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5 Steps To Build A Positive Thinking You’ll Be Proud Of

5 Steps To Build A Positive Thinking You’ll Be Proud Of

When it comes to your health and well-being, the thoughts you think are just as powerful as the food you eat and the exercise you get.  Your mind is a powerful force with a profound influence on the way you experience life.  It was once thought that eating a healthy diet and getting appropriate exercise was enough to ward off illness and maintain one’s health; however, research has consistently proven that your positive thoughts play a huge role in your well-being. We’ve all been given the advice to ‘think positive’ and ‘look on the bright side’, and for good reason; when practiced regularly, we become more resilient to stress and the negative thought patterns that can develop.

Negative thoughts are emotionally and physically draining, and they often lead to judging others or ourselves.  Negative thoughts close us off to the people and possibilities around us and limit our experiences .  They can also be self-perpetuating; once a negative thought patterns begin, it takes some work to reverse those patterns.  Positive thoughts, on the other hand, can leave you much more open.  From that place it’s easy to embrace all of the potential joy and happiness your experiences have to offer.  And when positive thinking is part of your daily living and becomes a habit, you begin to build a skill set of of abilities and emotional resources that you can use later in life.  For example, you may develop the ability to communicate more effectively, to experience and explore the world around you differently, to empathize with others, or to express yourself more effectively.  These skills will broaden your sense of possibilities and options in any situation allowing you to experience the world in a more positive way, which will help you in having more positive thoughts.

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Here are 5 things you can do right now to make the shift to positive thinking you’ll be proud of.

1)  There are lessons everywhere.

When you are in the middle of a negative experience, it is easy to look at the damaging way it’s impacting your life.  It is easy to dwell on the many ways you are being inconvenience or even hurt by the circumstances.  It’s human nature to look at things that way‒at least, initially.  Re-frame your thoughts around the situation by looking at the lessons and opportunities the situation has to offer. Every situation has the preverbal sliver lining; sometimes we just have look for it.  While in the throes of the situation ask yourself “what am I supposed to learn from this situation? and “how can I grow personally as a result of this?”  Some of the biggest lessons come from the most difficult situations; and although we may not see them until much later on, navigating the situation will be easier when you approach it as an opportunity too learn.

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2)  Let go of the need for perfection.

When we set the standards for ourself or others in our lives at a very high level, it is easy to miss the mark.  Judgement is the natural outcome of failing to achieve the standard you’ve set, and judgement is almost always negative.  By letting go of the need for perfection in yourself and others, you allow yourself further opportunity for joy and satisfaction, as well as thoughts that bring about positive feelings toward yourself, your environment and the people in it.

3)  Be present.

In our multi-sensory, information-driven world, it is very easy to be distracted.  In reality, the brain is designed to attend to (or do) one thing at a time, to do that one thing efficiently and then move on to the next task.  When you can train your brain and nervous system to shut out all of the distractions and focus on the task at hand, you begin to experience life very differently.  Being present with whatever situation you find yourself in is truly a gift to not only yourself, but anyone else involved in that moment with you.  If you find this difficult to do initially, remind yourself of what you are there to do and gently pull yourself back into the moment.  Over time, this mode of being will become very natural to you, and as your nervous system relaxes, you will make more room for a deeper presence in your life.

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4)  Be grateful.

When people think about the many blessings in their lives, their thoughts automatically change to positive ones.  End each day by expressing your gratitude for the things, people, circumstances, or situations, from your day that you were grateful about.  They don’t have to be grand; often the simplest things have the greatest meaning.  Recently I was grateful that a young man held a door open for me as I struggled to carry grocery bags.  His thoughtful action put a smile on my face that lasted well into the day and left me with a feeling of having to pay his generosity forward to someone else in need.

5)  Focus on what you want more of.

What you focus on grows.  By focusing on the positive things in your life, you will get more positive things in your life.  When you focus on negative things, well, more negative things are likely to arise. Ask yourself what you would like more of.  Create opportunities to have more of those things and the things you want less of will naturally, and over time, fall by the wayside.

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Positive thinking becomes a way of being when practiced daily.  It also becomes a way to open your heart and mind to the amazing possibilities of life that will build your happiness, resilience and joy.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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