Posts Tagged ‘spiritual’

ROAD RAGE: A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH

Recently, I’ve been driving into NY City to do mediations for a large clothing manufacture on Madison Ave. I used to teach classes at the Learning Annex and some of my son’s doctor’s were in the city as well. However, it’s been awhile and as incomprehensible as it may sound, NY has become even more congested than I remember. Along with additional vehicles, bikers, pedestrians, city workers and delivery trucks comes added frustration, impatience, anger, and rage. Whether in the heart of Manhattan, one of its suburbs, or major highways or bridges, our roadways have become even more dangerous to traverse than in prior years. Along with excessive speed and distracted drivers, aggressive driving has become the norm. We have all witnessed or personally experienced road rage and some have even engaged in it. Regardless of your level of involvement, road rage poses a serious threat to everyone and has proven to be deadly as well.

Stats: According to AutoAdvantage.com the cities with the most number of aggressive drivers are Miami, NY City, Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. Statistically young men are the most prone to road rage. A whopping 56% of men surveyed said they feel more rage on a daily basis verses only 44% of women and are more likely to act it out. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94% of all accidents are caused by driver error and of those accidents, 33% are linked to behaviors assigned to road rage. In the1990’s AAA found that aggressive driving was linked to 218 deaths and shockingly that number has been rising by 7% each year. Half of all drivers subjected to another driver’s anger admitted to retaliating. Tragically, injury or death can occur even after the incident on the road is over. Drivers have been known to continue their anger even after the initial incident has concluded.

Triggers: the most frequent triggers of anger behind the wheel are being cut off, driving slow in the left lane, tailgating, flashing lights, rude gestures, stop and go traffic, failure to signal, careless/reckless driving such as speeding, weaving or frequent land changes, and excessive use of horn.
Be aware that if these incidences trigger anger in you, they will do the same to others drivers should you engage in them. Remember to be courteous to others as you would want them to be to you.

Causes: As with all anger or rage (intense anger), there are many triggers but only three root causes: hurt, fear, or frustration. Many who become enraged feel disrespected by those who engage in rude driving. This is actually an indication of being hurt. To disrespect means to devalue – one feels as though they are less important (in the eyes of the offender) than others are. Very often they feel targeted and personalize the other driver’s bad judgment. Keep in mind that their behaviors have nothing to do with you – behaviors are an expression of who the individual is and what their agenda is. Taking personal offense is the number one mistake people make that can convert any innocent incident into a more serious one.

Fear is another root cause of road rage: those drivers who cut us off or tailgate put us at risk for an accident and/or injury. Also, adults expect that those driving are mature and intelligent enough to know the rules of the road and obey them. When that is not forthcoming, people become frustrated that others haven’t or won’t learn responsible driving, are not capable, or that the system allows incompetent people to operate a motor vehicle.

Remember, too, that all emotions (anger and rage included) are not determined by the actual event but by how we choose to experience it (perception); what we say to ourselves about the situation; our thought process or internal voice. T~E~C~O Magic*: Thoughts, Emotion, Choice, Outcome. We choose our Thoughts which are the predecessors of our feelings or Emotions. Therefore, we choose how we feel about any given situation. Every Choice we make is determined by our Emotions: we act out what we feel. And every action (Choice) creates an Outcome or consequence. Therefore, in order to remain calm behind the wheel, one must continually monitor and choose their Thoughts. If someone is riding my bumper, I can say to myself, “This guy’s a jerk!” and instantly trigger rage. My rage then compels me to slow down my car to agitate him at which point he swerves to get around me, putting others and myself in jeopardy.

Or, I can say to myself, “Maybe he’s late for work and doesn’t want to lose his job.” In this instance, I’ll feel understanding and my reaction will be a compassionate one: I’ll move over to let him pass. Same incident but two drastically different outcomes, all determined by one thing only: my inner dialogue, or Thought process.

Tips if you’re the driver: ~Monitor your thoughts at all times. Remember that positive dialogue creates positive feelings such as understanding, calm, patience, etc. ~Before you react, ask yourself, “If I say/do _____, then _____ may happen. Is that smart, safe, logical, productive? Can I, as well as those I impact, live with the consequences of my actions for the remainder of their lives?” If the answer is uncertain or no, then refrain from proceeding. ~Choose an affirmative alternative. ~Change your perception (thoughts) about the other driver and/or the situation. ~Don’t personalize their behaviors. Remember, it’s never about you. Your actions are about you; theirs are about them. ~Always assume the best; give them the benefit of the doubt. “Maybe they didn’t see me when they cut in front of me.” ~Choose compassion, understanding, patience and forgiveness over rage. Ask yourself, “How many times have I been guilty of this same offense?” ~Always be courteous. ~Express gratitude “Thank God I was paying attention and didn’t hit him when he suddenly slammed on his brakes.” ~Avoid routes that trigger anger, such as high volume traffic, construction, etc. ~Practice deep breathing and/or sipping water while driving to maintain a sense of calm. ~Listen to motivational tapes or soothing music. ~Put post-it notes on your dashboard to serve as reminders to be a safe driver. ~View every driver, even those who are careless, as your mother, father, brother, sister, child or someone you deeply care about. You’ll be less inclined to disregard their safety.

Tips if you are the target: ~Don’t engage. ~Don’t make eye contact. ~Monitor your inner voice reminding yourself to keep calm and act responsibly. ~Remember your first priority is to keep yourself and your passengers safe (safety first). ~Remain focused on the road and driving safely. ~Take slow deep breaths. ~Recite a mantra or positive statement for focus. ~Do not return rude gestures. ~Do not stop your car, follow them, or cut them off. ~Do not roll down your window. ~Do not drive to or in a deserted area. ~Seek immediate help – dial 911 or drive to a well-lit/well-populated area, stay in your car and honk your horn to draw attention to yourself ~Drive to a police station or hospital for protection. ~Avoid! Avoid! Avoid! Immediately remove yourself from any potentially dangerous situation. Give angry drivers plenty of room. Let them pass if they want to. If someone cuts you off, slow down and let them. Do not speed up or obstruct their attempts. Never ever challenge them in any way shape or form. It could prove deadly.

R/D/C Method: Refuse, Diffuse, Choose
Refuse (to initiate or engage in dangerous driving); Diffuse (stop a bad situation from escalating using calming, responsible thoughts and actions); Choose safety over everything else. Make it your sole priority.

Final thoughts: Always choose safety first. Leave you ego locked in the trunk. This is neither the time nor place to become arrogant and self-righteous. As a responsible driver, we are all called upon to engage in safe, lawful driving habits, obey all laws, and extend courtesy to all those we encounter. It very well could be the deciding factor between life or death.

Remember: one bad choice can change your life forever! Smart actions save lives. DRIVE TO STAY ALIVE!

* TECO Magic, chapter 4 in The Secret Side of Anger

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SAVING AMERICA: HOW TO REVERSE HATRED AND RESTORE UNITY

Our country is experiencing the most tumultuous and dangerous period that I can remember since the race riots in the 1960’s. Political dissension, racial profiling, random massacres, gender prejudice, a reckless and deceitful media, entitlement, and more have caused a division of American of Biblical proportions. Some believe terrorism to be the greatest threat to our national security; others say it’s our economy or healthcare system. There are those who claim it’s the political venom that resides in our nation’s capital while some hold our current or prior Commander in Chief fully accountable. Yet in truth, America’s greatest threat today is the hatred and extremism among our own people.

Regardless of what’s occurring in Washington or what is being reported in the news, the division of our great country lies in the hands of each and every citizen. We are the ones responsible for buying into the rhetoric, the lies, and the repugnance put before us. We are not sheep – we are intelligent adults with intellect and free will. We have the capacity to collect data, process it, make distinctions concerning which issues or beliefs are valid, and respond in an smart, fair, open-minded, and thoughtful manner with regard to all parties concerned. It is terrifying to see how easily people are being manipulated by lies perpetrated upon them by one political side or the other or from individual citizens or groups that push their agendas of hatred and bias under the guise of equality and prosperity for all.

One cannot pick up a newspaper, turn on the news, or read social media without being subjected to hatred and divisiveness. Yet to bury one’s head in the sand and avoid facing the reality of what is happening is both unpatriotic and dangerous. This issues will not resolve themselves and will only escalate unless the courageous are willing to take a stand and peacefully put an end to this wickedness.

“All that is necessary for evil to exist in the world is for good people to do nothing.”

Here are some practical suggestions to save America and restore unity:

~ Remember that extremism never works whether it’s in regard to our political beliefs, religious practices, loyalty to our heritage, financial status or any other matter. Extremism causes a distortion of reality. Moderation creates a healthy balance and keeps everything in its proper perspective. Moderation is the solution. Consider your own beliefs and examine them for any radical ideologies.

~ Before spewing hatred of any person, party, or group, consider the impact your words will have on our entire country, including yourself, your children and grandchildren, friends, and loved one. Words are powerful and can easily result in similar actions. Consider that you can only get back in life what you send out into the world. Hatred begets hatred; kindness reaps unity.

~ Disagree without disrespect, hatred, condemnation or violence. Always be respectful to all whom you speak of or to. Disagreements can inspire growth; disrespect and condemnation can lead to aggression. We’ve disagreed peacefully with one another for over 200 years; we can do it again.

~ Listen objectively to both sides of the political agenda and media coverage in regards to policies and what is actually happening in our country. Somewhere in between the extremes lies common sense and good judgment (in regard to creating policies) and truth (in regard to reporting the facts).

~ Discuss, share, and post in person or on social media FACTS ONLY. When sharing opinions be certain to state them as such. Refrain from promoting misinformation by fact checking using reliable sources.

~ Encourage open minded dialogue for the purpose of understanding the other person’s perspective. Remember that each person’s position, no matter how different from yours, is equally as valid to them as yours is to you. If an objective must be reached, agree to some sort of compromise.

~ Go out of your way to extend a kindness to everyone you encounter regardless of familiarity, age, race, nationality, gender, political affiliation, religion (or lack of), and so on. Search for every opportunity and every excuse to perform an act of kindness for someone.

~ Accept what you cannot change. Not everything in life is meant to go your way. Mature, fair-minded adults will find some sort of internal resolution when they concede to the other person or party. Find some way of making good come out of the current circumstances and move on.

~ Realize that sometimes one side must acquiesce so that the other can gain. Remember that the pendulum always swings back in the other direction. Just as in sports: sometimes one team wins and the other loses. It’s a natural part of life. But even in so-called losses, one can extract great value.

~ Promote peace, kindness, cooperation, oneness, forgiveness, acceptance, and mutual respect. Speak it and live it. If what you are about to say or do does not fit into one of the above categories, do not engage in it. Find another option.

Never before in our history have people in this country been so gullible and bought into so many lies and distortions. Our great Constitution begins with the words, “We the people”, not “We the sheeple”. We have always been great innovators and autonomous thinkers. It’s time to get back to who we really are rather than the hateful, gullible, mindless followers we’ve become.

There’s an ancient story about a young man who approaches the great philosopher Socrates stating that he has something to tell him about one of his friends. “Before you impart any words on me,” Socrates said, “it must pass the Triple Filter Test. First have you made certain that what you’re about to tell me is absolutely true?” “Well, no,” the man replies. “It’s just something I heard.” Socrates continued. “Is it something good?” “No, not really”, the man replied. “So let me get this straight: you want to tell me something that you have not verified is true, and it’s also not good news. Is it at least useful to me?” he inquired. “No, it’s not”, the man concluded. Socrates shook his head. “It’s not true, not good, and not useful. Why then would you share this with me? What is your purpose?” The man could not give him a reasonable response. So the question is, would your words pass or fail the Triple Filter Test?

I believe in the basic goodness of the American people and I also believe that there is hope for our great country. But as citizens and visitors, we must all share in the responsibility. To blame others is both childish and irresponsible. So what are you waiting for? Will you be the one to turn things around, to take the first step to restoring civility to America? Will you be the change you want to see in others? I will and I am. I pray you’ll join me. Let’s make our country noble again by making our country kind again.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. Be great.”

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HA-HA SORB APPROACH TO BULLIES

People don’t typically want to interact with those they consider to be bullies or tyrants. Yet contrary to popular belief, bullies are not bad people. It’s their behaviors that are appalling. They act out their pain, loneliness, insecurities, and so on in the most offensive and unkind ways. But as I’ve stated repeatedly, behavior is only an outward expression of one’s internal issues. Having said that, many people are hesitant to interact with them, uncertain of the bully’s reactions or if they will be safe in doing so. Others label bullies in a very derogatory manner, stating that they are not worth their time and effort.

With the exception of those times when you or someone else is in imminent danger, there are some steps you can take to reach out and intervene with a bully.
HA-HA SORB Method stands for help, assert, humor, avoid, self-talk, own it, reach out, and befriend.

H: Help. Whenever we encounter a bully, we have two options regarding offering assistance: we can either go for it or give it. If we witness someone being mistreated, we can intervene if we feel qualified and comfortable doing so and if there is no immediate or severe threat to the self. An approach that is composed, confident, thoughtful, sincere, objective, non-threatening, and understanding can often diffuse the situation, give the bully pause for thought, and can prevent the situation from escalating. In the event the situation is of a more serious nature, one can call for or go for help, enlisting the assistance of those more qualified to intercede. We are called upon by God to be stewards for one another and either approach is a morally righteous one.
Ex: One can, “What’s going on here? Is something wrong/is there a problem? Can I help either of you?” Or, “You need to stop right now or I’m calling for help.”

A: Assert. Bullies, whether adults or children, seek to gain power and control over their targets by instilling fear in them through intimidation, threats, coercion, or manipulation. Any sign of weakness on the part of target affirms that the bully has authority thus enabling them to continue their aggressiveness. Assertive actions send a clear message to the offender, by the target, that they have the confidence and skills necessary to impede their efforts as they remain emotionally unaffected by their demands.
Ex: “I have no interest in arguing with you.” “I will not allow this to happen.” “What you are doing is unkind/illegal/against company policy and needs to stop right now before matters get worse.”

H: Humor. Humor is one of the most powerful tools for deflecting anger, neutralizing aggression, calming tensions, and diffusing a bully. However, there are some caveats. One must be certain that humor is appropriate for the situation and that it is never directed at the other party but only at the self or the circumstances.
Ex: “I can be a dork sometimes! In fact, my name is listed in the dictionary under ‘geek’ It says, ‘See Janet’.” “I can’t believe I did that – how embarrassing!”

A: Avoid. If there is someone who you know is a tyrant there is no shame in avoiding them whenever possible. Why put yourself in harm’s way or invite drama into your life when a simply change in your course of direction can alleviate any undue stress? In doing so, not only do you protect yourself but you are actually giving an unintended gift to the persecutor by not providing an opportunity for them to misbehave and possibly get in trouble.
Ex: If you know that individual always arrives at work precisely at 8 pm, either arrive slightly beforehand or enter through another doorway.

S: Self-talk. Our internal dialogue is responsible for all of our feelings. What we say to ourselves (our thoughts) determine how we feel and thus how we react or respond. Reminding ourselves that no one is born a bully, that it is a learned behavior and/or a defense mechanism, we can be more compassionate and understanding that this individual is dealing with issues of insecurity or low self-esteem. Their behaviors are an attempt to protect themselves from a perceived threat or to raise their image among their peers. Self-talk will either cause us to be fearful and angry towards them or be more understanding while boosting our self-confidence in how we deal with them.
Ex: “John’s not a bad guy. He’s a devoted father but seems insecure about his job. I can forgive him, set some boundaries, and find a way to get along with him as best as possible.”

O: Own It. If you are being targeted, take ownership for who you are, any mistakes you’ve made, any imperfections you may have, or for the simple truth about yourself. Doing so illustrates your awareness of truth, ability to feel comfortable and accepting of it, and diffuses the bullies authority over our feelings and response.
Ex: “Yes, I am grossly overweight and I know it puts me at risk for all sorts of health issues. Hopefully one day soon I’ll take action to improve my health.”

R: Reach Out. This is a difficult step that few are willing to embark upon. Reaching out to the aggressor puts one at risk for rejection, ridicule, retaliation or more. However, it is the first step to breaking down the barriers of fear they are struggling with and hopefully building some level of trust in the relationship. Undeniably challenging, this will no doubt take time and skillful effort to accomplish. Start small; be consistent; and like water running over a jagged rock and eventually smoothing the stone’s sharp edges, in time a level of trust can occur and the offensive behavior will subside.
Ex: First encounter: “Hi, John.” Second: “Hey, John. How’s it going?” Third: “John, have you seen Sharon? I need to ask her a question.”Fourth: “How was your weekend? Did you see the Yankee’s game on Saturday?” (Re: persistence and patience pays huge dividends.)

B: Befriend. As you establish a pleasant, non threatening relationship, the other party begins to see you as someone they can trust. In time, you can be a friend, on a limited basis if you choose, who can be influential in their progression from being an intimidator to a confident, secure, more approachable individual.
Ex: “My wife baked cookies last night. I brought some in for you. Hope you like them.” “Can I help you with that project?” “We’re having cake for Martha for her birthday. Won’t you please join us in the lounge?”

I want to reiterate that bullies are not bad people; they are the product of fear and insecurity.

“Those who are the most difficult to be kind to and befriend are the ones who need it the most.”

Many bullies have histories of having been mistreated or abused. What they need more than condemnation and exclusion is understanding, fair guidelines in the relationship, reasonable consequences for their offensive behaviors, and a strong support system. In this way, they can begin to heal their issues, get along better with family and peers, and lead morally upright lives.

“The only way to defeat your adversary is to make him your ally.”

Order your copy of Janet Pfeiffer’s Award-winning book on bullying: “THE ORCHIDS OF GATEWAY LANE” today! Available only at http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html
Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

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