Updated: Jun 11
What exactly is positive thinking? You may think it’s a case of seeing the world through rose tinted glasses and everything looks wonderful, but all too often, those glasses become clouded and suddenly you’re back in the real-world. What positive thinking is really about is approaching life itself and the challenges that you may face, with a positive outlook. Positive thinking, or an optimistic attitude, is the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation. It can have a big impact on your physical and mental health. That doesn’t mean you ignore reality or make light of problems; it simply means you approach the good and the bad in life with the expectation that things will go or turn out well.
The idea behind the power of positive thinking is that when your mind is in a positive place, good things come into your life and certain outcomes work in your favor. Being optimistic opens yourself up to allowing good things to come your way. Some people believe positive thinkers aren't realists, I used to be one of those who would just go with the flow and not buy into it, but the more I continued to grow and focus on positive thinking, the more I came to realize that it was actually favorable to me and my life. Yes, each day may not be perfect, but I feel perfect within each and every day because I have a good level of positivity in my life, in what I’m doing, and also in where I’m going in my personal life and career.
Even if you’re a positive thinker and something isn’t working out, it doesn’t mean you need to revert to a more negative mindset because that’s not going to do anything for you other than to slow your progress. But, maintaining that positivity even when things aren’t going according to plan, or your dreams for that matter, is putting you in a far healthier place and one which will make you feel good. If you’re wanting to lose weight for example but you keep telling yourself that you’re not going to, what exactly is that doing to your mind? You’re allowing negativity and doubt to settle, and your thoughts are running with that. If you think positive then it’s bringing motivation, encouragement and a feel-good factor to your life which in turn helps you to keep pushing forward.
In a world of evolving risks and challenges that could impact us personally or professionally, it’s easy to be caught up in a lackluster cycle where personal and career progression becomes stagnant and stale. There are of course those who keep moving forward no matter the obstacle in front of them, it could be an illness, a breakup, a financial situation, the loss of a job or failing to gain that sought-after promotion within a company. Ensuring that you stay at peak performance and remain motivated comes from your positive thinking.
The power of positive thinking has been shown to have many physical and mental benefits — it can give you more confidence, improve your mood, and even reduce the likelihood of developing conditions such as hypertension, depression and other stress-related disorders. It can and will also allow you to think more clearly, about what you want out of life and how you can go about things in a different light, with a different approach that is well thought out. This can of course be easier said than done, but things will improve if you think positively and although this may take some time, it isn't going to make your situation any better by dwelling on it and focusing your energy and efforts on things that are quite simply out of your control, so start having 'positive thinking' sessions with yourself.
Incorporating positive thinking into your mind and your life can lead to a great deal of benefits because it can transform positive energy into reality. Harnessing the power of positive thinking retrains your brain to consider a positive outcome and then it starts to believe that the outcome will come true. Negative thinking however can make you comfortable with failure, which certainly won’t do you any favors. If you think that you’re going to fail your driving test, chances are you will, but if you think you’re going to nail it, without being too confident, then you’ll go into it with positive thoughts. Learning how to counter the negative with the positive is key for maintaining an upwards trajectory in your life and all that you do.
Positivity doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people; it takes hard work and effort to wire your brain into something it may not be used to, so you need to increase your expectations and start to believe in yourself. If you keep your expectations low, you won’t leave yourself much room for improvement. When you actively work towards a positive mindset, you will begin to experience more joy, contentment, and love in your life, not necessarily with others, but with yourself. Furthermore, the power of positive thinking has a tendency to create what some call an “upward spiral.” Like a downward spiral, which is associated with the slippery slope of negative thoughts, an upward spiral can provide the momentum for broadening your horizons and increasing your success.
Another great benefit of positive thinking is that you will be able to handle feedback and conflict in a new way. If constructive criticism used to make you angry, positive thoughts can help you reframe that feedback into a learning experience. The same can be said for conflict: you can create new pathways in your brain to handle additional setbacks or issues so you can approach conflicts with a level head.
While many people think that success is a result of talent, work ethic, persistence, or drive, behind it all is the power of positive thinking. Few of the most successful people would be where they are today — whether elite athletes, CEOs, or business owners — without the positive mindset and confidence that they find within themselves to attain their goals. This is one of the things I learned in my career, traveling the world with some of the most successful and wealthiest people out there, and although the book isn’t about growing your wealth, it is about developing yourself to be the best that you can be in all areas of your life, mental, physical, financial and wellbeing, and positive thinking plays into each of these.
Although it sounds great on the surface, and as most of us would prefer to be a positive person rather than a negative one, it can be hard to follow through with. It’s easy to wake up and say to yourself “today is going to be a great day,” and then something knocks you off your stride and you struggle find that positivity again. It happens to all of us, but the key is having that strength of mind so as to ensure you don’t get knocked off your stride to begin with, and if you do, then find the momentum to keep going.
Positive thinking is about much more than just having a great day, being happy or displaying an upbeat attitude, it’s about achieving those small wins each and every day so that you can feel fulfilled and excited about everything that you do and everything that flows through your life. Developing a focused attitude through positive thinking can help you in more ways than you might realize, because when you think positive thoughts, you don’t allow your mind, conscious or subconscious, to entertain any negative thoughts or doubts. Therefore, you are finding that inner feeling that you may not be used to having, you may have to dig deep for it, but once you find it then you’ll realize the power which positive thinking can bring you.
Researchers continue to find evidence that our thoughts, both positive and negative, don’t just have psychological effects on our brain, they also have physical effects on our body. When you have positive thoughts then studies show that you have less stress, you feel better physically and emotionally, and you’re able to take on more things in your life while feeling motivated and determined. You feel good about yourself and are able to identify when others are showing signs of negative thinking, something which you've been accustomed to for too long. For many people, they put up with negativity from themselves or from others simply because they are accustomed to it, it’s a part of their life. It’s important to recognize and realize though that negativity and negative thinking, is a drain on not only those who show it but also for other people who are around it.
I’ve been in the trenches more times than I care to imagine, and I’ve needed to rely on positive thinking when faced with some challenging times and incidents in my life and career. If I’d have allowed negative thoughts into my mind during these times, then it could have proven disastrous. These were moments which would break most people, being exposed to extreme poverty environments, visiting eastern Russian children's orphanages, witnessing mass genocide, being shot at and engaging in firefights, and loading dead bodies onto helicopters in a war-zone.
So, you can take it from me, the power of positive thinking works wonders for your mind, and I was able to adapt and overcome the tough because I found and implemented the power of my own positive thinking over and over again, and when you start to get into the routine of using it, it will continue to benefit you in your life. It was important of course to have an abundance of strength of mind, but you can’t just click your fingers and make it happen or is it an easy approach for everyone, it isn’t, so you need to be patient and be ok with making mistakes because every single one of us makes them.
For you to start thinking positively, you’ve first got to let go of the past. Living in the past robs you of the present and denies you the future that you deserve, it simply sabotages it because you’re letting yourself become consumed with the negative. Unfortunately, many people will reflect more on negative events than positive ones that they’ve encountered, but you’ve got to work hard on deflecting the negative so that you can find the positive, making it a part of your routine moving forward. Positive thinking is the idea that you can change your life by thinking positively about things.
For some, that idea of positive thinking means that good things are going to happen — wrong, positive thinking is the platform with which you can you build on by implementing disciplined and thoughtful steps for yourself. Your positive thoughts can’t change the world, but they can change how you perceive the world and how you react to it, and that can change the way that you feel about yourself and others, which can in turn have a huge effect on your well-being. It has to be said though that world news of recent times hasn’t helped, but there are solutions to that like switching off from it.
I’ve talked about the power of positive thinking, but it’s important to be aware of what negative thinking can bring to you and the effects that it can have. To get straight to a sharp point, it has been determined that negative thinking, life events and experiences, can be the primary trigger for some of today's most common mental health problems. It must be said however that mental health issues can often arise through genetics and life circumstances, and although not everyone has been impacted with their mental health, we do all have one thing in common and that is negative thoughts.
We weren’t all born to be naturally positive, and there is not one of us who have not encountered negative thoughts in our lives at some point. As I mentioned though, it’s how we counter those negatives with the positive, and how disciplined we are in the process. The most important battle that many face is the one that takes place within ourselves with self doubt and negative thoughts, but it’s important to know that this is a fight that you can win, yes you can. While nobody can change their history or the life experiences they’ve encountered, it is possible for each of us to change the way we think and act, and you can start that by adopting your deflector mindset. It is this mindset which is protecting you in your process of seeking a more positive outlook on your life.
When negative thoughts appear in your head, learn to deflect them each time and replace them with something positive. You may have triggers that set off your negative thinking, if that’s the case then erase them from your thought process and replace them with something else, something more rewarding that you can benefit and gain from and something that excites you. The second a negative thought appears in your mind, get rid of it by adopting a zero-tolerance mindset, it doesn’t belong there, so you aren’t going to tolerate its presence. You know yourself when negative thoughts enter your head space, and you probably know that they are unhealthy for you, but it doesn’t stop you from doing it, maybe now is the time for you to change that.
Now, let’s get back to how we started which is that great power we all hold which is positive thinking. If you constantly think about winning the lottery, does that mean you’ll eventually win it? Not necessarily but good luck in the process. However, do all those fine things you’re thinking of after you’ve won the lottery, drive you on to obtain them in other ways? Working harder for example, changing up your routine, pursuing a new job, aligning your finances and stepping out of your comfort zone? Possibly so because you can improve your quality of life without winning the lottery, you can improve your finances without winning the lottery, and you can buy nice things without winning the lottery. How? By incorporating positive thinking into your life and using it to motivate yourself to go as far as you can and achieve as much as you can.
There is absolutely no point in dwelling on your situation when you have full control of it. Yes, you may be restricted in certain areas such as being a parent or have other things in your life going on, but it’s finding that balance I talked about and using the power of your positive thinking to make things better for yourself. It’s not hard, there is no pushing back if you have an idea and want to do something different for yourself and your family, to provide a more fulfilled lifestyle and quality of life that you create yourself. But you have to start thinking positive and being disciplined enough to pursue your goals otherwise you’ll still be in the same place a year from now and beyond.
Positive thinking just means that you approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way as I said earlier. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst. If you’re waking up on a Monday morning and feel down about it, change it up and think about the opportunities that might come your way this week, and if they don’t appear, then create them yourself.
Irrelevant of its Monday or any other day, you can be waking up positively every single day and what I’ve found helps is thinking positively about something when you go to sleep the night before. Likewise, if you’re one of those people who can’t wait for Friday just to get the work week over with, then you’re embracing ‘the norm’ and not challenging yourself. “I can’t wait for Friday” isn’t something you need to be saying or thinking because there is nothing positive about it. Okay, maybe it’s a tough week, but instead of thinking that you can’t wait until it’s over with, be upbeat and positive, because it is those tough weeks that challenge and test us, and it’s up to us individually to face up to those tough times and react with positive thoughts and action.
It’s easy for some to adopt a new approach and follow through with positive action, while others struggle to change up their routine and their thinking, but if you try, and I mean really try, to start thinking positively, by shutting out your distractions and thinking of new ideas, goals and aspirations, you will see a positive difference take place, that’s when you grasp onto it and enable greatness for yourself every single day.
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