We all have an explanatory style. Simply put, your explanatory style is the way in which you explain your circumstances to yourself, whether positive or negative. It directly impacts your attitude, your response and your emotional state.
Most of us don’t think about our explanatory style, and worse we aren’t even aware of its influence in our life. It’s too easy to just let it happen, even if it adversely impacts us.
This is when being on ‘cruise control’ is not beneficial. Or we can be aware of our tendency to tell ourselves that everything in life is someone else’s fault, sadly that is an explanatory style that is a ticket to Victimhood. Not where we want to take up residence.
So how can we build resilient optimism? By tuning into our explanatory style AND by changing it to work for us instead of against us. Seligman created a very practical set of ABC’s to challenge and change our explanatory style to do just that. Chet outlines these ABC’s in Day 186 of BBTL.
I’ll never forget what a family friend told me over 20 years ago. He was a Green Beret, an elite warrior. Highly decorated. A high performer in work and in life. He shared that whenever things got really bad or went sideways he would clearly state to himself:
This is just another opportunity to excel.
His message seared me. It still does over 20 years later. I made the decision then to bolt it onto my Worldview, my Principles, and my Practice as I’ve built my Core. That is not to say I nail it 100% of the time, I don’t. However his explanatory style has positively changed how I view tough challenges, in fact the toughest ones in life. And it has changed how I experience them so I can better learn from them. Hard on self. Not down on self.
We can build our explanatory style. God help me to build mine in a way that is honoring to you and healthy for me.