We have choices.
“You choose happiness. You choose sadness,” insisted Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. “Every moment, every situation, provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results.”
It’s much more difficult to focus on life’s bright side when your life feels like its falling apart. Although you don’t always get to choose what happens around you, you have many opportunities to choose how to respond to stressful circumstances. And you get to choose how to move forward.
“Too often in life, something happens and we blame other people for us not being happy or satisfied or fulfilled,” explains football legend, Tom Brady. “We all have choices.”
“Don’t dwell on what went wrong,” adds Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Winning. “Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward finding the answer.”
When you feel overwhelmed by unexpected circumstances, it sometimes feels comforting to focus on what went wrong and to blame whoever is responsible for the wrongness. However, when you choose to shift your perspective by focusing on solutions as opposed to problems, you’ll discover that your attitude and mood positively shift as well.
When everything seems to go wrong, Alex Lickerman, author of The Undefeated Mind, maintains, “Find a way to transform your perspective so that obstacles feel like opportunities.” He offers these insightful tips to feel more positive even when everything seems to be falling apart:
1. Visualize yourself succeeding. Like a professional skier who envisions the act of conquering every obstacle on a course before a race, Lickerman encourages you to imagine yourself experiencing the joy of success and positive outcomes. He adds that visualization “can be empowering if it’s a belief in yourself.”
2. Imagine the good stuff. Lickerman found that daydreaming about future success lifts your spirits by transferring your mind out of present difficulties into future opportunities.
3. Focus on one problem at a time. Reduce the total number of challenges confronting you. Tackle them one at a time. You will feel enormous relief when you are pro-active and start to take action by resolving one specific issue.
4. Wait. Lickerman encourages you to remember “This, too, shall pass.” You may believe you can predict how future events will turn out, but outcomes you anticipate — good and bad — often do not turn out the way you thought they would unfold.
5. Access your creativity to solve problems. Listen to soothing music, meditate, sit in the quiet, take a walk – or doing something different (sing, draw, write a letter, read something enjoyable, etc.). Solutions often bubble up from the subconscious you give your unconscious mind an opportunity to wander and discover answers on its own.
6. Ask for help. Lickerman reminds you that you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Build a support system with people who care about you and your goals. Input from others offers a plethora of new ideas.
7. Accept responsibility for finding solutions. Mark Twain used a frog as a metaphor for the things you least want to do. “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning,” he suggested. “And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Brian Tracy, author of Eat That Frog, explains that your most important tasks and priorities are those that can have the most serious consequences, positive or negative, on your life or work.” He adds, “Focus on these above all else.”
8. Whatever you’re going through represents an opportunity for growth. One of the most frustrating components of a challenge means you cannot predict the future or determine its impact on your life. You can only move forward if you change your perspective and look for the opportunity — with gratitude.
I’ve found one of the most positive attitude shifting tools in my optimistic toolbox is a grateful heart. When I feel angry or upset by unexpected change, I create a gratitude list of all of the blessings in my life that make me feel grateful. I was surprised to learn that an attitude of gratitude actually works (even when you don’t feel particularly grateful).
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more,” explained Melody Beattie, author of The Language of Letting Go. “It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”
Present circumstances are not permanent. Difficulties and struggle often become the stepping stones needed to get from the uncomfortableness of where you are to where you want to go. Put one foot in front of the other.
Trust your inner voice and your seasoned experiences to show you how to get there.
What will you do today to feel more positive and excited about your life?
Create your own positive affirmations with these tips from Put the Positive in Your Affirmation.
Having trouble creating positive self-talk? Learn to Replace Old Tapes with New Messages.
Shift your thinking from lack to abundance with these tips from Escape the Scarcity Mentality Jungle.
Do need help getting from where you’re at to where you want to go? Check out the my personal goal-setting book, Dreams to Action Trailblazer’s Guide.