I have always heard that if you think it, it is possible. And up until recently I would write those who said this off; completely disregarding this information. I was a skeptic, everything I looked at I looked at with a negative connotation. Even something as pure as a unicorn I found fault. And you know what? Everything in my life was turning negative. Goals I set were not achieved because I beat myself before I started. That luck in life had left and I felt like I was in a world of constant loss. I have always heard, if you think it, it is possible. Well it works both ways my friends. If you think it’s impossible, it is.
Last year I decided to try this idea of positive thinking. At this point I had read almost every self-help book out there on how to get great results in 10 easy steps. Or the best is those who tell you that you’ll get achieve amazing wealth and greatness with just these two lifestyle changes…yawn. It funny that something that seems so simple, to think positively, is anything but when you are in a rut of negativity. Nonetheless, I was determined to give positivity a try to see if my luck would change.
In the beginning the struggle is real, my mind had been conditioned so well to immediately think of the negative impact or outcome of any goings on. So, I found that I was spending more time reminding myself to stay positive than anything else. What I didn’t realize was that I was conditioning my mind to change by constantly reminding it to think positively. If I had not identified this as a step and just saw it as a failure of my brain to take heed of my change, I may have quit. Fortunately, I continued, despite my poorly conditioned brain.
The constant positivity reminders evolved into vocal reminders to stay positive. No, I wasn’t some crazy guy walking around talking to myself. But, I did make it a point to say to myself, “Stay positive, it will work out. I will achieve this goal.” I would do it for everything, even things my old self would probably expect to work out. By conditioning myself to think this way on command I was actually conditioning myself to think like this automatically. And after a few weeks of verbally demanding positivity in my life, I started to see some results. Did everything work out how I had hoped? No, but that’s not the point. If you’re giving this an honest shot you will allow the setbacks to roll off your shoulder and move on to the next one.
Set Realistic Goals
Part of convincing yourself is giving yourself wins. No matter how positive you are, if you set unrealistic goals for yourself that are too big to achieve in what I like to call the “satisfaction gap,“ you may lose sight of your ultimate goal before you’ve felt a win. And believe me the small wins matter when you decide to change your lifestyle.
Let me take you through a personal example. I have always had a dream of starting my own business. And that’s all I thought about. I wasn’t too concerned with the product or the kind of business. I just wanted to be a business owner. As you can imagine this goal was so big, so arbitrary I could never get anything going. I failed to set any achievable goals. Instead, I conducted myself in a ”whatever happens in the moment I’ll do it” way of working. This led to: multiple dead ends (too many to count), financial stress because of course I spent money to start all my dead-end businesses, and ultimately a negative energy that was out of control because of my poor goal setting skills.
I had broken my own cardinal rule. I had not set any small goals that gave me the satisfaction of feeling a win along the way. Instead I only saw the top of ladder, forgetting about all the steps it would take to get to the top.
The Universe sees Black and White
There are many out there that believe positive thought directly correlates to the positive energy that surrounds you. Without getting into the details of whether this is true or not, let’s just imagine it is and why. After all the world around you is what you make it. There are external forces at work but ultimately, how you interpret those external forces is what makes your world yours. If you create a negative world, well, the universe around you will respond in kind with negativity. Even if you simply joke about the negativity your world will still remain negative. How do you suppose that could work?
The energy around you is not sarcastic, it has no appetite for satire. If you jokingly say, “This diet is so hard,” or “I will never pass this test,” You have just set your universe up to take action on those very words. Your diet will be hard and you won’t pass that test.
The energy around you feeds off your energy. If you doubt yourself even in a joke the energy around you will do the same. You will think you’re being light hearted about the prospect of your own failure. The world around you will see it differently. It will see it as a declaration, a promise of your upcoming failure. Do not fall into this trap. If you say it aloud your world is listening so be careful what you are joking about, especially when you are first transitioning your thought from negative to positive.
Choose your Friends Carefully
It is almost a guarantee that if you have been a negative person for a while you have noticed one or maybe two things. First, you may have noticed that you have lost some friends. Maybe not at first but take inventory of who has just kind of stopped talking to you. Second, you may have noticed many people still in your life are also negative people. These are two indicators that will stick out like sore thumbs when you sit down and think about it.
Why have some of your friends seemingly migrated? Your negative self will make excuses for itself saying things like, “Well, we just grew apart,” or “Oh they had kids, they never have time for us and we hate eating with their kid in restaurants.” Though the second statement is a challenge for even the most positive person; that is not why you don’t hear from them as much or at all. Think about it. I am positive those friends still have friends. And I am also positive they still talk to their current friends. So, if you’re their “friend,” why don’t they talk to you? What they have done is they have taken an inventory of the friends who better their lives. Your negativity was one of the primary reasons you were off-loaded.
Your current friends are also negative people. This should not be a surprise. Have you ever heard the adage – misery loves company? In this case, you may not feel miserable by you and your friends are certainly all negative. Each of you feed off the other’s negative energy creating one fiesta of negative vibes.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying, dump all your friends and find new ones. That would be ridiculous. Surely, there is value in the relationship you have cultivated with these people, negativity aside. And there is no reason your new-found goal of positivity should get in the way of these friendships. Unless, of course, one of these friends decides to stand in the way of your new lifestyle. Then it may be time for you to take an inventory of your friends, like your old friends did to you at one point.
Last, but not the least important, visualization. Many of us are the type that needs to see to believe. I am sorry, you won’t be able to physically see 20-pound weight loss until you do it, but you can picture it in your mind. If it’s success you desire; picture what success looks like to you in your mind and seek to achieve that vision. Maybe your success is not material, maybe you envision your success as a healthy family where your relationships are in good standing and everyone can see each other on the holidays. No matter your vision, you need to visualize it and stick that picture in a safe place in your mind.
The reason this is so important is because there will be days when the negativity tries to creep back in. There will be days when you just want to say, “Forget this I want to have a tall class of, I don’t give a damn!” You will have those days in your journey, but you have the ultimate weapon. You have created a picture of your success. And in those trying times you will need to look at that picture more than ever.
After a month or so of just being positive no matter how hard it seemed; I started to notice some changes. I found that life wasn’t as hard as I thought. I found that the relationships in my life were improving. I wasn’t stressing my wife out (as much). I found it was easier to talk to other members of my family. I took inventory of those in my life who were positive and I started to draw nearer to them, whilst gaining distance from those who were negative. I had my vision of success and I was moving towards it. Yes, I have experienced many setbacks along the way, but those setbacks opened opportunity to new wins. All in all, I am positive that my path to a positive lifestyle will be fully achieved.
Good luck in your journey in training yourself to be positive. The new beginnings that await you will be exciting! We’d love to hear your story. Leave a comment and share with us.
~Mansome Fellow signing off