Skills 360 – Staying Positive (Part 1)

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[0:11] Happy New Year to everyone and welcome back to Skills 360. I’m your host Tim Simmons and today we’re going to talk about staying positive.

[0:24] When you look ahead at the year to come, what do you see? Do you see great things for yourself, for your business, or for your career? Or do you see doom and gloom, trouble in the workplace, and a global economic mess?

[0:43] Well, I hope you focus on all the positives, even if the negatives exist. And what I want to do is to help you focus on these good things, because positive thinking can help us get where we want to go.

[1:01] So what do I mean by positive thinking? Let me start by saying that it’s not the same as optimism. Being optimistic means believing that everything is going to work out great. But positive thinking is more than that. It’s a mindset, or a way of looking at the world and what you do. It’s a belief in possibility, solutions to problems, and the big picture.

[1:35] The opposite of positive thinking is, of course, negative thinking. Negative thinking means focusing on problems, obstacles, and difficulties. And most of those problems are external. We blame coworkers, the economy, our boss, the competition, a lack of money… And what’s the result of all this? Limits. We limit ourselves and what we do. We think we can’t do things before we even try. And that’s no way to succeed.

[2:19] Okay, so how do we think positively? First of all, we need to look at problems, mistakes, and failures as normal. Imagine you bomb a big job interview. A negative thinker will be bummed out by the fact that he didn’t get the job.

[2:43] A positive thinker will learn from the experience. He will analyze what he did and figure out how to do it better next time. And he’ll also think about what he did well, and try to repeat or improve on those successes. This means focusing on the big picture. That one job interview is not the end of the world. It’s a bump along your career path. There are many more opportunities out there, and probably many better jobs.

[3:25] One trick to positive thinking is to imagine how you’ll think back on things that are happening now. You know from experience that the passing of time brings a fresh perspective. There are bad things that happened last year that you can probably laugh about now. You understand what was a big deal and what was not. Try to do that in the present.

[3:57] Positive thinking often means separating the past and the future. A negative thinker will focus on the past, especially past failures. But the past can’t be changed. It’s done and dusted. The future, however, is yet to be written. And that’s where the positive thinker will focus his attention. How do I do this better next time?

[4:30] Learning is important, and we can see the power of positive thinking when it comes to problem-solving. The negative thinker looks at problems as end points. He says “we can’t do this.” The positive thinker understands that there is a solution to every problem. He says “how can we solve this?” And if you believe there is a way to do something, then there is a way to do something.

[5:06] Positive thinking is a mental habit. It takes practice. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to focus on the future and on possibility. Sometimes it’s hard to learn from our failures or see the big picture.

[5:26] But if you can do it, there are some great payoffs. You’ll have greater confidence and a better chance of success. And there’s a lot of research to show that positive thinking actually makes us healthier. And what’s the net result of these effects? Satisfaction, happiness, and a better quality of life. And who doesn’t want that?

[5:55] We’ve been talking about how to think positively, but there’s another important technique here. And that is the way we act and maintaining a positive attitude toward other people. Tune in next time to hear all about that.

[6:15] That’s all for today. So long. And see you again soon.