I keep receiving emails about the positive impact my first book ‘Off the Wall’ is having on people and how it’s helping them to develop Mental Resilience. In the current climate this is needed more than ever, and it made me think of the benefit of sharing the content of my book over a series of future blogs.
So today I have chosen chapter 7 – developing a positive mindset. This will be helpful for those who haven’t read my book and a timely reminder for those who have. The content of this book is very powerful, and it really is changing many people’s lives.
This is the first part of this chapter which I have partly edited, and the second part will be next week.
Definition: A positive mental attitude is the belief that one can increase achievement through optimistic thought processes
What is positive thinking? Positive thinking is an umbrella term for a range of ideas and techniques associated with the psychology of achievement. It is the main idea that lies behind the self-help movement that originated in the United States and has since become very influential worldwide.
More and more people, including doctors and scientists, are turning to positive thinking because it is a powerful tool for transforming your inner self into a remarkable health-generating and self-healing entity.
Optimistic people have discovered that the human mind has the power to turn wishes into reality through positive thinking and developing a positive mindset.
All of our feelings, beliefs and knowledge are based on our internal thoughts, both conscious and subconscious, and we are in control of these processes. We can choose to be positive or negative, enthusiastic or dull, active or passive. These choices influence our feelings and behaviour, and they can also impact on our physical health.
Such choices are habits, developed over a lifetime and shaped by the feedback of parents, friends, teachers and colleagues, and also by our own self-talk. They are maintained by the inner conversations we have with ourselves, both consciously and subconsciously.
The first step in developing a positive mindset is to change our inner conversations. If we can learn to think more optimistically about events and situations, we are more likely to be happy and achieve success.
“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” Charles Swindoll
Positive thinking is an optimistic state of mind that always sees the bright side of life and focuses on the glass being half full instead of half empty. It is a mental attitude that produces constructive results.
It brings inner satisfaction, peace and better health, improves relationships and attracts success into your life. Whilst we all have this powerful tool, many of us are not aware of it.
Researchers continue to find increasing evidence pointing to the many benefits of positive thinking. According to a Stanford Research Institute study, success is 88% positive thinking, and only 12% education. Therefore, positive thinking is an important factor in your ability to succeed in life.
Top sports coaches believe that positive mental attitudes are every bit as important as physical fitness. An increasing number of health practitioners believe that physical ailments can be better addressed through positive thinking rather than conventional medicine.
Positive psychology also forms an important part of training programmes in commerce and industry.
Some long-term studies on positive thinking and health suggest the evidence so far affirms that positive thinking leads to positive outcomes.
One of the most prominent advocates of positive thinking is Professor Martin Seligman – an American psychologist famous for his work on learned optimism. His work emphasises happiness rather than success and he believes that optimism is one of the most important factors.
What matters, he argues, is the way that people interpret what happens to them and how they think about a positive or negative event in their lives.
According to Seligman, when faced with an event where something negative happens, people can choose to place either a temporary or a permanent frame around it. People have an internal dialogue where they might say to themselves, ‘this is my fault. It’s going to get worse and there is nothing I can do about it. It will last forever.’
Others, however, might say, ‘what happened was out of my control. The situation is only temporary and I can change things for the better.’
The reverse holds for when people experience good events; the pessimistic thinker views the effects as temporary, whereas the optimistic thinker will embrace the positive situation and place a permanent frame around it. Seligman’s believes that optimistic learners achieve more both during their school years and also throughout their lives.
Seligman’s extensive research across a number of sectors and industries shows that people who have an optimistic mindset are much more able to overcome barriers to learning and persevere until learning outcomes are achieved. Pessimistic learners, by contrast, internalise failure and usually stop trying.
We can learn to be optimistic and to change the nature of our internal dialogue so that we react positively to events, regardless of whether they are good or bad. By changing our habitual vocabulary, we can change the way we think and feel and consequently achieve more positive outcomes. The use of positive language is an integral part of learned optimism programmes.
Seligman believes that optimistic self-talk (internal dialogue) is the key to developing persistence – the ability not to give up in the face of failure – in order to achieve success. If you have been exhibiting a negative attitude and expecting failure and difficulties, it is now time to change the way you think.
It is time to get rid of negative thoughts and behaviour, and start leading a happier and more successful life. If you tried to do so in the past and failed, it only means that you have not tried enough. Perseverance is key and worthwhile.
Benefits of Positive Thinking
– A positive attitude manifests in the following ways:
– Positive thinking.
– Constructive thinking.
– Creative thinking.
– Motivation and energy to do things and accomplish goals.
– An attitude of happiness.
“A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.” Gandhi
Thoughts for the week:
- How do you frame things when they go wrong?
- Do you personalise them or see them as temporary?
- This week focus on your attitude when things go wrong and try to improve the way you respond.
Well that’s it for this week have a great weekend and part two is next week with some great action points.