All this sounds great, but what does the “power of positive thinking” really mean?
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You can define positive thinking as positive imagery, positive self-talk or general optimism, but these are all still general, ambiguous concepts. If you want to be effective in thinking and being more positive, you’ll need concrete examples to help you through the process.
1. Start the day with positive affirmation.
How you start the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Have you ever woken up late, panicked, and then felt like nothing good happened the rest of the day? This is likely because you started out the day with a negative emotion and a pessimistic view that carried into every other event you experienced. Instead of letting this dominate you, start your day with positive affirmations. Talk to yourself in the mirror, even if you feel silly, with statements like, “Today will be a good day” or “I’m going to be awesome today.” You’ll be amazed how much your day improves.
2. Focus on the good things, however small.
Almost invariably, you’re going to encounter obstacles throughout the day—there’s no such thing as a perfect day. When you encounter such a challenge, focus on the benefits, no matter how slight or unimportant they seem. For example, if you get stuck in traffic, think about how you now have time to listen to the rest of your favorite podcast. If the store is out of the food you want to prepare, think about the thrill of trying something new.
3. Find humor in bad situations.
Allow yourself to experience humor in even the darkest or most trying situations. Remind yourself that this situation will probably make for a good story later and try to crack a joke about it. Say you’re laid off; imagine the most absurd way you could spend your last day, or the most ridiculous job you could pursue next—like kangaroo handler or bubblegum sculptor.
4. Turn failures into lessons.
You aren’t perfect. You’re going to make mistakes and experience failure in multiple contexts, at multiple jobs and with multiple people. Instead of focusing on how you failed, think about what you’re going to do next time—turn your failure into a lesson. Conceptualise this in concrete rules. For example, you could come up with three new rules for managing projects as a result.