Bucky Dent is famous for batting a three-run homer that allowed the Yankees to defeat the Red Sox in the 1978 World Series playoffs. The Yankees went on that year to defeat the Dodgers, and Bucky earned the World Series MVP title. Bucky once said that control and optimism were critical to his success that year and still are today in everything he does. Bucky also said that while sports psychology was relatively unheard of in the 1970s, every professional team today has a sports psychologist on staff for the purpose of keeping the players psyched regardless of their performance.

Bucky will speak at Contagious Optimism LIVE!, a daylong event with inspirational talks, music, and entertainment. Contagious Optimism LIVE! is taking place at Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society on the Jupiter campus on Friday, April 4, 2014, from 2 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $50, which includes a reception following the event. Group discounts are also available. All attendees will receive a free copy of the bestselling book, “Contagious Optimism.”

Get more information by visiting www.contagiousoptimismlive.com, and follow the event on Facebook and Twitter.

Dr. Joachim De Posada speaks both English and Spanish and has a Ph.D in psychology. He has enlightened and entertained audiences in more than 60 nations. He was declared the Most Distinguished Hispanic Speaker by the Latino Speakers Bureau and has been recognized as one of America’s 25 Hot Speakers by the National Speakers Association in 2009. He is also the author of “Don’t Eat the Marshmallow Yet!”

Dr. Joachim De Posada will speak at Contagious Optimism LIVE!, a daylong event with inspirational talks, music, and entertainment. Contagious Optimism LIVE! is taking place at Florida Atlantic University’s Lifelong Learning Society on the Jupiter campus on Friday, April 4, 2014, from 2 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $50, which includes a reception following the event. Group discounts are also available. All attendees will receive a free copy of the  bestselling book, “Contagious Optimism.”

Get more information by visiting http://www.contagiousoptimismlive.com, and follow the event on Facebook and Twitter.

Scars: signs of strength

August 21, 2013

Krystian Leonard (right)

Krystian Leonard (right)

Meet Krystian Leonard.

This rising high school junior says that scars “hold a meaning of strength and character, showing I have accepted who I am and prove I can rise above the stigma.”

Krystian was born with lipomas on her face and body and over the course of her young life, she endured surgeries and resulting scars in order to get them removed. However, Krystian realized that she was a beautiful girl and was not going to let this hold her back. By her mid-teenage years, Krystian has been Miss Morgantown’s Outstanding Teen, Miss Southern West Virginia’s Outstanding Teen and Miss Northern West Virginia’s Outstanding Teen. She also launched a nonprofit organization called Shining S.C.A.R.S,  an organization dedicated to helping young people persevere through any obstacle.

Optimism: your choice

July 15, 2013

This post is inspired by Tony Schwartz’s article “Overcoming Your Negativity Bias,” which was published in The New York Times earlier this month.

Notice the headline of Tony Schwartz’ article.

The writer uses the possessive determiner “your” to denote that negativity bias is an individual’s plague. In the headline alone, Schwartz tells readers that the power to overcome negativity bias lies in the self.

Negativity bias makes us notice negativity more than positivity.  We tend to believe in the worst of things, causing our negative thoughts to confine us and prevent us from being productive. As a college student, my negative thoughts are trivial, but relatively relatable: Yeah, I need to study for my test tomorrow, but gosh, I did really bad last time, and it’s probably going to happen again, so why do I bother, maybe I should start doing my laundry, but what if the machines are full and then I’ll have to wait for everyone to finish and – has it already been two hours? This familiar stream of consciousness is simply frustrating!

I’ve realized that I tend to use negativity bias as a defense mechanism. It sounds logical at first: I want to be rational about circumstances, so I use my thoughts as motivators. I prepare myself by thinking of the worst, possible situations, therefore I believe can face anything. Well, I’ve been wrong a lot of times, because that “worst, possible situation,” or what was once hypothetical, becomes real to me. I take the “if” out of the equation.

In his piece, Schwartz interestingly noted that negativity bias is hard to overcome because many people don’t notice that they have negativity bias. “The problem is that we grow up in a world that doesn’t value the training of attention or the capacity to cultivate specific emotions,” Schwartz wrote. I interpret this sentence to say that we are no longer taught to be introspective. The ability to focus on ourselves is disrupted by the external activities that hold pseudo-significance. Emotions have been ranked below rationality. Sometimes we are too busy worrying about what other people think (want, say, etc.) that we forget about ourselves. The expectation of others is tyranny over our introspection; therefore we lose control over our own thoughts.

It is time to become introspective once more.

In his piece, Schwartz advised us to focus more on positivity. Oftentimes, physically removing yourself from a moment of negativity can be a great solution. Whenever I feel stressed, I decide to go for a walk or relax in a local coffee shop—anything to divert my thoughts. When I sit back down I feel significantly relaxed and I am no longer burdened by my thoughts.

In fact, reading this post—or reading “Contagious Optimism”—is another way to overcome negativity bias. By allowing yourself to listen and accept other people’s stories of struggles and success, you expose yourself to more positive thoughts. It is my belief that if you hold onto optimism, you’ll get results.

How will you deal with your negativity bias?

Friendly reminder: Make sure to order a copy of “Contagious Optimism”!

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P1000353For more than ten years, Laurie Martin has been a teacher of self-love and personal empowerment. Laurie shares her wisdom and guidance as a speaker, certified life coach, yoga teacher, advice columnist and author of “Smile Across Your Heart: The Process of Building Self-Love” and her new e-book, “The Conscious Breakup Guide.”

Laurie is a contributing co-author in “Contagious Optimism.” For more information, please visit www.smileacrossyourheart.com. You can reach Laurie at LaurieM@SmileAcrossYourHeart.com.

Personal power is freedom. It means we are not looking to others for validation; we are not at the mercy of being defined by anything outside of us. My belief is that each person is beautiful, infinite and fully empowered.

Relationships help us see what is inside of us; they act as mirrors that reflect our insecurities, anger and disappointments as well as inner peace and joy. The more intensely we are triggered negatively by the external, the more important it is to explore why we reacted so emotionally.

Once we get to the “heart to the matter” within, we can use accountable communication skills in our relationships.  If we really want to build intimacy and feel empowered, we need to learn how to discern our feelings and how to express them in a responsible manner. The way we communicate during conflicts within our relationships is very important to the outcome.

I once had a client who arrived at our coaching session in tears. Christina, whose name was changed to ensure anonymity, was confused and worried because her husband had excluded her from participating in what he considered as “his” projects. His abrupt change in behavior made Christina feel unworthy.

I listened to her story. I tuned in to how this experience “triggered” Christina. I asked her questions like “What are you afraid of?” I repeated details of her story and asked her, “When he said that, how did that make you feel? Have you ever felt this way before?”

These questions helped her get to the bottom line of how she was feeling and take responsibility. She focused less on her anger and more on the cause of her anger, realizing that this situation was reflecting her own lack of self-love. There is always a bigger lesson in our conflicts—especially when they are triggering strong emotions within us. I helped Christina process her emotions by allowing them to be present, and she drew awareness and power back to herself.

Each time she confirmed her feelings, I had her write each one down on a piece of paper. Up until this point, she hadn’t expressed her feelings to her husband. She was so caught up in her anger; she didn’t sit down and process “why” she was so angry, so she projected her anger onto him. I asked her, “Did your husband express his feelings using actual feeling words?”

Christina said no; he gave his reasons but not his feelings. Christina agreed to stop blaming her husband and focus on her feelings.

Once we define our feelings, the next step is to use responsible communication techniques with others. To connect with others, we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and share how we feel in an accountable and respectful way. As the speaker, the intention is to be authentic—to speak from the heart about his or her feelings, to create a connection and peaceful resolution. With this intention as the foundation, it alleviates the blame game. It’s also important that each person has the opportunity to speak without the other person interrupting, making faces or shaking his or her head.

I told Christina that when she talked to her husband, she should stick with expressing her feelings and needs and give her husband the same opportunity. One night Christina told her husband that her anger was coming from her own self-love issues. Christina’s husband listened to her and expressed sympathy. To Christina’s relief, he apologized and said that he did want her involved in the projects. Christina finally felt acknowledged by him.

I’m proud of both of them. They shared their feelings and needs, listened to each other, felt heard and came to a happy resolution. I spoke to Christina a couple of months after this incident, and she told me that they were doing great. Now she is helping her friends use this communication technique in their relationships.