On a previous 710 WOR “Mind Your Business” broadcast, Yitzchok Saftlas (YS) spoke with guest, Steve Rizzo (SR), noted Author, Speaker, and Development Coach.
YS: How important is it to have a positive mindset?
SR: It has a tremendous impact on one’s day to have a positive and optimistic attitude. It's all about perspective and how you look at life. Some people can take their car breaking down early in the morning and let it ruin their entire day. And they're not aware that they can shift their mindset, their way of thinking, to turn that challenge into a productive day. The more you focus on that little thing that happened to you, the worse things get. You might notice that when something like that happens to someone, especially if it happens at the beginning of the day, they can't wait to get to work to tell everybody. They don't realize that they're going into a bad mood. So, it has a real impact to shift to that positive perspective.
YS: Your new book is titled “Conversations With Bob.” Could you tell us a little bit about that?
SR: It’s a conversation between two people, Bob and Bernie. Everybody has an inner Bob and an inner Bernie within them. Our responsibility is to make sure that we're connecting with the right entity within us, and that's Bob, the inner representation of God. Bernie resides in the negative zone, where problems get blown out of proportion and challenges turn into emotional havoc. So, Bob gives Bernie what he calls “common sense success strategies” to turn his life around. What he was doing wrong that caused him to feel like whenever he was moving two steps up, he somehow ended up five steps back. There's a point in the book, where Bernie says to Bob, “I prayed. Why didn't you answer my prayers?” And Bob looks at him and says, “I did. But you pray with the same woe is me attitude that you have about life, and yet, you expect a miracle.” Bernie says, “of course I expect a miracle. Isn't that your job? Isn't that what you're supposed to do?” And Bob says, “Bernie, have you ever heard the saying, God helps those who help themselves?” Bernie responds, “I’ve heard it my whole life.” Bob goes, “apparently you don't know what it means. It means that you have to meet me halfway. If you're going to pray for success, you have to do the right thing to achieve that success.” That's one of the lessons. You have to meet God halfway. And when you do, that's when miracles start happening.
YS: You’ve spoken in the past about the importance of enjoying the process. Could you elaborate on that?
SR: People create a mindset where they say to themselves, “I'll enjoy myself when I achieve my goal. I'll enjoy myself when I get to where I want to go.” And by doing that, you're cheating yourself. Because it's the journey towards the goal where your life unfolds. As a matter of fact, that journey should be your goal. It's a step-by-step process. Again, feeling good is the fuel that drives motivation and inspiration, but enjoyment kicks motivation and inspiration into high gear. Unfortunately, today, enjoyment is something that most people leave by the wayside. Especially when change is taking place. That's when self-doubt and overwhelming fear can become very dangerous mindsets, and without people realizing it, enjoying yourself becomes secondary at a time when it has to become primary. Studies have shown that people who make a conscious choice (and it is a choice) to enjoy themselves during the process of whatever they're trying to achieve, are able to bounce back faster from life's challenges, and able to find solutions to problems a lot quicker. Having said that, I would wager that most, if not all, people when writing out their plans and goals for the future, short term or long term, nowhere on those lists do they ever include “enjoying myself.” And that totally blows me away. Instead, they create these dangerous mindsets. And they say things like, “how do you expect me to enjoy myself when things aren't going the way I want? When I get the things that I want, that's when I'm going to enjoy myself, and I'm not going to do it one minute sooner.” When they do that, they have no idea that they're putting their happiness on hold. They're actually convincing themselves that their happiness is dependent upon something that has to take place at some point in the future. Happiness will always be steps ahead of them,
YS: Could you explain your saying “unleash the power of your humor being?”
SR: I coined that phrase many years ago when I was doing stand-up comedy. There were times when I was on stage, in the middle of making people laugh, when I was looking out at a sold-out crowd and saying, “wow, this is unbelievable. Some of the people in this audience are experiencing really challenging times. But during this hour that I am on the stage, they’re no longer owning their problems. Why? Because they’re simply allowing themselves to take time out to laugh.” Laughter is the pit stop in the rat race of life, in that it gives you enough emotional fuel and repairs to get back into the race again. But the initiative and proficiency by which we allow ourselves to laugh comes from what I call your “humor being.” It's the part of you that brings out the best in you, especially when times get tough. I think it's one of the greatest gifts that God ever gave us. The unfortunate thing is that most people don't use it enough. We all need that humor break. Sometimes a couple of seconds is all you need to catch a second wind. Laughter gives you those couple of seconds over and over again. The more you make that promise to find the laughter within you and around you throughout the day, the more your humor being becomes a part of who you are.
YS: What are your tips for people who might be starting the day on the wrong foot?
SR: I like to give the three principles that I live by. Principle one, you need to know, without a doubt, that you are the creator of your success and happiness. What that means is, it's not what happens to you that determines how successful or happy you're going to be. It's what you do about what happens to you. It's the choices you make, and the thoughts you have about those challenges, that make the difference. Principle two, you need to know that you are the only problem that you will ever have, and somewhere within you, there is always a solution waiting to be discovered. We just have to learn how to get out of our own way to allow that solution to reveal itself. Principle three, whenever you're confronted with a challenge or a problem of any kind, it's never a matter of managing the situation. It's always a matter of how you manage your mind. Can you manage those toxic thoughts and beliefs that are keeping you from finding the solution that's waiting to be discovered, and to live the life that you desire?
YS: Why is it important for people to take control of that negative outlook?
SR: Your thoughts create your beliefs. And a lot of people have these beliefs, but they're not aware of where they come from. The beliefs you have about anything in your life are formulated over a period of time through a consistent way of thinking. So, if you're going through the day, and you keep thinking of all the stuff that's going wrong, those thoughts are solidifying an already negative belief system. A state of feeling good is at the very core of your success because feeling good is the fuel that drives motivation and inspiration. And you can't feel good if you have rampant negative thoughts going through your head. The number one reason why people consistently fail in business and in life is not because of the situation, but because somewhere along the way, positive momentum ceases. And the reason why positive momentum ceases is because the individual is focusing all of their energy on what isn't working. That doesn’t leave any room in the brain for positive thoughts to seep through so that they can come up with healthy alternatives and deal with the next challenge.
YS: What are some practical solutions one can use to deal with negativity?
SR: To start your day with an unstoppable attitude, regardless of the circumstances, I ask people to “get their shift together.” When you wake up in the morning, before you take the covers off, don't think about everything that needs to get done that day. The first thing you’ve got to do is say to yourself, “who do I have to be in order to get it done?” And that's when you start the process of creating the mindset that will enable you to be the best that you can possibly be. To connect with that higher part of yourself, knowing that no matter what life throws at you, there's something within you that can meet that challenge head on. And the way you do that is, rather than focusing on what isn't working, shift your focus to a new way of thinking, to what is working, to the things that bring you joy, to the things that will put a smile on your face and will gradually make you feel better. I know they've heard it before, but trust me when I say, if you start every day with this for a month, you will be creating a new habit. I'm asking you to create an attitude of gratitude. Maybe you're thinking of your children, your grandchildren, or even a dog lying by the side of the bed. Maybe it's the bird singing out the window or a wonderful neighborhood that you live in. Maybe somebody did something nice for you a few days ago, or you did something nice. There isn't a single person that can't think of something that they appreciate and are grateful for, regardless of what they're going through. All I'm asking you to do is to focus on that, rather than the stuff that isn't working. Notice the difference when you're getting out of bed. Someone said to me at one of my workshops, “it's easier said than done.” Well, everything in life is easier said than done. But that doesn't mean it can't be done. And you owe it to yourself to try. This is another thing that Bob explains to Bernie in the book. We go through the course of our lives, and we allow people, situations, and circumstances to literally suck the energy right out of us, because we don't know we have these innate common sense success strategies that can help us to turn our lives around, to live a healthier, more fruitful life.