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Being positive is really cool.

Being positive is really cool.2011-02-24T19:12:45+00:00

The Forums Forums Tools, Techniques & Treatments Being positive is really cool.

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    Focus, okay hyperfocus has been a regular thing for me lately.

    I’ve been on a path, well two path actually, and something really amazing happened today.

    My path to better lets call it “well-being”, or in broad terms a better life has been moving along okay and I have made some headway.

    On the professional side of things I’ve been on a path to change careers to better suit my values and interests and with less sitting and more variety. A move from IT to working with People and their Dogs. I want to be a dog trainer, behaviour expert, a positive rewards based ‘expert’. This path was to help me simplify and learn lessons that can be applied to life, not just dogs.

    Today it happened. The two paths became one.

    Being positive is more than training your brain to be happy, or thinking about something in a specific way.

    In training you can choose to reward, do nothing or punish to affect behaviour.

    Rewards affirm behaviour to increase the likely-hood of repeating the behaviour.

    Punishment is used to diminish behaviour to decrease the likely-hood of it being repeated.

    Doing nothing is doing nothing. Status quo.

    In this context Positive means to add something, Negative means to remove something its not subjective it is + (plus) or – (minus).

    One interesting thing about using Positive Rewards vs Positive Punishment is that Positive rewards provide specific information, punishment is general and on it’s own it doesn’t do anything to ensure the behaviour is corrected or will not be repeated because it is general and not specific. A second point of interest (well I thought it was interesting) is that these rewards produce a feeling of happiness, this ADHDers is Dopamine at work. This is what the medications help to regulate so we are more easily motivated.

    It is possible to adjust your ‘base level’ with out medication by learning to be happy and that is what we should be working on when taking the medication, imho. It’s the whole point. The meds get things started so we can learn skills and ‘tools’ to handle life without meds.

    This is what our minds are doing everyday for every decision you make, but its doing it on its own based on learned behaviour, experience, various predictors, mood, weather, location…… Not very effective and this is our average “status quo” state for most people.

    My light bulb moment happened when I was thinking about the difference between Positive Rewards and that specific information it provides and how it makes training fun vs Punishment and how it causes more stress and lowers performance in training.

    Which input would you prefer as a trainee?

    First day on a job and the only input you get is a small beep which is paired with a machine that spits out 50 cents every time you get something right the first two times, then it stops paying but plays a fun random tune.


    First day on a job and the only input you get is a small beep which is paired with a machine that shocks you every time you get something wrong.

    Which would motivate you to keep looking for new and better ways to do things?

    Now think about how you feel when you are prepared vs not prepared. Its pretty similar. When we have had positive feedback, develop confidence in a situation and know we can do something the road is clear, the sky is bright and you can make huge progress in a short period of time. The inverse is what happens when life gets busy, we pack too much into a day, neglect the important things like sleep, eating right and exercise and don’t generally take enough time to “get it together” first. In this scenario the road is hard to see, its dark, the snow reduces your visibility and progress is slow.

    That’s my revelation. If I want to move forward and get something done I need to set a positive goal, remove all the negative voices, smile and do it. When you “get it together” before you start it’s easier to remain focused on the positive aspects and let go of the negativity. Yes things can and very likely will come up that you can’t control, but if you are prepared they will not stop your progress.

    The hard part is letting go of the negativity.

    That inner voice is pretty rude and LOUD and wants to be heard.

    But it can be shut the hell up so that we can start seeing the road again.


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