Quit the โ€œAinโ€™t it Awful Clubโ€

mastery mindfulness wisdom Sep 13, 2021
A Gladiator tackling Dr. Tim's obstacle course in Atlanta, TX.

“There are two types of people, anchors and motors. 

You want to lose the anchors and get with the motors

because the motors

are going somewhere and they’re having more fun. 

The anchors will just drag you down.”

– Robert Wyland

It doesn’t take long. You can find them anywhere. I stopped going to the physician’s lounge when I was working at the hospital because it was a constant barrage of what Jack Canfield calls the “Ain’t it Awful Club.”

“Can you believe hospital administration is doing this?”

“Did you hear congress might sign a law requiring us to…”  

“My wife is requiring me to go to this damn play this weekend.”  

“I can’t believe they want us to be on call with no pay.”  

You get the idea. But it doesn’t just happen there, it is anywhere you want to look. Social media has amplified it and made it extremely loud. The newspapers and media do the exact same thing.  

It’s funny because if you are not careful, you will start to believe that we are in the worst of times. The most ironic part is that the “Ain’t it Awful Club” has always believed that.  Go back to any point in history and pull up a newspaper and read about how things have never been worse. They would have you believe this is the worst time to be alive.  

We truly want whatever is happening at this moment to be the most important thing that has ever happened. It is human nature.

If you are going to Live Every Minute and create a spectacular life, you have to walk away from all that. You have to leave the “Ain’t it Awful Club” and get on with your life.  Remember that, you are the creator of your life. You cannot let others influence who you are or what you will become. The less responsibility you take for your life and your future, the more trapped you will feel. 

So how do you do it? Here are 5 steps that will help you.

1. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

None of us with children let them hang out with the “wrong kind” of friends.  The reason is that we all know, if we do, they will fall into the same ways as those friends. 

Yet for some reason, when we become adults, we no longer think this applies to us.  It does.  You must look at who you are hanging out with and adjust accordingly.  What do your friends have you listening to?  What do they have you reading?  What do you talk about?  If you are not happy with the answers, then you may need to upgrade your 5 people. 

In my book, “Living Every Minute: How to Create a Spectacular Life,” I talk about making a list of all the people you spend time with.  Then putting an up arrow, sideways arrow, or down arrow next to each.  An up arrow means this person fills me up, I feel better when I am with them.  The sideways arrow means this person is neutral.  The down arrow means I need to spend less time here, this person does not make me feel good about myself and they are not helping me to become what I want to be.  They drain my energy.  Once you have the list done, create a plan to spend more time with the up-arrow people, and less time with the down arrow people.  Take control. 

2. Work within your circle of control.

Speaking of control, how do you spend most of you time?  Do you spend it working on the things you can control or on talking about the things you cannot control?  The things you can control include what you read, what you spend your time on, exercise, learning, what you say, goal setting, what time you get up, and setting up your finances. 

Things you do not control include what people post on social media, what Congress is doing, who the President is, what North Korea might do. 

The more time you spend on the things you are in control of, and the less time you spend on things you cannot directly control, the more successful and fulfilled you will be.

This is not easy, but it is mandatory to create an amazing life. 

3. Social media is like alcohol

You must eliminate or control it. That may sound extreme, but I have never been more serious.  It is ruining the lives of countless people. We do not even understand the extent of the damage it may be doing to us and our children.  The problem (as I am sure you know) is how easy it is to be pulled into the rabbit hole, whatever that rabbit hole is for you.  You have to take control of this, or it will control you.  

Either limit drastically how much time you spend on social media or eliminate it completely.  That’s right, just get rid of it.  If you have a problem with alcohol, the solution isn’t “I will just try and drink a little bit.”   No, you must avoid all of it.  This may be the only answer.  

Whatever the answer is for you, create a plan for control and follow through with it.   We all need to.

4. Refuse to engage in “Ain’t it Awful” conversations.

When you hear it starting, walk away or change the conversation.  It is so easy to get involved and start being part of it.  It’s also easy to bad mouth others particularly if they will “never know.”  The problem isn’t whether or not they know what you said.  The real issue is that you know, and what you become because of it, is not really the type of person you want to be.  

Just refuse to do it.  Change the conversation to “Hey what podcast do you guys like?”  “What book are you currently reading?”   “How can we help someone today?”  Just refuse to get sucked into the “Ain’t it Awful” conversations.

5. The future is intoxicating.

Jim Rohn used to say that “the way to inspire yourself and others is to create an intoxicating vision for the future.”  If there is no vision for better, then we are simply going through the motions.  We have to be able to see why working harder, getting up earlier, and staying up later will all be worth it.  The best way to create an intoxicating future is to plan one.  Sit down (preferably with your LIVING EVERY MINUTE JOURNAL/PLANNER) and plan out a future for yourself and your family.  Make your future intoxicating.  Make plans that pull you towards the future.  Create a pattern of life so enticing you can’t wait to get up the next day.  

The thing I love most about writing articles is that I remind myself of my own failings and where I can do better.  This is certainly true of this topic.  I am re-committing to the five steps listed above and I hope you will too.  Let’s all say goodbye to the “Ain’t it Awful Club” and live the life we deserve to live. 

Living Every Minute,

Dr. Tim

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