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Dr. Alex Pattakos: The golden age of Greece is coming

08 September 2010 / 13:09:37  GRReporter
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If you can change your attitude internally, that will at least help you and inspire you to protest or look for another job or figure out a new way of protecting your family, so that you don’t bother for the food, for example. But if you give up, that’s what Frankl found in Auschwitz: when the people loose the idea, their freedom to choose their attitude, that’s when they die.

We have done a lot of work with people who came back from Afghanistan and Iraq. If their attitude is bad, when they come here they say: “The war is terrible or I lost my job, I have nothing left to my life.” Within six months most of them even die, become alcoholics, drug addicts. So, the can-do positive attitude is about your own internal spirit. It’s keeping the spirit alive. And it doesn’t mean you look at everything in abuse and say “Great!” A woman, which is in domestic violence situation isn’t supposed to say “Oh, yes! That felt so good! Beat me up again!” But her positive attitude is going to enable her to take some steps to get out of the relationship or to call the police, or to protect the kids.

So, you have to look at it in the context. This is not a generic thing. But a lot of us forget that we have the freedom to choose the attitude. Recently, I worked with patients that had a car accident. And I am convinced that the choice of attitude can help you physically. Because when you have a positive attitude you say “At least I survived, at least nobody else was killed” and it allows you to move forward and keeps your health. In one story it kept a young lady from going into shock. The emergency, the medical personnel, said that her positive attitude kept her from going into shock and that she could have collapsed and died. So, the attitude is about health.

Do you mean the wrong choice of attitude when you say in the book that people very often work against themselves?

Don’t work against yourself is another principle of positive thinking. The first thing is being aware why we do things that are not in our best interest. I will give you an example. Being over zealous about going to a job promotion or like the teenagers to get a good grade – they try so hard that they stumble over their feet. When somebody wants to get a promotion at work they are so excited, they are so sure that they are going to get the promotion. Actually they want the promotion so much that they spend all their time getting in front of the boss and the supervisors, and the co-workers and they are trying to make themselves look good. And their boss thinks they are noxious, because they are always there trying to show off. And they don’t realize that they are working against themselves. They have to relax a little bit, pull back, have a sense of humour, and not be so obsessed. That is assessable awareness, being conscious of how you affect other people.

How is that related to the choice of attitude? In some cases when you fix you are not getting something you really want you start to try so hard. Your choice of attitude almost falls because in some cases if you try that hard it probably means that deep down inside you don’t think you worth it, so you are trying to overcompensate. If your attitude is: “I feel pretty good about that thing, because I like my work. If I get the promotion this time, it’s great. I deserve it and I will get it.” That’s more likely to help you. If you do that kind of approach and you don’t get a raise after many times of trying, then your choice of attitude needs to think about: “What happens if I didn’t get this job? It’ll be ok, I’ll find another one. Maybe I’ll find one for less money but I’ll like better. Maybe I’ll get a job that has more money.”

A lot of time people try so hard to get something and they work against themselves, because they don’t have the ability to see for their attitude that they have options. A lot of people in Greece are faced with cut in their pension and they don’t see another option. And their kind of life is like a fly on a windowsill. Sometimes you see a fly. It’s on a windowsill trying to buzz its way out. It sees the light in the other side of the window and it’s trying to get out. It can get out. The door can be opened and it could fly out of the door but it doesn’t do that and it ends up dying on the windowsill.

I mentioned this at a conference in California and I said “Don’t die on the windowsill of life like a fly, looking out of the window.” A lot of people do that. They say: “This is my only job. This is the only thing I have. I only have this pension.” and they see no other options. It adds more stress to their life. And it creates more hardship, adds more illness. So, people need to be shown options. Your choice of attitude frees you. That’s why this idea of not being a prisoner of your thoughts so that you can say: “I can do some other things. Maybe I start a new business. Maybe I’ll work at my neighbours on something.”

There are a lot of people particularly in the villages who much more appreciate and the little that they have. We’ve talked to so many people particularly older generations and they say: “We’ve seen the worse. We’ve been to Turks, to Nazis. We will make it through.” I believe the golden age of Greece is coming. I think Greece is further along; it is a kind of a leader of this domino overcoming the crisis, neither are Spain and Portugal. And you’ve got the United States. We are not that far behind. We are spending more money… The only difference is that Greece can not print more money. Greece is stuck, it is in the European Union, you know. But in the USA we are acting as if nobody can spend more money – we create inflation.

You emphasize a lot on the team work. You encourage people to work together in their families, with their colleagues from the work to achieve this positive thinking. Why the team work is so important?

Tags: Alex PattakosPrisoners of Our ThoughtsMaria S. TopalovaInterview
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