We should all strive to become the best versions of ourselves that we can. That is enough of a task without having people constantly trying to distract you and stunting your efforts. Be careful of what (and who) you let into your life.

Unfortunately, we will encounter negative and unambitious personas in our lives and we must learn how to deal with them. I, personally, encounter this persona in my everyday life. When we’re dealing with a persona that embodies dishonesty, unhealthy life choices, a mean-spirited nature, and poor work ethic (coming to work late and leaving early, always using a new excuse daily), we must learn how to deal with it.

How? It’s up to us who we let rent space in our heads. Sometimes, we may feel like someone’s taken out a loan and are paying a mortgage in our brain space, but truly- it’s all up to us who we allow to take up that space. Nevertheless, we all encounter negative energies, especially in our professional lives. It’s okay to take a deep breath, let your anger pass, and always remember – these actions do not go unnoticed by coworkers.

In this blog we’ll discuss two different types of coworkers, the unambitious persona and the ambitious persona, as well as ways to continue bettering yourself – and embodying the most positive persona we can.

Encountering The Unambitious Coworker

In your life, you will probably encounter a similar persona. Undoubtedly, these personas create a negative energy and weigh heavily upon us. To make it worse, it can sometimes seem like their egregious behaviors may go seemingly unnoticed or remains left unchecked by management, continuing to poison the workplace. It’s easy to have thoughts like:

  • Why doesn’t management take disciplinary action or fire them? 
  • Why does the rest of the office have to suffer?

Their very existence can seem like an affront to justice anywhere. So why is this important to you?

The Ambitious Coworker

I have another coworker who is the polar opposite. This person embodies the persona of someone that arrives early and stay late. They work hard to keep themselves healthy,  dedicate themselves to their work with the ambition of attaining advancement, and always work to improve their knowledge base overall.

The sad part is that the ambitious coworker will probably leave the company soon, while the unambitious one will stay. Understandably, our ambitious coworker is frustrated by the lack of promotion and by the fact that all of their extra efforts seem to go unnoticed.  This leads to the feeling of being disheartened by an unfair work environment and ultimately, pushes a great, motivated individual away from the company.

Even though we spend so much time at work associating with individuals we may not ordinarily associate with, we must not let it affect us. Environment, after all, can be stronger than our will. We must, then, work on strengthening our inner selves, becoming stronger in who we are, and working on our own self-defense.

The Real Self-Defense

It is in these moments that our meditation and ability to look inward is so crucial.

I read a quote on the Calmists Instagram page that said, “What Consumes Your Mind Controls You.”

The quote jumped out at me while I was in the middle of writing this blog. What a moment to read something so true, and so appropriate for this situation.

If we aren’t careful, we can let our thoughts dictate how we interact with the world. This is something we are all guilty of and why it is so important to remain so vigilant against ourselves.

Martial arts and meditation ARE about self-defense, but this is often misunderstood. Of course I want my students to be able to defend themselves from those around them who would seek to do them harm, but this is primarily so that they can get back to the REAL self-defense, which is defending the self from the self. 

There are four important tactics that will help arm you from yourself.

1. Treat Yourself Like You’d Want Your Loved Ones To Be Treated

We all tolerate negative self-talk that we would not tolerate from others. As a matter of fact, just last night, I told a good friend of mine who has some crippling self-esteem issues to treat himself like he would want his nephew (whom he adores) to be treated. The idea of treating yourself like you’d want to be treated is useless if you don’t think you are worthy of happiness and respect. So, maybe it makes more sense to treat ourselves like we would want our loved ones to be treated.

There is no doubt that life contains some measure of suffering. So, what is the antidote to this suffering?

2. Control Your Response To Suffering

We can’t prevent it, but we can control our response to it. It is often in these trying times that we need to double down on our efforts to discover and nurture who we truly are. We must never give up the quest for purpose and meaning. I can promise you that your purpose and meaning are not to complain and be bitter.

In fact, the more time you spend in these dark places, the further you get from your own happiness. More often than not, where we aim determines what we see. This is why it is so important to take the time and make sure your focus is clear and that you are constantly aiming at and striving to become the very best version of yourself that you can.

3. Don’t Let Others Distract You

Don’t be distracted by those around you who don’t share your goals. Your path is yours and yours alone. They will find theirs, in their own time. You cannot afford to waste your own time concerned with others who do not enhance or edify your life. Depending on your particular belief of this world or the existence of one after, we only KNOW that we have one chance at this life. Don’t spend it in negativity.

Misery loves company and is always happy to pull a chair up for you to share in that mindset. There is plenty to go around and always another seat at that table, unfortunately.

4. Keep Being Devoted To Better Yourself

I have been extremely humbled and overwhelmingly happy by the Zen Teachings community’s response to my efforts to spread meditation and its benefits to more people than I could ever interact with on the mats. I love getting your questions and comments because it is undeniable evidence that there are people sincerely devoted to trying to better themselves.

Whether or not you have the answers is irrelevant. The desire is there. That is what matters. Effort is what matters.

Life is a hard road and you need to do all you can to surround yourself with those who uplift and support you, because there are times when we are all weak and vulnerable. Especially when we are in weak, vulnerable, low, or negative places in our lives it’s always important to remember:

  • Don’t complain.
  • Don’t gossip.
  • Work on your own self-defense from the world.

Through your meditation, you will be able to more quickly right your course and redirect your energies. Pour that energy back into yourself and those around you. Even if we can’t take all of the suffering out of the world, how much better would it be if we continued to at least try?

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