Reading the news, you’d think imminent doom is just around the corner. Yes, we’ve hit a rough patch. For some, a very rough patch. But it’s not the end of the world. The best analogy I can think of is we’re in winter. And guess what comes right after winter? Spring. But with turn on the news and you’ll be bombarded with all the negative, and right now, there’s a lot going around. That’s why it’s never been more important to develop a positive mindset. Here’s how.
#1 Read a Book
If you’ve read any of my articles before chances are you’ve heard me mention the importance of reading because it is that important.
Education comes before motivation. Jim Rohn used to crack up his audiences by saying “If you motivate an idiot, you’ve got a motivated idiot.” Success starts with education which can take many forms. In my father’s days, education meant school. My father learned the hard way that life can be pretty tough without a college education which is why he went back and attended night school.
Today, we’ve got the greatest tool in history in our dang pocket. It’s a phone, camera, computer, scanner, fax machine, Rolodex, calendar and alarm clock all rolled into one. Back in the day, your lack of access to knowledge could hold you back. Not anymore. Amazon will have pretty much any physical book to your doorstep in 24 hours, or mere seconds for the Kindle versions.
After 9/11 Robert Giuliani read Winston Churchill’s book. Why? To understand how to overcome adversity. Books not only educate but motivate. And with all the opportunities that come with springtime, what better time to start transforming our lives than now.
#2 Start your Day off with Gratitude
In my first book, iSucceed, I dedicated the first chapter to gratitude because that’s where it all begins. If you’re reading this article, you’re pretty lucky. Just take one second to look around. If you’re near the kitchen, you’ll see your fancy refrigerator, microwave, and oven capable of turning you into a world-class chef for those inclined. If you’re in your TV room, turn on the TV and marvel at all the channels you have.
If you’ve still got a job, that’s a good thing. If not, then you’ve got time on your hands to prepare for the years to come, use that time wisely.
#3 Laughter is the Best Medicine
I once read a lady who beat cancer simply by laughing. She has been given a 6-month death sentence but decided she wasn’t going to let it beat her and figured the best way to fight such news was with positivity. She rented ever great comedy and laughed her way to remission. The doctor couldn’t explain it.
This isn’t just a one-off case. Positivity is powerful. My father-in-law was told he also had six months to live, 3 years ago. He didn’t even need chemo. My son, his grandson, inspired him to fight and he did just that. Last year he got to see his grandson take home bronze at the Junior Olympics for swimming.
#4 A Chance to Learn
This may be hard for some people to hear but we learn best through failure, through hardship, through the pain. Success is a lousy teacher. In fact, sometimes success can make us lazy. The business world is filled with companies such as Kodak, Blockbuster and Lehman Brothers that were once the darlings of Wall Street. Today, they simply exist in history books.
While I’m no historian, I believe that 2020 and the coronavirus will be studied by economists and historians for years to come. After the financial crisis in 2008, I spent two hours every day studying everything I could to understand what went wrong. I just couldn’t understand why as so many “experts” couldn’t see it coming.
Since many of us are either under lockdown or self-isolating, this is the perfect chance to prepare for what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And I use the word opportunity on purpose because once we get through this storm, new opportunities will arise. There will be rocky waves, but for those that are ready, they will reap the rewards. I challenge you to be one of them.
#5 Use the Positive Power of Language
It’s amazing the power language has over us. Most of us don’t give it a second thought, but as I learned in Tony Robbins’ excellent book, Awaken the Giant Within, words are often entangled with emotion, our emotion. Having a crappy day? Your language will reflect that. Just got a big promotion, it’ll come across not just in your voice but your language. Words are how we see the world. By changing the words we use, we can alter our emotional state. Sounds wild, right? But I swear it’s true. Robbins suggested that the next time you’re angry at something to use the word, “irk.” By simply saying you were irked by something, you lower its intensity. I’ll be honest with you, I thought it was some pretty hokey stuff, but I figured I’d give it a shot and let me tell you, wow.
#6 Maybe It’s Time for Some New Friends
If your friends are helping you be a better person, then I’m sad to say, you need new friends. I’ve always loved the expressions, “Birds of a feather flock together.” It’s a classic and much more powerful than we give it credit for. As Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Family, friends, mentors, bosses, colleagues, and classmates all have some influence on us. It’s inevitable. Applying the 80/20 rule we’d find that five play a bigger part than any of us realize. They affect much more than we realize from our language to the topics we discuss and even the food we eat. So, take a good look around and ask yourself, “Do I need new friends?”
#7 Go for a Walk
We have become a society that loves to sit in front of screens; computer screens, smartphone screens, TV screens, Nintendo screens. As a productivity expert, I can guarantee that’s not good for so many reasons. Sitting for hours on end isn’t good for our bodies. While you might think you’re getting a lot done, the fact of the matter is that to operate at optimum levels you need to take a break. But turning off your computer only to whip out your smartphone and chat with your friends or scour your social media feeds is not the best way to unwind or recharge. Instead, go for a walk. It’s amazing how much better we feel after a short walk around. Leave your screen at home and just enjoy nature. This coronapocalpse has taught me that just going to the park is really great.
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Photo courtesy iStock.