Cornell Thomas appeared on Naturally Savvy Radio to discuss 'energy vampires' and how to deal with their negative influence. [The following transcript has been edited for print.]
Naturally Savvy: Some people give you energy, some people zap your energy. Today we are going to talk about how to handle 'energy vampires' with our fabulous friend Cornell Thomas. He is a regular on the show; he is a basketball coach, trainer, life coach, motivational speaker and author. Cornell, let’s jump in: what is an 'energy vampire'?
Cornell Thomas: An 'energy vampire' (we use this term a lot in sports) is someone that just sucks the life out of the team. I talk about energy vampires in terms of the people that we have in our lives that just kind of suck the life out of our day. We all have that person that is just a drama bomb! Everything is going good; you want to talk about your new promotion and as you talk to them there is this big dark cloud over them. They are like, “well this is what happened today, this is terrible, and this sucks” – it kind of just keeps your energy away. So, I try to stay away from energy vampires. I don’t have too many of them in my life and I think that’s good advice for everybody. Try to be aware because no matter how good your day is going, they can suck the life out of it!
NS: What if you love someone who is an energy vampire? You care about them, and you want to approach this idea with them and say, “ I really care about you but I feel like sometimes your energy brings me down." What would you say? Have you had that happen, or is it just people who are on the periphery of your life so it’s not that big of a deal?
CT: Well, I have this happen pretty much everyday. There is someone that talks to me and they are just super negative at first.
If you love someone, you should be able to have open communication. If I have a friend that is just super negative. I will approach them and be real with them: “Look, what you think, you attract. If everyday you wake up you are in a miserable mood and everything is going wrong, the sky is always falling. Why is that happening everyday? Because it’s what you are thinking. You are attracting this into your life. You are manifesting that into your life." That’s the conversation I have with people and it’s hard for people to see things that aren’t right in front of them – things like energy. You can’t just see it in front of you so it’s hard for people to understand that, but that’s what I write about. That’s what I talk about. If you are negative all the time, usually negative things happen. If you are positive all the time, usually good things happen.
Read more about how to be positive
NS: Sometimes when you are positive, negative things can still happen. But it's how you handle it right?
CT: Yes. Life is 90% how you handle adversity. I really do believe it. The 10% is what happens to you, 90% is how you handle it. If you have a flat tire, you can do two things: you can stay on the side of the road kicking your car, or you can try to fix it. You only have two options. Even though I am a super positive person, I am human. There are days where I will wake up and things aren’t going the right way and that cloud is starting to form. The key is, when I see that cloud forming, I take out my umbrella. I don’t sit there and cry about it.
NS: Oh I like that. I injured my leg and I have been kind of down because I can’t be as active, and frankly it really hurts! Can’t bend my knee without pain, I can’t get comfortable sleeping without pain. There are certain circumstances that make it tough. I am hoping I am not an energy vampire, but I feel lately I am not quite myself.
You, Cornell, went through a pretty big change in your life. You were going to be a professional athlete and you were injured. Tell us about that and how were you able to handle that situation.
CT: I was two weeks away from playing professional basketball in Europe. I was going to go to sports school and I blew a tendon. If you are to talk about an energy vampire, for that first couple of days, that would be me. I was in my room, I didn’t want to talk to anybody, I didn’t want to see anybody. I was just miserable, but I told myself that this is transitory. It’s eventually going to pass, and it’s up to me to either work towards getting back to where I was, or sit there and just whine about it and be miserable. Me being miserable and sitting in my room just looking at the 4 walls really wasn’t doing anything, so I just turned it around. We all have aches and pains if we are working out, we all have injuries that happen, and you have to look at it. I look at it in terms of yoga: I am there shaking like a leaf, my whole entire body is hurting in a pose, but my yoga teacher is always saying, “Cornell, eventually it will pass. You will go to the next position.” And I am like “when is that next position?!”, but you know that eventually it will come. It's the same thing in terms of life. Eventually that storm is going to pass. You just have to fight it out until that happens.
NS: That’s true. Talk to us about your latest book, the The Power Of Me . Your first book is the The Power Of Positivity: Controlling Where the Ball Bounces , and your latest is The Power Of Me: Army of One. Tell us about it.
CT: Well the The Power Of Positivity, the first book was mainly my story and I wanted to tell people how I dealt with adversity. The Power Of Me, I look at in terms of a workbook. It’s to help you. It’s all about the reader. The Power Of Me talks about positive self-awareness and self-belief, even when things are happening in your life that don’t make you feel very confident. The difference between this book and the first book, is the worksheets. There are actual drills you can do to be more positive and to believe in yourself. People were asking me of my first book, “Well how do you do this? What are some of the things that I can do to you know fix my negative mindset?” So now I have them in this new book – there really is no excuse!
NS: Give us an example of one of these things in the book that we can actually do.
CT: One of my favorite ones is the chapter called, "I Will". In this chapter it’s me saying different positive affirmations like, “I will accomplish what I set up to do”; “I will overcome adversity”; “I will be great”. What I have you do for this drill is every morning, I want you to look in the mirror and say you will do something that's on your goal list. So for you, Lisa, it would be like, “I will be on Oprah one day.” Look in the mirror, look yourself right in the eye (doesn’t matter if you have your makeup on or not!) and you are going to say. "I will be on Oprah Winfrey" or "I will have a national television show." When you say it it might not hit your conscious all the time, but it's hitting your subconscious and that is so powerful. That’s one of my favorite drills – I actually wrote down today. I was in the middle of something and I just wrote down some more positive affirmations that I will tell myself everyday.
Read more about setting goals
NS: Are you saying you are going on Ellen? Is that one of them? Because that would be awesome and you have to take me with you!
CT: That’s one I've written down. Me and Ellen have a date. She doesn’t know it yet but I have already put it out there – we have a date! When me and Ellen do have this date, I am going to come back on this show and I am going to say, “remember when we were talking about me being on Ellen?” You are going to be like, “Yeah Cornell that’s great.. I was on Oprah yesterday!”
NS: Cornell, I just love everything that you do. It's great advice: write down your affirmations, look in the mirror, and believe in yourself. Stay well.
Image: Gui Seiz