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A Positive Perspective

April is National Autism Awareness Month.

“Autism is a developmental disability typically identified during the first three years of life. Children with autism often display significant impairment in communication and social relatedness as well as restricted patterns of behaviors and interests. While a cure for autism has not yet been identified, a substantial body of evidence shows that applied behavior analysis technology can make a difference for children with autism, especially when treatment begins early.”

I took this definition from a brochure provided by the Kent County Arc J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center. They operate The Pathways Strategic Teaching Center which is a comprehensive education and treatment program serving children with autism and related disorders.

Meanwhile, Dr. Phil’s life strategy process doesn’t get done by itself. It takes some significant effort, but I believe it’s worthwhile.

The next step will help us find out what sort of stimuli we are providing to the world:

“Do your behaviors have you in a rut?”

Rut Test

  1. Do you spend a high percentage of your free time as a ‘couch potato’, watching ridiculous sitcoms or ‘blood and guts’ dramas on television?
  2. When you’re at home, do you put on the same house dress, T-shirt, and baggy shorts or pajamas so often it’s regarded as your ‘uniform’?
  3. Do you stand at the refrigerator, staring into it, as if you really might discover something that wasn’t there when you looked five minutes ago?
  4. Do you treat life as though it is a spectator sport, and you are in the cheap seats?
  5. Do you actually live vicariously through characters on TV, and discuss them as though they are real people?
  6. Do you actually count and recount the items in your grocery cart before you venture into the express line?
  7. Is your job or your kids all you ever talk about?
  8. On the rare occasions you decide to go out, do you spend thirty minutes debating where to go?
  9. Do you only eat out at places where you have to look up rather than down at the menu?
  10. Do you have sex quarterly, and in less then four minutes, so you can time it with commercial breaks?
  11. Do you fantasize about things you never actually do?
  12. Are you suspicious of people who look really happy, because it just doesn’t seem possible?
  13. Do you have a lesser standard of conduct when you are alone than when you are with others?
  14. Is the most exciting thing that’s ever likely to occur in your life something that has already happened?
  15. When you awaken, do you dread starting another day?
  16. Do you use braun razors for shaving?
  17. Do your appearance and your standards of personal grooming seem to be on the decline?
  18. Is your goal in life simply to get by for another week or month?
  19. Do you say ‘no’ a really high percentage of the time, no matter what the question is?
  20. In order for you to meet someone new, would they have to throw themselves on the hood of your car, or pull a chair up in front of your TV set?

“If you answered “Yes” to eight or more of these items, you’re in a rut. If it was twelve or more, we’d better send out a search party. But by progressing this far into the process, you’ve expressed a desire to lift yourself out of the rut. You’re programming yourself to be receptive to the Life Laws, and to start functioning at a higher level. You recognized that it’s time to begin translating your insights, understandings, and awareness into purposeful, meaningful, constructive actions. Right?

“Start by committing to measure your life and its quality based on results, not intentions. It has been said that ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’. I take that to mean good intentions without actions will lead you nowhere but down. Yet, your natural tendency, whether you want to admit it or not, is to make excuses. Your natural tendency is to give yourself permission to say what you want to do or intend to do, but then to fall far short of doing it. It is the human way. You didn’t invent this method, but in a society of procrastinators, it’s the norm. In a society overcrowded with ‘victims’, it is typical. ‘It’s not my fault. It’s not my job.’ I’ve got news for you: You are your job.

“I’m not interested in helping you develop a list of intentions. Nor do I care to provide you with “interesting insights” into your life that stop there, with no associative action. I am interested in creating change in your life. To know why you are failing at any endeavor is half the challenge, but only half. I want to influence you in a way that gets you out of your typical behavior and excuses. That means that you are going to have to measure yourself based on results.”

As always, have a good week. Fill it with smiles and hugs, especially for your family. They are the ones who love us most and need our attentiveness.