This past weekend, I attended a virtual birthday party for a lady who just turned 90. Over 100 people were on a Zoom call to celebrate her. The party went on for two-and-a-half hours with a full church service, complete with a sermon and lovely remembrance videos. All I could think during the call was, […]
We all can fall prey to negative thinking sometimes. After all, life doesn’t always go according to plan. People can disappoint. Unforeseen circumstances, such as pandemics and hurricanes, can turn our lives upside down. Life can be discouraging, and at times, it is challenging to be a positive thinker.
In addition, some people simply are prone to negativity. They either were raised by people who were depressed and negative, or they are genetically less upbeat. We all know people like that. Nothing is ever going well in their lives. Their cup is always half empty. They are the first to tell you that the weather is going to be bad, the economy is in a downturn, and that other people are “stupid.” Their world has a perpetual cloud over it.
The good news is that having a positive or negative attitude is a choice. No matter how good or poorly life is going, we have a choice as to how we view it. We can choose to think positive thoughts of gratitude and compassion. Or we can choose to be grouchy and judgmental. The choice is ours.
Below are some techniques to train yourself to be a positive thinker. Use them and see your attitude improve and your happiness increase!
Spend Your Time with Positive People
No matter how much of a Pollyanna you are, if you spend enough time with negative people, their poor attitude will rub off on you. Negative people are the types who say, “Don’t bother to try to go to college. It is too expensive or too difficult to get into.” They will discourage you from your career choice by saying, “Only 5% of people succeed in that field.” Or they will say things like, “Only lucky people get rich.”
If you spend enough time with people like that, you will adopt their views. And then you’ll go through life with zero ambition and defeated. I shudder to think of how many greater writers, poets, scientists and musicians never achieve their full potential because they have adopted the defeatist views of their family members or friends.
So, if you want to be a positive thinker, position yourself to be around people with great attitudes. Spend time with folks who believe in themselves, and who believe in you. Let their great attitudes rub off on you. Pretty soon, you will be working harder and achieving more because of your positive outlook!
View Failures as Learning Experiences
I will admit that failure is hard to face when we are young. For young people, even the smallest disappointment can be devastating. It takes some gray hairs to realize that failure is a natural part of the process toward success. That is because there is no such thing as an overnight success. Rather, success comes at the end of a long road of wins and losses.
Positive thinkers realize this fact. As a result, they don’t treat their failures as mistakes or errors. Instead, they treat them as learning experiences. So, positive thinkers don’t fall apart when faced with failure. Instead, they view failure positively! They figure out what they can learn from the experience. And they don’t beat themselves up because they failed.
For example, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Edison both are known for their great success. But they also are known as individuals who rebounded after many failures. That is the benefit of being a positive thinker. You aren’t stopped by failure or obstacles on your path. You simply treat them as learning experiences on the road to success.
Celebrate the Small Wins
In order to maintain your positive energy, it helps to celebrate the daily, small wins in life. During my day, I will celebrate everything from finding a great parking spot to receiving a $10 check in the mail. Every little win counts!
I challenge you to spend the day noting all the little things in your life that go well. If you do, you will be surprised. We tend to take for granted all the things in life that go smoothly. Driving to work and getting there on time. Your child getting a good grade on a test. Making a recipe that turns out well. Most days, there are a thousand things that go well. We just don’t acknowledge them.
When you appreciate the small wins, it helps you to think positively. Suddenly life doesn’t seem so bad! It is then that you realize that life is actually going pretty well.
Focus on Today
One of the most important ways to train our brains to think positively is to focus on today. We can go down the path of negative thinking if we dwell too much on the hurts of the past, or if we fret about the future.
Realize that the past cannot be changed. You may wish that you had been raised by different parents. Or perhaps you believe that you married the wrong person. Maybe you chose an unrewarding career. Unfortunately, you can’t change any of that. The past is over and done with.
Similarly, we have no control over the future. Unforeseen accidents can happen. Loved ones can get fatal illnesses. Our job can unexpectedly lead us to move to a different city or country. The future is unpredictable. So, while making plans for the future is a positive activity, worrying about the future is pointless. The future is something that we can neither predict nor control.
So, the only way to think positively is to focus on the present. Positive thinkers seize today. They don’t worry about the past, and they don’t fret about the future. They simply focus on what they can do to make today as fantastic as possible.
Consider using the above techniques to become a positive thinker. You will find that if you have an upbeat, positive attitude, you will be happier and more content, no matter what is going on in your life.
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