“Think positive.” It’s a phrase we’ve all heard hundreds of times, usually when we’re taking a negative outlook on a situation. It’s not always easy to look on the bright side, but for those who can master the glass-half-full approach, positive thinking can lead to success in very tangible ways.
Remember, You’re in the Driver’s Seat …
It’s easy to throw up your hands and declare that a difficult situation is out of your control or someone else’s fault. Maybe extra work has fallen into your lap because a co-worker couldn’t finish it, or tech problems are making a task more difficult. When you declare that a situation is out of your hands, you’re surrendering control. This kind of negative thinking can completely halt your progress and prevent you from accomplishing your goals.
Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, concentrate on what you can. Even something as simple as asking for help when you need it can be enough to get you where you need to be. Positive thinking is all about accepting difficult situations and finding ways to move past them. In doing so, you remain in control of every situation.
… And Every Challenge is an Opportunity
With a negative mindset, you’re likely to view challenges as unfair, inconvenient and something to avoid at all costs. Difficult homework assignments, large projects and a general lack of time can be challenging for everyone. What matters is how we approach these potential hurdles. Maintaining a positive mindset allows you to see every challenge as an opportunity. Whether it’s the chance to acquire a new skill or just prove to yourself that you can overcome the obstacle, positive thinking conditions you to seek out the “win” in every situation.
Plus, Every Failure is a Lesson …
It’s an inevitable fact of life that, at some point, you will experience a failure. Maybe you scored poorly on an assignment or forgot to finish a project that was due. People are fallible, but remember this: It’s not the situation but how you respond to it that defines you.
People with a negative mindset tend to respond to failure in a few different ways. They can blame others and surrender their own responsibility, or they may internalize the shortcoming and convince themselves they aren’t good enough. Both of these reactions can be harmful, because they do nothing to safeguard future attempts.
People with a positive mindset are able to accept their shortcomings and learn from them. If an assignment falls off their radar, they figure out how to be better organized. If they receive a low grade on a test, they focus on the questions they missed and spend extra time reviewing that material. In short, they know that mistakes are inevitable, so they make sure they learn a lesson that will help them succeed in the future.
… And Positivity is Contagious!
We’ve all had that co-worker or friend who embodies negativity. They complain about everything, blame others and are generally difficult to be around. This mindset creates a toxic environment that saps productivity and brings down the energy of everyone around them.
The opposite can be true for people with positive attitudes. They tend to be enthusiastic and encouraging, rarely complain and are committed to helping themselves and others succeed. This outlook can bolster positivity in others just as easily as negativity can steal it. Having an overall positive attitude can inspire and motivate those around you (and don’t forget it also can be a valuable skill that employers appreciate).