I recently sent out this tweet:
A friend replied, asking if I had any “training advice”, so here’s my suggested training program.
Most of our thoughts seem to naturally fall to the negative. We weren’t born that way, we learned it. Look at kids and how much faith they have in themselves, how easily they make friends, how much joy they get from looking in the mirror and how optimistic they are about life and adventures.
It’s time to unlearn the negative tendencies we’ve adopted and return to a more neutral, confident mindset.
How did we learn the negative in the first place?
We’ve grown up in a society embedded with fear and resistance for “self-protection”. Having a marketing degree I know firsthand that a marketer’s role is to create a need for their product, and this is often by instilling fear or doubt in the consumer’s mind. It’s everywhere.
Negative headlines sell. Mainstream media must fill their airtime so they seek out every “story” they can find — often making us believe we live in a terrifying world.
We learn to compare ourselves to others as if we are all born with the exact same genetic and social makeup. We’re raised to not be overly confident as arrogance doesn’t fly. We learn to doubt our own abilities rather than trust in our own power beyond what is imaginable.
Instead of naturally looking at what is wrong or what is missing, try add more gratitude and optimism.
Author Anita Moorjani, who writes about how she miraculously cured herself of terminal cancer, teaches this quick activity to highlight the power of focus:
- Look around you right now and find everything that is the colour red. Commit as many red objects to your memory as possible.
- Then, close your eyes and recall everything in the room that was blue. Almost impossible!
Imagine how much we miss in our lives because we’re paying so much attention to what we don’t like, or what is lacking.
Now, lets make that limp optimism muscle burn:
- Set your phone’s alarm to 5-10 random times throughout the day.
- Each time the alarm goes off, check in with your thoughts at that very moment. How did you sound? Likely complaining, criticising, judging, fear, etc.
- If so, take that thought and flip it around. Don’t disregard it, just focus on training yourself to realise what there is rather than focus on what’s not.
- Repeat until this becomes a natural process.
Firstly, ask yourself if it’s real. Usually it’s not and you’re just dramatising. Snap back to the present moment and what you’re doing right then and there. As Eckhart Tolle teaches, all negative emotions are tied to regret of the past or concern for the future, which isn’t actually real right now so why ruin this present moment too?
If you’re doubting yourself, look at what you have achieved. Can’t think of anything? Maybe you cracked your eggs that morning without bursting the yolk. Anything. You’re achieving constantly, we just don’t recognise most of it.
If you’re feeling broke, look at what have an abundance of — friendship, playlists of your favourite music, a roof over your head.
If you’re dwelling over someone and what they said or did, remind yourself that thinking about it in that very moment does absolutely nothing other than ruin your moment, not theirs. It won’t change anything except drag you down.
Quit being a victim.
There’s always something.
The idea is to get out of the stress of your thoughts. We create way too much anxiety over everything. When we calm the anxiety we can tackle any actual issues with more of a rational mindset, such as taking a realistic look at our finances and setting a budget until the next pay day without freaking out about it, feeling like you have nothing. If you have the ability to read blogs online, you have a heck of a lot.