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Listen Here: Beyond ELG 3
Craig Garber (00:01.186)
Hey guys, Craig here. Today on this Beyond Everyone Loves Guitar episode where we sort of go behind the scenes of the show, I’m gonna answer a question that was sent in from someone on Instagram. And they said, hey Craig, I’ve been watching your channel for years. How do you maintain such a positive outlook all the time? I am a very positive person myself, but I’ve been dealing with a situation related to a family matter that’s been going on for a while. And I presume that he’s not feeling very optimistic or pretty down. So I’m going to share with you. First of all, thanks for saying that, that you find my outlook positive. Of course I do get down about things, but I think overall I am a pretty positive person and I have a pretty favorable outlook on my life in general. But I can tell you it definitely wasn’t always that way for sure. So I’m going to talk about today, what works for me? How do I stay positive? And I don’t final words on this. I’m just going to share my experiences with you and tell me, tell you what’s worked for me. And I’m also going to use the words happiness and positive outlook interchangeably, because for me, when I’m happy, I have a positive outlook on things. Okay. So first, I want to mention if you’ve been watching the show for a while, you’ve seen me at the end of every show. I mean, pretty much every show since the beginning.
I always say happiness is a choice, so choose wisely. And I say that as much for me to remember this as to share with others, because I think it’s a message that is really incredibly important. And to me, I think if you boil everything down that I’m going to discuss in the next couple of minutes, I think if you’d boil it down to the bottom line, happiness is a choice is probably a pretty good summary of how I maintain a positive outlook on things. So.
Let’s get into it. So I’ve discussed time to time on the show, but I had a pretty horrible childhood. It was incredibly difficult, destructive, abusive, painful, whatever like negative adjective you want to put in there. That was it. And I’m really lucky to have survived it and somehow had some sort of presence of mind to know that I needed to fix all this, you know, because I certainly wasn’t going to repeat it. But I was lucky that I knew, okay, you can’t just
Craig Garber (02:26.766)
say you’re not going to repeat it. You got to fix this and work on this stuff. And I have to tell you, my two brothers were not as lucky. One of them has been institutionalized since he was a small child. And the other one died at 41 under not particularly good circumstances. So it might sound strange for me to say this, but I was lucky. This is my viewpoint. Maybe this is the positive attitude or positive outlook. I feel I was very lucky to have those things.
happened to me for several reasons. And I’ll tell you why. Number one, my life right now, I love it and I wouldn’t change it for anything. So everything that happened to me in my past brought me here today. So how could I not be happy for it? You know, number two, I sort of got all the major trauma in my life and all the really heavy duty stress over with.
early, you know, after the first 20, 22 years or so, everything else that came after it was just the standard ups and downs of life that we all have to deal with on a daily basis, you know, and that early stress prepared me so well to deal with anything else like anything else I could ever have paled in comparison to what I had to deal with as a kid. So
I was really fortunate that I had the coping skills to handle normal pressures of life because I’ve been tested. It’s like turning iron into steel or coal into diamonds, burning it through the fire. Anything else is going to be really mild and harmless compared to that. I’m grateful for that again because I have managed stress well and I have pretty good coping skills.
And the third reason that I’m sort of grateful that not sort of that I’m grateful for these things happen happening to me is because I had a lot of time, excuse me, to dig into these things and get them sorted out and figure out how it impacted my life and what I needed to do to unwind things and sort of eliminate or manage and rectify as much of the damage that was done as possible.
Craig Garber (04:47.85)
So to me, that was great because frankly, I needed a lot of time to unwind all this crap, you know? So how do I maintain a positive outlook on life? Again, for me, primarily three things. First and foremost, and for those of you who are spiritual, this might resonate with you. If you’re not, it might not, or maybe it’ll give you an idea and no judgment either way, obviously, however you feel is your business. But first and foremost, I…
really don’t believe I’m in charge of the outcome of things that I do. I am not part of the results committee anymore. So I’m not in charge of the results, but I am in charge of the footwork. I’m in charge of the operations. So all I could do is try to push the ball forward in my life. But whether or not I get to cross the goal line, I don’t feel it’s up to me. I feel it’s up to my higher powers hands. And as far as higher power goes,
Some people call it God. Some people call it Jesus, Buddha, whatever your thing is. And I don’t even know what mine is. I’m sort of trying to figure that out right now, but I’ve surrendered the outcome of things to my higher power. And when I did that, and frankly, I did that through a process that I’ve mentioned on the show a few times doing this ACA workbook, but I got hip to even believing in a higher power through some of my guests on the show.
Cause that’s not something I was ever presented with throughout the course of my childhood or my life. But once I surrendered the outcome of things for me to my higher power, it was literally like removing a 1 million pound weight off my shoulders. Cause I was so willful and I kept him very goal oriented and driven, but man, you can’t control the outcome. Sometimes things are going to work sometimes they’re not. And once I accepted that and I said, okay.
Let me believe that the universe is working for me. And if things don’t work, that’s okay. It means it’s time to move on to the next adventure, which is the number two thing that helps me survive or helped me have a positive outlook. I think all news is good news. Why? Because I’m not in charge of it. So I believe someone else is supporting me. And like I said, if things don’t work, no worries. It means it wasn’t meant to be. And I need to move on to the next thing.
Craig Garber (07:05.474)
The third thing that allows me to have a positive outlook, and it kind of sounds cliched, but I really come from gratitude in almost every aspect of my life. And I feel that when I’m grateful for what I have, instead of even thinking about the things I don’t have, which I really don’t think I don’t have a lot as far as like the things that are important to me, I’ve got love, friends, family, good health, my family’s got good health.
You know, all the basics are pretty covered, you know? So, but when you, for me, when I come from gratitude, it’s really easy to be positive because I’m always thinking about it. I mean, the other day I played guitar for like three hours, okay? After I played, it was almost like a religious experience. I had such a good session. I literally got down on my knees right here up against this stability ball that I sit on. And I gave thanks, you know, I said, thank you God for
bringing guitar into my life because I felt so good. So I’m constantly grateful for all the things I have. So like, how can I not have a positive attitude? Now, sometimes, you know, I’ve seen people make a gratitude journal, and then people wind up writing things like, Oh, the apple I had I’m grateful for. I’m grateful for that I get to eat meals every day. But I mean, I think, for me, I need more of an emotional connection to the things I’m great, I’m grateful for. I’m probably not really.
I’m grateful that I get to have good nutrition. I’m not really connected emotionally to an apple or stuff like that. So I try to find the love and the gratitude in the important things in my life and really give thanks to them on a daily basis. Some important things I’ve learned on the way to becoming a more positive person, just wanna share some of them. First of all, please keep in mind, happiness isn’t something you need to earn.
or deserve to get, we all deserve to be happy. You don’t have to earn it. You don’t have to work for it. You don’t need any kind of qualifications to be happy. It’s not like a wage. It’s not something you have to work for. And you also don’t have to wait for that one thing to happen. Like once I finish this project, I can go on vacation, then I’ll be happy. Man, you can be happy every day while you’re doing the project. And again, for me, those are the ways of happiness or gratitude and surrendering.
Craig Garber (09:27.478)
you know, the end result and the stuff I just discussed, but you know, a lot of people feel undeserving of happiness, right? And I know this because I used to feel that way dramatically, because I measured my worth and my self-worth in terms of productivity, which is a very common thing for people that sort of had childhood trauma, because you didn’t really have anybody saying, hey, man, you’re great, just the way you are. It was kind of the opposite of that. So you tend to
measure your worth in terms of how much you do because you got to prove to yourself that you’re worth something, then you can be happy. That is a fake constricting relationship you wind up creating with happiness when you’re doing that. I’ve discussed this with a lot of other people who had childhood trauma and everybody pretty much suffers from that. So if you’re going through that, know that you could just be great. You could just be do good things for yourself and be happy. You don’t need to prove yourself.
You certainly don’t need someone else’s validation. You deserve happiness because you’re alive and you’re on earth, you know, and, um, you know, you don’t need to do something in exchange for, you know, the reward of happiness later, just be happy when you want. And it’s way less stressful than when you’re doing the things. It’s less stressful anyway. You know, I, I watched many years ago, uh, the making of dark side of the moon.
Pink Floyd album and Roger Waters said something on there, which was pretty profound. He said, he addressed this without discussing specifically about happiness. He said, you know, most people start at dot. That was his word. And they, they started dot and they go on this long line. And then when they feel they get here, whatever that thing is for them, finishing the record, building their house, getting their degree. Then they’re ready to take the vacation and be happy or whatever.
And he said, you know, life is so fleeting. There’s no dress for her. So’s man. So if you’re coming here and you’re waiting to hear to be happy, you’re burning very valuable time. We’re only here for a very short while. And that becomes much more clear to you as you get older. So this is wasted space that you could have been having joy and happiness in your life. So try to keep that in mind. That’s one thing I’ve learned along the way. Um,
Craig Garber (11:51.65)
The other thing is when you make happiness dependent on an external thing, it just makes no sense because you’re always waiting for validation or permission to be happy from this external thing. And again, I’ve done both. It’s not good. Being happy naturally is really good. There’s also no morality in happiness any more than there is in breathing or going to the bathroom. You either want to be happy,
Or you don’t, it’s totally up to you, but don’t delay your own joy. At least I would encourage you not to. It’s really your own choice and it’s a product of the things you think about. Some things that make me happy that are random, I like sort of doing things for other people. And I don’t mean like, necessarily charity wise, philanthropically, or although if that’s your thing, more power to you. But like, if I see someone who’s like struggling to walk,
or to, you know, they just look like they’re having a hard time. You know, I’ll just say, Hey, you’re doing okay. Do you need some help? And like, I remembered walking this woman, I was going to the doctor one day and she was struggling, an older woman. And she said, I really can use some help. And I walked her in and, you know, she told me her whole life story while we were walking in. And, but afterwards, you know, the joy I got out of doing that, it was way more for me if I’m being a hundred percent honest than it was for her.
It was just really cool. You know, little things like that. Like we, we always used to donate clothes and donate them to the salvation arm or whatever. Now I just take those clothes. I bring them downtown where there’s a bunch of homeless people. And I say, Hey, who needs shoes here? Is anybody need a t-shirt? We got some extra sweaters, whatever it is. It’s little things like that, man. You, you really, in some cases change someone’s life and man, how can you
I get so much joy out of that, you know, and I’m not saying I’m a do-gooder and I’m spending all my time doing it, but I have an opportunity. I do that because it makes me feel good. And the third thing is don’t let your life today be spoiled by the memory of past events or how things used to be or how things you’d like them to be. No one is ever served by looking in that rear view mirror. It does absolutely nothing for you.
Craig Garber (14:15.538)
Look, here’s the deal. We all have negative stuff in our lives and we’re probably all going to continue to have negative stuff in your lives. But it’s up to you to prevent it from ruining all the positive things you have in your life of daily living. You know, so I’m just going to close this out with this short fable. Myri, I read this many, many years, 20 years ago, probably. But my wife recently shared it with the family in our group text.
And I wanted to read it to you because it’s pretty cool. And it’s very related to this. It says one evening, an old Cherokee Indian chief was teaching his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all of us. He said, son, the battle is between two wolves inside of inside of us. One is evil. It’s anger, insecurity, jealousy, doubt, regret, greed, self-pity, resentment, inferiority, lies, arrogance and ego.
The other wolf is good. It’s joy, peace, hope, serenity, kindness, empathy, truth, compassion, faith, and love. And so the grandson’s listening to this and he thinks about it for a moment and he said, well, grandfather, if we have these two wolves inside of us, ultimately who wins? Which wolf wins? And the grandfather turned around and said, the one you feed is the one that wins. Meaning, of course,
If you feed the evil wolf that’s inside of us all, or the bad wolf that’s inside of us all, that wolf is going to win. If you feed the good wolf, that wolf is going to win. And really that’s been my experience 100%. If you think negative thoughts, your life tends to be pretty shitty. If you think positive thoughts and you come from gratitude, life’s usually pretty awesome. So remember that happiness is a choice.
So choose wisely. And I want to thank you for listening.