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13 Top Billionaires’ Tips on Positive Thinking—and Why It Matters

13 Top Billionaires’ Tips on Positive Thinking—and Why It Matters

In popular culture, people know that they are supposed to “think positive.” We all sort of know that we should scotch-tape affirmations to our bathroom mirrors and say “I love you” to ourselves, and keep our chins up (presumably while reading those mirror-stuck affirmations)

But why?

Well, on the surface of it, if you think positive, you’re not thinking negative, and therefore, you’re not grumpy and depressed. That’s a pretty good reason on its own. After all, who else but a poet or an emo musician wants to be grumpy and depressed?

But research shows that there are very real and measurable benefits to consciously cultivating and maintaining a positive, optimistic view on life.

The Mayo Clinic has proved conclusively that optimists have lower levels of cardiovascular disease and longer life-spans. Furthermore, they found that pessimists’ health deteriorated more speedily as they aged.

Researchers at Yale and the University of Colorado discovered that pessimism is correlated with a diminished immune response to tumors and infection.

Dr. Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology, has done landmark work that shows that positive, optimistic people have deeper and broader social networks, are more effective communicators, and are more resilient, seeing failure as a learning experience rather than as a confirmation of their ineptness, and therefore they believe they can do better in the future.

Moreso, in a broad study of insurance salespeople, he found that the optimistic ones sold 37% more policies than pessimists, who were twice as likely to abandon their career during their first 12 months of employment.

Seligman gives guidelines on how to cultivate optimism for those of us who have developed negative habits in his book, Learned Optimism.

But you don’t have to only look at the research to see that a positive outlook on life and optimism breeds success. When you look at the lives of billionaire innovators, you see that a positive mindset keeps the minds of the highly successful focused on what is possible rather than on what blocks them; on alternatives rather than on roadblocks; on creative solutions rather than on blame.

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1. Imagine you’re on the threshold of success.

Andrew Carnegie, though often viewed as a shrewd and tight-fisted Scotsman, was actually a veritable starburst of sunny optimism.

“Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”

Carnegie, who famously hired Napoleon Hill to gather up the wisdom of the rich and powerful in a project that produced the book Think and Grow Rich, grounded his optimism in utter 100% responsibility in his own internal resources.

“Immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you were born to control affairs.”

Positivity gives the mega-successful the internal fuel to power through downturns and what others would call failure.

2. Keep moving forward.

Mark Zuckerberg veritably defined our fast-paced innovation culture with his most famous quote:

“Fail fast and break things.”

3. Think like a queen.

Or in Oprah’s words:

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”

4. Failure isn’t the end; it is the beginning.

Failure among billionaires is understood to be part of the creative whirlwind that is the very life of business. Success in not an endpoint. It’s merely a link in the continuing spiral.

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“Failure is just a resting place. It is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

– Henry Ford

“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

– Thomas Edison

5. Abundant chance is all around you.

Sheldon Adelson, the toilet-kit salesman come multi-billionaire mastermind of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation expresses the optimistic mindset that failure is not only necessary, but that opportunity is unlimited.

“For me, businesses are like buses. You stand on a corner and you don’t like where the first bus is going? Wait ten minutes and take another. Don’t like that one? They’ll just keep coming. There’s no end to buses or businesses.”

6. Find the courage to continue.

Optimism may come easy to some. For others, it’s the cultivated result of another quality, which Churchill identified as courage:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

7. Own your mistakes—

Optimism and positive thinking feed our courage. Courage need not be heroic. Rather it may merely be the cool-headed outgrowth of a positive belief in yourself.

When Howard Schultz discovered that one of his most costly innovations had utterly flopped and cost the company nearly $100 million, he walked into his boardroom, looked his board in the eye and said, “Tactical mistake. Next.” No hand-wringing. No self-loathing. In fact, his entire ethos is summarized in the title of his memoir, “Onward.”

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8. —and then move on.

Similarly, Steve Jobs:

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

Jobs elaborated on his philosophy by applying his belief in innovation not only to his work, but to himself as well.

“If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.”

An optimist is open to the adventure of self-growth, and doesn’t cling to the past or present as a pessimist might, believing things can only get worse.

9. Trust your hard work.

Optimism is akin to faith, not merely in yourself but in something greater than yourself. Jobs, a noted mystic, put it this way:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

10. Seek to help others.

Billionaires optimistically believe in a better world and see their efforts as contributing to it. As Peter Diamantis observed:

“The best way to become a billionaire is to help a billion people.”

Sergei Brin, Co-Founder of Google, when asked what really drove him, and what spurred his company to its stratospheric growth, replied:

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“I would like to see anyone be able to achieve their dreams, and that’s what this organization does”

11. When in doubt, don’t be evil.

In fact, Google’s well-known slogan “Don’t be evil” stemmed from nothing other than a profoundly positive intent:

“We have tried to define precisely what it means to be a force for good—always do the right, ethical thing. Ultimately, “Don’t be evil” seems the easiest way to summarize it”

12. Have high expectations of yourself.

Billionaires often seek to create something great. Some are driven by the desire to have a great impact. Others just expect that greatness is before them. As Sam Walton says:

“High expectations are the key to everything.”

13. Be relentless.

However, this doesn’t mean that billionaires go about their businesses like starry-eyed Pollyannas. Kazuo Inamori, a Japanese entrepreneur who founded two multi-billion dollar companies claims that while developing a new product or strategy, you begin optimistically.

However, once the planning stage begins, he says you must “become a pessimist” in order to spot every obstacle in the way. Then, he says, he returns to optimism for the execution phase.

In the end, billionaires teach us that optimism is not a gift. It is a strategy.

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via imcreator.com

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Last Updated on May 23, 2019

Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony

Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony

How do you usually go about your day?

Do you wake up in the morning, get ready for work, and then spend the whole day looking forward to being at home and unwinding?

We often hear about work life balance – having a good balance between work and personal time. Whilst this may sound like a smart idea, it can also imply that we should dedicate at least half of our time to work–and sacrifice time for our “personal life”.

To me, that seems…off balance. Because, the truth is, it’s nearly impossible to split your time equally between the two. And, you may end up stressing out if you’re not able to meet that expectation of balance.

Instead, why not think of having work life harmony instead?

With this mindset, you can actually integrate work into your life in a way that feels more complete. This way, you don’t need to view work and having personal time as separate.

So, how do you achieve work life harmony?

Work Life Harmony Explained

The difference between work life balance and work life harmony is pretty simple. With the former, there is an implication that you have to sacrifice your “life” for work. But, this is the worst way to go about things! How can you truly be at peace in life if you dread 8 hours of your day?

Work life harmony on the other hand, allows your work to be a part of your life. This means that you can choose to be happy both at home, and at work! Work no longer needs to be seen as the ‘bad’ or un-fun activity.

Having work life harmony also ensures you’re truly present in whatever place you find yourself.

Just take a look at Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon for example.

He uses a non traditional approach to work by making time for breakfast every morning with his family, doesn’t set his alarm before going to bed, schedules surprisingly few meetings, and still puts aside a few minutes every day to wash his own dishes.

He believes that all his staff should stop trying to achieve a ‘balance’ in their work and personal lives as that implies a trade off. Instead, he envisions a more holistic relationship between the two.

As the world’s richest man, he must be doing something right!

Rethink Time Management

Now, when we think of striking a balance, we usually associate it with time, don’t we? How much time are we spending at work versus how much time are we spending in our personal lives?Are we taking enough time to be with our loved ones, to do meaningful activities with others or even for ourselves, or are we just dedicating all our time to work?

This is the so-called-balance that many struggle with.

With work life harmony, we learn to rethink time management. By re-assessing how you manage your time, you’ll have a lot more of it. It’s incredible how much time can get wasted over the period of a day–especially when you’re not accurately tracking it.

Unfortunately, unless you’re consciously making an effort, your brain is not always the best at making accurate judgement calls when it comes to prioritizing. It tends to have a bias towards short term benefits and short term costs.

As there are often many more options our brains link to short term benefit; when you’re trying to focus on a task that gives you a long term benefit, that task usually becomes low priority. This is otherwise known as Priority Chaos.

In order to overcome this and be in better control of your time, identify the tasks that need the most focus to get accomplished. If it’s a big task, then it’s good to break it down into smaller bite-sized actions that will provide you with a clearer short term benefit.

When setting up tasks, give yourself a time limit. The brain has a bias towards short term benefits, and your attention span is limited, so if your tasks are going to take ages to complete, you’ll end up losing focus… and wasting time.

Once you have all your tasks written down, it’s time to prioritize them. Since you have a time limit, your focus should be on the top priority tasks. By doing this, you will already be able to get more done in less time at work!

Have Passion for What You Do

Managing your time is important in achieving that work life harmony. But, perhaps of greater importance, is loving what you do in life. One of the most effective ways to achieve a work life harmony is to really enjoy, or find a purpose, in what you do for a living. Even though everyone isn’t always lucky enough to find a position that pays them for pursuing their passion, you can strive to find meaning in what you are already doing, or pursue something new entirely!

For example, say you work at an office that sells paper. While many people wouldn’t consider this a world changing pursuit, I beg to differ. Think of all the individuals in the world that rely on paper. From creative types to quantum physics experts, your role at your workplace brings incredible value to many many people all over the world. You will have, without a doubt, helped bring a new idea into existence. Several new ideas to be precise.

So have a think about what you’re doing now. Is it something that allows you to embrace your passion?

Or perhaps you might not even know what it is that you love or enjoy doing. Why not explore and reflect on what gives you joy and contentment? Is there an area or industry that you could see yourself exploring to experience that fulfillment?

Can you find a deeper purpose in what you’re already doing?

When you’re able to find meaning in your work, you’re that much closer to achieving work life harmony.

Don’t Be Intimidated By Obstacles and Limitations

Creating work life harmony is also about understanding yourself–which includes your limitations and past obstacles–as this allows you to become more resilient.

If you never had to experience struggles, challenges or setbacks, then you would never be forced to adapt and mature. So in theory, having to face obstacles in life is actually quite necessary.

Most of us think of setbacks and obstacles as negative. Though, if you’re able to maintain an optimistic attitude, you’ll almost always have a higher chance of success of overcoming those obstacles to reach your eventual goal.

Your attitude towards setbacks will define the outcome of whether you rise from the challenge or remain stuck in it. So, in order to achieve work life harmony, it’s important to have a resilient attitude as challenges will always come your way–especially when you strive to integrate work into your life, and not a separate or dominant part of life.

Delegate When You Need To

Of course, when you want to increase productivity and minimize the time or effort spent, a great way to do so is to delegate!

If you spend a lot of time doing tasks on your own that could be delegated to others (whether at work or at home) you’re losing a lot of precious free time that could otherwise be spent elsewhere.

At the end of the day, we all have a limited amount of time. So we should all be striving to create a harmonious work and living situation where we can find meaning in all that we do.

While an overall goal may be meaningful, not all of the milestones or tasks needed to get there may be meaningful. That’s because we have our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Not every task is going to be enjoyable or easy to complete. That’s where delegation comes in.

Delegation simply allows you to leverage time from an external source, thus giving you opportunities to increase your own quality of time. Keep in mind that delegation should be done with deliberate attention, otherwise you may end up over relying on others.

If you find that you’re running into the problem of over delegating, then it may be time to re-evaluate your motivation for doing whatever it is that you’re doing.

Embrace the Circle and Become Happier and More Productive

Living in harmony is about feeling good about the ways in which you spend your time, despite how busy you may be.Your switch from work mode to a more personal mode should be effortless. It’s about integrating your personal life and the things you love into your busy work life!

It all begins with the shift in perspective. Understanding what your passions are, and learning to be resilient, before taking a different approach to the way you manage your time and everyday tasks.

These are steps that you can start taking to move away from balance to harmony. 

Featured photo credit: Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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