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How to Build Positive Thinking to Improve a Bad Day

How to Build Positive Thinking to Improve a Bad Day

I’ve had some bad mornings in my life — mornings where I woke up late for work or school (sometimes even waking up after I was supposed to be there), hungover, still bruised and/or bleeding from the night before, broke, in a car, on the street, and next to some insane people. From that point, the day goes downhill — I lost my job, car, and house; missed the bus; went broke; missed lunch; said the wrong thing on the news; got surrounded by police and homeland security; and ended up in the hospital, where I was released with nothing but a pair of shorts and my iPhone. Despite all of these problems, I manage to wake up again the next day, ready to face and change the world with the power of positive thinking.

Happy people used to annoy me. I was never one of those happy people until the last year or so. Before I became happy, I would listen to angry music, relate to it, and start steering my life toward that direction. When 2Pac, Eminem, etc. shouted about their problems, I internalized them and made them my own. The anger they expressed became what I thought I had to be in order to follow the footsteps of my idols… but then I realized I don’t have to be angry; just because I have problems doesn’t mean I have to focus on them. Instead, I can resolve them internally and work toward a positive outcome. This is when I discovered the power of positive thinking, and I’d like to share with you its simplicity.

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    Just Do It

    The trick to positive thinking is to simply think positive. I know this sounds a bit obvious and unobtainable, but bear with me — it’s easier than it sounds. Your thoughts are under your control. You’re the only person who ever hears them unless you choose to say them or (preferably) act on them. Let’s say you’re a couple of dollars short on your electric bill; you can choose to either freak out and stress about how broke you are, lowering your mood and allowing your day to be controlled by the electric company, or you can choose to focus on how to make the best of the position you’re in.

    Take the MCs I used above as an example. Sure, 2Pac and Eminem aired their dirty laundry and angry thoughts in their music, but they didn’t climb to the top of the hip-hop game by doubting themselves. Both of these men put themselves out there, knowing they could fail, but also believing in themselves enough to rise above the competition. Eminem, for example, is known for publicly discussing his mama and baby-mama drama. Instead of dwelling on it, he made a career out of it, talked his problem out, and moved past them. You can do the same.

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      You’re Not Alone

      Life sucks sometimes, but it’s a beautiful experience you only get once. As Jay-Z put it, “Flowers need water to grow; It gotta rain. And in order to experience joy, you need pain.” Bad things happen to all of us — no matter how rich, famous, or successful we are. So why do some of us smile while others don’t? It’s not a natural disposition; some people just repeat mantras in their head whenever a bad thought enters their head.

      I get angry sometimes; other times I get sad, or even depressed. I’ve had thoughts of what things would be like if I were dead. I drove across the country to start over — twice. As recently as two years ago, I briefly considered ending my life. As recently as two days ago, I anguished over where the hell my life is going, and why it feels like I can’t do anything right. I’ve made mistakes and bad decisions that have cost me nearly everything on more than one occasion. There isn’t much I haven’t lost — but I continue getting back up, putting a smile on my face, and going back out there to try again. You can do this too, but you need to start thinking positively. Here’s how I do it.

       

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        Repeat After Me…

        When I wake up in the morning, one of the first things I do is look myself in the mirror — it’s important to be able to face yourself in the mirror — and look at the man I’ve become. I reconnect with myself and remind myself that I’m a great guy. I compliment myself out loud to ensure the first words I both hear and say each day are positive. Then I clean myself up and eat breakfast to gather enough energy to be me. This sets the tone for the rest of the day.

        Throughout the day, I need a refresher for a variety of reasons: things don’t go as planned, something bad happens, someone rubs me the wrong way. During these times, my first thought used to be exasperation, but I forced myself to stop. I close my eyes for 10 seconds and breathe, repeating, “This, too, shall pass,” in my head over and over until I calm down. It’s a quick meditation to reset my train of thought. Whenever I have downtime, I take a moment to think about all of the wonderful people, places, and things in my life. I remind myself that I’m alive, I’m okay, and I’m fully capable of overcoming any obstacles.

         

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          Maintenance

          It was difficult at first, but eventually it took less and less time to get back into the game. The negative times have gotten less and less frequent (although they still happen). I still have a lot of problems (financial, romantic, career-based), but they don’t overwhelm me anymore. When something doesn’t go my way, I simply go a different route. Things haven’t necessarily gotten easier, but I accomplish much more. Knowing I’m constantly moving toward my goal (even if I fail, I’m still learning something and making progress) makes it easier to get through the hard times.

          The more you think positive, the easier it gets to think positive. Like everything else in life, it takes practice. If you’re feeling down and out, stop for a minute and think about everything you’re grateful for. Instead of thinking about your problems, think about your triumphs. The difference between a good day and a bad day is nothing more than the perspective in which it’s viewed. Think positive, and you’ll make a positive impact on this world. Get started right now.

           

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          Last Updated on May 21, 2019

          How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

          How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

          For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

          If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

          Example 1

          You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

          You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

          In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

          Example 2

          You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

          People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

          You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

          Example 3

          You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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          The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

          Example 4

          You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

          Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

          If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

          Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

          • Understand your own communication style
          • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
          • Communicate with precision and care
          • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

          1. Understand Your Communication Style

          To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

          In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

          Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

          2. Learn Others Communication Styles

          Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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          If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

          “How do you prefer to receive information?”

          This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

          To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

          3. Exercise Precision and Care

          A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

          On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

          Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

          I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

          I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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          In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

          The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

          Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

          4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

          Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

          In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

          “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

          Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

          Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

          It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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          It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

          It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

          Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

          Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

          The Bottom Line

          When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

          I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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          Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

          Reference

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