How to Develop a Positive Mindset

 

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image by yinto

 

With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get  to choose.

– Dr Wayne W Dyer

Being an optimist or a pessimist is a personality trait to a certain extent, but like most things in life, a lot can be achieved, a lot can be changed, when you put your will power and self-discipline to use. Creating a positive mindset is a choice. It is not an easy choice, but it is a choice nonetheless. Choose today to have a positive mindset. Think about your overall life. Chances are, you are probably positive in some areas and less so in others. You are probably more confident, or more of a go-getter in some areas, but not in others. 

To use my personal example, when it comes to work, study, or anything to do with mind – I believe I can do it. I work hard, I learn what I need to learn, and I just do it. And yet, when it comes to physical side, not so much. I’ve always found it difficult  to remain motivated when it comes to physical exercise. I don’t push myself nearly as much as I should, and as I could. It occurred to me recently that it’s nothing to do with my abilities, and everything to do with my attitude. I don’t believe I can do it, and I keep telling myself “I don’t want to” so obviously it results in a failure.  Instead, if I maintain the same level of positivity and the same level of  confident as my mental endeavours, then there isn’t much that can stop me. Gaining that awareness is important, but it is still only the first step. Once you have the awareness, you need to do something about it. 

You need to change the way you think. 

Here are five ways you can do that:

Keep the Right Company

This is essential. If you keep bad company, you will end up becoming the worst version of yourself. If you keep mediocre company, you will end up becoming the mediocre version of yourself. But keep great company, and you will push yourself to become the best you can be. It take an effort to surround yourself with the right people. You need to find them. You need to form relationships with them. But most importantly, you also need to get rid of people who are dragging you down with them. It may sound harsh, and some of you may never make that choice, but the truth remains that you are a reflection of the company you keep. 

Choose to LIVE

You get one life. Even if you believe in reincarnation, this is the only life you get to REMEMBER, so really practically speaking, this is the only life you have. It’s up to you whether or not you make the best of it. It’s up to you whether you decide to LIVE fully, and completely. If you choose to live, then you haven’t got time to waste moping around, being negative, and telling yourself you can’t do anything. So make a choice: TO LIVE. And then go do it. There is no user manual for this. You just have to get out of bed each morning, and figure things out as you go. 

Be Conscious of How You Spend Your Time and Your Life

As specified in Kaizen Journaling Manifesto, and reiterated in the Do You Have A Positive Mindset article, your life is made up moments. How do you spend your time directly defines how you live your life. Pay attention to what you do each day. Pay attention to empty pockets of time that you are losing without being aware of it. Once you know how you spend your time, you will be better able to do something about making it more productive. 

Have a Bucket List, or Goals, or Something To Aim For

What are you aiming for? You day to day life, is there something you want to strive towards, or is just random progress? Are you hoping to just fall into “right” life? If you are, that’s a long shot. Positive mindset is much easier to maintain when you are moving towards something you really want. Even if you have setbacks (inevitably), you are still more likely to get up, and keep striving. So make a list. You can have one big goal, or many goals, or a bucket list. You can even do something like this or this

Make A Point of Including Positive Things in Your Journal

Building a positive mindset is not just about glass half-full. It’s about learning to discover the genuine positives in most situations. It’s about appreciating the opportunities that arise from challenges. So first of all, if you aren’t already doing it, keep a journal. Secondly, make sure your journal isn’t just a place for negative venting. Include positive things in your journal, whether it’s about great time you had with a friend, or any achievements you had – however small. It could be something that made you smile or laugh, or something that touched you in a positive way, or inspired you. Positive moments happen throughout the day, all around you and within you. You need to be willing to notice them.

No Success Without Struggle

You may be thinking I’m wrong and that you know people born with a silver spoon in their mouth who had everything easy. Or the good-looking ones who manage to make their way through the world with a smile. Looks will fade. Inherited wealth may be squandered. But the things you build yourself, your personal achievements, remain with you – if not tangibly, then at least because of the person you become just by the process of doing those things. If there was no struggle, if being successful wasn’t difficult, everyone would be doing it. It is difficult, not because it’s something so amazing that only the most intelligent can do it, but rather because it is so simple but most people aren’t willing to put in the effort required. What success demands is discipline day in and day out. It demands that you keep on the path, that you keep moving even when you keep falling down. It demands you grow and learn. It demands that you continuously push yourself, and strive to be the best you can be. Success demands faith. Success demands resilience. All simple things, but difficult, because they require you to focus on and mould your character in a particular way. It is not something the lazy can achieve. It is hard work. Majority of the struggle comes from within you. Each of you have something, characteristics or beliefs or traits, that you would need to control or overcome to be the person you want to be. That’s why success without struggle is unlikely. 

And finally, few more words of wisdom: 

 

Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.

– Dr. Joyce Brothers

 

There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.

– W. Clement Stone

 

Do You Have A Positive Mindset?

 

Top View of a Beautiful Waterfall in Hawaii

image by lifepulp

 

When it comes to success or even happiness, mindset is a huge factor. Even more so than what you have, or the natural abilities you possess. There are plenty of really intelligent and really capable people living mediocre, or even miserable lives. There are plenty of rich people who are lost, lonely, and depressed. Sure, having a certain level of material comfort helps. However, if you have the right mindset, your chances of success (however you define it) are much greater.

I think anything is possible if you have the mindset and the will and desire to do it and put the time in.

– Roger Clemens

 

When things don’t go your way, if all you do is go and hide or rant, then your situation is unlikely to improve. If you spend all your energies focusing on things you don’t want, and everything that is wrong with you and with your life, you are giving improvements no room to move in.

 

Your performance in the world is simply the result of the things you believe. If you really don’t think you’re the kind of person who produces epic results or becomes uber-fit or creates a financial fortune or elevates entire communities, then you’re just not going to do what it takes to make these visions real.

– Robin Sharma

Get your journal out, and answer this question – What do you believe about your self?

Do you consider yourself a winner? You don’t have to be the smartest or the most beautiful or most connected. You just have to be the person who refuses to give up until they win. You just have to keep going when others quit. You have to believe. Really believe. Have faith in yourself, and know that you can do anything you set your mind to.

Do you have that mindset?

That kind of belief requires will power and self-discipline. It requires faith. It is not easy in the beginning, because it requires you to change the way you think about yourself. But it is possible. And once you do it, it’s easy.

So think about this today.

Do you have a positive mindset?

How does your mindset affect the quality of your life?

How does your mindset affect your dreams and your ability to achieve them?

Journal about these questions today, and in the next post, we will talk about how to cultivate a more positive mindset.

And no matter what your dreams, remember this:

 

Turning pro is a mindset. If we are struggling with fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, self-doubt etc. the problem is, we’re thinking like amateurs. Amateurs don’t show up. Amateurs crap out. Amateurs let adversity defeat them. The pro thinks differently. He shows up, he does his work, he keeps on truckin’, no matter what.

– Steven Pressfield

 

 

 

Journaling Exercise: Figure Out Your Blah Factors

 

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image by classblog

 

A part of being human is that you inevitably have downtimes. There are times when you feel blah, cranky, sad, or just moody for no reason. 

You can’t be happy 24/7. Humans aren’t wired that way. Our emotions – all of our emotions – need an outlet to some extent. The degrees to which you need to express various emotions would differ based on your personality, your natural inclinations, as well the discipline and control you have over your moods, but all healthy humans still experience a range of emotions. 

And here’s the interesting bit. 

Most of the time, when you think you are feeling down for no reason, there is a reason. 

If you are naturally a positive, happy person – as I am – then you may just ignore those few downtimes. You may just think they will pass, and when they do, you forget about them, until it happens next time. You accept it as a natural thing, to feel sad now and again. 

It is natural. But it is not without reason.

So when you feel that way, focus on that feeling. Get your journal out and start writing. Why are you down? What are you feeling? Keep digging. Free write, ask yourself questions, explore your feelings. 

Find the root cause. It may well be that it is something natural and not worth being concerned about. But it may also be that it is something you can fix, or something that if ignored could become a bigger problem. Do this exercise, and you will learn to be aware of your emotions, so that you know why you feel the things you feel. 

 

 

Managing Goals – Staying On or Adjusting Your Course

 

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image by creativegem_designs

 

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.

– Tony Robbins

 

Having goals, even a vague idea of one (or more) is the first step. If you have a goal, it means you have an idea of what you want to achieve in life, what you want to do with your time, which is way better than just blundering along hoping to discover what fulfils you by pure chance.

The second important step is writing them down. Pick any book (good ones) on goals or personal development and they will recommend that you write down your goals. The principle behind writing down your goals is the same as journaling. When you write things down, your brain connects with your words, your emotions and your subconscious. I’m sure there is some kind of scientific explanation for it, but I don’t know it. I know from my experience, and having read and heard about other people’s experience. Writing things down works.

What then?

Life has a way of throwing curve balls. Goals have a way of falling off the radar, or losing their urgency. That’s why it is essential to regularly review your goals. 

Here are some things you can do to stay focused on your goals:

Have Big Picture Goals

Is there a particular ambition you have in life? Something that you desperately want to achieve? Perhaps you want to succeed in a particular career, or make a certain amount of money, or send your kids to Ivy league universities. Perhaps you want to retire in style, or travel around the world. What is your big picture goal? The thing that you dream of, and imagine will happen “one day”? These are your big picture goals. Write them down. 

Have Annual Objectives

A year seems like a long-time on January 1st, but then before you know it, Christmas is around the corner again, and you have no idea why 365 days went by so quickly. Each year, have at least one thing that you want to achieve, that will make it seem like your year’s been worthwhile and time well spent.

Don’t get over-ambitious (I’m guilty of this). If you have lots of really difficult goals, you may end up making some progress on all of them, but achieving nothing. Focus on few things that you can dedicate yourself to, that will make a real difference. 

Ensure Your Short-Term Actions Contribute Towards Your Larger Goals

How do you spend your time? What are the items frequently showing up on your to-do list? What percentage of these items contribute towards your larger goals? You need to appreciate time, and remember that the present moment is the only guarantee you have. If you always postpone the things you really want to next week, or next month, you may never get there. 

Remember this: 

Seconds make up minutes. 

Minutes make up hours.

Hours make up days.

Days make up weeks.

Weeks make up months.

Months make up years.

Years make up decades.

So….as highlighted in Kaizen Journaling Manifesto, TIME IS LIFE.

How you spend your time, is how you spend your life. 

If you want to find out just how much time you spend on doing things that are not important to you, track your days for a week. For seven days, straight, make a note of absolutely everything you do with start and end times. Just keep a mini-notepad with you, and you will be able to jot it down. 

Example:

07:05 woke up

07:08 – 07:30 – bathroom

07:30 – 07:45 – breakfast

07:55 – 08:15 – commute

But then don’t just write “work” – be specific. See how productively you are spending your time. Break your down in chunks for every single task you do, whether at work or at home, or out socialising. This is to give you an idea of just how many empty pockets of time there are in your days. When you know what you are doing with your time, so that you don’t ask the usual question, “Where did the time go?”, you will be able to have a better control over how you spend your time.

You will be able to have a better control over your goals.

Finally, 

Review Your Goals

This is important. You must review your goals, big picture goals and the sub-goals, regularly. At least once a month. Goals are easy to forget about, or just neglect. Your goals may have even changed without you realising. By reviewing them regularly, you can ensure that you are prioritising the right things, that you are spending your time (and your life) on doing the things that contribute to creating the life you want. 

 

Goals are the stepping stones. Use them to create your Kaizen Life. Even if your goals change over time, the journey you make towards achieving them, and the skills you learn along the way (such as self-disciplined) will be useful in any new goals you have throughout your life. 

 

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

– Henry David Thoreau

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

Write down your big picture goals. Be very specific, and have a clear idea of what you want your life to be about. Then, create a focus for next 12 months. What do you want your next 365 days to be about? Make it something that you would take you towards your big picture goals.

 

 

 

Are You Pushing Yourself Enough?

 

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image by plantpowerfamily

 

We live in a world of mollycoddling and supportiveness. The intentions behind it are usually good, but road to hell – or in this case, the road to mediocrity – is paved with good intentions.

Remember that:

The road to mediocrity is paved with good intentions.

If you are lucky, there are people in your life who are pushing you towards greatness, in just the right way. People who manage to strike a balance between being pushy and yet supportive. But if you are like most people, you have to do the pushing yourself. You have to push yourself, and push yourself hard, because no one else is going to do it for you. You have to push yourself because you know what you are capable of, and you know – even if you don’t admit it – when you are not working up to that standard. 

I keep track of the amount of words I write for publication. I’ve my own weird rules about this. It must be for submission, i.e. for this blog, for books, short-stories etc. So emails, my personal journal, or random scribblings do not count. I do this, because having a measure of my writing productivity helps me, and as I’m a writer, I’m supposed to write. A lot.

For the month of August, I wrote a total of 17584 words, which frankly, was abysmal. It was totally disappointing. I made that comment on Facebook, and people were supportive. That’s nice. I know they are being nice. Being good friends. I appreciate it. However, the point is, it’s not “good enough” because I KNOW I could have done better. I know that had I been more focused, or slacked off a little less, I could have met my target of 31,000 words. 

It doesn’t mean that I’m beating myself up about it. But it is important to acknowledge your failures. Yes, sure, by the end of August I had 17K words more. But that’s not the point. The point is, I could have done better. 

It doesn’t matter that so-and-so wrote only 4000 words. It doesn’t matter that we are all allowed downtime, slacking-off time. It doesn’t matter that it’s not a huge failure in the grand scheme of things. 

What matters is that I performed well below my capacity. 

Why does it matter?

Because you can’t reach your potential unless you push yourself to your limits, or even go beyond them. You can’t discover just how much you are capable of, if you don’t actively try to become the best you can do, and do the best you can do.

It doesn’t mean that you must perform at optimal level 24/7, 365 Days a year. That would be lunacy. You do need downtimes. But pushing yourself in an organised manner means planning those downtimes while fitting them in with goals that are both realistic and ambitious. 

Your goals have to be ambitious because if they are too easy then there is no challenge. They also have to be realistic so that you know you at least have a chance of success.

If I’d set myself a goal of 50,000 words in August, that would have been fairly unrealistic, and I wouldn’t have felt all that bad about not meeting it. But 31,000 was quite realistic, albeit, challenging, so I’m disappointed about not doing that. If I’d reached 29,000 or 30,000 it would left me feeling almost-fine, because I would’ve almost-met my goal. 

Pushing yourself is not about other people’s measure of success. It’s about your own measures of success. Pushing yourself is about competing against yourself.  

It doesn’t mean you should beat yourself up for every failure, or never allow yourself unanticipated slacker moments (because they will happen). It only means that you need to have awareness of your capabilities, your ambitions, and the work and the sacrifices required to turn your dreams and ambitions into reality.

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

Do you think you push yourself enough? Are there people in your life who push you towards your dreams (not their dreams)? Do you understand the difference between pushing yourself enough, not-enough, or too much?