“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance.” Albert Einstein
To translate Albert Einstein’s beautiful quote to something we can chew on, I propose this — if you can ask yourself difficult questions and make yourself think, you will find all the answers within yourself.
Very recently, I’ve come to make huge life-altering decisions in only a few days. That’s not to say I didn’t think through them carefully — it’s actually because I thought through them so carefully and asked myself the right questions that I am able to make these decisions confidently.
For example, a few days ago, I decided to reshuffle the responsibilities and roles at my startup. It was a huge decision to make, but I did it happily after answering questions like:Advertising
- Why haven’t I done this already? What pain do I avoid in delaying this?
- What will it feel like after I’ve made this decision? What pleasure will I enjoy in making the jump?
- Does this decision feel liberating — or limiting?
These questions may seem trivial to you, but sitting down to put these ideas on papers made me face the facts — I was avoiding this out of pure fear. It was time to make a change, and I’m very happy with the result — because I got cozy with difficult questions long enough to hammer out the answers I knew all along.
Finding the Answers — Your Action Plan
If you want to find the answers within yourself, here are the steps I suggest for attacking the toughest questions:
1. Be open to questions and to figuring it all out.
Becoming more self-aware is critical to solving problems, but being open to that self-awareness is vital.
Without making the decision to become open and honest about finding the answers, the water will run through the tubes, but the faucet won’t let any of it trickle out. It’s easy to become closed off from introspection and questioning.Advertising
If I hadn’t decided to truly question myself and face my answers with conviction and the desire to make a change, I probably would not feel as liberated and purposeful as I do right now. It’s scary, I admit. But it’s also incredibly exhilarating.
2. Find the right questions.
Sometimes, the right questions can come from a family member inquiring about our decisions — not fun, but certainly valuable. Other times, though, the right questions come in the form of resources we hadn’t really considered.
When I was writing a book proposal a few months ago, I didn’t know where to begin. After some serious Google searching, I found a great resource to start soul-searching — a workbook by Danielle LaPorte. This amazing workbook asked me a series of questions that helped me think through my proposal, structure it, and get down on paper what I already had floating around my mind. I knew what I wanted to write about, but the workbook helped me make it concrete.
Since that experience, I’ve come across many worthwhile workbooks on the web. I’ve even been inspired enough to develop my own iPhone app (called QuestionUp) to ask the right questions for each type of problem.Advertising
It’s an amazing experience when a workbook, an app, or even a friend asks you a question that stumps you — and then inspires you.
3. Sit down to think through the answers.
The format you prefer depends on your personal taste — and your mood. Sometimes, I use pen and paper, but other times I use an app. The important string that holds them all together is the desire to be at peace with the process of answering each question.
(Tip: For those who can’t disconnect completely, I recommend software to help you block certain websites — or block your entire internet connection! It really helps me focus when I can’t do it on my own.)
Whether I sit down with a notebook, my laptop, or an app, the process is always the same. Each question crashes over me like a wave, but then smooths out and leaves me with serene waters and a lighter heart — ready for the next one.Advertising
All in all, I find looking within ourselves and searching for our own answers is a resource many do not appreciate. Before you look outside of yourself today, take a moment to look inside. It’s amazing what you might find.
Is there a technique you use to find all the answers within yourself? If you know of any good resources, please share them in the comments!
Featured photo credit: checked the box by symbol of tick in selection via Shutterstock
Last Updated on January 3, 2020
The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People
Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand? If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!
The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places! Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.
1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.
Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives. Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:
I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life …
To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones …
And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!
2. Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.
Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.
3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.
Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.
4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.
The most positive people are the most grateful people. They do not focus on the potholes of their lives. They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences. They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.
5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.
Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do. They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities. They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time. They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!
6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!
Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.
7. Positive people smile a lot!
When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!
8. People who are positive are great communicators.
They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life. They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse. They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.
9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.
One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time. Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.
10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.
Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.
How about you? How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself? If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?
I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!
Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com