If I think about what usually happens when I think negatively it pretty much always turns out to have a negative outcome. Very, very rarely does thinking negatively get a positive outcome. Having a positive mindset and thinking positively, on the other hand, usually ends up in some type of positive outcome. So why not think positively? If thinking negatively is almost guaranteed to give you a negative result, and thinking positively gave you even a slight chance to get a positive one, why wouldn’t you think positive? It seems silly to me to do something that will certainly result in a negative outcome, when you can instead do something that could give you even the slightest chance for a positive outcome.
I know it is not always easy. Trust me, I have had my fair share of meltdowns that have gone on for days, sometimes weeks. Often the longer the funk or meltdown the harder it is to get out of.
Well that’s a little demoralizing. Just hold on, there is a glimmer of hope, grab it and hold on.
I have always got out of it. And the amazing thing is that as soon as I bring myself out of that negative mindset or that funk, and I get myself into a positive mindset, nearly every time something good follows.
How I get myself out of a negative mindset depends on the situation. Over the last few years I have found a few different tricks and ways to flip my thinking from negative to positive. I have been lucky enough to meet some amazing individuals in my life and have the honour of still calling many of them my amazing friends and family. These people have been, and always will be, my first, and most important, line of defence against negativity. Unfortunately, they are not always there though. Like when I am on the other side of the world sitting in a hostel in New Zealand freaking out because three months into my year working holiday visa I am running out of money….fast. It is times like these that I need to have a second plan of attack. Or for those times they are there to help but I need to get my act together myself. Like when I am in the middle of the championship game for ultimate frisbee and I have just dropped the frisbee for the third time in a row. It is also times like these that I need to be able to flip that switch myself, because sometimes that first line of defence isn’t enough.
Side note: Just let me say that I am forever grateful to my friends and family for the countless times they have pulled me from the depths of my own self-pity, self-hatred, and self-doubt. BUT. There is something very empowering in being able to get your act together on your own. Sometimes you need that external help from the amazing people in your life but other times you have to flip that switch yourself, and when you do there is an amazing feeling of control. That feeling of being in control of how you feel and what you think, there are very few feelings like that in the world.
So if my first line of defence isn’t there or doesn’t get the reaction out of me that I need, I need to be able to turn it around myself. I have been lucky enough to have had many chances to learn ways to flip it around on my own. My own experiences (some successes and probably more failures than I’d like to admit), tips from friends, and ideas from books I have read have all given me plenty of ideas to experiment with on how to get myself from thinking negatively to thinking positively.
One of the tricks I have used that has worked very well for me recently is to take any time I say “can not”, “do not”, “would not”, or pretty much any time I say “_______ not”, and I flip it. I change the sentence to “I can”, “I will”, or “I am”. I change it to a positive. For example: When making my way down a mountain and saying to myself, “don’t die, don’t die”, all that is heard is “die, die”. So taking that and switching it to “live, live” or “solid footing, solid footing” changes the way I perceive the situation. It takes that negative wording and switches it to something positive, which makes a huge difference.
You have probably heard it before that if you are telling yourself not to do something, most of the time you do exactly what you were saying not to do. So it is being able to switch from telling yourself what not to do and instead telling yourself what to do.
The other thing I will sometimes think about is what I can learn from the situation. Is there something positive I can take away from the “negative”? Is there an opportunity to learn something so when I try again, I’ve already figured out at least one way not to do it? Looking at it not as a negative situation but a situation in which I am now closer to the successful way than I was before. This lesson does not always show itself right away, it can take multiple days, weeks, or months (even had it take a year once or twice) before I see the lesson in it.
Be patient, look for the lessons in things. Rather than focusing on the failure itself or how horrible it was, think about what may have gone wrong and how you can do better next time, focus on the lesson in it. Rather than focusing on someone’s passing and that they aren’t physically in your life anymore, think about how happy they were, the good times you had together, and the lesson that life is precious and we should enjoy every second we are given. Rather than focus on losing the championship game, think about what you may need to do next time to make sure you come out on top. I am not saying to forget the negatives in your life but I am saying to not focus on them. The negative things are what we learn from, they can make you better in ways success never will, but they will drag you down and hold you there if you focus on them. Look for the lessons and the positives in those negative situations.
These are the two that I use most often, nearly every time. Sometimes I just need one or the other. Other times I need to use both tactics on my own. Sometimes I even need to use both of my own tactics plus have someone else helping me as well. Every situation is a little bit different but on the same token they all have similarities.
I look at it this way. If every thought I ever had went out into the universe and it came back every time and said “Your wish is my command”. What would I want to be putting out to the universe? The universe doesn’t hear “don’t”, “can’t”, and those sorts of phrases. So when I was coming down the mountain saying “Don’t die, don’t die”, all the universe hears is “Die, die”. Not exactly the message I want to put out there for the universe to say back “Your wish is my command”. That is why having a positive mindset and thinking in a positive way is so important. I would much rather have the universe say back to me “Your wish is my command” after I have said something like “Solid footing” or “One safe step at a time”.
Now some of you may be thinking that I have said positive things before and have wished for positive things before and they didn’t happen. Fair point. I ask you this though. How long did you say those things? Did you actually believe them? Did you put in the work to make them possible? You have to work towards the positive mindset, or positive thing you want to happen. If you just sit there one night and say “I will be okay, and I will find a way to get enough money to get me through this”, and that is it. I hate to break it to you, but that is probably not going to work. The universe doesn’t give handouts. If you believe in what you are thinking or saying, and you work for it, then the universe will help you out. In it’s own time. It doesn’t always work right away. Like I said I have had meltdowns last for weeks, I have had negative mindsets sabotage my progress for years, I have not figured out why that bad thing happened to me until years after. But know this, eventually I found my way out of those meltdowns, I was able to change my mindset to cultivate progress, and I realized why that “bad” thing happened to me. It wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen right away, but after becoming more positive and having some self-respect, self-belief, and self-love and reminding myself of it every day for weeks, months, and eventually years, then it came out positive.
The mind is a very powerful thing. I don’t pretend to know what the mind is truly capable of but I do know that you can hinder yourself or help yourself based on if you are thinking negatively or positively. When you have a positive mindset and you really believe in yourself and believe you are going the right direction, the things you can achieve are beyond your wildest imaginations. And when something doesn’t go according to plan, you don’t panic and start doubting yourself because you believe in yourself and that it will be right in the end. If you believe, if you work for it, and, if you have a positive mindset then it will work out in the end.
If you are looking for some books to read I have read three different ones that have really changed the way I think about myself and my life. I have recently read two books that were suggested to me by some new friends I met when I was in Bali at Ninja Camp. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.
There are loads of life lessons, catchy quotes, relatable scenarios, and genius ideas in both books. I am planning to read them both again in the near future to hopefully get a better understanding of them but also so I can pick out the parts I found to be most important to me and then write a review for both. In the meantime if you get the chance to read either of these books, TAKE IT.
The other book I found super helpful was Mind Gym by Gary Mack. I actually found Mind Gym when I was in university looking for my books for my own class when I came across it. It was a book for another class, that I would never take, but after looking at it and reading a few random pages I decided to buy it anyway.
The one that started it all was the film The Secret. The Secret was introduced to me first by my mother. When I first watched it I had some pretty serious doubt. Then after quite a few years had passed I started to realize there was maybe something to this thing. That is when I went back and re-watched the movie multiple times.
All of these books, and the film, have helped me to become more positive than I ever have been. They all are different in their own way but they are all also similar in many ways. They all have amazing quotes, lessons, and practices for getting into a positive mindset.
So if you have some extra time on your hands I would highly suggest getting yourself into one of those books or the film. If you find yourself running low on time then try to catch yourself next time you say “can’t” or “don’t” and switch it to “can” or “do”. If you find yourself focusing on the loss or the bad things, try to look for a lesson in it or something good that can come from it. And if all else fails….go to a friend or family member that you trust and talk it out. Generally people like to help other people and many of us don’t let others help us (I am as guilty of it as anyone) but break through that uncomfortable feeling (I am not going to pretend it is going to be fun) and talk to someone. If you can practice just those few things, consistently, you will have a new outlook on life. Speaking from my own experience alone….having a positive outlook on life has given me a world of experiences I never would have thought possible before.
If you had asked me five years ago if I would ever have a blog, I would have looked at you like you were crazy because I hated writing. If you had asked me five years ago if I would read these books I would have said I probably wont read any books never mind those three, because I hated reading. If you asked me five years ago if I would be working in Wanaka, New Zealand I probably would have told you I wont travel anywhere because I’ll never have enough money. Now, after learning to look for the positives in situations, I am sitting in a hostel in Wanaka, New Zealand waiting to go to work this afternoon and posting this up on a blog that people actually follow. It truly is amazing what one can accomplish with a little self-belief and positive thinking.
-Reach Your Full Potential-