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.
“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.”
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.
He didn’t think he would get the job
Alan applied for a new job, but he didn’t believe he would get it since his self-esteem was low, and he considered himself as a failure and unworthy of success. He had a negative attitude and, therefore, believed that the other applicants were better and more qualified than him.
For the whole week preceding the job interview, Alan’s mind was occupied with negative thoughts and fears concerning the job. He actually anticipated failure.
On the day of the interview, he got up late, and to his horror he discovered that the shirt he planned to wear was dirty and the other one needed ironing. As it was already too late, he went out wearing a wrinkled shirt and without eating breakfast.
During the interview, he was tense, negative, hungry and worried about his shirt. All this distracted his mind and made it difficult for him to focus on the interview. His overall behaviour made a bad impression, and consequently, his fear materialised and he did not get the job.
Jim applied for the same job too but approached the matter in a different way. He was sure that he was going to get the job. During the week preceding the interview, he often visualised himself making a good impression and getting the job.
In the evening before the interview, he prepared the clothes he was going to wear and went to sleep a little earlier. On day of the interview, he woke up earlier than usual and had ample time to eat breakfast, then to arrive to the interview before the scheduled time. Jim made a good impression and got the job.
What can we learn from this?
What do we learn from these two stories? Positive thinking, accompanied by appropriate actions, will naturally bring about more achievement and success.
“When one door closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”
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.
Is it permanent or temporary?
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.
“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
Thoughts for the week:
- What are your thoughts regarding positive psychology?
- Do you believe that your mindset has an impact on your life?
- This week observe how you respond to negative situations.
- If your response is predominantly negative, then see if you can respond in a more positive way.
- If you think you can or think you can’t you are right either way – Henry Ford.
Well that’s it for this week have a wonderful weekend and keep believing.