Mike Robbins’ Focus on the Good Stuff is a wonderful book, particularly for these challenging times. And with Thanksgiving coming, how do we keep from getting caught up in all the negative media and remember what we are thankful for?
In his well-organized book, Mike Robbins shows us how to move beyond the cycle of negativity to focus on what is working and what we appreciate about ourself, others, and the world around us. I found his simple yet powerful exercises so valuable that I copied several of the pages and pasted them near my computer.
Robbins talks about the pervasive environment of negativity in our culture and how our obsession with negativity causes us to turn it against others and ourselves. Then he explains the five Principles of Appreciation and finally how to put appreciation into action.
One of the first exercises is to determine which type of negativity are your “favorites” and how they impact your relationships. He poses some questions to ponder about self-criticism and gives a five step technique to transform your negativity.
Here are some positive practices I find helpful:
- Create a “gossip-free zone.”
- Go on a “complaint fast.”
- Speak about yourself in a positive way.
- Communicate your goals and vision in positive language.
- Speak about what you want, not about what you don’t want.
My favorite chapter is “Acknowledge Others” because it’s one of the best things we can do to have a positive impact on the people around us. “People around us are starving for appreciation and acknowledgment,” he says, “and we have the ability to give them this gift on a regular basis and in a genuine way.”
But the most important form of appreciation is the most challenging—appreciating ourselves—because “all gratitude and appreciation begin and end with our opinion and perception of ourselves.” In this Fifth Appreciation Principle he gives specific steps on how to appreciate yourself and discusses that huge challenge so many of us have trouble with – accepting compliments.
If you’re looking for a great holiday gift that the recipient will truly appreciate, give this book. In fact, get one for yourself. It’s a quick read but what a powerful message!