Look for the Best
Years ago I worked with a man who could never see things my way. Once in a meeting I tried to explain how adding false data to our database would give us crappy results. Garbage in – garbage out. He said, “I don’t understand! You’re wrong!”
His negative perspective colored everything. The coffee was awful, he hated the clients who walked in the door, nothing satisfied him. Needless to say, he didn’t last.
It occurred to me years later that, for him, a negative mindset was normal. He was like Oscar the Grouch. There is nothing you can do to make Oscar the Grouch happy. For Oscar, being grouchy IS being happy.
But really, no one wants to be Oscar. What I’ve seen in my clients is that they deplore their negative mindset. It leaves them sad and depressed. It seems hopeless.
I realize, of course, that depression is real, and ongoing feelings of sadness or hopelessness need professional assistance. A simple blog post is not going to change the brain chemistry – but it can help shift a mindset.
Mindset influences the way your emotions respond to “reality.” When your emotions are positive, you see more opportunity; you’re willing to take more risks and you end up with more positive outcomes. The opposite is true for negative mindset.
Here are three exercises to help you shift your negative mindset to a positive one. Have a notebook or journal handy to record your responses. Writing with your non-dominant hand is also very enlightening.
- Wouldn’t it be nice if: This game invites you to fantasize positive outcomes and opens you to new possibility. At the top of your page, describe a specific situation and then write “Wouldn’t it be nice if.” Below that, write out what you want to see happen. Stick with it for at least 10 minutes.
- Find thoughts that feel better: At the top of your paper, write out a situation you’re grappling with. Below it, list your thoughts about it. After you have the first 2-3 written (negative, likely), start to reach out for more positive thoughts that are true. Keep searching for the positive thoughts till you feel your mood shift.
- Intend your outcomes: This shifts your mindset from how things are (reality) to how you want them to be (intention). Change what you expect and you’ll change your results. Before starting a task, notice where your thoughts are and then deliberately focus on what you want to happen. Take the time to get the thought of your expectation clear. Observe what happens and add it to your journal.
These exercises seem terribly simplistic, I know, but they are so powerful. A simple shift stretched out over time translates into a huge change. If you need help, contact me. I can help you with this.
A negative mindset is a choice. Choose differently in each moment and will you create a new mindset habit, This is a habit that will serve you.