Researchers say that the average person has 50,000 thoughts a day. Think what we could achieve if we made most of these thoughts positive ones that help us reach our vision!
Unfortunately, it’s much easier for the subconscious mind to wander toward negative self-talk. If you need to pass a certification exam for the next step in your career, but your subconscious mind constantly tells you things like: “I am a terrible test-taker;” “I always freeze when it comes to timed tests of any kind;” or “I will never pass the exam,” you just set yourself up as a victim on the road to failure. The good news is that you can control negative self-talk and turn it around to align it with your vision. Start by developing a list of 10 to 20 statements, called positive affirmations, that you can repeat to yourself every day to crowd out the negative talk.
Here are a few examples:
- “I have studied hard for this exam.”
- “I know the material.”
- “I have the skills to move on to the next level in my field.”
- “I am smart and make good choices.”
- “I am ready to take on this challenge.”
If it helps, enlist your spouse or a close friend or colleague to help you come up with your list and stick to positive self-talk and attitude. They can’t hear what’s going on in your head, but they probably can tell whether you’re keeping up with your plan to crowd out limiting beliefs with positive ones. And once you develop positive self-talk as a habit, you’ll find you can become more successful in many aspects of your life!
Five Tips for Promoting Positive Thinking
It’s always easier to start out the year positive and then drop off. That’s evidenced by the many good intentions of people who start diets and other personal resolutions each year. Now that we are in Q2, how is your strategy working to promote positive thinking all year long in yourself and your employees, or even at home? Here are a few tips to keep you going:
1. Surround yourself with positive people and avoid cynics. You don’t have to start dumping friends or family members, but you can reapportion your time to spend more with the positive people already in your life. And add a few more, even virtually through social media. At work or in business encounters, try to avoid negative, cynical people and gravitate toward upbeat colleagues.
2. Set achievable goals. Sure, you’d like to make a million dollars this year. Wouldn’t everyone? But you will remain positive if you set reachable goals based on a little research. Setting unrealistic goals just leads to frustration or disappointment.
3. Celebrate achievements. With realistic goals, you’ll likely have a few achievements. Did you reach your quarterly sales goals? Add a new and important client? Then celebrate. If you want to promote that positive feeling, be sure to celebrate the achievement of those around you.
4. Focus on good times. Even if you don’t have measurable achievements, you can focus on positive thoughts, not the negative ones. For example, you might not have landed the client you went after, but you were in the top two. Or maybe you added three other small clients who could refer new business to you if you do a great job for them.
5. Stay out of pity traps. When several glitches occur in a row, it’s easy to fall into a negativity or pity trap: “I’m not cut out for this,” or “The world is against me.” Fight that inclination with all you’ve got. Most self-starters have endured rough patches, only to find good times ahead.
Tough times call for positive thinking and whether it’s the economy or a few bumps in the road for a leader moving up in a company or a self-starter out to make his or her own way, positive thinking is one of the nine success secrets we identified in self-starters.
It looks like a recent survey from the small-business nonprofit helper SCORE confirms our findings. An infographic of successful entrepreneurs listed positive traits such as being open and agreeable as contributors to success. On the other hand, making excuses, deceiving others or being overly aggressive helped sabotage start-ups.
Our self-starters always kept a positive image in their heads while working toward their goals, even if circumstances warranted their giving in or giving up. Optimism also adds to mental health and emotional stability. In The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale delves into more detail on the power of staying positive and displaying positive traits like those verified in the SCORE infographic.
If a few setbacks have you down, hang in there. Need help improving your positive thinking? Check out Peale’s book and try one of our Self-Starter Success sessions.
Writers and other creative entrepreneurs probably receive more rejections than most. It’s a competitive world, requiring a thickskin. A recent story by Bob Greene on CNN tells how one writer, Chuck Ross, once turned rejection in his favor and made a name, and writing career, for himself.
Ross is a classic self-starter. In brief, after realizing that agents and publishers weren’t even reading the mystery manuscript he submitted, Ross submitted a verbatim top-seller to see if they would bite at it. He submitted the copied top-seller without the real title or author’s name, and sat back to wait for 27 reviews. Not a single agent or publisher bit on the National Book Award winner.
The lesson? First, Ross took the rejection of someone else’s work even less personally than he had viewed rejection of his own writing. Second, he made lemonade out of lemons. Ross submitted a feature article to a local magazine about the best-selling manuscript submission and rejection. Soon, he was landing plenty of writing work and quit his day job.
After all, what Ross really wanted was to be a writer, and now he was making a solid living at it. This self-starter, who dreamed big, but was willing to adjust his vision, took risks and kept his passion alive. As for rejection, he laughed at it in the face and in print. And he won.
How can you take a similar situation and use it to your advantage?
When life throws you a curveball, how do you respond? Do you back down under the pressure, or take a leap over the obstacle? Do you say “yes” when opportunities show up, even if you don’t know what might happen next? If so, you are pretty optimistic and see your glass as half full rather than half empty. Good for you! Answering yes to these questions means you have what it takes to be a Self-Starter and make things happen. Because it is up to you to create your future, you know.
Thinking positive is one of the 9 Success Attributes of a Self-Starter. You’ve got to have it if you want to succeed. So think positive and decide what you can do today to counteract that curveball and bypass the obstacle that might show up tomorrow.
Here they are, along with some words of wisdom!
Bold visions lead to bold actions.
If you have passion for what you do, you’ll succeed.
The key to success is never, ever giving up.
You make up your life, so why not make it up the way you want it?
#5: Seizing Opportunities
Fear vanishes when you take action.
Failure teaches you how to do it right.
Do what’s necessary with unmistakable style!
#8: Positive Thinking
There are people who complain and people who create. It’s your choice who you’ll be.
To find yourself, lose yourself in the service of others.
We all get sidelined from time to time by something someone says about our ideas, or the “no” we get when we ask for help, or a task we know we should undertake but just don’t want to. Self-Starter Megan Karch says without positive thinking, she would have too many reasons not to do something.
Her work with FareStart in Seattle helps people — who have been beaten down so many times they’re not sure which way is up — to move forward with their lives. Positive thinking is about not looking back, but instead looking forward and deciding what you want and what action you’ll take to get there.
Positive thinking puts you in the driver’s seat! Now, I want you to take those three positive things you wrote down after reading my last blog and sculpt your own can-do attitude. Then inspire the rest of us by sharing your victories.
Oh those obstacles… It’s like playing dodge ball. You no sooner leap away from one, when another one comes flying at you full speed!
We all get tired from what seems like relentless obstacles. Even the Self-Starters in my book face obstacles — all the time! But they know how to dodge them. They do it with positive thinking.
Self-Starters use positive thinking to get them where they want to go and stay there. They’ll tell you their glasses are always half full, and yours can be too, if you just keep a few positive thoughts at the top of your mind.
Write down three positive things about your life or your work, and when one of those pesky obstacles rolls your way, dodge it by thinking a positive thought and reminding yourself that your glass is always half full.
Keep positive thoughts at your fingertips, and use them!
Positive thinking leads to positive outcomes. You don’t believe me? Just try thinking positive thoughts for a day and see if when your head hits the pillow that night, you don’t feel a whole lot better about your life and your work!
Self-Starters stay positive, no matter what. Sure, they have moments when doubt creeps in, but they develop ways to push it aside and keep going. Their glasses are always at least half full, and they see life through a rose-colored lens. Sound Pollyanna? It’s not. Self-Starters are simply people who look for the best in every situation and move forward knowing they’ll find what they need to succeed.
Positive thinking is an absolutely unequivocal attribute that you need to foster if you want to nurture the Self-Starter in you.
What tips do you have for staying positive?