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10 Negative Thoughts We All Have And What We Should Think Instead

10 Negative Thoughts We All Have And What We Should Think Instead

I probably used to be one of the most negative people in the world. I felt like life was a continuous struggle and I had been dealt one of the worst hands, but what could I do? This is just life. Or so I thought.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard that the way I was talking to myself, directly influenced every aspect of my life. We can be our own worst enemy at times and our internal conversation can be extremely limiting. Like most people, I was blind to this somewhat obvious piece of information.

To say I felt like I had just won the lottery once I really understood this, was an understatement. Why? because suddenly I learned that the negative thoughts I had, weren’t facts at all, but instead self imposed limitations that I was putting on myself which I also had the power to remove.  Over the last decade, it has become very clear to me that most of us actually have very similar negative thoughts. Here are some of the most common negative thoughts we all have and what we should think instead.

1. I am not good enough

Have you ever thought that you weren’t good enough? When we feel that we aren’t good enough, we tend to drown in this emotion of self-doubt and pity. It really relates to a low self esteem, but the truth is, every one is good enough. You might not have the skills or tools to achieve what you want now, but you are certainly good enough and worthy of what you want.If you have a $10 note, and it falls on the floor into a puddle of mud, does that $10 lose value? Of course not! So why do you feel that you lose value based on what you have done in life. Don’t limit yourself, because everyone is good enough.

New Positive Thought – I am worthy of all I desire in this life, just like everyone else.

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2. I can’t do it

‘Can’t’ is one of the most limiting words that you can tell yourself. Henry Ford said. ‘Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.’ So if you tell yourself that you can’t, you are sending messages to your mind and brain that you can’t, and so that will be your experience. Your mind won’t try if you have already told it that it can’t.

New Positive Thought – ‘I can do whatever I put my mind to’

3. I’m not as lucky as other people

This thought normally comes from holding an illusion that other people’s lives are better and they are luckier and that is what separates you from them. ‘Perfect’ doesn’t exist, normally there is a lot of effort that goes behind that perceived ‘luck’. It is very dis-empowering to think that you will never have luck and it is simply not true.

New Positive Thought – Good things can happen to me too

4. I don’t think I’ll ever

Whatever you believe will become your reality, this is true.You shape your future every day by the choices you make and your habits. You can sabotage your opportunities by limiting your thoughts. What would it be like if you believe that you could do what you really desire and have the experiences you wish instead? It is not about getting it right the first time, but trying. Don’t stop yourself before you have even given yourself a chance.

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New Positive Thought – I am confident I will ….

5. I should be better than I am

Using the word ‘should’ in this context is really negative and makes one feel less than they are. How often do you find yourself saying ‘I should be move clever, more disciplined, more productive, etc than I am. Remember how you feel immediately afterwards? Not good I am sure. Rather set yourself goals for the things you are not happy with instead of telling yourself what you ‘should’ be like or be doing. Take action the things you wish to change and remove limiting modals from your vocabulary.

New Positive Thought – I am making an effort to change what I don’t like

6. I am not strong enough

It’s normal to feel that you are not strong enough at times. We are all human and I don’t know anyone on earth who doesn’t feel weak at times. What is important though, is the conversation you have with yourself afterwards. If you keep reinforcing the fact that you don’t feel strong, how can you expect to feel? Instead, tell yourself that you are strong enough and support yourself to find the strength you need in that moment.

New Positive Thought – I am strong enough to deal with this

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7. Nobody cares

It might feel that you are alone at times and that nobody cares, but I am convinced that there are people thinking about you that you don’t even know of. People do care, not everyone expresses their emotions in the same way. It isn’t nice feeling that nobody cares, so stop focusing on that and assuming what other people feel when you don’t actually know. Change your focus to something that makes you feel better instead.

New Positive Thought – People do care about me

8. I am not clever enough

This is a very general statement yet many people tend to say it often and then feel bad about themselves afterwards. What are you not clever at specifically? I bet, if I asked you to identify some areas that you are clever in, you could, if you really tried. Not everybody is clever and perfect in every area and this is what makes us all individual. If you feel that you are lacking in a certain area of knowledge, make time to study and learn whatever it is that you want so that you don’t feel this way any more.

New Positive Thought  – I am clever and I am studying xx to master this area as well

9. If I don’t do well, I am a failure

Holding high expectations for yourself and having conditions attached to your self worth on your performance isn’t fair. If you don’t try you will never know, you need to take chances in life if you want to get different results. Don’t be scared of failing, the real failure lies in never having tried.

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New Positive Thought  – I am going to try, I am not scared of failing, that is not what is important

10. Worst case scenario

Thinking negatively in general is thinking that whatever happens, it is most likely going to be the worst case scenario. What would it be like if you imagined the best case scenario instead? Our thoughts are very powerful and it’s common to use visualization as a technique to imagine the best case scenario. Whether you imagine the worst or the best case scenario, you are influencing your results. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen and rather on what you want to happen.

New Positive Thought  – The best will happen…

We all have negative thoughts from time to time, after all, we are human. When the majority of your thoughts are negative however, you are undermining your happiness at the end of the day. Our thoughts directly affect how we feel and therefore, what we do in life. Don’t limit yourself or what is possible for you, master your thoughts and change your results. Whatever you think, you are right!

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Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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