October 5, 2021

Episode 7: How to feel better

What to do when you feel like crap? View your situation from a different angle. This episode walks you through the steps of how to actually do that.

What you will discover

  • Why changing your thought is possible
  • 4 practical ways to find a better angle
  • What Nelson Mandela and your grand mother have to do with feeling better
  • How to use past successes to solve current problems
  • The difference between inspirational quotes and useful thoughts


Mixed and produced by Adrien Grenier

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Episode Transcript

The easy flashy route is usually not the one that gives the best results.

Hi, welcome to the excellent writer podcast. I'm Mélanie, I'm a certified life coach and I specialize in helping people like you get things done, find ease and motivation again and get unstuck when it feels like you've lost your mojo.

In the past two episodes, you've learned how to identify your thoughts and then use the Model to break it down into five components: the facts or circumstances, the thought, the feeling, the action, and the result.

The Model describes exactly why you're not getting the results that you would like to get. And it also tells you what needs to happen for you to get the results that you do want to achieve.  You need to simply create better fuel for your engine. You need to put yourself in a different feeling.

And in order to do that, you need to change your thoughts; you need to change your mindset about the situation. So once you have described your problem according to the Model, you can see what are the facts of the situation. That's the circumstance that you've described and you can also see how you're interpreting those facts; what you're making this situation mean.

And this way of looking at the situation is what creates your feelings. From those feelings, you take a number of actions and those actions are what create your results. So, for example, if I want to lose weight but I believe “one cookie here and there won’t make a big difference”, I will probably feel permissive.

And when I feel permissive, I will eat a cookie here and there and as a result, I will not lose the weight. Or if I want to change jobs but I believe “there's nothing on the market for me right now”, I will probably feel discouraged; and when I'm feeling discouraged, I will not be looking very effectively for a job. And as a conclusion, I will probably not find a new job.

So what I want to talk to you about today is now that you have identified the thought that is creating your results, how can you find a better thought? How can you look at your situation from a different angle? And there's much more to this. There's more steps that you can do before you change the angle.

But since is this is the thing that we all want to do right away. We all want to go and change the thought I thought I would give you the information on how to do that now. And in a later podcast, we can look at all the steps that you can do before immediately changing your thought. So there’s several ways to find a better angle by yourself.

The easiest way of course is to not do it by yourself. It’s to, for example, if you have a coach, then you can have help from your coach to find a better angle of view into your situation. And a good coach will always have lots of different ideas and lots of different techniques on how to find a better angle of view that you already believe, that matters to you, that is in line with your values, etc. for you in the situation.

But if you're doing this by yourself, there are several things that you can do. And I'm going to share them with you today. There's more than what I'm just sharing but I'm just sharing a few that are relatively easy for you to implement.

So the first one is that you can imagine somebody that you admire or somebody whose attitude you admire and you can imagine how they would react in the same situation.  So I lived in the US when I was a teenager and I was always intrigued, there was a bumper sticker that many people in the area that I lived in seem to have on their car and it was a bumper sticker and it said WWJD.

And so I'm French and this is not something that I knew about before I went to the US. And so later I found out that this stands for What Would Jesus Do? So, I'm not at all religious and I'm not trying to push any Catholicism on you, but it's an excellent… This technique of thinking, what would another person do? It's an excellent way of coming up with a different perspective.

So if like me, you're not particularly religious or Christian; instead of “what would Jesus do”, you can ask yourself: “what would Nelson Mandela think in this situation?” or “what would my grandmother think?” or what would “Oprah think?” or even “what would snowman Oscar from the Disney anime Frozen think?”.

You can just pick whoever is inspirational to you and imagine them in exactly the same situation that you're in and imagine what is likely that they would think in this situation. What would they believe about the situation? What would they make the situation mean? And that will help you find a different angle in your situation.

Another way to do that, which is also very powerful, it’s to find a similar situation that you have been in and where you actually succeeded in behaving the way you would like to behave now, or you have succeeded in creating the result that you would like to create now.

So, for example, if you're training for a marathon and you're not really motivated, maybe you can remember what you used to think when you were training for a half marathon and you were so motivated and see how you can translate those thoughts into the new situation.

Perhaps, when you were training for the half marathon, you were thinking, “my only goal is to finish, time is not important” and when you thought that you felt safe because the goal felt challenging but reasonable. And so perhaps you can apply the same thought here or a similar thought. So you can think “my only goal is to finish, time is not important” or something similar.

Another way to do that is also you can find a situation in which you succeeded, but which is completely different from the one you are in right now and identify anyway what you were thinking and see if you could anyway translate those thoughts into your current situation.

For example, if I'm training for a marathon and I want to change my thoughts because I'm not really motivated. I can remember what I used to think when I decided to move to Japan and I was so motivated to find a job there and see whether I can find some common ground. So, you see that the two situations on paper, they have nothing to do with each other: running for a marathon, or trying to find a job in Japan.

But the thing that I'm noticing is that when I was trying to find a job in Japan, I was extremely motivated. And since I'm trying to create motivation, I want to pick a situation in which I was very highly motivated.  So if I put myself back in my shoes, when I was looking for a job in Japan, I can remember what I was thinking and I was thinking something like: “it would be so amazing to live in that country”.

So I was thinking lots of other thoughts. I'm just taking one as an example, but I was thinking “it would be so amazing to live in that country” and that made me feel very excited and very motivated to look for a job. So, perhaps I can translate that thought to my current situation and I can investigate if it works for me to think “it would be so amazing to have run a marathon” or “it would be so amazing to run a marathon.”

And it doesn't always work this technique, but it can work. And in this case, maybe it will create the excitement and the motivation that I'm looking for. At least, it will open up a new avenue of thoughts that I had not thought about that will help me reconnect with my motivation.

And then another way that you can create a great thought, or a much better angle of view into your situation is to simply collect great thoughts when you hear them.  So I personally have a list of amazing thoughts that I write down every time I hear one or every time, sometimes I think a thought that is very powerful for me.

So every time I notice a thought that… it can be in a book, it can be in a series, it can be on Instagram; it can be a friend who shares something; it can be my own thoughts... I always write it down in my list. And usually, they don't need to be outstanding or grandiose motivational sentences.

They just need to be something useful that makes sense to you and that you can remind yourself of when you need to create a specific feeling. So motivation or courage or curiosity or whatever is needed for you to fuel a task. I'll give you just a few example from the last few sentences that I wrote in my list just so that you see the diversity of sentences that this can be and the diversity of sources.

So one podcast that I like a lot, it's a French podcast (in French only), it's called “Camille”, and it's from Binge Audio. And in that podcast, I heard in one interview there was somebody saying “we do our best with what we see others do; everybody tinkers”.

And when I'm thinking, “we do our best with what we see others do; everybody tinkers”, it reminds me that okay, everybody is trying to do the best of the situation that they have. And so it means I'm allowed to do the best with this, I'm allowed to only be doing the best I can with the situation that I have. I don't have to be outstandingly performing all the time. I don't always have to be amazing.

I don't have to set the bar so high for myself all the time. So when I hear this sentence, I find it very helpful and it creates a lot of compassion for myself and that's something that I will want to use again in those situations when I am judging myself very severely and I would instead benefit more from being compassionate.

And if I find difficult to access compassion at that time, this sentence – and I have a few others that are also good for creating compassion for me – one of those sentences will work for me. So I write them in the section of my list which is called “compassion” and I have a few sentences there including this one.

Another quote I find very powerful, which is from Brené Brown; from her book “Daring Greatly”. It's “I'm not here to be right, I'm here to get it right”. And this sentence helps me to move from very rigid feelings such as righteousness or frustration, to much more flexible feelings, like modesty and curiosity and love and this kind of things and so whenever I feel that I'm very rigid, I remind myself:

“I'm not here to be right, I am here to get it right”, and that helps me access the kind of feelings that I'm interested in, and in particular curiosity; because immediately, I ask myself: okay, what would right look like in this situation? And how can I make it right? I wrote a sentence also from a movie I watched. I didn't write what movie it was – I guess it's because it was not such an amazing movie.

So I don't remember exactly where I heard it, but the sentence was “God wants us to walk, but the devil sends a limo”. So again, I'm not particularly religious, but I take wisdom wherever I find it. And so I find that this sentence captures the essence of the work that I propose to you. The easy, flashy route is usually not the one that gives the best results.

So that sentence creates a lot of determination for me and some pride as well. It reminds me that I choose to walk. I don't need a limo to get where I want to get. I want to exercise my own muscles. I want to get to my result by myself; by my own volition.

So if you listen to Brooke Castillo's podcast, for example, you will notice that she says all the time something which I find extremely powerful. She says that she would prefer to know how to make a million dollars rather than to win a million dollar at the lottery. And I completely agree with her because if you know how to make a million dollar, if you lose it, you know how to make it again.

But if you win a million dollar at the lottery, okay, it's amazing. There is no effort involved besides buying the lottery ticket.  But if you lose it, you don't know how to recreate it and also you don't have the pride of having created your own success. So I like this sentence a lot. “God wants us to walk but the devil sends a limo.”

If you listened to last episode and you created a Model on one of your situations, meaning that you have taken a problematic situation and you have split it into the five different components of the Model. What are those circumstances? What is the thought? What is the feeling? Where are the actions? What is the result?

Now what you can do is you can try to find a better angle to look at the same circumstances and to see if you can find a different thought, that would create different feelings for you in the same… with exactly the same situation; exactly the same circumstance.

And what I recommend that you do is that you just try simply to look at… Take somebody that you admire and just imagine what would this person probably think in the same circumstances. And is this something that I can take inspiration from? Is something that I also can believe?

And another very effective way to find better angles and better thoughts is to ask yourself questions. And so next week we're going to look exactly into that. We're going to look into how to ask great questions.

If you like what you heard, go to my website: excellentrider.com. That's Excellent Rider in one word dot com and get the episode notes. They are organized in a structured way that makes them easy to remember and there are additional exercises and illustrations that you don't get in the audio. If you really liked what you heard, go to your podcast platform and leave me a review.

You can Google how to do that if you're not sure how to proceed. This helps the podcast be more visible. It means that it will be easier to find for other people who need to hear exactly this message. And it's also a great encouragement for me. If you felt that this information was valuable, it's the absolute best way to let me know.

I personally answer everyone who is kind enough to leave me a review.  Thanks a lot for listening today. I hope to talk to you again very soon. Because you my friend, even when you cannot get yourself to do what you want. Even when you're stuck in negative emotions and unpleasant thought loops. And even when you don't believe it – especially when you don't believe it – you absolutely rock. And you'll soon be an excellent rider. There's no bad horses. Only untrained riders.

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