The power of positive thinking
“Where focus goes, energy flows.” – Tony Robbins
Back in 1919, an aspiring young cartoonist was fired from his job at a Kansas City newspaper. His editor told him he simply wasn’t creative enough and should look into work elsewhere. Had the cartoonist listened to his boss and given in to the power of negative thinking, we wouldn’t have the work of Walt Disney.
After being fired from the newspaper, Disney pursued his dreams and continued to fail throughout his early career, even going on to acquire an animation studio and drive it to the point of bankruptcy. However, Walt Disney prevailed, and ultimately created a legacy that will be enjoyed by generations to come.
Disney must have felt doubts about his talent now and then. He might have considered quitting or going after a different line of work, but he persisted. He believed he had what it took to succeed, and listened to the voice inside himself urging him to keep trying. He turned to the power of positive thinking, which encouraged him to go after success instead of succumbing to his fear of failure.
Positive thinking can make or break an individual. Your thoughts affect your actions. Your actions, in turn, translate into whether or not you succeed in your field, as well as influence the quality of your personal relationships and how you view the world at large. Positive thinking can’t be understated, but it’s also not an insurmountable skill to achieve. You can learn how to think positively and adopt a mindset of abundance if you set your mind to it.
Take control of your state
Have you noticed that when you’re having a bad day, your body language shows it? You slump over in your chair, you have a hard time making eye contact with others and do things like cross your arms when you’re feeling uncomfortable. You stop being mindful and allow your environment and circumstances to control you. This is not a powerful stance; it tells those around you that you are uneasy, angry or sad and want to be left alone. This creates a feedback loop as your own poor posture reinforces your poor mindset.
Developing a positive mindset is as much about your body as it is about your brain. Take control of your physiology by taking pride in how you present yourself and if you are projecting positive thinking. Work on your posture to give those around you nonverbal cues that you are feeling strong and positive, and are ready to listen to them. Try to nip nervous habits, like fidgeting or twirling your hair, in the bud. This technique requires you to observe yourself; as soon as you catch yourself giving in to a nervous tic or starting to slump, straighten up. As you hold your body in a power pose, your positive thoughts will be able to flow more freely. Those around you will pick up on the physiological signals you’re sending and will respond with positivity. You will then be able to focus on others and do things such as asking three vital questions to find out how you can give to the world and others.
Adjusting your mindset
Adjusting your physiology is only one part of the puzzle; it’s critical to catch the other negativity trigger in its opening stages as well. Your mindset governs what thoughts flow through your head and how you feel and react to each one. If your mindset is poor, everything around you is going to seem all the more terrible. You can’t even begin to contemplate how to think positive in this mindset.
For example, you’re at the airport and are unnecessarily delayed while going through security. Then the airline attendant checking you in is rude to you. Another airline worker overhears, apologizes and offers to bump your ticket up to business class.
Once you’re in the air, are you fixated on the hassles you faced in the airport, or are you full of gratitude for your spacious seat and free cocktail? Do you think of the delay as wasted time or as a way to take time and reconnect with yourself? Do you automatically revert to the power of positive thinking or do negative thoughts take over?
You can choose to focus on the negatives or the positives of this – and any – scenario, but if you choose to focus on what’s bothering you, it will begin to negatively impact your life. Forget the cocktail and the nice seat; if you dwell on how inconvenienced you are, everything around you will seem that much worse. You’ll play the scenario with the rude airline attendant over and over in your head, getting angrier each time. When you finally step off the plane, you’ll probably be in a rage, hunched over and stomping around in a huff – and what good is that for anyone? No one will want to engage with you when you’re like that, and the dark mood will be difficult to dislodge. You’ll also attract more negative situations as people will be inclined not to be friendly to you when you’re scowling and have a general aura of negativity. You’ll forget that you can empower yourself to tackle any situation and start believing that positive thinking is out of your reach.
Positive thinking bypasses that rage and inconvenience, allowing you to just enjoy the moment and what it’s brought you. By consciously choosing to focus on positive moments in your life, you’ll begin to reframe your thoughts, cultivating a mindset that is grateful and open rather than negative and closed off.
Study your habits and form new ones
You can’t form new habits and harness positive thinking if you’re unaware of your current ones. Are there things that set you into a negative spiral of self-doubt? Do you react to situations openly or do you utilize defense mechanisms? If so, what are they?
Perhaps you become agitated whenever you start thinking about going after a promotion at work. Your thoughts take you to a dark place and positive thinking goes out the window. You calculate how long you’ve been with the company and start thinking about why you haven’t been promoted already. Do your bosses know something you don’t? Maybe they don’t think you’re capable of doing the job. You begin to question your skill set, and then you wonder if you’ll ever move up in your field. Maybe you should just quit…
Does that line of thought sound familiar? Many of us can get caught up in the negative spiral, no matter what part of our life we’re thinking about. We completely forget how to think positive and start falling into a pit of bitterness and despair. We start neglecting those around us and even forget to take care of ourselves. Our mental and physical health can begin to suffer.
Think of all the time you’re wasting by falling back on this negative habit. Self-doubt is almost always rooted in fear – often the fear of failure. Trying something and failing seems like it would be unbearable, so your mind comes up with all sorts of reasons as to why you shouldn’t even make an effort. If you give in to these negative thoughts, you might not fail but you will stagnate, which is worse. If you fail, you’ll learn something. If you stagnate, you won’t.
What if, instead of getting swept up in a pattern of negative thoughts, you refocused your energy on positive thinking? Stop the spiral of doubt by blocking it with positive thoughts. If you’re able to cut off a negative thought pattern before it gets out of hand, you can shift to recalling positive affirmations instead. Replace thoughts of “I’ll never get the job I want” with “I’m smart. I’m capable. I’m hardworking and can acquire the job of my choosing.” By doing this, you would be able to get more done at work, which is more likely to lead to a promotion than sitting around feeling badly about your prospects. More than that, by training your mind to block negative thoughts with positive thinking, you’re steadily training yourself to stop thinking in a negative way. Fear won’t rule you anymore: That’s the power of positive thinking.
Look to those you admire
Think of someone who’s had a profound impact on your life. It can be a close friend, family member, or someone you’ve never met, like a celebrity, professional athlete or renowned entrepreneur. What mottos does that person live by? Is their world dominated by positive thinking, or do they preach negativity?
Chances are, they use the power of positive thinking to find the success they seek – and you can, too. When you feel yourself falling into negative habits and can’t quite seem to figure out how to think positively, pull up a quotation from someone you respect. Read it and determine how you can best embody it. You can even write it down and post it somewhere you’ll see it often, such as the refrigerator or on the side of your computer screen.
If the person you admire is someone you know and think of as a mentor, even better. Get on the phone and ask them to share some positive thoughts.
It can be challenging to integrate positive thinking tips into your life, but if you accept that the people you admire most have been able to build lives they love due to their positive thinking habits, you’ll feel empowered to do the same.
How to think positively is not about suppressing issues or ignoring the fact that you have challenges in your life. Instead, it’s about looking at those challenges as ways to elevate your game, increase your skills and find new and better ways to take care of yourself and others.
Ready to find success in all areas of your life?
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