“The longer I live the more I realise the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” - Charles R. Swindoll
So, I was reading a self-help book last week (as you do) and one of the exercises asked me to think about the people in my life that I was jealous of and why. The logic behind it essentially presumes that the reason you are so jealous is because you want something another person has. No shit Sherlock! But by identifying it, you can start strategising ways to obtain that same thing that you’re so jealous of. Kinda genius!
I surprised even myself upon realising that I was a green eyed monster for my boyfriend! I envied him his dancing skills, work ethic and level of sociability that makes everyone feel really comfortable. Most of all, I was jealous of his positive mindset. The eternal optimist that can lighten any mood and the complete opposite of the rollercoaster of emotions I journey on daily. So while he sees the good in everything, I immediately grasp onto the negatives. When facing a new challenge, he is excited by the endless possibilities for him to excel, while I obsess over every potential failure. He asks why not and I ask why.
I had always been aware of this difference between us but I didn’t realise how toxic my way of thinking was until coming back home after our recent holiday to California. My sulking started the moment I woke up on our very last morning. My irritability presented itself by snapping at those around me and secluding myself away from loved ones, while I licked my wounds at the thought of having to face reality again.
Remi, on the other hand, seemed excited to be going home. “Er, I’m sorry but how exactly can you be excited to go home? It’s cold and rainy and grey and there are no desert pool parties or hikes through the Hollywood Hills!”- my thought process. For Remi, he was simply inspired to add a new level of creativity to his projects and hustle hard to be able to live that boujee, travel life again soon. Huh, I had never thought of it that way.
Regardless, I came back and couldn’t focus properly because I was grieving my over-too-soon holiday, while Remi jumped straight into work with enthusiasm. So while he got tons done, I could barely answer my emails without sighing. He was progressing and I had stuck my feet in the ground, refusing to move forward. He was embracing new opportunities and I was missing them. See where I’m going with this?! Basically, while we had experienced the same things, gone on the same adventures and both returned to work, our different mindsets determined our productivity and success rates.
Long story short, successful people are those that think more positively. End of! You can’t do well in life and be a Negative Nancy. That way of thinking narrows your focus and blinds the variety of opportunities available to you. Scientific experiments highlight that thinking positively actually broadens your sense of possibility. It doesn’t take having a PhD to conclude that positive people are nicer to be around. The right kind of attitude gets people jobs, life partners and more friends. It’s more attractive, obvs!
The secret to success is all in the mind.
Therefore, surround yourself with positive things that keep you motivated. And yeah, it’s easier said than done, especially for a self-professed pessimist like me. But in a world where never-ending wars are splurged across news channels, where governments ignore vulnerable peoples' plights and where the media pit neighbour against neighbour, we all need more positivity. I say a prayer of gratitude every morning, read a positive message from the Daily Motivator, listen to feel good music and write a journal. To that little voice in my head that instantly whispers “I can’t” several times a day, I demand “I can”. It may sound small but it has significantly reduced the amount of anxiety I feel and I’m so much more open to new possibilities. You guys should try it and let me know the effects it has for you. So go ahead and smile people - just by keeping ourselves happy and focused, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.