What is ‘being positive’
Wrong definition: An optimist is a person who tells you its going fine so far while you are falling from a 20 storey building and have just crossed 10!
Right definition: A person with positive attitude is one who thinks that:
- The world is not a conspiracy against me; God is kind.
- People are complicated, but luckily I’m not here to judge them; just to help them where I can
- My well-guided efforts will bear fruit; and
- The stuff beyond the realm of efforts will turn out to be pretty exciting or at least manageable; heavens don’t fall that often
Does it matter
Empirical research is on the side of the positive guys. Although research in social sciences is usually tainted with subjective overtones, connecting it with the empirical realm of medicine gives it a perfectly concrete shape. In medical researches patients have partly healed themselves just thinking they are given cutting-edge medical treatments whereas they are given just candy capsules, aka placebo, for drug testing purposes. [Details of placebo effect can be googled or see here.] Even side effects of treatment were felt under the impression of being treated whereas in actual no ‘treatment’ was given.
Simply: thinking affects reality. Message: think carefully, it can heal or hurt, you decide! [Seriously? Does one need to read Harvard Medical research articles to get to this?]
How to achieve and keep it
The list is long. Meaning there are many ways to achieve positivity. You can start where you like [read: where its easy for you]. Have a read, copy this list in your phone notes, select a few and start doing. One week later [put an alarm in your phone to remind you] come back to the list and see how you’re doing and – more importantly – how are you feeling. Repeat.
- No one is perfect; So be perfectly yourself
Make a goal of life. It should be at the intersection of 3 highways; a) your interest, b) your competence and c) what adds value to other people.
This gives you a direction of your own role in the universe. Stick to it. Other roles might distract you and even intimidate you. But stick to being yourself, ‘everyone else is already taken’. Don’t be overwhelmed by super heroes, you are not supposed to save the world, remember?
- Failure; No running away, face it!
To fail is not the end of the road. Its human to err. Accept failure (don’t deny, pass the buck or make useless excuses), own it, hold yourself responsible, learn from mistakes and move on. Life will not wait for you to pick up pace, so hurry up the process. Learn well enough not to repeat your mistakes. The next day will be better.
- Don’t play the victim
Self-pity kills the drive to achieve. Makes us vulnerable to bad things. Be on guard!
- Share your focus on about 3 things at a time
Your goal should give you something to do. Preferably 3 things at a time. Something professional, something personal + family and something for the society at large. This helps you in keeping busy doing stuff that matters rather than just thinking negative thoughts.
- Beware of Social Media
Looking at people’s carefully curated life-pieces on social media causes depression [if you disagree, try some]. Don’t fall for the trap. Use social media for your benefit, not for acquiring depression and negativity.
- Healthy Body, Health Mind
You’re valuable, treat yourself well. Eat good stuff, sleep your fill (the amount you need is specific to you, but generally it is between 6-8 hours of sleep a day) and don’t let 3 days go by without some exercise.
- Don’t gossip
Talking bad about people, whether true or not, is surely not in line with your life goals [I hope].
- Acts of Kindness
Do good to others. Giving (money, smiles, time, medicine, attention, love, understanding, prayers) has real power. Acquire power by giving.
- No Arguments: Ask yourself – does this really matter?
Not every argument deserves your time and energy. Choose your fights carefully.
A curve that straightens things up, right? Spread the smile. (If you are doing this now, you can already feel what I mean, can’t you?)
- Imagine good
Imagination is more important than knowledge if Einstein is to be trusted. Imagine success, good things happening and they happen. (They even have a name for this in psychology; labelling, or ‘self-fulfilling prophecies’ – don’t trust me, google it.)
- Be grateful
Look at all the beautiful things you have in life (when was the last time you looked up to the stars at night and took delight in the view?). Be grateful for what you have and you’ll be given more says the Quran. Also take out time to read about people who are living in desperate conditions. This will help your gratitude and bend your attitude to helping others. Some terrible stories here, here and here.
- Talk Positive
Words have immense power, use them wisely.
- Discuss; Mentorship
Its good to consult. Have someone or a few people you can discuss your problems / issues with. Negativity needs venting out at times. At times you need a sounding board. Find one. And yes, be one.
Always have one good book by the side of your bed (or table, or bag, or laptop, or yourself). Reading is essential to get your bearings back in the multimedia driven information age. I would recommend actual books as compared to e-books, but either would be better than neither. Here is some inspiration for reading.
Your feedback is valuable, do share and let me know how this write-up benefit you or how could it have (see the positive tone? :)). Take care and keep in touch.
And here’s the video on this topic: