ability to reason under these conditions as humans are also known as probabilistic reasoning.2 

“Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty.” — Brian Greene.

We can’t avoid uncertainty in our daily life. You don’t know if you will live the next minute. We are often unsure of what to eat, what to drink, and even what to wear. We are uncertain of the stock market. Making decisions usually involves uncertainty for leaders. However, to deal with these uncertainties intelligently, we must resent them well and reason about them.3 The ability to reason often allows us to determine what is happening in the world, how we should react to it, and how the world should behave. Uncertainties complicate reasoning and muddy the waters. We often adopt traditional reasonings (e.g., formal, procedural, or analogical) to make sense of things. However, uncertainties (e.g., noise, uncertain change, ignorance, etc.) can sometimes make formal reasoning difficult.4

Reasoning with uncertainty can be chaotic. However, it births ideas at the end of the day.

Optimistic leaders are willing to go the extra mile through the sundry methods of reasoning with uncertainty. These methods could be symbolic, statistical, or fuzzy logic. Delving into each of these methods would be going beyond the scope of this piece. The summary is that optimistic leaders wish to shun every ounce of skepticism and go the extra mile to deploy unconventional methods to find solutions for themselves and their teams. In the words of Tim Crouch, an experimental theatre-maker—an actor, writer, and director, “Uncertainty is a very good thing: it’s the beginning of an investigation, and the investigation should never end.” The never-ending investigation is the hallmark of continuously improving the status quo, albeit the mechanisms for solution are unconventional via reasoning with uncertainty.

#15. Optimists Believe in the Power of Teamwork

“It’s true: teamwork makes the dream work.” — Natalya Neidhart.

Optimism is a core leadership trait because these leaders believe in the power of teamwork. Optimistic leaders don’t go it alone—they believe in forging ahead with teams. There is power and strength in collaboration. One person can only accomplish but so much; however, when you bring others into the equation, you multiply the chances of achieving more. In the words of Mattie Stepanek, an American poet who died at the age of thirteen, “Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” Teamwork fosters strength in the light of vision and purpose. It builds trust, which further builds speed. 

“Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.” John C. Maxwell.

Optimistic leaders believe in the power of teamwork and do everything in their ability to build a functional and cohesive team. It does not take one musician to make an orchestra—you need a group of musicians to form a symphonic orchestra. The critical adjective of note here is symphonic. For a team of instrument-playing musicians to produce a melodic tune of note, they must be in sync, knowing their part and timing of when to play their role during the symphony. It does not take a bead of water to form an ocean—you need an infinite number of drops to create seas. It takes teams to build great brands, and optimistic leaders understand and live out this factor.

The product of the power of teamwork is robust because together, everyone achieves more.

When a house operates in unison, it stands; however, a house divided stands no chance of staying together. An enemy might defeat one person, but two people can stand back-to-back to defend each other. And three people are even more potent. They are like a rope that has three parts wrapped together—it is tough to break. Pessimists, valid to their nature, are already skeptical about anything of note working. Hence, the purity of collaboration for the greater good of a cause is already tainted. Optimistic leaders embrace the benefits of cooperating. They understand that teamwork promotes the sacrifice of selflessness. It supports corporate accountability to the cause of success. 

Optimism is a core leadership trait because leaders understand the value of leveraging the team members’ strengths. Every team member contributes something unique that makes the brand or organization a well-lubricated and cohesive unit. For instance, Oaekpost is my dream. However, from the drawing board, as I crafted this platform into reality, I knew that I could not do it all alone. The Oaekpost vision is beyond me, and my sole capacity to deliver cannot make what I envisage for this company a reality. I am now building a team of folks who believe in adding value to minds. Everyone on my team has their specialty. Our success depends on it. If you must gain a competitive advantage in your niche, you must cultivate optimistic leadership with teamwork as your pivot point.

C. Optimism Must Be Rational

Do we lead with our hearts or our heads? Let’s be rational now.

In this piece, we have seen “15 Reasons Why Optimism is a Core Leadership Trait.” Despite all these positive reasons that this piece profers, optimism must be rational (i.e., it must be agreeable to reason, reasonable, or sensible). We must strike a balance on how we lead, with our hearts or with our heads. As a leader, you must have a metaphorical sieve of commonsense in your mind that helps you assess when things are going awry. It is a fact that optimism can pose challenges. Hence, we must exercise some sense of caution. On the web platform, Verywellmind, Elizabeth Scott, in her article titled, “What is Optimism?” highlights some potential pitfalls of optimism. Let’s look at them and then some more. Let’s go:

#1. Optimism Bias  

“The overestimation of the likelihood that one can experience good things while avoiding bad things. There is an underestimation of the risks of experiencing negative outcomes.” — Elizabeth Scott.

As much as optimism is a good thing, there are times that we do not weigh the result of our optimistic choices carefully and rationally. Optimism bias is “the overestimation of the likelihood that one can experience good things while avoiding bad things. There is an underestimation of the risks of experiencing negative outcomes.”5 Although it is excellent to be risk-averse, optimistic leaders must also weigh the costs. While they should always focus on the positives rather than the negatives, they should never underestimate the risk of encountering a negative outcome. Don’t let yourself descend into the quagmire of despondency via a blind and stubborn optimistic outlook that is not working. If the strategy is not working, be humble enough to go back to the drawing board and re-strategize. Optimism must be rational.

#2. Poor Risk Assessment

Assess your risks astutely!

Elizabeth Scott establishes that When people are overly optimistic about something, they may be less likely to think about all of the potential risks and take steps to mitigate those issues.5 For instance, a very recent example is the actions of the Trump Administration at the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The 45th President, President Donald J. Trump, was overly optimistic that the COVID-19 Pandemic would quickly pass. You can give him an A+ for sticking with his message. However, the facts in this scenario were saying otherwise. His administration started making efforts after the Pandemic ran away and became more challenging to manage, wreaking havoc with many deaths in its wake, a clear example of inadequate risk assessment. Optimism must be rational.

#3. The Optimist Pride

Don’t let pride be your downfall.

Here is an optimistic leader or person championing a cause and sticking to a message. As it stands, things are not going according to the presumed plan. The optimist pride prevents the leader from rolling back and re-evaluating the process and message. Their concern is much more, “What will people say? They will say I am a failure. They will mock the process and my message.” So, they stick to a failing message that eventually leads them to their doom. Pride goes before a fall. So, the optimistic leader needs to shelve their pride and go back to the drawing board and re-plan at this juncture. When it no longer makes sense, make a change. Optimism must be rational.

#4. Toxic Positivity

Hope and validation are fundamental. Embrace it.

Can optimism become toxic? Elizabeth Scott establishes that Sometimes people tend to overvalue positive feelings while ignoring or even repressing negative ones.5 Being an optimist is fantastic. However, we should never invalidate the psycho-emotional feelings of people who are going through the eyes of the needle. Optimistic leaders need to have empathy to understand what others may not be encouraging emotionally. Your goal as a promising leader is to infuse a sense of hope and validation. Optimism must be rational.

Toxic Positivity (noun):  The overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state that results in the denial, minimization, and invalidation of the authentic human emotional experience.” — The Psychology Group. 

In the leadership sphere, optimism is profitable for coping, managing stress levels, reinvigorating physical stamina, and developing resilience to pursue goals and objectives. Optimistic leaders focus on the ‘good’ in life and are grateful for it. However, optimism becomes toxic when we ignore the ‘bad’ in life and suppressing the emotions that ensue. It is like missing a crack in a dam and not fixing it. With time, the gap will continue to grow until it causes the barrier to come crashing down if not caught and resolved timely.

Deal with your emotions, don’t suppress them.

There are times that we experience negative emotions, even in the leadership circle. For instance, optimistic leaders should be careful of suppressing the feelings of their followers. If there is resentment in the rank and file of their organization, then it is best the face is head-on and address it. Using positive speak to suppress emotions will only do more harm than good. A time will come when the emotions under suppression will explode and lead to more catastrophic ends in the organization. It is here that empathy has its way of helping to address these negative emotions. Optimism must be rational.

“Despite all these positive reasons that this piece profers, optimism must be rational (i.e., it must be agreeable to reason, reasonable, or sensible).” — Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze.

Other sources also highlight some of the considerations of optimism. In the title, “3 Times Optimism Does You More Harm than Good,” Amy Morin of the Business Insider posits some concerns of too much optimism. They are as follows: exaggerating the positives, being overconfident in one’s abilities, and overestimating your chances of success, are some matters that characterize too much optimism. We can go on delving into the various cons of optimism. However, it is evident that the positives of optimism far outweigh the considerations. 

D. What is the Conclusion of the Matter?

Be the different one in the bunch—Be Positive!

Optimism is a core leadership trait that I urge every leader to invest the time to cultivate. Optimism is a call for us, for leaders to do better, and consider this piece to be that clarion call. Optimism seeds our minds with the seedlings of a can-do attitude, spirit, and mentality. In the words of Dylan Taylor, an American executive, and super angel investor, “There are really four ‘headlines’ for me: honesty, integrity, hard work, and what I call a ‘can-do’ attitude. You could call that ‘can-do’ attitude optimism, but it is not Pollyannaish optimism. Rather, it is a ‘we’ll figure it out’ type of mentality.” 

“We should celebrate when optimism and hard work triumph over cynicism, lethargy, and fatalism.” — Sadiq Khan.

Similarly, this piece does not advocate Pollyannaish (i.e., unreasonably or illogically optimistic) optimism. We establish the need for leaders to embrace and cultivate the trait of optimism. However, we also advise that optimism must be rational—it must never be unreasonable or illogical. Leaders must approach optimism with an ounce of commonsense. We are wide awake here, talking about something sensible and practical that leaders can adopt to change organizations. Optimism is an investment in hope; pessimism is an investment in nothing. So, consider the time you have invested in reading this long-form piece as an investment in hope and value.

Don’t lose your confidence as a leader—Be positive, think positive!

So far, this piece establishes fifteen reasons why optimism is a core leadership trait. First, optimists are innovative. They don’t get too comfortable with the status quo. Hence, they unleash their innovative and creative genius by thinking outside the box. Second, optimism is a core leadership trait because optimistic leaders are future-oriented thinkers. The recency effect does not truncate their vision—they see the big picture. They are the watchmen standing on the towers of their organizations and see the distance. They can see danger approaching from afar and can prepare their organizations for the onslaught of variations in other to secure a win. Third, optimistic leaders go for gold—they seek the best to win the prize. Fourth, they eschew the negative. Optimism is a shield that protects leaders who possess it from the rain of the arrows of pessimism and negativity. Fifth, they adopt a Winner’s Philosophy—they work towards winning consistently.

Sixth, optimism is a core leadership trait because it makes leaders into problem solvers. They don’t shy away from problems—they are solution seekers. They are leaders that continuously seek to improve situations. Seventh, they always strive to lead from within (i.e., leading with a cool, calm, and collected disposition). They are not erratic and do their very best to be rational always. Eighth, optimistic leaders are apt communicators. What good is it to have great ideas on how to improve your organization, and you lack the craft of efficient, communicative delivery? If you can’t communicate effectively as a leader, then you are just fooling yourself. Optimism will nudge you towards honing the art of your communicative skills. Ninth, optimistic leaders are business starters. They visualize the possibilities of things becoming, and they make it happen. Tenth, promising leaders have contagious behaviors. They will influence their followers to become their best selves ever in the spirit of productivity and profit. 

Just Be!

Eleventh, optimistic leadership is not risk-averse—those that are reluctant to take risks never achieve much in life. How will you know if you can or cannot do something if you don’t even try? Twelveth, optimistic leaders are adaptable—they are apt at adjusting themselves to different conditions. Organizations are constantly changing. Hence, you need confident leaders to be the captains of your organizational flotilla. They will help you navigate and sail the forever-changing seas of circumstances. Why? They are adaptable; they can handle the pressure without breaking. Thirteenth, they embrace continuous improvement—they never want to stay stagnant. They always have a forward-looking outlook towards personal, leadership, and followership development. Fourteenth, optimistic leaders reason with uncertainty. They are constantly honing their craft of probabilistic reasoning as they face life and business uncertainties. Finally, the fifteenth, spirited leadership believes in the power of teamwork. You can’t go it alone—teamwork makes the dream work.

Optimism has a lot of solid points back it as this piece establishes. However, there are some considerations that we should note as we study optimism. The first is optimistic bias. Good things happen for sure. However, you must never underestimate the risks of experiencing adverse circumstances. Second, optimism that is not careful could make you neglect proper risk assessment.  Third, beware of optimist pride. Stop concerning yourself with what people say. Doing so could nudge you to a place of pride and inaction. Remember, pride goes before a fall. Fourth, beware of toxic positivity. Don’t suppress negative emotions when they arise—deal with it head-on so that it does not fester.

Just Be!

As I finalize this piece, I read William Ernest Henley’s (1849-1903) poem Invictus and the last verse of this poetic piece speaks to my inner optimism. It says, 

It matters not how strait the gate, 
How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate: 
I am the captain of my soul. 

Optimistic leaders are the captains of the souls of organizations. They must:

  1. Mind their decks before any egoism. The matters of the many come first before the issues of self. They address all before they address themselves.
  2. Look to the considerations of their followership and organizations before their selves. They serve their ship altruistically.
  3. Embrace knowledge and rationality before making utterances to affect the status quo positively.
  4. Hold the power staff of veracity and will never allow the Balrog of Cant to pass. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set them free.
  5. Believe in the phrase ‘learning is earning.’ They learn, earn before they leap to action. Knowledge is paramount to the optimist’s success.
  6. Adapt to change over stasis. From the decks of the organizational galleons, they look beyond the raging Davey Jones Locker of the status quo.
  7. Believe the phrase, “more act less lag, more act less yap.” They don’t sit around lagging and yapping—they talk the talk but also walk the walk. 

All these lie within the soul of the optimistic leader. Optimistic leaders are the captains of the souls of organizations, and these mantras should guide their sail.

“You really need to love something or someone in order to work hard enough to be very successful. You have to believe in something and have a certain optimism. Faith and optimism come from love.” — Maya Soetoro-Ng.

I can say with full enthusiasm that ‘I am a full-blooded optimist.’ My creed is that ‘I have hope and confidence in success and positive future. I expect good things to happen to me in all areas of my life. I am intentional about life and believe that all things are working together for my good. My future is bright—though I walk through the dark labyrinths of life, I always see the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Negative happenstances will not crush me; they are only molding me to become my best self ever. Challenges are not obstacles; they are only stepping stones for my ascendance to greater heights. I am mindful. I am grateful. I am alive. I am a leader. I am an optimist.’ Make this your creed too. 

References

  1. Agom-Eze, O. (2020). Unearthing your latent potential: Discovering the gems of your subliminal self. Ounioae Books. 
  2. Aitken, C., & Mavridis, D. (2019). Reasoning under uncertainty. Evidence-Based Mental Health, 22, 44-48. Retrieved from Evidence-Based Mental Health.
  3. Halpern, J. Y. (2017). Reasoning about uncertainty. The MIT Press. Retrieved from Google Scholar.
  4. Huber, M. (2015). Reasoning with uncertainty. Retrieved from ranger.uta.edu.
  5. Scott, E. (2020). What is optimism? Retrieved from Verywellmind.
  6. Sudharatna, Y., & Li, L. (2004). Learning organization characteristics contributed to its readiness-to-change: A study of the Thai mobile phone service industry. Managing Global Transitions, 2(1), 163-178. 
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Career

4 Moms’ Advice on Managing Motherhood & Career

Motherhood is a beautiful journey, and you can still live a life of purpose building your career for a brighter future. Four career moms share their advice on balancing motherhood and career. Would you please read all about it here?

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Balancing motherhood and career isn’t a walk in the park. There are days you feel like you are being stretched in several directions as you try to achieve everything on your work “to-do” list and managing activities in your home. You want to have a great career as a woman, but sometimes there’s the mummy guilt. You want to be a great mother, and sometimes you may go hard on yourself for slacking on your goals. Most career moms have experienced this, and it is normal. 

“I think moms put a lot of pressure on themselves trying to balance it all. It’s never going to be perfectly balanced—the sooner you know this, the sooner you can relieve some of the pressure you put on yourself.” — Denise Richards.

Motherhood is a fulfilling journey, but it can be overwhelming making the home and career happy, especially when you have a baby or babies that take up much of your time and attention. Sometimes we lose ourselves doing that, and we desperately look for answers. We look for solutions on how to balance both because our happiness matters too. The perfect work-life balance might seem unattainable, but you can still blossom in your career and your role as a mother. How is this possible? Let’s look at the thoughts of four career moms. Let’s go:

4 Moms’ Advice on Managing Motherhood & Career 

Career moms are finding strategies to multitask.

It’s possible to have a flourishing career and family as you keep evolving in your life’s journey. No one says that our career should be the end of our family life or vice versa. It is possible to have the two and strike some balance in managing the pressures of the two. To achieve the two requires strategy and unflinching effort. In this article, four moms share how they successfully manage motherhood and career so you can get inspired.

#1. I Have 3 Simple Catalysts to Living an Unshakable Life—Mofoluwaso Ilevbare 

Mofoluwaso Ilevbare—Global HR Leader and Executive Coach.

Mofoluwaso Ilevbare is a Global HR Leader and Executive Coach. She’s also the Co-Founder of Trailblazer Femme that empowers ambitious women globally to live boldly in their unique voice, strength, and brilliance. 

“My goal is to trigger a hunger for finding purpose, possibilities today rather than waiting till you grow older or retire.” — Mofoluwaso Ilevbare, The Guardian.  

Here is her advice to career moms:

Mofoluwaso Ilevbare (MI): Firstly, I don’t separate motherhood from building a career. These are all dimensions of the same life. So here are three simple catalysts to living an unshakeable life:

#1.1. Build a life, then Career: 

Build the life you want today. Next comes your career.

MI: I designed a life vision board that defines my personal and professional being. Define the kind of life you want to live, who you want to become, who you want to live life with, and then make career, relationship, and other life choices that move you in the direction of that vision you see for your life. 

#1.2. Define Your Boundaries: 

Define your boundaries. Set it and stick with it!

MI: Life management is more about energy management. Am I 100% present when at work and 100% present when at home? What are my values? What will I not compromise? Setting work and family boundaries have helped me to juggle the many dimensions of my life. 

#1.3. Stop Trying to Be a Superwoman 24/7:

Stop trying to be a Superwoman 24/7! If you are not from Planet Krypton, you will wear yourself out!

MI: One of the many mistakes career moms make is trying to do and be everything to everyone. We all have an area to occupy in the world and a mission to accomplish. Own your space and get help with rest. Save your energy trying to be a super mom and instead find ways to create more time for pampering yourself or spending quality time with your kids. Sharing the load with my husband, family members, friends, and many artisans makes life beautiful.

#2. Balancing Can Be Done—Tolulope Olorundero

Tolulope Olorundero—a global public relations consultant and board advisor

Tolulope Olorundero is a global public relations consultant and board advisor. She is the Principal Consultant at Mosron Communications—a boutique public relations consulting firm working with B2B organizations across sub-Saharan Africa. She is also the Founder of Nigerian Women in Public Relations (PR), an independent social impact organization for practicing and aspiring PR women of Nigerian descent. 

Here is her advice for career moms:

Tolulope Olorundero (TO): Six years ago, when I started my journey to motherhood, I could not have imagined the many sacrifices I would need to make—both for my career and my children. I recall, not so fondly, the anxiety and worry I had to deal with the days I had to be in the office and getting back late to pick up my son from the crèche.

“A solid support system is the only way to cope as a working mom.” — Tolulope Olorundero.

TO: After my second baby, though, I resigned. And I started my own company, a public relations consulting firm, from the dining table in my living room. Then I hired a live-out nanny. She would come in daily, clean the house, pick the boys from school—which was just a 5-minute walk from the house then. A solid support system is the only way to cope as a working mom.

It is a balancing act, but you can do it.

TO: As the boys grow older, I continued building my business from home—managing staff and clients worldwide. They know when mummy is in her office—then she is busy. Once I close from work, though, I am all theirs. Work is not allowed to intrude during mummy-time. It is a balancing act, but you can do it.

#3. Envision the Kind of Life You Want, & Get Help When Necessary—Dr. Bunmi Akinkugbe 

Dr. Bunmi Akinkugbe—Practicing Physician. 

Dr. Bunmi Akinkugbe is a physician in public health practice in Atlanta, GA. She’s passionate about what she does and serves as a Lifestyle and Career Consultant for Immigrant women in professional careers. She helps them flourish via the platform Thrive in the US. She’s also the Co-founder of Trailblazer Femme (An Executive Hub for Career Women).

Here is her advice to career moms:

Bunmi Akinkugbe (BA): The term ‘successfully combining motherhood and career’ will be different for each person as everyone has their definition of success, and we’re all different. We also go through different phases of life. As the saying goes, “Life is in phases….”

“Life is in phases….” — Dr. Bunmi Akinkugbe.

BA: Here are my six tips to successfully combine career and motherhood:

#3.1. Prioritization is Key:

Prioritize by giving attention to the needful at every point in time.

BA: Prioritize by giving attention to the needful at every point in time. When you are at work, focus on work. When you’re home, focus on the home. Try to limit distractions. Give undivided attention to the task at hand, even if it’s just for little chunks of time.

#3.2. Essentialism: 

Essentialism: making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy to operate at your highest point of contribution.

BA: The second tip is to practice “Essentialism” (NB. Book by Greg McKeown). The term means making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy to operate at your highest point of contribution. In other words, say ‘no’ to energy-draining activities and time wasters, so you can focus and say yes to what is more important to you.

#3.3. Incorporate Simple Daily Habits:

The secret of your success is in your daily habits. Your day-to-day routine matters.

BA: Incorporate simple daily habits that help to run your life smoother and make things easy for you. In the words of Mike Murdock, “The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” Embrace simple daily habits. These help you to set your rhythm.

#3.4. Establish a Plan: 

Establish a plan or structure to streamline your work and family dynamics.

BA: Establish a plan or structure to streamline your work and family dynamics. Planning can involve having routines and schedules. So that—for the most part, and at every point in time—everyone knows what they need to be doing—at the same time staying flexible to accommodate unforeseen circumstances.

#3.5. Solicit for Help When You Need It: 

Ask for help when you need it.

BA: Solicit for help from every avenue available. Have your partner or family members assist you with some things. Delegate to assistants. Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family. Soliciting for help applies especially to young momsget a trusted nanny or sitter, cleaner, or support group that can help you.

#3.6. Rest! Rest! Rest!

Rest is essential to avoid burnout.

BA: Finally, Rest! Rest! Rest! Rest is essential to avoid burnout. You can have a “leave” schedule that works. Take your leave or vacation and use the time off to rest and rejuvenate. In the words of Gautam Singhania, “The breaks you take from work pay you back manifold when you return because you come back with a fresher mind and newer thinking. Some of your best ideas come when you’re on vacation.” A restful leave/vacation helps you focus and bring back your vision to life and your job. Do what gives you joy and emotional balance in life.

A restful leave/vacation helps you focus and bring back your vision to life and your job.

BA: As a career mom, envision the kind of life you want to live and then make sure everything aligns with that. When you are starting a job, it could be challenging, especially for immigrant women in a different environment. You sometimes take up any job. But when you identify your strengths and skillset, you should narrow it down to the kind of career you want to go into and the kind of life you want to live. Look at your work-life integration and apply some form of balance so that no part of your life suffers. Take it easy on yourself, one day at a time, and things will get better and improved.

#4. Getting Help is The Balance You Need—Caroline Wabara

Caroline Wabara—Marketing Consultant.

Caroline Wabara is a marketing consultant at Wab Digital. She offers training and services to companies looking to sell online through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Paid Ads, and Email automation strategies. 

Here is her advice to career moms:

Caroline Wabara (CW): Balancing motherhood and career isn’t an easy feat. I have always sought help from wherever I can get it. My parents take care of my son while I’m away at work. So, my parents are my rock. You do not have to allow your dreams to fade because you are a mother. Getting all the help you need is the balance between being a mom and a career woman. Doing it all by yourself would exhaust your capacity to focus on taking one step at a time in your career.

“Successful mothers are not the ones that never struggled. They are the ones that never give up despite the struggles.”  Sharon Jaynes.

Being a successful career mom is possible. We, at Oaekpost, are appreciative of the advice given in this article by our four amazing career moms. Remember to apply the three simple catalysts to living an unshakable life. Remember that balancing or attaining equilibrium is possible as it concerns your career and motherhood. Envision the kind of life you want to live and get help when necessary. Getting help is the balance you need when you’re a career mom.

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Home & Living

5 Benefits of Having Plants in Your Home

Plants are not just the food we consume. Plants also come with many benefits that support our physical, mental, and emotional health. Please read all about it here.

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Spending time indoors has become more popular, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic started in late 2019 or early 2020 (NB. The World Health Organization (WHO) tracks its start date at December 31, 2019). Many people have had to work from home, especially after the lockdown began in many countries across the globe. Even in places with a reduced number of cases, staying at home was still the paramount emphasis. 

“Healthy plants are a critical resource, the natural protectors supporting life on Earth”  International Year of Plant Health.

Technology is fast advancing, and it is now possible to quickly meet many outdoor needs without actually leaving our homes. We can easily shop, make virtual visits, exercise, and many more from the comfort of our homes. As we spend more and more time at home, many people have become aware of what it means to have plants as part of their home décor. 

An interior design of a vintage living room with stylish retro furniture and some plants.

Plants are a crucial aspect of our world, providing us with food, fiber, shelter, medicine, the precious air we breathe, and lots more. The benefits of plants are much more than many of us think, especially when you have them as growing, potted members of your homes. In this piece, we will explore some of the benefits of having plants as part of your home. Hopefully, our point of view will make you believe in using plants as your home decor elements. Let’s go:

#1. Increased Aesthetic

Simply elegant and cutesy!

First things first, beauty! If you want an affordable and easy way to decorate your home, then having plants is an excellent choice to achieve that. A plant increases the aesthetic of your home, improves your home’s general beauty. It gives your home an interior decorative look that feels conducive and is pleasant to the perception. 

“When your home looks good, you feel good”  Anonymous. 

Having plants in your home will give your home a natural look and feel. Such an ambiance stimulates the senses and the mind. Plants brighten up your surroundings and are guaranteed to lift your mood whenever you’re home. From colorful flowery blooms to simple green potted foliage, plants always guarantee to improve your home aesthetic.

#2. Cleanses the Air

Plants are air purifiers. 

Having plants in your home is an excellent catalyst for improving the air quality in your home. It helps refine the air that you take in your home. Studies show that pollution levels are higher indoors than outdoors due to the mix of pollutants (i.e., outdoors and indoors) from substances, like paints, detergents, chemicals, household furnishings, etc. Thankfully, Plants help in cleansing these toxins by taking in the harmful carbon dioxide found in them and exchanging it for oxygen, meaning clean air.

“Use plants to bring life.” — Douglas Wilson. 

Research shows that household plants remove harmful chemicals from the air that can cause ‘sick building syndrome.’ Best of the South Bay article, “15 Detoxifying House Plants for Cleaner Air,” lists several house plants that remove toxins from homes. These toxins could come from carpeting (e.g., formaldehyde), plastics (e.g., trichloroethylene), paints (e.g., benzene), adhesives (e.g., xylene), etc. Some examples are Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), Aloe Vera Plant, English Ivy (Hedera helix), Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens), Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii), Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), etc.

#3. Prevents Illness and Helps with Faster Recovery

You often see plants in hospital rooms as part of the space decor.

Plants are proven to prevent illnesses, such as sore throats, colds, headaches, coughs and, flu-like symptoms. Having plants in your home aside from preventing you from getting ill can also speed up recovery from illnesses. Although most researches focus on plants’ healing and recovery abilities in hospitals, it is safe to say that the healing and recovery abilities of plants can also be extended to the home. 

“Just having plants around helps with your mood. You feel relaxed.” — Pia Wurtzbach.

In a 2002 research symposium paper by Roger S. Ulrich1, people recuperating from several kinds of surgery needed less pain medication, looking at greenery during their recovery periods. Also, they had shorter hospital stays than people who were not looking at greenery during their recovery periods. The study also posits that plants/vegetation helps heighten patient, family, and even staff satisfaction. Because the views of nature can enhance clinical and medical outcomes, it also leads to a reduced cost of care, hence of positive economic value.

The tradition of taking a bouquet or potted foliage to a loved one in the hospital has become a repeated practice.

The tradition of taking a bouquet or potted foliage to a loved one in the hospital has become a repeated practice. It is now evident that it helps in their recovery process. The Roger Ulrich Research1 shows that people who had surgeries heal faster and can tolerate pain better when there are plants in their rooms. Generally, health-wise, rooms with plants are less dusty and moldy than rooms without plants, so if you want your home feeling fresh and clean, plants can act as natural filters to catch airborne particles and potential allergens.

#4. Improves Mental and Emotional Health 

Trees and ornamental horticulture are suitable for your mental health.

When you go out in nature, you feel relaxed and less stressed. It is probably because of this reason that you enjoy going on walks and viewing natural scenery. Researchers have proven that being in nature around trees and ornamental horticulture is suitable for your mental health as it reduces your stress levels and strengthens your body and mind. Although taking long walks through parks and gardens may not be the same as having plants at home, the benefits are still the same. 

“Plants are the catalysts that help in ushering us into a state of mindfulness. The ambiance they create helps us in evoking the sense of serene presence, attitude, and transcendent altitude.” — Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze.

Having plants at home can help you relax and will reduce your stress levels. Its air-cleansing ability leaves you feeling rejuvenated and generally happy. The better air provided by plants can help keep you mentally awake and alert, and best of all, having plants at home helps in sleeping. There is scientific evidence that lavender, orchids, and the like, through their scent, can lower blood pressure and heart rate, thereby improving the quality of sleep.

Harmonious growth between living beings and the environment.
“Plants are the catalysts that help in ushering us into a state of mindfulness.” — Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze.

Although nurturing house plants is not an inherently difficult task, learning to do so can help you relax and reduce anxiety. It can also increase your general outlook on life. Also, if you are dealing with trauma, plants can help you recover, which teaches you the virtues of patience, self-control, and peace. Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze once said that “Plants are the catalysts that help in ushering us into a state of mindfulness. The ambiance they create helps us evoke the sense of serene presence, attitude, and transcendent altitude.”

#5. Increased Productivity 

Plants improve concentration and productivity by up to 15 percent.

In a 1989 research, NASA revealed that indoor plants improve concentration and productivity by up to 15 percent. Researchers from Exeter University reported Daily Mail also found out that indoor plants can improve concentration, productivity, and general well-being by 47 percent. They also found that plants in your home and office can boost your memory by up to 20 percent. When you surround yourself with plants, you increase your attention, boost your mood, and reduce stress levels, increasing productivity. 

“Green may serve as a cue that evokes the motivation to strive for improvement and task mastery, which in turn may facilitate growth.” — Dr. Stephanie Lichtenfeld.

Psychologically the color green has been researched to evoke strong emotions. Whenever you look at the color green, you think of growth, renewal, and life. Green evokes feelings of peace, rest, and abundance. The chlorophyll in plants is the precursor of the green color that we see in plants. When we look at foliage, we think of life, freshness, and vitality. Having plants in your home evokes the feelings that we mention above and increases your general well-being. 

The power of green and plants evokes feelings of peace, rest, and abundance.

Reading the benefits of having a plant in your home can look too good to be true. We must never underestimate the power inherent in plants. In addition to the facts here stipulated about the benefits of plants in homes, plants also serve as food for our daily healthy upkeep and well-being. Our choices are what determines the healthy lifestyle that ensues. They seem easy to do, but we find ourselves not doing them.

“I have a lot of plants – my living room is like a jungle. I like the idea of bringing the outside in.” — Samin Nosrat. 

The genesis of house plants dates to the ancient world. The 17th century saw the growth of plants indoors. Andrew Faneuil, an affluent Bostonian merchant, was credited to be the first builder of the first American greenhouse in 1737 for the sole purpose of growing, maintaining, and cherishing plants. Some would argue that due to the past generation’s love of plants, they lived and enjoyed life longer. Thankfully in today’s world, the art of having houseplants is slowly being revived. However, this is mainly for aesthetic purposes. We hope that more people will come to appreciate the full benefits of having a plant in their homes.

References

  1. Ulrich, R. S. (2002, Month date). Health benefits of gardens in hospitals [Paper presentation]. Plants for People, Florida. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/252307449_Health_Benefits_of_Gardens_in_Hospitals
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5 Lies Every Career Mom Tells Herself

Every mother’s story is unique in raising children, keeping a family, and managing a career—finding a fulcrum of equilibrium where all aspects of life harmonizes could be challenging. Here are some lies that career moms tell themselves. Would you please read all about it?

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Every mother’s story is different, and every experience is unique. But there are specific lies we tell ourselves as mothers that don’t add buoyant feathers to our caps. These lies steal every chance we get to live our best life throughout our motherhood journey. As mothers, we must be honest with ourselves and do our very best to eschew living these lies at all costs; hence, we are presenting this piece.

“I am a woman of many talents, and they’re all just pieces of the puzzle that make me and make my career.” — Michelle Phillips. 

The concept of discovery is what adds life to the years that we have here on earth. The article you are reading lends a hand to teaching us to be truthful to ourselves as mothers who also have careers. Hence, if you’re a mom, especially a new mom, then you should read this piece to ensure you’re not telling yourself these lies because life is too short to be an unfulfilled mom. Join me on this adventure. Let’s go:

#1. I Can Do It All Because My Mom Did

Sometimes we lie to ourselves about handling the needs of our children, families, and career.

Many months ago, I got pregnant, and I feared the new stage in my life that I was entering motherhood. I was running a business, and as a very focused and hardworking person, I didn’t want to slow down the growth of my business. I decided that I will handle the pressure of being a mom and an entrepreneur no matter what. So, I kept that choo-choo train of hard and smart work chugging forward at full speed. 

“As women, we have superpowers. We are sisters. We are healers. We are mothers. We are goddess warriors.” — Merle Dandridge.

So, I gave birth to an adorable baby. The joy that comes from carrying your first baby is nothing but exhilarating. However, few weeks down the lane, I could see how much my life had changed for me, and all things were not panning out as I had initially planned. Then there’s the talk from family and friends on not hiring help to assist with the baby because our moms were strong enough to handle being full-time moms and career people. We often overexert ourselves in our bid to be supermoms!

We often overexert ourselves in our bid to be supermoms!

Many mothers believe that they can handle all the stress of parenting. The challenges were coming like darts from every corner, and it can be pretty insane. As much as I had help every once in a while from family members, I still experienced postpartum depression. I broke down mentally, emotionally, and physically because I still had to tie up loose ends from taking care of the home, baby, and work. 

“When you become a mom, the last thing you want to do is feel judged because everyone is trying to do the best they can.” — Jessica Alba.

Whether you’re a stay-at-home full-time mom, a work-from-home mom, or a work-away-from-home mom, you can’t do it all. Except you are from the planet Krypton like Kara Zor-El, also known by her adoptive name Kara Danvers, or Super Girl, then I trust that you can do it all. However, if that is not your situation, you may need to rethink putting yourself up to the gauntlet of trying to do too much by yourself.

If you are not Super Girl/Woman, or Kara Zor-El, then you may want to pipe low a bit!

If you need to hire help to take care of your home or assist with work, then do so. The more you keep lying to yourself that you can do it all, the more unhappy you become. Don’t let the older adults make you feel weak because they did it all during their time as mothers. Getting help doesn’t make you a bad or weak mom. Don’t ever compare yourself or your parenting to that of your mom. You’re a unique individual and a different kind of awesome mom. 

#2. I Have to Be Perfect

No mom is perfect. As a matter of fact, no human being is perfect.

No mom is perfect. As a matter of fact, no human being is perfect. The quest for perfection is almost like seeking the elusive fountain of youth. However, we can borrow a leaf from the statement of Vince Lombardi, the former American football coach and executive in the National Football League, who said that “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” In the light of this statement, we can say that ‘No mom is perfect, but if moms chase perfection, moms can catch excellence.’

“There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.” — Jill Churchill.

We may never attain perfection, even as moms. The goal is to see progress over perfection. We all had to learn on the job. We tell ourselves this lie that we must strive for perfection. However, it makes us hard on ourselves in a genuine sense. Cut yourself some slack, and don’t beat yourself up when handling this thing called motherhood. The most you can do is give it your best shot at every moment but don’t strive for perfection (to avoid unnecessary heartbreak). Seek progress instead. Also, avoid comparing yourself to other moms who may appear to look and act perfectly; the truth is, every mom is confronting their biggest fears.

#3. I No Longer Have a Life

Stress is real—the lady has got her work cut out for her.

As much as motherhood is a tough job, not having a life is a lie we tell ourselves. Yes, I understand that chores are lingering around. The kids are making you scream and taking all your time. There’s a spouse to give attention to, there are deadlines to meet at your job or business, and the list keeps getting longer. The truth is, we can be intentional with how we live our everyday life by understanding that we also matter, and we need to take care of ourselves. 

“You can go slow. Allow your dreams and goals to change, but live an intentional life.” — Kumail Nanjiani. 

So how can you be intentional? Prioritize taking care of your own needs too. Ensure you de-stress often. Rest as much as you can without thinking of pending chores. Create a routine for your kids that gives you enough time to have a life that makes you feel good. Getting help every so often allows you to take yourself out on a date, get a massage, do some movies, hang out with friends, and a lot more. Believing motherhood makes you not have a life is a way of promoting an unforeseen sadness you may likely experience from time to time. So, beware.

#4. I Can No Longer Achieve My Life Goals

Achieving your life goals is possible. So, no excuses.

Many mothers believe that motherhood steals other opportunities related to their dreams regarding achieving their life’s goals and ambitions. So, they console themselves by making their children achieve their dreams to the best of their capability. Seeing this makes some ladies scared of being mothers. Why? Because they believe motherhood has a way of putting one’s life on hold or snatching their youthful dreams away. Sadly, this is a lie we’ve told ourselves. 

“Successful moms are not the ones that never struggled. They are the ones that never give up despite the struggle.” — Sharon Jaynes.

If you’re passionate about achieving those set goals you made before you became a mother, no matter how tough it is, you’ll always find a way. It may be a slower process now because of the responsibilities of motherhood and running your family as a whole. However, you can gradually make progress if you latch unto focus, patience, persistence, and doggedness to achieve the impossible. Take notice of the moms around you—some are doing what they love. Why can’t you? All it takes is a decision to make it work. 

#5. Marriage Becomes Boring with Kids in the Picture 

A bored family is one that we genuinely loath! In the picture above, we see two bored parents and their kids watching a movie on the sofa with a popcorn bucket.

A marriage that becomes boring when kids come into the picture gives many moms concerns, but this does not have to be true. It would be best if you never based the success of your marriage on having kids in the picture or not. The success of every union depends on the two parties involved, which means you and your spouse must be intentional in working on the relationship and building a happy home. 

“As soon as things become predictable, they become boring.” — Hunter Parrish.

There are times in your marriage you will feel a drain of emotions in the relationship. Every union passes through that eye of the needle, and it can be very challenging. No matter the challenges you may face that may seem to sap the excitement out of your marriage, don’t ever blame your kids when your union is hanging on a thread. A marital union can be a lot of work, but it’s in the power of your hands to salvage the relationship and make it work, all things being equal. You and your spouse need to keep spicing it up and make it worth it with the kids. 

Career mom at it—taking care of her baby and still trying to work—cheering on all career moms out there.

Every mother’s story is unique in raising children, keeping a family, and managing a career—finding a fulcrum of equilibrium where all aspects of life harmonizes could be challenging. However, many mothers in occupations tell themselves certain lies, overtly or covertly, that need addressing. First, “I can do it all because my mom did.” Don’t overexert yourself in your bid to become a supermom in your quest to attain and surpass the feats of motherhood shown to you by your mom—you will eventually burn yourself out. Second, don’t lie to yourself by saying, “I have to be perfect.” The quest for perfection will rob you of the joys of the process. Seek progressive excellence in your approach.

“If the career you have chosen has some unexpected inconvenience, console yourself by reflecting that no career is without them.” — Jane Fonda.

Third, “I no longer have a life!” Don’t lie to yourself with this statement. Yes, motherhood can be challenging in itself, and even much more when combining it with your career. You must be intentional in prioritizing your time to take care of your own needs. Fourth, “I can no longer achieve my life goals.” Achieving your life goals is still possible. However, it may become a slower process. Finally, fifth, you tell yourself that “marriage becomes boring with kids in the picture.” Sorry to burst your bubble of self-pity. Your union and life are what you make it. To keep your marriage fun and exciting, don’t blame your kids. Put in the work to make your union work.

We truly value your opinion. Would you mind sharing your views in the comment box below?

As no whorls of fingerprints are the same, our experiences as mothers in various families and careers are different. Are there some of the statements above that resonate with you in your experience? Would you mind sharing them in the comment box below? We would truly value your opinion.

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Good News

We Are Going Home Soon – A Dream

It was like a movie. I was standing in front of two houses belonging to two different families who were all white folks. Someone ran out from one of the houses to see what was happening outside. Suddenly, a helicopter fell from the sky into another house next door and burst into flames.

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On May 6, 2021, at 2:55 PM PST, a dear friend posted on one of the major social media platforms a dream that she had. After reading her post, I felt that the whole world needed to hear the message of this post. So, I asked her to permit me to publish what she posted. I intended to let the world know who she was and the message she had to offer. However, in her ever debonair and humble disposition, she permitted me to publish her post and make no reference to her. She wants all the glory to go to the giver of the dream—God Almighty.

“What the situation will be like in the world before the Lord returns, namely, Christ will be despised, and the preachers of the Gospel will be regarded as fools.” — Martin Luther.

So, for the sake of anonymity, we will call her Christina Urgentbaum. Furthermore, for the sake of brevity, we will call her Chrissy. Now, Chrissy really wants everyone to focus on the message and to encourage all faithful Christians to keep pushing forward in the faith. Chrissy had a dream. Her dream was so absolute and frightening, and the thought of any human missing out on Heaven’s Call far outweighs any feelings. So, let us buckle up as we delve into Chrissy’s mind as we unearth this message.

Chrissy had a dream.

“I was somewhat reluctant to post this but felt uneasy if I didn’t. I’m a very private person, but I’ve been feeling so uneasy withholding it as events unfold each day across the globe. So, I said a prayer and posted it on social media. It’s about a dream I had in February…,” said Chrissy. 

“I had this vivid dream evening of Sunday, February 7, 2021. It was about the end-times. The description of the end-times in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 is authentic,” said Chrissy. The scriptures here say that “For this, we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord, himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

The Rapture of People out of the world. Caught away…in a twinkle of an eye! Chrissy had a dream.

“As we read these words, for all who believe and all who will soon believe, please continue to stand in faith, trust God and recommit your lives to Jesus for salvation,” Chrissy pleads. Before Chrissy starts, she asks that we all pray for an open heart and an open mind, “Lord Jesus, open our hearts to the message you gave to me as I slept. May people hear your call and come to you through these words,” she prayed. “Here is the dream,” she began.

“It was like a movie. I was standing in front of two houses belonging to two different families who were all white folks. Someone ran out from one of the houses to see what was happening outside. Suddenly, a helicopter fell from the sky into another house next door and burst into flames. Then an airplane fell from the sky and hit the same home, and burst into flames. The wing of the aircraft fell first, and the rest of the plane followed afterward,” she said.

“Then an airplane fell from the sky and hit the same home and burst into flames.”

“The dream continues as the father of one of the families quickly gathered his wife and children; they packed up and asked his neighbor to join them so they could escape to another location. He said it was safer there. So, his neighbor packed up, his wife and children and both families got in a truck and drove off. That was the first scene of the dream,” said Chrissy.

“Next, like another scene in a movie, I saw this road with lots of cars in line because there were traffic delays. I could hear on the radios the voice of a man talking about Jesus, asking people to repent and give their lives to Christ so they can be with God in Heaven. Some people were not bothered, nor did they care about the voice on the radio. There was this guy in a vintage car. He was listening to music and bouncing his head to the tune and didn’t care at all,” Chrissy continued telling her dream.

“Next, like another scene in a movie, I saw this road with lots of cars in line because there were traffic delays.”

Still in the dream state, “I started moving along the road and wondering why the traffic delays. It seemed like some confusion up ahead, and I moved towards the direction of the chaos. I then noticed it was those two families that had left earlier. One of the fathers was the one broadcasting on the radio. He had a small broadcast set-up with a microphone, and he was sharing the Word of God,” she shared.

Continuing the dream, Chrissy shares, “a large group of soldiers with their airplanes parked right in front of the family. The soldiers were harassing this family, trying to stop the broadcast. They were taking their equipment, the generator and trying to cut their power supply. Finally, chaos reigned; a full-blown riot broke out, the byproduct of the widespread disappearances. The children and wives kept screaming as these soldiers were harassing them,” and this concluded all the scenes of Chrissy’s dream.

“Chaos reigned; a full-blown riot broke out.”

“This was so real for me. I woke up and later heard these words from God— ‘We are going Home,’” Chrissy sharing as she concluded the story of her vivid dream. It all seems like a movie, right? However, the truth remains that there are hidden truths in the dream that she received on that fateful day.

Chrissy continues by saying that, “The helicopter and airplane falling from the sky seemed to be that the pilots had been taken as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17,” she ascribes. “So, with no pilots on board, it seems as the helicopter and flight crashed in mid-air,” could be the speculation.

It is wise to ponder on these things.

Further describing her dream, Chrissy establishes that the families left behind warned others to give their lives to Christ and turn to God. Albeit too late already, meaning that those who don’t have an inkling of God or Christ in them would harass those left behind for their faith. Meaning that these left-behind folks will be disturbed by the authorities if they speak of their faith.

“Please guard your faith and keep pushing so we make Heaven the first time. It is better to believe and live for God now than to cry, “had I known,” when the Rapture takes place tomorrow,” Chrissy urges. “Don’t give up on God. He will not give up on you…Instead, believe in the Lord, and confess your sins to Him, and you will be saved,” Chrissy finally urges and ends the tale of her dream and story. 

Don’t give up on God. He will not give up on you.

Believing Christians are looking forward to the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, readers may choose to doubt that this will ever occur. After Jesus was taken up into heaven on Mount Olivet, and the disciples stood gazing, behold, two men (most likely angels) stood by them in white robes. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

The word Rapture is a Latin word derivative that means snatching away or catching up. So, the exact word derivative, Rapture, is used for Philip when the Spirit of the Lord carried him away, and the Ethiopian eunuch saw him no more. The Ethiopian then went on his way, rejoicing.2 The same word is also used of Paul—although he does not stipulate it clearly as himself—was also caught up to the third heaven, receiving revelations which no man may not utter.3

The word Rapture is a Latin word derivative that means snatching away or catching up.

The Rapture will happen in time; it is unavoidable, whether we like it or not. God will perform all His words. He also promises that it will never be delayed.4 God watches over His words to accomplish it.5 The world—the stellar atmospheric heavens—the blue firmament above us; the solar system, the galaxies, and the universe and all universes will evaporate first into thin air, but God assures us all that His Words will not pass away-they will all come to pass.6

That day will come unexpectedly. When thieves rob you, they don’t tell you that they are coming. Instead, they invade your space when you are not thinking about it. That is how the Lord’s return will be—the trumpet sounds, and He catches or snatches away His own—those that believe in Him and are living for Him.7Chrissy’s dream may seem like a fable now or a work of fiction. However, it may just be God warning us to be ready and stay ready. 

His coming will be like a thief in the Night.

What shall we do? We must change our ways (repent) and believe the gospel.8 We must consider Chrissy’s dream as a warning. However, we must also see it as God’s act of love to humankind. Christ can come at any time. However, I implore you to be careful not to make light of this offer. You must never forget that the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness. He is forever patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should reach repentance.9

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” — Revelations 22:12, ESV.

Do you hear Him, Jesus, whispering to you and knocking on the door of your heart right now, asking you to give Him a chance?10 Do yourself a favor and do not harden your heart.11 Ask Him to come into your heart and save you. Believe in his finished work. Embrace God’s gift in offering His Son Jesus to pay the debt that He did not owe—your debt, your sins.12 Don’t hang onto your sins; its payment is death and eternal separation from God.13 You really don’t want that to be your story. Instead, believe in God and walk in the Way of Life He has provided.14Walk in that Way today—the Way of God’s Love.

Remember, we are going home soon—sooner than you think!

References

[1]. Acts 1:9-11 (English Standard Version (ESV)). [2]. Acts 8:39 (ESV). [3]. 2 Corinthians 12:2, 4 (ESV). [4]. Ezekiel 12:25 (ESV). [5]. Jeremiah 1:12 (ESV). [6]. Matthew 24:35 (ESV). [7]. Revelation 16:15; Matthew 24:43; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:4; 2 Peter 3:10 (ESV). [8]. Mark 1:15 (ESV). [9]. 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV). [10]. Revelations 3:20. [11]. Hebrews 3:15 (ESV). [12]. John 3:16 (ESV). [13]. Romans 6:23 (ESV). [14]. John 14:6 (ESV).

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Psychology

11 Ways on How to Make an Effective Decision

We make a ton of decisions in our lifetime. The challenge we face as humans is whether we are making the right decision or not. The fact about decisions is that once we make them, we set in motion a chain of events that begins to steamroll like a bullet train. The essence of this piece is to help us hone the art of effective decision-making. Please, read all about it!

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Decision-making is a robust thought process. Every moment of the day, we make tons of decisions. Some decisions we make are inconsequential, and some others life-changing. Whatever the outcome of our decisions is, our optimum target is for a positive result. Therefore, we always want to make sure that we come out top in all the decisions we make. That is the essence of this piece, to help us hone the art of our effective decision-making skills.  

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  Lao Tzu.

As powerful as decisions are, they are not always that easy to arrive at, which is why you want to make sure you go about it the right way. We want to make sure we get our decisions right; hence, the need for effective decision-making. Making effective decisions starts with taking the first step, just like Lao Tzu said in the quotation above. 

Decision-making flow chart process.

Every inspiration, idea, achievement was born out of a decision. Every step you take towards making that decision counts. You must filter through alternatives, go through the smog of uncertainties, complexities, interpersonal issues, and high-risk consequences to get to the right decision. More so, the truth in itself is that not making the decision is a decision itself. So, would you rather choose not to make the decision or start from somewhere? Your guess is as good as mine; it is better to start somewhere. That is why I have listed thorough steps to take to ensure you make effective decisions. 

11 Ways of Effective Decision-Making

There are different ways of making effective decisions—Find out how.

It is important to note that we are accountable for the product of our decisions and so must bear the consequences that will come with it, hence why we mustn’t make hasty decisions. Making effective decisions requires tact. We can adopt various ways to ensure that we arrive at the right decision, for the right moment and the right occasion. Lets’ look at some of the ways to help you arrive at a practical conclusion. Let’s go:

#1. Think It Through

“Thinking it through so will lead to a more satisfactory outcome.”

Most times, we make decisions without even thinking about what we are deciding on or the outcome, which is alright, all things being equal. But when it comes to a huge life-changing decision, you want to take your time to think about it. By thinking about it, you are weighing your options. You are deciding whether there are other alternatives or ways to go about the situation at hand. Also, you need to figure out the pros and cons and measure out which one has more benefits. 

Thinking it through allows you to determine the impact your final decision will have on your future and in the life of those around you. Some people say decide on it quickly to get it over and done with and not lag on the decision process. However, I say that you should think about it thoroughly. Thinking it through so will lead to a more satisfactory outcome. The act of thinking it through an issue could evolve over days, weeks, months, or even through a couple of years.

#2. Sleep It Through

“That era of peace allows our minds to search for answers by connecting deeply with our subconscious state.”

Hmm! Am pretty sure you are wondering why you must sleep through the thought before making that decision. I bet you are also wondering about the difference between this and thinking it through. The fact is that the beauty of sleeping it through lies in the quietness of your mind. We process information better when our mind is at its optimum silence. That era of peace allows our minds to search for answers by connecting deeply with our subconscious state.

Sleeping it through doesn’t have to last that long. It may be a night or two that does the deal in ushering you to the compelling solution you seek. It may even be for a couple of hours during a siesta—a moment during the day when you take a break, and your mind is in a perfect halcyon state. Then, you will wake up and find that you have an answer as to why you decide on ‘A’ over ‘B’ options. What I love most about this process is that your decision comes from a natural state.

#3. Seek Another Opinion

No man or woman is an island; seek the opinion of others when you need to do so.

When you are not sure, always ask for other people’s opinions. Doing so will help affirm what your instinct is telling you and will surely help you to go ahead and make a firm decision. Sometimes, when we seek the proper counsel from the right people, we gain a cartload of wisdom from the tacit knowledge experience of the people we are consulting. Maybe, they have had the privilege of going through that particular situation that we are inquiring about and currently going through. Hence, we learn from their experience and then make an effective decision from there.

Seeking another opinion does not require you to call a crowd into the matter. It could be one or two persons that could help give you some insight into the issue. However, in some cases, three could help confirm your decision, especially if everything they are saying is in perfect synchrony. It could be a family member, friend, specialist, or higher authority in the area you seek insight into. The wisdom you gain seeking an opinion from others can allow you to make an effective decision.

#4. Your Value-Based

“So, let your value-based gut instinct do the work for you in such instances; you become a confident decision-maker by so doing.”

Sometimes, going with your gut instinct could be the key to making a practical decision. The fact is that your instincts align with your values and is most of the time correct. In What Influences Your Decisions, I mentioned that “What you highly believe in is what would drive your decisions and decisions built on your value system is very likely to be the best decisions you make.” 

Sometimes you may not have the time to weigh the pros and cons or even have the time to sleep over it. In these instances, many concomitant actions may be hanging on you making that effective decision, especially if you are in a leadership role. Such a time is when you have a strong bias for action, and you are required to decide on the fly. So, let your value-based gut instinct do the work for you in such instances; you become a confident decision-maker by so doing.

#5. DYOR

“So, it is essential to do your due diligence! Put in the time and do your research in other to make an effective decision.”

The acronym stands for Do Your Own Research (DYOR). You’ve thought about it; you asked other people for their opinion on the matter; the next step is investing time and conducting some research. Yes, we said your value-based system/gut-feeling or intuition could be right most of the time. However, the fact is that we live in a world that is constantly evolving world and changing. There is a constant update to policies and laws regularly. You might land yourself in a wrong decision if you don’t take out time to do your own research. 

Assuming you want to apply to a university to do a pharmacy course and perhaps your friend got into the same university the previous year. From then till now, things may have changed in the institution. So, without doing some of your current research, you may not be aware of some recent changes that the university has taken on that same course which may not favor you. So, it is essential to do your due diligence! Put in the time and do your research in other to make an effective decision.

#6. Digest It

“Digest it!” That’s right, “Digest it!” Ruminate over it.

“Digest it!” That’s right, “Digest it!” Ruminate over it. The digestion stage is the question or the waiting stage. After you’ve thought about it, slept through it, inquired from others, did your research, and you know what your instinct is telling you. Now, it is time to ask yourself if it feels right. If you are about to do the right thing? If it does feel right, then go ahead. Give yourself the green light to make an effective decision.

#7. Put Your Emotions Aside

“Emotions…it is best to put them aside when you are about to decide on something big or small.”

Our emotions are an integral part of our decision-making process. The fact is that we don’t make the best decisions when our emotions are at play. Emotions affect our thinking and tend to motivate us to act quickly. However, in such a state, we may make rash decisions that don’t augur well at the end of the day. Have you ever decided on something in an emotional state of anger? If you have, I am sure you did later regret that decision, right?

As weird as it may sound, there are times that we also regret decisions that we make out of good emotions. For instance, if you bought that dress because you were feeling happy on that day. But later, due to buyer’s remorse, you now regret your actions because you now think that could put the money to better use on more critical needs. That’s how powerful our emotions come into play, so it is best to put them aside when you are about to decide on something big or small. 

#8. Identify the Risks Involved

“Identify the risks involved. Analyze your options. Evaluate and plan out your strategy of attack. Act on your choices. By carrying out the steps of your risk management plan, you will make an effective decision in the long haul.” 

Acknowledging the risks involved before you decide will help you create a plan to mitigate those risks. One good factor about identifying the dangers is that it allows you to focus less on the consequences. Let’s face it—every decision you make will either make you happy or sad, but fearing those consequences will only push you farther away from making any decision at all. Nevertheless, you can mitigate the effects of ensuing risks via an effective risk management plan when you identify them earlier. 

Developing a risk management plan consists of the following steps-identify, analyze, evaluate, and action. First, you must identify the risks involved. Second, analyze your options. Third, evaluate and plan out your strategy of attack. Fourth, act on your choices. By carrying out the steps of your risk management plan, you will make an effective decision in the long haul. Likewise, you can also eschew these risks with a creative project plan. 

#9. Visualize Your Achievement Daily

There is power in visualization! Visualize yourself becoming, and you will become via effective decisions that you will make.

There is power in visualization. Constantly picture in your mind how you will look once you’ve attained your set goal. For example, if you have ever dreamed of owning a coffee shop while putting in all the necessary efforts to set up your business or even still saving up some capital to commence the project, daily picture yourself in your shop. Picture yourself wearing your barista apron. Visualize yourself greeting your customers. Imagine yourself checking them out at the register. There is power in visualization. 

The exercise may seem banal at best; however, in the words of Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze, “What you picture in your mind’s eye permeates the fabrics of the universe to become your reality.” This simple exercise increases your motivation and helps to keep you focused on your goal. The activity above also enables you to visualize pending decisions. It also allows you to weigh options on tackling those decisions when they become due. Imagining your achievements will let you make more effective decisions.

#10. Dedicated Effort

“80% of your decision results come from 20% of the sum of all decisions you make that are effective.” Do you agree?

Decision-making without dedicating effort to achieve is a waste. Instead, do something every day that will bring you closer to your goal. For example, if you have decided to open a coffee shop, as I said earlier in an instance above, you need to take a step every day towards achieving that goal or dream. If the effort you are putting in is not working out the way you planned, then change your strategy until you reach the result you want. Every effort counts—so take action!

One more thing, in the process of putting effort to make effective decisions that will bring you closer to your goals, always remember Pareto’s Law. It states that “roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts.” As much as you can apply this law in a larger corporate setting, you can also apply it to yourself in the swat of your effective decision-making skills. Technically, via Pareto’s Law, “80% of your decision results come from 20% of the sum of all decisions you make that are effective.” Do you agree? I would like to hear your opinions in the comment section. 

#11. Stay Committed

“It is the carabiner that connects effective decision-making to the success that ensues from making such choices.”

When you have finally arrived at a decision, you need to stay committed to it as you don’t want all your effort to waste. It is not enough to say, “I will lose ten pounds in three months.” Yet, you walk past the treadmill in your loft every day. Or you drink all the sodas that the store has to offer. You cannot say, ‘I will write a novel before I turn thirty,” and yet you cannot write the first line of your story plot. Or ‘I will own a coffee shop,” and yet you are doing nothing to actualize that dream. 

For a decision to be effective and successful, there is a need for total commitment. Effective decision-making requires total commitment. It would be best if you were all in when you make that decision to see it through from the cradle to the grave. Total commitment is a requirement to ensure that decision-making becomes effectual. It is the carabiner that connects effective decision-making to the success that ensues from making such choices. But, then, you must stick with it, persevering while working to make sure it pans out to be successful.

“Effective decision-making is the sprockets that answer the questions of who, what, when, why, where, and why?”

We make a ton of decisions daily. The essence of this piece is to ensure that we hone our skills in the art of effective decision-making, which, to be honest, can be challenging at times. Effective decision-making is the sprockets that answer the questions of who, what, when, why, where, and why? For our decisions to be effective, what do we do? First, we saw that we need to think the process through. Second, we need to sleep it through and make our choices in a calm state of mind. Third, we can seek the opinion of others. Fourth, we can make effective decisions via our gut instincts. Fifth, we need to do our due diligence by doing our research.

“The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision.” — Maimonides. 

Sixth, digest it—take your time to contemplate over it repetitively before committing to a choice. In the words of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan, “Think 100 times before you take a decision, but once that decision is taken, stand by it as one man.” The “thinking” is the digestion process. Seventh, put your emotions aside and then decide. Eighth, identify the risks involved—develop a plan to mitigate or eschew them. Ninth, visualize your achievement daily—that will channel your decisions towards your dreams. Tenth, put in your very best effort when you commit to a choice. Finally, stay the course after you commit to a decision. Do these, and you will be on the right path towards making effective decisions.

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