ARE YOU FEELING A LITTLE ANTSY about the H1N1 virus (aka Swine Flu) which continues to make headlines, particularly in major metropolitan areas?
The idea plagued my thinking recently. I confess that my concern about contracting some contagious malady did click up a notch or two for me recently.
Reason: I spent many busy days full of handshaking and close talking among tens of thousands of visitors and exhibitors at, not one but, two multi-day events at Jacob Javits Convention Center in the crossroads of the world, Manhattan.
And it was there I detected a little-reported outbreak of a malady that may be as pernicious as H1N1 spreading among the attendees.
TGIM EPIDEMIC ALERT: To inform yourself about this outbreak and learn how to safely immunize yourself and those you care about from this scourge, let me state the case for you here.
P.L.O.M. runs rampant in New York!
As I worked my way from exhibitor to exhibitor at Javits I found an almost universal trace of PLOM in the folks I talked with.
You could see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices. As visitors stopped at my home base, virtually every one exhibited the telltale signs and behaviors of infection. And since the folks I met came from around the nation and the world, I think we can conclude the contagion is global!
While PLOM is not a new disease, the particular strain I encountered seems to have evolved into something virulent and its contagious aspects threaten even previously immune and robust individuals.
With my usual dedication to bringing you the facts I tried to dig back to find the origins of PLOM but came up with nothing definitive. But I think some of the previously discovered remedies can still counter the dread disease, if you’re willing to apply them.
So first, let’s spell out the basics.
PLOM stands for
“Poor Little Old Me” disease
My old mentor John Beckley, founder of The Economics Press and longtime publisher of business-skills training and motivation and inspirational material, first made me aware of the childhood form of the disease. He told this story:
Years ago, when a childhood friend of ours was in a foul mood, and complaining bitterly about almost everything, her mother would, sooner or later, interrupt the proceedings.
“Melinda,” she would say. “It seems to me that you’ve got a bad case of PLOM.” Then she would send Melinda to her room with a paper and pencil to write down a list of things she ought to be thankful for. When the list was long enough – and when her attitude improved enough to satisfy her mother – Melinda would be allowed to rejoin the group.
The conclusion that Mr. B reached: We all, adults as well as children, occasionally overemphasize the bad side of things and underemphasize the good.
Certainly some folks more than others. Yet the fact is we all have things to be thankful for. It’s also a fact that, practically no matter what the situation, it could be worse. So if we do for ourselves what Melinda’s mother enforced for her, we should get a better perspective on things.
Helen Keller, who certainly knew adversity, counseled: “Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.”
Now, about the PLOM epidemic sweeping through Javits Center:
I hear you. It’s been a rough year – maybe longer. No doubt “The Business” … “The Economy” … “The Politicians” … maybe even “Life” … have dealt you a bad hand. Perhaps you’ve lost customers, money, family or health.
I get it. Everybody enjoys wallowing in a little self-pity. It makes us feel better to remind ourselves how terrible the world is … how we’ve not been given the right opportunities … how people are against us … how life has been a real struggle.
I sympathize. No doubt you (and I) have had undeserved blows and missed out on many opportunities.
But here’s an axiomatic –
Secret to Happiness:
Don’t believe everything you think
Yes, you’ve got reasons to think that fate really HAS been unfair to you. But feeling sorry for yourself and whining about it is not going to help the situation. PLOM thinking and behaving like a victim only sinks you deeper into the quicksand of apathy.
Think about this: It’s not what happens to you; it’s how you handle what happens to you that makes more of a difference in your life.
Q: Are you really the kind of person who can’t do anything about the things that happen to you?
If you’ve read this far, I doubt it. So stop feeling sorry for yourself and actually GO and DO something about it.
TGIM ACTION IDEA: Turn your attention to the things you really appreciate: Favorite daily moments. Interesting ideas. Attractive sights. Stimulating experiences. Funny incidents. People who brighten your day. Think about these things. Write them down. And appreciate all of the stuff that you can appreciate.
TGIM IDEA IN ACTION: Here are a few more PLOM-countering suggestions to help you combat the dread disease and maybe even inoculate yourself with happiness and joy so a more “healthy” mindset becomes the dominant factor in your daily routine and life.
• Let the future be the future and the past be the past. Live in the “now” as much as you’re able.
• Focus and work hardest on your own life and your own path forward. Let go of judgment, resentment, criticism, blame. Let others have their own experiences and lessons.
• Take a personal inventory. Would you exchange your work … your eyes … your freedom … the people you love … the people that love you … for things to be better? Define “better.”
• There is always someone else worse off. Practice random acts of kindness. Or not-so-random. Give of yourself to someone whose need is greater. (Wasn’t “The best way to forget your own problems is to help someone else with theirs” one of TGIM #206’s Universal Rules?)
• Make some time just for you. Step back. Get “quiet.” Go within. Pray or meditate. Listen to what some might call “your higher self” wants and needs.
• Do the Melinda’s-Mom Drill. Make a list of something/someone you are thankful for. You don’t have to stay in your room until you’re called. Start with one person and one thing you are grateful for each day and build on that.
• Add your new-and-improved PLOM-resistant attitude to the items on your list.
There. That makes me feel better about those lousy days stuck in Javits with all those whiny people. (Just joking. In fact I thank them for bringing these TGIM strategies back to top-of-mind awareness for me. See. It works.)
Alexander Publishing & Marketing
8 Depot Square
Englewood, NJ 07631
P.S. So-called Swine Flu is real enough and I don’t mean to make light of it in this TGIM. It was recently declared a pandemic. In our home state of NJ and in neighboring states it continues to take lives and in this hemisphere it’s not even the flu season. Just plain seasonal “flu” claims over 35,000 lives in the USA each year. So let’s take this opportunity to recap some basic flu prevention measures.
TGIM ACTION IDEA: First and foremost, hygiene works. Wash your hands. Keep your environment clean. Watch for symptoms and don’t ignore them. Stay home until you’re symptom free. Get plenty of rest and exercise to keep your immune system strong. Eat a healthful diet. Sunlight provides system-supportive Vitamin D. Finally, relax. Like PLOM, flu feeds on psychological stress which produces a weakened immune system. “The preservation of health is a duty. Few seem conscious that there is such a thing as physical morality.” The English philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) posited that.
GEOFF STECK leads Alexander Publishing & Marketing, a company he formed in 1986. The core AP&M mission: To create and publish leadership, sales mastery, self-improvement and workplace skill-building resources and tools. The focus: Areas such as business communication, staff support, customer care and frontline management. Geoff also puts his corporate and entrepreneurial experience, independent perspective, and skills as a catalyst to work for other firms (ranging from multinational corporations to more modest operations), not-for-profits, and individuals who have conceived or developed programs or initiatives but are frustrated in getting them implemented.