When it seems like everything is going crazy and those around you seem angry and discouraged, knowing how to think positive thoughts marks the difference between setting useful goals or giving up completely.
If you sometimes struggle with finding positivity or hope in a negative world, this article will teach you how to find the positive side of any tough situation.
Here I will discuss key concepts that allow me to stay happy and positive in even the most testing of circumstances.
Thinking positively in a world that seems negative takes work. We are born seeing possibilities, asking questions, setting goals; in other words, thinking positively comes naturally, yet many people find it elusive. Why?
What does it mean to think positively?
To fully understand, first we should consider the definitions of these two opposite words.
Positive means to add, to a thing, person, or situation.
Negative means to remove, from a thing, person, or situation.
It seems sad to me that effectively fitting into society requires governance, our parents, teachers, and peers teach us that we can’t just do whatever we want. In fact, sometimes they do this so well that people have been taught to believe that we can’t do anything we want, and rules are never to be broken. That attitude of never questioning and only doing the expected can add to unfulfillment and unreached potential.
Fearful people teach us what can’t be done.
To function in life we are taught important but limiting lessons like:
- Just do what you are told, I’m your parent, I know what’s best for you.
- Don’t do something if there is danger.
- Don’t speak when the adults are talking.
- Be polite, don’t cause ripples, don’t offend people.
- Don’t lose your money or things.
- There are limits to what you can do.
There are important reasons for these lessons, they teach us how to get along with others, and how to survive.
The very same people who teach us what not to do, might also be positive influences, leaders, with your best interests at heart.
Leaders show us what can be done.
The greatest appeal of a leader is that they DO stand out, they cause ripples, they question the status quo. For these very same reasons, leaders are hated by those who cherish their negativity.
True leaders are not afraid of hate. Leaders tend their “feathers” in a way waterfowl do… ducks preen their feathers with their body oils not only so they float, but that do not become saturated by cold water. Similarly, leaders make sure to tend their protective shield of positivity, so that hate does not extinguish their light. Hate rolls off of them “like water off of a duck’s back”.
This ability is not arrived at lightly. Often this protective layer of positivity took years of pain, hurting, and recovery to achieve. A thick skin is the often result of years of scarring. These positive people have chosen, and continually choose, to embrace hardships, to find a lesson in them, and build on them.
So instead of focusing on why we can’t do something, the positive person asks how can we do this?
How to stay positive when the world is so negative?
To help you with building your leader’s mindset, I’m going to discuss important several words and what they mean to me. These words I treasure, I tend to each of these to encourage growth in myself and others. This is a real insight into me and how I think, how I choose to think.
Patience – It’s impossible to be positive 100% of the time. While positive times are preferred, there are times when we are fearful, times when we may laugh at the folly of others, times when we may think badly of ourselves, times even that we hate ourselves or others. We need patience with ourselves and even our own thoughts. Nothing is permanent, all is temporary, let the negative pass and continue on to better times.
Balance – Not everything I do is right – but I try my best. It is human to be faulty, I’m not perfect, nor do I strive to be. I want to live life to it’s fullest and enjoy things I might not get the chance to later. At times, I allow myself to slip and even taste my dark side. These times help me know myself better, and help me cope with the injustice of some things not within my power. But I must remember balance. Time marches on, and how do I want to be remembered? I do strive to stay positive.
Love – Love is our essence, it is who we are, it is the connection between hearts, our connection to our ancestors and lost loves, the awareness of the divine.
Caring – Adding to, or protecting a person or thing. An action of positive intent.
Hope – Remembering all the times we have woken up from our dreams, gotten through hard times, and still survived. The belief that there will be more opportunities to wake up, and that we shall persevere.
Flexibility – Bend in the wind as reeds do, flex as the willows do. If we break, find a new way, start a new sprout. Accept uncertainty, adapt.
Resilience – We can not be positive when we stay angry at ourselves, at these times, our light dims, sometimes even goes out. That’s okay. We fall. We relight. It is the human condition. We learn to dust ourselves off before carrying on.
Kindness – The golden rule: Treat others how you yourself would want to be treated.
Beauty – Give time to appreciate the small things, they are in fact the most important things. Smell a flower. Protect nature. Live and let live. Pay respect to the awesomeness of the Universe and how small we really are in comparison. Life is not about making a living, but living. Do not allow earning income to rule your life. There are more important things, like everything.
Empathy – Try to look at the world through the eyes of others, to feel their pains, and their triumphs. It’s not all about me, or you. Of the billions of people, plants, and animals on this small blue planet, even from worlds we do not know, each of us has a point of view. Try to understand it.
Strength – We must be tested to become stronger. We must push, pull, resist, sweat, and even feel pain, if we are to improve health. An achievement of value does not come easy.
This is by far a non-exhaustive list of positive words I could talk about, but these are the most important ones to me which I chose to discuss. If you have any others you’d like to add, I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments!
Staying positive around negative people.
People are not inherently negative. The person you are thinking of as negative person is often a survivor who has learned negative lessons as results of their experiences of failure, danger, loss. They fear these things, and so, try to diminish these things from themselves or others. This can be completely well-intentioned.
The most negative people are the ones who SEEK to diminish others to make themselves feel bigger. These people are narcissists or gossips who make jokes of the difficulties of others. Bullies.
Trying to fight negativity with negativity, like hurling insults at a bully, becomes a self-defeating battle. You can’t force someone to be positive, better to shine as an example of light in dark places. Compliment these people, wish them well, pray for their healing. Choose to not believe their insults, you know better. Let it go.
If a bully is a danger to the safety of others, sometimes these people must be incarcerated or efficiently dealt with. This is a sad thing, a last resort, the best hope is for people to heal and grow, to be dealt patience.
I’ve heard positive thinking gurus say surround yourself by positive people, go-getters, people who have achieved what you wish to achieve, and I agree that seeking out these people sharing time with them is powerful.
It’s not that simple to just surround yourself with positive people. To remove yourself from household members or family who try to diminish you may or may not by practical. It takes a very strong resolve, and much patience, to maintain positivity around these people.
Make time away from negative influences.
It would be unhealthy to avoid ALL negativity. People with negative attitudes still need the influence of positive people for balance, as we need them, for balance.
A flame provides light and warmth, but a flame uncontrolled is destructive and can devastate many lives.
Do not fear negativity, but exert your inner strength to care for your flame, and also the flames of others.
For some powerful encouragement, watch this video by Robin Sharma.
Light is not extinguished by darkness, rather enhanced by it; but it requires energy and protection to be maintained. To stay positive, continually seek opportunities to learn, grow, and increase your health.
Make sure you do your best to spend time with those who add to you, and when you cannot, find ways to nurture your own self. Love yourself. Protect your heart, but make sure it shines on those you care about.
Give time to nature, to openness, to beauty. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
I really hope my article increased your understanding on how to face life courageously with more heart, while protecting your mental and emotional health from the pitfalls of life.
Do you have any tricks for keeping a productive mindset that wards off negativity? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
And please, share, to help others! The world needs this info right now!
I highly recommend this book: The Leader Who Had No Title – by Robin Sharma
Recommended article: Coping Ideas for Depression and Loneliness