â€œNo positive thinking can get you anything,
But it can get everything better than negative thinking canâ€
– Zig Ziglar
Positive thinking is a favorite topic of most self help books and inspirational speakers. So, much has been written and said about it that I had started feeling that I can get anything simply my thinking positively about it. In fact, many life coaches (including myself in past) advocated positive thinking as a quick fix for all. I plead guilty of telling people that their failure can be attributed to their not being positive enough.
Over years I realized that simply thinking positively will not accomplish anything. The kind of positive thinking that a lot of people talk about is in a way denial of reality. It is great to think positive and speak positive. But what it can accomplish if it is not supported by the ability and skill. I am 34, and have never played football in my life. It does not matter how positive I think or speak, I can not become a professional footballer at this age. Simply because, to become a professional footballer, one has to start young and then acquire skill and ability over number of years.
This kind of unrealistic and impractical positive thinking actually can do more harm than good over the long run. This makes a person to shut his eyes from the problems and make them live in a fantasy world. In the end the person gets depressed and then proclaims that positive thinking is actually non-sense and yields no results.
As Zig Ziglar the great inspirational speaker and author says that, positive thinking can not get you any thing, but it can get you everything better than negative thinking can. There is a school student who is not good with numbers. Now, if is prone to negative thinking, he will have no hope and he will make no efforts to improve his ability. As a result he will surely fail in arithmetic. However he takes a positive decision, he will work on it and at least pass, even if not making it to the top grade. Any day, just passing is definitely better than failing.
So, if he makes sufficient effort in arithmetic and devotes maximum time to the subjects that uses his ability, he may barely pass in arithmetic but do extremely well in other subjects, making his overall grade as one of the top in the class. Now, that is Positive thinking and positive attitude.
It is therefore time to explain when and how we can use positive thinking to maximize the blessings that life has to offer. It is time to define what exactly positive thinking is. So, you are a positive thinker if you:
1. Believe in yourself and see yourself in positive light: It is important to have a healthy self image. A healthy self-image means a healthy acceptance of ones own self. All of us have different abilities and attributes that make us different and unique. If you do not have a particular ability that does not mean that you are inferior to others. Accepting your natural abilities and believing that they can help you to achieve success in life is the first step towards positive thinking.
2. Accept that problems exist and find solutions: Situations and circumstances are not always favorable, but they must not affect your thinking or attitude. Accepting the fact that situations will be difficult and there always will be problems is essential to keep a positive attitude towards them. Many pseudo positive thinkers often will not allow themselves or others to talk about problems. How can you solve problems and find alternatives if you do not discuss them. Pondering over them to find solutions is not negative thinking. Making them an excuse for not trying, or shutting your eyes to them as if they do not exist is definitely negative response to negative situations.
3. Take up challenges and grow: I advocate that positive thinking will help you to make best use of your existing abilities to achieve great heights in your life. At the same time it requires positive thinking to accept challenges to acquire new skills and abilities. Donâ€™t get stuck with what you have. Accept challenges, and be ready to fail and learn from it. Failure is not a failure if you have learned something that makes you a better person. On the contrary any failure when taken positively will take you a bit towards success. Learn from your mistakes and grow.
4. Learn to say next: It requires lots of positive thinking to be able to say next. The â€˜Nextâ€™ denotes forward motion; it denotes hope and therefore is positive. If you want to dig a well what you are supposed to do? The answer is simple dig. But what will you do, if you strike a big rock. You start digging in other place (unless you have the equipments that can dig past the rock). Same way, learn to accept rejection and move forward. Wishing that the rock will disappear by its own is negative thinking as it will not produce desired results.
5. Be ready to make changes: Is there a point in digging a well, when you can simply buy a bottle of mineral water. Know when to quit and change your plans. If repetition of same action is giving you same results, look back at them. It is positive thinking to have belief in yourself; but there is no point in feeling positive for plans that are not giving desired results. May be the course that you had chosen was not the right one for you. There is no point at sticking with a job or a career that is not giving you satisfaction either financially or spiritually. Learn to differentiate between the vehicle and the destination. Keep your eyes on your dreams and goals and be ready to change the vehicles to reach them.
6. Keep hope and faith in trying situations: It so happened that I lost everything in a venture what my wife and I had earned over a period of six years. Things looked pretty bad as we had no money left. I was thoroughly depressed and was feeling hopeless. (At that time I was not bitten by the positive thinking bug). Thankfully, my wife (who perhaps has more wisdom then I have) said, â€œIf we are the rock bottom, there is only one place to go, and that is Up.â€ Now, that is a bit of positive attitude. We might have been bankrupt financially, but we still had our ability and skill. All it needed was the right attitude to make best use of them and come back. And that is what we did. In next five years we managed to become financially better off then before. It is all right to loose everything that is material, but if you have lost hope, you have lost everything. Most of the skilled people who are unemployed never find a job as they have been sold on to the idea that there are no jobs. So, they never make an effort to find one. Hope makes us to move forward, it helps us to say next, it helps us to make changes.
7. Do your best but submit to the will of God: This I believe is the mother of all positive thinking, the supreme faith. Bhagwat Gita the hindu scripture says â€œPerform your karma (action), do not worry about result.â€ Similarly Bible says â€œnevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. (Luke 22:42). Both mean the same thing. Do what is to be done, put your best foot forward, but in the end leave the result in hands of the God. Have faith that God has a plan for us, and if our efforts are not producing desired results, it simply means that God has better plans for us. So as a positive thinker, you thank God for not only what you have, but also for what you have been denied as there are bigger blessings in store for you.