1. EMPOWER YOURSELF
You didn’t get the promotion you worked so hard for. You’ve been let go from your job. Your partner broke up with you. You have chronic health issues that hold you back. These are all difficult situations that many of us will face at some point in our lives. The real question is: How will you react to them?
Do you blame others when bad things happen to you? Or do you look to yourself for the solution? When you take responsibility for how you think, act and feel, you have an internal locus of control – and that’s a key trait of successful people. This type of thinking lends you a deep belief in yourself and a positive mindset that allows you to get up and start over after a failure. From there, everything else in your life can fall into place.
Remember: The only thing in life you can control is yourself. You can’t control every event – but you can control how you react to them. Once you empower yourself to change what’s in your control – you – only then are you ready for the power of positive thinking.
2. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR STATE
Have you noticed that when you’re having a bad day, your body language shows it? You slump over in your chair, you have a hard time making eye contact with others and do things like cross your arms when you’re feeling uncomfortable. You stop being mindful and allow your environment and circumstances to control you. This is not a powerful stance. Your body tells those around you that you are uneasy, angry or sad and want to be left alone. This creates a feedback loop as your poor posture reinforces your poor mindset.
Positive thinking is as much about your body as it is about your brain. Take control of your physiology by taking pride in how you present yourself. Work on your posture to give those around you nonverbal cues that you are feeling strong and positive, and are ready to listen to them. Stop nervous habits like fidgeting or twirling your hair. This technique requires you to observe yourself; as soon as you catch yourself giving in to a nervous tic or starting to slump, straighten up. As you hold your body in a power pose, a more positive mindset will naturally follow.
Those around you will pick up on the physiological signals you’re sending and will respond with positivity. The more you portray positivity and others see you this way, the easier positive thinking becomes, creating a new feedback loop. You will then be able to focus on others and do things such as asking three vital questions to find out how you can give to the world and others.
3. ADJUST YOUR MINDSET
Adjusting your physiology is only one part of the puzzle; it’s critical to catch the other negativity trigger in its opening stages as well. Your mindset governs what thoughts flow through your head and how you feel and react to each one. If your mindset is poor, everything around you is going to seem all the worse.
For example, you’re at the airport and are unnecessarily delayed while going through security. Then the airline attendant checking you in is rude to you. Another airline worker overhears, apologizes and bumps your ticket up to business class.
Once you’re in the air, are you fixated on the hassles you faced in the airport, or are you grateful for your spacious seat and free cocktail? Do you think of the delay as wasted time or as a way to take time and reconnect with yourself? Do you automatically revert to the power of positive thinking or do negative thoughts take over?
You can choose to focus on the negatives or the positives of this – and any – scenario, but if you choose to focus on what’s bothering you, it will begin to negatively impact your life. You’ll also attract more negative situations – people won’t be friendly to you when you’re scowling and hostile. You may punish your partner or others for not living up to your expectations, eroding your relationships and adding to more bitterness. You’ll forget that you can empower yourself to tackle any situation and start believing that a positive mindset is out of your reach.
Positive thinking bypasses that rage and inconvenience, allowing you to enjoy the moment and be fully present. By consciously choosing to focus on positive moments in your life, you’ll begin to reframe your thoughts, cultivating an abundance mindset that is grateful and open rather than negative and closed off.
4. STUDY YOUR HABITS AND FORM NEW ONES
You can’t form new habits and harness the power of positive thinking if you’re unaware of your current ones. Are there things that set you into a negative spiral of self-doubt? Do you react to situations openly or do you utilize defense mechanisms? If so, what are they?
Perhaps you become agitated whenever you start thinking about going after a promotion at work. Your thoughts take you to a dark place and positive thinking goes out the window. You calculate how long you’ve been with the company and start thinking about why you haven’t been promoted already. Do your bosses know something you don’t? Maybe they don’t think you’re capable of doing the job. You begin to question your skill set, and then you wonder if you’ll ever move up in your field. Maybe you’ll just quit.
Think of all the time you’re wasting by falling back on this negative habit. Self-doubt is almost always rooted in fear – often the fear of failure. Doing something and failing seems like it would be unbearable, so your mind comes up with all sorts of reasons as to why you won’t even make an effort. If you give in to these negative thoughts, you might not fail but you will stagnate, which is worse. As Tony says, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” If you fail, at least you can learn something. If you stagnate, you won’t.
What if, instead of getting swept up in a pattern of negative thoughts, you refocused your energy and developed empowering habits that use positive thinking? Stop the spiral of doubt by blocking it with positive thoughts. If you’re able to cut off a negative thought pattern before it gets out of hand, you can shift to recalling positive affirmations instead.
By training your mind to block negative thoughts with positive thinking, you’re steadily training yourself to stop thinking in a negative way. Fear won’t rule you anymore. That’s the power of positive thinking.
5. CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY
One habit that is essential to positive thinking is to transform your vocabulary. The words you choose – both in conversation and in your own mind – have a deep impact on your mindset. Studies have found that positive self-talk improves psychological states, helps people regulate their emotions and more. Your conversation affects how others respond to you, again creating a feedback loop that can be either positive or negative.
Before you can choose different words, you need to recognize what words you’re already using. Take note of how you label and describe things in conversation, particularly your own emotions. Are you really “terrified” of that big work presentation or just a little nervous? Are you truly “angry” at your partner or mildly annoyed at one of their bad habits? When you dial back your vocabulary and use words that are less emotionally loaded, you’ll find your mindset becomes attuned to more positive thinking.
Many people find it helpful to write down negative words they find themselves using throughout the day. For every negative word, write a positive alternative next to it. Keep the alternatives in the back of your mind to use next time. Find this aspect of positive thinking overwhelming? Start with just one area of your life that causes negative thoughts, like work or your relationship status. Catch yourself in those moments, and build from there.
6. IDENTIFY THOSE YOU ADMIRE
Think of someone who’s had a profound impact on your life. It can be a close friend, family member or someone you’ve never met, like a celebrity, professional athlete or renowned entrepreneur. What mottos does that person live by? Have they been able to unlock extraordinary lives due to their positive thinking habits?
Chances are, they use the power of positive thinking to find the success they seek – and you can, too. When you feel yourself falling into negative habits and can’t quite seem to figure out how to think positive, pull up a quotation from someone you respect. Read it and determine how you can best embody it. You can even write it down and post it somewhere you’ll see it often, such as the refrigerator or on the side of your computer screen.
The person you admire doesn’t have to be famous. The story of Jay and Fariha is a real-life example of how positive thinking can be contagious to our friends and loved ones. One of the first things Fariha noticed about Jay was his positivity – the “kick in his step.” Jay was cultivating positive emotions on a daily basis thanks to Tony’s philosophies. He shared those philosophies with Fariha and both attended Unleash the Power Within, where Fariha learned vital strategies she could use to change her mindset and start living the life of her dreams.
If you have someone you think of as a mentor, even better. Get on the phone and ask them to share some positive thoughts. Tony often quotes his own mentor, Jim Rohn, when he says, “Every day, stand guard at the door of your mind, and you alone decide what thoughts and beliefs you let into your life.” Will you give in to the temptation to think negatively and stagnate – and then blame others when you don’t reach your goals? Or will you guard your mind and only allow in positive thinking that propels you toward the life you dream of? It’s up to you.