We have all been there, we get stuck in a rut and suddenly that little cloud above our heads starts pouring down rain. It seems like everyone else is surrounded by light, yet here we are getting drenched in a downpour. It may seem like the world is out to get us, and it can be hard to keep going on, but what makes some other people so different from us? Why are some people able to take hard falls in life and hop back up running as soon as their feet hit the ground? There is one simple answer: they have chosen positivity, and so can you. Today, I want to teach you the power of positivity and show you how committing to a few simple practices each day can literally change your life forever.
Any time something happens to us in life we are presented with a clear choice: we can continue on as if nothing happened, accept that it is a negative event, or accept that it is a positive event. It is that simple, with each occurrence in life, we are able to decide how to interpret what just happened.
The problem is… that the world isn’t for or against us. Nature is completely neutral; nature doesn’t seek to harm or help people; nature just is: it has no opinion of right or wrong, good or evil, happiness or sadness. We often look at the things that happen in life as if they are signs, we look at the events in our life as a guide to get to our destination, but how can something without a mind tell us what is right for us? Simply put, the world doesn’t care what you think about life, and it isn’t out to hurt you: it just exists. It is up to you to decide and interpret each event in your life and determine its purpose and value to your life. Even if you believe in destiny (and I do), you have to realize that everything that happens is already destined to happen, it is simply up to you to manifest your greatest life purpose each day.
Most of us have seen the picture where depending upon what we focus on ,we can see two completely different pictures: one picture shows a vase, another shows two faces; life is the very same way, with each day we can view one of two sides of the picture: we can view the picture of negativity and darkness, or positivity and light, but we can only see each event one way at a time.
Imagine living in world with two suns that continuously shined light 24 hours a day. If you took a trip to planet earth, even the brightest summer day on earth would look like a stormy day on the planet with two suns. I could write a never ending manuscript on perception and how it determines your reality, but either you are ready to see this truth or you aren’t. If we are still too attached to our current worldview to see that everything in our life is truly created in our mind, then we can’t yet see the other side. Like a person peering through a two way mirror, unless the light comes on, you can’t see through to the other side.
If everything is up to us, what does that mean for our life? If we can choose to see any event as either a negative or positive event in our life’s story, what happens if we choose to simply view all events positively?
When I look back at my life, I can see a lot of things that I perceived negatively at the time, that turned out to be blessings in disguise. In fact, even the worst moments in my life shaped me into the person I have become today. If I hadn’t gone through many of these painful events I wouldn’t be who I am today at all. So from this viewpoint, not only would I not change the “negative” things that happened to me, but I am actually happy that they came to pass.
In a world where you decide that everything that happens is an opportunity, what can really bring you down? Even catastrophic events are often opportunities for great revolution, growth, or change. Take a look throughout history and find how many negative events have changed the course of human history forever. Women’s suffrage, civil rights, and the creation of America all came from people who lived in such a state of eternal oppression that they risked their lives in order to change it. When something “bad” happens, we can view the event as a final ruling, or we can act as judge and write a positive verdict into our lives.
The importance and power of positivity in your life can not be overstated. If nothing else where to change, a person who is very unhappy and unfulfilled, can transform their life into a wonderful place of joy and accomplishment, with nothing more than a solid commitment to allow only positivity and positive thoughts into their life.
How is it done? What does positivity look like? How do we start the process of transformation?
We should strive to be positive 100% of the time. Even when events seem terrible and hard to handle, there are ways to release yourself from negativity. It is possible to suffer loss and experience pain, yet still look hopefully towards a brighter future. Imagine suffering the loss of a close loved one but instead of allowing grief to overcome you, choosing to use this painful experience as a catalyst to: improve your relationships with the rest of your family, push yourself to achieve new heights of accomplishment, and give back to others and live a more meaningful life.
For anyone who remembers Mike Tyson, the famous boxer of the 80s and 90s, he was an undefeated monster with a record built on knockouts. Mike Tyson in his prime was pretty much unstoppable, his fights ended quickly, and the other guy always ended up face down or on his back unconscious. Mike Tyson was set to fight an obscure challenger named Buster Douglas. Buster was not well known, and Buster was really just brought in to be another notch on Mike’s championship belt until Mike could fight his next worthy challenger. Buster was destined to lose the fight and the whole world barely knew nothing about this young man, that is until something traumatic happened in his life.
A few days before the fight, Buster Douglas’ mother passed away. Before his mother passed on, Buster promised his mother that he was going to win the fight for her. When fight night came Buster stepped into the ring, surely still mourning the loss of his mother, but with a powerful resolve and strength that was actually birthed by the DEATH of his mother. The rest of the story is history, because the underdog Buster knocked out Mike Tyson and became the Heavyweight champion of the world. One of the greatest underdog stories in sports history came about from the pain from the loss of a loved one. This pain didn’t overwhelm Buster, but instead pushed him to achieve the impossible.
Committing to becoming positive can be a long and hard process, especially if you are a very negative and sad person, but the process is very simple. In theory the components of positivity are easy to apply, but it will take strong dedication to the process to become successful at it. We must: commit to replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, we must learn to reframe “negative” events into positive ones, we must focus on solutions instead of dwelling on problems, we must appreciate what we have instead of focusing on what we don’t, we must have faith in our life course, and we must learn to believe in the power or our minds.
Thought replacement is the process of taking a negative thought or thoughts and replacing them with a positive thought or thoughts. It can involve simple mantras or self directed statements of positivity, or we can actually seek to reframe the negative thought, but it is important to consistently stop negative thoughts dead in their tracks if we want to truly be successful. A negative thought like “Its too hard to do.”, or , “I’m not smart enough to do that.”, should immediately be replaced with something positive like, “If I work hard enough, I will learn to do it.”, or “I am capable of achieving anything.” Committing to this practice alone is effective at removing most of your negative thoughts and will eventually reprogram how you think completely.
Reframing “negative” events
Reframing a negative event involves taking the “negative” event and actually changing your perception into something positive. An example could be getting fired from your job, and instead of viewing it as the loss of a job, seeing it as an opportunity to start a business or do traveling that you never had the chance to do. Like I said earlier, events aren’t positive or negative, they are neutral; events only become one way or another after we interpret them: you can choose to see opportunity or catastrophe, its all up to you.
Focus on solutions instead of problems
Anyone can find problems with something, but when a positive person looks at everything wrong in the world, they don’t stare at problems, they find solutions. Let’s say at your job gossip and drama are a huge problem and negatively affect the work environment, we can choose to focus on the problem of gossip and drama, or we can start looking for a solution. We could host a meeting with everyone from the office where everyone discusses their current issues at work, we could start a system of rewarding and encouraging others at work, or we could set up a system of rotating teams where everyone must work together and get to know everyone else in the office better. Its pretty easy, the next time you find yourself staring at a problem, stop dwelling, and ask yourself “What can I do right now, that will make this situation better?”, don’t dwell on the problem, dwell on finding a way to make it better.
Focus on appreciation
Appreciation is one of the easiest ways to reframe a negative life event. One day I was in heavy Atlanta traffic and I was frustrated beyond belief at someone who cut me off. I was ready to smash my car into his and run him off the road. I decided instead to focus on the fact that I had a car, that I had a job, and that I didn’t get into a bad accident. When I thought of the people around the world who are unemployed with no car to take to work, or the people who die everyday in automobile accidents, my problem suddenly seemed small; instead, I felt grateful that I live in the position of LUXURY that I do. The next time you are feeling negative about what’s wrong, focus instead on what’s right and you will feel a lot better.
When all else fails, just have faith in something
When everything fails, just give it up: give yourself permission to let go of control and release your worries. Continue moving forward in whatever way you can, and trust that things will work out. Whether you believe in God, destiny, fate, the universe, or yourself…just believe that things will workout, somehow you will go on living. You will FIND a way eventually. Know that almost everyone who has ever been successful found their greatest victory right after a major defeat.
When you have tried all these techniques, yet you still can’t shake your sorrow and pain, its ok to grieve a little. Maybe you lost something or someone very important to you, maybe your whole life is about to change and you need to grieve the loss of your planned future. Times can definitely be hard, and its ok to feel pain and sadness sometimes, after all, we are human. The idea isn’t to eliminate ALL negative emotions, but to instead view them as something positive.
We shouldn’t seek to live as stoics, but instead to experience the full range of life and human emotion. Not only do we learn more, laugh harder, and form deeper connections, but we increase our life force and vitality. Even while we cry, something powerful within us stirs into a fury, we should allow the pain within us to transform us into something unstoppable. The goal is not to remove negative emotions, but to transform them into something powerful; the goal is not to ignore negative thoughts, but to transform them into something positive. This is the process of positivity and if you’ll commit to living a more positive life, you will be amazed at who you become and what you can achieve. When you reach the mental state where failure is truly just a stepping stone to success, nothing can stop you.