What Positive Thinking Really Means
by Robin Sacks
When you ask a negative person about 'positive thinking,' they often tell you how "unrealistic" those smiling, happy people who are bouncing off the walls are. They sometimes describe positive thinkers as Pollyanna-like.
But the interesting thing about positive thinking is that it's not just the opposite of negative thinking, as negative thinkers often believe it to be.
If you want to bring some more positive thinking into your life, you don't have to start becoming a Pollyanna, smiling, and being happy all the time. You simply have to allow yourself to look at both sides of your thoughts.
Here's an example of what I mean; people's default thinking is often negative. It's focused on what is going wrong, what might go wrong, or what (based on the story you're telling yourself in your head) you can worry about.
By doing this, you don't move forward very often. This type of thinking keeps you feeling stuck. When you are looking for roadblocks, real or perceived, you will find them.
If all you're doing is looking at the side that scares you, or that you are convinced will not work, you're missing the opportunity to see the things that might and will work.
Both may be true.
But if you only give yourself one side of the story, the negative one, it will stop you before you have the chance to move forward. It will stop you before you even start.
Getting in the habit of seeing the other side will instantly present more opportunities for you to succeed in the moment...every moment.
How do you develop this habit? Just like you develop any other habit - practice and consistency!
If you want to get unstuck, and start moving forward in your life, start doing this immediately.
Every time you hear yourself think or say, "What if it doesn't work?" immediately ask yourself the opposite question, "What if it does?"
In other words, give yourself the whole story, not just the half that stops you in your tracks.
Becoming a more positive thinker doesn't mean you have to "switch sides," and all of a sudden be a happy-go-lucky person (although, that may be a welcomed side-effect). It simply means that you have to be honest with yourself about more than just seeing the pessimistic side to things.
Give yourself the whole story, not just the half that you keep telling yourself. If there's a 20% chance of rain, there's an 80% chance it won't rain! If something might not work, there's a chance that it might work! If half of your ideas are not acted on by your team, half of your ideas are!
Give yourself a chance to see what is going right!
There's always the other side. If you are not looking at both sides, you're simply not giving yourself a chance to succeed.
Does that mean that every time you think a positive thought, it will work? Of course not! But if you're only thinking the negative thoughts, you will have a challenging time moving forward and making anything happen.
Get unstuck with your thinking, and you will get unstuck with your life.