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Welcome to our Becoming Your Best podcast listeners, wherever you might be in the world today! What a delight it would be to sit here, knee to knee with you, in the same room, and just talk about this subject that we’re going to have and get your ideas on it, and your input. Today’s subject is the Becoming Your Best Refresh/Reset rule.
Let me just start this by sharing the highlights, the overview, of a movie that many of you will be familiar with and some of you haven’t seen it yet. It came out some years ago – City Slickers. It starred Billy Crystal and Jack Palance and it’s fabulous! It’s about a group of friends that decides to go on a cattle drive to figure out what life is all about. And so, it’s pretty fabulous this movie! Jack Palance is absolutely amazing! We’ll never forget, as he’s riding along with Billy Crystal and they’re talking about the things of life, Jack Palance stops his horse and looks over and says, “You know, it really just comes down to this.” And he holds up his index finger in his cowboy glove. Billy Crystal looks back and he says, “What? A finger?” And Jack Palance responds, “No. It comes down to just one thing, your one thing that really makes a difference.” And I love that! It’s so wonderful.
There’s another big scene where one of the characters in the movie has lost his job, lost his marriage, and he is really down in the dumps. They’re worried about him, quite frankly – he’s discouraged, he’s depressed – and as he’s sitting there at the end of one of the long days of driving cattle all day, and they’re thinking about the future, they just tell him, “Hey, all you have to really work on is a do-over!” “Hey, I can do a do-over!” Well, that’s what I want to talk about today – that story, City Slickers has a great ending, it’s a wonderful experience for every single one, as they are refreshed, as they get to do a reset, and really get after life in every way possible.
One of my early mentors was a fellow by the name of Gardner Russell – a wonderful friend and an inspirational individual. When I was a young man, he gave this example that when you have something that is upsetting, that has happened to you, perhaps you feel angry, upset, frustrated, or discouraged, he would then say, “You can determine how long it will take you to get back on track, to center yourself, to get going in a positive direction. You can take five seconds, five minutes, five hours, five days, five weeks, five months, five years or even a lifetime to get over it, and some people never do get over it. But you just have to determine that you will be the one that will get over it in five seconds, if you can, and that you’re free to choose. You can choose to act or to be acted upon, but the bottom line is you’re free to choose and your choice determines your happiness and joy in life and it affects your health and productivity in life. It impacts your relationships and your ability to make a difference in life.” I love that concept! When I heard Gardner talk about that, I determined I would try to be the type of person that when something happened, I just wouldn’t sit there in my pity, but I would try to be the one who got up in five seconds, that could get back on track as quickly as possible.
And so, this is the invitation to you, to me, to our listeners today – to maintain a positive attitude, to exercise a steely discipline regardless of the adversity, and when we have a setback – to get right back on track. I have a friend that I’ve been talking with recently, and this morning, we were talking about this very issue. How do you stay positive? I shared an experience I’ve had with my wife and I’ve shared this with some of you – my wonderful sweet wife was diagnosed six years ago with Alzheimer’s and dementia. It’s been tough in the last two years, particularly; she’s really gone downhill and she’s such a light for me! I’m grateful to be around her, but she is being afflicted, attacked by this terrible disease, in spite of the fact that she does overall maintain a very positive, upbeat demeanor, and happiness, but also some negativity has crept in. It just happens, it’s part of one of the side effects of this disease. So, she’s been saying, “Well, you don’t have any money, you don’t have any pants on, you’re in the wrong place. I thought you were a better man than this.” Well, of course, this is not her at all.
But here is what I have decided to do: for any negative that she gives me, I will give two positives for her. In other words, this is an example that we have a choice of how we respond here. We can either take it personally and it can be upsetting or we can recognize it for what it is. And so, if she says something, I just respond back, “You’re amazing! I am so grateful I have the chance to be with you.” And then, bang! She shoots out another negative. And I’ll say, “One of the things I like about you is the positive light that you’ve always had. And another is how smart you are. And you’re a battler, you’re just so competitive.” We raced the other night, from our kitchen to our bedroom and she won, I might add. On the way there, she pushed me against the wall, into our stair railing. It was funny. So you just remind her of these kinds of things. Two, for one. And what I found is, by doing a two for one, it changes her mood, it changes her attitude and these things stop.
And this is what we’re talking about, is exercising a steely discipline regardless of the adversity, to be positive, to get back on track. We all know that it’s not necessarily easy. Life can be hard at times and the tests may be severe, the refiner’s fire may get hot, and the temptation is to give in or maybe give up, maybe saying, “Oh, what’s the use?” However, to give in to the dark side – using the Star Wars language – is never worth it, not even for five minutes and not for five seconds.
So think of the alternative to happiness, peace, and productivity. The alternative is misery, frustration, and lack of productivity. So what’s the answer? How do we develop the habit of shifting to only good thoughts? How do you do that consistently, to have this positivity without any exceptions?
Well, recently, about 10 days ago, I had a dream – or better said, a nightmare (This, by the way, describes most of my dreams. For example, I’ve died in plane accidents in seven different ways. And oh, they’re terrible! And I wake up and I feel horrible.) Well, I’d like to just share this particular dream or nightmare. I was working on a backhoe and I was driving the backhoe and managing and operating the backhoe. And my cousin, Bill, who at the time, in this dream, was about 10-years-old, was standing near the big hole that I had already dug, and I was being very careful. I looked over, my Aunt Betty walked up – and my wonderful Aunt Betty is 92 now – and she asked, “Where’s Bill? And I looked around and I didn’t see him and in the dream, I lifted the bucket. Oh my goodness, he had fallen in the hole and the bucket had crushed him, and there he was, under. I was horrified. Then, I woke up. Oh, my goodness! I felt terrible! And it was a real feeling, I was sick, it was kind of hopeless.
Have you ever had an experience like that? A traumatic experience similar to this? Maybe in your dreams or even in an interaction with another person, perhaps? Well, that is when I said to my brain, right then and there, “We have a new set of rules from this time forward.” You know, of course, it was a dream, right? And anytime I had this, I decided I could do it. And this was it. And the new rule was Good, Better, Best, RESET. A Good, Better, Best REFRESH. I gave my brain permission to go back and recreate the dream, to have a new dream. And I could do this. This was okay. And so, sure enough, I went back to sleep and before working on the backhoe, now my dream is being recreated, it’s reset, it’s refreshed. I put Bill and Aunt Betty in front of me, at a safe distance, and then, I replayed the dream, but it had a happy outcome. After I was done, I got off and we went over and had lemonade. I felt so much better!
I now have a new operating system, forever. I have given my brain permission to go back and do a reset. And if I’m not happy with the results, then I can refresh it, I can reset it. And then I thought to myself, if I can do that for my dreams, or my nightmares, then why can’t I do the very same thing in real life? And if I do something I’m not pleased with, then I can apply the good, better, best, reset rule, the refresh rule – and I can do so immediately; I can even say to myself or if others are involved, “Let’s try that again. This isn’t really how I wanted it to come out.”
And this reset rule, this refresh rule is simple, fast and refreshingly powerful. If something is off, or something bad happens – perhaps it’s a thought or an action, an interaction – immediately go back and reset it, refresh it, and make it good, better or best. If you were impatient, if you made a mistake, if you need to forgive, if you were rude or short, if you violated a trust, if you could have done better, do it now. Reset! Apply the reset rule, the refresh rule. If you harbor ill-feelings, if you’re critical, do it now. Reset. I can do the reset. I can wash away the bad and bring in the new, the good, the better, and the best. The impact of this very simple process – the reset rule, the good, better, best reset rule, refreshing things – leads to greater happiness, peace, and productivity. And it does so now. Regardless of what happens to you or those in your life, you have the freedom, the choice to make the right decision to reset over and over, to do your good, better, and best to refresh completely.
I love the quote from Viktor Frankl who was a prisoner of war, a Nazi prisoner of war. He was Jewish, in the Jewish death camps, and he was emaciated, he didn’t know if his wife was alive or not, but every day, going out into the labor fields in the freezing weather, sometimes he would look up and see her, and feel her love. And later that night, he gave his bread to another person that was starving, to give them hope, and then he made this great quote that’s recorded in his book – “Everything can be taken from a man or a person, but one thing, the last of human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
My invitation to you, to me, is that next time anything happens, big or small, that’s not good, determine you will respond with a positive upbeat mindset. And if at first you blow it, then reset, reset, reset, just refresh, use the reset rule until you are at your very best. The result is the exercise of Highly Successful Principles of Leadership, and you will be healthier, happier and more productive, and leave things better than when you found them. This will have a direct impact on every single relationship that you have; on trust levels, it will impact your culture and your organization.
We wish you all the best in this amazing journey of making a difference, of exercising this grand human freedom to choose what you will do in any given set of circumstances – and that is resetting it to your good, better, and best. I wish you the best of everything and a wonderful, productive, safe day. This is Steve Shallenberger, with Becoming Your Best Global Leadership.