Turn thoughts around…if you can’t turn them off

by | Nov 21, 2011 | Blog | 0 comments

Neighbor's video surveillance camera viewed from our bedroom window

“When you’re feeling certain feelings that just don’t seem right, treat those pesky feelings like a reading light – And turn ’em off!

So sing Elders McKinley, Church, Thomas and Price inTurn it off”   from the Tony-award winning musical The Book of Mormon.

Another approach, which many experts say is much healthier for you, is to turn your thoughts around. So for example, rather than focus on the negative, switch it to the positive, says David Rock, co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute, which brings together neuroscientists and leadership experts for the new science of leadership development.

While taking David’s Results brain-based coaching program earlier this year, I personally experienced the benefits of a more positive orientation for myself, my fellow students and the individuals we coach. This approach is also effective in my change implementation work with clients.

By being more positive, we think more about possibilities. Also, with this adjusted mindset, we consider the improvements we can personally make, rather than obsess about the problems facing us.

This Thanksgiving week I’m putting these teachings into practice at home as I cope with a bizarre situation with our new next door neighbor.

Unlike the Mormon Elders, I have to confess it’s really hard to treat my feelings toward this Coldwell Banker real estate agent like a reading light. That’s because I can’t turn off the surveillance camera the neighbor has pointed toward our bedroom window. The red light flashes 24/7.

However, I am grateful for these five things next door:

1. The renovation project that started in September 2009 (which is still continuing although to a lesser degree) is pumping money into our local economy.

2. The jack-hammering, which disturbed us last Thanksgiving Day (Yes, her contractors worked on Thanksgiving Day 2010.) is over.

3. The stinky, eye-sore Porto-Potty is gone.

4. The cars and delivery trucks that were blocking our driveway preventing us from getting our car out of the garage have driven away.

5. The imposing fence that she had erected this fall, which is out of scale for the house and the neighborhood, has become a handy neighborhood landmark. For example, I now tell cab drivers to drop me off next door to the fortress.

As for the video surveillance camera, I’m trying to turn around the situation. I view the one pointed at our bedroom window as an accountability partner. (I try to ignore the other cameras.)

My new morning ritual is as follows: I wave at the camera. Then I tell it the three must-do actions  I’m committing to do that day.

Even though it’s very creepy to have a camera aimed at our bedroom window—especially a camera that blinks non-stop—I must admit it’s serving as a dependable accountability partner. After three weeks of telling it my commitments, I’m getting a lot done—which is good because the camera may be here to stay.

The Kensington (CA) police tell us that the cameras—even the one aimed at our bedroom window—aren’t illegal. (It may not be practical for a local real estate agent who wants to build her business and reputation as a friendly, credible and trusted resource in our little village, but the police tell us she’s not breaking any laws.)

While I don’t wish a video surveillance camera on anyone, I do recommend trying to turn negative thoughts around. Peter Pan who lived in London’s Kensington Gardens had it right to think happy thoughts.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Please have a happy holiday and think happy thoughts.


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