Dr. Michael Mantell Shows How to Deal with the Three Nightmares at Work and at Working Out

When Michael Mantell, Ph.D. goes to the gym to workout, he wants to untie the knots and jelly beans in his back and shoulders, unhook from the day’s residue of stress, release his brain’s “feel good” chemicals and build all-over body muscle power. He don’t want to deal with difficult people. Do you?

When you go to work, it’s the same thing. You don’t want to have to deal with pain in the neck, distracting co-workers. You want to produce, serve, sell, manage, create, repair or whatever it is you are getting paid to do and are passionate about.

Throughout many years coaching people on how to get their minds right to derive the maximum benefit they can from their physical workouts, and at work to perform at a superior level, one of the more common questions I’ve gotten is, “Michael, so and so is killing me and ruins my workout—or is so disturbing while I’m trying to work. Help me deal with her or him.”

I’ve culled my files and have picked out what I consider to be three of the most annoying co-workers or fellow gym goers. These three types cause unnecessary stress and disruption, and need to be dealt with wisely. Never, ever, let these people take up space in your heads though. They aren’t paying rent there, and you have no obligation to include them in your life.

  1. The Covetous Comparers

These green-eyed, jealous and envious, insecure and often fearful people “should on themselves” and others constantly. “I should have what you have!” is their most common mind-echo. You do three more heavy reps, they are pissed-off as much that they can’t, as that you can. Getting a promotion? Same thing. They believe it “should” be theirs, not yours.

What do you do? Think of them like you might a follower on Twitter. Nothing you can do about what they tweet. You can either continue to follow, or not. Don’t take their bate. It’s not your monkey, and it’s not your circus. It’s their resentment. Stay professional, pleasant, and don’t defend or offend.  Don’t fuel the flames, certainly, and stay unflappable and polite.

  1. The Prying Pests

You’d think they have no plan to workout, or in the workplace, to work. It’s as if their only task is to watch you, meddle in your business, be a nuisance and a pest. These are the “experts” who don’t mind telling you how to squat or life with better form, know all about how to do your job responsibilities better and more efficiently, and are continuously chattering away about their accomplishments and the deficiencies of thers while all you want to do is get your work, and your workout, done.

You might suggest to this person that you find it easier to focus on your workout, or work, with less distraction, let her/him know that while you appreciate their input and know they are well meaning, you are comfortable with your approach, thank them and turn away. Offer to talk with him/her later, when you are not so focused on your task and time at hand.

  1. The Whining Wailers

Is anything right at the gym, the locker room, the office, the parking lot, the cafeteria, the rest room or the computer system? Anything??? These folks can’t walk by you without objecting about something and commenting on the negative. I swear, these people can turn a rainbow gray. They rarely have solutions that would realistically work, complain that nobody ever listens to them, and yet are filled with so many grievances, criticisms, grumbles and moans that it’s surprising they ever get anything done. Perhaps they are just perfectionists? Nope. They are unhappy, picky, disgruntled folks who feel inadequate to the core. Who wants to hear what’s wrong constantly?

Don’t waste a moment trying to convince them of anything. It won’t work. Listening to these protesters is bad enough, but avoid any comment that might sound like you agree or disagree. Ask them if they’ve spoken to management and you’ll surely hear, “Ahhh, that doesn’t work—they don’t care.” You might—might—want to consider a one-time, “You know you don’t want to be known as a complainer do you?” Problem is, you’ll likely get back, “Hey I stopped caring about that long ago—they don’t obviously care about what I think so I don’t care what they think.” See? Hopeless. Best you can do is to let them know that you choose to see the positive in your gym or office. All else fails, speak to management and let them know about this distraction.

Bottom line is to remain optimistic, upbeat, non-judgmental and positive. Your task is to stay hovering above their expressions of personal unhappiness. Set boundaries for yourself with headphones, immediately say you are sorry but “can’t talk now,” staying away from the “water cooler” (or wherever these types hang out), and learn to continually deflect. Your goal is to free up from drama.

Mother Teresa observed, “Peace begins with a smile.” Keep that in mind next time one of these three step into your space.

Dr. Michael Mantell’s How To: Defeat-Proof Your Mind

Dr. Michael Mantell’s How To: Defeat-Proof Your Mind

Michael Mantell often hears how it took quite awhile to earn that degree, to go on for graduate studies, to land that impressive job. And somehow, for many of his power coaching clients, it’s still leaving you with thoughts of defeat, of fear and worry.

Or perhaps that degree and job hasn’t happened for you, it’s not where you put your skills to work. Perhaps you’ve suffered while “functioning in your dysfunction.” Maybe you believe you are in a tough spot and can’t see a way out of it. The link is entirely what you think. You are not in a tough spot at all, it may “seem” that way and you may “think” there’s no way out, but that’s just some bad programming that you’ve filled your thinking with, defeatist and “valley thinking.”

It’s time to figure out how to guard your thinking, your mindset, pack up your possessions and can climb out of that valley you erroneously think you are in.
After all, who are you? Are you what you’ve allowed your programmers to say you are? Your parents, your teachers, your coaches, your co-workers? No. You are not what these negative, envious, sometimes cruel and often dysfunctional people say you are. You are, if you are a believer, who God says you are, and if you aren’t a believer, then at least you are who you say you are.
It’s time to grasp this mindset control lever fully, delete your mental computer, your thinking center, avoid the mental concussions that you’ve allowed life to create, and stop feeding the wrong messages. Put on a Helmut and guard your mind.

This means, stop blaming others for how you feel. They only try to plant a thought in your vulnerable mind. You’re the farmer who brings it into your mind, feeds it, sows it and make sure it grows. Now just how irrational is that, creating a storm and then being depressed, worried or angry because the weather is bad???
So perhaps it’s time to try a simple, yes, even somewhat silly experiment based on the well-known “ear lobe theory.” Well, it may become well known now. In any case, try this. First, ask yourself why you even have two ear lobes? C’mon, they were not given to each human to help sell earrings. Not that there’s anything wrong with wearing earrings. But perhaps there’s another reason for having ear lobes.

Do this. Pull gently and slightly down on each earlobe, and then gently pull them up to cover your ear canal. Get it? Your thumb may help hold it there. Next time you hear negative words about yourself, simply pull up on your ear lobes and shut out those limiting, negative, critical voices.
Just like the great Olympian Carl Lewis did who was repeatedly told he couldn’t jump over 30 feet but did and broke the world record. Or Ray Charles who was blind and was told he couldn’t play but filled generations with terrific music. Or FDR who was told he couldn’t walk, but he ran, and won.

We now have the ability to alter the expression of our genes, through the science of epigenetics. ThEaMo will do it. Thinking well, Eating well and Moving well are the core of the most exciting scientific advance in this century. We can control the physical expression of our genes and just because diabetes, heart disease and depression run in a family, doesn’t mean that must be your destiny. Thinking it is, will only grow those thoughts.

Guess what? You can do the same thing, change the negative expression of what others wish for you, your harm, by reprogramming your mind. Stop circling with the same thoughts while expecting different results. You cannot wake up and predict you’ll have another crappy day and hope to see advance in your life. Keep accepting this negative history of defeat, despair and depression and nothing will change.

I have found that “I can’t….” accompanies more people into therapy than most any other two words. People I see for coaching however, in person or over the phone/Skype, begin with “My goal…” See the difference? Those who carry negative seeds planted by others, who focus on them daily, often live with symptoms of depression, anxiety and/or anger. Those who carry thoughts of what can and will go right, who seek coaching to enhance life, to design a more successful future, are commonly free of these negative, defeatist symptoms.

So it’s time to stop looking at the dirt on the windows in your mind and begin seeing what’s out there beyond the spots on the glass, that’s so beautiful. False beliefs hold you back and limit you in life. It’s time to create auto-reactions to check your perceptions, your thoughts, and be sure they are true, helpful, inspirational, necessary, kind – T.H. I. N. K. When you check these perceptions and beliefs, your thoughts, create an opposite thought that you’d prefer to live with, seeing how it can bring wellbeing, increase and promotion in your life. Perhaps it’s time to visualize, meditate and dream for it – not trying for it, but creating it. Repeat these healthier thoughts throughout the day. Say it out loud. Be sure the people you surround yourself with are promoters but if not, remember those ear lobes. Be a person who says “Thank you” for something, perhaps even before you even have it—that’s why gratitude journals are so helpful in creating a more positive and healthy mindset. Finally, the more active you are, the healthier your chemistry will be and will be of help in your goal of guarding your mind.

Michael Mantell’s Valentine’s Day Advice: Catching Your Eye is One Thing, Catching Your Heart is Another

Michael Mantell’s Valentine’s Day Advice: Catching Your Eye is One Thing, Catching Your Heart is Another

Dr. Michael Mantell believes that Valentine’s Day may well have started as the Roman version of “match.com.” Young single men and women placed their names in a box, names were drawn randomly and couples were put together as partners for a year. After that it was up to them.

Robert Browning pointed to the essence of the foundation of Valentine’s Day when he said, “Grow old with me! The best is yet to be.” And as my teacher and mentor, Albert Ellis, Ph.D. liked to say, “The art of love is largely the art of persistence.”

For millennials, relationships appear to be taking on a new lustre. In a recent survey of 1,000 people, the researchers found that about 53% of millennials believed “till death do us part” no longer applies. Instead, “beta marriage” should the new normal many millennials believe. Despite being the “hook up generation,” cautious with commitment, wanting to postpone relationships until they’ve achieved a more stable career, being concerned with looking too clingy, being unwilling to “settle for less,” or just liking the “let’s test this marriage”model, still 69% of millennials want get married, but also want the option of rethinking the rules.

Despite these stumbling blocks, there are ways to turn them into stepping stones for a long-term, healthy and rewarding relationship. Use these tips, persistently, with your hearts and minds anchored in forever, and you’ll be celebrating many, many Valentine’s Days together…in genuine love.
• Offer large doses of respecting him and cherishing her (yes, of course it’s important the other way around as well). Express fondness and admiration daily.
• Become genuinely BFFs by demonstrating that what’s important to your friend’s happiness is essential to you, and delivering your best self to each other. Turn towards each other, not away from each other.
• Avoid the endless cycle of arguments. Be each other’s “defense attorney,” not “prosecutor.” Listen carefully to each other to create “win-win” solutions by putting conflict in front of both of you, not between you. Don’t compromise! Instead, find a third solution that isn’t his or hers, but a consensus you both agree on and enjoy. Make excuses for each other.
• You aren’t likely to be a star in more than one arena of your life—make it your relationship by clearly putting each other before anything else, including work, children, hobbies, parents and friends.
• Be sure you indulge and nourish each other with everything you are in the language the other desires and understands—and do it daily.
• Ultimately it’s all about KINDNESS. Deliver it daily at a ratio of 5 positive interactions to every negative interaction and you’ll be celebrating your love for decades to come.
• It’s not just what you say to each other, it’s how you say it that matters. But however you say it, avoid saying things like:

“What the heck is wrong with you?”
“Never mind! I’ll do it myself…I don’t need you to help me.”
“Why can’t you ever________?” “Why do you always________?”
“Why can’t you be more like______?”
“Whatevvvver” (instead of actually engaging in conversation)
Keep your promises…to do your best to surprise each other, to smile often, to look at each other tenderly, to ignite sparks in each other’s eyes, to inspire and motivate each other for good and health, to never let the excitement fade, and to hold each other’s hands with the same anticipation, pleasure and enthusiasm when you reach 75, that you did the very first time you ever touched each other.

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