Whenever you start out to do great things in life, you’ll find a lot of obstacles in your way.
So how do you kick negativity to the curb and push through to new levels of success?
The first thing you can do is make sure you aren’t your own worst enemy.
The biggest thing on your journey that’ll hold you back is your own mind.
There are going to be plenty of things to overcome so you must ensure your mind isn’t adding to the problem.
We’ve been exploring in recent posts the impacts your brain and thinking have on your life and levels of success.
In my last post I shared that our brains are wired to look for negativity.
We always hear sports and business coaches say when a potentially gifted player just cannot seem to break through, “if they could just get out of their own way.”
But what does that mean?
There’s a lot of negative clutter in your mind preventing you from performing at your best.
When 70-80% of your daily thoughts are negative you get stuck in thought patterns that aren’t going to move you forward.
You are mentally trapped in a pain point. Unable to move ahead even if it’s to find some kind of relief.
What’s worse is that the very thing you are afraid of happening to you is much more likely to happen if you aren’t moving at all.
Rewire Your Own Brain
This is the first thing you can do in order to move forward.
People go through their lives lashing out at people they think are standing in their way of success when the first and biggest problem is in their own mind.
It’s empowering to realize this is happening so you can start to unravel it. So you can break the control negativity has over you.
Only you have the power to break the invisible chains.
I want you to know that you aren’t stuck in your negative thinking or trapped frozen in fear of the future.
I am going to explain what you need to know in order to understand the foundations of your negative thinking and how you can take back control.
What Positive Thinking is NOT
First of all, let’s be clear about what I mean by positive thinking.
I am not talking about pretending that nothing is wrong or am saying that problems are never going to arise.
Positive thinking is when negative thoughts infringe upon our daily life but we are able to get out of the negative spiral before it takes us all the way down.
Problems and negative experiences happen to everyone.
People look at super successful people and think WOW! It was easy for them!
The reality is that most of those people have had an amazing series of tragedies. It was how they responded that made them tougher and more confident in dealing with life.
Each step caused them to be elevated. Everyone goes through a crisis.
You can never predict it and can never predict the severity of it.
So it’s UP TO YOU to work through adversity.
That’s the only thing that’s going to get you out of bad situations.
If you are doing everything you can to work through a difficult problem, festering over it isn’t going to help anything.
In fact, all of the obsessing will just make it worse.
Further and further down the negative spiral, you’ll go until getting back up to the top feels impossible.
Your brain is in no condition to work through a problem in a negative state of mind. You must take time to get back into the positive zone so you can make clear and confident decisions.Your brain is in no condition to work through a problem in a negative state of mind. Click To Tweet
Set Achievable Short Term Goals
Setting goals for your life and work are excellent things to do.
But when goals are too massive, they become overwhelming.
By breaking them down into smaller bite-sized chunks you are able to achieve wins along the way.
This way you are able to keep your brain moving forward. Rather than being disappointed and quitting when you aren’t even at the end of the marathon yet.
Even a sculptor with a massive piece of marble only chips away one small piece of marble at a time.
Not even Michelangelo took one big whack at the marble and all of the sudden created the sculpture David or the Pieta. It takes a lot of detailed chipping and polishing to create a masterpiece.
Treat your massive goals the same way and tackle them step-by-step, celebrating every win along the way.Even a sculptor with a massive piece of marble only chips away one small piece of marble at a time. Click To Tweet
Turn Problems into Challenges or Games
Instead of seeing ‘problems’ when things come up, start to train your mind to view them as a new challenge instead.
Avoid going down the negative thought cycle route.
Instead, outline the different options and strategize just like you would if you were playing an actual board game.
When concerns and problems arise, be proactive in finding a way to help solve them.
I remember years ago, it was two days before Christmas and I was fired from my construction job.
A week before my boss had told my coworkers that, “Larry will always have a job as long as I’m in business.” Seven days later I was let go when he suddenly realized the financial crisis the business was in.
I went into a complete turmoil.
I was angry, afraid, frustrated. Every normal feeling when tragedy strikes.
This made me start to really question the industry I was in. I realized how exhausting it was to constantly be switching between feast or famine.
Over the course of nine months of being on unemployment and food stamps, I took the time to assess how I really want to be spending my time.
I decided I wanted to be able to build an unlimited income and have financial independence.
I wanted off the roller coaster that never let me get ahead.
This is how I got into the financial services industry. It was the biggest step toward where the company I run today.
I could have just worried and stressed and took the next construction job offered to me because I was in panic mode.
I navigated this by thinking and acting positively.
Be Proud Of Your Achievements
It’s difficult to remain in a positive state of mind when you are constantly surrounded by negativity.
We see this in the news, with our family—it’s everywhere.
In an effort to combat this it’s important to see things that’ll instill positive thinking back into your brain.
Displaying anything that reminds you of past achievements will instill more positive thinking when negativity tries to bring you down.
Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
Just like posting past achievements around your space instills more positivity, surrounding yourself with other like-minded people also does wonders for reframing your thinking.
I think this article nailed it:
“You are the average of the people you spend the most time with. Who you spend your time with has a great impact on the person you eventually become. If you are around cynical and negative people all the time, you will become cynical and negative. Start spending time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded. Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be. Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you, people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it.”
Now consider the types of people you are spending time with:
- Are they trying to stay positive in their thinking or are they negative about everything?
- Are they actively working towards goals and pursuing success like you are?
If you are spending time with people that are encouraging negative thought patterns, then it’s time to cut down on the amount of time spent with them or cut them out of your life altogether.
Start Your Day on a Positive Note
If you’ve ever started the day on a bad note, then you know how it can impact the rest of your day negatively.
It feels like everything is going wrong!
The same is true if you start the day on a positive note; it sets the tone for the rest of the day.
The Positivity Blog has plenty to say about starting the day on the right side of the bed,
“. . . be careful about how you spend your mornings. If you get going at full speed, lost in future troubles in your mind then the stress, perceived loss of power of over your life and negative thoughts will ramp up quickly.”
Rather than jump into the morning watching the depressing news and reading overwhelming emails. . . ease into your morning.
Read inspiring articles or listen to motivating podcasts.
Get an audiobook to listen to while you get ready for the day.
Drive to work with a playlist full of fun and encouraging songs.
I also challenge you to include some kind of exercise in the morning.
This can be as simple as a walk or stretch routine but could be as vigorous as a 3-mile run.
Exercise is proven to boost endorphins and release stress. It’s very helpful in getting a positive jump into the day’s activities and concerns.
Find The Method That Works For You
Many bloggers and professors trying to teach positive thinking will suggest a series of what I call “Pollyanna-type solutions”. Such as “take the next 45 days and for 1 minute a day think positive thoughts”.
They suggest this is how you can reprogram yourself to be more positive. But I’ve never met anyone who ever follows that type of suggestion and sees any kind of result.
This is the exact type of idea that sounds good but leads you nowhere. It’s the exact type of advice you should avoid.
Let’s say you actually tried some of these ‘positive thinking’ exercises and didn’t see any results.
You’d think it was your fault. But it’s not your fault.
Ensure any advice you follow has actually worked for someone who’s gotten great results from it.
Overcome Negativity Step-By-Step
You develop the skill of how to best respond to situations by learning to recognize what exactly is happening to you each time.
Then you take control of the situation to make sure that the natural negative responses don’t determine what you’ll do.
Instead, give yourself a moment to shift back into a more positive viewpoint before taking action.
Most people misunderstand positive thinking.
They think I’ll just think happy thoughts and great things will happen.
They think that no negative thoughts will ever occur.
Understand that you can live and use the positive thinking approach to life and still get frustrated.
If you are in an impossible situation like when I was laid off from my job, that situation, of course, would make anyone angry and frustrated.
But you can STILL use positive thinking to get yourself back on track.
It’s only when you shift gears and say, What’s done is done, now what am I going to do about it?
You get to choose if you are going to let tragedies and hardships destroy you, or if you are going to rebuild and move forward.
Trying to talk yourself into change is going to take you nowhere, fast.
Self-talk is important.
But you must work to develop the skill of positive thinking. In order to turn your new training into habits, you must take action and continue to make proactive changes.
Thinking and acting responsibly is a skill we must develop ourselves.
The best way to do it is going step-by-step and dealing with the situations life presents us.
The more situations you handle, the better you’ll get at doing it—just like everything else.Thinking and acting responsibly is a skill we must develop. Click To Tweet