It seems easier to be an ole’ curmudgeon than it does being an optimist. There’s a good reason for that — descending into negativity takes little effort, but being an optimist takes a bit of work. Which would you choose? Becoming and remaining an optimist, is easier than you think.
“We tend to get what we expect.” – Norman Vincent Peale
Sage advice and very true. If you think you’re life is mediocre and you believe yourself to be a failure, that is what you are, because we create our own reality. If however, you desire to be happy, productive, content and positive, all you have to do is create that reality for yourself.
Here are 5 practical steps to become a more optimistic person and creating your new positive reality:
Create and believe positive mantras
It’s easy to blame external sources for our unhappiness, but the truth is, we’re often the ones holding ourselves back. Too many of us meander through our days, filling our heads with negative thoughts and by doing so, we condition ourselves to believe that we’re not smart, not attractive, not capable, not worthy. This of course is a falsehood that we allow to fester in our mind. To start thinking and acting more positively, we have to change these self-generated negative messages. Start off my pinpointing the common negative thoughts that pop into your head — write them down and then create a replacement thought with a positive mantra — and yes, they really do work. So instead of thinking “I’m not smart enough to get a better job,” replace it with “I am good enough — I’m bright, eager and able to make my life better.”
And we should all remember: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Focus on the positives
It would be naive to say that events can’t make us unhappy, because we know that positive events do make us feel happy. But how we react to events — how we interpret them in our lives, is key to having sustainable positivity. Try to look for what ever positive you can find in every situation — did it make you grow as a person, did it teach you something?
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll
Surround yourself with positivity – including people
As Jim Rohn once said, “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” Or to paraphrase another saying, “if you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.” Spending time with negative people who always see the dark, dire side of every situation, is a prescription for unhappiness. To become/remain a positive person, we need to surround ourselves with positive people who appreciate and celebrate life — energy is contagious, so you’ll benefit from their positivity and in turn, they will benefit from yours, and so on.
Focus on your wins
Why is that we can be happy for another person’s win, but rarely do we celebrate our own? Sure, arrogance is a very negative trait, but feeling good about our successes is a far cry from arrogantly boasting about them. To start thinking and behaving like a positive person, put your “inner critic” in its place and give yourself some credit. When you have a win, be willing to pat yourself on the back and be proud of your accomplishment.
Live in the now
We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it. We can’t predict the future, but we can hope for the best. A significant source of negativity is ruminating on the past and dwelling on the future — regrets from days gone by, stress of days not yet arrived. Watch your thoughts and when you find yourself doing this, bring yourself back to the now. What can you control now? What can you do now to make sure you don’t repeat past mistakes? What can you do now to help ensure a good future? The key is to not dwell on the past or the future, but to get yourself in the moment so you can mindfully make your life better.
“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
We should always remember…
- The key to sustainable optimism is to maximize our wins and minimize our failures. This takes focus, commitment and a desire to manage our life, rather than the events in our life managing us.
- Look honestly at our shortcomings. No one is perfect – no one. Admit our faults and rather than letting them get us down, come up with a plan to reduce or eliminate them.
- The more we challenge our self-induced negative thinking, the more automatic it will become to minimize those detrimental thoughts. Replace negative with positive and be patient, because over time, the positive will win-out over the negative.
- It’s okay to sometimes not be a positive person. What!? The truth is, being positive all the time is a lot to take on — sometimes, we just feel down and that’s okay. But, the key is to recognize it and be fully conscious of that negative mood, so that we can get back on track — positive thinkers know that this is the key to sustainable optimism.
- And as always, being a kind, loving, compassionate person, is one of the surest paths to a living a life filled with hope, joy, promise and peace!
“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt