Recently I have decided to work on my positivity. I am a positive person but you can always be more positive. I will let you in on a little secret though, I wasn’t always positive. My positivity is something I worked on throughout my journey. Something that helped me do that was my favorite TED Talk by Shawn Achor. In this talk, he talks about the power of positive thinking and some things you can do to start thinking more positively. So going along with my new motto of making my life extraordinary, I am following through with the 5 positive changes: 3 gratitudes , journaling, exercise, meditation, and random acts of kindness. Although I have been only doing it for a few weeks I can see how these changes are effecting my thinking.
- 3 Gratitudes: Write down 3 new things you are grateful for each day for 30 days. This will cause you to realize all of the great things you have in your life. It will also cause you to start thinking positively because you will need to start looking for things to be grateful for. At first it was easy to think of things like friends, family, and all the stuff most people are grateful for. Soon though, it gets a little harder and you have to really think of new things like the warmth of the sun on a warm summer’s day. This will make you start to appreciate the everyday things we often overlook.
- Journaling: Journal one positive experience you have during the day every day for 30 days. This will make you relive the positive experiences you have and train your brain to look for the positive experiences throughout the day. When I first started this it was kind of hard but as I kept going it got easier. I started to look at my days differently and rethinking about my experiences to look at only the positive aspects. I know I needed to journal, so I make sure to look for a positive experience.
- Exercise: Not only is exercise good for your body but your mind as well. Exercising releases a lot of feel good chemicals in your brain and makes you feel good. It can give you more energy and help you relieve stress. It will also makes you look good and as I always say, when you look good you feel good.
- Meditation: Honestly, I was not quite sure how meditation was supposed to help at first. In the video Achor states that it allows you to focus on the activity at hand and slow down. This is true but I also use it a different way. I meditate in the morning after my workout. While I meditate, I think about the day to come. I envision great things happening and all the positive experiences that I will have. This allows my day to start on a good note and begins my positive thinking process.
- Random Acts of Kindness: Do one random act of kindness a day. Write someone a positive email, give someone a random compliment, or pay for someone in line behind you. This will allow you to make other people smile and smiles are contagious. The happier you make other people the happier you will become.
These are the changes I am noticing after just 2 weeks of doing these brain training activates. They are helping me to become a more positive person. So if you are looking to add some positivity to your life give them a try. You do not need to do all of them. Just do the ones you can fit into your life. Any amount would help. If you change the way you look at things the things you look at will change.
For the past week I have been dying! Okay, maybe I am being a little dramatic but only a little. At one point I actually thought I was dying. I even went to the doctor which I never do, unless my mother makes me; that’s a different story through. I was dying because I had the flu. Don’t worry though I am feeling better; not like the flu can stop Motivational Mondays anyway. (Only my laziness can stop that.) However, I learned about the power of positivity during my dying days.
One of my New Year’s goals is to be more positive. Starting off the New Year on my death-bed is hardly positive and I didn’t try to make it a positive experience. That is until about day 4. I decided that if I kept acting sick I would stay sick. So I started to act more normal and be a little more positive instead of the zombie like creature I was portraying in the begin stages of my disease. The amazing thing is I started to feel better when I changed my attitude. Another cause could have been the fact that the flu only lasts 5-7 days and I was starting to get over it; however, I am going to stick with the positivity. The more positive I became the better I started to feel.
I believe this is the case with everything in life not just if you have the flu. When you go into a situation thinking it is going to be a horrible experience, it most likely will be. If you go into a situation thinking positive thoughts, it is more likely that you will have a good experience. This occurs because you experience is determined by your perception. You perception is determined by your state of mind. If you are in a negative mood, you are going to focus more on the negative aspects of the experience. You will be looking for things to complain about, things that will match your negative mood. However if you are in a positive state of mind, you will focus on the positive aspects of the experience. The more situations you go into with a positive mindset the more you come out of with a positive experience.
Your mood does not just affect the way you perceive the situation but the way people perceive you as well. Have you ever heard of the halo effect? Basically the halo effect states that people can be influenced to think positively about another person because of certain qualities and ignore those qualities that may not seem so great. For example when you have a positive attitude, people may over look an inappropriate joke you make. However if you did not have the same positivity, they may judge you based off that same joke thinking you were a bad person. Not only does it hide negative qualities but the halo effect says that other good qualities are enhanced. Overall, the more positive you are the better people like you because they focus on the good things instead of the bad things. This is much like how you focus on the good aspects of a situation when you are in a positive mood.
This just shows why the clique, “attitude is everything,” is spot on. This also shows why I added “be more positive” to my list. My friends use to always tell me to stop being negative; really I was just being a realist. However, I know that I can improve in this area. Even if I am trying to be a realist I can at least make my first statement something positive instead of just shooting ideas down with my realist views. Maybe I will be a little less of a realist from now on. Being a realist isn’t as much fun as using my imagination anyway. Yes, imaginary things often don’t become real, but wasn’t the car once a thing of the imagination? Whether I leave my realist views behind or not, I know one thing will change: I will be more positive.
Without looking at the second picture, look at the picture below; can you guess what it is?
Did you get it? Probably because the picture is right below, but let’s step back and look at it from a different perspective.
I got this trick from the movie Soul Surfer. Before I started watching this movie I thought it was going to be just nothing sappy story but this was a truly inspirational movie. These pictures above are one reason why. In the movie they show other close up pictures and teach the kids that sometimes all you need is a change of perspective. Of course, they used a PowerPoint and it was easier to hide the second picture but I hope this still had the same effect. Sometimes all you need to do is step back to find a solution or see things in a new light.
Has this ever happened to you? You drop something and spend 10 minutes standing in one spot looking for it and never find it; however, once you change your position, change your perception, you find it in a second. This is what we need to do in life. Instead of standing in one spot and looking at things the way they appear first, try looking at it differently. If you miss your bus, do not just look at it as you will be late for work, although you will probably have to deal with that once you get to work; look at it as an opportunity to experience something new, a new route to work, new people to meet, and if it happens enough a new job search.
Now I am not saying to analyze everything you ever do to find another meaning but sometimes it could not hurt. A lot of times we get too close to situations and let our emotions cloud our judgment. Sometimes it helps to step back from a situation and look from a different view point and maybe even ask someone on the outside. This can help us to see the things that are really important and make the choices we really have to make.
Changing your perspective can not only give you a new lease on life but it can help you make your life more meaningful. That random run in with an old friend can turn into a the growth of a lifelong friendship. That missed dinner reservation could lead to the discovery of your new favorite restaurant. The layoff from your last job could be the begin of the start of your new career in something you always wanted to try. As the cliché goes (how I love to use clichés), “If you change the way you look at things, the thing you look at will change.”
I am going to start to step back from situation when I need to find a solution and think differently about something. Has there ever been a time when you changed your perception of a situation that allowed you to find a different meaning to it?
Yes, I am going to be cliché and start this post with the question that is always used to determine if we are optimists or not: do you see the glass as half empty or half full? However, this question does not determine anything. Most of the time people will answer half full regardless of what the truth is because that is what they think they should answer. Some people, who know and like to be negative, may answer half empty and others will say that it is both and the question is stupid. No matter what the answer is, a lot of people do not really understand the point of this question. I know I sure did not and probably still don’t. I thought that being optimistic was just saying “this is going to be a great day.” I thought that being optimistic was a way of thinking. I thought being optimistic was trying to find the best in everything, but what I thought was wrong.
Being optimistic is not about saying that you will have a great day; it is believe you will. Being optimistic is not a way of thinking; it is a way of being. Being optimistic is not trying to find the best in everything; it is about automatically seeing the best in everything. To become an optimistic person we not only need to change the way we think but our attitude as a whole. We need to make optimism not only a habit, but a part of us and what a great part of us it can be.
We have all been around those people who when you say yes, they say no. I have been guilty of that probably more times than I would like to admit but being optimistic is such a great quality to have. Think about it. If you were more optimistic, every situation becomes a good one. A great example of this can be seen in the book I am currently reading entitled The Last Lecture. The author of the book, Randy Pausch, found out he had just six months to live. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, he was optimistic about the situation. He decided to use those six months to spend time with his family, do the things he loved, and inspire millions. The book is full of motivational anecdotes and important life lessons and although I have not yet completed the book I would recommend it highly. However, the point of bring up Randy Pausch is that if a man can see being stricken with cancer and only have six months to live in a positive light, we should be able to see everything in a positive way. If we do, great things will happen.
The reason great things will happen is because attitude is everything. Attitude defines what we get out of ever experience. If we go into a situation and see only the positive aspects of it, no matter how little they are, the situation can only turn out positive. We will begin to enjoy life more and get more out of everything we do. We will build better relationships with the people around us and people will want to be around us more because we will rub off on them. We will bring positivity to the group, enhancing the experience as a whole. We need to stopping focusing on the negative and start focusing on the positive. These do not need to be major changes, at first just change the way we see things. Randy Pausch writes in his book, “Ask Disney World Workers: ‘What time does the park close?’ They’re supposed to answer: ‘The park is open until 8 p.m.” This is what we need to do to become optimistic: twist everything into a positive light, even a simple question such as that. Once we start with these little changes, optimism will start to become a part of us. The more and more we twist and things, the bigger and bigger that optimistic part becomes.
I am twisting the little questions in my life to actually believe and see the glass as half full. What twists can you make in your life?