“In order to move on, you must understand why you felt what you did and why you no longer need to feel it.” ― Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Habits are things that we do naturally without thinking too much. Habits, of course, can be bad or good. For example: you may have a habit of checking to make sure all doors are locked before you leave home. Or you may be used to eating breakfast at exactly 9AM with a fresh glass of orange juice. I just told you some of my habits. Whether they’re good or bad, it depends on the reader.
However, there is ONE habit that can transform your life. And that is training your mind to counteract each negative thought with a positive one.
This habit, when practiced daily, can lead to career advancement and improvement in your outlook on life. If you tend to have a negative perspective, this habit can help turn you to a person of optimism; thereby blessing others with your thoughts and words of goodness.
Below are three easy steps to slowly ease you into this mindset. But as with all habits, this requires focus and dedication. It requires repetition until it becomes second nature and a part of who you are.
1) Recognize and Acknowledge Negative Thoughts
It’s crucial to immediately recognize whenever you have a negative thought and know where your mind is drifting from there. This negative thought can lead to you becoming stressed or taking out your frustrations on others. It can also lead to you missing an opportunity.
Imagine if you thought you did not deserve a promotion and did nothing to fight this thought. You would be putting yourself in a losing position! Thus, missing this amazing opportunity. The side effects of negative thoughts are endless. Therefore, it is imperative that upon recognition and acknowledgment of negative thoughts, you move to step two.
If you really want to transform your life, DO NOT linger in negativity.
2) Think of the Positives
Immediately after recognizing the negative thought, begin re-shaping it to form a positive angle.
For example: when I was writing my first book, Women in Government: 10 Key Strategies to Advance Your Career, I began thinking what if my book gets a bad rating, it will be unsuccessful. However, I was aware of this thought and immediately changed it. I imagined what would happen if my book became successful. This means that I would be able to help others advance their careers. Then, I decided I was NOT going to let fear win.
This simple positive thought outweighed the negative. I am glad I participated in this exercise because the positivity has tremendously reduced the fears and concerns I had.
3) Create an Emotional Investment
While this step may seem scary – especially if the desired outcome didn’t come true – it is important to connect emotionally with your positive thoughts. Doing so will help you focus and be motivated by the positivity instead of returning to the negative thought. Remember: even if the positive thought is unsuccessful, there is still a lesson to learn or a positive angle to explore. This perseverance is what can truly transform your life.
For instance: if you didn’t let the negative thought hold you back from applying for a job and you didn’t get the job, there is still positivity in the experience. This experience has just helped you practice your interviewing skills and learn from any mistakes you may have made.
Just imagine how it would feel like once you land your dream job after trying other professions. Going through these trials prepared you to become effective in what you really wanted to do. However, imagine if you didn’t go through this struggle. You may not appreciate, value, and enjoy your dream occupation. Even worse, you may NOT be prepared for it (which could lead to you losing that job).
Transform Your Life Today: Be the Gift You Want To See
One motto I live by that applies directly to this is:
“everything happens for a reason.”
With this motto and mindset, I know that whatever happens in life, there is a bigger purpose behind it. I do not stress over the negative or hurtful things, because I know that eventually, I will gain understanding of why I experienced such hard times.
Even if it is to make me stronger or prepare for something in life, I am never disappointed with this mindset. Sometimes in life, we have to go through hard times to get to the good times. We have to go through the pain to get to the happiness – and there is just NO way around it.
This is how you see the positive in the negative. Sometimes we go through hard times or negativity in order to connect and share our stories with others, in order to become a gift to their lives.
Hopefully, this exercise will help you to be open-minded and think from numerous perspectives. Don’t forget that everything happens for a reason. Never stop training your mind to counteract each negative thought with a positive one so you can transform your life – and others – for the better.