6 Life Lessons from mans best friend…
The other day I went for a walk with my two very large and lovable Labradors.
As we strolled through my local park, we passed a couple with a young child and a dog. The little puff ball of a dog (running free beside them) approached my two, who were straining at the lead to say hello. The fur ball stood on his back legs and started a frenzied yapping and nipping at the face of my goofiest lab who returned the greeting with a deep growl of disapproval at having his nose scratched.
The unruly canine was swiftly scooped up in one arm by the female of the couple while the other arm grabbed the wrist of the little girl and duly pulled her away from my two four legged companions.
These are the lessons or should I say.. MYTHS I Uncovered over the years from watching my furry friends 🙂
1 – Size matters –
I couldn’t help but notice the fear and contempt in the eyes of this couple as they marched away – even though it was their dog which was running free and had the aggressive temperament! They were completely oblivious to what had just occurred right under all our indignant noses.
It was all based on their perception of size and what that meant. Sorry guys, no pun intended! Unfortunately many of us (at least initially) do tend to jump to conclusions according to size 🙂
- Lesson learned – We hold on to pre- conceived notions based on our past experiences and the general consensus. Once we form a belief –whether actually correct or not – we tend to want to affirm that belief, to prove ourselves right, so to speak. So we look for anything that will help reinforce this. Psychologists call this our Confirmation Bias and it can sometimes hinder us from looking at things from other perspectives.
- Motto! – Keep an open mind and never judge a book by its cover!
2 – The one who ‘barks’ the loudest –
Yep, this is often the case. Sometimes we believe that to be heard or noticed we have to shout and make a ruckus. You know the type that is constantly looking for attention and makes a lot of noise. Just like a little dog barking at your heels. Does it make you love it more? IS this necessary??
- Lesson learned – Sometimes less is actually more! Take heed before you make noise and speak. Use your words wisely. Make what you say purposeful and meaningful. Experience shows this will in fact make people listen more attentively to what you have to say.
- Motto – ‘Raise your words not your voice!’
3 – Wag your tail and you will be liked –
Most of us have grown up knowing that a smile (like a tail wag) is a good way of showing someone we like them and that we are approachable. Does that necessarily mean they will like us because of it?
How about lots of compliments? Will that work? Unfortunately, no it does not.
Yes, a smile and a nice word can definitely help, as long as you understand the context, right?
It has to be in the right Syntax. What do I mean by that?
Lets take the sentences…’Tom pulled the dog’ and ‘The dog pulled Tom’.
Same words different meaning. Its all in context and Syntax -how we arrange those words.
- Lesson learned – We all know someone who says the right thing to us but somehow we feel it is not genuine.There’s a time and a place for all things. Choose them wisely and with the right outlook.Always keep your best intention for you and others forefront in your mind.
- Motto – Wag your tail with your heart!
4 – Avoid ‘scolding’ and the people who give it –
When I started out on this journey of self development I often heard many people tell me to avoid people who criticize and put you down. In fact I, to a very large extent, also adhere to this philosophy.
I do feel however it is often misinterpreted and under examined.
Yes, it is true ‘we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with’ and yes if all we hear is criticism and scolding then it will be very hard to get motivated to live a fruitful life.
However, again there is context. I believe for us to grow, we need to also look occasionally at what we are doing wrong. I often explain this to clients when I meet them and tell them ‘my job is not for them to like me but for me to help them get results’. Sometimes, I touch a nerve. This is when I know I am really getting somewhere.
Often someone I love tells me something I may not want to hear. Before I would get annoyed and be dismissive and defensive. Now I listen. I don’t have to always agree but I can at the very least learn another viewpoint and perspective. Its very enlightening when you do this with this thought in mind.
- Lesson learned – Change is scary and when our way is questioned we naturally become defensive. But for true growth to happen sometimes we need to hear and analyse areas in our lives.Just like my dogs. Sometimes I have to scold them. Sometimes I need to teach them a better way to do things, for a better quality of life for them. When I tell them off for eating the banana skins in the bin, it is for their welfare I do it, but my dogs still love me regardless. They know I care for them. They would never be angry towards me and love me immediately after. If it comes from a place of love and you trust the person giving you Constructive criticism, then listen to it.You can then choose whether or not you feel it is best for you to act on it.
- Motto – Don’t Bite the hand that feeds.
5 – Marking your territory for battle! –
My two labs love to mark their territory everywhere they go. They cock their legs at lampost, trees, signs and new feet whenever they can! 🙂 Is this a bad thing? Does it show dominance? Does that mean my dogs are aggressive even?? Mmmmm maybe not..
- Lesson learned – In fact one of the main reasons dogs mark their spots is actually to avoid conflict and fighting. It is a way of letting others know that they are here also. They also do this to find their way home with their familiar smell. What ways do you mark your territory in business and your personal life? Do you set clear boundaries that others can sense? Do you mark out your territory clearly to avoid conflict further down the line? Could making your presence known in advance be a life saver for you or others?
- Motto – The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting ~ Sun Tzu
6 – Keep striving to Better yourself-
What? Another contradiction? Am I (the self improvement advocate) suddenly changing my beliefs?
- Lesson Learned – If we are always coming from a place of Wanting then we are really only focusing on the LACK of what we don’t have. Instead I suggest you focus on what you do have right now and appreciate that. From this place of gratitude and happiness you are then in the right state to visualize and consider more. Abundance will only come from focusing on what you have. Remember you are perfect with your imperfections. That’s what makes you unique. Love yourself NOW exactly as you are and then you will have the self motivation to change things if you want. Just make sure it comes from you choosing it and not a place of lacking ‘something’.
- Motto – Live life with the enthusiasm of your dog!
So, this is what I intend to do now, as they are patiently waiting at my feet for their daily walk.
I intend to go out and live with enthusiasm.
Most of all I aim to live by what they think of me.
How about you go out today and aim to….
‘Be the person your dog thinks you are’!
Enjoy the Journey!
Your MasterMind Life Coach
NLP Trainer with The Society of NLP
Wicklow, Dublin, Ireland & Worldwide!
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