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In the wake of the Dallas shootings — what should you do?


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In the wake of the Dallas shootings, the haters are out in force, angrily calling for whatever political and social changes they advocate.

As single individuals, we cannot prevent these events — but what we can do is to act in ways that counteract the hate by showing love, compassion and helping others.

When faced with horrific events, the real estate community has always come together to support those who have experienced disaster. We raise money for people who lose their homes to fires and floods, for research to cure disease, and for the families who lose loved ones in the line of duty.

Where is your focus?

Today’s news cycle is a fountain of never-ending negativity. The relentless drumbeat of negativity reaches you through your mobile device, print publications, radio, and television, and it is almost impossible to escape.

To illustrate this point, a friend who lives in London shared that the vitriol over the Brexit vote exceeds anything she has ever experienced. Families and friendships are being ripped apart.

Rather than engaging with the haters, however, her husband suggested that she do something that gives her joy, like working in her garden.

Avoid dancing with the dark energy

Whether you agree or disagree with whatever an angry person has posted online or says to you in person, if you choose to respond in anger, there’s a very real danger to you. Here’s why.

When you see images of a mass shooting, a devastating earthquake or semi trucks flying in the air due to a swarm of tornadoes, your cortex knows that those events are not actually happening to you, but the reptilian and emotional parts of your brain cannot tell the difference between reality and your imagination.

The emotions you feel at a movie or seeing a televised event are just as real to the reptilian and emotional parts of your brain as if you were experiencing the event first-hand.

When you shift from optimistic to angry thinking, you weaken your immune system and even run the risk of shortening your life. Maruta found that for every 10-point increase in a person’s score on their optimism scale, the person’s risk of early death decreased by 19 percent. (Smoking only increases your risk of death by 5 percent to 10 percent).

In other words, this study showed that the protective effect of optimism is almost 100 percent higher than quitting smoking. This massive finding highlights how truly dangerous anger and pessimism can be.

What the brain scans show

Daniel Amen’s research vividly demonstrates the effects of angry thinking vs. optimistic thinking. When Amen asked normal people to focus on pessimistic or angry thoughts, their brain wave scans no longer appeared normal; instead, their scans resembled the scans of those suffering from schizophrenia.

In other words, anger and pessimism causes your healthy brain wave pattern to shift to a brain wave pattern associated with a serious mental disorder. (Please note that schizophrenia is not what many people call “split personality.” Instead, it is a serious disorder characterized by delusions, hearing voices and hallucinations.)

You are not the situation

In her book Speaking the Language of Miracles, Deanna Scott shares the specific steps she took to help her son Brandon survive terminal cancer. Scott’s primary premise is that adversity and other challenging life events are merely situations.

In other words, “The situation is not who you are.”

Scott goes on to explain that when you “walk in the situation, you become powerless. The goal is to walk in solutions.”

To “walk in the outcome you want to achieve,” Scott recommends that you begin by separating the person from the situation.

Examples of “situations” include the media, bad news, drama, gossip, divorce, death, illness, jealousy, hate, he-said/she-said and liar-liar. Scott describes people who create drama by sharing these types of stories as “joy stealers.”

To walk in solution, you must control your environment. Spend time with people who are happy and optimistic versus those who walk in pessimism and drama — both are contagious.

As Scott says, “It’s impossible to walk in solutions when you are walking in the situation.”

(To hear more about how Deanna Scott’s approach works for real estate, tune into Inman Real Estate Radio’s interview with Lennox Scott.)

You are in charge of your life

As Coach Philip Humbert once said:

“My well-being and optimism, my values and work-ethic and daily success are not determined by politicians in Washington or revolts in the Middle East or earthquakes in Japan (as important as those things may be).

“My daily success is determined by my alarm clock, my to-do list, my use of time and hugs from my friends. My success is determined by whether I do the things that I know are useful or whether I am distracted by the news, by gossip or by worry.”

Humbert recommends focusing on yourself, your work, and the “small tribe of about 100 people” with whom you interact on a regular basis.

Help someone else

Study after study has illustrated that helping others increases our wellbeing and makes us feel better about ourselves. Granted, you can’t change the world, but as Ronald Reagan observed:

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”

Granted, the hate and vitriol is everywhere — but the real question is, “Whom can you help today?”

Bernice Ross, CEO of, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Learn about her training programs at and

Email Bernice Ross.

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