Establishing Positive Self-Talk

Some ideas I wrote today for the 2014-08-06 meeting of the Toastmasters club of Port Orange, FL tonight:

Establishing Positive Self-Talk

Self-talk is the ongoing stream of private thoughts that run through your mind. The self-talk of many people focuses on anxieties, imperfections, shortcomings, and “what if” questions. However, just because pessimistic self-talk is common does not mean it is healthy or beneficial. If we make an effort to change our self-talk to be more positive, optimistic, forgiving, and encouraging, we will have more success and happiness in life.

Here are three examples of negative self-talk and positive replacements:
• “I’ve never done it before.” – “It’s an opportunity to learn something new.”
• “It’s too complicated.” – “I’ll tackle it from a different angle
or “I’ll chip away at it over time.”
• “I could never be as good as so-and-so.” – “So-and-so inspires and motivates me.”

One way to improve your self-talk is to make a conscious effort to replace negative thinking with positive thinking. Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect. Celebrate your hard work rather than dwelling on times when you were lazy or needed rest. Think more about your accomplishments and less about your mistakes.

We tend to be hold ourselves to a higher, harsher standard than acquaintances and even close friends and family. However, doing so is often counterproductive because it prevents us from taking risks and causes us to sell ourselves short. Instead, try being as uplifting and supportive to yourself as you are to your best friend.

[ Quotes copied or adapted from a Mayo Clinic article ]

Inspirational thought on priorities

For the 2014-07-23 meeting of the Toastmasters club of Port Orange, FL, I will give the inspirational thought and the theme of the meeting is “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” Here is what I came up with:

Fellow Toastmasters and guests, for tonight’s inspirational thought I will share two quotes and my thoughts.

Quote from Robert Heinlein, science fiction author (1907 – 1988):

“In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.”

Quote from Tony Robbins:

“The path to success is to take massive, determined action.”

My thoughts:

In the theme of not “sweating the small stuff,” it is important to regularly take a good hard look at your daily routine. Ask yourself—are your actions bringing you closer to who you want to be, or are they of no long-term consequence? Do you spend too much time reading the news? Do you spend too much time responding to mundane emails, texts, and Facebook posts? Do you spend too much time organizing things that really don’t need to be organized? Do you spend too much time helping friends, family, and strangers, while neglecting your own goals and projects? Practice saying “NO!” more often, and reclaim this time to pursue your true creative desires. Then, you might find yourself gaining confidence, respect, and momentum.

Toastmasters table topics for “Singing in the Rain” theme

For the 2014-07-16 meeting of the Toastmasters club of Port Orange, FL, I was the table topics master and the theme was “Singing in the Rain.” Here is the introduction and topics I came up with:

The purpose of table topics is to help improve members’ extemporaneous speaking skills by giving them an opportunity to practice impromptu speaking on topics they do not have advance knowledge of.

1. Talk about a hurricane, snowstorm, or other bad weather that affected you. What was it like to go without electricity for several days? Did you have a lot of cleanup work to do after the storm?

2. Talk about a time when you’ve had a party or beach day rained out, OR talk about a day when you were worried it would rain but the storm passed over.

3. Have you ever kissed someone in the rain? Share your thoughts on how bad weather can be romantic.

4. Discuss how trying to use an umbrella can actually be counterproductive, especially over short distances where you have to extend and collapse the umbrella in the rain to avoid getting water in your car.

5. Have you or a friend or family member had any close calls with lightning? Share some tips to stay safe in a thunderstorm.

6. Do you sing in the shower? Why or why not?

7. Share some tips for hurricane preparedness or disaster preparedness in general. Feel free to include tips about cutting down dangerous tree branches and securing doors and windows.

Thomas Jefferson quote on friendship

I have started attending the Toastmasters club of Port Orange, FL, and was assigned to give the inspirational thought for the 2014-07-02 meeting. The theme was sunshine, so I found this quote from Thomas Jefferson on friendship, which is also fitting since Independence Day is coming up:

In a life where we are perpetually exposed to want & accident, yours is a wonderful proposition, to insulate ourselves, to retire from all aid, & to wrap ourselves in the mantle of self-sufficiency! For assuredly nobody will care for him who cares for nobody. But friendship is precious, not only in the shade but in the sunshine of life; & thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine.

October 12, 1786

This quote is from his “DIALOGUE BETWEEN MY HEAD & MY HEART” love letter to Maria Cosway, an Italian-English artist who was living in Paris at the time.

I had written these comments about the quote, but decided not to say them at the Toastmasters meeting:

Good friendships should be nurtured and developed, not only because they are mutually beneficial and supportive, but because they allow us to share and be vulnerable without fear of judgment or ridicule. We should especially endeavor to be true friends to our significant others and families.

Recommendation Letter from Lisa Doig

Today, I received an unsolicited letter of recommendation on LinkedIn from Lisa Doig, my former supervisor at the Holly Hill branch of the Volusia County Public Library, where I volunteered from January to November 2006 and was employed from 11/16/2006 to 6/13/2008. It can be seen here (by LinkedIn users who are logged in) and says:

“Richard was a truly extraordinary asset to the Holly Hill Library. He was so patient and kind in answering all patrons’ most complicated computer questions; he was always an enthusiastic contributor and participant in library programs and activities; an extremely talented photographer and musician willing to share his work and music with all of us; and otherwise a brilliant, well mannered, well liked young man destined to go very far in his professional journey.”

I enjoyed working at the library under Lisa and she has a passion for helping people find information and for emergency and disaster management. In 2007, I recall her returning from several emergency preparedness drills and conferences with great enthusiasm, stories, and photos detailing what she had learned. Lisa is fluent in Spanish and I wish her the best as she continues in the Volusia County library system while working toward her calling in emergency management, with an emphasis on helping the Hispanic community and non-English speakers.

The Holly Hill, FL library first opened in 1964. It was located at 1066 Ridgewood Ave., Holly Hill, FL when it closed in 2010, but Volusia County continued providing public computers and book vending machines until 2013, which were then also removed. Located at 1066 Ridgewood Ave. (U.S. Highway 1), Holly Hill, FL across the street from the Holly Hill City Hall, it is now a museum and education center (which was previously co-located with the computers and book vending machines).

In my volunteering and employment at the library from 2006 to 2008, I observed many patrons who relied on the library not only for the books, films, audio recordings, and computer access available there, but also for inter-branch loans that were provided for free to Volusia County library card holders from 15 other branches in the county, by a daily courier service that, like the library, was funded by property tax revenue. Patrons could request an item from any library branch in the county and have it arrive in Holly Hill, often within 2-3 days if it was on shelf at the originating branch. They could then return it to the Holly Hill branch as well, and thus many patrons who did not have a car were still able to have free access to over a million physical books and audiovisual recordings. It is a shame that such an important cultural and educational service is no longer being provided in a depressed neighborhood, which was evidenced by numerous bicycle thefts that occurred frequently at the library.

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