GETTING TO POSITIVE INTENTION
RAISE THE FLAG EVERY DAY
Living Positive Intention has been described as raising a flag every day, but there is no place to tie it. Practicing Positive Intention requires intention, attention, and expectation. As you commit to operating from Positive Intention, expect that you will be given many opportunities and repeatedly challenged to maintain that positive attitude. As long as you can expect to be challenged, you can use the challenge, embrace it, and learn more about yourself and increase your mastery. Positive Intention is not a destination; it is an evolutionary spiral that enhances life. Again, you will have infinite opportunities to Check Your Attitude and change your thinking and actions. Grab them and practice raising the flag.
As with athletic training, you might feel a little sore when you begin, but with practice you will gain a level of expertise and actually create the experience of Positive Intention for yourself and for others as well.
Your first response to challenging events and situations is one gauge to measure your progress and level of mastery. How do you feel? Be as aware of your thoughts and feelings as possible. When you build this level of vigilance from a non-judgmental place it will help you make great leaps. Simply notice your mind, thoughts, and feelings without knee jerking yourself into a reaction. This pause and attention will build your ability to make Positive Intentional choices about your life. Check Your Attitude and become an active observer of your mind. It will instantly help to neutralize negative reactions.
PRACTICE 3 STEPS TOWARD POSITIVE INTENT
- Acknowledge your first thought.
- Suspend Negative Intention and seek Positive Intention.
- Frame your situation and formulate a good question that you can ask the other person to engage him or her in dialogue.
Jamie has a way of bragging about herself. She often talks about her role in things and what she accomplished to the exclusion of promoting other people or people around her. Every time Tim would hear her front page herself he would cringe and regret his association. In this situation Tim decided to pause for a moment and ask himself, “What is she trying to do by promoting herself?” After some thought he realized that she needed to be acknowledged and that she was doing it for herself because she did not hear it from the outside. Two things happened for Tim after he had that realization. One was when he heard her acknowledging and boasting about herself he had a neutral reaction, and from time to time he would actually compliment her on the work that she did. In this situation Tim changed from wanting to be right about how wrong she was for self-promotion to understanding her situation and actually contributing to a solution. Everyone likes to be acknowledged anyway.
This practice works to transform how you approach difficult situations. It may seem awkward at first, and it may feel like it’s not the right thing to do. This sensation is resistance. When you assume Negative Intention, your mind wants to be right about how wrong others are. This is an effective time to push the pause button on your negative thinking so that you can create the possibility for a positive result to occur.
Your mind has been conditioned to be right at the expense of making others wrong. Often you may think, “Well, that person is wrong and I am obviously right.” Even if you are right, a problem develops when you need to point out that she is wrong and insist that you are right. This one-upmanship creates a hostile environment. To shift the interaction to the possibility of having Positive Intention you need to ask yourself, "How do I lead her to this result or conclusion in a way that she is going to feel OK?"
You will have to practice assuming positive intent over and over until it becomes a natural way of thinking and acting. Do not expect it to happen automatically, but in time you will easily shift your thinking, and you will be amazed at the results as you find yourself engaged in potent dialogues and interactions that change and improve everything you say and do.