By: Chalene Johnson
The potential of the human mind is striking.. To think that each person has the power to guide their behaviors, successes, failures, outcomes and outlooks with the unbelievable power of the mind is truly exciting. Each of us has personally witnessed both the positive and negative outcome of its might.
The Pitfalls of a Negative Mindset
On occasion, you have probably allowed yourself to slip into a pattern of negative thinking. When this happens, your mind has the power to transform a relatively minor circumstance into a monstrous, life-halting event.
Here’s a common example. Have you ever jumped to conclusions about a friend or a co-worker? Unsure of what really went down, insecure about what someone might really be thinking of you, you allowed your mind to take a detour leading you down the dangerous path of negative thinking. How quickly the mind can morph a former pal into one of the World’s most notorious villains. It is most common for people who are insecure or the victim of past hurt to engage in this pattern of thinking. By thinking the worst, they won’t be disappointed.
Those with the propensity to think negative will assume the worst as a means to safeguard themselves. If an acquaintance or co-worker seems distant or distracted, the mind of the negative thinker kicks into overdrive, “She’s really avoiding me because she’s talking about me behind my back. I really don’t care because she’s the one with the problem. I knew this was going to happen. She’s obviously a very jealous person with many issues. No one should ever trust her.”
(Hold on…I’m no psychologist, but we’re about to go deep!) This processing method allows the negative thinker to maintain a mental upper hand. A lack of confidence leads them to first believe that others don’t like them, that they are about to be “found out” or that others have identified their shortcomings. The negative thinker hides this vulnerability from him/ herself and others by casting negative aspersions into the air to create a distraction. He or she will then repeat these allegations mentally and sometimes verbally until they become their reality. The vilification of the negative thinker’s intended target then masks or replaces his/her initial feelings of insecurity about him/herself. He or she seeks validation from others constantly. “Is Lisa mad at me?”, “Deana is being immature and self centered!”, the negative thinker will state in a way that sound more like a question than a statement. Thus, mentally he/she protects him/herself from personal pain or external attack. By making statements about others in a way that corners the listener into half agreeing, he or she feels validated.
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The Law of Belief
Conversely, the positive thinker regards him or herself in a favorable light. The positive thinker worries not about what others might be thinking about them, because they feel good about what they are doing, who they are and what they stand for. Author Brian Tracy calls it the “Law of Belief”. He writes, “Your beliefs act like a set of filters that screen out information that is inconsistent with them. You do not necessarily believe what you see, but rather you see what you already believe. You reject information that contradicts what you have already decided to believe, whether or not your beliefs or your prejudices are based on fact or fantasy.”
The Power Potential of Positive Thinking
Positive thinkers assume the best of people and situations and filter out negative information, creating a positive reality. They miss the negative things that “hurt” people see, magnify and obsess over. People who enjoy success in business have filtered out self-limiting negative thoughts about their inadequacies and truly believe they can do exactly what others before them have done, and perhaps even better. People who enjoy personal peace believe that everything will work out as it should and think the best of others because they hold themselves in the highest regard.
Have you ever been thinking about someone you haven’t seen in months only to answer the phone to hear his or her voice? Ever really needed a size small and found the last one hiding at the back of the rack? Have you ever been late to go do something nice for someone and miraculously every traffic light turns green just as you approach it? If so, you have experienced the power of positive thinking.
Positive thinkers meet the right people at just the right time. They have a better life and happier existence because they have chosen to frame it precisely that way. They chose the right kind of people to invest in friendship. They never say, “I don’t have enough time,” or “We don’t have enough money.” Instead, they find a way to make it happen. They have confident children, fulfilling careers and meaningful friendships. I personally believe some people are born positive thinkers, but anyone can learn. Not positive by nature? Baby steps are what you need to take. Start with something small and focus on one thing such as, “I actually enjoy working out.” Each time you finish a workout recognize how good you feel, believe you love to exercise, focus on the endorphins that are pumping through your body after your workout. Before long, you will truly begin to enjoy something that in the past you might have viewed as a “task” or chore.
Here’s another example of changing your way of thinking. Before your next social event at which you may not know a soul, picture yourself being loved and admired by everyone you meet. Assume that all in attendance have heard great things about you. Assume in advance that people will like you exactly the way you are. Tell yourself that a “cold” or less than interested greeting is simply the other person’s nervousness or “anxiety”. Assume that people already think the world of you, so there’s no need to prove or doubt yourself. Make it your goal to put the emphasis on the other person. Make it a game, a challenge to meet as many people as possible and help to put “them” at ease. Instead of responding to the urge to “tell” others about yourself, your accomplishments, or opinions, make it your goal to listen to the people you meet. Collect the life stories of others and ask open-ended questions. Listen, digest and become a student of those you meet. As with any sport or skill, practice makes perfect. Before long, you’ll relish the opportunity to meet new people and take their walls down one brick at a time. Before long, you’ll feel a sense of happiness and confidence when entering social situations. Practice reframing your thinking and create a new reality of one that is currently negative or unhappy.
If you decide you’re in a good marriage (even if you’ve had major problems of late) and behave as though you love your mate, your positive thinking can create an about-face on your divorce bound relationship, not in one day, not in one week, maybe not even in a month’s time. But, if you change the way you feel about something or someone, you change your reality. If you truly believe people like and care about you, you will be rewarded with the truest of friendships. If you believe there are no limits to your potential, you will be blown away each day by the many things you’ve been able to accomplish about which others can only dream. Next! All of this is true, and ironically it’s accurate in the reverse too!
Your Life Around
Want to turn your life around? Then, it’s time to recognize that you hold all the cards. You don’t have bad luck, a bad marriage or a crummy job because fate dealt you a bad hand. You have most circumstances, both positive and negative because you have attracted them to you or you have decided to do nothing about it. Of course, there are things 100% out of your control, but there are many in which you need to recognize your part in attracting, or perpetuating the problem. You bring to you what you expect. Expect that it’s going to be tough to make ends meet this month and I promise that will be your reality. Decide that you’re going to do something about it and have more money this month than last and you will succeed. Period! Decide that you will make time for exercise. Decide that you love your life.
I expect the best of people. I expect that I will win and I expect that every goal on my list will be fulfilled. I know I will be happy and I know I will do right by others.
Obsess about the negative and I guarantee you’ll lead a life of drama and upheaval. A pit in the bottom of your stomach will become your regular companion. You’ll enter a room of strangers assuming their thinking negatively about you. You’ll dominate conversations or gossip about others in an effort to prove your self worth. You will believe the negative things you are saying to yourself and that is what you will project to the world. Change your mind and you can change your life…overnight.
Filter out the negative and focus exclusively on the positive and I guarantee that amazing things will happen.
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