The Power of Positivity

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You hear a lot about positivity, there is even strand of psychology devoted to research around the topic. But is it just wishful thinking, woo-woo-ra-ra stuff or is there some truth to the fact that have a positive mindset can influence the results you get?

Having a positive mindset is not about thinking that you must be happy 24/7, that you'll never experience negative emotions or have negative thoughts. It is about thinking positively, re-framing negative thoughts and limiting beliefs. It's enjoying the little things and how these small everyday things compound to have a positive effect on your life.

Positive thinking becomes a way of being, a framework by which you live your life. In the beginning it's about being conscious of stopping and thinking, to consider alternative perspectives. Not jumping to conclusions that the universe is out to get you, seeing the world and the people in it differently. For example, you send a message to a friend, asking if they want to meet up for coffee. You don't hear anything from them. Having a positive mindset allows you to consider multiple options for what might have happened such as, they 're pretty busy right now and they simply forgot or maybe they think they have replied already (yes this is me, I sometimes think I have replied when I haven’t). Those not operating within a positive framework will likely take is a personal rejection, that they are being ignored or the other person doesn't like them. Having a positive mindset is more likely to put you in the shoes of others and to consider a greater variety of perspectives and reasons for certain actions or outcomes.

As you live your life from this positive standpoint, your reactions to events, people, environments become more unconscious. The generation of alternative options becomes more automatic to the point that you don't consider any negative aspects to it, you don't jump to those negative conclusions like you might have done in the past.

Having a positive mindset is not just about considering the different perspectives but about affecting our own thinking and behaviour and influencing the outcomes we get. Thinking and experiencing something positive can have an influence on actions and events which follow. A few weeks ago, my niece had a particularly stressful and pressurised day in which she had a piano exam in the morning and her driving test in the afternoon. Despite feeling naturally nervous for both and having previously failed her first driving test a few weeks prior, it would have been easy to be distracted when it came to the exam in the morning. As it was, she focused on the first task at hand. Throughout the exam she played the piano well and knew she had performed to a high standard. She carried the positivity from that through into her driving test and was faultless. It is no coincidence that the good feelings from the morning exam influenced her state of mind for the afternoon test. If she had played badly, the negative self-talk would have taken over, she would have dwelled on her previous failure and would have convinced herself that it was not going to be her day, she would have doubted her own driving ability. Going forward she can draw upon the day’s experiences and outcomes to help her through future challenges. I’m sure you can think of instances where your mindset affected your emotional state, influencing your behaviour and then the outcome, either negatively or positively. We can use our positive state and mindset in a variety of situations and challenges, to be in the right frame of mind to have a positive outcome.

People might think it is difficult to create a positive mindset but it's not, yes it takes practice; however, you all have the ability to do it and live your life more positively. Below are 9 steps to creating a positive mindset:

  1. Think positively, talk positively. Use language which is positive. Increase your awareness about how you are thinking and talking. If you the first thought you have or the first thing to come out of your mouth is negative, catch yourself and use more positive language.
  2. Use positive self-talk. Silence the negative voice. The little voice in your head is sometimes very loud and persistent when it comes to telling you what you can't do, the things you don't deserve, what kind of person you are and how things will end. Tell it to shut up, there are more important things to say like you are an amazing person, capable of fantastic things, reminding you of all the things you have achieved in your life. Let the voice that is promoting you sing loud and proud.
  3. Use previous positive experiences to get you in the right state giving you a boost when doing something which is challenging or stressful tasks. You will be surprised just how your body responds when you draw upon your previous experiences.
  4. Create a network that will stretch and challenge you, but which also supports you. They are there to take inspiration from you but nothing else, they push you to be your best and celebrate with you. Ditch the toxic people, they are not going to help you and will suck the life out of you.
  5. They say laughter is the best medicine and it is, use humour to alleviate stress and tension. You cannot be sad or upset at the same time as being funny, and by using humour, it allows you gain a better perspective on a potentially bad situation.
  6. Focus on the solutions, not the problems. By focusing on the problems, you are not moving forward and will be stuck in a spiral of doom and gloom. Switch to focusing on the solutions will create more options and whilst you might find more problems along the way, you will have moved beyond the original ones.
  7. Failures are not mistakes or world ending events, they are feedback, lessons to be learnt, opportunities for different courses of action, different journeys and different possible outcomes. Embrace them, don't fear them.
  8. Be present in the now, don't be trapped by the past. You are in control of your thoughts and actions, you choose what to think, what to focus upon, what to do. You do not have to choose to focus on the negative, you can choose a positive mindset.
  9. Be aware and practice. If you don't already, start to view the world and people in it from a different perspective. Get out of your own head and put yourself in the shoes of others and consider what might be going on from them in their world. See your life full of possibilities and opportunities, not a life full of danger, risk and potential losses. Practice to the point that having a positive mindset is your default position.

Choose to be the glass half full type of person, not the glass half empty.

I Should Be So Lucky

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Just to be clear, I am not a Kylie Minogue fan, but if I say the word lucky, this is what immediately pops into my head, such is the pervasive nature of this type of pop song. And how many of you now have the next part of the chorus going around in your head?

Anyway, yesterday's blog was all about success, but some people believe that you must be lucky to achieve success. Are you one of those people who believe you are either lucky or you're not and it is fate that rules whether you achieve success, or you don't? Do you ever wonder why other people are lucky but you're not? The official definition is 'having good things happen to you by chance'. But what would happen if you could influence the game of chance?

In today's blog, I am going to breakdown what lucky actually means and shift perspective, to question our attitudes and beliefs which contribute to how lucky we are.

There is a saying, "you create your own luck in this world". Here’s how we do that.

L - Location: It is true that being lucky is about being in the right place at the right time but, you must put yourself there in the first place. If you are looking for a new job, you are the one that is doing the search on the internet, applying for it and going to the interview. If you're wanting a new partner, you're the one who must go out on dates. Whether it is attending craft fairs to sell the items you have made, presenting webinars, going to networking events, seminars, training events, you are being present, right where you need to be in that moment, giving yourself a far greater chance of achieving the success you strive for than being sat at home doing nothing, waiting for something to change or happen.

 U - Understanding: This covers several different areas. Firstly, understanding what your strengths are, what areas need further improvement. Recognising and understanding what opportunities are worth pursuing and which aren't worth the time nor effort. Understanding that there is more than one way to achieve your goals; it is important to have the awareness to take on board any feedback you receive as you work towards your goals and to be flexible in how you adapt to challenges. It is also necessary to understand and accept that whilst you might have all your steps mapped out from A to B, the way there might actually be wrong for you at that moment in time. Understand how you might be getting in your own way of achieving your goals and creating your future life.

C - Connections: Who are you spending your time with? Consider we are the average of the 5 people we spend our time with, are you spending your time with people who hold you back, drain your energy, are toxic or don't believe in you? Or are you spending your time with people who stretch you, encourage you to grow, give their support and who energise you? Do you have the right kind of connections in your life right now who will give you attention, but who will also receive attention from you? If you haven't, then what is stopping you from connecting more with people? How are you showing up in the world so that people see you? The more you connect with people, the more opportunities you have for sharing, learning and developing. The world does not work by doing everything yourself so build more and deeper connections, seeking out relationships which encourage collaboration. A good network can provide each other with support through the bad times and be there to celebrate the good.

K - Knowledge: I am a firm believer in that you can never stop learning and you can never have enough knowledge. Investing time and money into building your knowledge base will never go to waste. Knowledge is power, not in negative, destructive or controlling sense but in the fact of it giving you more choice in the direction you want to take your life.

Y - You: Everything comes down to you. You choose what changes you are going to make, and if a changed is forced upon you, then you are the one that makes a choice on how to respond to that change. The goals you set are your goals, they are not for anyone else. Yes, others may benefit from you being successful in your goals, but they should be for you primarily. The work you put in and the actions you make are your choice and in this, the results you get are your responsibility. You choose what mindset you have, are you going to follow a mindset where you always see the worst in everything, where failure is inevitable, and you have no control over your life? Or are you going to have a mindset where you grow, accepting that failure is just a perception and a natural way to learn and develop? It might also create further options or better opportunities. How might your attitudes and beliefs either push you forward or hold you back? And knowing that luck is a combination of location, your understanding, your connections and knowledge, what are you now going to do? It is your mindset that determines how you view the world and your place in it, the choices you make, the actions you take and just how lucky you really are.

And here’s a thought…if Kylie had known all this and put her dreams into action, instead of being stuck in her imagination and doing nothing, maybe she would have been luckier in love…Who knows?

Now, go create your own luck and see what happens.