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Ebb and Flow, For and Against, To and Fro. Monday April 18, 2016

As we seek to grow, to mature, to bear good fruit and to find our flow – there are always factors that will support our good intent and factors that will resist our progress.

10 of our Moodscope states support us, 10 resist.

Kurt Lewin developed a wonderful simple yet profound tool called Force-Field Analysis. In it you have a movement towards a desired change (usually in an arrow going left to right). Then you draw smaller arrows going in the same direction for every force that supports that movement towards what you want.

Equally, you draw arrows in the opposite direction for the forces that slow, block or stop the change.

The exciting news is that you don't have to work on all the factors. Weakening just one of the resisting forces can be enough to release the flow in your chosen direction... the tide changes.

I think it is great to strengthen all 10 positive Moodscope states: proud, active, attentive, determined, enthusiastic, excited, interested, strong, inspired, alert – hey, it even feels good just typing them here.

But then, adding a bit of force to weakening just one of the unresourceful states could turn the tide.

When I am faced with evidence that life is unfair, I often max out on the "hostile" score on Moodscope. But I can weaken this hostile force by listening to Andy Williams and watching the birds getting busy for Spring. Within minutes, I'm grinning, I'm winning.

Action for today then, if you're up for it, is to think of an action you could take to strengthen 3 of the positive states – 1 action for each, and an action to weaken just 1 of the negative states. Keep that up and I promise you the tide will turn in your favour.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Zareen Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 7:00am

Hi Lex, thanks for your Blog which, as ever I find very helpful. All the best

Lex Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 7:24am

You're most welcome, Zareen - and thank you for stopping by to comment. Lxx

Anonymous Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 7:07am

Hi Lex, I love this, thank you. Very clear - a constructive way to help weaken the foundations of those unresourceful states, and helping to put in another wedge to help secure the positive ones. x

Lex Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 7:25am

You're very welcome, Anonymous... I was thinking today of that song, "What a difference a day makes..." Who knows how much the battle could be tipped in our favour today by simple decisions and actions. I hope yours is a glorious day. Lxx

Jane Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 7:32am

I love this blog, thank you Lex. Something concrete to work with. Will start today! Best Wishes Jane

Lex Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 8:22am

Thanks Jane, yes, this blog comes with the opportunity to get out coloured pens and paper and come up with a life changing picture! Have fun! Lxx

Hopeful One Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 7:50am

Hi Lex- a great way to start the week strengthening the positive 'forces' and weakening the negative in our endeavours. I feel there is one more thing one needs to do. It is that our brains respond to praise and congratulations and dislike criticisms or put downs. That's just the way our brains wired and it all happens in the subconscious. So one should congratulate or praise oneself when one succeeds in strengthening the positive 'forces'

So what do I have by way of a laugh today?Laughter is a positive 'force' on the grounds that one cannot have a low mood and be able to laugh at the same time.

A group of Americans were travelling by tour bus through Switzerland . As they stopped at a cheese farm, a young guide led them through the process of cheese making, explaining that goat's milk was used . She showed the group a lovely hillside where many goats were grazing .
“These,” she explained, “are the older goats put out to pasture when they no longer produce.” She then asked, “What do you do in America with your old goats ?”
A spry old gentleman answered, “They send us on bus tours!”

Lex Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 8:26am

I agree, Hopeful One, I agree! Let praise and congratulations ring forth, alongside the well-deserved happy laughs at your jolly for today - loved it! And you too, of course!! Lxx

Anonymous Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 9:00am

Hi Hopeful. I mis read your point about having a low mood and being able to laugh at the same time. I read that you can have a low mood yet laugh at the same time. I suppose both are true but i think for me, I can be in a low mood and laugh at your jokes. The laughing will lift my sprits but i am not sure it changes my mood. I am being pedantic. Anyway I like your jokes so keep them coming please. I look forward to them. Jul xx

Lexi Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 8:41am

Lexi to Lex again! It' been awhile since I've written but I love your post. I have been strugging with procrastination - well actually feelings of inadequacy which is preventing me from doing something I need to do - so today my positive actions are determination, interested and inspired. My negative is being ashamed - feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Thank you!

Lex Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 8:49am

Go Lexi, go! I'm behind you with all of my name! Lex to Lexi: let your success flow and may the tide turn in your favour! Lxx2Lxxi

Anonymous Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 9:07am

Good morning Lex. "What a difference a day makes " I will now be humming the tune all day. It's a simple exercise isn't it to go more in the positive direction. I think your (Kurt's) chart should be rolled out in schools. The name will inspire. Force Field. We can choose I guess which way to go. You have told me in the past that it's my choice and I think largely you are right. I am free to make choices which is a luxury. That luxury of freedom also works in the opposite direction. Our choices are not life threatening whether bad or good generally speaking. But it's the little choices we make on a daily basis which are the most important for me. Thank you again for a sparkling Monday Lex inspired blog. Jules xx

Lex Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 12:26pm

Hi Jules, thank you for this encouragement. I really can see the students physically acting this out in the classroom. A bit like the opposite of a tug of war. Then you'd just have to tickle the forces that were pushing against change! What a giggle! Probably not allowed in schools any more!!! I quite fancy the idea of tickling those factors who are against me at the moment! Made me smile. Have a sparkling day! Lxx

martin Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 9:17am

Hi Lex
Great helpful post thanks.
One concern I have is about the words used in the Test and the diagram in this post. Words are really tricky things and here's just my take on three ones I find a bit problematic used in the Moodscope test:

1. "Proud". I associate pride with conceitedness or arrogance. Not sure what alternative word I'd use but when I take the test I balk at this. Maybe "self-respecting" is as good as I can think for an alternative.

2. "Excited". I think a person can be perfectly happy without feeling excited. Moreover I think when it is linked to the word "extremely" (the third word I am concerned with - see below)- making "extremely excited" I think that can be associated with unbalanced in some situations. "Enthusiastic" is softer.

3. "Extremely". It's in the word itself - for something to be extreme suggests to me something unbalanced, and I think happiness and wellness is not about extremes but about balance and stability. I'd change "extremely" to "very", a softer more balanced word I think.

So overall I think the site might benefit from reviewing its use of these three words. If others feel the same way about one or more of these words they may get inaccurate scores for the Test. I would never score myself as "extremely proud" or "extremely excited" (sounds manic to me) but would on most days be happy to score myself "Very enthusiastic" and "very self-respecting".

I wonder how others feel about this.

Anonymous Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 12:24pm

Hello Martin. There has been discussion about the words used on the cards before. Caroline will have something to say about this as the cards were devised by a trusted independent body i think. I feel the same as you about the two cards, Proud and Excited. I score low on the proud and rarely high on the excited. I might be excited if I was looking forward to something but am rarely excited by everyday life. I like your substitutes, Enthusiastic and Self Respecting. And "Very" For the reasons you give. I do agree with Gardener's comments below about Pride but I can't say I like using the word. I might be (at a stretch) proud about something I've done in the past but it's not a word I could possibly attach to every day use. Therefore when I do the cards, I always score low on Pride. However maybe the words on the cards are there for a purpose and each word is deemed significant by the experts for overall mood. Jul xx

Lex Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 12:35pm

Hi Martin and Jules, I too have wrestled with these words. In fact, I decided to take them in the meaning that I felt the author intended... even though I wouldn't naturally use 'Pride' as part of my day to day vocabulary. It's a challenging one. There again, I love 'Pride' by U2. The key to me is decide how to define the words and then stick with my decision. As the Gardener said, even Mr Darcy, Proud Mr Darcy, turned out OK, didn't he? Tee hee - visions of Colin Firth! Lxx

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 5:02pm

Hi Martin, thanks for your comment. I do understand your concerns. As Jul has said above, the adjectives used in the test were developed by Dr Watson in the 80's - it's called the PANAS and has been tried, tested and peer reviewed and is seen as one of the most accurate measures of mood. Because of this, even if we felt there might be a more apt word, we wouldn't be able to change any of them as it would invalidate the test. The thing is, as long as you treat the words in the same way each time you take the test, you are then comparing like with like. Just out of interest Dr Watson is American, so he probably didn't have a problem using the word 'pride'! Hope this helps. Kind regards. Caroline

Eva Tue, Apr 19th 2016 @ 12:56am

Hi, I don't mind proud too much, if for example I manage to have a good day, go out for a few walks, eat healthily and get a good bit of work done I might mark myself as proud 1 or 2. I suppose I see it as a sense of achievement... But then I score at night after the days activities, which might change things.

Dolphin Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 9:29am

Hi Lex - a useful, practical blog - thanks.

I also had thoughts on your second last paragraph. When I see how cruel the world is (and there is so much cruelty to see), my view of EVERYTHING, including myself, goes down down down. Your point encourages me to use my head to lessen this response. Music - yes. Walk at the sea watching the gulls - yes. Dogs cavorting - yes. And yesterday I walked behind a mother and toddler. The toddler had been dressed with such love, care and pride - pretty clothes, hair in lots of tiny plaits - it made me smile and gave me hope for the world. Turn away from the bombs for a while and watch little acts of love and kindness.

Lex Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 12:41pm

Aye, Dolphin, aye Dolphin, we are in agreement. I was transported in delight yesterday at the first Beech leaves unfolding! They were like little perfect fans. And I'm a fan! The Bare Necessities of Life. Have a magical day. Lxx

The Gardener Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 10:09am

Lex - you seem to have cheered Monday for a lot of people, real shot in the arm for me. Looking at albums - all the things I've achieved, gardens, parties, dresses for grand-children, books ditto - and two lovely rooms already in new house. They glow this morning - 'excellent' for pride card for first time.

Lex Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 12:54pm

Lovely, Dear Gardener, just lovely. May your glow grow and endure, continuing to allow you to enjoy good fruit - that wish comes from more than just my heart. That's the pride I love. Lxx

The Gardener Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 10:12am

Pride is difficult for the English temperament. My Ma spent her whole time 'putting me down'. Mr G, whole life, needed constant praise while criticising others. What woman, praised for her dress, does not reply 'oh, this old thing.' 'Pride goes before a fall'. My ma favourite 'you're too big for your boots'. Mr. G in full grumble, told him to 'shut up'and went and waved to the kids on their way to school.

The Gardener Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 10:15am

See Martin has problems with 'pride' Englishman Martin? Mr Darcy excellent example or pride, regarded as arrogant, came good in the end!

Lex Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 1:20pm

Oh Mr Darcy... I'm happy. My Dad wanted to name me "St John Darcy..." unfortunately, Mother prevailed... I dream Lxx

The Gardener Mon, Apr 18th 2016 @ 1:48pm

The complexities of how we look at the cards is endless. To me, pride, as per the choices, is pride in achievement. Others may say 'we are the Deverills of Deverille, Dad was at the battle of Marstoh Moor'. So what? Not your achievement.

Eva Tue, Apr 19th 2016 @ 12:59am

Hi lex. Thanks for this blog this is just what I needed today to encourage me to work towards the positive rather than feel sorry for myself.

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