Buckley Blog Bits – May 18, 2017

I’m going to cover a little bit of psychology and a little bit of MMA in today’s edition.  I’ll start with the psychology part first.

Work/Life Balance

I prefer to keep my work life separate from my home life, so I enjoy having a quality work/life balance.  So much so that whenever I’ve received a promotion at work, I’ve always made it clear to my employer that having time away from the office is a must for me.  This isn’t because of a lack of love for my job, but rather it’s because I recognize that I need adequate time to recharge my mental batteries to ensure that I’m able to perform my best on a daily basis.  Plus…I tend to be a bit of a workaholic if given the opportunity, so I like to make it clear that once I leave the office every night that I’m turning work “off” until I come back the next morning.

Whether you’re a segmenter (someone who sets clear boundaries between work and home) or an integrator (someone who combines the two), it’s important to find the style that works best for you.  While there’s no “right” way to be, I prefer segmentation for the reasons stated above.  But I do happily integrate the two when the situation calls for it, but I try to keep that to a minimum.

Bellator 179

The winner of tomorrow night’s Rory MacDonald/Paul Daley fight is slated to take on the winner of Douglas Lima/Lorenz Larkin later this year.  Personally, I’d really rather see Rory MacDonald versus Douglas Lima at some point rather than some combination of a rematch of Douglas Lima/Paul Daley, Lorenz Larkin/Rory MacDonald, or Lorenz Larkin/Paul Daley.  Sometimes it’s hard to decipher how good a non-UFC fighter really is, but I think that a matchup between Lima and MacDonald would give great insight to how good Lima really is.  Even with his UFC departure, MacDonald is viewed as a top five welterweight, and Larkin is viewed at least as a top 15.  A win over Larkin for Lima, and then a showdown with MacDonald would really allow the MMA community to get a better idea of how talented Bellator’s welterweight division is in relation to the UFC’s welterweight division.

So ultimately, I’m cheering for Rory MacDonald to beat Paul Daley.  Not only for the reasons I stated above, but also because I’m a fan of MacDonald’s and I’m eager to see how he does for Bellator.

In the co-main event of Liam McGeary/Linton Vassell, I’m hoping to see Vassell win.  I’ve never been completely sold on McGeary, even if he did have a title reign as Bellator’s light heavyweight champion, so I think Vassell pulls off the win here.  I’m unsure of what’s next for the winner of this fight, whether it’s facing the winner of Phil Davis/Ryan Bader for the light heavyweight title at a later date or facing King Mo Lawal in a number one contender matchup, but I’d like to see Vassell win here.

I think Cheick Kongo defeats Augusto Sakai to continue his “reign” as the unofficial Bellator heavyweight champion (or at least in my mind he is, since Bellator took the title away from Vitaly Minakov last year due to a lack of title defenses).  I’d really like to see Kongo fight for the vacant title at some point, possibly against the winner of Fedor Emelianenko/Matt Mitrione, because I think it’s a tad ridiculous that Bellator hasn’t crowned a new heavyweight champion after stripping Minakov of the title after not defending the title since April 2014.

Finally, I hate how Bellator puts some of these international cards on tape delay.  I would much rather have the option of seeing this card live as it happens, even if that means I’d have to possibly duck out of work early to catch it live.  I know that I can avoid the internet and social media to avoid spoilers before I watch, but I’d just rather know that I’m watching the fight unfold live and spontaneously in front of me.

Buckley Blog Bits – May 9, 2017

I was reading some articles on Psychology Today this morning, as well as making some more progress on the psychology book I’m hoping to publish in late 2018, and wanted to share some of my thoughts.

  • I’ve always felt that helping others with their problems, or even simply just talking about similar problems with one another, helps you because it helps you realize that you’re not alone with your problems and anxiety. Plus it facilitates discussion between you and another person, and gives you an opportunity to brainstorm and strategize while coming up with new coping strategies.
  • When you’re faced with adversity, remember that it actually comes with several benefits:
    • Adversity builds resiliency in you
    • Adversity prepares you to achieve your goals
    • Adversity helps you keep things in perspective
    • Adversity gives you an opportunity to learn.
  • Remember that in every negative experience, there’s a positive lesson to be learned. Sometimes it’s not always obvious, and sometimes it’s up to you to dig deep to find it, but it is in there somewhere.

It sounds cliché, but you’re really not alone with your anxiety and adversity.  Everyone experiences both at some point.  The difference is in how you react and perceive it.

Buckley Blog Bits – March 15, 2017

Today’s articles that I read on Psychology Today pertained to humor in the workplace, and why we shouldn’t fear failure.  I’ll start with the article that discussed humor in the workplace (link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201703/cracking-joke-work-can-have-surprising-payoff ).

I hadn’t really given much thought to humor in the workplace before reading this article, nor had I thought about how it can help to elevate your status within the organization.  I once had a supervisor several years ago comment on how he appreciated my ability to “bust his chops” on occasion and that it brought positive energy to the department, so I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised that it doesn’t hurt to bring some humor to the workplace.

Personally, while I wouldn’t exactly promote or retain someone at my organization simply because of their ability to be humorous, I might be more likely to retain or promote them if they can demonstrate an ability to bring a positive energy to the workplace in addition to their quality skillset.

In my own work experiences, I’m only sarcastic or humorous with co-workers who have previously established that sort of communication style or relationship with me.  Personally, I think that humor in the workplace is just like humor anywhere else in life: there’s a time and place for it, so just exercise good caution when engaging in it.

In the second article (link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/contemporary-psychoanalysis-in-action/201703/why-we-shouldn-t-fear-failure ), the author describes failure as “just bumps on the road to success.”  I recently accepted a promotion at work, and before I started my new boss told me “I expect you to fail at some point, but I won’t let you drown.”  There was a point in time where his remark would’ve pissed me off because I wouldn’t have understood why he expected me to fail, nor would I have understood why he would have promoted me if he felt that way.  But now I understand more how failure really is just a bump on the road to success.  It’s normal to “fail” or simply not be as successful as you want or expected to be the first time you try something.

But you can’t let the negative consequences of failure, such as losing the desire to try new things, to weigh you down.  The fear of failure can be pretty paralyzing, so that’s why it’s important to have the mindset that failure often leads to success because it allows you to learn what you need to learn along the way.

As Duke Roufus, the renowned MMA coach said on an episode of The Evolution of Punk, “if you’re not winning, you’re learning.”  In the end, it’s your resiliency and ability to persevere that determines how successful you’ll ultimately be.

Buckley Blog Bits – March 10, 2017

I was reading about how social media usage can make us perceive that we’re socially isolated, and that we’re disconnected from the world around us while I was perusing Psychology Today earlier this week.

Earlier this week I touched how I think that social media usage can lead you to feel an increased sense of boredom because you’re constantly exposing yourself to human highlight reels.  I also feel as though increased social media usage can lead to less authentic social interactions, or at the very least it can lead to a decrease in the quality of your social interactions.  Personally, I can tell you that I much prefer receiving texts and phone calls from friends rather than tweets or Twitter DMs.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own social circle that we miss out on the world around us.  In particular, the author discussed the time that world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell performed in an metro station in Washington, D.C. and that only 7 of the 1,097 people who passed by him stopped to listen to him over the course of his hour long performance.  It reminded me of when I took a recent day trip to Toronto last month, and I encountered a man playing the cello in the lobby of Brookfield Place on a late Friday afternoon.  Without my phone in hand, I stopped and took in the performance that I randomly stumbled upon and enjoyed the unexpected moment.

I do think that we need to be able to unitask as the author calls it.  I can’t tell you the last time that I drove to or from work without focusing on the upcoming work day, or just wishing that I’d just get to my destination already when I’d really prefer to just focus on the task at hand of driving, and enjoy the present moment fully.

Over the past several months, I’ve curtailed my social media usage and I feel a greater sense of life quality as a result than I did when I was using social media regularly and consistently.  That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with enjoying a lot of social media usage.  But there’s a lot of days where when I get home from work, I set my phone on my nightstand and don’t even look at it until just before I go to bed.  Social media is a great asset to have, don’t get me wrong, but for me I like to use it certain doses and for certain uses.  At this point, I really like to use Twitter for breaking news updates rather than for interacting with close friends of mine when I can just call or text them directly.

My main takeaways for you are as follows:

  • Enjoy your surroundings and the present moment
  • Be able to unitask instead of multitask
  • Use social media in appropriate dosages
  • Better understand your feelings and perceptions of boredom, social isolation, and disconnect
  • Put your phone away sometimes

 

In case you’re curious, here are links to the articles that I read about social media on Psychology Today.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201703/3-ways-social-media-exacerbates-perceived-social-isolation

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-right-balance/201703/are-we-growing-disconnected-in-age-connectivity

Another Look at Confidence

To follow up on my review of The Confidence Gap, I’d like to share a few extra tidbits on confidence:

  • You can have confidence without being arrogant. From my observation, those who are arrogant actually lack true confidence and are insecure with themselves.
  • Feelings of authentic and genuine confidence allows you to stay motivated and positive, especially when facing difficult challenges.
  • Failure can cause us to lose confidence. It can provide you with evidence that maybe you shouldn’t be as confident as you are.  But that leads to self-doubt, and the voice of self-doubt is often lying, or at least exaggerating, when speaking to you.
  • Have a good support team. Having a good social circle helps you maintain your confidence level.
  • Continue to work hard. Confidence can be about momentum, so collect some “wins” along the way and ride the tidal wave of success to becoming more confident.
  • Rarely is an anxiety-inducing challenge an actual threat to you, so don’t perceive it as such. It’s simply a challenge that’s waiting to be conquered.  In fact, sometimes we need to experience more adversity and more obstacles because it’s a good experience, and a great way to earn more confidence.
  • There’s going to be times when you feel less confident than usual. This doesn’t make you someone with low self-esteem or a lack of confidence.  Rather, it just means you’re a normal person experiencing bumps in the road.
  • Remember, you don’t have to be perfect to have genuine and authentic confidence.

A Look at The Confidence Gap

A few months ago, I read The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris, and it turned out to be a great read in my opinion (if you’re interested in checking it out, here’s a link https://www.amazon.com/Confidence-Gap-Guide-Overcoming-Self-Doubt/dp/1590309235/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481812266&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Confidence+Gap).  While I don’t want to do the author an injustice and tell you everything he said in the book, I’d like to discuss some key points that he made that I feel are important.

  • Act First, Feel Later. A lot of people are under the impression that you have to FEEL confident before you can ACT/BEHAVE with confidence, but that’s not true.  Actually, it’s the other way around.  You have to act with confidence first before you feel confident.  Confidence is something that’s “earned,” you don’t just naturally possess it.  Take a moment to think about something in your life that you struggled with at first, whether it was a new job responsibility or starting a graduate degree.  Chances are you didn’t necessarily feel confident at first, but you persevered, acted with confidence, and eventually began to feel confident.  It’s the same with everyday life, whether it’s social confidence or professional confidence, confidence is something that’s earned through practice.
  • Helpful Thoughts vs. Unhelpful Thoughts. Most people perceive their thoughts as either being positive or negative, and while that’s not necessarily bad, it can be better for you to perceive them as being helpful or unhelpful instead.  For example, perhaps you’re worried about losing your job.  That’s a negative thought, which could make you feel bad.  However, that negative thought could actually prove to be helpful because it can motivate and inspire you to work harder at your job and pursue job security or even a promotion.  So in the end, that “negative thought” actually proved to be rather helpful, didn’t it?
  • Make Room For Unpleasant Emotions. Most people hate feeling bad, and try to avoid and completely eliminate negative emotions. But this is impossible.  Even positive psychologists struggle with negative emotions and bad feelings.  The key isn’t to eliminate them, but rather to let them come and go freely and to focus less on them.  For example, if you’re out with a group of friends one night and suddenly someone you dislike shows up at the same party or establishment, would you completely tune out your friends that you’re having fun with in favor of focusing on how much you want the person you dislike to leave? Probably not.  Why let 1 person take away from the positive energy that the other people are giving you? It’s the same thing with bad feelings.  Why allow the negative feeling to completely negate the positive feelings?
  • Be The Person You Want To Be.  Finally, picture the person you’d be, or aspire to be, if you had complete and total confidence.  Now make a list of the changes you want to make to become that person.  After that, begin to act with the confidence of that person you want to be, and eventually you’ll find that you actually feel confident and are the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Things to Keep in Mind about Anxiety

I was talking to a colleague about anxiety and unhelpful thoughts yesterday, and figured that I’d share some of the key points that she and I discussed.

  • Remember that everyone, including positive psychologists, experiences anxiety and unhelpful thoughts at some point. You’re not alone with your anxiety.  Everyone else wants it to go away also.
  • It’s not the anxiety and unhelpful thoughts by themselves that matter, but rather it’s how you react to them that really matters.
  • Remember to challenge your negative way of thinking and take a different approach/perspective. Our anxiety inducing beliefs are often distorted, highly magnified versions of the real issue at hand.
  • Practice your new approach/perspective and your new way of thinking often.
  • Remember that anxiety cannot go away permanently, but you can tolerate the discomfort of anxiety better. Focus on building a better tolerance for anxiety rather than eliminating completely.
  • Remember that anxiety is just a thing. Much like bad weather, it’s something that comes and goes, and what matters most is your tolerance of it.
  • No one else even notices the internal discomfort that you feel when you’re anxious, so there’s no need to be self-conscious of it.
  • Break your anxiety inducing stressor up into smaller and more manageable parts. Give yourself experience, and slowly expose yourself to what’s inducing your anxiety.

In conclusion, find what works for you, and take control of whatever anxiety and unhelpful thoughts you have.