New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
I clearly remember learning the concept of negative numbers in elementary school.
The lesson was focused on subtraction. On the wall, above the coat cupboards, similar to a wallpaper border, was the number line. It started at zero in the middle of the wall and moved in both directions. The negative numbers moved away from zero. The positive numbers moved forward, beyond zero.
I remember digesting the concept that 2 minus 3 equaled a negative number. Negative one — what? A number less than zero? We’re talking about the mind-blowing expansion of a first-grader’s new view of reality!
The concept of “minus one” or even “minus two or three” can become a viewpoint changer in terms of your happiness and well-being. Measure how far you are moving in the negative — away from the zero, instead of beyond it, into a happier and fulfilling life.
If your negative thoughts and behaviors are putting you in the negative and you are approaching those negative habits by trying to change them, consider changing your perspective instead. Focus on your positives.
I recently attended a seminar presented by Dr. Martin Meyer and Dr. Susan Crossley of Vocational Psychological Services about the power of positive psychology.
The presenters questioned the audience regarding which would help you be more successful in your life – knowing your weaknesses and attempting to improve them, or knowing your strengths and building on them.
They called this concept of knowing your strengths and building on them, “going beyond the zero,” citing a book by Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman titled, “Flourish,” that outlines this approach to positive psychology.
Going beyond the zero can develop a powerful perspective that puts you on the plus side of any shortcomings, flaws, bad habits or negative attitudes, Meyer and Crossley said.
This approach can be a useful tool to access if you are not focusing on the positive. Don’t get stuck trying to fix a negative pattern, at work, or anywhere in your life, where you are in a mindset of have-nots, do-nots and what-nots.
Instead of looking at your measure of lack, take a step back and look at your positive attributes. This is no time for being modest.
Do you know your assets? Do you know what makes you shine? When someone says something positive about you, and about what you contribute when you are at your best, what do they say? When do you get the most praise for doing your part? When do you hear a thank-you, no matter how small the task?
Knowing the answers to these questions and focusing on them is you, being on purpose. Positivity is powerful. It harnesses the energy of contribution and collaboration by accentuating your strengths and talents.
Studies have determined that it is important to know your best assets and to utilize them, even if they are not on the job. If your work environment doesn’t utilize the best of what you have to give, but pays the bills, it is important to still engaged somewhere in life in a way that is purposed by contributing your passion and talents.
People who utilize the best they have to give are healthier and happier than people who just punch the time clock with no purpose inside or outside of their job, according to Meyer and Crossley.
Where are you on the number line? Don’t shrink into the negatives, no matter how expansive that is as a mathematical possibility.
The more you focus on strengthening the positive in your thoughts, actions and contributions, the more you will positively expand into the happier you.
Twice Baked Sweet Taters
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool until potatoes can be handled, about 20 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray.
Meanwhile, place olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook and stir until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp, leaving a thin shell. Set shells aside. Place pulp into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add ricotta, salt, pepper, ginger, and sugar to the blender; blend until smooth.
Return potato mixture to a bowl; stir in shallots, Parmesan cheese, and sage. Spoon mixture back into potato skins. Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet.
Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.